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You are currently browsing: Preventive Dentistry

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. 

Do Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Removed?

wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth can be a pesky problem. It is most common to have wisdom teeth removed. In fact, over 90% of Americans have their wisdom teeth removed. So when can they stay and when do they have to go?  

Reasons Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted

There’s No Room For Them

The top reason wisdom teeth need to be removed is that there’s no more room in your mouth for four more teeth. If this is happening, your dental team will be able to identify it early through dental x-rays. When there’s simply not enough room for your wisdom teeth, extraction will be recommended. If treatment is not completed and the teeth start to erupt, a whole host of issues can occur including overcrowding, crookedness, and jaw pain. Even if they can erupt fully, they often become in the way of the lower jaw being able to go to the correct position which can lead to headaches, joint pain, and teeth cracking and wearing.

Proper Care Becomes Difficult

If you’re one of the rare cases where your wisdom teeth grow in straight and healthy, your Buckhead dentist may still recommend having them removed. This is to prevent additional problems such as cavities and gum disease in the future. You see, wisdom teeth are way in the back of the mouth and are very difficult to brush and floss properly. This can cause bacteria and plaque build-up, which will put you at an increased risk of decay. 

When Don’t Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed? 

Even though 90% of Americans need to have their wisdom teeth out, there are a few cases when wisdom teeth grow in just fine. If your wisdom teeth have enough room to fully erupt without disrupting the neighboring teeth and you’re not having trouble taking care of them, you may just be able to keep them. Remember, your dental team will continue to monitor their health to make sure they’re still ok where they are, and that your mouth and smile are staying healthy. 

Seeing your dentist regularly is the best way to determine whether or not you should have your wisdom teeth removed. If you think you may need to have your wisdom teeth checked out, give our Buckhead dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.

Why You Should Pay Attention to Gum Health

examining gums with mirror

When many people think about their dental care they immediately think of teeth and smiles. But there’s another huge part of dentistry that can not only affect your oral health but your overall health, too — your gums. At our dental office in Buckhead, we take gum health seriously, and for good reason. Poor gum health can lead to gum disease which can be very serious.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, which can also be referred to as periodontal disease, is an infection in the gum tissue. There are different stages to gum disease that describe how severe the condition is. Gingivitis is early-stage gum disease and periodontitis is more severe, advanced gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems.

Gum Disease and Overall Health

Your gums can tell your dentist in Buckhead all sorts of information about your oral health and they just may indicate other potential problems throughout the body. In fact, symptoms affecting the gums have been linked to several serious health concerns such as strokes, heart attacks, heart disease, and certain cancers.

Signs of Gum Disease

Catching and treating gum disease early is the best way to keep it from affecting the rest of the body. That’s one reason seeing your dentist at least every six months is so important. You should also be on the lookout for some of the most common signs of gum disease in-between visits. Some potential signs of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth

If you notice any of these symptoms, call your dentist as soon as possible. Your dental team will see exactly what’s going on and make the best gum disease treatment recommendation for you.

Protect Yourself

There are things you can do to keep your gums healthy and protect yourself against gum disease.

  • Floss every day
  • Brush your teeth twice daily
  • Quit smoking
  • See your dentist regularly

It’s important to know that gum disease may not always show symptoms, so make sure you visit our Buckhead dental office twice a year to keep yourself protected. If it’s been longer than six months since your last appointment, call us to schedule one today.

3 of the Top Concerns about Pregnancy and Dentistry

pregnant woman on couch

Finding out that you’re pregnant is one of life’s most joyous (and scary) events you can endure. Everyone at our dental office in Buckhead wants to send plenty of well wishes to all of the parents out there who are expecting a blessing of their own.

We wanted to set aside this blog to talk to the moms out there. Because whether you’re new to pregnancy and experiencing every special moment for the very first time, or a seasoned parental pro who knows exactly how this all goes, it’s essential not to put off your upcoming cleanings or treatments. We understand pregnancy brings up a lot of new concerns about your health and wellbeing, including taking care of your smile. Let’s talk about some of the most common concerns we hear from our patients about going to the dentist during pregnancy.

