We can’t believe it is already August and back to school time! Whether your child started kindergarten today, or you’re an empty nester and just sent your kids off to college, this blog has all the tips on how to protect your children’s dental health during the new school year!
One of the most important tips for keeping your children’s mouths healthy during the school year is keeping an eye on what they are eating every day! If you send your child to school with a lunch box full of gummies, juice, cookies and other sugary snacks it is not so good for their teeth (or their health in general). The sugar that they consume during lunch or snack time will sit on your children’s teeth all day at school, and since most kids don’t brush their teeth until after dinner, this sugar sticks and stays around all day, creating an acidic environment in your child’s mouth that ultimately will create cavities. One of the best tips is very simple: send your child to school with healthy food and a water bottle.Most people do not get enough water on a daily basis, so besides all of the other benefits water provides to our bodies, water will help wash away some of sticky sugar sitting on your kids teeth to protect them from cavities. While juice is a tasty drink it is also packed full of sugar, so try to avoid juice boxes at lunchtime and stick to water! We also recommend filling your child’s lunchbox with healthy snacks – protein, fruits, veggies, grains, and nuts, and limiting their sugar intake to protect their teeth. But, we know that every once and awhile a Fruit Roll-Up is a perfect treat, so make sure your child is drinking water along with their treats to protect their teeth!
While we would love to see every child take a toothbrush and toothpaste to school and brush their teeth after lunch and snacks, we understand that this is not usually practical. So, make sure that they are at least brushing their teeth very well in the morning and at night time with a fluoride toothpaste, and flossing once a day as well. Not only will this ward off bad breath but it’s also important to wash away sugar and residue from the day’s food. Additionally, if your child eats a lot of treats at school for a birthday or holiday party, it’s best to encourage them to brush their teeth once more when they are home from school so that the sugar doesn’t sit on their teeth all day.
Another great tip is to make sure that your child has had their dental cleanings and gotten any recommended treatment done! Usually we recommend that children come in 2 times a year, and some of the busiest times of the year at the dentist office are fall, winter and spring break when children are available to come in for cleanings. Make sure to schedule these cleanings as soon as possible ensure there is room in the schedule for all your kid’s cleanings and possible needed treatment.
Following these tips we can all have a healthy August and new school year!
Lip balm is much more than just a fruity-scented, lip plumper – this moisturizing balm should be used year round, ESPECIALLY if you are planning to lay out in the sun or go to the beach this year! This month’s blog post is dedicated to the importance of protecting your lips through the use of lip balm!
Why We Care About Lips:
Lips are important for eating, talking, kissing, protecting your teeth and soft tissue, and more. Lips are actually just a continuation of your skin – they are slightly different than other parts of skin in that they don’t have hair follicles or sebaceous glands, the glands that secrete oils to keep your skin hydrated. Since lips don’t have a way of regulating oil, saliva is the only fluid moisturizing your lips - this is why they get dry and chapped easily. Lips also don’t produce much melanin, or the component in your skin that allows it to tan in the sunlight. Melanin protects your skin from UV rays so without it our lips are extremely susceptible to damage from the sun, which is why they are so important to protect!
Damaging Your Lips:
Sun can be very damaging to your lips due to the lack of melanin. Sun will cause unprotected lips to become dry and flaky, which can lead to cracked and bleeding lips or even infected sores that can spread to other parts of your mouth and soft tissue. If you suffer from cold sores, the sun makes it more likely that a cold sore will pop up. Another hazard that comes from not wearing protective lip balm is the potential for cancer of the lips. Since the skin on lips is extremely thin and there is not much protection from sun damage, lip cancer is not uncommon. Do yourself a favor and wear lip balm (with SPF) to protect yourself from the dangers of sun-damaged lips!
Lip Balm Requirements
Most commonly the ingredient that does all the moisturizing in lip balm is Vitamin E, but there are various other ingredients that can do the trick. There are also many different kinds of lip balms – ones that are made with natural ingredients, beeswax, honey, mint scented ones and fruity ones, ones that tingle, ones that plump, and ones that are tinted a certain color – but the most important thing to look for in your lip balm is that it contains SPF to protect your lips from harmful UV rays. Other than containing SPF, most of the other lip balm ingredients and unique features are purely preference!
At Dental Blu, Dr. Depp and Dr. Arlinghaus do an oral cancer visual screening at each Recare appointment and exam. Make sure to protect your lips this summer, and be sure to make your dentist aware of any suspicious areas on your lips or in your mouth.
Call our office to make an appointment – 859-442-8200
Meet our new team member Lauren!
