Oral Health

woman drinking glass of waterAs we enter the hot summer months, it’s more important than ever to keep our bodies properly hydrated. After all, a well-hydrated body helps organs function properly, can improve sleep, and may even protect against infections. But as your dentist in Lawrenceville knows, drinking enough water isn’t just good for the body, it’s great for oral health, too.

Washes Away Bacteria

Drinking water is one of the best ways to hydrate. It’s also one of the best ways to wash away harmful bacteria, especially during and immediately after eating. Choosing water as your beverage of choice helps rinse away food particles that otherwise would break down and feed mouth bacteria. As bacteria feed, they release an acidic byproduct that can easily attack and wear away tooth enamel, leaving teeth at increased risk for decay. 

Protects Against Dry Mouth

A hydrated mouth is a healthy mouth, but a dehydrated mouth is more likely to feel super dry and uncomfortable. This is appropriately known as dry mouth, and while it seems harmless, your dentist in Lawrenceville knows differently. Dry mouth can occur from not drinking enough water, some medications, and breathing through your mouth. While the last two causes are a little bit more difficult to treat, drinking enough water is always a good place to start. You see, when a mouth is dry, it provides an ideal environment for bacteria to stick around. And as we mentioned above, the longer bacteria linger, the more acid they produce, and the more likely your teeth will be attacked. When it comes to oral health, saliva is your mouth’s best friend. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps increase saliva production and protect your mouth around the clock. 

Strengthens Enamel

Drinking water is always recommended, but drinking fluoridated water packs a double punch. Fluoride is a mineral that’s naturally found in some foods that helps remineralize enamel, making it stronger, tougher, and harder for acids to attack. Fluoride has been added to many community water supplies, so whenever possible, it’s best to drink water from the tap as opposed to bottled water. Fluoride can also be obtained by drinking some store-bought beverages that have added fluoride such as orange juice, by brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, or by talking with your dentist about adding fluoride treatments at your bi-annual dental appointments.

There’s No Sugar — And No Calories!

Another side benefit to water, and one of the top reasons your dentist in Lawrenceville loves it so much, is that it contains no sugars or calories. That means you can quench your thirst without the damaging side effects of sugar found in sports drinks, soda, and even fruit juice. Drinking enough water throughout the day may also help with weight loss or maintaining weight. 

This summer, and every season, keep your body and your mouth property hydrated by aiming to drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day. To further protect your oral health, make sure to brush and floss regularly, and see your dentist every six months. 

The month of June has always been dedicated to the men in our lives, particularly our dads. June just so happens to also be Men’s Health Month, a time for all of us to encourage the men closest to us to focus on their overall health, including their oral health. After all, as your dentist in Lawrenceville knows, there’s a strong connection between what goes inside the mouth and the rest of the body. So this June, let’s take a minute to talk about why dental care is so important, especially for men. 

Men Are More Likely To Avoid The Dentist
A study conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry showed that men are less likely than women to see their dentist regularly. In fact, many men don’t go to the dentist at all unless they’re experiencing a dental emergency. However, the truth is, if men were to see their dentist twice a year, they may be able to avoid those emergencies altogether. Regular preventive dental visits do just that — prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Professional cleanings remove plaque buildup that regular brushing and flossing at home can’t touch. This alone helps lower the risk of dental problems. 

Top Dental Concerns for Men 

There are many ways that poor oral health can affect overall health and require the need for advanced dental treatment. The best way to avoid that is to see your dentist regularly and to encourage every member of your family, especially the men, to do the same. 

P.S. Don’t forget Father’s Day is June 21st!

Usually you’ll find your dentist in Lawrenceville spending most of their time talking about teeth. But today, we’re switching it up a bit and focusing on another important area of oral health — the tongue. This amazing muscle helps us speak, chew, and swallow, but did you know that our tongues can also help your dental team identify oral health problems- or even other whole-body problems? Say “Ah!” and let’s take a look at some ways our tongues can be the window to overall health. 

