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Posts for: May, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says nearly half of all American adults have periodontal disease to one degree other. At Corley heart-diseaseFamily Dental in Decatur, Drs. Chad and Natalie Corley and their team include gum disease management in their list of general dentistry services. You can have better gingival health and overall well-being when you know the signs of periodontitis and what to do about them.

What is periodontal disease?

Although aggressive in nature, periodontal, or gum disease, sometimes has no obvious symptoms in its earliest stages. Yet, oral bacteria do their destructive work under the gum line, infecting the tissue and eventually causing worrisome signs such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Redness
  • A long-in-the-tooth appearance
  • Deep gum pockets (deeper than three millimeters is diagnostic for periodontitis)
  • Pus at the gum line
  • Halitosis (persistent bad breath)

If undetected and untreated, gums recede, the underlying bone deteriorates, teeth loosen, and eventually, must be extracted. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the United States, reports the CDC, and your general dentists in Decatur wish to change that statistic.

Additionally, research links periodontal disease to general health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, dementia, arthritis and more. So, what happens in your mouth does not end there. The overall health impact of periodontal disease is too serious to ignore.

What can be done about gum disease

Prevent, prevent, prevent. Drs. Chad and Natalie Corley and their professional staff stress the importance of daily flossing and twice a day brushing to remove bacteria-laden plaque and avoid tartar build-up. Six-month check-ups and hygienic cleanings reduce these biofilms, too, and the problems they cause. Drinking plenty of water for good hydration and consuming a high fiber diet fosters healthy gum tissue. Avoid all tobacco usage as well.

At Corley Family Dental, your hyginest measures and charts the condition of your gums--specifically those spaces between gum tissue and tooth surfaces. If you do have a problem, she performs deep cleaning and root planing as needed, removing tartar and plaque and smoothing the surfaces of exposed roots. Antibiotics may be used to ward off or heal infection so gums reattach and heal.

Learn more

When you come to Corley Family Dental, ask your dentist about your risk for developing gum disease. Remember, it's what you don't know that can hurt you most. Call us to book your routine cleaning and examination, won't you? Phone (217) 330-6217.


There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make if you want to reduce your risk of oral cancer, with quitting a tobacco habit at the top of the list. You should also moderate your alcohol consumption and practice safe sex to prevent the spread of the human papilloma virus (HPV 16) linked to oral cancer.

And there's one other area that might be ripe for change—your diet. The foods we consume can work both ways in regard to cancer: some, especially processed products with certain chemicals, increase your cancer risk; more natural foods, on the other hand, can help your body fight cancer formation.

Although how cancer forms and grows isn't fully understood, we do know some of the mechanisms involved. One major factor in cancer growth is damage to DNA, the molecule that contains all the instructions for normal cell growth. Certain chemicals called carcinogens cause much of this DNA damage.

One example of these dangerous chemicals are nitrosamines, found in substances used to preserve meats like bacon or ham. Nitrosamines also occur in beer during the brewing process, some fish and fish products, processed cheese and foods pickled with nitrite salt. It's believed long-term consumption of foods with these chemicals can increase the risk of cancer.

On the other hand, there are foods with substances called antioxidants that help our bodies resist cancer. Antioxidants protect cells from unstable molecules called free radicals that can also damage DNA. You'll find antioxidants in abundance in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those high in fiber. Vitamins like C and E found in many natural foods also have antioxidant properties.

So, to help keep your risk of cancer and other diseases low, make sure your diet includes mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, along with plant-based fats found in nuts or olive oil.  At the same time minimize your consumption of processed foods with preservatives and other chemicals, along with animal and saturated fats.

A change in eating not only reduces your cancer risk, it can also improve your overall health and well-being. You'll also find a healthy diet can be dental-friendly—it can help keep your teeth and gums disease-free and healthy.

If you would like more information on dental-friendly nutrition practices, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Diet and Prevention of Oral Cancer.”


Teeth whitening or bleaching is one of the most affordable and least invasive ways of improving your smile. Although the effect fades with time, whitening can make dull and dingy teeth more attractive in short order.

Teeth whitening is also unique among cosmetic dental procedures in that you can do it yourself at home. While professional bleaching solutions are stronger and capable of greater brightness and longevity, you can still achieve good results with a DIY kit.

If you decide to whiten at home, though, there are a few things to keep mind for a desirable and safe outcome. Here are 3 tips for successful DIY teeth whitening.

Follow the directions. It's not a good idea, both for a successful and safe outcome, to stray away from a kit manufacturer's recommended directions. FDA-approved home kits usually contain 10% or less of carbamide peroxide (one of the more common bleaching agents). That may not seem very strong but it's adequate within the recommended time it remains on your teeth to achieve an effective whitening effect. Exceeding those directions could permanently damage your tooth enamel.

Make sure a home kit will work on your staining. Home whitening kits only affect outer staining on tooth enamel. But dental discoloration can also arise from inside a tooth, often because of trauma, tetracycline use, or as a side effect of a root canal treatment. This kind of internal staining requires a special procedure usually performed by an endodontist to reduce it. So, see your dentist first to make sure your teeth are healthy enough for whitening and that a home kit will work for you.

Get your dentist's advice on home kits. There are a number of whitening applications on the market you can choose, so ask your dentist for recommendations. They can also give you some helpful tips on the whitening process to ensure you'll be safe and successful in your efforts.

Here's a couple of other things to remember to enhance your teeth whitening experience: whether you whiten your teeth at home or with the dentist, be sure you continue to care for your teeth with daily brushing and flossing. And, if you limit your consumption of foods and beverages known to stain teeth, you'll help extend the duration of your brighter smile.

If you would like more information on teeth whitening procedures, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Whitening Safety Tips.”

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