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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Show Love To Your Oral Health

Whether you choose to deny it or not, it’s the month of love. February is American Heart Month. Did you know there’s a connection between your heart and oral health? If you plan on stuffing yourself with a ton of sweets, you should be careful! Your teeth need love as well, don’t forget about them.

Yes, it’s true, gum disease increases your risk for heart disease. Lack of care for your teeth and gums can lead to gum disease. If it’s not treated, plaque and bacteria can make its way to your bloodstream and travel through your body to your heart which can lead to blood clots or possibly heart attacks.

Tips For Healthy Living

Valentine’s day – Date night, some people might say they go hand-in-hand. But If you don’t think so, use this tip for whenever you go out and eat.

  • Keep some floss in your bag or pocket. The quicker you get rid of the food particles and bacteria the better! Also, water is the best drink for your teeth, it rinses away acids from your teeth. Pro Tip: order water with your meals.
  • Dark chocolate is actually good for your teeth! Well, in moderation of course. It contains less sugar than milk chocolate and can help with preventing cavities and tooth decay. Chocolates that have a chewy sugary center will more likely cling to your teeth. Yes, you might like those better, just try to eat a couple rather than the whole box. Candy.png
  • Gummy candy, you want to try to avoid those! They are the worst candy for your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth set off a chemical reaction that turns the sugar into an acidic form then it eats away at the enamel of your teeth. This is known as demineralization. Also, gummy candy sticks to your teeth. When you think about saliva you might be grossed out but when it comes to your mouth, it’s a good thing. It neutralizes acids that come from sugars and protects your teeth.

Alternatives to gummy candy: Xylitol is a sugar replacement that bacteria won’t recognize and doesn’t attack and turn it into acid like they do with sugars. Save your teeth from an attack and read the ingredients!

It’s always a good time for sweets! – WRONG. For some of us, we can’t say no to candy. Eat them after a meal to limit the exposure of sugar and bacteria! Be sure to wash them down with water.

Love is in the air! Did you know that kissing helps prevents cavities? It stimulates saliva and breaks down plaque to get rid of bacteria.

Love Your Teeth

  • Brush twice daily
  • Floss daily
  • Schedule bi-annual teeth cleanings

Those are the basics! Here are a few changes that might benefit you:

  • New toothbrush – your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 months! Use soft bristles, don’t be rough with your gums and teeth. Brush.png
  • New floss? There a bunch of floss out there, don’t be afraid to try something new! Or if you are new to flossing try something and fall in love with how it makes your mouth feel!
  • Toothpaste – Are you loyal to a certain brand? If you can never settle on a certain brand, look for one with an ADA seal! They help remove the plaque from your teeth and protect them from decay and gum disease.
  • Time – sleep in too long or too tired at night to brush your teeth? It’s recommended to brush your teeth for two minutes. Make this change, your mouth and dentist will love you for it! Use a timer while brushing or play your favorite song! It’ll make the time fly by.

Are you wondering if this check-list applies to you if you have dental implants? The answer is: YES, they feel and function like your natural teeth. Which means there shouldn’t be a change in your dental routine.

Treat your heart how it deserves to be treated! Limit your sugar intake, walk or take the stairs rather than the elevator, and take care of your teeth and gums.

 

Dickinson Dental

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

 

 

6 Common Dental Habits

Is it cliche to have a New Years Resolution? Probably, but there are a few habits you’d like to kick to the curb! It’s common for people to want to start living a healthy lifestyle. Why not be completely healthy and improve your dental health too? Poor oral health can put you at risk for heart disease.

6 Habits That Harm Your Teeth

Nail biting can chip or crack teeth. It can even fracture the enamel on your teeth from chewing on hard surfaces. Also, it has an impact on your jaw and as a result, you can develop TMJ. Do you realize how dirty your fingers are? Even though we wash our hands, it’s hard to keep them clean. Nail biting also leads to gingivitis, there is a lot of dirt under our fingernails we aren’t aware of.

Are you grossed out yet? Need tips to stop the biting? Cut them short! If you prefer the longer nail look, paint it with bitter-tasting nail polish. If you don’t like color, you can always opt for a clear coat! Because nail biting is often stress-induced, get a tiny stress ball or something to fidget with to keep your hands busy.

Chewing on ice can break your tooth or filling. Ice and your teeth are both fragile and when you push them both together one will break. Most times its the ice, but from time to time it can be your teeth. Slow down the chewing and try drinks without ice so you won’t be tempted. If you insist on ice, drink with a straw and a lid to keep the ice out of sight.

Teeth as tools may seem convenient at the time but are not good for your teeth. They aren’t supposed to open bags, rip tags off, hold things, or open bottles. They are strong but using them as tools can result in cracks and fracture or even worse, oral and facial injuries. Biting or chewing metal can cause serious damage. We have real tools made especially for things so you don’t have to use your teeth. Such as bottle openers, scissors, and bags. Teeth are for chewing and smiling.

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Hard brushing can cause damage to your gums. Soft bristles are the best for your gums. This can be tricky because it’s good to brush twice a day, but how do you know if you are brushing too hard? A sign is a frayed toothbrush, yes that’s common with an old toothbrush. But it starts to fray within the first three months, relax on the brushing. If you also begin to notice your gums receding, soften up on the brushing! Don’t squish the bristles against your gums! Think about brushing as a gentle massage, slow and steady win the race!

