Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles, oral health, Prevention.

woman drinks 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 Asheboro 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 Asheboro 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 Asheboro 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. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Cancer Prevention, oral health, Prevention.

relaxed manYou’ll always hear your dentist in Asheboro talk about how important it is for everyone to come in for preventive dental checkups every six months. But there’s a special section of our population that tends to avoid these bi-annual visits and instead prefers to wait until they have a problem. We’re talking about the men in our lives. Unfortunately, the truth is that, on average, men don’t see the dentist regularly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, barely 60% of American men between the ages of 18 and 64 went to the dentist in the past year. That’s concerning. So to help celebrate Men’s Health Month, we’re here to share the main reasons men should see the dentist regularly. 

  • More Complicated, More Advanced Dental Treatment

Since men tend to skip out on visits to their dentist in Asheboro every six months, they’re at increased risk for needing more complicated and more advanced dental treatments. You see, when small problems aren’t caught early when treatment is typically quick and easy, they can become big problems that require more in-depth care. For example, a small area of decay can be caught at preventive dental appointments and treated easily with a filling. But if that area of decay continues to expand and affect more of the tooth’s structure it can start to cause pain. At this point, more advanced dental treatment is probably needed, such as a root canal and a dental crown. Additionally, if the decay progresses even farther, tooth extraction and replacement via a dental implant or dental bridge may be necessary. Long story short — many dental problems can be avoided by seeing the dentist regularly. 

  • Increased Risk of Gum Disease 

We know that regular dental visits can help protect teeth through preventive care and quick intervention of any problems, but these appointments do more than that. Professional dental cleanings, exams, and x-rays help your dentist in Asheboro keep an eye on overall oral health, including the gums. One thing that’s incredibly common and can lead to both oral and overall health problems is gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissues that affects both men and women, but men are more likely to develop the disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, 56% of men have gum disease as compared to only 38% of women.

Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss as well as contribute to a host of other problems throughout the body such as an increased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and prostate health in men. In fact, numerous studies show a possible correlation between gum health and prostate health due to something called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). When gums are inflamed because of periodontal disease or the prostate is unhealthy, PSA levels increase. However, PSA levels are substantially higher in those with both a prostate condition as well as gum disease, suggesting a connection between the two. Gum disease can be treated successfully if diagnosed and treated early. 

  • Men Are More Likely to Get Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is another scary disease that tends to affect men more than women, and one that can also often be treated successfully if caught early. However, if oral cancer is caught in the later stages, it can lead to death. In fact, over 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and nearly 10,000 will die from it. Oral cancer can be found in any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, or the far back area of the throat (oropharyngeal cancer). Oral cancer is twice as common in men than women, and oropharyngeal cancer is four times more likely to develop in men than women. 

Your dentist in Asheboro is here to protect your oral health and, in turn, your overall health. To do this, we recommend that every member of your family — man, woman, or child — has a preventive dental appointment at least every six months. Call to schedule an appointment today.

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles, oral health, Prevention.

tongueYour dentist in Asheboro knows that your oral health can say a lot about your overall health. But the connection doesn’t just involve your teeth and gums. In fact, at every one of your dental appointments, your dental team takes a good, hard look at your tongue, as well as your teeth and gums, and for a good reason. The color and even the texture of your tongue can give your dentist some helpful clues into your overall wellbeing. 

What We’re Looking For
The tongue is a marvelous part of our anatomy and is actually quite interesting and helpful. Our tongues are made up of eight strong muscles that work tirelessly day in and day out to help us break down food as we chew, help us speak, swallow, and even filter out germs. But its usefulness goes beyond that. The tongue’s color and texture can help your dentist in Asheboro identify and catch potential problems before they have a chance to become serious. 

Let’s Take a Look
When was the last time you took a good, hard look at your tongue in the mirror? While this sounds odd, it’s beneficial to keep a close eye on the health of your tongue. In fact, we recommend that you examine your tongue often in between your bi-annual dental appointments. But what exactly should you be looking for? Well, we’re mostly concerned with changes in color or texture, but not every change is cause for concern. Your dentist in Asheboro can help you differentiate between what’s worrisome and what’s no big deal.  

