Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Periodontal Disease, Preventive Dentistry.

heart health month

February is nationally recognized as Heart Health Month. Every year the American Heart Association and medical professionals across the country join together to publicize the seriousness of heart disease and educate the population on how to reduce your risk. At our dental office in Memphis, we want to help do our part and bring awareness to how your oral health is directly linked to your heart health.  

The Oral Health, Heart Health Connection

It’s been said that your eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, another phrase we should be promoting is that your mouth is the window to your overall health. Throughout the years, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between oral health and overall health, including its link to heart disease.

It’s All About the Gums

When you come to see your dentist in Memphis, your dental team is looking at more than just your teeth. We’re also taking an incredibly close look at the health of your gums. Your gums play an important role not only in your oral health and keeping your teeth in place, but also in the health of your heart. If gum disease is present and left untreated, the infection can transfer into the bloodstream. When this happens, your body responds by producing more C-reactive protein (CRP). Higher than normal levels of CRP can cause some serious health issues including:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

Signs of Gum Disease

Since gum disease can develop quickly, it’s important to be aware of the most common signs so that you can get it treated immediately. Early intervention is the key to a easier and more successful treatment. If you notice any of the signs below, contact your Memphis dentist as soon as possible.

Protect Your Gums, Protect Your Heart

Prevention of gum disease is one way you can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Make sure you brush your teeth, floss every day, and maintain visits to our Memphis dental office at least twice a year. These bi-annual appointments help remove buildup on teeth that, if left alone, could develop into gum disease or other oral health problems.

Don’t put yourself at risk to the seriousness of heart disease. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Preventive Dentistry.

man with tooth pain

You should go to the dentist at least every six months, but it’s something that’s so often foregone. Whether you miss your dental checkups due to a crazy schedule or perhaps a fear of the dentist, the team at our Memphis dental office is here to both encourage you to keep up with your bi-yearly appointments and to tell you a few instances when you should absolutely schedule a visit right away….

Tooth Pain

Perhaps the most obvious sign that it’s time to see a dentist in Memphis is a toothache. A toothache can be a sign of several oral health problems, and a fast appointment can go a long way in not only relieving the pain, but also avoiding more advanced issues.  

Swollen, Red Gums

Sometimes we tend to ignore the gums and put all of our focus on the teeth. But our gums are an important part of oral health too. If gums are red or swollen, or they bleed during brushing or flossing, it can be an indication of a potentially serious problem such as gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can affect the entire body and has been linked to stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

Increased Sensitivity

Whether you notice the sharp shoots of pain through your teeth when eating something cold or drinking something hot, the truth is tooth sensitivity hurts. This sensitivity can be caused by a number of things including brushing too hard, using too much smile whitening products, or even enamel erosion or receding gums. See your dentist to determine the best way to relieve tooth sensitivity.

Bad Breath

Bad breath may seem like simply an unpleasant thing that we have to deal with. The truth, however, is that chronic bad breath may be an early sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease, and if left untreated, it may lead to tooth loss and other serious oral health and whole body health problems.  

Dry Mouth

Occasional dry mouth typically isn’t something to worry yourself over. But if dry mouth doesn’t get better you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. Dry mouth can be a result of aging or certain medications. But it can also be a sign of disease. If not treated properly dry mouth can increase the risk of cavities and other problems.

The best way to prevent any of these problems from occurring the first place is to maintain regular dental appointments and follow a solid oral hygiene routine at home. However, if you do notice any of the signs above, we welcome you to call our dental office in Memphis to schedule a visit.

Posted by & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Articles.

woman holds toothpasteEveryone dreams of having a brilliant white smile. But the truth is, not all of us are blessed with a dazzlingly bright, superstar smile. In an attempt to transform our grins, we often turn to whitening toothpastes. In fact, nearly $100 million was spent on just two brands of whitening toothpastes in 2017 alone. But there’s something the team at our Memphis dental office thinks you should know about whitening toothpastes.

