Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

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Battling Bad Breath March 26, 2017

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

Bacteria, coffee, strong-smelling foods, dehydration… there are a lot of causes of bad breath, or “halitosis”. What can you do about it? That could depend on what is causing it. Read on for details,
The primary offender is bacteria, and they are at their worst when your oral hygiene is at its worst, or when a long time has gone by without brushing (such as while sleeping at night). Excellent oral hygiene is the best defense against this formidable foe. Brushing and flossing physically lifts and removes both bacteria and the tiny food particles they use to fuel their odor, effectively evicting them from their uninvited residence in your mouth. The minty scent of most toothpastes is an added bonus, but the evicting the culprits with a diligent and trough hygiene routine is solution number uno of this breath problem.

Speaking of bacteria as a cause of bad breath- when was the last time you cleaned your tongue? Bacteria builds up on the tongue, especially at the back of the tongue. You can brush your tongue to help remove it, but the best weapon is a tongue scarper, which is an effective tool that reaches the back of the tongue more easily. Consider it another thing that you should be doing  daily as part of your normal oral hygiene routine!
Another cause of bad breath is the lingering scent of strongly-odored foods that taint your breath after they are consumed. Garlic, onions, and coffee are notorious for making a mark on your breath!  A good bush and floss will help, but of these three, coffee is only one that can you can easily be rid off.  Garlic and onion have odor compounds that enter your circulation through your digestive system and infiltrate your breath through your blood stream.  They are most potent in their raw form, so cooking them is one way to reduce the damage they may have on the air you exhale. Time is the only way to thoroughly get rid of garlic and onion breath, as your body will digest and break down the cause of the smell. Try a nice strong mouthwash, sugar-free gum or extra-strong sugar-free mints to help mask the odor, repeating as needed. There are some old wives tales about ingesting parley and lemon juice, too.  Lemon juice is hard on your teeth so you may want to reach for mints or parsley first, and if you try lemon, drink it through a straw to keep off your teeth.
Dehydration can cause very noticeable bad breath, but many people do not realize this. Drinking plenty of water and preventing dehydration is going to help most with this one, but brushing, flossing, and making use of a antiseptic mouthwash can help. For the most part, the odor is caused by those previously mentioned bacteria. When you get dehydrated, the body has trouble producing sufficient saliva to help keep those bacteria in check. Proper hydration helps your body maintain balance in the mouth (not to mention every other system), so drink up that water!

Well, that’s the basics of bad breath. Please let us know if Dr. Vancil and the Mall of Georgia Dentistry staff can help you with any other questions about how to keep the funk and foul out of your breath. Great dental maintenance, including regular cleanings and check-ups in addition to your daily floss-and-brush routine, is the foundation of fresh breath!

 

How Acidic Is Your Favorite Drink? March 12, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:27 pm

Acidic drinks may be putting your enamel in at risk. Acids can cause enamel erosion, weaken the tooth, and open the door for cavities. You’ve probably already learned that soft drinks are very acidic, but so are “healthy” things like lemon water and orange juice!

Acidity and alkalinity are measured in “pH”. Plain water is considered neutral with a pH of approximately 7. The lower the pH, the more acidic the beverage is, while a 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* contain sugar are even worse for your teeth because the sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth -which produces even more acid. Yikes!

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 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!

 

How does Pregnancy affect your mouth? February 25, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:51 pm

During pregnancy, your mouth needs a little extra care. Pregnancy affects a woman’s body body in numerous way, and the teeth and gums are not immune from all the hormones and changes going on. If you or a loved one is currently expecting (or planning to be), it’s a good idea to keep certain aspects of dental health in mind. Here are a few things to consider:

Pregnancy Gingivitis: Thanks to hormonal changes, many women may find they are prone to a mild form of gum disease known as pregnancy gingivitis. Approximately 40% of pregnant women experience it, with gums that are red, tender, and sore. Keeping your teeth clean is the best way to help prevent gingivitis, and more frequent cleanings may be recommended to help control gingivitis. Untreated gingivitis can lead to more serious gum disease, so call our office if you notice any changes in your mouth during pregnancy.