June is always an exciting month with the start of summer, pool days, grill outs and other fun summer events. At Dental BLU we have even more of a reason to be excited this month – a new hygienist! Starting on the 25th of June you’ll be seeing a new face in our office and we are so excited to write this month’s blog post all about our new team member!
Lauren is a recent graduate from The University of Louisville Dental Hygiene Program; she grew up in Fort Thomas, KY and graduated from Highlands High School.
Lauren is a Registered Dental Hygienist and is also certified in local anesthesia. She has a passion for service trips and has served in a RAM clinic in Hazard, KY and recently went on a dental service trip to Romania. Lauren is compassionate, positive, and a hard worker! She is very kind and we know you will love her as much as we do!
The thing Lauren loves most about being a dental hygienist is interacting with her different patients and building relationships with each of them. Her favorite thing to do outside of work is to spend time with her friends and family. A fun fact about Lauren is that her grandma is from Ecuador! She loves traveling down to Ecuador as often as possible to visit her.
We are so excited to have Lauren at Dental BLU and know she is going to make a great addition to our team!
Call our office to schedule a cleaning with our newest hygienist - 859-442-8200
We are officially in the middle of spring and headed for summer and we can't wait! But, before we get into the heat of summer, have you finished your spring cleaning yet? While it's nice to clean out your garage and basement, redo the landscaping and spruce up the kitchen we're talking about a different kind of spring cleaning - a dental cleaning! Below we have a checklist to make sure your oral health is as tidy as your garage this spring!
- Change out your toothbrush!
- Did you know that you should be changing out your toothbrush about every 3 months? The average American changes their toothbrush about 1.9 times a year, instead of 4 times a year like the American Dental Association recommends. This is not just a ploy to make you buy new toothbrushes - your toothbrush gets extremely germy along a 3-4 months timespan. Toothbrushes harbor bacteria, meaning that after you are sick you should also change your toothbrush out! Toothbrush bristles can wear out after 3-4 months as well. Once your bristles become matted or frayed it's definitely time to change out your brush. At this point it is no longer cleaning your teeth as effectively as it should, and also it can cause damage to your gums! Since children tend to brush their teeth harder and faster their brushes tend to get matted and worn out quicker meaning that they may need their brushes to be changed out more frequently.
- When buying your new toothbrush be sure to look for a soft bristled brush. Electronic toothbrushes that you only have to replace the head and not the whole brush are convenient in that they usually save you money in the long run and they are generally better for the environment (only disposing a small tip of the toothbrush as opposed to a whole toothbrush). In today's society of online shopping for things that come straight to your door, many companies make it easy to get new toothbrushes. Some electronic toothbrush companies even have auto-ship every 3 months so that you don't even have to remember when to change your brush head!
- Check your toothpaste!
- At some point this spring you will most likely have to buy a new tube of toothpaste. Before you buy your toothpaste make sure that you are using the most beneficial toothpaste possible! When looking for a toothpaste aim to find one that has the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance. The ADA has specific guidelines that must be met to get this seal, meaning that if it has this seal it is most likely a great option for you to use! Be sure to look for toothpaste that has fluoride in it. Fluoride is an extremely important "tooth vitamin" as we like to call it. Fluoride strengthens teeth and helps protect them from cavities!
- You should also be sure to check the RDA of your toothpaste, or relative dentin abrasiveness. Your toothpaste should not be too abrasive or it could scrape away your enamel. Toothpastes should be below 250 RDA, but 150-250 is regarded as "harmful" to your enamel. Generally, the lower the better so try to find a toothpaste with RDA below 150 or so! Below we have included a chart with common toothpaste abrasiveness so you can see where your toothpaste falls and whether you should choose a new toothpaste! (For more information on this subject, check out our baking soda blog!)
This chart shows RDA of common toothpastes. 0-70 range is regarded as low, 71-100 is medium, 101-150 is high and 151-250 is regarded as harmful level of relative dentin abrasiveness. Using this chart you can see where your toothpaste falls and whether or not you should switch to a lower abrasive toothpaste!
- Get your dental cleaning!
- Our final tip to keep your mouth healthy this spring is to get your spring dental cleaning! Everyone should see the dentist at least every 6 months, however if you need a little extra care we may recommend coming more often. During these cleanings we scale and polish your teeth, making them sparkle and helping prevent cavities! We may also update your x-rays so that we can make sure you don't have any hidden cavities forming or any unusual anatomy in your mouth. Our doctors perform an oral, head and neck cancer physical and you can also get a thorough oral cancer screening using our Identafi. You can get fluoride treatments and also will receive a new toothbrush (which checks another item off your spring checklist)! This dental cleaning will help you ensure your mouth is healthy all spring, so call our office to schedule an appointment if you haven't been in lately or are due for a cleaning.
