5 Things That Can Harm Teeth
If you’re following an excellent oral health routine of brushing and flossing every day and seeing your dentist in Douglasville twice a year but still find yourself getting cavities, having tooth sensitivity, or needing dental restorations to help fix damaged teeth, other things may be to blame. The truth is, there are habits that many people do every day that can harm teeth.
- Chewing Ice, Nails, and Other Things
Many people find comfort in chewing ice, biting their nails, or nibbling on other things such as pens or pencils. However, gnawing on these comfort items can cause some serious oral health problems. Chewing on ice, biting your nails, or gnawing on pens can lead to broken or chipped teeth that will need to be fixed by your dentist in Douglasville. But these habits can also create tiny tooth fractures over time that you may not notice, until they turn into big cracks and potentially cause pain. Additionally, nail biting could also cause teeth to shift or place pressure on the jaw, causing pain.
- Opening or Holding Packages with Your Teeth
Teeth were designed for two reasons – to help us chew and to help us speak. They were not designed to open pesky packages or hold things that don’t fit into our hands. Using teeth for things other than what they’re meant to do could damage teeth. Some common problems associated with using teeth as tools are broken teeth, cracked teeth, broken restoration, or trauma to the soft tissues in the mouth.
- Using Too Much Force While Brushing
A common misconception is that you have to brush hard in order to really clean your teeth. However, the truth is, if you use too much force while brushing your teeth, you could actually cause harm. Brushing your teeth too hard could lead to an increased risk of decay, damage, and sensitivity. Always choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and gently move the brush over each tooth.
- Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Many people clench or grind their teeth in times of stress. This habit is often done subconsciously and we don’t even know we’re doing it. But there may be signs that you’re clenching or grinding your teeth, perhaps while you’re asleep. Consistent grinding or clenching can make teeth appear short and worn down. It can also cause tooth damage such as chips, breaks, or cracks. One of the most common signs of clenching or grinding is jaw pain, so make sure to mention any symptoms of TMJ to your dentist in Douglasville.
- Smoking or Using Chewing Tobacco
Tobacco use not only affects overall health, it can also negatively affect oral health. On the surface, smoking cigarettes or cigars or using chewing tobacco can cause tooth discoloration. But the concerns go much deeper. Using any type of tobacco can increase the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer.
We will always encourage our patients to brush and floss every day to help keep their mouths healthy. We also encourage our patients to be honest with us about any habits that may affect oral health. Afterall, it will only help us provide better, more personalized care.
What Asthmatics Need to Know About Their Oral Health
May is Asthma Awareness Month, which makes it a great time to educate people on this very common, yet very serious, disease. Around 25 million Americans, both children, and adults, have asthma, and it can’t be cured. While asthma predominantly affects the respiratory system and can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness, your dentist in Douglasville wants all asthmatics to know that it can also affect oral health.
Asthma & Oral Health
Even though asthma can’t be cured, the good news is that it can often be treated. Many asthma sufferers will use inhalers to help control their asthma symptoms, but other medications also exist. It’s there where oral health problems related to asthma begin.
- Dry Mouth
Inhalers and other asthma treatments can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is an oral health condition that can be uncomfortable, but the truth is, it could also cause some dental concerns. When there’s not enough saliva in your mouth, bacteria and acids that would typically be washed away will hang around and attack teeth. This can weaken tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay, cavities, bad breath, and gum disease. Anyone experiencing dry mouth, whether they’re asthmatic or not, should talk to their dentist in Douglasville.
- Mouth Breathing
Another concern that often affects those with asthma is mouth breathing. When we have trouble breathing, we will automatically start breathing out of the mouth instead of the nose. Since asthmatics typically have more difficulty breathing than those without asthma, they are more likely to breathe out of their mouths to get the oxygen they need. However, mouth breathing can quickly cause dry mouth. So not only are asthmatics more likely to experience dry mouth due to medications, but regular mouth breathing also increases the risk.
