Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know April is Oral Cancer Awareness month? About 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer and nearly 10,860 people die annually. It is twice as common in men as women. Oral cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity. Which is the lip, tongue, mouth, and throat. Through visual inspection, your dentist can detect abnormalities at an early stage resulting in less extensive and more successful treatment.

5 Myths and The Actual Facts

  1. Oral Cancer is rare.

Fact: More people are diagnosed with oral cancer than stomach cancer.

  1. I’m too young to get oral cancer.

Fact: It’s now more common for our younger patients to develop oral cancer because of the link to human papillomavirus (HPV.)

  1. I don’t smoke so I can’t get oral cancer.

Fact: Smoking does increase your risk for oral cancer but it isn’t the only factor. Drinking alcohol, HPV, and genetics play a role in developing the disease.

  1. No pain, no problem.

Fact: Not all cancer spots can cause pain.

  1. I will know when I have oral cancer.

Fact: It’s not easy to identify, it can go undetected in your tonsils, lymph nodes, and the base of your tongue.

Causes

The exact cause of oral cancer is unknown, but here are some things that can put people more at risk.

  • Tobacco of any form – cigarettes/ e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco.
  • Alcohol
  • Excessive sun exposure on your lips
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Weakened immune system

Signs and Symptoms or Oral Cancer

  • Mouth sore that doesn’t heal
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing and moving the jaw and tongue
  • Jaw swelling
  • Lump in the neck
  • Constant bad breathcta

A lot of these signs and symptoms can be caused by other things, schedule an appointment if any of these conditions go on for more than two weeks.

Prevention

Stop using tobacco or don’t start. It exposes the cells in your mouth to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals. Drink alcohol in moderation. Excessive alcohol can aggravate cells and make them more susceptible to cancer.

Protect your lips from the sun! Constant exposure increases the risk of cancer. Be sure to use lip balm with SPF!

Last but not least, see your dentist regularly! It’s recommended to have an exam and cleaning every six months. Schedule yours today!

Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

 

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Is It Genetic or Environmental?

The air is becoming crisper, leaves are changing colors and falling off their trees. It’s that time of year when it’s appropriate to add pumpkin spice to any food or drink and not be judged. #PumpkinSpiceEverything

What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving gatherings? Do you consider yourself to have a sweet tooth? Here’s something mind-blowing: a sweet tooth might be genetic. So, when you are going for seconds on that pumpkin pie, be sure to show extra gratitude to your parents.

Pumpkin Pie

Some people are born with a weakened sweet taste, which means they need more sugar to taste the same level of sweetness. Studies propose that genes might explain up to 30 percent of how much sugar you can taste.

But wait… there’s more! Is it possible bad teeth run in the family as well?

Tooth Decay

The bacteria in our mouth that cause cavities aren’t there at birth. It most likely comes from family members who kiss their child’s lips, share utensils, or even blow on their foods. Studies show that this bacteria isn’t associated with tooth decay. It also revealed that bacteria that can form cavities were environmental. For example, eating sugary foods and lack of oral care.

Tooth decay is preventable but some people are more at risk. Yes, it’s confusing, but really, what isn’t? Jokes aside, genes control how teeth develop. Often times, dentists look into family history because it might help them understand why a child’s teeth have more decay than someone with a similar diet. You don’t get a say about how your teeth develop, but you can control how often you brush, floss, and visit your dentist!

Size, Shape, and Alignment

Are your teeth crooked because of genetics or environmental factors? If you said both, you’re correct! The size of your jaw, teeth, and mouth are typically decided by DNA. Thumb sucking, accidents, or an unbalanced diet are reasons for crooked teeth that you can’t blame your parents for.

It’s never too late to get your teeth in line! Why should you get them straightened? Crooked or crowded teeth can cause tooth decay, difficulty maintaining your daily oral care, and improper chewing.

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Gum Disease

Did you know half of our population has gum disease? Genetics also play a role in how likely you are to develop periodontal disease. There are tests to run to show if you are affected. The best way to keep your mouth healthy is brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.

Why Are My Teeth Yellow?

It’s a mixture of genes and environment. Typically, if you have thin enamel your teeth will most likely look more yellow. You have no control over the growth of your tooth, but should be aware of what foods and drinks will contribute to the yellowing of your teeth. Example of tooth staining drinks are: coffee or fruit juices; food: berries or tomato sauce.

When it comes to our body developing its natural functions, it usually relies on genes. In conclusion, unhealthy teeth are controlled by both genes and the environment. And ultimately you are in complete control of your daily dental routine.

