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

snoring coupleAt our Asheboro dental office, we always go out of our way to make sure your mouth and your body are as healthy as possible – even it goes beyond simply treating or cleaning your teeth. Sometimes patients are concerned about how snoring might be affecting their smile, so we thought we’d dedicate this blog to looking at how snoring can be damaging to both your oral and overall health.

What Should I Know About Snoring?

If snoring is causing problems in your life (both for you and your bed partner), maybe it’s time to consider learning more about sleep apnea. Snoring is not only annoying but it also poses dangers to both your teeth and the rest of your body.

Here are signs and symptoms that your loud snoring could be related to sleep apnea:

  • Sudden awakenings causing you to restart breathing
  • Waking up in a sweat
  • Frequent silences throughout the night when you stop breathing
  • Choking or gasping for air
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Falling asleep at unwanted times

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your Asheboro dentist. The side effects of snoring can cause issues for your oral health and we’ll want to monitor you so we can best protect your teeth.

Are My Teeth Suffering Because of My Snoring?

Snoring or breathing with your mouth open during sleep can cause you to develop something called dry mouth. This can cause problems for your smile that include:

  • The decreased ability to wash away particles left over after meals
  • Having enough saliva to keep teeth free from harmful acids and plaque build-up
  • An increased risk for sores, infections, and halitosis (bad breath)
  • An increased risk for breakdown of your tooth enamel

Does Snoring Mean I Have Sleep Apnea?

The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates nearly 90 million Americans are snoring away every night while thinking they’re enjoying a deep, healthy rest. Sometimes snoring has nothing to do with sleep apnea. This is generally true for about 45 million of the 90 million people who saw logs in their sleep each night. But the others can be suffering from sleep apnea.

Who’s at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that knows no limits when it comes to age, race, or ethnic background  – everyone is at risk. That’s why it’s so important to determine if your snoring issues are sleep apnea related or not. The American Dental Association says your sleep apnea risk is increased if you’re:

  • Overweight
  • Older than 40
  • Predisposed to snoring in your family medical history
  • Struggling with a deviated septum, sinus conditions, or allergies

If snoring has been causing issues with you, your bed partner, or even your family, please don’t hesitate to call our dental office in Asheboro. We can take a look at your teeth to make sure there are no immediate issues with your smile that need to be addressed and discuss what steps you can take to treat your sleep apnea so you can avoid future health problems such as deteriorating teeth, diabetes, depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

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

sensitive toothIf thinking about indulging in a cold bowl of ice cream or sipping on a cup of hot tea makes you wince in pain, you may be suffering from sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity is nothing to take lightly. It can keep you from enjoying some of your favorite foods or drinks, and it can certainly cause some severe pain. Our dental office in Asheboro understands how frustrating and uncomfortable sensitive tooth pain can be, and we’re here to help.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

There are several typical causes of sensitive teeth including:

All of these causes result in the tooth’s roots becoming exposed, and that’s where all the pain stems from. Healthy, decay-free teeth have a hard protective shell of enamel that shields the roots and inner nerves from being exposed. However, if this enamel is compromised by either decay or injury, the roots and nerves are left wide open to the elements. Similarly, gum disease often goes hand-in-hand with gum recession and can also expose roots and cause pain. However, there are things you can do to help ease this pain and get some relief.

At-Home Remedies to Sensitive Teeth

The best thing you can do at home to protect your teeth against sensitivity is to follow a proper oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing daily. This reduces the risk of decay and, in turn, sensitivity. Additionally, make sure you’re using the right tools to further protect your teeth. Select a toothbrush with soft bristles to get a thorough clean while also taking it easy on your enamel, and consider a toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. Lastly, don’t scrub your teeth too hard. Using too much pressure while brushing could lead to gum recession as well as enamel erosion, both of which greatly increase the risk of sensitivity.

When to See Your Dentist in Asheboro

There are times when professional intervention is appropriate to relieve tooth sensitivity. Your dental team will be able to make the best recommendation for you based on what’s causing the pain in the first place. Some treatment options may include:

Living with sensitive teeth isn’t something that you need to continue to suffer through. There are ways that you can relieve your pain once and for all so you can start enjoying your favorite foods again. Call our Asheboro dental office to schedule an appointment with us today.

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

heart health monthWhen it comes to dentistry and oral health, many people think of only the mouth itself. While dentistry is certainly about keeping teeth healthy and cavity-free, it’s also about caring for your gums and protecting your whole body. At our dental office in Asheboro, we not only focus on treating the mouth, but also understand that what happens in the mouth can affect the rest of the body. This February, in honor of American Heart Month, we want to talk about how poor oral health can increase your risk for heart disease.

Heart Disease Risks You May Not Know About

Everyone knows about the typical things that can increase our risk for heart disease such as a poor diet, smoking, obesity, and even genetics. While those risk factors are absolutely factors that can lead to heart problems, there’s another little-known culprit that many may never even consider — gum disease.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Many studies conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) have shown a positive link between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease. In fact, researchers concluded that those with gum disease are more likely to have a heart attack than those without it. But how does something in the mouth affect the heart?

Bacteria that live up under the gum line and cause gum disease have a direct pathway into the bloodstream. When these bacteria enter our blood supply, they can cause our bodies to increase the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP). When CRP levels are elevated it can cause:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Inflamed arteries
  • Heart attack

How to Know if You Have Gum Disease?

Gum disease needs to be diagnosed by your dentist in Asheboro. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep an eye out for some early warning signs at home. Some signs 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

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, we recommend scheduling an appointment are our Asheboro dental office as soon as possible so we can check out what’s going on and treat anything that we find quickly.

The best way to protect yourself from gum disease and the heart problems that can come with it is to see your Asheboro dentist regularly. Your dental team will not only remove any bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup that can increase your chances of developing gum disease if left alone, they’ll also be able to catch any potential problems early when treatment is often easier and more successful.

Protect your heart and schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

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

vitamins in palmOur bodies rely on the vitamins and minerals obtained through what we eat in order to function properly. Our mouth and teeth are no different. The truth is, in order to keep our oral health in good shape we need to make sure we’re getting enough of the right vitamins. In this blog, the team at our dental office in Asheboro cover the most important vitamins you need to maintain good oral health and protect your smile.

Calcium

We all know that bones need calcium in order to grow and remain strong. But getting enough calcium is also crucial for building strong teeth. Calcium helps strengthen enamel which protects teeth from bacteria and lowers the risk of decay. Some foods that are packed with calcium include:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Broccoli

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important to oral health for several reasons, such as lowering the risk of infection and keeping enamel strong. Your body also needs vitamin D in order to properly absorb calcium. Find vitamin D in:

  • Canned tuna
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Egg yolks

Phosphorus

Similarly to vitamin D, phosphorus is also needed in order to give your body the biggest benefit from calcium. Calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus are a strong triangle of needed vitamins that all work together. You can get phosphorus from:

  • Salmon
  • Lentil beans
  • Beef

Vitamin C

Besides boosting your immune system so you can more effectively fight off germs, vitamin C also protects your gums and reduces the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection in the gum tissues that can lead to tooth loss. Protect your gums by eating:

  • Citrus fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower

The best way to make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins that keep you healthy is to eat a well-balanced diet and include all food groups. However, if it’s tough to get vitamins through your diet, you can consider a supplement or multivitamin if appropriate.

Fueling your body with the proper mix of vitamins is a great way to protect your oral health. Of course, you still need to brush and floss daily and maintain regular dental cleanings at our Asheboro dental office.

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!