Outlay of multiracial faces printed

How to Prevent Oral Cancer

Oral cancer kills someone in the U.S. every hour.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is cancer of the mouth or throat, sometimes connected to head and neck cancer. It is more prevalent in men than in women and can develop in lips, cheek lining, salivary glands, hard palate, soft palate, uvula, the area under your tongue, gums, tongue and tonsils. Despite being mostly preventable, an estimated 49,670 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year and more than 9,700 will die of the disease.
 

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

  1. Tobacco: The greatest risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco, accounting for about 60% of oral cancer diagnoses. Smokers are 3 times more likely to lose teeth than non-smokers and people who use chewing tobacco are still at risk for cancers of the cheek, gums, and inner surface of the lips. If you are using other smoking alternatives like vaporizers, be warned – no smoking alternative has been proven to be more healthy than cigarettes.
  2. Alcohol: Oral cancers are about six times more common in drinkers than in nondrinkers. When tobacco and alcohol use are combined, the risk of oral cancer increases 15 times more than non-users of tobacco and alcohol products.
  3. Diet: Refined sugars, oils and carbohydrates and dairy products have been shown to increase inflammation in the body as well as risk for oral cancer. The main culprits are bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, muffins, cakes, boxed cereals, frozen treats, pretzels, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages and candy.
  4. Age: 86% of the people diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 50, but lifestyle and environmental factors are generally the greatest risk factors.
  5. Excessive Exposure to Sunlight: Excessive and unprotected exposure to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet radiation (UV) like tanning beds is linked with cancer in the lip area. The skin on lips is actually much thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of the face. Men who work outside are 5 times more likely to develop oral cancer than those with jobs inside.
  6. Human Papilloma virus (HPV): Human papilloma virus is a common sexually transmitted infection. For many people, HPV causes no harm and goes away without treatment. Only a very small percentage of people with HPV develop mouth or oropharyngeal cancer, but the risks are very real – especially for current smokers and people who are frequently subjected to secondhand smoke.

 

How to Prevent Oral Cancer

  1. Brush, Floss, Rinse & Chew Every Day: Are you doing your Daily 4? Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, flossing once, rinsing and chewing gum after meals is recommended.
  2. Don’t Smoke or Chew Tobacco: Research has shown that ex-smokers reduce their risk of mouth cancer by more than a third.
  3. Drink Alcohol in Moderation: If you are going to drink, try to limit yourself to your one serving per day. For men on average, this means 24 ounces of beer or 10 ounces of wine. For women on average, this means only 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine. Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to many health problems, not just oral cancer.
  4. Eat More Cancer-Fighting Foods: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of cancer, as well as a healthy intake of Vitamin C and calcium. Try incorporating as many “cancer-fighting” foods into your diet as you can – kale, broccoli, blueberries, sweet potatoes, turmeric, yogurt, sunflower seeds, coconut oil, mushrooms and green tea are pretty easy to find at your local grocery.
  5. Don’t Fry Foods. Bake, Boil or Steam Instead: Frying your food increases the formation of acrylamide, a cancer-causing chemical also found in cigarettes. It is most commonly found in fried potatoes. If you are eating frozen foods, it is very important to follow the cooking instructions – or replace your frozen veggies with fresh ingredients from the produce section!
  6. Use Lip Balm with SPF: If you work outside, protecting your lips should be a priority. This means you too, men! Invest in a fragrance-free lip balm with SPF 15 or higher and apply throughout the day. This also goes for people who like to spend their afternoons gardening, swimming, skiing or sunbathing – protecting your lips is one of the easiest ways to prevent oral cancer.
  7.  Practice Safe Sex: If you are sexually active, you know it’s important for you to be safe. Contraceptives do not provide 100% protection against HPV, which is why vaccines are recommended. If you have any symptoms of HPV or think you might’ve been exposed, be sure to talk with your doctor about your health.
  8. Check Your Mouth Regularly for Symptoms: Purchase a small mirror and take a look around your mouth. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment with your dentist or doctor soon.
  9. Schedule an Oral Cancer Screening: At your next regular checkup, remember to ask your dentist about oral cancer. If you feel you have symptoms of oral cancer, make an appointment with your regular dentist for an oral cancer screening.
Two Friends Whispering Secrets in the Ear.

