November is Diabetes Awareness Month and strives to raise awareness of a chronic disease that affects nearly 30 million Americans. But what does this have to do with your dentist in Douglasville? Well, the truth is, there is a strong connection between oral health and diabetes, and it’s ever more important for diabetics to take care of their teeth. In fact, research shows that diabetes can result in complications throughout the body including heart, kidney, nerve, eye, and gum disease. Here are a few easy ways to protect your teeth and your overall health.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene
One of the best ways for diabetics and non-diabetics to reduce their risk of gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day, gently brushing your tongue, and flossing daily. However, just quickly brushing or using the wrong tools won’t do much to protect your teeth. Make sure you brush for two minutes, use fluoride toothpaste to protect teeth against decay, and use gentle circular motions to effectively remove plaque and bacteria without damaging your enamel.
Additionally, it’s also incredibly important to see your dentist in Douglasville at least every six months for a deeper professional cleaning that will remove plaque buildup that at-home brushing alone won’t touch.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Diabetics know just how important it is to choose healthy foods to maintain their blood sugar levels. But eating a well-balanced diet can also help protect oral and overall health. Fresh crunchy fruits and crisp vegetables can fuel your body with essential nutrients and can also help gently scrub bacteria off of your teeth in between brushings. And of course, your dentist in Douglasville would caution anyone, especially diabetics, of eating too much sugar. This includes hidden sugars that are often found in foods with a lot of carbohydrates. Make sure to work with your doctor to find a dietary plan that works for you and your body.
Check Your Blood Sugar Regularly
While this is a regular part of every diabetic’s life, checking and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is crucial to protecting your health. This is true for oral health, too. If your numbers are not controlled properly, you can experience loose teeth, gum disease, and other issues. But that’s not all. If there is an infection such as gum disease in the body, blood glucose levels will become elevated and can be difficult to control.
Our dental office in Douglasville is dedicated to doing our part to help raise awareness about how diabetes can affect oral health during Diabetes Awareness Month and all year long. To help us better care for you, make sure to share your health history with your dental team and discuss any changes in your mouth or overall health with your dentist at each visit.
You may have heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, your dentist in Douglasville wants you to know that the mouth is in fact the window to overall health. Years of research continues to show just how important oral health is to overall health and how issues with your teeth or gums could increase your risk for more severe health issues elsewhere in your body, which makes proper oral hygiene even more important.
What Oral Health Can Say About Overall Health
Your mouth can actually give your dentist in Douglasville a glimpse at what may be happening in other areas of your body. Several whole-body problems can even first show signs in the mouth before anywhere else… and before you even suspect a problem. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90% of all systemic diseases display symptoms in the mouth including:
- Kidney Disease
- Oral Cancer
Seeing your dentist in Douglasville regularly can help catch these problems early and get you into treatment sooner.
Gum Disease & Your Health
The connection between oral health and overall health doesn’t end there and goes even deeper to show a link between gum disease and other diseases throughout the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, gum disease is often related to other health issues such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Preterm births
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Protect Your Teeth, Protect Your Health
Having good oral health clearly has whole-body benefits, so it’s more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene habits. Make sure to:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day.
- Floss daily to remove bacteria from hard-to-reach places that brushing alone won’t reach.
- Keep sugary foods and drinks to a minimum and focus on eating a diet rich with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins.
- Avoid tobacco use.
- See your dentist every six months.
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, we’re here to help. Our welcoming team is dedicated to caring for each and every one of our patients, no matter what. There is no judgment in our office, only genuine care and an unwavering commitment to oral and overall health. Call today to schedule an appointment.
Every October, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and Colgate sponsor a month-long celebration for dental hygienists around the country. Dental hygienists are crucial members of your healthcare team and are responsible for keeping patients’ mouths (and bodies) healthy. This year, the theme for National Dental Hygiene Month is Faces of Courage, and rightfully so. Join your dentist in Douglasville as we celebrate our dental hygienists by sharing just what they do and promote how you can become one yourself.
