Category Archives: Smoking

Almost Famous: Sex And Oral Cancer

In the range of ‘popular’ cancers, the one that often flies under the radar is oral cancer.

But is it really a big deal? It seems to pale in comparison to the cancers of the breast, pancreas, cervix and the like. Well, until a celebrity brings it under the spotlight.

Famous or not, however, it is a force not to be messed with. No sireee.

Here’s why:

  1. More than 40,000 Americans will get it this year, and it is predicted only about half will survive it
  2. It usually spreads silently and painlessly….there may not be a red flag signalling for your attention
  3. Survivors have a 20% higher risk of developing a secondary cancer….after the initial occurrence
  4. More people under 40 are being diagnosed with it, and it used to affect mostly those over 40
  5. Historically, the main causes have been smoking, or smoking + alcohol (risk increases 15X). But there’s a new kid on the block–and growing fast via sexual transmission–HPV-16 (Human Papilloma Virus)

All in all, it may be the ‘underdog’ of cancers, but still a force to be reckoned with. The numbers, unfortunately, are on the rise, especially in women (rising from 1 in 7 to 1 in 3).

The scary thing is that because of its stealthy nature, it is often diagnosed after it’s spread to other parts of the body. And treatment for oral cancer is not an easy road either. I’m talking radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and restorative procedures after that.

As in many health issues our nation faces today, lifestyle choices have a huge impact on the quality of our life. Modern science can do (and has done) a lot to improve it, but while we’re waiting for a magic pill to solve whatever ails us, there is the smarter alternative of taking charge of our own health.

Preventive measures for oral cancer include:

  • Early detection
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • A healthy diet, high in fruits and vegetables
  • Regular exercise
  • Safe sex (especially the young ones, since their rates are rising via HPV)

Last, but not least, every dental check up you come in for does include an oral cancer screening with us. We’re in that area more often than your physician, and thus more likely to spot something early on.

Any lumps or bumps are documented and you are informed. A follow up with us or a specialist is always discussed if anything out of the ordinary is suspected.

Till the number of those affected with oral cancer approach zero, smart lifestyle choices and early detection are your best bets in making sure that oral cancer does not grab center stage in your life.

(214) 522-3110          www.raodentistry.com

Image Source: photostock

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Filed under Health, Oral Cancer, Smoking

How To Use Your Head To Manage Headaches

Whether a migraine or the garden-variety kind, a headache can put quite a damper on your day.

Reaching for a pain killer in this situation may be well justified, but what about the next time?

Here is an increasingly novel (yet contrary to our main stream thinking) idea: how about tackling the problem at the source and reducing or eliminating it versus treating it afterwords?

Our country’s increasing drug dependence is convenient, but taking a “big picture” preventive approach to health usually leads to more effective, long-term results which cost less than a long list of medications.

Here are some ways to manage your headache by focusing on preventing the next attack:

1. Get plenty of sleep

Constant lack of sleep is going to catch up with you and lower not only your productivity, but also your peace of mind and frequency of headaches. This is simple to fix by changing up your daily routine to allow enough sleep at night.

Conditions such as insomnia and sleep apnea increase your headache risk as well, and may require a chat with your doctor.

2. Food triggers

Certain foods like chocolate, cheese and peanut butter can trigger migraines. Another trigger is hunger, as is not drinking enough water.

Know what your food triggers are and avoid them. Also, be sure to carry snacks with you so hunger doesn’t set one off, and drink plenty of water on a daily basis. Moderate amounts of caffeine can often help ease headaches after onset.

3. Quit/curb smoking

Smoking, or inhaling second-hand smoke, can trigger headaches. Yet another reason to add to the list to quit/curb smoking, or avoid areas of second-hand smoke.

4. Slim down

Need another reason to lose those extra pounds? Studies suggest links between obesity and more frequent and severe headaches. Time to get your work-out on.

