October 25, 2016

Sweet Dental Tips for Holiday Sweets

The holidays are known for sugary, sweet treats that are so yummy you’ll have trouble putting down the cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pie and marshmallow topped jello treats.

Visits to the dentist increase in January with new cavities, broken crowns – you name it. But you can PREVENT a dental visit with these simple tips.

holiday tips for healthy teeth, cavitiesHow do sweet treats cause cavities?
When you eat sugary foods or drinks, the sugar content creates the perfect atmosphere in your moist mouth for bacteria to grow. It also creates acids that wear down the enamel making wake for weakening your teeth and making the teeth susceptible to tooth decay.

Long term eating habits with sugar in the diet can cause permanent damage to tooth enamel and increase cavities leading to root canals etc.

Be smart and eat healthy. We aren’t saying cut sugar we are simply saying don’t LIVE ON IT.

Sugar produces damaging acids which affect the teeth for at least 20 minutes afterwards.


Quick Steps for Holiday Oral Care
The best way to avoid cavities while still enjoying your holiday indulgences is to practice good oral hygiene. Here are some tips to help:

1. Eating sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods as part of a balanced meal is better than eating them alone. The body produces more saliva to help digest larger meals, which washes away more food and helps neutralize harmful acids before they can attack teeth.

2. Foods that take a long time to chew can damage teeth. That’s because sticky foods, including nutritious choices like raisins, dates and dried fruit, hold acid against teeth longer than do other foods. Try to limit your consumption of these foods.

3. After consuming high-acid food (fruits) or drinks (wine), rinse with water before brushing your teeth to prevent tooth erosion from the acids.

Keep a toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste handy (for example, in your pocket or purse or store these in the glove compartment of your car) so that you can brush right after eating at holiday parties. An added benefit is that you are less likely to eat after you brush your teeth, so you may end up eating less at parties.
If you’re unable to brush your teeth after eating, rinsing your mouth thoroughly with water or chewing sugar-free gum will help to wash away food particles, produce more saliva and neutralize acids in your mouth

4.“Brush up” on your brushing technique. Brush for two minutes! YES 2 MINUTES OF BRUSHING will save you from unnecessary dental issues.

Vigorous brushing can actually inflame the gums. Be gentle, take your time. If you get into the habit of brushing for two to three minutes every morning, every night and after every meal during the holidays, you’ll be more likely to keep those good habits with your regular dental care routine.

October 20, 2016

Have Your Candy and Eat it Too: Dental Health Tips for Halloween

The fall season has arrived! The dropping temperatures and shorter days are undeniable signs the holiday season is right around the corner. Halloween marks the starting point of this annual season of sweets. The next few months will likely include an increase in the consumption of sweets and other treats, and therefore, more dental cavities. However, Halloween should not be a time of worry for parents.

Use Halloween as an opportunity to teach kids good dental health habits, including consumption of sweets in moderation. Here are some reminders and helpful hints to ensure you and your kids have a healthy and fun Halloween:

  • Give out healthier treats. Avoid giving trick-or-treaters candies that are sour (high in acidity, which erodes tooth enamel), sticky or chewy (leaves sugars directly on the teeth for prolonged periods) or hard (choking hazard for young kids and can cause tooth damage). There are many options for healthy snacks including things like cereal bars, pretzels or granola bars. Even a plain chocolate bar is a better option than sour, sticky or hard candies.
  • Perform the “safety check.” Take a look when your child returns from trick-or-treating to ensure there are no dangerous items in their collection. Include your child in this process to explain the decisions you make and allow them to learn good habits.
  • Sort it out. Encourage your child to eat the healthier treats and avoid hard, sour or chewy candies like jawbreakers or caramels. These candies have high acidity and/or stick to the teeth longer, which can cause more damage.
  • Limit availability. Candy should be enjoyed, but moderation is important. Have your child choose 15 or so of their favorites and remove the rest.
  • Brush-up after consuming. Set a specific time of day for candy consumption and then have your child follow-up by brushing his or her teeth. This is much healthier than allowing your child’s teeth to be continuously exposed to sugary or acidic treats throughout the day.

