The Great American Smokeout & Your Oral Health

cigEvery November, the American Cancer Society sponsors the Great American Smokeout to encourage smokers to quit. As we all know, smoking can lead to serious health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Your dentist in Sacramento also wants you to know that smoking can have a negative effect on your oral health, too. Let’s take a look at some of the ways smoking can cause problems in your mouth. 

Oral Cancer

One of the most serious ways smoking can affect your oral health is by increasing your risk of developing oral cancer. While oral cancer doesn’t only occur in smokers, smoking does greatly increase the chances. In fact, smokers are six times more likely to get oral cancer than non-smokers. Like any cancer, oral cancer can be deadly if not caught and treated quickly and appropriately. This is one reason why seeing your Sacramento dentist at least twice a year is so important. Your dental team will check for signs of oral cancer at every appointment so if something suspicious does show up, you’d catch it early and when treatment is often more successful. 

Gum Disease

Another serious oral health problem that oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with smoking is gum disease. Gum disease can affect anyone but smokers are 50% more likely to get it than non-smokers. It’s a serious oral health problem that can lead to tooth loss and even other health are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

Bad Breath & Discolored Teeth

Smokers often have a clear giveaway that they smoke — their breath. Smokers’ breath isn’t something that goes away easily and it can linger around for quite a while. Bad breath may seem like no big deal but it can affect relationships and health. What’s more, the ingredients in cigarettes (such as tar and nicotine) can easily stick to any plaque that may be on your teeth, gums, or tongue. When too much of these sticky substances are introduced to the mouth, they can actually change the color of your teeth into a dull, dingy yellow. These stains are also tough to remove and sometimes even professional tooth whitening isn’t enough to get rid of them. 

Dry Mouth

Smokers may experience the discomfort of dry mouth more often than non-smokers. While dry mouth may seem like simply an annoyance, the truth is, it’s actually pretty bad for oral health. In order to stay healthy, your mouth needs to produce enough saliva to rinse away bacteria and neutralize acids that would otherwise lead to decay and cavities. But when the mouth is dry there isn’t enough saliva to do its job correctly, leaving your teeth exposed to all of the dangerous bacteria and plaque acid.  

As you can see, the risks of smoking go well beyond the commonly known risks and can certainly take its toll on oral health. But there’s hope. Your dentist in Sacramento wants to encourage all smokers to pick a quit date and work towards a smoke-free life. We understand quitting smoking can be very difficult, and it may take a few tries to finally kick it. Don’t give up. Quitting smoking now can save your smile and your life. 

Top Tips To Keep Your Family Healthy This Flu Season

woman with the fluIt’s that time of the year again when the sounds of sneezes and sniffles, and coughs and congestion, are in the air. That’s right, it’s flu season, which can be a concerning time for all of us. At our dental office in Sacramento, we want you to know that you don’t have to suffer this year. There are some easy tips you can try to keep your family healthy all the way to spring. 

Wash Those Hands

There’s a reason you’ll find posters in every bathroom stressing the importance of proper handwashing and why your dentist in Sacramento stresses washing those hands regularly — because it works! A little bit of soap and warm water can go a long way in keeping you healthy and flu-free. Make sure to wash your hands after using the restroom, touching another person, touching anything in public (think escalators and doorknobs!), and before every meal or snack. While soap and warm water work best to kill those pesky germs, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can work well in a pinch.

Clean Often

Having clean hands is one thing that can certainly help reduce the risk of catching the flu, but having a clean house is also important. Pay attention to the areas where your family spends the most time, like the bathrooms (don’t forget the toilet handles!) and kitchen. Sanitize things that are often overlooked, such as remote control, faucets, and toys. When in doubt, give it a quick wipe down with an antibacterial cleaner. 

No Hands to the Face

Hands touch so many things throughout the day, and even if you’re washing them regularly, there’s still a chance germs are lingering around. In fact, the CDC states that one of the most common ways germs are spread is by touching a contaminated surface, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts have mucus that can easily transport germs into the body and make us sick. 

Take Care of That Toothbrush

The truth is, toothbrushes can play host to all sorts of gross germs that can make you sick. But with proper care, those germs don’t stand a chance. Make sure the bristles are getting a thorough rinsing with warm water after every use to help flush bacteria down the drain (where they belong!). When it comes to storage, keep all toothbrushes in an upright position with the bristles at the top and allow them to air dry. Avoid using those little plastic toothbrush covers — they create the ultimate home for bacteria because it’s wet, cold, and dark. Keep family members’ toothbrushes separated from each other to avoid cross-contamination, and of course, never share toothbrushes. 

Drink More Water

Water is the best thing for everyone to drink, but even more so during flu season. The truth is, a well-hydrated body is better equipped to fight off any infection. Try your best to have each member of your family drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. During flu season, if you can get them to drink a little bit more, it can only help. 

Follow these tips this flu season to help keep your entire family healthy all winter long. However, sometimes pesky germs find their way inside and make us sick. If that happens, your Sacramento dentist encourages you to use sugar-free medicines to help alleviate symptoms.