Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

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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!

 

Toothbrush TLC July 17, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:01 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!

 

 
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