Posted by & filed under oral health.

e-cigThere’s a fairly new alternative to traditional smoking without the side effects of stinky clothes and bad breath. E-cigarettes, also known as vaping, has gained in popularity since first appearing the U.S. in 2007. Some use e-cigarettes as a method to help quit smoking. Others just pick up the habit having never been a smoker before. But at our Asheboro dental office, we wanted to know if these electronic cigarettes are safe, or if they pose similar, or worse, threats to oral and overall health. So we researched it, and here’s what you need to know.  

What We Know

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the potentially harmful side effects of smoking e-cigarettes. Even though they’ve been selling like crazy and are becoming so widely used that some places of business had to put up signs stating they’re prohibited, research regarding their safety is limited.

Some of the research that has been done on the effects of e-cigs and oral health found both some positives and some negatives. The positives of using e-cigarettes as opposed to regular cigarettes include no bad breath, no plaque calcification, and no yellowing of teeth. However, the risk for periodontal disease is still there. Nicotine has a tendency to reduce blood flow to the gums, and without proper blood flow, the mouth’s ability to fight off bacteria diminishes and the likelihood of gum disease increases. There’s also been reports of pneumonia, rapid heart rate, congestive heart failure, and airway resistance.

E-cigarettes have claimed to be a successful way to quit smoking, and we can understand why they’re an attractive alternative to tobacco-filled cigarettes. They have the nicotine craved by smokers, yet fewer byproducts. However, studies contradict the effectiveness of e-cigs as a smoking cessation method. For example, one study concluded that e-cigarettes helped current smokers reduce the amount of cigarettes they smoked by about half, while another suggested that smokers who use e-cigs are 59% less likely to quit. Before you decide to use e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking, consider trying another option such as:

  • Limiting yourself to a certain number of cigarettes a day, then continue to decrease over time.
  • Try using a nicotine replacement that’d been approved by the FDA.
  • Research different ways other people have quit. You can start by visiting the American Lung Association.

If you’re a smoker, we encourage you to try quitting for both your oral health and your overall health. We also recommend seeing your dentist in Asheboro every six months so that if a problem like oral cancer or gum disease does arise, it will be caught and treated early.

Accepting patients from Asheboro, Randolph County, Randleman.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

root canalYour tooth hurts. A lot. But what does it mean? Whenever there is tooth pain, it’s your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right. Tooth pain could be a sign of any number of things including decay or a chip or break. But sometimes, tooth pain could be a sign that you may need a root canal. Our Asheboro dental office can help you determine if that’s the case.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

We’ve already established that there’s pain involved. Oftentimes a lot of it. But just because there’s pain doesn’t automatically mean you need a root canal. The pain is usually different than other types of tooth pain and it’s likely accompanied by other symptoms including:

  • Gum pain and swelling
  • A pimple-like bump on the gums by the painful tooth
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Worse pain when chewing or applying pressure
  • Hot/cold sensitivity that doesn’t go away once the food or drink is removed

What’s Done During a Root Canal?

If you are experiencing the symptoms above, you will probably need to get a root canal. Don’t worry. Even though the root canal process has a bad reputation of being extremely painful it actually helps relieve the pain caused by deep infection or decay. But what does that even mean? Let’s walk through the process.

  • Your dentist in Asheboro will first numb the area to limit any possible discomfort
  • Once the numbing agent takes effect, a tiny hole will be made in the tooth.
  • The dental team will then access the pulp chamber located inside the tooth. The pulp chamber is where the actual canals are. Nerves, pulp, and blood vessels are found inside those canals.
  • All of the canal contents are thoroughly cleaned out then the pulp chamber and canals are sealed.
  • Finally, the tooth is capped with a restoration which is usually a dental crown.

Reduce Your Risk

There are two things you can do to minimize your risk for needing a root canal. First, make sure you brush and floss every single day. This helps remove bacteria that can lead to decay. Second, always get a dental cleaning every six months. This cleaning is more thorough and removes more stuck on plaque than what you can do at home.

If you do think you need a root canal, don’t wait around for the pain to go away on its own, because chances are, it won’t. Instead, call our Asheboro dental office to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. We’ll check out what’s going on and determine if in fact a root canal is the most appropriate treatment for you.

