Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

A Flossing Routine That Works For You? June 17, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 3:03 pm

If you think flossing is something that only gets done standing over your bathroom sink in front of the mirror (or, like some of you, only in the dental chair during your cleaning!), you might want to re-think your approach to flossing. If you aren’t flossing regularly, consider thinking outside the box and flossing at a time and place that works for you. Here are some ideas:

Floss in the shower – Many people like to brush in the shower, why not floss in the shower? Clean between those teeth while you’re already cleaning everything else anyway.

Floss on your lunch break – Keeping floss in your desk, and making a restroom pit stop after lunch to use it, might be an easier way to integrate flossing into your routine if you find yourself rushed in the mornings and tired and reluctant at night.

Floss in front of the TV – Watch television daily? Just like many people use their hands and mouths to snack in front of the screen, you can use your hands and mouth to floss while you watch. It won’t feel like a chore at all since your main attention will be focused on the tube (just make sure you pay enough attention to your flossing to do it properly).

Floss in the car– Don’t floss while driving, your attention needs to be on the road of course,  but if you keep floss or floss picks in the car, you might find you have chances to floss while out and about… just not while driving or moving, obviously.

Flossing in the bathroom is an obvious, practical idea, and flossing before you brush is great because you can clean away any mico bits that are left behind from flossing, while the toothpaste can get in-between your teeth more easily with any plaque freshly out of the way.   But if- despite all your good intentions- you just can’t seem to get yourself into that habit, try giving one of these other daily flossing opportunities a try and see if it sticks!

Remember that flossing should be performed at least once a day, make sure you curve the floss into a “c” shape, and go all the way up and down both sides of each tooth. What is important is that you DO floss, and it matters much less when and where you floss than it does how you floss. Floss well, floss properly, floss any time and place that works for you, and reap the benefits in your oral health and beyond.

Hope these ideas from Mall of Georgia Dentistry help you keep your smile in fantastic shape! Happy flossing!

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Getting a whiter smile May 6, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:19 pm

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, our favorite way to whiten teeth is custom bleaching trays with a carbamide peroxide–based whitening gel. This is a safe and effective way to bleach out stains that darken and color the teeth deep in the tooth’s dentin.  You may not know this, but a tooth‘s color is mainly in the dentin underlying the relatively transparent crystalline structure of the enamel.  Staining is not all on the surface of the tooth like some people think. Enamel is actually permeable, so the dentin underneath can become stained by foods, drinks, and tobacco products.  Fortunately, carbamide peroxide bleaching products can penetrate the enamel to remove those 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, through oxidation- a process which breaks up the molecular bonds that make up the pigments of the stains.
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 which 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 use in custom-made bleaching trays to lift the deeper stains.
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!

 

How much do you know about Gingivitis? April 22, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:08 pm

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums which usually results as an inflammatory response to the film of bacteria on the teeth known as plaque. It can also be caused by certain systemic problems, viral, fungal, or bacterial infections, or by certain medications. Symptoms include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Bleeding that occurs during or after brushing or flossing
  • Red or purplish gums or gums that look irritated
  • Gums that are painful or tender to touch
  • Halitosis (bath breath)
  • Loose teeth
  • It hurts when you chew

Treatments including thorough cleaning, diligent home-hygiene and flossing, or possibly use of anti-microbial agents which are used to treat gingivitis.  If left untreated, gingivitis will turn into periodontitis. When caught and treated early, gingivitis is reversible, but it’s important to treat it promptly before the problem turns into a more long-term periodontal condition involving chronic infection, bone loss, or loss of teeth. Diligent follow up care including home hygiene and routine dental cleanings is essential.

To prevent gingivitis, practice daily flossing, gentle thorough brushing with the proper 45-degree angle at the gum line twice per day for two minutes, and get regular dental cleanings and check-ups. Mall of Georgia Dentistry is committed to helping you keep you teeth healthy, so if you have any of the above symptoms, or just haven’t had a cleaning in a while, give us a call!

