Whenever you first visit a healthcare provider, you’re going to have to fill out a health history form. The same is true when you visit your dentist in Douglasville. But why does a dentist need to know so much about your overall health, and why is it so important that you share this information? We answer these questions in this week’s blog…
“Why Does My Dentist Need to Know All of This?”
When it comes to providing you the best dental care possible, it’s important for our Douglasville dental office to know about any former or active health conditions. Some health problems can affect what treatment is appropriate for you or if additional precautions need to be taken. What’s more is that many diseases can directly affect your oral health, and if we know about these ahead of time, we’ll know what to keep an extra close eye on at your appointments.
“Do I Really Need to Tell Them Everything?”
The most important part of sharing your medical history with your dentist is to be complete and honest. The more we know, the better. You should always disclose as much as you can. Some things you shouldn’t leave off of your health history forms include:
- Heart problems
- Joint replacements
- Autoimmune conditions
“What About Prescriptions? Do I Need to Share That Information?”
Besides sharing your health history, it’s also incredibly important to tell your dental team about any and all medications you take. Both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, as well as herbal supplements, can have an effect on your oral health. For instance, dry mouth is a really common side effect of many medications and may increase your risk of decay and cavities. Even though cavities are treated quickly and easily with fillings, if they’re left untreated, the decay will continue to progress and may require a root canal.
“Why Does the Form Ask About Alcohol, Smoking, and Drug Use?”
While often sensitive subjects, talking about alcohol, tobacco, and drug use can help your dental team evaluate your risk of several serious diseases. Smoking, for example, can cause oral cancer or gum disease. Additionally, regular alcohol use may also increase the likelihood of developing gum disease. When it comes to recreational drug use, it’s important to know that some drugs can interact with local anesthetics and cause an irregular heartbeat that could be fatal.
When it comes to sugar and dentists, it’s a well known fact that the two really don’t work well together. At our dental office in Douglasville, we always encourage our patients to limit their sugar intake in order to keep their teeth protected. But sometimes knowing how much sugar is really in some of our favorite treats is confusing. So today, we want to share the sugar content of a few popular snacks in an easy to understand way.
The first thing most people think about when we talk about sugar-packed snacks is candy. And rightfully so. Sugar content varies between different kinds of candy, but some of the biggest culprits have 17 teaspoons of the sweet stuff.
Not all snacks that are high in sugar fall on the junk food list. Yogurt, for example, is usually viewed as a healthy snack high in calcium and vitamin D. While some types of yogurt are good for us and don’t have a lot of sugar, there are others that are packed with it. Yogurt that contains fruit or flavorings such as chocolate or caramel can have more than than 6.5 teaspoons of sugar in one 6 ounce cup.
Granola, Cereal, and Protein Bars
Here’s another group of snacks that are typically considered healthy. And again, some of them are. But others are not. Many times these types of bars have sweet ingredients like honey or added sugars and can contain anywhere from 6 to 7 teaspoons of sugar, sometimes even more.
Snacks and treats with high sugar content may not be limited to things we eat, but rather things we drink. Soda in particular is loaded with tons of sugar in one 12 ounce can. Some brands can even contain 11 teaspoons!
How Much Sugar is Too Much?
All of the information above is only helpful if you know how much added sugar is usually considered too much. Daily recommendations can vary from person to person based on a variety of factors, but the American Heart Association (AHA) has provided some maximum intake guidelines to follow.
- Men – 150 calories per day (or 9 teaspoons)
- Women – 100 calories per day (or 6 teaspoons)
Limit Sugar Intake to Stay Healthy
Sugar isn’t only concerning for dental health, but whole-body health as well. Staying below the maximum daily recommendations set by the AHA can help protect teeth from decay and cavities as well as the body from dangerous diseases such as diabetes.
Besides limiting how much sugar you consume, you should also make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. Removing any lingering bacteria and plaque through brushing and flossing will reduce your risk of decay. Additionally, make sure to visit your dentist in Douglasville every six months for an even deeper clean and to catch any problems early when they’re still easily treatable.
If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental checkup, give our Douglasville dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Oral healthcare needs vary from person to person and even between age groups. That’s one reason our dental office in Douglasville believes that individualized dental care is the best approach to keeping our neighbors healthy. And while several common dental concerns remain consistent through every stage of life, there are some unique ailments that tend to specifically affect the senior population. Join us as we take a closer look at some of them.
