4 Causes of Gum Pain

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

man examines his gumsMany people think that it’s normal for gums to hurt or bleed during brushing or flossing. However, that’s a pretty big misconception. Whenever your gums bleed or are painful, whether this occurs while brushing or not, it’s usually a sign that you should see your dentist in Rocky Mount. Even though gum pain may be nothing more than a temporary minor issue, there is a chance that it may be a sign of something more serious. Let’s take a look at some causes of gum pain. 

Canker Sores

Canker sores can pop up in various places in your mouth, including your gum tissue. They can seem to come out of nowhere and can be painful, as well as annoying. A canker sore can appear either red or red with a white coating. They’re different from a cold sore in that they aren’t contagious, but they can raise concern. Not to worry, canker sores are usually no big deal and should go away on their own within 7-14 days. However, if a canker sore doesn’t disappear, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Rocky Mount

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a serious health condition that, if left untreated, can lead to death. However, oftentimes oral cancer treatment is very successful, but it’s key that you catch it early. Remember when we said that if you have a canker sore that doesn’t go away you should call your dentist in Rocky Mount? Oral cancer is why we highly recommend that. Oral cancer can initially appear as a tiny sore, but unlike a canker sore, oral cancer doesn’t go away. Oral cancer can affect any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including the gums, so if you’re experiencing gum pain along with a sore, see your dentist. 

Minor Burns

You know that feeling when you’re so hungry you just can’t wait for that delicious pizza to cool off before taking a bite? Do you know the feeling that comes after that, the “oh, hot, hot, hot” feeling? Well, those impatient bites of super-hot food can cause minor burns to the roof of the mouth, as well as the gums. These burns can result in temporary gum pain. This type of gum pain usually isn’t something to worry about and will heal on its own. But in the future, we recommend taking it slowly and letting your food cool a bit before eating it. 

Gum Disease

Perhaps the most common explanation to gum pain is gum disease. Gum disease is usually categorized by red, swollen, painful gums that bleed while brushing and flossing. If not treated, gum disease will progress to more severe stages and cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. This can eventually cause teeth to fall out. But that’s not all. Gum disease has also been linked to other problems throughout the body including an increased risk for heart disease, kidney disease, and certain cancers. 

Gum pain may be no cause for concern, but if it doesn’t go away or is chronic, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Rocky Mount as soon as you can so that we can find the underlying cause behind your pain and recommend the best treatment for you. 

Does Asthma Cause Cavities?

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

asthma inhalerAsthma is one of the most common diseases in America and affects approximately 25 million Americans. While asthma mainly affects the lungs and respiratory system, your dentist in Rocky Mount knows that there is also a lesser-known connection between asthma and problems with oral health.   

A Look at the Research

The hypothesis that asthma sufferers also have an increased risk of cavities and other oral health problems has been around for quite some time. In fact, this theory was so strong and has been around for so long that there is now substantial research on the connection between the two. Let’s take a look at what scientists have found. 

Mouth Breathing

One of the most common symptoms of asthma is difficulty breathing. This occurs as a result of airway inflammation. To try and breathe deeper, many asthma sufferers will breathe through their mouths instead of their noses. While mouth breathing in and of itself isn’t a problem, what happens as a result of it is. Many mouth breathers experience dry mouth because the constant exposure to air dries out saliva, and production can’t keep up. That’s what’s concerning to your dentist in Rocky Mount. When there’s not enough saliva in the mouth, bacteria and acids that are usually rinsed away with it are left lingering around. These bacteria and acids can wear away tooth enamel, and the result is often decay and cavities. 

Medications

Even if an asthma patient doesn’t breathe out of their mouth, their medications, such as an inhaler, can also result in dry mouth. However, this definitely does not mean an asthma patient should stop using their medication as prescribed- as the benefits outweigh the risks. Plus, there are ways to decrease the effects of dry mouth caused by either medication or mouth breathing. 

Lower the Risk

Since much of the research ties dry mouth to the potential increased risk of developing tooth decay or cavities, the best thing to do is combat the dry mouth. The good news is that there are easy ways to do this including: 

Drinking A Lot of Water. Our bodies need water to function properly, and our oral health needs to stay hydrated to continue to produce protective saliva. Those who suffer from dry mouth may need more water than those who do not. When in doubt, or whenever the mouth feels dry, drink water. 

More About Water. If the mouth feels particularly dry after using an asthma treatment or taking asthma medication, a quick rinse of water can help remove any of the drying ingredients from the mouth, which can then keep the mouth from feeling too dry for too long.  

Chewing Gum. Chomping on a piece of sugar-free gum can also help the body produce more saliva. It’s a natural process that occurs whenever we chew to help digestion. 

Telling Your Dentist in Rocky Mount. As with any piece of health history, it’s important that your dentist knows about any asthma diagnosis as well as any medication used. This will help customize treatment and allow the dental team to keep a close eye on any potential oral health side effects.