Whitening Toothpastes Work…

With all the whitening toothpastes available, the good news is many have been proven to be effective at actually whitening teeth. However, whitening toothpaste typically only works to remove surface stains,  and only if used regularly twice a day for several weeks. Additionally, whitening toothpastes do have some risks associated with them. The same abrasive ingredients that makes whitening toothpaste effective at scrubbing away stains can also cause teeth to appear darker. How can that be? If whitening toothpaste is used too often or the brushing technique is too rough, the abrasive consistency can actually wear away tooth enamel and make the inner tooth (dentin) more visible. This dentin is usually dark in color and the more visible it is, the darker the tooth looks. So make sure to use whitening toothpaste as instructed and choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

…But Not All The Time

Whitening toothpastes are usually only effective at removing surface stains. This means that if your staining is deeper, your whitening toothpaste may not be doing much for you. But don’t worry, you don’t need to live with a smile you don’t like. There are plenty of cosmetic dentistry solutions that can transform your look, such as dental veneers or professional smile whitening. Veneers are thin pieces of custom-crafted and custom-colored ceramic that are fused to the front of teeth, effectively covering up any imperfections you don’t like. Professional smile whitening is a stronger whitening solution applied by your dentist and tends to be more effective (and faster!) than a whitening toothpaste or even whitening strips.

Other Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

Besides a professional smile whitening or other cosmetic dentistry treatment from your dentist in Memphis, there are other ways you can work on getting a whiter smile including:  

  • Rinsing with water after drinking your morning coffee or tea
  • Quitting smoking or using chewing tobacco  
  • Eat apples, celery, or cheese. These foods help to keep stains away by gently scrubbing teeth.

If you’ve tried every whitening toothpaste available to you and you’re still not quite happy with the results, call our dental office in Memphis to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to determine the best way to whiten your smile safely and effectively.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

young man with cold

‘Tis the season of stuffy noses, persistent coughs, and sore throats. It’s officially cold and flu season. And even though the team at our dental office in Memphis is committed to keeping our patients and neighbors healthy, there are just some things we can’t fix. The common cold being one of them. But while we may not have a cure, we do have some tips on how to keep your teeth healthy as you treat that pesky cough.

The Secret Dangers of Cough Medicine

Many cough syrups and lozenges do wonders in easing the effects of the common cold. However, their ingredients can be damaging to teeth and oral health. Some of the most popular over-the-counter medicines contain sugar and alcohol — both of which can leave your teeth at risk for decay and damage.

Sugars

Even though the sugars found in many cough syrups and cough drops don’t necessarily have medicinal benefits, they do still have a purpose. Many medicines add sugar to make them taste better so that people can tolerate drinking or sucking on them. But these sugars give the bacteria in the mouth something to feed on, and that’s concerning for your Memphis dentist. As bacteria feed on sugars they release an acidic byproduct. This acid wears away the protective layer of tooth enamel and leaves teeth exposed to decay.

Alcohol

Normally our mouths produce enough saliva to rinse away sugar and the acid caused by bacteria that feed on it. However, alcohol is known to cause dry mouth. When a mouth is dry, there is not enough saliva to wash away the damaging sugars and acids that lead to tooth decay and cavities.

Ease the Effects

We’re certainly not suggesting that you don’t take any medicine to help you cope with your cold, but there are ways you can reduce the effects of the damaging ingredients found in most cough medicines and cough drops. First, avoid taking medicine after your nightly brushing before bed. This will help keep the sugar and alcohol from hanging around damaging your teeth all night long. Next, try taking medication with meals. Our mouths produce more saliva as we eat, and that extra surge in saliva will help rinse away any dangerous ingredients. Lastly, consider a pill form of cough medicine to keep the sugars and alcohol away from teeth altogether.  

All of us at our Memphis dental office hope you can avoid catching a cold or the flu this season. But if you happen to come down with a sickness, follow the tips above to help you feel better and protect your smile at the same time.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

woman eats chocolate

This may first appear as a silly question to ask your dentist in Memphis. Popular opinion would answer it with a resounding, “Yes, chocolate is bad for your teeth. Obviously.” However, our Memphis dental office has a slightly different position when it comes to chocolate and your oral health.

