Why a Healthy Mouth Means a Healthy Body

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Dental Hygiene, General & Preventive Dentistry, Gum Disease, Oral Health, Overall Health

wellness conceptIn this latest blog, we’re going to talk a little bit about the big connection between your oral and overall health. What’s going on inside your mouth is almost like a snapshot of what’s going on in the rest of your body. 

Let’s take a look at what clues your oral health can give your dentist in Rocky Mount about your overall health. We’ll learn how problems with your mouth can negatively affect your whole body’s health and wellbeing.

It’s All About Bacteria

Most of them are entirely harmless, but at any given time, your mouth can host up to 500 different types of bacteria! When you miss out on regular brushing and flossing, you’re giving harmful bacteria a place to make a home. This can lead to tooth decay and infections in your gums known as periodontal disease. Because your mouth is also an entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, infection and bacteria can cause issues and serious diseases.

According to the Mayo Clinic, recent studies are revealing new evidence that oral bacteria and inflammation due to gum disease are related to health issues such as: 

1) Diabetes – Research shows that folks who have diabetes tend to have a higher risk for red, swollen gums, and even tooth loss. Doctors and dentists believe diabetes has this effect on a person because it tends to reduce your body’s ability to resist infections.

2) Cardiovascular Disease – If you have gum disease that is more moderate to advanced, evidence now shows that there’s an increase in your risk for heart disease and stroke. Scientists have yet to make a direct correlation that one causes the other; however, gum disease shares similar risk factors to heart disease like smoking, bad eating habits, and diabetes.

3) Kidney Disease – If you’re continually experiencing bad breath or a lousy taste in your mouth, it could be your body’s way of telling you there’s trouble with your kidneys. When they’re not working the way they should be, your kidneys have difficulty breaking down proteins, and a by-product of this is bad breath or a funny taste. 

4) Oral Cancer – Did you know that oral cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer diagnosed each year across the United States? It can be challenging to diagnose, but your mouth will often have common indicators such as lumps, bumps, bleeding, sores, and more. Your Rocky Mount dentist will always check your mouth for any abnormalities while also playing close attention to your neck, head, cheeks, and more.

5) Premature Birth – Premature births and babies with low birth weights have been linked to gum disease. Research shows that bacteria that upset your gums can target a fetus, leading to complications that cause premature birth or a lower than normal weight at birth. 

At our Rocky Mount dental office, we’ll always stress the importance of taking care of your teeth so the rest of your body can stay healthy, too. We can’t wait to see what research uncovers as science and technology progresses each year. Always remember that giving your mouth the same attention you give the rest of your body is going to help ensure you’re able to live a long, happy life. Talk to us about scheduling your next dental visit today!

Summer Foods That Your Smile Will Love

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

summer foodAs you’re enjoying the sun this summer and the foods that tend to go along with long summer days and nights, the team at our Rocky Mount dental office wants to share a few snack ideas with you that your smile will love. 

Top 4 Summer Foods for Your Smile

When choosing what to eat this summer try this basic rule of thumb: if it’s good for your body, it’s good for your teeth. Try some of the following: 

  • Cheese – Cheese is a great snack for your teeth and your bones. It contains both calcium and vitamin D which work together to keep teeth and bones nice and strong. Cheese can also increase saliva production which will help rinse away bacteria and sugar. 
  • Chicken – Enjoying a piece of grilled chicken breast may sound perfect, after all, it’s healthy and delicious. But the drumsticks, thighs, and wing can be more beneficial for your smile since they contain collagen. Collagen is incredibly important for strong, healthy teeth and gums. 
  • Vegetables – Crispy, uncooked vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and celery are fantastic snack options for similar reasons as the other foods. Raw veggies rub away buildup on your teeth as you chew and protects your smile against decay. This quick cleaning may also help keep bad breath away. 
  • Water – So this one isn’t really food, but it is really important. Keeping your mouth hydrated by drinking plenty of water will help rinse away food particles and bacteria before they have a chance to settle in and cause damage. 

What to Avoid

The truth is, not all summer snacks are great for your teeth. There are some that can increase your risk of decay and cavities such as:

  • Condiments
  • Soda
  • Alcohol

These foods and drinks either have a lot of sugar, are acidic, or can dry out your mouth — all of which can increase the chance of decay and cavities. 

Choosing healthy snacks (and drinks!) this summer can go a long way in protecting your teeth against decay. But that doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid some of your favorites if they’re on the “avoid” list. Just remember to enjoy those in moderation and of course, see your dentist in Rocky Mount regularly.