A Bright Red Tongue
Tongues are usually a nice shade of pink — this indicates a well-hydrated and healthy tongue. But there are also times when patients look in their mouths to find a bright red tongue. The color can be so dramatic that it can appear as if you just ate a red popsicle that stained your tongue. A red tongue is often referred to as strawberry tongue and can indicate a vitamin B-12 deficiency or an iron deficiency. Occasionally, a red tongue may also be a sign of a fever, strep throat, Kawasaki disease, or erythroplakia. Erythroplakia may increase the likelihood of developing oral cancer, so any tongue redness that doesn’t go away warrants a call to your dentist in Lawrenceville

Scalloped or Wavy Edges 
If it’s been a while since you’ve last looked at your tongue, you may now notice changes in its texture, particularly a scalloped or wavy appearance along the edges. This is usually nothing to be concerned about but can be a sign of other problems. Scalloped or wavy edges often result from the tongue being pushed up against the teeth repeatedly. This can even happen during sleep! This change in tongue texture can also be a sign of teeth grinding, sleep apnea, TMJ disorder, or vitamin deficiencies.  

A Black, Hairy Tongue
As gross as this sounds and as scary as it can be, usually a black, hairy tongue isn’t anything to worry about. This condition can be caused by poor oral hygiene, smoking or chewing tobacco, drinking too much alcohol, dry mouth, or changes to yeast or bacteria in the mouth. Also, the “hair” you see isn’t actually hair but rather a buildup of skin cells on the papillae (the tiny bumps naturally found on tongues). When too many cells take over the papillae, they can appear long and hair-like as opposed to small bumps. This condition can resolve on its own. 

Painful Sores or Bumps
As we’ve mentioned before, all tongues have tiny bumps called papillae. Those are normal and are no cause for concern. However, when a new bump appears and is accompanied by pain or soreness and doesn’t go away, you should visit your dentist in Lawrenceville. New lumps that don’t go away over the course of two weeks may be a sign of oral cancer. Oral cancer can be treated, but treatment is often more successful when the cancer is caught early. Call your dentist as soon as you can to get it checked out. 

Your tongue can say a lot about your overall health, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Keep a close eye on your tongue in-between your dental appointments and be sure to talk about any changes you may notice with your dental team.

During these times of change and uncertainty, it’s only natural to feel stressed out. After all, we’ve all been thrust into staying at home and figuring out our new, temporary norm. Your dentist in Lawrenceville understands. We’re in this together, and we’d like to help by talking about how stress can affect your oral health while also providing you a few tips on how you can lower your stress during stressful times.

How Our Bodies React to Stress
Stress affects different people in different ways, and what happens to one person may not happen to another. Knowing that, let’s take a look at some of the ways our oral health tends to respond to stress.

Teeth Clenching & Grinding – One of the most common correlations between stress and oral health is our body’s often subconscious response to clench and grind our teeth. Most of the time, we may not even know we’re doing these things until we start to experience the side effects. The pressure of repeated teeth-on-teeth clenching can be too much for our teeth and may lead to some serious concerns including chipped, cracked, broken, or worn down teeth. But that’s not all. Constant clenching or grinding can put unnatural stress on our jaw joint and jaw muscles, which can cause jaw pain and the development of TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder and jaw pain can often be treated successfully, so if you recognize any clicking or popping in the jaw joint, jaw pain, or occasional jaw locking call your dentist in Lawrenceville.*

Gum Disease – Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that can contribute to other whole-body health concerns such as the increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease, and some cancers. Usually, gum disease is a result of inadequate oral hygiene, not seeing your dentist regularly, or tobacco use. However, recent studies have also shown a connection between increased stress and the occurrence of gum disease. Gum disease can be treated if caught early, so if you notice bleeding gums, bad breath that doesn’t go away, or swollen, painful gums, see your dentist.

De-Stress to Protect
Your dentist in Lawrenceville wants to encourage you to try different things to help you de-stress, for your overall health, mental health, and yes, your oral health. Some things you can try include:

Sleeping Well. Getting enough sleep is important to help lower stress and keep your overall body functioning well. Having trouble sleeping? Avoid blue light at least an hour before bed, listen to calming music or relaxing sounds, and keep a regular sleep schedule (yes, even on weekends).

Exercising Daily. Hop on the treadmill or stationary bike, go for a walk, do some yoga, but whatever you do, do some sort of exercise daily. Regular exercise naturally lowers stress by giving your body and brain a surge of endorphins, which make you feel happy and more relaxed.

Meditating. Believe it or not, simply focusing on your breath and practicing some deep breathing techniques can lower your heart rate and blood pressure and help you feel more relaxed. Look for a free app on your phone or videos online to help guide you through breathing exercises or full meditation sessions.

It’s more important now than ever before to work on decreasing stress levels. We hope some of the tips above help. As we’ve mentioned before, stress is different for everyone, and that also includes stress management. Try to find the method that works best for you.