How to Fix Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can leave us feeling constantly thirsty, and it is just simply uncomfortable. But the good news is that there are some tried and true tricks that can help alleviate dry mouth.
- Stay Hydrated. Those with dry mouths may already drink more water throughout the day. This is important. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps keep the mouth hydrated, which will more effectively wash away bacteria and neutralize damaging acids.
- Rinse With Water. After taking asthma medication, a quick rinse with water will help remove the drying ingredients, lowering the risk of dry mouth.
- Talk to Your Dentist. It’s important to communicate any health conditions to your dentist in Douglasville.
- . Knowing your health history helps your dental team customize treatment for you and notifies them to be on the lookout for any oral health concerns that may result from other health problems in the rest of the body.
As always, never stop any medication without first talking to your physician, brush and floss your teeth every day, and visit your dentist at least every six months for cleanings, dental x-rays, and checkups.
Top 4 Dental Problems
The truth is, most people will experience at least one dental problem in their lifetime. While all dental problems can range in seriousness, severity, and frequency, there are a few dental conditions that are more common than others. So if your dentist in Douglasville tells you that you need to have some dental work done, rest assured knowing that we have the experience you want and deserve to treat any problem.
Let’s start with the most commonly treated dental condition – cavities. Cavities occur when teeth become weakened as a result of bacteria, or plaque. When there’s too much plaque on teeth, the bacteria naturally found in the mouth will feed on sugars from what we eat and drink and release an acidic byproduct. This acid will weaken tooth enamel, leaving the softer inner parts of the tooth vulnerable to acid attacks. The result is often a cavity, or essentially a hole in a tooth. Signs of cavities include:
- Tooth pain
- Bad breath
- Sensitivity to heat, cold, or sweets
- Brown or black spotting on teeth
- Unpleasant taste
We always recommend seeing your dentist in Douglasville if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
- Bad Breath
Another incredibly common concern of dental patients is chronic bad breath. Not only can bad breath be embarrassing, but it may also indicate a bigger problem. Most cases of bad breath are a result of poor dental hygiene. This is one reason why your dentist will always recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. However, this isn’t the only thing that can cause bad breath. Some other considerations are:
- Dry mouth
- Certain Medications
- An Infection
- Acid reflux
Your dentist in Douglasville will help assess what’s causing bad breath in the first place and recommend the best way to make it go away.
- Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity is one of those things that may not cause problems all of the time, but when it does, the zings of sensitivity pain are certainly noticeable. This uncomfortable condition often results when the nerves inside teeth become exposed, allowing any irritant from hot soup to cold drinks to directly hit those nerves. Sensitive teeth are incredibly common and can be caused by:
- Gum Recession
- Enamel Erosion
- Chipped or broken tooth
- Older crowns or fillings
To help, your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment or a specific type of toothpaste designed to help sensitive teeth. Other solutions may include a new dental crown or a root canal, depending on your individual needs.
- Gum Disease
Gum disease is also incredibly common with nearly 50% of Americans over the age of 30 having some form of it, according to the CDC. But this isn’t just an oral health problem. In fact, numerous studies have linked gum disease to things such as respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease, and problems controlling blood sugar in diabetes. The earliest stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, can be treated and reversed. However, if it progresses into periodontitis, it can’t be cured and could lead to tooth loss. If you notice any of these symptoms of gum disease, see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Pain when you chew
Maintaining regular checkups with your dentist is key to preventing oral health problems. But don’t forget that it’s also important to take great care of your teeth at home. This means properly brushing and flossing daily, avoiding tobacco products, and eating plenty of tooth-friendly foods such as fresh vegetables.
