Posted by & filed under Oral Cancer, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

Oral Cancer AwarenessApril 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 Memphis, 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 Memphis 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%.

Prevention

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 Memphis dental office to schedule an appointment with us. We’re here to keep your smile, and your whole body, healthy.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

foods with calcium

We all know that calcium is an important ingredient when it comes to building and keeping strong bones. But your skeleton isn’t the only thing that relies on calcium. The truth is, each one of our teeth is made up of 70% calcium! That makes this mineral essential for a lifetime of good oral health. But how much calcium do you really need to reap all of its benefits? Why is it important to keep fueling our bodies with calcium? Our Memphis dental office is here to answer those questions and more.

How Much Calcium Do You Need?

Like most other nutritional guidelines, how much calcium you personally need depends on a few things including your age and gender. As you’ll see in the chart from the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) below, recommended calcium intake varies from age to age and fluctuates over time.   

  • 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

Exactly Why is Calcium Important?

Besides being crucial for strong bones and teeth, calcium is required in order for our bodies to function properly. Day to day, our bodies will extract the calcium it needs from what we have stored in our bones. Since our calcium supply is always being borrowed from, it’s really important that we replace what’s taken out. We do this through eating and drinking foods high in calcium.

Vitamin D is Important, too!

Even if you’re consuming your recommended amount of calcium daily, your Memphis dentist wants you to know that you may still not be replacing what your body uses up. In order for calcium to be properly absorbed by the body it needs the helping hand of vitamin D. So as you’re loading up on calcium-rich foods, make sure to also choose some options with a good amount of vitamin D to really replenish your body’s calcium levels.

What Foods Are High in Calcium?

Calcium is most commonly found in dairy food and drinks including milk, cheese, and yogurt. But dairy isn’t the only food group where you can find calcium-rich choices. Other foods that are high in calcium, and usually vitamin D too, include:

  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Soymilk
  • Orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified cereal

The team at our dental office in Memphis encourages all of our patients to eat not only their recommended daily intake of calcium, but an overall well-balanced diet to keep their bodies, and their smiles, healthy.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

nutrition monthWhat we put into our bodies can certainly affect how we feel and how healthy we are. But eating the right foods to fuel your body goes beyond enhancing overall health. During this National Nutrition Month, your Memphis dentist wants to let all of our patients know how proper nutrition can also benefit your oral health.

What Exactly is Proper Nutrition?

The basics of eating right include reducing your fat and sugar intake while upping the amount of nutrient rich foods. But how much of what things should you be eating? That’s where things aren’t so simple. Ever since the original Food Pyramid Guide was published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992, nutritional recommendations have shifted two more times. The current standards are reflected in MyPlate and vary depending on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. However, most of the common rules of thumb remain the same including focusing on eating plenty of:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Lean Proteins
  • Dairy

How Does Good Nutrition Relate to Oral Health?

The body’s response to eating “bad” foods and drinks increases the likelihood of someone experiencing oral health issues and diseases. Let’s look at foods that are high in sugar, for example. Sweets and beverages like soda and even juices packed with sugar attack tooth enamel. If they’re not rinsed away or are left exposed to the teeth for long periods of time, they will work away at and erode the protective tooth layer. Without this barrier, teeth are more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity. Although almost every food contains some amount of sugar, even the good foods we’re supposed to eat, try your best to stay away from items that have added sugars and remember to read nutritional labels.

Beware of the Hidden Sugars

Sugar content in the sweeter foods that you choose for you and your family isn’t the only thing your dentist in Memphis is wary of. There are hidden sugars everywhere, even in places that don’t taste sweet. Foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates can actually raise blood glucose levels and effect the body the very same way actual sugar does. Since these carbs end up breaking down into simple sugars, they put teeth at the same risk for decay as eating a sweet treat.

Eat Well, Protect Your Smile

At our dental office in Memphis, we strive to keep our patients healthy by being a key member of their health care team. Encouraging a healthy, well-balanced diet is a great way to ensure not only a healthy body, but also a healthy mouth. If you’re looking to become a healthier version of yourself and get your smile in its best shape yet, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today.  

