oral cancer

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Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States with about 35,000 cases diagnosed every year. Of those, about 8,000 will lose their lives to this life-threatening condition. At my Erdenheim dental office, we want all of our patients to understand the deadly disease so they can work to avoid it or recognize when there is a problem.

Risk Factors

Knowing the risk factors and who is more likely to develop oral cancer is the first step in understanding whether you may be at increased risk.

  • Gender: Men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women. In fact, their risk is about double that of their female counterparts.
  • Age: On average, most people are diagnosed at 62, and the majority of oral cancer patients are over 55.
  • Sun Exposure: Instances of oral cancer is increased in those who spend a lot of time in the sun without sunscreen.
  • Tobacco Use: Nearly 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are smokers or use smokeless tobacco. Smoking often leads to throat or mouth cancer, and smokeless tobacco usually results in gum, cheek, or lip cancer.
  • Alcohol: Heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of oral cancer. In fact, nearly 70% of all those diagnosed use alcohol often. And if you’re a drinker and smoker, your risk may be as high as 100%.

Even if you don’t fall into these risk categories, you can still develop oral cancer.

Signs & Symptoms

Being able to recognize a potential problem and getting it checked out quickly can increase survival rate. Early detection is key to beating the cancer, so if you notice any of the following symptoms, see your dentist in Erdenheim as soon as possible.

  • A chronic sore that doesn’t go away
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • A lump on the cheek or tongue
  • Voice changes

Prevention

While we can’t change our gender or age, we can take steps to limit our exposure to the lifestyle risk factors. Besides that, maintaining regular checkups with your dentist is key to catching any problems early. If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, give my Erdenheim dental office a call to schedule an appointment today. It could save your life.

Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill

Protecting enamel

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Protecting children’s teeth from cavities is important for overall oral health. Baby teeth and permanent teeth can get cavities, and preventing the decay in the first place is important for both. While baby teeth are only around for a short period of time, they do serve as a placeholder for permanent, adult teeth. This makes keeping them healthy really important. At our Erdenheim dental office, we want you give you some steps to protect the first line of defense against cavities — the enamel.

Enamel is pretty thin, yet incredibly strong. In fact, it’s the hardest part of the human body. But that doesn’t mean it can’t sustain chips or cracks, leaving the tooth exposed to bacteria and increased risk for decay. So while we all know it’s important to brush and floss regularly to prevent cavities, there are additional steps you can take to keep the protective enamel in tip-top shape.

  • Fluoride. If your child is three or older, you should be using a toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel both in the baby teeth and the unerupted adult teeth. Your pediatric dentist may also recommend an in-office fluoride treatment to further protect teeth from decay.
  • Sealants. This protective measure is applied by a dentist at routine appointments. Sealants are a thin coating applied to the teeth to keep bacteria out. Using them is a successful way to keep enamel strong and teeth cavity-free.
  • Diet. Sugary and starchy foods are dangerous to enamel and are some of the biggest culprits of cavities. Avoid too many sugar-filled treats, and be cautious even with some healthy sugary foods like fruit. Try to also limit the amount of starch-packed snacks such as chips.
  • Water. Water is pretty powerful not only for oral health, but for overall health too. Water is naturally sugar-free and helps rinse away food particles and bacteria in the mouth. Encourage your child to drink more of it, especially after eating.
  • Regular Visits. One of the most important things you can do to help protect your child against enamel erosion and cavities is to visit their Erdenheim pediatric dentist regularly. Checkups at least every six months are a great way to get the preventive treatments of fluoride and sealants, and to diagnose and treat any problems early.

Little smiles are precious, and we want to do everything we can to keep them healthy. If your child is in need of a dentist, give our Erdenheim dental office a call to schedule his appointment today.

Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

bad habits

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Even if you brush and floss everyday, there are some common daily habits that put your teeth at increased risk for disease or damage. At my Erdenheim dental office, we’re here to educate our patients on all the ways they can help keep their smiles in the best shape, so we’ve included a guide to the top five tooth-damaging habits we often see.

