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Cough Medicine & Oral Health

cough syrup

Everyone knows how miserable the common cold can be. When we come down with a case of the sniffles or an annoying cough, we’re willing to do almost anything to make it stop. While medications to treat the symptoms of a cold can help suppress a cough or ease a stuffy nose, your dentist in Buckhead knows that they don’t come without risks to oral health. 

The Danger is in The Ingredients

Many medications that we take to help us feel just a little bit better when we’re battling a cold contain ingredients that can put our oral health at risk for decay and cavities. The main two culprits that concern your dentist in Buckhead are sugar, which is used for flavor, and alcohol. Let’s take a closer look as to why this duo is dangerous for our teeth. 

Sugars

The truth is, most medicines don’t taste great, but the addition of sugar can help make them a little more tolerable. However, even though these sugars may make the medicine go down, they can contribute to tooth decay. The two most concerning medications that are used often when treating a cough are liquid cough syrup and cough drops — both of which typically contain a nice dose of sugar. The dangers are made even worse when we suck on cough drops throughout the day since our teeth are essentially bathing in the sugars all day long. As we all know, dentists don’t like sugar, mostly because bacteria love it. Bacteria in our mouths will feed on sugars and release acid as a byproduct. This acid is what wears away tooth enamel and leaves teeth at increased risk for decay

Alcohol

The other dangerous ingredient in many cough medicines is alcohol. Alcohol is known to cause dry mouth which may not sound like such a big deal, but in reality, it can cause a whole host of problems. Normally, our mouths produce a lot of saliva throughout the day which helps wash away sugar and bacteria and neutralize acids. However, when the mouth is too dry to produce enough saliva to protect the mouth, it’s easier for bacteria and acid to attack teeth. 

Protect Yourself

By no means are we suggesting that you have to forego cough medicine or cough drops altogether. But we do want you to be aware of some ways you can reduce their potential side effects on your oral health. Some things you can do to protect yourself while you’re treating your cold include: 

Brushing your teeth after you take cough medicine. This can help remove the sugar and alcohol instead of allowing it to hang around in your mouth all night long. 

Taking medicine while you eat. As we chew our food we produce more saliva to help with digestion. This extra boost in saliva can reduce the dangers of sugar and alcohol.

Using a pill medication instead of a liquid. A capsule of cough medicine removes the risk of sugars and alcohol. 

During this cold and flu season, if you do happen to get sick, try these tips above to help reduce the risk of oral health concerns caused by cough medicine. 

Is Biting Your Lip Bad For You?

woman biting lip

When we accidentally bite our lip, the pain that follows can be concerning. The zing of pain, and maybe even some blood, can certainly cause us to think that we may have just done some serious damage. But is lip-biting actually bad for you? Let’s check in with your dentist in Buckhead to see just how big of a deal biting our lip (or cheek or tongue!) is. 

Biting Is Bad — Sometimes

The truth is, there are really two answers to whether biting the soft tissues in our mouths is bad for us. On one hand, occasional bites typically heal on their own and usually aren’t something to worry over. On the other hand, when biting becomes a habit or you find yourself accidentally biting your lips, cheeks, or tongue a lot, it can cause inflammation, swelling, and sores. These sores can become infected if not treated or if they’re constantly being reopened by more biting. 

Why Do We Bite? 

We’ve all experienced those accidental bites we talked about above while chewing or perhaps during a big sneeze. While these one-off biting incidents sure can hurt, even for a few days, they’re often not something to be concerned about. 

However, when the “accidental” bites happen often, you should see your dentist in Buckhead. Those who tend to bite their lips, cheeks, or tongue a lot while they’re eating or even talking may have something known as malocclusion or a bad bite. A bad bite means that our top teeth don’t line up well with our bottom teeth, and that makes it really easy for a piece of the tongue, lip, or cheek to get stuck in between them (ouch!). Additionally, malocclusion can lead to its own set of problems like headaches, jaw pain, TMJ (temporomandibular disorder), and shifting teeth. 

There are also cases where people habitually bite their lips, cheeks, or tongue. Usually, this is a response to high-stress situations or even when they’re concentrating. Constant biting on the tissues, whether caused by psychological or physical factors, should be stopped before it leads to sores or painful swelling. 

How To Stop

Depending on what’s causing you to bite in the first place, there are things you can do to help yourself stop. 

  • If biting is caused by stress… If you’re one of the people who constantly chew on your lips, cheeks, or tongue, it can be difficult to stop. However, if you’re able to recognize when you bite, you can work to consciously stop. There are also times when a type of behavior therapy can help break the habit. 
  • If biting is caused by a bad bite… Those who don’t purposely bite but find themselves accidentally nipping their lips, cheek, or tongue often can benefit from a trip to their Buckhead dentist. The best way to prevent additional problems is to seek dental help to determine if a bad bite is to blame. Your dental team can help you find the best treatment for your individual case so you can stop biting.

