It’s no secret that high stress can negatively affect our health. Prolonged periods of too much stress has been linked to heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, and difficulty in managing diabetes. But at our dental office in Memphis, we know that increased stress can also harm your oral health.
Since increased stress levels can actually make our immune systems less effective, it can greatly affect our health, including our mouths. An ineffective immune system means more bacteria is left behind, which can find its way deep under the gums. When this happens, the chance for developing gum disease increases. If not treated by a dentist in Memphis, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bad breath, and a whole host of other health problems such as heart disease.
Everyone reacts to stress in different ways. Some people bite their nails, others sweat a lot, and many people clench their jaws. Oftentimes these responses to stress are done automatically and without thought or awareness. But when someone habitually clenches their jaw over and over it can lead to some serious problems. Not only can repeated clenching damage teeth, but it can also cause severe jaw pain. Occasionally the pain is temporary, but other times it gets worse and is partnered with clicking, popping, or a locked jaw. If this occurs, it could be a sign of TMJ (or TMD) and treatment will be recommended.
Canker sores are a potential oral health side effect of too much stress. While they aren’t necessarily dangerous, they can certainly be annoying and often painful. Even though there is no official known cause of canker sores, studies show that increased stress can play a role. Treatment isn’t usually needed as canker sores should go away on their own and aren’t contagious.
To protect your overall health and oral health from the dangers of too much stress, practice lowering stress and anxiety by following a few key tips such as:
- Eating Well. Following a well-balanced diet fuels our bodies to function properly, and when our bodies are working as they should, it may be easier to keep stress levels low.
- Working Out. Being active releases “feel good” chemicals in our bodies that make us feel happier and less stressed. Find an exercise program that you enjoy and stick with it!
- Sleeping Enough. Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night can help your body relax and replenish, thus decreasing stress and preparing you to tackle another day.
If you feel that stress may be affecting your oral health, we welcome you to call our Memphis dental office to schedule an appointment with us today. We promise that a visit with us will be anything but stressful.
When it comes to dentistry, there are many common myths and misconceptions that could actually hurt your smile and oral health rather than help. At our dental office in Memphis, we believe in preventive dentistry and giving professional dental advice in order to protect your teeth. That’s why we want to debunk several of the most common dental myths we often hear about.
Myth: Root Canals Hurt
When patients are told that they need to have a root canal, the first reaction we usually get is fear over the pain they think they’re about to endure. The truth is, root canals have a bad reputation that just isn’t true. Many times when a root canal is needed it’s because a tooth has severe decay. This decay can cause some serious pain and sensitivity. Root canal treatment actually relieves that pain by removing infected parts of the inner tooth — the source of pain. A root canal is a common procedure done under local anesthetic and is completely pain-free.
Myth: Lemon Juice Can Whiten Teeth
Thanks to the popularity of the internet and people from all backgrounds sharing “life hacks” on social media platforms, it’s not surprising to hear of DIY tooth whitening methods. One, in particular, that’s concerning to your dentist in Memphis is using lemon juice to remove tooth staining. In actuality, lemon juice is highly acidic and using it in an attempt to brighten your smile can cause irreversible damage to your tooth enamel. Once acid eats away the protective enamel, teeth are exposed to harmful bacteria and plaque. This increases your risk of cavities and decay.
Myth: Baby Teeth Aren’t That Important
Since baby teeth are meant to fall out, many people assume that it doesn’t matter when we lose them. However, quite the opposite is true. Baby teeth are important for several reasons including holding the space for permanent adult teeth, helping develop speech, and aiding in chewing. When baby teeth are lost before their natural time, nutrition can be affected, speech difficulties may develop, and teeth may start to shift and become crooked.
Myth: You Don’t Need to go to The Dentist if You’re Not in Pain
One of the biggest myths out there is that you only need to see a dentist when you’re experiencing a problem. In fact, seeing the dentist regularly can greatly help prevent a problem from ever happening. Regular dental cleanings and checkups can diagnose any problems early when treatment is easier and less expensive.
