Learn How You Can Detect or Prevent Oral Cancer

Detect or Prevent Oral CancerIf diagnosed in earlier stages, oral cancer can be treated and resolved with little to no hesitation. Approximately 50,000 Americans are diagnosed every year with oral cancer, only about half of those individuals will survive. It all depends on the stage their cancer currently is when discovered by a professional. Your well-being depends on being diagnosed in the earlier stages, so taking the appropriate precautions and measures will be crucial to your overall health and prevention of oral cancer.

Professionals will look for signs during regular checkups and appointments. But there are some precautions you can implement into your daily routine to help prevent any future conditions.

Signs And Symptoms That Are Crucial to Your Health

Mouth cancer can occur anywhere in your mouth, including the lips, tongue and throat. Cancer may also appear in salivary glands, pharynx, larynx and sinuses. That being said, look for the following symptoms that may persist more than 2 weeks and make sure to consult with a professional.

  • Look for sores, swellings, lumps or thick patches anywhere in or around your mouth or throat.
  • Areas of red or white lesions in your mouth or lips are also an example of signs that can help prevent future issues.
  • If you feel a lump or object stuck in your throat, speak to a professional.
  • Another crucial sign is any discomfort you may experience when wearing dentures.
  • Numbness, pain or tenderness anywhere in your mouth, including your tongue.
  • Pain in one of your ears but without any loss of hearing.
  • Trouble moving your jaw or tongue, or problems with chewing, swallowing or speaking.
  • Loose teeth with no apparent dental cause.
  • Lingering sore throat or hoarseness.

Preventing Cancer is The Best Treatment

Although it’s unclear exactly how oral cancer created, there are some certain lifestyle factors that place you in higher risk of being diagnosed with a condition. Tobacco is the leading high risk factor that may result in developing cancer. In fact, the Mouth Cancer Foundation reports 90 percent of those with oral cancer consume tobacco. Heavy use of alcohol also increases a person’s chances of developing oral cancer, and the NIDCR says your risk is even higher when using both tobacco and alcohol.
In addition to tobacco and alcohol, age and eating habits can many times influence your health as well. Studies show that most people over the age of 40 and with a diet that is deficient in fruits and vegetables can make it easier to contract.

Teeth Whitening Myths

teeth whitening mythsWhen it comes to teeth whitening, there seems to be several different approaches to choose from. And of course all of them boast results. However, which ones should you be weary of? We’ll let you know which teeth whitening methods you shouldn’t waste any time or money with.
 
 

Teeth Whitening Myths Debunked

Strawberries & Lemons

Yes, believe it or not you CAN whiten your teeth by using the pulp of crushed fruits such as strawberries or lemons mixed with baking soda. Yes, this method will work to whiten your teeth because the acids eat away at your enamel, which can cause permanent damage to your teeth if continuously used (we say “continuous” because teeth whitening results do not last forever & you will have to reapply every so often). Because of the issue of permanent damage we recommend avoiding this technique.

Baking Soda

People believe whitening may be achieved by applying baking soda to your teeth. However, this simply does not work and can disrupt the bacteria in your mouth. We advise against trying this method.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide has many uses, but teeth whitening is not one of them. In fact, when hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with gum tissue it causes free radical reactions that will quickly age these tissues so we advise against this option as well.

Whitening Toothpaste

Any type of whitening toothpaste you see in stores should not be purchased. These toothpastes are too weak to make any significant impact and often leave people very discouraged as a result. Keep in mind that for any color change to occur the active chemical must be applied for at least 20 minutes. Most toothbrush sessions do not even last 2 minutes, which is the recommended amount of time to brush.

Teeth Whitening Lasts Forever

We’ve seen the rumors float around, that teeth whitening results last forever. Unfortunately this is not the case as the natural aging process will still occur and cause teeth to yellow overtime. As a result, touch ups are necessary to maintain results.

The Best Way To Whiten Teeth

Currently professional in-office teeth whitening and custom whitening trays remain the quickest and most efficient ways of whitening the teeth without causing much damage to the enamel, teeth, or gums.

Choosing the Right Powered Toothbrush

choosing the right powered toothbrushDoes the toothbrush you select matter? Absolutely. We’ve already outlined the differences between manual and electric toothbrushes, but now we’d like to take it a step further and educate you on the types of powered toothbrushes you will be presented with.

Choosing the Right Powered Toothbrush

When you decide to finally purchase a powered toothbrush, you will find that there are many options to select from. This is precisely why we felt the need to craft a brief guide for you in determining the best fitting powered toothbrush.

There are three types of powered toothbrushes currently on the market:

Oscillating/Rotating Toothbrushes

Oscillating toothbrushes, such as the popular one offered by Oral-B, are electric toothbrushes in which the head spins very fast in one direction for an effective clean. These work very well for children & seniors and also happen to be rechargeable.