Members Only: 25% Off Dentures

What if you could save 25% on full or partial dentures and all you had to do was come in for a dental checkup? At Howard Family Dental, you can! Sign up for our Discount Dental Plan and you won’t just be saving money on dentures – you’ll also receive free or discounted dental care for an entire year.

One Membership Pays for Itself

The Discount Dental Plan is exclusively for patients without dental insurance. There is no waiting period, no yearly maximums, no deductibles and no pre-existing condition limitations. New patients will start saving on dental care as soon as you sign up! At just the cost of an initial visit—consisting of an exam & X-rays, teeth cleaning and fluoride treatment—you’ll have access to lots of exclusive member benefits like:

  • 25% Off Dentures and Partials
  • 10% Off Implants
  • 50% Off Sealants
  • 2 Free Teeth Cleanings & Exams Each Year

Save Thousands for the Cost of a Single Checkup

No typos here. For just $227.00, the Discount Dental Plan is already less expensive than the cost of an average dental checkup, which includes a doctor exam & X-rays, teeth cleaning and fluoride treatment. And when you consider the average cost of full dentures is around $3000, the savings are unbelievable! If you are a patient without dental insurance who plans on getting new dentures soon, the Discount Dental Plan sounds like the plan for you.

Schedule a denture consultation at any Howard Family Dental location today!

Download the Discount Dental Plan Application form.

 

About Dentures

 

oral cancer colorful word with stethoscope on wooden background

Free Oral Cancer Screenings

April is Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, and Howard Family Dental is offering free oral cancer screenings throughout the month! The goal of offering free screenings is both to promote awareness and education of oral cancer, and to help with early detection.

To schedule your free oral cancer screening at any Howard Family Dental location, call (912)-629-9000.

 

About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is commonly associated with alcohol consumption and tobacco products. However, recent studies have found other causes for oral cancer as well such as HPV. An oral cancer screening uses technology to check or abnormal cells or lesion in the oral cavity. Any abnormality detected will indicate the need for more advanced screenings and tests.

Oral cancer is typically thought to be caused by smoking and tobacco use, but there are many other causes that are often ignored. There is a growing number of young adults that have been diagnosed with oral cancer, due to human papilloma virus (HPV). According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, close to 45,750 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year.

Woman having checkup at dentist

Outdoors portrait of a pretty girl eating apple

Apples: Dental Hygiene Facts

We’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But apples may keep the dentist away too. Apples are a naturally sweet, low-calorie alternative to cavity-causing, sugary snacks like candy and fruit juice – plus they clean your teeth while you eat them!

Benefits of Apples

  • Apples make your gums healthier. Apples contain about 15% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, which helps keep your gums healthy. Without this vitamin, your gums become more vulnerable to infection, bleeding and gum disease. If you have periodontal disease, a lack of vitamin C increases bleeding and swelling.
  • Apples are nature’s toothbrush.  Chewing the fibrous texture of the fruit and its skin can stimulate your gums, reduce cavity-causing bacteria and increase saliva flow. Like other crisp, raw vegetables and fruits, apples can also gently remove plaque trapped between teeth.
  • Apples strengthen your bones. Apples have potassium. Potassium improves bone mineral density. Your teeth are made from bone. ‘Nuff said.
  • Apples help weight loss. Loaded with soluble fiber, apples can help lower your cholesterol and improve your blood sugar regulation.
  • Apples fight heart disease. Although the research hasn’t proven it yet, there’s an apparent link between gum health and heart health. Periodontitis and heart disease share risk factors such as smoking, age and diabetes, and both contribute to inflammation in the body. Apples contain antioxidants that lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke.

Is the acidity in apples bad for my teeth?

According to a study published in the Journal of Dentistry, apples may be even more acidic than soda. But the negative effects of acidity in any foods you eat, like processed meats and coffee, can easily be prevented if you follow these tips:

  • Eat your apple with another snack. Maybe you’d like a small serving of cheese, a glass of milk or crackers. Whatever you choose, other foods will help neutralize the acid in the apple – especially if they’re high in calcium.
  • Rinse with a glass of water. In general, it’s just a good idea to drink a glass of water or rinse after eating. Water helps rinse away acid and food particles that have collected between your teeth.
  • Wait to brush. Brushing immediately after eating any sugary food is not a good idea. The sugar will act like sandpaper and damage your tooth enamel. Wait at least 30 minutes after sugary snacks to brush.

