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Dentist in Clearwater | Oral Health and Cancer

Dentist in Clearwater, FL

There are over 12 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year. There are a large variety of different kinds of cancer, some of which are more preventable than others. It might seem obvious that practicing good oral health and avoiding tobacco and other harmful substances can help protect you from the risk of oral cancer. However, there are other types of cancer that can be prevented through good oral care as well.

Dental Care and Oral Cancer

While it’s long been known that tobacco and heavy alcohol use are the main causes of oral, head, and neck cancer, poor oral health has recently been added to the list. A 2007 study published in American Journal of Epidemiology found that poor mouth health and missing teeth were strongly linked to the development of oral cancer. Likewise, patients with good oral health were found to be far less likely to develop oral cancer. If you have been diagnosed with oral cancer, know that common oral health problems such as gum disease and tooth decay could be making the condition worse. Visiting our dental office regularly for professional cleanings, examinations, and oral cancer screenings to help catch signs of oral cancer early and make treatment easier and more effective.

Oral Health and Other Cancers

Poor oral health has been shown to be tied to other types of cancers outside of the mouth. For example, a recent study conducted by NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center found that certain types of bacteria found in patients with gum disease was tied to a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. While esophageal cancer only accounts for 1% of new cancer cases diagnosed annually, over 90% of patients will die of the disease. Untreated gum disease opens up the tissues around the teeth to bacterial infection, allowing these harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream and infect other parts of the patient’s body. Maintaining optimal oral health can help protect you from this threat.

Your oral health effects much more than just your mouth. If you’re not taking care of your teeth, tongue, and gums, you could significantly increase your risk of developing cancer without even realizing it. If you’d like to learn more about the connection between oral health and cancer, contact our dental team to schedule an examination and cleaning today!

Dentist in Clearwater, FL | Biting Off More than You Can Chew?

Dentist 33760

It is not uncommon for many of us to grab a bite to eat in a hurry. Americans have grown accustomed to bigger food portions at restaurants, but our mouths have not. Trying to fit that oversized sandwich or apple in your mouth might be worse for you than you have ever imagined. Below are some reasons why this could be detrimental for your oral health and what you can do about it.

Why This Is a Problem

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), taking bites that are too big for you to chew can not only cause jaw and teeth issues, it can also cause digestive problems. Discomfort, swelling and difficulty eating may result from opening your jaw too wide. Taking large bites may also result in food not being chewed thoroughly, which can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Constantly opening your jaw too wide becomes an even larger problem for people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull bones enabling movement during chewing. People with TMD, usually have a restriction with how wide they can open their jaws. Taking large bites of food, especially hard foods like apples, can aggravate this condition making pain and jaw clicking worse.

What You Can Do

If you have food that is too large to chew or starts to cause jaw discomfort, try cutting your food into smaller portions. This makes food easier to eat with less hassle. Also consider eating softer foods that won’t harm your teeth or irritate your jaw.

Tip: Avoid chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies, and opening nuts with your teeth. This can lead to a chipped tooth!

Contact our team today to schedule an exam and cleaning.

13501 Icot Blvd. Suite 101
Clearwater, FL 33760
(727) 531-4462

Dentist Clearwater | Change Your Life With a Smile

Dentist Clearwater, FL

The results are in. Multiple studies have confirmed what “Put on A Happy Face” told us to be true; the very act of smiling can have a real impact on your health and happiness. Not only does it make you feel better, but a smiling face can also make you appear more likeable to others, helping you in life, love, and career.

Smiling has been shown to reduce your stress level, increase your pain tolerance, boost your immune system, and more. Your smile has a tangible effect on the release of hormones in your brain and can often be enough to turn a bad day around or give you the confidence to get through a difficult task.

Maintaining a happy disposition is something that requires work, and smiling can help. There are multiple studies that have confirmed that smiling can help make you happier and more confident, two traits that are greatly desirable in potential friends, partners, and employees. If you feel like your wheels are spinning in life, smiling more could be the trick you need to improve your chances of success.

However, if you’re unhappy with the way your smile looks, it can be hard to feel comfortable showing it off. Whether your teeth are yellowed, crooked, or missing altogether, there are plenty of factors that can contribute to a person feeling embarrassed to smile. Our cosmetic dental team is dedicated to helping you gain the smile you’ve always wanted. We’re proud to offer a wide array of cosmetic dental solutions designed around meeting the unique needs of each patient’s smile.

