Posted & filed under Oral Cancer, Oral Health, Prevention.

It’s scary when anyone mentions the word cancer, and oral cancer is no different. A serious and sometimes life threatening disease, oral cancer affects thousands of Americans each year – yet awareness and education regarding its seriousness isn’t often talked about. This Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the team at our dental office in Cordova wants to help change that by providing you with some startling statistics about the disease, as well as key signs to look out for and ways you can protect yourself.

Oral Cancer Statistics

The number of oral cancer patients is expected to rise in 2018. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that over 51,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed this year alone. Additionally, out of all the known people with the disease, over 10,000 will die by the end of the year. Even though mortality rates were declining in the past, throughout the past 10 years they’ve stayed relatively the same. While these statistics are absolutely scary, oral cancer can be treated successfully. Currently, the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer is 65%

What Are The Signs of Oral Cancer?

One of the key points to surviving oral cancer is detecting and treating it early. This makes being able to recognize the common signs incredibly important. Signs of oral cancer can include:

  • A sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away and bleeds easily
  • A chronic white or red area
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue
  • A lump on the cheek, tongue, or throat
  • Coughing up blood
  • Ear pain

If you suspect any problem at all, get help from your dentist in Cordova as soon as possible.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

While oral cancer can affect anyone thanks to genetics or even gender and age, there are a lot of lifestyle factors that can greatly increase your risk including:

  • Using Tobacco: Whether you smoke cigarettes or cigars, or use smokeless tobacco, it can put you at risk for oral cancer. Around 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are tobacco users.
  • Drinking Alcohol: Drinking alcohol excessively also increases the likelihood of oral cancer. Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer drink alcohol often.
  • HPV: The sexually transmitted disease of the human papillomavirus (HPV) can also increase someone’s risk of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Prevention

Changing a few lifestyle factors can help prevent the development of oral cancer. Quitting smoking, along with reducing your alcohol intake, are a few great places to start. However, it’s also crucial to maintain good oral health and get dental checkups every six months. These exams and cleanings can help spot any potential problems early, when treatment is most successful.

Don’t have a dentist you trust? We welcome you to call our Cordova dental office to schedule an appointment today. It could save your life.

foods with calcium

Posted & filed under Family Health, General Dentistry, Oral Health.

When most people think of calcium, they often associate it with building super strong bones. While that’s certainly part of its benefits, the team at our dental office in Collierville also knows that calcium is crucial for a strong smile, too. But before you start diving in to a calcium-rich diet, consider some important facts to keep your body, and mouth, healthy.

Know How Much Calcium You Need

Your recommended level of calcium intake depends on your age and your gender. The following chart from the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) shows just how much calcium each age group needs each and every day.

  • 0-6 months = 200 mg for both males and females
  • 7-12 months = 260 mg for both males and females
  • 1-3 years = 700 mg for both males and females
  • 4-8 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
  • 9-18 years = 1,300 mg for both males and females
  • 19-50 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
  • 51-70 years = 1,000 mg for males, 1,200 mg for females
  • 71+ years = 1,200 mg for both males and females

Too Much Calcium Is a Real Thing

While you should always try your best to get your recommended daily intake of calcium, there’s no need to go overboard. In fact, your Collierville dentist wants you to know that ingesting too much calcium can have adverse effects on your oral and overall health. Excess calcium can lead to gum disease, plaque deposits, and has even been studied to potentially increase the risk for heart disease. Just like most things in life, calcium is best in moderation. Make sure to follow the recommended amount for your age and gender.  

Mix in Some Vitamin D

Even if you’re getting your recommended intake of calcium daily, it may not be enough to keep your bones and teeth strong. In order for calcium to be absorbed into the body properly, it needs an adequate amount of vitamin D, too. Your body needs both vitamin D and calcium to function, so read the nutrition labels on your food and provide yourself with a nice mix of the two.

Look Past the Dairy Aisle

The most common way to get calcium is to eat or drink dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese. And while those are excellent sources of calcium, and usually vitamin D too, there are plenty of other non-dairy options to explore including:

  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Soymilk
  • Orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified cereal

Our Collierville dental office strives to keep our patients as healthy as possible, and not just their smiles. That’s why we encourage each and every one of them to eat well balanced meals and get enough calcium and vitamin D. That, along with maintaining bi-annual dental visits and brushing and flossing regularly, will help keep their smiles and bodies strong, for life.