Discolored Teeth – Many things from coffee to wine or cigarettes can cause tooth discoloration at any point throughout our lives. However, seniors in particular may notice a darkening or yellowing of teeth without any explanation at all. But the truth is this discoloration is typically a result of the outer white tooth enamel slowly wearing away and becoming thinner. When teeth become more transparent, we’re able to see more of the inside color of them, and it just so happens that the inner tooth isn’t as white as the outside. In fact, it’s often yellow or dark in color and what gives teeth a darker appearance.
Dry Mouth – Even though dry mouth can also affect anyone at any time and can be caused by a number of things, it does tend to be more common in seniors. One cause of dry mouth is medication. Prescription medication and even over-the-counter options often list dry mouth as a side effect. When these medications are taken regularly, saliva production slows down, the mouth becomes dry, and teeth put at risk for developing cavities. If these cavities aren’t treated, they could lead to the need for a root canal, sensitivity pain, or even tooth loss.
Tooth Loss – Many people believe that as we get older, we’re surely going to lose our teeth, or at least one or two of them. But this isn’t always true. It’s absolutely possible for people to keep their natural teeth for their entire lives, especially if they take proper care of them. This means brushing and flossing every day and seeing the dentist in Douglasville every six months. However, several things can increase the likelihood of tooth loss in seniors including a history of smoking, dry mouth, untreated decay, and gum disease.
Gum Disease – When bacteria isn’t removed from the mouth it can wiggle up under the gum line and become difficult to remove. If it’s not treated it may lead to infection and cause gum disease. Usually categorized by red, bleeding, inflamed gums, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even affect the rest of the body. Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and according to recent studies, Alzheimer’s disease. It should be noted that researchers have not necessarily found a definite correlation between gum disease and Alzheimer’s, but one study found in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy notes a strong link between diseases that cause increased inflammation, including gum disease, and Alzheimer’s.
While we can’t stop ourselves from aging, we can take preventive steps to protect our oral health and bodies. Make sure you always brush twice a day and floss once a day, no matter how old or young you may be, and be sure to get a professional dental cleaning and check up at least twice a year. If you’re overdue for your dental appointment, we welcome you to call our Douglasville dental office to schedule a visit with us today.
June is recognized as National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month and serves to not only educate the population on this debilitating illness, but also to increase funding to advance migraine research and treatment options. While numerous causes can be to blame, our dental office in Douglasville wants to take a closer look at how migraines may be related to dentistry.
Over 39 million Americans are affected by migraines, including 18% of U.S. women, 6% of men, and 10% of children. Migraines are also rarely cured, but rather treated and managed through changes in lifestyle or medications. These treatment methods help help lessen the effects of the common migraine symptoms including, but not limited to:
- Throbbing or aching pain in the head
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Blurred vision
- Neck pain
These symptoms are often so severe that many sufferers can’t go to work or complete everyday responsibilities when experiencing a migraine.
How Migraines May Be Related to Dentistry
Many migraines can be triggered by an excess surge in serotonin release caused by stress, certain foods, or bright lights or loud noises. However, more research has been showing a positive correlation between migraines and a poor bite or habitual bruxism (tooth grinding or clenching).
Poor Bite & Migraines
A poor bite is diagnosed when the top and bottom jaws don’t align properly. When this happens, the jaw muscles, neck muscles, and even the muscles in the base of the head experience unnecessary pressure every single time the jaws come together. Since that action is done repeatedly every day, those muscles get tired easily and inhibit the normal blood flow. The result could very well be a migraine.
Bruxism & Migraines
Bruxism is a condition that causes people to constantly clench their teeth or grind them repeatedly, sometimes while they’re asleep and don’t even realize it’s happening. This repetitive stress on the jaw muscles can lead to headaches or migraines.
If you suffer from migraines or unexplainable headaches in the morning, you may have a poor bite or clench your teeth at night. But you don’t need to continue to live in pain or without answers. Start your search towards relief by calling our Douglasville dental office today. We can check for signs of bruxism and TMJ and recommend the best treatment options for you.
