6 Things That Increase Your Risk of Cavities

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health

woman looks at teeth in mirrorWhen we think of things that cause cavities, we typically imagine a diet packed full of sugary sweet treats. But our dental office in Rocky Mount wants you to know that eating a lot of sugar isn’t the only thing that increases your risk of developing cavities. In fact, there are plenty of things out there that can cause cavities that you may be unaware of.

Acidic Foods & Drinks

Sure, we all know that sugar is the most well known cause of cavities, but enjoying too many foods and drinks that are highly acidic is also likely to put you at risk. Acid wears down enamel and leaves teeth exposed to cavity-causing bacteria.

Inadequate Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural element that helps protect teeth. In growing children, it merges with the bone to build super strong teeth. For adults, fluoride hardens enamel which can protect teeth against acid, sugar, and bacteria.

Teeth with Deep Grooves

If you have teeth with a lot of deep grooves, chances are food gets wedged way in there and becomes difficult to remove. When this food isn’t removed, bacteria feed on it and produce an acidic byproduct. This leaves your teeth at risk for decay.

Tooth Grinding

Repeatedly rubbing teeth against teeth is a sure-fire way to chip away enamel and again leave teeth exposed. Grinding your teeth can also cause chips and cracks which create a snug little place for food to hide.

Dry Mouth

A healthy mouth produces a lot of saliva. This saliva neutralizes acid and rinses it away before it has a chance to affect enamel. If your mouth is dry, there isn’t enough saliva around to do this job properly and tends to result in cavities.

Cancer Treatments

Common cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy have saved many lives. However, these treatments don’t come without risks to your oral health. Radiation and chemotherapy tend to cause dry mouth, and as we know, dry mouth is bad news for teeth.

Of course, the best way to prevent cavities is to see your dentist in Rocky Mount every six months. These appointments help clean away any tartar or plaque buildup that your toothbrush at home can’t remove. They also aid us in catching any problems early while they’re still easy to treat.

If you’re due for your dental check up, call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment.

Does Charcoal Toothpaste Really Whiten Teeth?

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry

charcoal toothpasteThe charcoal toothpaste craze seems to be everywhere, and it also seems like everyone is using it to finally get the white smile they’ve always dreamed of. But can this messy black stuff that looks like it’s sure to stain teeth actually whiten them? The team at our dental office in Rocky Mount has the answer.

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Really Charcoal?

The stuff charcoal toothpaste is made out of is much different than what you may be imagining. And if you’re visualizing the gray rocks used to heat up the grill at a summer BBQ, you’re thinking of the wrong stuff. Charcoal toothpaste is made from something called activated charcoal, which is a treated form of carbon. The treating process makes the carbon porous. It’s these pores that are reasonable for the claim that charcoal toothpaste can whiten teeth. Essentially, it’s believed that these pores can pull stains, tartar, and bacteria away from teeth.

Is Putting Charcoal Toothpaste in Your Mouth Dangerous?

Activated charcoal has been used as a trusted medical treatment for over 2,000 years. In fact, the ancient Romans used a powder form to brush their teeth. Following the same thought that the porous nature of activated charcoal helps absorb anything it’s path, it’s also been used to help treat people who have been poisoned. This treatment may still be practiced at modern hospitals.

Will Using Charcoal Toothpaste Whiten Your Smile?

We’re happy to report that charcoal toothpaste can effectively remove surface stains on teeth, allowing them to take on a brighter, whiter appearance. However, if your tooth discoloration is below the surface, you may not see a difference after using charcoal toothpaste. Additionally, the American Dental Association (ADA) has a few warnings about the stuff. Since charcoal toothpaste isn’t only porous but also pretty abrasive it can be damaging to teeth. Regularly brushing your teeth with a highly abrasive toothpaste can wear away tooth enamel and leave your teeth at risk for cavity-causing bacteria. A thinner enamel may also mean a duller discolored smile.

