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What Vitamins Are Good for Oral Health?

vitamins in palm

Our bodies rely on the vitamins and minerals obtained through what we eat in order to function properly. Our mouth and teeth are no different. The truth is, in order to keep our oral health in good shape we need to make sure we’re getting enough of the right vitamins. In this blog, the team at our dental office in Buckhead cover the most important vitamins you need to maintain good oral health and protect your smile.

Calcium

We all know that bones need calcium in order to grow and remain strong. But getting enough calcium is also crucial for building strong teeth. Calcium helps strengthen enamel which protects teeth from bacteria and lowers the risk of decay. Some foods that are packed with calcium include:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Broccoli

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important to oral health for several reasons, such as lowering the risk of infection and keeping enamel strong. Your body also needs vitamin D in order to properly absorb calcium. Find vitamin D in:

  • Canned tuna
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Egg yolks

Phosphorus

Similarly to vitamin D, phosphorus is also needed in order to give your body the biggest benefit from calcium. Calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus are a strong triangle of needed vitamins that all work together. You can get phosphorus from:

  • Salmon
  • Lentil beans
  • Beef

Vitamin C

Besides boosting your immune system so you can more effectively fight off germs, vitamin C also protects your gums and reduces the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection in the gum tissues that can lead to tooth loss. Protect your gums by eating:

  • Citrus fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower

The best way to make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins that keep you healthy is to eat a well-balanced diet and include all food groups. However, if it’s tough to get vitamins through your diet, you can consider a supplement or multivitamin if appropriate.

Fueling your body with the proper mix of vitamins is a great way to protect your oral health. Of course, you still need to brush and floss daily and maintain regular dental cleanings at our Buckhead dental office.  

5 Dental Myths That You Shouldn’t Believe

frustrated woman

There are plenty of places to get oral health advice — our dental office in Buckhead, friends or family members, and perhaps even the internet. But not all dental advice is created equal. In fact, there are several tips that we’ve heard that are just not true, some of which can actually be harmful to your oral health. This month we take a look at some of the common dental myths that you shouldn’t believe, let alone try.

Chewing Gum or Using Mouthwash is Just as Good as Brushing

Even though chewing a piece of gum or taking a quick swish of mouthwash can quickly freshen breath, they’re not solid replacements for proper brushing and flossing. If you can’t brush right away, let’s say after eating at a restaurant, go ahead and chew some gum (make sure it’s sugar-free!) or rinse with mouthwash. But don’t go too long without brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste or flossing. You should at least brush twice and floss once daily.

Putting Aspirin on a Toothache Can Relieve Pain

This myth is especially concerning for your dentist in Buckhead. It started as an old wives tale that promised easy and quick toothache relief. But the truth is, chewing or placing an aspirin tablet on your gums can cause damage. Since aspirin is acidic it can easily burn the gums and make the pain worse. Instead, use over-the-counter pain medicine as directed and schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Root Canals Hurt

Root canals have a reputation of being incredibly painful, and that’s just not true. A root canal is needed when decay has progressed so much that it begins to infect the inside of the tooth. This is where all of the tooth’s nerves live, which makes decay this severe very painful. Root canal treatment actually removes the infection and the pain. The procedure itself is done when the mouth is numb, so it’s completely painless.

Brushing Harder Removes More Plaque

Logically, it makes sense that brushing harder will mean a cleaner mouth. But in fact, brushing too hard can cause damage. A rough scrubbing with a hard toothbrush can damage tooth enamel, leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and at risk for decay. It can also damage gums, cause them to recede, and increase sensitivity. Use a soft toothbrush and get the bristles underneath your gums.

Seeing a Dentist Isn’t Necessary Unless You Have a Problem

Even though it’s recommended that everyone visit the dentist twice a year, only about 64% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 have seen their dentist in the past year. However, regular checkups and cleanings are the best way to prevent a problem from ever occurring.

In order to maintain good oral health, it’s crucial to practice good habits such as brushing and flossing every day and seeing the dentist regularly. If it’s time for your dental checkup, schedule an appointment with our Buckhead dental office today.