When you come for your visit, our dentist will perform a consultation to better understand what about your smile you’d like to change. We’ll then recommend an optimal treatment plan based on your needs, goals, and budget. This will allow you to understand your options and pick the solution that’s right for you! Don’t let embarrassment about your smile continue to hold you back. Contact our dental team today to learn more about how we can help you reclaim happiness and confidence in your life through a smile you’re proud to show off.

Dentist in Clearwater, FL | 5 Tips for Denture Wearers

Dentist Clearwater

Taking care of your dentures can seem like an added chore. Don’t worry, with a little effort your dentures can stay clean. Here are 5 tips for keeping your dentures clean and your smile healthy.

  1. Rinse Thoroughly

Prior to brushing, it helps to rinse your dentures off.  Run them through water to help wash away food and other small particles. Be extra careful when handling your fragile dentures. Avoid using hot or boiling water, as that could damage your dentures.

  1. Clean Your Dentures

Just as you would brush your teeth, your dentures need to be brushed as well. Never use cleaning solutions while your dentures are in. Rather, remove your dentures and carefully brush using a soft toothbrush. Avoid using whitening toothpastes or harsh cleaning materials like bleach products. Talk to our dentist about the right type of cleaner for your dentures. Using too strong a solution can cause damage to your dentures.

  1. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Teeth

You still need to take care of your natural teeth. Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush. Be gentle when brushing and cleaning your gums. Cleaning your gums will help you reduce your risk of developing an oral infection. If your toothbrush is too rough on your gums, an alternative is to use gauze. Be sure to come see us if you are experiencing gum pain and we can make recommendations.

  1. Keep Them Covered

When you remove your dentures for bed, be sure to keep them in a covered container overnight. Use a denture-soaking solution to keep them clean overnight. Water works as a substitute, as your dentures need moisture to retain their shape. If you have any questions about storing your dentures, talk to us and we’ll help you.

  1. Care with Adhesives

It can sometimes be difficult to remove your dentures with an adhesive. If you are having trouble, try swishing warm water or a mouthwash around your mouth. Never use any cleaning solution, tool, or foreign object to remove your dentures. Take special care to ensure the grooves of your dentures that attach to your gums are clean and free of adhesive

When taken care of properly, your dentures will provide you with a lasting smile. Be vigilant in keeping up with cleaning your dentures. If you have any questions about caring for your dentures, get in touch with our office. We would be happy to work with you to figure out a solution for your denture concerns.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment, contact us today.

Dentist in Clearwater | 3 Health Issues Linked to Your Oral Health

Dentist in Clearwater, FL

Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body. Bacteria of all kinds are present in your mouth. While some are benign, others may pose a threat to your health. Maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine and visiting our dental office for regular appointments can help keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria. Below are 3 common ailments that have been shown to be negatively impacted by poor oral health. Read the information below if you suffer from any of these conditions and are worried that your oral health might be a contributing factor.

Diabetes

Millions of Americans suffer from diabetes, and the disease can have many complications associated with it. A connection has been shown between diabetes and gum disease in many patients. Oral health problems often increase in frequency for patients with diabetes. Gingivitis and periodontitis are more common because these patents are at a higher risk of bacterial infection and are less able to combat harmful bacteria. Blood glucose levels can also be affected by gum disease, potentially putting a patient with diabetes at a higher risk for additional health problems.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

RA is an autoimmune disease that affects 1.5 million people in the US alone. This chronic inflammatory disorder affects joints and is caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues. Patients with RA are more likely to suffer from gum disease and periodontitis. Likewise, patients with periodontal issues have been shown to have nearly twice the risk of developing RA according to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Lung Conditions

Once bacteria enters your blood stream through your mouth, it can travel through your body and affect other areas. Conditions like bronchitis and pneumonia can be caused by malignant bacteria settling into a patient’s lungs. Other existing issues such as emphysema and pulmonary disease can be exacerbated by invading bacteria.

If you suffer from any of these conditions or are concerned that poor oral health might be putting you at risk, please contact our office today. Our dedicated team will be happy to provide you with a treatment plan and prevention tips based on your current health.