5. Teeth clenching/grinding

Taking your stress out on your teeth? Teeth clenching and/or grinding put your facial muscles to hard work and can trigger headaches or even migraines.

A night guard provided by your dentist is a simple and conservative solution.

6. Relax

Know anyone without stress? I sure don’t. But letting it get out of control has many negative effects on your body, and headaches is just one of them.

Making time for rest and relaxation using techniques including yoga, meditation and deep breathing can ease an aching head and prevent future onsets.

Most of these don’t require anything more than an open mind and small (at least to start) modifications to your current lifestyle. But as in most cases, small changes can add up to huge rewards over time.

Next time you’re tempted to down a whole bottle of pills to ease your headache….please don’t! Use that moment to fuel your resolve to make some simple changes to reduce more headaches in the future.

Are you ready to try preventing future headaches?

(214) 522-3110            www.raodentistry.com

Image source: La Bioguia

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Filed under Health, Smoking, Teeth Grinding, Wellness

Is It Possible To Like Going To The Dentist…Finally?

Clock saying 'time for change'It’s no breaking news that the idea of going to the dentist is an unpleasant event.

While few are comfortable enough to think nothing of it, most people associate a dental visit with emotions ranging from utter dread to mild anxiety, even at the thought of something as routine as a teeth cleaning.

Such emotions often stem from unpleasant experiences in the past, “horror” stories from others and let’s face it–the thought of something sharp or a loud drill in your mouth doesn’t paint the most appealing picture.

Of course I’m biased (occupational hazard), but after years of encountering such emotions, I’ve learned that changing minds and perceptions–to some degree, at least–is entirely possible, yes, even about the dentist.

Changing Your Mindset

Don’t you do it already? If you’ve ever quit smoking, tackled your taxes yourself or even started a new exercise routine, you’ve changed a habit, which essentially starts with changing your mindset.

How?

By ignoring past setbacks, expecting success, and taking the first step. Then the next, and then another.

What keeps you going is the focus on the end result, the “prize” of being smoke-free, signing off your tax forms and looking better in the mirror. And yes, even getting that sparkling, healthy smile.

Liking The Dentist

While the common perception of dentistry is not flattering, many dentists who don’t fit that mold at all.

For example, in our practice, where we have systems set up to make patients feel comfortable, where we listen to what patients are saying, and focus on comfort in spite of the anxiety we know to expect, it’s not uncommon (for us) to change the old perception.

So what exactly is our m.o.? To invite the kind of folks who

  • want and value great dental care,
  • get that we love to make each person feel special AND comfortable
  •  like to have fun doing it.

Each person on our team knows and believes in that. We have technology and tools, but all that stuff has one goal–to help you make your dental home with us for life.

Our hope is that you will perceive us the way we want: We want to make you feel good about dental care, and change a few minds along the way for those who don’t.

Are you ready…finally!….to like going to the dentist? Then call or email us for an appointment:

(214) 522-3110             www.raodentistry.com

Photo credit: Salvatore Vuono

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Filed under Dental, Experience, Health, Smile, Smoking, Wellness

7 Ways To Whiten Your Teeth, Without Professional Help

DIY Whiten TeethYour precious teeth. You know they’ve got the right to be as white as they can.

You’ve looked and looked in the mirror…..then looked some more, willing them to be their whitest.

But, to no avail.

Actually, the answer may be a lot easier than you’d expect.

There are two paths to a whiter, brighter smile

  • slow, steady, continuous–things you can do to improve your smile
  • faster, as-needed (or wanted)–whitening products and whitening options dental professionals can provide.

Your results will be better and last longer if you do both.

Here are the “slow and steady”, but very effective, ways:

1. Use an electric toothbrush

A good quality electric toothbrush will not only clean your teeth and gums more effectively, it will also remove stain better than a manual toothbrush (unless you’ve got sonic hands), especially when combined with a whitening toothpaste.

2. Floss

There just doesn’t seem to be getting away from this one, is there?