4 FAQs About Dentistry

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

faq'sIf you have questions about dentistry, you’re not alone. At our dental office in Rocky Mount, we love answering questions from our patients and neighbors in order to help them get a strong, healthy smile. Let’s take a look at four of the most common questions we get asked.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental x-rays are extremely safe, but they do still require radiation. However, the radiation exposure from dental x-rays is super small and so are the potential side effects. The use of protective equipment such as a leaded apron farther minimizes risk. Dental x-rays are incredibly helpful when looking at teeth as they allow us to see things that may not yet be visible to the naked eye as well as into the jaw bone. The images produced from x-rays help us catch decay or other problems early when treatment is easier.

Do I Really Need to See the Dentist Twice a Year?

It’s usually recommended that patients get a dental checkup every six months. But unfortunately, many people only go to the dentist when they have a problem. The truth is, your dentist in Rocky Mount suggests visiting regularly to prevent just that. Bi-annual dental checkups can prevent potentially painful problems from ever occurring, and if there does happen to be a concern, catching it early often means easier and cheaper treatment.

Is Flossing Necessary?

Even if you brush your teeth twice a day every day you’re still missing out on thorough cleaning. While brushing does a good job at removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth and mouth, most toothbrushes just can’t get in between the tiny spaces between each tooth. This is where bacteria, plaque, and food particles love to hang out. If not removed regularly the chances for decay greatly increases. But cavities aren’t your only concern. Failing to remove buildup from around and under the gum line can also put you at risk for gum disease.

What’s the Best Way to Whiten Teeth?

There are many smile whitening options available to us today. From over-the-counter strips to whitening toothpaste, professional in-office whitening to take-home trays from your dentist, how do you know which whitening option is best for you? Each whitening method has its own set of pros and cons. The fastest way to get whiter teeth is usually a professional in-office whitening treatment. But it’s not the right choice for everyone. If you’re looking to get a whiter smile, start by talking with your dentist to find the solution that fits your needs.

As always, if you have questions about dentistry, the team at our Rocky Mount dental office is here to help. Simply call and talk with us today!

New Year’s Resolutions for Better Oral Health

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Dental Hygiene, General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health, Why Patients Choose Us

family photoSomething interesting happens around this time every year. People start reflecting on the last twelve months and start thinking about some things they can change in order to make the next twelve even better. These changes, or resolutions, are usually quickly lost within the first few weeks of the new year. But this year, our dental office in Rocky Mount wants to help you make some solid, easy-to-keep resolutions to improve your oral health in 2019.  

Brush & Floss. One of the easiest resolutions you can make for better oral health is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. This means brushing twice a day, every day, and flossing once a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to gently (emphasis on gently) scrub away bacteria and plaque buildup. But brushing alone doesn’t reach all surfaces of your teeth. This is where flossing comes into play. Flossing between each and every tooth daily removes the things that brushing alone can miss. Following this at-home oral health routine is one of the best ways you can improve your oral health.

Drink Water. Drinking water is a simple thing that can make a big difference in your health. Being hydrated allows our bodies to function properly and efficiently. It’s also great for oral health; water rinses away bacteria and neutralizes acid which, if not removed, will cause decay and cavities. Water can also keep breath fresh by fighting off dry mouth. This year, commit to drinking at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day and drinking other beverages in moderation.

Visit Your Dentist in Rocky Mount. We recommend dental visits at least every six months, sometimes more if appropriate. These dental checkups are important for several reasons including:

  • Deep cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup
  • Diagnosing any problems early before they cause bigger problems
  • Monitoring oral health for signs of potential disease, whether oral or systemic

Many systemic, whole-body problems such as heart disease and diabetes can actually first show signs and symptoms in the mouth. When caught early at your regular dental appointments, treatment can be easier and more successful. Signs of more oral-specific problems such as gum disease and oral cancer can also show signs early, making the chances of solving these serious problems more likely.

The best way to follow through with New Year’s resolutions is to write them down, make a plan, and stick with it. When it comes to resolutions involving your oral health, the team at our Rocky Mount dental office is here to help. Call us to schedule an appointment today and let’s get started on the best year your smile has ever seen.

Want a Better Smile? Stop Doing These 5 Things

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

ice cubes with lemonProtecting your smile and maintaining good oral health goes beyond daily brushing and flossing. In fact, many things that cause tooth damage are a result of the things we do every day, sometimes multiple times a day, without realizing it. The team at our dental office in Rocky Mount wants you to stop doing these five things to help better protect your smile and overall oral health.

