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All About Oral Cancer

oral cancerOral cancer affects approximately 35,000 people every year. Of those, nearly 8,000 will die. Oral cancer is very real, very prominent, and very scary. At my Mill Creek dental office, we’re here to help you understand the disease and know the risks associated with it.

The Risks

Before we dive into some risk factors of developing oral cancer, it’s important to note that anyone, despite having or not having any risk factors, can get oral cancer. However, some people are more likely to suffer from the disease than others. While many of the risk factors are unavoidable, there are some we can control. Risks include:

  • Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women. This may be in part because the likelihood of men participating in other risk factors is greater than women.
  • Age: The average age of diagnosis is 62, and the majority of oral cancer patients are at least 55.
  • UV Rays: Those whose jobs or leisure activities are outside are at increased risk for oral cancer, as well as other cancers. If you have to or choose to be outside, wear protective sunscreen.
  • Tobacco Use: 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in people who use tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco.
  • Alcohol: Nearly 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers.
  • Alcohol + Tobacco = DANGER! If you drink alcohol in large amounts often, and partake in smoking or smokeless tobacco, your chance for oral cancer can be as high as 100%.

The Symptoms

Knowing the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can increase your chance of survival greatly. The earlier the cancer is caught, the more successful treatment can be. Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Sore(s) that don’t go away
  • A lump on the cheek
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in your voice

If you do notice any of the signs above, call your dentist in Mill Creek right away.

Regular dental checkups are important for many reasons, but a really important one is to catch oral cancer early. If it’s time that you see a dentist, give my Mill Creek dental office a call to schedule an appointment today. You never know, one visit could save your life.

Serving patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, Everett.

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Understanding Canker Sores

canker soreThere tends to be some confusion behind these uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing sores that seem to appear out of nowhere. While there really isn’t any solid evidence as to what causes canker sores, which is part of what makes them a bit difficult to understand, at my Mill Creek dental office, we can shed some light on what they are and how to get relief.

What are Canker Sores?

Before we can dive into the causes, symptoms, treatments, and other great information about them, we need to identify what canker sores actually are. Canker sores are small, (usually) little ulcer-like lesions that typically pop up inside the mouth. If the affected area is outside on the lip, it’s probably not a canker sore but a cold sore. Cold sores and canker sores may appear similar in appearance and feel the same discomfort, but they are, in fact, different. Canker sores aren’t contagious. Cold sores are.

How Do You Know if You Have a Canker Sore?

Canker sores tend to have the same symptoms every time one appears. Sometimes you may experience an unexplained tingly or itchy feeling in your mouth. This can be a sign a canker sore is about to pop up. Once it appears, you’ll be able to see a small, oval sore with a white or yellow center and red border inside the mouth, usually around the spot that was itchy.

Canker Sore Relief

There is no cure for canker sores and they’ll go away on their own usually within a week or two. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel the discomfort for that long. There are over-the-counter products designed to ease the pain. If it’s a larger sore or you have concerns, you may want to see a dentist in Mill Creek.

When Should You See a Dentist for a Canker Sore?

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s appropriate to call your dentist for an appointment.

  • Sores that last longer than two weeks
  • Pain that can’t be handled with over-the-counter treatment
  • High fever
  • Chronic outbreaks

If you think you should see a dentist for your canker sore, or have questions about canker sores, give my Mill Creek dental office a call. We’ll be happy to help.

Accepting new patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, and Everett.

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March 20th is World Oral Health Day!

World Oral Health Day

Over 90% of the world’s population will suffer from some sort of oral health disease at some point in their lives. Many of which could have been avoided through proper education or supporting programs for prevention and detection. At my Mill Creek dental office, we believe education is the first step in fixing this epidemic. Which is why this World Oral Health Day, we’re talking about why dental care is so important, not just for your smile, but for your entire wellbeing.

What is World Oral Health Day?

World Oral Health Day takes place every year and is sponsored by the World Dental Federation. Its goal is to bring awareness to the benefits of a healthy mouth, and to educate everyone on the effects of an unhealthy one. While its name suggests promoting the importance of getting a healthy smile, if we dig deeper we can see it’s about more than a healthy mouth.

It’s About Whole Health, Too

Many whole-body diseases first show signs in the mouth, and oral health can have a direct affect on the health of the rest of the body. One of the most concerning links between oral health and overall health has a lot to do with gum disease. Gum disease may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, respiratory concerns, and even some cancers. Nearly half of the population has some level of periodontal disease. And that’s just America. So while it’s important to care for your mouth for your smile’s sake, it’s pretty important for your wellbeing too.

What to Look For

If you notice any of the following symptoms, we encourage you to see your dentist as soon as possible.

