halloween teens

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles.

With Halloween just around the corner, we hope all of our patients and neighbors are ready for a night of ghouls and ghosts, witches and wizards, and tricks or treats. When it comes to those treats, the team at our dental office in Buckhead has a few pointers for what may be best left behind, especially for those who wear braces. Check out our guide to braces-friendly candy below.

Best Choices

  • Chocolate Bars – You can’t go wrong with some pure, delicious chocolate. Whether you choose a candy bar or perhaps a Hershey’s Kiss, chocolate dissolves quickly and is safe for braces. If you’re lucky enough to score a full-size candy bar, we encourage you to cut it up into smaller pieces to reduce the risk of damaging the braces on your front teeth as you bite into it.
  • Peanut Butter Cups – Another scrumptious yet safe option for braces are peanut butter cups. Their smooth consistency makes chewing very easy with really no concern of breaking a bracket or wire.
  • Milky Ways – Although these candy bars contain caramel (more on that in a bit), Milky Ways are still soft enough for braces wearers to enjoy.

Important Note: All of these options are safe as long as they’re not frozen. Frozen chocolate bars and peanut butter cups make the texture too hard to bite and chew safely.

Worst Choices

  • Hard Candy – Candy that falls under this category can be both all right for braces and potentially damaging. Hard candies that allow you to suck on them over time, reducing their size and making them less dangerous for braces, may be ok to enjoy. However, it increases the time your teeth are exposed to the sugar which may put you at greater risk for decay.
  • Gooey Gum – When you first got your braces you were probably told to avoid gum. That rule doesn’t change during Halloween. Chewing gum can bend your wires, and that’s particularly concerning. When a wire is placed by your doctor, it’s put on in such a way that gently moves your teeth into the desired position. However, if the wire bends, your teeth tend to follow the direction of the wire instead of its original path. This can actually prolong treatment.
  • Sticky Sweets – Things like caramels, gummies, taffy, and similar candies are almost sure to cause some trouble. Sticky sweets and their tacky consistency not only tend to bend wires, they’re also bad for your teeth in general. The stickiness allows the sugars to stay attached to teeth longer, again increasing your risk for decay.

Important Note: When in doubt, if it’s sticky, hard, or super chewy, it’s best to choose another option.

In order to keep your braces in tip-top shape and to avoid any broken brackets, bent wires, or other complications, it’s wise to listen to your dentist in Buckhead about which foods are safe for braces. Halloween candy is no exception. Following the guide of braces-friendly candy can protect your braces and help you avoid an emergency dental appointment.  

workspace covered in snacks

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Restorative Dentistry.

Most of us spend a lot of time at work each and every day answering emails, taking phone calls, attending meetings, organizing spreadsheets, and doing countless other responsibilities. In between, or perhaps during some of these activities, we may be engaging in other behaviors that have now become everyday habits. Some of which may be damaging your teeth. Join the team at our dental office in Buckhead as we cover some of the most common workplace habits that are harmful to smiles.

Chewing on Pencils or Pens

Nibbling on the end of a pen or pencil is usually done subconsciously or when deep in thought or nervous, but it’s a habit that can wreck teeth. The tough texture of writing utensils can break or crack teeth which can be painful and will most certainly require restorative dental care. If you find yourself putting your pencil or pen to your mouth regularly, consider replacing it with an alternative like carrots or celery. Keeping a small bag of these healthy veggies handy can help satisfy your need to nibble on something.

All-Day Snacking

As we eat, the bacteria in our mouths break down the food particles left behind and then produce acid as a byproduct. This acid is what eats away at the protective tooth enamel and leads to decay. When we snack throughout the workday, it leaves teeth constantly exposed to this acid, especially if you don’t brush in between snack sessions, and increases the chance of cavities.

Using Teeth as Tools

Need to open a package that’s sealed a little too tight? Or maybe you need to send the package and need help ripping the tape to secure the box shut. Whatever you do, don’t use your teeth as tools. Using teeth to rip, tear, or hold objects can chip your teeth and wear away at enamel, leaving teeth exposed to decay.

Smoke Breaks

We know you probably know this already but it’s worth repeating. Smoking is detrimental to both your overall health and oral health. Smoking as well as using smokeless tobacco greatly increases the risk of oral cancer, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Instead of a smoke break, consider taking a quick walk, chew sugarless gum, and talk with your doctor to learn several techniques that can help you quit.

