Posted by & filed under Gum Disease, oral health, TMJ Treatment.

woman with stressEven though the craziness of the holidays is behind us, it doesn’t necessarily mean our stress levels have decreased. Everyday life can certainly cause anxiety and contribute to more stress. As many people know, stress can impact our health and overall well-being, but did you know stress can also contribute to oral health problems? Today, the team at our Asheboro dental office will cover some ways your oral health may be affected by stress.

Increased Jaw Pain

When we’re overly stressed, our bodies respond in different ways. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of how our bodies are reacting. One common side effect of high stress that can go unnoticed is tooth clenching and grinding. When we continuously grind or clench, we place unnatural, increased force on our teeth and our jaw joints. Not only can this cause teeth to break or chip, but it can also increase jaw pain. If left untreated and clenching and grinding continues, you could develop TMD (also known as TMJ).

Gum Disease

Gum disease is often caused by poor dental hygiene, but there are other factors that can put you more at risk for developing it. Stress just so happens to be one of those things. Studies show a positive link between prolonged exposure to high levels of stress and a greater risk for gum disease. If not treated promptly by your dentist in Asheboro, gum disease can contribute to concerns throughout the body such as heart disease and tooth loss.

Canker Sores

These annoying and often painful sores can seem to pop up out of nowhere, and the truth is nobody truly knows what causes them. However, research has concluded that canker sores seem to have some sort of correlation with both certain foods and also high stress. Unlike cold sores, canker sores aren’t contagious, just annoying, and should go away on their own.

Relax & Protect

The best way to protect your oral health against the damaging effects of stress is to find ways to relax and lower stress levels. Some healthy relaxation methods include:

  • Eating. Giving your body the nutrients it needs to function properly can help fight off stress. Balance your diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Sleeping. Many Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly, and when we’re tired our bodies aren’t able to adapt and overcome stressful situations as easily. Try to get the recommended 7-9 hours of shut-eye every night.
  • Moving. Exercising helps our bodies release more endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone, all of which help make us feel happy and good and lower stress. Go for a walk, hop on a treadmill, or take a yoga class.

As you embark on a new year, make a commitment to yourself to keep stress low. Your body and your mouth will thank you.

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

frustrated womanThere are plenty of places to get oral health advice — our dental office in Asheboro, friends or family members, and perhaps even the internet. But not all dental advice is created equal. In fact, there are several tips that we’ve heard that are just not true, some of which can actually be harmful to your oral health. This month we take a look at some of the common dental myths that you shouldn’t believe, let alone try.

Chewing Gum or Using Mouthwash is Just as Good as Brushing

Even though chewing a piece of gum or taking a quick swish of mouthwash can quickly freshen breath, they’re not solid replacements for proper brushing and flossing. If you can’t brush right away, let’s say after eating at a restaurant, go ahead and chew some gum (make sure it’s sugar-free!) or rinse with mouthwash. But don’t go too long without brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste or flossing. You should brush twice and floss once daily.

Putting Aspirin on a Toothache Can Relieve Pain

This myth is especially concerning for your dentist in Asheboro. It started as an old wives tale that promised easy and quick toothache relief. But the truth is, chewing or placing an aspirin tablet on your gums can cause damage. Since aspirin is acidic it can easily burn the gums and make the pain worse. Instead, rinse your mouth with warm salt water, gently floss, or use over-the-counter pain medicine as directed. If the pain doesn’t go away, schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Root Canals Hurt

Root canals have a reputation of being incredibly painful, and that’s just not true. A root canal is needed when decay has progressed so much that it begins to infect the inside of the tooth. This is where all of the tooth’s roots live, which makes decay this severe very painful. Root canal treatment actually removes the infection and the pain. The procedure itself is done when the mouth is numb, so it’s completely painless.

Brushing Harder Removes More Plaque

Logically, it makes sense that brushing harder will mean a cleaner mouth. But in fact, brushing too hard can cause damage. A rough scrubbing with your toothbrush can damage tooth enamel, leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and at risk for decay. It can also damage gums, cause them to recede, and increase sensitivity.

Seeing a Dentist Isn’t Necessary Unless You Have a Problem

Even though it’s recommended that everyone visit the dentist twice a year, only about 64% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 have seen their dentist in the past year. A common belief is that you don’t need to go to the dentist if you don’t have a problem. However, regular checkups and cleanings are the best way to prevent a problem from ever occurring.

In order to maintain good oral health, it’s crucial to practice good habits such as brushing and flossing every day and seeing the dentist bi-annually. If it’s time for your dental checkup, schedule an appointment with our Asheboro dental office today.

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

canker soreWhile inconvenient and sometimes a little painful, canker sores are more annoying than they are concerning. But when canker sores pop up you may wonder what these ulcer-type spots actually are, what caused them in the first place, and how to treat them quickly and effectively. At our Asheboro dental office, we’re here to answer some of the most common questions about canker sores and provide you with some tips on how you can get some relief.  

