As we head into the one-year mark of this pandemic, there are still several unknowns. But one thing has remained constant the whole time — stress levels are high, and rightfully so. Stress isn’t the best thing for health, especially at times like these. Prolonged periods of high stress can put us at increased risk for heart disease, actually make our immune systems less effective, and cause some unwanted gut problems. That’s not all. Dentists have also noticed an increase in oral health problems the past year, including this dentist featured in the New York Times. In today’s blog, your dentist in Douglasville explores some ways how stress can affect your oral health.
Chipped or Broken Teeth
You know how your body reacts kind of automatically when you’re stressed out? Maybe you start to sweat even though you’re not hot. Or perhaps your heart starts beating so fast it’s all you can hear. These and other subconscious reactions happen, and they’re not always so obvious. In fact, sometimes we don’t even notice that our body reacted at all. One great example of this is when we grind or clench our teeth. Many times we’re not even aware that we’re doing it, but it can certainly cause trouble. The constant pressure of teeth on teeth during clenching or grinding can cause tooth damage such as chips, cracks, or breaks and will require treatment from your dentist in Douglasville.
Unfortunately, the problems with clenching and grinding don’t end with damaged teeth. These repeated motions over and over again can start to cause jaw pain as the muscles in the jaw joint are overworked. If this happens over a long period of time, this can develop into TMJ disorder, and the pain can become severe and lead to other problems such as headaches, neck pain, and difficulty chewing.
Now, besides the problems associated with clenching and grinding, there’s also the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissue and is usually caused by poor dental hygiene or tobacco use. However, stress may also increase the risk of developing gum disease. Your dentist in Douglasville can treat gum disease if it’s caught early, but if the disease becomes more severe it also becomes irreversible. Untreated advanced gum disease can cause tooth loss and increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and some cancers.
It’s important to note that scientists have yet to determine one absolute cause of canker sores. But research conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry suggests a possible correlation between high levels of stress and the development of canker sores. Even though these painful bumps may be a little bit painful and a lot bit annoying, they’re not contagious or dangerous and should go away on their own.
Lower Your Stress, Lower Your Risk
We know it’s hard to lower your stress levels, especially nowadays, but we can’t stress enough just how important it is to try different ways to live as stress-free of a life as possible to lower your risk of health problems. Some ways to reduce stress include:
- Getting Enough Sleep. We need to sleep in order to recover and keep our bodies functioning properly. Aim for 8 hours a day and follow a regular routine of waking up at the same time every day.
- Exercising Every Day. Whatever your exercise of choice is, try to do it every day. Hop on a bike. Go for a walk. Do some high-intensity interval training. Just get sweating. Exercise has been proven to release endorphins which can decrease stress and keep us healthy.
- Breathing It Out. Meditation has been used for centuries as a stress-reduction tactic. Find a quiet space, focus on your breath, and clear your mind to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and help you relax.
Everyone is different, but try to find a stress-reduction technique that works for you and practice it every day. Your body, mind, and overall health will thank you for it.
If wearing your mask has caused you to change the way you breathe, you’re not alone. Most of us are still getting used to wearing masks day after day, hour after hour, and many of us may have felt the need to adjust from breathing out of noses to breathing out of our mouths as a result. But can this change in breathing have oral health side effects? Your dentist in Douglasville is here with the answer.
*A Quick Note
We need to first address the importance of continuing to wear a mask when in public or around people. The information included in this blog does not outweigh the overall benefits and protection offered from wearing a mask. We also provide tips on how to overcome the side effects discussed. Please continue wearing a mask whenever you’re around others or in a public space.
Mouth Breathing & Oral Health
We’re all probably familiar with what dry mouth feels like, but let’s have a refresher. Take a few deep breaths using only your mouth. Do you feel that dry, desert-like feeling? Do you feel like you need to take a drink or that you need to keep swallowing? That’s dry mouth and it’s what happens when we mouth breathe. Dry mouth is a result of a lack of saliva, and it’s something that concerns your dentist in Douglasville.