Early Signs of Mouth Cancer
Cancer can develop in any part of the body, including in the mouth. Oral cancer, also commonly referred to as mouth cancer, is incredibly common and can affect the mouth, tongue, tonsils, and throat. In fact, more than 50,000 people will be diagnosed with some type of oral cancer every year. The good news is that oral cancer doesn’t have to be deadly. If oral cancer is diagnosed by your dentist in Douglasville early enough, treatment can often be successful
Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms
The hard part about diagnosing oral cancer often comes from the fact that some of the early signs of oral cancer can easily be confused with other oral health conditions. However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if any of the signs and symptoms below don’t go away within 2-3 weeks, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville as soon as you can.
- Chronic cough
- Changes in voice
- Difficulty swallowing
- An earache on one side
- A hard lump in the soft tissues
- Swollen tonsil on one side without pain
- A painless lump on the outside of the neck
- Any sore that doesn’t heal itself within 2-weeks
- Discoloration in the mouth including a red, white, or black appearance
Check Your Mouth
While regular checkups with your dentist are certainly important, there are things you can do at home to proactively check for early signs of oral cancer or other symptoms of tooth trouble. Keep an eye out for any new tooth sensitivity, bleeding, or sores in the mouth. Additionally, check in with the Check Your Mouth initiative to help you identify potential abnormalities in the mouth.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Even though oral cancer can happen to anyone at any time, there are some things you can do to lower your risk of developing this serious and sometimes deadly disease. Keep in mind that some factors are genetic, but others can be controlled.
- Reduce Alcohol intake – Nearly 70% of people diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers
- Avoid Tobacco – 80% of those who get oral cancer either currently use tobacco or did at one time
- People 50 or older — Oral cancer tends to be most prominent in people over the age of 50
- Men — Men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women, but that doesn’t mean women are excluded from oral cancer
Oral cancer is a tricky thing, and the best way to protect yourself against it is to see your dentist in Douglasville twice a year. Like many oral health problems, oral cancer is best and most successfully treated when it’s caught early.
What You Eat Can Impact Your Oral Health
Your dentist in Douglasville is certainly focused on keeping your mouth healthy, but the truth is, we’re also focused on what you eat. Why? Well, the truth is, what you eat can impact not only your overall health but your oral health, too. To help do our part in celebrating National Nutrition Month, we’re here to raise awareness about how eating right can keep your body and smile happy.
How Foods Affect Oral Health
Everything we eat can impact oral health. There are some foods that are great for teeth, and some that can cause problems.
What to Avoid
- Sugary Sweets: Eating too many sugary sweets can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and even gum disease. It’s why your dentist in Douglasville recommends limiting your daily intake of sugar. When we eat sugar, it feeds the bacteria in the mouth that produce acid. This acid erodes tooth enamel and can cause cavities as well as tooth sensitivity.
- Acidic Foods & Drinks: Speaking of acid, foods, and drinks that are acidic, such as citrus fruits, sports drinks, and soda can also directly harm the protective layer of enamel on teeth, making them more vulnerable to decay.
- Starchy Snacks: Sugar and acid aren’t the only things that can negatively affect oral health. Starchy foods, such as bread, crackers, and potatoes, can also contribute to tooth decay. Additionally, high-carb foods break down into simple sugars and can affect your teeth in the same way as sugar.
Best Types of Food for Teeth
- High in Calcium & Vitamin D: Two essential nutrients are needed to build and keep strong teeth (and bones!) – calcium and vitamin D. Foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D, such as dairy products, leafy greens, and salmon, can help keep teeth and gums healthy.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C isn’t only for enhancing the immune system, it’s also important for gum health. Enjoy foods with a lot of Vitamin C, such as broccoli, strawberries, and bell peppers.
Finding the Best Food for You
Nutrition can be complicated. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) tried to help us out by introducing the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992 to show us how much of each food group we should strive to eat every day. But the truth is, nutritional needs are individual, and not all of us need the same things in the same quantities. Things like age, gender, height, weight, activity level, and underlying health concerns can make your ideal combination of foods different from someone else. The best way to find out your nutritional needs is to go to MyPlate and customize the best mix of dietary recommendations for you.
