Seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville in order to protect your heart may seem like strange advice, but in fact, there is a strong connection between oral health and heart health. To help celebrate Heart Health Month this February, we’d like to educate our patients and neighbors on just how important regular dental care is to protect not only your mouth but also your heart.
The Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease
The main connection between oral health and heart health lies in the gums. Years of research support a positive correlation between gum disease and the increased risk for complications with heart health. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry states that those with gum disease are more likely to suffer a heart attack than those without gum disease. But how does gum health directly affect heart health? It all has to do with the way gum inflammation and infection can affect your heart.
How Can Gum Infections Give You a Heart Attack?
Even though infection of the gums may seem like no cause for concern, nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only does gum disease put your whole body at risk for problems such as diabetic complications and lung conditions, but it can also directly affect your heart health. When gums become infected, the bacteria that caused the infection in the first place aren’t isolated to just the mouth. They can easily enter the bloodstream and cause your body to over-produce something called C-reactive protein (CRP). Increased levels of CRP is a known precursor to heart attacks. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, elevated CRP levels can be more accurate at predicting a heart attack than high cholesterol.
Signs of Gum Disease
Knowing the signs of gum disease can go a long way in getting it treated early before your risk of other health concerns increases. Some common symptoms 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
What You Do to Protect Yourself
The best way to protect yourself from the dangers of gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene habits at home as well as visit your dentist in Lawrenceville at least twice a year for regular checkups. Make sure to brush and floss every single day to remove bacteria and plaque buildup, try to eat a well-balanced diet with limited sugary and acidic foods, and of course, avoid tobacco. It’s also important to share any health problems, changes in your health history, and medications with your dentist at each visit.
This Heart Health Month, and every month, take the steps to protect your oral health. It may just save your life.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Every November, the American Cancer Society sponsors the Great American Smokeout to encourage smokers to quit. As we all know, smoking can lead to serious health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Your dentist in Lawrenceville also wants you to know that smoking can have a negative effect on your oral health, too. Let’s take a look at some of the ways smoking can cause problems in your mouth.
One of the most serious ways smoking can affect your oral health is by increasing your risk of developing oral cancer. While oral cancer doesn’t only occur in smokers, smoking does greatly increase the chances. In fact, smokers are six times more likely to get oral cancer than non-smokers. Like any cancer, oral cancer can be deadly if not caught and treated quickly and appropriately. This is one reason why seeing your Lawrenceville dentist at least twice a year is so important. Your dental team will check for signs of oral cancer at every appointment so if something suspicious does show up, you’d catch it early and when treatment is often more successful.
Another serious oral health problem that oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with smoking is gum disease. Gum disease can affect anyone but smokers are 50% more likely to get it than non-smokers. It’s a serious oral health problem that can lead to tooth loss and even other health are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
Bad Breath & Discolored Teeth
Smokers often have a clear giveaway that they smoke — their breath. Smokers’ breath isn’t something that goes away easily and it can linger around for quite a while. Bad breath may seem like no big deal but it can affect relationships and health. What’s more, the ingredients in cigarettes (such as tar and nicotine) can easily stick to any plaque that may be on your teeth, gums, or tongue. When too much of these sticky substances are introduced to the mouth, they can actually change the color of your teeth into a dull, dingy yellow. These stains are also tough to remove and sometimes even professional tooth whitening isn’t enough to get rid of them.
Smokers may experience the discomfort of dry mouth more often than non-smokers. While dry mouth may seem like simply an annoyance, the truth is, it’s actually pretty bad for oral health. In order to stay healthy, your mouth needs to produce enough saliva to rinse away bacteria and neutralize acids that would otherwise lead to decay and cavities. But when the mouth is dry there isn’t enough saliva to do its job correctly, leaving your teeth exposed to all of the dangerous bacteria and plaque acid.
As you can see, the risks of smoking go well beyond the commonly known risks and can certainly take its toll on oral health. But there’s hope. Your dentist in Lawrenceville wants to encourage all smokers to pick a quit date and work towards a smoke-free life. We understand quitting smoking can be very difficult, and it may take a few tries to finally kick it. Don’t give up. Quitting smoking now can save your smile and your life.
It’s that time of the year again when the sounds of sneezes and sniffles, and coughs and congestion, are in the air. That’s right, it’s flu season, which can be a concerning time for all of us. At our dental office in Lawrenceville, we want you to know that you don’t have to suffer this year. There are some easy tips you can try to keep your family healthy all the way to spring.
Wash Those Hands
There’s a reason you’ll find posters in every bathroom stressing the importance of proper handwashing and why your dentist in Lawrenceville stresses washing those hands regularly — because it works! A little bit of soap and warm water can go a long way in keeping you healthy and flu-free. Make sure to wash your hands after using the restroom, touching another person, touching anything in public (think escalators and doorknobs!), and before every meal or snack. While soap and warm water work best to kill those pesky germs, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can work well in a pinch.