Duties of a Dental Hygienist
Your dental hygienist plays a key role in helping your mouth stay healthy and cavity and disease-free. They’re also often the first line of defense as well as the first person you’ll meet with when you visit your dentist in Douglasville. Even though the main responsibility of a dental hygienist is to clean teeth, they also do a lot more including:
1) Cleaning Teeth – Let’s talk about the most obvious responsibility of a dental hygienist — cleaning teeth. Now, even though you may brush and floss every day, the cleaning you get from your hygienist is different than the one you get at home. Hygienists are trained to gently remove plaque and tartar buildup that a regular brushing won’t touch, which gives you a super-clean feel and super-protected mouth.
2) Learning About Your Health – But as we’ve mentioned before, your dental hygienist does so much more than clean your teeth. One of those additional duties is learning and getting to know each and every patient on a personal level. This means your hygienist will often talk with you about your oral health and overall health history, discuss concerns you may have, and review medications or ailments. Doing so allows them to both know you better and treat you better every time you visit your dentist in Douglasville.
3) Educating Patients – Our dental hygienists are passionate about teeth and are committed to doing everything they can to help patients stay healthy. They’re always quick to offer up tips on the best way to brush your teeth, how to floss, and can even tell you what products to use so you can maintain excellent oral health.
4) Focusing on Prevention – There’s a good reason we recommend a dental cleaning every six months — to prevent problems from happening in the first place. To do this, your hygienist will often apply fluoride or sealants to protect teeth from the damaging effects of acids and bacteria.
Keep in mind, different states and different regions have different rules, so some of these responsibilities can change from area to area and office to office.
How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Dental Hygienist?
Depending on the program and degree level, it takes anywhere between 2-4 years to become a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists must complete at least two years of schooling at a community college, technical school, or university. Usually a hygienist will earn an associate’s degree, but higher-level degrees are also available. After earning a diploma, hygienists are then required to take a state, local, or regional licensing test before they can practice in a dental office.
Now that you know a little bit more about all of the things dental hygienists do to keep you healthy, make sure you thank them the next time you visit your dentist in Douglasville.
As we head into the month of October, we tend to see pink ribbons everywhere in support of breast cancer research and breast cancer patients. Cancer is one of those scary words nobody wants to hear, and it can cause feelings of uncertainness and weariness of what treatment will bring. While there are sure to be many thoughts racing through your mind following any cancer diagnosis, there’s one thing you may not immediately think of — seeing your dentist in Douglasville. However, this visit, and follow up visits, can actually help make cancer treatment more successful.
The cancer treatment we tend to be most familiar with is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has been used for many years and can help kill cancer cells. However, it certainly doesn’t come without side effects. While these side effects can affect any area of the body, there are certain ones that directly affect the mouth. Sometimes these side effects are so serious that your medical team may decide to temporarily stop treatment until the side effects are resolved. To help avoid this, it’s important to see your dentist in Douglasville prior to starting chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy and Oral Health
As we’ve mentioned, chemotherapy can be really effective at killing cancer cells. But it can also harm healthy cells in the process, including cells in the mouth. This damage can affect any part of your mouth from your teeth to the soft tissues such as your gums and the glands that create saliva. Some common oral health side effects of chemotherapy include:
- Pain with eating or talking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry mouth
- Sores or ulcers
- Peeling, burning tongue
These side effects can happen to anyone, and they do tend to vary from person to person. Make sure you talk with your cancer treatment team as well as your dentist in Douglasville during treatment so any side effects are caught and treated early. If they’re not, some infections or side effects can be so severe they’ll cause a delay or pause in your cancer treatment.
The Importance of Regular Dentistry
Seeing your dentist every six months is recommended for everyone, but those undergoing cancer treatment may need to visit more often. After all, your dentist in Douglasville is a key part of your cancer treatment team, and seeing them regularly can help avoid or keep serious side effects at bay. Additionally, if you see your dentist before treatment begins, you can rest assured that you’ll start treatment with an already healthy mouth, reducing the risk of complications. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, schedule an appointment with your dentist, ideally one month prior to beginning treatment.