Do your part this month, and all year around, to commit to eating better to keep your mouth and body healthy. And, of course, make sure to see your dentist in Douglasville at least twice a year for dental cleanings and exams.
Does Green Beer Turn Your Mouth Green?
The luckiest day of the year, St. Patrick’s Day, is almost here, which means we’re about to see a lot of green everywhere, including in your favorite adult beverages. In particular, it’s become a tradition to dye beer green, which is not only festive and fun but can also cause some concern for your dentist in Douglasville. In fact, green beer, and all types of alcohol, can negatively affect oral health.
The dye used to turn beer green can also temporarily turn your mouth and teeth green. This may be fun during St. Paddy’s Day but could be odd at any other time. This is why it’s a good thing that any green staining can usually be removed by brushing your teeth. Whitening toothpaste is often the best choice as they contain abrasive properties that can more effectively scrub away stains. Keep in mind that starting celebrations with clean teeth can help reduce stain severity. Areas of plaque or tartar buildup will attract and retain dying agents faster and more severely than clean teeth, much like disclosing plaque rinses show kids areas of their teeth they didn’t clean so well.
However, it’s not only green beer that can cause tooth discoloration. In fact, drinking any type of alcohol excessively can cause tooth staining and make teeth look yellow or brown. These stains tend to be more difficult to remove and may need to be treated with a professional tooth whitening treatment or other forms of cosmetic dentistry from your Douglasville dentist such as veneers.
The strongest material in your body is your tooth enamel, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be damaged. Acid is usually the culprit behind damaged tooth enamel, and a lot of things we eat and drink are acidic, including beer and other alcoholic beverages. The acidity of these foods and drinks can easily erode enamel and leave teeth at risk for decay, sensitivity, and discoloration. Weakened tooth enamel may be noticed if teeth look gray, dull, or translucent.
Enjoy Your Beer, Protect Your Teeth
Enjoying alcoholic beverages in moderation greatly reduces your risk of any alcohol-related oral health problems. But besides limiting your alcohol intake, there are other ways you can further protect your smile including:
- Drinking water after every alcoholic beverage
- Maintaining a great oral health care routine of brushing and flossing every day
- Scheduling and keeping appointments with your dentist in Douglasville twice a year
Whether you’re due for a dental checkup or are looking for the best way to whiten your teeth, we’re always happy to see new patients. Call us to schedule an appointment today.
How Much Do Dental Implants Hurt?
If you’re considering getting dental implants to replace missing teeth, you probably have a lot of questions for your dentist in Douglasville ranging from what’s involved with the procedure to how much it’s going to hurt. The truth is, the procedure for getting dental implants is a surgery, so some pain should be expected. However, the minimal amount of pain that’s typically associated with getting dental implants may be small compared to the benefits of a permanent solution to missing teeth.
Dental Implant Surgery
A dental implant is one of, if not the best, ways to replace a missing tooth. Implants can even replace multiple teeth in order to avoid wearing dentures or a bridge. Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement option so there is no need for removal, soaking, or worrying about slippage. But the treatment itself can cause concern, so let’s take a closer look at the surgery itself.
- Step 1: Prep The Area
Before an implant can be placed the area needs to be fully prepped. This can mean different things for different people. If you’re already missing a tooth, there is no need for an extraction. But if a tooth isn’t healthy, it may need to be extracted by your dentist in Douglasville first. Additionally, patients may sometimes need a bone graft to prepare the jaw bone and make it stronger for the actual implant placement.
- Step 2: Post Placement
There are actually a few pieces and parts to a dental implant. The first part is the implant post which is metal and screw-like. This post is placed into a drilled hole in the jawbone and acts as an artificial tooth root. Once the post is placed, it will need time to integrate into the jawbone. This healing period can take a few months but it’s absolutely necessary in order to ensure a stable implant.
