Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know April is Oral Cancer Awareness month? About 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer and nearly 10,860 people die annually. It is twice as common in men as women. Oral cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity. Which is the lip, tongue, mouth, and throat. Through visual inspection, your dentist can detect abnormalities at an early stage resulting in less extensive and more successful treatment.

5 Myths and The Actual Facts

  1. Oral Cancer is rare.

Fact: More people are diagnosed with oral cancer than stomach.

  1. I’m too young to get oral cancer.

Fact: It’s now more common for our younger patients to develop oral cancer because of the link to human papillomavirus (HPV.)

  1. I don’t smoke so I can’t get oral cancer.

Fact: Smoking does increase your risk for oral cancer but it isn’t the only factor. Drinking alcohol, HPV, and genetics play a role in developing the disease.

  1. No pain, no problem.

Fact: Not all cancer spots can cause pain.

  1. I will know when I have oral cancer.

Fact: It’s not easy to identify, it can go undetected in your tonsils, lymph nodes, and the base of your tongue.

Causes

The exact cause of oral cancer is unknown, but here are some things that can put people more at risk.

  • Tobacco of any form – cigarettes/ e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco.
  • Alcohol
  • Excessive sun exposure on your lips
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Weakened immune system

Signs and Symptoms or Oral Cancer

  • Mouth sore that doesn’t heal
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing and moving the jaw and tongue
  • Jaw swelling
  • Lump in the neck
  • Constant bad breathcta 3

A lot of these signs and symptoms can be caused by other things, schedule an appointment if any of these conditions go on for more than two weeks.

Prevention

Stop using tobacco or don’t start. It exposes the cells in your mouth to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals. Drink alcohol in moderation. Excessive alcohol can aggravate cells and make them more susceptible to cancer.

Protect your lips from the sun! Constant exposure increases the risk of cancer. Be sure to use lip balm with SPF!

Last but not least, see your dentist regularly! It’s recommended to have an exam and cleaning every six months. Schedule yours today!

Anne-Lise Fink D.D.S.

3365 Clayton Road
Concord , CA , 94519
925-602-9777

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Show Love To Your Oral Health

Whether you choose to deny it or not, it’s the month of love. February is American Heart Month. Did you know there’s a connection between your heart and oral health? If you plan on stuffing yourself with a ton of sweets, you should be careful! Your teeth need love as well, don’t forget about them.

Yes, it’s true, gum disease increases your risk for heart disease. Lack of care for your teeth and gums can lead to gum disease. If it’s not treated, plaque and bacteria can make its way to your bloodstream and travel through your body to your heart which can lead to blood clots or possibly heart attacks.

Tips For Healthy Living

Valentine’s day – Date night, some people might say they go hand-in-hand. But If you don’t think so, use this tip for whenever you go out and eat.

  • Keep some floss in your bag or pocket. The quicker you get rid of the food particles and bacteria the better! Also, water is the best drink for your teeth, it rinses away acids from your teeth. Pro Tip: order water with your meals.
  • Dark chocolate is actually good for your teeth! Well, in moderation of course. It contains less sugar than milk chocolate and can help with preventing cavities and tooth decay. Chocolates that have a chewy sugary center will more likely cling to your teeth. Yes, you might like those better, just try to eat a couple rather than the whole box.Candy.png
  • Gummy candy, you want to try to avoid those! They are the worst candy for your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth set off a chemical reaction that turns the sugar into an acidic form then it eats away at the enamel of your teeth. This is known as demineralization. Also, gummy candy sticks to your teeth. When you think about saliva you might be grossed out but when it comes to your mouth, it’s a good thing. It neutralizes acids that come from sugars and protects your teeth.

Alternatives to gummy candy: Xylitol is a sugar replacement that bacteria won’t recognize and doesn’t attack and turn it into acid like they do with sugars. Save your teeth from an attack and read the ingredients!

It’s always a good time for sweets! – WRONG. For some of us, we can’t say no to candy. Eat them after a meal to limit the exposure of sugar and bacteria! Be sure to wash them down with water.

Love is in the air! Did you know that kissing helps prevents cavities? It stimulates saliva and breaks down plaque to get rid of bacteria.

