Dr. Hassan Barra

How Much Do You Know About Oral Cancer?

April 13th, 2021

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month! Risk factors for oral cancer include smoking and use of other tobacco products. However, the fastest growing cause of oral cancer in young, healthy individuals that do not use tobacco is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV within the mouth affects the tonsils and base of tongue.

Facts about HPV:

  • HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States
  • There are over 200 strains. Out of the 200, 9 of the strains can cause oral cancer.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that more than 80% of Americans will have HPV in their lifetime
  • With a ratio of 4:1, males are most likely to develop oral cancer when compared to females.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer:

  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • An ulcer or sore that does not heal in 2-3 weeks
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Hoarse or sore throat
  • Painless lump on the outside of the neck

At your checkups, oral cancer screenings are performed by your dentist to look for precancerous conditions or signs of cancer within the oral cavity.  They will look for asymmetries in the face, discolorations of the tissues and ulcerations within the mouth.

Is there a cure for HPV?

While there is no cure for HPV, it can resolve itself and does not normally cause health problems. Currently there is one vaccine,  Gardasil which protects against the 9 strains of HPV that cause cancer. The vaccines are recommended for boys and girls of ages 11 and 12.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Bahar Houshman and Dr. Marisa Reason is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Reisman would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/h/hpv-and-oral-cancer

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/basic_info/hpv_oropharyngeal.htm

https://oralcancerfoundation.org/understanding/hpv/hpv-oral-cancer-facts/

Easter Bunny Tips!

April 4th, 2021

As we hop into spring and a new month, we're reminded to keep our health up to par especially as we continue to fight through COVID-19. Easter, like many of the other holidays celebrated over the past year may still look different as we continue to avoid large crowds and limit our gatherings to people in our immediate households to help protect against the spread of coronavirus.

With Easter also comes lots of sweet treats, from marshmallow peeps, to jellybeans, to chocolate bunnies! But, will this impact your smile? Some sweets can be more harmful to your teeth than others, and while indulging in your favorite treats every once in a while can be okay, we're here to tell you about some of the most dangerous candies that can lead to tooth decay.

This Easter, and in general, you'll want to avoid:

  1. Sticky and gooey candies: These candies, such as caramels, gummies, jelly beans, and taffy, tend to stay in the mouth longer and adhere to the surfaces of your teeth, allowing dangerous oral bacteria to feed off the sugars and create acids that break down your tooth enamel.

  1. Hard candies: Rock solid candies like lollipops or jawbreakers tend to stay in your mouth for longer periods of time while you eat them, leaving teeth exposed to sugar during this time. This gives the oral bacteria a greater chance to cause damage. Not to mention, hard candies can cause tooth damage and lead to chipped or broken teeth.

  1. Sour treats: Sour treats can be just as tricky as sweet ones. The sugars and acids put your teeth at risk of weakening the outer layer of your teeth, the dental enamel, and offer an environment for damaging bacteria to thrive in and create tooth decay.

Luckily, there are healthier alternatives:

  • Dark Chocolates: Dark chocolate is a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth. Research has reported dark chocolate to have properties that help fight cavities and dental plaque. In addition, it has been found to contain nutrients beneficial to health, including potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium. It also contains antioxidants, which can help lower risks of cancer and other diseases. Plus, studies have even found it to have blood pressure lowering effects and increase skin hydration.
  • Sugar-Free Treats: Sugar-free candies can be just as tasty and lower your risk of tooth decay.

After satisfying your sweet tooth, be sure to drink water, which helps neutralize harmful acids and rinse away leftover candy particles. You should wait approximately 30 minutes before instructing your child to brush their teeth after having sweets to avoid harming your dental enamel which is in a softened state due to acidity.

Avoid potential dental issues from consuming too much Easter candy! Remember, you can avoid developing cavities with the right plan of action and by following proper oral health guidelines. Proper oral health and seeing your dentist regularly is essential for keeping your pearly whites shining and healthy. If you are having a hard time trying to get your children to brush twice a day for two minutes each time, try implementing fun activities that promote brushing, including videos, books, coloring pages, and even music while brushing.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Bahar Houshman and Dr. Marisa Reason is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Reisman would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/kids-oral-care/4-fun-dental-activities-for-children

https://connect2local.com/l/21843/c/259446/3-important-dental-care-tips-for-kids-during-easter

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sunrisedentalcare.com%2Fblog%2Fyour-tooth-friendly-guide-to-easter-candy%2F&psig=AOvVaw3D_Xk2BH6B3Ln2j7qz51Oi&ust=1617635975436000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCPC1sPHx5O8CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAQ

