Tongue Health

Do You Know What is Contributing to Your Tooth Decay?

Monday, November 10th, 2014

While most people know that sugar can cause cavities, there are many other contributing factors when it comes to the onset of tooth decay. Help keep your mouth healthy by brushing twice daily, attending regularly scheduled teeth cleanings, and avoiding foods and behaviors that can make tooth decay worse. To follow are some of the most surprising contributing causes of tooth decay.

  1. Certain medications. Decongestants, antihistamines, depression  and anti-anxiety medications can all cause patients to experience dry mouth.  As saliva contains a plaque-fighting compound, patients with dry mouth are more susceptible to tooth decay.
  2. Anxiety and stress can also lead to chronic dry mouth, and subsequently contribute to tooth decay. If you are unable to properly manage anxiety and stress levels, it is recommended to seek professional help.
  3. Fruit juices have a higher acid content than may other beverages. Acid erodes tooth enamel which leaves teeth more vulnerable to decay.
  4. Sports drinks containing electrolytes will help to re-hydrate athletes or those recovering from a stomach virus. However, they are high in sugar as well as acid.
  5. Diet sodas may not contain sugar, which is notoriously known for causing cavities, but they do contain a high level of acid which contributes to the erosion of tooth enamel. Enamel is a protective coating on the surface of teeth.
  6. Chewable vitamins may make it easier for parents to coax their children into being healthier, however chewable vitamins are crammed with sugar and gelatin. High sugar content combined with the sticky texture of chewable vitamins can cause more tooth decay, as parts of the vitamins get stuck on teeth for prolonged periods of time between brushing.
  7. Diets high in starch like breads and cereals turn into sugar in the mouth faster than complex starches and carbohydrates do. By choosing foods rich in whole grains and avoiding white bread and sugary cereals popular among children, you’ll have a better chance at fighting tooth decay.
  8. Dried fruits are linked to tooth decay because the drying process reduces fruits into a stickier texture, and releases more sugars.

Preventative Dentistry in Toccoa

If you’re ready to learn more about your dental health, contact Wilbanks Smile Center today and schedule a consultation. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439. We look forward to serving you.

What To Expect During An Oral Cancer Screening

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Oral cancer is a common disease, with more than 40,000 Americans diagnosed each year. While serious, oral cancer is highly treatable when detected in its earliest stages. Many dentists include oral cancer screening as part of a regular dental check-up. Since dentists are trained to recognize the early signs of cancer, regular check-ups and screenings are the best chance a person has for early detection.

During your screening, the dentist will examine and evaluate your mouth and teeth for any signs of oral cancer. Some signs include:

  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Mouth sores that do not heal quickly
  • Mouth sores that bleed easily
  • Thickening of skin inside the mouth
  • Trouble with swallowing and/or chewing

If any abnormalities are detected, the dentist will perform a biopsy so that the tissue can be further examined and tested. There are two types of biopsies,and your dentist will select one at his or her discretion. An incisional biopsy removes a portion of the growth or lesion for testing, while an excisional biopsy involves the removal of the entire mass. Depending on the results of the biopsy, your dentist will devise a treatment plan.

Oral cancer tends to develop in people over the age of 40, and is more likely to affect men than women. Those who smoke or use other tobacco products or drink heavily have a much higher risk of developing oral cancer than those who do not use tobacco and consume alcohol in moderation. Research suggests that the combined use of tobacco and alcohol poses an especially high risk of oral cancer, since it is suspected that the interaction of these two substances has a synergistic effect in causing cancer. However, research also shows that abstaining from tobacco and alcohol use can immediately lower a person’s risk of oral cancer. Furthermore, within 10 years, a former smoker’s chances of developing oral cancer can become as low as a non-smoker.

For more information on oral cancer prevention, visit The Oral Cancer Foundation.

Dental Care in Toccoa

If you’re ready to learn more about your dental health, contact Wilbanks Smile Center today and schedule a consultation.  Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439.  We look forward to serving you.

April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

April is oral cancer awareness month for a good reason – this year almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer.

The American Dental Association, the Oral Cancer Foundation and other groups have joined together to sponsor Oral Cancer Awareness month for the past 14 years in an effort to remind everyone of the importance of screening for oral cancer. As far as cancer screenings go — this one is easy! No big, cold imaging machines or surgical suites required – you just need to visit your dentist!

Oral cancer screenings are a part of your regular routine dental exam. Early detection of oral cancers is especially important. the 5-year survival rate of these cancers is only about 64%. Unfortunately this grim statistic reflects the fact that most cases of oral and throat cancers are not discovered until they are at an advanced stage. Early detection means a much easier course of treatment and a much higher success rate.

In between your dental visits here are some things to watch out for. If any of these symptoms persist longer than two weeks call your dentist immediately.

  • A mouth sore or irritation that doesn’t heal
  • White or red patches in the mouth
  • Pain, tenderness or swelling
  • Thick or crusty patches, a rough spot or a lump
  • Sore throat
  • Problems chewing or swallowing
  • An unexplained change in your bite

Oral cancers used to be seen in older men who smoked or drank. While being over 50, combined with alcohol and tobacco use are still risk factors for the disease, we are seeing more and more young people develop oral cancers. The reason for the rise in oral cancers appears to be the HPV virus. If you know you have been infected with HPV then you need to be especially vigilant about screening for oral cancers.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 today to schedule your next visit.

What Your Tongue Color Says About You

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

While many take their dental health seriously, the condition of one’s tongue is often overlooked. Read on to find out how to care for your tongue, and to find out what the color of your tongue can tell you about your health.

Brushing thoroughly means reaching the back molars, behind the front teeth, along the gum line — and brushing your tongue. Many people unknowingly overlook their tongues during their brushing routine, but the tongue is a hotbed for bacteria. Neglecting to clean your tongue can lead to infections and bad breath, also known as halitosis.

Along with brushing your tongue with toothpaste and rinsing with mouthwash, using a tongue scraper also helps to clear harmful and stubborn bacteria off of the tongue’s surface. Regularly examine your tongue’s appearance to make sure that it is a healthy pinkish red color. Visit your dentist if your tongue consistently has a whitish or yellowish hue, as this can be a sign of several harmful conditions.

For example, if your tongue has whitish patches, oral thrush may be to blame. This is caused by a yeast infection and is often seen among those with a weakened or compromised immune system. Oral thrush is also often seen in babies and the elderly, so if you notice this condition among one of your relatives or loved ones, make sure that they get examined by a dentist as soon as possible for diagnosis.

For smokers and those who use tobacco products, leukoplakia is a condition that also leads to white or gray patches to show up in the mouth, cheeks and on the tongue. These patches cannot be rubbed off, and although leukoplakia is itself not a dangerous condition, it can be a precursor to or early sign of oral cancer.

During your annual exam or bi-annual tooth cleanings, make sure to ask your dentist to examine your mouth for any unusual white patches. Incorporate tongue brushing and scraping into your daily mouth-cleaning routine, and make sure to avoid smoking and using other tobacco products in order to protect the health of your teeth and mouth.

Oral Health in Toccoa

If you would like to learn more about oral health, annual dental check ups or any of the dental treatments that the Wilbanks Smile Center offers, contact us today and schedule your consultation. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439. We look forward to hearing from you.

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