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

dog with toothbrush

The team at our dental office in Memphis is committed to providing our neighbors with top-notch dental care so that each and every patient not only has a healthy smile, but a beautiful one too. However, there are some members of our community whose dental health is often overlooked…we’re talking about our beloved pets. And while we’re not currently accepting patients of the fuzzy kind, we still find it important to share some of the best ways to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

You make sure to brush your teeth twice a day, everyday as recommended by your dentist in Memphis. The same type of care is also important when it comes to the oral health of your pet. You can use a toothbrush designed just for your animal or simply a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger and some pet-friendly toothpaste. Never use a human toothpaste on an animal.

Once you have all the necessary tools to brush your furry friend’s smile, the technique is very similar to brushing your own pearly whites. Hold the brush or your finger at a 45 degree angle and gently scrub in small circles. Pay attention to the side of the teeth that touch the cheek as that area often accumulates the most tartar. Brushing should occur two or three times a week for Fido, and twice a day for yourself.

Give Your Pet Things to Chew

Just like eating tooth-healthy snacks such as apples or cheese can scrub away plaque on your teeth, providing your pet with toys or treats to chew on can do the same for theirs. However, your vet may recommend foregoing the typical hard bone and choosing a dental treat instead. Hard bones, while delicious for dogs, can cause tooth damage. You can also find tons of fun toys that help strengthen teeth and reduce plaque all while playing.

Know the Signs of Disease

Animals can also be affected by dental disease, and as their owner, it’s important that you know what to look out for so you can get to a vet as soon as possible. Typical signs of a problem are very similar in pets and in humans. Keep an eye out for:

  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Swollen gums
  • Loose teeth

If you notice any of these symptoms in your animal, schedule an appointment with your vet. But if you notice them in your own mouth, call your Memphis dentist.

Has it been awhile since your last dental visit? Call our Memphis dental office. We’re always accepting new human patients and would happy to see you.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Periodontal Disease, Preventive Dentistry.

heart health month

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 Memphis, 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 Memphis, 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
  • Strokes

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 Memphis 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 Memphis 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.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Preventive Dentistry.

man with tooth pain

You should go to the dentist at least every six months, but it’s something that’s so often foregone. Whether you miss your dental checkups due to a crazy schedule or perhaps a fear of the dentist, the team at our Memphis dental office is here to both encourage you to keep up with your bi-yearly appointments and to tell you a few instances when you should absolutely schedule a visit right away….

Tooth Pain

Perhaps the most obvious sign that it’s time to see a dentist in Memphis is a toothache. A toothache can be a sign of several oral health problems, and a fast appointment can go a long way in not only relieving the pain, but also avoiding more advanced issues.  

Swollen, Red Gums

Sometimes we tend to ignore the gums and put all of our focus on the teeth. But our gums are an important part of oral health too. If gums are red or swollen, or they bleed during brushing or flossing, it can be an indication of a potentially serious problem such as gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can affect the entire body and has been linked to stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

Increased Sensitivity

Whether you notice the sharp shoots of pain through your teeth when eating something cold or drinking something hot, the truth is tooth sensitivity hurts. This sensitivity can be caused by a number of things including brushing too hard, using too much smile whitening products, or even enamel erosion or receding gums. See your dentist to determine the best way to relieve tooth sensitivity.

Bad Breath

Bad breath may seem like simply an unpleasant thing that we have to deal with. The truth, however, is that chronic bad breath may be an early sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease, and if left untreated, it may lead to tooth loss and other serious oral health and whole body health problems.  

Dry Mouth

Occasional dry mouth typically isn’t something to worry yourself over. But if dry mouth doesn’t get better you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. Dry mouth can be a result of aging or certain medications. But it can also be a sign of disease. If not treated properly dry mouth can increase the risk of cavities and other problems.

The best way to prevent any of these problems from occurring the first place is to maintain regular dental appointments and follow a solid oral hygiene routine at home. However, if you do notice any of the signs above, we welcome you to call our dental office in Memphis to schedule a visit.

Posted by & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Articles.

woman holds toothpasteEveryone dreams of having a brilliant white smile. But the truth is, not all of us are blessed with a dazzlingly bright, superstar smile. In an attempt to transform our grins, we often turn to whitening toothpastes. In fact, nearly $100 million was spent on just two brands of whitening toothpastes in 2017 alone. But there’s something the team at our Memphis dental office thinks you should know about whitening toothpastes.

