What You Need to Know About Denture Care

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

lab tech with dentureTooth loss is, unfortunately, incredibly common. In fact, more than 36 million Americans don’t have any natural teeth. For these people, dentures can be an excellent solution. Dentures not only replace teeth, they can also help restore confidence and the lives of those who get them. However, your dentist in Rocky Mount wants patients to know that dentures need to be properly cared for in order to stay clean and comfortable for the wearer. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about denture care.

The Importance of Proper Care

Those who decide to get dentures have made an investment to not only replace their teeth but also to enhance their lives and overall oral health. Even though dentures are not natural teeth, they still require specific care in order to last for as long as possible and remain strong, sturdy, and fitting well. If dentures are not cared for, bacteria and plaque can build up and contribute to other oral health problems such as bad breath and gum disease

What to Do

There are several things denture wearers should do to protect their dentures. 

DO remove and thoroughly rinse your dentures after every meal. Doing this as soon as possible following meals quickly removes food particles that may be left behind. If leftover food isn’t removed, it can attract bacteria and also lead to bad breath.

DO brush your dentures every day. Before going to bed, make sure to gently brush your dentures with a soft-bristled toothbrush and denture-safe toothpaste. This will help remove any bacteria that collected during the day and keep your dentures clean. It’s also important to brush any natural teeth you may have as well as your tongue, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth.

DO soak your dentures. The best way to keep your dentures from wearing down and changing shape is to keep them moist whenever they aren’t being worn. This means soaking them every night in water or a denture solution. Ask your dentist in Rocky Mount which denture-soaking solution is best for you. 

DO rinse your dentures before putting them in each morning. This is especially important if you use a denture-soaking solution. Thoroughly rinse your dentures in warm water before reinserting them into your mouth to wash off any excess solution or particles that may have fallen off during soaking. 

DO see your Rocky Mount dentist regularly. These appointments are crucial to making sure your denture is fitting properly and your overall health is in good shape. If you’re experiencing any discomfort with your dentures, make sure to talk with your dental team at your visits. 

What Not to Do

Just like there are things you should do to protect your dentures, there are things you should avoid. 

DON’T use abrasive toothpaste or hard, stiff toothbrush bristles. Anything that’s abrasive, including certain toothpaste, toothbrushes, and even brushing too hard can damage your dentures.

DON’T try to adjust or fix your own dentures. If something breaks or your denture becomes uncomfortable, see your dentist. 

DON’T drop them or store them in a place where they can easily fall on the floor. Dentures are fragile and can break easily if dropped. 

If you’d like more information about how to properly care for your dentures or if you think dentures may be the right tooth-replacement treatment for you, call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment. We’re always happy to help. 

Surprising Things About Spit

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

cheek swab testWhen we think of spit, we may automatically think about how gross it is, especially when someone spits in public. But what would you say if we told you that spit is actually something pretty incredible? Join your dentist in Rocky Mount as we talk about some of the surprising facts about spit.  

We Produce A LOT of Spit

Throughout our lives, we will produce an average of 25,000 quarts of spit. That’s enough to fill a standard swimming pool! While that may seem like a ton of spit, it sure is handy when it comes to your oral and overall health. 

Spit & Oral Health

Believe it or not, spit is in our mouths for a reason or rather several reasons. First, spit plays an important role every time we eat. As we chew, our bodies produce more saliva, and it’s this saliva that helps us breakdown food to make it more digestible. But that’s not all. Saliva also helps rinse away any leftover food particles that may have been left behind long after you finish eating. This helps keep your teeth clean and bacteria-free. Spit serves yet another purpose — neutralizing acid. Acid can wear away the protective tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to bacteria. But with saliva on our side to neutralize the acid, teeth are protected against decay

The Problem With Not Enough Saliva

When salivary glands don’t produce enough spit, the side effect is dry mouth, which is exactly what it sounds like. Dry mouth can leave your mouth feeling like a desert- no matter how much water you drink. While dry mouth can certainly be annoying, it’s also something you should talk to your Rocky Mount dentist about. Dry mouth can be a serious problem that, if left untreated, could certainly increase the risk of bad breath, decay, and even gum disease. 

Spit Can Save a Life

The benefits of spit go beyond oral health alone and can be used to help those with blood cancers. Blood cancers are, unfortunately, common. Every three minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with blood cancer. But thanks to organizations like BeTheMatch.org, more and more people are being treated successfully. You see, bone marrow is one of the most common treatments of blood cancer, and it’s often hard to find a compatible match. But thanks to spit and a national registry, it’s becoming much easier. A simple swap of spit and entry into a database provides donor match organizations access to find the right bone marrow match for blood cancer patients, increasing the chance of survival. 

When it comes to spitting, it may still be gross. But that doesn’t mean the spit itself is necessarily gross, too. Spit can benefit us in many ways and protect our smiles against the dangers of bacteria and acid. It can also help save a life. 

The Oral Health & Diabetes Connection

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

world diabetes dayWhen you start seeing a new dentist in Rocky Mount, one of the first things you’ll probably have to do is fill out a medical history form. But why? In short, your dentist needs to know what may be affecting your overall health and, in turn, your oral health. Diabetes is one of those diseases that’s especially important for us to know about because it can increase the risk for certain oral health conditions such as gum disease. Often, oral health is an overlooked part of many diseases, including diabetes. So today, we want to share some of the most commonly asked questions we get about diabetes and how it’s connected to oral health. 

“What Does My Dentist Need to Know About My Diabetes?”

If you’re diabetic, you already know how important it is to share that information with your dentist in Rocky Mount. But knowing your diagnosis may not be enough. Be sure to share things such as: 

  • Any changes in your medication or overall health
  • The results of some of your diabetes blood tests (the A1C or fasting blood glucose)
  • If you need antibiotics before and after dental treatment for uncontrolled diabetes

We always encourage our patients to share important medical information with us. After all, we’re here to help, and we truly love getting to know our patients. In fact, the more we know, the better we can care for your smile and keep you healthy. 

“How Does My Blood Sugar Affect My Oral Health?”

Maintaining blood glucose levels is an everyday part of any diabetic’s life. We understand that sometimes it can be a challenge, or even frustrating, and we know that you want to keep your numbers in check just as much as we do. But it’s also important for you to know that maintaining blood sugar can not only help you control diabetes, it can also reduce the risk of oral health problems associated with diabetes such as loose teeth or gum disease. Gum disease is particularly concerning for diabetics because it can cause blood sugar levels to rise and make managing diabetes more difficult. 

“Do I Need to Do Anything Differently to Take Care of My Smile?”

The short answer to this is no, you don’t need to do anything differently to take care of your smile, but you do need to maintain a good oral healthcare routine. Make sure you brush twice a day for two minutes each time and floss once a day. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to gently clean your teeth. This can help avoid any gum damage that can happen from using stiff bristles or scrubbing too hard. It’s also important for everyone, especially diabetics, to visit our dental office in Rocky Mount every six months. These dental cleanings and checkups help get teeth squeaky clean and allow our dental team to keep a close eye on your oral health so we can catch and treat any problems we may find early.  

We’re always here to make sure our patients are as healthy as possible, and that often means we need to be aware of any other health conditions you may have. Make sure to share your complete health history with your dentist and update them on any changes regularly. It can truly make a difference in your overall health. 

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!

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.