- Step 3: Abutment & Crown Placement
Once the post is fully integrated and fused into the jaw bone, your dentist will attach an abutment and then a crown on top of it. Crowns are custom made in size, shape, and color to look like a natural tooth so the restoration blends into the smile. The final result is a permanent, complete, natural-looking smile.
Dental Implant Pain
Now that we know a little more about what’s involved with getting a dental implant, let’s take a deeper look into how much pain is involved. Since dental implant treatment is in fact a surgery, patients should expect some level of pain, but it’s probably not as bad as you think. Patients shouldn’t experience any pain during the actual post placement, but they may have some discomfort for the next 10 days after surgery. If pain lasts more than 10 days, call your dentist. Excessive pain after 10 days may be a sign of an infection so it’s important to see your dentist sooner rather than later.
Dental implants are often considered the superior tooth replacement option. So if you are missing teeth or at risk for losing teeth, talk to your dentist in Douglasville about whether or not dental implants may be the best choice for you.
Why Dental Checkups Are So Important
You’ve heard time and time again about how it’s important it is to see your dentist in Douglasville every six months for a checkup. But why do we recommend visiting us twice a year? Do you really need dental checkups that often? The short answer is yes, but let’s take a deeper look into why these bi-annual dental checkups are so important.
One of the most important parts of seeing your dentist in Douglasville every six months is to get your bi-annual dental cleaning. These cleanings go above and beyond taking care of your teeth at home and will help remove any plaque or tartar that occurs naturally over time. If plaque and tartar aren’t removed, which can only be done through gentle professional cleanings, they can build up and increase the risk of decay, gum disease, and other problems.
Cavities are the most common dental ailment, and they often come along with tooth pain, sensitivity, and other discomforts. However, they can also be so small that they don’t have any symptoms at all. This is the ideal time for a dentist to spot and treat any areas of decay. After all, the longer cavities go undetected, the more likely they are to cause pain. Dental checkups every six months will allow your dentist to monitor any changes to your oral health and see below the surface to diagnose and treat cavities before they lead to problems.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that can develop for a number of reasons. Most often, gum disease is a result of poor oral hygiene and the buildup of plaque and tartar, but certain medical conditions, medications, smoking, and stress are also known contributing factors. Keeping an eye on gum health during your regular dental checkups is the best way to diagnose gum disease early when it’s easier to treat. In fact, early intervention is key to successfully treating and reversing gum disease. If it’s left untreated for too long, it can become irreversible.
Checking for Oral Cancer
While smokers, those over 55, and heavy drinkers are more susceptible to developing oral cancer, it can affect anyone at any time. In fact, more than 50,000 new cases of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer were diagnosed in 2022. As with gum disease, early detection of oral cancer is key to successful treatment, and it may just save your life. Your dentist will look for any potential signs of oral cancer during your appointments.
Many patients will only schedule an appointment when they’re experiencing a problem. But the truth is, maintaining regular dental checkups can help avoid these problems in the first place. If you’re overdue for your dental checkup, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville today.
What Not to Do After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
An estimated 85% of Americans will have their wisdom teeth extracted in their lifetime. While this procedure usually takes place in the late teens or early twenties, your dentist in Douglasville may recommend it at any time, especially if they’re starting to cause problems. Even though wisdom teeth surgery is incredibly common and doesn’t typically cause problems, there are some things you should avoid after having a wisdom tooth extraction.
Things to Avoid
Although the recovery time from wisdom teeth surgery is usually pretty quick, there are some key things to avoid during this time to help speed up the healing process and avoid complications.
Of course, you need to eat while you’re recovering, but you do need to be careful about what you eat. Your dentist in Douglasville would recommend that you avoid hard, sticky foods during the first 72 hours.
One of the best ways to promote healing is to rest. Avoid doing any strenuous physical activity for three days following surgery. Doing too much too soon can make bleeding, swelling, and pain worse.
