Prevention

frustrated womanThere are plenty of places to get oral health advice — our dental office in Lawrenceville, 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.

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 brush twice and floss once daily.

This myth is especially concerning for your dentist in Lawrenceville. 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, rinse your mouth with warm salt water, gently floss, or use over-the-counter pain medicine as directed. If the pain doesn’t go away, schedule an appointment with your dentist.

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 roots 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.

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 your 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.

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. A common belief is that you don’t need to go to the dentist if you don’t have a problem. 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 bi-annually. If it’s time for your dental checkup, schedule an appointment with our Lawrenceville dental office today.

man wonderingIt’s common to feel the uncomfortable sensations associated with acid reflux in the gut and even in the chest. But did you know that acid reflux can also affect oral health? The team at our Lawrenceville dental office is here to tell you all you need to know about how acid reflux can increase the chance of decay and the need for advanced dental treatment.

Acid Reflux is Not Just a Gut Problem

Despite the fact that acid reflux is associated with digestion and can certainly affect the gut, the truth is that the very stuff that causes an upset stomach or heartburn is the same stuff that can contribute to damage in the mouth. As the body works to digest food, the stomach produces an acid to help break down food particles. Unfortunately, this acid can find it’s way out of the stomach, up the esophagus, and into the mouth. When it reaches the mouth it can wear down tooth enamel and increase the chance for sensitivity, cavities, and if left untreated, the need for dental treatment such as fillings, a root canal, or a dental crown.

Signs of GERD

Many people can experience acid reflux differently, but some of the most common signs include:

Protect Your Teeth Against GERD

The good news is there are many medications available that can help reduce how often you experience symptoms of acid reflux. Besides finding the right medicine, your dentist in Lawrenceville may recommend some additional precautions to protect your teeth against the acid produced by reflux. Some common suggestions may include:

Since sufferers of GERD are at increased risk for dental problems it’s important that they visit their dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings. These dental appointments can help identify any problems such as acid erosion or decay early, while treatment is easier.

We’re always accepting new patients at our dental office in Lawrenceville and welcome anyone who’s overdue for a dental visit to contact us today to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help.

diabetic testerNearly 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 Lawrenceville 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 Lawrenceville every six months 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:

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 Lawrenceville 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.

girl with pumpkin on headWith Halloween right around the corner, our dental office in Lawrenceville wants to share a secret with our patients and neighbors. Did you know that there are snacks out there that are worse for your teeth than candy? You heard us right. Candy may not be the scariest thing for your oral health. It’s no trick. Just the truth.

A Note on Sugary Sweets

While we’re here to talk about surprising snacks that are dangerous to oral health, it is worth mentioning that candy is still a concern for your dentist in Lawrenceville. But it’s not really the sugar itself that’s the problem. It’s what happens to the sugar when you eat it. Bacteria that live in the mouth love sugar and will feed on it every chance they get. This keeps the bacteria full and healthy. But what’s more concerning is what happens when these bacteria digest sugars. Like all living things, bacteria have to release waste. They just so happen to release an acid that wears away tooth enamel and increases the likelihood of cavities. Because of this, it’s still important to enjoy sugary foods in moderation.

It’s Not Only About Sugar

Even though sugar gets a bad reputation when talking about keeping teeth healthy, there are other treats that can be just as damaging, if not more so.

Crackers & Chips

The high starch content found in crackers and chips can be more of a concern than sugar. While these snacks don’t necessarily taste sweet, the starches can affect the body very much the same way sugar does. This is because chips and crackers have a high glycemic index. Foods with a high glycemic index are known to increase blood glucose levels as the body digests them. This means that even though there’s low sugar listed in the ingredients, the starches will feed mouth bacteria the same way sugar does. This also means that bacteria will release more of the acidic byproduct and leave teeth at risk for decay. But that’s not all.

When chewed, chips and crackers form into almost a paste-like consistency. This makes them very sticky and they can easily get stuck in between teeth and in tooth grooves. The longer the starches are left in the mouth like this, the more they’re feeding the bacteria and the more acid is getting released.

Keeping Your Teeth Safe

Just like we recommend limiting the amount of sugary foods you eat, we also suggest snacking on starchy foods such as chips and crackers in moderation. But no matter what you choose to treat yourself to this Halloween, be sure to pair eating with drinking water. This will help wash away food particles, bacteria, and neutralize acid.

Happy Halloween from our Lawrenceville dental office!

woman chewing gumWhen it comes to candy it should come as no surprise that the team at our dental office in Lawrenceville can be wary of the stuff. But there is a type of candy that we actually encourage our patients to eat. Well, at least chew on. Sugarless gum, or more specifically, gum containing Xylitol, can help keep your mouth healthy.

What is Xylitol?

There are plenty of sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners out there, but Xylitol is a little bit different than what you may put in your morning coffee. Xylitol is a natural compound found in many fruits and vegetables and tastes sweet. But what makes this sweetener a favorite for your dentist in Lawrenceville is that it’s metabolized differently than regular sugar and sugar substitutes.