When it comes to your dental health, trust the professionals. If you have any questions about how to best care for your smile or if it’s time for a checkup, call our Memphis dental office to schedule an appointment today.
There are an estimated 3 million canker sore cases a year. But knowing that these annoying and painful sores affect nearly everyone doesn’t necessarily make them any easier to tolerate when they happen to you. At our dental office in Memphis, we understand that canker sores are uncomfortable and can hurt. That’s why we’re here to share some information about canker sores and how you can help ease their discomfort.
Signs of a Canker Sore
If you suspect you have a canker sore, look for the following common symptoms:
- In the early stages of canker sore development, you may experience a burning or tingling sensation before you actually see a sore.
- Blister-like sores inside the mouth. The sores are usually red but can have a white or gray center.
- The sores can be on the tongue, cheeks, or roof of your mouth.
- Occasionally severe canker sores can be paired with a fever.
Causes of Canker Sores
There’s no one definitive thing that causes canker sores. However, there are a few things that may contribute to them. Some common suspected causes include:
- Mouth injury
- Acidic or spicy food
- Ill-fitting dentures or other dental appliances
Treating a Canker Sore
Canker sores will usually go away on their own within a week or two. But not all of us can tolerate the discomfort that long. There are a few things that can help shorten the life of a canker sore and get you some relief. Most commonly, canker sore sufferers use an over-the-counter product that will coat the sore in numbing medication. Other times, your dentist may be able to use a laser to get even faster results. Either way, canker sores are usually nothing to be concerned about as they’re not contagious and will typically resolve without any treatment.
Do You Need to See a Dentist for a Canker Sore?
Since canker sores will heal themselves most of the time, a visit to your dentist in Memphis is probably not necessary. However, if the sore lasts longer than three weeks, is causing severe pain, or seems to create other sores, it’s best to schedule an appointment. Your dentist will decide if you could benefit from a corticosteroid or prescription-strength antimicrobial rinse to help fight off the canker sore.
If you have concerns about any changes in your mouth, we encourage you to call our Memphis dental office today. We’re here to help.
It’s common to feel the uncomfortable sensations associated with acid reflux in the gut and even in the chest. But did you know that acid reflux can also affect oral health? The team at our Memphis dental office is here to tell you all you need to know about how acid reflux can increase the chance of decay and the need for advanced dental treatment.
Acid Reflux is Not Just a Gut Problem
Despite the fact that acid reflux is associated with digestion and can certainly affect the gut, the truth is that the very stuff that causes an upset stomach or heartburn is the same stuff that can contribute to damage in the mouth. As the body works to digest food, the stomach produces an acid to help break down food particles. Unfortunately, this acid can find it’s way out of the stomach, up the esophagus, and into the mouth. When it reaches the mouth it can wear down tooth enamel and increase the chance for sensitivity, cavities, and if left untreated, the need for dental treatment such as fillings, a root canal, or a dental crown.
Signs of GERD
Many people can experience acid reflux differently, but some of the most common signs include:
- Bad breath
- Acidic taste in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Tooth sensitivity
Protect Your Teeth Against GERD
The good news is there are many medications available that can help reduce how often you experience symptoms of acid reflux. Besides finding the right medicine, your dentist in Memphis may recommend some additional precautions to protect your teeth against the acid produced by reflux. Some common suggestions may include:
- Avoiding acidic foods and drinks
- Limiting spicy or sour foods
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Using toothpaste with fluoride
Since sufferers of GERD are at increased risk for dental problems it’s important that they visit their dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings. These dental appointments can help identify any problems such as acid erosion or decay early, while treatment is easier.
We’re always accepting new patients at our dental office in Memphis and welcome anyone who’s overdue for a dental visit to contact us today to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help.
Nearly 30 million Americans are living with diabetes. That’s 30 million people who have the added responsibility of working to maintain their blood glucose levels day in and day out. While it’s fairly well known that diabetes can lead to other health problems such as heart disease and kidney disease, it may be surprising to learn that diabetes can also affect oral health. In fact, the team at our dental office in Memphis wants our patients to know that oral health can also, in turn, affect diabetes.