Sonic Toothbrushes

Sonic toothbrushes, such as the Sonicare offered by Philips, are essentially the same as oscillating/rotating toothbrushes, but differ in their mechanism. Sonic toothbrushes vibrate, rather than spin. Both are equally effective and emit roughly the same amount of power and are rechargeable.

There are many options to select from in selecting either an oscillating/rotating or sonic toothbrush, all with their own bells & whistles such as digital reminders, toothbrushes specialized for whitening or sensitive teeth, and even gum-massaging action.

Battery Powered Electric Toothbrushes

If you want extra power, but are skeptical of powered, rechargeable electric toothbrushes, then battery-powered toothbrushes are a great option. They are similar in design to manual toothbrushes, but are battery-operated (AA battery) & vibrate for a pulsating effective clean.

Electric Has Been Clinically Proven to be Better

No matter the choice of electric toothbrush you select, the fact remains that both options are considerably more effective than regular manual toothbrushes, as documented by various studies. This doesn’t mean manual toothbrushes do not work, but simply that they are not as efficient.

To put this efficiency into perspective, let’s compare 1 minute of brushing with both options. Using an electric toothbrush – depending on the brand – you will receive an output of roughly 6,000 – 30,000 strokes per minute. That’s an effective clean.

5 Fun Ways to Motivate Children to Brush Their Teeth

Fun Ways to Motivate Child to Brush TeethGetting children to diligently brush their teeth can be a difficult habit to cultivate, and is usually accompanied with varying degrees of frustration. And with the media suggesting that one in eight children aged three suffers from dental caries, it is certainly important that you find ways to encourage your children to clean their teeth.

Kids love games and fun things. So, here are a few tips to get your child excited about brushing his/her teeth.

1. Lead by example

Children love to imitate what other people do, which makes leading by example a great way to cultivate great habits that last a lifetime. Prepare a routine so you can brush your teeth together twice a day, showing them how to clean those hard to reach areas. You also get the chance to educate them on the importance of cleaning their teeth.

2. A 2-Minute brushing song

Your children should enjoy brushing their teeth if there is a catchy song playing in the background. The song could be provided by an app or something that you come up with depending on what your child likes. Music is a fantastic way to motivate kids to do something.

3. A timed game

Use a stopwatch or kitchen timer to play a racing game with your child. Set the timer to two minutes and challenge your kid to finish brushing at the same time as the countdown. You can even buy kids toothbrushes that play songs that enable kids to keep brushing for the entire two minutes.

4. Super hero fan

Something as simple as a piece of cloth or towel nicely fitted in your child’s garment can turn him/her into a cavity crusader. Brushing their teeth is their only weapon in the fight against evil germs to save their precious crowns. Buying a toothbrush with your son or daughter’s most favorite cartoon/movie character or super hero to give them a fighting partner can enhance this feeling.

5. A reward system

You can also create a sticker chart or use an app that collects points each time your child completes the task of brushing their teeth, with an award once they reach a certain point. You could arrange the rewards such that he/she gets a new toothbrush every 3 months.

It is recommended that parents start brushing their kids’ teeth twice a day immediately the first milk tooth emerges, which is at the age of 6 months. From the age of three to six years, you can start using a smear of the family toothpaste so the fluoride can help protect new teeth (at 1,350 – 1500 parts per million-ppm-of fluoride). Encourage them to brush for 2 minutes, and supervise them till the age of seven or eight.

Do You Have Bleeding Gums?

Bleeding Gums
It’s never a great sign when blood is present. For our teeth and gums, this is no different. If you notice blood after performing your daily oral care duties such as brushing and flossing, then you may have a deeper issue. We’ll help you discern the different possibilities that bleeding gums may be indicative of.

Bleeding Gums Causes

Gum Disease

Now, before you panic, gum disease is a lot more common than you think. It also happens to be a disease that can be easily addressed with the right treatment and follow up at home.

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease. It is actually the earliest form of gum disease and the main symptom is of course… bleeding gums. During this period, the damage can be easily reversed. Provided you follow up with your doctor and stay on top of your oral hygiene habits.

Too Rough

A common occurrence is improper brushing and flossing technique; specifically, brushing or flossing too hard. Our gums are sensitive. When we apply too much pressure to them with floss or a toothbrush, they will respond by producing blood. This doesn’t mean you have gum disease, it just means you need to be more gentle.

Pro tip: Replace your toothbrush often to avoid hard bristles, which would also cause your gums to bleed.

Medication

Sometimes, bleeding gums has nothing to do with gum disease or oral care technique, but rather medications that you may be taking. Blood thinner medication almost always results in bleeding gums. Consult with your doctor if it starts to become worrisome.

Pregnancy

For pregnant mothers, bleeding gums may be a symptom due to the hormonal changes that take place during this time. This is called “pregnancy gingivitis”. The good news is that once pregnancy is over, the problem should correct itself.

Addressing the Cause

Once you’ve determined the cause, the treatment becomes clear. We wouldn’t classify bleeding gums as an alarming issue, but it most certainly is an issue that should be addressed sooner than later. It’s equally as important to visit your dentist twice a year for best hygiene results.

