5 Ways to Say “No Way!” to Sugar Cravings

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

bowl of chocolatesThis is the time of year when sugary sweets and candy seem to be lurking around every turn of the grocery or pharmacy aisles. There are so many ooey, gooey, colorful, delicious treats we want to eat. But as we all know, your dentist in Rocky Mount will tell you to step away from the sweets because they’re bad for your teeth. Now, we’re not saying you can’t enjoy fall-flavored fun this month, just remember to brush your teeth too!

There are some super easy things you can do to avoid those cravings for candies and cakes. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways you can help steer clear of sugar.

1) Stay Hydrated – Sometimes, when our bodies don’t get enough water, we crave things or become extra hungry, even “hangry.” If you find yourself daydreaming about Devil Dogs or Coffee Cakes, try drinking a full 8-ounce glass of good old water. If you want to make it tastier, try adding some fruit for an infusion that can dress up any beverage.

2) Find Fruit – Refined sugars are very bad for teeth of all ages and stages of life. Instead of having a candy bar, bite into a piece of fruit like bananas, apples, oranges, pears, and watermelon. Sure, fruits contain sugar too, but they’re better for you than sweets.

3) Get SleepYour Rocky Mount dentist will tell you that when you’re not sleeping right, it can cause issues throughout your body. When you’re feeling tired or rundown, it’s easy to gravitate towards foods that are not-so-healthy and filled with sugar. Getting the right amount of rest should help ward off cravings and restore your clarity and the ability to make healthy diet choices.

4) Stop Stress – Just like when you’re a sleepless zombie, being crazy stressed is just as bad for your diet. Excess stress leads to cravings for things that we know aren’t good for our oral and overall health. Fighting these urges when you’re stressed and tired can be a big battle. Remember to relax and do your best to stay mindful and in the moment each day.

5) Eat Regularly – This ranks right up there with our first tip. If your body is out of water or food, then you’re basically out of fuel. Your body is going to take whatever it can get for some much-needed calories. Sometimes our bodies tend to go right for the sweets when we’re hungry instead of healthy options like fruits, veggies, proteins, etc.

The easiest way to avoid a sugar craving is to not be around it at all. We know, it’s not easy to do that this time of year. If you have a bite here and there, please remember to brush and floss. We don’t want sugar taking your smile from healthy to scary. Don’t forget to call our dental office in Rocky Mount if you have any questions about your oral health! We’re always here for you and happy to help.

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!

How Does Vaping Affect Oral Health?

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

e-cigBy now you’ve probably heard of the relatively recent rise in the popularity of vaping as an alternative to traditional smoking. You’ve probably heard that this new craze isn’t as safe as you may have originally thought. New research suggests that vaping has a direct correlation to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. But that’s not all. Our dental office in Rocky Mount also wants you to know that vaping can have a serious effect on your oral health, too. 

Limited Research 

With the relatively fast increase in e-cigarette popularity, research has been a little slow to catch up. But that doesn’t mean researchers aren’t working hard to report their findings. While more research needs to be done to find out just how bad vaping can be for our bodies and oral health, there are a few things several studies have already found. Here’s what your dentist in Rocky Mount knows.

Dry Mouth 

One part of vaping is selecting a juice or flavored liquid. However, some of these liquids contain ingredients such as propylene glycol that are known to contribute to or cause dry mouth. Dry mouth may not sound like that big of a deal, but if it’s untreated, it can increase the risk for decay, bad breath, and gum disease. 

Inflamed Gums

Evidence found in a 2016 study suggested that vaping can cause gum tissue to inflame, which can put you at risk for gum disease. One possible explanation for this inflammation may be the nicotine itself. Nicotine may reduce blood flow to the gums, and without proper blood flow, the mouth’s ability to fight off bacteria diminishes and the likelihood of inflammation and gum disease increases.

Cell Damage

Another study conducted in 2018 found that vaping may also cause damage to the cell’s DNA. This lowers or eliminates a cell’s ability to divide and grow and can essentially kill off a cell’s life prematurely. The same study suggests that cell damage is directly linked to bad breath, bone loss, tooth loss, and gum disease. 

Many companies that sell vapes claim that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking, and some even say it can help people quit smoking. However, studies contradict this. For example, one study concluded that e-cigarettes helped current smokers reduce the number 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:

  • Reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke a day and continue to decrease over time. 
  • Using a nicotine replacement that has been approved by the FDA. 
  • Researching different ways other people have quit. You can start by visiting the American Lung Association

If you’re a smoker or use e-cigarettes, it’s never too late to quit. Work on finding the right solution for you and of course, call our Rocky Mount dental office if we can help in any way. 