March Invisalign Days!

March is your lucky month!

Several of our offices are offering Invisalign Days this month!

They will be providing free consultations to answer your questions about Invisalign treatment, the clear way to straighten your teeth. If you’ve wondered if Invisalign is right for you, make an appointment for this special event.

  • $500 off payment due at the time of service (valid on the office’s Invisalign Day).
  • No down payment and 24 monthly payments 0% interest for qualified patients.
  • Free teeth whitening for all existing patients that start Invisalign and are enrolled in our re-care program.
  • Space is limited to the first 15 appointments.
  • Consult must be scheduled before office’s Invisalign Day
  • The doctors and offices offering an Invisalign Day are listed below:

March 21st :HFD Bluffton
Adam Squicquero, DDS
10 Pinckney Colony Road
Bluffton, SC 29909
(843)593-9390

March 24th: HFD Pooler
Lindsay Sammons, DMD
91 Brighton Woods Drive
Pooler, GA 31322
(912)748-4858

March 28th: HFD Midtown
Julie Howard, DMD
533 Stephenson Ave
Savannah, GA 31405
(912)236-3557

March 28th: HFD Richmond Hill
Rachael Hunt-Whirt DMD
1962 Highway 17
Richmond Hill, GA 31324
(912)756-3000

Call today to see if Invisalign treatment is right for you!

Closeup portrait of beautiful African American couple spending time together

Thinking about Whitening Your Teeth? This FAQ is For You.

We get a lot of questions from people who are interested in whitening their teeth. After all, your smile is often the first thing someone notices about you. But many things, including coffee, tea, red wine and tobacco, can stain them and cause them to darken. Here are answers to some of the questions we hear most often from people who want a brighter, whiter smile.

How does tooth whitening work?

Whitening products contain a peroxide-based bleach that breaks up both deep and surface stains in tooth enamel. The degree of whiteness that can be achieved will vary based on the condition of your teeth, how much staining you have, and the type of bleaching system you use.

Does whitening work on all teeth?

No. It’s important to talk with your dentist before deciding to whiten your teeth because whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. Yellow teeth usually bleach well, brown teeth may not respond as well, and teeth with gray tones may not bleach at all. In addition, whitening will not work on caps, veneers, crowns or fillings. And it won’t be effective on tooth discoloration caused by medications or injury to the tooth. (American Dental Association)

What types of professional whitening systems are available?

  • Tray-based, at-home whitening. With this method, the dentist creates a mouthguard-type tray from an impression of your upper and lower teeth. A tray made by a dentist is customized to fit your teeth exactly. It allows for maximum contact between the whitening gel and the teeth, and also minimizes the gel’s contact with gum tissue. When it’s time to use the tray, you fill it with a prescription whitening gel and wear it for a specified period of time. That may range from a couple of hours a day to overnight for up to four weeks or longer, depending on how much discoloration you have and your desired level of whitening.
  • In-office whitening. This is the fastest way to whiten teeth. With this type of bleaching, the whitening product is applied directly to the teeth. It may be used in combination with heat, a special light, or a laser. Results can be seen in just one 30- to 60-minute treatment. For the most dramatic results, more than one appointment may be needed.

Can a person with very sensitive teeth have their teeth whitened?

In almost all cases, yes. A number of steps can be taken to address the issue of sensitivity:

  • The strength of the bleaching solution as well as the length of time teeth are exposed to it can be adjusted.
  • The length of time between treatments can be extended.
  • A high fluoride, remineralization gel or over-the-counter product such as Crest® Sensi-Stop™ Strips can be used to help stop sensitivity after treatment.

Be sure to discuss your sensitivity problem with your dentist.

There are also things you can do to lessen sensitivity. Take ibuprofen before your treatment and while teeth are sensitive. Avoid foods that are very hot or very cold. Use a prescribed gel or toothpaste made for sensitive teeth along with a soft-bristle toothbrush. And try to avoid foods citrus fruits and foods that are highly acidic.

How long does whitening last?