Remember, everyone, including asthma sufferers and non-asthma sufferers, can benefit from proper dental care. To fully protect your teeth against decay and to lower the risk of cavities, make sure to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and maintain checkups with your dentist in Rocky Mount

Helpful Hints to Protect Your Oral Health

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

protected familyDuring these unprecedented times, we’ve all become much more focused on caring for our overall health. But did you know that taking care of your oral health is also a crucial part of staying healthy? Join your dentist in Rocky Mount as we share some helpful hints that you can use to protect your oral and overall health now and forever.

Wash Your Hands

This important message has been spread far and wide over the past few weeks, and with good reason. Washing your hands several times a day can help remove germs and keep you healthy. It’s also important to wash your hands prior to brushing or flossing your teeth. So before you pick up your toothbrush or floss, scrub your mitts for at least 20 seconds and never put unwashed hands or fingers in your mouth. 

Don’t Bite Your Nails

Speaking of not putting your hands in your mouth, now is a great time to stop your nail-biting habit. Not only are our nails packed with dirt and bacteria that are easily transferred into our mouths when we nibble on our nails, but you can also damage your teeth from the constant biting. 

Protect Your Toothbrush

Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine has always been important, and your dentist in Rocky Mount still recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day. But you also need to protect your toothbrush from damage and bacteria buildup. To do this, make sure you store your toothbrush properly. This means keeping your toothbrush away from other ones in your house — a few inches will do. You should also store your toothbrush upright with the bristles at the top and keep it uncovered. Avoid cross-contamination by never sharing your toothbrush with anyone, as that can lead to an unhealthy exchange of bodily fluids. 

Replace & Disinfect Your Toothbrush

If you do happen to get sick, you should invest in a new toothbrush once you feel better. In the meantime, you can disinfect your toothbrush using a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. In fact, a peer-reviewed study has found that 0.5% hydrogen peroxide effectively reduces coronavirus infectivity. To make this mixture for your toothbrush, follow these steps:

  • Mix 1 fl oz of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 5 fl oz of water
  • Soak your toothbrush in the mixture for 10 minutes. Dump out the mixture.
  • Rinse your toothbrush prior to brushing. 

Even if you haven’t been sick but your toothbrush is 3-4 months old, or if the bristles are frayed, you should still purchase a new toothbrush. 

At this time, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends postponing any routine dental care for three weeks. Please know that your dentist in Rocky Mount is eagerly awaiting the day when we can actively see all of our patients again in our clean and safe office. Until that time, take care of your oral health at home to protect your teeth and your overall health. 

Good Nutrition Equals a Healthy Mouth

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

nutritionIt’s no secret that we care about our neighbors and are committed to helping them have the healthiest smiles possible. But there are several things that go into getting a healthy grin beyond simply brushing and flossing alone. The truth is, one of the biggest factors directly related to good oral is good nutrition. During this National Nutrition Month, your dentist in Rocky Mount wants to share some nutritious tips to help not only fuel your body… but protect your teeth, too. 

Healthy Diet, Happy Mouth

Providing yourself and your family with healthy food choices can go a long way in keeping their mouths happy and healthy, and finding smile-friendly treats isn’t difficult. In fact, the best foods for oral health are easily found in your local grocery store. So the next time you’re wandering up and down the aisles trying to choose foods your family will love, try these tooth-friendly foods:

  • Fruits and Veggies – Snacks found in these two tasty food groups should make up 50 percent of the foods you and your family consume daily. Look for fresh fruits and veggies with a little crunch. Celery, cucumbers, carrots, and apples are all great options. 
  • Fish, Eggs, and Meat These phosphorus-rich foods help boost enamel strength and ensure that it stays strong and healthy.
  • Water is Wonderful – Nutrition isn’t only about what we eat but also about what we drink. When it comes to oral health, water is always best. H2O is your Rocky Mount dentist’s beverage of choice since it helps neutralize acids in the mouth, rinse away bacteria, and stimulate saliva production, all of which help protect teeth. 

Defend Against the Snack Attack

Everyone loves a good mid-snack, and eating smaller snacks in between meals can help keep your body fueled and your metabolism moving. But not all snacks are created equal. Options packed with sugar or carbs can increase the risk of decay and cavities. Instead, opt for cheese, trusted veggies, or hard-boiled eggs. However, constant snacking, even on healthier foods, exposes your teeth to bacteria and leftover foodstuffs all day long. Try to brush your teeth after every meal and snack or rinse with water if you can’t fully brush. 

Calcium is Key

This magical mineral is essential for strong teeth and bones. Obvious sources such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are excellent choices. But did you know that certain produce also packs a calcium punch? Collard greens, broccoli, kale, spinach, and soybeans are all awesome sources of calcium. But remember that calcium doesn’t act alone and needs vitamin D in order to be absorbed. Try to include vitamin D rich foods in your diet such as fatty fish, egg yolks, mushrooms, and vitamin D enriched cereal and oatmeal. 

Besides practicing good oral hygiene habits and seeing your dentist in Rocky Mount at least twice a year, the best way to protect your smile is by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. This National Nutrition Month, and every month, commit to fueling you and your family’s bodies with body-healthy and smile-healthy foods. 