The Diabetes & Oral Health Connection
Research has suggested a connection between diabetes and gum disease, and vice versa. Studies have consistently shown that people who are diabetic are more likely to develop gum disease than those without diabetes. But that’s not all. If we look at the connection from the other direction, research supports that gum disease can also make it more difficult to manage blood sugar levels, leading to diabetic complications and perhaps a progression of the disease. To reduce the risk of gum disease and maintain proper blood glucose levels, consider trying the tips below…
Control Your Blood Sugar
This one is obvious for anyone with diabetes or for anyone whose loved one is diabetic. After all, keeping blood glucose levels within a healthy range is what diabetic maintenance is all about. Besides keeping your body healthy, controlled blood sugar levels reduce the risk of developing gum disease, which can lead to even more health problems such as heart disease.
Keep Your Mouth Healthy
Besides seeing your dentist in Memphis every six months for a preventative exam and thorough dental cleaning, it’s also important to practice good oral hygiene at home. Regular, routine at-home care is a great way to ensure your teeth, gums, and even tongue stay healthy. To follow a proper oral hygiene routine, we recommend:
- Using a fluoride toothpaste to protect against tooth decay
- Brushing both when you wake up before you go to bed
- Flossing at least once a day to clean all the areas that brushing can’t reach
Good Food is Good For You
Limiting how many sugar-packed foods you eat or drink is good practice for anyone, but especially for those living with diabetes. To help keep blood sugar regulated and support overall health, make sure to eat a well-balanced diet packed with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
The patients at our Memphis dental office are our top priority and we’re committed to doing everything we can to keep not only their mouths healthy, but their bodies healthy, too. If you’re looking for a new dentist or have questions about your oral health, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with our dedicated team today.
Another candy-packed holiday is right around the corner, and our dental office in Memphis is busy getting into the spirit of Halloween. From pumpkins and fall colors, to costumes and hayrides, there’s a lot to be excited about this time of year. But as we all know, candy is one of those things that’s scarier to us than any goblin or ghoul.
We know that when we start talking about the dental dangers of candy it may seem that we’re putting a damper on one of the biggest parts of Halloween. But there’s a good reason we encourage our patients to limit the amount of sweet treats. While sugar itself doesn’t create cavities, it does give the bacteria that live in the mouth plenty to feed on. When this happens, the bacteria produce an acid that will erode tooth enamel and a cavity can form. Even though we recommend enjoying candy and foods with a lot of sugar in moderation, there are other foods that could be even spookier for your teeth.
Chips & Crackers
While the sugar in sweet snacks are often thought of as the most likely to cause cavities, there are other surprising snacks that can be even more dangerous. While often considered pretty harmless and perhaps even healthy snacks, chips and crackers can contain ingredients that put teeth at greater risk for cavities than most candies. This is because of the high starch content found in these types of foods. Starches can have a very similar effect on the body as sugars, even though they don’t have a sweet taste.
Starchy Foods & Oral Health
First and foremost, starchy foods such as crackers and chips become sticky as they’re chewed. This makes it really easy for them to leave pieces stuck in the crevices of teeth. Second, chips and crackers have something called a high glycemic index. The glycemic index is basically a scale used to explain how likely a food is to raise blood glucose level as the food is broken down. This means certain non-sweet foods can have a similar effect on your body and your oral health as, you guessed it, sugar. The combination of stickiness and a high glycemic index is a recipe for a scary situation. Again bacteria are left to feed on the leftover food particles, produce the acidic byproduct, and the result is a cavity.
Whether you treat yourself to a few pieces of candy or enjoy a few crackers this Halloween, make sure to drink plenty of water to help wash away sugars and neutralize acid. As always, make sure you’re brushing and flossing regularly and seeing your dentist in Memphis at least twice a year.
From all of us at our Memphis dental office, we wish you and your family a safe and happy Halloween.
