Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Is what you drink hurting your teeth? June 17, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:59 pm

Sodas and sweet beverages are a popular daily indulgence for many Americans, but these drinks are not good for our dental health or our smiles. Tooth enamel is easily weakened by acidic substances. Acids interfere with the chemical bonds that hold the the molecules of the tooth enamel together. When the teeth are exposed to a lot of acid frequently or for prolonged periods… over time, the enamel will dissolve. This is called acid erosion. The most common cause of acid erosion is what people are drinking. Most common, popular beverages- such as soda and juice- are acidic.

Below you will find a list of the general average pH measurements of many popular drinks. The smaller the number, the lower pH and the more acidic; the larger the number, the higher the pH and the more alkaline. A neutral pH is that of regular water, which measures in at around 7 on the pH scale. Virtually all of these very popular beverages measure in with an acidic pH! But, as you can see, some are worse than others:

Unsweetened Tea 7.2
Water 7.0 (neutral)
Milk (2% or skim) 6.8
Chocolate Milk 6.7
Black Coffee 5.5
Root Beer 4.6
Tomato Juice 4.5
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
V-8 3.1
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

Drinks with a pH value of approximately 5.5 and below are implicated in acid erosion of the teeth. Drinks that are acidic and also contain sugar are the worst since the sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth and that produces even more acid. This is why sodas and energy drinks are so widely maligned by dentists! Most of these beverages are very popular and a few of them are actually healthy other than their impact on your teeth, so it’s not practical to avoid them all day every day forever! But they should be consumed with care and within limits.

What steps can you can take to neutralize the impact these drinks have on your enamel and help mitigate acid erosion?
Drink with moderation. Only drink acidic beverages at mealtimes, or during limited time frames, instead of sipping all day and creating an environment for your teeth that is one of continual exposure to acids.
Drink through a straw. The beverage is still going to lower/acidify the pH of the mouth temporarily, but using a straw can help reduce the amount of direct contact with the the majority of your teeth.
Drink water after. Drink or rinse the mouth with regular water after drinking an acidic drink to help dilute and neutralize the acid and wash it off of your teeth.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we want to help you keep your teeth lasting a lifetime. Since daily habits are there impacting your smile all the time, education about the best and worst things for your smile is a key part of that. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, just call our office. Meanwhile… brush, floss, and smile!

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Shield Your Child’s Teeth With Sealants June 4, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:25 pm

The biting surfaces of molars have deep grooves that act like tiny traps for food particles. It’s just about impossible for a toothbrush to get into these tiny crevices and grooves in order to clean them out thoroughly, so this is a common place for tooth decay to occur. Sealants are thin plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth, filling in the grooves and crevices and effectively smoothing them out to eliminate the food trap. Sealants work like a protective shield by filling in these grooves in the enamel and keeping food out.

Sealants are typically applied at a cleaning appointment to freshly cleaned teeth that are prepared with an acid etching of the enamel to enhance the grooves of the surface. The sealing material is then applied to the prepared surface like a varnish and bonds with the enamel by filling in all the little grooves.

Most insurance plans provide coverage for sealants for children. That’s because sealants are most effective when applied while the tooth is still new and without decay. Children and teens are great candidates for sealants, but adults with sound teeth can benefit from sealants as well in some cases. Deeply grooved baby teeth can sometimes benefit from sealants too, to help keep out decay and keep them healthy until it’s time for adult teeth to replace them. Even when not covered by insurance, a preventative sealant is less expensive than an eventual filling – a worthwhile investment.

Sealants are subject to wear-and-tear, but they can last for years. A good way to get the most out them is avoid things like chewing ice or hard candy or anything that can cause unnecessary breakage to the material. (<- This is true even if you don’t have sealants- hard candy and ice are hard enough to break teeth and should never be chewed!)

So now you know how sealants make a great barrier of protection over the tiny impossible-to-clean grooves in the chewing surfaces of back teeth. We encourage you to take advantage of that and get sealants for your child’s teeth! As the old saying goes, “An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and since Mall of Georgia Dentistry is always looking after your smile, don’t be surprised if sealants are recommended at your child’s next visit!