Dentist Clearwater | 7 Ways to Get Your Calcium Dairy-Free

Dentist Clearwater, FL

craig baker dmd
Beautiful young mother with her little son at home enjoying each others company

Calcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth, but not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. About 65% of people have reduced ability to process lactose past infancy.

If you have difficulty with lactose but want to ensure you are getting the calcium you need, consider one of these non-dairy sources of natural calcium.

  1. Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be a good source of calcium. These inexpensive options actually contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood contains small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or other dish.
  2. Calcium-fortified juices are available in both orange and cranberry varieties. These juices taste the same as non-fortified options, but contain a substantial amount of calcium. Check the label to ensure it is a calcium-fortified juice.
  3. Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute for many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish in place of regular milk. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.
  4. Beans are a calcium-rich food. Black-eyed peas and baked beans are particularly high in calcium.
  5. Green vegetables are a good source of natural calcium. Collard, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.
  6. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or Brazil nuts are strong sources of calcium. Flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are a great snack or salad additive with calcium. Almond butter, cashew butter, and pumpkin seed butter are a fun and calcium-rich alternative to peanut butter.
  7. Breakfast cereals are highly fortified with several vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Old-fashioned rolled oatmeal adds calcium to your breakfast as well.

Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble with dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.

For more information that can improve your oral health, contact our office.

Dentist in Clearwater, FL | Healthy Snack Choices for Kids

Dentist Clearwater

Do your children constantly ask for sugary snacks that you know are not good for their health? There are healthy alternatives to the junk food your child loves that taste just as great. Here are a few options to get you started.

Low-Fat Yogurt with Berries

Premade parfaits can be high in sugar with added fat and artificial flavors. Make your own parfaits at home with plain low-fat yogurt to cut down fat and calories. This combination of food gives you a balanced meal consisting of protein, calcium, and fiber. These are all important nutrients to keep bones and teeth growing strong. The berries also provide antioxidants which are very important for overall health.

Celery Sticks with Cream Cheese and Sunflower Seeds

Usually kids will do anything they can to get away with not eating vegetables. Have you ever thought of pairing vegetables with a snack they love? Cream cheese will make the celery more appealing to your children. The celery is fibrous and will gently scrub their teeth as they chew. The sunflower seeds are an added bonus containing magnesium and Vitamin B.

Hummus with Toasted Whole Grain Pita

This is a snack that has become popular over the years. It is delicious and also great for your child’s teeth. Hummus can prevent sugars from sticking to your teeth, decreasing the risk of cavities. Whole grains are nutritionally better than white bread, which has more sugar.

Cheddar Cheese and Apples

Placing cheddar cheese and apples on a whole grain cracker is a tasty treat for your child. The apples are high in fiber and water, which will help wash away bacteria and food particles. The cheddar cheese gives your child an extra dose of calcium to keep their teeth durable.

Tip: Do not forget to throw in a bottle of water with your kid’s snack. It will wash away any sugar, bacteria, and plaque left on their teeth from eating.

Remember to schedule regular dental appointments for your children’s constantly evolving teeth. For more healthy options, call and visit our office today.

Dentist in Clearwater | One Tool for Better Gum Health

Dentist in Clearwater, FL

Loose teeth, bad breath, and painful, bloody gums – these are among the signs and symptoms of periodontal, or gum, disease. Unfortunately, periodontal disease can also begin without any obvious symptoms. If left undiagnosed or untreated, you could be at risk for irreparable damage to your teeth and gums. The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable. In fact, one of the most effective tools for preventing the disease only takes a minute of your time each day.

Floss to the Rescue

Dental floss is an effective and easy to use tool that can be among your best defenses for preventing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Even if your daily oral hygiene routine already includes a thorough brushing that lasts for two minutes, at least twice each day, you should be flossing daily as well. Dental floss is highly effective at cleaning areas where your toothbrush cannot reach. Small gaps and tight spaces between teeth catch food debris and sugars and acids from drinks all day long. Flossing helps to clean out these tough to reach spaces.

Facts Behind Flossing

According to a survey referenced by the American Dental Association, only 40% of Americans floss each day. The same study showed a clear link between regular intra-oral care and better oral health. Unfortunately, many people also lie about how frequently they clean between their teeth. A study from the American Academy of Periodontology found that 27% of adults lie to their dentist about their flossing habits.

