Prevent oral cancer from growing

by MikeMeehan 4/12/2018 1:03 PM

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, but every month is a chance to take steps to prevent oral cancer from growing. Oral cancer is known as a lifestyle disease, meaning that you can dramatically reduce your risk by adjusting your daily habits.   Tobacco, alcohol and diet are some of the biggest lifestyle factors that lead to oral cancer. Tobacco is involved in roughly 90 percent of oral cancer instances, while 7 out of 10 people who develop oral cancer drink heavily.  Heavy drinking is considered to be more than seven drinks per week for women and more than 14 for men. These high levels of alcohol consumption decrease the body’s ability to absorb nutrients that may help prevent cancer. When combined with tobacco use, alcohol has an even greater chance of causing cancer. In addition, not getting enough fruits and vegetables increases your risk. Adding non-starchy fruits and vegetables such as berries and broccoli to a diet has been shown to reduce the chances of developing oral cancer. The human papilloma virus (HPV) is another leading cause of oral cancers, especially oropharyngeal cancers found in the back of the throat. Luckily, there is an HPV vaccine that’s effective against the most common strains of HPV that cause oral cancer. This vaccine only works before becoming infected, so it tends to be most appropriate for preteen and adolescent girls and boys. When it comes to oral cancer, early detection can be a lifesaver. Perform home screenings and ask your dentist about oral cancer screenings during regular checkups. Mouth symptoms to look for can include sores, red or white patches, persistent pain or numbness, lumps or rough spots, and issues chewing and swallowing.  By avoiding risk factors, adjusting your daily habits and staying vigilant for symptoms, you can help protect your future from oral cancer. 

A Rainbow of Foods to Keep Your Smile Healthy

by MikeMeehan 3/14/2018 9:52 AM

  You may not discover a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow this St. Patrick’s Day, but there are other ways rainbows can make you smile this month. These colorful fruits and veggies are full of flavor and will help keep your smile sparkling. Red: - Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, which helps maintain gum health. - Red peppers also contain vitamin C, and they come with a host of anti-inflammatory benefits. Orange: - Pumpkin and carrots have lots of vitamin A, which helps keep mucous membranes healthy and prevent dry mouth. Carrots also contain immunity-strengthening antioxidants. - Butternut squash is rich with vitamin C and potassium that helps neutralize acids that remove calcium from the body. Yellow: - Yellow peppers have anti-inflammatory benefits and vitamin C. - Cheeses contain calcium that helps build strong bones and teeth.  Green: - Leafy greens contain vitamin K that helps block substances that break down bone, promoting good bone density. They are also a good source of calcium. - Broccoli contains folic acid that helps keep your gums healthy and can help prevent cleft lip and palate during pregnancy. Blue: - Blueberries are a rich source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Purple: - Eggplant contains vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. It also has folic acid that builds strong bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. - Acai berries have antioxidants to strengthen immunity. White: - Cauliflower has vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and a great substitute for starchy grains in diets. - Plain yogurt promotes strong teeth and bones by being rich in calcium.

A Visit from the Tooth Fairy Can Be a Learning Opportunity

by MikeMeehan 2/28/2018 9:44 AM

It’s fun to celebrate a visit from the Tooth Fairy, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to talk about and focus on dental health with your kids. While we give a special shout-out to the Tooth Fairy and all the hard work she does collecting little teeth from under pillows, we also want the message of her day to be about keeping all those teeth clean and healthy.  The Tooth Fairy is a big celebrity at Delta Dental. While she works collecting teeth at night, you might also see her working one of her side jobs – visiting area schools with the Land of Smiles® program. She loves teaching kids about how important it is to keep smiles healthy and bright.  3 messages for kids When your child has a tooth loose, or is ready to leave a tooth under the pillow, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate healthy habits and a healthy smile. Tips for the kids can be simplified to 3 main messages:  1. Brush twice a day 2. Brush for two minutes 3. Floss daily The Tooth Fairy can visit and leave reminders and gifts even if there isn’t a tooth to pick up!  A few things to look for Common mistakes for little ones include overusing toothpaste and brushing too hard. As a parent, here are some things you can do to help mentor your little ones. -If under the age of 6, supervise and help your kids while they brush. Sometimes kids lack the coordination to effectively reach all their teeth. -A small, pea-size amount of toothpaste is best. Too much toothpaste is unnecessary and can create lots of foam, which makes brushing difficult. -When done, children should spit out toothpaste ― swallowing it can lead to fluorosis, a cosmetic condition in which spots may appear on the teeth. How to encourage healthy dental habits And if the kids aren’t too thrilled about brushing, try getting them excited to brush their teeth with these ideas: -Develop a fun ritual around brushing. Sing a song about brushing teeth or “brush” the teeth of your child’s stuffed animals. -Place a stepstool near the sink counter that allows your child to see the basin.  -Have fun choosing a cool toothbrush. Let your child pick from the great selection of colors, characters and gizmos available today. -Grab your own toothbrush and brush with energy. Show your children just how fun it is to brush – they’ll want in on the fun. By playing a positive, active role, you can encourage your kids to learn good habits for a lifetime of dental health. And to celebrate a visit from the tooth fairy, along with the money the tooth fairy leaves, she could also leave a new toothbrush or a personalized note with a dental health tip, like, “Don’t forget to brush twice a day for two minutes!” Or how about reading a fun tooth-themed book together? Want more information on children’s dental health? The Delta Dental Oral Health Library is a great resource. You’ll find lots of articles that focus on children’s dental health, including infant, toddler and adolescents.

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