Every February seems to bring out the love in people, and there are hearts everywhere we look. From heart candy and heart decorations, we’re surrounded by bright, red hearts. But we’re not here to talk about those kinds of hearts. Today, we want to focus on your heart and how your oral health can actually affect heart health.
Heart Health Month
Another holiday that happens in February besides Valentine’s Day is one that’s really important to your dentist in Douglasville. It’s Heart Health Month, which strives to raise awareness of what increases our risk of developing heart disease and what we can do to help lower that risk. But what does this have to do with your dentist? We’re glad you asked.
The Connection Between Oral Health & Heart Health
When we talk about oral health as it relates to heart health, we want to put the focus on gum disease. Even though gum disease is an infection that originates in the mouth, it doesn’t mean that it can’t affect other areas of the body. The truth is, gum disease has been linked to a whole list of health concerns outside of the mouth including diabetic complications, lung conditions, and heart disease. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), people with gum disease are at increased risk for a heart attack. But how does an infection in the mouth cause problems elsewhere in the body?
As it turns out, our gums have a direct connection to our bloodstream, and when an infection occurs in our gums, it can also easily enter the bloodstream. When this happens, your body produces too much of something called C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Higher than normal levels of CRP can cause:
- inflamed arteries
- blood clots
- heart attacks
Elevated CRP levels can also be a warning sign before you may even know a problem is lurking in your body. The New England Journal of Medicine states that high CRP levels may be a top indicator of someone’s risk of a heart attack — more so than high cholesterol!
Know the Signs to Protect Yourself
Oftentimes symptoms of gum disease go unnoticed or people think they’re normal. However, being able to recognize when there may be a problem can mean the difference between successful treatment and bigger problems. Some common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Consistently bad breath
- Chronic bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville as soon as you can.
The best way to protect yourself against gum disease is to make sure you brush and floss your teeth every single day. Proper at-home oral hygiene will remove plaque and bacteria buildup before it has a chance to infect the gums. It’s also crucial to maintain regular checkups with your dentist in Douglasville at least every six months. Not only do these appointments help remove buildup that regular brushing just can’t get, but they also help your dental team keep an eye on your oral health so any problems are caught and treated early before they have a chance to affect the rest of the body.
During this time of the year, it seems as if everyone we encounter is sneezing, sniffling, or coughing. While we do as much as we can to avoid getting a cold, sometimes we just get sick. When we do get a case of the coughs we just want it to go away, so we will try almost anything to make it stop. Most commonly, we’ll suck on cough drops and take cough syrup throughout the day. Even though these medications can alleviate our symptoms, your dentist in Douglasville wants you to know that the common ingredients in cough medicine do pose risks to oral health.
Many cough syrups and cough drops contain ingredients that can cause damage to teeth. More specifically, those medications containing sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, and alcohol are the most concerning to your Douglasville dentist. The truth is, these ingredients can make us feel better during the course of a cold but can have long-term negative side effects on oral health.
We’ve all heard Mary Poppins sing about how a spoonful of sugar will help the medicine go down, and she was right. Most cough syrups and cough drops contain sugar to help mask their naturally bad and bitter taste. But just like sugary snacks and foods, these sugars can be dangerous to teeth. When we introduce sugars into our mouths we can essentially create a feeding frenzy for bacteria. These bacteria will feed on sugar and then release an acidic byproduct. This acid will wear away tooth enamel and increases the risk of decay and cavities.
Besides sugar, some cold medicines contain small amounts of alcohol. Alcohol is known to cause dry mouth, even in smaller quantities. Normally, our mouths produce a lot of saliva — between 0.5 and 1.5 liters every day. This saliva helps neutralize dangerous acids and reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth. However, when alcohol causes dry mouth, saliva production slows and acids and bacteria stick around. This can increase the likelihood of decay.
Feel Better While Protecting Teeth
Even though cold medicine can increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities, you shouldn’t suffer through a cold by not taking it. However, your dentist in Douglasville my recommend:
- Taking a pill instead of liquid medication. Liquid medication can basically coat your mouth with sugar and alcohol, while pills greatly reduce how much contact your mouth has with those ingredients.
- Taking cold medication with food. When we eat we tend to produce more saliva which, as we know, will help wash away sugar and alcohol before they have a chance to cause damage.