People with asthma know just how serious and scary of a disease it is. It causes airways to narrow, makes it hard to breathe, and can potentially be life-threatening. There is currently no cure, but there are advanced treatments and medications that can help keep airways open so more air can pass through. However, the team at our dental office in Douglasville knows that both asthma and the medicines used to treat it may lead to cavities.
How Are Asthma and Cavities Linked?
The main symptom of asthma is difficulty breathing since the narrowing of airways restricts oxygen flow. Because of this, many people with asthma tend to be mouth breathers, simply because it’s a little easier to get the air they need. While this involuntary response allows asthma patients to catch their breath, it can result in dry mouth. Some of the most common asthma medications also can cause dry mouth as a side effect. When a mouth is too dry, there’s not enough saliva to keep the mouth moist, help neutralize acids, or wash away harmful bacteria. This means that all of the acid and bacteria left behind can wear away tooth enamel and cause tooth decay and cavities.
How Can You Reduce Your Risk?
There are multiple things you can do to help minimize your risk of dry mouth and cavities caused by asthma or asthma treatment:
- Drink More Water. Choosing to drink water instead of juice or soda helps rehydrate your mouth and will help eliminate the dangerous bacteria and damaging acids. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day, every day.
- Rinse Your Mouth. A quick rinse with water or fluoride mouthwash after taking asthma medication or using an inhaler will wash away some of the drying ingredients so they’re not left lingering around for a long time. The sooner you can rinse, the better.
- Brush Well, Brush Often. One of the best ways you can protect your teeth against dry mouth and cavities is to brush your teeth every day. A good brushing for two minutes in the morning and again at night removes food particles that may still be lingering around and washes away bacteria that have built up throughout the day. It’s also important to floss once a day to get the parts of your teeth a toothbrush just can’t reach.
- See Your Dentist in Douglasville Regularly. While it’s important for everyone to go to the dentist at least twice a year, it’s particularly important for those with asthma. These visits help us thoroughly remove any plaque buildup and allow for early diagnosis and treatment of any issues that may have popped up.
Your care team at our Douglasville dental office is dedicated to keeping you healthy and encourages you to talk to us about your health history and medication use so we can get an accurate picture of your overall health and understand what may be affecting your oral health. If you have any questions or if there’s anything we can do to help keep you relaxed during visits, just let us know.
May is the month when we take a Sunday to thank our moms for all that they do for us. At our dental office in Douglasville, we want to take the whole month and dedicate it to the women of our practice and our community by talking a bit about the unique oral health concerns that affect women throughout every stage of their lives.
Hormonal Changes Affect Oral Health
The truth is that since women experience fluctuations in hormone levels at different stages of life, they also have different dental concerns than men. Whenever hormones change, usually during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, other things in the body also change that cause women to be at increased risk for gum disease and other oral health problems.
Between the ages of 8 and 14, girls will start to go through puberty and experience changes in their body. One of the biggest changes will be with their hormones. While this can affect emotions and mood, this hormonal roller coaster can also influence oral health. Increases in estrogen and progesterone boost blood flow to the mouth and particularly to the gums. Because of this, many girls will experience red, swollen gums that may even bleed while brushing their teeth. It’s important to maintain a good oral health routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day to help keep gums healthy.
Once a woman has her first period, hormones continue to rise and fall during her menstrual cycle. She may still experience puffy gums that bleed a few days before her period. During this same time it’s also common for a canker sore or two to pop up, which usually disappear in a few days. Changes in hormones may also lead to dry mouth which increases the risk for decay, cavities, and bad breath.
Dental care is particularly important during pregnancy. In fact, poor oral health throughout a pregnancy may lead to a premature birth, gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia. Gingivitis is also common for pregnant women, again thanks to hormonal changes. Besides brushing and flossing daily, pregnant women should visit their dentist in Douglasville some time during the second trimester.
Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but can happen earlier or later. Whenever a woman goes through menopause, estrogen decreases and increases the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Bone loss is concerning for dental health since it can affect the jaw bone, which holds teeth in place. As jaw bone deteriorates, there’s an increased risk for tooth loss. However, thanks to advancements in dental technology, these teeth can be replaced by either dentures or dental implants.
Our Douglasville dental office is here to help all the women (and men!) of our community get and keep their mouths healthy, no matter what changes their bodies go through. We’re always welcoming new patients, so schedule an appointment with us today!
