Biting your lips, cheeks, or tongue is a common habit for many people. While it may seem relatively harmless, biting the soft tissues in our mouths can lead to serious and painful problems. But like any habit, it can be difficult to stop biting your lips, cheeks, or tongue. Join your Douglasville dentist as we share a bit about why biting is bad and what you can do to break the habit.
Why We Bite
There are several possible explanations behind why we bite our lips, cheeks, or tongue. Occasionally, stress or nerves can be to blame. If you’re someone who chronically bites, this is most likely the case. But there are things you can try to help you stop. First, try to become more aware of when you bite. Maybe it’s during times of high stress or perhaps when you’re concentrating really hard. Once you know when you’re more likely to bite, you can start to work on consciously recognizing it and stopping it.
Other times, biting a lip, cheek, or tongue is purely accidental and can happen while we’re chewing or even during a sneeze. Even though these accidental bites can be painful and may even bleed, they’re usually not something to be concerned about and should heal on their own. However, there are some people who seem to bite their lip, cheek, or tongue accidentally a lot. If this is the case, it could be a sign of something a bit more serious such as a bad bite or TMJ disorder. Both of these dental concerns can mean that your top teeth don’t line up properly with your bottom teeth which makes it really easy for an accidental chomp to your cheek, lip, or tongue to occur. Your dentist in Douglasville will be able to help you determine if this is the case for you.
Why is Biting Bad?
First and foremost, biting the soft tissues of the mouth hurts, and the pain can last for a few days after the initial bite due to the sore that pops up as a result of the trauma. These sores that develop after a bite can become infected if they aren’t cleaned. Additionally, chronic biters can suffer from inflammation, swelling, pain, and redness. But that’s not all. If a bad bite or TMJ disorder is playing a role in your biting, you may also experience the common symptoms that accompany those problems including headaches and jaw pain.
How Do You Stop Biting?
Treatment of lip, cheek, or tongue biting depends on what’s causing it in the first place. If biting is a nervous habit, try to work with yourself to consciously stop it. More severe cases can benefit from behavioral therapy. If you suspect that your chronic accidental biting is because of a bad bite, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville. Your dental team is trained to help identify a bad bite and can suggest the most appropriate treatment for your specific case so you can stop biting once and for all.
One of the most common things dental patients want is to get a whiter smile. Thanks to everyday things like our morning cup of coffee or tea, or the occasional glass of red wine, our teeth are constantly exposed to foods and drinks that can easily cause them to become dull or discolored. However, your dentist in Douglasville also knows that there are things you can eat and drink that can actually help improve the appearance of your smile. Let’s check out a few.
We know that broccoli may not be the most popular choice of vegetables, but it’s first on our list of smile whitening foods for a reason. In fact, broccoli can help improve the look of our teeth in two ways. First, the texture of raw broccoli essentially acts as a gentle scrubber and can effectively rub off surface stains. Additionally, broccoli is loaded with iron which, according to research by the European Journal of Dentistry, can protect tooth enamel from acid and keep it from wearing away. This can keep enamel tough, strong, and looking as white as ever.
Switching from veggies to fruits, apples provide similar benefits to broccoli. Raw apples, in particular, also rub away stains as we chew them thanks to their crunchy texture. Apples also contain malic acid — an enzyme that has been linked to increased saliva production. Increased saliva neutralizes acid, protects enamel, and can wash away loose stains.
Another fruit that can help with tooth stains is pineapple. This delicious fruit is loaded with bromelain. Bromelain is known to help with inflammation and is a natural cleanser. In fact, the International Journal of Dental Hygiene conducted a study that concluded that bromelain can safely and effectively remove tooth stains.
Dairy foods and drinks, including yogurt, milk, and cheese are great for oral health as well as tooth staining. Foods in this food group contain a trifecta of good stuff like calcium, vitamin D, and lactic acid. The calcium and vitamin D help keep tooth enamel strong, which also helps keep teeth looking white. The lactic acid, on the other hand, is really great at fighting off bacteria and decay. Just like broccoli and apples, hard cheeses can also scrub away surface stains.