Read about our Periodontal Therapy for Treatment of Gum Disease.

Mutans Streptococci (Strep Mutans) – Cavity-Causing Bacteria

Before the science of tooth decay was well understood, there were all kinds of theories about things that harm the teeth. For instance, some people believed that decay was a result of worms found in fruits that bored holes in the teeth. Today, the dental profession maintains one theory: that tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria that attack tooth enamel.

Narrowing Down the Cause of Cavities

Mutans Streptococci Cavity Causing BacteriaDecades of research across the globe have linked as many as two to three hundred different species of bacteria to the production of plaque – the cavity causing biofilm. However, only within the last couple of decades have scientists managed to completely link one specific bacterium: Streptococcus mutans, to the pathogen-caused caries. Specific studies on this bacterium have revealed that the key bi-product of its anaerobic fermentation is lactic acid – which is extremely harmful to tooth enamel.

More about Mutans Streptococci

Mutans Streptococci, or Strep Mutans in short, is a gram positive, anaerobic bacterium. The fact that it is anaerobic means that the bacteria don’t need air to survive, and can comfortably live between adjacent teeth or in deep crevices on the biting surface (occlusal) of teeth.

Although research has revealed that there are many bacteria and microorganisms found in the mouth, the entire genome of S. mutans – comprising over two million base pairs – has been fully identified and sequenced as the main halitosis (bad breath) and cavity causing bacteria. This discovery has been quite instrumental, as Dr. Jeffrey Hillman of the University of Florida managed to engineer the genome of S. mutans so that after it completes fermentation, it does not release lactic acid as a bi-product.

Scientists around the world largely agree that this species of bacteria has lived with humans in harmony for thousands of years, but the implication of more refined sugar into the human diet led to the evolution or “mutation” of this species to digest this sugar, producing the harmful acids. The lactic acid breaks down the mineral content on tooth enamel, creates holes on the outer surface, and then progresses into the inner section of the tooth (dentin). Penetration of the dentine marks the beginning of all kinds of dental problems.

Keep Your Teeth Clean

Scientists also agree that every single person has this bacteria species in their mouth (except newborns until it is transferred to them), which means that preventive measures provide the only means to reduce the impact of the lactic acid.

There are a number of ways to accomplish this, including proper brushing and flossing, reducing the intake of processed and refined sugars (found in colas, sweets, and processed sweeteners), maintaining a diet rich in calcium, proteins, and phosphorus to aid in enamel re-mineralization, and using mouth rinse, among others.

Thinking of Replacing Your Dental Fillings?

A dental filling is a type of restoration intended to replace tooth structure lost through trauma or decay. Dental fillings typically last many years, but the constant assault from eating and drinking, combined with stress from clenching or grinding, may eventually cause a dental filling to fail.

Replacing Dental FillingsFillings that have chipped, cracked, worn away, or fallen out may leave spaces between the tooth and the filling, providing entry points for bacteria in your mouth – in saliva and plaque. If the seal between the filling and tooth breaks down, food debris and caries-causing bacteria may find a place to hide inside the tooth where a toothbrush cannot reach them easily, causing decay to develop along the edge of the filling or underneath it.

Decay that is undetected and untreated can progress and infect the dental pulp (contains the tooth’s blood supply and nerves) resulting in loss of the tooth, or endodontic treatment (root canal).

Other reasons to consider replacing a filling:

The factors mentioned above are actually the only reasons why a dentist may recommend the removal and replacement of a filling. However, some patients may want a replacement for esthetic reasons, like:

  • You don’t like how the composite filling was shaped
  • You don’t feel like the colors were properly matched, or bleaching your teeth left the enamel whiter than the filling
  • The fitting done on your filling feels uncomfortable

Importance of Routine Dental Check-ups

Going for regular dental examinations is important because any problems with existing fillings can be detected in the early stage. While you may not be able to identify when your filling is worn, your dentist can detect any weaknesses, chips, or decay in it during a routine check-up.

During the checkup, the dentist evaluates whether the existing fillings are intact or worn away using an instrument called an “explorer” to gently check worn spots around the filling’s edge. This is a useful tool that helps the dentist establish if the dental filling is sealed to the tooth, or if it is worn to the extent that a replacement is necessary.

In some cases, X-rays may be required to help detect caries under existing dental fillings or between teeth, neither of which can be identified by simply looking at the tooth. Once the dentist finds proof that a filling has failed, or spots decay on the radiograph, it is important that the filling be replaced promptly. You should never wait until a crack appears in the filling or the tooth starts to hurt.

Early detection and treatment of failed fillings can reduce the need for extensive, and usually costly, restoration procedures. There are a number of tooth-colored materials that can be used for your new fillings, with varying levels of performance, longevity, and cost. These include amalgam, composite, and glass ionomers.

The best choice of material should be determined by the patient in consultation with the dentist. So, discuss your options before commencing any treatment.

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