Tips for Flossing Correctly

It can be confusing to figure out the best way to use dental floss. Try cutting off about 18 inches of floss and wrapping most of it carefully around your middle finger. Use roughly one inch to clean between each pair of teeth. Using your thumb and index finger, carefully slide the floss between your teeth. Floss to your gumline, but be gentle. Avoid cutting your gums. Work your way through your 18 inches of floss by using a new, clean section between each pair of adjacent teeth.

It only takes about a minute to floss your teeth each day, but these minutes contribute to a lifetime of optimal oral health. Floss is among the most effective tools at your disposal to keep your gums clean and healthy. Get into the habit of flossing your teeth regularly – your gums will thank you.

For more information about gum health, or to schedule a visit to our office, please contact our team.

Clearwater Dentist | The Truth About Dental Anxiety

Dentist in Clearwater, FL

clearwater dentistIs anxiety or nervousness preventing you from visiting our team? Dental treatments should not be a cause of stress. If you worry about pain, embarrassment, or loss or control during a dental examination, we want you to know two very important things: You are not alone and We can help.

Dental Anxiety Is Common

Research has shown that most patients experience some degree of anxiety when visiting the dentist. Between 10 and 20% of the general population encounters such a high level of stress and nervousness that they ignore oral healthcare altogether. This can increase the risk of developing severe oral health complications, requiring additional care.

In many cases, dental anxiety has two main causes. First, patients may have had a negative experience in the past, leaving them apprehensive towards their next appointment. Second, is through influence. This is particularly true for children. Children learn through imitation and are influenced by their parents. If you dread going to the dentist, your child may pick up on the behavior and develop similar fears.

Our Team Can Help

The first action you can take is to let our team know about your feelings of nervousness and anxiety. We have a number of techniques to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Our compassionate team is always open to discussing your options with you.

We will consult you regarding what your visit will entail, and work together to find a comfortable pace at which you feel comfortable.

If nervousness, stress, fear, or anxiety have caused you to skip appointments or avoid dental care completely, please contact our team. Dentistry is constantly evolving by offering new technology and treatment methods with patient safety and comfort in mind. Talk to our team about your fears or concerns and allow us to work with you. Ignoring your oral health can have serious repercussions and lead to more necessary treatments.

Contact our team to schedule your visit today.

Dentist Clearwater | 6 Ways to Get Your Calcium

Dentist 33760

Calcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth. Not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy, which is often a prime source for calcium. There are a wide variety of options available to get the calcium you need. Here are six options rich in calcium:

Canned Seafood

Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be an excellent source of calcium. These inexpensive options contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood has small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or another dish.

Alternative Milk Products

Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute in many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.

Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are a prime source of calcium. Collard greens, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.

Milk

Milk is one of the best sources of calcium. One cup of cow’s milk can potentially contain a quarter of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Cow’s milk is also a cheap option, as it is generally priced below alternative options like almond milk. Additional benefits provided are good source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin D.

Yogurt

Most yogurts are high in calcium. The highest source of calcium from yogurt comes from the low-fat variety, while Greek yogurt has a lower amount of calcium than regular yogurt. 

Cheese

A lot of cheeses are excellent sources of calcium. Parmesan cheese has the highest amount of calcium among cheeses. Softer varieties of cheese generally have less calcium than others. Aged and hard cheeses typically contain less lactose, making them easier to eat for people with dairy restrictions.

Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble digesting dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.

Contact our office to schedule your visit today.

13501 Icot Blvd. Suite 101
Clearwater, FL 33760
(727) 531-4462

We’re here for you.

Craig J. Baker, DMD, PL

13501 Icot Boulevard, Suite 101
Clearwater, FL 33760
(727) 531-4462

Providing Dental Care For the Communities of:

Clearwater
St. Petersburg
Largo
Pinellas Park
Safety Harbor

Hours:

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 7 AM - 3 PM

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  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Florida Dental Association
  • America Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • Florida Academy of General Dentistry

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"Dr. Baker and Staff were very professional and thorough in having myself as a first time patient. Office was warm and staff friendly. Had the best cleaning I have had in many years! Highly recommend Baker Dentistry for all your dental needs!"

Mick Williams Clearwater, FL Dental Patient October 19, 2017

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