If keeping plaque and gum-disease away are not enough motivation, think of it this way: with last night’s dinner still stuck between your teeth, how are your toothpaste and toothbrush bristles going to remove stain?

3. Modify soda and other dark liquid consumption

Dark liquids may excite your taste buds, but in terms of stain (and many, to your general health)–they’re doing you no favors. One solution is to use a straw to drink them, which reduces exposure to stain.

Of course, it’s not exactly a classy way to enjoy a glass of red wine (the waiter at Chez Paree might frown), so try a different solution–sip some water right after, and be sure to brush as soon as possible.

It also helps to drink your sodas and ice teas in a few minutes rather than sipping on them for hours.

4. Curb/quit smoking

If vanity can ever be the final straw, let it be for white teeth. Smoking will take your teeth nowhere but the dark side. Cut back on (or cut out) smoking and the stain will go with it. Pipe stains can be especially tenacious.

5. Eat raw fruits and vegetables

The most delicious tip of the bunch. Crunchy foods like raw apples and celery, and fruits like strawberries have natural stain-removal properties. If you eat these foods anyway, give yourself bonus points!

6. Keep up with your dental visits

Those dental tools may not be much to look at but boy, in the right hands–like your dentist’s or dental hygienist’s–not only do they provide better oral health but get to nooks and crannies you can’t.

Stay on schedule with your teeth cleaning and check up appointments and they’ll get your pearlies spruced up before stain gets out of hand.

7. Start early

Don’t shoot the messenger, but……age definitely contributes to staining of teeth. With the exception of internal stain due to antibiotics or other developmental reasons, external stain is a factor of our oral care and diet, and gets more stubborn over time.

Start good habits (as listed above) early, and maintain them, and you’ll reap the fruits of your labor for years to come.

Ready for a brighter smile? Then get started on these tips today. Combine them with professional whitening, and you’ve not only got a winning combination, but a winning smile too 🙂

Call us: (214) 522-3110         Visit us: www.raodentistry.com

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Filed under Cosmetic, Oral Health, Smile, Smoking, Teeth Whitening

Burn, Baby Burn

Imagine this:

He’s at a swanky cocktail party. A gorgeous, sexy woman in a jaw-dropping slinky dress gives him the ‘come hither’ look. Curiosity (and temptation) win out and he heads over. He says hello. She waves a cigarette and says, “Got a light?”  He pulls out his lighter, and obliges. 

This may seem like a scene out of Mad Men, and has perhaps the brewings of a hot and heavy drama about to spew.

But while a bombshell with a cigarette can get your heart rate up, real life smoking is not quite as sexy. In fact, smoking-especially when combined with alcohol-is a major risk factor for Oral Cancer. This applies to men and women, and almost 90% of all oral cancer patients are smokers.

Let’s go from the outside in. Years of lighting up can put those not-so-attractive brown stains on your teeth, courtesy of tar and nicotine. Do it enough and you’re more at risk for irritated gums and periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss. Sexy? I think not.

In addition, prolonged smoking can alter your sense of taste (some say this can lead to over-eating in an attempt to achieve taste satisfaction). And I haven’t even mentioned the less-than-tasty smoker’s breath.

But when we’re talking about oral cancer, it’s more than just discolored teeth or bad breath. We are talking serious stuff. Often there is no pain, and it’s difficult to do a thorough self check.

So I stress to you-keep up with your dental check ups! When you come see us, we do a screening at every visit, ask if anything is bugging you, and if something suspicious pops up, we emphasize a follow-up visit, or have you consult our friendly neighborhood specialist to know once and for all. This goes double if you smoke.

Next time you think about lighting up, how about not? Now THAT’S hot.

Questions? Call us at (214) 522-3110 and let us help! Or share in the comments.

www.raodentistry.com

PS: April is Oral Cancer Awareness month.

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Filed under Oral Cancer, Oral Health, Smoking