Oral Cancer: Your Dentist Can Save Your Life

Atlanta GA Dentist Office in BuckheadApproximately 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer by 2017’s end. Oral cancer has a very high death rate of 43% at five years from diagnosis, making it an incredibly dangerous form of cancer. One of the scariest causes of the high death rate of oral cancer is that many people with the disease do not realize that they have signs or symptoms of oral cancer until it is the later stages.

As with all diseases and forms of cancer, knowing the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can save your life. Oral cancer screenings help dentists detect oral cancer as early as possible in order to catch the disease before it is too late. Early detection of oral cancer expedites early and aggressive treatment and can lead to better endings and survival rates. At Pure Dental Health, Dr. Scott leads our practice with excellence in dentistry services, including oral cancer screening. Dr. Scott understands how aggressive this disease can be, and he has the experience and ability to spot the earliest warning signs of oral cancer. Continue reading “Oral Cancer: Your Dentist Can Save Your Life”

Easter Basket Treats and Your Child’s Dental Health

If you are a parent, you are very well aware of the fact that parenting requires a delicate balancing act.  As parents, everyday we are faced with the task of letting our children enjoy their childhoods and keeping them safe.  It is not an easy task!  The same is true when it comes to Easter Basket treats and your children’s dental health.

Despite recent advances in education, oral hygiene and dental care, tooth decay in American children remains a serious problem.  We know that eating foods that are high in sugar can cause tooth decay, particularly when they remain on the teeth for prolonged periods of time.  This is because when those sugary foods break down, they produce bacteria and the bacteria is what causes tooth decay.

So, how do you let your children enjoy their Easter treats without sacrificing their dental health?  Again, it requires a delicate balancing act on the part of the parents.  Basically, you can allow your child to enjoy sugary Easter treats, however, you need to limit the frequency and amount.  You can also be smart about helping your child choose the types of sweets he or she enjoys.  Sticky, gooey treats such as gummy bears and worms, licorice, fruit rollups and taffy will adhere to the teeth and tend to stay on the teeth longer.  If you are going to allow your child to enjoy these types of treats, you should limit the frequency and encourage him or her to brush their teeth immediately after they finish eating.  Or, if a toothbrush is not readily accessible, you should encourage your child to rinse his or her mouth out with water.

You can also make suggestions to the Easter Bunny about what types of treats to leave in your child’s basket.  This year, ask the Easter Bunny to mix in some fruit, pencils, stickers, crayons, sidewalk chalk etc. into your child’s Easter basket.  That way, you can still enjoy this fun family tradition, without the guilt!

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

 
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Dental Hygiene and the Risk for HPV

A recent study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research suggests that infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) could be linked to poor oral health, including gum disease.  In the study, researchers from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston analyzed data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).  This survey was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics: a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  There were 3, 439 participants in the data: all between the ages of 30 and 69 years.  Participants were chosen based on the following criteria: 1.  available oral health data, and 2.  the presence or absence of HPV in the oral cavity.  Findings of the study showed that the participants who reported bad oral health had a 56% higher chance of developing an oral HPV infection compared with those who had good oral health.  Those with gum disease showed a 51% higher risk of an oral HPV infection.

The study did not directly link HPV to poor oral health, yet it does suggest that there may be a link between these two factors.  Clearly, more research is needed on this important topic.  However, it does confirm the importance of maintaing good oral hygiene and oral health.  Brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing at least once daily can go a long way in preventing periodontal disease and safeguarding your long-term dental health.  This study also highlights the importance of visiting the dentist regularly (once every six months) for routine dental cleanings and checkups.

HPV is currently the leading cause of throat cancer.  If you would like to get more information about how to improve your oral health and reduce your chances of developing an oral HPV infection, talk to your dentist today.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Smokeless Tobacco and Your Risk For Oral Cancer

If you are currently using smokeless tobacco, you are putting your oral health and your overall health at risk. Smokeless tobacco is one of the leading causes of oral cancers: very aggressive cancers that form in the mouth and throat.  If not detected early and aggressively treated, these forms of cancers are associated with very high mortality rates.

The most common signs and symptoms of mouth cancers include the following:

•  persistent cough

•  hoarseness or changes in your voice

•  difficulty swallowing

•  ear pain

•  lump or sore in your mouth or throat that does not heal

•  weight loss

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should notify your physician immediately so he or she can examine your mouth and throat and run the necessary tests to properly diagnose your condition.

