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All About Oral Cancer

oral cancer risk

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and our dental office in Georgetown thought we should dedicate a blog this month to help educate our patients and community on the prevalence of oral cancer in America, what increases someone’s likelihood of developing the disease, and how to spot signs of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Statistics

Like any other cancer, oral cancer is a complicated disease that takes the lives of many individuals. While scientists continue researching cures and treatments are always improving, the data surrounding the oral cancer epidemic is still scary.

  • According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 50,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2017.
  • Of those, only a little over half are expected to live longer than 5 years.
  • This year alone, oral cancer will kill one person every hour of every day.
  • Across the globe, an estimated 450,000 oral cancer diagnoses are made each year.

Oral Cancer Risks

While anyone can develop oral cancer, there are several factors that increase the likelihood of diagnosis. Of these, there are few we can control and others we can’t.

  • The top risk factor is tobacco use. An estimated 80% of oral cancer patients are, or have been, tobacco users.
  • As we get older, our risk of oral cancer increases. The majority of oral cancer patients are over the age of 55.
  • Gender can also play a role. Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.
  • Drinking alcohol heavily also increases your risk.   

Oral Cancer Symptoms

  • Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
  • Changes in voice
  • A sore or discoloration that doesn’t go away after two weeks
  • A lump inside the mouth or neck
  • Chronic bad breath

Signs of oral cancer can be similar to other non-serious oral health issues. If you notice any of the symptoms above, we strongly encourage you to call your dentist in Georgetown as soon as you can. Early detection of oral cancer greatly increases the chance for successful treatment. This is also one reason why you should see your dentist at least every six months.

At our Georgetown dental office, we care about keeping our neighbors healthy. If there are any questions we can answer, or if you’re looking for advice on oral cancer treatment, give us a call.

Make The World a Better Place This Earth Day

Earth DayApril 22nd is Earth Day, a worldwide celebration where we all take a moment to reflect on the natural world around us and do what we can to help preserve it.  At Trade Winds Dental, we strive to live green every single day, but we’re especially observant advocates on this annual holiday.

So think about it, what can you do to make the world a better place? The answers may be simpler than you think. Here’s a few suggestions:

Plant a Tree in Your Community – Plenty of organizations, such as the Arbor Day Association, the National Wildlife Federation and even many local nurseries have trees or seedlings available at low or no-cost. Trees are not only beautiful, they also help to clean the air, prevent soil erosion, and provide us with the oxygen that we need to survive. Plant a tree in your backyard or see if there’s a community planting event.

Head to the Farmers Market – We have a fantastic farmers market here in Georgetown. Buying fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and more from our local farmers helps support both your community and the natural, beautiful world right around us. 

Support Ethical Trade – Have you thought about where the goods in your home or the clothing and accessories wear actually come from? Try to frequent businesses that support artisans with fair wages and services to third world countries, like StriveGreen in Austin. 

Advocate for Change – You may have heard the quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Remember that nothing changes until someone has the courage to stand up and say something. Start a recycling program at work or at home, set up a carpool, or ask your boss how you can help to make your workplace more green.

See, that’s not so hard! Connect to your favorite social media and blog feeds on Earth Day and see what other suggestions for environmental action are out there that you and your family can do. And be sure to ask the staff at Trade Winds Dental for ideas as well – we’ve got TONS of ways to help the environment in your everyday living.

Make it Local! Make it Green! Make the world a better place!

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

Essential Information About Essential Oils

essential oilsThese days, people think of essential oils primarily for their scent – and we don’t dispute the health benefits of aromatherapy at all! But there is more to essential oils than meets the nose. In fact, if an oil is called a fragrance or fragrant oil, it is probably not an essential oil at all and will not have the healing power of a true essential oil.

Most people don’t realize it, but essential oils are not really oils at all. They do not contain fatty acids. Instead, they are distilled or highly concentrated plants. The essence of the plant. An example of how concentrated these oils are is how many roses it takes to make one pound Bulgarian rose oil. Go ahead and guess – 10? 20? No, it takes 4,000 pounds of roses to make one pound of rose essence! Even the common lavender essential oil takes 100 pounds of plants to make a pound of essential oil.

Because they are so concentrated, they must be used with care. Most essential oils should not be used in their undiluted form directly on the skin. They must also be kept out of the reach of children, and should never be used during the first trimester of pregnancy without the advice of a healthcare practitioner. They should also never be taken internally.