The team at our Buckhead dental office encourages you to work on becoming aware of these habits and try your best to avoid them. Like any habit, some of these may be difficult to break. If you’re looking for help, or perhaps a new dentist in Buckhead, we always welcome you to give us call.  

woman with tooth pain

Posted by & filed under Oral Health.

There are plenty of reasons why a tooth may hurt. When this happens, the best thing you can do is to call your dentist in Buckhead as soon as possible to determine the reason why and get treatment started quickly. However, there are a few ways you can try to narrow down the cause of your tooth pain at home. Check out some of the most common symptoms and potential explanations to the most common causes of tooth pain.

Symptom: Quick Bursts of Sensitivity to Hot or Cold Foods or Drinks

Possible Cause: There’s a good chance you may have a cavity. Treatment for this incredibly common dental problem is easy as long as you seek treatment quickly. If left untreated, a cavity can progress into an infection, also known as an abscess. If a cavity isn’t to blame, you may have some gum recession brought on by rough brushing or perhaps a loose dental restoration.

Symptom: Pain When Biting Down

Possible Cause: If your tooth pain is more commonly experienced when pressure is applied, you could again have a cavity, or perhaps even a cracked or broken tooth. The best course of action is to see your dentist as soon as you can to see if there’s any damage to the interior of the tooth, or the pulp. If there is, you may need a root canal to reverse the pain. But don’t worry, a root canal isn’t as scary or painful as you may have thought. In fact, the procedure actually makes the pain go away.

Symptom: Aching in the Jaw or Upper Teeth

Possible Cause: This type of jaw or tooth pain is typically a result of chronically clenching or grinding teeth (bruxism). The constant friction between teeth can wear away tooth enamel and leave your teeth feeling sensitive. What’s more common, however, is the jaw pain associated with grinding. Grinding may also contribute to severe headaches or sinus pain. Your Buckhead dentist should be able to identify if grinding is a problem for you and recommend the appropriate treatment. Most of the time, a custom nightguard is the go-to solution.

Whatever the Cause, See Your Dentist

Any tooth pain is usually a sign of a problem, and even if you suspect nothing serious is going on, we recommend seeing your dentist to make sure. After all, it’s better to be cautious than to let tooth pain go and end up with a larger issue.

Looking for a caring dental team to help? Give our dental office in Buckhead a call to schedule an appointment today. We’re always happy to help!

woman wearing probiotics tshirt

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

When we think of probiotics, we typically think of how they can aid in keeping the stomach healthy. But at our dental office in Buckhead, we became aware of how some probiotics can assist oral health, too. Let’s take a closer look at the research that supports the idea that probiotics can help keep mouths healthy.

What Are Probiotics?

Before we dive into learning how probiotics may be beneficial to oral health, we should first identify what probiotics are. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that have historically been noted as being good for gut health. Even though we usually associate bacteria with being bad, there are both good and bad types of bacteria. Probiotics are the good guys.

Not All Probiotics Are the Same

The type of probiotics that are most commonly discussed are ones often found in certain types yogurt and various foods. These probiotics are meant to help the digestive system and can help the body replace beneficial bacteria that the body loses after taking antibiotics. But the probiotics researched in relation to oral health are different.

Oral probiotics, which doesn’t have anything to do with how you ingest them but rather describes the area of the body they help, have been researched to see if they have impact on oral health. Several studies support a positive correlation between specific types of probiotics and reducing the risk of gum disease, plaque, and bad breath.

Bifidobacterium & Lactobacillus

While difficult to say, the benefits of these two probiotic strains are easy to explain. Both Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are naturally found in the human body and, more specifically, in the mouths of mammals. Several studies have identified a possible positive effect of these probiotics. While not absolutely conclusive, there is strong evidence that an increase of both Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus can help the treatment of periodontal disease and halitosis, and may even reduce the risk of cavities.

Since this research is still in the early stages and no concrete claims have been made, we don’t recommend starting yourself on a probiotics before discussing it with your medical team, including your dentist in Buckhead.