Springtime is the perfect time to make sure you're staying healthy before the craziness of summer starts. Follow this simple checklist to make sure you and your familes have a healthy, happy, clean spring!
April 7-14th is Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness week and we are so grateful to be able to share information about these cancers to bring awareness about the causes and dangers of cancer. Cancer is defined as a disease caused by uncontrollable division of abnormal cells in a part of the body - oral, head and neck cancers are unfortunately quite common. Worldwide, over 550,000 cases of oral, head or neck cancer are diagnosed each year, and 110,000 of those cases are in the United States alone (American Academy of Otolaryngology). As your dental team, we are very passionate about this topic and want to use this blog post to educate everyone on these types of cancers, and how to stay healthy to try and avoid them.
Oral cancer includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and throat. Oral cancer most often is identified by a sore or growth in the mouth that does not go away. It can also appear as reddish or whitish areas in the mouth, lumps, bumps, or raised surfaces in the mouth, or patchy, bumpy areas in the mouth. Other symptoms can include difficulty swallowing, numbness, bleeding, loose teeth or soreness/tenderness in the mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms or abnormalities in your mouth, contact your dentist and schedule an appointment.
One of the biggest causes of oral cancer is tobacco. Smoking, including cigars, cigarettes, vape pens, or smokeless tobacco, including dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco dramatically raises your chances of getting oral cancer. Genetics also play a role in oral cancer, and if you have a family history of oral cancer you are at higher risk. Consuming alcohol and overexposure to the sun also increase your risk of getting oral cancer or melanoma of the lips.
Head and Neck Cancer
Cancers of the head and neck often include the pharynx and larynx - or throat and voice box, including the vocal cords and epiglottis, the sinuses and nasal cavity, and the salivary glands. Symptoms of the various types of head and neck cancers include trouble breathing, speaking or swallowing, pain of the head or neck that does not go away, ear pain or headaches, swelling under the chin or jawbone, lumps or bumps in your throat, or numbness and pain in various parts of your head and neck.
Head and neck cancer makes up approximately 6% of all cancers in the United States and is more common in people over the age of 50. Tobacco use is one of the main preventable causes of these types of cancer. Smoking (cigarettes, cigars and vape pens) and using smokeless tobacco (dip, snuff and chewing tobacco), as well as over-consuming alcohol can increase your risk of these types of cancer.
Oral, head and neck cancers are serious diseases and steps should be taken to protect yourself as much as possible from these forms of cancer. The most preventable cause of these various cancers is smoking. Approximately 200,000 people die each year from smoking related illnesses (American Academy of Otolaryngology) - this is a dangerous habit that should be avoided at all costs. Common misconceptions are that smokeless tobacco and vape pens are safer than smoking cigarettes, but this is false - these habits increase your risk of getting oral, head and neck cancers just as much as smoking cigarettes does. Additionally, in the United States, 1 person is diagnosed with a new case of oral, head and neck cancer every 10 minutes, and someone dies of these kids of cancer every 45 minutes (American Academy of Otolaryngology). According to this data, these cancers should not be taken lightly.
Aside from not using tobacco products, make sure that you are not consuming alcohol in excess as this has been found to have a link with these types of cancer. Additionally, be sure to always wear sunscreen and a chapstick with SPF in it - you can get melanoma on your lips if you are not careful about protecting them from the sun. Another great way to ensure you can protect yourself from oral, head and neck cancer is to be checked regularly. At your dentist appointments your doctor will give you a head and neck examination in order to look out for these symptoms - they will feel around your head, throat and neck and look around your mouth and throat to determine if there are any irregularities or concerning areas. In addition to these physical examinations, our office provides the opportunity to get an oral cancer screening. We recommend getting an oral cancer screening once a year, however people who heavily use tobacco products can opt for a screening more than once a year. At Dental BLU we use Identafi - a painless light that we shine around the patients mouth that uses various wavelengths to show the hygienist any suspicious areas in the mouth. Ask about Identafi at your next hygiene visit to make sure you are not at risk for having oral cancer.
We are very passionate about the topic of oral, head, and neck cancers and hope that after reading this article, you are too. Cancer is a dangerous disease and unfortunately 66% of the time oral, head and neck cancers are found in stage 3 or 4 meaning that they are more serious and have spread to other areas in the body (American Academy of Otolaryngology). In order to learn more about these diseases and their risks, schedule an appointment with your dentist or visit https://www.entnet.org/OHANCAW to read articles about oral, head and neck cancer.
During Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week please use this opportunity to educate yourself and your family and friends about the dangers associated with these types of cancer, and use this week as motivation to live a healthier lifestyle to try and avoid these cancers.
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