Accepting patients from Asheboro, Randolph County, Randleman.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

toothpasteYou go to a supermarket in search of a toothpaste that not only freshens your breath, but also protects your teeth. In the healthcare aisle, you’re assaulted by boxes and boxes of multicolored toothpastes in a variety of flavors. How do you know which one to choose? Our dental office in Asheboro can help you find which is right for you.

For a Whiter Smile…

Foods, drinks, age, and some habits can all contribute to a dull, dingy, or even yellowish smile. Sometimes, a whitening toothpaste can take the edge off of discoloration. The most effective whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives that contain magnesium carbonate or calcium carbonate. If your whitening toothpaste isn’t quite giving you the boost you’re looking for, veneers or a professional whitening treatment can help.

For Extra Cavity Protection…

Some people tend to get more cavities than others. If this is the case for you, make sure your toothpaste has fluoride (tip: most do). Fluoride is a natural occurring mineral that coats teeth and helps keep damaging bacteria off.

For Those Who Are Sensitive…

When we say sensitive, we aren’t talking about emotions. We’re talking about those who have sensitive teeth and experience pain when heat or cold are introduced into the mouth. As long as cavities or a root infection is ruled out, chances are those who suffer from sensitivity are brushing too hard or with a toothpaste that’s too abrasive. If you fall into the sensitive category, look for a toothpaste with ingredients like strontium chloride or potassium nitrate, both of which can help desensitize your teeth or gums.

Look for the ADA Seal of Approval

Toothpastes that earn the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval have been tested and the ingredients were shown to do what the box says they’ll do. So no matter if you’re looking for a sensitivity blocker, cavity fighter, or tooth whitener, make sure to scope out that seal before making a purchase.

Although that toothpaste aisle can seem intimidating with its rainbow boxes of possibilities, there is a toothpaste for everyone. Your dentist in Asheboro can help determine your specific needs and recommend a toothpaste that fits your oral health goals. Just make sure that you use it each and every time you brush — which should be twice a day.

If you’re not sure you’re using the right toothpaste for you, or you’re looking to schedule your next dental cleaning and exam, call our Asheboro dental office. We’ll be happy to help.

Accepting patients from Asheboro, Randolph County, Randleman.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

avoidingThe benefits of regular dental exams and cleanings are applicable to everyone from women and men to children. Yet, according to research, American women are ⅓ more likely to get preventive dental care than men. At our Asheboro dental office, we wanted to know more about our male patients, and even those who we may not yet have the pleasure of knowing, so we explored a few reasons why men seem to avoid going to the dentist.

The Academy of General Dentistry surveyed several dentists and asked them why men tend to forego regular dental visits. The results include:

  • 18% blamed busy schedules
  • 30% said men are more embarrassed or afraid to go to the dentist
  • 45% believed men don’t see a need to visit the dentist

We found a few other reasons, too. Men tend to avoid preventive dental care and rather just go to the dentist when there is a problem, even though the problem itself may have been avoidable through regular dental cleanings and exams. Additionally, societal norms insinuate that men should “tough it out,” and visiting a doctor may be perceived as a sign of weakness (which, for the record, isn’t a weakness, it’s smart).

Why Are Regular Dental Appointments Important?

Visiting the dentist at least twice a year is crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Many oral health problems affect overall health, and if not caught and treated early, some of these issues can be severe. Scheduling and keeping appointments with your dentist in Asheboro can help keep these serious, scary problems away or at least catch them before they have a chance to affect the rest of the body. Some of these concerns include:

  • Oral cancer that can affect the lips, tongue, throat, and cheeks
  • Gum disease which can increase the risk for heart disease
  • Sleep apnea which commonly leads to high blood pressure

Besides keeping your mouth and body healthy, dental appointments can also be used to discuss anything about your smile that you may not like. If you’re embarrassed to smile or are missing teeth, there are plenty of options available to get you a smile you’re confident of including whitening, veneers, dental implants, bridges, and so much more.

If you know a man in your life who has been avoiding dental care for whatever reason, we encourage you to to have him call our Asheboro dental office to schedule an appointment. Even if he hasn’t seen a dentist in years, we don’t guilt trip our patients. In fact, we celebrate the important things — the fact he made an appointment and is taking the right steps towards better health.