Saliva is a crucial part of a healthy mouth as it helps neutralize acids and wash away harmful bacteria. But without it, or enough of it, these bacteria and acids are left untouched and can cause damage. And that’s not all. The bacteria feed on leftover food particles and release an acidic byproduct, which just means more acid is around to cause more damage.
Acid Leads to Cavities
The problem with too much acid in the mouth is that it can easily wear down tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to bacteria. As the cycle of bacteria and acid production continues, the more likely it is that a cavity, or several cavities, will form.
Bacteria Leads to Bad Breath
While we now know that bacteria can contribute to the development of cavities, we also need to know that elevated levels of bacteria can also cause bad breath. The truth is, mouth bacteria release sulfur compounds, and it’s these stinky sulfur compounds that cause bad breath.
Ways to Prevent Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can occur from mouth breathing but it can also be caused by certain medications, health conditions, or tobacco use. But there are ways you can prevent or reduce the effects of dry mouth such as:
- Gum or Candy. Chewing sugar-free gum or gum that contains Xylitol can help encourage saliva production and keep the mouth moist. Sucking on sugarless hard candies can also have a similar effect.
- Water. Trusty water should be everyone’s go-to drink of choice for a lot of reasons. It’s good for the body, it’s good for oral health, and it can help keep the mouth hydrated and bacteria and acid-free.
- Brush & Floss. Even though good oral hygiene won’t necessarily stop dry mouth from occurring, it can help reduce the side effects. Brushing twice a day and flossing every day can help remove bad breath causing bacteria and keep the mouth clean and healthy.
While we’re still encouraged to wear masks, try your best to breathe out of your nose instead of your mouth. However, if mouth breathing is more comfortable, make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your mouth hydrated. If you do start to experience dry mouth, call your dentist in Douglasville. There are ways your dentist can further treat dry mouth so you can get relief.
There are plenty of reasons why someone may not love the way their smile looks. Maybe their teeth aren’t white enough or perhaps they’re crooked or worn down. Whatever the reason, there’s a cosmetic dentistry solution from your dentist in Douglasville that can transform your smile into one you’re proud of and can’t wait to show off. Better yet, many of these treatments are fast and easy so you can get a new look quickly.
Top 5 Cosmetic Dentistry Solutions
Depending on your specific wants and needs, your dentist in Douglasville can recommend the best cosmetic dentistry treatment, or combination of treatments, for your smile goals. Here are some of the most popular cosmetic dentistry solutions available to patients.
- Teeth Whitening
One of the easiest ways to boost your smile’s appearance is to change the color of your teeth. However, finding the best teeth whitening treatment in Douglasville can be confusing. From over-the-counter whitening strips and pens to glowing trays that you can buy online, there are tons of teeth whitening solutions available. It’s important to know that not all of these treatments are created equal. We recommend talking with your dentist about getting professional teeth whitening treatment before investing in any product. Your dentist will want to make sure that your teeth are healthy enough for whitening and can help make the best recommendation to get you the results you want.
- Dental Veneers
Veneers are a perfect cosmetic dentistry solution if you want to whiten your teeth and a traditional whitening product won’t work, if you have chipped, broken, or crooked teeth, or if you want to change the length or shape of your teeth. As the name suggests, veneers essentially cover up the natural tooth and are custom-made to give you the shape and color you’re looking for.
If veneers aren’t an option for you, there is an alternative. Cosmetic bonding can also cover up undesirable stains, fix tiny chips or cracks, or change the appearance of crooked or uneven teeth. Talk with your dentist to see if cosmetic bonding is right for you.
- Orthodontics & Clear Aligners
A crooked smile or overlapping teeth can make you want to hide your smile. Even those who had braces as a child can see their teeth shift over time. But thanks to advancements in dental technology, there are many types of orthodontics available to help straighten your smile. From traditional braces, clear braces, or clear aligners, you’re sure to find the right solution for your teeth and your lifestyle.
- Smile Makeover
Occasionally, your dentist will recommend a combination of cosmetic dentistry solutions to get you the smile you want. This is known as a smile-makeover or a full-mouth restoration and can completely transform your smile. Your dentist will create a custom plan for you that can fix things such as:
- Uneven Teeth
- Broken Teeth
- Stained Teeth
- A Gummy Smile
- Dark Metal Fillings
While cosmetic dentistry can enhance your smile, it’s still important to take care of your teeth so your treatment lasts and your mouth stays healthy. After all, oral health involves more than just your smile. Make sure you brush for two minutes every day, floss once a day, and see your dentist in Douglasville at least twice a year to keep your teeth, gums, and entire mouth protected.
Pain in your teeth is such a unique yet unpleasant feeling. The zings and throbbing that come along with a toothache are enough to make you miserable. We get it, and even though we don’t wish toothaches on anyone, the truth is, they happen. But sometimes the hardest part of treating a toothache is finding out what’s causing the pain in the first place. That’s where your dentist in Douglasville comes in.
Common Reasons Why Your Teeth Hurt
A toothache is often different from other pains we experience throughout our bodies. Most of the time, we can’t see that anything is wrong with our teeth, but we sure can feel it. While it’s important to have your dentist properly diagnose the source of a toothache, here are some of the most common reasons behind tooth pain.
A cavity is essentially a hole in the tooth. If left untreated over time, the cavity will become larger. If the cavity gets so big that it gets too close to the nerves, you will feel it. Cavities can usually be fixed through fillings, but cavities that are too big and too deep may require a root canal.
Caused by a bacterial infection, an abscess is a pocket of pus that can pop up on different areas of our mouths. The pain is usually a throbbing type and it can move into the ears and jaw. Sometimes, an abscess also causes facial swelling or a bad taste in your mouth.
- Broken Tooth
Believe it or not, you can break or chip a tooth and not know it, that is until you feel it. A broken or chipped tooth can expose the nerves and cause pain.
- Clenching or Grinding
Habitually clenching your teeth when you’re stressed out or grinding your teeth at night can cause tooth pain. These habits can also lead to broken teeth as well as jaw pain.
- Gum Disease
It can be difficult to tell the difference between gum pain and tooth pain, and sometimes what we think is a toothache is actually a sign of gum disease. If not treated, gum disease can progress into more serious forms and increase pain, cause tooth loss, and even lead to other problems throughout the body.
The best way to find out why your teeth hurt is to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville. We’ll perform an in-depth examination and take any x-rays we may need to find out once and for all what’s causing your tooth pain. After we know the culprit, we’ll know exactly how to fix it.
What To Do For a Toothache
While you’re waiting for your dental appointment, there are several at-home toothache remedies you can try such as:
- Rinsing With Salt Water – Mix warm water with salt, take swig, swish, spit, and repeat. This can dry out any fluid that may be putting pressure on your nerves and ease the pain. You can repeat this several times throughout the day.
- Applying Ice – There’s a reason doctors recommend using ice to treat any injury — it works! Ice reduces inflammation and, in turn, can relieve any pressure on the nerves. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel directly to the outside of your cheek next to the painful area.
- Taking Anti-inflammatories – Another way to reduce inflammation is to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine. Take these as directed and if your health history allows, and never apply an anti-inflammatory medication directly on your gums or teeth.
- Using Anesthetic – The next best thing to getting your toothache treated is to temporarily numb the area through the use of an anesthetic. Pharmacies and grocery stores carry over-the-counter oral anesthetics for this exact purpose.
Depending on what’s causing your tooth pain, some of these tips may work better than others. Try a few and find what gives you the most relief. But remember, these remedies are temporary. It’s still important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment from your dentist in Douglasville.
Many everyday things can cause tooth staining, from your daily cup of coffee to your nightly glass of red wine. But don’t worry, your dentist in Douglasville has some good news. You don’t necessarily need to stop enjoying all the things that can stain your teeth. In fact, there are several things you can do to help prevent or reduce tooth staining from happening in the first place.
Brush After Eating
There are tons of foods and drinks that can cause tooth discoloration, including wine, pasta sauce, coffee, and soft drinks. In fact, the longer a staining agent is left around, the more serious the stain can be, and the harder it can be to remove. But if you’re diligent about brushing your teeth after every meal, you can reduce tooth staining.
When in Doubt, Rinse Your Mouth
Let’s face it, there are going to be times when you don’t have a toothbrush readily available or when you simply won’t be able to brush your teeth after a meal. When this happens, the next best thing to do is rinse your mouth out with water. Water can help neutralize acids that can lead to decay and, in turn, discoloration, and it can also wash away any staining agents from your dinner.
Use the Right Tools
If you know you consume a lot of things that can stain your teeth, you may benefit from using a whitening toothpaste as well as an electric toothbrush. Whitening toothpaste can effectively remove surface stains but you should make sure to use one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. These kinds of toothpaste have been evaluated, for both safety and efficacy. Additionally, using an electric toothbrush may help you brush your teeth more efficiently and remove stains, bacteria, and plaque. Talk with your dentist in Douglasville to find the best toothpaste and toothbrush for your teeth.
Stick to a Straw
When you’re drinking tooth-staining liquids you can actually reduce the amount of staining by simply choosing to drink with a straw. Sipping through a straw reduces the amount of liquid that comes in contact with your teeth, as well as the amount of time the liquid has on your teeth, therefore reducing the likelihood of staining.
While these tips can help reduce tooth staining, the fact of the matter is nothing will ever completely eliminate it. Over time, our teeth will become dull even if we follow the above suggestions perfectly. But there’s good news. Your dentist in Douglasville has cosmetic dentistry treatments available to help whiten teeth or cover up stains.
If you’re looking for ways to get a whiter smile, we welcome you to contact us today.
Many smokers try to disguise their habit by covering up the smell with gum, mints, or mouthwash. But the truth is, your dentist in Douglasville can probably still tell that you’re a smoker even if you don’t share that information. In actuality, there’s a lot your dentist can tell about you and your health simply by looking in your mouth.
Your bi-annual dental visits are a great opportunity for both you and your dentist to catch up, share and discuss any changes that may have happened in your oral or overall health, and for your dental team to thoroughly clean and exam your teeth. But did you know that it’s important to share your habits and health history with your dentist? It’s true! Talking with your dentist about things, even if you’re embarrassed by them, can help make your dental care better. Additionally, there are even some things your dentist can tell about you even if you choose not to disclose that information.
3 Things Your Dentist Already Knows
- You Bite Your Nails
Your dentist in Douglasville doesn’t need to be a trained manicurist to know that you bite your nails. How? Nail biters tend to have tiny chips and cracks in their teeth more often than those who don’t bite their nails. And that’s not all. A nail biter’s front teeth can appear worn down, shortened, or flat. Both of these side effects of nail-biting are concerning as they can lead to other problems. Chips and cracks provide a place for bacteria to nest, increasing the risk of decay. These tiny imperfections can also become bigger over time and cause sensitivity and broken teeth. Lastly, the change in tooth shape can throw off your bite and cause jaw pain for TMD/TMJ disorder.
- You Only Floss Right Before Your Appointments
While we’re impressed with your last-minute flossing session and we appreciate the attempt, we will know if this is the only time, or one of the only times, since you’ve flossed since your last appointment. The truth is, while you probably did a good job at removing anything that was lingering in between your teeth, your gums can still tell on you. When you don’t floss regularly, your gums will often be red and puffy and will most likely bleed during your hygiene visit. A common misconception is that everyone’s gums bleed at the dentist, and this simply isn’t true. Healthy gums that are flossed regularly won’t bleed.
- You Don’t Brush Your Teeth
Patients that don’t brush their teeth twice a day, every day, or those who do a bad job at thoroughly brushing will have several tell-tale signs that your dentist in Douglasville will see immediately. The proof is in both the health of your gums as well as what’s left lingering on your teeth. Avid brushers typically have healthy, pink gums and minimal tartar buildup whereas casual brushers usually show larger areas of tartar and red, swollen gums.
We always encourage you to share any habits or concerns with your dentist in Douglasville. Don’t be afraid to talk to your dental team, even if it’s something you feel like you should hide. Your dentist, like your physician, is a crucial part of your healthcare team, and the more they know, the better they can care for your teeth and overall health.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and strives to raise awareness of a chronic disease that affects nearly 30 million Americans. But what does this have to do with your dentist in Douglasville? Well, the truth is, there is a strong connection between oral health and diabetes, and it’s ever more important for diabetics to take care of their teeth. In fact, research shows that diabetes can result in complications throughout the body including heart, kidney, nerve, eye, and gum disease. Here are a few easy ways to protect your teeth and your overall health.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene
One of the best ways for diabetics and non-diabetics to reduce their risk of gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day, gently brushing your tongue, and flossing daily. However, just quickly brushing or using the wrong tools won’t do much to protect your teeth. Make sure you brush for two minutes, use fluoride toothpaste to protect teeth against decay, and use gentle circular motions to effectively remove plaque and bacteria without damaging your enamel.
Additionally, it’s also incredibly important to see your dentist in Douglasville at least every six months for a deeper professional cleaning that will remove plaque buildup that at-home brushing alone won’t touch.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Diabetics know just how important it is to choose healthy foods to maintain their blood sugar levels. But eating a well-balanced diet can also help protect oral and overall health. Fresh crunchy fruits and crisp vegetables can fuel your body with essential nutrients and can also help gently scrub bacteria off of your teeth in between brushings. And of course, your dentist in Douglasville would caution anyone, especially diabetics, of eating too much sugar. This includes hidden sugars that are often found in foods with a lot of carbohydrates. Make sure to work with your doctor to find a dietary plan that works for you and your body.
Check Your Blood Sugar Regularly
While this is a regular part of every diabetic’s life, checking and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is crucial to protecting your health. This is true for oral health, too. If your numbers are not controlled properly, you can experience loose teeth, gum disease, and other issues. But that’s not all. If there is an infection such as gum disease in the body, blood glucose levels will become elevated and can be difficult to control.
Our dental office in Douglasville is dedicated to doing our part to help raise awareness about how diabetes can affect oral health during Diabetes Awareness Month and all year long. To help us better care for you, make sure to share your health history with your dental team and discuss any changes in your mouth or overall health with your dentist at each visit.
You may have heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, your dentist in Douglasville wants you to know that the mouth is in fact the window to overall health. Years of research continues to show just how important oral health is to overall health and how issues with your teeth or gums could increase your risk for more severe health issues elsewhere in your body, which makes proper oral hygiene even more important.
What Oral Health Can Say About Overall Health
Your mouth can actually give your dentist in Douglasville a glimpse at what may be happening in other areas of your body. Several whole-body problems can even first show signs in the mouth before anywhere else… and before you even suspect a problem. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90% of all systemic diseases display symptoms in the mouth including:
- Kidney Disease
- Oral Cancer
Seeing your dentist in Douglasville regularly can help catch these problems early and get you into treatment sooner.
Gum Disease & Your Health
The connection between oral health and overall health doesn’t end there and goes even deeper to show a link between gum disease and other diseases throughout the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, gum disease is often related to other health issues such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Preterm births
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Protect Your Teeth, Protect Your Health
Having good oral health clearly has whole-body benefits, so it’s more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene habits. Make sure to:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day.
- Floss daily to remove bacteria from hard-to-reach places that brushing alone won’t reach.
- Keep sugary foods and drinks to a minimum and focus on eating a diet rich with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins.
- Avoid tobacco use.
- See your dentist every six months.
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, we’re here to help. Our welcoming team is dedicated to caring for each and every one of our patients, no matter what. There is no judgment in our office, only genuine care and an unwavering commitment to oral and overall health. Call today to schedule an appointment.
Every October, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and Colgate sponsor a month-long celebration for dental hygienists around the country. Dental hygienists are crucial members of your healthcare team and are responsible for keeping patients’ mouths (and bodies) healthy. This year, the theme for National Dental Hygiene Month is Faces of Courage, and rightfully so. Join your dentist in Douglasville as we celebrate our dental hygienists by sharing just what they do and promote how you can become one yourself.