- Brushing your teeth after you take medicine, especially before bed. Taking medicine then brushing your teeth will help reduce the amount of sugar and alcohol left in the mouth. This is particularly important before bed. Taking cough syrup before bed without brushing your teeth after means the ingredients are lingering in the mouth all night long.
While we truly hope our patients and neighbors stay healthy all year round if you do happen to get sick, try taking medicine using the tips above to protect your smile.
The Great American Smokeout is hosted on the third Thursday of every November. Its purpose is to help smokers set a day to work towards a smoke-free life. As you probably know, quitting smoking can help you get healthier, but it can also protect your children’s health, too. The truth is, those who live with smokers, including children, are at risk for similar health concerns as the actual smoker. To help celebrate the Great American Smokeout and raise awareness of the importance of quitting, our dental office in Douglasville is sharing some ways smoking can put others living with you at risk, even if they aren’t smokers themselves.
Secondhand Smoke Linked to Cavities
You may already be aware of the oral health complications that tend to affect smokers, such as bad breath and an increased risk of gum disease. But one thing you may not know is that secondhand smoke can also carry oral health risks. A study conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) showed a potential link between secondhand smoke and the prevalence of cavities in children’s baby teeth. But that’s not all. There are several reasons smokers should avoid lighting up when children are around.
Children of Smokers are at Risk
An increased risk of developing more cavities is certainly something that worries your Douglasville dentist. However, children of smokers have even more risks that go beyond oral health alone. In fact, children of smokers tend to get more ear infections, more colds that last longer, and are at greater risk of bronchitis than children of non-smokers. The risks of secondhand smoke can even go beyond childhood if kids are continuously exposed to it. Constant exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to underdeveloped lungs and even heart disease and lung cancer. Unfortunately, the risks don’t end there. Children of smokers are nearly 4 times more likely to start smoking than those with non-smoking parents. Once someone starts the habit, it’s more likely that they themselves will become addicted and their risk of serious health problems, such as cancer and heart disease, will drastically increase.
Smoking During Pregnancy
Both smoking while pregnant and smoking around a pregnant woman carry risks to the unborn baby. Smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy can cause serious concerns including:
- Low birth weight and perhaps an unhealthy baby
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Premature birth
Even though our Douglasville dental office supports the Great American Smokeout, we aren’t here to lecture or judge anyone for smoking. Instead, we’re here to support our community in their journey to quit — which is exactly the mission behind the Great American Smokeout. Quitting smoking can not only help you live a longer, healthier life, it can also help protect your children.
If you’re trying to quit smoking, there are various resources you can use both online and in person. Try a few different things to find what’s best for you and always remember to never quit trying to quit.
It’s that time of the year again when the sounds of sneezes and sniffles, and coughs and congestion, are in the air. That’s right, it’s flu season, which can be a concerning time for all of us. At our dental office in Douglasville, we want you to know that you don’t have to suffer this year. There are some easy tips you can try to keep your family healthy all the way to spring.
Wash Those Hands
There’s a reason you’ll find posters in every bathroom stressing the importance of proper handwashing and why your dentist in Douglasville stresses washing those hands regularly — because it works! A little bit of soap and warm water can go a long way in keeping you healthy and flu-free. Make sure to wash your hands after using the restroom, touching another person, touching anything in public (think escalators and doorknobs!), and before every meal or snack. While soap and warm water work best to kill those pesky germs, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can work well in a pinch.
Having clean hands is one thing that can certainly help reduce the risk of catching the flu, but having a clean house is also important. Pay attention to the areas where your family spends the most time, like the bathrooms (don’t forget the toilet handles!) and kitchen. Sanitize things that are often overlooked, such as remote control, faucets, and toys. When in doubt, give it a quick wipe down with an antibacterial cleaner.
No Hands to the Face
Hands touch so many things throughout the day, and even if you’re washing them regularly, there’s still a chance germs are lingering around. In fact, the CDC states that one of the most common ways germs are spread is by touching a contaminated surface, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts have mucus that can easily transport germs into the body and make us sick.
Take Care of That Toothbrush
The truth is, toothbrushes can play host to all sorts of gross germs that can make you sick. But with proper care, those germs don’t stand a chance. Make sure the bristles are getting a thorough rinsing with warm water after every use to help flush bacteria down the drain (where they belong!). When it comes to storage, keep all toothbrushes in an upright position with the bristles at the top and allow them to air dry. Avoid using those little plastic toothbrush covers — they create the ultimate home for bacteria because it’s wet, cold, and dark. Keep family members’ toothbrushes separated from each other to avoid cross-contamination, and of course, never share toothbrushes.