One of the most important things about knowledge is being able to share it. While you are devouring seconds or thirds you can enlighten everyone else at the table. You can also bring a bag of floss picks to share!

Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

 

 

How Much Do You Know About Your Teeth?

Do you consider your teeth as living things? They contain nerves and living tissues and our mouth constantly produces bacteria. They are always active with chewing, biting, talking, and grinding. Dental problems are hardly enjoyable, but on the bright side, most are preventable. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, regular check-ups, and proper eating is important for preventing future dental problems. The more you know the healthier and cleaner your mouth will be.

Common Dental Problems For All Ages

  • Tooth Decay- Cavities (caries)
  • Gum Disease- Periodontitis

Common Dental Problems For Children

Just because baby teeth aren’t permanent doesn’t mean that they should be neglected! Their tooth enamel is 50% thinner than the enamel on adult teeth. When it starts to decay it will cause more damage faster. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria using sugar from foods and drinks to create acid that deteriorates your teeth.

Are your kid’s thumb suckers? It is a natural self-soothing reflex for them. It’s a hard habit to break but the earlier you try to get them to stop, the easier. After permanent teeth come in it can cause problems with the palatal growth and teeth alignment.

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Long-Term Effects of Thumb Sucking

  • May form a lisp because of jaw positioning
  • The roof of the mouth changes or can become more sensitive
  • Teeth are pushed around and can result in an overbite or an underbite. Other orthodontic treatment might be needed as well.

Common Dental Problems For Teens

Did you know that about 75% of teens need orthodontic treatment after their adult teeth have grown in? Common problems are teeth being overcrowded, crooked, or having a lot of space in between them. Misplaced teeth are more challenging to clean and maintain leading to problems down the road.

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Does your teenager play contact sports? #PlayItSafe More than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and jaw occur every year. Protect them with a mouthguard! Be sure to keep it clean by rinsing and leaving it in the container when not actively using it.

Avoid oral piercings! A tongue or other mouth piercings can easily chip teeth when asleep, eating, or talking. After the piercing, many experience swelling, which can lead to infections or trouble opening and closing your mouth to speak and eat.

Common Dental Problems For Adults

We have a third set of molars, known as wisdom teeth that typically emerge after the rest of our adult teeth. They can cause pain and create crowding leading to more dental problems in the future. 85% of adults have their wisdom teeth removed. They are often harder to clean leaving them more susceptible to tooth decay.

Have you been dreaming of a bright white smile? One of the most common dental cosmetic procedures is teeth whitening. As you get older tooth discoloration occurs from constant exposure to certain foods and drinks. This can be done only after they are cleaned and cavity free. Otherwise, the whitening solution can penetrate the inner part of the tooth causing pain and sensitivity to those unhealthy teeth.

The average adult between the ages of 20 and 64 have three or more decayed or missing teeth. Your jaw is constructed to function with 28 teeth, once one goes missing neighboring teeth begin to drift into the vacant space. This makes your good teeth more prone to decay and gum disease. After you lose a tooth, the bone around it begins to shrink over time altering your face leading to that sunken jaw look.

Options To Replace Missing Teeth

  • Dental Implants
  • Bridges
  • Dentures

Dental implants are popular because they look and feel like your natural teeth. They are also the new standard of care. With good oral hygiene, they can last up to 20 years or more. A bridge consists of both a false tooth with the support of two abutment crowns. Think of them as “bridging” the gap left by the missing tooth.

There are several types of dentures; partial, complete, and implant supported. A partial replaces some of your teeth using surrounding teeth as an anchor. A complete denture is removable and replaces all teeth. Implant supported dentures are recommended if you have a healthy jaw for support and would like a more secure fit.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Bacteria flourish in a dark and wet environment that contains plenty of sugar which is why your mouth is usually their home. Without regular maintenance, they tend to stick around and create plaque on your teeth causing tooth decay and gum disease. Take care of your teeth, you only get one set!

Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

 

Back To School Bling

Wow, can you believe the back-to-school season is already upon us? It feels as if summer started yesterday! Are you ready to send your kids back to school with a shining smile? Preventive dentistry is the best way to protect them.