Oral Health Risks for Seniors

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

seniors take selfiesAs we get closer to Senior Citizens Day on August 21st, our dental office in Rocky Mount wanted to dedicate a blog to some of our most treasured and favorite patients — our seniors and their families. Today, we’ll focus on some of the most common oral health risks that tend to affect senior citizens most often, and how to protect your smile against them. 

  • Discolored Teeth – Yellowing or darkening of teeth can happen to anyone, but as we get older, we may start to see our teeth change color and lose their whiteness and brightness. While many things can contribute to tooth discoloration including smoking and tobacco use, the foods we eat, our morning coffee, or our evening glass of red wine, the reason we tend to see discoloration as we age is a bit different. Many times our tooth enamel, which is the white outer coating of our teeth, gets thinner as we get older. This can actually make the insides of your teeth visible, and since the color of the inner tooth is often dark and a bit yellow, the teeth also appear yellow or dark. 
  • Dry Mouth – Dry mouth may seem like a minor concern and nothing worth worrying over. However, if left untreated, dry mouth can increase the risk of decay, gum disease, or even tooth loss. Dry mouth can be caused by any number of things but most commonly it’s a result of medication. The truth is, many prescription medications and over-the-counter medications list dry mouth as a side effect. Why is this concerning? When the mouth dries out, it means there’s not enough saliva to rinse away dangerous bacteria, leaving your teeth exposed to the very thing that can easily create a cavity
  • Tooth Loss – One of the biggest fears we all have when it comes to our oral health is the misconception that we’re going to experience tooth loss at some point in our lives. But this isn’t necessarily the case. If you take good care of your teeth and see your dentist in Rocky Mount regularly, you very well may be able to keep your natural teeth for your entire life. In fact, the best thing you can do to protect yourself against tooth loss is to brush and floss every day, avoid tobacco products, and seek care early if you’re experiencing a problem. However, if you do happen to lose a tooth or need to have to one removed… don’t panic. There are many tooth replacement options available such as dental implants, a dental bridge, or dentures. 
  • Gum Disease – Gum disease is another condition that can affect anyone. But it’s very serious and tends to affect us more as we age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 70% of those over the age of 65 have gum disease. Gum disease is an infection that occurs under the gum line and can cause red, painful bleeding gums. But that’s not all. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and may even increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and as recent research suggests, Alzheimer’s disease. 

While there’s nothing we can do to keep ourselves from getting older, there are things we can do to protect our smiles even as we age including: 

  • Brush and floss every day 
  • See your dentist in Rocky Mount at least twice a year
  • Drink plenty of water, especially if you have dry mouth 
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco

If it’s been longer than six months since you or a family member has been to the dentist, we welcome you to call our dental office in Rocky Mount to schedule an appointment with us 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.

“What Do I Do If I Have a Dental Emergency?”

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

man with toothacheLike any type of emergency, a dental emergency can be serious, and you should act quickly. But not all dental emergencies require the same type of treatment. Knowing what to do if you have a dental emergency is key to successful treatment and easing any pain you have. At our dental office in Rocky Mount, we’d like to share some of the most common dental emergencies and how to handle each one.  

Broken/Chipped Tooth

What to Do: Clean your mouth and any pieces of the tooth you can find by rinsing with warm water. If you happen to be bleeding, apply a piece of gauze and pressure to the area to help stop it. A cold compress can reduce swelling and ease any pain that you may have.

Lost Filling

What to Do: Losing a filling will leave a hole in your tooth, which can be pretty painful. Get to the dentist as soon as you can. While you’re waiting, you can fill the hole with dental cement that you can buy at many pharmacies or grocery stores. Keep in mind this is a temporary solution.

Knocked Out Tooth

What to Do: One of the scarier dental emergencies is having a tooth knocked out. In this case, promptness is incredibly important. If you can get the tooth back into the socket within an hour, the chance of saving the tooth increases. There are a few things you should know when handling a knocked out tooth. First, only touch the tooth by the crown and do not touch the roots. Then try to place the tooth back into the socket. If this isn’t possible, store the tooth in a cup of milk or keep it under your tongue with some spit.

Toothache

What to Do: A toothache can come on suddenly but typically means a problem has been brewing for a little while. Reduce pain by rinsing with warm salt water, applying a cold compress against the cheek, or using a bit of clove oil to the sore spot.