Chewing Ice

We understand that sometimes you just want to chew on the refreshingly cold ice in your drink. But you really shouldn’t. Chewing on really hard ice cubes can cause tiny chips in your teeth and can even break a large piece of a tooth right off. Gnawing on big pieces of ice can even damage existing dental work such as fillings or crowns which would then need to be repaired.  

Biting Your Nails

Biting your nails is a habit that’s dangerous for your smile and your overall health. Your nails are a perfect place for tons of bacteria to hide and a great spot for you to pick up more bacteria from all the things you touch throughout the day. Now, think about what may be getting into your mouth as you bite or chew on your fingernails? Pretty gross, huh? But that’s not all. Biting your nails can cause chips and cracks in your teeth and may even contribute to jaw pain or damage.

Brushing Too Hard

Believe it or not, there is such as thing as brushing your teeth too hard. A rough tooth scrubbing can scratch the protective layer of tooth enamel and actually leave teeth at increased risk for decay. Using a medium or hard bristled toothbrush may also cause similar damage to teeth. Your gums can also be negatively affected by brushing too hard. They can recede, exposing more of the tooth roots and increasing sensitivity.

Eating Acidic Foods

Acidic foods like citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruit can erode tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to bacteria, increasing the likelihood of decay as well as sensitivity. When you do just have to have that orange or drink that glass of wine, try to pair it with drinking a glass of water to neutralize the acids.

Smoking

Smoking, or really using any type of tobacco, can greatly increase the chance of developing scary oral health problems such as gum disease and oral cancer. Both of these serious health problems can lead to other issues all their own. Smoking can also affect the appearance of teeth by causing them to yellow or take on a slightly brownish tint.

Your dentist in Rocky Mount is dedicated to helping you get and keep a smile you’re proud of. Besides maintaining regular dental appointments and brushing and flossing regularly, pay attention to how some of your daily habits can affect your smile. Try to reduce the risk of damage by knowing your habits and working to stop them.

All About Dental Hygienists

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Dental Hygiene, General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health, Our Team

hygienist and patientThis month we’re taking some time to thank our dental hygienists, and with good reason. Every October is recognized at National Dental Hygiene Month. It’s 31 days dedicated to not only recognizing the important role dental hygienists have at our dental office in Rocky Mount, but also to educate patients on just what our hygiene team does during their appointments.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Dental Hygienist?

Many people know that dental hygienists are responsible for giving each and every patient a thorough, in-depth cleaning at their appointments. But the responsibilities of hygienists go far beyond dental cleanings. These team members also help educate patients on any oral health concerns and proper at-home care, identify any problems early, and are focused on preventing these problems in the first place in order to keep patients healthy. After all, according to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), there is a link between oral health and several problems that can affect the entire body such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

What’s Required to Become a Dental Hygienist?

The first step to becoming a dental hygienist is to get an associates degree. As of 2017, there were more than 300 accredited dental hygiene programs available in the United States. These programs can be found at local community colleges, technical schools, and universities. To earn a degree in dental hygiene it takes about three years of schooling, including labs, clinical work, and classroom lectures. An interest in the sciences including biology, chemistry, and anatomy would make the coursework and a dental hygiene career more enjoyable. Once a degree is earned, dental hygienists are usually required to pass a licensing test.

Top Tips for Patients

When you visit your dentist in Rocky Mount, you will most likely have some time with a dental hygienist. Besides preventing any dental problems from popping up, this hygienist is also responsible for passing along information on how you can keep your teeth healthy in between visits. Some of the most helpful tips are below.

  • Brush for Two Minutes

Brushing every day is great, but brushing twice a day using correct technique and for the recommended two minutes is even better. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and small, gentle circles instead of scrubbing back and forth.

  • Floss Regularly

When you don’t floss regularly, you’re leaving about 35% of each tooth uncleaned. That greatly increases the likelihood that bacteria will wear away enamel and cause decay. Flossing in between every tooth and up under the gum line can minimize this risk.

  • Use Mouthwash, But Choose Wisely

Many times mouthwash is used as a breath freshener, but if you’re using the wrong mouthwash for you it can actually make bad breath worse. If you choose to use mouthwash, choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance or talk with your hygienist about what’s right for you.