  • White Patches – Small white spots all over the tongue or even a white film are usually no cause for concern, but you should still seek treatment. Typically, white spots on the tongue is a sign of too much candida yeast, known as oral thrush. However, white patches may also be a sign of leukoplakia, but this is most common in tobacco users or those who drink alcohol excessively. Sometimes, leukoplakia can develop into oral cancer, so it’s important to keep an eye on it.
  • Black, Hairy Appearance – We know this sounds really gross and scary, but the truth is, a black, hairy tongue isn’t normally a sign of any illness or disease and typically goes away on its own. A black, hairy tongue is usually a result of tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, diabetes, a yeast infection, poor oral hygiene, or cancer therapies. Also, the hairy appearance isn’t actual hair (thank goodness!) but rather a buildup of dead cells that essentially flatten out the tiny bumps (papillae) that cover our tongue (not that this sounds any better than actual hair!).
  • Redness – All tongues are naturally some shade of red, but it’s usually a light red or pinkish color. When a tongue appears bright red, it can be called strawberry tongue thanks to the bold, bright color. Strawberry tongue may be caused by strep throat or deficiencies in B-12, folic acid, or iron. A red tongue may also indicate erythroplakia which can increase the likelihood of developing oral cancer. Because of this, it’s important to let your dentist in Asheboro know if your tongue starts to appear bright red and doesn’t go away. 
  • Lumps & Bumps – Every tongue is naturally bumpy thanks to the tiny papillae that cover the surface. However, if a new bump or lump appears and doesn’t go away within two weeks or is painful, you should contact your dentist. New, long-lasting bumps can be an early sign of oral cancer. While oral cancer can be treated successfully, success is achieved more often when the disease is found early. If you notice a bump that doesn’t go away, see your dentist as soon as you can. 

If you don’t already spend some time looking at your tongue in the mirror, we encourage you to do so. Being aware of the changes happening in your mouth can go a long way in getting early treatment if necessary and avoiding bigger problems from occurring.

Posted by & filed under Dental Emergency, General Dental Articles, Gum Disease, oral health, Prevention.

As we all know, recently everyone’s life has quickly changed, and we’re all experiencing a temporary new normal. But with change and uncertainty also comes quite a bit of stress. Your dentist in Asheboro understands, and we’re with you. While we’re sure that trying your best to avoid getting stressed out is probably high on your priority list, taking care of your oral health may not be. That’s where we come in. Because, in fact, minimizing stress can also help protect your mouth.

Clenching & Grinding
When we’re dealing with periods of high stress, many people resort to constantly clenching or grinding their teeth. While this is often done subconsciously, it can cause some serious side effects and concerns that we are well aware of. Habitually clenching and grinding over time can cause teeth to wear down and can even result in tooth damage. The constant force placed on teeth during clenching and grinding can weaken the enamel and cause chips, cracks, or fractures to occur. Additionally, stress grinding or clenching puts a lot of pressure on the jaw. This can cause severe jaw pain and even lead to TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can be serious and lead to long-term pain and problems. Try your best to become aware of any jaw pain you have and work to notice when you may be clenching or grinding your teeth. Also, if you’re experiencing any jaw popping, clicking, or locking, we recommend contacting your dentist in Asheboro.*

Gum Disease
Gum disease is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene, smoking, or not keeping up with regular dental appointments or cleanings. But those aren’t the only causes behind this serious oral health disease. Research shows a strong correlation between stress and gum disease. If not treated, gum disease can not only affect oral health and eventually lead to tooth loss, it can also affect overall health. Those with gum disease are at increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease, and certain cancers. Some of the common signs of gum disease include bad breath, bleeding while brushing or flossing, or swollen/tender gums.

Lower Stress to Protect Yourself
Decreasing stress levels can help protect both your overall health as well as your oral health. There are many things you can try to lower your stress, including:

  • Get Enough Sleep. Sleeping can be tough during times of high stress. But getting enough zzz’s can go a long way in lowering your stress levels. Listening to calming sounds at bedtime, avoiding blue light an hour before going to bed, and keeping a regular sleep schedule are all ways that may help you sleep better.
  • Meditate. Mediation uses breathing techniques to lower the heart rate and make us feel more relaxed. There are a ton of free apps out there that can help teach you and guide you through meditation sessions. Set aside dedicated time each day to meditate and focus on deep breathing.
  • Get Active. Hopping on a stationary bike, doing some yoga, or going for a walk will get your heart pumping and release endorphins — which are body-made chemicals that help us feel happier and less stressed.

Keep in mind, stress and stress reduction techniques vary from person to person. Try to find the best de-stressor that works for you.

Your dentist in Asheboro hopes that you find a stress-reduction technique that works for you and that during this time you’re able to find peace and relaxation — for both your overall health and wellbeing and your oral health.

*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.

Posted by & filed under Dental Emergency, General Dental Articles, oral health.

woman with toothacheNobody wants to experience a dental emergency, and that may be more true now than ever before thanks to all of the confusion and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and dental care. Don’t worry, your dentist in Asheboro and the American Dental Association (ADA) are here to help clarify what constitutes a dental emergency and what doesn’t. 

