Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

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Plaque Control April 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:52 pm

Most of you have a good idea of what plaque is- a film of grime formed by the bacteria that inhabit the mouth. Plaque is also full of the acids these bacteria secrete in response to sugar and carbohydrates that are eaten, and this acid contributes to tooth decay and periodontal disease. So controlling and removing plaque is very important! The removal of plaque is the foundation of a healthy home hygiene routine… the familiar activities of brushing and flossing!

Brushing: The toothbrush is one part of your arsenal in your daily two-part attack on plaque. Use a soft-bristled brush. Plaque is soft and effectively removed by soft bristles, which are much gentler on the gums than medium or hard brushes. Focus on the gum line all along the inside and outside of all your teeth, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and use short circular motions, for two minutes, and repeat twice per day.

Flossing: Flossing is the other half of your plaque-busting routine. The toothbrush cannot get in between teeth and they become a hideout where all those bacteria settle down and make themselves at home in your mouth. Flossing scrapes them away and evicts them. Floss gently all the way up and down each tooth’s inner surface. Curve the floss into “c” shape around the tooth to ensure you are getting the entire surface. Wind the floss between each tooth so as to use fresh clean floss on each tooth. Or you can use dental picks or floss picks. Floss at least once per day.

Other ideas to help minimize plaque:

Take it easy on the sweets. Sugar and simple carbohydrates feed bacteria and help them multiply, so these foods create more plaque. Drinking sugary beverages all day, for example, provides constant fuel for the bacteria. Try to avoid fueling the bacteria all day long, have sweets and treats with meals or in a single sitting instead of grazing or snacking.

Brush your tongue as well, since it too can accumulate plaque, or use a tongue scraper.

If plaque is not removed frequently, it begins to harden (within 24-48 hours) and then it becomes tartar. Tartar is more difficult to remove and must be scraped off somewhat forcefully- this is what a dental hygienist does in the scaling part of a typical hygiene visit (scale and polish). Bacteria thrive in tartar and can harm the tooth enamel and surrounding gums and eventually even the bones that hold in your teeth, resulting tooth loss!

Remember- your home hygiene routine is essential to keeping plaque under control- it’s simple and takes just a few minutes a day! Follow this up with your regular cleanings and check-ups and you’ll have the upper hand on plaque. At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we do what we can for our patients to help them have the healthiest teeth possible, but we can’t come to your house to brush them twice a day and floss them for you! Embrace the power you have over plaque, give it your best attack every day, and kick it out of your mouth!

 

Flossing Out of The Box (or the bathroom, rather) March 27, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:51 am

If you floss (and surely you do… RIGHT?!), chances are that you do it standing over your bathroom sink in front of the mirror. There seems to be an unspoken rule that one must floss where they brush and the bathroom sink is the traditional location for performing this activity. But if you DON’T floss, perhaps making an unconventional time and place to add this health-supporting activity to your daily routine is right for you. Consider the following ideas:

Floss in the shower – Many people like to brush in the shower, why not floss in the shower? Clean between those teeth while you’re already cleaning everything else anyway.

Floss on your lunch break – Keeping floss in your desk, and making a restroom pit stop after lunch to use it, might be an easier way to integrate flossing into your routine if you find yourself rushed in the mornings and tired and reluctant at night.

Floss in front of the TV – Watch television daily? Just like many people use their hands and mouths to snack in front of the screen, you can use your hands and mouth to floss while you watch. It won’t feel like a chore at all since your main attention will be focused on the tube (just make sure you pay enough attention to your flossing to do it properly).

Floss in the car- If you regularly sit and sit in traffic in a mostly stand-still daily commute, you can make that time useful by doing something good for yourself and flossing your pearly teeth. Keep floss in your car! If it doesn’t sound ulta-hygienic to you, just keep some tissues and wipes, a trash receptacle, and hand sanitizer in the car too.  

Flossing in the bathroom is an obvious, practical idea, and flossing before you brush is great because you can clean away any mico bits that are left behind from flossing, while the toothpaste can get in-between your teeth more easily with any plaque freshly out of the way.   But if- despite all your good intentions- you just can’t seem to get yourself into that habit, try giving one of these other daily flossing opportunities a try and see if it sticks!

Remember that flossing should be performed at least once a day, make sure you curve the floss into a “c” shape, and go all the way up and down both sides of each tooth. What is important is that you DO floss, and it matters much less when and where you floss than it does how you floss. Floss well, floss properly, floss any time and place that works for you, and reap the benefits in your oral health and beyond.

