Discolored teeth are incredibly common, and your dentist in Douglasville talks to patients every day who are looking to improve the appearance of their teeth. While a less than dazzling smile can certainly hurt your self-confidence, is there a chance that tooth discoloration could also mean something more serious is going on?
There are numerous things that can contribute to tooth discoloration. Some are outside of our control, but there are also things we can control. And when we limit or remove those things from our lives, it can work wonders in transforming the color of our teeth. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of discoloration.
- Foods & Drinks
Some of our favorite foods and drinks may be delicious to eat but leave stains behind on our teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, and even pasta sauce can cause teeth to darken over time. To limit the effects, enjoy these staining foods in moderation or rinse your mouth with water after eating them.
- Tooth Decay
One of the main reasons we brush and floss our teeth regularly is to remove bacteria and plaque buildup. If we don’t, they’re left behind and can easily cause damage. Bacteria in the mouth naturally release acid, and this acid can weaken enamel and increase the risk of decay. When the tooth enamel decays, the yellow innards of the teeth become more visible and make teeth appear dark. If the decay progresses it will lead to a cavity that can also be dark in color and require treatment from your dentist in Douglasville.
There are a lot of great things about getting older. Tooth discoloration isn’t one of them. As we age, that protective enamel can become thin and once again show more of the yellowish layers underneath.
Nicotine products, including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco, contain staining agents that, over time, will stick to the teeth and become very difficult (if not impossible) to remove.
- Old Dental Work
Thanks to advancements in technology, many of the old ways of doing dentistry have progressed. This includes things like fillings, crowns, and bridges. A lot of time, dental restorations can be made with white materials instead of metal that can quickly darken a smile. Talk with your dentist in Douglasville about any old dental work and ask about any new work to see if tooth-colored restorations are appropriate for you.
The best way to whiten your teeth depends on the cause, and not all treatments will work for each situation. This is why it’s important to meet with your dentist in Douglasville before beginning any tooth-whitening treatment, including over-the-counter whitening products. Some forms of cosmetic dentistry that can improve the color of teeth, include:
- In-office professional smile whitening
- Dental bonding
You don’t have to live with a dull or discolored smile. Your dentist can help. Call to schedule an appointment today.
Nearly 50% of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. You may also hear your dentist in Douglasville refer to gum disease as gingivitis. So what’s the difference between gum disease and gingivitis, and how can you tell if you have one or the other?
A Glance at Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection that affects the gums, but it can also travel throughout your bloodstream and cause health problems in other areas of the body. In fact, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. There are actually three stages of gum disease including:
- Advanced Periodontitis
Each stage of gum disease progresses in severity, and the longer gum disease goes undetected and untreated, the more likely it is to lead to other problems.
Early Diagnosis Is Key
When gum disease is caught in its earliest stage, your dentist in Douglasville will probably diagnose it as gingivitis. During this first stage, gingivitis can be treated and any damage that may have occurred can often be reversed. If gingivitis isn’t treated early, it can progress into periodontitis, lead to tooth loss, and create complications in both oral and overall health.
Warning Signs of Gingivitis
Everyone should visit their dentist in Douglasville at least twice a year for checkups and cleanings. These important dental visits can catch any problems, including gingivitis, early. But it’s also crucial to pay attention to any changes in your oral health in between these appointments. Some of the most common signs of gingivitis are:
- Bleeding gums (even when flossing!)
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Swollen, puffy, painful gums
- Receding gums
- Dark red gums
If you notice any of the early warning signs of gingivitis, call to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Who Can Get Gingivitis?
While anyone can get gingivitis, there are some things that can put someone at increased risk, such as:
- Tobacco use
- Crooked teeth that are difficult to clean
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Chronic dry mouth
- Hormonal changes
- Age — older people are more likely to develop gum disease than younger people
Prevent Gingivitis, Protect Your Health
The best way to protect yourself from developing gingivitis in the first place is to take excellent care of your teeth. This means brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. You can also reduce your risk of gingivitis by adopting certain lifestyle habits such as drinking plenty of water, avoiding tobacco products, and eating a well-balanced diet that contains limited sugars.
Any form of gum disease can seem scary, but if you catch it early treatment can be very successful. So if it’s been longer than six months since your last dental appointment, call your dentist in Douglasville to schedule a checkup today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to the oral health of you and your family, you may have heard about the importance of fluoride. You may have also heard a few arguments against it. At our dental office in Douglasville, we want to take the opportunity to talk a little bit about fluoride, what it is, why it’s crucial for our smiles, and yes, even discuss a few risks.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that’s found in nature, specifically in soil, water, plants, and the air we breathe. In the world of dentistry, fluoride is used to help strengthen tooth enamel and protect teeth against decay and cavities. It can also help repair early decay caused by demineralization.
Demineralization occurs when acids from bacteria and foods linger around and begin to eat away at the protective layer of enamel. But enamel isn’t the only thing affected during demineralization. Our teeth can also lose minerals such as calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. These minerals are essential to keeping our teeth tough and strong to fight off decay… so it’s important to replace them either through the foods we eat or from fluoride treatments from your Douglasville dentist.
Who Should Get Fluoride?
When you think of fluoride, you may assume that it’s only important for kids. But nearly everyone’s smile can benefit from fluoride. Your dentist in Douglasville will most likely recommend that both you and your children receive a fluoride treatment at every dental appointment to help build strong teeth and protect against cavities. These treatments are typically either a varnish, foam, or gel that are applied in the dental office.
Where to Get Fluoride?
Besides having your dental team apply a fluoride treatment, there are other ways you can help your teeth get enough fluoride. Most public water supplies have added fluoride, and it can be found in some foods you eat. There’s also fluoride in many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride supplements are also available and may be recommended if you don’t have fluoridated water or if you need an extra boost of fluoride.
Is Fluoride Safe?
Fluoride is safe for children and adults in recommended amounts, which will vary based on things such as risk, need, and age. However, fluoride can be hazardous if it’s used too much. This risk is extremely low as it’s extremely difficult to expose yourself to dangerous levels of fluoride through fluoridated water, toothpaste, and fluoride treatments from your dentist. A good rule of thumb is to remember to always follow your dentist’s recommendations, don’t swallow toothpaste or mouthwash, and monitor children’s brushing habits at home.
If you’re unsure if fluoride is right for you or your family, or if you have questions about fluoride, we welcome you to call our Douglasville dental office and schedule a visit. We’re here to help!