Oral Cancer: Causes and Prevention

oral cancer

Oral Cancer is no joke.

Causes of Oral Cancer

  • Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others.
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Excessive sun exposure to your lips
  • Sexually transmitted virus called human papillomavirus (HPV).

The Good News

If oral cancer is discovered early, the cure rate is nearly 90%. However, if the cancer has already spread before diagnosis, the survival rate is 60% after five years of treatment. The best outcome for oral cancer is always early diagnosis and treatment.

Ways to Prevent Oral Cancer

At Farber Center we have oral cancer screenings included in our routine maintenance, but how can we prevent it?

  • Stop smoking or don’t start smoking. If you smoke, quit!
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all. For women, this means one drink a day.
  • Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables.
  • Protect yourself from HPV.
  • Always brush and floss your teeth regularly.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun.
  • Replace frying and grilling with baking, boiling or steaming. Use healthy spices like garlic, ginger and curry powder for added flavor.

We are here to help you with any Oral Cancer questions you may have. Visit our website today for more information!


Home Care Methods for Dental Patients

home care

Dental hygienists in Dr. Alan Farber’s Long Island periodontal office teach patients proper home care techniques so they can maintain optimal oral health.

Dr. Farber shares his views on proper home care and how it benefits his patients:

Preventative Dental Care

I have always been a big advocate of preventative dental care. At my office we use a plaque disclosing agent that gives patients plaque scores. This helps motivate them to try to get a better score on their next visit. We also give the patient a mirror and they watch as we show them flossing techniques, proxy brushes, and toothbrushes.

Picking the Right Tools for Home Care

Depending on what is needed we pick the right dental homecare instrument and recommend it to the patient. I highly recommend daily brushing, flossing and some electric toothbrushes. We have patients that use a Waterpik and we have some that use sonic flossers, but every patient is different. We have to evaluate their dexterity, their age and what is going to work best based on the restorations in their mouth.

The Farber Touch

When going over dental hygiene with the patient, one has to remember that the key is not to make the patient feel as they are not doing a good job.  It is always important to point out something positive, reinforce this behavior, and then, if applicable, show how their home care could be improved.

We do have a very strict protocol for our one-hour visits.  We review medical history and we take blood pressure at these visits, which I think has been a lifesaver.  On average we diagnose two to three patients per year with hypertension. In fact, we recently diagnosed two patients with hypertension in just one month, so that number seems to be going up.

After a medical history and blood pressure are taken, we do a full mouth probing assessment where we mark bleeding, pocket depth, take their plaque score and determine how much time will be spent giving homecare instruction.  Then we go into the rest of the full maintenance procedure.

We know that patients receive similar messages in their dentist’s office, but these messages must always be reinforced so the patient develops good habits.


Farber Center home care

Patient Education: Key to Creating Trust


Educating patients is the key to creating trust and creating an environment that is conducive to case acceptance.

Motivating a Patient

It is good to make patients fully aware of their periodontal problems.  I call it motivating them. I have patients that come in with a referral card that is a year old and that gives me the impression that they did not realize the seriousness of their condition. So, it is very important to tell the patient that periodontal disease is a serious health issue.  Use your best judgement and evaluate the patient psychologically, but you have to ask yourself, “Is this a patient that I am going to be able to motivate to take the next step to improve their health? Are they going to follow up with and schedule an appointment with the periodontist”?


When referring a patient, I would reassure the patients that they are in great hands and that our periodontal office is an extension of your practice. The best type of referral is a personal story. For example, let your patient know that you that you have sent many other patients to our office for dental treatment and those patients have always been satisfied and personally thanked you for the referral.

The First Appointment

It may help put the patient at ease if they know that there will not be any treatment at their first periodontal appointment.  Letting your patient know ahead of time what they can expect at the first visit could definitely be beneficial. During that initial appointment I do an evaluation and take x-rays.  I always tell patients that I am very thorough but gentle.  Then at a separate visit we will sit down and go over things very carefully, giving them options, discussing our concerns for their overall health and of course options for keeping them comfortable during procedures.

Additionally, my comprehensive website shares my methods with patients. Visit us today to learn how you can start your periodontal treatment plan.

farber center dr. alan farber