Here at Trade Winds Dental, our Georgetown dental staff loves essential oils, both in the office and as something for patients to use at home. They allow patients to take some of their health care into their own hands to strengthen their bodily systems, protect against illness, lift their moods, and soothe their spirits. In other words, essential oils can help our patients heal – mind body and spirit, a principle that is at the center of our dental practice.

Here are a few “essential” essential oils to get you started:

Tea Tree Oil – Great for skin and hair, it is safe to apply topically. It does have a strong scent but is very effective against dandruff, fungus, and blemishes.

Calendula – Made from the petals of the Marigold flower, calendula oil has amazing healing properties. Very gentle on the skin, it can be used as a topical anti inflammatory, antibacterial, and general skin soother for bumps and bruises. Some people use a few drops in their baths to soothe psoriasis.

Lavender Lavender does much of its healing through its beautiful scent. A few drops in your bath or diluted with water and sprayed on your pillow can ease tension, soothe frazzled nerves, and help you get a good night’s sleep.

Peppermint – Feeling a little nauseated? Peppermint oil is a great anti nausea and digestive aid. It can also soothe coughs when applied to the chest, remove odors from shoes, and even help deter spiders! Plus it freshens our breath and can be added to coconut oil for oil pulling.

To learn more about the healing properties of essential oils, ask the team at Trade Winds Dental. We are here for more than just your teeth!

Want to Smile More? Take Your Vitamins!

vitaminsThe modern diet is sorely lacking in many of our most essential nutrients and our stressful and busy-but-sedentary lifestyles don’t help us feel great either. Add in all the toxic substances that we are exposed to on a daily basis along with a lack of proper sleep, and you have a recipe for health disaster. Even if you think you feel okay right now, the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle will eventually catch up with you.

Here at Trade Winds Dental, we want to help you easily and conveniently get on the path to ideal health. In a previous blog, we told you all about the benefits of raw foods. But while you are learning to add more raw foods to your diet, how to create delicious smoothies and juices, and how to flush toxins from your body, we want to suggest four important vitamins and supplements you can easily add to your diet RIGHT NOW for an immediate improvement in your well-being – and to protect your teeth and gums!

Vitamin C – Sure vitamin C can boost your immune system, but it can also help your body produce more collagen, burn more fat, heal wounds, help block damage from free radicals, and even protect your heart. A lack of vitamin C will also show up in your oral health – this vitamin helps your body maintain and repair bones and teeth.

Vitamin D3 – It might be called a vitamin, but D3 is actually a hormone that we get primarily from the sun. Now that we understand how much we need to protect our skin from the sun, most Americans are dangerously deficient and never realize it. Vitamin D3 helps our bodies fight infections such as colds and flus, it influences our immune systems, builds stronger bones, protects our hearts, reduces our risk for cancer, and improves muscle function, among many other benefits. It seems that Vitamin D3 can also help prevent cavities and gum infections.

Vitamin B12 – Stress is one of the primary factors in modern life, and chronic stress can really deplete us which can lead to feelings of lethargy, depression, low metabolism, and more. Introducing vitamin B12 through B12 shots, sublingual drops, or tablets can greatly improve your feelings of well-being. It lifts your mood and energy level, improves your memory, benefits your heart, helps with digestion and metabolic function, addresses adrenal fatigue, and supports the maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular and nervous system. It is also great for your hair and skin. Here at Trade Winds Dental, Dr. Hennington also recommends B12 for periodontal disease – the lower your levels of B12, the higher your risk for tooth loss and gum disease! In short, B12 is a powerhouse when it comes to looking and feeling good.

It is important to remember that not all vitamins and supplements are the same. Some of the vitamins you find in the drugstore are not bio-available, which means your body can’t absorb and use them completely. Don’t throw your money away on useless supplements. Talk to your Georgetown dental team to find out which vitamins and supplements we recommend.

How Raw Foods can Play a Part in Healing

raw foodsEverybody has to eat. But sometimes, life gets moving way too fast and we just grab what we can here and there – sometimes even eating fast or junk food. When we eat without thinking, we are not only consuming unhealthy fats, preservatives, and artificial ingredients, we are missing out on all kinds of healing benefits food can offer.

One of those benefits comes from enzymes. Enzymes are not only crucial for good digestion, they also help our body properly use nutrients, assist with our bodies functions such as cell regeneration, and elimination of toxins. In fact, without enzymes, we wouldn’t be able to eat, swallow, digest our food, or breathe. Enzymes are life! And raw, living fruits and vegetables are full of these necessary enzymes.