Though this Halloween is a great opportunity to start employing these practices, don’t stop there! Continue to follow these recommendations throughout the year so your children can develop good dental hygiene habits while still enjoying their treats in moderation.

With all that in mind, don’t forget to brush, floss and routinely visit your dentist for check-ups. Remember, good oral health is a major contributor to overall health, so developing good dental hygiene habits will help ensure a long and healthy life for both you and your children.

October 18, 2016

Six Halloween Dental Tips to Keep Your Child’s Teeth Cavity Free this Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner and this is a celebration where there is an abundance of sweet delights and treats that you can give to your kids. However, don’t forget that you are putting your child’s teeth in danger because of that.

Here are six Halloween dental tips that you can follow to keep your children’s teeth cavity free.

 1 – Provide Your Child with Healthier Alternatives to Candies

Consuming sweets can cause the formation of damaging acids in your child’s mouth. These acids can affect the teeth for a minimum of twenty minutes prior to being neutralized. Sugar-free gum that contains the synthetic sweetener known as xylitol can be very effective in fighting the bacteria present in plaque and can aid in dealing with acid that can damage the tooth’s enamel. In addition, know that the chewing movement can stimulate the flow of saliva that can be helpful in cleansing the teeth. That is what makes sugar-free gum one of the best and the smartest options to serve your kids on Halloween.

It is also important to keep a healthy diet especially during this season. The human body is works like a complex machine and the foods you consume work as the fuel. The way that you fill up your body will affect your overall health including the condition of your gums and mouth. You should tell your child not to drink beverages that are rich in added sugar like soda, flavored waters and sports drinks. When your child’s teeth come in frequent contact with drinks that have a lot of sugar, your child will be more at risk to suffer from tooth decay.



2 – Limit the Frequency that Your Child Eats Sweets and Candy

When looking through your child’s Halloween candy, find treats that are easy to eat, a good example would be miniature candy bars. Upon arriving home from trick or treating, you should throw away any sticky and hard candies your child may have received such as the sugared fruity snacks, lollipops, and caramels since they can increase the amount of time that your child’s teeth are exposed to and harmed by sugar.

You should also try to motivate your child to consume a small quantity of candy per sitting then encourage them to drink one glass of water followed by brushing their teeth. You must never let your child sit for extended periods of time with a pack of candies by their side as this will increase the period of time that he or she is exposed to sugar.


 3 – Teach Your Son or Daughter to Consume All Foods Moderately

Though sweets are usually blamed for causing severe tooth decay, many foods which are healthy and better alternatives to candies like nuts and fruits can also trigger tooth decay when they are consumed excessively. Kids, in the same way with adults are also required to consume foods in moderation. Parents have to read the nutrition labels in order to avoid drinks and foods that are richer in sugar, fructose or any other sweeteners.




4 – Take Time on Halloween to Re-acquaint Yourself with the Oral Health Routines of Your Child

There is no better time than this season to bring some treats for your kids and remind them about the significance of normal and healthy gums and teeth. All you need is just to reinforce the significance of flossing, brushing, and paying a visit to the dentist to keep teeth healthy and strong. You can also do this by buying your child a new special toothbrush with flavored floss to introduce to your child the habit of correct dental care.

It is important to clean between teeth every day by using dental floss. The bacteria that can cause tooth decay gets between your child’s teeth where the bristles of toothbrushes cannot go. Flossing can help a lot in removing plaque as well as the food particles from between teeth and underneath the gum line.

 5 – Make Use of Fluoride to Prevent Tooth Cavities

Using fluoride in dental care has been proven to dramatically reduce the damage that can be triggered by tooth decay. So you should make sure that the toothpaste your child uses contains fluoride and you can also provide him or her with a drinking water that contains fluorine.

Kids must brush their teeth at least twice a day for as long as 2 minutes with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing fluoride and rinse by using a mouth rinse that also contains fluoride. Those fluoride treatments that can be used and applied straight on your teeth can be purchased in a dental clinic. Fluoride water is generally delivered over the water supply of the community. When your area doesn’t have fluorinated water, you may consider purchasing fluorinated bottled water. You may ask your dentist to recommend some fluoride supplements that your child can use.