These Treats Are Worse for Teeth Than Candy

girl with jack-o-lantern

When it comes to candy-filled holidays like Halloween, we usually caution our patients to enjoy sweet snacks and candy in moderation. And with good reason. It should come as no surprise that sugar is one of those things that concerns the team at our dental office in Buckhead. After all, sugar is a dentist’s worst nightmare, right? Maybe not. It turns out that there are some snacks out there that can be worse for your smile than sugar-packed candies

What’s the Big Deal About Sugar Anyway?

Before we dive into some of the surprising snacks that are scarier to oral health than candy, it’s important to take a look at why sugar is such a concern. When we eat foods or drink beverages with high sugar content we essentially feed the bacteria that live in our mouths. This bacteria then releases an acid as a byproduct of their feasting. The acid is what contributes to decay and cavities as it wears away the protective tooth enamel, leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and more acid.

Other Spooky Snacks

While candy will always be one of those things that your dentist in Buckhead will encourage you to eat in moderation, there are other snacks that are also a concern.

Citrus & Dried Fruits

These are surprising treats that can be dangerous for your grin but usually fall under the healthy category. It is fruit, after all. But certain fruits are highly acidic, and as we know, acid is bad for teeth. Citrus fruits such as grapefruit, if consumed in large quantities, can harm the enamel and leave teeth at risk. Dried fruit is also a healthy snack that’s not so great for your smile. These super sticky fruits can get stuck on teeth and are loaded with sugar. The longer the sugar is left around, the more the bacteria will eat it, and more acid is produced.

Crackers & Chips

Chips and crackers are perhaps more surprising that fruits as cavity-causing treats. Even though these foods aren’t sweet and don’t typically contain a lot of sugar, if any, they can still be a threat to oral health. Blame it on the high starch content. These starches affect your body similarly to the way sugar does. This is due to their high glycemic index. Foods with a high glycemic index will increase blood glucose and will feed bacteria in the mouth, just like sugar. The result is more food for the bacteria, more acidic byproduct, and more risk for cavities.

Do Your Part to Limit Your Risk of Decay

We’re not here to tell you to completely avoid candy this Halloween, or to quit eating certain fruits, chips, and crackers forever. Like anything, these things can be enjoyed in moderation. But our Buckhead dental office does encourage you to also drink plenty of water when snacking on foods that are known to increase the risk of decay. Also brushing and flossing after eating will help prevent any harmful effects.  Most of all, have a happy and safe Halloween!

Is Chewing Gum Good for Teeth?

woman chewing gum

We do not recommend chewing gum on a regular basis as it can be damaging to your jaw joints long term, just as running can affect one’s knees over the long haul.  But if gum may be your go-to fix to temporarily get rid of bad breath or if it is unfortunately a habit, is this sweet treat good for your teeth and overall oral health? Our dental office in Buckhead has the answer.

Gum Can Be Good, But Not All Gum is Good Gum

The truth is, chewing gum after a meal when you can’t brush or floss can help remove plaque or food particles that stick around after lunch. It can even help stimulate saliva to neutralize acids and wash away bacteria. But some gum may do more harm than good.

If your chewing gum of choice contains sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or saccharine, chances are that it’s contributing more to the problem of bacteria and acid than helping it. But gum containing Xylitol is a different story.

Why is Xylitol Beneficial?

Xylitol looks like sugar, tastes like sugar, but doesn’t act like sugar once it’s in the body. It doesn’t increase blood sugar levels and doesn’t affect oral health the same way traditional sugar does. Regular sugar and many of the sugar substitutes will feed bacteria in the mouth with a delicious meal, making these bacteria happy and more than willing to stick around. After bacteria feed on sugars they give off an acid byproduct. This acid puts tooth enamel at risk of erosion and increases the chance of decay. But Xylitol functions differently.

Even though bacteria will still feed on Xylitol in the mouth, they aren’t getting any nutrients from it. This starves bacteria and it can die off. This also means that bacteria aren’t excreting the damaging acids that contribute to decay. That’s not all.

Xylitol gum can:

  • Prevent tooth decay
  • Starve bacteria
  • Prevent oral inflammation
  • Reduce your risk for gum disease

Is Xylitol Safe?

Xylitol isn’t only found in gum but actually occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables. It is safe for humans but occasionally, some people have experienced negative, yet not serious, side effects when they ingest too much. Some of these common side effects include gas, bloating, diarrhea, or other discomfort.