The problem is, when food is heated the enzymes are destroyed or damaged. We recommend juicing in order to get an efficient, super dose of essential enzymes in their perfect state. Here are a few other ways to fit raw foods into your busy life:

  • Carry an apple, some raw carrots, or other non-perishable raw snack with you whenever you leave the house.
  • Raw nuts and seeds make another portable, enzyme-rich food for on the go.
  • Top your soup, salad, or sandwich with a handful of tasty sprouts – pea sprouts are especially delicious!
  • All kinds of things your family already loves are raw: Think fresh salsa, guacamole, fresh fruit salads.
  • Try topping celery with raw nut butter and raisins. It is great tasting and gives you an extra boost of protein.
  • Keep plenty of easy-to-grab raw foods in the house. If it is easier to find and more available than other snacks, your family will likely reach for the raw snacks. Try preparing carrot coins, celery sticks, apple wedges, and raw nut mixes ahead of time for easy snacking during the week.
  • Start browsing raw recipes online. You will see that preparing raw meals can actually save you time.

Here’s a great recipe from the Rawritarian that anyone can start with. It tastes like dessert so even your kids will love eating raw, plus prep time is only five minutes!

Raw Chocolate Avocado Pudding

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium avocado (ripe and at peak of perfection please!)
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup water + 1/8 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

  1. Throw these raw chocolate avocado pudding ingredients into a high-speed blender. Start blending on slow and then crank up the blending speed to high.
  2. Blend this sucker until puddingy and gooooood! You might need to start and stop this a few times to get it to blend properly because the dates will require more blending than pudding recipes that don’t contain dates. If you have a good blender (AKA Vitamix or Blendtec) then you should be able to get this super smooth.
  3. You may need to add a tiny bit of extra water to facilitate blending. But if doing so only add TINY bits at a time! Try not to add extra water or it’ll end up watering it down and changing the consistency.

If you’d like to learn more about how nutrition affects your health and how eating the right things can actually help you heal, talk to Dr. Hennington at your next dental visit. The Trade Winds Dental team in Georgetown is here for more than your teeth – we are here for your total health!

Bringing Hope to Our Community

Hope AllianceIn 2015, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon released a report stating that one in every three women worldwide have experienced some form of violence. And the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (http://ncadv.org/learn-more/statistics) issued these statistics:

  • On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
  • On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
  • Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
  • Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
  • Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
  • Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.

These are some pretty disturbing statistics. They are some of the reasons Trade Winds Dental has teamed up with Hope Alliance. We have a reputation for being eco-friendly, sure, but we aren’t just working for the planet, we are working for the people on it.  

What is Hope Alliance?

Hope Alliance was established in 1984 as a rape crisis center. Since then, the agency has expanded to serve all of Williamson County with outreach offices in Georgetown, Cedar Park, Taylor, Liberty Hill and Hutto and have included services for victims of domestic violence. Their goal is to inspire hope and healing with 24-hour emergency shelters, 24-hour crisis hotline, transitional housing, accompaniment services, legal advocacy, counseling, support groups, education, and prevention.

We join Hope Alliance in the belief that “physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse of one human being by another is unacceptable. We believe that all abuse diminishes or prohibits the full expression of life and growth that is every person’s right.” And now we are making it easy for YOU to join us in helping Hope Alliance: Bring your old, handheld toothbrushes to our office for recycling and we’ll donate $1 per toothbrush to Hope Alliance. For more information on Hope Alliance, please visit HopeAllianceTX.org.

The Greenest Dental Office You will Ever See

Trade Winds Dental – The Green Zonegreen plants

Going green. From big businesses to tiny neighborhoods. People all over seem to be thinking about that color. How did green get to be the color of anything sustainable, biodegradable, or otherwise earth friendly? Plants! Plants are one of the most important resources we have next to water. Not only do plants shade us, feed us, make us happier, and clothe us… they also clean our air.

NASA Clean Air Study

About 30 years ago, NASA did a little study. They wanted to discover which plants could best filter the air of the space station. Plants to filter a space station? It is true! Not only do plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, they also absorb contaminants – dangerous contaminants like formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia and many more chemicals that have been linked to negative health effects. They can also filter out bacteria and mold by producing negative ions that attract and purify the air. And to add to that the list of benefits, plants work as air moisturizers, adding beneficial humidity to the environment.