Other Whitening Options

Charcoal toothpaste is only one option when it comes to whitening your smile. Other things you can consider include:  

The best way to whiten your smile is to start by scheduling an appointment at our Rocky Mount dental office. Give us a call today!

“How Can I Improve My Smile?”

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry, General & Preventive Dentistry

woman hides smileAre you unhappy with the way your smile looks? You’re not alone. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, more than one third of U.S. residents don’t like their smiles. But our dental office in Rocky Mount has some good news: you don’t need to live with a smile you don’t like! Thanks to advancements in dental technology, there are easy ways to improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry.

Smile Whitening

One of the most common complaints people have about their smiles is that it’s just not white enough. Smile whitening is an easy, affordable solution that can help whiten your smile by several shades. There are both in-office and take-home whitening options available, and even over-the-counter products. Before you choose a whitening product, we encourage you to look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance and talk with your dentist in Rocky Mount about the best solution for you.

Veneers

Dental veneers are another popular cosmetic dentistry treatment that can transform the appearance of your smile. These thin pieces of ceramic are custom-shaped to match your specific needs and appear natural. Your dentist will bond the veneers to the front of your teeth, essentially covering up anything you don’t like including discoloration or chips and cracks.

Bonding

If your tooth trouble is more focused on dark, decayed, or chipped teeth, dental bonding may just be the solution you need. Dental bonding is a super simple, yet often incredibly effective, treatment that will quickly create a smile you’re proud of. First, your dentist will remove any decay. Next, the area of concern will be covered with a safe composite material. Your dentist will then use an artistic eye to sculpt the material into a natural shape and even color. The composite material is then hardened, or bonded, to the tooth surface for a strong new look.

Complete Smile Makeover

If you’re someone who can’t seem to narrow down your concerns to just one or two, you may be an ideal candidate for a smile makeover. During a smile makeover process, you and your dentist will work closely together to identify all of your concerns and determine a treatment plan to fix them. A complete smile makeover usually includes several types of cosmetic dentistry treatments, but is a life-changing procedure that will certainly give you a beautiful smile you’re proud of.

If you’re unhappy with any aspect of your smile, we encourage you to give our Rocky Mount dental office a call to schedule a consultation. You deserve a smile you love, and we’re happy to help.

Drinking Wine: Good for the Heart, Bad for Teeth?

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry, General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health

holiday dinner with wineMost of us have heard that drinking red wine may have heart-healthy benefits. And while there’s still some debate on just how true that is, you may find it surprising that there may just be some oral health benefits to partaking in glass every now and then. Our dental office in Rocky Mount explores these potential smile benefits as well as some not-so-good side effects in this week’s blog.

The Good

Studies conducted in several areas throughout the world have suggested a positive link between drinking red wine and a decrease in tooth decay. One of these studies published by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry took bacteria rich biofilm from the mouths of several volunteers, which they then dipped into wine. What they found was that the wine was effective at getting rid of the bacteria. With less bacteria around to weaken enamel and cause decay, one could also assume a lower risk for cavities. However, it might not be all good news.

The Bad

In most of the studies surrounding the positive correlation between red wine and dental health the researchers removed the alcohol content prior to testing. This is important to note since we know alcohol tends to dry out the mouth. A dry mouth has the opposite effect of fighting off decay and actually supports a decay-friendly environment. Red wine also has a tendency to transform teeth from a bright white to a dull or discolored appearance. While that can usually be reversed through whitening or cosmetic dentistry from your dentist in Rocky Mount, it’s still a negative in our book. Finally, the acidity of wine can wear down tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to, you guessed it, decay.

The Final Verdict

We don’t really have a definite conclusion on whether the potential positives of red wine outweigh the negatives. Essentially, more research is needed for us to get on board with supporting the claim that red wine is a good way to fight decay. But in the meantime, we’re not here to tell anyone to stop enjoying their occasional glass of wine, of course. Just enjoy responsibly, keep an eye out for any tooth discoloration, and follow the tips below.