October 11, 2016

Oral Inflammation: Take it Seriously!

Any type of inflammation impacts your body, both in the short term and the long term. How you live today impacts your future. Getting the flu today, for example, increases your chances of developing heart disease by 20 percent in 10 to 15 years. As a dentist, I tell my patients all the time that what happens in their mouths affects their entire body. If your mouth has inflammation and infection, then so does your entire body—and it affects you now and in the future.

PRISH: 5 Cardinal Signs of Acute Inflammation

  • Pain: The inflamed area is likely to be painful, especially when touched. Chemicals that stimulate nerve endings are released, making the area much more sensitive.
  • Redness: Capillaries are filled up with more blood than usual.
  • Immobility: There may be some loss of function.
  • Swelling: Caused by fluid accumulation.
  • Heat: More blood in the affected area makes it feel hot to the touch.

Periodontitis starts out as gingivitis, which causes redness, swelling and occasionally pain. We don’t normally notice the heat because our mouths are already warm. And unlike an inflammation around a toe or finger, we don’t notice lack of mobility. Periodontitis requires professional help from a dentist or hygienist. Tackle oral inflammation while it is at the gingivitis stage by brushing, flossing and using a Waterpik.

Healthy tissue does not bleed and should not be swollen. What you do today matters for your health today and tomorrow.

October 10, 2016

Are You At Risk for Oral Cancer?

You are undoubtedly familiar with breast cancer and lung cancer and prostate cancer, which tend to get more coverage than other diseases because of their high incidence rate or high mortality rate. However, how much do you know about a disease that kills one person every day and that is often not detected until it has moved into the later stages?

That disease is oral cancer, and it’s a serious problem in the United States. More than 43,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and about 43 percent will die from it within five years of diagnosis. This is an unusually high death rate.

The problem is not that oral cancer is particularly hard to treat or that it’s particularly hard to diagnose. The problem is that it often is diagnosed in very late stages, at which point treatment is not as effective. Frequently the cancer has spread to other parts of the body by the time it has been detected. Because of this, the oral cancer survival rate is somewhat low. All cancers have an average five-year survival rate of 66 percent among those who have been diagnosed. For oral cancer, that rate is 57 percent.

The best way to combat oral cancer, then, is to be proactive by keeping a vigilant watch for symptoms, getting regular screenings for oral cancer by your dentist, and staying abreast of the best treatment methods.
 Read on to find out:

  • The symptoms of oral cancer
  • The top causes of oral cancer
  • How can oral cancer be diagnosed
  • How can oral cancer be treated
  • How can oral cancer spread

Plus, learn the basic facts about oral cancer and what you can do to help your family prevent oral cancer development.

Oral Cancer: What is It?

Oral cancer types include any cancer that develops in your mouth. This may mean the throat (pharynx), cheeks, tongue, hard and soft palates, floor of the mouth, or lips. It most often presents as a sore in the mouth that will not go away. Many people mistake it for a cold sore and do not get the wound checked out. This leads to later detection of the disease. The majority of oral cancer is classified as squamous cell carcinoma, which attacks epithelial cells.

Men are most at risk of developing oral cancer, and they run twice the risk as women do of getting it. That may be because many of the top causes of oral cancer, such as smoking, are more widely practiced by men than women. Agewise, people who are middle-aged and older are most likely to develop the disease.

Oral cancer kills more than 8,000 people every year. Some 43,000 are newly diagnosed each year, but many others go into remission only to have the cancer resurface a few years later. The oral cancer survival rate is 57 percent, and this has actually improved over the past decade as people become more vigilant about getting screened. Previously the mortality rate for oral cancer was 50 percent.

An increasing number of oral cancer cases are being caused by HPV16, a form of human papilloma virus that effects the mucus membranes and skin. It tends to affect the back of the mouth, including the oropharynx, the tonsils, and the base of the tongue.

Unfortunately, since they are in the back of the mouth, the discoloration and lesions that often signal the presence of oral cancer can be more easily overlooked by patients. They may not know that their mouth has undergone any chance and thus will not ask their dentist for a screening.