  • Bleeding gums
  • Puffy, red, swollen gums
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away

Celebrate The Best Way Possible

The best way to celebrate World Oral Health Day and get behind this year’s theme is to schedule an appointment with a dentist in Mill Creek. Regular checkups are one of the best ways we can work together to keep your mouth and body healthy. If you’re in need of a dentist, there’s never been a better time to call my dental office in Mill Creek. We’ll work with you to get you healthy, for life.

If you want to learn about World Oral Health Day and how you can help get the message out, head on over to the World Dental Federation website to find tons of great information.

Accepting patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, and Everett.

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Celebrate Heart Health Month: See Your Dentist in Mill Creek

heartWhy in the world would a dentist be part of your Heart Health Month Celebration? Shouldn’t you be seeing a cardiologist for that? Well, maybe. But seeing your Mill Creek dentist is much more important than you may think.

There have been lots of studies over the last few years that show a clear link between your gums and your heart, not only because these organs are part of the same body, but also because of the way inflammation and infection can affect your heart.

Why Gum Infections Can Give You a Heart Attack?

When there is a chronic infection in your body, even in something as seemingly small and insignificant as your gums, the bacteria don’t stay put. They enter the bloodstream and cause your body to produce more proteins such as C-reactive protein (CRP), one of the known indicators of cardiovascular disease. Study results published in The New England Journal of Medicine identified elevated CRP levels as an even more accurate predictor of heart attacks than elevated cholesterol levels!

What Exactly is C-Reactive Protein and What Does it Have to Do with Gums?

According to Dr. Thomas Boyden, Jr., the medical director of preventive cardiology at Spectrum Health Medical Group Cardiovascular Services, “Your gums are very vascular, meaning they’re full of blood vessels. And your mouth is full of bacteria. If you disrupt the gum layer even a little bit, you’re going to get bacteria in your bloodstream, which can go anywhere and trigger inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is one of the main things that causes damage to blood vessels, including those of the heart.”

That’s where C-reactive protein come in. This protein is produced by the liver and goes up in response to inflammation. When high levels of CRP are found in the body, doctors know that infection is present…and more often than not, that infection started in the mouth. In fact, more than 50% of Americans have some form of gum disease, and as a result, an increased risk for heart problems.

What Can You Do?

By following a healthy oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing everyday, avoiding tobacco, and keeping regularly scheduled appointments with your dentist in Mill Creek, you can lower your risk of gum disease and additional whole-body concerns.

I simply do not want my patients to be part of that statistic. If you are due for a checkup and cleaning, please give my Mill Creek dental office a call today!
Welcoming new patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, and Everett.

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The Effects of Eating Disorders on Teeth

eating disorder

Eating disorders are an epidemic that plague over 10 million Americans. While they’re typically more common in teenagers and adult women, eating disorders can affect anyone despite age or gender. They’re particularly dangerous for the body and for mental health, but they can also negatively affect your mouth.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are several different types of eating disorders, and each one has its own set of symptoms and characteristics. Some disorders include:

  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Binge Eating

How Teeth Are Affected

One of the main concerns associated with all types of eating disorder is the lack of necessary nutrients typically received from a balanced diet. Without proper nutrition, gums bleed more easily, salivary glands decrease production, resulting in dry mouth, and if vomiting occurs often, enamel weakens.

Signs and Symptoms

Many times your Mill Creek dental team may be the first people on a healthcare team to suspect an eating disorder. This is because there are many telltale signs that show in the mouth including:

  • Sensitivity
  • Brittle, translucent teeth
  • Enlarged salivary glands
  • Tooth decay

How to Limit Damage

Those with an eating disorder should seek help from a trusted medical professional as soon as possible to help begin the healing process. In terms of dental health, my Mill Creek dental office has some advice.

  • Do not brush teeth immediately after vomiting. Rinse with water instead to limit damage.
  • Continue to brush twice a day and floss once a day, every day.
  • Maintain regular visits.

If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, we encourage you to find a treatment that works. Not only is your oral health affected, but an eating disorder can cause major whole-body concerns. At my dental office in Mill Creek, we’re here to help keep your mouth healthy during recovery, and for a lifetime. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Accepting patients from Mill Creek, Bothell and Everett.

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4 Reasons to Smile

healthy smileAt my Mill Creek dental office, we love to see our patients smile. Not only because we are in the business of creating healthy, beautiful grins, but also because we know the health benefits behind showing those pearly whites. We’d like to share a few reasons you should smile more and smile often.