Common Concern #1: What if I need dental X-rays? Are they safe?

Most dental offices are equipped with state-of-the-art digital X-rays, eliminating the possibility of  overexposure to harmful radiation for you and your baby. If you’re experiencing a dental issue, it’s advisable to get the necessary X-rays to fix the problem before it poses any risk of harming your developing fetus.

Common Concern #2: My gums are really bleeding. Should I call my Buckhead dentist?

If you’re pregnant and reading this, there’s no doubt in our mind that you would agree that being pregnant can change your body, usually in part due to fluctuations in your hormones. The American Dental Association says that as many as 50 percent of pregnant women can develop “pregnancy gingivitis.”  It usually goes away after your child arrives, but it’s important to brush and clean your teeth regularly. If still concerned about bleeding in your gums, you can always reach out to us for help.

Common Concern #3: I’ve got morning, afternoon, and night sickness. Should I tell my dentist?

Sickness and vomiting during pregnancy are one of the most common side effects that most women tend to experience early on in their pregnancy. When you get sick, excess stomach acid can eat away at your tooth enamel leading to decay. Remember these helpful tips you can use at home to help protect your teeth from acid:

  • Wait to Brush. Brushing immediately after vomiting can lead to damage. Acid weakens the enamel, and if you brush while the acid is affecting the enamel, you can cause scratches that bacteria can hide in. So wait at least an hour after getting sick to brush.
  • Rinse with Water. While you’re waiting for the right time to brush, it’s a good idea to rinse your mouth out with water initially. Swishing water around in the mouth and spitting it out can remove a lot of acid.
  • Keep Drinking Water. You’re already drinking a lot of water, so keep on doing it. The more water you drink, the less acid will stick around in your mouth.
  • Scrape the Tongue. Don’t forget about your tongue. After vomiting, get a tongue scraper and gently run it down your tongue. You can successfully remove a lot of acid that would actually end up on your teeth.

If you’re really having a hard time and are worried about your smile, contact our dental office in Buckhead as soon as you’re feeling up to it. Seeing your dentist is crucial during your pregnancy, so let us work with you to determine what your needs are and how to proceed with your care during this special time in your life. We’re always here to help!

Recognizing the Signs of Oral Cancer

oral cancer awareness

Oral cancer is a scary disease that takes the lives of over 8,500 Americans every year. It’s a widespread problem that can be treated, often very successfully, if caught early. The problem is, many people don’t know the signs of oral cancer and may never realize there’s a problem until it’s too late. So in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, our dental office in Buckhead is here to help spread awareness of not only the common signs of oral cancer, but also several risk factors.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can be crucial in catching and diagnosing the disease early when treatment is most successful. Some of the more common signs of oral cancer include:

  • A chronic sore that doesn’t go away
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • A lump on the cheek or tongue
  • Change in voice

If you notice any of these symptoms, see your dentist in Buckhead as soon as possible.

Risk Factors

It’s important to note that anyone can get oral cancer. However, there are some things that can put us at more risk of the disease including:

Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.

Age: People over 50 are the most affected by oral cancer.

Tobacco Use: Nearly 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are smokers or use smokeless tobacco. Smoking often leads to throat or mouth cancer, and smokeless tobacco usually results in gum, cheek, or lip cancer.

Alcohol: Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers.

Limiting your alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco products are great ways to reduce your risk of getting oral cancer.  Also one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from the dangers of oral cancer is to see your dentist every six months. These visits can help catch any problems early while the chance for successful treatment is greatest.

Every year, over 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer. Of those, 40% won’t survive more than five years. Early detection greatly increases the chance of successful treatment and survival. Schedule a visit with your dentist in Buckhead today.

Is Snoring Bad for My Smile?

snoring couple

At our Buckhead dental office, we always go out of our way to make sure your mouth and your body are as healthy as possible – even if it goes beyond simply treating or cleaning your teeth. Sometimes patients are concerned about how snoring might be affecting their smile, so we thought we’d dedicate this blog to looking at how snoring can be damaging to both your oral and overall health.

