Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How Important are Oral Cancer Screenings?

            With each professional cleaning and examination at Brown and Kupper DDS, both the hygienist and dentist perform a thorough oral cancer screening. There are certain markers or characteristics we look for, but the most important step is maintaining regular visits to give us the opportunity to identify any potential issues as early as possible. The earlier oral cancer is identified, the better the long term prognosis.
            There is some debating over which method of screening is most useful. We have traditionally looked for unusual red patches, white patches, or mouth sores. Our hands are also a useful tool in finding any abnormal bumps or lumps. If an area of concern is found, we then decide if an immediate biopsy is necessary or if we should re-evaluate in 10-14 days. The decision depends on the severity of the area, the location, and the patient’s medical history. For example, if you have a history of oral cancer or if you have used tobacco products in the past, a referral to a specialist for a closer look is a good idea. The only definitive way to determine if you have oral cancer is to remove the abnormal cells and have them evaluated by an oral pathologist.
            There is some new technology available involving swishing with blue dye or shining a special light on the tissue during an oral cancer exam. In theory, the abnormal cells will distinguish themselves visually and we can better detect potentially harmful areas. Unfortunately, most studies show it is no more effective than a traditional oral cancer exam. In fact, it results in a large number of ‘false positives’ in areas that are not abnormal. This then leads to unnecessary and invasive biopsies. Until the technology produces more predictable results, we will continue to use the same techniques in identifying potentially harmful areas.
            If you have a history of using tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff), heavy alcohol use, or a history of oral cancer, you definitely need routine oral cancer screenings since you are at an increased risk. If you have no risk factors at all, it is still important to be checked at each visit just in case. Maintaining regular visits to the dentist is crucial in early detection, and an early diagnosis can improve your odds against oral cancer.

For more information, visit www.brownandkupper.com.

Lee T. Brown DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

the "old " Dr. Brown

It is so hard to believe, but I have been retired for 3 full years.  They say the older you get, the faster the time goes, and I sure am finding that to be true.
          As you know, I have been spending a little time at the office, about 3 half days a week.  It is great for me to spend time with both the doctors, the wonderful staff, and of course to mingle with some of the patients.  I really miss the clinical aspects of dentistry, but I certainly realize my physical limitations of the tremor.  I maintain my dental license, still take continuing education courses, and enjoy discussing treatment options on some of the more interesting and challenging cases.
          I have become a dental consultant, geared towards helping the young professional.  I hope to do this on a limited basis, just enough to keep the mind sharp, and to help “ pay forward “ to a profession that I had the pleasure to be part of.
          Lee has developed into an outstanding young dentist.  As a parent, it is truly a blessing and joy to watch your son become such a caring and gifted individual.  I am so fortunate he was there to take over and continue the excellent care Brown and Kupper are known for.
          Without grandkids yet to spoil, I spend some of my time with remodeling projects around the house, exercising ( I have become a novice triathlete ), and lots of time on the computer.  My golf game, unfortunately, has not improved.  Some things never change.
          I hope you find as much joy and happiness in your life as I have been blessed to find in mine. Staying healthy and active ( and not forgotten )

                                                                               Dr. Lawrence Brown

Monday, February 9, 2015

Choosing Water Keeps You and Your Teeth Healthy!

            For anyone looking to make some small changes in their life and diet to get healthier, both doctors and dentists agree that choosing water over other drinks can make a huge difference. The added calories from different drinks can make it difficult to shed those extra pounds and the extra sugar can make you more prone to develop tooth decay. Below we will share the calories and sugars found in some common drinks and how much sugar is too much for your family’s individual needs.
            Obviously each person has slightly different recommended daily limits of sugar or calories based on their age, health, or activity level. However, we wanted to highlight the averages to give you an idea of what is recommended for different age groups and how much is present in different drinks. Here are the recommended daily limits:
·        Newborns and infants: zero tsp. of zero grams
·        Toddlers and preschoolers: 4 tsp. or 16g
·        Children ages 4-8: 3 tsp or 12g
·        Pre-teens and Teenagers: 5-8 tsp or 20-32g
·        Adult Women: 6 tsp. or 24g
·        Adult Men: 9 tsp. or 36g

Now let’s compare the recommended daily amount to what is found in some common drinks:
  • 20 ounce citrus or orange soda
    • 19 tsp. or 77g of sugar
    • 290 calories
  • 12 ounce cola
    • 10 tsp. or 39g of sugar
    • 140 calories
  • 8.3 ounce energy drink
    • 7 tsp. or 27g of sugar
    • 110 calories
  • 6.75 ounce juice box
    • 6 tsp or 24g of sugar
    • 101 calories
  • 8 ounce chocolate
    • 12 tsp or 48g of sugar
    • 300 calories
  • Water
    • ZERO tsp or ZERO g of sugar
    • ZERO calories

It can be a little shocking to see how those numbers stack up against the recommended daily amount. Even though these are not the standard numbers for everyone, it is good to see how much these drinks can affect our health and our teeth.
            When looking at these figures, I think the key point is to remember to keep everything in moderation. Too much soda or juice throughout the day can be damaging to your body, and being aware of these facts can be very useful in keeping you and your family healthy!

For more information, visit www.brownandkupper.com.

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Is it Actually that Important to Floss??

            From a young age, we are told to brush your teeth every day and hopefully twice a day. It is common knowledge that we need to brush our teeth in order to maintain good oral health. For whatever reason, flossing our teeth daily does not hold the same level of importance with the every person. Maybe it is harder to include into our routine, or maybe we don’t see as many commercials for floss as we do toothpaste. But by flossing just once a day, you can significantly decrease your risk of gum disease and increase the odds of achieving and maintaining good oral health.
            A good toothbrush and the right toothpaste can clean the majority of the tooth’s surface area, but only flossing can clean in between the teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach. A water pick can be a good adjunct, but despite what the commercials tell you, they cant replace traditional floss. Dental floss will help to remove debris, plaque and bacteria that remain on the teeth and gums. Removal of this additional debris can also aid in controlling bad breath.
            Flossing should only take you between two and three minutes to complete and should be done at least once daily. If you have lots of fillings, crowns, or other food traps, you may need to floss after each meal. The ideal time to floss is right before bed, but any way you can incorporate it into your routine should work. The idea is to find a time that is convenient for you so you won’t forget.
            There are a wide variety of flosses available, and in general they do a similar job or removing debris and plaque. Wide floss (dental tape) works really well in cleaning large spaces and under bridges, while waxed floss works well between tight contacts. The pre-threaded flossers or floss holders can help when flossing someone else’s teeth or if you have difficulty reaching any spots in your own mouth.  And if you have children, they should begin flossing as soon as they two or more teeth that touch.
            While waterpicks are a good adjunct to help clean the teeth, they are not made to replace flossing. They can help to remove food from difficult areas and around braces, but they do not remove the plaque that remains in between the teeth. When in doubt about what type of floss to use in your particular case, be sure to contact your dentist or dental hygienist.

For more information, visit us at www.brownandkupper.com

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc