It’s common to feel the uncomfortable sensations associated with acid reflux in the gut and even in the chest. But did you know that acid reflux can also affect oral health? The team at our Douglasville dental office is here to tell you all you need to know about how acid reflux can increase the chance of decay and the need for advanced dental treatment.
Acid Reflux is Not Just a Gut Problem
Despite the fact that acid reflux is associated with digestion and can certainly affect the gut, the truth is that the very stuff that causes an upset stomach or heartburn is the same stuff that can contribute to damage in the mouth. As the body works to digest food, the stomach produces an acid to help break down food particles. Unfortunately, this acid can find it’s way out of the stomach, up the esophagus, and into the mouth. When it reaches the mouth it can wear down tooth enamel and increase the chance for sensitivity, cavities, and if left untreated, the need for dental treatment such as fillings, a root canal, or a dental crown.
Signs of GERD
Many people can experience acid reflux differently, but some of the most common signs include:
- Bad breath
- Acidic taste in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Tooth sensitivity
Protect Your Teeth Against GERD
The good news is there are many medications available that can help reduce how often you experience symptoms of acid reflux. Besides finding the right medicine, your dentist in Douglasville may recommend some additional precautions to protect your teeth against the acid produced by reflux. Some common suggestions may include:
- Avoiding acidic foods and drinks
- Limiting spicy or sour foods
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Using toothpaste with fluoride
Since sufferers of GERD are at increased risk for dental problems it’s important that they visit their dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings. These dental appointments can help identify any problems such as acid erosion or decay early, while treatment is easier.
We’re always accepting new patients at our dental office in Douglasville and welcome anyone who’s overdue for a dental visit to contact us today to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help.
November is recognized as National Diabetes Awareness Month and serves to raise awareness of diabetes, other health problems associated with the disease, and the importance of regulation. In fact, one of the little-known facts about diabetes is that it directly relates to oral health. Our dental office in Douglasville wants to help do our part this month and let our patients know all about the importance of sharing a diabetes diagnosis with your dentist.
“How Does Diabetes Affect My Oral Health?”
One of the most important parts of managing diabetes is keeping blood glucose levels stable and within a healthy range. Properly managing diabetes can reduce the risk of complications or other health problems such as heart disease. But healthy blood glucose levels can also keep mouths healthy too. Recent research has shown a strong connection to diabetes and gum disease. In fact, studies show that this connection may go two ways. For example, people who have diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease but at the same time, gum disease can make diabetes difficult to regulate, causing it to progress more rapidly.
“What Information Should I Tell My Dentist About My Diabetes?”
Your Douglasville dentist will start each new patient appointment by getting to know the person behind the patient. They’ll ask questions about health history, oral health goals, and any problems patients are worried about. Dental teams do this to better diagnose, treat, and prevent any problems that may arise. If you have diabetes, it’s important to share that with your dentist along with the following things:
- Results of some of your diabetes blood tests (the A1C or fasting blood glucose)
- Information about any prescriptions
- Your need for antibiotics before and after dental treatment for uncontrolled diabetes
“Does My Oral Hygiene Routine Need to Change?”
We always recommend that our patients brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day, whether they have diabetes or not. Following this proper at-home oral hygiene routine will not only keep teeth clean, but can help reduce the likelihood of developing gum disease and, in turn, protect against the progression of diabetes or unwanted spikes in blood glucose.
The team at our Douglasville dental office is committed to protecting the health and smiles of all of our patients. Knowing all about any disease or health problem you have, including diabetes, can help us provide you with better care catered to your individual situation. If you have questions about how diabetes can affect your oral health, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today. We’re here to help.
With Halloween right around the corner, our dental office in Douglasville wants to share a secret with our patients and neighbors. Did you know that there are snacks out there that are worse for your teeth than candy? You heard us right. Candy may not be the scariest thing for your oral health. It’s no trick. Just the truth.
A Note on Sugary Sweets
While we’re here to talk about surprising snacks that are dangerous to oral health, it is worth mentioning that candy is still a concern for your dentist in Douglasville. But it’s not really the sugar itself that’s the problem. It’s what happens to the sugar when you eat it. Bacteria that live in the mouth love sugar and will feed on it every chance they get. This keeps the bacteria full and healthy. But what’s more concerning is what happens when these bacteria digest sugars. Like all living things, bacteria have to release waste. They just so happen to release an acid that wears away tooth enamel and increases the likelihood of cavities. Because of this, it’s still important to enjoy sugary foods in moderation.
It’s Not Only About Sugar
Even though sugar gets a bad reputation when talking about keeping teeth healthy, there are other treats that can be just as damaging, if not more so.
Crackers & Chips
The high starch content found in crackers and chips can be more of a concern than sugar. While these snacks don’t necessarily taste sweet, the starches can affect the body very much the same way sugar does. This is because chips and crackers have a high glycemic index. Foods with a high glycemic index are known to increase blood glucose levels as the body digests them. This means that even though there’s low sugar listed in the ingredients, the starches will feed mouth bacteria the same way sugar does. This also means that bacteria will release more of the acidic byproduct and leave teeth at risk for decay. But that’s not all.
When chewed, chips and crackers form into almost a paste-like consistency. This makes them very sticky and they can easily get stuck in between teeth and in tooth grooves. The longer the starches are left in the mouth like this, the more they’re feeding the bacteria and the more acid is getting released.
Keeping Your Teeth Safe
Just like we recommend limiting the amount of sugary foods you eat, we also suggest snacking on starchy foods such as chips and crackers in moderation. But no matter what you choose to treat yourself to this Halloween, be sure to pair eating with drinking water. This will help wash away food particles, bacteria, and neutralize acid.
Happy Halloween from our Douglasville dental office!
It may come as a surprise to hear our dental office in Douglasville supporting something found in the candy aisle. But when it comes to gum, we actually recommend that our patients consider chewing it occasionally. However, not just any gum will get our seal of approval. Gum containing sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or saccharine just won’t do. Instead, look for a gum containing Xylitol and your mouth may thank you.
All About Xylitol
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that gives you the satisfaction of sweet without the damaging effects of regular sugar or many sugar substitutes. Traditional sugar can not only spike blood glucose levels throughout the body, but puts your teeth at increased risk for decay too. Xylitol is different and can actually boost oral health by:
- Protecting teeth against decay
- Preventing inflammation
- Reducing the risk of gum disease
- Building strong teeth
Why is Xylitol Good for Teeth?
Unlike traditional sugar that feeds the bacteria in our mouths, Xylitol technically starves it. You see, when regular sugar is ingested it provides the bacteria a feast of nutrients. But just like any living thing, what goes in must come out. It just so happens that the byproduct of feeding bacteria is a dangerous acid that can eat away at tooth enamel leaving them at risk for decay. Xylitol is different. While bacteria may still feed on Xylitol, it doesn’t provide bacteria with any nutrients and essentially starves it. In fact, chewing Xylitol gum can decrease oral bacteria levels, sometimes by up to 75%. This also means there is no acid production from feeding bacteria and teeth are more protected.
Chewing Xylitol gum does even more for your oral health than decreasing bacteria and acid. The act of chewing in general produces more saliva. This saliva neutralizes acid and rinses away harmful bacteria in the mouth. It also helps keep teeth strong by helping remineralize them with phosphate and calcium.
Gum can be a great way to protect teeth when you don’t have an opportunity to brush or floss your teeth, but it shouldn’t be a replacement to proper oral hygiene. We recommend continuing to brush and floss everyday and maintain visits to your dentist in Douglasville every six months.
At our Douglasville dental office we’re always accepting new patients and welcome you to call us to schedule an appointment today. We’re here to help our neighbors smile!
Nobody ever wants to experience the pain and discomfort of a toothache. But the truth is, toothaches can happen to anyone, and they can come without warning. While the best way to treat a toothache is to see your dentist in Douglasville as quickly as you can, there are some things you can do before your appointment to help ease the pain.
5 Ways to Ease a Toothache
Toothache pain can come with a lot of discomfort. But this pain doesn’t necessarily stay only in the affected tooth. You can get a headache, your gums may pulse, and your entire mouth can feel the effects. Try these tips to help.
- Salt Water Rinse – Gently swish a solution of warm water and salt around your mouth a few times a day. This will help dry out fluid in the affected area and ease pressure on the nerves. Just make sure not to swallow the concoction.
- Ice – Just like any other injury, ice can help reduce inflammation and pressure on the nerves. Put an ice pack or a cold compress on the side of your face where the pain is coming from. Don’t put anything cold directly onto your skin. Use a cloth as a barrier.
- Anti-inflammatories – Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may also ease toothache pain. Read the label on the bottle to determine how much should take. Remember, swallow the medication and do not apply it directly to the gums or tooth.
- Floss – If a piece of food stuck between two teeth may be causing the pain it’s ok to take a piece of floss and gently try to wiggle it out. The keyword here is gently. Too much pressure or roughly flossing can cause damage and more pain.
- Anesthetic – Many pharmacies and grocery stores carry over-the-counter oral anesthetics for tooth pain relief. They will temporary numb your mouth so you can get a little relief. However, these gels or liquids are not meant to be a permanent solution.
What Causes Toothaches Anyway?
There’s no one thing that can cause a toothache. Many things ranging from decay, cavities, or a dental injury may be to blame. While usually caused something minor which is easily treated at our Douglasville dental office, there are times when a toothache may be a sign of gum disease, infection, or chronic tooth grinding. Whatever is causing your toothache, it’s best to get it checked as soon as you can to avoid the need for in-depth treatment.
What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk
Although toothaches can happen to anyone at any time, there are certain precautions you can take to reduce your risk of getting one. First, make sure to keep up with your dental appointments every six months. These dental cleanings and exams can catch potential problems before they have a chance to turn into an unwanted toothache. Second, practice good oral hygiene habits of brushing and flossing every day to remove food particles, bacteria, and plaque from teeth that could otherwise cause decay.
You don’t need to continue to suffer from toothache pain, and often times they’re easily treated. Try these at-home remedies and schedule an appointment at our dental office in Douglasville as soon as you can. We’re always happy to help.
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.