Avoid the Flu with These Five Easy Things

woman with the flu

Flu season has officially begun and will continue through February, or maybe even later. Nobody wants to catch this ache-inducing, sneezing-causing, and overall yucky-feeling sickness. While sometimes the flu is unavoidable, there are easy things you can do to reduce your chance of falling ill. Join your dentist in Buckhead in practicing these top tips all flu season long.  

Clean & Sanitize

During flu season, it’s wise to clean and sanitize your living and workspace more often than usual. Germs can live on surfaces for quite some time, and all it takes is touching an infected surface to come down with the flu. Make sure to clean the areas you use most often or that are touched by multiple people like the kitchen, bathroom, and conference room tables at work. Don’t forget about the little items like remote controls, toilet handles, doorknobs, and keyboards.   

Wash Your Hands

Your dentist in Buckhead and all medical professionals will tell you that washing your hands often is one of the best ways to avoid the flu and the common cold. Scrubbing your mitts with warm water and antibacterial soap is an effective way to remove any germs you may have picked up throughout the day. Cover your palms, fingers, and even fingernails with soapy water after using the restroom, before eating, and after you touch anyone. If you can’t get to a sink right away, an alcohol-based sanitizer can work in a pinch. 

Keep Hands Away from the Face

According to the CDC, another common way to transfer germs from person to person or from surface to person is by putting our hands on our face or near our mouths, eyes, or nose. Since these areas of the body contain mucus, anything that gets into them is easily transported into the rest of the body, including germs. 

Choose Healthy Meals

While we always recommend trying to eat a well-balanced diet all year round, it can be even more important during flu season. Fueling your body with all of the good stuff it needs to function optimally puts it in good fighting shape if germs do find their way inside. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins and avoid sugar as much as you can. 

Increase Your Water Intake

Besides eating well, it’s also important to drink a lot of water throughout the day. When a body is properly hydrated, it’s better prepared to fight off anything that may try to make you sick. Follow the 8×8 rule by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. 

These tips can go a long way in keeping the flu away from you and your family this season. But if you do happen to get sick, the team at our Buckhead dental office recommends treating your symptoms with sugar-free medication to protect your teeth. Also, don’t forget to swap out your toothbrush for a new one after any illness.

National Dental Hygiene Month is Here!

hygienist in the foreground

There’s a lot to be thankful for as we move into this part of 2019, but October is also a time when the entire nation comes together to observe National Dental Hygiene Month. This is a special part of the year when you, along with your dentist is Buckhead, can take some time out to talk about all of the wonderful things dental hygienists bring to dentistry. 

Without further ado, let’s give dental hygienists everywhere the respect they deserve for a job well done in dental offices across America. Let’s learn a little more about what they do and how you can even help make their life a little easier when you come in for your regular cleanings.

A Little Hygiene History 

According to Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine, a new type of dental “nurse” began to help with teeth cleanings to prevent decay and disease dating all the way back to the 1880s. Dr. Albert C. Fones trained his assistant Irene Newman to act as an apprentice. Her early duties mainly involved scaling and polishing teeth, much like modern hygienists. Fones could not wrap his head around the term “dental nurse,” so he started calling his students dental hygienists instead. A whole new, exciting, and vital part of the dental field was born. (What would we do without them?)

National Dental Hygiene Month first started being recognized in October back in 2009 courtesy of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and Wrigley gum. Together, both organizations saw the need for more Americans to put a heavier emphasis on keeping their teeth healthy.

How Can I Observe National Dental Hygiene Month?

The best way to show your dental hygienist some love is to come into our Buckhead dental office for a cleaning. While you’re there, be sure to share how much you appreciate the kind of care your hygienist provides for your smile. 

When you’re at home, you can do these things to help maintain all of the hard work dental hygienists and dentists do to keep your teeth healthy.

1) Brush Twice a Day

Remember, the golden rule to brushing is doing it twice a day for two minutes. Make sure you’re using a soft brush where the bristles are free from wear and tear. Regular brushing is going to keep bad breath away, help keep teeth free from decay, and make your dental hygienist’s day the next time your due for a cleaning. 

2) Floss at least Once a Day

As funny as it seems, flossing made headlines a while back when there was a debate about whether or not it’s necessary. Flossing can reach up to 30 percent more of your tooth surfaces where brushing can’t reach. You’ll be able to get rid of nasty food particles that can lead to decay and disease down the road.

3) Rinse Your Mouth

Mouthwash is a great way to seal the deal on your at-home oral health routine so that you know your teeth are protected and healthy. It also helps to keep your breath fresh. Aim to make rinsing with mouthwash something you do each day after you finish flossing and brushing. An excellent antimicrobial rinse can work wonders for your mouth and breath!

We hope you learned a little something about dental hygienists and what they do. We also hope you reach out to us either by phone or online to learn more about taking care of your smile. If you’re scheduled to see your dental hygienist this month for a cleaning, share a big smile and thank you with them for all that they do for you!

You CAN Relax at the Dentist! (We’ll Show You How)

young woman at the dentist

Nothing gives some people more dread in their stomach than knowing they need to see their dentist in Buckhead soon. It doesn’t matter if it’s a regular visit and cleaning or a first-time appointment to establish care, there’s a good chance you or someone you know feels anxiety no matter what the reason is for the appointment.

You should know that if you or someone in your family struggles with a fear of seeing the dentist, you’re not alone. The Cleveland Clinic estimates between 9 and 15 percent of Americans avoid going to the dentist out of fear or anxiety. 

There’s a solution for everything, including your apprehension about seeing the dentist. Here are a few ways to get you started with having a healthier smile. We promise that following these simple steps will help you feel more relaxed and at ease about dental treatment.

Step #1: Just Talk to Us

All you have to do is give our Buckhead dental office a call. Let us know what you’re feeling and what you’d like to do about your smile. It’s just that easy. If you’re not ready to talk just yet, why not send us an email or message online? All we want to do is start a conversation with you, at your own pace and always without pressure or obligation. 

By communicating with us, your stress levels should lower because you’re learning more about what to expect during your appointment, and we get to know you and your needs. Trust us when we say we see patients every day who are not too excited about having to sit in the dental chair, even for as something as routine as a cleaning. We have the right tools and training to make sure you’re always feeling comfortable and at ease.

Remember, starting with the first phone call if you’re a new patient, share your questions and concerns with our dental team. We can adapt to fit your needs and your schedule, to make seeing the dentist an experience that’s stress-free (and maybe even a little fun).

Step #2 – Learn to Breathe Easy

We know the last thing you want to hear when you’re experiencing high anxiety is to “just breathe.” But focusing on your breathing is very effective at lowering your stress levels and blood pressure, helping you to feel more at ease.

There’s even a handy little trick you can use to help you remember to focus on your breath and relax, instead of dreading your time with the dentist. It’s known as the 4-7-8 breathing technique or “relaxing breath.” Try breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. Some people say doing this deep, rhythmic breathing can even help them fall asleep in as little as one minute.

Step #3 – Keep Coming Back to Avoid Us

Now that you know how to get comfortable before seeing the dentist, you can prepare for any visit. And remember this: it may seem a bit strange, but the best way to avoid the dentist is to see your dentist regularly. If you can overcome your anxiety and get through regular, routine checkups and cleanings, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to avoid more extensive, time-consuming procedures in the future.

We hope this blog helps you feel better about reaching out to our dental office in Buckhead. Our team is gentle, caring, and understanding of what it feels like to worry about seeing the dentist. We’ve got you covered to ensure you’re free from dental anxiety so you can enjoy the healthy smile you deserve!

3 Reasons Not to Use DIY Orthodontics

woman with clear dental aligner

It seems like every day there’s a new option for patients to straighten their smiles at home or on their own with mail-order orthodontics. But are they safe? Are they effective? Are they worth the discounted prices compared to more traditional orthodontics? Your dentist in Buckhead will be the first to tell you that if you or someone in your family needs a straighter smile, you should rely on professional help!

There are plenty of reasons why your smile care should always stay in the hands of a dedicated, educated, and caring professional. Here are three of the biggest reasons to avoid do-it-yourself orthodontics at home.

Reason #1 – There’s Damage to Be Done

Undergoing any orthodontic treatment should be taken seriously. You need someone in the driver’s seat who knows the route you want to take so that you can avoid an unnecessary accident down the road. The clear aligner treatments you see advertised on TV and online rely on a dental impression that you create at home. If there are any flaws or mistakes in that impression, your treatment could completely change your smile in a not-so-good way. You could have bite problems down the road, including chipping or breaking teeth.

Reason #2 – Aligners Might Not Work for You

Every person is different, and so are their smiles. There are so many ways to achieve a healthy, more confident smile thanks to all of the advancements in dentistry and orthodontics. Mail-order kits can only offer you clear aligner therapy. You’re taking a big chance on whether it’s going to work for your smile. When you see a trusted dental health professional like your Buckhead dentist, they can help you choose an orthodontic solution that’s right for you. Read the reviews associated with the mail-order or DIY aligners.. some people say it made their smile and bite worse!

Reason #3 – It Could Cost You More in the Long Run

So, you’re super excited about your DIY aligner therapy. You’re saving some money by doing it all on your own. You get the kit. Make your impressions. Receive your aligners. You go through the process. Unfortunately, your teeth take a turn for the worse and the next thing you know — your bite isn’t right. If you choose DIY orthodontics, there’s a chance it could harm and not improve your smile. When that happens, you could face more costly, lengthy orthodontic treatment, or maybe even surgery. We’ll have to repair the damage that’s been done and then find the right treatment to set things straight. 

