Oral Cancer Explained

Oral Cancer Explained

Most people have friends or family who have had to deal with the disease cancer in some area of the body. Cancer can be described as uncontrollable cell growth that invades and damages surrounding tissue. Oral cancer often shows up as a persistent sore or growth in the mouth, but also includes cancers of the tongue, lips, cheeks, palate, throat, and sinuses. Like most cancers, it can be life threatening without early detection and treatment.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Swelling, lumps, or rough spots on your lips, gums, or other mouth areas
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Numbness or tenderness in your mouth, neck, or face
  • Unexplained bleeding in your mouth
  • Sore throat or feeling that something is stuck in your throat
  • Persistent sores in the mouth, neck or face that bleed easily and do not heal in two weeks
  • Hoarseness or chronic sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing, talking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • Earache
  • Substantial weight loss

Risk factors

Men are at twice as high risk for oral cancer than women, and men over 50 are at greatest risk. The biggest risk factors include any kind of smoking or using smokeless tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, excessive sun exposure, or family history of cancer. However, it’s important to know that more than 25 percent of oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke or only drink alcohol occasionally.

Diagnosis

Routine dental checkups include an examination for signs of oral cancer. A biopsy may be performed on any suspicious areas. Regular checkups are important so that tests can identify oral cancer early, before it can spread or progress.

Treatment

Oral cancer is often treated similarly to other types of cancers. It may include surgery to remove the growth, followed by radiation or chemotherapy to destroy remaining cancer cells.


Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

Sports Drinks and Your Teeth

Reaching for a sports drink may seem like a smart way to rehydrate during a big game or after completing your exercise regimen, but you may not be as educated as you think. Consumption of sports drinks is on the rise, with 62 percent of American teenagers drinking at least one a day. That’s why it’s important to inform consumers that these drinks which are touted to help your body can also take a toll on your health, at least on your oral health. Let’s find out exactly how sports drinks can negatively impact your teeth.

What makes sports drinks harmful?

You might guess that sugar is what makes these drinks less appealing. It’s true that you should avoid the brands heavy in sugar, but that’s actually not your teeth’s biggest enemy in sports drinks. It’s the high acid content that presents the most danger. Researchers have found that sports drinks have so much acid that they can start damaging your teeth after just five days of regular consumption.

Aren’t they better than drinking soda?

Most people choose these drinks thinking they will enhance their sports performance, and that they’re a better option than soda. Sports drinks are not that different than soda because they contain as much or more sugar. It’s simply not true that sports drinks are healthier for your teeth than soda.

What kind of damage can they do?

The acid in sports drinks can cause irreversible damage to your teeth. They erode your enamel, which is the shiny outer layer of your teeth, causing them to become sensitive to temperature changes and to touch. It also increases your risk of decay and cavities.

How can I avoid harming my teeth?

If you just can’t give up sports drinks, at least try to minimize the amount you consume. Rinse your mouth with water afterwards, but don’t brush your teeth immediately because it might spread the acid around your mouth. Wait about an hour for the pH level in your mouth to normalize, and then brush. You can also chew sugarless gum after having a sports drink, which increases your saliva flow and helps to return your mouth’s acidity levels back to normal.

If you need a dentist in Clinton NJ contact us today

I Can’t Give Up my Coffee!!

You’ve probably seen what coffee can do to a cup. Those brown stains that you see left on your cup are also sticking to your teeth. Coffee is especially hard on your teeth due to an ingredient called tannic acid, which gets into the grooves and pits of your tooth enamel and can stain it brown. Certainly the ideal way to stop the staining is to quit drinking the java, but that’s an unrealistic solution for many people. So what else can you do to save your pearly whites?

Drink smart

First, try and reduce the amount of coffee you drink. If you drink a lot of coffee, even cutting out one cup a day can lessen the dark stains on your teeth. Another suggestion is to drink your coffee in one or two sittings instead of sipping it all day long. Also, try lowering the temperature of your coffee. The hotter the coffee is, the more easily it can stain your teeth. Just letting it cool a couple of degrees can make a difference to your teeth.

