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. 

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. 

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!

4 Steps to Take if Your Dental Filling Falls Out

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

woman getting dental fillingOne of the most common restorative treatments your dentist in Rocky Mount uses is fillings. Whether they’re specially crafted for you out of an amalgam (metal) or composite material, we want them to stand the test of time. If your bite isn’t right, then there’s a good chance your filling or dental restoration could fail or even fall out. 

If you have a dental filling that’s fallen out, there’s no reason to panic. We’re going to walk you through what you need to do in just four easy steps. Take a deep breath and read on.

Step #1 – Remove and Replace

If your filling comes loose, you must get it out of your mouth ASAP. You don’t want to run the risk of swallowing it or choking on the material. It might not be a bad idea to keep your filling and bring it with you to your dental appointment. Your dentist will be able to determine if it can be cleaned and restored, or if you’ll need a whole new filling. 

Step #2 – Take Action

If your filling is loose and comes out, it’s also important that you see a dentist right away. But if you’re unable to get to the office, you can take some preventive tips to help preserve your smile health. An unfilled tooth is a welcoming environment for harmful bacteria to make a home and destroy your tooth. Be sure to brush gently and carefully. Rinse with water to make sure you’re removing any debris. (Pro Tip: Saltwater works wonders. One cup of warm water and just a teaspoon of salt will do the trick.)

Step #3 – Find Temporary Pain Relief

Your Rocky Mount dentist would recommend that you take over-the-counter pain medication to help with any sensitivity or discomfort. Be wary and cautious of any temporary dental cement, as it can be messy and make your issue worse.

Step #4 – Avoid Certain Foods

Until you have a chance to see the dentist, it’s probably a good idea to avoid certain foods and drinks that could affect your damaged tooth now that the filling is gone. Stay away from hard or sticky foods that could get stuck in your tooth. Be careful with extremely hot or cold foods and drinks too, as your tooth will probably be a little sensitive. Keep your diet simple and soft until you see us!

If you have a filling that’s come loose, the best/first thing you need to do is call our Rocky Mount dental office. The simple steps above are meant to be a temporary solution to your dental issues. One of the first steps we’ll need to take is a thorough diagnosis and state-of-the-art photos of your smile. We want to understand why your restoration or filling failed in the first place. We’ll take a look at your tooth, and if it hasn’t deteriorated, we should be able to replace your missing filling. We may need to do a little preparation of the tooth, before getting it filled for you again. Either way, we’ll make sure you’re comfortable and pleased with the results!

If you have questions about how fillings work or if there’s something we didn’t cover here today, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re always happy to be your dental partner and make sure your smile gets the very best, VIP treatment – no matter what your dental needs might be!

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.

How Brushing Your Teeth Affects Overall Health

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

young woman brushing teethIt probably comes as no surprise that the team at our dental office in Rocky Mount is all for you brushing your teeth regularly. After all, we are dedicated to protecting our patients’ smiles, and brushing properly is an important step to help accomplish that goal. But we also know that brushing your teeth benefits more than just your dental health. The truth is, it can affect your overall health, too.

Removing Bacteria

One of the most important reasons for brushing your teeth regularly is so you can effectively remove dangerous bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria will feed off of food particles that linger around long after you eat. It then gives off an acidic byproduct. This acid can eat away the teeth’s protective enamel, leaving them at risk for decay and cavities. A buildup of bacteria can also begin to affect gum health. If bacteria is not removed by brushing and starts to creep up under the gum line, you may quickly develop gum disease. Gum disease is a serious problem that affects the rest of your body.

A Closer Look at Gum Disease

Gum disease is a bacterial infection that can eventually lead to tooth loss if not treated by your dentist in Rocky Mount. Nearly half of American adults have some type of gum disease, some may not even know it. Common signs of gum disease include:

  • Red, painful gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Receding gums

While gum disease has unpleasant symptoms and may cause teeth to fall out, it’s even more concerning than that. In fact, research has shown a potential link between gum disease and other serious whole-body problems.

Gum Disease & Whole-Body Health

There have been several studies that have shown a strong connection between oral health and overall health. The U.S. Surgeon General has even referred to the mouth as a mirror to health throughout the body. Even though researchers continue to study exactly the cause of this connection, many of them have found that gum disease in particular may lead or contribute to:

  • Respiratory Problems
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetic Complications
  • Some Cancers

Brushing your teeth twice a day, every day does a great job at removing the buildup of dangerous bacteria that could lead to gum disease and perhaps even more serious health concerns. But that’s not all. You also need to maintain regular visits to your dentist twice a year for a deep cleaning that removes plaque and bacteria that only a trained hygienist can remove safely and effectively.

If it’s time for your dental cleaning, we welcome you to call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment.

How Your Allergies May Be Affecting Your Oral Health

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

woman with allergiesNobody enjoys the annoying symptoms of allergies. The stuffy nose, watery eyes, and constant nasal drip are enough to make some people do anything they can to avoid their allergens. At our dental office in Rocky Mount, we’d like to give you just one more reason to hate your allergies. The truth is, the symptoms related to allergies can also affect your oral health.

Dry Mouth: A Bigger Problem Than You Might Think

Perhaps the biggest way allergies affect oral health is by causing dry mouth. When our noses are too stuffy to breathe out of them properly, we resort to the next best thing: breathing out of our mouths. Mouth breathing really slows down saliva production and leaves your mouth feeling uncomfortably dry. And when the mouth is dry with no saliva to help wash away bacteria and neutralize acids, your teeth are left exposed. This can make you more likely to have tooth decay, chronically bad breath, or can even lead to gum disease. Gum disease, if left untreated, can affect the rest of your body by increasing the risk for stroke, heart disease, and heart attacks.

More on Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing is such a concern for your dentist in Rocky Mount that it’s worth talking about the other ways it can affect your dental health. Whether mouth breathing is caused by allergies or not, the truth is it can even cause changes in appearance and developmental problems in children. When kids habitually have to breathe out of their mouths instead of their noses, it can influence how their teeth develop. Children who suffer from allergies also tend to suffer from crooked teeth which may require braces or other orthodontic treatment.

Medicine Can Make Dry Mouth Worse

To help ease allergy symptoms and clear out sinuses so we can breathe out of our noses easier, many of us turn to medicine. Most allergy medicines available list dry mouth as a potential side effect. So while you may be solving one problem by reducing sinus stuffiness, you may be creating another by the very thing that helped you get relief. To combat dry mouth caused by medicine, talk to your doctor for other solutions or try:

  • Chewing sugar-free gum
  • Using mouthwash made to help lubricate the mouth
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Putting a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep

Don’t stop any medicines without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.

If you are suffering from allergies or dry mouth perhaps caused by them, it’s evermore important to maintain regular visits to our Rocky Mount dental office. Appointments every six months can help catch any potential dental issues caused by dry mouth and treat them before they lead to the need for advanced treatment or cause pain.

Oral Cancer Risks, Signs, and Prevention

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

oral cancer riskEvery year, we dedicate one of our April blogs to help do our part for Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Oral cancer may not be talked about as much as other forms of the disease, but it’s still a very serious form of cancer that affects thousands of Americans every year. This April, our dental office in Rocky Mount wants to raise awareness by educating our community on the risks and signs of oral cancer, as well as what you can do to reduce your risk of getting it.

Just the Facts

Even though it’s not one of the more discussed cancers, oral cancer is in fact one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States. And the number of those affected continues to grow each and every year. The American Cancer Society estimates that in this year alone, just over 51,500 people will be diagnosed. Additionally, over 10,000 people will lose their lives to the disease. But even though oral cancer is serious and can be fatal, early detection and proactive treatment greatly increases the chance of survival.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

Since detecting oral cancer early is key to treating it successfully, we need to be able to recognize the signs. Some of the common early warning signs of oral cancer may include:

  • A chronic sore that doesn’t go away
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • A lump on the cheek or tongue
  • Change in voice

If you notice any of these symptoms, see your dentist in Rocky Mount as soon as possible.

Risk Factors

Ideally we would all be able to avoid the factors that increase the risk of oral cancer. However, it’s not that simple. Some of the risk factors are uncontrollable, including genetics, age, and gender. However, there are other lifestyle factors that we can control in order to reduce our risk. A short list of both controllable and uncontrollable risks include:

  • Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.
  • Age: People over 55 are the most affected by oral cancer with the average age of diagnosis being 62.
  • Tobacco Use: Nearly 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are smokers or use smokeless tobacco. Smoking often leads to throat or mouth cancer, and smokeless tobacco usually results in gum, cheek, or lip cancer.
  • Alcohol: Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer drink alcohol often. And if you’re a heavy drinker and use tobacco, your risk may be as high as 100%.

How to Prevent Oral Cancer

The best way to protect yourself against oral cancer is to avoid the lifestyle habits that put you at increased risk. Additionally, it’s important to maintain regular dental cleanings and checkups to help catch any problems as early as possible while the chance for successful treatment is greatest. If you haven’t seen a dentist in six months or more, we encourage you to call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment today. It could save your life.