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Play Hard & Protect Your Smile

girls playing field hockey

Each April, several dental associations join together to sponsor National Facial Protection Month. The goal is to raise awareness on the importance of wearing a mouthguard while participating in sports. As the weather warms up and more and more people start playing sports, its timing couldn’t be better. At our dental office in Buckhead, we want to share a few facts about facial and mouth injuries common to sports and how you can protect you or your child’s smile during every game and every practice.

How Common are Mouth Injuries?

There’s a good reason the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists decided to dedicate an entire month to educating people on the importance of protecting teeth when participating in sports. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s “Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries” attribute as many as 39% of all child dental injuries to sports, and usually from direct hits by a ball or another player. And that’s just kids. If we include college, professional, and recreational adult athletes, that number rises.

How to Reduce the Risk of a Mouth Injury While Playing Sports?

Even though an injury to the mouth can happen to anyone, those who play sports, especially contact sports, are definitely at increased risk. In fact, most sport-related mouth injuries are sustained when playing basketball, a sport where a mouthguard isn’t a required piece of protective equipment. That’s no coincidence. Wearing a mouthguard can greatly reduce the chances of a chipped or broken tooth or even getting a tooth knocked out.

All About Sports Mouthguards

The quickest and easiest way to get a sports mouthguard is to head on over your local sporting goods store and grab a boil-and-bite model in your favorite color. While these stock mouthguards can be somewhat custom-molded to your teeth after a quick dip in boiling water, they’re usually uncomfortable and don’t offer as much protection as a completely custom mouthguard, and tend to be chewed on instead of left in the mouth where they belong. The other option you have is to get a custom-made sports mouthguard from your dentist in Buckhead.  

Custom mouthguards are specifically molded to fit every contour of your teeth and provide the ultimate protection. They’re also constructed from higher end materials to ensure extended comfort. This means less time out of the mouth and more time protecting your teeth.

Our Buckhead dental office is always here to help protect our neighbors’ smiles, and it’s important to us that as you’re getting game-ready this spring, you don’t forget your mouthguard. If you’re looking for custom sports mouthguard, give us a call!

Oral Cancer By The Numbers

oral cancer awareness

It’s scary when anyone mentions the word cancer, and oral cancer is no different. A serious and sometimes life threatening disease, oral cancer affects thousands of Americans each year – yet awareness and education regarding its seriousness isn’t often talked about. This Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the team at our dental office in Buckhead wants to help change that by providing you with some startling statistics about the disease, as well as key signs to look out for and ways you can protect yourself.

Oral Cancer Statistics

The number of oral cancer patients is expected to rise in 2018. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that over 51,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed this year alone. Additionally, out of all the known people with the disease, over 10,000 will die by the end of the year. Even though mortality rates were declining in the past, throughout the past 10 years they’ve stayed relatively the same. While these statistics are absolutely scary, oral cancer can be treated successfully. Currently, the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer is 65%

What Are The Signs of Oral Cancer?

One of the key points to surviving oral cancer is detecting and treating it early. This makes being able to recognize the common signs incredibly important. Signs of oral cancer can include:

  • A sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away and bleeds easily
  • A chronic white or red area
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue
  • A lump on the cheek, tongue, or throat
  • Coughing up blood
  • Ear pain

If you suspect any problem at all, get help from your dentist in Buckhead as soon as possible.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

While oral cancer can affect anyone thanks to genetics or even gender and age, there are a lot of lifestyle factors that can greatly increase your risk including:

  • Using Tobacco: Whether you smoke cigarettes or cigars, or use smokeless tobacco, it can put you at risk for oral cancer. Around 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are tobacco users.
  • Drinking Alcohol: Drinking alcohol excessively also increases the likelihood of oral cancer. Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer drink alcohol often.
  • HPV: The sexually transmitted disease of the human papillomavirus (HPV) can also increase someone’s risk of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Prevention

Changing a few lifestyle factors can help prevent the development of oral cancer. Quitting smoking, along with reducing your alcohol intake, are a few great places to start. However, it’s also crucial to maintain good oral health and get dental checkups every six months. These exams and cleanings can help spot any potential problems early, when treatment is most successful.