Oral cancer has a high risk of recurring for the first 10 years after diagnosis. Patients are up to 20 times as likely to get cancer again as those who have not been diagnosed with oral cancer.

How Does Oral Cancer Develop?

Like many cancers, oral cancer is tied to a slew of risk factors. While not everyone who develops oral cancer indulges in these high-risk activities, a vast majority do.

Oral cancer risk factors include:
Smoking and drinking excessively
Breathing in irritants in smoggy or badly ventilated areas
Herpes infections
Bad oral hygiene
Working outside without proper protection
Gum disease

All of these top causes of oral cancer put your mouth, tongue, and throat in danger. Toxic substances coming in contact with these body parts put them at greater risk, and sores or discoloration may develop.

Another oral cancer risk factor is poor nutrition. A diet that is low in vegetables and fruit also can result in the development of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

There are many symptoms of oral cancer, and they begin to show almost immediately. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms can also be explained away by other causes, such as cold sores, allergies, or overaggressive tooth brushing. That is why it can be easy for a case of oral cancer to go undiagnosed. Little pain is associated with most symptoms, and many times patients do not even think to alert their dentist they have these symptoms.

These are the most common oral cancer symptoms:
Sores that appear on the face, in the mouth, or on the neck, usually sticking around for at least two weeks without any sign of healing
Numbness in the mouth, neck, or face
Unexplained pain in the mouth, neck, or face
Sore throat
A hoarse voice or one that changes timber
Pain in the ears
Sudden unexplained weight loss
Frequent bleeding in the mouth for no apparent reason
White, red, or white and red patches in the mouth
Crusty spots on the lips or gums
Swollen lips or gums

If you develop any of these oral cancer warning signs, it is important to get them checked out by a dentist immediately, especially if you indulge in any of the oral cancer causes detailed in the next section.

Top Causes of Oral Cancer

As we mentioned above, there are often very specific causes of oral cancer. Tobacco usage and alcohol abuse are the most common oral cancer causes. Research has found the likelihood of developing oral cancer increases by sixfold when you smoke, and your risk of developing cancer increases with every year you continue smoking or chewing tobacco. The volume of tobacco also plays into your risks; the greater the amount of tobacco you use, the higher your risk of developing the disease.

Chewing tobacco and snuff are also among the top causes of oral cancer. Those who use them have an increased risk of cancer of the inner lips, cheeks, or gums. Smoking a pipe ups your risk of developing lip cancer.
While we frequently associate smoking with cancer, alcohol can also be a contributing factor to developing oral cancer. People who consume alcohol are six times as likely to get oral cancer as those who abstain, and that risk goes up the more you drink. About three-quarters of those diagnosed with oral cancer drink alcohol.

Sun exposure causes many types of cancer, including oral cancer. Many people slather sunscreen on other parts of their body but forget about their lips. They can develop cancer there, too. It is important to use lip balm with sunscreen if you work outside or spend a lot of time outdoors to protect your mouth.

How Can Oral Cancer Be Diagnosed?

A dentist will throw up a red flag at an oral cancer screening if he or she finds something suspicious. After that, a patient will be tested to confirm the initial diagnosis. The dentist will take a medical history of the patient and perform a physical examination.

Oral cancer detection methods may also include:
CT scan
Magnetic resonance imaging scan
Position emission tomography

Once the oral cancer detection has been made, it is time to move on to treatment.

How Can Oral Cancer Be Treated?

Just as there are multiple oral cancer detection methods, there are also several ways oral cancer can be treated. The three most common oral cancer treatment options are:

1. Surgery: Surgical removal of the tumor and perhaps surrounding lymph nodes if the tumor has grown into them. This procedure works only for larger tumors.

2. Chemotherapy: Potent cancer-zapping drugs are used to shrink and eliminate the tumor and surrounding cells. Sometimes doctors employ chemo before surgery in order to reduce the size of a tumor.

3. Radiation: Ionising radiation is used to target and destroy cancer cells. This is the preferred method of treatment for small tumors.