Accepting patients from Asheboro, Randolph County, Randleman.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

toothpasteToothpaste is a powerful concoction that can work wonders in protecting your smile against cavities and other oral health concerns. But did you know that toothpaste doesn’t just have to be for your teeth? At our Asheboro dental office, we’ve heard that toothpaste has a multitude of other uses, and we’d like to share some with you.

  • Cleaning The Faucet. This may seem counterproductive because a lot of the time, sink faucets appear dirty because they are speckled with toothpaste splatter. In this case, using the exact stuff that makes faucets dirty can actually clean them too. Just take some toothpaste and clean the area like you would if you were using a cleaning product. Your faucets should sparkle, at least until the next time someone brushes their teeth.
  • Removing Permanent Marker. Whether you accidentally drug your marker passed the paper edge and onto the table, or a child created a masterpiece on your furniture, permanent marker stains happen. But according to several sources, toothpaste can remove them with little effort. Simply applying some toothpaste and gently brushing it like you would your teeth has worked for some. It may take a few applications to remove, but people seem to swear by the magical erasing powers of toothpaste.
  • Making Your Sneakers Spiffy Again. This technique has been used for a while, and it appears to transform your dingy sneaks. After a lot of wear, shoes tend to wear down and become discolored, dark, and dirty. Toothpaste can get them back closer to their original white. Take some toothpaste, apply it to a clean cloth or old toothbrush, and gently rub it onto the sneakers. Wipe off with a damp towel and repeat if necessary.  

Of course our favorite use for toothpaste is to brush those pearly whites. We recommend using a fluoride toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush to rid your mouth of harmful bacteria and plaque. Brushing twice a day, everyday, is the best way to keep decay and the need for cavity fillings away. What’s more is that proper brushing and regular appointments with your dentist in Asheboro can keep the need for more dental treatments, like crowns, root canals, or onlays, to a minimum.

If it’s been longer than six months since you had a dental cleaning or exam, call our dental office in Asheboro to schedule an appointment today. And be sure to show us your freshly cleaned sneakers when we see you next.

Accepting patients from Asheboro, Randolph County, and Randleman.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

postureMaintaining good posture can go a long way in keeping your bones aligned as nature intended, which allows your muscles to work smoothly and you to exert less effort. This means less soreness, which we’re always a fan of here at our Asheboro dental office. But what some may not know is that your posture can also affect your oral health.

The Head Bone’s Connected to… All the Bones!

Your head is connected to your jaw, your jaw to your neck, your neck or your back… and on and on. But that’s why posture is so important. If one part of the chain is out of whack, it can throw off all the other parts. This connection is particularly true with your posture and your jaw. Most people stand or sit with their heads too far forward, placing strain on the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and jaw. This strain actually makes the head heavier, causing the muscles to react. What happens next? The shoulders fall forward, the jaw falls back, and your bite falls out of place. And a bad bite can lead a whole host of uncomfortable, and sometimes serious, concerns including TMJ disorder or cracked, damaged teeth.

Signs of a Poor Bite Caused by Poor Posture

  • Pain in the jaw or neck
  • Numbness in one hand
  • Headaches
  • Inability to clear ears

How’s Your Posture Measure Up?

Not sure if you have great, mediocre, or poor posture? Try one of these simple tests to find out.

  • The Wall Test – Put the back of your head against the wall and your heels about six inches apart. Allow your buttocks to touch the wall and check the distance between your lower back and the wall, and your neck and the wall with your hand. Within an inch or two? Congratulations! You have near perfect posture.  
  • The Mirror Test – Stand facing a full-length mirror and check for even shoulder height, a straight head, level hips, kneecaps that face forward, ankles that aren’t bent, and that the spaces between your arms and sides are equal. If you check all those boxes, you’re posture is in pretty good shape.

At our dental office in Asheboro, we care about all aspects of our patients’ health. If you think you suffer from poor posture, talk to us about it. We’ll check out how it may be influencing your dental health and work with you fix it.

