Posted by & filed under Oral Cancer, Oral Health, Prevention.

Oral cancer diagnosis is on the rise with an estimated 51,540 new cases expected in 2018. At our dental office in Evansville, we understand how serious this life threatening disease is. In fact, the American Cancer Society projects that over 10,000 people in the United States will die from it this year. However, while oral cancer can lead to death, the five-year survival rate is 65%. Part of what contributes to this relatively high chance of survival is due to early diagnosis. During this Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like to help raise awareness by sharing the importance of regular dental checkups that just might save your life.

Early Diagnosis Means Higher Chance of Survival

Oral cancer can be treated successfully. But the chance of survival greatly increases if the disease is caught in the early stages before the cancer has a chance to spread. According to the American Cancer Society, survival rates for different types of oral cancer vary depending on how much time its had to progress. They classify these progressions into three stages including:

  • Local Meaning the cancer has only affect the area which it started.
  • Regional – This term is used for cancer that has spread to other tissues close by the original infection site.
  • Distant Cancer classified as distant has spread even farther to more areas of the body.

Some of the most common areas affected by oral cancer, along with their various five-year survival rates based on the stages listed above can be found in the table below, courtesy of the American Cancer Society.

Lip Tongue Floor of the Mouth
Local 93% 78% 75%
Regional 48% 63% 38%
Distant 52% 36% 20%

How To Catch Oral Cancer Early

The most effective way to diagnose oral cancer early when treatment is more successful is by recognizing the signs. Some of the most common signs of oral cancer include:

  • 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

Additionally, seeing your dentist in Evansville at least every six months can proactively monitor your overall oral health, including screening for oral cancer. Your dental team is trained to look for any areas that may be concerning. Regular dental checkups can help catch oral cancer early so that you can get treatment as soon as possible in order to increase your chances of beating it.

If you notice any potential problem areas or it’s just been awhile since you’ve been to the dentist, we’re always welcoming new patients and encourage you to call our Evansville dental office to schedule an appointment. We’re dedicated to protecting your smile and your overall health.

foods with calcium

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Prevention.

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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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.

nutrition month

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

What 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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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 Evansville, 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.

dog with toothbrush

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Prevention.

The team at our dental office in Evansville 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 Evansville. 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 Evansville dentist.

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

heart health month

Posted by & filed under Gum Disease, Oral Health, Prevention.

When you think about your oral health, you may only consider your teeth. But the bigger truth is that your oral health has a direct link to your overall health and even heart disease. As we begin the annual February celebration of American Heart Health Month, the team at our Evansville dental office has a few important things you need know to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious infection caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth. Untreated plaque buildup can harden into tartar which can only be removed during an appointment with your dentist in Evansville. But if it’s not, the bacteria found in our mouths can infiltrate the gums and cause infection. This could eventually lead to gingivitis, periodontitis, and even tooth loss. But that’s not all. Mounds of research show a strong connection between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.

Heart Disease

When gum disease isn’t treated quickly and properly, it puts your heart in danger. The infection within the gums can move into the bloodstream, and that’s bad news. With the infection in your blood, your body will produce excess amounts of C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP is a known indicator of cardiovascular disease and can lead to serious conditions such as:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes  

Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease can sneak up on people, and you may not realize anything is wrong if you aren’t aware of the typical early warning signs, including:

Early treatment is crucial to treating gum disease before it has a chance to affect the rest of your body. If you’re aware of any of the signs above in your mouth, schedule an appointment with your Evansville dentist as soon as you can.

Prevention

Preventing gum disease can be as easy as brushing properly twice a day, flossing once daily, and seeing your dentist bi-annually to remove any plaque and tartar buildup. You can take it one step further and avoid tobacco products and ensure you’re eating a well-balanced diet.

Reduce your risk of gum disease and other whole-body problems. Schedule an appointment with us today.

man with tooth pain

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Prevention.

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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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 Evansville to schedule a visit.

woman holds toothpaste

Posted by & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry, General Dental Articles.

Everyone 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 Evansville 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 Evansville, 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 Evansville to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to determine the best way to whiten your smile safely and effectively.

young man with a cold

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Prevention.

‘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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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.

woman eats chocolate

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Prevention.