Drink More Water
Water is the best thing for everyone to drink, but even more so during flu season. The truth is, a well-hydrated body is better equipped to fight off any infection. Try your best to have each member of your family drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. During flu season, if you can get them to drink a little bit more, it can only help.
Follow these tips this flu season to help keep your entire family healthy all winter long. However, sometimes pesky germs find their way inside and make us sick. If that happens, your Douglasville dentist encourages you to use sugar-free medicines to help alleviate symptoms.
October is known for a lot of things, but it’s the one month set aside each year to give a little bit of extra love to all of the immensely talented, caring dental hygienists out there. There are so many of them across the country whose work goes unnoticed or even underappreciated each day. So we’re here to pull back the curtain and shed some light on the life-changing services they provide.
Take a few minutes with your dentist in Douglasville to give three cheers for dental hygienists and everything they do to keep you and your smile healthy.
Cheers #1 – Celebrate Their Love For Smiles
You have to admit it; someone who chooses dentistry as a career must really love teeth. If you ask any dental hygienist, we’re sure their answer will be very similar. Most dental hygienists take special classes and graduate with different training, degrees, and certifications. They don’t merely learn how to clean patients’ teeth and then send them on their way.
The American Dental Association will tell you that dental hygiene is no easy job. Hygienists are responsible for:
– Carefully examining teeth and the entire mouth for anything suspicious
– Taking a patient’s oral health history, blood pressure, and pulse
– Assessing your oral health needs and goals
– Taking precise x-rays and oral photos
– Educating patients about the best ways to care for their smile at home
– Clearing away harmful plaque and tartar from teeth to avoid decay
To get that up close and personal to smile each day takes a special dedication and a person who genuinely cares about their patients. Your Douglasville dentist will be the first to give any dental hygienist a huge high five for all the work they do!
Cheers #2 – They’re Making History
Fones School of Dental Hygiene first opened its doors in 1913, paving the way as the first school of its kind dedicated to educating dental hygienists. National Dental Hygiene Month first started being recognized in October back in 2009 courtesy of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and Wrigley gum. Together, both organizations saw the need for more Americans to put a heavier emphasis on keeping their teeth healthy.
This year, there’s even more to celebrate as the ADHA is partnering with Walgreens and LISTERINE® to promote further the benefits of good oral health and the incredible, life-changing work done by dental hygienists across the nation. There’s even a new, #DoTheSwish campaign happening at participating stores where you can snap a selfie with specially-marked LISTERINE® mouthwash displays for a chance to win some sweet prizes!
Cheers #3 – It’s an Excuse for a New Toothbrush
While we genuinely appreciate all that dental hygienists do for patients, this is also a good time of year to take a look at your toothbrush. Is it starting to look a little scary? It might be time for a replacement if your bristles are frayed or breaking.
Having the right toothbrush is going to help keep your mouth and gums healthy, in turn, making your dental hygienist happy. That’s what we want this month and every month of every year! This holiday marks the perfect opportunity to celebrate the fantastic, fabulous work dental hygienists do to keep mouths healthy across the country, from big cities to small villages.
Are you need of a teeth cleaning? Contact our Douglasville dental office today by phone or online to schedule a time with your amazing dental hygienist. Don’t forget to thank them for all they do for you and your smile.
Your dentist in Douglasville knows how incredibly unnerving a trip to have your teeth checked or cleaned can be for some patients. If this sounds like you, it’s essential to know that you’re not alone. Besides the fact that millions of Americans struggle with anxiety about seeing the dentist, you’ve got an extended family at our office who cares about your comfort and happiness.
We thought it might be a good idea to devote a blog to different ways you or someone you care about can alleviate your dental anxiety and relax in the chair. There are a few things we tell our patients that are sure to work for you too.
#1 – Talk it Out
No matter what age you are or where you’re at in life, one of the most significant, most effective ways to overcome dental anxiety is to talk to us. Communication with your Douglasville dentist will help to lower your stress levels associated with dental visits and make you feel less anxious about scheduling an appointment with us. Your dentist treats patients every day who are not too excited about having to sit in the dental chair, even for as something as routine as a cleaning. We have the right tools and training to make sure you’re always feeling comfortable and at ease.