Having a gummy smile can affect someone’s self-confidence, and if you’re someone who sees more gum tissue than teeth when smiling or talking, you may know exactly what we’re talking about. In fact, it’s not uncommon for your dentist in Douglasville to hear patients say they’re embarrassed by their smiles, and some even avoid smiling as much as possible because they’re so worried about their appearance. This is no way to live, especially when there are treatments available to fix a gummy smile.
The Best Way to Fix a Gummy Smile
If you’ve been bothered by your gummy smile for a while, you may have been searching for a solution for quite some time. But fixing a gummy smile isn’t as easy as a one-size-fits-all solution. Your dentist in Douglasville will first need to perform an exam and oftentimes x-rays and other photos in order to get an accurate picture of what’s causing your gummy smile and determine the best way to fix it. Depending on your specific situation, some of the potential treatments to fix your gummy smile may include:
- Scaling & Root Planing
Sometimes a gummy smile is caused by an infection of the gum tissue. This infection can cause gums to become swollen and inflamed, covering more of your white teeth than you’d like. If this is the case, your dentist in Douglasville will most likely want to start with a deep teeth cleaning called scaling and root planing. A scaling and root planing treatment removes bacteria up under the gum line and can help remove infection, inflammation, and the gummy look. However, if this treatment alone doesn’t resolve the infection or give you the appearance you’re looking for, additional gum disease treatment or cosmetic dentistry treatment may be appropriate.
- Gum Lift & Crown Lengthening
Many times a gummy smile is the result of the way our teeth erupted, and genetics may be to blame. As our adult teeth are forming and erupting, sometimes there’s just too much gum tissue covering the teeth. The good news is often there’s healthy enamel hiding just under the gum overgrowth all we have to do is uncover it. This is when a gum lift or crown lengthening comes into play. A gum lift procedure does exactly what it sounds like — lifts and removes the excess gum tissue to reveal more of each tooth. Now, when there’s an overabundance of tissue, your dentist may recommend a crown lengthening. This procedure removes and restructures the gum tissue as well as the bones around the teeth. The result of both procedures is fewer gums and more teeth.
- Lip Lowering
Another likely cause of a gummy smile is a hyperactive upper lip which occurs when the muscles of the upper lip are too active. This can cause the upper lip near the nose to protrude up too high and show off more of the gums than normal. The best way to fix a hyperactive upper lip is through lip lowering treatment. During this procedure, a small section of the gum tissue under the upper lip is removed, and then the remaining top and bottom are reconnected, ultimately shortening the lip and making it impossible for the upper lip to rise as high as it used to.
Orthodontics, including traditional metal braces as well as invisible aligners such as Invisalign and ClearCorrect, may also be the best way to fix a gummy smile, especially if you have a bad bite. You see, a bad bite occurs when the top jaw and bottom jaw don’t align properly. This can cause several oral health problems, including jaw pain, and when the top jaw protrudes out farther than it should, a gummy smile. Fixing the bite can resolve a gummy smile and give you super-straight teeth at the same time — bonus!
Nobody should have to live a life where they are embarrassed to smile and laugh. They should feel confident about the way their smile looks so they can truly share their emotions with the world. If you’re embarrassed by your gummy smile, don’t wait any longer. Schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville today and start living a life full of confidence and smiles!
There’s a myth out there that says we’re almost guaranteed to lose some of our teeth as we get older. But a study by the American Dental Association says otherwise. In fact, more adults are keeping more of their natural teeth longer now than ever before. But that doesn’t ultimately mean that we’re all safe from tooth loss. Join your dentist in Douglasville as we take a closer look at some of the main reasons why our teeth fall out, some of which have nothing to do with age.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, accounts for 70% of all adult tooth loss in America and is the main reason our teeth fall out. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue that can damage both the gum tissue and the jaw bone that hold our teeth in place. While anyone can develop gum disease, it does tend to affect older Americans more. For example, a little over 8% of Americans between the ages and 20 and 64 have gum disease compared to 17% for those over 65. The best way to combat the side effects of gum disease is to seek treatment from your dentist in Douglasville early.