These next couple of weeks will be busy as you begin to check things off your back to school checklist.  _Check-listEdited.pngHave you made one for your children’s dental hygiene? Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Schedule their bi-annual dental cleaning
  • Create an oral hygiene routine
  • Replace their toothbrush
  • Shop for healthy foods and snacks
  • If your child plays sports- protect their teeth with a custom mouth-guard

Besides the importance of regular maintenance, their cleaning appointments can also lead to them missing less school in the future. We will deeply clean your child’s mouth and can prevent further dental issues. Having a set routine helps them get in a good habit and understand the importance of maintaining their oral hygiene. It’s recommended to change your toothbrush every three months or earlier if the bristles are frayed. Healthy foods and snacks can strengthen teeth which may result in fewer cavities. When playing sports, it’s important for your child to wear a mouth-guard to shield their smile from unpredictable hits. Damages can sometimes lead to chips, fractures, and extractions.

Are you up to date with the latest dental trends?

 As we know trends come and go, tooth gems have once again gained popularity. It is a small rhinestone glued onto the surface of your tooth.

Risks of Tooth Gems

  • Can cause discoloration on the tooth’s surface.
  • The jewels can wear away enamel, increasing the risk of decay and infection
  •  Food can hide behind them promoting the growth of harmful bacteria

Tooth gems are placed by a dentist or yourself and can last up to 6 months. It can be removed or replaced at any time. The longer it’s left on your teeth the more harm it will cause. The procedure only takes about 15 minutes and is 100% reversible.

With tooth gems coming back in style, we can’t help but think, what’s next? Do you remember dental grills? They are made from gold or silver and snap over one or more teeth. They can damage the surface of your teeth by removing enamel and exposing it to bacteria. While removable they must be taken off to eat and brush their teeth. Putting them on immediately after eating can increase plaque build-up.

Another trend to keep an eye out for is getting a tattoo on your teeth, which is also known as #tatooth. They are not permanent and can be replaced at any time. Some negatives are plaque build-up. Also, the chemical used to add tattoo’s is not completely safe. They have found that some inks have pigments used in toner and car paint. The FDA has not authorized any coloring for injection for cosmetic purposes.

Getting permanent ink in your mouth is growing, as people are interested in getting inner lip tattoos. The most requested tattoo is a symbol or a short word. They are known to be one of the most painful areas to get a tattoo. If you want one, you have to hold your lower lip open while being completely still throughout the whole process. Touch-ups are needed frequently because of the high cell turnover in your mouth. _Trends

Dangers of Inner Lip Tattoos

  • High risk of infection because your mouth is filled with bacteria
  • Every touch-up increases risk for infection
  • Foods with high acid content can cause sensitivity.
  • An allergic reaction to the ink can cause painful lumps of scar tissue under the skin, which are difficult to remove.

 Before getting any procedure done it’s important to understand how it will affect your health, and if you have any questions give us a call today! Be picky when it comes to trends, you don’t have to follow all of them. We hope you have a great school year!

Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

 

What’s In A Kiss?

In 2006 International Kissing Day was established and it’s celebrated on July 6th. In our society, a kiss is a sign of affection or a warm greeting. Did you know a single kiss can spread up to 80 million bacteria?

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We are not born with the bacteria that cause cavities. Studies have proven that parents often infect their child before 2. Once your child becomes exposed they are prone to cavities in baby and permanent teeth. In fact, babies can also begin to develop them before their first tooth erupts!

Tooth decay is a disease known as dental caries. It is caused by specific germs and is easily spread throughout families by sharing a cup, utensils, or toothbrushes, and lasts a lifetime. Did you know it’s more common for a child to have cavities than any other chronic illness? Bacteria loves sugar and attacks the structure of teeth by diminishing calcium. It also creates plaque which builds even more enamel-eroding acid.  

Can tooth decay be spotted early?

Early tooth decay can be hard to see. A sign is a white strip along the gum line at the base of the teeth. During the early stages, you might be able to see brown spots on the teeth, and gums are red and inflamed. When more advanced, the spots are blackened.

If you have had your fair share of troubles with your teeth, it’s important to take precautions when it comes to your child’s dental care. It’s recommended to bring your child to the dentist six months after the first tooth erupts or by their first birthday. The best way to limit cavities is to brush and floss with your kids daily. Setting the example, helps create and reinforce these healthy habits.

 Tips for keeping decay away from your children:

  • Wipe down your baby’s gums with a washcloth after feedings, even if the first tooth has not erupted.
  • Start brushing with fluoride-free toothpaste as the first tooth erupts.
  • When your child is two or three years old, begin using toothpaste with a small amount of fluoride, and begin flossing when two teeth are touching.

What can happen to untreated cavities?