Rinse

After every cup of coffee you drink, rinse your mouth with room-temperature water. This will remove some of the staining elements before they have a chance to set in. The water also helps neutralize acids in your mouth, which will lower the bacteria in your mouth that can lead to cavities.

Use a straw

If you like iced coffee or tea, drink it with a straw so that the dark beverage doesn’t directly contact your front lower and upper teeth. Using a straw reduces your teeth’s exposure to liquids that can stain.

Whiten your teeth

Ask your dentist about professional whitening methods, as well as products you can try at home. There are even some brands of whitening toothpaste made especially for coffee drinkers.

Practice good hygiene

Brush your teeth several times a day, especially after drinking coffee. Flossing daily also helps prevent stains, and is important if you add sugar or cream to your cup of joe. See your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings, which can do a better job of removing stains and restoring your smile.

Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

Tips for Avoiding Plaque

Tips for Avoiding Plaque

Plaque is your mouth’s enemy. It is a film of bacteria that forms on your teeth, and produces acid as it mixes with sugar from foods and drinks you consume. Over time, these acids destroy your tooth enamel and lead to decay. Plaque can also form under your gums and affect both the gum tissue and the bones supporting your teeth.

So how can you avoid getting the plaque that causes these problems? Here are some helpful tips.

Brush

Use a fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush all of your tooth surfaces, as well as your tongue.

Floss

As much as many people don’t want to, flossing your teeth every day is important in getting rid of plaque between your teeth and at your gum line.

Eat healthy foods

Some foods help keep plaque off your teeth. Munch on apples, cucumbers, carrots, and other raw vegetables and fruits. Crunchy foods like these will help clean your teeth while filling you up and giving you helpful nutrients.

Avoid junk food

On the other hand, limit the amount of junk food that you eat. Sugary drinks and foods introduce sugar into your mouth that will stick to your teeth and lead to plaque formation.

See your dentist

Even if you practice good oral hygiene, some amount of plaque usually forms. It hardens to become tartar, which can only be properly removed by your dentist. Dental checkups every six months will help you keep plaque under control, and a healthy smile on your face.

We look forward to seeing you in our Clinton NJ dental office

Look Out for Oral Cancer

Look Out for Oral Cancer

The word cancer strikes fear and dismay in most people, and it’s no different when the diagnosis is oral cancer. Nearly 37,000 Americans are diagnosed with this disease each year and about 8,000 succumb to it. You should know the risk factors and symptoms so that you can either avoid it completely, or catch it early enough that you’ll have the best chance of recovery.
Who is at risk?
Oral cancer is not contagious, but there are some activities that put you at higher risk for the disease. Both smoked and smokeless tobacco are linked to oral cancer, and the more you use tobacco the greater your risk becomes. Excessive alcohol consumption also increases your risk, and paired with tobacco use your risk is even higher. Sun exposure heightens your chances of developing cancer of the lip.

What are the symptoms?
Oral cancer patients may experience any of these signs of the disease:

  • A sore in the mouth or throat that bleeds often and doesn’t heal within two weeks
  • A thick area or lump in the cheek
  • Patches in your mouth or on your lips that are red, white, or a mixture of the two
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty wearing your dentures
  • A sore throat
  • Tongue or mouth numbness
  • Difficulty chewing, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • Earache

What should I do if I have symptoms?
If you notice any of these signs, visit your dentist right away to get screened for oral cancer. When diagnosed early, there is an 80 percent survival rate. Unfortunately many patients wait too long to see their dentist, and late-stage diagnosis is the reason for most oral cancer deaths.

If you need a dentist in Clinton NJ contact us today

How Your Diet Affects Your Oral Health

The foods and drinks you consume affect more than your waistline. Your diet provides you with the nutrients you need and impacts your overall health, and also affects the health of your teeth and gums. Let’s see what the choices you make in your diet mean to your oral health.