What Should I Know About Snoring?

If snoring is causing problems in your life (both for you and your bed partner), maybe it’s time to consider learning more about sleep apnea. Snoring is not only annoying but it also poses dangers to both your teeth and the rest of your body.

Here are signs and symptoms that your loud snoring could be related to sleep apnea:

  • Sudden awakenings causing you to restart breathing
  • Waking up in a sweat
  • Frequent silences throughout the night when you stop breathing
  • Choking or gasping for air
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Falling asleep at unwanted times

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your Buckhead dentist. The side effects of snoring can cause issues for your oral health and we’ll want to monitor you so we can best protect your teeth.

Are My Teeth Suffering Because of My Snoring?

Snoring or breathing with your mouth open during sleep can cause you to develop something called dry mouth. This can cause problems for your smile that include:

  • The decreased ability to wash away particles left over after meals
  • Having enough saliva to keep teeth free from harmful acids and plaque build-up
  • An increased risk for sores, infections, and halitosis (bad breath)
  • An increased risk for breakdown of your tooth enamel

Does Snoring Mean I Have Sleep Apnea?

The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates nearly 90 million Americans are snoring away every night while thinking they’re enjoying a deep, healthy rest. Sometimes snoring has nothing to do with sleep apnea. This is generally true for about 45 million of the 90 million people who saw logs in their sleep each night. But the others can be suffering from sleep apnea.

Who’s at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that knows no limits when it comes to age, race, or ethnic background  – everyone is at risk. That’s why it’s so important to determine if your snoring issues are sleep apnea related or not. The American Dental Association says your sleep apnea risk is increased if you’re:

  • Overweight
  • Older than 40
  • Predisposed to snoring in your family medical history
  • Struggling with a deviated septum, sinus conditions, or allergies

If snoring has been causing issues with you, your bed partner, or even your family, please don’t hesitate to call our dental office in Buckhead. We can take a look at your teeth to make sure there are no immediate issues with your smile that need to be addressed and discuss what steps you can take to treat your sleep apnea so you can avoid future health problems such as deteriorating teeth, diabetes, depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Can Poor Oral Health Increase the Risk for Heart Problems?

heart health month

When it comes to dentistry and oral health, many people think of only the mouth itself. While dentistry is certainly about keeping teeth healthy and cavity-free, it’s also about caring for your gums and protecting your whole body. At our dental office in Buckhead, we not only focus on treating the mouth, but also understand that what happens in the mouth can affect the rest of the body. This February, in honor of American Heart Month, we want to talk about how poor oral health can increase your risk for heart disease.

Heart Disease Risks You May Not Know About

Everyone knows about the typical things that can increase our risk for heart disease such as a poor diet, smoking, obesity, and even genetics. While those risk factors are absolutely factors that can lead to heart problems, there’s another little-known culprit that many may never even consider — gum disease.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Many studies conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) have shown a positive link between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease. In fact, researchers concluded that those with gum disease are more likely to have a heart attack than those without it. But how does something in the mouth affect the heart?

Bacteria that live up under the gum line and cause gum disease have a direct pathway into the bloodstream. When these bacteria enter our blood supply, they can cause our bodies to increase the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP). When CRP levels are elevated it can cause:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Inflamed arteries
  • Heart attack

How to Know if You Have Gum Disease?

Gum disease needs to be diagnosed by your dentist in Buckhead. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep an eye out for some early warning signs at home. Some signs of gum disease include:

  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Consistently bad breath
  • Chronic bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, we recommend scheduling an appointment at our Buckhead dental office as soon as possible so we can check out what’s going on and treat anything that we find quickly.

The best way to protect yourself from gum disease and the heart problems that can come with it is to see your Buckhead dentist regularly. Your dental team will not only remove any bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup that can increase your chances of developing gum disease if left alone, they’ll also be able to catch any potential problems early when treatment is often easier and more successful.

Protect your heart and schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

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.  