April is recognized as National Facial Protection Month and serves to promote the importance of wearing proper mouth protection during sports. At our dental office in Douglasville, this is a topic we want to talk about in hopes that we can help guard our patients’ smiles from the dangers of contact sports. Join us as we cover some of the most important reasons you should always wear a mouthguard when hitting the court or field.
Sport Injuries by the Numbers
Participating in sports can benefit us in a lot of ways. Sports help keep us active and healthy, and they build strong team and communication skills. But there’s always the risk of injury. While injuries can affect even the best, most experienced athletes, an alarming amount of sports injuries happen to children. In fact, a study published by Johns Hopkins concluded that over 3.5 million kids under age 15 sustain an injury while playing a sport or participating in a similar activity. Of course a lot of sport injuries result in a sprain, strain, or even broken bones, but what’s most concerning to your dentist in Douglasville is that many of these injuries are to the face or head.
Who Has the Biggest Risk?
Even though any athlete can get hurt, there are some sports that put you at increased risk for a mouth injury. Any contact sport such as football, soccer, or basketball poses the biggest chance for a mouth injury, but which sport sees the most? The answer may surprise you. According to a study published by dentalcare.com and two research dentists, basketball has the highest mouth injury rate in both men and women. This could be in part to the fact that a mouthguard is not always required. However, the American Dental Association recommends wearing a mouthguard, even if it’s not in the rulebook. Besides protecting teeth against chips, breaks, or being totally knocked out, mouthguards can help reduce the risk of concussion, too.
Different Types of Mouthguards
There are typically two types of mouthguards — the boil-and-bite variety found in sporting goods stores and custom-made mouthguards created by a dentist. The stock mouthguards you can buy at stores are better than nothing, but they’re usually uncomfortable, don’t fit as snugly as they should, and oftentimes spend more time being chewed on than protecting teeth. The best way to protect teeth while playing sports is by getting a custom-made mouthguard. These professional-grade sports mouthguards are molded to fit around each and every tooth and are really comfortable. Speaking with them in is easier than a boil-and-bite guard, too.
Before you or your child gears up for a sporting event, make sure you have a well fitting mouthguard and be committed to wearing it every time for the whole game. If you want the ultimate in mouth protection, we welcome you to call our Douglasville dental office to discuss the best sports mouthguard for you.
Oral cancer diagnosis is on the rise with an estimated 51,540 new cases expected in 2018. At our dental office in Douglasville, we understand how serious this life threatening disease is. In fact, the American Cancer Society projects that over 10,000 people in the United States will die from it this year. However, while oral cancer can lead to death, the five-year survival rate is 65%. Part of what contributes to this relatively high chance of survival is due to early diagnosis. During this Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like to help raise awareness by sharing the importance of regular dental checkups that just might save your life.
Early Diagnosis Means Higher Chance of Survival
Oral cancer can be treated successfully. But the chance of survival greatly increases if the disease is caught in the early stages before the cancer has a chance to spread. According to the American Cancer Society, survival rates for different types of oral cancer vary depending on how much time its had to progress. They classify these progressions into three stages including:
- Local – Meaning the cancer has only affect the area which it started.
- Regional – This term is used for cancer that has spread to other tissues close by the original infection site.
- Distant – Cancer classified as distant has spread even farther to more areas of the body.
Some of the most common areas affected by oral cancer, along with their various five-year survival rates based on the stages listed above can be found in the table below, courtesy of the American Cancer Society.
|Lip||Tongue||Floor of the Mouth|
How To Catch Oral Cancer Early
The most effective way to diagnose oral cancer early when treatment is more successful is by recognizing the signs. Some of the most common signs of oral cancer include:
- A sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away and bleeds easily
- A chronic white or red area
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue
- A lump on the cheek, tongue, or throat
- Coughing up blood
Additionally, seeing your dentist in Douglasville at least every six months can proactively monitor your overall oral health, including screening for oral cancer. Your dental team is trained to look for any areas that may be concerning. Regular dental checkups can help catch oral cancer early so that you can get treatment as soon as possible in order to increase your chances of beating it.
If you notice any potential problem areas or it’s just been awhile since you’ve been to the dentist, we’re always welcoming new patients and encourage you to call our Douglasville dental office to schedule an appointment. We’re dedicated to protecting your smile and your overall health.