Having clean hands is one thing that can certainly help reduce the risk of catching the flu, but having a clean house is also important. Pay attention to the areas where your family spends the most time, like the bathrooms (don’t forget the toilet handles!) and kitchen. Sanitize things that are often overlooked, such as remote control, faucets, and toys. When in doubt, give it a quick wipe down with an antibacterial cleaner.
No Hands to the Face
Hands touch so many things throughout the day, and even if you’re washing them regularly, there’s still a chance germs are lingering around. In fact, the CDC states that one of the most common ways germs are spread is by touching a contaminated surface, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts have mucus that can easily transport germs into the body and make us sick.
Take Care of That Toothbrush
The truth is, toothbrushes can play host to all sorts of gross germs that can make you sick. But with proper care, those germs don’t stand a chance. Make sure the bristles are getting a thorough rinsing with warm water after every use to help flush bacteria down the drain (where they belong!). When it comes to storage, keep all toothbrushes in an upright position with the bristles at the top and allow them to air dry. Avoid using those little plastic toothbrush covers — they create the ultimate home for bacteria because it’s wet, cold, and dark. Keep family members’ toothbrushes separated from each other to avoid cross-contamination, and of course, never share toothbrushes.
Drink More Water
Water is the best thing for everyone to drink, but even more so during flu season. The truth is, a well-hydrated body is better equipped to fight off any infection. Try your best to have each member of your family drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. During flu season, if you can get them to drink a little bit more, it can only help.
Follow these tips this flu season to help keep your entire family healthy all winter long. However, sometimes pesky germs find their way inside and make us sick. If that happens, your Lawrenceville dentist encourages you to use sugar-free medicines to help alleviate symptoms.
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 Lawrenceville, 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.
This year, there’s even more to celebrate as the ADHA is partnering with Walgreens and LISTERINE® to promote further the benefits of good oral health and the incredible, life-changing work done by dental hygienists across the nation. There’s even a new, #DoTheSwish campaign happening at participating stores where you can snap a selfie with specially-marked LISTERINE® mouthwash displays for a chance to win some sweet prizes!
How Can I Observe National Dental Hygiene Month?
The best way to show your dental hygienist some love is to come into our Lawrenceville 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 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. Your Lawrenceville dentist (and dental hygienist) will tell you that it’s OK to floss every day. 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!
Your dentist in Lawrenceville knows how incredibly unnerving a trip to have your teeth checked or cleaned can be for some patients. If this sounds like you, it’s essential to know that you’re not alone. Besides the fact that millions of Americans struggle with anxiety about seeing the dentist, you’ve got an extended family at our office who cares about your comfort and happiness.
We thought it might be a good idea to devote a blog to different ways you or someone you care about can alleviate your dental anxiety and relax in the chair. There are a few things we tell our patients that are sure to work for you too.
#1 – Talk it Out
No matter what age you are or where you’re at in life, one of the most significant, most effective ways to overcome dental anxiety is to talk to us. Communication with your Lawrenceville dentist will help to lower your stress levels associated with dental visits and make you feel less anxious about scheduling an appointment with us. Your dentist treats 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 dare we say, enjoyable).
#2 – Relax and Breathe
It may seem a little silly having your dentist remind you to breathe, but so many people tense up when they’re at the dentist. Sometimes when we do this or we’re feeling anxious, we hold our breath and don’t breathe properly. This decreases oxygen levels and can further increase your feeling of anxiety or panic.
Whether you’re on your way to the office for an appointment or if you’re getting ready to sit down for treatment, you can always practice deep, meditative breathing. It’s easy! Just try focusing on your breath. Keep taking steady, slow inhalations and exhalations. When you develop a more rhythmic breathing pattern, you’re able to focus on that more than your feelings of dread from having to see the dentist. Focusing on our breathing helps dramatically reduce stress levels.
#3 – See Your Dentist in Lawrenceville Regularly
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.
Also, remember this if you’re in the chair having work done: it’s OK to have a signal to stop and take a break if you’re uncomfortable. This puts you in control of the procedure and alerts your dentist if you need a time out for a minute or two.
We hope these tips can help provide you some relief from your dental worries and anxiety. Like we mentioned earlier, please don’t hesitate to call our Lawrenceville dental office and explain your feelings to us. There’s a solution for every patient, for every smile! We’re happy to help you find what makes you comfortable.
It’s always good to get out and get some exercise. When you’re participating in any sport, your dentist in Lawrenceville will always remind you to protect your smile. All too often, we talk about avoiding sweets or sports drinks, food, and beverages that can damage your enamel and break down teeth. We forget about what’s happening on the field, the court, or the ice that may be putting your teeth in far greater danger than a piece of candy.