See Your Dentist in Rocky Mount

Even though there are things you can do to help reduce pain related to a dental emergency, it’s still crucial to see your dentist quickly. Early intervention by a dental professional is the absolute best way to successfully treating dental injuries and should not be delayed.

If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, we encourage you to call our Rocky Mount dental office as soon as you can. We’re here to help.

Explore The Power of Dental X-Rays (And All They Do For You)

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

dental x-raysIt’s very rare that a day goes by at our Rocky Mount dental office where we don’t rely on the power of x-rays to help us plan for or even complete a case. We’re able to get a good look at everything from your teeth and gums to your jaw bone and bite health. We can see things that aren’t always visible at first glance.

With the advancements in dental technology, there are many different types of x-rays available on both traditional film and digitally. Most dental offices have made the switch to digital x-rays, but it’s important to note that today’s dental x-rays are very safe and give off very little stray radiation. Dental x-rays are advanced thanks to changes in dentistry over the years relying on using:

  • Lower x-ray dosages
  • Higher quality film
  • Film holders
  • Well-designed, full-body lead aprons lined with lead

What Kind of Dental X-Rays Do I Need?

When it comes to dental x-rays, there are two types of ways your Rocky Mount dentist might go about getting the right images to help your smile. Besides having the option of having photos taken on traditional film or images that are stored digitally, dentists can choose either an intraoral or extraoral x-ray.

Intraoral means inside your mouth and extraoral means outside the mouth. Intraoral x-rays are the most common type of dental x-ray and provide an extremely high level of detail to help us diagnose cavities, examine your tooth roots, look over your bony areas, check the status of developing teeth, or monitor ones that have yet to erupt.

Extraoral x-rays are usually relied on to help dentists and orthodontists focus on the bones in your head, mainly your upper and lower jaw. We can see the bigger picture of what’s going on from your head to neck and how it’s all connected to your oral health and growth.

How Many Types of Dental X-Rays Are There?

If you combine both intraoral and extraoral radiographs, there are eight different kinds of x-rays that dentists can use to treat patients. Some of the most common ones include:

1) Panoramic X-Rays – Gives the dentist a full view of your nasal area, jaws, teeth, joints, and sinuses. Orthodontists love doing these x-rays before treatment, so they know how things are growing and coming together in younger patients.

2) Periapical X-Rays – Focusing on one tooth, we can see it in its entirety from crown to bone.

3) Bitewing X-Rays – These images are taken when we need a better look at your back teeth or molars. It helps in diagnosing wisdom teeth problems and shows the dentist how your teeth fit together.

4) Occlusal X-Rays – This is helpful for younger patients because these images give us a clear view of what’s going on underneath the gum line and how teeth are placed. We get a perfect view of both your upper and lower arch. We can also see if you have extra teeth that never broke through your gums.

If you’re interested in learning more about x-rays or want to know if you’re due for a set or two, please call your dentist in Rocky Mount. (If you’re looking for a new dentist and need some x-rays, we’re happy to help with that too!)

Your Smile Loves Calcium. Do You?

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

foods with calciumWe all know the old advertising slogan – “Milk. It does a body good.” This is mainly in part because it’s rich in calcium, a nutrient that’s vital to helping your teeth and bones stay strong enough to last a lifetime. At our Rocky Mount  dental office, we always want you and your family to make the healthiest, best decisions to fit your lifestyle. Millions of Americans choose to follow diets that restrict or don’t include dairy, such as vegetarians or vegans. There are also millions of other Americans who are known as lactose intolerant and can’t do dairy either.

There are plenty of ways you can get calcium without strictly relying on cheese, yogurt, and milk. (Although, if you do enjoy them make sure they’re part of your regular diet to help boost your calcium intake.) Let’s take a look at how a diet rich in calcium affects your teeth and your bones.

Getting Calcium Without The Cow

There are a variety of health or personal reasons that some people choose to avoid dairy products. There’s no reason to worry, because there are plenty of delicious, nutritious foods out there that can supply your body’s demand for calcium.

Fortified products: Orange juice, waffles, tofu

Veggies, Nuts, and Beans: Leafy greens, almonds, soybeans, soy milk, spinach, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.

Teeth & Calcium: A Love Story

Your teeth, gums, and jaw bone are all affected by the amount of calcium you have in your daily diet. Your dentist in Rocky Mount will tell you that calcium will help your teeth stay healthy and protected against cavities, decay, and tooth loss. It’s a match made in dental heaven.