What Are Canker Sores?

Canker sores are small sores that occur inside the mouth. They typically resemble a blister and are red, bumpy circles. Sometimes a canker sore can appear white or almost gray in color, too.  Although canker sores can sometimes be confused with cold sores, the main differences are that cold sores usually affect the outside of the lips or mouth and are contagious while canker sores are not.

Signs of a Canker Sore

  • Raised sores on the tongue, cheeks, or roof of your mouth
  • Some people experience a tingling or burning sensation before the canker sore even appears
  • Occasionally severe canker sores can be paired with a fever

What Causes Canker Sores?

The actual cause of canker sores is unknown, but there are few thoughts as to what may contribute to developing a canker sore. Some of those ideas include:

  • High stress
  • An injury such as biting your cheek
  • Spicy or acidic foods

If you can correlate a canker sore to something you ate, try to avoid that food or eat it in moderation.

How Do You Treat Canker Sores?

There is no cure for canker sores, only treatments to help alleviate discomfort while they run their course. Canker sores usually resolve on their own in a week or two. In the meantime, the most common treatment is using an over-the-counter numbing agent. Some dentists may also use a laser to help reduce the healing time.

Canker sores happen to all of us, but they’re typically nothing to worry about. However, if you notice sores that multiply or don’t see relief in more than three weeks, call your Asheboro dentist to schedule an appointment.

Of course, our dental office in Asheboro is always here to help with any other issues you might be having. We happily welcome new patients and would love to see you. Call to schedule an appointment today.

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

man wonderingGastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as its more common and easier to pronounce acronym GERD, is an uncomfortable problem associated with digestion. But while the issue originates in the gut it can have a negative on oral health. If you suffer from GERD, our Asheboro dental office has some insight for you.

What Is GER/GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is the medical term used to explain what happens when stuff inside the stomach comes up into the esophagus. The result is often the feeling of heartburn or indigestion. If symptoms of GER happen more than two times a week for several weeks, it could be a sign of GERD. GERD is a more serious, long-lasting problem that can lead to more health concerns. It’s important to note that if someone has GER, it doesn’t always mean they have GERD.

Dental Concerns Linked to GERD

Since GER/GERD increases the mouth’s exposure to acid, it also increases the risk for dental problems and tooth damage. In fact, acid is one of the worst things for our pearly whites. It can easily wear down protective tooth enamel, increase the risk of decay, and quite literally eat away at teeth. People with GER/GERD are more likely to have bad breath, decay, and cavities than those without the condition. Additionally, dealing with the effects of GER/GERD may also increase sensitivity, which can be painful and make sufferers not want to brush their teeth. However, it’s crucial to still brush and floss regularly. Using a soft toothbrush and a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth can help reduce any discomfort.

Signs of GERD

Signs of GER or GERD vary from person to person and can even be different based on age. Besides feeling the discomfort of heartburn, there are several other common symptoms including:

  • Acidic taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Holes in teeth

How to Reduce the Risk of Dental Problems

Your dentist in Asheboro, as well as your family doctor, may recommend certain changes in diet and habits to help reduce GERD symptoms and dental problems associated with it. Some recommendations include

  • Avoid acidic foods and drinks
  • Stay away from sour treats
  • Limit spicy foods
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Chew thoroughly

While it’s important for everyone to visit the dentist regularly, it’s incredibly crucial for those with GERD. Dental visits at least every six months can help protect smiles from the acid produced from GERD or catch any problems early when they’re easily treatable. If you’re in need of a dentist, we welcome you to call our dental office in Asheboro to schedule an appointment with us today.

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

diabetic testerWhen it comes to all of the health complications that can go hand-in-hand with diabetes, oral health is often overlooked. At our Asheboro dental office, we want our patients and neighbors to know just how drastically diabetes can affect oral health, and precautions that those with diabetes should take to keep their mouths healthy.

The Diabetic and Oral Health Connection

All diabetics know that diabetes directly affects blood sugar, also known as glucose. Glucose is important for our bodies as it fuels our brains and provides muscles with energy. But when someone has diabetes, their body is unable to properly regulate insulin, causing glucose levels to rise. If left untreated or if blood glucose levels aren’t managed properly, diabetes can raise the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and other whole body health problems. Diabetes can also increase the likelihood of developing gum disease, infections, and dry mouth.  To help reduce the risk of these additional health problems, follow the tips below.

Keep Blood Sugar Numbers Stable

Even though diabetics are at more risk for serious health problems, proper management of glucose levels can minimize that risk. Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and they all need to work hard to keep their blood sugar numbers within a healthy range. In fact, it’s one of the best ways that diabetics can lower their chances of developing other health complications as a result of diabetes.