  • Ice, Ice, Baby! A great way to cause tiny cracks, or sometimes even large ones, is to crunch on hard, cold ice cubes. Although it’s made of water and there are no threats of sugar damage, their solid texture is hard on teeth. Fractures in teeth make room for bacteria to settle in and cause decay.
  • Lay Off The Snacks! Don’t worry, you don’t need to give up snacking completely. However, you should limit the number of times you snack throughout the day. The longer teeth are exposed to food and food particles, the more opportunity bacteria have to feed on sugars or starches. When bacteria feed, they produce acid. This acid may lead to decay and the need for dental restorations.
  • That’s Juicy! While packed with healthy nutrients, fruit juices are also packed with harmful sugar. As we know, sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth, erodes enamel, and increases risk of cavities. Try diluting juice with water and making sure your choice of juice has no added sugar.
  • Chew on This! Well, actually, don’t chew on it. What exactly do we mean by it? Pens, pencils, fingernails, or basically anything not designed to go in the mouth. Foreign objects that are hard in texture can cause teeth to chip, break, or crack. If you find yourself chewing on things as a habit, try a gum with Xylitol instead.
  • Up in Smoke! Tobacco, whether cigars, cigarettes, or smokeless, not only greatly increases the risk of oral cancer, it also leads to yellowed teeth. Often times staining caused by tobacco can’t be removed through traditional teeth whitening and cosmetic dentistry treatments are needed. What’s more, tobacco users have a greater chance for tooth loss.

Besides kicking the habits above, or at least limiting them, you’re helping keep your smile bright and healthy. But that alone isn’t enough. Visit your dentist in Erdenheim at least twice a year in order to catch any problems early. Early detection is key to successful treatment of many oral health diseases and concerns.

If it’s time to get your smile in its best shape yet, give my Erdenheim dental office a call. We’re always accepting new patients and would love to see you.

Serving patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

easter candy

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Another holiday packed with sweet treats is upon us, and everyone at our Erdenheim dental office is here to provide our patients’ parents some tips on what treats are alright to put in those Easter baskets, and which ones to avoid.

All That Sugar!

As we all know, sugar is one of the main culprits of cavities. But we aren’t here to tell you that it needs to be avoided all together, especially during a holiday. However, to keep your kid’s grin healthy, and any sugar-induced belly aches away, you should encourage eating sweets in moderation. That paired with our handy guide of the best and worst Easter candy for teeth is a sure way to keep those little smiles bright and healthy.

Do: Hollow Chocolates

Bunnies, ducks, teddy bears, you name it! Chocolates come in many shapes, and no matter which animal is molded into the delicious, melty goodness, the hollowness is what makes these candies a “Do” on our list. They’re healthier than a solid or filled option and contain less sugar because there’s less chocolate. And less sugar means less chance for dental decay. Want to make it even better? Use dark chocolate instead of milk. Dark chocolate has antioxidants which are good for the whole body.

Don’t: Gooey, Chewy, Sticky Stuff

From caramels to gummy bears and taffy, a good rule of thumb to follow is the stickier the candy, the worse for teeth. These sweets are packed with sugar, and since they take longer to chew, teeth end up coated in it. The more sugar left on teeth, the more likely bacteria is to feed on it and create acid, leading to cavities.

Do: Sugar-Free Options

There are a ton of sugar-free alternatives that taste just as good as their sugar-packed counterparts. Without the sugar, the chance for tooth damage greatly decreases. Read ingredients before selecting treats and try to focus on the sugar-free options.  

Don’t: Hard Candies

Hard candies like lollipops or anything that requires the treat to be in the mouth for prolonged periods of time are bad news. The longer the candy is in the mouth and the sugar is exposed to teeth, the more likely it is to cause damage.

Following these tips can go a long way in keeping cavities away, but it’s still important to visit our Erdenheim dental office regularly. Exams at least every six months help catch any potential problems before they become big issues, and allow us to protect your child’s teeth with sealants and regular fluoride treatments. Schedule your appointment today!

We’re always accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

kissing

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Kissing can be beneficial for your oral health, and even your overall health. Endorphins are released when we kiss and and that is good for every single part of our bodies. It burns calories, exercises our facial muscles, and releases tension. Kissing can even boost your immune system.

As far as your oral health goes, kissing can allow us to exchange healthy bacteria that are good for our mouths. It also leads to an increase in saliva flow, nature’s oral protectant. Saliva washes your mouth, rinses away food particles, and contains mineral ions that can repair your teeth! But kissing can also be hazardous.

The Concerns

The saliva that protects your teeth also acts as a superhighway for all kinds of bacteria and viruses, including the bacteria that lead to tooth decay and gum disease.  Because some saliva is usually exchanged during kissing, these bacteria travel back and forth from mouth to mouth setting up new colonies and releasing acids that eat away at your tooth enamel.

The Precautions

We don’t mean to scare you out of smooching your loved one, because kissing does have benefits. However, there are some precautions you can take to protect your health.

  • Practice safe kissing

Know at least a little something about your kissing partner’s oral health. If he or she has bad breath, it could be a sign of gum disease – and remember, gum disease is contagious.

