Gum disease is often one term used to describe what are actually three different things. While each level of infection is recognized by a medical term all its own, they are all in fact an infection of the gums. At our dental office in Douglasville, we want to help our neighbors identify each level of gum disease, educate them on the risk factors, and talk about the complications that may result if gum disease is left untreated.
Different Stages of Gum Disease
Let’s start with the mildest form of gum disease — gingivitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is classified by gum inflammation, redness, or maybe some bleeding while brushing and flossing. It’s caused when too much plaque builds up under the gum line. When caught before it has a chance to progress gingivitis can be treated and reversed.
The next stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis. When gingivitis isn’t treated, the plaque buildup can start to affect the bone and tissues that are responsible for keeping the teeth sturdy and in place. If this occurs, it usually can’t be undone and recommended treatment is more about limiting any more damage.
The most severe form of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. During this stage, bones and tissues are seriously weakened which can cause teeth to shift, become loose, or fall out. While treatment may help stop any damage from progressing, the damage that has already occurred is irreversible.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
There are several factors that may put someone at greater risk for developing gum disease. Some of these risk factors are controllable while others are not. For example, genetics are thought to play a role in the development of gum disease, and we can’t do much about the way we’re built. However, we can reduce our risk by not smoking, brushing and flossing regularly, and eating a well-balanced diet.
Signs of Gum Disease
You may have heard gum disease described as a silent disease, but what does that mean? In the earliest stages of gum disease (gingivitis), a person may have little to no symptoms and never suspect a problem. But knowing what to keep an eye out for can help you identify gum disease early and while it’s still treatable.
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Receding gums
- Swollen, red gums
Gum Disease & Overall Health
If not treated early gum disease can lead to tooth loss and some other serious whole-body concerns. Numerous studies have shown that gum disease has been linked to serious medical conditions and diseases including:
- Lung disease
- Heart attacks
The best way to protect your smile from gum disease is to brushing and floss everyday and make sure to visit your dentist in Douglasville at least twice a year.
If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental check, give our Douglasville dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.
With Labor Day right around the corner, we’re sure our patients and neighbors are gearing up for a celebration. Typical Labor Day picnics usually include tons of delicious foods and snacks ranging from hot dogs and barbeque chicken to dips and salads galore. But some of these yummy treats aren’t so great for smiles. At our dental office in Douglasville, we’re here to tell you about some of the most common Labor Day foods and drinks that could be bad for your teeth.
Be Aware of the Condiments
Even though condiments are used sparingly, they can still present dangers to oral health. Some of the most damaging condiments include:
- BBQ Sauce
- Salad Dressing
Common Labor Day picnic staples, BBQ sauce, ketchup, and salad dressings can put teeth at increased risk for decay and enamel erosion. Ingredients in these condiments pack a double whammy since they tend to be both acidic (vinegar) and sweet (sugar). The acid from the vinegar can wear away tooth enamel while the sugars lead to decay and cavities.
Chips & Pretzels
Salty chips and crunchy pretzels go so well with other Labor Day treats, but they can get stuck in the crevices of teeth. If not removed, these leftover food particles will feed bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria will then release acid which can affect tooth enamel.
Soda can contain lots of sugar and acid, and as we all know, both are concerning for your dentist in Douglasville. If you must have a soda, try to drink only one and use a straw to minimize how much touches your teeth.
Alcohol is naturally drying and will cause your mouth to dry out too. This reduces saliva production which typically would wash away bacteria and plaque before it has a chance to cause damage.
We’re not saying you should avoid these treats altogether, but we do encourage you to mix in some fresh veggies, cheese, and in-season fruits. Also make sure to drink plenty of water and try to brush your teeth shortly after eating. If brushing isn’t an option, a quick rinse with some water can rinse away sugars and acids, helping to protect your teeth.
From all of us at our Douglasville dental office, we hope you have a happy and safe Labor Day.
Our dental office in Douglasville understands that losing or breaking a filling can be scary. It may even be a little painful. But many times a lost filling isn’t a dental emergency. However, with that said, it’s still important to treat it appropriately and in a timely manner. We’re here to walk you through the steps you should take if you do lose a filling and what you can do to help protect yourself.
Pick Up the Phone
The very first thing you should do if you lose or break a filling is call your dentist in Douglasville. Explain what happened, any symptoms you have, and if you’re in any pain. Sometimes our dental office has appointments available and may be able to see you the same day. If not, make sure you get the earliest appointment possible. If left untreated, a lost filling can result in more decay and damage.
During the appointment your dental team will examine the area and check for any other damage. They’ll then make a recommendation for the best treatment for you. Treatment may be another filling or it could be a dental crown. If the area is large, a crown is usually the treatment of choice.
Take it Easy
While you’re waiting for your appointment you should try your best to avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the filling once was. This can help keep food and bacteria out of the space left by the filling.
Clean it Well, Clean it Often
After you do eat, rinse your mouth out with warm salt water to rinse away any lingering food particles. You can also gently brush the area with a toothbrush if it doesn’t cause pain.
Take Some Medicine
Pain reliever can work wonders in relieving any sensitivity or discomfort that may come along with losing a filling. Use what typically works best for you and follow the dosage instructions on the label.
Try Temporary Filler
Many pharmacies carry temporary filling material made with zinc oxide. Using this to block up the gap in your tooth will not only help keep food out, but can ease pain too. Just remember that this is a temporary fix.
Even though dental fillings are incredibly strong and can last for years, sometimes things happen that can cause them to fall out. If this happens, don’t wait to call our Douglasville dental office to schedule an appointment.
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.