When it comes to candy it should come as no surprise that the team at our dental office in Memphis can be wary of the stuff. But there is a type of candy that we actually encourage our patients to eat. Well, at least chew on. Sugarless gum, or more specifically, gum containing Xylitol, can help keep your mouth healthy.
What is Xylitol?
There are plenty of sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners out there, but Xylitol is a little bit different than what you may put in your morning coffee. Xylitol is a natural compound found in many fruits and vegetables and tastes sweet. But what makes this sweetener a favorite for your dentist in Memphis is that it’s metabolized differently than regular sugar and sugar substitutes.
How Does Gum Protect Oral Health?
When we eat sugar, it first feeds the bacteria found in our mouths. After eating the sugars, bacteria then release an acidic byproduct. This acid can eat away at tooth enamel and increase the chance for decay. But Xylitol doesn’t give bacteria the nutrients they need to survive. Therefore, teeth are protected from acid and you can still treat your sweet tooth without worrying about decay.
Besides starving bacteria from food, chewing sugarless gum can further reduce the acid levels in your mouth by stimulating saliva production. When we chew gum our salivary glands are working to keep the mouth moist. This surge of spit neutralizes any acids that may already be in your mouth and helps wash away dangerous bacteria. What’s more is saliva strengthens teeth by remineralizing them with calcium and phosphate.
Research has even shown that chewing Xylitol Gum can:
- Reduce inflammation
- Lower the risk for gum disease
- Help the body absorb calcium better which builds strong teeth
A Word of Caution
Xylitol is naturally occurring and considered safe. It’s even used in some medicines. However, some people may experience negative side effects when they have too much. Common side effect include intestinal discomfort such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea. It’s also highly toxic for dogs so make sure to store anything containing Xylitol securely where your pets can’t get to it.
While Xylitol can give your dental health a boost, it’s not recommended as a replacement to brushing and flossing. Make sure to still follow a proper oral hygiene routine at home and visit our dental office in Memphis at least twice a year.
Tooth pain can be unbearable and effect more than just the tooth alone. The whole mouth may feel the discomfort caused by a toothache, and some people also experience severe headaches. While relief may seem to be nowhere in sight, the team at our dental office in Memphis has a few tips that you can try to relieve tooth pain.
Top Toothache Tools
Toothaches are unpredictable, and there’s really no telling when one may hit. Be prepared by knowing a few tools and tricks you can use to ease the pain.
- Floss. A piece of floss can work wonders in relieving pain if the toothache is caused by a piece of food lodged between teeth or under gums. Gently guide the floss between the affected tooth and up under the gum line to remove any debris. Do not floss too much or too hard as this can cause more pain.
- Cold Compress. Use an ice pack, a bag of frozen veggies, or regular old bag of ice to help reduce swelling and ease pain. Wrap your cold pack of choice in a lightweight towel or shirt and apply it to the face near where the pain is coming from. Keep it there for about 15 minutes at a time, giving yourself breaks in between icings.
- Anesthetic. Head over to your nearest pharmacy or grocery store and pick up an over-the-counter oral anesthetic product. These gels or liquids will numb the area of application for a short time allowing you a bit of a break from the pain.
- Salt Water. Mix some salt into warm water and gently swish it around in your mouth a tiny sip at a time. The salt will help remove any fluid that may be putting pressure on the nerves. Don’t swallow the solution but rather spit it out after each rinse.
- Anti-inflammatory Medicine. Many anti-inflammatories can also help reduce tooth pain by decreasing swelling and pressure on the nerves. Choose the best option for you and use as directed. Do not follow the old wives’ tale of placing a pill directly on the gums or tooth as this can be harmful.
It’s important to note that all of these tips are to be used for temporary relief. Don’t let a toothache fester for too long. Call your dentist in Memphis for an appointment as soon as possible.
Protect Yourself from Toothaches
Now that you know what to do if you get a toothache, we want to tell you two easy things you can do to help prevent one in the first place.
- Visit our Memphis dental office at least twice a year so we can monitor your oral health and treat any problems before they lead to a surprise toothache.