 

Health Trends That Can Harm Your Teeth April 8, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:45 am

The internet seems to be filled with a huge variety of anecdotal health advice, tips & tricks, and claims for naturally improving health. Countless articles, images, and posts circulating social media tout the benefits of various superfoods, supplements, fitness regimes and the like, and far too few of them consider the effects on the teeth. Take the following examples:

Lemon Water
Have you seen this one? “Start you day by drinking the juice of half a lemon in warm water…” followed by a list of purported heath benefits. But lemon juice is very acidic, with pure, undiluted lemon juice clocking in at about 2 on the pH scale (for comparison, the pH of battery acid is around 1, and plain water is about 7). Acids can easily wear away your enamel, putting your teeth at risk for cavities, sensitivity, and other issues. While a little squeeze of lemon in your water once in a while is fine (especially if you drink through a straw) don’t sip lemon water all day long, and if you do try the morning lemon water drink, use a straw, follow it with a drink of plain water to rinse your mouth (or rinse with something a little alkaline to neutralize the acid) and wait a little while for the pH of your mouth to neutralize instead of brushing immediately.

Apple Cider Vinegar
With the pH of apple cider vinegar measuring around 2.8-3, drinking apple cider vinegar (or ACV for short) comes with all the same concerns and precautions discussed above for drinking lemon juice. But sometimes you may even see erroneous claims that this substance improves dental health, some even including suggestions to use ACV as a mouthwash, or to brush your teeth with or gargle with it. Never use apple cider vinegar this way! That’s a recipe to damage your teeth! Instead, you should take care to protect your teeth from apple cider vinegar.

Charcoal for teeth whitening
Using activated charcoal to whiten teeth has become a trendy new thing recently, and a whole host of “natural” products containing charcoal have popped up to capitalize on this fad. Don’t buy into the hype! If charcoal is managing to make your teeth seem whiter, it’s also taking a bit of your tooth enamel with it, with every use. Charcoal is abrasive, and abrasives cause sustained, irreversible damage your teeth. If you want to whiten your smile, products contain hydrogen peroxide or carbide peroxide such as bleaching strips and dental bleaching kits are a safe option, but skip the charcoal.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we want to help you look after your smile while you try to improve your health. And when it comes to your teeth, we recommend you stick to things that are ADA-approved and scientifically tested and proven.

 

Bruxism takes a toll on your teeth March 23, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:00 pm

Bruxism, grinding or clenching your teeth, happens unconsciously and often occurs during sleep. So what causes it? How does it affect your dental health? What can be done about it? Let’s take a look:

The cause of bruxism is not always entirely clear, but in most cases bruxism is believed to be an unconscious reaction to stress or anxiety. Common, everyday life stress factors are thought to be the main cause for most people. Certain dental problems like malocclusion and some medications can also cause bruxism. Oral sleep apnea and other disordered breathing during sleep can also be a cause of bruxism as the body reacts to not getting enough air.

Bruxism can be very detrimental to your teeth. The force exerted by the jaw is more than typically required to chew food yet the contact is teeth on teeth. This can wear away enamel, crack and break teeth, bruise the roots of teeth and cause all kinds of havoc that can result in tooth loss and/or expensive restorations. Bruxism can also cause cosmetic issues and lead to TMJ disorders and headaches.

Treating bruxism is usually as simple as wearing a bite guard as needed.  The majority or sufferers only clench and grind at night, but some people also wear theirs during the day if they find the stresses of life are unconsciously taken out on their teeth all day long. A bite guard cushions and protects the teeth from grinding against each other and distributes the force to minimize the impact. Boil-and-bite/over-the-counter bite guards are affordable and easily obtainable, but typically wear out in a few months. Pricier custom-made ones can last years. Rarely, certain patients with bruxism can benefit from muscle relaxers or other oral or injectable medications. Sometimes some patients can be helped by orthodontia if there are bite issues that contribute to bruxism.  Healthy lifestyle and relaxation techniques can help reduce stress factors that lead to bruxism. Bite guards are generally the most beneficial in most cases.