Hope these ideas from Mall of Georgia Dentistry help you keep your smile in fantastic shape! Happy flossing!

 

Braces aren’t just for children March 21, 2014

Filed under: Dental health — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:57 pm
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Many adults today wear braces for various reasons such as shifting teeth which may have drifted into poor alignment, straightening a smile a bit or simply enabling better oral health, like brushing or flossing.  They may also be worn for more serious problems such as bite problems that cause jaw pain.

Here’s the good news.  Advances in technology have made braces easier to wear and in many cases, all but invisible.  For instance:

  • Ceramic braces made of a clear material that’s much less obvious than traditional metal braces.
  • Brackets attached to the back of teeth holding wires that pull them into a new position.
  • Customized plastic aligners that fit like tooth guards over teeth, gently moving your bite into a new position.

Depending on what your problem might be, many of these may be options.  The point, of course, is if you’re an adult braces may be a viable option for you and solve one of the problems we’ve listed above.  If you think that might be the case and would like your questions answered, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Mall of Georgia Dentistry

 

Preventing Thinning Enamel March 15, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:30 pm

Thinning enamel can be caused in various ways. Here a few things that cause or contribute to it and some tips to help avoid them:

  • Acid erosion- enamel is a very hard substance, but acid weakens the chemical bonds that hold the mineral molecules together. Among the sources of acid erosion are soft drinks and fruit drinks, which contain such substances as phosphoric acid and citric acid. Such acids directly threaten your teeth, but drinking through a straw can help minimize the exposure by bypassing your teeth rather than dousing them. Any drink with a low Ph is acidic and can have the effect of weakening the enamel. Sugary and starchy foods also result in exposure of the teeth to acid because the sugars and starches are converted into acid by the bacteria that live in our mouths. Proper and diligent brushing and flossing are important to help keep these bacteria in check.
  • Brushing with abrasives- abrasives literally scrape enamel off of your teeth, like sandpaper. Many so-called “whitening” toothpastes contain abrasives that constantly remove tiny layers of enamel over time and can result in thinning. Your toothbrush itself can harm your teeth if you are brushing too hard and/or using bristles that are not soft enough. Many people make the mistake of thinking that brushing well means using force and really scrubbing, but a soft brush used gently at a 45-degree angle for 2 minutes is sufficient to remove plaque and reduce bacteria populations.

Of the many potential causes of thinning enamel, these above are the most common. Other common factors include GERD or acid reflux, medications that cause dry mouth, and bruxism. Once the enamel has worn away it cannot be reversed, but if you avoid the contributing factors above you can help prevent it from progressing, and using a remineralizing toothpaste can also help protect and preserve the enamel that you have left.  At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we have a few different products available that might benefit you if thinning enamel is a concern of yours.

They say “knowledge is power”… if you are aware of some of these common causes of thinning enamel, you can be empowered with the steps to take for avoiding them.  Healthy teeth make for a lifetime of confident smiles, and caring for your enamel is essential to great dental health. 

 

Tooth decay has been found to be an infectious disease March 7, 2014

Filed under: Dental health — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 10:53 am
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Did you know that new research has found that tooth decay, dental caries, is an infectious disease?

Here’s a summary of the University of Lousiville study on the subject:

Dental caries, commonly known as tooth decay, is the single most common chronic childhood disease. In fact, it is an infectious disease, new research demonstrates. Mothers with cavities can transmit caries-producing oral bacteria to their babies when they clean pacifiers by sticking them in their own mouths or by sharing spoons. Parents should make their own oral health care a priority in order to help their children stay healthy.

Note the bold print.  The problem, of course, is if a mother (or father or any other relation) that has that bacteria present in their mouth share an eating implement, etc. with a baby, those bacteria can be transmitted to the baby and begin attacking the baby’s teeth.

So it is advisable to ensure that whatever goes in baby’s mouth hasn’t been in another family members mouth first, just in case.  It is also advisable to make sure older children know not to share eating implements or anything else with the baby.  And, of course, you have to monitor the baby to ensure he or she doesn’t grab something it shouldn’t grab and put it in its mouth.

