Everyday Habits and Oral Health

Tooth enamel has the pretty cool reputation of being the hardest substance in the human body. So it may come as a surprise to know that while enamel is super tough, it can also break quite easily! The truth is that our teeth are not invincible, and a lot of everyday habits can put our oral health at risk.

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What Causes Stained Teeth?

We often take steps to achieve that sparkling white smile when we brush in the morning and before we go to bed. The truth is, what we consume throughout the day is often the largest contributor to whether or not our smile will light up a room.

Although there are several causes for tooth discoloration, we can separate them into three basic categories: intrinsic, extrinsic, and age-related discoloration. Here’s how each affects your teeth, and what you can do to ensure a life full of bright, healthy smiles.

 

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Facts About Flossing

We have all heard that flossing our teeth is important… but is it really? Why should we floss, when, and how often? Are there different ways to floss, or techniques that are more effective? According to the American Dental Association, or ADA, flossing is essential, and should be done at least once a day to remove food and plaque from between teeth. The most important thing about flossing is simply that we do it!
Maybe you have heard that there is a certain time that is the “best” time to floss.

 

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Oral Cancer and Early Detection: VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, there is a series of startling new facts related to the diagnosis, cause, and treatment of oral cancer:

  • Roughly 48,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year alone.
  • One person dies every hour from the disease, totaling more than 9,500 lives lost each year.
  • Forty-three percent of those diagnosed will not be alive in five years.
  • Mortality rates for oral cancer are significantly higher than other forms of cancer, such as thyroid, cervical, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and several others.
  • Oral cancer death rates are particularly high because of late-stage detection — not because it is difficult to diagnose.
  • The HPV16 virus is another obstacle in early detection, because it does not cause the telltale lesions generally associated with oral cancer.
  • People who survive oral cancer are 20 times more likely to develop the disease a second time.
  • Oral cancer is often undetected by the patient, as there is rarely pain or other noticeable symptoms.
  • It is estimated that the United States spends $3.2 billion annually on treatment of the disease.
  • The majority of those diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 40, though instances of younger individuals getting the disease is on the rise, because of smokeless forms of tobacco and the sexually transmitted disease, HPV16.
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Oral Cancer: What are the causes, and am I at risk?

The fact is clear: oral cancer kills.  About one person every hour in the US dies from a type of oral cancer, over 48,000 people every year.  One of the dangers of this cancer is that it can go unnoticed in its early stages. It can be painless, and physical changes may not be obvious. For these reasons, late stage discovery is more common than early detection, which leads to a higher mortality rate.  What, then, are the causes of oral cancers, and how do we know if we are at risk of developing it?

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Oral Cancer: Knowledge and Early Detection are Key

What is Oral Cancer?  We hear about it occasionally, but not many people know much about it.  What are the signs of this disease?  Is it preventable or detectable?  Are there different stages, and what are they?  We probably all have questions like these.  Knowledge is a powerful key to prevention, detection and treatment of this terrible disease.

Oral, or Pharyngeal Cancer is the largest group of cancers which fall into the head and neck cancer category, making up about 85%. Common names for oral cancer include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer.  Oral cancer is a very common cancer; about 48,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year alone.  It is estimated that one person dies every hour from oral cancer.  The survival rate at 5 years from the time of diagnosis is slightly over half, or about 58% of all people diagnosed.  Oral cancer mortality rates are higher than other widely known cancers such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid. This is mostly due to discovery, diagnosis and treatment taking place in the later stages of the cancer, not because it is more difficult than other cancers to find and diagnose.  

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Preventing Tooth Decay: Are Dental Sealants Necessary?

When we eat or drink anything containing sugar, the plaque (a film of sticky bacteria) on our teeth turns the sugar into acids that eat away at tooth enamel.  Over time, this can cause tooth decay, or holes in the teeth called cavities.  There is, however, a great way to protect your teeth and prevent tooth decay.

A dental sealant is a resin that is applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth, mostly in children and teens.  The sealant fills in the pits and grooves on the tooth’s surface, acting as a barrier to keep out plaque and food particles.  This is recommended by dental professionals to keep decay from starting in the deep grooves of the molar surfaces.  

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Fluoride in Water- Is it Safe?

Whether or not it is safe to put fluoride in drinking water has been up for debate for quite some time.  Do the benefits outweigh the risks?  Is it deemed safe for the population as a whole?  How does fluoridated water benefit me and my family?  Let’s take a look at what the American Dental Association says about this topic.

According to the ADA, scientific research done over the last 70 years has consistently shown that “an optimal level of fluoride in community water is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay by at least 25% in both children and adults.” As of 2012, about 75% of American communities fluoridate their water supply, which is simply adding fluoride to the tap water supply to bring it up to the optimal level to help prevent cavities.  According to their website, the American Dental Association (ADA) “supports community water fluoridation as the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay.”

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Traveling Dental Checklist

Your Traveling Dental Checklist – Check It Twice!

“‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Nothing was getting brushed, not even my mouth”

That’s not the poem you want to read this holiday, and if you pack properly before you travel, you won’t have to. So after loading up your favorite ugly Christmas sweater, computer and phone charger, make sure you don’t forget the necessities that will determine the success of your trip: the toiletries for your mouth.

Here’s a checklist you can use to ensure your teeth are taken care of this year:

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