If you have questions regarding your oral health, whether those questions include probiotics or not, we welcome you to schedule an appointment at our Buckhead dental office.

man gets dental cleaning

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

There’s no surprise that your bi-annual dental hygiene visit is about getting your teeth a deeper clean than you can get alone at home. The hygienists at our dental office in Buckhead are dedicated to removing plaque, flossing in between each and every tooth, and polishing your pearly whites for the ultimate clean. But your visits are about more than just getting your teeth clean. In fact, they’re about much more…

Checking Out Those X-Rays

Sometimes at your cleaning appointment, you’ll receive digital, low-radiation dental x-rays that are used to see what the human eye cannot. Both your hygienist and dentist in Buckhead will review these x-rays and check for cavities that are just forming and are still too tiny to see without the help of digital images. X-rays can also help your dental team see problems below the gum line like an abscess or bone loss in the jaw that holds your teeth in place.

Taking a Peek at Your Gums

We already know that your hygienist is taking a good, long look at your teeth during your visits, but she’s also paying quite a bit of attention to your gums. Gum health is critical to keeping mouths and bodies in their best shape. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, you may be in the beginning stages of gum disease, which, if left untreated, can lead to other whole-body health issues including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Keeping an Eye on More Than Teeth

While your hygienist is working on cleaning your teeth, she’s not only looking for decay, cavities, or gum disease, she’s also searching for any signs of a larger concern. Since there is a correlation between oral health and several serious systemic diseases, some early warning signs of these health issues often first appear in the mouth. Your hygienist is trained to look for any areas of concern in order to catch any problems early when treatment tends to be more successful.

At-Home Care is Important, Too

One of the best ways you can keep your smile healthy in between appointments is to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine at home by brushing and flossing every day. Brushing should be done twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and flossing should be done once a day to remove food particles and plaque buildup from between teeth.

The team at our Buckhead dental office wants to encourage our patients and neighbors to visit their dentist at least twice a year. And if you’re family is looking for a dentist, we always welcome you to give us a call.

woman exercising

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Prevention.

Like any other member of your medical team, the team at our dental office in Buckhead are all for exercising. There are plenty of benefits behind regularly hitting the pavement for a run, grabbing the free weights for a strength training program, or joining a gym for group classes. Whichever exercise is your go-to workout, it will increase heart rate, get the blood flowing, and will help keep your whole body healthy… including your mouth. However, when it comes to oral health and exercise, there are a few potential problems.

The Good

Before we launch into talking about a few ways exercise can damage your smile, let’s talk about all the good exercising can do. First and foremost, exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your lungs and heart in tip-top shape, and is overall really great for you. When it comes to how exercise can benefit your oral health, we look to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) which is a long-term national health study.

Researchers found that those who exercised at a moderate intensity five days a week, or at a high intensity three days a week, were at lower risk for gum disease. This is good news for both your teeth and your whole body. Gum disease usually leads to other oral health problems such as bad breath, swollen & painful gums, and even tooth loss, and has also been linked to whole-body issues including certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke. So avoiding it is best for your overall health as well as the health of your mouth.

So obviously, exercising is good for everyone for plenty of reasons. But just like how working out too much can lead to injuries, it can also contribute to decay and an increase in cavities.

The Bad

We aren’t trying to keep anyone from exercising as we believe the benefits outweigh the risks. But we do feel it’s necessary to talk about how exercising may have a negative effect on oral health so you can know what to try to avoid during your workouts.

There are two main contributors to oral health issues associated with working out. Let’s look at each one in more detail.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are great at helping your body recover after intense exercise. But they’re not so great for your teeth. A lot of the ingredients in sports drinks are known to cause decay and cavities. When you can, choose water during workouts or alternate sports drinks and water to limit your exposure to sugars and acidity found in most sports beverages.

Mouth Breathing

When you’re doing any sort of physical activity that causes you to breathe a bit heavier, it’s common to start breathing with an open mouth. Open mouth breathing decreases saliva production, which not only makes your mouth feel uncomfortably dry, it also makes it the ideal environment for bacteria that damage teeth to thrive.

Still have questions about how exercise can affect your smile? We welcome you to call our dental office in Buckhead. We’ll be happy to help.

woman and dentist examine x-rays

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Jaw Pain & TMJ.

You may have heard us talk about your “occlusion” during your visits to our dental office in Buckhead. But what exactly are we talking about when we speak about occlusion? Is it something you should worried about? Let’s take a closer look at what occlusion means and examine a few concerns that are related to it.

