February is nationally recognized as Heart Health Month. Every year the American Heart Association and medical professionals across the country join together to publicize the seriousness of heart disease and educate the population on how to reduce your risk. At our dental office in Douglasville, we want to help do our part and bring awareness to how your oral health is directly linked to your heart health.
The Oral Health, Heart Health Connection
It’s been said that your eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, another phrase we should be promoting is that your mouth is the window to your overall health. Throughout the years, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between oral health and overall health, including its link to heart disease.
It’s All About the Gums
When you come to see your dentist in Douglasville, your dental team is looking at more than just your teeth. We’re also taking an incredibly close look at the health of your gums. Your gums play an important role not only in your oral health and keeping your teeth in place, but also in the health of your heart. If gum disease is present and left untreated, the infection can transfer into the bloodstream. When this happens, your body responds by producing more C-reactive protein (CRP). Higher than normal levels of CRP can cause some serious health issues including:
- Inflamed arteries
- Blood clots
- Heart attacks
Signs of Gum Disease
Since gum disease can develop quickly, it’s important to be aware of the most common signs so that you can get it treated immediately. Early intervention is the key to a easier and more successful treatment. If you notice any of the signs below, contact your Douglasville dentist as soon as possible.
Protect Your Gums, Protect Your Heart
Prevention of gum disease is one way you can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Make sure you brush your teeth, floss every day, and maintain visits to our Douglasville dental office at least twice a year. These bi-annual appointments help remove buildup on teeth that, if left alone, could develop into gum disease or other oral health problems.
Don’t put yourself at risk to the seriousness of heart disease. Schedule an appointment with us today.
While we always recommend visiting your dentist at least every six months, there are times when people fall out of the habit and miss a few appointments. Oftentimes a move to a new city or even a fear of the dentist can make it all too easy to pass on seeing the dentist as often as you should. However, the team at our Douglasville dental office want you to know that there are a few signs and symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore…
It’s Like a Desert In Here!
Experiencing dry mouth isn’t only uncomfortable, it’s also concerning. Having periods of occasional dryness is normal, especially with some forms of medication. However, if it becomes an ongoing issue and you just can’t seem to quench the dryness, you may want to see your dentist. Chronic dry mouth leaves the mouth exposed to bacteria and increases the risk for decay.
There’s An Unpleasant Smell
Sometimes bad breath is unavoidable (think a garlicky pasta dish). But when bad breath becomes chronic, it can be concerning. Bad breath that doesn’t go away is a symptom of gingivitis, or early gum disease. If gingivitis isn’t treated quickly and effectively, it can easily progress into gum disease and lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems.
Red & Puffy Gums
Any gum discomfort or discoloration should raise some red flags for you. Gums are supposed to be a healthy shade of pink, painless, and are definitely not supposed to bleed. Any inflammation, soreness, or blood when you brush or floss are all signs that your dentist will want to know about as soon as possible. These symptoms may indicate gum disease which, if left untreated, can lead to whole body problems such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
You’re Feeling Sensitive
We don’t mean emotionally sensitive, but rather the zinging surge of pain associated with tooth sensitivity. Whether you notice an increase in sensitivity with eating hot or cold foods or while brushing, it’s something you should bring to the attention of your dental team. Sensitivity may be caused by something as simple as brushing too hard, but it can also be a sign of eroding enamel receding gums, both of which need professional treatment to fix.
You Have a Toothache
The most obviously sign that it’s time to schedule an appointment with a dentist in Douglasville is suffering from the unique pain of a toothache. The uncomfortable feeling of tooth pain isn’t something you should ignore, and it probably won’t go away on it’s own. Getting in to see a dentist is the best way to determine the root of the problem and get you some relief.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, we recommend scheduling an appointment at our dental office in Douglasville sooner rather than later. Many of these dental concerns can be treated easily and successfully if caught early. Don’t let the problem continue to worsen. Call to schedule a visit today.
Whether due to aging, smoking, or drinking too much tooth-staining tea, there are plenty of things that can cause our pearly whites to be, well… not so white. If you’re one of the many people who are trying to score a whiter smile by using whitening toothpastes, our dental office in Douglasville wants you to read on…
3 Pros of Whitening Toothpaste
There can be some benefits using whitening toothpaste. Some of these positives may include:
- Effective Removal of Surface Stains. Most whitening toothpastes can effectively scrub away surface stains. So far, the stuff looks pretty good.