*At the time of publishing, the ADA recommends that all preventive dental appointments and non-emergency consultations be postponed. Please check with your local regulations.

emergency room signAs of March 18, 2020, the American Dental Association has recommended a nationwide postponement of all elective dental procedures and encouraged dentists to provide emergency services only. But how do you determine the difference between a dental emergency and a non-emergency? The ADA is helping out there, too and released important information and guidance to help both you and your dentist in Lawrenceville during these unprecedented times. 

What Are Dental Emergencies?

According to the ADA, dental emergencies are “potentially life-threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding [or to] alleviate severe pain or infection.” The guide released to dentists back in March goes into even more detail to give specific examples of potential dental emergencies. Let’s take a look. 

Urgent Dental Care

There is also a subset of the ADA’s guidelines to emergency dental needs called urgent dental care. These problems may still require dental care quickly and include: 

This is not an all-inclusive list of all dental emergencies that may require immediate treatment. Other situations may include defective restorations that cause pain, extensive cavities or decay that cause pain, needed adjustments to dental appliances when they aren’t functioning properly, or the replacement of temporary fillings where the patient is in pain. 

Non-Emergencies

At this time, dental offices are discouraged from having preventive, routine appointments or seeing patients with non-urgent needs such as: 

Please note, while your dentist in Lawrenceville is here to help you in any way possible, there are some limitations as to what we can and cannot do at this time. The best thing to do if you think you’re experiencing a dental emergency is to call your dentist. 

*As information about COVID-19 changes regularly both at the state level and on a national scale, please check your local area for the most recent updates regarding dental care. 

If you’ve ever had a dental procedure such as a filling or root canal, chances are you’ve experienced the odd sensation of novocaine numbness. While novocaine can help you not feel anything during treatment, the side effects can be annoying. But just how long do you have to deal with not being able to feel your face? Your dentist in Lawrenceville has the answer. 

What is Novocaine? 

Novocaine is a local anesthetic that dentists administer with a tiny needle. It’s used to numb the tooth and area where your dentist is treating and is really good at making almost any dental treatment comfortable and pain-free. Essentially, novocaine blocks our nerves from sending pain signals to the brain so we don’t feel a thing. 

Side Effects of Novocaine

The most common side effect of novocaine is the unmistakable numbness in your face, lips, or even tongue. More on that in a bit. But there are lesser-known side effects that you should know about including: 

There are also some very rare, yet very serious, possible side effects if someone is allergic to novocaine such as difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, itchiness, and anaphylaxis. If you experience any of these side effects, go to the nearest emergency room and notify your dentist in Lawrenceville

How Long Does Novocaine Last? 

As promised, let’s talk more about the most common side effect of novocaine — numbness. Naturally, you will experience some numbness when you receive novocaine. But you may also experience numbness long after you leave the dental chair. While the duration of the numbness depends on a variety of things such as the individual person and how much is used, usually you’ll feel numb anywhere from one to five hours. 

Are There Ways to Make the Numbness Wear Off Faster?

We understand that the numbness associated with novocaine can be annoying. After all, you can’t speak properly, you have trouble chewing, and everything you drink seems to drip out of your mouth. But personally, we think the comfort you have during your dental treatment is worth this temporary annoyance. However, if you’re someone who finds the lingering numbness unbearable, there may be some things you can try to help it go away faster. But be sure to talk with your dentist in Lawrenceville before trying any of the tips below. 

Please note that, unfortunately, there is no official way to make the weird feeling of numbness disappear quickly, but some patients have found the above methods helpful. 

The numbness associated with novocaine is temporary, but your dental health is with you for a lifetime. Don’t let a fear of pain or discomfort keep you from getting the treatment you need. There are many ways we can help minimize pain, fear, and anxiety. Just talk to us, we’re here to help!

March is National Nutrition Month and is hosted every year by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It strives to bring awareness to the importance of how eating right can help us live longer, healthier lives. When some people consider how nutrition plays a role in their overall health, they may turn to the latest in diet trends. The Keto Diet is no exception. But even though the Keto Diet can help some individuals lose weight, your dentist in Lawrenceville knows that there may be some underlying oral health concerns associated with it. 

What is the Keto Diet? 