 

Caring for Teeth With Braces May 21, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 3:59 pm

Taking good care of your teeth is particularly important when you have braces. It’s true that braces do make cleaning your teeth more difficult…  it takes a more time and a few extra tools to get around all that orthodontic hardware, but it’s so very important to clean your teeth as well as possible in order to prevent the occurrence of cavities or gum disease while you are wearing your braces.  Read on for some tips on how to go about it…

Brushing – Make sure you clean around your braces really well by brushing both above and below the wire and brackets.  Use a soft-bristled brush and be sure to brush along the gum line and the chewing surfaces of course, and make sure that your brush is reaching your teeth above and below the wire and brackets on all surfaces of the teeth.

Flossing –  Flossing is a little trickier with the wire in the way, so get a floss threader to help you get around the wire.  The threader will help you get the floss behind the wire and between your teeth (these are also useful for people with permanent retainers). You should floss daily.  Some people simply won’t have the patience to floss as often as they should. Tiny interdental brushes that can reach some way between the teeth, and divices like water picks or air flossers can also help clean between teeth with braces. Just remember there’s no substitute for flossing.

Professional Cleanings – It’s important to keep up with your routine dental hygiene visits while you are wearing braces. Be sure to let your dental office and dental hygienist know that you have braces so they can schedule enough time to clean thoroughly around them.

Fluoride –  Help prevent tooth decay and demineralization of the enamel by using a fluoride toothpaste and drinking flourinated water.

If you have any questions about caring for your teeth while you have braces, contact us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry! Wearing braces is a big investment, financially and otherwise… so invest that extra time in keeping you mouth in tip-top shape throughout your orthodontic experience.   You’ll be glad you did when the braces come off and your smile is not only perfectly aligned but also perfectly healthy!

 

How does fluoride fortify your smile? May 7, 2017

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

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 1.53.35 PMFluoride has an excellent reputation in dentistry and enjoys a well-established connection to reduced tooth decay with sufficient tooth exposure. This is why you see it listed on packaging for various dental products, used topically as a preventive treatment during your child’s routine visits, and often added to municipal water supply. How exactly does this stuff strengthen teeth and prevent cavities? Here’s the lowdown:

The enamel covering of the teeth is crystalline. It is a form of hydroxyapatite, mostly made up of the minerals calcium and phosphate. These molecules are held together by chemical bonds.  Acids are able to weaken chemical bonds and break them.  Acids come from acidic foods as well as from within your mouth when the bacteria that live in the oral cavity break down sugars and starches and excrete acids. These acids start to weaken the chemical bonds, dissolving the crystalline structure of the enamel, and causing demineralization. This happens frequently because people eat acidic foods, sugars, and starches all the time.

Quickly neutralizing the acid helps allow the tooth to remineralize-  re-establish the chemical bonds- fairly easily. Now here is where fluoride comes in: fluoride is a chemical ion of the element fluorine. An ion is either positively or negatively charged, which helps elements combine with one another. The presence of fluoride ions help enamel remineralize by acting as a catalyzing agent in the remineralization process- it helps the molecules that make up your tooth enamel re-combine with each other.

Fluoride can also become part of the tooth enamel, making a somewhat more acid-resistant enamel containing fluorohydroxyapatite and fluorapatite. This is great news for children, because the process of adding more fluorohydroxyapatite and fluorapatite to the enamel seems to worked really well while teeth are developing.  This makes for a tooth structure that is more decay-resistant, strengthening the enamel from within. With fluoride in the mix, the chemical bonds are a bit stronger and acid can’t weaken them quite as easily.

Additionally, fluoride ions also have been found to have an anti-microbial effect. Studies have found that fluoride seems to inhibit a step in bacteria metabolism. This means that fluoride can decrease the amount of acid that the bacteria living in your mouth are able to produce.

So that is why there is so much hype about fluoride when it comes to your teeth! If you’d like to know more about how to use fluoride to improve your dental health, and which fluoride-fortified products and treatments we offer at Mall of Georgia Dentistry, contact our office!

 

Mouth Guard Care April 23, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 3:10 pm

Since April is National Facial Protection Month, you’ve probably already reviewed the importance of wearing helmets and mouth guards for sports and other physical activities. And since many of our patients are already using sports mouth guards, let’s check in to make sure you are caring for yours properly.  Here are the guidelines for taking care of your mouth guard:

-Clean your mouth guard after each use. If possible, scrub it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste or a tiny bit of very mild soap. If you are not able to wash it that thoroughly right away, at least give it a good thorough rinsing with cold water. Avoid hot water though, as heat can warp it.