Calcium is most commonly noted as being a crucial mineral for strong bone development. However, at our dental office in Douglasville we also know that calcium is an essential part of building strong and healthy teeth. But just how much calcium does your family need?
The Importance of Calcium
Before we dive into how much calcium each member of your family needs, let’s take a quick look at why a steady intake of it is important. Our bodies need calcium in order to function properly, and our systems will pull what they need out of what we have in our bones. In fact, the calcium found in bones and teeth is repeatedly removed, and it needs to be replaced. This is where eating a diet high in calcium helps replenish what’s lost. This is particularly important in young children when bones are developing and growing, and for older adults.
Calcium Doesn’t Stand Alone
We wouldn’t be giving you great advice if we didn’t tell you that a solid calcium intake is only half the battle. In order for the calcium to be absorbed and aid in tooth and bone development and strength, it needs vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin, meaning your body relies on it to function. Make sure your family isn’t only eating a diet rich in calcium, but also vitamin D. Some foods that can help increase levels of vitamin D include:
- Dairy products
- Egg Yolks
- Fish such as salmon and herring
How Much Calcium is Enough?
The appropriate amount of calcium varies depending on age and gender. Here are the recommended daily doses according to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB).
- 0-6 months = 200 mg
- 7-12 months = 260 mg
- 1-3 years = 700 mg
- 4-8 years = 1,000 mg
- 9-18 years = 1,300 mg
- 19-50 years = 1,000 mg
- 51-70 years = 1,000 mg for males, 1,200 mg for females
- 71+ years = 1,200 mg
Foods High in Calcium
When looking for calcium-rich foods, your Douglasville dentist wants you to consider going outside of the dairy aisle. There are plenty of non-dairy foods that pack a mean calcium punch including:
- Orange juice
- Calcium-fortified cereal
Remember, besides eating a diet high in calcium, it’s also important to eat a variety of food groups at every meal.
At our Douglasville dental office, we’re in the business of taking care of your family’s smiles. One way to ensure a lifetime of strong, beautiful teeth is to get the recommended daily amount of vitamin D and calcium. And of course, we always recommend proper brushing and regular dental visits.
What we put into our bodies can certainly affect how we feel and how healthy we are. But eating the right foods to fuel your body goes beyond enhancing overall health. During this National Nutrition Month, your Douglasville dentist wants to let all of our patients know how proper nutrition can also benefit your oral health.
What Exactly is Proper Nutrition?
The basics of eating right include reducing your fat and sugar intake while upping the amount of nutrient rich foods. But how much of what things should you be eating? That’s where things aren’t so simple. Ever since the original Food Pyramid Guide was published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992, nutritional recommendations have shifted two more times. The current standards are reflected in MyPlate and vary depending on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. However, most of the common rules of thumb remain the same including focusing on eating plenty of:
- Whole Grains
- Lean Proteins
How Does Good Nutrition Relate to Oral Health?
The body’s response to eating “bad” foods and drinks increases the likelihood of someone experiencing oral health issues and diseases. Let’s look at foods that are high in sugar, for example. Sweets and beverages like soda and even juices packed with sugar attack tooth enamel. If they’re not rinsed away or are left exposed to the teeth for long periods of time, they will work away at and erode the protective tooth layer. Without this barrier, teeth are more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity. Although almost every food contains some amount of sugar, even the good foods we’re supposed to eat, try your best to stay away from items that have added sugars and remember to read nutritional labels.
Beware of the Hidden Sugars
Sugar content in the sweeter foods that you choose for you and your family isn’t the only thing your dentist in Douglasville is wary of. There are hidden sugars everywhere, even in places that don’t taste sweet. Foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates can actually raise blood glucose levels and effect the body the very same way actual sugar does. Since these carbs end up breaking down into simple sugars, they put teeth at the same risk for decay as eating a sweet treat.
Eat Well, Protect Your Smile
At our dental office in Douglasville, we strive to keep our patients healthy by being a key member of their health care team. Encouraging a healthy, well-balanced diet is a great way to ensure not only a healthy body, but also a healthy mouth. If you’re looking to become a healthier version of yourself and get your smile in its best shape yet, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today.