Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

It’s Halloween Candy Time October 22, 2016

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

Halloween and candy go hand in hand, but sugary treats can do scary things to your teeth if you aren’t careful.  The bacteria in your mouth love sugar… they eat the sugar and produce acid, which weakens the enamel and causes cavities. But some candies can be a scarier than others. So what is the best and worst of the candy you are likely to find in the trick-or-treat bag?
Best idea: plain chocolate. Chocolate is the most popular kind of candy at Halloween, which is nice because chocolate makes the good list.  Plain chocolate washes off your teeth easier than other types of candy. Dark chocolate can be lower in sugar than milk chocolate, but chocolates with sticky or toffee fillings probably won’t wash off the teeth as easily as plain chocolate.
Bad idea: sticky and gummy candies. Gummies are some of the worst candies for your teeth. Gummy, taffy, and fruit chews can really adhere to the teeth, and are generally much harder to remove, sometimes even with brushing. Since they stick to the teeth and stay on longer, the bacteria have more time to work on them and create cavity-friendly conditions.
Bad idea: sour candy. Sour candy has added acids to make them sour, and acidity can weaken enamel and make your teeth more vulnerable to cavities. Sour gummy candy packs a double whammy of sticky and acidic.
Bad idea: hard candy. Be careful with hard candy and do not bite into it- you may break a tooth. But even sucking on a hard candy can be bad by exposing your teeth to sugar for a long period of time, bathing your teeth in sugar.
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we know that trick-or-treating is a big part of the Halloween fun. Candy is an important Halloween tradition, and it’s OK to enjoy some, as long as you’re brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, every day of the year, occasional treats should be OK.  Making smarter choices of which candies to eat, and to give out to trick-or-treaters, is a good idea too.


Do you have sensitivity when whitening your teeth? October 16, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:21 pm

Not everyone experiences tooth sensitivity while using whitening products, but it’s not uncommon. While whitening products can cause sensitivity, fortunately, it is temporary and resolves quickly. There are also steps you can take to avoid this unpleasant side-effect of having a brighter smile.  Consider trying these steps if your teeth are prone to being sensitive:

Use a lower-concentration product. Choosing the strongest tooth bleach available may seem like the best way to get the whitest teeth, but the less-concentrated products are equally effective at getting the same results if allowed enough time. Higher concentrations are meant to get the job done faster, but with the side effect of an increased risk of temporary sensitivity. By taking it slow and using the longer-wear, lower-percentage bleach, you will be less likely to have to deal with the discomfort of tooth sensitivity.

Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Products with special ingredients like potassium nitrate, the active ingredient in Sensodyne, can greatly reduce or eliminate the annoying sensations of pain that people experience with sensitive teeth. Use such a product as your regular brushing paste while whitening, and if your teeth tend to get really sensitive, wear it in your custom trays for half-an-hour to an hour before a course of your bleaching product. Some people with more severe sensitivity benefit from using their bleaching product one day, then a sensitive toothpaste the next, for their typical bleaching time (several hours or over night), and consistently alternating days.

Other things that can help might be simply to avoid the things that trigger sensitivity, such as cold or hot beverages and foods, or acidic beverages and foods, and use a soft-bristled brush.  Whitening products can exacerbate dental issues such as untreated decay, which could also result in localized discomfort or pain (toothache), so it’s best to have a dental exam prior to beginning any whitening treatment in order to make sure you have a clean bill of dental heath. And always follow the instructions provided by your dentist.

If you experience sensitivity when whitening your teeth, contact our office so we can look into your situation with you and see what can help. At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we know it can feel good to have a bright white smile you feel confident showing off, and that doesn’t have to come with pain or severe sensitivity.


Are apples good for your teeth? September 25, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 8:36 pm

It’s late September, Fall has officially begun, and Fall is apple season! Are apples good for your teeth? That is not as easy to answer as you may think. There are many perspectives on the effect eating apples can have on the teeth. Let’s review a few good points:

Eating apples can help to clean the teeth by dislodging plaque. Due to their high fiber content (especially in the peel), they have a sort of scrubbing effect as you chew. Their mild acidity can act as a mild astringent to clean the enamel as well. +1 for apples, right?

