Saving Your Skin in the South

Welcome to the South, home of sunshine and hot summers. Here it is vital to understand the hazards that can occur with too much sun exposure. The experts at River Region Dermatology share their top tips for saving your skin.

RISKS
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States annually. More than 90% of skin cancers are caused by excessive exposure to the sun, with indoor tanning also emerging as a leading cause of skin cancer.

PREVENTION
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone, regardless of skin tone, use sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, an SPF of 30 or greater, and water resistance. Sunscreen comes in a variety of forms. Products that require being rubbed into the skin are preferred— this ensures you are getting good coverage.

Skin cancer can form anywhere on the body, even if it is not in direct sunlight. It is common for individuals with darker pigmented skin to get skin cancer on the palms of their hands, feet, and nails. It is even possible to develop skin cancer in the eyes— keep your ray-protecting sunglasses handy.

LONG-TERM CARE
It may seem like a lot of work initially, but it’s worth it. The sooner you start caring for your skin, the better. Most skin cancers can be cured when caught early on—you should regularly monitor yourself for any changes in moles or newly developed moles.

Dr. Porcia Bradford Love is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of River Region Dermatology and Laser. Callie Renahan Mitchell is a medical assistant at River Region Dermatology and Laser.

Finding a Dentist

Practicing good dental hygiene should be a priority for all ages— it prevents tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. However, the benefits don’t stop there. Research suggests there may be an
association between oral infections and diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Convinced that you should be taking care of those pearly whites? Good!
Harrel Bullard, D.M.D. from River Region Dentistry is ready to answer some commonly asked questions about dental care.

HOW CAN I FIND THE RIGHT DENTIST FOR ME?
Start by asking family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers for recommendations. If you’re moving to a new area, your current dentist may be able to suggest a dentist in your new city. The Academy of General Dentistry’s website (www.agd.org) includes a Find-a-Dentist feature to help you locate a provider. Most importantly, find a dental team that takes the time to listen to your needs and gets to know you personally, so they are able to provide a high-quality treatment plan customized to your individual needs.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I VISIT THE DENTIST?
The American Dental Association recommends 1-2 routine hygiene visits each year. This allows you to maintain your dental health and prevent serious oral health problems. If you notice any changes in your teeth or gums such as pain while eating, increased sensitivity, or chipping, schedule another visit as soon as possible.

HOW CAN I MAINTAIN DENTAL HYGIENE BETWEEN VISITS?
Simple: Brush, floss, and rinse. You should brush your teeth twice a day using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Try to floss once a day to remove any leftover food and plaque trapped in
the spaces between your teeth. After brushing and flossing, rinse with mouthwash. This seals the deal- killing bacteria, freshening your breath, and preventing plaque buildup.

Dr. Bullard graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with Chemistry B.S. in 1983, and went on to graduate from the University of Alabama School of Dentistry in 1987 with honors. He has been in practice in Montgomery for 31 years, and is a member of the Master Academy of General Dentistry, Fellow International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and Fellow Academy of Dentistry International.