Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

“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!


Oral Cancer Awareness April 10, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:06 am

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and unlike many cancers, oral cancer is often pretty easily discovered. It can usually be detected with a visual exam, and a biopsy can confirm diagnosis. Being aware of the symptoms of oral cancer is an important part of knowing when to seek professional help and getting treatment as soon as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer:
•    Persistent sores in the mouth that do not heal
•    Swelling, lumps, crusty rough patches or erosion on any part in the mouth
•    Velvety white, red, or white and red patches in the mouth
•    Unexplained numbness/tingling or tenderness and pain in and around the mouth or face and neck
•    Unexplained bleeding
•    Difficulty swallowing or a feeling that something is caught in the throat
•    Problems chewing, speaking, moving the jaw or tongue
•    Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, voice changes
•    Changes in bite/the way your teeth fit together, or the way dentures fit or bite together

Some of the main risk factors for Oral Cancer:
•    Tobacco use (any form of smoking tobacco and smokeless tobacco, “dip” or “snuff”)
•    HPV- human papillomavirus
•    Heavy drinking
•    Excessive sun exposure ( contributes to lip cancer- a form of oral cancer)

Things that may help prevent Oral Cancer:
•    Don’t smoke or use “dip”/chewing tobacco! If you do, get serious about quitting.
•    Don’t drink, or only drink in moderation
•    Eat an overall nutritious diet and maintain an active, healthy lifestyle
•    Avoid too much sun exposure, use a sunscreen lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher
•    Take precautions to avoid contracting HPV

All routine exams at Mall of Georgia Dentistry include a visual screening for Oral Cancer – mark that down as one more reason why regular dental visits are important. You should also examine your own mouth about once a month and inspect all surfaces in good lighting. Pull open you mouth and inspect inside your cheeks, the top, underside, and sides of your tongue, and the roof of your mouth. The earlier cancer is detected, the sooner it can be treated and make a big difference in the prognosis!


The Best and worst Easter candy for your teeth March 26, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 4:45 pm

Easter is here, and- thanks to a ubiquitous bunny- baskets everywhere will be loaded with a variety of goodies and candy. All sugar-loaded candy has the potential to cause harm to your teeth, but some are worse than others. Let’s look at a few common and popular Easter basket favorites and how they fare for your smile:

Jelly Beans. Jelly beans are yummy, but unfortunately, their sticky, gooey-ness puts them on the list of worst for your teeth. Their jelly-ness is super clingy to tooth enamel, not only does it not wash away well but it doesn’t even brush off easily sometimes. When a sugary substance is stuck to your teeth like that for hours, the bacteria in your mouth get to feast on it and convert all that sugar into enamel-eroding acid, and opening the door for tooth decay. Skip or go easy on the jelly beans!

Peeps. Like jelly beans, these chewy marshmallow treats are sticky feasts for the bacteria that cause cavities. They come coated with an extra dose of sugar of the outside too. Best to avoid these or keep them very few.

Chocolate Bunnies. Plain chocolate (dark or milk) is one of the least sticky candies you can indulge in. It actually washes away from the teeth much more easily than sticky gooey candies. Water or even just your own saliva can remove most of it with relatively little trouble or effort. This one isn’t a worst offender, but moderation is key! Make sure go long periods between treats, constantly grazing on chocolate will just re-introduce sugar over and over to the bacteria that cause cavities.

Keep the candy-eating times few and far between, and drink plenty of water.  Every time you eat sugar, the mouths needs somewhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to rebalance the acid levels, so frequent snacking does not give your teeth a chance to fully recover. Water is helpful to wash away the sugar and dilute the acids.We hope you’ll follow this advice and keep your smile healthy and bright. From all of us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry- Happy Easter!