Nutrients

If you don’t include certain nutrients in your diet, it’s harder for the tissues in your mouth to fight infection. This can promote gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss if not treated properly and early. Experts suggest that gum disease advances faster and can become more severe in people who don’t have a nutritious diet. Ask your doctor for suggestions for a healthy diet full of helpful nutrients.

Balanced diet

Your goal should be to eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups. These include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy items. It’s also important to drink plenty of water.

Sugar

Sugary foods and drinks are enemies for your oral health, because sugar is proven to contribute to tooth decay. When plaque comes into contact with sugar in your mouth, it causes acid to attack your teeth and lead to decay. Limit the amount of sugar you consume by reading the nutritional labels on foods and drinks, and opt for items that are lowest in sugar. Soft drinks, candy, pastries, and cookies are common sources of sugar.

Snacking

Avoid snacking in between meals, and choose healthy foods like fruit or cheese when you do snack. When you eat foods as part of a meal, it is less harmful to your teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day. This is a result of more saliva being released during a meal, which helps wash food from your mouth and lessen the impact of harmful acids.

Dental care

Practice good oral hygiene like regular flossing and brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

We look forward to seeing you in our Clinton NJ dental office

Examining Mouth Sores

Examining Mouth Sores

Sores in or around your mouth are painful and unsightly. They can have a variety of causes, such as infections, irritation from orthodontics or dentures, and symptoms of another health problem. Here are descriptions of the most common mouth sores.

Cold sores

Also called fever blisters, cold sores appear around your lips, nose, or chin. These extremely contagious, fluid-filled blisters are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. Once you are infected with primary herpes, the virus remains in your body and occasionally flares up. Cold sores typically heal by themselves in about a week. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics may help, and your dentist may prescribe antiviral medications to reduce occurrences.

Canker sores

These small ulcers only appear inside your mouth. They are white or gray with a red border, and are not contagious. Experts are unsure of the exact cause, but suspect they are related to immune system deficiencies, viruses, or bacteria. Canker sores usually heal on their own in a week or two. It is advised to avoid spicy, hot, or acidic foods that can irritate the sore. Over-the-counter mouthwashes or topical anesthetics may help, and your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if a secondary infection occurs.

Thrush

Oral thrush, or candidiasis, is a fungal infection occurring when the yeast Candida albicans reproduces in great amounts. Common with denture wearers, it most often appears in people with weakened immune systems such as the elderly or ill. People with dry mouth or who are on antibiotics are also at greater risk for thrush. The key to controlling candidiasis is treating the condition that causes it. Dentures should be cleaned regularly and removed at bedtime, and dry mouth should be treated in an effort to lessen that condition.

Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia are thick, white patches that grow on the inside of your cheeks, gums or tongue. Common with tobacco users, they result from irritations from habits like chewing on your cheek or wearing ill-fitting dentures. Leukoplakia are also associated with oral cancer. Treatment focuses on addressing the reasons for the lesion, such as quitting smoking or replacing dentures.

We look forward to seeing you in our Clinton NJ dental office

Gear up for Back-to-School Sports with Mouth Guards

Gear up for Back-to-School Sports with Mouth Guards

It’s back-to-school time and that means kids everywhere will be participating in sports. It’s time for football, soccer, volleyball, and all sorts of sports teams to get back in shape. That not only means conditioning your body, but also getting all the right gear. One item that you don’t want to forget is a mouth guard to protect yourself from mouth and facial injuries.

Dentists recommend mouth guards for participants in both high-impact sports and individual sports. Team sports often resulting in mouth injuries include football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, and hockey. Individual sports that carry high risks include cycling, gymnastics, skateboarding, martial arts, and rollerblading.

Mouth guards are worn to protect the mouth from a variety of possible injuries. They may be minor like a chipped or cracked tooth, or cuts from biting the inside of your mouth. Worse injuries can occur like jaw fractures, and athletes might experience tooth loss or nerve damage. Fractures can cause difficulty breathing, swallowing, eating, or speaking.

