In just a few days we’ll celebrate National Women’s Health Week which kicks off appropriately on Mother’s Day, May 13th. This seven day celebration serves to raise awareness of the importance of following healthy habits for women of all ages. At our dental office in Evansville, we know that dental health is an important part of overall health, and there are certain areas of oral health that specifically affect women throughout different phases of life.
Women’s Oral Health Priorities Change Over Time
As bodies change, chemistry throughout the body tends to change too. This includes the mouth. Since women experience hormonal changes at various times in their life, they actually have more oral health concerns to worry about, particularly during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
Typically puberty in girls begins between 8 and 14 years old. Girls will experience quite a transformation during this time since a lot is happening inside their bodies. Hormone levels fluctuate and these hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, can affect oral health. Both estrogen and progesterone increase blood flow to the gums which may cause them to become inflamed, red, and sore. Bacteria in the mouth can also build up easier, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease.
Just as during puberty, hormone levels continue to ebb and flow throughout a women’s childbearing years. Gums may still become sore or perhaps bleed when brushing or flossing close to when a period is about to begin. Some women may even experience a canker sore during this time. During menstruation, it’s also common to experience a decrease in saliva production, which will make a mouth feel dry and can potentially cause the breath to smell bad.
Another time in a woman’s life when hormones and dental health changes is during pregnancy. Since about half of all pregnant women will get pregnancy gingivitis, dental care is especially important. What’s more is that poor dental health during pregnancy has been associated with premature babies, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. It’s recommended that pregnant women visit their dentist in Evansville during the second trimester.
During menopause women’s estrogen levels drop… which is directly related to bone loss. Women who have gone through menopause are aware of the risks associated with bone loss and are most commonly concerned with osteoporosis. While osteoporosis leads to brittle bones, it can also decrease bone density in the jaw increasing the risk of tooth loss. There are several ways dentists can replace these lost or damaged teeth, including dental implants and dentures.
Our Evansville dental office is here to care for all of our patients during every stage of life. If you’re experiencing changes in your oral health, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, there’s no better time than now to schedule an appointment. Give us a call today!
As the weather gets warmer we all tend to spend more time outside. And perhaps our kids are participating in some fun spring sports. While we’re happy that they’re out the house doing something active, it’s not all fun and games when smiles and faces are at risk for injuries. That’s one reason our Evansville dental office chooses to do our part to promote National Facial Protection Month.
About National Facial Protection Month
Sponsored by the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists, National Facial Protection Month is an awareness campaign that strives to educate parents and children on the importance of using proper protection to help prevent injuries while participating in sports. And based on the data you’re about to see, it’s an important cause that we can surely get behind.
The Data on Sports Injuries
According to an article by Johns Hopkins, more than 3.5 million kids under the age of 15 are hurt every year participating in a sport or similar recreational activities. Of those, over 770,000 kids are hurt bad enough to require a trip to the emergency room. Many of these injuries are sprains and strains, but there’s still a large amount that result in a facial or head injury.
When on the playing field or court, anything can happen. Two kids can collide, an ankle can roll, a knee can get twisted, or a mouth can connect with an elbow. In fact, 39% of all children’s sports dental injuries are caused by a direct hit with a ball or another player, according to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Mouthguards can help lower this number and keep your child protected.
The Importance of Mouthguards
Mouthguards are designed to, quite obviously, guard and protect the teeth and mouth. A mouthguard can prevent teeth from being chipped, broken, or knocked out. But properly fitted mouthguards can even protect the bone and tissues around the teeth and jaw, and lower the chance of concussions. But not all mouthguards are equally effective.
Store-Bought vs. Custom-Made Mouthguards
It may be more convenient to head on over to your local sporting goods store and pick up a packaged mouthguard. Following a quick dip in some boiling water and a sturdy bite, you have a molded mouthguard. While that’s better than nothing, there’s a noticeable difference in the quality between these boil-and-bite mouthguards and a custom-made one from your dentist in Evansville.
Custom mouthguards are specifically molded to fit every tooth’s contour and provide the ultimate in protection. They’re also constructed to ensure extended comfort. This means less time out of the mouth and more time in the mouth where they belong.
If anyone in your family is gearing up to play any sort of sport this spring, schedule an appointment at our dental office in Evansville. We’re here to keep smiles healthy and protected. Don’t wait for an accident to occur, call us today.
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.
||Floor of the Mouth
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.
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:
- 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.
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:
- Whole Grains
- Lean Proteins
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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….
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.