Rolling Hills Dental

Dental Tips For A Healthy Smile This Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again when our waistlines expand with our hearts, as we gather with friends and family to give thanks — and stuff our faces!

With all the munching and imbibing, be sure your oral health stays in shape by following our tips:




Veg Out

We all want to reach for the delectable options during the holidays, but there’s often a vegetable choice that can save you the heartburn, and keep your mouth in better shape. Not only are veggies a great go-to for keeping your holiday diet on track, they help keep your teeth clean. Crisp raw vegetables like carrots cauliflower, cucumbers, broccoli, and celery all help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.

Brush, floss, repeat
There is nothing more annoying than picking turkey out of your teeth, and nothing more embarrassing than the leafy greens your teeth snagged that mock your pearly white smile. Flossing helps you remove excess debris that gets caught between your teeth that can cause plaque build-up and gum disease. Carry a travel toothbrush for a quick clean-up. Spry Xylitol gum is a great way to keep your teeth clean after a big meal. Xylitol is a natural ingredient that inhibits bacteria from sticking to your teeth. If bacteria can’t stick, they can’t colonize and damage your oral health.

Stay hydrated
Chronic dehydration can increase your urge to graze, even after the meal has commenced… Staying hydrated has another big benefit. Between each bite, course, and snack, a healthy dose of water will wash away debris build-up known to cause plaque. Tap water is also known to contain fluoride which will help in aiding the fight against all of the acidic ingredients we consume during the holidays.

pH, keep it basic
For all of those science buffs, you know what we mean. A lot of those tasty holiday treats are packed with sugar, acids, and are leaders in negative oral health impact. Some common culprits include cranberry sauce, pies, and that big glass holiday wine. If you find it hard to avoid your favorite dishes, make sure you swish and floss after your meal.

Post holiday dental appointment
When all is said and done, the holidays can wreak havoc on your waistline and beautiful smile. If your holiday habits are leaving your teeth in need of a cleaning, give us a call at (865) 983-4444, and we’ll be happy to get your smile in shape to greet all your New Years resolutions!

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The Truth About A Fake Smile

Have you ever taken a second look at someone smiling at you and thought to yourself, “they’re faking it”, but couldn’t put your finger on exactly what made you believe they were smiling insincerely?

Turns out there’s one biological tell you can look for that will let you know for sure whether someone is smiling for real, or just giving you Lip Service…

According to the insightful Marianne LeFrance who authored a compelling book all about the science behind our smiles titled Lip Service, there are actually several anatomical tells that we involuntarily give that can be mimicked. One of those anatomical muscle tells, however, is much harder to isolate, and nearly impossible to summon on fake command, and that’s the orbicularis occuli that encircles the eye socket.

When people genuinely smile in a true burst of positive emotion, the corners of their mouth (controlled by the zygomaticus major which can be faked) contract, and the orbicularis oculi creates the crows feet wrinkles that fan out from the outer corners of the eyes. Most people can’t do that deliberately, and most people don’t pay close attention to it, so it’s easy to miss the tell.

From Brainpickings: From Darwin’s famous early dabbles in the science of facial expressions to Duchenne’s legacy, from evidence of babies practicing smiling in the womb to studies suggesting a positive correlation between smiling and longevity, LaFrance blends a researcher’s rigor with a social scientist’s humanism in an intelligent yet highly readable narrative, complete with 38 illuminating black-and-white illustrations. LaFrance writes:

“Smiles are universally recognized and understood for what they show and convey, yet not necessarily for what they do. Smiles are much more than cheerful expressions. They are social acts with consequences.”

Food for thought.

*Image: Facial expressions triggered by electric stimulation, from Mécanisme de la Physionomie Humaine by Guillaume Duchenne, 1862. Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.

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Recognize Oral Cancer

Would You Be Able to Recognize Oral Cancer?

by Rolling Hills Dental | April 1, 2018

Oral cancer is deadly and it’s on the rise! Smoking and drinking alcohol can put you at high risk for developing this cancer, but there are many who are not a part of this “high risk” group who have also been affected by it.

Would you know how to recognize oral cancer symptoms? Why is early detection important? Our blog post will give you the vital information you need to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Early detection is life-saving!

According to AAOMS (American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons), oral cancer kills nearly one person every hour of every day of the year! And the reason why the death rate for this kind of cancer remains particularly high is that it is routinely discovered late in its development.

Sandy explains in this video from the American Dental Association how an oral cancer screening from her dentist saved her life:

Being able to recognize oral cancer in its earliest stages lessens the severity of needed treatment and the negative long-term effects. There are different oral cancer symptoms to be aware of for early-stage and late-stage development. So, what are the symptoms you should be watching for?

Symptoms of oral cancer

One of the good things about oral cancer is that it frequently begins with easily identifiable symptoms. But many people either ignore the symptoms or do not seek the help of a medical professional until it has advanced to a more serious stage. You can be proactive in your fight against oral cancer by taking five minutes a month to check your gums, tongue, and lips for any of these tell-tale signs.

Early oral cancer symptoms you should watch for include:

*Persistent red or white patches of skin in the soft tissues of the mouth
*A sore in the mouth that won’t heal
*Unusual oral bleeding or hoarseness
*Teeth shifting position without apparent cause

Late oral cancer symptoms that you need to act on immediately are:

*A hardened area of previously soft tissue
*Numbness, tingling or pain in the tongue or lips
*Airway obstruction
*A chronic earache
*Pain or difficulty when chewing or talking
*A tight sensation when you attempt to open your mouth

The Oral Cancer Foundation has set up a specially dedicated website,, that has a simple how-to video and step-by-step written guide on self-screening for oral cancer.

Your dentist can recognize oral cancer symptoms

Because many people simply do not routinely self-screen for oral cancer, dentists have become the first line of defense when it comes to detecting it. At Rolling Hills Dental, we always include 
oral cancer screening as part of a routine patient examination. If you have not had an oral cancer screening lately, schedule a visit. Many dental professionals will be offering free oral cancer screenings during the month of April as part of their efforts to support oral cancer awareness week, so if you aren’t currently a part of our practice, be sure to ask your practitioner.

What will happen during your oral cancer screening with your dentist?

*Your dentist will ask you about any changes or symptoms you’ve noticed.
*There will be an examination of your gums, lips, cheek lining, and tongue.
*Your throat, soft palate at the back of the mouth and the back part of the tongue will be looked at.
*Finally, your dentist will feel your jaw and neck for any lumps or abnormal thickening.

Be aware! Take action! Stay healthy!

You do not need to be a victim. Following the suggestions in our blog for self-examination and partnering with Dr. Lindahl in prevention can keep you from being another unhappy oral cancer statistic this year. 

*Disclamier: The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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