We have dental offices in Cordova and Collierville to better serve you.

nutrition month

Posted & filed under Family Health, General Dentistry, Oral Health.

Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month to raise awareness on the importance of eating a healthy diet for overall health. At our dental office in Cordova, we want to do our part and take this opportunity to also share the oral health benefits of eating a well-balanced diet.

Nutrition Can Be Confusing

While we know the basics to eating well include things such as avoiding too much fast food and eating more vegetables, the ins and outs to really optimizing your nutrition can get convoluted and confusing. Things have changed from the days of the Food Guide Pyramid released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992. In fact, they’ve changed twice. Currently, the USDA recommends following the MyPlate recommendations for dietary guidelines. However, it’s still not quite that simple. The MyPlate model is individualized based on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. So proper nutrition isn’t so clearly defined anymore. Head on over to the MyPlate Checklist to find your ideal balance, but essentially a lot of the basics still stand, including eating plenty of:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Lean Proteins
  • Dairy

What Does This Have To Do with Your Mouth?

Following a well-balanced diet has been proven to keep you healthy and help protect your body from serious diseases. It turns out, what you eat also affects the health of your mouth, too. If you choose nutrient-rich foods and follow your MyPlate recommendations, you’re taking steps to keep your oral health in great shape. However, if your diet is poor, you’re putting your mouth at increased risk for dental problems.

Oh, Sugar!

Your dentist in Cordova really doesn’t like sugar, and with good reason. This sweet stuff can wreak havoc on your teeth. When sugar is introduced to the mouth, acid levels surge. It’s this acid that attacks tooth enamel, wearing it down and leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and at risk for decay and cavities. A reduction in enamel may also increase tooth sensitivity or give teeth a dark, dull appearance.

But Wait, There’s More!

Although sugar tends to get all of the attention when it comes to talking about food and oral health, there are hidden sugars you should be aware of. Carbohydrates, while not typically sweet in taste, break down into simple sugars as we eat them. These sugars are just as dangerous as the stuff found in sugar-packed treats. Try to get into the habit of reading nutrition labels to reduce both your sugar and carbohydrate intake, as well as your fat, cholesterol, and sodium consumption.

Our Cordova dental office prides ourselves as being active members of your healthcare team, and we’re to help get you healthy any way we can. Schedule your appointment with us today.  

Welcoming new patients at both our Collierville and Cordova dental offices.

green beer

Posted & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry, General Dentistry, Oral Health.

St. Patrick’s Day is often celebrated by wearing a bunch of green, maybe going to a parade, and oftentimes, drinking beer. Sometimes bars and restaurants even go the extra mile by dyeing their beer green to enhance the festive feeling. While the team at our dental office in Collierville is all for enjoying the day responsibly, there are a few things about beer and your dental health that you should know about.

Acid Attack

It may surprise you to know that beer is quite acidic. While different types of beer have varying levels of acidity –  darker brews having more than their lighter counterparts – it’s all potentially dangerous to your grin. When large amounts of acid are introduced into the mouth, it begins to wear away the protective layer of tooth enamel. Without this barrier, teeth may become increasingly sensitive and even appear less vibrant and white.

Dingy Discoloration

Enamel erosion is only one potential reason your teeth may be looking a bit discolored. Drinking excessively may also cause your teeth to yellow over time. Dark stouts and porters, along with fruity beers, are the biggest culprits to beer related tooth discoloration. However, the food coloring used in beer on St. Patrick’s Day can also temporarily stain your smile a not-so-lovely shade of green.

Gum Disease

You’ll typically hear us talk about the main causes of gum disease being poor dental hygiene or tobacco use, but those aren’t the only contributors. Drinking alcohol in excess, beer included, leaves your mouth exposed to the loads of sugar found in these types of beverages. When sugar and bacteria unite they form a super sticky film known as plaque. This plaque can be removed through regular brushing, but if you forego brushing, it will harden into tartar. Tartar can block your toothbrush from cleaning all the nooks and crannies, especially along the gum line. This means bacteria is free to do as it pleases, including damaging gums and causing gum disease.   