Ingredients in cigarettes and cigars are certainly cause for concern, especially after surgery, but the action of dragging on a cigarette can be even more problematic. Pulling in air from a cigarette, or even a straw, can loosen the blood clots protecting and sealing the surgical sites. If those blood clots are dislodged too early, it can lead to a painful condition known as dry socket.
Signs of a Problem
Many wisdom teeth extractions occur without any problems, but the risk for complications doesn’t go away completely. Here are some signs that require a call to your dentist or oral surgeon.
- Excessive pain, bleeding, or swelling after three days
- Pus coming out of the surgical site or nose
- A fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Facial numbness
What Should You Do After Surgery?
We’ve covered some of the things you shouldn’t do while recovering from having your wisdom teeth taken out, now let’s talk about something you should do.
- Ice Often
Ice is one of the best ways to reduce swelling and ease pain. Apply a cold compress to the affected and keep the area cold. However, make sure to have a thin barrier between the ice pack and your skin.
- Clean the Area
Your dentist may provide or recommend that you use a mouthwash during recovery in order to keep the area clean. Use it, but use it gently. Swishing slowly and softly will clean the areas without the risk of damage.
- Take Medications
Antibiotics and pain medication may be prescribed after your treatment. Take these as recommended as they can help with both preventing infection and easing pain during your recovery.
Not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth removed, but most people will. Make sure to see your dentist in Douglasville regularly and report any symptoms of wisdom tooth pain at that time. If it’s recommended that you have your wisdom teeth extracted, always feel free to ask questions so you feel confident in the procedure and healing time.
Mouth Ulcers: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Mouth ulcers are small, often painful sores that can develop inside your mouth in various places such as your cheeks, tongue, gums, or lips. While having one can certainly be an inconvenience and cause a few days of discomfort, they’re usually no cause for concern. In fact, most ulcers heal and disappear on their own without treatment from your dentist in Douglasville. However, there are occasions when an ulcer may be a sign of something more serious.
Symptoms of a Mouth Ulcer
The most common symptoms of mouth ulcers are small, painful lesions. These lesions typically have red outside with white, yellow, or gray centers. Ulcers are not contagious, but new ones can show up close to the time when older ones heal. Additionally, it’s common to have a few ulcers at one time. Sometimes, ulcers will also go hand-in-hand with a fever.
Causes of Ulcers
Several different things can cause an ulcer to develop, and these causes can vary from person to person and even from ulcer to ulcer. What we do know is that ulcers can be hereditary, and those with a family history of mouth ulcers are more likely to develop them as well. Other factors that can cause ulcers include:
- Injuries to the mouth such as biting your cheek or tongue
- Spicy, salty, or acidic foods
- Devices such as braces, dentures, or a mouthguard that rub
- Stress and anxiety
- Hormonal changes
People with certain medical conditions are also more likely to develop ulcers.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis
- Celiac disease
Treating an ulcer can often be done at home through remedies such as rinsing with warm salt water a few times a day, using an over-the-counter anesthetic, and avoiding trigger foods. Occasionally, your dentist in Douglasville will recommend corticosteroids or antiseptic treatments.
It’s important to note that most ulcers will go away on their own within 10-14 days. If it doesn’t, it’s time to see your dentist.
The Link Between Ulcers & Oral Cancer
Sometimes an ulcer could indicate a bigger problem such as oral cancer. Ulcers that do not heal on their own, such as those that don’t go away within 10-14 days, may be a sign of oral cancer. Schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville immediately if you notice:
- An area that looks like it could be an ulcer but doesn’t have any pain
- Rough or hard patches in the mouth
- Oral cancer is most likely to have ulcer-like sores under or on the tongue
Ulcers can absolutely be a pain, both literally and figuratively. But they should go away on their own within two weeks. If you do have an ulcer or suspect oral cancer, get to your dentist quickly. Oral cancer is often treatable and treatment is more successful in the early stages.