Remember, starting with the first phone call if you’re a new patient, share your questions and concerns with our dental team. We can adapt to fit your needs and your schedule, to make seeing the dentist an experience that’s stress-free (and dare we say, enjoyable).
#2 – Relax and Breathe
It may seem a little silly having your dentist remind you to breathe, but so many people tense up when they’re at the dentist. Sometimes when we do this or we’re feeling anxious, we hold our breath and don’t breathe properly. This decreases oxygen levels and can further increase your feeling of anxiety or panic.
Whether you’re on your way to the office for an appointment or if you’re getting ready to sit down for treatment, you can always practice deep, meditative breathing. It’s easy! Just try focusing on your breath. Keep taking steady, slow inhalations and exhalations. When you develop a more rhythmic breathing pattern, you’re able to focus on that more than your feelings of dread from having to see the dentist. Focusing on our breathing helps dramatically reduce stress levels.
#3 – See Your Dentist in Douglasville Regularly
It may seem a bit strange, but the best way to avoid the dentist is to see your dentist regularly. If you can overcome your anxiety and get through regular, routine checkups and cleanings, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to avoid more extensive, time-consuming procedures in the future.
Also, remember this if you’re in the chair having work done: it’s OK to have a signal to stop and take a break if you’re uncomfortable. This puts you in control of the procedure and alerts your dentist if you need a time out for a minute or two.
We hope these tips can help provide you some relief from your dental worries and anxiety. Like we mentioned earlier, please don’t hesitate to call our Douglasville dental office and explain your feelings to us. There’s a solution for every patient, for every smile! We’re happy to help you find what makes you comfortable.
From kids to adults, there’s no shame in getting your game on. It’s a great way to get your daily exercise and spend time with friends or family. (And a little competition never hurt.)
With any sport, we run the risk of spraining an ankle or breaking a wrist. But you also run an even bigger danger of damaging your teeth. No one wants that! Especially your dentist in Douglasville.
Oral injuries from sports can range from a simple bump on the lip to requiring major dental surgery to repair a smile. (Hello, hockey players!) Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of broken, chipped teeth due to sports. Here are some of the most common culprits when it comes to wreaking havoc on smiles.
#1 – Football
As the gridiron game starts to heat up this month, you should know that it’s not so hot for your smile. You can probably imagine that any sport requiring tackling is going to cause an injury or two somewhere along the way. Make sure you and your kiddos are equipped with a custom mouthguard. They offer added protection to your bite when you’re fighting hard on the field. You don’t want tackles taking out your teeth.
#2 – Basketball
This court can be harsh on teeth. Not everyone wears mouthguards to protect their smile when playing basketball, but there are so many opportunities for damage to your teeth. This is true, especially as we grow older and continue in the sport. Just picture it: an elbow flailing here and there or a ball headed straight for the kisser. Basketball has the potential to do some serious damage to your teeth.
#3 – Martial Arts
Sports such as martial arts, mixed martial arts, boxing, and others can also spell trouble for your teeth. There’s no denying that these sports are full-contact and sometimes literally mean hitting someone directly in the face. Oral injury is occasionally imminent. But it can be avoidable if you remember to wear a custom mouthguard courtesy of your Douglasville dentist.
#4 – Stick and Bat Games
Think of a sport that you need a bat or a stick to play; we’ll wait. (Hint: Hockey, baseball, lacrosse, cricket, etc.) There’s an increased risk of getting smacked in the face with a stick or bat when you’re on the field or the ice with these sports. Just like all of the other sports we’ve discussed so far, it’s important to protect your smile with a mouthguard, especially if you’ve had extensive cosmetic work.
#5 – Skateboarding
Sure, Tony Hawk has a great smile. But we’re willing to bet he’s wiped out once or twice and his smile was right in the middle of it. Skateboarding can be fun and exhilarating just like a halfpipe, but if you’re not careful, your teeth can end up damaged. Chipped, broken, and knocked out teeth are common skateboarding injuries that we’ve seen (in children and parents).
At our Douglasville dental office, we’re all about preventing damage and decay to your teeth. After all, we want your smile to last a lifetime. However, if you find yourself with a dental emergency with a sports injury, know that you can always count on us. Please call our office to learn more about how we can accommodate you and your family should a dental emergency arise. We’re always here to help you feel better and have a healthy smile!