Chocolate’s Secret Benefit for Happy Teeth

For years you’ve been hearing dentists talk about avoiding sweets or enjoying them in moderation since they tend to wreak havoc on your teeth. While still mostly true, recent research has suggested that dark chocolate, specifically, may defy this outdated rule. In fact, studies conducted in the United States, England, and Japan are changing the way the world views dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate: A Serious Cavity Fighter

When we eat anything that has a high sugar content, including dark chocolate’s counterpart milk chocolate, that sugar is left to hang around on teeth. The bacteria in the mouth love this and start to feed on the sugars. What happens next is where the trouble begins. The feeding bacteria produce an acidic byproduct. This acid, if not neutralized or removed, is what causes tooth enamel to break down and leaves teeth at risk for decay and cavities. However, ingredients and compounds found in dark chocolate don’t allow this to occur, which makes it an a-ok treat in our book.

How Does it All Work?

If we eat a piece of dark chocolate, we’re still exposing our teeth to the sugar content. However, the compounds found in the cocoa bean husk, which is a primary ingredient in dark chocolate, help counteract the damaging effects of sugar. These special compounds fight off both the bacteria that would normally feed on the sugar and produce acid as well as any plaque. In fact, some studies suggest that the compounds found in dark chocolate may be more efficient at defending against decay than fluoride. However, more research is needed to test this theory.

Remember, Dark Chocolate is Good Chocolate

While we’d love to be able to tell you eating all types of chocolate is beneficial for your oral health, it’s just not true. These studies that support the health benefits of chocolate are dedicated specifically to dark chocolate. So before you load up on your favorite candy bars, try to make the switch to organic, dark chocolate for the best protection.

Following a well balanced diet of fruits, veggies, grains, and dairy is also important for not only oral health, but whole body health too. But the good news is that we now have a delicious and healthy option for dessert or quick sweet tooth fixes.

To maintain optimal oral health, don’t forget to visit our dental office in Memphis twice a year and properly brush and floss your teeth at home.

holiday stress

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Periodontal Disease, TMJ Treatment.

We’re just beginning the month long craziness of the holiday season. Between the meal preps, travel arrangements, party planning, and everything in between, it’s only normal to feel a little more stressed than normal. It’s no secret that stress can negatively affect overall health, but the team at our Memphis dental office wants you to know it can also be bad for your oral health, too.

Jaw Pain

Your temporomandibular joint, or more commonly known as your jaw joint or TMJ, may be one of the first areas to show signs that you’re a bit too stressed. When we’re overwhelmed, some of us tend to clench our teeth together and not even know we’re doing it. But this clenching can lead to some serious jaw pain or even tooth damage. Sometimes this pain is short lived, but if you start to experience prolonged pain, clicking or popping, or a locked jaw, call your dentist in Memphis.

Canker Sores

Most of us have experienced the unpleasantness of a canker sore. Typically canker sores are caused after we bite ourselves accidentally or another form of trauma. But according to a study by the Academy of General Dentistry, people are more susceptible to canker sores during prolonged periods of stress. These ulcer-like sores are often painful and annoying, but aren’t contagious.

Gum Disease

There’s been a lot of research on the topic of gum disease, which is one of the more serious oral health concerns we encounter. Some of these studies show a positive link between stress and the development of gum disease. Gum disease can affect your mouth, and your entire body. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, and host of other health problems.

Keep Calm and Follow These Pointers

To protect your overall health and oral health this holiday season, practice active ways of easing stress and anxiety. Doing just a few small things can make a big difference including:

  • Eating Well. Following a well-balanced diet even when there are so many holiday snacks readily available is key. When your body is functioning well, it may be easier to keep stress levels under control.
  • Working Out. Whether you decide to go for a brisk walk, enjoy a yoga class, or take a jog, getting active releases endorphins and can lower stress.
  • Limiting Alcohol. Consuming too much alcohol can put our bodies at a disadvantage. Even if you feel the stress release with the first glass of wine, drinking too much can actually have the opposite effect and spike stress.