Reduce The Risk

You can help protect your smile from the side effects of drinking beer by first enjoying it in moderation. Alternating a cup beer with a glass of water will rinse away excess sugars and acid that would otherwise be free to damage teeth. Of course, we also recommend seeing your dentist in Collierville twice a year and brushing and flossing every day.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the dentist, or you see some leftover green tint on your teeth following your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, give our dental office in Collierville a call to schedule an appointment today.

Welcoming new patients at both our Collierville and Cordova dental offices.

dog with toothbrush

Posted & filed under General Dentistry, Gum Disease, Oral Health, Prevention.

Although our dental office in Collierville is focused on keeping our human patients’ mouths healthy, we also understand just how important it is to take care of your furry friends’ dental health, too. During this National Pet Dental Health Month, we’re switching things up to talk about some common pet oral health tips that aren’t so different from your own dental needs.

Brush Their Teeth

To some, brushing your pet’s teeth may sound unnecessary and perhaps even a bit silly. But our furry friends’ mouths aren’t so much different than ours, and brushing their teeth is an important part of keeping your dog or cat in good oral health. Just like humans should visit their dentist in Collierville to get a professional teeth cleaning, pets should also visit a vet to get the same. However, instead of the recommended bi-annual cleanings for humans, pets only need a thorough cleaning once a year. In between those visits, you can take steps to keep their mouths healthy at home. Consider wrapping a piece of clean gauze around a finger and gently scrubbing your pet’s teeth using a dedicated toothpaste just for animals. Doing this two or three times a week can go a long way in fighting tartar and plaque buildup.

Let Them Chew

While we normally discourage our pets from gnawing on things around the house, chewing on toys or bones can actually help strengthen teeth and minimize plaque. But not just any bone or toy will do. For example, a tough, solid bone may be your go-to pick, but these types of bones can increase the risk of breaking a tooth. There are plenty of treats and toys that are designed to stimulate the gums and remove tartar. It should be noted that chewing doesn’t remove the need for proper brushing, just as you eating smile-friendly foods doesn’t mean you should stop brushing.  

Be Aware of a Problem

When we talk to our patients about the signs of a potential dental disease or problem, we highlight symptoms such as:

  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Bleeding

These symptoms also apply to your pet. If you notice any signs of concern, contact your vet as soon as possible.

Taking care of your pets’ oral health can set them up for a lifetime of good overall health. Just don’t forget to take care of your own, too. Regular visits to your Collierville dentist, along with a great at-home routine, are the best ways to ensure your smile is in the best shape.

At our Collierville dental office, we’re always welcoming new patients of the human kind and would be happy to see you! Give us a call today!

heart health month

Posted & filed under Gum Disease, Oral Health, Prevention.

You may be wondering why your dentist in Cordova is choosing to talk about heart health. As a dedicated member of your medical team, we’re not only concerned with keeping your teeth and gums healthy, but rather we’re committed to keeping your whole body healthy. And it just so happens that your oral health plays a key role in overall wellness, including heart health. So during this American Heart Health Month, we want to provide all of our patients with important information on how keeping your smile in tip-top shape can help you maintain a healthy body.

How Does Dentistry Play a Role?

As research continues to advance what we know about heart disease, a strong correlation between oral health and heart health has been discovered. This link begins with gum health and, more specifically, gum disease. Gum disease is essentially an infection in the gum tissue that can lead to tooth loss. But perhaps what’s more concerning is that this infection has a direct route to the bloodstream. If it spreads, your body will produce excessive amounts of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is one of the known indicators of cardiovascular disease. Elevated levels of CRP can lead to some serious health issues including:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

How to Avoid Gum Disease

The best way to avoid gum disease and the dangerous effects it can have on your heart is to prevent it by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. It’s also crucial to visit your Cordova dentist twice a year to remove buildup that your toothbrush just can’t touch.

Know the Signs

One of the scariest things about gum disease is that it can develop rapidly before you even suspect a problem. It is treatable and success is more likely if caught in the early stages. Knowing this, you should be aware of some early signs of gum disease so that you can seek treatment early. Some things to look out for include:

If you recognize any of the signs above, or it’s been more than six months since your last dental cleaning, call our dental office in Cordova to schedule an appointment. Your smile and your heart will thank you.