There are side effects for many of these treatments. They may include tooth loss, scarring, infections, damage to the salivary glands, dry mouth, tooth decay, and the need for a prosthetic device if bone from the jaw is removed. Chemotherapy and radiation can also result in severe nausea, which is true for any cancer treatment.

How Can Oral Cancer Spread?

Oral cancer can spread in several ways, frequently through the lymph nodes when the cancer metastasizes and begins moving to other parts of the body. The cancer often latches onto the lymph nodes in the neck. It is not uncommon for the cancer to spread to the lungs, too. In this case it remains a case of oral cancer, with the cells retaining the characteristics of oral cancer cells. It is not called lung cancer but rather metastic oral cancer.

Cancer may also spread elsewhere in the head and neck if a smoker continues with his or her tobacco habit after diagnosis. The No. 1 most important thing a smoker can do to avoid spreading oral cancer is to stop smoking. A side benefit is that this also reduces the chance of developing other cancers, such as lung and pancreas.


Is Oral Cancer Fatal?

Oral cancer can be cured, but not in every case. Roughly 43 percent of all oral cancer patients die, many of them during their second or third bout with the disease. The late detection of oral cancer has pushed down the oral cancer survival rate.

However, an oral cancer diagnosis does not have to be a death sentence. When it is caught early, chances of recovery are very good. Eliminating risk factors, such as prolonged time in the sun, a poor diet, using tobacco products, and drinking alcohol, can help lower the chances of a recurrence. 

Still, it’s those recurrences that can be the most deadly. The one-year oral cancer survival rate is 81 percent, but the 10-year rate is just 41 percent.

How Can Oral Cancer Be Prevented?

There are many ways you can guard against oral cancer. The most obvious is not smoking. That is the single best way to prevent oral cancer. However, there are also other ways to decrease your chances of an oral cancer diagnosis:

  • Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruit and low in high-fat protein
  • Get regular oral cancer screenings at your dentist
  • Stay updated on oral cancer information and developments
  • Get screened for HPV
  • Monitor other risk factors for oral cancer, such as a weakened immune system or hereditary conditions such as fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenital

Frequently Asked Questions About Oral Cancer

Now let’s touch on the most frequently asked questions about oral cancer treatment cost, causes, and symptoms.

Q: Is oral cancer contagious?

No. Although cold sores and HPV, which helps spread the disease, are contagious and often share the same symptoms with oral cancer, it is not contagious.

Q: Is oral cancer hereditary?

Oral cancer can be hereditary. Though the main risk factors are behavioral, such as using tobacco products, people can also inherit conditions that put them at high risk of developing oral cancer, including fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenita.

Q: Is oral cancer screening necessary if I don’t drink or smoke?

Yes. While the vast majority of cases are tied to tobacco or alcohol, roughly a quarter of those who develop oral cancer have never smoked and are not heavy drinkers. You should get an oral cancer test every time you visit your doctor.

Q: How much does oral cancer treatment cost?

It depends upon your health care plan and what type of treatment you and your doctor agree upon. You may be looking at a significant bill if you have a high-deductible plan. Expenses may include:

  • Lab tests
  • Imaging testsv
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Home care
  • Clinical follow-ups

You should ask your doctor for some guidance on how much oral cancer treatment costs as well. While he or she may not be able to give you an exact dollar figure, just getting a ballpark will help you get your finances in order.

Q: Can I get oral cancer from mouthwash?

No. For years there was a belief that frequent use of mouthwash resulted in a higher risk for oral cancer, with studies seeming to back this up. However, researchers have concluded that people who use tobacco also use mouthwash more frequently, and since they are at a higher risk for oral cancer, that was being misinterpreted as mouthwash causing oral cancer. Though mouthwash does have some alcohol, it is not a cause of oral cancer.

Can I get oral cancer from dentures?

No. This is also a myth, likely tied to the fact that smokers wearing ill-fitting dentures can trap tobacco particles in their faux teeth, which can increase risk of oral cancer. Just wearing dentures does not increase your risk.

The Best Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer is a deadly disease, but when caught early and treated properly, it can be cured. Remember to limit your risk factors, monitor any new sores or sudden bleeding in your mouth, and above all get an oral cancer screening regularly at your dentist offfice.