  • Keep up on your oral hygiene

Make sure bacteria doesn’t have a chance to colonize by brushing frequently – at least twice a day for at least two minutes. Brushing after meals is good too, just don’t over brush or brush too hard. It can damage your gums and erode your enamel. Keeping your regularly scheduled cleanings and checkups at my Erdenheim dental office is very important too.

  • Eat, drink, and be merry

Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth rinsed, moist, and to increase saliva production. Also try chewing Xylitol gum and sucking Xylitol mints. Xylitol prevents bacteria from sticking to your teeth and creates a neutral pH level in your mouth.

If you have someone you have been thinking of smooching, call us and schedule a cleaning at my dental office in Erdenheim. I’m always accepting new patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

dental month

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Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) hosts National Children’s Dental Health Month in order to bring awareness to the benefits and importance of proper dental health for kids. At our Erdenheim dental office, this cause is directly in line with our mission and philosophy, and to help celebrate, we’d like to provide you with several ways to make dentistry fun for your kids.

Every year, the ADA creates a new campaign that strives to make dental care fun, easy, and something that kids actually want to do. The 2016 Children’s Dental Health Month campaign slogan is “Sugar Wars.” Complete with a host of loveable characters flying through space in the USS SweetSwatter fighting off Sweet Tooth Invaders, the campaign provides plenty of activities you and your child can do together including:

  • Coloring Sheets
  • Healthy Food Pyramid Worksheets
  • Crosswords
  • Word Searches
  • And Much More!

It’s all available for you (and for free!) at the ADA website.

Want even more ways to show your little ones how fun it can be to take care of their teeth? We’ve got plenty of great ideas!

  • Stickers! Help keep track of brushing with a colorful chart and stickers of their choice. Each time your child brushes and brushes well, reward them with a super-fun sticker.
  • YouTube! Take a break from Paw Patrol and search the wide world of YouTube for videos that are made specifically for kids and dental health. From how to brush your teeth to learning about the tooth fairy, you’re sure to find something that piques your little one’s interest.
  • Read! A book can capture attention and not only help your child learn about oral health, but also works to brush up their reading and comprehension skills.

Starting kids off with good oral hygiene practices is the best way to ensure a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles. Make dental care and learning the importance of proper oral hygiene fun by following the tips above and visiting our dental office in Erdenheim regularly. Need some more motivation? Give us a call. We’re always here to help.

Welcoming patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

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eating disorderEating disorders usually stem from any combination of emotional, psychological, or social factors and affect around 10 million Americans. Some whole-body health problems that arise from eating disorders range from muscle loss, decreased bone density, and increased risk for heart failure. At our Erdenheim dental office, we also want to bring awareness to some of the oral health concerns associated with eating disorders.

Dental Complications

All eating disorders can negatively affect oral health. One of the main concerns is when the body doesn’t get all of the necessary nutrients it needs, your mouth suffers. Lips can become so dry they crack. Sores may appear in the mouth, and they tend to bleed pretty easily. Teeth may even begin to change color and shape, becoming more translucent.

If vomiting is symptom, even more problems can arise. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, almost 90% of bulimics experience enamel erosion caused by overexposure to stomach acid.  

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of an eating disorder often first show in the mouth. This is why a Erdenheim dentist may the first to suspect problem. Some common signs to look for are:

  • Enlarged salivary glands
  • Chronic dry mouth
  • Tooth decay
  • Sensitivity

Do’s and Don’ts

First, seek appropriate medical help to work on getting healthy and returning to eating a balanced diet. In the meantime, there are precautions you can take to help keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

  • DO NOT brush your teeth immediately after vomiting. This can actually cause more damage. Rinse with water instead.
  • DO visit your dentist regularly.
  • DO continue to brush twice and floss once daily.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an eating disorder or believe you may be battling one, schedule an appointment at our Erdenheim dental office. There are ways we can help get, and keep, your mouth healthy while you’re working on getting better. We’ll work with you and help you every step of the way.

Welcoming new patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill

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teeth whitening for kidsIf your child’s teeth are less than a crisp, bright white, you may be tempted to improve their appearance through whitening. But are teeth whitening procedures like whitening strips safe for kids? Let’s find out.

The Big Picture

If your child’s teeth have some staining or discoloration, there is a chance it’s due to disease, poor diet, or prolonged antibiotic use. While whitening could make teeth appear whiter, it won’t fix the underlying concerns that caused the problem in the first place. Plus there are risks and side effects to whitening that just aren’t worth it. At our Erdenheim dental office, we want to encourage our patients’ parents to learn about the potential risks associated with tooth whitening in anyone under the age of 15.