Teeth whitening isn’t permanent. If you expose your teeth to foods and beverages that cause staining, whitening may start to fade in a little as a month. However, if you avoid those things that stain, you may be able to wait as long as a year before another treatment or touch-up is necessary. (WebMD)

If you have any other questions as you consider whitening your teeth, be sure to call a Howard Family Dental office near you.

woman smiles and reveals a heart sticker on her shirt

3 Reasons to Love Your Smile

Unfortunately a lot of people are self-conscious about their smiles. From tutorials on how to smile better and what seems like every celebrity opting for veneers nowadays, there seems to be a lot of pressure on us to have perfect teeth! But just because your teeth aren’t perfectly straight or perfectly white does not mean they aren’t perfectly healthy and beautiful. Don’t believe us? Here are 3 reasons you should love your smile.

1. It’s uniquely yours.

Just like a fingerprint, no two people in the world have the same set of teeth. So if you feel self-conscious over crooked or discolored teeth – Don’t be! Each tooth has a particular size, a particular placement, and a certain distance from its neighbor, which makes the whole set unique. Even identical twins do not have exactly the same set of teeth, because a set of teeth is not only determined by genes, but also by clenching, grinding or thumb sucking.

Michael Strahan laughs and reveals his famous gap

Retired NFL Star & talk show host Michael Strahan—who has one of the most unique smiles we can think of—once considered closing his famous gap at one point. “I made the conscious effort to say, ‘This is who I am,'” he explains of why he didn’t and won’t close up his teeth. “I’m not perfect. I don’t want to try to be perfect.” We think you’re perfect exactly as you are, Michael, and we love your unique smile!

2. Less-than-perfect teeth are beautiful!

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” says a well-known proverb, and we don’t disagree. Crooked teeth aren’t necessarily unhealthy or bad for any reason—despite some people’s obsession with straight teeth—so if you have a few crooked or discolored teeth, don’t stop loving your smile! Believe it or not, in Japan, crooked teeth are ideal. And they even have a specific word “yaeba” for their cute obsession with lengthier canines and less-than-straight smiles.

kate moss is smiling

Anna Paquin, Kate Moss and Kirsten Dunst are three stars who didn’t “fix” their teeth, but we think their smiles make them even more beautiful because they’re natural. If everyone had identical straight teeth, the world would be a boring place. Celebrate your uniqueness today and see your teeth in a new light.

3. It makes other people happy!

Ever seen a smile from a toddler or a happy puppy and had your day made? It turns out there is some science behind the happy feeling we get when we smile and see others smiling. Not only do our brains want to smile when we see someone else smile, research suggests that smiling leads to decrease in the stress-induced hormones that negatively affect your physical and mental health. One study even found that people who smile more lead happier and healthier lives than those who smile less.

So what’s the biggest takeaway here? Smile more! You’ll be happier. The people around you will be happier. And even if you’re self-conscious about your smile, who knows? Someone watching might think it is the most absolutely perfect smile they’ve ever seen. Gaps, snaggleteeth, yaeba, braces, whatever – smile a little more today and see what happens.

African American girl having tootache.

What to Do if Your Child Has a Toothache

Toothaches are common for young children. But as parents, we worry anytime our child is in pain. A child’s toothache can have many causes—tooth decay, plaque buildup, incoming teeth, cavities, broken teeth or food trapped between teeth—and sometimes what feels like a toothache might be just pain caused by something else entirely!

So what do you do when your child has a toothache? Follow our 6 easy steps to identify the problem, help ease your child’s pain and get them the treatment they need.

Ask Questions

The first thing you want to do is try to find the cause of your child’s toothache. If they are old enough, ask them to point at or describe the pain. If they are younger, look for swelling, redness of gums and cheek, tooth discoloration or broken teeth. If you find a tooth that is loose, discolored or broken, you’ve likely found the cause.

Help Your Child Floss

Next you want to help your child remove any food particles that may be trapped between their teeth. Remember to be gentle and careful while flossing, because your child’s gums might be sensitive. If your child struggles with flossing or has braces, consider purchasing a Waterpik Water Flosser for Kids to make it easier.

Rinse with Warm Salt Water

Mix about a teaspoon of table salt into a small cup of warm water. Have your child rinse with the solution for about 30 seconds and spit. This will kill bacteria in or around the affected area and encourage faster healing.