- Easy to Use. If you can use regular toothpaste, you can use a whitening toothpaste. Just dab a little on your toothbrush and gently brush twice a day.
- Most Affordable Option. At just a few bucks a tube, whitening toothpaste is appealing to many who are trying to get a whiter smile.
3 Cons of Whitening Toothpaste
However, using a whitening toothpaste isn’t all positive. While it may be effective, easy to use, and fairly cheap, there are also some disadvantages including:
- It Takes a Long Time to See Results. A key part of making whitening toothpaste work is using it regularly. This means brushing with it twice a day, every day. Even then it could take weeks to see a change in color.
- Could Cause More Harm Than Good. Whitening toothpastes are packed with abrasive ingredients. That’s another part of what makes it work. But it’s also what can cause damage. The abrasive texture of whitening toothpastes can wear away enamel, leaving teeth at risk for decay and sensitivity. Thinner enamel can also cause teeth to appear darker, which really isn’t the look we were going for.
- It May Not Work for You. Sometimes tooth staining goes deeper than the surface, making whitening toothpastes essentially ineffective. But don’t panic. Cosmetic dentistry such as dental veneers can still transform your smile.
Alternatives to Whitening Toothpaste
Even though whitening toothpaste tends to be the go-to option for getting a whiter smile, there are other things you can do to help get, and keep, your teeth pearly white.
- After drinking tea or coffee, rinse your mouth out with water.
- Stop smoking or using chewing tobacco.
- Eat more apples, cheese, or celery to gently rub away potential stains.
- Consider a professional smile whitening from your dentist in Douglasville.
The best way to whiten your smile depends on several things, and there is no one solution that’s right for everyone. To find out what will help get you a whiter smile, we welcome you to schedule an appointment our Douglasville dental office.
When you’re dealing with a cough that just won’t go away, you’d give anything to make it stop. So you do what anyone battling the common cold would do and head to your nearest pharmacy to load up on the best over-the-counter cough syrup you can find. While this remedy can finally make your coughing ease up, there is a link between this soothing fix and cavities that your Douglasville dentist wants you to know about.
The Danger is in The Ingredients
Most cough medicines and cough drops contain ingredients that, although made to help treat your cold symptoms, can also be damaging to your oral health. Many of the top medicines designed to help suppress that chronic tickle in your throat contain sugar and alcohol – both of which can contribute to tooth decay and other problems.
Sugar is a common ingredient in many medicines for one reason – to make them not taste so horrible. However, these sugars are just the thing that bacteria love to feed on. When bacteria feed on sugars, they release a acidic byproduct. This acid wears away the protective tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to decay.
A healthy mouth is one that produces saliva adequately and remains moist throughout the day. This saliva helps neutralize and rinse away acids caused by the sugar-eating bacteria. However, when alcohol is introduced into the mouth, saliva production is greatly decreased. Alcohol is naturally drying and inhibits your mouths ability to produce as much saliva as it should. A dry mouth is the perfect place for acid to wear away enamel, increasing the likelihood of decay.
Reduce the Risk
Just because your favorite cough medicine may contain these damaging ingredients doesn’t mean you have to suffer through your cold. There are a few ways you can reduce the risk of tooth decay and still find relief..
- Take your medicine with food. Saliva production increases while eating so it can help wash away dangerous sugars and acids.
- Avoid taking cough medicine right before bed. If you take medicine after you brush your teeth, the sugars and acids stay on your teeth all night.
- Try a pill form of the medicine instead of a liquid. A pill reduces the amount of damaging ingredients that come in contact with teeth.
At our dental office in Douglasville, it’s our mission to keep our patients healthy, especially during cold and flu season when germs are aplenty. Even if you try every trick in the book to keep germs at bay, sometimes catching the dreaded sore throat, stuffy nose, or constant cough is inevitable. When this happens, we want you to be cautious of how you ease the symptoms to keep your smile healthy.
We’ve got some fantastic news for all of our patients and neighbors with an active sweet tooth! It may come as a surprise, but the team at our Douglasville dental office is telling everyone to go ahead and eat chocolate — for your smile’s sake! But before you head out to buy a dozen of your candy bars, keep in mind that not just any chocolate will do.
