Oral diseases are more common than you might think. More than half of Americans have some degree of periodontal (gum) disease, and around 37,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the United States annually. However, learning about the most common oral diseases and their early warning signs can help you get the treatment you need quickly.
Common oral diseases
Oral cancer might not be the most common oral disease, but it’s potentially the most dangerous. Oral cancer causes around 8,000 deaths each year and has a five-year mortality rate of 59%. Early detection is critical to getting the treatment you need to protect your health. While your regular dentist may identify abnormal tissue in your mouth, the oral and maxillofacial surgeons at Estudillo Oral Surgery offer biopsy services to diagnose the cause of your abnormal tissue. They also provide surgical treatments for oral cancer.
Oral herpes, on the other hand, is one of the most common oral diseases, affecting around half of all Americans. Oral herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1). However, you might be more familiar with the term cold sores, which are the small blister-like sores that HSV1 causes on your mouth and lips. Herpes is very contagious, spreading through direct contact between the infectious area and broken skin. However, herpes can spread even when symptoms aren’t present.
The soft tissue in your mouth is also vulnerable to a wide range of other infections. It’s a warm, moist environment with plenty of sugar and other food to help bacteria and viruses thrive. For example, many people develop thrush or Candida infection in their mouth. Bacterial or yeast infections often cause white or yellow patches to grow on your gums, inner cheeks, or throat. You might also have small ulcers in your mouth. These infections are usually contagious but treatable.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis, is a widespread oral health problem. It develops when bacteria in your mouth multiply rapidly and get between your teeth and gums. It causes inflammation and gum recession and is a leading cause of both adult tooth loss and bone loss in your jaw.
What are the signs of oral disease?
The most common signs of oral diseases are changes to the soft tissue in your mouth. The inside of your mouth should be a healthy and consistent coral pink tone. Some of the common signs of oral disease include:
- Tissue that is raised or thicker than the surrounding area
- Red or white patches
- Tissue that has a hair appearance on the sides of your tongue
- Sores that don’t heal
- Bumps or lumps
- Unexplained swelling
What should I do if I think I have an oral disease?
If you notice strange looking or feeling tissue in your mouth when you’re brushing or flossing your teeth, you should make an appointment with your regular dentist. They can examine the soft tissue in your mouth. If they agree that you have an abnormal lump or patch of tissue, they will provide a referral for a biopsy.
That’s where the team of expert oral and maxillofacial surgeons at Estudillo Oral Surgery comes in. The surgeons offer several types of biopsy to collect cells for analysis. When your biopsy results are ready, the surgeons collaborate with your regular dentist to ensure you receive the treatment and care you need to preserve and protect your oral and dental health.
If you need a biopsy or an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon, call Estudillo Oral Surgery or schedule an appointment online today.