FUN FACT: 99% of the calcium in your body is found in your teeth and bones. – Institute of Medicine

Your gums appreciate calcium too because it helps them stay healthy free from damaging bacteria and disease. Calcium also helps your muscles and blood vessels work more effectively.

Bones & Calcium: Another Love Story

Why should your Rocky Mount dentist care so much about calcium and your bones? Well, obviously we want the best for your overall health, but in terms of your oral health, we know how important calcium is for your jaw bone. Your jaw bone serves as the anchor for your teeth, so you’ll want to keep it healthy for as long as possible to avoid tooth loss down the road. It’s also super important to remember that the other bones in your body also need calcium to help prevent damaging osteoporosis later in life.

Getting the right amount of calcium in your diet, no matter what your age, is very important to help keep your smile and your gums healthy. It’s really a benefit that your whole body will thank you for. We thank you for reading your blog. If you have questions or concerns about your smile, you know who to call. We’re always happy to help in any way we can!

The Signs of Oral Cancer

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

oral cancer awareness ribbonApril is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and at our dental office in Rocky Mount, we know just how serious and scary oral cancer can be. To do our part to help raise awareness, we’re here to share facts, signs, and risk factors of oral cancer with our patients and neighbors.

Facts About Oral Cancer

  • More than 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year
  • Oral cancer kills more than 8,500 people annually
  • Nearly 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in tobacco users
  • Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women
  • Patients who have had oral cancer once are up to 20 times more likely to develop another form of cancer

The Importance of a Fast Diagnosis

Oral cancer can be treated, however, treatment is much more successful when the disease is caught early. This is one reason why bi-annual visits to your dentist in Rocky Mount are so important. You see, unlike other types of cancer, there are no official timing guidelines for screening for oral cancer like there is for, say, colon or breast cancer. Your regular dental visits essentially act as regular oral cancer screenings. These checkups allow your dental team to identify any potential signs of oral cancer early so that you can get treatment fast.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

One thing that can make oral cancer difficult to diagnose is that its signs and symptoms can disguise themselves as common oral health problems that don’t seem like a big deal. However, you’re better safe than sorry… so if you notice any of the signs below, call your dentist as soon as you can.

  • A sore or discoloration that doesn’t go away
  • A lump inside the mouth or neck
  • Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
  • Changes in voice
  • Chronic bad breath

Risk Factors

Even though oral cancer can happen to anyone, there are some people who may be at increased risk including:

  • Those over 55
  • Current or former tobacco users
  • Heavy drinkers

Oral cancer is a very serious disease. Reduce your risk by changing any risky habits and commit to seeing your dentist every six months. Of course, if you suspect you’re at risk for oral cancer, or are concerned by any potential signs, we welcome you to call our Rocky Mount dental office.

What Are Signs That I Grind My Teeth?

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

man grinds teethDo you or someone in your family grind their teeth? Did you know you could be grinding your teeth and not even know it? At our dental office in Rocky Mount, we see so many side effects of teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) on teeth of patients of all ages. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about grinding your teeth and what we can do to stop the damage to your smile.

What You Need to Know About Bruxism

Your Rocky Mount dentist can tell if you grind your teeth just by looking at them. Grinding usually wears teeth down, causing cracks and chips that can lead to further damaged or broken teeth. That’s why it’s important to address any bruxism issues you may have as soon as possible so your smile stays healthy for a lifetime.

Some additional signs that your grinding or clenching your teeth can also include:

Jaw joint pain or discomfort

– Facial pain

– Headaches or migraines

– Jaw muscle contractions

– Broken restorations

– Tooth sensitivity

– Enamel loss

– Damaged gums

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, there could be a good chance that you’re one of the nearly 30 million people who grind their teeth either during sleep or even subconsciously as you go about your day.

Is there something not right about your smile? Are you concerned that you’re grinding your teeth? The best way to help yourself is to call our Rocky Mount dental office right away. We can give you a comprehensive, thorough exam and learn more about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing. From there, we’ll be able to see what kind of shape your teeth are in, address the severity of your teeth grinding, and put together a personalized treatment plan for you.

Don’t put your teeth at risk for damage. Talk to the talented team at our dental office in Rocky Mount today! Our job isn’t just to do fillings and clean teeth, we’re here to provide you with complete oral health care you can always rely on. Whatever the outcome of your consultation or what your needs may be, we’ll take the time to diagnose your condition so you can get the right kind of treatment to help you and your smile stay pain-free.