Dark Chocolate: The Secret Cavity Fighter
Recent studies conducted by researchers in the United States, England, and Japan show a strong correlation between dark chocolate its ability to ward off decay, cavities, and problem causing plaque. There’s even some evidence to support the idea that dark chocolate may be just as effective, or perhaps more-so, at fighting off cavities as fluoride. However, we’re not suggesting that you pass on your regular fluoride treatments. More research and testing is needed before we can make an absolute claim as to effectiveness of dark chocolate.
Why Dark Chocolate?
It’s not necessarily the dark chocolate itself that has all the oral health benefits. In fact, most credit is being given to compounds found within dark chocolate, or more specifically the cocoa bean husk. All of the beneficial compounds found in dark chocolate are incredibly unique in that they have the ability to fight off both bacteria and plaque. There are even talks of one of these compounds, CBH, becoming an active ingredient in some dental products such as mouthwash and toothpaste because of its benefits.
Why is This Good News?
When we eat anything that contains a lot of sugar, we put our teeth at risk for decay and cavities. As we snack on these sweet treats, sugar gets left behind in the mouth. But it’s not the sugar itself that causes the problem, it’s the bacteria that feed on the sugar. As bacteria fuel up on leftover sugar particles, they also release acid as a byproduct. This acid wears away the protective enamel, leaving teeth exposed to decay. What’s so unique and interesting about dark chocolate is that the bacteria and plaque fighting compounds counteract this process by eliminating bacteria from the beginning.
Remember, Not All Chocolate is Good Chocolate
It’s important to remember that these studies and beneficial oral health claims are limited to dark chocolate and do not include milk chocolate or white chocolate. Even so, not all dark chocolate is created equal either. Try to find dark chocolate with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving. If you can get your hands on organic dark chocolate, that’s even better. Besides having oral health benefits, dark chocolate is also loaded with antioxidants and can be beneficial to overall health too, so don’t shy away from snacking on it.
As always, it’s also important, to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine at home and visit our dental office in Douglasville twice a year for an optimally healthy mouth.
Every year around this time, we begin the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Coordinating schedules, braving the crowds at the grocery store and in the mall, cooking meals, and all the craziness that comes along with preparing for the holidays is bound to increase stress levels. But during a time when we’re supposed to be enjoying friends and family, stress is that last thing we want to get in the way. After all, as everyone at our dental office in Douglasville knows, stress can wreak havoc on not only our overall health, but oral health as well.
A Little Clench & Grind
During times of increased stress, we tend to subconsciously clench our teeth tightly together or grind them against each other. While this may seem like no big deal, if done repeatedly over a long period of time, grinding and clenching can cause damage to both the teeth as well as the jaw joint. Putting constant force on the teeth can lead to chipped, cracked, or fractured teeth, while habitually engaging jaw muscles may cause TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can be painful and may lead to long term problems. So if you’re experiencing any popping, clicking, or locking in the jaw joint, we recommend contacting your Douglasville dentist.
Usually we talk about gum disease being caused by an improper hygiene routine or missing regular visits with your dentist. However, recent research has also shown a positive link between stress and the development of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects your mouth, but your whole body as well. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, heart disease, and pregnancy complications, along with a host of other health problems.
Take It Easy for Health’s Sake
To help protect your body and oral health during the stressful holiday season, we encourage you find ways to help yourself relax. Check out the following tips for a few things to try.
- Breath it Out. Something as simple as setting aside a few moments to take a few deep breaths can really help lower stress. Practicing deep breathing exercises has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce overall anxiety levels.
- Work it Out. Hit the gym, go for a walk, do some yoga. Whatever you choose to do, just get your heart pumping and sweat it out. Physical exercise can do wonders to decrease stress, and all the other health benefits don’t hurt either.
- Sleep it Off. It can be difficult to get enough sleep during non-crazy times of the year. And during the holidays it can be even harder. Remember to schedule in time to make sure you’re catching enough zzz’s. Giving your body a chance to relax can keep you healthy so you can actually enjoy everything the holidays have to offer.
From all of us at our Douglasville dental office, we hope you have a great holiday season with limited stress and anxiety and packed full of friends, family, laughs, and great memories.
