Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Toothbrush TCL July 17, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:10 pm

The most powerful weapon in your healthy-mouth arsenal is your toothbrush.  So it makes sense that proper care and maintenance for your toothbrush is important to your oral health. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, more often if the bristles become frayed or worn. A worn toothbrush can’t clean effectively. (Side note: if the bristles on your toothbrush start looking frayed or bent in less than three or four months, you are most likely brushing too hard!)
  • It may be a good idea to replace your toothbrush if you’ve been sick.  Bacteria or cold and flu viruses can remain embedded in the toothbrush bristles and lead to re-infection.  Recent studies have shown that this may not be of high concern, but it’s still a safe bet to switch to a fresh brush once you’ve recovered.
  • Rinse the toothbrush thoroughly with tap water after each use to remove any toothpaste and particles.
  • Store your toothbrush upright and allow it to air-dry. Keep toothbrushes separated so that germs are not transferred from one brush to another.
  • Don’t share toothbrushes with others. Everyone should have their own toothbrush.
  • Avoid covering or storing toothbrushes in closed containers. The trapped moisture can invite the growth of bacteria.
  • It may be a good idea to store your toothbrush at least 6 feet away from the toilet. Flushing actually splashes bacteria out into the air and it can travel several feet, potentially landing on your toothbrush!

We love all kinds of toothbrushes at Mall of Georgia Dentistry… whether manual or electric, both are capable effectively cleaning your teeth. Along with floss and regular dental visits, your toothbrush is essential to good oral health.  If you have any specific questions about how take care of your toothbrush or what kind of toothbrush might best suit you, give our office a call!

 

Wisdom Teeth July 2, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:12 pm

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to erupt on each side of the upper and lower jaws, usually in the late teens. While some people fail to develop any third molars, most people do develop one or more of these teeth, and these teeth are notorious for not erupting properly and instead becoming impacted. If that is the case, having them removed is necessary to prevent painful problems.

An oral surgeon performs the removal of impacted wisdom teeth because they are not like normal teeth that can be extracted by a dentist since they are still partially or completely embedded in the jaw. A panoramic x-ray can show the position of the wisdom teeth in relation to all of the teeth in the jaw to help determine if extraction is necessary or advisable.
Reason for removing wisdom teeth can include:
•    The jaw may not be large enough for them. They may not have room to break through your gums and take their place among the other teeth.
•    They may erupt only partway, with gum tissue covering over part of them. This makes a trap for food particles and bacteria which can and lead to painful infection.
•    Often, one or more wisdom teeth comes in at the wrong angle, such as sideways, or with the top of the tooth facing to either side, which will not result in a functional tooth but can cause pain and problems.

Even those who develop normal and healthy wisdom teeth may still be advised to have them removed since they are extremely far back in the mouth and very difficult to brush, floss, and clean around. Like all teeth, if wisdom teeth are not properly cared for, they will eventually cause problems, but they may even be too far back in the mouth for a dentist to reach in order to treat, in which case their removal is the best option.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we know that wisdom teeth can be some of the biggest trouble-makers in your mouth, so don’t be surprised for us to check them and make recommendations at any appointment at our office!   Surgery to remove wisdom teeth is very common and routine and can save a lot of suffering and more expensive problems in the long run. If you have questions or concerns about your own or your child’s wisdom teeth, please contact our office and we will b happy to help you.

 

What are bitewing X-rays? June 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:46 am

X-rays are some of the most important tools dental professionals have when treating teeth. There are several types of x-rays you might encounter at a dentist office, but the most common are bitewing x-rays. You know these, right?

Bitewing radiographs are routine x-rays that detect cavities between the teeth. They can also show decay that is occurring under existing fillings. Bitewing x-rays are very important for cavity detection because it is impossible to see underneath fillings or between two molars with the naked eye… you need x-ray vision for that!

