Fighting Back Against Oral Cancer

I KNOW, ORAL CANCER IS A SUBJECT we’d all prefer not to have to think about! But it is critical to have a rudimentary understanding of risk factors and symptoms. More than 50,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with oral cancer last year alone, and that number is expected to rise. That’s why, in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we’re dedicating a blog post to the topic, giving our patients the tools they need for early detection.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that increase a person’s chances of developing oral cancer. Some of them are out of our control, such as age and gender. It is far more common in people over 45, and men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer. But there are plenty of risk factors that we can control, the biggest of which is tobacco usage. A whopping 85 percent of oral cancer cases are linked to some kind of tobacco use (even e-cigarettes). The next biggest avoidable risk factor is heavy alcohol consumption and frequency of use.

A few of the less-obvious risk factors include getting too much sun (which can cause lip cancer), and HPV. In addition, neglecting your oral hygiene, particularly if you also drink and smoke can increase your risk of oral cancer. You can eliminate this risk factor by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling regular dental appointments!

Symptoms To Watch Out For

Unfortunately, even people with none of these risk factors will sometimes develop oral cancer anyway, which is why it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms, which include:

  • A sore in the mouth or on the lip that doesn’t heal
  • Red or white patches inside the mouth
  • Unusual lump on lip, mouth, neck, or throat, or strange thickness in the cheek
  • Persistent sensation of having something stuck in the throat
  • Numbness of mouth or tongue
  • Difficulty with chewing or swallowing
  • Chronic bad breath that does not go away

If you do have one or more of the risk factors for oral cancer, getting regular general health screenings and physical exams can catch it before you even notice any symptoms. The earlier oral cancer is caught, the easier it is to beat it.

Where Does The Dentist Fit In?

Another way oral cancer is caught early is at regular dental exams! In addition to checking your teeth for cavities and your gums for signs of gum disease, we can spot many of those early symptoms of oral cancer while we’re looking at your mouth, which is just one more reason why it’s so important to keep scheduling your dental appointments! Dr. Steven Davidowitz performs an oral screening at each and every hygiene exam.

Even if you don’t have oral cancer or any of the risk factors, you can still help the people who are fighting this disease. Ask us how you can get involved! Join us in raising awareness! Take a bubble Photo to join our in office #bubblechallenge campaign

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Spring Is in The Air

SPRING IS IN THE AIR… and that brings along seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies have an affect on millions of people every year, but did you know that they can also affect oral health?

Why Do We Get Seasonal Allergies?

There are plenty of allergens that can make us sneeze year round, such as dust and pet dander, seasonal allergies, however, typically flare up twice a year: in the spring and the fall. This can mean long months of congestion, an itchy nose, eyes, mouth or throat, puffy eyes, sneezing, and coughing for people with allergies.

The reason our allergies act up the most during spring and fall is that trees and grass pollinate throughout the spring, while ragweed pollinates in the fall. To make matters worse, mold will also send out spores around the same time. Allergic reactions, including seasonal allergies, are the result of our immune systems going into overdrive in response to these allergens.

Allergies Versus Oral Health

While allergies can result in uncomfortable tingly or swollen lips, mouth, or tongue and irritated gums, the most common way seasonal allergies can become a problem for oral health is dry mouth. Whenever we have congestion, we end up breathing through our mouths instead of our noses, which dries up our saliva. Having dry mouth presents a serious threat to oral health, because saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense against gum disease and tooth decay (cavities).

Prevention And Treatment

Because many allergens are airborne, avoiding allergic reactions can be difficult, but there are a few things you can do. It’s best to stay indoors on extra windy days when the most allergens are in the air. You should also wear a pollen mask while doing yard work, and avoid using window fans that could blow pollen and spores into your house.

If you do end up having an allergy attack, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and chew sugar-free gum with xylitol if possible to stimulate your salivary glands, and keep up your daily brushing and flossing routine. Make sure you also take the anti-allergy medications your doctor or allergist recommends to minimize your congestion.

Fighting Back Against Allergies Together!

If you’re experiencing dry mouth, whether as a side-effect of seasonal allergies or for any other reason, don’t hesitate to come see us! Your oral health is our top priority, and together we can come up with a plan to keep your mouth healthy until the allergies end and beyond!

Thank you for putting your trust in our practice!

The Food We Eat

THE FOOD WE EAT provides our bodies with the building blocks to maintain healthy cells, tissues, and organs and the energy to work, learn, and do the activities we love. It is crucial that we eat enough food (and preferably the right kinds) in order to keep everything working properly, which is why eating disorders are such a serious threat.

Malnutrition And Overall Health

Eating disorders are a group of psychological disorders that can have a devastating impact on the mental, physical, and emotional health of those who suffer from them. No system in the body is spared, and that includes oral health. That’s why we want to educate our patients on the dangers of eating disorders and encourage anyone suffering from one to seek help returning to healthy eating habits.

Anorexia: Starving The Oral Tissues

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by extremely restricted food intake, and may also involve purging and compulsive exercising. The main risk to oral health with anorexia is malnutrition. Insufficient nutrients can result in osteoporosis, which weakens the jaw bones, leading to tooth loss. The gums may also bleed easily, and the salivary glands may swell up and produce insufficient saliva, resulting in dry mouth.

Bulimia: Stomach Acid Versus Teeth

Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by periods of overeating (binging) followed by forced elimination of food through vomiting or laxatives (purging). Frequent vomiting exposes the teeth to stomach acid on a regular basis, which erodes the protective layer of enameland can lead to discoloration, decay, and even tooth loss.

Watch this video to see bulimia’s effects on teeth, as well as how dentist’s can help:

Preventing Additional Damage

Maintaining a good dental hygiene regimen is an important part of keeping teeth and oral tissues healthy in any circumstance, but particularly while recovering from an eating disorder. One important caution to take if your teeth have been exposed to acid (whether from acidic food and drink or from regurgitated stomach acid) is to wait thirty minutes to brush. Immediately after acid exposure, tooth enamel is weaker and can be scrubbed away by brushing, so it’s better to rinse with water and wait to brush.

The Road To Recovery

Eating disorders are very serious, and recovery is about getting the right help — from supportive friends and family as well as licensed psychologists. If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, a good first step on the road to recovery would be contacting the National Eating Disorders Helpline. The dentist also plays a role in minimizing and repairing the damage from malnutrition and acid erosion, so make sure to schedule an appointment.

Your overall health and wellness are important to us!

Why Choose ADA Member Dentist?

YOUR SMILE IS AN expression of who you are. It’s how we all greet a friend, celebrate life’s joyful moments, and make someone’s day a little brighter. We know how important your smile is to you and those around you. That’s why Dr. Steven Davidowitz is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), so we can always provide our patients with the best and most up-to-date dental care!

What Is The ADA?

The American Dental Association was founded in 1859. It is a not-for-profit association which serves as the leading source of vital information about oral health for both dentists and their patients. The mission of the ADA is to improve the population’s oral health safely and with evidence backed research.

Through the ADA Seal of Acceptance Program, the association holds hundreds of consumer oral health products to the highest standards so that patients everywhere can trust in the effectiveness of their toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and more. Because Dr. Steven Davidowitz is an ADA member, you can trust that all dental treatment performed at our practice meets the highest standards of quality and ethics.

What Does Being An ADA Member Mean For Our Patients?

Membership in the American Dental Association (ADA) demonstrates a commitment to continuing education and to the ethical standards of the profession. When you choose an ADA member dentist, you’re choosing a dentist who has access to a wealth of up-to-date information and resources, and has agreed to follow the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct and made a professional promise to put your health and well-being first.

For 150 years, the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Conduct have served as the foundation to which all dental professionals are expected to adhere. Known as “the ADA Code,” members voluntarily agree to abide as a condition of membership, committing to high ethical standards of conduct.

Here’s a breakdown of the 5 pledges dentists make in the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct.

Respect a Patient’s Wants and Needs

The dentist has a duty to respect the patient’s rights to self-determination and confidentiality. This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to treat the patient according to the patient’s desires, within the bounds of accepted treatment, and to protect the patient’s confidentiality. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligations include involving patients in treatment decisions in a meaningful way, with due consideration being given to the patient’s needs, desires and abilities, and safeguarding the patient’s privacy.