Love Your Teeth

  • Brush twice daily
  • Floss daily
  • Schedule bi-annual teeth cleanings

Those are the basics! Here are a few changes that might benefit you:Brush.png

  • New toothbrush – your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 months! Use soft bristles, don’t be rough with your gums and teeth.
  • New floss? There a bunch of floss out there, don’t be afraid to try something new! Or if you are new to flossing try something and fall in love with how it makes your mouth feel!
  • Toothpaste – Are you loyal to a certain brand? If you can never settle on a certain brand, look for one with an ADA seal! They help remove the plaque from your teeth and protect them from decay and gum disease.
  • Time – sleep in too long or too tired at night to brush your teeth? It’s recommended to brush your teeth for two minutes. Make this change, your mouth and dentist will love you for it! Use a timer while brushing or play your favorite song! It’ll make the time fly by.

Are you wondering if this check-list applies to you if you have dental implants? The answer is: YES, they feel and function like your natural teeth. Which means there shouldn’t be a change in your dental routine.

Treat your heart how it deserves to be treated! Limit your sugar intake, walk or take the stairs rather than the elevator, and take care of your teeth and gums.

Anne-Lise Fink D.D.S.

3365 Clayton Road
Concord , CA , 94519
925-602-9777

 

 

6 Common Dental Habits

Is it cliche to have a New Years Resolution? Probably, but there are a few habits you’d like to kick to the curb! It’s common for people to want to start living a healthy lifestyle. Why not be completely healthy and improve your dental health too? Poor oral health can put you at risk for heart disease.

 

6 Habits That Harm Your Teeth

 

  1. Nail biting can chip or crack teeth. It can even fracture the enamel on your teeth from chewing on hard surfaces. Also, it has an impact on your jaw and as a result, you can develop TMJ. Do you realize how dirty your fingers are? Even though we wash our hands, it’s hard to keep them clean. Nail biting also leads to gingivitis, there is a lot of dirt under our fingernails we aren’t aware of.

    Are you grossed out yet? Need tips to stop the biting? Cut them short! If you prefer the longer nail look, paint it with bitter-tasting nail polish. If you don’t like color, you can always opt for a clear coat! Because nail biting is often stress-induced, get a tiny stress ball or something to fidget with to keep your hands busy.

 

  1. Chewing on ice can break your tooth or filling. Ice and your teeth are both fragile and when you push them both together one will break. Most times its the ice, but from time to time it can be your teeth. Slow down the chewing and try drinks without ice so you won’t be tempted. If you insist on ice, drink with a straw and a lid to keep the ice out of sight.

 

  1. Teeth as tools may seem convenient at the time but are not good for your teeth. They aren’t supposed to open bags, rip tags off, hold things, or open bottles. They are strong but using them as tools can result in cracks and fracture or even worse, oral and facial injuries. Biting or chewing metal can cause serious damage. We have real tools made especially for things so you don’t have to use your teeth. Such as bottle openers, scissors, and bags. Teeth are for chewing and smiling!

soft bristles

  1. Hard brushing can cause damage to your gums. Soft bristles are the best for your gums. This can be tricky because it’s good to brush twice a day, but how do you know if you are brushing too hard? A sign is a frayed toothbrush, yes that’s common with an old toothbrush. But it starts to fray within the first three months, relax on the brushing. If you also begin to notice your gums receding, soften up on the brushing! Don’t squish the bristles against your gums! Think about brushing as a gentle massage, slow and steady win the race!

 

  1. Smoking and use of other tobacco products increase your risk of oral cancer. It can turn your teeth yellow or brown. You are also at risk for tooth decay, gum disease, bone damage, and tooth loss. Over time your gums get weaker and will have trouble properly holding your teeth in place.

 

  1. Not visiting your dentist is a no-brainer! It’s important to see your dentist every 6 months to avoid issues. CTA - appointment.pngRegular dental cleanings prevent tartar from eroding your teeth which helps prevents cavities and gum disease. Besides having your teeth professionally cleaned, you get checked for other abnormalities that could be a larger health issue.
    Repeat this to yourself: New Year, New me.Cross things off your list, spice up your oral routine, go crazy at the gym, and eat healthy trendy foods. And most importantly, share how important a solid oral health routine is. Smile at all camera opportunities, and show the benefits of a healthy smile.

 

Anne-Lise Fink D.D.S.

3365 Clayton Road
Concord , CA , 94519
925-602-9777

 

 

Be A Breath Of Fresh Air This Holiday Season

It’s the season to get together! Do you always avoid one family member because their breath stinks? Or do people avoid you? Either way, nobody wants to be “that” person at gatherings. As time goes on, people don’t forget who the culprit is. Don’t let it be you!

Typically, we all wake up with bad breath because there is no constant saliva flow as we sleep. Saliva helps wash away bacteria growth. A reminder to why we brush and floss before we go to bed and when we wake up.