Use a Cold Compress

Apply a cold compress to your child’s outer cheek near the painful or swollen area. If you do not have a store-bought compress, you can make one by wrapping ice in a small towel or cloth. Try icing for 15 minutes and taking another 15 minutes off.

Use Pain Medication or Clove Oil

If pain continues, your child can take anti-inflammatory medication like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Remember to make sure that any medicine you give your children is safe for them: Read the Drug Facts label every time, look for the active ingredient and give the right amount.

Under no circumstance should you rub aspirin or any painkiller on your child’s gums – it is very acidic and can cause burns. If you need a topical treatment, a home remedy that others have suggested is clove oil – an antimicrobial, anti-fungal essential oil that was used as far back as Ancient Greece. Gently dab clove oil with a cotton swab to the affected area around the tooth for temporary pain relief.

Call Your Child’s Dentist

Flossing, rinsing, icing and medicating are of probably not permanent solutions to the problem. If your child’s toothache is caused by a cavity, they’ll need to see a dentist for a filling, root canal or possibly an extraction. If your child is experiencing extreme pain, fatigue or fever, you’ll want to call your pediatrician immediately.

Children are at a greater risk for dental infections than adults. If your child’s toothache is not going away—especially if the toothache persists for over 24 hours—you should call your dentist to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Even if your child’s pain goes away, there is still a chance they have a cavity which can develop into a painful abscess. If you have any doubts, please call us or schedule an appointment online.

Portrait of a young girl showing thumbs up while in the dentist

Keeping Your Family Safer with DentaPure

Since 1980, Howard Family Dental’s priority has been the health of you and your family. So as soon as we heard reports of children getting sick from the water at dental offices, we began working on a solution. As of today, we are proud to announce that the Dental Unit Waterlines at every Howard Family Dental office in Georgia and South Carolina, including our Kid’s Dentistree and Oral & Facial Surgery Group locations, are being treated with DentaPure® Cartridges.

Why treat waterlines with DentaPure®?

Last year in Georgia, nine children were hospitalized with Mycobacterium abscessus infections after undergoing pulpotomies (root canals) at a common clinic. An investigation found that the outbreak was caused by contaminated water that introduced the bacterium during irrigation and drilling. We decided that it was in the best interest of our patients’ health to not only revisit our waterline cleaning procedures, but also seek a long-term solution. DentaPure is a safe, reliable and effective EPA-approved cartridge that attaches to dental waterlines to prevent biofilm buildup in Dental Unit Waterlines (DUWL’s). When untreated, or improperly maintained, the water flowing through these contaminated DUWL’s and out through the air/water syringe or high-speed handpieces can carry pieces of biofilm that have broken off the waterline wall — potentially harming your patients, your staff and your practice’s reputation. Learn more by watching the video below.

National Children’s Dental Health Month

What better way to celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month than ensuring the health and safety of your children? If you have any additional questions about DentaPure or improving your child’s dental health, feel free to ask any of our team members at your next visit! For more children’s dental health tips and tricks, check out our #NCDHM blog post here.

Howard Family Dental Summit!

We hosted our annual Howard Family Dental Summit this month where team members from every office gathered for a day of motivational speakers, prizes, award, food and ‘Winter Wonderland’ fun!

“Bring your best stuff to the present moment and pour it into the lives of others.”
These are the words of Kevin Brown, whom we were lucky to hear speak this weekend. Kevin is passionate about helping people expand their vision, develop their potential and grow their results. And, as the father of an autistic child he knows firsthand how the principles of true success reach beyond the boardroom and into the lives of real people facing the challenges of everyday life. To learn more about Kevin’s story, visit http://www.kevinbrownspeaks.com/

We also heard Josh Sundquist, a bestselling author, speaker and Paralympic ski racer. Josh was diagnosed at age nine with a rare form of bone cancer, ultimately having his left leg amputated. Josh inspired us to just go for it with his stories of emotional and physical trials, dating and Paralympic skiing. To learn more about Josh’s story, visit www.joshsundquist.com 
It’s rare to have all 190 team members together and we enjoyed celebrating everyone’s accomplishments and hard work. We left the day feeling inspired and ready to take on 2017!

“Kindness is like snow, it beautifies everything it touches.”

 

Call (912)-629-9000
to make an appointment

Request an appointment


Humans: please leave this field blank.