This type of x-ray is a specific view of the teeth that shows the upper and lower back teeth. The name “bitewing comes from the shape of the film, reminiscent of wings with the little tab situated in the center of the X-ray film, which you bite on to hold the film in place. Centering the x-ray film in the bite of the teeth positions it so that it captures an even amount of imagery from the upper and lower teeth. Bitewing x-rays can also be valuable for checking occlusion, or how the upper and lover teeth line up and fit together.

These types of x-rays are considered routine and preventative or diagnostic, and they are typically done at a routine cleaning appointment once or twice per year. Individual needs may vary, but adults are usually recommended to get bitewing x-rays about once every year or two, and children once or twice per year. People who have had few or no cavities may require them less often, and people who are prone to more cavities may be advised to have them done more often. Your dental health care providers review each patient’s individual caries risk and make a recommendation based on that.

If it has been a while since you’ve had bitewing x-ray images taken of your teeth, don’t be surprised to hear the dental hygienist recommend them at your next appointment! At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we know how important it is to catch tooth decay early, before it becomes a more invasive and expensive problem. Bitewing x-rays are just one great way we help keep your smile bright and healthy!

 

Acidic Beverages and Your Teeth June 5, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:23 am

It’s summer! The season of barbeques, cookouts, picnics, and backyard entertaining. But some of the most common beverages that grace our summer picnic tables are loaded in sugars and acids that can attack your tooth enamel. Lemonade, anyone? Read on to learn more about how to protect your teeth from your favorite summer drinks.

First, let’s talk a little bit about pH, a measurement of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. Plain water is considered neutral with a pH of approximately 7. The lower the pH, the more acidic the beverage is. Higher pH is alkaline. Drinks with a pH value of approximately 5.5 and below can cause acid erosion of the teeth. Why? Tooth enamel is a crystalline structure, and acids interfere with the chemical bonds holding the molecules of the enamel together. So when the teeth are exposed to a lot of acidic substances for prolonged periods of time or with frequency, the enamel will slowly dissolve over time. Drinks that are acidic and also contain sugar are double trouble because the sugar feeds bacteria in your mouth that produce even more acid.

The most common causes of acid erosion are popular beverages like sodas. Check out the average pH measurements of some popular drinks below. Remember, a smaller number is a lower pH which is a higher acidity; a larger number is higher pH and more alkaline (not acidic).

Unsweetened Tea 7.2
Water 7.0 (neutral)
Milk (2% or skim) 6.8
Chocolate Milk 6.7
Root Beer 4.6
Beer 4.4
7-Up/Sprite 3.7
Juicy Juice 3.5
Red Wine 3.5
Apple Juice 3.4
Diet Cola 3.4
Orange Juice 3.3
Redbull 3.3
Mountain Dew 3.2
White Wine 3.3
Sweet Tea (bottled) 3
Gatorade 2.9
Dr. Pepper 2.9
Hawaiian Punch 2.8
Hi-C 2.7
Monster Energy 2.7
Lemonade 2.6
Coke 2.5

Almost all of these very popular beverages measure in with an acidic pH! But, as you can see, some are worse than others. The more of these beverage you can cut out of your diet, the better for your teeth. But they are tasty and widely available, and it’s probably not reasonable to simply avoid them every single day of the rest of your life! So if you want to keep drinking them, what can you do to neutralize the impact these drinks have on your enamel and help reduce acid erosion?

  • Drink with moderation. Only drink acidic beverages at mealtimes, or during limited time frames. Don’t sip on them all day, which would mean continuous exposure to acids.
  • Drink through a straw. Using a straw can help bypass most of your teeth and reduce the amount of direct contact with most of your teeth. (Acidic beverages will still lower the pH of the mouth and expose the teeth to acid, though, so don’t think you are safe to sip all day just because you use a straw.)
  • 
Drink water after. Drink or rinse the mouth with regular water after drinking an acidic drink. Water helps dilute and neutralize the acid and wash it off of your teeth.
  • Don’t brush immediately. After you’ve doused your teeth in acid, your enamel is in a weakened state, and brushing right away is likely to brush away a little bit of your enamel with it. Drink water and wait 20-30 minutes to allow the chemical bonds to re-stabilize.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we want to help you protect your teeth this summer and always and keep your smile bright for a lifetime. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, just call our office. Meanwhile… brush, floss, and smile!

