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.

What Does a Dream About Losing Your Teeth Really Mean?

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

woman wakes from nightmareWhile dreaming about losing your teeth can certainly scare anyone into thinking their pearly whites are at risk of falling out, that’s probably not the case. At our dental office in Rocky Mount, we understand how unsettling it can be to imagine a sudden loss of your teeth, so we’re here to help and try to explain why you may be dreaming about a toothless grin.

It’s Common

We’re all aware of the popular dream of showing up to school in your underwear, but dreaming about losing your teeth may be even more common than that. But the way the teeth appear to fall out in these dreams can take on many different scenarios. Sometimes one tooth becomes extremely loose and simply pops out. Other times it’s all the teeth slowing falling out one by one. Scarier still are the dreams where your teeth crumble into tiny particles until there’s nothing left. But what’s all this mean?

High Anxiety

While there are several accepted interpretations to the true meaning behind why we dream about our teeth falling out, the most common explanation is related to anxiety. While this type of dream can be brought on by a stressful life event where you feel as if you’ve lost control, it’s more often found in those with insecurities about their appearance, who are excessively anxious, or even depressed.  

A Stressful Decision

Maybe you’re considering leaving your job, ending a long-term relationship, or agreeing to taking on responsibilities that will certainly change your life as you currently know it. Weighing the pros and cons and determining just what you’re going to do can make you incapable of choosing and make you feel helpless. When this happens, we’re more likely to experience a dream about losing our teeth.

A More Positive Outlook

The common interpretations we’ve looked at so far are all a bit depressing. But there is one belief that indicates something more cheery. Losing teeth in a dream has been linked to the positive and rewarding meaning of birth — and not necessarily that of a child. Perhaps you’re starting a new job, a promising relationship, or are entering a part of life that feels a little like a rebirth of its own. Psychologist Carl Jung says that these positive life moments can also trigger a dream where you lose your teeth.

Even though your dreams may trick you into being worried about your dental health, the truth is there isn’t a connection between the two. If you have all of your teeth and take proper care of them, you’re probably in good shape. But if you are missing a tooth or a couple teeth in real life, there are solutions to replace them. Schedule a consultation at our Rocky Mount dental office to see if dental implants, a dental bridge, or dentures are right for you.

Can Oral Health Affect Your Heart?

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

February is recognized as American Heart Health Month and is designed to raise awareness of the widespread problem of heart disease in the United States. While this is certainly a valuable promotion, what does it have to do with our Rocky Mount dental office? We’re glad you asked. Join us as we do our part in raising awareness on the lesser known contributor to heart disease, your oral health.

Oral Health Link to Overall Wellness

heart health monthWhile it may appear as your oral health is independent of the rest of your body, quite the opposite is true. Years of research has found a positive correlation between oral health and overall health. There have even been reports of certain oral health problems being linked to diabetic complications, certain cancers, and yes, heart disease.

Take a Good Look at the Gums

The oral health and systemic health connection is all about gum health. Gums are often a forgotten crucial piece to a healthy mouth, but not for your dentist in Rocky Mount. At every visit, we pay close attention to your gums. Why? We’re looking for any sign of gum disease – which is a serious infection that can progress into gingivitis or periodontitis and lead to tooth loss. But what’s perhaps even more concerning is the link between gum disease and heart disease.

Gum Disease & Heart Disease

When gum disease isn’t treated, it not only puts your teeth in danger, it increases your risk of heart disease as well. An untreated infection will advance in nature and even transfer into different parts of the body. In this situation, gum disease can easily move into the bloodstream. If this occurs, your body will produce an excess of C-reactive protein (CRP). Too much CRP can lead to:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes  

Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease

We know that it’s important to get gum disease treated. But it’s also important to get it treated quickly. Since gum disease can begin rapidly, knowing the signs is a great first step to an early diagnosis and successful treatment. Keep an eye out for:

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Puffy, tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Teeth that feel loose

If you notice any signs of gum disease, we welcome you to call our dental office in Rocky Mount to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to protect your smile, and your heart.