Don’t have a dentist you trust? We welcome you to call our Buckhead dental office to schedule an appointment today. It could save your life.

4 Things You Need to Know About Calcium

foods with calcium

When most people think of calcium, they often associate it with building super strong bones. While that’s certainly part of its benefits, the team at our dental office in Buckhead also knows that calcium is crucial for a strong smile, too. But before you start diving in to a calcium-rich diet, consider some important facts to keep your body, and mouth, healthy.

Know How Much Calcium You Need

Your recommended level of calcium intake depends on your age and your gender. The following chart from the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) shows just how much calcium each age group needs each and every day.

  • 0-6 months = 200 mg for both males and females
  • 7-12 months = 260 mg for both males and females
  • 1-3 years = 700 mg for both males and females
  • 4-8 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
  • 9-18 years = 1,300 mg for both males and females
  • 19-50 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
  • 51-70 years = 1,000 mg for males, 1,200 mg for females
  • 71+ years = 1,200 mg for both males and females

Too Much Calcium Is a Real Thing

While you should always try your best to get your recommended daily intake of calcium, there’s no need to go overboard. In fact, your Buckhead dentist wants you to know that ingesting too much calcium can have adverse effects on your oral and overall health. Excess calcium can lead to gum disease, plaque deposits, and has even been studied to potentially increase the risk for heart disease. Just like most things in life, calcium is best in moderation. Make sure to follow the recommended amount for your age and gender.  

Mix in Some Vitamin D

Even if you’re getting your recommended intake of calcium daily, it may not be enough to keep your bones and teeth strong. In order for calcium to be absorbed into the body properly, it needs an adequate amount of vitamin D as well. Your body needs both vitamin D and calcium to function, so read the nutrition labels on your food and provide yourself with a nice mix of the two.

Look Past the Dairy Aisle

The most common way to get calcium is to eat or drink dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese. And while those are excellent sources of calcium, and usually vitamin D too, there are plenty of other non-dairy options to explore including:

  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Soymilk
  • Calcium-fortified cereal

Our Buckhead dental office strives to keep our patients as healthy as possible, and not just their smiles. That’s why we encourage each and every one of them to eat well balanced meals and get enough calcium and vitamin D. That, along with maintaining bi-annual dental visits and brushing and flossing regularly, will help keep their smiles and bodies strong, for life.

Proper Nutrition Does More Than Just Support a Healthy Body

nutrition month

We all know that we should eat right to protect our bodies from health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  Following a healthy diet can directly affect your oral health as well. As we celebrate National Nutrition Month, our dental office in Buckhead wants to help bring awareness to what proper nutrition involves and how what you choose to put in your body can protect your smile.

Different Bodies Have Different Needs

You may remember the classic Food Guide Pyramid that you learned about in grade school. This original standard for nutritional guidelines was released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992, and has since been amended two times. Now, the USDA follows the MyPlate standards for dietary recommendations. What’s different in this model compared to the pyramid concept is how the guidelines shift from person to person based on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. You can find your personalized recommendations by visiting the MyPlate Checklist, but a lot of the essentials have stayed relatively the same. You should still eat a balance of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and dairy unless your body has allergies to certain foods.

A Healthy Diet Means a Healthy Body… And Mouth

Providing your body with the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to function properly keeps you healthy and helps protect you from developing disease. The same is true for your oral health. Maintaining a healthy mouth is about much more than simply brushing and flossing, although both of those things are still important. Your diet is also a key factor in determining just how good your oral health is.

A Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Cavities Appear

There’s a good reason your Buckhead dentist has a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to sugar. Whenever we eat foods with a high sugar content, our tooth enamel is at risk. These sugars essentially activate plaque acids in the mouth which, in turn, attack enamel. As the enamel erodes away, its protective properties are diminished and teeth are exposed to bacteria. Without enamel, teeth are more susceptible to cavities and tooth sensitivity.