 

 

 

“Healthy” foods that are bad for your teeth May 21, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:41 am

When it comes to protecting your teeth, twice-daily brushing and flossing and consistent routine dental exams is the way to go. But you may also want to be careful what you put in your mouth. You should already know that sodas and sports drinks are acidic, sugary, or both, and therefore hard on your teeth, and that candy is a major tooth no-no, but did you know that some “healthy” foods can be tough on teeth too? Try to moderate the following foods to minimize risk to your teeth:
Dried Fruit. Raisins, dried apricots, cranberries, ect… they can be a far more healthful snack option than candy or snack cakes to quell a sweet tooth, but they’re still sticky and high in sugar. Some have added sugars, but even unsweetened dried fruits contain enough natural sugar and a certain type of fiber which can bind and trap the sugar around the tooth. They can actually be as sticky as saltwater taffy! Enjoy them in moderation or opt for the fresh version instead (but keep reading for more about fruit…).
Acidic Fruits. Although fruits such as oranges, kiwis, and pineapple are great sources of vitamin C, they are also highly acidic. Acid weakens the enamel of your teeth and can open the door for decay or sensitivity from thinning enamel. Enjoy acidic fruits such as citrus fruits in moderation and drink plenty of water after consuming them.
Sweet Potato Chips. Although healthier than regular potato chips, they can still wreak havoc on your pearly whites. They are starchy and processed, and the bacteria in your mouth treat starches like sugar when digesting. Furthermore, food particles from these starchy carbs tend to linger by sticking in the grooves of teeth, creating a breeding ground for acid-producing bacteria.
Popcorn. Plain air-popped popcorn itself is healthy, low-calorie, and a whole grain food. But much like chips, popcorn is starchy and can wedge in the grooves and between teeth and encourage bacterial growth. And un-popped kernels are so hard they can potentially break your teeth!

All of the above foods are perfectly fine to eat from time to time, and most of us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry enjoy them! But just because they have a reputation as “healthy” snacks does not mean that they should be eaten indiscriminately. Know about how what you eat has an effect on your teeth and you have that much more power to keep your teeth in great shape!

 

Are you high-risk for tooth decay? May 8, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 4:11 pm

Certain lifestyle factors and habits can put you at an increased risk of developing tooth decay, a.k.a. cavities or dental caries. Are you high-risk? Some of the most common contributing factors are listed below… how many apply to you?

  • Sticky or acidic foods. Some foods are more likely to contribute to decay. Foods that stick to your teeth, especially sugary foods like chewy candy (gummies, caramels, etc), cakes, cookies, and dried fruits and raisins cling to the teeth. The bacteria in your mouth converts the sugar into acid, then the acid weakens the enamel and opens the door for decay. Carbohydrates like chips, crackers, and cereal have the same effect. Keep sweets and carb-based snacks to a minimum or enjoy only in a single sitting or at meal time instead of snacking all day.
  • Frequent soda and sports drink sipping. When you steadily sip sodas or sugary beverages, you give mouth- dwelling bacteria more fuel to produce acids that attack your teeth and weaken enamel. Beverages like soda and energy drinks don’t just contain sugar, they also contain acid, so drinking them douses your teeth in acid right away and increase the likelihood for decay as well. If you drink sugary or acidic beverages, use a straw to help bypass your teeth. Don’t think that diet sodas are in the clear just because the sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners… they are also very acidic and hard on teeth.
  • Inadequate brushing and flossing. Plaque forms pretty quickly after eating and drinking. Plaque produces acid and must be removed thoroughly and frequently. Brushing well both morning and night for two minutes and flossing at least once a day are the foundation for controlling decay
  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva. Saliva helps prevent tooth decay by rinsing away food particles and plaque from your teeth. Adequate saliva flow can help counter the acid produced by decay-producing bacteria and help avoid tooth decay. Medications are a common cause of dry mouth, but sipping on pure water all day long can help.
  • Too little fluoride. Fluoride is a catalyst for remineralization of the tooth enamel. Acid weakens the enamel by disrupting the chemical bonds that hold the minerals in your teeth together. Fluoride helps these bonds reform, and it also weakens acid-producing bacteria. This is why modern dentistry considers fluoride a must for excellent dental health!
  • Worn fillings or dental devices. Dental fillings can weaken, begin to break down and wear out over time. Worn areas can allow food particles or plaque to build up more easily and make it harder to clean the plaque or food away. Fillings and dental prosthetics that leak or don’t fit well allow decay to begin underneath. Get regular check up so a dentist can evaluate your dental restorations and devises regularly.
  • Heartburn and Vomiting. Digestive Acids weaken enamel just like the acids in food or acids produced by bacteria. Make sure you treat any Gastroesophageal reflux disease with a medication approved by your doctor, and take extra care of your teeth with extra rinsing and brushing if you get sick with a stomach bug that causes vomiting.

