Posts for category: Oral Health
Oral cancer is one of the more dangerous malignancies people face. But there are ways you can reduce your risk of this deadly disease through changes in lifestyle habits and behaviors.
Two of the better known behaviors for increased oral cancer risk are immoderate consumption of alcohol and the use of tobacco, particularly chewing tobacco and snuff. Eliminating these, especially the latter, can vastly improve your odds of avoiding cancer. Another factor is a strain of the human papilloma virus (HPV 16) that's transmitted sexually, which you can avoid through safe sex practices.
In addition to these lifestyle changes, there's one more you should make to lower your oral cancer risk: adjustments to your diet. Research over the last half century has provided ample evidence of a link between the foods we eat and our risk of all types of cancers, including oral.
The biggest concern is over certain elements in some foods that can damage DNA, the molecular “operating instructions” that regulate the formation and function of our bodies' cells. These elements are collectively known as carcinogens because of their role in cancer formation.
An example of a carcinogen is a group of chemicals called nitrosamines. These form during preservation processes using nitrites in meats like bacon or ham. They're also found in beer or certain preserved fish. To limit your consumption of nitrosamines, you should reduce these and other processed products and replace them with fresh fruits and vegetables, or organic meats and dairy products.
Our DNA can also be damaged by unstable molecules called free radicals that arise during normal cellular function. But there are also substances known as antioxidants that help protect the cells from free radical damage. Many plant-based foods contain nutrients like vitamins C and E that have antioxidant properties, so including them in your diet could help reduce your oral cancer risk.
Several clinical studies over the years have been consistent in their findings that a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of oral or throat cancers, as well as other forms of cancer. Making changes to your diet in that direction, plus other lifestyle changes, could help you avoid this devastating oral disease.
If you would like more information on preventing oral cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Diet and Prevention of Oral Cancer.”
Our mouths have various functions like those used for communicating, eating, and smiling. Most of us were taught how to care for our oral hygiene ever since we were young. Although regularly visiting your dentist here at Jackson County Dental in Seymour, IN, Dr. Matthew Pierce, is a must, maintaining a proper oral care routine at home is equally crucial since we spend most of our time there. Furthermore, we develop most of our habits and lifestyle at home.
Basic Oral Health Care Guidelines
To maintain a healthy mouth and strong teeth, here are a few easy tips that you can follow:
- Always brush your teeth before bed. Doing this will clean off those nasty germs that have built up in your mouth throughout the day.
- Brush thoroughly. Plaque that is left in your mouth could harden easily, which could then lead to gingivitis. You can avoid this by simply brushing in gentle, circular motions. Remember to brush your tongue as well and take your time (two full minutes).
- Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride toothpaste prevents you from getting tooth decay, as it fights off germs and bacteria that harm your mouth.
- Use mouthwash. This reduces acidity in the mouth, re-mineralizes your teeth, and cleans areas around the gums that are difficult to brush.
- Don’t forget to floss. Flossing is as equally important as brushing. It removes leftover debris in between your teeth, reduces plaque, and stimulates your gums.
- Consume crunchy produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy and high in fiber. Additionally, they can benefit your jaws and your overall health.
- Hydrate more with water. It is advised that you drink water after each meal. This removes the nasty leftovers from sticky and acidic foods. Keeping your mouth moist reduces the accumulation of plaque and the risk of developing both gum disease and cavities.
- Refrain from sugary or acidic foods. Sugar turns into acid in the mouth, which can erode teeth enamel and cause tooth decay.
When Should You See Your Dentist?
According to the American Dental Association, you should ideally visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and checkups. Your Seymour dentist will not only spot for cavities and get rid of tartar, but also identify any underlying issues present and offer suitable treatment solutions for them.
For More Oral Care Advice, Call Us
Call 812-522-8608 to reach Jackson County Dental in Seymour, IN, and set your appointment with our dentist, Dr. Matthew Pierce.
Every year 150,000 people, mostly women over age 50, find out they have a painful condition called trigeminal neuralgia. For many it begins as an occasional twinge along the face that steadily worsens until the simple act of chewing or speaking, or even a light touch, sets off excruciating pain.
The source of the pain is the pair of trigeminal nerves that course along each side of the face. Each nerve has three separate branches that provide sensation to the upper, middle and lower areas of the face and jaw.
The problem arises when areas of the myelin sheath, a fatty, insulating covering on nerves, becomes damaged, often because of an artery or vein pressing against it. As a result, the nerve can become hypersensitive to stimuli and transmit pain at even the slightest trigger. It may also fail to stop transmitting even after the stimulation that caused it is over.