When it comes to talking about food choices that are good for your teeth, your dentist in Evansville has some not-so-surprising go to selections such as veggies, cheeses, and dairy products packed with calcium. But it may surprise you to hear that our dental office in Evansville is also a fan of chocolate.

Fight Cavities, Eat Chocolate!

Recent research conducted on the oral health effects of chocolate have caused dental professionals across the world to take a closer look at the sweet treat. It probably comes as no surprise that dentists typically shy away from sugar-packed snacks such as chocolate. But several studies have shown a positive benefit between consuming dark chocolate and lower amounts of decay.

It’s Not Magic, It’s Science!

It may seem like magic that something so delicious may actually have a host of health benefits, but there’s a solid scientific explanation behind why dark chocolate is actually good for teeth. To better understand the science behind the benefits, we need to take a closer look at what makes up our favorite dark chocolate snacks.

The Good Stuff

The compounds found in dark chocolate, or more specifically the cocoa bean husk, have antibacterial and plaque-fighting properties. One of the main components of dark chocolate, CBH, may even find its way into over-the-counter dental products in the future thanks to the positive research on its beneficial effects. Studies surrounding CBH support the idea that this ingredient may be better at fighting decay than fluoride treatments. But don’t go and pass up the fluoride just yet. More research is needed to truly determine the entire host of CBH benefits.

How Does It Work?

Usually when we eat foods with a lot of sugar content, we leave our teeth exposed to the dangers of the sugars. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and produce acid as a byproduct. This acid eats away at protective enamel and leaves teeth susceptible to cavities. However, the compounds in dark chocolate counteract the high sugar content and the damaging effects that go along with it by releasing their antibacterial properties and fighting off plaque.  

Not Just Any Chocolate Will Do

Keep in mind that these studies look at the benefits of dark chocolate. Milk chocolate as well as white chocolate have a higher sugar content, and eating too much of either may contribute to higher rates of decay.

Following a well-balanced diet can do wonders in helping you keep your mouth healthy and cavity free. Add in a few dark chocolate indulgences, brush and floss regularly, and maintain hygiene appointments at our Evansville dental office for the best preventive approach to good oral health.

holiday stress

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, TMJ Treatment.

Late November is when we gear up for a few weeks of feasts, family, fun, shopping, and all that the holiday season brings. Between arranging schedules to see everyone you need to see, fitting in all the parties you’ve been invited to, cooking large meals, and everything in between, it’s no wonder that stress levels tend to soar this time of year. As we all know, stress can affect our overall wellbeing. But at our dental office in Evansville, we also know stress can jeopardize oral health, too.

What’s With The Jaw Pain?

Our bodies react to stress differently, and we aren’t even aware of some of the things it does when stressed.  Clenching and grinding our teeth tends to be one of those things. When we grind our teeth against each other, the forces put on the teeth can cause them to chip, crack, or break. Clenching can do the same thing, but it also affects the jaw. Habitually clenching our teeth may cause serious jaw pain and, if left untreated, long-term TMJ problems. If you’re experiencing clicking or popping in the jaw joint, jaw pain, or occasional jaw locking give your Evansville dentist a call.

Gum Disease

The main causes of gum disease usually include improper oral hygiene, dry mouth, or smoking. But one of the lesser known risk factors to developing this serious oral health problem is stress. Research has shown a strong link between prolonged stress and a higher risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a health problem that originates in the mouth but also can affect the entire body. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, and other serious health problems.

Stay Calm, Stay Healthy

At our Evansville dental office, we know that life can be super stressful, especially during the holidays. If you find your blood pressure increasing and your anxiety levels rising, try a few of these tips to relax and keep yourself healthy.

  • Eat Well. Fueling your body with the nutrients it needs can keep energy levels high and ready to tackle anything that comes your way.
  • Sleep Often. During the holidays we try to shove so many things into our schedules that sleep is usually the first thing we sacrifice. However, getting enough sleep every night can help ensure your body will stay healthy enough to enjoy all the holiday festivities you have planned.
  • Exercise Regularly. Hit the treadmill, go for a walk, attend a class — whatever you choose to do, make sure you exercise regularly. Exercise is naturally stress reducing, so don’t skip your workouts

The team at our Evansville dental office wish you and your family a happy, healthy holiday season!