Why You Should Always Brush Your Tongue

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

tongue scraperYour dentist in Rocky Mount may spend a lot of time talking about the health of your teeth and the best way to take care of them. After all, dentists are responsible for doing everything they can to make sure your pearly whites stay strong for a lifetime. But there’s another part of your oral health that’s often forgotten but shouldn’t be ignored — your tongue. 

Fast Facts

Your tongue is a fascinating part of your body and is responsible for a lot of important things. In fact, your tongue helps you speak, chew, and swallow. It’s also one of the strongest muscles in your entire body! But your tongue can also hide some dangerous bacteria, and if you don’t care for your tongue properly, these bacteria can cause a lot of problems. 

Benefits of a Clean Tongue

Every time you brush and floss, make sure to give your tongue some attention. Properly cleaning your tongue can help: 

  • Food Taste Better. As we’ve mentioned, tongues can hold a lot of bacteria. These bacteria can build up on taste buds and influence the way foods taste. By cleaning your tongue daily, you’re freeing up your taste buds to absorb all of your favorite foods so that you’re able to savor every last delicious bite. 
  • Freshen Breath. Even though bad breath can be caused by many different things, tongue bacteria are often to blame. When you don’t remove all of the bacteria build-up from your tongue, it can put off an unpleasant odor. If you notice that your breath isn’t so minty-fresh, make sure you’re brushing your tongue every day. If the bad breath doesn’t go away, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Rocky Mount as it may be a sign of something more serious. 
  • Make Teeth Healthier. Your teeth are in constant contact with your tongue — all day and all night. This means that anything lurking on your tongue can easily transfer to your teeth. So when bacteria are left lingering around on your tongue, it can affect your teeth and cause decay, cavities, or even gum disease. 

How to Brush Your Tongue

It’s just as important to brush your tongue every day as it is to brush and floss. So every time you pick up your toothbrush, make sure to show your tongue some love. Proper tongue brushing includes starting from the back and gently brushing forward, then swiping your toothbrush from left to right. If you have trouble brushing your tongue, try using a tongue scraper. This little tool is also effective at removing tongue bacteria and may be easier for those with a sensitive gag reflex. 

As always, make sure you see your dentist in Rocky Mount twice a year, as well as practice good oral hygiene habits at home… including your tongue. 

Have No Fear at Your Dentist This Year

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

young woman in dental chairTwo things: (1) It’s hard to believe that we’re closing out 2019 already. What happened to the rest of this year? (2) How is it already time for ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and all things Halloween? 

How do you and your family welcome fall and closeout October? Do you take in some of the local festivities? Do you get together with friends, complete with crazy costumes and treats? Everyone loves to have a good time this time of year, and maybe even have a good scare. However, we hope that being scared has nothing to do with how you feel about seeing a dentist in Rocky Mount

For some patients, there’s nothing they dread more than being in the dentist’s chair. We get it! It’s enough to make you feel like you’re stuck in a bad Halloween movie. Have you ever felt this way? Do you still think this way about seeing the dentist? Don’t worry; you’re 100 percent NOT alone!

Dental Anxiety Affects Millions

The Cleveland Clinic says between 9% and 15% of Americans say they avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear. Does this hit close to home for you or someone in your family? As your appointment approaches, so does the feeling of anxiety or uneasiness. Maybe your heart races and your palms begin to sweat. While this sounds like the beginning of a spooky campfire story, we know it’s all too real for patients who are afraid of seeing the dentist.

Your Rocky Mount dentist wants you to know you’re not alone in your struggle! So many other Americans (approximately 30-40 million) are nervous about seeing the dentist, too. Please understand that there’s no reason to feel this way, not with us. We’re here to make sure you’re at ease and comfortable every visit, every step of the way.

We’re Always Here to Help You Stay Healthy

When you avoid seeing the dentist or cancel cleanings out of fear, you’re going to put your smile and yourself at risk. Coming to see us, allowing us to have a look at your smile, and getting a thorough cleaning is way less stressful than sitting at home worrying. Trust us!

Putting off taking care of your teeth can leave you with undetected problems that can lead to more significant, more extensive health issues in the future, such as: 

– Periodontal or gum disease with red, bleeding gums

– Loosening or shifting in your teeth

– Teeth that fall out

– Receding gums 

– Noticeable lousy breath or dry mouth

You’re Backed By Cool Tools and Technology

There’s nothing to be nervous or scared about if you’ve got an appointment scheduled with us. You should even feel a little excited about coming to see us. We’re going to make sure your every minute with us is comfortable and stress-free. We’ve also got an incredibly talented and highly trained team equipped with the right tools and technology to help you feel at home. 

Like we’ve said, you’re not alone in your struggles with dental anxiety. We’ve helped so many patients like you with dental fears and anxieties move on and get the dental care that they deserve. Don’t live in fear this Halloween because of an upcoming appointment at our dental office in Rocky Mount. Talk to us about how we can help you today!

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.