Morning Sickness: Morning sickness and frequent vomiting can expose your teeth to the erosion of stomach acids. Be sure to rinse you mouth well if you’ve had a bout of morning sickness that resulted in vomiting. You can even try making an alkaline rinse with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to help stop stomach acid from attacking your teeth. The baking soda’s alkalinity will help neutralize the acid.

Increased Appetite: All the extra nutrients your body needs means pregnancy can cause an increase in appetite. If the desire to eat more leads to tons of snacking, that can increase the odds of tooth decay. Snacks high in carbs, sugar, or acidity are the worst. Try limiting snacks to certain times, choosing healthy snacks most of the time, and drinking plenty of water.

Nutrition and Baby’s Teeth: Your baby’s teeth will begin developing between the third and sixth month of pregnancy. Great nutrition is always stressed during pregnancy, and sufficient quantities of nutrients like vitamins, protein, and minerals like calcium and phosphorous are essential to the best development of your baby and his or her little baby teeth.

Pregnancy comes with plenty of things that require extra caution and care, and your teeth on the list! Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing between your teeth once a day, and getting regular check-ups are all even more important while you’re pregnant. Eating a balanced diet and limiting between-meal snacks is a good idea too. Call us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry if you want to make to sure that your dental routine is doing the best for you and your growing baby. With so many future smiles to look forward to, start taking great care of them now!

 

Baby teeth are important! February 11, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 3:37 pm

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month… what a good time to talk about baby teeth! Some people think of baby teeth as expendable teeth since they will inevitably fall out one day and be replaced by permanent teeth. So why is it important to take great care of them and keep them in ideal shape? Here are a few reasons why you’ll want to baby those baby teeth:

  • It sets the foundation for your child to take great care of their teeth later in life. Proper, thorough brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and regular check-ups are the foundation of healthy teeth. Childhood habits often last into adulthood, so all these good dental habits should be started early!
  • Baby teeth are placeholders for adult teeth. Keeping them in place until the permanent teeth are ready to grow in (or until an orthodontist recommends they come out) is a wise way to prevent malocclusion as adult teeth erupt. Malocclusion can make teeth more difficult to clean, and poorly cleaned teeth can increase the chances of dental caries (cavities). Also, if adult teeth erupt improperly it can require years of costly orthodontic treatment to correct.
  • They are important to your child’s nutrition. Children who are able to chew food well may be better able to get optimum nutrition for their growing bodies. Well-chewed food can also reduce chances of choking on food while eating.
  • They play a role in your child’s ability to communicate. Teeth are important to many of the sounds of speech and for proper pronunciation and communication. As children are still learning spoken language, a normal configuration of baby teeth can facilitate proper formation of sounds, making them more easily understood by others.
  • Some baby teeth have no successor and never fall out! Sometimes the body simply doesn’t form an adult tooth as it should… and sometimes these baby teeth that are retained into adulthood and can be made to function and look like an adult tooth in some cases. In many cases, though, they need to be extracted and replaced with an entirely prosthetic tooth- a baby tooth with restorations or decay is more likely to require that.

So there are a few reasons why taking great care of baby teeth is a great idea. If baby teeth are knocked out by injury or extracted due to decay, there is the potential for all kinds of complications ranging from aesthetic to functional. And creating a strong foundation of excellent oral hygiene is a preventive measure that could save your child the hassle, distress, and financial burden of major dental restorations as an adult.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we think baby teeth are awesome and deserve respect, so let us know if you have concerns about you child’s teeth and we’ll jump at the chance to help you keep your little one’s little pearly whites just right! Happy National Children’s Dental Health Month! 🙂

 

Why does my dentist’s office ask what medications I take? January 28, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:33 pm

Whether they are over-the-counter or prescription, medications have side effects, and many of these side-effects can impact your oral health. Of particular concern are medications that cause dry mouth, which can make you more vulnerable to tooth decay and poor oral health.