Eat Well

Everyone, whether diabetic or not, should do everything they can to eat a well-balanced diet. Fueling your body with fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and proteins can do wonders in protecting overall health and keeping glucose levels in check. Limiting sugary foods and drinks is great for managing your diabetes and is something your dentist in Asheboro recommends.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day not only helps protect teeth, but can also help protect against increased blood sugar. Without a good hygiene routine, oral health is put at risk for decay, tooth loss, and gum disease. This is concerning for anyone but particularly for diabetics. Gum disease is an infection that affects the gums, and like any type of infection, it can cause blood sugar to rise and make diabetes difficult to manage.

At our dental office in Asheboro, we’re here to help our community get healthy and stay healthy, even when patients have health concerns that may not appear at first to have any effect on oral health. The truth is that many diseases, including diabetes, have a connection to the mouth. If you have diabetes and notice anything unusual about your oral health, do not hesitate to give us a call. We’re always happy to help or answer any questions you may have.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Prevention.

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

A Note on Sugary Sweets

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

It’s Not Only About Sugar

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

Crackers & Chips

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

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

Keeping Your Teeth Safe

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

Happy Halloween from our Asheboro dental office!

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

woman chewing gumGum may be your go-to fix to temporarily get rid of bad breath. Or maybe you just like to chew gum and there’s always a pack nearby. But is this sweet treat good for your teeth and overall oral health? Our dental office in Asheboro has the answer.

Gum Can Be Good, But Not All Gum is Good Gum

The truth is, chewing gum after a meal when you can’t brush or floss can help remove plaque or food particles that stick around after lunch. It can even help stimulate saliva to neutralize acids and wash away bacteria. But some gum may do more harm than good.

If your chewing gum of choice contains sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or saccharine, chances are that it’s contributing more to the problem of bacteria and acid than helping it. But gum containing Xylitol is a different story.

Why is Xylitol Beneficial?

Xylitol looks like sugar, tastes like sugar, but doesn’t act like sugar once it’s in the body. It doesn’t increase blood sugar levels and doesn’t affect oral health the same way traditional sugar does. Regular sugar and many of the sugar substitutes will feed bacteria in the mouth with a delicious meal, making these bacteria happy and more than willing to stick around. After bacteria feed on sugars they give off an acid byproduct. This acid puts tooth enamel at risk of erosion and increases the chance of decay. But Xylitol functions differently.

Even though bacteria will still feed on Xylitol in the mouth, they aren’t getting any nutrients from it. This starves bacteria and it can die off. This also means that bacteria aren’t excreting the damaging acids that contribute to decay. That’s not all.

Xylitol gum can:

  • Prevent tooth decay
  • Starve bacteria
  • Prevent oral inflammation
  • Reduce your risk for gum disease

Is Xylitol Safe?

Xylitol isn’t only found in gum but actually occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables. It is safe for humans but occasionally, some people have experienced negative, yet not serious, side effects when they ingest too much. Some of these common side effects include gas, bloating, diarrhea, or other discomfort.

The next time you’re looking for a piece of gum to cover up the lingering smells of lunch, choose a brand that includes Xylitol. It can not only freshen your breath, but protect your oral health in the process. However, nothing is as good for oral health as brushing and flossing regularly and maintaining biannual visits to your dentist in Asheboro.

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

woman with toothacheThere’s no telling when a toothache may strike. You could be on vacation far away from your dentist in Asheboro. Or perhaps you woke up on Sunday morning with a tooth throbbing in pain when no dental office is open. What can you do if these situations occur? We’re happy to help by providing you some easy things to try right in your own home.

Best Ways to Relieve Tooth Pain

Before we dive into the ways you can treat a toothache from home, we need to make sure all of our neighbors and patients know that these are short-term solutions. It’s still crucial to get to our dental office in Asheboro as soon as possible so we can treat the pain at the source.

  • Oral Anesthetic. Keeping some over-the-counter oral anesthetic in your medicine cabinet is a great way to be ready for any toothache that comes your way. These gels or liquids contain benzocaine and will temporarily numb your pain. Just apply it to the painful area and follow the usage instructions.
  • Oil of Cloves. Acting very much like an over-the-counter anesthetic, oil of cloves is a natural way to ease tooth pain. Just apply some to the painful tooth or hold a soaked cotton ball to the area.
  • Salt Water. Swishing warm salt water in your mouth, focusing on the painful area, can help reduce pressure on the nerves and allow you some relief. You can do this a few times a day, just don’t swallow the solution.
  • Ice. Some good old fashioned ice may be just want you need to get relief from your tooth pain. Wrap a cold compress in a cloth and apply it to your face. You can keep it there for about 15 minutes at a time, but make sure to take breaks.
  • Anti-inflammatories. If your health allows, taking an anti-inflammatory medication can reduce swelling and ease discomfort. Take as directed… and don’t apply the pill directly to the tooth or gums. This will burn and may cause even more pain.