Do No Harm

The dentist has a duty to refrain from harming the patient. This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to protect the patient from harm. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligations include keeping knowledge and skills current, knowing one’s own limitations and when to refer to a specialist or other professional, and knowing when and under what circumstances delegation of patient care to auxiliaries is appropriate.

Do Good

The dentist has a duty to promote the patient’s welfare. This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to act for the benefit of others. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligation is service to the patient and the public-at-large. The most important aspect of this obligation is the competent and timely delivery of dental care within the bounds of clinical circumstances presented by the patient, with due consideration being given to the needs, desires and values of the patient.

Be Fair

The dentist has a duty to treat people fairly. This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to be fair in their dealings with patients, colleagues and society. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligations include dealing with people justly and delivering dental care without prejudice. In its broadest sense, this principle expresses the concept that the dental profession should actively seek allies throughout society on specific activities that will help improve access to care for all.

Be Truthful

The dentist has a duty to communicate truthfully. This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to be honest and trustworthy in their dealings with people. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligations include respecting the position of trust inherent in the dentist-patient relationship, communicating truthfully and without deception, and maintaining intellectual integrity.

Be Truthful

The dentist has a duty to communicate truthfully. This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to be honest and trustworthy in their dealings with people. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligations include respecting the position of trust inherent in the dentist-patient relationship, communicating truthfully and without deception, and maintaining intellectual integrity.

We Go The Extra Mile For Our Patients

Our number one priority is our patients’ safety and satisfaction. We’re always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that we are providing the best care to every single person who comes into our office!

As an ADA member, Dr. Steven Davidowitz is constantly improving his skills and learning how to better serve you. Why? Because you deserve the healthy smile of your dreams, and we’re here to make that dream a reality!

Thank you for choosing our practice!

Why Straighten Teeth with Invisalign Clear Aligners?

To many it may seem like the benefits of having straighter teeth are purely cosmetic in nature. And those cosmetic benefits certainly do exist! Studies have shown that people tend to perceive someone with straight aligned teeth as wealthier, happier, and more dateable than someone with crooked teeth. But there are plenty of other very important benefits as well.

Consequences from Crooked Teeth

There are many different ways misaligned, crowded, or crooked teeth can negatively impact a person’s health and quality of life. Let us take a look at a few of the big ones.

Difficult To Clean

When teeth overlap each other in ways they aren’t meant to, they can be much harder to clean with standard brushing and flossing than with straighter teeth. If teeth aren’t getting cleaned as effectively, then they become more vulnerable to tooth decay (cavities) as well as gum swelling (gingivitis), gum loss (recession) and even gum disease.

Impede Clear Speech

Underbites, severe overbites, and other teeth alignment problems can interfere with a person’s ability to speak clearly, leading to lisps, spitting when talking and other distortions in articulation of speach.

Interfere With Healthy Digestion

Chewing is a critical part of the digestion process. Our saliva begins to break food down on a chemical level while our teeth break it apart into more manageable pieces. Misaligned teeth and bite can make it difficult or even impossible to chew food well enough, which forces the rest of the digestive system to pick up the slack. This can lead to a number of unpleasant GI consequences, and it can even make it harder to lose weight!

Can Interfere With Healthy Breathing

If your teeth don’t fit comfortably together, you might keep them apart instead of closing your jaws when resting. This can lead to mouth breathing, which has many negative health effects. The two most connected to oral health concerns are chronic bad breath and dry mouth.

Can Cause Jaw Problems

If there’s something wrong with your bite, that can result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. Symptoms include a clicking jaw joint with nuscle jaw pain, and frequent headaches.

Do Your Teeth Need Straightening?