Even if you do everything in your power to keep your stress levels low, things happen. If you feel that stress is putting your oral health at risk, we welcome you to call our dental office in Memphis. We not only will help get your mouth healthy, we’re pretty calming, too. Perhaps a visit to us is just what you need.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

Great American SmokeoutEveryone is most likely aware of the countless health problems that can result from a smoking habit. But quitting isn’t always easy. This month, as we help recognize the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, held every year on the third Thursday in November, the team at our Memphis dental office is here to help provide some of the most helpful tips to quit smoking for good.

6 Tips To Help You Quit

Have A Support System

Getting your friends and family on board to help you quit can go a long way in making sure you succeed. Let people know you’re trying to quit and instruct them on how they can help. There are also tons of online sources you can refer to for an added boost of support.

Know Your Triggers

Write down when you have the strongest urge to light up. Putting your triggers down on paper will assist you in recognizing small ways you can change your lifestyle to either avoid them or find alternative coping mechanisms.

Toss Out Smoking Accessories

Gather up your ashtrays and lighters and toss them in the garbage. Removing things associated with smoking can help keep your mind off of the habit. Take it one step farther and freshen up your car or your house to remove the smokey smell.

Utilize Healthy Alternatives

Some smokers who are trying to quit find that having snacks available to occupy both the mouth and hands can really make a difference. Keep sugar-free gum handy, nibble on some carrots, and drink lots of water. These healthier options will make your dentist in Memphis happy, too.

Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Going through nicotine withdrawal is one of the main reasons smokers find it so difficult to quit. Do some research on the various nicotine replacement therapy options available to you and give it a try.

Keep a List of Reasons to Quit

Knowing your motivations for quitting can also go a long way in keeping you on track. Whether it’s to save money, for health concerns, or for your family, remind yourself of the reasons you’re trying to quit as often as needed.

If you or someone you know needs a little more motivation to stop smoking, or are concerned about oral health, we always welcome you to call our dental office in Memphis to schedule a visit with us. We’re happy to help our neighbors stay as healthy as possible.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

woman afraid of the dentistDental fear is incredibly common among adult Americans. In fact, an estimated 80 million Americans have some level of dental fear. While the team at our dental office in Memphis certainly understands that being afraid of the dentist is a very real thing, we also always want to try our best to help our patients and neighbors understand how they can overcome that fear and, dare we say, start to enjoy visits to the dentist.

Top Causes of Dental Fear

Dental fear can be brought on by a number of different things, but some of the most common reasons include fear of pain, embarrassment, losing control, or a negative past experience. It’s important for you and your dental team to work together to try to identify the source behind your fear so you can work better together to overcome it.

4 Ways to Ease Dental Fear

  • Talk About It. Perhaps the most important way to combat dental fear is to establish trust with your dentist in Memphis. It may help if your dentist talks you through the appointment, letting you know exactly what is going to happen next and what you should expect. Discuss your concerns with your dental team to find what works best for you.
  • Distract Yourself. We understand that lying down in a dental chair while we poke around in your mouth can cause some people to feel uneasy, and that’s ok. Instead of focusing on what we’re doing, it may help to have a distraction handy. Consider bringing some music and headphones to your next visit or talk with your dental team to see if they have any amenities you can take advantage of.
  • Just Breathe. Practicing breathing techniques and focusing on breathing patterns has been proven to lower anxiety levels. There are numerous instructional videos online and even some courses you can take to help you. But essentially, close your eyes, take deep breaths, filling the lower part of your belly, and steadily release.
  • Bring a Friend. If it’s your first dental visit in awhile, have a trusted friend tag along with you. The presence of a trusted person can go a long way in helping you feel relaxed. Make a date out of it and treat them to lunch afterwards.