We’re going to break down the top 4 most dangerous sports for smiles. (We’re willing to bet you can’t guess what number one is… it fools a lot of folks!)
#1 – Sports That Rely on Sticks, Bats, Etc.
There’s a reason this is number one on our list. Sports involving the combination of a ball and a stick or bat are a big danger to your smile. Think about what it’s like for your teeth to be on the receiving end of a stick or a bat. Not too fun right? Some popular pastimes that fall into this category include:
– Field Hockey
– And More
One of the most damaging things about these sports is that athletes (we’re talking to you, hockey players) tend not to wear mouthguards. We don’t know if it’s wanting to appear tougher, etc. but it can have a significant impact on your smile and your wallet if your teeth get knocked out by a fastball or slapshot.
(And don’t think football should be left off this list. Football players wear mouthguards for a reason, whether it’s contact or even a football to the face, there’s damage to be done on the gridiron.)
#2 – X-treme Sports
This one goes out to all of our thrill-seekers and fans of alternative-type sports. There’s certainly nothing wrong with:
– Shredding some pipe on your skateboard
– Enjoying corduroy conditions on your snowboard
– Doing some freestyle tricks on your BMX bike
You may think these sports are reserved for the pros you see killing it at the X-Games, but in all reality, they’re still pretty popular recreational activities. Sometimes you take a tumble or suffer a fall that impacts your smile. This can spell big trouble for teeth, both big and small. Your Lawrenceville dentist reminds dads, moms, and kids to protect your teeth with a custom sportsguard!
#3 – Boxing, MMA, Martial Arts
Sports such as martial arts, mixed martial arts, boxing, and others shouldn’t be overlooked when taking teeth. On the professional level, most of these types of sports require a participant to wear some form of mouthguard or sportsguard. But that still doesn’t mean that accidents can’t happen when you take a kick or a punch straight to the face.
#4 – Basketball
Even though it’s number four on our list, basketball actually ranks at the top for being dangerous for your smile. This is simply because many players, whether on the court at the local gym or suiting up for the NBA, don’t wear a mouthguard or sportsguard. Despite how it might appear sometimes, basketball can get pretty physical, and it’s easy for an elbow to go flying and smack you right in the mouth. Players are often exerting a lot of force to gain position or control of the ball to get that game-changing shot. Believe it or not, basketball can be bad for your smile!
We hope you always give it your all, no matter what you do. Remember that it only takes a few seconds to do damage to your teeth, whether they’re broken or completely knocked out when you’re playing the sport you love. Your smile is yours for the rest of your life, so you want to make sure you’re taking all of the necessary steps to protect it both on and off the field, court, or ice.
Don’t forget to take your mouth or sportsguard with you when you’re suiting up. We want you and your smile to be part of the action for years to come. Stay safe and always remember to have fun.
If, for whatever reason, you ever find yourself in a dental emergency, please don’t hesitate to call our Lawrenceville dental office right away. There’s always someone ready to listen and help you get out of pain, fast. Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment for you and your smile.
Fluoride is one of the best ways to keep teeth strong, healthy, and protected against decay. But what is fluoride? Who needs it? How much do they need? We know you have questions, but don’t worry… the team at our dental office in Lawrenceville is here to answer them.
What Is Fluoride?
Tooth decay is a serious problem among both children and adults, and one of the best ways to prevent it is by using fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral found in nature. However, it’s also often added to water which provides an easy way to make sure we’re all getting enough of it. Fluoride helps harden the enamel so our teeth are super strong and protected against bacteria and acid. Fluoride can even help strengthen teeth before they erupt, making it pretty important for kids.
Where Do We Get Fluoride?
Fluoride comes in two forms — systemic and topical. Systemic is any form that’s ingested into the body, including fluoride found in water and fluoride tablets. Topical refers to the stuff your dentist in Lawrenceville applies to your teeth during dental visits. Chances are if your drinking water is fluoridated, and you’re using a toothpaste with fluoride, you’re probably getting enough systemic fluoride. However, if you’re prone to cavities or decay, or have sensitive teeth, your dentist may recommend using topical fluoride to keep sensitivity at bay and further protect your enamel.
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Fluoride?
When it comes to fluoride, there is such a thing as too much. Dental fluorosis is one of the main concerns that can result from the overuse of fluoride. Mostly affecting children under 8, dental fluorosis is caused by too much fluoride over a prolonged period of time before adult teeth have erupted. Sometimes you may notice pitting and staining, other times fluorosis can cause almost invisible white spots. You can reduce the risk of dental fluorosis by monitoring how much fluoride is in your water and choosing a different source for kids under 8 if yours has more than 2 mg/L. It’s also important to note that, while highly unlikely, too much fluoride can be hazardous. Even though it’s extremely difficult to expose yourself to dangerous levels of fluoride, you should still follow a few rules of thumb such as:
- Keeping fluoride supplements out of the reach of children
- Avoiding flavored toothpaste to discourage swallowing
- Following your dentist’s recommendations for the right amount of fluoride for you
If you have more questions regarding fluoride, we welcome you to call our Lawrenceville dental office to schedule a visit. We’re always accepting new patients and are here to help our neighbors get and keep healthy smiles.