Having aligned teeth eliminates or greatly reduces all of these problems. This, paired with the cosmetic advantages and the boost in confidence, makes Clear Aligner treatment (ie. Invisalign) a very worthwhile investment. If you think you could benefit from Invisalign treatment, our practice offers both Invisalign and Accelerated Invisalign options. Dr. Steven Davidowitz has been given the title of an Invisalign Elite Provider designating him as a leader in Clear Aligner Therapy in the country! In the meantime, keep brushing, flossing, and scheduling your regular dental appointments!
You deserve the best for your teeth!

Preparing your smile for the big day

YOU’VE DREAMED OF THIS day your whole life. You have the ring and the fiancé, the planning is going well, and you’re down to the last few details. Bridals are coming up, and then the wedding itself. You realize there’s something you need to do before you have hundreds of pictures taken of you: perfect your smile!

Whitening: Home Versus Professional

When it comes to teeth whitening, strips, toothpastes, and rinses are the most cost-effective options. They’re cheap and you can do them yourself, but the results won’t be as good as with professional whitening. It’s critical to start the whitening strips at least one to two weeks in advance, and at least a month in advance if you go with toothpastes and rinses.

Another option is take-home strips or custom whitening trays. These trays do cost more, but they result in better whitening as they have a better carrier and therefore a higher percentage of hydrogen peroxide can be evenly kept on the teeth and away from the gums. We recommend starting whitening trays about one month before the wedding or any important photo-shoots.

The highest quality, safest, and fastest route you could choose is professional whitening. Whitening sessions will take place at the dental office and can be pricier than take-home options, but the great results in one visit.

Straightening That Smile

Whitening alone will make a beautiful difference to any smile, but sometimes there are other issues to take care of before the big day, such as orthodontics. Orthodontic appliances can be a little expensive, but the results are life-changing. Having straight teeth and a healthy bite are a huge confidence-booster, in addition to providing health benefits and looking great.

Unlike whitening, which can be done in the last couple of months leading up to the wedding, Clear aligners generally require at least 6 months, so don’t wait too long to schedule a consultation if you hear wedding bells in your future! Be sure to ask Dr. Davidowitz about his accelerated Invisalign techniques.

Repairs For Chips And Cavities

One of the factors that determine our oral health is genetics. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes, even the most diligent brushing, flossing, and avoidance of sugary treats aren’t enough to keep cavities at bay. And even when we’re being careful, accidents happen, and a tooth might end up chipped.

If you find yourself facing one of these setbacks before your wedding, veneers and bonding are both great options to consider. Veneers are color-matched to blend in with your natural teeth, resulting in a beautiful, natural-looking smile.

Tooth bonding is a process that covers damaged or discolored teeth with plastic resin. These don’t last as long as veneers, but they can be applied in just one visit. On the other hand, it takes one to two weeks after taking the impression of your teeth to receive your custom veneers.

We’re Here To Help Make Your Special Day Perfect!

We know how hectic it can be to plan a wedding, so we want to make things easier for you by helping you prepare your smile. Whether that’s as simple as a regular cleaning appointment or something more involved, you can count on our practice!

Wishing our patients all the happiness in the world!

Women’s Oral Health

Men and woman share many qualities and health trends but there are quite a few differences when it comes to oral health. Though women have some oral health advantages that men lack, there are also some disadvantages that woman have whereas men don’t have to worry about. Let’s take a look at the main ones.

TMJ and Sjögren’s Syndrome

Women account for 90 percent! of people suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome, or chronic pain or soreness in the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. The most obvious cause is teeth grinding known as bruxism. Other causes may be the result of stress, joint structure, vitamin deficiency, medical conditions like arthritis, and even hormones.

Another condition women are far more prone to than men is Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks salivary glands and tear ducts this results in dry mouth and dry eye and then can move on to other tissues and organs.

Dry mouth, aside from making chewing and swallowing difficult, is very dangerous to oral health, because saliva washes away food particles, fights bacteria, and neutralizes the mouth’s pH from acidic to neutral. With both syndromes, regular dental visits are crucial so that you can get a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that will keep your mouth healthy.

Puberty, Pregnancy, and Menopause

Hormones play a large role in women’s dental health, particularly when they are going through significant changes, such as during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Gingivitis and inflamed gums are common during puberty and pregnancy, which is why it’s especially important to maintain good oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing under these conditions.