Every year on the third Thursday in November the American Cancer Society puts on the Great American Smokeout, which encourages smokers to try and quit once and for all. The team at our Douglasville dental office can certainly get behind an event that promotes health! Which is why we’re covering a few reasons why quitting smoking, even if you’ve tried before, is a worthwhile goal.
Smokers are 50% more likely to get gum disease than non-smokers
Advanced research has shown smoking has been linked to an increased risk of infection, including gum disease. Gum disease can be a painful problem that may eventually lead to tooth loss.
Smoking inhibits your body’s ability to heal
Whenever your body undergoes trauma, whether that’s a major surgery or minor cut, it relies on a strong flow of healthy blood to heal. Smoking, however, restricts blood vessels and diminishes the amount of blood that moves throughout the system.
Tobacco users are 6 times more likely to develop oral cancer
While oral cancer can occur in anyone, people who use tobacco are at a much greater risk. Oral cancer can affect the tongue, throat, cheeks, or any other area of the mouth. If caught early oral cancer can be successfully treated.
Yellow teeth and bad breath are incredibly common
Tobacco products contain tar and nicotine. Both of these ingredients can stick to teeth, gums, and the tongue and are difficult to remove. Because of this, smokers and users of other forms of tobacco usually have discolored teeth and unpleasant breath.
Using tobacco decreases saliva production
This may not immediately seem like a huge concern, but to your dentist in Douglasville, decreased saliva production could mean serious trouble. Saliva helps neutralize acids in the mouth and rinse away bacteria. Without it teeth are left exposed to the damaging elements and the likelihood of decay increases.
Tooth loss is 2 times more prevalent in smokers
Due to several of the other reasons above, such as a drier mouth and a decreased ability to heal, smokers are more likely to suffer more tooth loss than non-smokers. Oftentimes smokers may lose their teeth earlier than their non-using counterparts.
If you’re unsure where to start the quest towards a smoke-free life, we welcome you to call our dental office in Douglasville. We can work together to determine how quitting can benefit your oral and overall health and talk about ways you can try to quit.
Dental fear is incredibly common among adult Americans. In fact, an estimated 80 million Americans have some level of dental fear. While the team at our dental office in Douglasville certainly understands that being afraid of the dentist is a very real thing, we also always want to try our best to help our patients and neighbors understand how they can overcome that fear and, dare we say, start to enjoy visits to the dentist.
Top Causes of Dental Fear
Dental fear can be brought on by a number of different things, but some of the most common reasons include fear of pain, embarrassment, losing control, or a negative past experience. It’s important for you and your dental team to work together to try to identify the source behind your fear so you can work better together to overcome it.
4 Ways to Ease Dental Fear
Talk About It. Perhaps the most important way to combat dental fear is to establish trust with your dentist in Douglasville. It may help if your dentist talks you through the appointment, letting you know exactly what is going to happen next and what you should expect. Discuss your concerns with your dental team to find what works best for you.
Distract Yourself. We understand that lying down in a dental chair while we poke around in your mouth can cause some people to feel uneasy, and that’s ok. Instead of focusing on what we’re doing, it may help to have a distraction handy. Consider bringing some music and headphones to your next visit or talk with your dental team to see if they have any amenities you can take advantage of.
Just Breathe. Practicing breathing techniques and focusing on breathing patterns has been proven to lower anxiety levels. There are numerous instructional videos online and even some courses you can take to help you. But essentially, close your eyes, take deep breaths, filling the lower part of your belly, and steadily release.
Bring a Friend. If it’s your first dental visit in awhile, have a trusted friend tag along with you. The presence of a trusted person can go a long way in helping you feel relaxed. Make a date out of it and treat them to lunch afterwards.
We Know You Can Do It
Maintaining regular dental cleanings and checkups every six months can be especially hard for those with dental fear. But keeping up with these visits is crucial for good oral health and to avoid more in-depth treatment in the future. Bi-yearly dental appointments help identify and treat any potential problems early and are key to keeping your mouth pain-free and cavity-free.
Whether it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist due to dental fear, or even if you’re just searching for a new dental home, we welcome you to call our Douglasville dental office to schedule an appointment. Our entire team is dedicated to treating each and every patient with the gentle care they deserve and we’d be happy to work with you on easing any fears you may have.