The next time you’re looking for a piece of gum to cover up the lingering smells of lunch, choose a brand that includes Xylitol. It can not only freshen your breath, but protect your oral health in the process. However, nothing is as good for oral health as brushing and flossing regularly and maintaining biannual visits to your dentist in Buckhead.  And again, habitual gum chewing can be detrimental to the health of your jaw joints.  

Why Does Dr. Davis Use a Microscope?

microscope

I want to answer a question that one of our patients at our Buckhead dental office asked the other day.  I had just taken an impression and was headed to the lab to check it under the microscope and the patient asked why I used a microscope.  I helped the patient understand that we use a microscope to make sure our restorations (crowns, veneers, onlays) fit the way our patients deserve them to. Unfortunately we see many crowns and veneers that do not fit as well as they should.  This can lead to problems such as recurrent decay, inflammation in the gums around the tooth, tooth sensitivity, unsightly staining around the restoration, de-cementation and loosening of the restoration or even having the restoration come out.  If a restoration does not fit the way it should, bacteria in your saliva can get up under the restoration and cause havoc.  This leads to the restoration having to be replaced prematurely.  Not only is there the financial cost involved in having to redo the restoration but also the biologic cost of lost tooth structure, increased chance of needing a root canal, and damage to the gums and possibly bone around the tooth.

We check each step of the process using magnification to ensure the restorations we place fit the way you deserve them to.  We prepare the teeth with magnification, check the impressions under the microscope to make sure they are accurate, trim the die that the restoration is being fabricated on under the microscope as well as check the fit and contour of the restoration before your appointment to place it in your mouth.  We know your crown or veneer fits before it is tried in your mouth.  So when you come in to have your restoration placed, we fine tune the bite and admire the esthetics.  No one but you and us should know you had any work done.

If you are having any problems with your restorations or want to make sure your dental work fits and looks the way you deserve it to, call our Buckhead dental office.

A Closer Look at Sugary Snacks

glasses of soda

Most of us know that sugar is bad for teeth. So it should come as no surprise that our dental office in Buckhead encourages our patients to limit their sugar intake in order to keep teeth healthy and decay-free. But sometimes it’s not so easy know just how much sugar is in the foods we eat. We’re here to help take a closer look…

How Much Sugar is Recommended?

Before we dive into some foods that are high in sugar we should talk about how much sugar we typically need every day. While sugar intake limits vary person to person, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following maximum of added sugars daily:

  • Men – 150 calories per day (or 9 teaspoons)
  • Women – 100 calories per day (or 6 teaspoons)

A Quick Note on Added Sugars

There two types of sugars found in food — natural sugars and added sugars. Natural sugars occur naturally in foods and added sugars are, well, added in. While both can negatively affect teeth, added sugars are worse for oral health and overall health.

Sugar-Packed Snacks

As we look at some snacks that are high in sugar, there may be some that surprise you. Remember, you don’t need to avoid these snacks entirely, but try to limit your intake of added sugars and do all you can to follow a well-balanced diet. To try to put the sugar content into better perspective, we’ll be using teaspoons for reference.

Yogurt

Yogurt is usually considered good for you, but certain types can contain loads of sugar. Varieties that have added fruit or flavors are particularly guilty. Some may even top out at more than 6.5 teaspoons of sugar in only a 6 ounce cup.

Granola Bars

Here’s another snack that normally finds its way onto the healthy list. Granola bars can be a quick and easy snack, but there can also be a lot of sugar hiding in these handheld treats. In fact, some may have nearly 3 teaspoons of it.

Soda

This one should come as no surprise. Certain types of soda can have as much as 11 teaspoons in a 12 ounce can!

Candy

Another pretty common sugary snack comes in the form of candy. And while different types of candy pack a different sugar punch, most of them contain at least 7 teaspoons and some have as much as 17 teaspoons!

When it comes to nutrition and snacking smart, read the labels on food carefully and pay attention to serving size to truly know how much sugar (and other stuff) you’ll be putting into your body. If it helps you to picture sugar content by the teaspoon, keep in mind that 4.2 grams is equal to 1 teaspoon.

As always, when it comes to keeping your smile beautiful and teeth healthy, make sure you brush them twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist in Buckhead biannually.

We’re always accepting new patients at our Buckhead dental office and welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today.