The last thing and perhaps the most important thing that you can do to protect your oral health and keep your teeth white is to drink plenty of water, and choose water over other beverages whenever possible. Water helps to neutralize the acid that can attack enamel, and is also really effective at rinsing away food particles. If these particles aren’t removed quickly they can lead to decay and cavities, and, in turn, tooth discoloration.
If you’re one of the many people who wish that they had a whiter smile, try getting a good dose of the foods above. It’s important to note, however, that while these foods can help whiten teeth, they may only be effective on minor surface stains. Deeper tooth staining may require a visit to your dentist in Douglasville. Some stains are tougher than others, and your dental team will be able to recommend the best smile whitening treatment for your specific case. Don’t worry, there are many options available – from professional teeth whitening to cosmetic dentistry – that can help you get the smile you’ve always wanted.
Many people, both children, and adults alike, have crooked teeth. Occasionally, crooked teeth can contribute to poor self-esteem and loss of confidence. But even if crooked teeth don’t bother someone mentally, your dentist in Douglasville may still be worried. The truth is, crooked teeth can lead to some oral health (and overall health) complications, some of which can be serious.
Health Problems Caused by Crooked Teeth
- Gum Disease – Straight teeth are often healthier teeth because they’re easier to take care of. When teeth aren’t straight or overlap, they can be very difficult to clean thoroughly and properly. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria, which can cause a whole host of oral health problems such as cavities and gum disease. If not treated, gum disease can progress into periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss and damaged bone.
- Jaw Pain & Chipped Teeth – Those with crooked teeth may also be at greater risk for damaging their teeth because crooked teeth often cause too much wear and tear on teeth. What’s more, is that this increased wear and tear can also put unnecessary stress on the jaw joint, which can lead to jaw pain or even TMJ/TMD.
- Sleep Apnea – Crooked teeth don’t only contribute to problems with oral health, but overall health, too. One of the lesser-known side effects of crooked or overlapping teeth is sleep apnea. Oftentimes patients with a small jaw also have overcrowded teeth, and this combination can make it hard to breathe. When the jaw is too narrow we tend to push our tongues into our teeth or rest the tongue in an unnatural place, which can put unnecessary pressure on teeth and cause them to shift. This lack of tongue space can also cause the tongue to fall back and cover the throat while sleeping, thus causing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition that can cause people to stop breathing several times a night and increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
The Problem with a Bad Bite
Many times, the solution to overcoming a crooked smile is some sort of orthodontic treatment. But there are times when a visually straight smile can also benefit from orthodontics. You see, if someone’s teeth appear straight, they can still have an underlying problem of a bad bite, also known as malocclusion. If not treated, a bad bite could be painful and contribute to long-term complications. Such as:
- Increased risk for chipped teeth
- Speech impairment in kids
- Severe headaches
- Damage to tooth enamel
Your dentist in Douglasville can help determine if you have a bad bite even if you have straight teeth and recommend the best treatment.
Causes of Crooked Teeth
There’s no one, concrete thing that causes crooked teeth. In fact, there are many causes of crooked teeth, some of which may be unavoidable. Crooked teeth can be caused by:
- Poor habits as a child such as thumb sucking
- Early tooth loss before an adult tooth is ready to erupt
- A small jaw
- Facial injury
- Mouth breathing
- Incorrect tongue posture
If you’re curious about whether your teeth could benefit from some form of orthodontia, we encourage you to call your Douglasville dentist to schedule a consultation to talk about your concerns and options.
The Great American Smokeout is hosted on the third Thursday of every November. Its purpose is to help smokers set a day to work towards a smoke-free life. As you probably know, quitting smoking can help you get healthier, but it can also protect your children’s health, too. The truth is, those who live with smokers, including children, are at risk for similar health concerns as the actual smoker. To help celebrate the Great American Smokeout and raise awareness of the importance of quitting, our dental office in Douglasville is sharing some ways smoking can put others living with you at risk, even if they aren’t smokers themselves.
Secondhand Smoke Linked to Cavities
You may already be aware of the oral health complications that tend to affect smokers, such as bad breath and an increased risk of gum disease. But one thing you may not know is that secondhand smoke can also carry oral health risks. A study conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) showed a potential link between secondhand smoke and the prevalence of cavities in children’s baby teeth. But that’s not all. There are several reasons smokers should avoid lighting up when children are around.