From The ADA: Classifying Dental Emergencies

The ADA classifies dental emergencies as “potentially life-threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, alleviate severe pain or infection.” But what exactly does that mean? Some examples of dental emergencies provided by ADA include: 

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Cellulitis or soft tissue infection with swelling that potentially compromises a patient’s airway 
  • Trauma to facial bones that may obstruct an airway and make breathing difficult 
  • Tooth or jaw pain

Urgent Dental Care

The ADA also describes other dental problems that do not necessarily fit into the emergency definition above but still require immediate attention from your dentist in Asheboro. These problems are classified as urgent dental care needs and may include: 

  • Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation
  • Third-molar pain
  • Tooth fractures with pain or soft tissue trauma
  • Post-surgery complications such as dry socket 
  • Abscess or bacterial infection with swelling
  • Knocked out tooth 
  • Lost, broken, or defective temporary restoration 
  • Cavities or decay that are causing pain

Please note, this list is not a complete list of all possible situations and symptoms. If you believe you have a dental emergency or urgent dental care need, contact your dentist to determine the next steps for your specific needs. 

What’s Not A Dental Emergency?

As of April 1, 2020, the ADA has recommended that all dental offices postpone all routine dental visits until at least April 30th. This means that there are several circumstances in which you should wait to schedule an appointment including: 

  • Routine checkups and cleanings
  • Consultations for procedures such as cosmetic dentistry
  • Follow-up appointment for treatments like tooth whitening
  • Cavities that do not cause pain
  • Extraction of teeth that are not causing pain

During these unprecedented times, please help us and your community stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and only seeing your dentist for emergency or urgent care. We hope you stay safe and healthy, and we can’t wait to see you soon. 

*Note: Recommendations for dentists and patients are changing regularly. Please check your local recommendations for the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and dental care.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

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 Asheboro 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: 

  • Swelling
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Muscle Twitching 

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 Asheboro

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 Asheboro before trying any of the tips below. 

  • Get Moving. One way to help burn off the novocaine and regain feeling is to increase blood flow. And the best way to do that is to get moving. Go for a walk, play a sport, or take a bike ride or easy jog.
  • Apply Heat. Another way to increase blood flow directly to the affected area and, in turn, ease the numbness is to apply heat. A moist, warm compress may do the trick. Just make sure not to apply heat directly to the skin.
  • Massage. Lastly, gently massaging the cheek or area where you feel numb can also increase blood flow and decrease numbness. However, don’t try this if you have pain or swelling. Also, don’t massage the treated area directly and always wash your hands before touching your face, lips, or mouth. 

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! 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

Starting a new diet can be both exciting and difficult, and there are many different types of diets to choose from. One of the most common diets is the Keto Diet, and its followers often find weight loss success. But as with all diets, the Keto Diet does come with potential negative side effects. There’s one in particular that concerns your dentist in Asheboro — bad breath. 

How The Keto Diet Works 

The Keto Diet helps people lose weight by forcing the body to burn fat instead of glucose. Dieters essentially cut their intake of carbohydrates, and the sugars that come along with them, and increase their consumption of high-fat foods. This causes the body to enter ketosis, which is when the body burns fat instead of glucose. The result is often successful weight loss. But there’s another thing that happens as a result of ketosis — the byproduct of three ketones called acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. The acetone is what may cause Keto Dieters to experience bad breath. 

Acetone & Bad Breath

Even though our bodies produce acetone, it can’t be used to store energy –  so our bodies release it through either urination or the lungs. Acetone has an unpleasant odor, so when it’s passed through the lungs, the smell can be transferred to our breath. Bad breath from the Keto Diet doesn’t necessarily happen to everyone, but those it does affect can find resolution by brushing and flossing daily and by seeing their dentist in Asheboro at least twice a year. Additionally, those who are on the Keto Diet long-term may become “keto-adapted,” which means the bad breath will go away. 

Keto Diet Benefits

Besides helping people lose weight, the Keto Diet may also benefit oral health. Carbohydrates contain a lot of sugar, and it’s no surprise that your dentist in Asheboro isn’t a big fan of sugar. But by eating fewer carbs, we’re also cutting back on the amount of sugar our teeth are exposed to, reducing the risk of decay and cavities. You see, when we eat sugary foods (including carbs), the bacteria in our mouths feed on the sugar and release an acidic byproduct. This acid can cause tooth enamel to weaken and puts teeth at greater risk for decay. But when we limit sugary foods as Keto Dieters do, we can protect our teeth from these acids. In fact, some research shows that decreasing foods with a lot of carbs can lower the likelihood of cavities and even gum disease by 50% or more. 

Before You Start, Ask

As with any change to your eating habits, you should talk to your doctor prior to starting the Keto Diet or any diet. What works well for one person may not be appropriate for someone else, so make sure to discuss your plans with your physician. Additionally, we would also recommend talking with your dentist. The truth is, what we eat affects our oral health just as much as it affects our overall health. Your dentist can give you advice as to what you should expect with your oral health on a new diet. So before you start any diet, ask your medical team what would be best for you.