Cavities are something that affects over 91% of Americans at least once in their lives, and they’re usually just a minor inconvenience. However, as with many things related to our health, if a cavity isn’t treated while it’s still small it can lead to other, more complex problems. As a cavity grows larger and deeper into the tooth, it will start to affect the tooth’s pulp, roots, and nerves. This can be painful and may require root canal treatment or tooth extraction and therefore, the loss of a tooth.
Our teeth can also fall out as a result of an accident. Many times these accidents occur from playing sports without a mouthguard but can also happen because of a fall, car accident, or other unexpected mishaps that involve trauma to the mouth. While nobody ever anticipates an accident and you can’t necessarily prevent them from happening, you can (and should) wear a mouthguard when playing sports.
Believe it or not, there are some reasons our teeth fall out that seemingly have nothing to do with our mouths. You see, there are several whole-body health problems that cause problems throughout the body as well as in the mouth, including tooth loss. Make sure you tell your dentist in Douglasville your entire health history, so they know if they need to pay extra special attention to your oral health. Some of the most common health problems associated with tooth loss include:
- High Blood Pressure
- Poor Nutrition
As we grow up, we do not need to simply accept the fact that we will lose our teeth. We can take matters into our own hands and actively work to protect our smiles for life by brushing and flossing our teeth every day, eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding tobacco use, and of course, seeing your dentist in Douglasville every six months.
When someone tells you that they need to have a root canal, do you immediately grimace and start thanking your lucky stars that it’s not happening to you? You’re not alone. Many people who hear the words “root” and “canal” together shudder in fear. After all, this dental treatment doesn’t have the best reputation. But we’re here to tell you that all the horror stories, all of the overdramatic representations of root canals on television, and all of the terror surrounding them are unnecessary. That’s right, your dentist in Douglasville wants you to know that getting a root canal isn’t really all that bad.
Why Are People Scared of Root Canals?
Historically, and before the dental technology that we have now, getting a root canal may have been a bit different than today. That, paired with how root canals are represented in entertainment, has created a long-standing assumption that root canals are terrible, horrible, and super painful. However, thanks to advances in technology, root canal treatment is very similar to that of having a cavity filled.
What Does a Root Canal Do for Someone?
A root canal may be recommended by your dentist in Douglasville if decay or infection has moved deep into the inner workings of the tooth and a filling alone won’t fix the problem. This level of decay or infection also tends to come along with tooth pain, but a root canal will successfully remove the decay and actually ease the pain. So thanks to a root canal, your pain will be relieved and your tooth will be saved.
What’s Involved in a Root Canal Treatment?
Understanding a root canal treatment can really help decrease fear or anxiety and overturn old assumptions of what treatment is like. Let’s take a closer look at how a dentist in Douglasville performs a root canal.
- First, your dentist will completely numb the area so you won’t feel a thing. This makes a root canal virtually pain free.
- Next, a tiny hole is made in the affected tooth which allows your dentist to access the inside where all the roots and nerves are located.
- Then, the area is thoroughly cleaned out. Your dentist will empty out the tooth canals and remove everything inside including, any infection, pulp, and nerves. This completely eliminates that tooth’s ability to feel anything, alleviating the pain you had prior to treatment.
- Finally, the canals are sealed and capped off with a dental crown to keep anything from getting back inside the tooth.
Do You Need a Root Canal?
Besides tooth pain, there are other signs that you may need a root canal including:
- Increased pain while chewing or with applied pressure
- Sensitivity to heat or cold that doesn’t go away quickly
- A small raised bump on the gums near the tooth that hurts
- Tooth discoloration
- Gum inflammation
Any of the above or any combination thereof may indicate that you need a root canal. However, not every case of tooth pain, sensitivity, or inflammation automatically means a root canal is in your future. Talk with your dentist in Douglasville to find the source of these problems as well as the best treatment for your specific situation.