Although the condition may not always be curable, there are various ways to effectively manage it. The most conservative way is with medications that block the nerve from transmitting pain signals to the brain, coupled with drugs that help stabilize the nerve and decrease abnormal firing.
If medication isn't enough to relieve symptoms, there may be some benefit from more invasive treatments. One technique is to insert a thin needle into the nerve to selectively damage nerve fibers to prevent them from firing. Another microsurgical procedure attempts to relocate the nerve away from a blood vessel that may be compressing it.
The latter procedure has some higher risks such as facial numbness or decreased hearing, and is often better suited for younger patients. Older patients may benefit more from the needle insertion procedure previously mentioned or a directed beam of high-dose radiation to alter the nerve.
To learn the best options for you, you should first undergo a neurological exam to verify you have trigeminal neuralgia and to rule out other causes. From there, you and your doctor can decide the best course of treatment for your age and individual condition.
Trigeminal neuralgia can be an unpleasant experience. But there are tried and true ways to minimize its effect on your life.
If you would like more information on trigeminal neuralgia, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Trigeminal Neuralgia.”
How a filling from your dentist in Seymour, IN, can help your smile
Tooth problems, like cavities, create aggravating and painful symptoms. They are identifiable by small black or brown stains on your teeth. That’s why it’s important to visit your Seymour dentist at the first sign of a dental problem. Your dentist will know what to do. More often than not, a simple filling takes care of the problem. Dr. Matthew Pierce at Jackson County Dental in Seymour, IN, offers a range of dental services, including dental fillings to help your smile.
Is it time to get a dental filling?
There are a few signs and symptoms to watch out for, including:
-Sharp, stabbing tooth pain when you bite down or chew.
-Continuous pain that doesn’t resolve.
-Throbbing tooth pain when you eat or drink hot, cold, or sweet food and beverages.
-An obvious open hole in your tooth surface
-A black or brown stain on your tooth that doesn’t brush off
A dental filling is a great choice if you already have an old filling that is leaking. When this happens, you may notice a crumbling margin where the filling meets the tooth's surface. You may also notice a space developing between the existing filling and your tooth. Your Seymour dentist recommends fillings to eliminate tooth decay and restore your tooth. It’s important to seek dental treatment quickly before the issue gets worse. This saves you time and more extensive dental treatment.
Many of your Seymour dentist's patients choose tooth-colored fillings because they offer both the strength you need and the beauty you want. They use composite, a liquid resin that matches the color and contours of your teeth. The composite is then hardened with ultraviolet light. The result is a filling that enhances your smile!
To find out more about tooth-colored fillings and other filling materials, talk with an expert! Schedule an appointment with Dr. Matthew Pierce at Jackson County Dental in Seymour, IN, today! Call (812) 522-8608.
Keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy may sometimes seem like “one step forward, two steps back.” You do all the right things like daily brushing and flossing, and keeping sugar consumption to a minimum. But they’re still getting too many cavities.
We can add something else to what you’re already doing to decrease their cavity rate: apply a concentrated fluoride mixture (stronger than what’s found in toothpaste or drinking water) directly to their teeth. Studies have shown that topical fluoride is effective at reducing the risk of new cavities in children at high risk for decay, and may even reverse early decay.
Topical fluoride can be applied as a gel, foam or varnish. The particular method used depends on factors like the child’s age or the preference of the dentist. But any of the three methods can deliver a short-term, high dose of fluoride to the teeth.
As a result, the burst of fluoride strengthens tooth enamel against decay, with plenty of evidence of its effectiveness. As such, the American Dental Association recommends periodic topical fluoride applications for children older than 6, and especially those that appear to be at higher risk for decay.
You might, however, be concerned about the long-term health effects of these stronger concentrations of fluoride. Again, research indicates that the only long-term hazard associated with too much fluoride is a condition called fluorosis, which produces heavy tooth staining. Fluorosis, though, is more of an appearance issue and doesn’t harm the tooth itself. And it can be avoided in the case of topical fluoride by performing the procedure correctly and conservatively.
There’s also a short-term risk of a reaction to the fluoride mixture if the child swallows too much during the procedure, which could cause stomach upset and pain, vomiting or headaches. We can avoid this by using precautions like dental dams and other isolation methods to prevent the child from ingesting it.
Using proper precautions and procedures, topical fluoride is a safe and effective way to give your child added protection against decay. Avoiding this destructive disease can help ensure they’ll enjoy good dental health for the rest of their lives.
If you would like more information on keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Fluoride Gels Reduce Decay.”