Ingredient Concerns

The main ingredient in most whitening strips is hydrogen peroxide. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), whitening strips often contain around 13 percent of it. For adults, this is really no big deal. However, for children, the higher the concentration the more chance for negative side effects.  

Side Effects

One of the main concerns of using whitening strips on kids is the large chance for misuse and user error. The AAPD’s research has found that when kids use whitening strips by themselves, there’s a high chance the strips are left on far too long. Prolonged exposure increases the likelihood of ingesting the hydrogen peroxide and often leads to painful sensitivity.  

More Information Needed

There is currently a lack of research that clearly states whether whitening strips are safe for kids. Because of this, it’s typically discouraged that parents use them on children prior to any permanent teeth coming in. More studies and solid research is required in order to rule out any safety concerns for the use of whitening strips on small smiles.

Alternatives

The best thing to do if your kid’s smile shows signs of discoloration is to practice good oral hygiene habits, choose the right foods and drinks, and visit your dentist in Erdenheim regularly. You can always feel free to call one of our Erdenheim dental office. We will determine the true cause of the staining and work with you and your child to provide healthy solutions for a bright, white smile.

Welcoming patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill, and nearby neighborhoods.

snow white smile

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When the first snowflakes fall, everything becomes blanketed under a snow-white covering. It’s only after time passes and the snow melts when plowed piles start to look grimy and muddy. Your teeth are no different. Over time, wear and tear causes discoloration and a drab smile. Our Erdenheim dental office is here to give some practical words of advice to keep your smile bright!

Rethink Your Food and Drink

Some of our favorite foods and beverages are actually to blame for causing stains. Here’s a short list of food and beverage offenders:

  • Red wine
  • Soda
  • Berry juices
  • Coffee and black tea
  • Sauce and gravy

Try using a straw with stain-inducing drinks. Swallow foods quickly, leaving less time to linger, to minimize the stain power.

The Bright White Fight

Always check with your Erdenheim dentist before starting any whitening procedures. Making sure you’re brushing with a proper toothpaste is a good way to fight for a bright smile. Check the label for the American Dental Association seal of approval. Porcelain veneers are also another option for a snow-white smile.

Brushing is Always Best

Sometimes you may think your dental team sounds like a broken record, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to brush and floss regularly. This holds true for stain fighting too. Twice daily brushing, after you wake up in the morning and before you turn in at night, is key for excellent oral health and deterring stains.

No matter what kind of weather, we’re always ready to see your bright smile in our dental office in Erdenheim. Call or stop in to schedule a consultation. Together let’s ensure your smile is snow white in winter and beyond!

We’re always happy to welcome new neighbors and patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

kids brushing

Posted by & filed under General, General Dental Articles, Home Care.

Getting kids to brush their teeth isn’t always easy. But if it turns into a twice-daily battle, your kids could start having negative associations related to dental hygiene. No one in our Erdenheim dental practice wants that! With a little creativity and a spirit of fun, you can make toothbrushing time pleasant. Here are a few tips for making the brushing ritual easier…and even fun!

  • Help your little ones get used to the feeling of something in their mouths by cleaning their gums with a soft cloth – even before their teeth come in!
  • Once those tiny teeth start showing, it is time to use a toothbrush. Make a big deal of it and let your child choose a special toothbrush or toothpaste. Suddenly it’s a party!
  • Speaking of parties, playing a special song or finding a fun video about toothbrushing can make two minutes seem to fly by. Here’s a great Sesame Street video we found: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxMrtK-kYnE.
  • Brush with or in front of your toddler. Kids love to imitate their grown ups, so if they can watch you, or an older sibling who has the technique down, they will look forward to learning to do it too! Be sure to get down on their level so they can see exactly what you are doing.
  • Once your kids have watched you brush a while, let them take a turn with the brush themselves. Make a game out of sharing the brushing responsibility. This lets them feel in charge but also makes sure their teeth are properly cleaned.
  • Some parents like to keep a star chart for kids as they get older. When the stars show your child has brushed twice a day all week, they get a little treat or outing.

The benchmark for allowing a child to brush on her own is when she can tie her own shoes. Until then, she probably doesn’t have the dexterity to brush properly without your help. Be patient with less-than-cooperative kids, remembering that you are setting them up for a lifetime of good oral health.

If you have any questions about brushing, please call our dental office in Erdenheim today. We can set up an appointment to teach you and your child the best brushing methods.

We love seeing little smiles from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.