Duties of a Dental Hygienist
Your dental hygienist plays a key role in helping your mouth stay healthy and cavity and disease-free. They’re also often the first line of defense as well as the first person you’ll meet with when you visit your dentist in Douglasville. Even though the main responsibility of a dental hygienist is to clean teeth, they also do a lot more including:
1) Cleaning Teeth – Let’s talk about the most obvious responsibility of a dental hygienist — cleaning teeth. Now, even though you may brush and floss every day, the cleaning you get from your hygienist is different than the one you get at home. Hygienists are trained to gently remove plaque and tartar buildup that a regular brushing won’t touch, which gives you a super-clean feel and super-protected mouth.
2) Learning About Your Health – But as we’ve mentioned before, your dental hygienist does so much more than clean your teeth. One of those additional duties is learning and getting to know each and every patient on a personal level. This means your hygienist will often talk with you about your oral health and overall health history, discuss concerns you may have, and review medications or ailments. Doing so allows them to both know you better and treat you better every time you visit your dentist in Douglasville.
3) Educating Patients – Our dental hygienists are passionate about teeth and are committed to doing everything they can to help patients stay healthy. They’re always quick to offer up tips on the best way to brush your teeth, how to floss, and can even tell you what products to use so you can maintain excellent oral health.
4) Focusing on Prevention – There’s a good reason we recommend a dental cleaning every six months — to prevent problems from happening in the first place. To do this, your hygienist will often apply fluoride or sealants to protect teeth from the damaging effects of acids and bacteria.
Keep in mind, different states and different regions have different rules, so some of these responsibilities can change from area to area and office to office.
How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Dental Hygienist?
Depending on the program and degree level, it takes anywhere between 2-4 years to become a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists must complete at least two years of schooling at a community college, technical school, or university. Usually a hygienist will earn an associate’s degree, but higher-level degrees are also available. After earning a diploma, hygienists are then required to take a state, local, or regional licensing test before they can practice in a dental office.
Now that you know a little bit more about all of the things dental hygienists do to keep you healthy, make sure you thank them the next time you visit your dentist in Douglasville.
As we head into the month of October, we tend to see pink ribbons everywhere in support of breast cancer research and breast cancer patients. Cancer is one of those scary words nobody wants to hear, and it can cause feelings of uncertainness and weariness of what treatment will bring. While there are sure to be many thoughts racing through your mind following any cancer diagnosis, there’s one thing you may not immediately think of — seeing your dentist in Douglasville. However, this visit, and follow up visits, can actually help make cancer treatment more successful.
The cancer treatment we tend to be most familiar with is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has been used for many years and can help kill cancer cells. However, it certainly doesn’t come without side effects. While these side effects can affect any area of the body, there are certain ones that directly affect the mouth. Sometimes these side effects are so serious that your medical team may decide to temporarily stop treatment until the side effects are resolved. To help avoid this, it’s important to see your dentist in Douglasville prior to starting chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy and Oral Health
As we’ve mentioned, chemotherapy can be really effective at killing cancer cells. But it can also harm healthy cells in the process, including cells in the mouth. This damage can affect any part of your mouth from your teeth to the soft tissues such as your gums and the glands that create saliva. Some common oral health side effects of chemotherapy include:
- Pain with eating or talking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry mouth
- Sores or ulcers
- Peeling, burning tongue
These side effects can happen to anyone, and they do tend to vary from person to person. Make sure you talk with your cancer treatment team as well as your dentist in Douglasville during treatment so any side effects are caught and treated early. If they’re not, some infections or side effects can be so severe they’ll cause a delay or pause in your cancer treatment.
The Importance of Regular Dentistry
Seeing your dentist every six months is recommended for everyone, but those undergoing cancer treatment may need to visit more often. After all, your dentist in Douglasville is a key part of your cancer treatment team, and seeing them regularly can help avoid or keep serious side effects at bay. Additionally, if you see your dentist before treatment begins, you can rest assured that you’ll start treatment with an already healthy mouth, reducing the risk of complications. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, schedule an appointment with your dentist, ideally one month prior to beginning treatment.