This can help keep you, and your mouth, stay healthy.

October 04, 2016


Did you know that this October is Dental Hygiene Month? It’s a time for focusing on good dental health through prevention. Appropriately scheduled the month of Halloween, Dental Hygiene Month provides parents with a great opportunity to reassess their child’s dental hygiene habits before the holiday sweet treats come out. By simply taking a few moments to carefully consider your child’s basic dental hygiene regime this month, you can change the course of their dental health for a lifetime.

Dental Hygiene Month is all about enhancing dental health through habits that start at home. Home care should include regular brushing and flossing each day. Though flossing the teeth should be done at least once each day, brushing should be done in the morning and in the evening for best results. Good dental health is the result of proper at-home care coupled with regular dental visits to keep the teeth in pristine condition. Parents as well as their children should have a daily dental maintenance routine that includes both brushing and flossing.

Teach your child to spend at least 3 minute brushing their teeth in the morning after they wake up and in the evening before they go to bed. For young children, you can sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star three times while they brush their teeth as a fun way to make sure they spend the right amount of time doing the task. Children who are less than enthusiastic about brushing their teeth might be more motivated if you put together a fun tooth-brushing kit complete with a special mirror, a fun kid-friendly tooth-brush, and ADA recommended tooth-paste that caters to young people. Teach them how to brush their teeth properly and check to make sure they do a thorough job.

Flossing is as important for children as it is for adults! Don’t let your kids skip this essential step in proper dental hygiene. Encourage your kids to floss at least once each day at home and provide them with special floss picks to make the job easier and more fun. This will help reduce the build of plaque between teeth and keep their gums in good health. Your children will thank you for your persistence later in life when their teeth and gums are still healthy!

Dental Hygiene Month is time for fighting tooth decay, periodontal disease, and bad breath. When the teeth are neglected, a child’s overall health can be impacted. An excess build-up of plaque can lead to redness and irritation as well as the development of infections in the gums.

Make an appointment for your child to see a dental hygienist two times each year for check-ups and a thorough tooth cleaning. Through regular dental check-ups and the development of solid dental hygiene habits at home, you can give your child the gift of healthy teeth for a lifetime.

September 29, 2016

The Scary Truth About Your Gums

Certain medical diagnoses can strike fear into anyone’s heart – cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and yes, even gum disease, which is the number one reason for tooth loss. While it’s estimated that about 30 percent of the population is genetically predisposed to developing gum disease, the reality is that periodontal problems are not difficult to prevent. Diligence and common sense can often be enough to keep your mouth healthy.


The Lowdown on Gum Health


Gum disease is a common condition, but it isn’t well understood. There are varying levels of periodontal disease, some of which require extensive, long-term treatment.


The most important thing to remember is that the soft tissue of your gums is the gateway to the rest of your body. This is a good thing – nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and water pass quickly and easily into the bloodstream this way.


Unfortunately, when your gums aren’t healthy, they allow detrimental bacteria to flow through, which has led some medical experts to conclude that gum disease and the accompanying inflammation can be tied to heart disease, stroke, and other inflammatory conditions.


Easy Tips to Maintain Healthy Gums


Healthy gums mean that your teeth are that much healthier; the gums provide the thick, supportive layer in which teeth reside. Complete the following care of your teeth and gums to help ward of periodontal disease:


Brush twice daily. Don’t skip on tooth brushing! Brushing food particles away from your teeth is essential to preventing plaque build-up and the resultant cavities. Pay close attention to your gum line – removing these particles is a key to preventing the formation of bacteria and gum disease.
Floss daily. For some reason, many people consider flossing a chore. It literally only takes a minute to thoroughly floss between all of your teeth. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the best technique for removing food particles.
Visit your dentist. Keep up with your regular dental cleanings. No matter how diligent you are about brushing and flossing, there is some plaque buildup that only professional tools can properly and adequately remove. Any potential oral health problems, gum disease or otherwise, will also be identified during the accompanying dental exam.
Drink H2O. Drinking water helps flush food particles from between your teeth and gums, preventing the buildup of bacteria and the formation of plaque. This is one of the easiest things you can do daily to keep your mouth healthy.

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