-Do not leave your mouth guard in the sun, since, as stated above, heat can warp the plastic. Don’t store it in the trunk of the car (or any place hot) along with the rest of your sporting equipment. Don’t store it in the glove box or in direct sunlight.

-Store your mouth guard in an appropriate container. You want a hard well-ventilated container. A hard sturdy container will help to protect it from physical harm, while ventilation holes or vents will allow it to dry out thoroughly between uses. Most sports guards come with this type of container, and you should be able to find one at your local drugstore if it wasn’t included.

-Soaking your mouth guard in Listerine (or a good antiseptic mouthwash of any brand) on occasion can help to clean and disinfect it and remove stains and odors.

-Frequently inspect your mouth guard for wear and tear. Look for rips, tears, and holes that may affect the fit or the ability to protect your teeth and surrounding tissue.

Is your mouth guard, old, ill-fitting, warped, interfering with your ability to breath, or otherwise uncomfortable?  It may be time for a replacement! Contact our office for more information on getting a new custom-fitted mouthguard. We’d love to help you keep your teeth safe while you play!

 

 

 

Toothbrush tips April 9, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:22 pm

Your toothbrush is the most important oral -health tool you have.   Here are a few tips on keeping your toothbrush in the best shape for the job:

  • The ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, more often if the bristles become frayed or worn. A worn toothbrush can’t clean effectively. But 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!

 

Battling Bad Breath March 26, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:26 am

Bacteria, coffee, strong-smelling foods, dehydration… there are a lot of causes of bad breath, or “halitosis”. What can you do about it? That could depend on what is causing it. Read on for details,
The primary offender is bacteria, and they are at their worst when your oral hygiene is at its worst, or when a long time has gone by without brushing (such as while sleeping at night). Excellent oral hygiene is the best defense against this formidable foe. Brushing and flossing physically lifts and removes both bacteria and the tiny food particles they use to fuel their odor, effectively evicting them from their uninvited residence in your mouth. The minty scent of most toothpastes is an added bonus, but the evicting the culprits with a diligent and trough hygiene routine is solution number uno of this breath problem.

Speaking of bacteria as a cause of bad breath- when was the last time you cleaned your tongue? Bacteria builds up on the tongue, especially at the back of the tongue. You can brush your tongue to help remove it, but the best weapon is a tongue scarper, which is an effective tool that reaches the back of the tongue more easily. Consider it another thing that you should be doing  daily as part of your normal oral hygiene routine!
Another cause of bad breath is the lingering scent of strongly-odored foods that taint your breath after they are consumed. Garlic, onions, and coffee are notorious for making a mark on your breath!  A good bush and floss will help, but of these three, coffee is only one that can you can easily be rid off.  Garlic and onion have odor compounds that enter your circulation through your digestive system and infiltrate your breath through your blood stream.  They are most potent in their raw form, so cooking them is one way to reduce the damage they may have on the air you exhale. Time is the only way to thoroughly get rid of garlic and onion breath, as your body will digest and break down the cause of the smell. Try a nice strong mouthwash, sugar-free gum or extra-strong sugar-free mints to help mask the odor, repeating as needed. There are some old wives tales about ingesting parley and lemon juice, too.  Lemon juice is hard on your teeth so you may want to reach for mints or parsley first, and if you try lemon, drink it through a straw to keep off your teeth.
Dehydration can cause very noticeable bad breath, but many people do not realize this. Drinking plenty of water and preventing dehydration is going to help most with this one, but brushing, flossing, and making use of a antiseptic mouthwash can help. For the most part, the odor is caused by those previously mentioned bacteria. When you get dehydrated, the body has trouble producing sufficient saliva to help keep those bacteria in check. Proper hydration helps your body maintain balance in the mouth (not to mention every other system), so drink up that water!

Well, that’s the basics of bad breath. Please let us know if Dr. Vancil and the Mall of Georgia Dentistry staff can help you with any other questions about how to keep the funk and foul out of your breath. Great dental maintenance, including regular cleanings and check-ups in addition to your daily floss-and-brush routine, is the foundation of fresh breath!

 

 
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