When you walk down the oral health care aisle at your local supermarket, it can quickly become overwhelming. There are just so many different types of toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste, bottles of mouthwashes, and packets of floss to pick from. How in the world are you supposed to pick the best products for you? Don’t worry, today the team at our Lawrenceville dental office is here to help narrow your options for one of the most important tools in your oral hygiene toolbox — floss.
Flossing can sometimes be overlooked as a crucial part of your oral health, but the truth is, flossing every day is incredibly effective at lowering your risk for cavities and gum disease. This means that you need to choose a type of floss that you will use regularly and properly. Let’s take a closer look at the three most common types of floss recommended by your dentist in Lawrenceville.
The most common type of floss is the traditional string floss found in those little, compact containers. This time-tested original can work really well for many people as it’s what they first learned to floss with, so it’s comfortable to use. However, those who may have trouble using their hands or fingers may not be able to reach around each tooth or back into the molars. This is when an alternative option should be considered.
Floss picks are those little plastic tools that have a small piece of floss threaded between two posts. They’re pretty inexpensive and can be just as effective as traditional floss if used properly. However, while some people may find floss picks easier to use, others find just the opposite. So essentially, there’s no real right or wrong answer when it comes to which is better. The best way to decide is to try both options and see which is easier for you to use. Keep in mind, floss picks only use a small section of floss so you may need to use a few flossers each and every time you floss.
A newer and more high-tech flossing option that’s making its way into bathrooms across the country is electric water flossers. These tools are highly effective at removing plaque and bacteria, and many studies suggest that they may be the most effective of any flossing device. But they don’t come without a few potential cons. Water flossers need to either be plugged in or charged, so they aren’t incredibly convenient. They’re also larger in size so storage and traveling may pose a few complications. Lastly, they can be pricey, although they do last a long time and reduce waste.
What matters most to your dentist in Lawrenceville isn’t necessarily which type of floss you use, but rather that you floss regularly and properly. If you’re finding that flossing is challenging and you’re looking for a better solution, we welcome you to call our dental office in Lawrenceville. We’re always happy to help find the best tools for each one of our patients.
Swimming is a popular summertime activity, and it’s good for you too! It’s a great form of cardiovascular exercise, it’s easy on the joints, and it’s a sweet way to cool off on those hot days. But the team at our Lawrenceville dental office knows that there could be some harm lurking in your pool water that you probably don’t know about.
Swimming Pools & Your Teeth
Many pools use chlorine to keep pool water free of dangerous bacteria that could be harmful to humans. But this chlorine may also put another part of your body at risk for damage — your teeth.
Research dating back to the 1980’s studied the negative effects of chlorine on your oral health, particularly your tooth enamel. Part of what chlorine does is help level out the pH balance of pool water, so it’s safe for families. For most situations, pool water should have a pH between 7.2 and 7.8. But when this drops below this ideal range, the water actually becomes acidic. If this happens and you spend a lot of time in the pool, or a lot of water gets into your mouth, the acid can wear away tooth enamel and even cause tooth discoloration.
Why Is Tooth Enamel Important?
Tooth enamel is the super-strong protective layer of our teeth. It helps keep dangerous plaque and bacteria from eating away at the teeth and causing cavities. If tooth enamel erodes, whether it’s from an improperly chlorinated pool, drinking too many acidic drinks like lemonade, or brushing too hard, teeth are at increased risk for decay, wearing down, and sensitivity.
Who Is At Risk?
While anyone’s teeth can suffer from enamel erosion, the cases in which the erosion is caused by chlorine is often found in competitive swimmers or those who spend a lot of time in pools. The truth is if you only swim occasionally, you’re probably not at risk.
Signs of a Problem
Two of the first signs that a pool’s pH is too low are irritated skin or burning eyes while swimming. Over time, you may start to notice brown spots on your teeth (known as swimmer’s calculus) or experience increased tooth sensitivity. If you notice any of these changes, visit your dentist in Lawrenceville as soon as you can.
Protecting Your Tooth Enamel
Besides proper brushing and flossing, there are steps you can take to help protect your enamel against erosion — and no, you don’t need to give up swimming. Just make sure you test the water for proper pH levels regularly and try to keep pool water out of your mouth as much as possible. Of course, it’s also important to see your Lawrenceville dentist at least every six months for regular checkups and professional cleanings.