  • Helps Immune System. Smiling helps produce more white blood cells which, in turn, fight off bacteria, germs, and disease.
  • Makes Us Happy. Endorphins are the chemicals in our brains that help us feel happy. The effects of endorphins are often experienced while running, working out intensely, or just by smiling.
  • Reduces Stress. Those powerful endorphins also help lower stress and anxiety. When we’re stressed, the level of the hormone cortisol is high, making us feel unpleasant. Endorphins lower the amount of cortisol in our bodies and fight off stress.
  • Makes You Approachable. Smiling means the same thing in every language, so there are no cultural barriers to interpreting what a smile means. There are several studies that show people are more likely to engage with someone who’s smiling than those who are not.  

If you’re not smiling often, try these tips to help:

  • Be around people. Spending time with people who make you happy and make you laugh is a great way to increase how much you smile. Call up your buds, go out to dinner, tell funny stories, and don’t forget to smile wide.
  • Watch something funny. Sometimes we don’t feel like interacting with people, and that’s ok. But it’s still important to smile and smile often. When you want to relax alone, watch a classic comedy movie or show, pop some popcorn (watch out for kernels!), and cackle away in the comfort of your couch.
  • Fake it. Our brains can’t actually tell the difference between a genuine smile and a fake one. But the benefits stay the same no matter what. So paste on a grin and soak in the benefits.

Sometimes people don’t smile because they’re embarrassed about how their teeth look. If this is keeping you from showing off your grin, call my dental office in Mill Creek. We have tons of cosmetic dentistry options to choose from and we promise there’s a treatment plan just for you. Schedule an appointment today and let us help you smile more so you can start feeling all the benefits smiling can have.

Accepting new patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, and Everett.

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Show Your Snow-White Smile This Winter

snow white smileArtist Antoinette van Kleeff once said, “When snow falls, nature listens.” My Mill Creek dental practice is always ready to listen, especially when it comes to maintaining your pearly whites.  Give us a call with questions and don’t forget to follow these simple steps to help ward off unsightly stains.

Brushing Up on Stain Prevention

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times — regular brushing and flossing are two of the biggest cavity and stain fighting techniques you can do at home, everyday. No teeth are resistant to the many stain-causing food and drinks we encounter throughout the day, but you can better protect and prevent the damage by always brushing twice daily and flossing once. Brush when you wake up and before bed for best protection.

Food and Beverage Blues

We hate to say it but some of your favorite foods and delicious drinks are the biggest reasons your teeth aren’t so winter white. Dark, sugary drinks are most likely to leave their mark, just as are rich foods. If a food or drink is capable of staining your tablecloth, it’s most likely able to leave its mark on your teeth too. Some of the biggest offenders include: Red wine, soda, berry juice, coffee, sauce, and gravy. Fight back by using a straw to slurp down drinks, and swallow foods swiftly leaving less time to linger and stain.

Bright White, Day or Night

Different whitening procedures will work best on a variety of teeth stains. Lifting these pesky, colorful remnants to reveal your best smile is an achievable accomplishment. You can use a whitening toothpaste, but be sure to check the label for the American Dental Association seal of approval. Porcelain veneers are another long-term solution for whiter, brighter teeth.  Be sure to check with your Mill Creek dentist before starting any whitening procedures.

When the white stuff does start to come down this winter, my dental office in Mill Creek will be ready to assist you, making sure your teeth are pearly white, healthy, and happy. Ensuring your comfort with grace, elegance, and empathy is our highest priority!

Welcoming new patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, and Everett in any kind of weather.

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Fresh Breath Tips For a Perfect Mistletoe Smooch

mistletoeThis time of year means more mistletoe and festive parties with friends, family, and colleagues. Whether you’re greeting someone with a smooch or simply engaging in a close conversation, make sure your breath is fresh by brushing up on these helpful dental hygiene tips. My Mill Creek dental office wants you to ring in the New Year right with a clean, bright smile.

Brushing, Flossing, and Lip-Locking

Brushing twice daily is one of the biggest defenses to stave off bad breath. Regular, once daily flossing will also ensure your smile and kiss are clean and debris-free. Sometimes this regular routine becomes a second thought this time of year due to the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  It’s important keep brushing and flossing for lip-locking free of foul breath. If your daily routine is still plagued by plaque or pain, contact your Mill Creek dentist to schedule a visit.

We’re Talking Tongues

One of the most overlooked tricks to getting your breath fresh is to make sure your tongue is clean. When you’re brushing and flossing your teeth, don’t forget to scrape or brush your tongue. A frequent brushing helps to remove pesky food particles and dead cells, leaving breath even more fresh. It’s one small step, but it yields big rewards!