This October, and at every visit, we hope that you will thank your dental hygienist for doing their part in keeping your smile healthy. If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental cleaning, we welcome you to call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment today.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

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

embarrassed womanHaving bad breath can be embarrassing. But the team at our Rocky Mount dental office is here to help. In fact, we help patients everyday find out what’s causing their bad breath and work with them to fix it. Today, we’re going beyond the help that we can provide in our office and providing you some tips on what you can do to help get rid of bad breath at home.

Watch What You Eat

Of course if you eat a pasta dish packed with garlic or a hot dog loaded up with diced onions your breath is going to tell everyone you talk to what you had for lunch. But your diet can affect your breath long-term, too. Eating enough fresh and crunchy fruits and veggies such as apples, carrots, or celery regularly will help rub off any bad breath bacteria that may be sticking around on teeth.

Brush, Brush, Brush

Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day not only protects your pearly whites from decay and cavities, it also helps remove any bacteria that’s built up throughout the day (or night!). Besides brushing, flossing helps get rid of the more stubborn bacteria that have wiggled their way up under gums. Don’t forget about your tongue either. A gentle brush or a swipe of a tongue scraper will take care of any bacteria that’s left over.

Fight Off Dry Mouth

There are many things that can cause dry mouth including smoking, mouth breathing, and even certain medications. While dry mouth is uncomfortable, it may also a contribute to bad breath. When a mouth is dried out there’s not enough saliva to clean away bad breath bacteria, which builds up and gives off an unpleasant smell. To protect yourself from dry mouth and bad breath drink a lot of water, talk to your doctor about possibly using a different medication, and make a plan to quit smoking.

Stop Smoking

Speaking of quitting smoking, smokers tend to suffer from something known as smokers’ breath. This unique smell is caused by the tobacco itself and also from the chemicals found in cigarettes. These chemicals bring a stench all their own which lingers around even after someone is done smoking. Quitting can help your health in more than ways than helping freshen your breath. It can reduce your risk for heart disease and several types of cancer.

It Could Be More Than Just Bad Breath

Bad breath doesn’t only affect oral health. The truth is it can also be a sign of a problem somewhere else in the body. Not all bad breath smells the same, and different smells can indicate various health concerns. For example, a slight stench of ammonia may be a symptom of liver cirrhosis. Bad breath has been tied to many systemic diseases including kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, and respiratory infections.

Bad breath should be taken seriously. If it’s a chronic problem, you should see your dentist in Rocky Mount as soon as possible.

Nobody should have to live with the embarrassment of bad breath or the fear that it’s a sign of something serious. Our dental office in Rocky Mount can help. We encourage you to give us a call to schedule an appointment with our trusted team today. We’ll talk with you about your health history, habits, and discuss the best solutions to get rid of your bad breath.

Whole Grains Month

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

bowl of whole grain riceEach September is recognized as Whole Grains Month and serves to raise awareness of the multitude of health benefits that come along with eating foods made from whole grains. The most discussed health benefits of whole grains are usually related to heart health, but as our dental office in Rocky Mount knows, the benefits of eating a well-balanced diet rich in whole grains goes beyond the heart.

Whole Grains Protect Teeth, Too

Whole grains can be great for our hearts and may even help reduce the risk of obesity and cancer. But recent research shows that eating the recommended daily dose of whole grains can protect oral health, too. Foods rich with whole grains are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that work to keep mouths healthy.

  • Magnesium – Magnesium works with calcium to build strong teeth and strengthen enamel to protect them against bacteria and decay.
  • Vitamin E – One of the main functions of vitamin E is to reduce inflammation. This is important in the fight against gum disease. Research shows a positive correlation between high inflammation levels and the risk for developing gum disease, a vitamin E can help keep inflammation levels low.
  • B Vitamins – A variety of B vitamins found in whole grains are beneficial to oral health by lowering the risk of developing mouth sores or canker sores and fighting off bad breath. Some studies also show a positive correlation that certain B vitamins can protect against cavities.

Recommended Daily Whole Grain Servings

The table below shows the recommended daily servings by age range and gender according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

AgeFemaleMale
1-322
4-82.52.5
9-1333.5
14-183.54
19-303.54.5
31+34

Best Sources of Whole Grain

Eating enough whole grains doesn’t need to be difficult, and you don’t need to give up delicious foods like some people think. In fact, making small changes can go a long way in helping you and your family get your daily dose of whole grains.  

  • Swap your morning cereal for a whole grain option
  • Use whole grain bread or wraps for sandwiches
  • Try a dinner loaded with whole grains by buying whole grain pasta
  • Instead of a side of potatoes, eat brown rice
  • Choose whole wheat hamburger or hot dog buns instead of white bread

When shopping for foods high in whole grains look for the gold and black Whole Grain Stamp.