Thinking about bleaching? March 13, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 4:15 pm

Many people whiten their teeth using various methods, but the recommended products at Mall of Georgia Dentistry are those containing carbamide peroxide.  This whitening substance bleaches out stains that darken and color the teeth deep in the tooth’s dentin safely and effectively.  A tooth‘s color is mainly in the dentin underlying the relatively transparent crystalline structure of the enamel.  Enamel is actually permeable, so the dentin underneath can become stained by foods, drinks, and tobacco products.  Fortunately, carbamide peroxide bleaching products can also penetrate the enamel to remove stains.
Carbamide peroxide becomes hydrogen peroxide when in your mouth (carbamide peroxide is more stable and long-acting than plain old hydrogen peroxide).  The hydrogen peroxide further breaks down into water and oxygen.  It is the action of that oxygen that whitens teeth, by penetrating the enamel’s crystalline structure and destroying the pigments that make up the off-color stains in the dentin through oxidation- a process which breaks up the molecular bonds that make up the pigments.
Do you know why you should avoid so-called “whitening” toothpastes? They don’t have this mechanism that destroys stains in the dentin. Instead, they have abrasives are intended to scrub “stains” from the surface of the enamel. But, unfortunately, they also scrub off some of the enamel over time, and with consistent use, they cause thinning, weakened enamel.
So skip the whitening toothpaste, and get your regularly-scheduled in-office cleanings with a professional hygienist for the outside of your teeth and a good-quality carbamide peroxide bleaching product to lift the deeper stains. You can pick up easy-to-use whitening strips at our office, but by far, the most popular way to whiten teeth is with a home bleaching kit of custom bleaching trays and carbamide peroxide gel. Bleaching kits are faster and strong than strips, but no where near as pricey as in-office whitening. It’s the perfect fit for most people.
Don’t have custom bleaching trays? Give our office a call and make an appointment to get an at-home bleaching kit! After investing in the trays and initial set of 4 bleach tubes, trays can be kept for touch ups, and additional bleach tubes are very affordable. At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we are here to help you take great care of your teeth and keep your smile fantastically bright!


Children’s Dental Health: Dos and Don’ts February 28, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 3:29 pm

Children’s Dental Health Month, February, is drawing to a close, but there’s still time to review some dental health tips for children. Almost half of all children have cavities by the time they enter kindergarten, and although tooth decay is second only to the common cold on the list of most prevalent health problems, it is preventable.  Here are some tips on what to do and what NOT to do to help your kids stay clear of cavities and other oral health issues:
•    DO start your child’s brushing and flossing routine early. The earlier they pick up good oral health habits, the less likely they will be to pick up bad ones. Start cleaning their teeth for them twice a day while they are still infants, starting as soon as the first teeth come in. Use an infant toothbrush or a clean, soft cloth.  Introduce toothpaste around age 2 or 3, whenever they are able to spit it out (that’s important). Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.  Help them brush through age 7 or 8.
•    DO floss your child’s teeth as soon as two of them touch, usually around age 2 1/2. Around age 4, many children should be okay to do some flossing on their own. They may like using the brightly colored flossers made for kids.
•    DO visit the dentist by age 1, or within about 6 months of the first tooth eruption. Most baby teeth are comply in by age 2 1/2 and a small percentage of babies are even born with teeth already in their little mouths!
•    DON’T allow frequent exposure to sugary foods and drinks. It’s best to limit them to meal times, and the worst is to let them drink sugary juice or soda, or snack on candy and carbs, frequently throughout the day. The sugar feeds bacteria which produce acids that cause tooth decay. Keeping teeth clean and free of the fuel the bacteria use to make enamel-eroding acid is wise. Make sure your child goes to bed with no beverage other than water by the bedside.
•    DON’T permit pacifier use in children much older than age 2. This can result in dental problems such as overbite and contribute to related problems like poor nutrition and even language development delays.
•    DO keep the good habits going! Children begin to lose baby teeth around age 6 and most usually have all their permanent teeth by age 13. Consistency throughout childhood has the best chance of successfully forming lifelong habits that support ideal dental health.
•    DO set a good example! Children learn by observation, so taking great care of your own teeth shows them how it’s done.
We love our patients of all ages at Mall of Georgia Dentistry, and we love little healthy smiles to grow into big healthy smiles!



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