Oral Pathology – An Introduction

Closeup portrait of young woman showing, with his finger, inflamed upper gingiva with pain expression. Dental care and toothache.

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Oral pathology is sometimes neglected, which can lead to severe complications or even death. Nearly 49,700 Americans become diagnosed with oral cancer per year. 

If you’re interested in learning about different types of oral diseases and how to prevent them, keep reading!

What Is Oral Pathology?

Oral pathology is intended to diagnose and treat different oral diseases in the teeth, jaw, gums, and surrounding mouth area. The word pathology derives from the Greek word “pathologics,” which means the science of diseases.

Pathology has many different sub-branches. However,  the main focus of pathology is to study the cause, source, and the disease itself. 

Oral Cancer

If left untreated, oral cancer can be one of the most serious of oral diseases. Oral cancer often presents itself with a sore throat, color change in the mouth, white or red patches, lumps, or lesions, and trouble moving mouth and jaw. 

People at risk for oral cancer may have HPV, smoke, over 40, and consume large amounts of alcohol. Two types of tests diagnose oral cancer.

  • ViziLite Plus: this test works by illuminating any potential abnormalities in the mouth. The patient will rinse the solution, and the specialist will thoroughly look inside the mouth with a special light.
  • Toluidine blue: this test works by swabbing any lesions with a blue solution. The blue solution will react, which will help decide if the lesion requires further testing. 

Herpes Virus Type 1

Oral herpes is very prevalent. Over half the population has herpes-type one in their body. This should not be confused with Herpes Type Two, although sometimes symptoms can align. 

Symptoms can look like cold blisters around the mouth area, with pain and itchiness accompanied. Sores on the genitalia can occur if an infected person has come into sexual contact with someone. However, this might also be a sign of Herpes Type Two. 

There is currently no cure for Herpes Type One, but this virus has a short outbreak period. Usually, symptoms go away on their own within a few days. However, there are medications you can take if symptoms persist or become overwhelming.

Black Hairy Tongue

One of the most harmless oral diseases is the Black hairy tongue. This disease appears as dark and hair-like strands in the tongue. However, it’s not hair; it’s dead skin cells.

The good news is that it’s easily treatable by maintaining good oral health. You can also reduce your chances of getting this oral disease by limiting tobacco intake.

If the case is severe, dental treatment may be necessary. Usually, the specialist will take a unique tool and scrape off the dead skin cells. However, balancing your diet and brushing your teeth after a meal can also help.

Good Dental Health 

Practicing good dental hygiene and having regular checkups with your dentist can prevent many of these oral diseases. If you suspect you may have oral disease, visit a specialist! 

For any more questions about oral pathology, don’t forget to visit our website for the latest news! 

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