Dry mouth is a common problem for women going through menopause, another common problem is bone loss. When bone loss occurs in the jaw, it can compromise the gums and the roots of the teeth. It’s very important for menopausal women to discuss these potential effects with their dentists, ideally before any negative symptoms appear!

Eating Disorders and Teeth

A startling fact is that more than twice as many teenage girls suffer from eating disorders than teenage boys, and that ratio persists in different age groups. Eating disorders are life-threatening. They have negative effects on every system in the body, and the mouth is no exception.

Malnutrition, particularly a deficiency in vitamins and minerals essential to keeping teeth and gums healthy, can lead to a variety of oral health problems, but eating disorders can do more direct harm as well. Bulimia in particular can lead to tooth erosion from frequent exposure to stomach acid during purges.

Anyone suffering from an eating disorder should seek psychiatric help to recover mentally, but it will take rigorous dental hygiene and help from dental professionals to maintain or restore good oral health.

You And Your Dentist Make A Great Team!

By this point, you might think women got the short end of the stick all around when it comes to oral health, but one major advantage women have is their tendency to take better care of their teeth. Women are more likely to brush twice a day, floss daily, and keep up with their regular dental appointments than men. They’re also much less likely to try toughing it out whenever they experience tooth pain or other symptoms. These healthy habits and seeking out help for symptoms combine to greatly reduce the impact of all the above conditions, so keep up the good work!

Let’s keep those mouths healthy, ladies!

What is your Oral Health’s Most Valuable player?

SALIVA IS SUCH an ordinary thing that you probably haven’t given it much thought, but it’s actually super important to the healthy function of our mouths. The best analogy I can think of is saliva to the mouth is as important as oil is to a working car engine. Saliva is an essential component of our ability to eat, taste our favorite foods, and speak, it’s crucial to a healthy immune system, and it’s our first line of defense against many oral health problems.

Saliva Production And Stages

In a healthy mouth, saliva is produced continuously by the major and monor salivary glands, which are located under our tongues and in our cheeks and lips. These glands produce between two and six cups of saliva every day! Saliva is 98% percent water, and the rest consists of proteins, digestive enzymes, antimicrobial factors, and electrolytes.

Depending on where food is in the digestive process, saliva goes through a few different stages: cephalic, buccal, oesophageal, gastric, and intestinal. When you smell something delicious and your mouth waters, that’s the cephalic stage! Actually eating moves it to the buccal stage, which helps us swallow food. The oesophageal stage helps move swallowed food down the esophagus.

The last two stages are less pleasant, but still important. If you’re about to throw up, your salivary glands work overtime in the gastric stage so that the stomach acid won’t do as much damage when it comes up and out with the partially digested food. The intestinal stage is similar, activating when the body doesn’t agree with food that reaches the upper intestine.

Saliva And Oral Health

There are many reasons we have saliva, but the most important role it plays for your teeth is keeping your mouth’s pH balanced and flushing away remnants of food to keep everything clean. Eating food tends to make our mouths more acidic, and even though the enamel on our teeth is the hardest substance in our bodies, it only takes a pH of 5.5 to start dissolving it. Many of the foods we eat are far more acidic than that, which makes saliva critical in protecting our teeth.

The antimicrobial factors in saliva also fight bacteria, protecting us against gum disease and bad breath. Growth factors in saliva are why injuries in your mouth (like a burned tongue or a bitten cheek) heal faster than injuries elsewhere on the body. And those are just the benefits to oral health, but saliva does much more.

When The Spit Runs Dry…

All of these benefits are why dry mouth is such a serious problem. It can happen for a number of reasons. Our mouths tend to go dry in stressful situations. We also tend to produce less saliva in old age. Drug use, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all cause dry mouth as well. Unfortunately, many prescription medications cause dry mouth as a common side effect. This could lead to gum problems and quick forming cavities.

Let’s Get That Mouth Watering!

If you’ve been experiencing dry mouth for any reason, schedule an appointment with us. We can discover the cause and get that saliva flowing again so that you won’t miss out on any of its great health benefits!

Thank you for trusting in our practice!