Whatever the reason you’re trying to straighten your smile, everyone at our Buckhead dental office is here for you. Don’t let the ads fool you. Talk to us before doing anything to your teeth. We can find a sensible, affordable solution for patients of all ages. 

What You Need to Know About Fluoride

fluoride concept

Fluoride has been used in the prevention of tooth decay and cavities since it was first introduced into public water supplies in 1945. But some research studies suggest that fluoride isn’t safe. At our dental office in Buckhead, we’d like to help debunk that theory and explain the benefits and importance of fluoride treatments. 

What is Fluoride and What Does it Do?

Before we go any farther, we should first take a close look at what exactly fluoride is and how it works. It’s important to note that fluoride is a mineral that’s naturally found throughout nature and even in some foods and water. But why is it an important part of oral health? Essentially, fluoride makes it more difficult for acids released by bacteria in the mouth to wear away tooth enamel. When tooth enamel erodes, it leaves teeth exposed to those acids and bacteria and increases the likelihood for cavities. By adding fluoride into the mix, the teeth are protected.

Is Fluoride Just for Kids? 

Fluoride is most important for growing smiles. Your dentist in Buckhead will most likely recommend that infants and children be exposed to fluoride from 6 months of age until they’re about 16. This may mean changing to a toothpaste that includes fluoride or receiving fluoride treatments at bi-annual dental visits. However, the benefits of fluoride don’t go away once someone hits their 16th birthday. Fluoride can be beneficial for adults too. Adults should also receive some sort of fluoride treatment occasionally to keep fighting tooth decay. Fluoride treatments may also be recommended to help combat tooth sensitivity.  

How Much Fluoride is Too Much? 

Fluoride is safe and beneficial to dental health, but there is such a thing as too much. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), kids under 8 years old should not use products containing fluoride if the public water supply in their hometown has more than 2 mg/L of fluoride. The biggest risk to kids of being exposed to too much fluoride is something called dental fluorosis, or staining and pitting of tooth enamel. 

Fluoride should be used only as directed or prescribed, and intake should be monitored. Here are a few tips to help you monitor the use of fluoride products in your family:

  • Keep fluoride supplements out of the reach of children
  • Avoid flavored toothpaste to discourage swallowing 
  • Use only a pea-size amount of toothpaste with fluoride in it

If you have any concerns or questions about how dental fluoride can help protect your family’s smiles from damaging decay and cavities, we welcome you to call our Buckhead dental office to schedule an appointment with us today. 

Can Swimming Pools Affect Your Smile?

kids swimming

Swimming pools may seem like an odd thing for your dentist in Buckhead to talk about, but besides being a long-time summer favorite and a relaxing escape from the heat, swimming pools may actually pose an unwanted threat to your teeth. Now, before you forego all pools this summer (trust us, we don’t want that!), let’s take a look at just how and why pool water may be dangerous for your smile.

Pool Water & Your Oral Health

It’s worth noting that not all pool water is dangerous pool water. But it is important to talk about the pool water that can be a threat to your oral health. The problem with pool water and your oral health arises when the pH falls below an acceptable safe range (usually 7.2 and 7.8). When the pH is too low, pool water can actually become acidic. That’s where the problem lies. Acidic pool water can not only cause burning eyes and skin irritation, but it can also contribute to enamel erosion and tooth discoloration

The Importance of Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is the incredibly tough outer layer of teeth and protects our pearly whites from decay, bacteria, and sensitivity. While tooth enamel is incredibly strong, it can become damaged over time. Often, either brushing with abrasive toothpastes or exposing your teeth to too much acid are the main causes behind enamel erosion. This includes prolonged exposure to acidic pool water. 

What are the Signs of a Problem?

The most immediate signs that your pool water’s pH is too low are burning eyes and irritated skin. But over time you may begin to notice damage to your smile, including increased sensitivity caused by the enamel thinning, or little brown spots known as swimmer’s calculus. If you notice any of these signs, call your dentist in Buckhead to schedule an appointment. 

Who’s At Risk? 

Many times a casual swimmer won’t experience the damages of pool water, but the more time spent in a pool, the risk increases. In fact, according to a study of competitive swimmers conducted in the 1980’s, nearly 40% of them had some level of enamel erosion.

Protecting Your Smile

One of the best ways to protect your smile is, of course, to brush and floss properly and see your dentist in Buckhead regularly. But when it comes to protecting your smile against the potential dangers of pool water, make sure to test your water’s pH regularly and try your best to keep pool water out of your mouth as much as possible. 

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.

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