Another argument in favor of apples being good for your teeth is their satiation. A major contributor to tooth decay is constant snacking, and most of the time, constant snacking continually exposes your mouth to carbs and sugar, meaning your mouth doesn’t get an in-between-meal break from the carbs and sugars that fuel an acidic environment and leads to cavities. But eating an apple as quick snack, with their impressive fiber and water content, may help keep you fuller longer and prevent all-day grazing on typical carb-heavy snacks like chips or crackers… in theory. But in reality, snacking on apples (or any fruit) between meals may not be the best advice…

Apples may have scrubbing fibers, but they also have sugar and acid in them, which can damage the teeth. In fact, this fruit’s sugar content has risen by up to 50 percent since as little as 10 years ago. Popular new varieties have been bred for a sweeter taste , such as honeycrisp, fuji, and pink lady, and these popular sweeter types make up most of a typical supermarket’s supply. A decade or two ago, an apple’s sugar content accounted for about 10-11% of it’s weight, and today, many varieties are up to 15%! Oh no, apples!

The safest approach may very well be just be to eat apples only at mealtimes to minimize tooth damage. Leaving sugar and acid on the teeth leads to cavities, so if you do have an apple as a snack, it would be best to drink plenty of water and wait a little while before brushing. Brushing immediately after eating apples and other foods does more harm than good, because tooth enamel is softened by the acids in the foods, and tiny bits of enamel can be scrubbed away by the toothbrush along with the food. Wait 20-30 minutes and drink water during that time, then brush. Drinking water will help to rinse away food particles and dilute acid and sugar, giving the teeth a chance to remineralize.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we know that all kinds of foods can be part of a tooth-friendly diet, if you know how to protect your teeth.


Athletic mouth guards: not just for Football September 11, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:57 pm

Football season has contact sports in the spotlight once again, and you’ve probably noticed the players are all wearing mouth guards.  Think those plastic, tooth-shielding thingamabobs are just for football? Think again! If you want to protect your smile for the long run, a custom-fitted mouth guard is a must for any athletic activity, team sport, or physical recreation.
It’s true that some sports, like American football, are higher-risk than others, but you would be wise to wear an athletic mouth guard while participating in any sport or activity where you could potentially fall or suffer a blow to the face.  While sports such as basketball may not require a mouth guard as part of standard equipment, wearing one could save your smile. Athletes of any sport should use a mouth guard to protect their teeth, mouth, and jaw from injury.
The list below is far from exhaustive, but consider the following sports and activities… do you (or your child) participate in them? If so, the risk of falls, collisions, or other accidents are substantial while engaging in such activities.
-Mountain Biking
-Martial Arts
-Horseback riding
All of the above actives are subject to falls, collisions, or accidental contact with a moving object (another player’s elbow or piece of sporting equipment, for example). So while a mouth guard may not be fashionable, it would be practical! A custom mouth guard offers superior protection and comfort over the off-the-self variety, and are made from high-quality, durable material to help to protect your mouth and jaw from impact.
Mall of Georgia Dentistry offers patients custom-fitted mouth guards suitable for professional athletes and weekend warriors alike, to protect your teeth on the field, in the court, at the park, at the dojo, on the trail… you get the idea! Give us a call and schedule an appointment. Impressions for a custom-fitted mouth guard are quick and easy, it only takes about 20 minutes. We’d love to help you protect your smile!


Let’s Talk About Tartar August 28, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:54 pm

Dental tartar… what is it? Tartar, also called calculus, is basically calcified plaque. Plaque is the sticky biofilm that bacteria coat your teeth with as they digest and breed in your mouth. This plaque eventually mineralizes, hardening into what we call tartar. Tartar is a combination of mineral build up and organic matter (bacteria). Yuk!
How quickly plaque turns into tartar may depend on a variety of factors, and typical estimates are in the range of  20-30 hours, with 24 hours being a common guideline. Once tartar has formed, it is very hard to remove and requires a dental professional with specialized skills and tools. When you come in for a cleaning and the hygienist uses that metal scraper and/or a small ultrasonic instrument around your teeth before polishing them, this is the part of the cleaning that removes that stubborn tartar from your teeth.
Although only a dental professional can remove tartar once it is on your teeth, you can fight tartar too with tools as simple as your toothbrush and floss! Preventing tartar by diligent plaque removal is actually the best way to combat it.  Brushing twice a day for two minutes with a soft bristled brush and proper flossing daily can help prevent plaque from building up and becoming tartar. Want to step up the game? Electronic toothbrushes may be even batter at preventing tartar buildup than regular ones. Also, sugary and starchy foods may contribute to increased tartar because they encourage more plaque, so limiting them may help curtail tartar too.
Remember, you have to combat plaque very day, because it only takes about that long for it to become tartar. Tartar can interfere with effective teeth brushing and flossing, making tooth decay more likely, and tartar above the gum line can lead to gum disease, so get a good profession dental cleaning so you can effectively remove plaque every day.  Even with the best daily hygiene routine, small amounts of plaque can be missed and turn into tartar, so regular dental cleanings are needed. Tartar is not only bad for the health of your teeth and gums, but it also contributes to bad breath. Tartar is just really bad stuff!
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we are always here to help answer your questions about preventing tartar build-up. We can help instruct you on the best flossing and brushing techniques, and we have electric toothbrushes available for purchase that can hep you get the job done even better and easier, keeping your smile bright, healthy, and tartar-free!