Look for Hidden Sugars

It’s good practice to read nutrition labels to monitor how much sugar you consume, but there are places where sugar hides that you may not even think of… for example, in foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates. When we eat carbs, they end up breaking down into simple sugars which have the same effect on your body and oral health as regular sugar.

Eat Well and Smile

This month, and every month, we encourage you to plan meals and be aware of what you put in your body for increased overall and oral health. At our Buckhead dental office, we’re here to help. Schedule your appointment today.

What You Need to Know About Oral Health and Your Heart

heart health month

When you think about your oral health, you may only consider your teeth. But the bigger truth is that your oral health has a direct link to your overall health and even heart disease. As we begin the annual February celebration of American Heart Health Month, the team at our Buckhead dental office has a few important things you need know to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious infection caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth. Untreated plaque buildup can harden into tartar which can only be removed during an appointment with your dentist in Buckhead. But if it’s not, the bacteria found in our mouths can infiltrate the gums and cause infection. This could eventually lead to gingivitis, periodontitis, and even tooth loss. But that’s not all. Mounds of research show a strong connection between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.

Heart Disease

When gum disease isn’t treated quickly and properly, it puts your heart in danger. The infection within the gums can move into the bloodstream, and that’s bad news. With the infection in your blood, your body will produce excess amounts of C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP is a known indicator of cardiovascular disease and can lead to serious conditions such as:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes  

Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease can sneak up on people, and you may not realize anything is wrong if you aren’t aware of the typical early warning signs, including:

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Puffy, tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth

Early treatment is crucial to treating gum disease before it has a chance to affect the rest of your body. If you’re aware of any of the signs above in your mouth, schedule an appointment with your Buckhead dentist as soon as you can.

Prevention

Preventing gum disease can be as easy as brushing properly twice a day, flossing once daily, and seeing your dentist bi-annually to remove any plaque and tartar buildup. You can take it one step further and avoid tobacco products and ensure you’re eating a well-balanced diet.

Reduce your risk of gum disease and other whole-body problems. Schedule an appointment with us today.

If You’re Experiencing Any of These Symptoms, It’s Time to See a Dentist in Buckhead

man with tooth pain

Regular dental cleanings and exams can go a long way in keeping your mouth healthy. But when we miss these bi-annual appointments, the likelihood that a dental problem will pop up increases. These dental problems can be painful and even lead to more serious complications if left untreated. The team at our Buckhead dental office encourages you to call to schedule an appointment with us if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

Bleeding While Brushing or Flossing

Some may say that seeing some blood while brushing or flossing is normal. We’re here to tell you that it’s not. In fact, blood is never normal and may even be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease a serious oral health problem that requires professional treatment. If it’s not treated quickly and effectively gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other whole-body problems including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

Any Tooth Pain

Experiencing any form of tooth pain is your mouth’s way of telling you that something isn’t right in there and that you should get help. While the reasons behind toothaches can vary from anything from a cavity to a damaged dental restoration, the best way to get to the bottom of it and get relief is to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Buckhead as soon as you can.

Hot/Cold Sensitivity

Having sensitive teeth could be a result of something as simple as brushing with the wrong brush or whitening your teeth too much. Other times, however, tooth sensitivity can also be caused by more serious things such as eroding enamel or receding gums. Both of these issues require a professional diagnosis and treatment plan in order to relieve the painful zingers of sensitivity.

Chronic Dry Mouth

Dry mouth may be no big deal, but if doesn’t go away it could be a sign of serious problem. Bad breath is often a sign of gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease. If not treated quickly the gingivitis can easily progress into gum disease and may eventually lead to tooth loss and the other whole-body concerns we mentioned earlier. Whether dry mouth is caused by medication you’re taking, is a byproduct of aging, or is a symptom of gingivitis, see your dentist to fix the problem once and for all.

These dental problems aren’t something to ignore and won’t go away on their own. The best way to diagnose and treat any of the issues above is to call our dental office in Buckhead as soon as you notice something isn’t quite right. After all, many oral health complications are treated successfully and easily if caught early.