Eat Well, See Your Dentist

What we choose to eat has an effect on not only our overall health, but our oral health too. Your dentist in Rocky Mount urges you to follow a well-balanced diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water.

Eating well and seeing your dentist twice year can keep your smile healthy. Don’t put off your bi-annual dental checkup, call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment.

“Why Is My Mouth Watering So Much?”

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

man wondersTalking about spit isn’t incredibly glamorous, but it sure is important. Especially for those who produce too much of it. When someone has too much saliva, they may be embarrassed and uncomfortable by the common side effects of something called hypersalivation. At our dental office Rocky Mount, we want these patients to know that while it is uncomfortable, excessive salivation may also be a sign of an underlying problem.

Spit Is Important

Believe it or not, spit plays a crucial role in our overall bodily function. It helps break down food as we chew, making it easier to swallow and for the stomach to digest it. Saliva also rinses away bacteria in the mouth and neutralizes acids that otherwise could eat away at tooth enamel and cause cavities. We typically produce about 1.5 quarts of spit every day. However, when more is produced, we’ll experience mouth watering.

What Causes Mouth Watering?

There could be any number of possible explanations to excessive saliva production and mouth watering. While some may not seem serious, the best thing you can do is to call your dentist in Rocky Mount to better understand your underlying cause. Some possible causes of hypersalivation may include:

  • A diet high in starches
  • Medications
  • Acid reflux
  • Infections such as gum disease
  • Neurological conditions including Parkinson’s disease
  • Poisoning

What are The Signs of Hypersalivation?

There are some obvious signs of hypersalivation including drooling, spitting, or constantly swallowing. But there are also other symptoms that aren’t always so noticeable, including:

  • Bad breath
  • Changes in speech
  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • Chapped lips
  • Dehydration

Even though many of the causes of hypersalivation aren’t serious, it’s still something that shouldn’t be ignored. Getting answers to what’s causing your mouth to water is the first step to treating it successfully.

We welcome you to call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment. At your visit we’ll dive into your symptoms, talk about how long you’ve been experiencing them, and review your medical history and medication use. All of this will help us get a thorough picture of what may be going on so we can determine the best way to treat it.

Manual Toothbrush vs. Electric Toothbrush

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

toothbrushesElectric toothbrushes have been gaining popularity over recent years, and many claim to remove more plaque, tartar, and bacteria than traditional manual toothbrushes. But the team at our dental office in Rocky Mount wanted to find out if these promises are actually true. Here’s what we know…

According to the ADA

The American Dental Association (ADA) releases studies every so often on whether electric toothbrushes really clean better than regular ones. Essentially, researchers say that the trick to getting teeth clean is less about the tool used and more about the technique. However, some people may benefit more from using an electric toothbrush over a manual one than others.

Who Benefits Most From Electric Toothbrushes

Those who have difficulty reaching every tooth, especially the ones in the way back, or can’t quite grip a toothbrush and follow a proper brushing motion may benefit from using an electric toothbrush. For example, people with arthritis may find it difficult to maintain a proper brushing technique or hold a manual toothbrush firmly. In this case, an electric toothbrush can simulate the motion otherwise achieved by a gentle manual scrubbing.  

But Are Electric Toothbrushes Better?

It seem as if the jury is still out on whether or not a powered toothbrush actually cleans better. However, several companies that make electric toothbrushes regularly conduct their own research to test their products’ effectiveness. One study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association surveyed 16,000 patients that used an electric toothbrush. At the end of the study, 80% of participants reported better oral health.

Time is Important, Too

One feature that may help make electric toothbrushes more effective may not necessarily be because of their automatic brush heads. Instead, many electric toothbrushes also contain a timer and will shut off after a solid two minutes of brushing. This feature can help ensure that users are brushing long enough to hit each side of every tooth for a thorough clean.

What’s the Best Toothbrush for You?

When it comes to choosing your next toothbrush (which should happen every three to four months), you should select one that fits your needs and that you’re comfortable with. If you have some trouble cleaning your teeth properly, you may want to consider investing in an electric option. Your dentist in Rocky Mount can also suggest which toothbrush is the best choice for you.

In short, any toothbrush, whether it’s manual or electric, is better than no toothbrush at all. And using it properly can help keep your teeth healthy. Of course, you’ll still want to maintain regular dental checkups. If you’re overdue for you visit, schedule an appointment at our Rocky Mount dental office.