 Cavities don’t go away by themselves. If you ignore a cavity, it continues to grow. They are small holes in your teeth that will become wider and deeper making your teeth more fragile, increasing the risk to crack. If left untreated, the cavity will next reach your tooth’s nerves, which is likely to cause severe pain. Depending on your situation, your tooth will either need a root canal or require extraction. If your tooth is infected you will need antibiotics along with cavity treatment.

stages of perio.pngWhat is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection at your gum line which may result in damaged jaw bone. There are three different stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gum disease is caused by bacteria and plaque. If not removed it hardens and turns into tartar while plaque continues to form more build up. The only way for it to be removed is by visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning.

Warning Signs of Gum Disease

  •  Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  •  Gums that are pulled away from teeth- making teeth look longer
  •  Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  •  Bad breath

 What happens if I don’t treat my Periodontitis?

The first stage of gum disease might be easy to miss, but if left untreated it will result in larger problems. If you notice any of the warning signs or think you may have gum disease contact us today. Lack of treatment results in tender gums, receding gums, sensitive teeth, loose teeth, and eventually leads to tooth loss. Let’s prevent that together!

Have you ever wondered why we kiss with our eyes closed? Maybe it’s because when oral care wasn’t popular nobody wanted to see others teeth up close… Just kidding! But because of dental advancements, it’s easy to keep your smile in tip-top shape. Protect you and your family from bacteria and tooth decay by requesting your appointment today!

Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

 

Suns Out Gums Out

What time is it? It’s summertime! It’s the season to enjoy sunny poolside days and warm nights under the stars. Summer is known for spontaneous adventures, relaxation, and most importantly, unconditional smiles that you want to capture forever! Along with showing your smile off! Another staple of summer is delicious foods, snacks, and drinks. Summer diets can make your taste buds happy but it may cause harm to your teeth.

We hear it all year long, soda is bad for us! But with the warmer weather and vacations, it may be your go-to drink. Have a look at the nutrition facts before quenching your thirst!

Drinks to be aware of:

  • Soda
  • Sport Drinks
  • Fruit Juices

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Soda contains enamel-destroying acid and contains plenty of unwanted sugars. Because of the summer heat, you might want to grab a sports drink to replenish any lost minerals from sweating. It’s been proven that sports drinks contain a high level of sugars and acids which can lead to cavities. Fruits contain natural sugars and often times store bought juices have additional sugar added, resulting in damaged teeth.

The acid in these drinks exposes your teeth to more bacteria, which attracts the sugars in your favorite drinks! This bacteria sneaks into the cracks of your tooth enamel and causes tooth decay.

Foods to be aware of:

  • Popsicles
  • Ice Cream
  • Corn on the cob
  • Barbecue Sauce

Warm days call for cold cravings, but popsicles, freezes, and ice cream can actually harm your smile! They are loaded with sugars and are in constant contact with your teeth. Sugar sticks to your teeth and gums to create bacteria that attack your enamel. Did you know? A single cup of vanilla ice cream has five teaspoons of sugar!

Are you looking forward to enjoying a sweet corn on the cob? Eat it with caution, as they’re known to knock loose fillings and even chip teeth! Kernels can also get stuck in between your teeth and if not properly maintained causes plaque build-up.

Did you know barbecue sauce is high in sugar and acid? Just like it sticks to meat, it also clings to your teeth. The main ingredients are vinegar and ketchup, which are loaded with acid. Because barbecue sauce is a dark color, it can also stain your teeth.

This doesn’t mean to avoid these foods and drinks completely! Just keep in mind moderation is key!

Tips:

  •  Sipping sugary drinks with a straw reduces the contact of the liquid with your teeth.
  • Brushing your teeth immediately after drinking a soft drink, can damage your enamel.
  • Make homemade fruit juices without adding additional sugar!
  • Cut your corn off the cob.
  • Don’t use your teeth to open plastics or anything, they are for food only!
  • Water is the best source for staying hydrated.
  • Healthy Snacks for Your Smile

Are you wondering what snacks are good for your teeth? Instead of a bag of potato chips, go for the fruit platters! Apples, pears, peaches, or seedless watermelon is refreshing! Veggies trays are also a good snack, raw broccoli, celery, and carrots. These snacks can be seen as a natural toothbrush, it can scrub off any plaque build-up and stimulating saliva to clear your mouth of unwanted particles.

1,2,3 say cheese! Dairy products contain low sugar and are rich in calcium and phosphorous which strengthens and protects your enamel. The more dairy you eat it can lower your chances of developing gum disease!