Keep Toothaches Away

There are ways you can help protect yourself from the discomfort of toothache pain by preventing one in the first place. Start by seeing your dentist twice a year to significantly lower your risk of an unpredictable toothache. Your bi-annual dental cleaning and exam help catch any problems before they have a chance to develop into a bigger, painful problem. Also, make sure you’re brushing twice a day and flossing once a day to remove any food debris, bacteria, or plaque that can contribute to the development of cavities.

Many things can cause toothaches, but most commonly they’re a result of a cavity or perhaps an infection. But no matter what is causing the toothache, it’s important to have it checked sooner rather than later so you can get permanent relief. We welcome anyone with any dental need to schedule an appointment at our Asheboro dental office. We’re here to help get, and keep, our patients and neighbors healthy and pain free.

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

worrying womanGum disease is often one term used to describe what are actually three different things. While each level of infection is recognized by a medical term all its own, they are all in fact an infection of the gums. At our dental office in Asheboro, we want to help our neighbors identify each level of gum disease, educate them on the risk factors, and talk about the complications that may result if gum disease is left untreated.

Different Stages of Gum Disease

Gingivitis

Let’s start with the mildest form of gum disease — gingivitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is classified by gum inflammation, redness, or maybe some bleeding while brushing and flossing. It’s caused when too much plaque builds up under the gum line. When caught before it has a chance to progress gingivitis can be treated and reversed.

Periodontitis

The next stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis. When gingivitis isn’t treated, the plaque buildup can start to affect the bone and tissues that are responsible for keeping the teeth sturdy and in place. If this occurs, it usually can’t be undone and recommended treatment is more about limiting any more damage.

Advanced Periodontitis

The most severe form of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. During this stage, bones and tissues are seriously weakened which can cause teeth to shift, become loose, or fall out. While treatment may help stop any damage from progressing, the damage that has already occurred is irreversible.

Gum Disease Risk Factors

There are several factors that may put someone at greater risk for developing gum disease. Some of these risk factors are controllable while others are not. For example, genetics are thought to play a role in the development of gum disease, and we can’t do much about the way we’re built. However, we can reduce our risk by not smoking, brushing and flossing regularly, and eating a well-balanced diet.

Signs of Gum Disease

You may have heard gum disease described as a silent disease, but what does that mean? In the earliest stages of gum disease (gingivitis), a person may have little to no symptoms and never suspect a problem. But knowing what to keep an eye out for can help you identify gum disease early and while it’s still treatable.

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Receding gums
  • Swollen, red gums

Gum Disease & Overall Health

If not treated early gum disease can lead to tooth loss and some other serious whole-body concerns. Numerous studies have shown that gum disease has been linked to serious medical conditions and diseases including:

  • Lung disease
  • Cancers
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

The best way to protect your smile from gum disease is to brushing and floss everyday and make sure to visit your dentist in Asheboro at least twice a year.

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental check, give our Asheboro dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.

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

Labor DayThe team at our dental office in Asheboro is pretty sure that the last thing on your mind when you’re enjoying food at a Labor Day picnic is your oral health. However, we can’t help ourselves when it comes to protecting our patients’ smiles. So in preparation for this year’s Labor Day celebration we’d like to provide a list of some of the best summer treats for your smile as well as some of the worst.

What’s Good?

A good way to determine if a certain food is good for your oral health is to think about whether it’s good for your body. Chances are what’s healthy for one is healthy for the other. Try to select foods that contain calcium and phosphorus as these two minerals help build strong teeth and protect enamel. Some foods high in calcium and phosphorus that you may find at your local Labor Day picnic include:

  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Leafy Vegetables

Additionally, pack your plate with fresh veggies such as raw carrots, apples, celery to help remove plaque buildup and stimulate saliva flow.

What’s Not So Good?

Some of the typical picnic foods that fall under the not-so-good category may be obvious, and others may a bit surprising. Let’s take a look at some of the worst foods for oral health.

  • Condiments – Condiments including ketchup and barbeque sauce are loaded with acid and sugar, both of which can damage tooth enamel and cause decay.
  • Soda This is one treat that your dentist in Asheboro will always put on the bad list. Soda is packed with sugar and greatly increases the risk for cavities.
  • Alcohol Besides causing dry mouth, alcohol can seriously affect oral health if consumed in excess. In fact, drinking too much alcohol greatly increases the risk of developing gum disease.

Besides brushing and flossing regularly, following a well-balanced diet can really help keep teeth and gums healthy. That’s not to say you can’t or shouldn’t indulge every once and awhile, especially at a celebration like Labor Day. However, we recommend drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, help neutralize acids, and rinse away sugars.

Our Asheboro dental office team hopes you and your loved ones have a fun, safe, and delicious Labor Day!