What is Occlusion?

Occlusion is just a fancy, scientific name dentists use to describe the bite, or how the upper teeth match up against the lower teeth when the mouth is closed or while chewing. You may have heard several ways we tend to classify a “bad bite” including overbite or underbite. All of these types of occlusion can lead to unique problems that should be corrected by a dental professional.

In More Detail: Crossbites, Overbites, and Underbites

There are a variety of bite problems that happen, but in this blog we’re going to examine the three most common.

  • Crossbite
    • Signs: A crossbite is usually suspected when one or more of the upper teeth fall behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
    • If left untreated: Crossbites can lead to premature wear and tear of the teeth, gum disease, bone loss, asymmetrical jaw development, and jaw problems (known as TMJ or TMD).
  • Overbite
    • Signs: When the mouth is closed and the molars are touching, if the front top teeth completely cover the bottom front teeth, there’s a good chance an overbite is to be blamed.
    • If left untreated: An untreated overbite can inhibit teeth from functioning properly, leave the person at increased risk for gum disease and other gum problems, and wear down the front teeth.
  • Underbite
    • Signs: Opposite of an overbite, an underbite is when the lower teeth fall in front of the top teeth when biting.
    • If left untreated: Underbites usually result from either undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. If not corrected, teeth may not be able to function properly and can lead to painful TMJ/TMD issues.

If you suspect any potential issues with your bite, we welcome you to call our Buckhead dental office to schedule an appointment. We would be happy to help you to determine what, if any, treatment would be appropriate to correct the bite for a healthy, pain-free smile that lasts a lifetime.

woman sticking out tongue

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Prevention.

Have you been feeling a little off or just not yourself? When you’re not your best, you might be able to figure out why by simply sticking out your tongue. When you visit my dental office in Buckhead, we’re always on the lookout for any bumps or discolorations, just like your primary care doctor. Here are a few reasons why you should always keep an eye on your tongue and discuss any changes with us!

What to Look For

Bumps, cracks, discolorations, lines, even “hairs” – these are all things you’ll want to keep a keen eye on when you stick out your tongue and take a look. Make it a habit of checking out your tongue every day when you brush your teeth. Take a moment, open up, and say “ahh.” If you notice any unusual symptoms that seem to persist for more than two weeks, it’s a good idea to give your dentist in Buckhead a call.

What Does Your Tongue Look Like?

If your tongue is healthy it will be covered with small papillae or nodules and be a nice healthy shade of pink. If you see something out of the ordinary or have pain, it may indicate a problem. Here are some things to be on the lookout for:

1) A Sore Bumpy Tongue
Oral Cancer – If you ever have a lump or bump on your tongue that persists for more than two weeks, it’s important to have it checked out as it could be an early sign of oral cancer. Oftentimes, oral cancer doesn’t cause pain in its most earliest stages.
Smoking, Canker Sores, Trauma – All of these things can also cause irritation to your tongue. If you’re experiencing pain, call your doctor.

2) Redness
Vitamin Deficiency – You might need more B12 or folic acid if there’s an intense redness to your tongue.
Geographic Tongue – This is usually characterized by redness and patches with white borders around them and generally harmless.
Scarlet Fever – A bright red appearance with bumps could indicate scarlet fever. It’s important to treat this condition with antibiotics.

3) White Coating or White Spots
Leukoplakia – This condition causes cells on the tongue to grow at an extremely rapid pace. We usually see this occur when someone uses tobacco products and can be a warning sign for cancer. However, it is generally not harmful. If you think you’re experiencing leukoplakia, it’s best to give us a call!
Oral Thrush – A harmless yeast infection is to blame for this type of thick, white coating on the tongue. It’s very common in infants, denture wearers, and people with diabetes.

These are just a few of the most common signs your tongue may be giving you about your health. It’s just as important to use common sense and call my Buckhead dental office if you suspect something is not right. When your tongue and teeth are healthy, the rest of you will be too!

rows of bottled water

Posted by & filed under Oral Health.

By now you probably know that the human body is made up of mostly water, and we need to drink plenty of it each day just to keep our organs and other important parts functioning properly. At my dental office in Buckhead, we understand how important it is to stay hydrated at home, at work, and on the go. That’s why it’s super easy and convenient to grab a water bottle or bottled water and keep on chugging along. Bottled water has surged in popularity over the years for a variety of reasons. But did you know that if you and your family drink solely bottled water and no tap water, you may be missing out on fluoride?