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.littlestepsasia.com%2Fjakarta%2Fshop%2Fkids-shops%2Ffabulous-sticky-candy%2F&psig=AOvVaw02pyEfUSqS5GSZ0_wf-4EG&ust=1617636140871000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCPCMzrHy5O8CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAI

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fspy.com%2Fgallery%2Fbest-sour-candies%2F&psig=AOvVaw0fO87AOzcS3q_GIzc6tfAK&ust=1617636251611000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCIiE3OTy5O8CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAe

https://za.pinterest.com/pin/520799144394923333/

Gum Disease could be Threatening your Life During COVID-19

March 28th, 2021

We all know how important taking care of our teeth are, but did you know that in doing so you could be lowering your risk of having severe complications from COVID-19? The human body is fascinating, and throughout the years research has been continuously proving the relationship between our oral conditions and the conditions that can develop throughout the entire body, particularly as a result of systemic inflammation. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology reported that individuals with a severe form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, are 9 times more likely to die from infection with COVID-19. 

Periodontal disease has been found to be linked as a culprit of many detrimental health conditions, including diabetes, respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, just to name a few. In addition, periodontal disease can lead to oral problems such as bad breath, bone loss, and ultimately result in loss of teeth.

The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Systemic Disease - Millennium Dental Technologies, Inc.

More recently, it has been suggested that controlling periodontal gum inflammation could possibly help lower the chance of experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms

Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology also found that individuals with gum disease who become infected with COVID-19 are 3.5 times more likely to be in the intensive care unit (ICU) and 4.5 times more likely to require use of a ventilator. They found that the blood inflammatory markers were significantly higher in patient with gum disease.

Not to mention, a California Dental Association (CDA) Journal study looking at inflammatory markers and their relationship to COVID-19 complications found that pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other pulmonary complications linked to COVID-19 could result form the aspiration of oral bacteria. This is also supported by previous research that has found an association between periodontal disease and other common lung conditions such as asthma.

This is why many research authors and health professionals are highlighting the importance of prevention and avoiding the promotion of systemic inflammation to help decrease the chance of developing severe complications from the virus.

On a positive note, periodontal disease can be prevented and managed! Regular dental visits and proper oral hygiene practices are necessary to help prevent the disease from progressing. Your dentist may recommend non-surgical and/or surgical treatments.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Bahar Houshman and Dr. Marisa Reason is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Reisman would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://nypost.com/2021/02/08/covid-19-patients-with-gum-disease-more-likely-to-die-study/

https://www.beckersdental.com/clinical-leadership-infection-control/36224-routine-dental-care-may-prevent-severe-covid-19-complications-study-finds.html

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcpe.13435

https://www.beckersdental.com/clinical-leadership-infection-control/36458-covid-19-patients-with-gum-disease-9-times-more-likely-to-die-from-the-virus-study-finds.html?origin=DentalE&utm_source=DentalE&utm_medium=email&utm_content=newsletter&oly_enc_id=7754I6987723B8B

https://www.cda.org/Home/News-and-Events/Newsroom/Article-Details/routine-dental-care-may-protect-against-severe-covid-19-related-complications#:~:text=Oral%20bacteria%20can%20be%20aspirated,to%20dentistry%20and%20COVID%2D19.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fleemingdental.com.au%2Fnew-studies-show-gum-disease-may-increase-severity-of-covid-19%2F&psig=AOvVaw2eU7rvXv9h5qjRprOqk-Bv&ust=1617025137826000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCMDBpqeO0-8CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lanap.com%2F2016%2F09%2F22%2Fsurprising-link-between-gum-disease-and-systemic-disease%2F&psig=AOvVaw2yP2PqAwAjz0-Wnp8RPUO8&ust=1617028498531000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCJjskN-a0-8CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAI

What Can I Do If I've Been Vaccinated?

March 22nd, 2021

With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out and progressively becoming more available throughout the U.S., it has been an important piece of the puzzle in helping us fight against COVID-19 and gain back a sense of normalcy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported the existing available vaccines to be safe and effective in lowering your risk of getting COVID-19 and helping prevent severe illness following infection with COVID-19. There is still research being done to determine the efficacy of the vaccines in fighting other variants of COVID-19. In addition, the length of time the vaccines offer protection against COVID-19 is still being investigated.

The CDC cautions that as more information is found on the impact of the vaccines in helping to lower the spread of COVID-19, safety precautions in public spaces such as wearing a mask, social distancing with 6-feet distance between others, frequent hand-washing, and avoiding crowds should still continue even if you are vaccinated. In addition, fully vaccinated individuals should still continue to follow guidance set by individual employers. However, individuals who have been fully vaccinated do have some more freedom in terms of being able to begin doing certain activities that they were unable to do during the beginning of the pandemic. As reported by the CDC, this includes:

  • Gathering indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • Gathering indoors with unvaccinated people from one different household than your own without wearing masks if the individuals are low-risk for severe illness from COVID-19. This should be avoided if individuals are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infection.
  • If in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine from others or get a COVID test unless you develop symptoms or unless you live in a group home or group facility.

