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Dental hygienists highlight the connection between acid reflux and throat cancer
Updated: 4/3/2012 5:00:23 PM

Dental hygienists highlight the connection between acid reflux and throat cancer  

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and in honor of this, the California Dental Hygienists' Association (CDHA) released a statement encouraging people to pay better attention to their dental health and reminding individuals of the link between acid reflux and esophageal cancer.

According to the CDHA, acid reflux may cause chronic acidic irritation of the throat, which is associated with an increased risk of throat cancer.

"Dental specialists, such as dental hygienists, are in a unique position to look for chronic changes to the dental enamel and oral tissues, including upper throat mucosa. Additional inquiries into their patients' change in voice, persistent cough or throat irritation may lead to further evaluation by an otolaryngologist," said Benjamin Loos, M.D., an ear nose and throat specialist.

This highlights the importance of getting regular dental checkups so that the dentist or dental hygienist can screen for oral diseases and cancer. The CDHA urged individuals never to brush immediately after experiencing a bout of acid reflux, because acid softens tooth enamel and brushing may erode it away.

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