To aid in the early detection of oral cancers, most dentists are now performing oral cancers screenings as a part of a routine dental examination.  If you are receiving routine dental examinations every six-months, you should be receiving the screenings you need to detect oral cancer in its earliest stages.  Early detection and treatment is currently the best defense we have against this serious and potentially deadly disease.  If you have not been to a dentist for a routine dental examination in more than six months, it is time to schedule that appointment.

You can also decrease your risk for oral cancers by quitting smoking or using smokeless tobacco products.  If you are currently using tobacco in any form, talk to your doctor today about a healthy strategy for quitting.

Posted on the behalf of Justin Scott

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The Importance of Regular Oral Cancer Screenings

When is the last time you were screened for oral cancer?  If it has been a while, or, if you have never been screened, now is the time.  Most dentists, including Dr. Justin Scott of Pure Dental Health, offer oral cancer screenings as a part of a comprehensive dental examination.  Screening patients for oral cancer every year helps to detect it as soon as possible so that the disease can be caught before it is too late.  Early detection of oral cancer facilitates early and aggressive treatment and can lead to better outcomes and survival rates.  Early detection is especially important when dealing with oral cancers because the mortality rates for these types of cancers are higher than with other types of cancer.  In fact, of the approximately 37,000 Americans who will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone, 8,000 will die.  Eighteen thousand of these Americans will die within five years of their diagnoses.

In addition to receiving regular oral cancer screenings, it is important to communicate with your dentist or a physician if you notice continued changes in your mouth or throat.  This could include swelling, sores (ulcers), numbness, or difficulty swallowing or chewing.  However, it is important to note that oral pain does not always occur with oral cancer.  This is another reason why it is important to get screened regularly, even if you are not having any symptoms.

Smoking and excessive alcohol use have both been linked to oral cancer.  Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation can go a long way in reducing your risks of developing this aggressive and potentially deadly form of cancer.  For more information about the risks and symptoms of oral cancer or to schedule an oral cancer screening, schedule an appointment with a qualified dentist today.

Posted on the Behalf of Pure Dental Health.

 

 

 

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

With all the different types and brands of toothbrushes available on the market today, how do you choose the one that is right for your needs?  When choosing a toothbrush, you must first decide if you want to go with a manual (disposable) one or a powered (electric) model.  Experts differ on which of these types is the best for your oral health, however, all agree that the most important thing is to brush effectively with some type of toothbrush at least twice per day.  Electric models can be safer on your teeth and gums if you tend to brush too vigorously, however, the cost for electric toothbrushes tend to be much higher than manual toothbrushes.

Whether you choose an electric or a manual model, it is important to factor in both the size and the bristle variety.  You should select a toothbrush that is the right size to allow easy access to all the surfaces of your teeth.  For most adults, a head that is 1/2 inches wide and one inch long will work the best.  It is also important to select a toothbrush with a handle that is long enough for you to comfortably hold it in your hand.  As far as the bristle variety, you can choose from soft, medium and hard bristles.  Soft bristled toothbrushes are the most comfortable and safest for most people as medium and hard bristled toothbrushes can damage your gums, root surfaces and protective tooth enamel if you brush too hard.  If the bristles have rounded tips this will offer even more protection against damaging your teeth and gums.

If you are shopping for a new toothbrush, it is a good idea to get a recommendation from your dentist as far as which type will work best for your specific needs.  It is also a good idea to select a toothbrush that has the seal of approval from the American Dental Assocation (ADA).

Posted on the Behalf of Pure Dental Health.

 

 

 

 

Smoking and Your Oral Health

Most of us are well aware of the negative effects that smoking has on your overall health.  However, smoking also has a significant negative impact on your oral health.  Besides causing bad breath and tooth discoloration, smoking can also cause more serious oral health problems such as periodontal (gum) disease and oral cancer.

Periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in the United States.  Smoking and using other tobacco products can lead to periodontal disease by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to you teeth.  Also, it appears that smoking interferes with the normal functions of gum tissue cells making smokers more susceptible to gum disease.  This interference may also impair blood flow to the gums which may affect wound healing and make dental procedures such as dental implants less effective.

Oral cancer is a serious type of cancer found in the oral cavity and/or throat.  Your risk for developing this type of cancer is much higher if you are a smoker.  The mortality rates with oral cancer are higher than many other types of cancer because it is commonly discovered in the later stages.  This makes oral cancer screening a very important part of regular dental checkups.

Quitting smoking can decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, oral cancer and many other serious medical conditions.  It can also improve both the appearance and the health of your teeth and gums and help you to keep your teeth longer.  For more information about the effect of smoking on your oral health, talk to a qualified Dentist in your local area.  You can also find helpful information regarding smoking cessation on The American Cancer Society website.

Posted on the Behalf of Pure Dental Health.