We have dental offices in Cordova and Collierville to better serve you.

woman looks at teeth in the mirror

Posted & filed under General Dentistry, Oral Health, Prevention.

We all know that following a proper brushing and flossing routine at home can go a long way in protecting your smile against cavities. But even if you always brush twice a day and floss daily, there are still some things that may be putting you at risk for cavities. Join our Collierville dental office as we cover a few of the surprising ways you may be damaging your teeth.

Alcohol & Drug Use

Alcohol in particular poses two potential threats to oral health. First, it’s naturally drying and can lead to dry mouth. Second, its acidity wears away enamel. Dangerous, hard drugs such as methamphetamine traditionally cause tooth rot and many other oral health and whole-body health concerns.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect teeth in different ways. One way is by keeping you from getting the proper amount of nutrients, such as calcium and phosphorus, that your teeth need to stay strong. Another is by damaging tooth enamel through purging. While not all eating disorders involve purging, it’s a common practice in those with bulimia.

Genetics

Like your overall health, your genetics also play a role in your oral health. Whether your genes cause you to have higher amounts of bacteria in your mouth or they make you more likely to have soft or brittle teeth, they may put you at increased risk for cavities.

Getting Older

It’s a known fact that our bodies change as we get older. Our oral health is no different. Aging tends to weaken tooth enamel, which increases risk for decay by leaving teeth exposed to damaging bacteria. But the worries don’t end with tooth enamel. Gum recession is also common in older people, giving bacteria yet another place to attack.

Tobacco Use

Both smoking and using chewing tobacco can make you more susceptible to cavities since they contain nicotine, and nicotine is known to dry out mouths. Using any form of tobacco can also lead to yellow, discolored teeth.

Fillings

Even though fillings are meant to fix and treat cavities, having one that’s a bit large can put you at risk for developing more cavities. Large fillings can cause bacteria to get trapped underneath, which becomes impossible to remove with a toothbrush. If this is the case, your dentist in Collierville will need to fix the filling or perhaps use a dental crown instead.

Besides making sure you brush and floss regularly, visiting our dental office in Collierville bi-annually can help reduce your chances of getting a cavity. If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental check up, call to schedule an appointment today.

We have dental offices located in Collierville and Cordova to better serve you.

man with tooth pain

Posted & filed under General Dentistry, Prevention.

Regular dental cleanings and exams can go a long way in keeping your mouth healthy. But when we miss these bi-annual appointments, the likelihood that a dental problem will pop up increases. These dental problems can be painful and even lead to more serious complications if left untreated. The team at our Collierville dental office encourages you to call to schedule an appointment with us if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

Bleeding While Brushing or Flossing

Some may say that seeing some blood while brushing or flossing is normal. We’re here to tell you that it’s not. In fact, blood is never normal and may even be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease a serious oral health problem that requires professional treatment. If it’s not treated quickly and effectively gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other whole-body problems including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

Any Tooth Pain

Experiencing any form of tooth pain is your mouth’s way of telling you that something isn’t right in there and that you should get help. While the reasons behind toothaches can vary from anything from a cavity to a damaged dental restoration, the best way to get to the bottom of it and get relief is to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Collierville as soon as you can.

Hot/Cold Sensitivity

Having sensitive teeth could be a result of something as simple as brushing too hard or whitening your teeth too much. Other times, however, tooth sensitivity can also be caused by more serious things such as eroding enamel or receding gums. Both of these issues require a professional diagnosis and treatment plan in order to relieve the painful zingers of sensitivity.

Chronic Dry Mouth

Dry mouth may be no big deal, but if doesn’t go away it could be a sign of serious problem. Bad breath is often a sign of gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease. If not treated quickly the gingivitis can easily progress into gum disease and may eventually lead to tooth loss and the other whole-body concerns we mentioned earlier. Whether dry mouth is caused by medication you’re taking, is a byproduct of aging, or is a symptom of gingivitis, see your dentist to fix the problem once and for all.