Children of Smokers are at Risk
An increased risk of developing more cavities is certainly something that worries your Douglasville dentist. However, children of smokers have even more risks that go beyond oral health alone. In fact, children of smokers tend to get more ear infections, more colds that last longer, and are at greater risk of bronchitis than children of non-smokers. The risks of secondhand smoke can even go beyond childhood if kids are continuously exposed to it. Constant exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to underdeveloped lungs and even heart disease and lung cancer. Unfortunately, the risks don’t end there. Children of smokers are nearly 4 times more likely to start smoking than those with non-smoking parents. Once someone starts the habit, it’s more likely that they themselves will become addicted and their risk of serious health problems, such as cancer and heart disease, will drastically increase.
Smoking During Pregnancy
Both smoking while pregnant and smoking around a pregnant woman carry risks to the unborn baby. Smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy can cause serious concerns including:
- Low birth weight and perhaps an unhealthy baby
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Premature birth
Even though our Douglasville dental office supports the Great American Smokeout, we aren’t here to lecture or judge anyone for smoking. Instead, we’re here to support our community in their journey to quit — which is exactly the mission behind the Great American Smokeout. Quitting smoking can not only help you live a longer, healthier life, it can also help protect your children.
If you’re trying to quit smoking, there are various resources you can use both online and in person. Try a few different things to find what’s best for you and always remember to never quit trying to quit.
It’s that time of the year again when the sounds of sneezes and sniffles, and coughs and congestion, are in the air. That’s right, it’s flu season, which can be a concerning time for all of us. At our dental office in Douglasville, we want you to know that you don’t have to suffer this year. There are some easy tips you can try to keep your family healthy all the way to spring.
Wash Those Hands
There’s a reason you’ll find posters in every bathroom stressing the importance of proper handwashing and why your dentist in Douglasville stresses washing those hands regularly — because it works! A little bit of soap and warm water can go a long way in keeping you healthy and flu-free. Make sure to wash your hands after using the restroom, touching another person, touching anything in public (think escalators and doorknobs!), and before every meal or snack. While soap and warm water work best to kill those pesky germs, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can work well in a pinch.
Having clean hands is one thing that can certainly help reduce the risk of catching the flu, but having a clean house is also important. Pay attention to the areas where your family spends the most time, like the bathrooms (don’t forget the toilet handles!) and kitchen. Sanitize things that are often overlooked, such as remote control, faucets, and toys. When in doubt, give it a quick wipe down with an antibacterial cleaner.
No Hands to the Face
Hands touch so many things throughout the day, and even if you’re washing them regularly, there’s still a chance germs are lingering around. In fact, the CDC states that one of the most common ways germs are spread is by touching a contaminated surface, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts have mucus that can easily transport germs into the body and make us sick.
Take Care of That Toothbrush
The truth is, toothbrushes can play host to all sorts of gross germs that can make you sick. But with proper care, those germs don’t stand a chance. Make sure the bristles are getting a thorough rinsing with warm water after every use to help flush bacteria down the drain (where they belong!). When it comes to storage, keep all toothbrushes in an upright position with the bristles at the top and allow them to air dry. Avoid using those little plastic toothbrush covers — they create the ultimate home for bacteria because it’s wet, cold, and dark. Keep family members’ toothbrushes separated from each other to avoid cross-contamination, and of course, never share toothbrushes.
Drink More Water
Water is the best thing for everyone to drink, but even more so during flu season. The truth is, a well-hydrated body is better equipped to fight off any infection. Try your best to have each member of your family drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. During flu season, if you can get them to drink a little bit more, it can only help.
Follow these tips this flu season to help keep your entire family healthy all winter long. However, sometimes pesky germs find their way inside and make us sick. If that happens, your Douglasville dentist encourages you to use sugar-free medicines to help alleviate symptoms.
October is known for a lot of things, but it’s the one month set aside each year to give a little bit of extra love to all of the immensely talented, caring dental hygienists out there. There are so many of them across the country whose work goes unnoticed or even underappreciated each day. So we’re here to pull back the curtain and shed some light on the life-changing services they provide.