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!
When you walk down the oral health care aisle at your local supermarket, it can quickly become overwhelming. There are just so many different types of toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste, bottles of mouthwashes, and packets of floss to pick from. How in the world are you supposed to pick the best products for you? Don’t worry, today the team at our Douglasville dental office is here to help narrow your options for one of the most important tools in your oral hygiene toolbox — floss.
Flossing can sometimes be overlooked as a crucial part of your oral health, but the truth is, flossing every day is incredibly effective at lowering your risk for cavities and gum disease. This means that you need to choose a type of floss that you will use regularly and properly. Let’s take a closer look at the three most common types of floss recommended by your dentist in Douglasville.
The most common type of floss is the traditional string floss found in those little, compact containers. This time-tested original can work really well for many people as it’s what they first learned to floss with, so it’s comfortable to use. However, those who may have trouble using their hands or fingers may not be able to reach around each tooth or back into the molars. This is when an alternative option should be considered.
Floss picks are those little plastic tools that have a small piece of floss threaded between two posts. They’re pretty inexpensive and can be just as effective as traditional floss if used properly. However, while some people may find floss picks easier to use, others find just the opposite. So essentially, there’s no real right or wrong answer when it comes to which is better. The best way to decide is to try both options and see which is easier for you to use. Keep in mind, floss picks only use a small section of floss so you may need to use a few flossers each and every time you floss.
A newer and more high-tech flossing option that’s making its way into bathrooms across the country is electric water flossers. These tools are highly effective at removing plaque and bacteria, and many studies suggest that they may be the most effective of any flossing device. But they don’t come without a few potential cons. Water flossers need to either be plugged in or charged, so they aren’t incredibly convenient. They’re also larger in size so storage and traveling may pose a few complications. Lastly, they can be pricey, although they do last a long time and reduce waste.
What matters most to your dentist in Douglasville isn’t necessarily which type of floss you use, but rather that you floss regularly and properly. If you’re finding that flossing is challenging and you’re looking for a better solution, we welcome you to call our dental office in Douglasville. We’re always happy to help find the best tools for each one of our patients.
Swimming is a popular summertime activity, and it’s good for you too! It’s a great form of cardiovascular exercise, it’s easy on the joints, and it’s a sweet way to cool off on those hot days. But the team at our Douglasville dental office knows that there could be some harm lurking in your pool water that you probably don’t know about.
Swimming Pools & Your Teeth
Many pools use chlorine to keep pool water free of dangerous bacteria that could be harmful to humans. But this chlorine may also put another part of your body at risk for damage — your teeth.
Research dating back to the 1980’s studied the negative effects of chlorine on your oral health, particularly your tooth enamel. Part of what chlorine does is help level out the pH balance of pool water, so it’s safe for families. For most situations, pool water should have a pH between 7.2 and 7.8. But when this drops below this ideal range, the water actually becomes acidic. If this happens and you spend a lot of time in the pool, or a lot of water gets into your mouth, the acid can wear away tooth enamel and even cause tooth discoloration.
Why Is Tooth Enamel Important?
Tooth enamel is the super-strong protective layer of our teeth. It helps keep dangerous plaque and bacteria from eating away at the teeth and causing cavities. If tooth enamel erodes, whether it’s from an improperly chlorinated pool, drinking too many acidic drinks like lemonade, or brushing too hard, teeth are at increased risk for decay, wearing down, and sensitivity.
Who Is At Risk?
While anyone’s teeth can suffer from enamel erosion, the cases in which the erosion is caused by chlorine is often found in competitive swimmers or those who spend a lot of time in pools. The truth is if you only swim occasionally, you’re probably not at risk.
Signs of a Problem
Two of the first signs that a pool’s pH is too low are irritated skin or burning eyes while swimming. Over time, you may start to notice brown spots on your teeth (known as swimmer’s calculus) or experience increased tooth sensitivity. If you notice any of these changes, visit your dentist in Douglasville as soon as you can.
Protecting Your Tooth Enamel
Besides proper brushing and flossing, there are steps you can take to help protect your enamel against erosion — and no, you don’t need to give up swimming. Just make sure you test the water for proper pH levels regularly and try to keep pool water out of your mouth as much as possible. Of course, it’s also important to see your Douglasville dentist at least every six months for regular checkups and professional cleanings.