  • Alternate drinking wine with water. If you can, it wouldn’t hurt to rinse your mouth out with water occasionally, too.
  • Hold off on brushing immediately after drinking wine to keep the acid from being spread throughout your entire mouth and all over your teeth.

If you’re a red wine lover and happen to notice some tooth discoloration, call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule a professional whitening or cosmetic dentistry treatment to get your smile back to a vibrant white. Or if you’re just looking for a new place to call your dental home, we’re always welcoming new patients and would love to see you. Schedule a visit with us today!

How to Get Fresher Breath for All Those Mistletoe Moments

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health

kiss under the mistletoeNobody wants to struggle with the embarrassment of bad breath. But during this time of year it may seem like a bigger deal than normal. With all the close-talking at holiday parties and potential surprise moments under the mistletoe, bad breath can damper anyone’s good time. At our dental office in Rocky Mount, we don’t want anyone to shy away from those kissable moments because of bad breath embarrassment, so we’re here to help!

Best Ways to Combat Bad Breath

Pass on the Coffee

We know, we know, coffee helps you function in the mornings and perhaps another cup at 2:00 pushes you through the day. But coffee doesn’t only give you a mean caffeine punch, it also leaves behind a less-than-desirable stench in your mouth.

Load up on the Water

Unlike coffee, water doesn’t leave behind an unpleasant odor. In fact, it doesn’t leave behind any smell. It’s really great for your oral health too. A well hydrated mouth keeps fighting bacteria and rinses away unwanted bacteria that can lead to decay.

Brush Well, Brush Often

One the most important things you can do to keep breath fresh is to brush twice a day, everyday. But it’s not enough to simply brush. It’s recommended that you brush for two minutes every time in gentle circles.

Don’t Forget the Tongue

Our tongues are full of tiny nooks and crannies where bad breath germs love to hide. To wash them away, we recommend gently scrubbing your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper.

A Sign of a Bigger Problem

While you can try any and all of the tricks above to help combat bad breath, if you battle with it over a long period of time, you should call your dentist in Rocky Mount. Bad breath may seem like simply a nuisance, but chronic bad breath may be a sign of other health concerns including:

  • Gum Disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus Infection
  • Diabetes
  • Liver or Kidney Problems

Don’t let bad breath get in the way this holiday season. Call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment to get fresh breath and feel confident puckering up under the mistletoe.

Give Thanks to Your Teeth

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry, General & Preventive Dentistry

woman expresses thanksEvery November we take an entire Thursday to give thanks, spend time with friends and family, and eat. And eat, and eat. There’s also a tradition of sharing everything that you’re appreciative of. As you go around the dinner table sharing what you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving, let our Rocky Mount dental office give you a few reasons why your teeth should be on that list.

Let’s Eat!

Since we are close to Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving means a lot of delicious food, we wanted to start with a reason you should give thanks to your teeth that relates to the occasion. Our teeth help us chew all of those treats spread across the dinner table. Certain types of teeth even have different purposes. The incisors (the front four teeth on top and front four on the bottom) start the process by biting off bits of food. The canines rip and tear while the molars mash, crush, and chew. Our full set of teeth work together to allow us to enjoy as much Thanksgiving food as we (or our pants) can handle.

Talk It Out

Our teeth not only help us eat, they also aid in helping us speak and pronounce words properly. Teeth allow us to form certain sounds and without them, we’d have a difficult time pronouncing any word that contains an ‘f,’ ‘v,’ ‘s,’ ‘th,’ or countless other sounds. When people have difficulty forming certain words or sounds, they may be helped by their dentist in Rocky Mount, orthodontics, and a speech therapist.

Let Me Digest That

The digestion process is crucial in how our bodies function as proper digestion allows you to absorb all the nutrients and energize your body. While many may think digestion begins in the stomach, the truth is it begins in your mouth. While chewing, your mouth releases saliva. This saliva contains enzymes that begins the breakdown of food and starts the digestion process. This means chewing your food properly can aid in proper digestion and healthier body.   