If you are hosting any gatherings this summer, you can serve seedless buns and keep dental floss picks handy! You may also want to offer sugar-free gum rather than mints. Chewing gum gets your saliva flowing and fights acids from cavity-causing bacteria that eat away at your teeth.

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Because of the wide range of food and drinks you’ll be consuming this summer, maintaining proper care is important. You wouldn’t want anything to ruin your summer fun! Have a great summer, and keep smiling.


Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

 

Modern vs Historical Dental Practices

 

Did you know barbers were the go-to people for concerns about your teeth? In the past, they not only groomed your face but also extracted and whitened your teeth. It wasn’t until 1840 that the first college Baltimore College of Dental Surgery opened. Today, the United States has over 60 schools and dentistry is considered a specialized practice. Let’s take a look back and see how modern dentistry came to be.

Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, and Floss

  • In ancient times chew sticks were used to help keep the mouth clean, they believed that it would get rid of unwanted particles.
  • The first toothbrush was made in China in 1498, handles were made from animal bones or bamboo, and the bristles came from the back of a pigs neck.
  • In 1824 soap was put into toothpaste and in the 1850s chalk was added.

Nowadays toothbrushes are available in different sizes, shapes, and colors. The handles are plastic and the bristles are made of nylon. Which is a long way from bones and bristles!

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In 1873, Colgate produced the first toothpaste in a jar and by the 1890’s toothpaste was packaged in tubes. Imagine dipping your toothbrush into a jar. Now imagine everyone in your house dipping their toothbrush into that same jar. Doesn’t it just make you appreciate the growth in this field?

Source: Colgate

In 1815 silk thread was recommended for cleaning in between teeth and by the 1940’s nylon became the standard.

Source: Oral-B

Modern Dental Techniques

Modernized dentistry has greatly reduced the risk for infections and implants, crowns, and bridges, are now common cosmetic procedures.  Modern crowns are made of composite, porcelain, and metals. They strengthen damaged teeth and can improve your tooth’s overall shape. Bridges are used to fill the tooth gaps and are secured with a neighboring crown on each side.

Dental implants are now the standard of care for missing teeth. These titanium roots are placed into your jawbone and fuse over time. Implants can anchor crowns, bridges, and dentures. They’ve gained popularity as they look and feel natural like your own teeth.

Implants

Crowns/Bridges

  • Crowns were made of human teeth, gold, ivory, and bone.
  • Bridges were gold and a sign of wealth.

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Implants

  • Whole tooth implants were from deceased lower class citizens, slaves or animals, and infections were common.
  • Seashells, sculpted bamboo, and copper were also used.
  • Iron pins supported a gold tooth to showcase your riches.

Do you consider using people’s teeth to replace yours as resourceful or gross?

In the 1970’s orthodontists said goodbye to headgear and wiring and hello to stainless steel brackets. To fix your bite hooks are placed in your mouth and you will get a pack of rubber bands, slowly adjusting your jaw position with tension over many months.

Giving thanks to new technology we have another option called Invisalign. Packaged as a set of clear plastic aligners, every two weeks you change the tray. There are slight changes to each aligner and your teeth will slowly adjust into the perfect smile of your dreams. Besides not having metal in your mouth, Invisalign is taken out before every meal and snack. Is remembering to take them on and off too much of a hassle?

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Orthodontics

  • One of the first forms of teeth straightening had animal intestines as cords and it wrapped around each individual tooth.
  • Gold bands were also used and preferred because they didn’t rust. Silver was also used and wasn’t as expensive.
  • Ivory and wood were also used.

Can you believe that current teeth whitening procedures were accidentally discovered? In the past, peroxide was used to help strengthen patient’s gums but they got whiter teeth. Today teeth whitening can be done in office or with a take-home whitening kit from your dentist.

  • Whitening
  • Ancient Romans used human urine because the ammonia is an amazing stain remover.
  • Ancient Egyptians used ground pumice stone and white vinegar to make a whitening paste.
  • Barbers could file your teeth down and spread acid on them to help you have a whiter smile.

Putting someone else’s teeth to replace yours is unheard of today because of our modern resources and technologies. Today dentistry is a specialized practice and after earning a dental degree, dentists are required to annually continue their education. Reflecting back to where dentistry once was, we can remember where this field started and appreciate its success.

Dr. Maxwell C. Elliott, DDS 

Dickinson Dental
(281) 534-7112
1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539