Dentists suggest that many sports injuries can be avoided by wearing a mouth guard, and they are available for athletes of all skill sets and ages. They are available in most sporting good stores, or you can opt to have customized mouth guards created by your dentist. Mouth guards are even available in a wide variety of colors, so athletes can choose them to coordinate with their school colors. They are also useful for people who wear traditional braces or Invisalign retainers.

Because many sports can be risky, there’s no reason to ignore the danger to your mouth. Wear a mouth guard to protect your smile throughout the season.

If you need a dentist in Clinton NJ contact us today

Tartar is the Enemy

Tartar is the Enemy

It’s hard to miss with advertisements and visits to the dentist that tartar is something you want to avoid for good oral health. But do you know what this substance is, how to keep from getting it, and what to do if tartar does develop?

What’s so bad about tartar?

Even if you brush and floss regularly, it’s impossible to get rid of all of the bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria and food residue combine to form plaque on your teeth. If left to thrive, plaque attacks your teeth and gums. It causes decay, gum inflammation, and will harden into tartar if not removed before it has the chance.

What does it do to my teeth and gums?

Tartar buildup makes it more difficult to brush and floss well, and tartar along your gums may lead to gum disease. Mild gum disease, or gingivitis, is often caused by plaque and tartar on your teeth. It can usually be reversed with careful dental hygiene. If left untreated, it will progress into periodontitis. This more serious gum disease can damage the bones and tissue that support your teeth, increasing your risk of tooth loss. It may also cause infections that contribute to heart disease and other health problems.

How can I control tartar?

Here are some ways to prevent tartar formation:

  • Brush at least twice daily long enough to thoroughly clean every tooth and all of your gums. Consider using an electric toothbrush, which may be more effective for plaque removal.
  • Use tartar-control fluoride toothpaste. It is formulated to help prevent tartar formation, and the fluoride can repair damage to your teeth that may have already begun.
  • Floss every day to reach the areas that brushing cannot.
  • Eat a healthy diet low in sugars and starches, and limit snacks between meals. Drink plenty of water to help rinse away plaque and bacteria.
  • Don’t smoke because tobacco use has been shown to increase tartar buildup.

How do I get rid of it?

A professional cleaning is the only way to successfully remove tartar. See your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings.

We treat patients from Clinton NJ and the surrounding area

Mouthwash Does More Than Freshen Breath

Most people turn to mouthwash when they suspect their breath is bad and they want a quick boost. It’s true that mouthwash comes in handy for this purpose, but did you know that it offers other benefits too?

Reduces bacteria

Antiseptic and anti-plaque mouth rinses are intended to kill germs that cause gum disease, plaque, and bad breath. Swishing this type of mouthwash around your mouth after brushing has been shown to lower the bacteria levels, and therefore decrease your risks of the problems that bacteria can cause. It is especially helpful in senior adults or others who have trouble brushing and flossing their teeth.

Promotes healing

Rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash promotes natural healing of mouth and gum irritations, minor wounds, and canker sores. It removes debris that can irritate your mouth, and can also help reduce inflammations from dental and orthodontic appliances.

Adds fluoride

Some rinses contain fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay and strengthen teeth. Studies have shown that using fluoride mouth rinses in addition to fluoride toothpaste gives you more protection against cavities than toothpaste alone. Fluoride mouth rinse is not suggested for kids under six years old because they might swallow it.

Relieves pain

Antiseptic mouth rinses have been shown to help reduce tooth pain, probably due to lowering the bacteria and inflammation in your mouth.

Helps with certain conditions

Dentists sometimes prescribe special mouth rinses designed for various oral conditions. This may include gum disease, high risk of tooth decay, or dry mouth. Also, oral rinses may be prescribed after periodontal treatments or oral surgery.

Supplements dental hygiene

Many dentists suggest making dental rinses part of your oral hygiene routine, but remember that it’s only a supplement to brushing and flossing regularly.

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