Water, Water Everywhere

Water is essential to your body. You cannot live without it. Did you know it’s responsible for maintaining all of these things?

  • Transportation of nutrients and oxygen to your cells
  • Waste removal
  • Cushioning of your joints
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Alleviating xerostomia or dry mouth

Experts recommend that you drink about 8 to 10 cups of water daily! This may change due to weather (hot temperatures) or your body size.

The Facts About Fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has been proven to help prevent the onset of tooth decay. It helps protect your teeth’s enamel from the damaging effects of sugars and acids found in so many of the foods and drinks available to us each day. Most public water systems have some level of fluoridation. This could occur naturally or some communities will add a small amount of fluoride to the water system to ensure residents absorb its benefits. There are some bottled waters that contain fluoride too, but most do not.

How Do You Know You’re Getting Enough Fluoride?

No matter what kind of bottled water you and your family chooses to drink, your Buckhead dentist wants to make sure you’re getting enough fluoride in your diet to help keep teeth strong and healthy. If you’re drinking mostly bottled water be sure to try and choose a brand that contains some amount of fluoride. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require companies to show how much fluoride is added to bottled water, unless it’s been intentionally added. If you want to find out how much fluoride is in your bottled water brand, it’s best to contact the company directly and request that information. The American Dental Association says water should have around 0.7 to 1.2 ppm of fluoride, with one ppm being equal to 1 mg/L.

It’s always a good idea to make sure you take whatever steps you can to keep teeth happy and healthy. This means making sure you’re getting enough fluoride. Don’t forget that most kinds of toothpastes contain fluoride too, which can give your teeth a boost in fighting off bacteria causing decay. Do you have questions about fluoride? My Buckhead dental office can help. We’re ready to listen to your questions and your concerns. Just give us a call!

young woman bites nails studying

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles.

Nail biting is a habit that can affect not only the appearance of your nails, it can also cause damage to your oral health. As with any habit, nail biting can be difficult to break, but at our dental office in Buckhead, we’re hoping that by providing our patients some information about the dangers of nail biting, both in regards to oral health as well as overall health, we’ll be able to help encourage nail biters to quit.

Oral Health Concerns

Nail biters have a higher incidence of chipped or broken teeth, gum damage, and worn down teeth. What’s more is according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), people who bite their nails are at increased risk for bruxism, or tooth grinding. Bruxism brings on its own host of problems like headaches, recessed gums and sensitivity, and even tooth loss. If someone is a nail biter and also wears braces, root absorption can be a real problem. Root absorption is when the tooth roots shorten, making the teeth weaker and more prone to premature tooth loss.

Whole-Body Issues

You don’t need your dentist in Buckhead to tell you that you shouldn’t put your hands in your mouth because they’re usually loaded with germs and bacteria. Your nails are no different. Common bacteria found under nails includes both Salmonella and E. coli which can be very easily transferred into the body through nail biting. Both of these bacteria can lead to serious infectious disease and would require immediate medical attention.

Top 4 Tricks To Quit Biting Your Nails

As we’ve discussed, nail biting is a habit, and habits are hard to break. Whether you bite your nails when you’re bored, or subconsciously when you’re nervous, identifying the triggers that cause you to put your fingers to your mouth is the first step. Once you know, try the following tips to help you quit.

  • Use a nail polish (don’t worry, it’s clear) that’s designed specifically to help nail biters quit. It has a bitter flavor and can help you associate nail biting with an unpleasant taste.
  • When people bite because of stress, it’s helpful to find an alternative stress reliever. Try taking up yoga, exercise, or deep breathing to help you relax without nibbling on your nails.
  • If the kind of bacteria that tend to live in nail beds grosses you out, look at close-up images of these germs. Just prepare yourself in advance as they can be pretty nasty.
  • The longer the nails, the easier it is to bite them. Keep nails trimmed short to give you less to bite.

While you’re working on quitting, stay persistent as it may take a few tries to totally stop. If you happen to have a setback and experience any oral health damage such as a chipped tooth or gum damage, give our Buckhead dental office a call to schedule an appointment with us. We’ll be happy to help.