Are there any lifestyle steps you can take to help reduce your caries risk? Many of the factors above may be familiar to you but a few may not be so obvious as contributors to dental caries. All of us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry know that it’s the daily things that can make or break a good oral health deal with your mouth. Keeping up with your routine 6-month visits is an essential part of helping keep your teeth in great shape, and routine visits are a great opportunity to talk to our staff about any lifestyle factors that could you could change to improve your teeth and oral health. We’d be happy to help answer any questions you have and help you protect and improve your smile!

 

Protect your teeth with an athletic mouth guard April 23, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:42 pm

April is National Facial Protection Month… as weather warms up and people get more active with sports, outdoor recreation, and other physical actives, it’s time to remind everyone how important a mouth guard is for protecting your smile!  From baseball and soccer to rollerblading and mountain biking, all sorts of actives can pose a risk to your teeth and mouth, but wearing an athletic mouth guard can prevent or minimize tooth and mouth injuries should an accident occur.

Some research has even indicated a decreased risk of concussion for those wearing a custom-fitted dental mouth guard! The study found that only custom mouth guards professionally fit by a dental health care provider were associated with the reduced incidence of concussion.  Custom-fitted mouth guards are made at the dentist’s office after taking impressions of the teeth. The dentist has the tools and equipment to fabricate a mouth guard that is smooth and sized with the most comfort and best protection in mind. They are more expensive than the other mouth guard options, but they offer superb fit and greater comfort and durability than options that cost less.
Other mouth guards are boil-and-bite and stock types. These types of mouth guards can be obtained at sporting goods stores and other retailers. The “boil-and-bite” kind are first softened by submerging them in very hot water, then bitten while still soft, which forms the plastic to the shape of the mouth and teeth. These offer a better fit and better protection than stock mouth guards Stock mouth guards are pre-formed and ready to wear, but they don’t fit very well, and a poorly fitted mouth guard is not as effective at protecting the teeth. They are also bulky, which, along with the poor fit, can drastically interfere with breathing and talking.

Although injury can still occur even with a mouth guard, the added layer of protection is capable of shielding the teeth and surrounding tissue from the force of many types of collisions, falls, or accidents. Any mouth guard that fits properly can help protect your mouth. The custom fitted kind are ideal and the most highly recommended, but the boil-and-bite may be a good option as well. While a stock mouth guard is preferable to no mouth guard at all, the other two are certainly better options.
Be sure to take proper care of your mouth guard.  Clean it after each use by brushing it with a toothbrush and cool water (hot water can warp it, so use cool). When not in use, store it in a well-ventilated plastic storage case  (many come with a case). Avoid leaving it in direct sunlight or in a hot place such as a car, where heat might warp it.

If you have questions about mouth guards or want to know more about obtaining a custom-fitted athletic mouth guard, just call us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry!

 

 
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