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated if 2 weeks have passed after receiving two doses of the vaccine in the two-dosed vaccinations including Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks have passed after receiving a single-dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

illustration of people eating insideThe CDC also recommends that people should still postpone traveling domestically and internationally. If travel is necessary, it is still necessary to follow the essential precautions as stated by the CDC.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic, you should not visit with individuals or gather in public places, regardless of whether vaccinated or not. As more information on vaccinations and COVID-19 become available, the CDC will continue to update recommendations for all individuals on their website.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Bahar Houshman and Dr. Marisa Reason is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Reisman would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/keythingstoknow.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.phila.gov%2F2021-01-12-city-announces-schedule-of-priority-populations-for-covid-19-vaccine%2F&psig=AOvVaw15qHF05S5cpgFG2cDgSveK&ust=1616454376374000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCPi3tf-_wu8CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

A Great Reason to Celebrate: World Sleep Day

March 19th, 2021

World Sleep Day®, which sounds like one of the coolest days ever, is put on yearly to celebrate sleep and inform the public on the importance of sleep, which can often be overlooked. This year it's held today, Friday March 19th, 2021, with this year's slogan being ‘Regular Sleep, Healthy Future.’ ! Organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of the World Sleep Society, this day of awareness brings to light prevention and management of sleep disorders, education about sleep, sleep medications, and driving issues related to sleep.

Why is sleep important?

There are many benefits to getting a regular amount of sleep, and it's an essential part of life. Several research studies have reported that having a regular bedtime and getting the recommended amount of sleep for your age plays an important role in the quality of your life, including its effect on your mood, psychomotor performance, and even your academic performance. That's why a lack of sleep or chronic sleep interruptions can negatively impact your health.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is one of the more common sleep disorders that you may have heard a lot about, which impacts approximately 25 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Common signs of sleep apnea include snoring, insomnia, trouble remembering, trouble breathing, gasping for air during sleep, daytime tiredness, trouble concentrating, dry mouth, headaches shortly after waking up, frequent urination during night time, and sexual dysfunction. Children may also show signs of sleep apnea including worsening of asthma, hyperactivity, bed-wetting, and trouble concentrating in school. Individuals with sleep apnea are plagued with constant breathing interruptions during their sleep cycles due to a lack of oxygen reaching the lungs. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, approximately 4% of children ages 2-8 years old have sleep apnea. Surprisingly, untreated sleep apnea can even be threatening if not enough oxygen reaches the lungs.

Is there a specific cause of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea could be caused from many different factors, including weak airway muscles, an enlarged tongue, enlarged neck, obesity, small jaw bone, nasal or sinus issues, and the position of your lower jaw. In addition, males and individuals with a family history of snoring or sleep apnea are at an increased risk of having sleep apnea.

How is sleep apnea treated?
There are different treatment options to alleviate sleep apnea depending on each individual case, including a CPAP machine, orthodontic treatment, orthognathic surgery, behavior modifications, and dental mouth guards for example.

How does my oral health factor into sleep conditions?

Plus, sleep disorders like sleep apnea can also impact your dental health and vice versa. Getting adequate rest helps reduce the risk of having bad breath, oral sores, and worsening of gum disease. Individuals with sleep apnea often have temporomandibular disorders (TMJ), experience teeth grinding or clenching, and also mouth breathing. A research study showed individuals with sleep apnea are 3 times as likely to have a TMJ disorder, which is often characterized by trouble chewing, jaw, head, neck and shoulder pain, clicking sounds of the jaws, and locked jaw where the jaw is unable to open or close temporarily. In addition, mouth breathing can also cause dry mouth which is another factor that contribute to gum disease and dental cavities, and if not resolved can even result in tooth loss.

Wondering how much sleep your body requires? Check out the recommended sleep requirements by age reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The World Sleep Society recommends these 10 tips to help you achieve better sleep leading to a healthier overall life:

If you believe you suffer from a sleep condition, be sure to discuss your symptoms with your primary Doctor and dental professional.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Bahar Houshman and Dr. Marisa Reason is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Reisman would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://worldsleepsociety.org/programs/world-sleep-day/

https://www.verywellhealth.com/sleep-apnea-and-oral-health-4587690

https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html

https://worldsleepday.org/tips-for-adults

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fholisticdentalcenternj.com%2Fsleep-oral-health%2F&psig=AOvVaw3Km_gH_SEXjLbWXF8PaFiL&ust=1616166659444000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCPiJq52Quu8CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAY

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