If you think you may need a root canal, schedule an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later. Getting treatment earlier can make all the difference in saving your tooth. And if you do need a root canal, remember that it’s to help make the pain go away, not to cause it.
Does your smile appear dull, dingy, and discolored? You’re not alone. In fact, Americans spend over a billion dollars on smile whitening products every year because they’re unhappy with the color of their teeth. But what if we could better understand what’s causing the discoloration in the first place and, perhaps, prevent it? You’re in luck. Your dentist in Douglasville is here to share the top four things that often cause tooth discoloration and what you can do about them.
One of the best ways to almost guarantee tooth discoloration is by using tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco. Tobacco products contain ingredients such as tar and nicotine that are known to cause staining, so when tobacco is constantly introduced to the mouth, it’s incredibly common to notice yellowing of the teeth. It’s also common for tobacco users to notice brown spots thanks to the natural brown color of the tobacco itself. The best way to prevent tooth discoloration from tobacco is to avoid it altogether, but your dentist in Douglasville can also help reverse discoloration through a variety of smile whitening or cosmetic dentistry treatments.
- Foods & Drinks
Another common explanation behind tooth discoloration is found in our diets and in the foods and drinks we consume. Beverages such as a daily morning cup of coffee or tea, a nightcap of red wine, and soda can all cause teeth to appear brown or discolored. When it comes to foods that can cause tooth discoloration, think of foods that would stain a white shirt — berries, pasta sauce, and beets are all good examples. Additionally, foods and drinks that are highly acidic are known to attack tooth enamel and can cause teeth to appear dull, gray, or yellow. Alternatively, consuming too many sugary treats tends to cause tooth decay which can present itself as dark or brown patches. To decrease your chances of tooth discoloration from foods and drinks, enjoy tooth-staining treats in moderation.
- Tooth Trauma
A car accident, a fall, or a sporting accident can all result in tooth trauma. You’ll probably find it easier to identify this as a cause of tooth discoloration as you’ll be able to link the discoloration to a mouth injury, whereas the other causes occur over time, often without you even realizing it. Tooth trauma usually causes teeth to appear darkened or gray, and this can occur in one or even multiple teeth. The darkening is due to an injury inside the tooth and will require intervention from your dentist in Douglasville.
- Poor Oral Hygiene
Another incredibly common explanation for tooth discoloration is poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth every day helps remove plaque and bacteria buildup and also helps protect teeth against decay. If you don’t remove this buildup regularly and effectively with a proper oral hygiene routine, you may start to notice your teeth take on a yellowish or gray appearance – or you may even start to see orange or green spots on your teeth. To protect your smile, make sure you’re brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time and flossing once a day.
Of course, it’s also important to see your dentist in Douglasville every six months for a professional dental cleaning. At these appointments, your dental hygienist will remove even more buildup from your teeth that your at-home brushings can’t remove. This further helps keep your pearly whites white and fight off decay.
If you have gum pain, swollen gums, or increased tooth sensitivity, particularly along the gum line, you may be experiencing gum recession. This oral health problem can lead to other issues down the road, including increased tooth decay, sensitive teeth, and even tooth loss. So what exactly causes receding gums, and how is it treated? Your dentist in Douglasville is here to help.
Gum Recession: 101
Let’s first dive into what gum recession is so we can better understand how it affects oral health, what can cause it, and how it’s treated. Gum recession occurs when gum tissue starts to pull away from teeth, exposing teeth roots. Without this protection covering the roots and the inner workings of the teeth, it’s highly likely that tooth sensitivity will increase. Additionally, teeth are at greater risk for decay, cavities, and eventual tooth loss. But that’s not all. Once gum tissue is gone, it’s gone, and there’s no growing it back. However, your dentist may have treatment options available to help with gum recession.