How Does Gum Protect Oral Health?

When we eat sugar, it first feeds the bacteria found in our mouths. After eating the sugars,  bacteria then release an acidic byproduct. This acid can eat away at tooth enamel and increase the chance for decay. But Xylitol doesn’t give bacteria the nutrients they need to survive. Therefore, teeth are protected from acid and you can still treat your sweet tooth without worrying about decay.

Besides starving bacteria from food, chewing sugarless gum can further reduce the acid levels in your mouth by stimulating saliva production. When we chew gum our salivary glands are working to keep the mouth moist. This surge of spit neutralizes any acids that may already be in your mouth and helps wash away dangerous bacteria. What’s more is saliva strengthens teeth by remineralizing them with calcium and phosphate.

Research has even shown that chewing Xylitol Gum can:

A Word of Caution

Xylitol is naturally occurring and considered safe. It’s even used in some medicines. However, some people may experience negative side effects when they have too much. Common side effect include intestinal discomfort such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea. It’s also highly toxic for dogs so make sure to store anything containing Xylitol securely where your pets can’t get to it.

While Xylitol can give your dental health a boost, it’s not recommended as a replacement to brushing and flossing. Make sure to still follow a proper oral hygiene routine at home and visit our dental office in Lawrenceville at least twice a year. 

woman with toothacheNobody ever wants to experience the pain and discomfort of a toothache. But the truth is, toothaches can happen to anyone, and they can come without warning. While the best way to treat a toothache is to see your dentist in Lawrenceville as quickly as you can, there are some things you can do before your appointment to help ease the pain.

5 Ways to Ease a Toothache

Toothache pain can come with a lot of discomfort. But this pain doesn’t necessarily stay only in the affected tooth. You can get a headache, your gums may pulse, and your entire mouth can feel the effects. Try these tips to help.

What Causes Toothaches Anyway?

There’s no one thing that can cause a toothache. Many things ranging from decay, cavities, or a dental injury may be to blame. While usually caused something minor which is easily treated at our Lawrenceville dental office, there are times when a toothache may be a sign of gum disease, infection, or chronic tooth grinding. Whatever is causing your toothache, it’s best to get it checked as soon as you can to avoid the need for in-depth treatment.

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk

Although toothaches can happen to anyone at any time, there are certain precautions you can take to reduce your risk of getting one. First, make sure to keep up with your dental appointments every six months. These dental cleanings and exams can catch potential problems before they have a chance to turn into an unwanted toothache. Second, practice good oral hygiene habits of brushing and flossing every day to remove food particles, bacteria, and plaque from teeth that could otherwise cause decay.

You don’t need to continue to suffer from toothache pain, and often times they’re easily treated. Try these at-home remedies and schedule an appointment at our dental office in Lawrenceville as soon as you can. We’re always happy to help.

worrying womanAt our dental office in Lawrenceville we’re often asked if gum disease and gingivitis are the same thing. It’s a common misconception regarding a serious disease that can have serious consequences if left untreated, and we’d like to clarify the difference.

Defining Gum Disease

Gum disease at its core is an infection in the gums that may also affect the bones and tissues that are holding your teeth in place. But gum disease has three different stages that are all treated a different way.

Gingivitis

The earliest form of gum disease is known as gingivitis and occurs when plaque build up creeps under the gum line and causes an infection. However, if gum disease is caught during this earliest stage it’s often successfully treated and any damage that may have occurred can even be reversed.

Periodontitis

If gingivitis isn’t treated quickly it can progress to the next stage of gum disease — periodontitis. During this stage of gum disease the plaque build up can weaken the bones and the tissues that keep teeth secure. Treatment in this stage is focused more on reducing additional damage as the damage that’s already been done can’t be reversed.

Advanced Periodontitis

If plaque build up is still left alone the bone and tissues will continue weaken and even teeth may even fall out. It’s also not uncommon to experience loose teeth or a shift in bite. Damage at this level is irreversible.

Recognizing Gum Disease

When gum disease is in its early stages, you might not even be aware that there’s a problem. In that case, your gum disease may go untreated and get progressively worse. Be aware of the most common signs of gum disease including:

If gum disease is not treated it can not only lead to tooth loss but also some very serious whole-body diseases and concerns such as an increased risk for lung disease, cancer, heart attacks, and stroke.

Maintaining good gum health is an important part of keeping mouths and bodies in their best shape. You can help protect your oral health by quitting smoking, eating well, and brushing and flossing every day. Visiting your dentist in Lawrenceville every six months can also go a long way in catching any oral health problems, including gum disease, early and while still treatable.

