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Every Day is Earth Day

April 20th, 2018

During the early days of the environmental awareness movement, those who demonstrated against pollution, toxic chemicals, and the general public health were known as hippies. The early 1970s were a time of change, and assertions that we needed to pay more attention to the Earth's atmosphere were generally dismissed. But within a couple decades, it had become clear that the previous generation was right; the citizens of the world needed to become more environmentally conscious.

Many people feel that they can't make a difference if they don't do something big. But caring for the environment doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing concept. In fact, the little things you do can add up to make a great impact, especially in our community. Here are a few ways you can help the environment on Earth Day, April 22nd and all year around.

Four Small Ways to be Environmentally Friendly

  • Recycle Your Textiles. Nearly 21 million tons of textiles are added to American landfills each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Donating your unwanted clothing to a secondhand store or an organization that repurposes fabric helps cut down on solid waste and conserves natural resources.
  • Reduce Usage of Disposables. Plastic bottles and bags, disposable diapers and other things we can use and toss out are convenient, but they're not necessary. Simply choosing to replace one of type of disposable with a reusable product can help you cut down on waste that has a large negative impact on our environment.
  • Conserve Water. If everyone in the United States turned off the water while brushing their teeth, more than 1.5 million gallons of water could be conserved. Turn the water on long enough to wet your toothbrush for brushing and rinsing, and then immediately turn the water off again.
  • Turn Off the Lights. Flip the light switch to "Off" if you're going to leave a particular room for 15 minutes or more. This will conserve energy on incandescent light bulbs and cut down on cooling costs.

It's not necessary to be an activist or install solar panels all over your home to help the environment. Although you can do these things, the little everyday measures make a big difference in helping to conserve energy and the environment, while reducing your carbon footprint. Our team at Kozica Dental wants to remind you to celebrate Earth Day and help the environment, knowing that it will benefit your and your children's generation.

Reasons for a Regular Dental Visit

April 18th, 2018

Conventional wisdom suggests dental visits once a year, maybe with a cleaning in between. In fact, for optimal oral health visiting the dentist, every three to four months is recommended. Staying on a consistent appointment schedule with the dentist can help keep teeth and gums healthy and identify potential problems before they worsen.

Ward off Serious Problems

A man getting his teeth examined at the dentist

Tooth and gum diseases tend to have a gradual onset, which means the early signs may be evident to a dentist. Finding these problems early prevents them from causing serious damage to the mouth. Early detection often limits the amount of treatment needed and thus lowers the cost. Early detection is not limited to oral health problems. Many physical conditions show signs in the mouth, including osteoporosis and nutritional deficiencies. The dentist can detect these symptoms and help the patient take steps to correct the problem.

Create Healthy Habits

Getting into the routine of seeing the dentist regularly helps make it a habit. If dental check-ups are not part of a quarterly schedule, it's easy for them to fall by the wayside, especially with the bustle of modern life. Months can pass without a dentist visit, which is plenty of time for gum disease and cavities to develop. Even those who brush and floss after every meal as directed can experience these issues; tobacco, coffee, and sugar consumption all play a role, as does heredity. Tobacco use can lead to gum disease and even oral cancer. Coffee and sugary foods and beverages contain acids that damage and erode the enamel of the teeth, making it easier for bacteria to cause cavities. Those with a strong family history of tooth decay and other oral health problems have a higher risk of developing these problems themselves.

Receive Continuous Treatment

Many dental issues take more than one visit to resolve. Having a regular appointment can protect the continuity of the care plan by allowing the dentist to monitor the progress of treatment carefully and make adjustments as needed. This is particularly important for patients having a root canal, oral surgery, or a cosmetic dentistry procedure. If issues aren't present, a deep cleaning from the dentist every few months keeps the teeth and gums in tip-top shape, saving time and money in the long run. They can remove plaque and tartar that are resistant to brushing and flossing alone.

For preventive dental care in the Worcester, MA area, consider Kozica Dental. We have proudly served the community for more than 25 years, providing treatment using only BPA-free and mercury-free materials. Dr. Kozica is committed to offering preventive treatments, cosmetic procedures, emergency care, and treatment for oral health issues such as gingivitis and TMJ. Services at Kozica Dental are available in English, Spanish, and Lithuanian. Call us at (508) 755-0751 or request an appointment online today.

The Importance of Baby Teeth

April 13th, 2018

Dr. Kozica and our team know it can be easy to underestimate the significance of baby teeth. At Kozica Dental, we sometimes meet parents who assume that since their child's baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, eventually fall out and are replaced, they are less important. But did you know baby teeth serve purposes other than biting, chewing, and digesting food properly?

Baby teeth are essential not only for your child’s language development, but they also serve other important functions, like contributing to the normal development of your child’s jaw bones and facial muscles. Baby teeth also reserve space for your child’s future permanent teeth.

So, when do baby teeth fall out?

A baby tooth is intended to remain in your child’s mouth until the permanent tooth underneath it is ready to take its place. Sometimes, either due to a tooth being knocked out accidentally or being removed because of tooth decay, kids lose baby teeth before the permanent teeth are ready to erupt. If a tooth is lost, the teeth on either side of the open space may possibly push into the open space. The result? There may not be enough room for the permanent tooth when it is finally ready to erupt.

If you have any questions about your toddler’s teeth, or if your child is experiencing issues that concern you, please give us a call to set up an appointment at our convenient Worcester office.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 6th, 2018

What is oral cancer?

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. If you have been putting off a visit to our Worcester office, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits to Kozica Dental can be the first line of defense against oral cancer, by identifying early warning signs of the disease, or helping you with preventive care tips to lower your chances of developing it.

Oral Cancer Rates in America

Nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and more than 8,000 die every year from this disease. It is a devastating illness: most people who are diagnosed with it do not live more than five years beyond their diagnosis. Oral cancer has a higher death rate than many other common cancers, including cervical cancer, testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and thyroid or skin cancers. The high death rate results from the fact that most oral cancers go undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced and has spread to another part of the body—most often, the lymph nodes in the neck.

What causes oral cancer?

While there is no way to predict exactly which individuals will get oral cancer, there are some potential causes you should know about—because in some cases, you can minimize these risk factors.

  • Age (most patients diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 40)
  • Tobacco use, either from cigarettes or smokeless chewing tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (especially in combination with tobacco use)
  • Persistent viral infections, such as HPV16
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables

In addition, oral cancer tends to occur at a rate six times greater in men than in women, and more often for African Americans than other ethnic groups. No genetic links have been identified to explain the higher incidence in these populations, so lifestyle choices remain the likeliest cause.

Oral Cancer Treatments

Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment of oral cancer usually involves a multi-disciplinary team that includes surgeons, oncologists, dentists, nutritionists, and rehabilitation and restorative specialists. Our team will decide on the best approach for each patient, depending on the risk factors and how far the cancer has progressed. The strategy will be different in every case. Some of the most common methods include chemotherapy, radiation, and potential surgery.

Finding out you have cancer can be devastating news. If you are concerned that you might be at risk for developing oral cancer, talk to us about screenings and other things you can do to reduce your risk.

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