Whitening Toothpastes Work…

With all the whitening toothpastes available, the good news is many have been proven to be effective at actually whitening teeth. However, whitening toothpaste typically only works to remove surface stains,  and only if used regularly twice a day for several weeks. Additionally, whitening toothpastes do have some risks associated with them. The same abrasive ingredients that makes whitening toothpaste effective at scrubbing away stains can also cause teeth to appear darker. How can that be? If whitening toothpaste is used too often or the brushing technique is too rough, the abrasive consistency can actually wear away tooth enamel and make the inner tooth (dentin) more visible. This dentin is usually dark in color and the more visible it is, the darker the tooth looks. So make sure to use whitening toothpaste as instructed and choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

…But Not All The Time

Whitening toothpastes are usually only effective at removing surface stains. This means that if your staining is deeper, your whitening toothpaste may not be doing much for you. But don’t worry, you don’t need to live with a smile you don’t like. There are plenty of cosmetic dentistry solutions that can transform your look, such as dental veneers or professional smile whitening. Veneers are thin pieces of custom-crafted and custom-colored ceramic that are fused to the front of teeth, effectively covering up any imperfections you don’t like. Professional smile whitening is a stronger whitening solution applied by your dentist and tends to be more effective (and faster!) than a whitening toothpaste or even whitening strips.

Other Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

Besides a professional smile whitening or other cosmetic dentistry treatment from your dentist in Memphis, there are other ways you can work on getting a whiter smile including:  

  • Rinsing with water after drinking your morning coffee or tea
  • Quitting smoking or using chewing tobacco  
  • Eat apples, celery, or cheese. These foods help to keep stains away by gently scrubbing teeth.

If you’ve tried every whitening toothpaste available to you and you’re still not quite happy with the results, call our dental office in Memphis to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to determine the best way to whiten your smile safely and effectively.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

young man with cold

‘Tis the season of stuffy noses, persistent coughs, and sore throats. It’s officially cold and flu season. And even though the team at our dental office in Memphis is committed to keeping our patients and neighbors healthy, there are just some things we can’t fix. The common cold being one of them. But while we may not have a cure, we do have some tips on how to keep your teeth healthy as you treat that pesky cough.

The Secret Dangers of Cough Medicine

Many cough syrups and lozenges do wonders in easing the effects of the common cold. However, their ingredients can be damaging to teeth and oral health. Some of the most popular over-the-counter medicines contain sugar and alcohol — both of which can leave your teeth at risk for decay and damage.

Sugars

Even though the sugars found in many cough syrups and cough drops don’t necessarily have medicinal benefits, they do still have a purpose. Many medicines add sugar to make them taste better so that people can tolerate drinking or sucking on them. But these sugars give the bacteria in the mouth something to feed on, and that’s concerning for your Memphis dentist. As bacteria feed on sugars they release an acidic byproduct. This acid wears away the protective layer of tooth enamel and leaves teeth exposed to decay.

Alcohol

Normally our mouths produce enough saliva to rinse away sugar and the acid caused by bacteria that feed on it. However, alcohol is known to cause dry mouth. When a mouth is dry, there is not enough saliva to wash away the damaging sugars and acids that lead to tooth decay and cavities.

Ease the Effects

We’re certainly not suggesting that you don’t take any medicine to help you cope with your cold, but there are ways you can reduce the effects of the damaging ingredients found in most cough medicines and cough drops. First, avoid taking medicine after your nightly brushing before bed. This will help keep the sugar and alcohol from hanging around damaging your teeth all night long. Next, try taking medication with meals. Our mouths produce more saliva as we eat, and that extra surge in saliva will help rinse away any dangerous ingredients. Lastly, consider a pill form of cough medicine to keep the sugars and alcohol away from teeth altogether.  

All of us at our Memphis dental office hope you can avoid catching a cold or the flu this season. But if you happen to come down with a sickness, follow the tips above to help you feel better and protect your smile at the same time.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

woman eats chocolate

This may first appear as a silly question to ask your dentist in Memphis. Popular opinion would answer it with a resounding, “Yes, chocolate is bad for your teeth. Obviously.” However, our Memphis dental office has a slightly different position when it comes to chocolate and your oral health.

Chocolate’s Secret Benefit for Happy Teeth

For years you’ve been hearing dentists talk about avoiding sweets or enjoying them in moderation since they tend to wreak havoc on your teeth. While still mostly true, recent research has suggested that dark chocolate, specifically, may defy this outdated rule. In fact, studies conducted in the United States, England, and Japan are changing the way the world views dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate: A Serious Cavity Fighter

When we eat anything that has a high sugar content, including dark chocolate’s counterpart milk chocolate, that sugar is left to hang around on teeth. The bacteria in the mouth love this and start to feed on the sugars. What happens next is where the trouble begins. The feeding bacteria produce an acidic byproduct. This acid, if not neutralized or removed, is what causes tooth enamel to break down and leaves teeth at risk for decay and cavities. However, ingredients and compounds found in dark chocolate don’t allow this to occur, which makes it an a-ok treat in our book.

How Does it All Work?

If we eat a piece of dark chocolate, we’re still exposing our teeth to the sugar content. However, the compounds found in the cocoa bean husk, which is a primary ingredient in dark chocolate, help counteract the damaging effects of sugar. These special compounds fight off both the bacteria that would normally feed on the sugar and produce acid as well as any plaque. In fact, some studies suggest that the compounds found in dark chocolate may be more efficient at defending against decay than fluoride. However, more research is needed to test this theory.

Remember, Dark Chocolate is Good Chocolate

While we’d love to be able to tell you eating all types of chocolate is beneficial for your oral health, it’s just not true. These studies that support the health benefits of chocolate are dedicated specifically to dark chocolate. So before you load up on your favorite candy bars, try to make the switch to organic, dark chocolate for the best protection.

Following a well balanced diet of fruits, veggies, grains, and dairy is also important for not only oral health, but whole body health too. But the good news is that we now have a delicious and healthy option for dessert or quick sweet tooth fixes.

To maintain optimal oral health, don’t forget to visit our dental office in Memphis twice a year and properly brush and floss your teeth at home.

holiday stress

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Periodontal Disease, TMJ Treatment.

We’re just beginning the month long craziness of the holiday season. Between the meal preps, travel arrangements, party planning, and everything in between, it’s only normal to feel a little more stressed than normal. It’s no secret that stress can negatively affect overall health, but the team at our Memphis dental office wants you to know it can also be bad for your oral health, too.

Jaw Pain

Your temporomandibular joint, or more commonly known as your jaw joint or TMJ, may be one of the first areas to show signs that you’re a bit too stressed. When we’re overwhelmed, some of us tend to clench our teeth together and not even know we’re doing it. But this clenching can lead to some serious jaw pain or even tooth damage. Sometimes this pain is short lived, but if you start to experience prolonged pain, clicking or popping, or a locked jaw, call your dentist in Memphis.

Canker Sores

Most of us have experienced the unpleasantness of a canker sore. Typically canker sores are caused after we bite ourselves accidentally or another form of trauma. But according to a study by the Academy of General Dentistry, people are more susceptible to canker sores during prolonged periods of stress. These ulcer-like sores are often painful and annoying, but aren’t contagious.

Gum Disease

There’s been a lot of research on the topic of gum disease, which is one of the more serious oral health concerns we encounter. Some of these studies show a positive link between stress and the development of gum disease. Gum disease can affect your mouth, and your entire body. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, and host of other health problems.

Keep Calm and Follow These Pointers

To protect your overall health and oral health this holiday season, practice active ways of easing stress and anxiety. Doing just a few small things can make a big difference including:

  • Eating Well. Following a well-balanced diet even when there are so many holiday snacks readily available is key. When your body is functioning well, it may be easier to keep stress levels under control.
  • Working Out. Whether you decide to go for a brisk walk, enjoy a yoga class, or take a jog, getting active releases endorphins and can lower stress.
  • Limiting Alcohol. Consuming too much alcohol can put our bodies at a disadvantage. Even if you feel the stress release with the first glass of wine, drinking too much can actually have the opposite effect and spike stress.

Even if you do everything in your power to keep your stress levels low, things happen. If you feel that stress is putting your oral health at risk, we welcome you to call our dental office in Memphis. We not only will help get your mouth healthy, we’re pretty calming, too. Perhaps a visit to us is just what you need.