Gum Recession Causes
There are a whole host of things that can cause gums to recede, and the cause can vary from person to person and include:
- Gum Disease
- Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
- Grinding and Clenching
It’s best to talk with your dentist in Douglasville to determine the main cause of your specific case so they can recommend the best gum recession treatment for you.
Treating Gum Recession
Just like there is no singular cause of gum recession, there’s also no singular treatment that’s right for everyone. Your treatment plan will be custom created just for you based on how severe your recession is. Treatment options can include:
- Scaling & Root Planing: The most common type of gum recession treatment is done right in your dentist’s office and is called scaling and root planing. This procedure is similar to a dental cleaning, but the difference is both the tooth and the roots are cleaned during a scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing helps remove plaque and tartar buildup from up under the gums and from the roots of teeth. You will most likely be numbed for this treatment to help keep you comfortable and relaxed.
- Antibiotics: Another treatment option that is often paired with scaling and root planing is the use of an antibiotic. The antibiotic helps remove any bacteria that may still be hanging around.
- Surgical Treatment: More advanced gum recession may require more advanced dental treatment. Thankfully, there are several surgical techniques that dentists can use to help combat gum recession. This treatment option is not appropriate for everyone, and it’s important to note that just because you have gum recession, it doesn’t mean you’ll need surgery. The best to find out how to treat gum recession is to talk with your dentist in Douglasville.
Receding gums may sound scary, but try not to worry. Besides having several treatment options to choose from, there are also things you can do to prevent gum recession from happening in the first place, and most of them are easy. Make sure you brush and floss every day and make sure you’re brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, small circles. Lastly, see your dentist in Douglasville twice a year to further protect your oral health.
Everyone knows that it’s important to drink plenty of water every day to keep our bodies well hydrated. In fact, this small step of drinking enough water can greatly benefit overall health. Proper hydration is important to help organs function properly, help fight off infections, and may even assist with weight loss. However, your dentist in Douglasville wants to share a few more reasons why you should choose water — and plenty of it.
Believe it or not, drinking water and keeping your mouth properly hydrated is one of the best ways to combat bad breath. Bad breath can often be a side effect of dry mouth, an oral health problem whose name describes it perfectly. Dry mouth may be caused by certain medications, mouth breathing, or simply not drinking enough water. While dry mouth may seem like no big deal, it’s especially concerning for your dentist in Douglasville, You see, our mouths need water to produce saliva, but when we’re dehydrated and experiencing dry mouth, saliva production slows or stops completely. That’s when problems arise. Without saliva, there is nothing to help rinse away leftover food particles or mouth bacteria that can contribute to bad breath.
When we choose to drink water over sugary beverages such as soda, juice, or sports drinks, we’re not only hydrating our bodies, we’re also helping our mouths stay clean in between brushings. Drinking water, especially when we’re eating, helps to rinse away food particles before they have a chance to linger around and attract bacteria. If not, bacteria will feed on the food particles and release a dangerous acidic byproduct. This acid will attack tooth enamel and leave teeth at increased risk for decay and cavities. Additionally, water is the ideal beverage of choice because it doesn’t contain any sugars. Other sugary drinks may seem to quench our thirst, but the sugars only continue to feed bacteria as opposed to removing their food source.
Whether you drink bottled water or water from the tap, H2O is always the preferred choice for your dentist in Douglasville. However, while bottled water may provide all of the benefits of hydration, it may be missing one key ingredient that you can typically get from tap water — fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps rebuild and remineralize tooth enamel. The process of remineralization strengthens the enamel, making it super strong and super protective against bacteria, acids, and plaque.
Overall Healthier You
Water is one of the most important things that we can give our bodies, yet an estimated 75% of adult Americans don’t drink enough water daily. Consequently, this can lead to negative overall and oral health effects. We need to reverse this habit in order to fuel and protect our bodies. But where do you start? A good rule of thumb to follow is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day, more if you exercise or sweat, and more especially during these summer months.