Stress-Free is the Way to Be

Whether you’re worried about holiday bills or coping with friends and family, this time of year can be crazy. Sometimes added stress means our daily routines get out of sync, leading to lack of hygiene and offensive breath. Don’t forget to eat as healthy as you can, stay hydrated with plenty of water, get plenty of sleep, and be sure to exercise regularly. If you’re still struggling with bad breath, be sure and give my dental office in Mill Creek a call. You’ll feel relaxed in our stress-free environment, and together we’ll discuss your best oral health options.

We hope your holidays are happy, peaceful, and full of joy. Whether you find yourself kissing under the mistletoe or planting a familiar smooch on a loved one, your fresh breath and healthy smile are sure to make a great impression in 2016!

We look forward to welcoming patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, and Everett into next year and beyond!

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Alcohol’s Effect on Oral Health

alcohol and oral healthA glass of wine at family dinner. A few beers at the bar while catching up with old friends. A mixed drink or two at the office holiday party. When it comes to alcohol, it’s a fairly standard beverage of choice for U.S. adults. While enjoying it in moderation is reasonable, problems with both overall health and oral health arise when we drink too much.

What’s so Bad About it?

About 25% of all U.S. adults 18 and older have had at least one night of excessive drinking this past year. Besides being potentially dangerous to your overall well being, over-consumption of alcohol can have detrimental affects on your oral health as well. Alcohol is naturally drying, which is a problem when talking about oral health. Your mouth is supposed to be moist and needs saliva to function properly. Without it, dangerous bacteria, sugars, and acids aren’t effectively rinsed away, leaving your teeth exposed to damage.

Know the Risks

At my dental office in Mill Creek, part of our job is to educate and inform our patients as much as possible. And while we aren’t here to tell you to completely refrain from drinking alcohol, we do want to let you know the risks involved when drinking in excess. Some oral health problems that may arise from over-consumption of alcohol include:

  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum Disease
  • Chronic Bad Breath
  • Oral, Throat, and Esophagus Cancer

Protect Your Health

  • Limit Your Drinks. The best way to protect your smile from the damaging effects of alcohol is to limit the amount you drink. It’s also a good rule of thumb to rotate in a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages.
  • Consult a Counselor. If you suspect you have an alcohol problem, we encourage you to find a trusted professional to help.
  • Brush 20 Minutes Post-Drink. Waiting 20 minutes after drinking an alcoholic beverage to brush can reduce the negative effects of the alcohol.
  • Regular Checkups. Visiting your dentist in Mill Creek at least twice a year is crucial to maintaining great oral health. These visits help catch any problems early, and the earlier a problem is caught, the easier and more effective treatment can be.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, we welcome you to call my Mill Creek dental office. We’re here to keep your mouth, and your body, in the best shape possible.

Welcoming patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, and Everett.

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Holidays Have You Stressed? Relax for Your Mouth’s Sake

holiday stressThe craziness of the holiday season is right around the corner, and we’re sure the planning has already begun. Sometimes this time of year causes stress levels to rise and health to suffer because of it. But it’s not only your overall health that’s affected by stress. The team at my dental office in Mill Creek want to inform you about how stress can also cause problems in your mouth.

Jaw Pain

Your jaw joint, also known as the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), gets a lot of work throughout the day even when you’re not stressed. It can withstand a lot. But when you’re in stress overload, you may begin to clench or grind your teeth. Both clenching and grinding may lead to tooth damage and can also cause some serious jaw pain. If you’re experiencing any pain, clicking, locking, or popping, give your Mill Creek dentist a call.

Canker Sores

Usually caused by an accidental chomp of the cheek or other actual trauma, canker sores can also be triggered by stress. According to a study by the Academy of General Dentistry, people are more susceptible to canker sores during prolonged periods of stress. Canker sores, also known as mouth ulcers, are typically found inside the mouth and are not contagious, but can be painful and annoying.

Chill Out!

The best way to protect your smile and overall health from the dangers of stress is to work on calming down and keeping anxiety levels low. Need some pointers? Check out these tips.

  • Eat Well. We know it’s hard to pass on the constant snacking that typically comes with the holidays, but try your best to keep a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Work on Your Fitness. Get active by taking a daily walk, do some yoga, or hop on a treadmill. Whatever your exercise of choice, get your blood pumping and your sweat dripping.
  • Limit Alcohol. Between office parties, dinners out, get togethers with friends and family, alcohol is typically available in abundance. Try your best to limit your alcohol consumption not only for your oral health, but overall health too.

As always, take time to ensure you’re keeping a healthy at-home oral hygiene routine. And if you feel the stress of the holidays is affecting your mouth, don’t hesitate to call my Mill Creek dental office. We’ll be happy to work with you to resolve any problems we may find. We’re also pretty great at keeping you relaxed, which may be just what you need.

Accepting patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, and Everett.

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