Did you know that there is a link between oral health and breast cancer? According to research conducted at the University of Buffalo, women with gum disease-especially those who smoke- may be at greater risk of developing breast cancer.
Cancer can happen to anyone and the side effects of treatment don’t discriminate. Some side effects can include:
- Dysguesia – metallic, salty foul or rancid taste sensations
- Xerostomia – dryness of the mouth or thickened saliva
- Stomatitis – mouth sores and ulcers
- Oral mucositis – inflammation and ulcers of gums, tongue and mouth tissues
- Dysphagia – difficulty or discomfort swallowing
- Dental Caries – cavities
- Infections of the mouth and/or throat
The beginning of a breast cancer battle can be confusing and overwhelming, but it’s important to talk to your dentist about your diagnosis and treatment plan. During treatment the pH of your mouth will change entirely and extra steps are needed to fight cavities and maintain good dental health through treatment. A regular routine of brushing and flossing may not be enough. Talk to your dentist about your diagnosis as soon as possible. You may need to schedule a dental appointment prior to beginning treatment, especially if you haven’t had a check-up recently.
It is easy to forget about the health of your mouth while trying to manage many side effects of treatments. A clean mouth, which includes your teeth, gums and tongue, helps protect you from mouth infections and helps to prevent issues such as cavities or teeth sensitivity. It’s more important than ever to practice optimal oral hygiene by brushing, flossing, and rinsing your mouth with water throughout the day to keep away bacteria. Staying hydrated and modifying your diet can also help keep both your mouth and body healthy.
Seeing your dentist prior to treatment can help address any oral health concerns before your immune system is suppressed and certain dental procedures would no longer be safe for you. Even if you aren’t experiencing any pain or sensitivity, schedule and attend your regular dental cleaning and exams to stay on course with preventative dental care:
- Undergo any dental procedures you may need before treatment starts and the immune system’s and body’s ability to heal itself is compromised.
- Allow time to heal from any dental treatment before beginning cancer treatment, if possible. Your dentist will recommend how much healing time you need between dental procedures and receiving cancer treatment.
- You, your dentist and your physician are a TEAM. Your dentist should be aware of your treatment plan to better serve your needs, and your cancer team should know how treatment impacts your mouth. It’s important to talk about any symptoms you experience with your dentist and cancer care team. When side effects are left unaddressed or are not able to be managed, larger problems could develop. Depending on the level of severity, your doctor may need to alter your treatment.
It’s possible to prevent breast cancer or manage some of the oral health side effects of treatment by taking extra good care of the mouth, teeth and gums and staying on course with professional dental care.
Remember…….stay positive, stay strong, we can beat this!
With Oshins of Smiles, Dr. Steven Oshins
If you have any questions, please visit www.oshinsofsmiles.com or call (518)356-5635.
Dr. Steven Oshins is committed to achieving extra-ordinary levels, expanding both knowledge and application skills in restorative dentistry in order to provide his patients with the highest standard of care. He is not here to judge patients, but to thoroughly learn about each patient’s oral condition, determine their susceptibility to future breakdown, and discuss a plan to help them successfully achieve and maintain a healthy and attractive smile.
A lifelong capital district resident, Dr. Oshins graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. He pursued his childhood dream of becoming a dentist because it combined his love of science and technology and the visual arts with his overwhelming passion to help people. While in dental school, he was one of two students across the United States selected for an internship at the Unites States Penitentiary, Atlanta Dental Clinic, where he worked under the most prestigious dentists in the Federal Government.
Upon graduation, he completed his two-year residency at Ellis Medicine in Schenectady, NY. During his second year of residency, he worked with various local oncologists and cardiologists and developed protocols for patients prior to starting chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or cardiac surgery. He stayed on as a staff dentist until 2000, when he opened up his private practice in Guilderland, NY. Dedicated to providing his patients with the most effective, up-to-date, and proven dental treatments, techniques, and options, he pursued multiple post-graduate programs in advanced dentistry, studying under the top dentists in the world, such as Dr. John Kois, Dr. Frank Spear, Dr. John West, and Dr. Ronald Jackson, completing over one hundred continuing education hours each year. He recently graduated from the renowned Kois Center, an advanced didactic and clinical program for practicing dentists, after completing a comprehensive, rigorous nine course curriculum with the latest advances in esthetic, occlusion, implant, and restorative dentistry.
Because of his compassion for others, he donates his personal time and professional services to local schools and humanitarian organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity and Freihofer Run for Women. He taught radiology and worked in the clinic for eight years at Hudson Valley Community College in the Dental Hygiene program and has a current faculty position at Ellis Hospital Residency program. He also writes a monthly article for the Guilderland Our Towne newspaper in hopes of sharing his knowledge of how to achieve lifelong oral health. He hopes to realize his dream of participating in missions to impoverished countries to teach proper oral health and provide services to the needy.
He is a current member of the American Dental Association, New Your State Dental Society, Western New York Kois Study Group, Third District Society, Ellis Medicine Implant Study Club, and Guilderland Chamber of Commerce.
In his spare time, Dr. Oshins enjoys spending time with friends and family, especially with his aunt and uncle at their camp in Lapland Lake, NY. A standout soccer player in high school, he continues his love of the sport by playing in local recreational leagues. He also enjoys all sports, working out, traveling, biking, kayaking, photography, and the arts. He continues his passion for cooking and takes classes at the Culinary Institute of America and Schenectady Community College.
Dr. Oshins’ greatest achievement is the difference he makes in his patients’ lives by helping them smile.