The best snacks for your teeth August 11, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:51 pm

We are fortunate to live in a place where food is abundant and the variety of foods available to most of us is extremely plentiful. When it comes to snacks, some of the many, many options are really bad for your teeth, and some are actually pretty good for your teeth. Anything that is sugary, acidic, sticky (or the worst- all three!) is in the “bad” category. Let’s take a look at a few star picks for tooth friendly snacking :

Cheese. Cheese is a real winner for your teeth. Not only is it a great source of calcium and minerals that are beneficial to the teeth, but it is also anti-acidic to your chompers… it actually alkalizes the oral cavity. Studies have even shown that eating a bit of cheese after an acidic meal results in a healthier mouth pH.

Nuts and seeds. This one comes with a caveat: because nuts can be very hard, people have been known to break or crack teeth while just eating them. So use caution or go after softer nuts like walnuts, cashews, or pecans. Otherwise, nuts and seeds are not acidic or sugary and pretty low-risk from that perspective, and boast a healthy mineral content.

Celery. Celery is a wee bit acidic, but not drastically, and it is not sugary. The fibers in celery have the potential to give the teeth a bit of a scrub while you chew… all that chewing and fiber and saliva production can dislodge plaque from the teeth. Other raw veggies can also have this effect.

Meats. Meats are usually pretty low on those three factors that mark the un-tooth-friendliest snacks (sugary, acidic, sticky). Some meats and jerkys can tend to get stuck in between the teeth and some may have acidic seasonings or condiments.

The worst snack foods for the teeth? Fruit snacks and gummy snacks, dehydrated fruit, crackers and chips, snack cakes. The fruit snack and cakes are probably obvious, but if the crackers surprise you, then you may not realize that carbs act like sugars in the mouth, and crackers and chips actually tend to stick to the teeth really badly.

Some snacks are both bad and good for your teeth. Fresh fruits such as apples have natural sugars and acids that can compromise teeth, but they are also watery, tending not to stick, and contain fibers that are thought to help remove plaque and stuck on particles from the teeth while chewing. Have a bite of cheese after  that apple, maybe?

Another thing to note: drinking water to rinse the mouth after snacking is a great idea, but don’t brush your teeth until about half an hour after snacking. Brushing while the enamel is temporarily softened due to consuming acids can actually make things worse for your teeth.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we love all kinds of snacks, and having the sweet stuff as an occasional treat is OK. But by reaching for the tooth-friendliest snacks most of the time, you will be doing your teeth a huge favor and keeping your smile in great shape! Happy snacking!


Mouthguard Matters July 31, 2016

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

It’s back to school time, and that means football season and many other school-year sports are starting up as well.  So it’s time to remind all our patients about the importance of a good-quality mouthguard!
All kinds of sports and activities raise the risk of dental injuries, but contact sports like football, soccer, and hockey have an increased likelihood of collisions with other players or equipment. Mouthguards help by dissipating the force of collisions, distributing the impact, and minimizing the effect on the teeth and gums.
Mouthguards are available over the counter, but a custom-made mouthguard from a  dentist has several advantages. They are more comfortable, allow for easier speech and breathing, and are intended to be more durable and effective. Although they are more expensive than over the counter options, they are much less expensive than treatment of injuries that could result if there is no mouthguard or if the mouthguard is poorly-fitted or inadequate!
Another advantage of a custom mouthguard could go beyond concern for the just the teeth and mouth.  One study found that professionally-fitted mouthguards made by a dentist were associated with a reduced risk of concussion among athletes. The study followed over 400 players from half a dozen high school football teams. Three of the teams were randomly assigned to wear custom-made mouthguards, and the other three teams wore only standard over the counter mouthguards, such as those from sporting goods stores. All of the football helmets were the same. The study found that 8.3 percent of athletes wearing the other the counter mouthguards suffered concussion injuries, but among the group wearing custom-made mouthguards, the rate of concussion was 3.6 percent.(You can read more about that study here.)
Is your child already wearing a good custom mouthguard? If so, good job! If not, Mall of Georgia Dentistry can help!  Give our office a call and we’ll be happy to answer any question about custom mouthguards. Making sure your child is properly protected while practicing and playing could save more than just their smile!


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