Smoking and use of other tobacco products increase your risk of oral cancer. It can turn your teeth yellow or brown. You are also at risk for tooth decay, gum disease, bone damage, and tooth loss. Over time your gums get weaker and will have trouble properly holding your teeth in place.

Not visiting your dentist is a no-brainer! It’s important to see your dentist every 6 months to avoid issues. Regular dental cleanings prevent tartar from eroding your teeth which helps prevents cavities and gum disease. Besides having your teeth professionally cleaned, you get checked for other abnormalities that could be a larger health issue.

Repeat this to yourself: New Year, New me. Cross things off your list, spice up your oral routine, go crazy at the gym, and eat healthy trendy foods. And most importantly, share how important a solid oral health routine is. Smile at all camera opportunities, and show the benefits of a healthy smile.

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Dickinson Dental

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

 

Be A Breath Of Fresh Air This Holiday Season

It’s the season to get together! Do you always avoid one family member because their breath stinks? Or do people avoid you? Either way, nobody wants to be “that” person at gatherings. As time goes on, people don’t forget who the culprit is. Don’t let it be you!

Typically, we all wake up with bad breath because there is no constant saliva flow as we sleep. Saliva helps wash away bacteria growth. A reminder to why we brush and floss before we go to bed and when we wake up.

Did you know that over 40 million people in the U.S have bad breath? Most of the time you aren’t able to smell your own breath! Because of the embarrassment, often times we don’t mention it when we smell others breath.

What is Bad Breath?

It’s your oral bacteria which are living, eating, and breeding organisms. You know how all living things need food and needs to dispose of it? That’s what is happening in your mouth! Use this as motivation to start a better dental routine!

What Causes Bad Breath?

  • Smoking and Chewing Tobacco
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Dry Mouth
  • Diet

The worst cause is smoking because it reduces saliva flow. Dry mouth occurs when your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. It is your mouth’s natural defense and without it, plaque and bacteria build up faster. Certain drinks like alcohol and coffee dry your mouth out as well. Sugary foods and drinks are bacteria’s favorite, it helps them grow/multiply faster. It’s important to brush and floss to help prevent plaque build-up.

You might want to keep a closer eye on your tongue as well. Your tongue doesn’t have a smooth surface; food debris, bacteria, and dead cells can be trapped there. Over time, a coating forms across and as it gets thicker, your odor becomes stronger.

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This year, don’t be the one with the breath that clears a room! Have a solid oral hygiene routine, a good one that includes dental cleanings every six months! If you are stuck on what to bring for your gathering try peppermint bark. It’s a nice breath refresher for anyone that needs it!

Pro Tip: Use dark chocolate chips – it’s good for your teeth (in moderation)!

If you are questioning, “How in the world is dark chocolate good for my teeth?” The answer is dark chocolate contains polyphenols which helps fight the growth of bacteria in your mouth, reducing risk of tooth decay. It can also offset bad breath!

Have a great holiday season!

 

Dickinson Dental

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

How To Sort Your Kids Halloween Candy

When you think of October, what comes to mind? Fall, pumpkins, or Halloween… Did you know that its National Dental Hygiene Month? It was created to increase awareness of the importance of oral care to your mouth and body.

The Daily 4

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing
  • Chewing

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You’ve heard it before, brush twice a day. For best results, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to create small, gentle circular motions to reduce potential damage to your enamel.

How important is flossing? Brushing your teeth doesn’t completely clean your teeth. Flossing removes about 40% of plaque from your teeth. Tooth decay and gum disease will develop when there is plaque build-up.

Do you use mouthwash? It may seem tedious after brushing and flossing but it’s more beneficial than you think! Rinsing can help reduce bad breath, gingivitis, decay, and plaque.

Chewing? Yeah, you’re probably thinking “how does that help my teeth?” Chewing sugar-free gum after snacks or meals stimulates saliva glands that help clean your teeth.

Also, this month is for giving our hygienists a special shout out! Every day they work hard to make our smiles healthy. Share your healthy smile, tag us and use #DentalHygieneMonth

With Halloween around the corner, you might be spooked on how to maintain your healthy smile. Of course, by now you know that candy isn’t good for your teeth. That doesn’t mean don’t have any, remember moderation is key! What are the chances of people giving out sugar-free candies? Slim- to none, cause that takes the fun out of trick-or-treating. But some sugary candy’s are worse than others. You can separate the candy into piles to limit sugar intake.

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Gummy candy is clingy and it would take a while to be washed away. They stick to your teeth increasing risk for tooth decay. Some examples are taffy, gummy bears, or gummy worms. Sour candy are a double shock to your teeth, they have a lot of sugar and are highly acidic.

The number one concern for hard candy is biting into it breaking or damaging your teeth. Candy in your mouth for a long time can also bring more sugar into your mouth.

Surprisingly, dark chocolate is good for you it has less sugar and dissolves quickly. It also contains calcium making your teeth stronger and fights bacteria and plaque. Also, powdery candy is not sticky and dissolves quickly giving bacteria less time to cling to teeth.

The Halloween season comes to an end but taking proper care of your teeth is never ending! Go through your kid’s pile of candy and make sure they are eating in moderation. Note that for yourself too, we know how tempting candy is!

Be sure to always brush twice a day, floss, rinse, and keep sugary snacks to a minimum Celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month with us by scheduling your dental checkups today!

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

 

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