Serving patients from Asheboro, Randolph County, Randleman.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

on my toothbrushYou know that brushing is part of a good oral hygiene routine. But this is only true if the toothbrush is clean and free of dangerous bacteria. At our Asheboro dental office, we know that there are some pretty disgusting things that can be found on toothbrushes, and we want you to know about them, not to gross you out, but to make you aware of them and how to avoid them.

Blood

Gum disease or dental trauma can cause gum tissue or other areas of the mouth to bleed. If your mouth bleeds while you brush, there’s a good chance some blood is transferred to your toothbrush. If not rinsed thoroughly, it can stay there, waiting for the next time you brush.

E. Coli

Although incredibly gross, yet incredibly real, there is the likelihood of fecal matter being on your toothbrush. What’s worse (yes, it can be worse), is that dangerous bacteria, like E. Coli, can come along with it. If you brush with a toothbrush that has E. Coli on it, it can make you very sick.  

Staphylococcus Aureus

This bacteria is some pretty serious stuff. And it may be on your toothbrush. It lives in our respiratory systems and on our skin, and if conditions are just right, it can lead to a MRSA infection. Don’t worry too much though, it is pretty rare.

How to Keep Your Toothbrush Clean

You can decrease the chance of this gross stuff inhabiting your toothbrush by following some helpful toothbrush care tips.

  • Replace It. Tossing your toothbrush and replacing it with a new one every three to four months not only keeps it in top performing condition, it also lowers the chance for bacteria buildup.
  • Don’t Let Others Use It. Sharing a toothbrush is a great way to transfer germs and bacteria from one person to another, which nobody wants. Allowing brushes to touch while not in use can also cause this to happen, so keep your toothbrush as yours only and don’t let it touch another.
  • Let It Air Dry. Storing a still-wet toothbrush in a sealed container or capping the bristles can create a favorable environment for bacteria to multiply and flourish. Instead, keep it upright in a dry place.

Following the tips above, continuing to brush twice a day, and floss once a day is a routine designed to keep your mouth, and your body, healthy. But don’t forget about regular dental appointments at our dental office in Asheboro. Seeing us at least every six months allows for early diagnosis of any problems and quicker, more effective treatment. If it’s time for your dental cleaning and exam, call us to schedule your appointment today.

Accepting new patients from Asheboro, Randolph County, Randleman.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

hereditaryThere’s a common belief that dental problems occur as a result of genetics passed down from parents to children. Many assume the appearance of a smile and someone’s overall oral health is based solely on DNA. And while for some instances that’s true, at our Asheboro dental office, we’d like to share with our patients just which dental issues can be blamed on genetics and which likely have another cause.

It’s All in The Genes

There absolutely is a connection between several oral health concerns and genetic makeup. Some of the common dental health factors related to DNA include:

  • Overcrowded or crooked teeth which can make effective brushing and flossing difficult
  • Oral cancer risk increases if it’s common in your family
  • Size and shape of the mouth which may lead to a bad bite and potential TMJ pain

Even if someone is at increased risk for any of the problems above, we don’t always have to work with what nature gave us. Cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, and early treatment can help transform the looks and health of a smile. If your family has a history of any of the above, we encourage you to talk to your dentist in Asheboro.

What We Can’t Blame DNA For

While there are definitely some parts of oral health that can be passed down directly through DNA, some are a result of behaviors. Discoloration, decay, and even gum disease aren’t problems that are transferred from the genes of parents to children, but may more so be the habits of parents passed down to children. If oral hygiene and regular dental appointment aren’t started early and made a priority, the chance for problems later in life greatly increases.

What Can You Do?

If you know you’re family medical history and are experiencing some of the DNA-related dental concerns, or are at risk for them, there are things you can do. For example, if oral cancer runs in the family, avoid smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol to lower your risk.

Even if your family doesn’t have a history of any of the DNA-related concerns, it’s still crucial to brush twice a day for at least two minutes, floss every day, and get professional cleanings and checkups at least every six months. Having good oral hygiene and getting regular exams can lower anyone’s risk for decay, gum disease, and other dental problems.

If it’s time for you to see a dentist about changing the smile nature gave you, or if you haven’t seen a dentist in awhile, give our dental office in Asheboro call to schedule a consultation today. We’ll help identify any concerns and work with you to fix them.

