Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Oral Cancer

Most of us know how devastating cancer is. We all know someone that has been a victim from some form of cancer. Each year approximately 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with an oral cancer.

An oral cancer can either start within the oral cavity, it may originate from an adjacent site such the sinuses, or it may originate in a distant site and metastasize into the oral cavity.

Whatever the origin of an oral cancer, the prognosis is poor if not diagnosed early. The morbidity rate is quite high. The five year survival rate is approximately 50%. This means that approximately half of the people diagnosed with an oral cancer will not live beyond five years. This is a much less favorable prognosis than Hodkin's lymphoma, cancers of the endocrine system, testes, cervix, thyroid or skin.

There are many potential causative factors. The most common are alcohol, tobacco and HPV (human papilloma virus). I won't go into much discussion here. Much has already been written on these risk factors.

Usually they ancers can be caught early with routine dental examinations. The appearance of the lesions vary greatly. They may start out as white or red lesions. They may even appear blue or black. They may be raised or ulcerated lesions. Sometimes the lesions will be very difficult to see even with good lighting.

We all get lesions that form in our mouths for a variety of reasons such as pizza burns or cuts from sharp foods. If a lesion does not resolve within 14 days, it is imperative that it be evaluated. Many times a visual inspection by a trained medical or dental professional is all that is required. When caught early in the survivable stages, the treatment is much simpler, less invasive and much more predictable.

Lately in discussions with my patients about any problem I've used an odd analogy. Its weird but it makes sense. I say something along the lines of "change your oil, change your engine, change your car or don't drive at all". I prefer to change oil.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bad Breath

Has this ever happened to you?
All of us on occasion have issues with our breath. This weekend while on a camping trip I ate a nice meal loaded with onions. I was told by a thirteen-year-old that my breath was stinky. Fortunately, this was something that I could easily remedy.

Many of us have had similar experiences. Some of these experiences are mildly embarrassing, whereas others can have more profound detrimental consequences.

In order to improve the condition of chronic bad breath, we must first determine the source. The source of bad breath can be from the mouth, throat, sinuses or anywhere along the respiratory or digestive tracts.

Tongue Scraping
When the source is from the mouth, it can come from various areas. In the absence of disease, the most common culprit is the tongue and oral mucosa (soft tissue). The tongue has an abundance of surface area that when not brushed, will harbor bacteria and other debris. Simply brushing the tongue and soft tissue can help immensely .

Dry mouth is another common culprit of bad breath.  A moist mouth helps to cleanse our mouths and digest our foods.  There are several things that can cause dry mouth.  Some of these things include mouthwashes, mouth breathing, certain diseases and infections, and medications.    Mouthwashes are often believed to help eliminate bad breath, but the ones with a high alcohol content, such as Listerine, actually exacerbate the issue.  The reasoning for this is the alcohol in the mouthwash causes a drier mouth. 

Tooth decay is another common source of bad breath. When the teeth are badly decayed, there is no amount of brushing that will alleviate the smell. The decay must be removed by a dentist by either having a tooth restored or extracted.Moreover, when the periodontium (gums and bones) is infected, there is a distinct odor that can be detected from the other side of a room. No amount of brushing will help in this case either. The infection must be removed.

If the source of the bad breath is from an area that is not the mouth, then a referral to the appropriate specialist is indicated. Whatever the source, treatment is almost always indicated, because in many cases it is emanating from pathogenic bacteria that causes detrimental effects much worse than just a bad odor. In other words, the bad breath may be the least of your worries, but may be the symptom that motivates you enough to seek treatment for something that is dangerous to your overall health.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Power of a Smile

A person that smiles more is deemed to be
more pleasant,sincere,attractive and 
sociable then a non-smiling person.
It is well known that people will form an opinion of others within the first few seconds of meeting someone. With every new encounter, you will form an opinion of others and they will form an opinion of you based on numerous things such as your appearance, body language, clothing and grooming. Once these first impressions are formed, they are difficult to reverse.

These first encounters are critical in the sense that it sets the tone for the relationship that follows. First impressions will have a significant impact on every aspect of your life from your career to your social life.

Perhaps because I'm a dentist, but if I were to rank which factor is the most important in creating an appealing personality, I would have to put a friendly smile at the top of the list. I believe many non-dentists would agree.

Just as a smile can make a good impression and put people at ease, the lack of a smile will do the opposite.

In the workplace, an attractive authentic smile is a powerful marketing tool. It will land you the better job, will help you close the sale, will attract positive people, increase job satisfaction, and put more money in your pocket.

In your social life, you can expect similar results. You will be a magnet for attracting people.

Am I saying that an attractive smile will guarantee success? No! However, it will give you much more leverage and increase your chances of giving and getting more of the things you desire by invoking the law of attraction.

It is therefore important that we smile as often as possible. I'm not talking about the forced fake creepy smile. You'll freak people out doing so. I'm talking about a warm authentic smile that radiates warmth, expresses love, appreciation, respect and puts people at ease.

Smiling will also have positive health benefits by reducing stress, lowering your blood pressure and boosting your immune system.

Many of you may be wondering about the unattractive smile due to crooked, decayed or missing teeth. Perhaps even unaesthetic restorations. There are many highly skilled dentists that can solve these issues. Many of them will provide a consultation for minimal or even no fee.

Go forth and smile and the world will smile with you. I think I heard something along those lines in a song.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit