April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and all month long is dedicated to educating the public on the seriousness of the disease. At our dental office in Asheboro, we’d like to help our community by discussing some current oral cancer statistics, sharing the most common symptoms, and talking about some factors that can put you at increased risk.
Oral Cancer Cases Continue to Grow in America
According to the American Cancer Society, just over 51,500 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. That’s an increase of over 1,750 from 2017.
Death Rates Have Remained the Same Over 10 Years
Even though the survival rate for oral cancer is 65%, it still takes the lives of thousands of Americans every year. In 2018, an estimated 10,000 will die. Advancements in treatment options helped reduced the mortality rates in the past, however they have remained steady over the past 10 years.
Catching Oral Cancer Early Can Save Your Life
One of the contributing factors to the 65% oral cancer survival rate is due to early diagnosis and treatment intervention. The best way you can help protect yourself is by recognizing the signs of oral cancer and seeing your dentist in Asheboro as soon as possible if notice any of the common symptoms including:
- A sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away and bleeds easily
- A chronic white or red area
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue
- A lump on the cheek, tongue, or throat
- Coughing up blood
- Ear pain
Tobacco Use Increases the Risk of Oral Cancer
It’s a well known fact that smoking causes lung cancer, but it can also cause other types of cancer including oral cancer. In fact, 80% of those who have oral cancer smoke or use other forms of tobacco. Quitting can help reduce your risk.
So Does Drinking Alcohol Excessively
Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer consume alcohol heavily. And if someone both drinks excessively and smokes, their risk for oral cancer may be as high as 100%.
Avoiding known risk factors such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol can certainly help lower your chances of developing oral cancer. However, there are other factors that we can’t control. For example, men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women and those over the age of 55 are most commonly affected by the disease. While we can’t do much to change those risks, we can do our best to protect ourselves by practicing good oral hygiene and maintaining dental checkups every six months. These appointments can help in catching oral cancer early when chances of successful treatment and survival are highest.
We welcome all of our neighbors to call our Asheboro dental office to schedule an appointment with us. We’re here to keep your smile, and your whole body, healthy.
When most people think of calcium, they often associate it with building super strong bones. While that’s certainly part of its benefits, the team at our dental office in Asheboro also knows that calcium is crucial for a strong smile, too. But before you start diving in to a calcium-rich diet, consider some important facts to keep your body, and mouth, healthy.
Know How Much Calcium You Need
Your recommended level of calcium intake depends on your age and your gender. The following chart from the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) shows just how much calcium each age group needs each and every day.
- 0-6 months = 200 mg for both males and females
- 7-12 months = 260 mg for both males and females
- 1-3 years = 700 mg for both males and females
- 4-8 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
- 9-18 years = 1,300 mg for both males and females
- 19-50 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
- 51-70 years = 1,000 mg for males, 1,200 mg for females
- 71+ years = 1,200 mg for both males and females
Too Much Calcium Is a Real Thing
While you should always try your best to get your recommended daily intake of calcium, there’s no need to go overboard. In fact, your Asheboro dentist wants you to know that ingesting too much calcium can have adverse effects on your oral and overall health. Excess calcium can lead to gum disease, plaque deposits, and has even been studied to potentially increase the risk for heart disease. Just like most things in life, calcium is best in moderation. Make sure to follow the recommended amount for your age and gender.
Mix in Some Vitamin D
Even if you’re getting your recommended intake of calcium daily, it may not be enough to keep your bones and teeth strong. In order for calcium to be absorbed into the body properly, it needs an adequate amount of vitamin D, too. Your body needs both vitamin D and calcium to function, so read the nutrition labels on your food and provide yourself with a nice mix of the two.
Look Past the Dairy Aisle
The most common way to get calcium is to eat or drink dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese. And while those are excellent sources of calcium, and usually vitamin D too, there are plenty of other non-dairy options to explore including:
- Orange juice
- Calcium-fortified cereal
Our Asheboro dental office strives to keep our patients as healthy as possible, and not just their smiles. That’s why we encourage each and every one of them to eat well balanced meals and get enough calcium and vitamin D. That, along with maintaining bi-annual dental visits and brushing and flossing regularly, will help keep their smiles and bodies strong, for life.
Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month to raise awareness on the importance of eating a healthy diet for overall health. At our dental office in Asheboro, we want to do our part and take this opportunity to also share the oral health benefits of eating a well-balanced diet.
Nutrition Can Be Confusing
While we know the basics to eating well include things such as avoiding too much fast food and eating more vegetables, the ins and outs to really optimizing your nutrition can get convoluted and confusing. Things have changed from the days of the Food Guide Pyramid released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992. In fact, they’ve changed twice. Currently, the USDA recommends following the MyPlate recommendations for dietary guidelines. However, it’s still not quite that simple. The MyPlate model is individualized based on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. So proper nutrition isn’t so clearly defined anymore. Head on over to the MyPlate Checklist to find your ideal balance, but essentially a lot of the basics still stand, including eating plenty of:
- Whole Grains
- Lean Proteins
What Does This Have to do with Your Mouth?
Following a well-balanced diet has been proven to keep you healthy and help protect your body from serious diseases. It turns out, what you eat also affects the health of your mouth, too. If you choose nutrient-rich foods and follow your MyPlate recommendations, you’re taking steps to keep your oral health in great shape. However, if your diet is poor, you’re putting your mouth at increased risk for dental problems.
Your dentist in Asheboro really doesn’t like sugar, and with good reason. This sweet stuff can wreak havoc on your teeth. When sugar is introduced to the mouth, acid levels surge. It’s this acid that attacks tooth enamel, wearing it down and leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and at risk for decay and cavities. A reduction in enamel may also increase tooth sensitivity or give teeth a dark, dull appearance.
But Wait, There’s More!
Although sugar tends to get all of the attention when it comes to talking about food and oral health, there are hidden sugars you should be aware of. Carbohydrates, while not typically sweet in taste, break down into simple sugars as we eat them. These sugars are just as dangerous as the stuff found in sugar-packed treats. Try to get into the habit of reading nutrition labels to reduce both your sugar and carbohydrate intake, as well as your fat, cholesterol, and sodium consumption.
Our Asheboro dental office prides ourselves as being active members of your healthcare team, and we’re to help get you healthy any way we can. Schedule your appointment with us today.
Although our dental office in Asheboro is focused on keeping our human patients’ mouths healthy, we also understand just how important it is to take care of your furry friends’ dental health, too. During this National Pet Dental Health Month, we’re switching things up to talk about some common pet oral health tips that aren’t so different from your own dental needs.
Brush Their Teeth
To some, brushing your pet’s teeth may sound unnecessary and perhaps even a bit silly. But our furry friends’ mouths aren’t so much different than ours, and brushing their teeth is an important part of keeping your dog or cat in good oral health. Just like humans should visit their dentist in Asheboro to get a professional teeth cleaning, pets should also visit a vet to get the same. However, instead of the recommended bi-annual cleanings for humans, pets only need a thorough cleaning once a year. In between those visits, you can take steps to keep their mouths healthy at home. Consider wrapping a piece of clean gauze around a finger and gently scrubbing your pet’s teeth using a dedicated toothpaste just for animals. Doing this two or three times a week can go a long way in fighting tartar and plaque buildup.
Let Them Chew
While we normally discourage our pets from gnawing on things around the house, chewing on toys or bones can actually help strengthen teeth and minimize plaque. But not just any bone or toy will do. For example, a tough, solid bone may be your go-to pick, but these types of bones can increase the risk of breaking a tooth. There are plenty of treats and toys that are designed to stimulate the gums and remove tartar. It should be noted that chewing doesn’t remove the need for proper brushing, just as you eating smile-friendly foods doesn’t mean you should stop brushing.
Be Aware of a Problem
When we talk to our patients about the signs of a potential dental disease or problem, we highlight symptoms such as:
These symptoms also apply to your pet. If you notice any signs of concern, contact your vet as soon as possible.
Taking care of your pets’ oral health can set them up for a lifetime of good overall health. Just don’t forget to take care of your own, too. Regular visits to your Asheboro dentist, along with a great at-home routine, are the best ways to ensure your smile is in the best shape.
At our Asheboro dental office, we’re always welcoming new patients of the human kind and would be happy to see you! Give us a call today!
February is nationally recognized as Heart Health Month. Every year the American Heart Association and medical professionals across the country join together to publicize the seriousness of heart disease and educate the population on how to reduce your risk. At our dental office in Asheboro, we want to help do our part and bring awareness to how your oral health is directly linked to your heart health.
The Oral Health, Heart Health Connection
It’s been said that your eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, another phrase we should be promoting is that your mouth is the window to your overall health. Throughout the years, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between oral health and overall health, including its link to heart disease.
It’s All About the Gums
When you come to see your dentist in Asheboro, your dental team is looking at more than just your teeth. We’re also taking an incredibly close look at the health of your gums. Your gums play an important role not only in your oral health and keeping your teeth in place, but also in the health of your heart. If gum disease is present and left untreated, the infection can transfer into the bloodstream. When this happens, your body responds by producing more C-reactive protein (CRP). Higher than normal levels of CRP can cause some serious health issues including:
- Inflamed arteries
- Blood clots
- Heart attacks
Signs of Gum Disease
Since gum disease can develop quickly, it’s important to be aware of the most common signs so that you can get it treated immediately. Early intervention is the key to a easier and more successful treatment. If you notice any of the signs below, contact your Asheboro dentist as soon as possible.
Protect Your Gums, Protect Your Heart
Prevention of gum disease is one way you can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Make sure you brush your teeth, floss every day, and maintain visits to our Asheboro dental office at least twice a year. These bi-annual appointments help remove buildup on teeth that, if left alone, could develop into gum disease or other oral health problems.
Don’t put yourself at risk to the seriousness of heart disease. Schedule an appointment with us today.
Regular dental cleanings and exams can go a long way in keeping your mouth healthy. But when we miss these bi-annual appointments, the likelihood that a dental problem will pop up increases. These dental problems can be painful and even lead to more serious complications if left untreated. The team at our Asheboro dental office encourages you to call to schedule an appointment with us if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
Bleeding While Brushing or Flossing
Some may say that seeing some blood while brushing or flossing is normal. We’re here to tell you that it’s not. In fact, blood is never normal and may even be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease a serious oral health problem that requires professional treatment. If it’s not treated quickly and effectively gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other whole-body problems including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
Any Tooth Pain
Experiencing any form of tooth pain is your mouth’s way of telling you that something isn’t right in there and that you should get help. While the reasons behind toothaches can vary from anything from a cavity to a damaged dental restoration, the best way to get to the bottom of it and get relief is to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Asheboro as soon as you can.
Having sensitive teeth could be a result of something as simple as brushing too hard or whitening your teeth too much. Other times, however, tooth sensitivity can also be caused by more serious things such as eroding enamel or receding gums. Both of these issues require a professional diagnosis and treatment plan in order to relieve the painful zingers of sensitivity.
Chronic Bad Breath
Bad breath may be no big deal, but if doesn’t go away it could be a sign of serious problem. Bad breath is often a sign of gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease. If not treated quickly the gingivitis can easily progress into gum disease and may eventually lead to tooth loss and the other whole-body concerns we mentioned earlier.
These dental problems aren’t something to ignore and won’t go away on their own. The best way to diagnose and treat any of the issues above is to call our dental office in Asheboro as soon as you notice something isn’t quite right. After all, many oral health complications are treated successfully and easily if caught early.
Whether due to aging, smoking, or drinking too much tooth-staining tea, there are plenty of things that can cause our pearly whites to be, well… not so white. If you’re one of the many people who are trying to score a whiter smile by using whitening toothpastes, our dental office in Asheboro wants you to read on…
3 Pros of Whitening Toothpaste
There can be some benefits using whitening toothpaste. Some of these positives may include:
- Effective Removal of Surface Stains. Most whitening toothpastes can effectively scrub away surface stains. So far, the stuff looks pretty good.
- Easy to Use. If you can use regular toothpaste, you can use a whitening toothpaste. Just dab a little on your toothbrush and gently brush twice a day.
- Most Affordable Option. At just a few bucks a tube, whitening toothpaste is appealing to many who are trying to get a whiter smile.
3 Cons of Whitening Toothpaste
However, using a whitening toothpaste isn’t all positive. While it may be effective, easy to use, and fairly cheap, there are also some disadvantages including:
- It Takes a Long Time to See Results. A key part of making whitening toothpaste work is using it regularly. This means brushing with it twice a day, every day. Even then it could take weeks to see a change in color.
- Could Cause More Harm Than Good. Whitening toothpastes are packed with abrasive ingredients. That’s another part of what makes it work. But it’s also what can cause damage. The abrasive texture of whitening toothpastes can wear away enamel, leaving teeth at risk for decay and sensitivity. Thinner enamel can also cause teeth to appear darker, which really isn’t the look we were going for.
- It May Not Work for You. Sometimes tooth staining goes deeper than the surface, making whitening toothpastes essentially ineffective. But don’t panic. Cosmetic dentistry such as dental veneers can still transform your smile.
Alternatives to Whitening Toothpaste
Even though whitening toothpaste tends to be the go-to option for getting a whiter smile, there are other things you can do to help get, and keep, your teeth pearly white.
- After drinking tea or coffee, rinse your mouth out with water.
- Stop smoking or using chewing tobacco.
- Eat more apples, cheese, or celery to gently rub away potential stains.
- Consider a professional smile whitening from your dentist in Asheboro.
The best way to whiten your smile depends on several things, and there is no one solution that’s right for everyone. To find out what will help get you a whiter smile, we welcome you to schedule an appointment our Asheboro dental office.
When you’re dealing with a cough that just won’t go away, you’d give anything to make it stop. So you do what anyone battling the common cold would do and head to your nearest pharmacy to load up on the best over-the-counter cough syrup you can find. While this remedy can finally make your coughing ease up, there is a link between this soothing fix and cavities that your Asheboro dentist wants you to know about.
The Danger is in The Ingredients
Most cough medicines and cough drops contain ingredients that, although made to help treat your cold symptoms, can also be damaging to your oral health. Many of the top medicines designed to help suppress that chronic tickle in your throat contain sugar and alcohol – both of which can contribute to tooth decay and other problems.
Sugar is a common ingredient in many medicines for one reason – to make them not taste so horrible. However, these sugars are just the thing that bacteria love to feed on. When bacteria feed on sugars, they release a acidic byproduct. This acid wears away the protective tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to decay.
A healthy mouth is one that produces saliva adequately and remains moist throughout the day. This saliva helps neutralize and rinse away acids caused by the sugar-eating bacteria. However, when alcohol is introduced into the mouth, saliva production is greatly decreased. Alcohol is naturally drying and inhibits your mouths ability to produce as much saliva as it should. A dry mouth is the perfect place for acid to wear away enamel, increasing the likelihood of decay.
Reduce the Risk
Just because your favorite cough medicine may contain these damaging ingredients doesn’t mean you have to suffer through your cold. There are a few ways you can reduce the risk of tooth decay and still find relief..
- Take your medicine with food. Saliva production increases while eating so it can help wash away dangerous sugars and acids.
- Avoid taking cough medicine right before bed. If you take medicine after you brush your teeth, the sugars and acids stay on your teeth all night.
- Try a pill form of the medicine instead of a liquid. A pill reduces the amount of damaging ingredients that come in contact with teeth.
At our dental office in Asheboro, it’s our mission to keep our patients healthy, especially during cold and flu season when germs are aplenty. Even if you try every trick in the book to keep germs at bay, sometimes catching the dreaded sore throat, stuffy nose, or constant cough is inevitable. When this happens, we want you to be cautious of how you ease the symptoms to keep your smile healthy.
We’ve got some fantastic news for all of our patients and neighbors with an active sweet tooth! It may come as a surprise, but the team at our Asheboro dental office is telling everyone to go ahead and eat chocolate — for your smile’s sake! But before you head out to buy a dozen of your candy bars, keep in mind that not just any chocolate will do.
Dark Chocolate: The Secret Cavity Fighter
Recent studies conducted by researchers in the United States, England, and Japan show a strong correlation between dark chocolate its ability to ward off decay, cavities, and problem causing plaque. There’s even some evidence to support the idea that dark chocolate may be just as effective, or perhaps more-so, at fighting off cavities as fluoride. However, we’re not suggesting that you pass on your regular fluoride treatments. More research and testing is needed before we can make an absolute claim as to effectiveness of dark chocolate.
Why Dark Chocolate?
It’s not necessarily the dark chocolate itself that has all the oral health benefits. In fact, most credit is being given to compounds found within dark chocolate, or more specifically the cocoa bean husk. All of the beneficial compounds found in dark chocolate are incredibly unique in that they have the ability to fight off both bacteria and plaque. There are even talks of one of these compounds, CBH, becoming an active ingredient in some dental products such as mouthwash and toothpaste because of its benefits.
Why is This Good News?
When we eat anything that contains a lot of sugar, we put our teeth at risk for decay and cavities. As we snack on these sweet treats, sugar gets left behind in the mouth. But it’s not the sugar itself that causes the problem, it’s the bacteria that feed on the sugar. As bacteria fuel up on leftover sugar particles, they also release acid as a byproduct. This acid wears away the protective enamel, leaving teeth exposed to decay. What’s so unique and interesting about dark chocolate is that the bacteria and plaque fighting compounds counteract this process by eliminating bacteria from the beginning.
Remember, Not All Chocolate is Good Chocolate
It’s important to remember that these studies and beneficial oral health claims are limited to dark chocolate and do not include milk chocolate or white chocolate. Even so, not all dark chocolate is created equal either. Try to find dark chocolate with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving. If you can get your hands on organic dark chocolate, that’s even better. Besides having oral health benefits, dark chocolate is also loaded with antioxidants and can be beneficial to overall health too, so don’t shy away from snacking on it.
As always, it’s also important, to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine at home and visit our dental office in Asheboro twice a year for an optimally healthy mouth.
Every year around this time, we begin the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Coordinating schedules, braving the crowds at the grocery store and in the mall, cooking meals, and all the craziness that comes along with preparing for the holidays is bound to increase stress levels. But during a time when we’re supposed to be enjoying friends and family, stress is that last thing we want to get in the way. After all, as everyone at our dental office in Asheboro knows, stress can wreak havoc on not only our overall health, but oral health as well.
A Little Clench & Grind
During times of increased stress, we tend to subconsciously clench our teeth tightly together or grind them against each other. While this may seem like no big deal, if done repeatedly over a long period of time, grinding and clenching can cause damage to both the teeth as well as the jaw joint. Putting constant force on the teeth can lead to chipped, cracked, or fractured teeth, while habitually engaging jaw muscles may cause TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can be painful and may lead to long term problems. So if you’re experiencing any popping, clicking, or locking in the jaw joint, we recommend contacting your Asheboro dentist.
Usually we talk about gum disease being caused by an improper hygiene routine or missing regular visits with your dentist. However, recent research has also shown a positive link between stress and the development of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects your mouth, but your whole body as well. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, heart disease, and pregnancy complications, along with a host of other health problems.
Take It Easy for Health’s Sake
To help protect your body and oral health during the stressful holiday season, we encourage you find ways to help yourself relax. Check out the following tips for a few things to try.
- Breath it Out. Something as simple as setting aside a few moments to take a few deep breaths can really help lower stress. Practicing deep breathing exercises has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce overall anxiety levels.
- Work it Out. Hit the gym, go for a walk, do some yoga. Whatever you choose to do, just get your heart pumping and sweat it out. Physical exercise can do wonders to decrease stress, and all the other health benefits don’t hurt either.
- Sleep it Off. It can be difficult to get enough sleep during non-crazy times of the year. And during the holidays it can be even harder. Remember to schedule in time to make sure you’re catching enough zzz’s. Giving your body a chance to relax can keep you healthy so you can actually enjoy everything the holidays have to offer.
From all of us at our Asheboro dental office, we hope you have a great holiday season with limited stress and anxiety and packed full of friends, family, laughs, and great memories.