The basis of the Keto Diet involves decreasing the intake of carbohydrates and increasing more high-fat foods, which would cause the body to enter something ketosis. Ketosis occurs when the body burns off fat instead of glucose, including glucose from carbs. While this can help shed the pounds, it also produces three ketones as a result. These three ketones are acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. The latter, acetone, is what may be concerning to your dentist in Lawrenceville

Keto Diet & Bad Breath

Acetone is something that can’t be used to store energy, so our bodies release it by either urination or through the lungs. When it’s expelled through the lungs, people may start to experience bad breath or halitosis. This foul odor can be combated through good oral hygiene habits such as brushing your teeth and tongue and flossing daily. Chewing gum and drinking plenty of water throughout the day may also help alleviate bad breath caused by the Keto Diet. Additionally, those who are committed to the Keto Diet over a long period of time may become “keto-adapted,” which means the bad breath will go away. 

Oral Health Benefits of the Keto Diet

Now, before you bail on the Keto Diet for fear of bad breath, your dentist in Lawrenceville wants you to know that there are actually also some potential oral health benefits behind the diet. Carbohydrates contain a lot of sugars, which are one of the worst things for your teeth. When we eat foods that are loaded with carbs, the bacteria in our mouths are essentially given a free meal. As a side effect, these bacteria release acid which can damage tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay. Therefore, reducing the number of carbs you consume, and the sugars found in them, can benefit your oral health. In fact, some research shows that decreasing carbohydrate intake can lower the likelihood of cavities and even gum disease by 50% or more. 

Everyone is Different

The truth is, there are pros and cons to the Keto Diet as it relates to oral health and overall health. It’s important to know that what may work for one person may actually be harmful to another. So before you embark on a new diet, make sure you talk with your doctor to be sure that your dietary plans are appropriate for you and your body. 

When it comes to oral health, make sure to talk with your dentist in Lawrenceville and your dental hygienist about any changes to health history and even dietary changes. The truth is, things that affect your overall health can also affect your oral health and vice versa, so don’t be afraid to share any changes with your dental team at every appointment so that you’re sure to get the best care that’s most appropriate for you.

Bad breath is an incredibly common concern for many Americans. In fact, according to Medical News Today, bad breath affects an estimated 25% of the population. Even though there are various things that can cause bad breath, there are a few that concern your dentist in Lawrenceville. The truth is, several causes of bad breath are directly related to the overall health of your mouth and some of the problems linked to bad breath can be serious. Because of this, it’s important to first understand what causes bad breath before you can determine how to fix it.  

What Causes Bad Breath?
As we’ve mentioned, bad breath can be caused by any number of things, some concerning and some not. For example, bad breath can be a result of what we eat or drink such as garlic or coffee. Bad breath caused by foods or drinks usually isn’t something to worry about as it’s quickly alleviated by brushing or chewing sugar-free gum. However, when bad breath is chronic and can’t be tied to a fragrant food, it’s typically a sign of oral health problem.

Why is Bad Breath Bad? 
Bad breath that doesn’t go away is most often the result of too much bacteria lingering around the mouth. When bacteria build up in the mouth it increases the likelihood of decay, cavities, and gum disease. Gum disease, in particular, is an infection that can lead to tooth loss as well as other problems throughout the body such as heart disease, increased risk of stroke, and respiratory complications. Any sign of a lingering odor in your mouth is a clue that you should see your dentist in Lawrenceville

Bad Breath Remedies
We understand that bad breath can be embarrassing, but there are things you can do to treat it.

  1. Drink Water. Drinking water throughout the day will help keep your mouth moist and saliva flowing, both of which are important to neutralize acid, wash away bacteria, and keep breath fresh. If we don’t drink enough water or suffer from dry mouth, bacteria will flourish. The result is bad breath. 
  1. Have Good Oral Hygiene Habits. You’ve heard us say it a million times – having good oral hygiene can go a long way in keeping your mouth healthy and your breath fresh. Make sure that you’re brushing and flossing every day to remove any food particles and bacteria that have built up throughout the day. Don’t forget to gently scrub your tongue as those tiny bumps make perfect places for bacteria to hide. 
  1. See Your Dentist in Lawrenceville. Even though properly brushing and flossing every day can help protect teeth and breath, it’s still important to see your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings that remove plaque and tartar your regular toothbrush just can’t get. These visits are also crucial to catch any oral health problems, such as gum disease, early when treatment is more successful. 

If you suffer from bad breath and you’re ready to get rid of it once and for all, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dental team will help diagnose the underlying cause of your bad breath and talk with you about the best way to treat it.

cough syrupEveryone 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 Lawrenceville 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 Lawrenceville 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: 

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. 

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 Lawrenceville 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 Lawrenceville. 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. 

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