Take a few minutes with your dentist in Douglasville to give three cheers for dental hygienists and everything they do to keep you and your smile healthy.
Cheers #1 – Celebrate Their Love For Smiles
You have to admit it; someone who chooses dentistry as a career must really love teeth. If you ask any dental hygienist, we’re sure their answer will be very similar. Most dental hygienists take special classes and graduate with different training, degrees, and certifications. They don’t merely learn how to clean patients’ teeth and then send them on their way.
The American Dental Association will tell you that dental hygiene is no easy job. Hygienists are responsible for:
– Carefully examining teeth and the entire mouth for anything suspicious
– Taking a patient’s oral health history, blood pressure, and pulse
– Assessing your oral health needs and goals
– Taking precise x-rays and oral photos
– Educating patients about the best ways to care for their smile at home
– Clearing away harmful plaque and tartar from teeth to avoid decay
To get that up close and personal to smile each day takes a special dedication and a person who genuinely cares about their patients. Your Douglasville dentist will be the first to give any dental hygienist a huge high five for all the work they do!
Cheers #2 – They’re Making History
Fones School of Dental Hygiene first opened its doors in 1913, paving the way as the first school of its kind dedicated to educating dental hygienists. National Dental Hygiene Month first started being recognized in October back in 2009 courtesy of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and Wrigley gum. Together, both organizations saw the need for more Americans to put a heavier emphasis on keeping their teeth healthy.
This year, there’s even more to celebrate as the ADHA is partnering with Walgreens and LISTERINE® to promote further the benefits of good oral health and the incredible, life-changing work done by dental hygienists across the nation. There’s even a new, #DoTheSwish campaign happening at participating stores where you can snap a selfie with specially-marked LISTERINE® mouthwash displays for a chance to win some sweet prizes!
Cheers #3 – It’s an Excuse for a New Toothbrush
While we genuinely appreciate all that dental hygienists do for patients, this is also a good time of year to take a look at your toothbrush. Is it starting to look a little scary? It might be time for a replacement if your bristles are frayed or breaking.
Having the right toothbrush is going to help keep your mouth and gums healthy, in turn, making your dental hygienist happy. That’s what we want this month and every month of every year! This holiday marks the perfect opportunity to celebrate the fantastic, fabulous work dental hygienists do to keep mouths healthy across the country, from big cities to small villages.
Are you need of a teeth cleaning? Contact our Douglasville dental office today by phone or online to schedule a time with your amazing dental hygienist. Don’t forget to thank them for all they do for you and your smile.
Your dentist in Douglasville knows how incredibly unnerving a trip to have your teeth checked or cleaned can be for some patients. If this sounds like you, it’s essential to know that you’re not alone. Besides the fact that millions of Americans struggle with anxiety about seeing the dentist, you’ve got an extended family at our office who cares about your comfort and happiness.
We thought it might be a good idea to devote a blog to different ways you or someone you care about can alleviate your dental anxiety and relax in the chair. There are a few things we tell our patients that are sure to work for you too.
#1 – Talk it Out
No matter what age you are or where you’re at in life, one of the most significant, most effective ways to overcome dental anxiety is to talk to us. Communication with your Douglasville dentist will help to lower your stress levels associated with dental visits and make you feel less anxious about scheduling an appointment with us. Your dentist treats patients every day who are not too excited about having to sit in the dental chair, even for as something as routine as a cleaning. We have the right tools and training to make sure you’re always feeling comfortable and at ease.
Remember, starting with the first phone call if you’re a new patient, share your questions and concerns with our dental team. We can adapt to fit your needs and your schedule, to make seeing the dentist an experience that’s stress-free (and dare we say, enjoyable).
#2 – Relax and Breathe
It may seem a little silly having your dentist remind you to breathe, but so many people tense up when they’re at the dentist. Sometimes when we do this or we’re feeling anxious, we hold our breath and don’t breathe properly. This decreases oxygen levels and can further increase your feeling of anxiety or panic.