Did you know that over 40 million people in the U.S have bad breath? Most of the time you aren’t able to smell your own breath! Because of the embarrassment, often times we don’t mention it when we smell others breath.

What is Bad Breath?

It’s your oral bacteria which are living, eating, and breeding organisms. You know how all living things need food and needs to dispose of it? That’s what is happening in your mouth! Use this as motivation to start a better dental routine!

What Causes Bad Breath?

  • Smoking and Chewing Tobacco
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Dry Mouth
  • DietBrush

The worst cause is smoking because it reduces saliva flow. Dry mouth occurs when your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. It is your mouth’s natural defense and without out it plaque and bacteria build up faster. Certain drinks like alcohol and coffee dry your mouth out as well. Sugary foods and drinks are bacteria’s favorite, it helps them grow/multiple faster. It’s important to brush and floss to help prevent plaque build-up.

You might want to keep a closer eye on your tongue as well. Your tongue doesn’t have a smooth surface; food debris, bacteria, and dead cells can be trapped there. Overtime, a coating forms across and as it gets thicker, your odor becomes stronger.

This year, don’t be the one with the breath that clears a room! Have a solid oral hygiene routine, a good one that includes dental cleanings every six months! If you are stuck on what to bring for your gathering try peppermint bark. It’s a nice breath refresher for anyone that needs it!

Pro Tip: Use dark chocolate chips – it’s good for your teeth (in moderation)!

If you are questioning, “How in the world is dark chocolate good for my teeth?” The answer is dark chocolate contains polyphenols which helps fight the growth of bacteria in your mouth, reducing risk of tooth decay. It can also offset bad breath!

Have a great holiday season!

Anne-Lise Fink D.D.S.

3365 Clayton Road
Concord , CA , 94519
925-602-9777

Is it Genetic or Environmental?

The air is becoming more crisp, leaves are changing colors and falling off their trees. It’s that time of year when it’s appropriate to add pumpkin spice to any food or drink and not be judged. #PumpkinSpiceEverything

What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving gatherings? Do you consider yourself to have a sweet tooth? Here’s something mind-blowing: a sweet tooth might be genetic. So, when you are going for seconds on that pumpkin pie, be sure to show extra gratitude to your parents.Pumpkin Pie.png

Some people are born with a weakened sweet taste, which means they need more sugar to taste the same level of sweetness. Studies propose that genes might explain up to 30 percent of how much sugar you can taste.

But wait… there’s more! Is it possible bad teeth run in the family as well?

Tooth Decay

The bacteria in our mouth that cause cavities aren’t there at birth. It most likely comes from family members who kiss their child’s lips, share utensils, or even blow on their foods. Studies show that this bacteria isn’t associated with tooth decay. It also revealed that bacteria that can form cavities were environmental. For example, eating sugary foods and lack of oral care.

Tooth decay is preventable but some people are more at risk. Yes, it’s confusing, but really, what isn’t? Jokes aside, genes control how teeth develop. Often times, dentists look into family history because it might help them understand why a child’s teeth have more decay than someone with a similar diet. You don’t get a say about how your teeth develop, but you can control how often you brush, floss, and visit your dentist!

Size, Shape, and Alignment

Are your teeth crooked because of genetics or environmental factors? If you said both, you’re correct! The size of your jaw, teeth, and mouth are typically decided by DNA. Thumb sucking, accidents, or an unbalanced diet are reasons for crooked teeth that you can’t blame your parents for.

It’s never too late to get your teeth in line! Why should you get them straightened? Crooked or crowded teeth can cause tooth decay, difficulty maintaining your daily oral care, and improper chewing.

Parents.pngGum Disease

Did you know half of our population has gum disease? Genetics also play a role in how likely you are to develop periodontal disease. There are tests to run to show if you are affected. The best way to keep your mouth healthy is brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.

Why Are My Teeth Yellow?

It’s a mixture of genes and environment. Typically, if you have thin enamel your teeth will most likely look more yellow. You have no control over the growth of your tooth, but should be aware of what foods and drinks will contribute to the yellowing of your teeth. Example of tooth staining drinks are: coffee or fruit juices; food: berries or tomato sauce.

When it comes to our body developing its natural functions, it usually relies on genes. In conclusion, unhealthy teeth are controlled by both genes and the environment. And ultimately you are in complete control of your daily dental routine.

One of the most important things about knowledge is being able to share it. While you are devouring seconds or thirds you can enlighten everyone else at the table. You can also bring a bag of floss picks to share!

Anne-Lise Fink D.D.S.

3365 Clayton Road
Concord , CA , 94519
925-602-9777