The Truth You Need to Know About Whitening Toothpaste

woman holds toothpaste

Everyone dreams of having a brilliant white smile. But the truth is, not all of us are blessed with a dazzlingly bright, superstar smile. In an attempt to transform our grins, we often turn to whitening toothpastes. In fact, nearly $100 million was spent on just two brands of whitening toothpastes in 2017 alone. But there’s something the team at our Buckhead dental office thinks you should know about whitening toothpastes.

Whitening Toothpastes Work…

With all the whitening toothpastes available, the good news is many have been proven to be effective at actually whitening teeth. However, whitening toothpaste typically only works to remove surface stains, and only if used regularly twice a day for several weeks. Additionally, whitening toothpastes do have some risks associated with them. The same abrasive ingredients that make whitening toothpaste effective at scrubbing away stains can also cause teeth to appear darker. How can that be? If whitening toothpaste is used too often the abrasive consistency can actually wear away tooth enamel and make the inner tooth (dentin) more visible. This dentin is usually dark in color and the more visible it is, the darker the tooth looks. So make sure to use whitening toothpaste as instructed and choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

…But Not All The Time

Whitening toothpastes are usually only effective at removing surface stains. This means that if your staining is deeper, your whitening toothpaste may not be doing much for you. But don’t worry, you don’t need to live with a smile you don’t like. There are plenty of cosmetic dentistry solutions that can transform your look, such as professional smile whitening, bonding, or veneers. Professional smile whitening is a stronger whitening solution applied by your dentist and tends to be more effective (and faster!) than a whitening toothpaste or even whitening strips.  Veneers are thin pieces of custom-crafted and custom-colored ceramic that are fused to the front of teeth, effectively covering up any imperfections you don’t like.

If you’ve tried every whitening toothpaste available to you and you’re still not quite happy with the results, call our dental office in Buckhead to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to determine the best way to whiten your smile safely and effectively.

What You Need to Know About Your Teeth and The Common Cold

young man with a cold

It’s official: We’re in the peak of cold and flu season. While we all try our best to avoid the stuffiness, coughs, and sore throats that tend to accompany the flu or common cold, there are times when germs take hold and make us sick, no matter what we do. At our dental office in Buckhead, we never want our patients or neighbors to get sick, but we know the inevitable happens. And when it does, we want to educate everyone on some ways your go-to medicine of choice can damage your smile.  

Hidden Dangers

Medicines designed to help ease symptoms of the common cold such as cough syrups or cough drops are great at making you feel a bit better. But they tend to come with hidden dangers that can affect your oral health. Ultimately, the ingredients in many popular over-the-counter medications can lead to tooth decay and cavities.

Sugary Sweetness

Medicines usually contain some sugars to mask the bad taste. But these sugars are dangerous to teeth. When sugar enters the mouth, bacteria begin feeding on them and release acid as a byproduct. This acid wears away tooth enamel, which is meant to protect teeth against decay. Without their protective coating, teeth are at increased risk for decay and cavities.

Alcohol

Another common ingredient in many cough medicines is alcohol. However, alcohol reduces saliva production and may cause dry mouth. This is concerning for your dentist in Buckhead. Saliva is needed to rinse away sugars in the mouth and the acid produced by feeding bacteria. Without it, these sugars and acids are left behind to damage smiles by decaying teeth.  

Tips to Help

Does this mean we’re suggesting that you should tough out a cold and not take any medicine? Definitely not. But we are suggesting a few ways you can help limit the potential of your medicine causing oral health problems.

  • Trying taking the medication as a pill instead of a liquid. This will decrease or eliminate your teeth’s exposure to the dangerous ingredients.
  • Don’t take cough syrup right before bed. If you take your medicine after you brush your teeth, the sugar is left in the mouth all night long, greatly increasing your risk for decay
  • Take liquid medicine with food. Saliva production increases as we eat. So if you take your medicine when saliva production is highest, it can help rinse away the sugar and alcohol.

The team at our Buckhead dental office hopes you can avoid getting sick this season. But if you do get sick, follow our tips above to protect your smile as you work on feeling better.