October is commonly recognized as the month packed with pumpkins, scarecrows, trick-or-treaters, and all things Halloween. At our dental office in Douglasville, October has another important meaning that’s near and dear to our hearts; it’s National Dental Hygiene month – when we recognize our dedicated dental hygienists and bring awareness to the importance of proper oral health.
The Daily 4
Sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP), National Dental Hygiene Month has a different focus every year. In 2017, the theme is meant to drive awareness to the main components of a proper oral health routine including:
The hygiene team that works closely with your dentist in Douglasville is dedicated to educating patients on the importance and proper techniques of these four crucial activities for a healthy mouth. Let’s take a closer look at each one…
We’re all taught from an early age to brush our teeth before heading off to school in the morning and prior to hopping into bed at night. This lesson should follow us throughout our entire lives. But it’s not only important to brush every day, it’s crucial that you brush correctly every day. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your routine, always brush twice a day for two minutes each time and use gentle circles with your soft-bristled toothbrush.
Brushing is only half of a healthy at home oral hygiene routine. You should absolutely floss in between each tooth every day. If you don’t, you leave about 35% of each tooth’s surface uncleaned and exposed to the dangers of decay.
Besides brushing and flossing, using a mouthwash that’s approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) can enhance your oral health. There are two types of mouthwash — cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash may temporarily mask bad breath but has no real oral health benefit, whereas therapeutic mouthwash with the ADA Seal of Acceptance has been tested to ensure it actually does what it claims, which is typically reducing bad breath, gingivitis, decay, and plaque.
At our Douglasville dental office, we would love it if every one of our patients would brush their teeth after eating. But we understand that’s not always possible. Instead, we encourage patients to keep sugarless gum handy and chew it after meals. Chewing gum helps produce saliva, which then helps neutralize and rinse away bacteria left over from lunch. Just make sure it doesn’t contain sugar and look again for the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
These Daily 4 activities can go a long way in keeping your smile healthy. But even if you follow them exactly it’s still crucial to maintain your professional dental cleanings and bi-annual checkups. Regular dental visits help remove plaque and tartar and can help catch any potential problems early when treatment is still easy and more effective.
So you’ve just had your six month dental checkup and you were told you need to consider getting a dental night guard. What exactly is a dental night guard and what is it for? The team at our dental office in Douglasville is here to explain.
What’s a Dental Night Guard For?
Dental night guards are often the treatment of choice for patients who have a history of grinding their teeth while they sleep. Also known as bruxism, tooth grinding typically occurs at night when patients have no way of knowing they even do it. Chronic bruxism can lead to several problems with teeth and even the jaw. If left untreated, bruxism can cause broken, chipped, or cracked teeth, headaches, and TMJ/TMD. Bruxism can be treated and should be done so early to avoid future problems.
What Types of Night Guards Are Available?
There are two types of night guards: professional, custom-made and over-the-counter, boil and bite. While the night guards found at drugstores can work to reduce tooth grinding, there are several benefits to choosing a custom night guard made by a dentist. To begin, custom-made night guards use detailed molds of your teeth, making them a more comfortable choice. Your dentist will also consider the alignment of your jaw during the fitting process to ensure your night guard won’t place unnecessary stress on the joint which could lead to other problems. Lastly, while a store-bought night guard may seem attractive at first due to the lower cost, custom-made night guards usually last up to 10 years, making them a more cost-efficient option in the long run.
Are There Other Treatment Options?
Night guards may be the most common treatment method to stop tooth grinding, but it certainly isn’t the only option. Other recommended treatments may include methods of stress reduction, limiting the intake of caffeine or medication with stimulants, or perhaps orthodontics to straighten teeth and realign the jaw.
Signs of Bruxism
While your dentist in Douglasville is the best person to diagnose bruxism, there are several signs you should keep a lookout for in between visits including:
- Flat or chipped teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Waking up with sore jaw muscles
- Neck or facial pain
If you happen to notice any of these signs and suspect you may be grinding your teeth, we welcome you to give our Douglasville dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll perform a thorough evaluation in our relaxing office to determine if bruxism is the root of what you’re experiencing. If it is we’ll talk with you about your treatment options and work together to decide which one may be best for you.