Smile, You’ll Feel Better

Research has supported a strong link between smiling and a boost in mood and reduction in stress. But not just any smile will do. A big smile that activates the muscles around the eyes is key to getting these mood-enhancing effects. If you’re someone who tends to hide your teeth behind a tight lipped grin because you don’t like your smile, consider cosmetic dentistry to transform both your smile and your mood.

Everyone at our dental office in Rocky Mount wishes you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!  

5 Tips to Help You Avoid The Flu

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health

couple with the fluAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the months of October and November are when influenza activity begins to increase. And although flu season doesn’t tend to peak until December through February, getting ahead of the flu and preparing yourself and your family to avoid it is half of the battle. Our dental office in Rocky Mount compiled the top tips to help you prevent the flu this year.

Keep Things Clean & Sanitized

One of the easiest ways to come down with a bug is to touch something that was recently touched by another person who was loaded with germs. Some germs that can make us really sick can live for a long time on surfaces. To protect yourself and your family make sure you clean and sanitize often. Consider areas that are touched a lot like door knobs, toys, toilets, and faucets.  

Wash Your Hands

This is the most common advice given by doctors and mothers alike. And with good reason. Washing your hands goes a long way in removing any germs we may have come in contact with throughout the day. Ideally you should use warm water and soap to clean in between each finger, all over the palms, and even under fingernails. If you won’t have access to a sink and soap, carry an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Don’t Touch Your Face

The CDC sites that a common way germs are transferred from one person to another is by first touching an infected surface then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts act as a direct route to the rest of your body, and if germs enter one of them, you’re almost guaranteed to get sick. Keep your hands away from your face.

Eat Well

Following a well balanced diet can keep your body performing optimally and in good germ fighting condition. Make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and veggies and enough protein to keep you strong. In fact, research shows a diet with too little protein can lead to a weak immune system.  

Drink Well

Along with eating well, drinking enough fluids, particularly water, keeps your body working the way it’s intended to. A well-hydrated body keeps white blood cells healthy and ready to fight off germs. Plus, it will make your dentist in Rocky Mount happy, too.

The team at our Rocky Mount dental office hope you and your loved ones avoid the flu this season, but if you happen to come down with it we encourage you to use sugar-free medications to keep your mouth protected.

root canal model

Are Root Canals as Scary as they Sound?

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in General & Preventive Dentistry

Root canals have an unnecessarily bad reputation of being painful, which causes many people to be afraid of the treatment. However, the team at our dental office in Rocky Mount wants to ease any concerns you may have about root canals and hopefully relieve any apprehension.

Do Root Canals Hurt?

There’s been a lot of talk surrounding just how terrible a root canal is when, in fact, advancements in dental technology have made them virtually pain free. If your dentist in Rocky Mount recommends a root canal, it’s most likely because you’re experiencing pain caused by deep decay or a severe infection. A root canal treatment can actually make that pain go away so you can finally get relief.

So, What Exactly is a Root Canal?

The name of the treatment itself isn’t necessarily descriptive of the actual procedure, so let’s take a look at how a root canal is typically done. Your dentist will:

  • Numb the area to reduce any discomfort.
  • Make a tiny hole in the tooth.
  • Gain access to the inside of the tooth. This is where the the pulp chamber and canals are located. Inside the canals, nerves, pulp, and blood vessels are found.
  • Clean out all of the canal contents.
  • Seal the pulp chamber and canals.
  • Place a dental crown restoration to protect the tooth.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

Besides the obvious sign of tooth pain, there are other symptoms that may warrant a root canal 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

Notice any of the symptoms listed above? We encourage you to call our dental office in Rocky Mount to schedule an appointment. A thorough examination by our caring and gentle dental team will help us identify the cause of your problem and recommend the best treatment for you. If the appropriate solution is in fact a root canal, we assure you that you have nothing to fear.