Acid Reflux & Dental Health

man wondering

Even though acid reflux is a condition that originates in the stomach, it can affect other areas of the body, including the mouth. The truth is, people who suffer from acid reflux can be at greater risk for oral health concerns than those who don’t. Our dental office in Buckhead is here to help anyone dealing with acid reflux understand how it can negatively affect dental health and what you can do to reduce your risk.  

How Acid Reflux Affects the Mouth

A natural and important part of proper digestion includes the production of stomach acids. These acids help break down food so the body can digest what we eat. But these acids don’t always stay in the stomach. They can creep up the throat and into the mouth. Normally saliva in the mouth helps neutralize the acid and wash it away before it has a chance to cause damage. But when someone has acid reflux, which may also be referred to as GERD, stomach acids make their way up into mouth repeatedly. This leaves the mouth and teeth exposed to the acid. It’s this consistent exposure to the acid that causes damage to teeth.

Acid Leads to Tooth Damage

Acid is one of the worst things for teeth as it eats away at the protective enamel and leaves teeth at increased risk for decay, cavities, and other problems. As this erosion occurs and teeth are damaged, the need for dental treatment such as fillings, a root canal, or a dental crown may be required to help restore the tooth’s structure. Some signs that your teeth may have some level of acid erosion include:

Reduce Your Risk

Many times acid reflux can be treated or the symptoms can be minimized through the use of a doctor-recommended medication. Additionally, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of damage caused by acid reflux including:

  • Getting tested for sleep apnea as people with sleep apnea are more likely to have GERD
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste designed to strengthen enamel
  • Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol to reduce acid reflux episodes
  • Seeing your dentist in Buckhead every six months to catch any problems early.

If you suffer from acid reflux and are worried about your dental health, we welcome you to call our Buckhead dental office to schedule an appointment today. We will take a close look at your overall oral health and talk with you about the best way to protect your teeth against the dangers of acid reflux.

Diabetic Oral Health Care

Nearly 30 million Americans are living with diabetes. That’s 30 million people who have the added responsibility of working to maintain their blood glucose levels day in and day out. While it’s fairly well known that diabetes can lead to other health problems such as heart disease and kidney disease, it may be surprising to learn that diabetes can also affect oral health. In fact, the team at our dental office in Buckhead wants our patients to know that oral health can also, in turn, affect diabetes.

The Diabetes & Oral Health Connection

Research has suggested a connection between diabetes and gum disease, and vice versa. Studies have consistently shown that people who are diabetic are more likely to develop gum disease than those without diabetes. But that’s not all. If we look at the connection from the other direction, research supports that gum disease can also make it more difficult to manage blood sugar levels, leading to diabetic complications and perhaps a progression of the disease. To reduce the risk of gum disease and maintain proper blood glucose levels, consider trying the tips below…

Control Your Blood Sugar

This one is obvious for anyone with diabetes or for anyone whose loved one is diabetic. After all, keeping blood glucose levels within a healthy range is what diabetic maintenance is all about. Besides keeping your body healthy, controlled blood sugar levels reduce the risk of developing gum disease, which can lead to even more health problems such as heart disease.

Keep Your Mouth Healthy

Besides seeing your dentist in Buckhead regularly for a preventative exam and thorough dental cleaning, it’s also important to practice good oral hygiene at home. Regular, routine at-home care is a great way to ensure your teeth, gums, and even tongue stay healthy. To follow a proper oral hygiene routine, we recommend:

  • Using a fluoride toothpaste to protect against tooth decay
  • Brushing at least when you wake up and before you go to bed
  • Flossing at least once a day to clean all the areas that brushing can’t reach

Good Food is Good For You

Limiting how many sugar-packed foods you eat or drink is good practice for anyone, but especially for those living with diabetes. To help keep blood sugar regulated and support overall health, make sure to eat a well-balanced diet packed with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

The patients at our Buckhead dental office are our top priority and we’re committed to doing everything we can to keep not only their mouths healthy, but their bodies healthy, too. If you’re looking for a new dentist or have questions about your oral health, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with our dedicated team today.

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