If you’re due for a regular visit, or have any questions or concerns, give us a call at our Lawrenceville dental office.

labor day picnicWith Labor Day right around the corner, we’re sure our patients and neighbors are gearing up for a celebration. Typical Labor Day picnics usually include tons of delicious foods and snacks ranging from hot dogs and barbeque chicken to dips and salads galore. But some of these yummy treats aren’t so great for smiles. At our dental office in Lawrenceville, we’re here to tell you about some of the most common Labor Day foods and drinks that could be bad for your teeth.

Be Aware of the Condiments

Even though condiments are used sparingly, they can still present dangers to oral health. Some of the most damaging condiments include:

Common Labor Day picnic staples, BBQ sauce, ketchup, and salad dressings can put teeth at increased risk for decay and enamel erosion. Ingredients in these condiments pack a double whammy since they tend to be both acidic (vinegar) and sweet (sugar). The acid from the vinegar can wear away tooth enamel while the sugars lead to decay and cavities.  

Chips & Pretzels

Salty chips and crunchy pretzels go so well with other Labor Day treats, but they can get stuck in the crevices of teeth. If not removed, these leftover food particles will feed bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria will then release acid which can affect tooth enamel.

Soda

Soda can contain lots of sugar and acid, and as we all know, both are concerning for your dentist in Lawrenceville. If you must have a soda, try to drink only one and use a straw to minimize how much touches your teeth.

Alcohol

Alcohol is naturally drying and will cause your mouth to dry out too. This reduces saliva production which typically would wash away bacteria and plaque before it has a chance to cause damage.

We’re not saying you should avoid these treats altogether, but we do encourage you to mix in some fresh veggies, cheese, and in-season fruits. Also make sure to drink plenty of water and try to brush your teeth shortly after eating. If brushing isn’t an option, a quick rinse with some water can rinse away sugars and acids, helping to protect your teeth.

From all of us at our Lawrenceville dental office, we hope you have a happy and safe Labor Day.

woman embarrassedOur dental office in Lawrenceville understands that losing or breaking a filling can be scary. It may even be a a little painful. But many times a lost filling isn’t a dental emergency. However, with that said, it’s still important to treat it appropriately and in a timely manner. We’re here to walk you through the steps you should take if you do lose a filling and what you can do to help protect yourself.

The very first thing you should do if you lose or break a filling is call your dentist in Lawrenceville. Explain what happened, any symptoms you have, and if you’re in any pain. Sometimes our dental office has appointments available and may be able to see you the same day. If not, make sure you get the earliest appointment possible. If left untreated, a lost filling can result in more decay and damage.

During the appointment your dental team will examine the area and check for any other damage. They’ll then make a recommendation for the best treatment for you. Treatment may be another filling or it could be a dental crown. If the area is large, a crown is usually the treatment of choice.

While you’re waiting for your appointment you should try your best to avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the filling once was. This can help keep food and bacteria out of the space left by the filling.

After you do eat, rinse your mouth out with warm salt water to rinse away any lingering food particles. You can also gently brush the area with a toothbrush if it doesn’t cause pain.

Pain reliever can work wonders in relieving any sensitivity or discomfort that may come along with losing a filling. Use what typically works best for you and follow the dosage instructions on the label.

Many pharmacies carry temporary filling material made with zinc oxide. Using this to block up the gap in your tooth will not only help keep food out, but can ease pain too. Just remember that this is a temporary fix.

Even though dental fillings are incredibly strong and can last for years, sometimes things happen that can cause them to fall out. If this happens, don’t wait to call our Lawrenceville dental office to schedule an appointment.

man filling out paperworkWe know that the paperwork you’re required to fill out when you visit a new healthcare provider can be a hassle. We also understand that it may be tempting to rush through these forms. However, there’s a reason all of your doctors, including your dentist in Lawrenceville, ask for all of that information. Because when it comes to your health, the more information we have, the better your care will be.

Important Information to Share

Having access to your current and previous health conditions can only help our dental office in Lawrenceville provide you with the best care that we can. Since there is such a strong connection between overall health and oral health, it’s important to provide us with as much information as possible, even it doesn’t appear to affect your mouth. Some things we should definitely be aware of include:

About Medications

We will also ask about what medications you take regularly, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines as well as herbal supplements. Why is this important? First, having a record of medications available will help us in the event that we need to prescribe you something so that nothing interacts. Second, many medications list dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth not only increases the risk for cavities, it can also lead to gum disease. Even though both conditions are treated easily in the early stages, they can lead to bigger problems in the future such as a root canal or even tooth loss if left untreated.

Health Changes, So Should Your Medical History Forms

Your health isn’t the same now as is it was five years ago, and it won’t be the same five years from now. But if you don’t update your medical history with your healthcare providers there’s no way of them knowing about these important changes. If you have any changes to your health including surgery, pregnancy, or any new health condition, share them with your entire medical team.

Our Lawrenceville dental office collects health history of each and every patient so that we can provide individualized care. We also make sure that all medical information is kept secure and private. If you have questions about our privacy policy or why we ask for certain information, don’t hesitate to ask one of our team members. We’re happy to help.

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