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 live in the Shreveport area contact us today

Making Dental Hygiene Fun for Kids

In many households, the bedtime routine is no fun. One of the trickiest parts for some parents is getting their kids to brush their teeth. However, it’s not a part of your child’s routine that should be skipped. To help make taking care of their teeth fun for children, here are some ideas for parents.

Toothbrushes:
Provide your kids with fun toothbrushes! By choosing a brush decorated with their favorite character or color, your children will think of their toothbrush more like a toy than a dental tool. Consider getting more than one toothbrush, so each night they can choose the one they want to “play” with at the time.

Toothpaste:
Children are picky about their toothpaste flavors just like their foods. Select toothpaste that you know your kids will like. Some of the flavor options include bubble gum and fruits, as well as the standby mint.

Floss:
If they start flossing at a young age, your kids will likely view it as part of their oral hygiene routine all of their life. Try using some of the fun flossing tools on the market today, because they may help get your child interested in flossing. There are many colors and shapes to choose from, so keep trying until you find one that motivates your child.

Rewards:
Enticing your children with rewards is often an easy way to encourage them to perform a task without arguing. Consider making a rewards chart and giving them a sticker each time they brush and floss. By the end of a week filled with good dental hygiene, a special reward will await them!

We look forward to seeing you in our Shreveport dental office

Nail Biting: A Habit Worth Breaking

Most people who bite their nails wish they didn’t do it. If you’re a nail biter, you probably know that it spreads germs and leaves your nails looking unattractive. But did you know that it can harm your teeth? Let’s find out the connection between nail biting and tooth damage, and learn some ways to stop this nasty habit.

What does nail biting do to my teeth?
Just like chewing on hard items like ice, nails are hard and put stress on your teeth when you bite down on them. With time, your teeth will weaken and your teeth can chip or break. Since nail biting is a repetitive habit, constant chewing on your teeth wears them down faster than they should. Your teeth also can become more sensitive when the enamel is worn down. Additionally, biting your nails can move your teeth out of place. Your gums are at risk too from the additional stress the nail biting puts on them, eventually leading to gum disease and even tooth loss.

What if I wear braces?
Braces already add pressure on your teeth, so nail biting can stress them even more. The roots of your teeth can be weakened, which leads to problems like tooth loss.

How can I stop biting my nails?

Here are some tips to help you stop the nail biting habit:

  • Get a hobby that uses your hands, like video games, knitting, or painting.
  • Occupy your mouth by chewing sugarless gum, sucking on mints, or eating carrot sticks.
  • Add foods to your diet containing calcium and magnesium because they help repair and grow your nails.
  • Cover your nails with tape, petroleum jelly, fake nails (for girls), or foul-tasting liquid.
  • Get manicures to make your nails look nice, so you will be less inclined to bite them.

If you need a dentist in Shreveport contact us today

Great Snacks for Your Kid’s Teeth

The school year has started and kids are busy with school, sports, and social activities. It’s a challenge sometimes to get your kids to eat healthy when they are on-the-go, not only for their overall health but also for their oral health. Here are some tasty and healthy snacks that you can offer your kids, and chances are they’ll like them!

Yogurt:
Dairy foods help build strong bones, and they’re also great for a strong mouth. Eating low-fat yogurt provides calcium. Try mixing it with berries and granola for a healthy parfait, or making homemade fruity yogurt popsicles to attract your children’s attention.

Cheese:
Besides providing calcium, cheese helps fight cavities. It triggers saliva production, which washes away food particles in your mouth and the acids that can weaken your teeth. In these ways, cheese halts the process of cavity formation. Cheese not only contains calcium but also phosphorous, which both help rebuild the enamel on your teeth.

Blueberries:
These berries may be small, but they’re packed with Vitamin C, minerals, and folic acid. They also contain ingredients which studies show help prevent diabetes and cancer. Try adding blueberries to pancakes and muffins, or sprinkling them with a small amount of sugar and topping them with whipped cream.

Almonds:
Nuts like almonds contain ingredients to fight diseases, as well as Vitamin E, fiber, calcium, and iron. Most kids enjoy eating almonds raw, but remember they are a choking hazard for young children.

Whole wheat bread:
Bread made with whole wheat provides kids with iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins. Whole grain cereal offers calcium, fiber, and vitamins. Enjoying these whole wheat snacks with milk provides an even healthier snack for your kids.


If you live in the Shreveport area contact us today

Dental Concerns Unique to Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time in your life that brings about many changes to your body. Your oral health is affected as well. There are specific things to keep in mind during pregnancy related to your teeth, gums, and caring for them. Let’s talk about the things you should be thinking about for your mouth while expecting a baby.

Medications:
Tell your dentist about any prescription or over-the-counter medicines you’re taking, so that it’ll be easier to prescribe any drugs needed for you during dental treatment. Your dentist may also want to consult your doctor to discuss safe painkiller or antibiotic options for you during pregnancy.

X-Rays:
If you have a dental emergency or a problem that needs diagnosis, an X-ray may be required. Radiation exposure from dental X-rays is very low, but your dentist will cover you with a leaded apron to protect your abdomen. A leaded thyroid collar will also be used to protect your thyroid from radiation.

Gingivitis:
It’s not uncommon for some women to develop pregnancy gingivitis, which is a gum problem that occurs during the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy. This condition is an inflammation of the gums that causes tenderness, swelling, and usually some bleeding during dental hygiene tasks. Your dentist may suggest more frequent cleanings during pregnancy to prevent gingivitis, because left untreated it can advance to more serious gum disease.

Pregnancy tumors:
Some pregnant women experience overgrowths of tissue called pregnancy tumors, which appear on the gums mostly during the second trimester. They are not cancerous and are usually located between your teeth. Dentists believe they are related to having too much plaque. Pregnancy tumors bleed easily and appear red and raw. Usually they go away after the baby’s birth, but some women prefer to have them removed before then. Discuss options with your dentist to see what’s best for you.

Schedule your appointment at our Shreveport dental office

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 Shreveport