If bruxism occurs with other symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness, waking feeling unrefreshed after a full night’s sleep, or snoring, then a sleep study should be sought. If sleep apnea is causing bruxism, your doctor may recommend CPAP therapy, oral appliance therapy, airway surgery, or other treatments for the sleep apnea.

Whatever the cause of bruxism, it can be extremely hard on your teeth and is worth the investment to treat it.  Dr. Vancil and Dr. Whyte and the team of dental care professionals at Mall of Georgia Dentistry are all very familiar with the symptoms of bruxism and constantly strive to help raise patient awareness of any signs or effects of grinding, as well as recommend a course of action. We encourage you to contact us for more information if you think you may be grinding your teeth, we would love to help you maintain the healthiest and happiest smile!

 

Plaque, tartar, and how to get rid of them. March 11, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:16 pm

Plague is a film of grime formed by the bacteria that inhabit the mouth. Plaque is full of acids that are produced by the bacteria as they digest sugar and carbohydrates, and this acid is a major contributor to tooth decay and gum disease. So controlling and removing plaque is very important! The removal of plaque is the foundation of a healthy home hygiene routine… the familiar activities of brushing and flossing!

Brushing: The toothbrush is one part of your arsenal in your daily two-part attack on plaque. Use a soft-bristled brush. Plaque is soft and effectively removed by soft bristles, which are much gentler on the gums than medium or hard brushes. Focus on the gum line all along the inside and outside of all your teeth, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and use short circular motions, for two minutes, and repeat twice per day.

Flossing: Flossing is the other half of your plaque-busting routine. The toothbrush cannot get in between teeth and they become a hideout where all those bacteria settle down and make themselves at home in your mouth. Flossing scrapes them away and evicts them. Floss gently all the way up and down each tooth’s inner surface. Curve the floss into “c” shape around the tooth to ensure you are getting the entire surface. Wind the floss between each tooth so as to use fresh clean floss on each tooth. Or you can use dental picks or floss picks. Floss at least once per day.

Other ideas to help minimize plaque:

Take it easy on the sweets. Sugar and simple carbohydrates feed bacteria and help them multiply, so these foods create more plaque. Drinking sugary beverages all day, for example, provides constant fuel for the bacteria. Try to avoid fueling the bacteria all day long, have sweets and treats with meals or in a single sitting instead of grazing or snacking.

Brush your tongue as well, since it too can accumulate plaque, or use a tongue scraper.

Now, let’s talk about tartar. If plaque is not removed frequently, it begins to harden (within 24-48 hours) and it becomes tartar. Tartar needs to be removed by a dental professional. Tartar is more difficult to remove that plaque since it must be scraped off somewhat forcefully- this is what a dental hygienist does in the scaling part of a typical hygiene visit (scale and polish). Bacteria thrive in tartar and can harm the tooth enamel and surrounding gums and eventually even the bones that hold in your teeth, resulting tooth loss!

Remember- your home hygiene routine is essential to keeping plaque under control- it’s simple and takes just a few minutes a day! Follow this up with your regular cleanings and check-ups and you’ll have the upper hand on plaque. At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we do what we can for our patients to help them have the healthiest teeth possible, but we can’t come to your house to brush them twice a day and floss them for you! Embrace the power you have over plaque, give it your best attack every day, and kick it out of your mouth!

 

Keep baby teeth in great shape February 25, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:36 pm

Baby teeth may be temporary (eventually they’ll be replaced by their bigger and bolder successors) but it really is important to keep them in great shape! Here are a few reasons why:

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.

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. Avoiding too may sugary or acidic drinks and foods can also help maintain tooth health. Childhood habits such as these can endure into adulthood, so all these habits should be started early!

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 can mean helping to 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! 🙂

 

 
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