Chocolate’s Surprising Dental Health Benefits

woman eats chocolate

When it comes to talking about food choices that are good for your teeth, your dentist in Buckhead has some not-so-surprising go to selections such as veggies, cheeses, and dairy products packed with calcium. But it may surprise you to hear that our dental office in Buckhead is also a fan of chocolate.

Fight Cavities, Eat Chocolate!

Recent research conducted on the oral health effects of chocolate have caused dental professionals across the world to take a closer look at the sweet treat. It probably comes as no surprise that dentists typically shy away from sugar-packed snacks such as chocolate. But several studies have shown a positive benefit between consuming dark chocolate and lower amounts of decay.

It’s Not Magic, It’s Science!

It may seem like magic that something so delicious may actually have a host of health benefits, but there’s a solid scientific explanation behind why dark chocolate is actually good for teeth. To better understand the science behind the benefits, we need to take a closer look at what makes up our favorite dark chocolate snacks.

The Good Stuff

The compounds found in dark chocolate, or more specifically the cocoa bean husk, have antibacterial and plaque-fighting properties. One of the main components of dark chocolate, CBH, may even find its way into over-the-counter dental products in the future thanks to the positive research on its beneficial effects. Studies surrounding CBH support the idea that this ingredient may be better at fighting decay than fluoride treatments. But don’t go and pass up the fluoride just yet. More research is needed to truly determine the entire host of CBH benefits.

How Does It Work?

Usually when we eat foods with a lot of sugar content, we leave our teeth exposed to the dangers of the sugars. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and produce acid as a byproduct. This acid eats away at protective enamel and leaves teeth susceptible to cavities. However, the compounds in dark chocolate counteract the high sugar content and the damaging effects that go along with it by releasing their antibacterial properties and fighting off plaque.  

Not Just Any Chocolate Will Do

Keep in mind that these studies look at the benefits of dark chocolate. Milk chocolate as well as white chocolate have a higher sugar content, and eating too much of either may contribute to higher rates of decay.

Following a well-balanced diet can do wonders in helping you keep your mouth healthy and cavity free. Add in a few dark chocolate indulgences, brush and floss regularly, and maintain hygiene appointments at our Buckhead dental office for the best preventive approach to good oral health.

Top 7 Ways to Protect Yourself This Flu Season

couple with the flu

Nobody enjoys the threat of the flu lurking everywhere this time of year. But with the right precautions you can protect yourself and your family and reduce your risk of contracting the flu. Our dental office in Buckhead has put together a guide to help you avoid the flu and keep you healthy all year long.

Wash Your Hands Often

Using warm water and soap, scrub your hands before preparing food, after eating or using the restroom, and after shaking hands. If soap and water are unavailable use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face

Germs spread easily through the eyes, nose, and mouth. If your hands get in contact with flu germs and you rub your eye, itch your nose, or bite your fingernail, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll get sick.

Drink Plenty of Water

Your body functions optimally if it’s hydrated. This includes its ability to fight off germs. Not to mention, a well hydrated mouth is a healthy mouth, and that’s sure to make your dentist in Buckhead happy.

Eat a Well Balanced Diet

Fueling your body with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and proteins is crucial in helping your body stay healthy. Proteins, in fact, have been proven to support the immune system so make sure you’re getting your fair share.

Clean Your Home and Your Office

Sanitize the areas you or others use most. Think about the items that get touched often like doorknobs, toilets, elevator buttons, or your computer mouse. A good rule of thumb to follow is to clean it even it doesn’t look dirty.

Take Care of Your Toothbrush

Toothbrushes can hold a lot of bacteria and if not taken care of properly could make you sick. Make sure you rinse the bristles thoroughly after each use, store family members’ brushes far away from each other, and consider sterilizing them once a week in hot water.

Avoid People Who Are Sick

Although this seems obvious, it’s not always simple. If a co-worker comes to the office sniffling and sneezing, it’s difficult to avoid them and everything they touch. Try to communicate via email instead of face-to-face meetings, carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you, and again, always wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

If you do happen to get sick, try your best to stay home to help prevent the illness from spreading to others. Our dental office in Buckhead also encourage you to find sugar-free medications so as you’re working on feeling better, you’re not doing damage to your oral health.

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