Serving patients from Asheboro, Randolph County, Randleman.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

fillings“Will it hurt?” “How long will it take?” “What should I expect when getting a filling?” These are all questions we typically get asked before filling a cavity for a patient. And while they’re great questions, there’s one we wish we’d get to answer more and it’s, “Will the filling last forever?” So all of us our Asheboro dental office figured we’d ask it and answer it all in one place for everyone.

Dental fillings are a great way to keep your natural teeth healthy by closing in and protecting any decay that may have occurred. There are several types of fillings that are made out of different materials. It’s these materials that determine how long your cavity filling should last. And unfortunately, no, it’s not forever.

White Fillings

More commonly becoming the preferred treatment for cavities, white fillings, also known as tooth-colored or composite fillings, are a great way to make your restorations virtually invisible. Your dentist in Asheboro will closely match the filling material to neighboring teeth, making it look like there’s nothing there but a healthy, natural tooth. On the downside, the expected lifespan of tooth-colored fillings is the lowest of all restoration options at about 7-10 years, depending on the location of the filling and your oral health habits. However, it’s still one of the most viable, trusted options for treating cavities.  

Silver Fillings

Silver or amalgam fillings are another option for treating a cavity. They do last longer than a tooth-colored one, usually about 10-15 years, but there are some aspects to them that many patients find unattractive. Not only can these restorations cause teeth to look gray, dingy, and discolored, they also usually require more of the undamaged tooth to be removed for application. What’s more, there has been a rise in concern about the mercury levels in amalgam fillings. If you’re worried about the mercury content or have questions about the safety of these fillings, ask our Asheboro dental office. We’ll be happy to help.

Gold Fillings

These fillings aren’t incredibly popular anymore, but they are still in use and a viable option. While cast gold fillings typically last 15 years or more, which is longer than any other filling discussed, the cost for them is typically higher than other options. There’s also the aesthetic concern with the obviousness of the gold color.

If you think you may have a cavity, don’t wait to get it checked out. Any treatment is better than no treatment, and can actually save your tooth. Don’t have a dentist? Give our dental office in Asheboro a call today!

Welcoming patients from Asheboro, Randolph County, Randleman.

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Easter Candy

Easter is a holiday when we tend to overload on sugary sweets and ranks second among all holidays in total candy consumption, falling only to Halloween. In fact, Americans buy over 120 million pounds of candy each and every Easter. At our Asheboro dental office we want our patients to know that not all candy is bad for grins. But which ones should you eat and which should be avoided?

Eat: Hollow Chocolates

Hollow chocolates cut calories and limit sugar so you can indulge in chocolaty goodness while keeping your teeth, and your waistline, in tip-top shape. It doesn’t get much better than that! Whether it’s molded into a bunny, duck, or egg, hollow chocolate and its lower sugar content decreases the chance for dental decay. Want to make it even better? Use dark chocolate instead of milk. Dark chocolate has antioxidants which are good for the whole body.

Avoid: Gooey, Chewy, Sticky Stuff

Whether it’s gummies, caramels, or taffy, sticky sweets are some of the worst for teeth. They’re packed with sugar, and since they take longer to chew, teeth end up coated in it. What’s worse is the tacky texture allows tiny pieces to get wedged in crevices, and they’re hard to get out. The more sugar left on teeth, the higher chance of cavities.

Eat: Sugar-Free Snacks

This one is pretty self-explanatory. We know that sugar is the bad part of candy, so if you eat treats without the sugar, the better off you are. There are tons of delicious sugar-free options to choose from so you can still enjoy candy and keep your teeth healthy.

Avoid: Hard Candies

Hard candies like lollipops typically require a longer time to eat, leaving teeth exposed to sugar the entire time. The longer candy is in the mouth, the more likely it is to cause damage. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and produce enamel-eroding acid in the process. It’s this acid that puts teeth at risk for decay and cavities. The texture of these candies also doesn’t help. They’re hard to chew and could result in a chipped or cracked tooth.

Following these tips can go a long way in keeping cavities away, but it’s still important to visit our Asheboro dental office regularly. Exams at least every six months help catch any potential problems before they become big issues. Schedule your appointment today!

Serving patients from Asheboro, Randolph County, and Randleman.