Does Asthma Affect Dental Health?

woman reaches for asthma inhaler

It’s well known that asthma causes a narrowing of the airways, reduces oxygen flow, and makes it difficult to breathe. It’s a chronic, scary disease that affects the lungs and entire respiratory system. But can it be true that asthma may also affect dental health? The team at our dental office in Buckhead has the surprising answer in this week’s blog.

Asthma By The Numbers

More than 20 million adults and over 6 million children in the United States alone suffer from asthma. There is no cure for this disease that takes the lives of an estimated 3,600 people every year. Even more suffer asthma attacks, become sick, or are even hospitalized. Asthma is not a disease to take lightly and patients should take their medication as prescribed. However, there are some lesser known side effects of asthma that should be talked about.

Asthma & Cavities

It’s incredibly common for asthma sufferers to breathe out of their mouths instead of their noses – simply because it’s easier and they can get more oxygen that way. But mouth breathing is a known contributor to dry mouth and cavities. Constantly exposing the inside of the mouth to air really reduces saliva production. Typically, saliva would rinse away damaging bacteria and acid, but without it, they’re left behind to do some serious damage. Both bacteria and acid will attack enamel, removing the teeth’s protective barrier and increasing the likelihood for cavities. What’s more is that common asthma treatments may also cause dry mouth, which doubles the risk of inadequate saliva production and decay.

Keep Your Mouth Healthy

Asthma patients are more likely to develop cavities, but following the steps below can help minimize the risk of dental problems.

  • Stay Hydrated. Water is a dry mouth sufferer’s best weapon of defense. Water can help pick up the slack of reduced saliva flow and rinse away bad bacteria and acid. Drinking water throughout the day may even help saliva production increase and further protect your teeth. Choose water as often as possible and keep yourself hydrated.
  • Tell Your Dentist. Your dentist in Buckhead will ask about your health history and any medications you’re taking. It’s important to tell them the truth. Many diseases and medicines can affect oral health, not just asthma, and the more your dentist knows the better care they’ll be able to give.

Besides following the tips above, you should always brush and floss your teeth regularly.  If it’s been longer than six months since you’ve been to the dentist, we welcome you to call our Buckhead dental office to schedule your appointment today.

National Women’s Health Week

women cycling

In just a few days we’ll celebrate National Women’s Health Week which kicks off appropriately on Mother’s Day, May 13th. This seven day celebration serves to raise awareness of the importance of following healthy habits for women of all ages. At our dental office in Buckhead, we know that dental health is an important part of overall health, and there are certain areas of oral health that specifically affect women throughout different phases of life.

Women’s Oral Health Priorities Change Over Time

As bodies change, chemistry throughout the body tends to change too. This includes the mouth. Since women experience hormonal changes at various times in their life, they actually have more oral health concerns to worry about, particularly during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.

Puberty

Typically puberty in girls begins between 8 and 14 years old. Girls will experience quite a transformation during this time since a lot is happening inside their bodies. Hormone levels fluctuate and these hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, can affect oral health. Both estrogen and progesterone increase blood flow to the gums which may cause them to become inflamed, red, and sore. Bacteria in the mouth can also build up easier, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease.

Menstruation

Just as during puberty, hormone levels continue to ebb and flow throughout a women’s childbearing years. Gums may still become sore or perhaps bleed when brushing or flossing close to when a period is about to begin. Some women may even experience a canker sore during this time. During menstruation, it’s also common to experience a decrease in saliva production, which will make a mouth feel dry, increase the chance for decay, and can potentially cause bad breath.

Pregnancy

Another time in a woman’s life when hormones and dental health changes is during pregnancy. Since about half of all pregnant women will get pregnancy gingivitis, dental care is especially important. What’s more is that poor dental health during pregnancy has been associated with premature babies, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. It’s recommended that pregnant women visit their dentist in Buckhead during the second trimester.

Menopause

During menopause women’s estrogen levels drop… which is directly related to bone loss. Women who have gone through menopause are aware of the risks associated with bone loss and are most commonly concerned with osteoporosis. While osteoporosis leads to brittle bones, it can also decrease bone density in the jaw increasing the risk of tooth loss. There are several ways dentists can replace these lost or damaged teeth, including dental implants and dentures.

Our Buckhead dental office is here to care for all of our patients during every stage of life. If you’re experiencing changes in your oral health, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, there’s no better time than now to schedule an appointment. Give us a call today!

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!

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.

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