Whether you’re on your way to the office for an appointment or if you’re getting ready to sit down for treatment, you can always practice deep, meditative breathing. It’s easy! Just try focusing on your breath. Keep taking steady, slow inhalations and exhalations. When you develop a more rhythmic breathing pattern, you’re able to focus on that more than your feelings of dread from having to see the dentist. Focusing on our breathing helps dramatically reduce stress levels.
#3 – See Your Dentist in Douglasville Regularly
It may seem a bit strange, but the best way to avoid the dentist is to see your dentist regularly. If you can overcome your anxiety and get through regular, routine checkups and cleanings, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to avoid more extensive, time-consuming procedures in the future.
Also, remember this if you’re in the chair having work done: it’s OK to have a signal to stop and take a break if you’re uncomfortable. This puts you in control of the procedure and alerts your dentist if you need a time out for a minute or two.
We hope these tips can help provide you some relief from your dental worries and anxiety. Like we mentioned earlier, please don’t hesitate to call our Douglasville dental office and explain your feelings to us. There’s a solution for every patient, for every smile! We’re happy to help you find what makes you comfortable.
From kids to adults, there’s no shame in getting your game on. It’s a great way to get your daily exercise and spend time with friends or family. (And a little competition never hurt.)
With any sport, we run the risk of spraining an ankle or breaking a wrist. But you also run an even bigger danger of damaging your teeth. No one wants that! Especially your dentist in Douglasville.
Oral injuries from sports can range from a simple bump on the lip to requiring major dental surgery to repair a smile. (Hello, hockey players!) Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of broken, chipped teeth due to sports. Here are some of the most common culprits when it comes to wreaking havoc on smiles.
#1 – Football
As the gridiron game starts to heat up this month, you should know that it’s not so hot for your smile. You can probably imagine that any sport requiring tackling is going to cause an injury or two somewhere along the way. Make sure you and your kiddos are equipped with a custom mouthguard. They offer added protection to your bite when you’re fighting hard on the field. You don’t want tackles taking out your teeth.
#2 – Basketball
This court can be harsh on teeth. Not everyone wears mouthguards to protect their smile when playing basketball, but there are so many opportunities for damage to your teeth. This is true, especially as we grow older and continue in the sport. Just picture it: an elbow flailing here and there or a ball headed straight for the kisser. Basketball has the potential to do some serious damage to your teeth.
#3 – Martial Arts
Sports such as martial arts, mixed martial arts, boxing, and others can also spell trouble for your teeth. There’s no denying that these sports are full-contact and sometimes literally mean hitting someone directly in the face. Oral injury is occasionally imminent. But it can be avoidable if you remember to wear a custom mouthguard courtesy of your Douglasville dentist.
#4 – Stick and Bat Games
Think of a sport that you need a bat or a stick to play; we’ll wait. (Hint: Hockey, baseball, lacrosse, cricket, etc.) There’s an increased risk of getting smacked in the face with a stick or bat when you’re on the field or the ice with these sports. Just like all of the other sports we’ve discussed so far, it’s important to protect your smile with a mouthguard, especially if you’ve had extensive cosmetic work.
#5 – Skateboarding
Sure, Tony Hawk has a great smile. But we’re willing to bet he’s wiped out once or twice and his smile was right in the middle of it. Skateboarding can be fun and exhilarating just like a halfpipe, but if you’re not careful, your teeth can end up damaged. Chipped, broken, and knocked out teeth are common skateboarding injuries that we’ve seen (in children and parents).
At our Douglasville dental office, we’re all about preventing damage and decay to your teeth. After all, we want your smile to last a lifetime. However, if you find yourself with a dental emergency with a sports injury, know that you can always count on us. Please call our office to learn more about how we can accommodate you and your family should a dental emergency arise. We’re always here to help you feel better and have a healthy smile!
Every time you turn on the TV these days or read something online, there seems to be an ad for do-it-yourself or DIY teeth aligners. They promise a straighter smile without a trip to see a trained professional. Your dentist in Douglasville will tell you to be cautious about mail-order aligners for a few reasons. After all, this is your smile we’re talking about. If it doesn’t work correctly, you run the risk of a bad bite, poor alignment, and adverse effects on your overall health.
