Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Cold and Flu Season and Your Teeth November 20, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:43 pm

Keeping up with your brushing and flossing routine is especially important when you are sick. Many things that are commonly used to sooth cold and flu symptoms, such as medications, cough drops, and juice, can wreak havoc on your teeth if you aren’t careful. Staying in bed and forgoing your regular hygiene routine in the name of rest and recovery may be tempting to some people, but your teeth need even more attention to make it through an illness with no harm done. A few precautions may help aid your whole body in staying well once you’ve recovered. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated, and try to keep your nasal passage clear. Colds and sickness often clog our noses and cause us to breath through our mouths. Many decongestant medications cause dry mouth. A dry mouth is at an increased cavity risk.
  • Avoid cough drops and cough syrups loaded with sugar. Choose sugar-fee, and if you must use a cough syrup or liquid medicine that contains sugar, rinse well or brush after use. If you are unfortunate enough to have a stomach flu that causes vomiting, be sure to clean your teeth well since stomach acid can erode the enamel (people always want to freshen and clean their mouth after such unpleasantness anyway!)
  • Replace your toothbrush following a cold or bought of illness. Although some studies have shown that re-infection is unlikely, toothbrushes have been shown to grow and harbor bacteria, so better safe than sorry.
  • If necessary, over-the counter biteguards can be replaced easily, but soaking biteguards or retainers that are meant to last for years in a strong antiseptic mouthwash for a while is a good idea. Do not use hot water on them as that may cause the plastic to soften and lose its shape. You can also contact our office to ask about ways we can help you disinfect retainers or biteguards with cold sterilization if you are concerned.

If you have an appointment at Mall of Georgia Dentistry, and on the day of you find that you are ill or have a fever, please contact our office to talk about rescheduling. It will help avoid exposing our office staff and other patients to infection, your appointment will go much better when you are well, and, obviously, illnesses are best recovered from by staying home and resting yourself!  We hope you stay well this winter and all year-round, but if you don’t, we hope you take good care of yourself and recover quickly. Just remember to take care of your smile too, you’ll need it a lot when you’re feeling better🙂

 

Is Your Medication Causing Dry Mouth? November 6, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:35 am

Many prescription and over-the-counter medications come with an unfortunate side effect that can have an adverse effect on your oral health: dry mouth. Although adequate saliva flow is essential to a healthy mouth, taking medication to treat or control your heath conditions is necessary and unavoidable.  Medications that cause dry mouth can make you more vulnerable to oral health problems, but there are things you can do to help.

Why is dry mouth bad?  Without enough saliva, the environment of the mouth is not able to function as normal. Saliva is part of the defense mechanism against gingivitis, tooth decay, and infections, performing a variety of important tasks, such as helping to wash away food particles that are stuck to the teeth, and helping to keep plaque from building up quickly. Saliva helps teeth to remineralize after being weakened by a little acid exposure, it bathes your mouth in a protective solution containing calcium ions and other minerals your teeth need.

Hundreds of medications can cause dry mouth, including antidepressants, allergy medication, antihistamines, decongestants, asthma medication, anti-anxiety drugs, blood pressure medication, antacids, and more…. even some vitamins and herbal supplements. If you feel you that you are experiencing dry mouth, talk to your pharmacist or doctor, or ask your doctor if it’s possible to prescribe a different medication that does not cause dry mouth as a side effect.
Changing medication is not always an option, but luckily there are a few things can help you combat dry mouth.

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep the mouth hydrated.
  • Avoid using toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulphate and mouth rinses that contain alcohol.
  • 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.
  • Special sprays and products for dry mouth can help add and hold moisture and may contain ingredients that help protect the teeth from cavities.
  • 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. Dr Vancil and the Mall of Georgia dentistry team will be glad to make suggestions that could help keep your smile bright and healthy.

 

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.
-Soccer
-Baseball/softball
-Hockey
-Gymnastics
-Tennis
-Lacrosse
-Rugby
-Rollerblading
-Skateboarding
-Mountain Biking
-Martial Arts
-Horseback riding
-Wrestling
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!

 

 
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