- Brush your teeth every morning and every night to wash away bacteria that can lead to decay, and floss once a day to remove anything that may be lurking under the gum line.
If you’re suffering from a toothache or it’s just time for you to visit a dentist, we welcome you to call us to schedule an appointment today.
When it comes to gum disease and gingivitis, there’s often a bit of confusion between the two. Are they the same thing or are they different? Can they be treated the same way or not? What does it mean if you’re told you have one or the other? Not to worry, our dental office in Memphis is here to help answer your questions.
A Closer Look a Gum Disease
Gum disease is ultimately a term used to describe an infection in the gums caused by a buildup of plaque that wiggled its way under the gum line. But gum disease itself has three stages that are all still commonly referred to as gum disease — gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the earliest and most mild form of gum disease. When caught early gingivitis can be treated successfully and any damage that may have occurred can be reversed.
The second stage of gum disease occurs if gingivitis is not caught and treated quickly. Known as periodontitis, this more severe stage of gum disease not only affects the gums but also the bones and tissues that hold teeth in place. Treatment may not reverse any damage already done but can help it from progressing any further.
Advanced periodontitis is more severe yet and can’t be reversed. In this stage, the plaque buildup has caused substantial damage to the bone and tissues. Teeth may feel loose or appear to have shifted position and they may even fall out.
How to Know if You Have Gum Disease
In its early stages gum disease may not show any signs or symptoms, or at least not any that might raise concern. That’s one reason knowing all the symptoms of gum disease is important.
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Receding gums
- Swollen, red gums
How Gum Disease Affects the Body
We already know that gum disease may lead to tooth loss if not caught and treated early, but gum disease has also been linked to several serious systemic concerns including:
- Lung disease
- Heart attacks
There’s a lot you can do to help protect yourself against gum disease including avoiding some of the known factors that increase the risk of developing it, such as using tobacco. You should also brush and floss everyday and maintain appointments with your dentist in Memphis every six months.
We’re always welcoming new patients at our Memphis dental office and would love to see you! We welcome you to call us today to schedule an appointment.
One of the best parts about Labor Day is the picnics and the foods we get to enjoy at them. And while all of the treats are delicious, they may not all be great for your smile. At our dental office in Memphis, we’re here to help by giving you a list of the worst Labor Day snacks for your smile as well as healthier options.
Sauces, dips, and dressings such as BBQ sauce and ketchup seem harmless enough. After all, we usually only use this as a little something extra. But these condiments are packed with acid and sugar, both of which can damage teeth.
This one should come as no surprise since it’s a well-known fact that dentists really don’t like soda. That’s because it’s loaded with sugar and is really bad for teeth. The sugar content in even one soda can contain as much as 11 teaspoons!
Drinking too much alcohol can greatly increase the risk for gum disease and decay. Certain types of alcohol can also lead to tooth discoloration. Lastly, alcohol can cause dry mouth, further putting teeth in danger of decay.
Crunchy, raw vegetables are great for gums and overall oral health. As we chew foods like broccoli or carrots they’re working to rub away plaque buildup on teeth. This helps protect teeth from decay and may even help fight off bad breath.
Fresh fruits such as crisp apples can also actually help scrub away plaque buildup. Other fruits including kiwi contain calcium which, when mixed with vitamin D, can strengthen teeth (and bones!)
Speaking of calcium and vitamin D, cheese and other forms of dairy can contain quite a bit of both. What’s more is cheese can stimulate saliva production which will help rinse away bacteria, sugar, and acids left behind.
Just like any type of foods, those that aren’t so great for your oral health are fine if enjoyed in moderation. We also recommend drinking water to help remove sugars and acids from your mouth. If you can, brushing after you eat is best but we understand that it’s not always doable. Instead, a quick swish and spit with water can help.
This Labor Day and every day, try to follow a well-balanced diet for both the health of your smile and your body. Our team at our Memphis dental office wishes you a happy, relaxing, and delicious holiday.