The Biggest Risks to Your Bite
No matter what kind of treatment or procedure you want for your smile, it’s always best to work with a professional. Other than keeping up with your at-home brushing and flossing like a champ, there’s not too much else you should be doing to your smile yourself. These mail-order, or direct-to-consumer orthodontic options are often not monitored by a dental health professional. So, who’s there to check in on your progress?
The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that every type of straightening treatment plan be monitored by a dental health professional like your Douglasville dentist. This regular interaction allows you to communicate any concerns you may have. It also gives the doctor an idea of how well your treatment is progressing. Orthodontic treatment without supervision could lead to issues that are painful and irreversible down the road.
Avoiding Temptations is Hard
When the commercial comes across the screen featuring beautiful people and their straight smiles, it’s easy to be sucked in. Couple that with clever marketing and the guarantee of a straighter smile and it becomes even harder to ignore. What it comes down to is cost.
When you’re promised a straighter smile at half the price, you’re instantly attracted and may be ready to buy. But how do you know what you’re getting? Normally with the DIY products, you make an at-home dental impression… and you had better cross your fingers that everything was done right. Then a series of clear aligners are created and mailed to you. You wear them without ever seeing a doctor to make sure you’re not damaging your bite or smile.
Know What’s Right
What the ads don’t tell you is that not everyone or every smile is fit for clear aligner orthodontic treatment. Sometimes these aligners aren’t enough to get your teeth to move into a more desirable, healthy position. Chances are, to get the results you want, you’re going to need some serious tooth movement. If your case is complicated, wasting your money on mail-order, DIY aligners will NOT give you the straight, confident smile you desire.
The moral of the story? Be careful about choosing convenience over expertise.
Are you or someone in your family ready for a straighter, healthier smile? Then forget about the TV ads and call our Douglasville dental office today for a consultation. We have the cutting-edge technology to be able to assess your smile and your bite to find out what orthodontic treatment is right for you. Better yet, if we find something that’s going to work for you, we’ll be there with you every step of the way. We can answer questions, make sure your treatment is progressing normally, and help you with aftercare needs, like a custom retainer.
You may have seen recent ads for do-it-yourself dental veneers pop up on your social media news feed, or stumbled across veneers that you can purchase online through various retailers. While DIY dental veneers may sound like a quick and cheap fix, there are several concerns your dentist in Douglasville wants you to know about.
What Are DIY Veneers?
DIY dental veneers are inexpensive alternatives to a professional and custom-made solution from your dentist in Douglasville. They typically come in two varieties — one that uses molds of your teeth and one that does not. Unlike their professional counterparts, DIY veneers are temporary, removable, and are held in place only using dental adhesive.
Concerns About DIY Veneers
Those looking to enhance the appearance of their smile may be first attracted to the low cost of DIY veneers. But these temporary fixtures do not come without concerns.
- Temporary – DIY veneers are designed to only be worn occasionally and for short periods of time. This really only allows someone to have a brighter, straighter, more attractive smile for a few hours. Professional cosmetic dentistry and veneers from our dental office in Douglasville give you a permanent smile every day of your life.
- Longevity – The materials used to create these cheap alternatives to custom veneers are typically low quality. This means you may need to replace temporary DIY veneers several times.
- Not Custom – Even the DIY veneers that require you to take molds of your teeth and send them off to the manufacturer aren’t incredibly custom. The final result can be uncomfortable and may look unrealistic.
- Bite Problems – One of the larger concerns of DIY veneers is that the manufacturer is not taking your bite into consideration when making the fixture. This means you may accidentally shift your bite or put unnecessary pressure on your teeth and jaw. This can create pain, discomfort, and, if not treated, more problems down the road.
- Decay – When a dental appliance does not fit well (and DIY veneers often don’t), there’s often a space between the appliance and the teeth or gums. This space gives food and bacteria a great place to hide which can easily lead to decay, cavities, and again, more problems such as the need for a root canal or crown.
Every patient’s mouth is unique, as are their goals and concerns. The only way to make sure you’re investing your money into something that you will be happy with long-term is to talk with your dentist in Douglasville. There are many cosmetic dentistry treatments available, including veneers, that can improve your smile safely and permanently. Ensure that your results are truly custom and truly what you’re looking for. Schedule an appointment today.