While parents may not be carrying those oral bacteria, this is still good common sense advice designed to ensure your baby can avoid those type of bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Mall of Georgia Dentistry

 

Tooth Fairy Trends February 27, 2014

Filed under: Dentistry,Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:32 pm
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The Tooth Fairy tradition is done a little differently from one culture to another and even from one household to the next. The most basic version of a visit from the Tooth Fairy is for a child to leave their lost tooth under their pillow at night and find a little money in its place in the morning.  But the Tooth Fairy doesn’t always just stop there!  Here are some of the fun and creative things that everyone’s favorite tooth-loving fairy has been known to do lately:

  • Fairy Dust – Like many fairies, the Tooth Fairy has been known to scatter a sprinkling of sparkling magic dust that often gets left behind wherever she (or he? …the Tooth Fairy is pretty mysterious!) has been.  Sometimes the money that the Tooth Fairy has been carrying around has accumulated lots and lots of this dust and become quite sparkly!
  • Issuing Receipts – Just as most purchases in the realm of humans involve a written record of the transaction, the Tooth Fairy sometimes likes to leave behind a record of how much money was left along with the date and child’s name, as well as other details such as how many teeth or which tooth was purchased from the child.  
  • Paying More for a Healthy Tooth–  It seems the Tooth Fairy often likes to pay more for a natural, sound tooth than for a  decayed or restored tooth.  It only makes sense that the Tooth Fairy would value a healthy tooth over a tooth that has a cavity or filling… after all, if a cavity or filling is present then that means part of the tooth is missing and the Tooth Fairy is receiving less actual tooth! This could also be an incentive for your child to put forth their best effort at brushing! 
  • Tiny Letters and Notes – Sometimes the Tooth Fairy has some words of encouragement or praise to offer to a child, especially if she (he?) is happy to find that the new tooth she (or he?) will be adding to her (or his?) collection was sound and well-cared-for.  A letter or note in her (his?) own tiny handwriting best serves this purpose.
  • Trinkets and Toys- Sometimes the Tooth Fairy prefers to deal in trade rather than cash and will occasionally favor little gifts over money, leaving such things as a little toy car for a boy, or leaving a girl a cute accessory. A fun kid’s toothbrush or tooth-shaped trinket is also a common gift left in exchange for a lost tooth.  

Tomorrow, February 28th, rounds up National Children’s Dental Health Month and is also “National Tooth Fairy Day” (actually, it is one of two “National Tooth Fairy Day”-s, the other being in August). Since the Tooth Fairy’s love of teeth rivals that of any dentist, the tradition can provide a neat way for children to learn to care for and value their baby teeth and an opportunity for teaching the importance and value of the ones they get to keep.  Hopefully you enjoyed learning a little more about Tooth Fairy customs and behavior, and you may find that the Tooth Fairy starts practicing some of these trends in your home soon if she (or he?) doesn’t already! Mall of Georgia Dentistry loves to keep those smiles healthy, and these are all great ways that the Tooth Fairy can help to keep a child’s smile at its best while creating new smiles along the way! 

 

4 things every dentist wants you to do February 21, 2014

Filed under: Dental health — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:26 am

And, if you do these things, your teeth, oral health and overall health will surely improve.

First – if you smoke, stop. Need another person in your life to explain why you need to quit smoking? Talk to your dentist. The nicotine and tar in cigarettes are not only turning your teeth an unsightly shade of yellow, but they’re eating away at your gums. Smoking creates a ripe environment for bacteria and plaque on your teeth and along the gum lines. And that harms tissue and eventually increases your risk of tooth loss. Tobacco chemicals can also cause mouth sores that could turn into cancer (by the way, it’s not a bad idea to get regular oral cancer screenings).

Secondly, see your dentist regularly. It is there that any problems you might experience can be caught early and treated effectively.

Third, take a moment to learn to brush properly. It takes only about two minutes to properly clean your teeth and gums. Angle the brush 45 degrees toward your gum line, and use gentle, circular strokes. Make sure the bristles on the brush aren’t bending; if they are, you’re brushing too hard and wearing down your teeth and gums. Plaque is soft and will brush away easily with light strokes.

And finally, floss. Flossing is fundamental to keeping teeth and gums clean — but only if you do it right. Snapping and popping your way through the process probably does more harm than good, causing friction on tissue and damage at the gum line. Instead, use about two inches of floss between your fingers, unroll a fresh section of floss for each tooth, and keep the floss tight against your tooth to break up plaque while leaving your gums in good shape.

Do those four things and not only will your dentist be happy, you will too. You’ll enjoy a much healthier mouth and life.

Mall of Georgia Dentistry

 

 
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