These dental problems aren’t something to ignore and won’t go away on their own. The best way to diagnose and treat any of the issues above is to call our dental office in Collierville as soon as you notice something isn’t quite right. After all, many oral health complications are treated successfully and easily if caught early.

woman holds toothpaste

Posted & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry, Prevention.

Whether due to aging, smoking, or drinking too much tooth-staining tea, there are plenty of things that can cause our pearly whites to be, well… not so white. If you’re one of the many people who are trying to score a whiter smile by using whitening toothpastes, our dental office in Cordova wants you to read on…

3 Pros of Whitening Toothpaste

There can be some benefits using whitening toothpaste. Some of these positives may include:

  • Effective Removal of Surface Stains. Most whitening toothpastes can effectively scrub away surface stains. So far, the stuff looks pretty good.
  • Easy to Use. If you can use regular toothpaste, you can use a whitening toothpaste. Just dab a little on your toothbrush and gently brush twice a day.
  • Most Affordable Option. At just a few bucks a tube, whitening toothpaste is appealing to many who are trying to get a whiter smile.

3 Cons of Whitening Toothpaste

However, using a whitening toothpaste isn’t all positive. While it may be effective, easy to use, and fairly cheap, there are also some disadvantages including:

  • It Takes a Long Time to See Results. A key part of making whitening toothpaste work is using it regularly. This means brushing with it twice a day, every day. Even then it could take weeks to see a change in color.
  • Could Cause More Harm Than Good. Whitening toothpastes are packed with abrasive ingredients. That’s another part of what makes it work. But it’s also what can cause damage. The abrasive texture of whitening toothpastes can wear away enamel, leaving teeth at risk for decay and sensitivity. Thinner enamel can also cause teeth to appear darker, which really isn’t the look we were going for.
  • It May Not Work for You. Sometimes tooth staining goes deeper than the surface, making whitening toothpastes essentially ineffective. But don’t panic. Cosmetic dentistry such as dental veneers can still transform your smile.

Alternatives to Whitening Toothpaste

Even though whitening toothpaste tends to be the go-to option for getting a whiter smile, there are other things you can do to help get, and keep, your teeth pearly white.

  • After drinking tea or coffee, rinse your mouth out with water.
  • Stop smoking or using chewing tobacco.  
  • Eat more apples, cheese, or celery to gently rub away potential stains.
  • Consider a professional smile whitening from your dentist in Cordova.

The best way to whiten your smile depends on several things, and there is no one solution that’s right for everyone. To find out what will help get you a whiter smile, we welcome you to schedule an appointment our Cordova dental office.

woman hiding her smile

Posted & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry.

When you look in the mirror and smile, what do you see? Are you happy with the way your smile looks, or are your teeth not quite white enough, not quite straight enough, or just overall not quite what you’d like? If you’re looking for ways to improve your smile’s appearance, look no further than our dental office in Collierville.  

Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments to Transform Your Smile

Professional Teeth Whitening

The most common form of cosmetic dentistry is a professional smile whitening treatment. An in-office or professional strength at-home tooth whitening product from your dentist in Collierville can brighten a dull and discolored smile better than their over-the-counter alternatives. These professional whitening solutions are also often more customized for your needs and your teeth.

Dental Veneers

While professional whitening can be really successful for many people, there are times when it’s just not enough to transform a stained grin. In these situations, dental veneers can work wonders. Dental veneers are usually made from ceramic, and are custom-crafted for each patient to match their natural tooth shape. They’re also effective at creating a straighter smile, fixing cracked teeth, or eliminating gaps between teeth.

Composite Bonding

When it comes to covering up and fixing darkened decayed teeth or chipped teeth, composite bonding is an easy and effective solution. The process is simple. Your dentist removes the decay, covers the area with the safe composite material, and artfully molds it into shape to match the rest of your smile. The composite is then hardened and the transformation is complete.

Smile Makeover

A more comprehensive approach to a smile transformation is typically considered a smile makeover. After an in-depth discussion with your dentist to address all of your concerns, your smile makeover may consist of a combination of cosmetic dentistry treatments to give your smile the appearance you’re looking for.

As we ring in the new year and focus on the self-improvement resolutions that tend to come with the celebration, commit to giving yourself a smile that you’ll be proud to show off. Call our Collierville dental office today to get started!