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. 

The Effects of Alcohol on Your Teeth

by MikeMeehan 3/7/2018 9:25 AM

It’s common to indulge in a libation or two to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – but will your smile feel the effects the next day? Here are a few ways to combat potential dental health issues while raising your glass to the Irish. Stay hydrated. Drinks containing spirits are especially drying to the mouth. A lack of saliva means food particles and plaque can stick to teeth longer than usual, potentially resulting in more cavities. Anytime you imbibe, especially liquor, offset the drying effects by drinking water throughout the evening. Skip the “twist.” Many martinis come with a garnish or a squirt of lemon or lime to bring out the flavors of the drink. Even a “squeeze” of lemon contains enough acid to harm tooth enamel, according to the American Dental Association, so it may be best to try a drink with a different garnish (olives are good!). Don’t go to the dark side. Red wine – and green beer – can stain teeth. If you have a drink that’s dyed or naturally dark, be sure to swish with water afterward. Though you may feel the urge to brush, it’s best not to do so immediately afterward: Acidic drinks can make tooth enamel soft, so brushing after enjoying a drink will likely do more harm than good. The bottom line: One night of celebrating probably isn’t going to cause tooth decay or damage. Just make sure it doesn’t become a habit, and remember to maintain good dental health habits like regular brushing and flossing.   1 https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/what-does-alcohol-do-to-your-teeth

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.

Archive



©Delta Dental of Missouri 2012