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles, oral health, Prevention.

woman with bad breathWe’ve all experienced the embarrassment of bad breath at some point in our lives. Maybe it was after a hearty dish of garlicky pasta or your morning cup of coffee. Or perhaps it’s something you deal with every day. Either way, we think it’s pretty fair to say that nobody wants to live with bad breath. That’s especially true for your dentist in Asheboro. In fact, for us, chronic bad breath goes beyond embarrassment and may actually be a sign of a serious oral health condition. 

What’s So Bad About Bad Breath?
To some, bad breath may seem like no big deal, and sometimes that’s true. Temporary bad breath that’s caused by something we ate or drank is usually nothing to concern yourself with. However, when bad breath doesn’t go away even after brushing your teeth, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Asheboro. Bad breath is one of the top signs of a serious oral health condition called gum disease. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss, which brings on a whole other set of problems. But it doesn’t only put your oral health at risk. Gum disease has also been linked to heart disease, respiratory problems, and increased risk for stroke among other serious whole-body concerns. 

Causes of Bad Breath
There are numerous things that can cause us to have less than fresh breath outside of the foods and drinks we consume. However, the common, underlying cause of bad breath is attributed to a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. If these bacteria are not removed by properly brushing and flossing daily, they will feed on plaque buildup and produce a stinky byproduct called hydrogen sulfide. This is what we smell when we get a whiff of bad breath. 

How to Avoid Bad Breath
The best way to treat bad breath is to prevent it in the first place. Here are a few things you can do that will help keep your breath kissably fresh.  

  1. Brush and Floss. You’re probably tired of hearing your dentist in Asheboro talk about how important it is to brush and floss regularly. But the truth is this is the best way to not only prevent bad breath, but also protect your overall oral health. Brush your teeth every day for about two minutes, and make sure you gently brush your tongue, too. Floss at least once a day to remove food particles and bacteria that found their way deep in between teeth.
  1. Drink Plenty of Water. Many health experts will recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day to help our bodies function optimally, and we agree. Staying properly hydrated helps neutralize acid and wash away bacteria that could otherwise lead to bad breath. When a mouth is too dry, bacteria can take over and the chance of bad breath increases. 
  1. Maintain Dental Visits. Seeing your dentist at least every six months will do several things for your oral health. First, these visits give your dental hygienist the chance to perform a professional dental cleaning that can remove plaque and tartar that at-home brushing alone just won’t touch. If it’s not removed, plaque and tartar can cause bad breath as well as decay, cavities, and other concerns. Also, bi-annual dental visits make sure that your oral health is being monitored regularly so if any problem does pop up your dentist can treat it quickly, easily, and often prevent other problems. 

Chronic bad breath isn’t something that will go away on its own, and it can lead to more serious and costly dental treatment down the road. If you have bad breath that you can’t quite seem to fix, schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Posted by & filed under Gum Disease, oral health, Prevention.

heart health monthEvery February, we celebrate Heart Health Month to raise awareness of how we can both evaluate our risk for heart disease as well as what we can do to reduce that risk. While it may seem out of character to hear your dentist in Asheboro talk about heart health, the truth is, there is a direct link between poor oral health and an increased risk of heart disease.  

Gum Disease & Heart Disease

The main concern between oral health and heart disease is gum disease. Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissues that, if left untreated, could lead to painful gums and even tooth loss. But that’s not all. Gum disease has also been linked to an increased risk of heart attack. 

When infection infiltrates our gums, it also has a direct pathway to the bloodstream. And when infection enters the blood, your body reacts by producing an overabundance of C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Elevated levels of CRP can cause: 

  • inflamed arteries
  • blood clots
  • heart attacks
  • strokes 

Too much CRP may even be one of the top warning signs of a heart attack. In fact, according to The New England Journal of Medicine, elevated CRP levels can be more accurate at predicting a heart attack than high cholesterol.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Now that we know that gum disease can affect more than just your oral health, let’s take a closer look at what causes it in the first place. Gum disease is usually caused by a buildup of plaque brought on by poor oral hygiene. The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. Quick intervention from your dentist in Asheboro can help the problem from becoming more serious, but if gingivitis isn’t treated it can quickly progress and put overall health at risk. 

Gum disease can come on suddenly, and sometimes without any symptoms. Other times, symptoms are mistaken as normal and treatment isn’t sought. This is one reason why seeing your dentist regularly is so important. Your dental team will be able to diagnose gum disease early if you visit every six months, making treatment more successful. 

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Some of the most common signs of gum disease include: 

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Puffiness or tenderness of the gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Loose-feeling teeth

If you do notice any of those symptoms, contact your Asheboro dentist to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. 

Gum disease can more than double your risk of suffering a fatal heart attack or stroke. Reduce your risk by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and of course, seeing your dentist every six months or as recommended. Other steps you can take to protect yourself include not smoking and eating a well-balanced diet. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health, Prevention.

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 Asheboro 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 Asheboro 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: 

  • 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.