Dry mouth is a lack of adequate saliva in the mouth. Without enough saliva, the environment in the mouth is not able to cope as well with everyday things like food particles and acids. Saliva acts as part of the defense mechanism against gingivitis, tooth decay, and infections. Saliva bathes your mouth in a protective solution containing calcium ions, and saliva helps teeth to remineralize after being weakened by a little acid exposure. It helps wash away food that is stuck to the teeth, and can help keep plaque from quickly building up to levels that can cause gingivitis.

Hundreds of medications can cause dry mouth. Some categories of medications known to have this side effect include antidepressants, allergy & asthma medication, anti-anxiety drugs, blood pressure medication, antacids, & more…. including some vitamin supplements. If you feel you that you are experiencing dry mouth, talk to your pharmacist or doctor, or ask your doctor to prescribe a different medicate that does not cause dry mouth as a side effect, if possible.
If a change in medication is not advisable, a few things can help you cope with dry mouth.   Avoid using toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulphate and mouth rinses that contain alcohol. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep the mouth hydrated. Reduce your caffeine intake since caffeine can aggravate dry mouth. Breathe through the nose, not mouth – air flowing in and out of your mouth will dry up saliva. Keep up with your brushing and flossing routine impeccably and get regular cleanings and check ups. Some patients can benefit from wearing custom made trays at night filled with special remineralizing products, or special prescription mouthwashes.
If you are dealing with dry mouth, please feel free to talk to our office. We stock dry mouth spay and you can also find them for purchase elsewhere. Dr Vancil and the Mall of Georgia dentistry team will be glad to make suggestion of things that might help keep you smiling.

 

Do you have jaw pain? January 15, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 3:13 pm

The medical name for the jaw joint is the temporomandibular joint (often shortened to TMJ)- it is formed by the temporal bone of the skull and the mandible bone of the jaw. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMD, is any condition of pain or dysfunction in this joint. TMD affects millions of Americans. Symptoms can include:

  • Pain in the jaw joint area, face, or sometimes neck
  • Pain or stiffness when chewing or difficulty chewing or speaking
  • Popping, clicking, or grating noises when chewing, speaking, or opening and closing the mouth
  • Limited range of motion or locking of the jaw
  • Changes in occlusion (the way the teeth fit together when closed)
  • Headaches
  • Aching and pain around the ears

The exact cause of TMD is not always clear, but many factors can be at work to cause or contribute to the above set of symptoms. Bruxism, clenching, and other stress habits of the jaw, jaw injury or dislocation, arthritis, and improper occlusion are all thought to contribute to or exacerbate TMD.

TMD symptoms can be painful and have an adverse effect on your quality of life. Treatment with an oral TMD appliance that helps to re-position the jaw and relieve the malfunction in the joint can improve or completely eliminate symptoms.

Dr Vancil is not only experienced with treating TMD in patients but takes a special interest in this often-overlooked but common and painful condition. If you experience any of the TMD symptoms listed above, please call us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry- we’d love to help you restore the comfort and function of your jaw joint and give you more reason to smile!

 

What Causes Thinning Enamel? December 31, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:13 pm

You’ve probably heard it said that tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but that doesn’t make it immune to wear, damage, and distress. There are a few things that can contribute to the thinning of your tooth enamel. Let’s look at the most common things that may be damaging your enamel, and what to do about it:

  • Acid erosion- enamel is a very hard substance, but acid weakens the chemical bonds that hold the mineral molecules together. The most common sources of acid erosion are soft drinks and fruit drinks, which contain substances such as phosphoric acid and citric acid. These 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- Although we just mentioned the importance of brushing, you must brush properly and not overdo it.  Do not use abrasives like baking soda or use an abrasive toothpastes. 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. It may also be wise not to brush too soon after a meal since the enamel is a bit weaker after being exposed to the acids in food. Drink water after eating and wait about half an hour to brush.

Of the many potential causes of thinning enamel, these above are the most common lifestyle habits. 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 or treat the contributing factors you can help prevent it from progressing. Also, using a remineralizing toothpaste can 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.

Try to be aware of these common causes of thinning enamel and see if they apply to you- if so, take steps to avoid them, and seek treatment for conditions such as  GERD, bruxism, or dry mouth. Healthy teeth make for a lifetime of confident smiles, and caring for your enamel is essential to great dental health!

 

 
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