Of course, now you want to know which plants made it to the top of NASA’s list. Here they are:

  • Dwarf Date and Broadleaf Lady Palms
  • Boston and Kimberly Queen Ferns
  • Spider Plants
  • Chinese Evergreens
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Weeping Fig
  • Devils Ivy
  • Flamingo and Peace Lilies
  • Lilyturf
  • English Ivy
  • Red Edged Dracaena
  • Snake Plant
  • Barberton Daisies and Chrysanthemums

Not all of them eliminate the same toxins, but all of these are fairly easy to grow and make an attractive addition to any room. Want to learn more? Get your hands on Dr. B. C. Wolverton’s book, How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 houseplants that purify your home or office.

We Took NASA’s Advice

Here at Trade Winds Dental we put this wonderful information to use in and around our dental office. Outside we have landscaped with native, drought-tolerant plants that require less water, creating a green zone for our patients to enjoy and our planet to benefit from. Inside, almost every room contains live plants, many of them the plants on the list above, and some that have since been discovered to clean the air just as well. These plants are a major component of our interior design because they add such a fresh and homey touch. Patients love them and some scientists suggest that looking at plants can make us heal faster. But what they are really there for is to improve air quality and provide you with a clean, soothing environment.

To find out all the other ways we are going green, check out our Greendoc Gold Certification by the Eco Dental Association. It’s not just our plants that give us that color rating!

Clean Water is Everyone’s Right: Why Trade Winds Dental Uses an Amalgam Separator

amalgamHere at Trade Winds Dental we are doing a number of things to protect water, reduce the amount we use, and encourage our patients to take part in the Save 90-A-Day Cause to save, you got it, 90 glasses of water a day by turning off the faucet while you brush.

Another way we protect the earth’s water – and our community’s health – is by using an amalgam separator every time we remove a mercury filling. Attached directly to the vacuum system, our amalgam separator is extremely effective – certified to remove 99% of amalgam  – at keeping amalgam, or silver fillings containing mercury, from entering our wastewater supply and sewer system.

The Benefits of an Amalgam Separator

Many patients come to us to have their fillings restored or requesting that their amalgam fillings be removed and replaced with tooth-colored fillings. During the procedure, bits of the metal filling are washed into our water system. Without an amalgam separator, those bits of fillings would enter the public wastewater system. That’s important because one large amalgam filling contains as much mercury as in those old-fashioned thermometers we all used to use. That’s enough mercury to contaminate a 10-square-mile lake and cause restricted fishing. Six years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized that dental offices are the largest source of mercury discharged to publicly-owned treatment works. We just do not want to be part of that problem!

Why Keep Amalgams Out of the Water

We rarely think about water here in the US where we just turn a tap to be delivered a stream of pure, clean water. We turn on the tap all day long, even when we brush our teeth, and let it run and run. People may talk about limited water supplies, but the earth is made up of mostly water, isn’t it? Just look around; It seems as if there is water everywhere, so why is letting it run “a waste?” The truth is, fresh water is a commodity. More than 97% of the earth’s water is salt water. How much fresh water does that leave? Not much. But there is more. Of that 2.5% of fresh water, 68.7% is frozen – and not as bags of ice at the handy mart. That doesn’t leave very much water for people on the planet to use and drink, does it? Worse yet, in the last century, global demand for water has increased six fold.  

Water is also becoming increasingly polluted. Just take a look at America’s great rivers– about 40% of them are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or for aquatic life to survive in. As the demand for water increases, it becomes more important than ever to make sure the water we use is properly treated and cleaned before it is disposed of. Proper cleaning of water ensures that we may use water again and again. But some things just shouldn’t go in the water in the first place…and that includes the mercury contained in amalgam fillings.

To find out more about what we are doing to protect the earth – and you – visit http://www.tradewindsdental.com/greendoc-gold-certified today!

Antioxidant-Infused Oral Care

perioscienceHelping Saliva Work as Your Mouth’s Best Friend

You may not think much about spit… unless you see your kid doing it! But did you know that spit is there to keep your mouth healthy? It is true! Saliva is your mouth’s natural defense system. It acts as a natural antioxidant.  So why are we telling you this?

Historically, dentists have focused on controlling the growth of bacteria in your mouth. But that might not be quite enough. As part of our work to offer our patients excellent dentistry while remaining natural and earth friendly, Trade Winds Dental is offering a brand-new approach to oral care – PerioScience antioxidant-infused products.

The Benefits of Antioxidants in Dentistry

Cavities continue to be a problem for both adults and children in the United States. We have discovered a way to up our cavity-fighting game – with antioxidants. PerioScience products counter oxidation, reduce inflammation, and work in tandem with our hygiene protocol to help your mouth feel better and be healthier than ever before. Their products are:

  • Natural. They contain powerful antioxidants, phloretin and ferulic, along with polyphenols from Green Tea plus herbs and essential oils are uniquely formulated to promote a healthy oral environment, fresh breath, and naturally moist oral tissues. They contain no alcohol, no fluoride, no sodium lauryl sulfate, and no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
  • Hydrating. PerioScience hydrating products are formulated with proven moisturizers and a special selection of targeted ingredients that work together to promote moist-feeling oral tissues, healthy teeth, and fresh breath while creating a pH environment that is hostile to damage causing bacteria.
  • Gentle. PerioScience sensitivity products address tooth sensitivity to heat and cold with a potassium nitrate toothpaste. Sensitive products will freshen breath and soothe the mouth.

And they all promote healing and boost your own saliva’s healing power!

Can I Trust PerioScience?

We always carefully vet any products we offer in our office for reliability, effectiveness, and sustainability. That’s why we trust PerioScience products.

You may have heard of using antioxidants to control inflammation caused by UV light. Well, the scientist who conducted research on that topic for more than a decade now leads the PerioScience research laboratory. They conduct research and testing in major universities – a way to remain unbiased and be subjected to their rigorous standards of investigation – and their research studies on topical antioxidants have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

To learn more or to find out if PerioScience products can benefit you – and your spit – give our Georgetown dental office a call. We’d love to tell you more about all of the innovative ways we keep Texas healthier, greener, and smiling from ear to ear.

Our Amazing GreenDOC™ Gold Certification

Green DocWhat it Means and How we Stay Committed

By now you have probably heard about the fact that Trade Winds Dental has been awarded the GreenDOC™ Gold certification by the by the Eco-Dentistry Association (EDA) for our commitment to being green. We believe this is an essential step, not only for the present but for the future of our children. After all, without earth, there would be no smiling would there?

Trade Winds Dental is the first office in Georgetown and Williamson County and one of four dental offices in Texas to achieve GreenDOC™ Gold certification. And get this: Trade Winds Dental is one of the first 100 dental practices in the world to achieve this honor!

So how does this affect you? In the best ways possible!

The Benefits of Having a Green Dentist

Are the benefits something only future generations will reap when the world isn’t drowning in mercury fillings and plastic impression trays. Not at all! There are definitely benefits for our patients to enjoy right now, such as:

  • Healthier, low allergen office space
  • More stable fees over time
  • Incredible technology – such as goop-free digital impressions – for better accuracy and less waste
  • Electronic charts for less paper and more convenience
  • Digital X-rays for reduced radiation exposure, elimination of harsh processing chemicals and clearer images
  • Nicer, homier touches such as soft towels to dry your hands on instead of scratchy paper
  • Steam sterilization of instruments for a super deep clean
  • Lip balms are petroleum-free and made with vegan, organic ingredients
  • Lots of living, indoor plants are a major part of our interior design for improved air quality and a clean, soothing environment

Plus, we put your hygiene visit supplies in a reusable, environmentally-conscious shopping bag made of 100% post-consumer and post-industrial fibers. There are so many more benefits, but you would start getting bored before very long and stop reading! Visit us or give us a call. We’d be happy to show you around.

How Green Can We Go?

While we have always tried to be environmentally friendly, our commitment to green dentistry began in earnest during our move in 2011. First, Dr. Hennington chose an already-existing dental office and refurbished it to meet our exacting standards. That meant there were none of the environmental impacts  associated with new office construction. We also saved and refurbished our existing flooring, window treatments, phone systems, and light fixtures to reduce waste as much as possible while creating our new office space. We also made sure to paint and stain the new interior using only low VOC paints and stains for significant air quality improvement. When it was time for the actual move, we chose a moving service that provided plastic, reusable boxes for moving instead of using traditional, cardboard boxes. Of course, we updated much of our old office equipment with more innovative technology, but instead of sending the old equipment to the landfill, we donated it for reuse in areas that don’t have access to more modern dental equipment or either entered it into a recycling program.

That was just the beginning. Now we continue our efforts by:

  • Updating our equipment to greener solutions whenever we can,
  • Recycling everything
  • Using energy saver appliances to washing our own uniforms, towels, and sterilization covers with eco-friendly products to reduce the use of harsh chemicals from commercial laundries
  • Using supplies that can be sterilized and re-used instead of disposables that are thrown away and added to landfills
  • Using  an amalgam separator to keep silver fillings containing mercury (removed from patient’s mouths) from entering the community water supply

To learn more or to make suggestions about other ways we could be green, call our Georgetown TX, dental office. We are here for every smile – now and in the future!