We Know You Can Do It

Maintaining regular dental cleanings and checkups every six months can be especially hard for those with dental fear. But keeping up with these visits is crucial for good oral health and to avoid more in-depth treatment in the future. Bi-yearly dental appointments help identify and treat any potential problems early and are key to keeping your mouth pain-free and cavity-free.

Whether it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist due to dental fear, or even if you’re just searching for a new dental home, we welcome you to call our Memphis dental office to schedule an appointment. Our entire team is dedicated to treating each and every patient with the gentle care they deserve and we’d be happy to work with you on easing any fears you may have.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

hygiene appointment

October is commonly recognized as the month packed with pumpkins, scarecrows, trick-or-treaters, and all things Halloween. At our dental office in Memphis, October has another important meaning that’s near and dear to our hearts; it’s National Dental Hygiene month – when we recognize our dedicated dental hygienists and bring awareness to the importance of proper oral health.

The Daily 4

Sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP), National Dental Hygiene Month has a different focus every year. In 2017, the theme is meant to drive awareness to the main components of a proper oral health routine including:

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing
  • Chewing

The hygiene team that works closely with your dentist in Memphis is dedicated to educating patients on the importance and proper techniques of these four crucial activities for a healthy mouth. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Brushing

We’re all taught from an early age to brush our teeth before heading off to school in the morning and prior to hopping into bed at night. This lesson should follow us throughout our entire lives. But it’s not only important to brush every day, it’s crucial that you brush correctly every day. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your routine, always brush twice a day for two minutes each time and use gentle circles with your soft-bristled toothbrush.

Flossing

Brushing is only half of a healthy at home oral hygiene routine. You should absolutely floss in between each tooth every day. If you don’t, you leave about 35% of each tooth’s surface uncleaned and exposed to the dangers of decay.

Rinsing

Besides brushing and flossing, using a mouthwash that’s approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) can enhance your oral health. There are two types of mouthwash — cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash may temporarily mask bad breath but has no real oral health benefit, whereas therapeutic mouthwash with the ADA Seal of Acceptance has been tested to ensure it actually does what it claims, which is typically reducing bad breath, gingivitis, decay, and plaque.

Chewing

At our Memphis dental office, we would love it if every one of our patients would brush their teeth after eating. But we understand that’s not always possible. Instead, we encourage patients to keep sugarless gum handy and chew it after meals. Chewing gum helps produce saliva, which then helps neutralize and rinse away bacteria left over from lunch. Just make sure it doesn’t contain sugar and look again for the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

These Daily 4 activities can go a long way in keeping your smile healthy. But even if you follow them exactly it’s still crucial to maintain your professional dental cleanings and bi-annual checkups. Regular dental visits help remove plaque and tartar and can help catch any potential problems early when treatment is still easy and more effective.

Posted by & filed under Bruxism, Oral Health, TMJ Treatment.

dental night guard

Tooth grinding is a surprisingly common problem that affects many people. The frustrating part is you may not even realizing that you’re a grinder. At our dental office in Memphis, we understand that tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, can most often be experienced during sleep, when you have no recollection of ever doing it. So how do you fix something that you may not even know you do? We’re glad you asked.

Recognize the Signs of Bruxism

Since bruxism can occur during sleep, and there’s no way you can be aware of it while you’re snoozing, knowing the signs can help you identify the problem.

If notice any of these indicators of bruxism, talk with your dentist in Memphis about the right treatment for you.

Night Guards for Bruxism

One of the most recommended treatments for those who grind their teeth is a custom night guard. These form-fitting appliances help protect your teeth from damage caused by rubbing them against each other. They can also help position your jaw in a comfortable position and limit your ability to move your jaw around during sleep. Night guards are available either over the counter or from your dentist.

Custom vs. Over The Counter Night Guards

While over the counter night guards tend to cost less, a custom-made night guard from your dentist ends up being the better, most cost-efficient choice. Custom night guards are created using professional molds of your teeth. This means they end up being more comfortable than their drugstore counterparts. Night guards made by a dentist also take your jaw position into consideration. Without adjusting the guard to fit your jaw alignment, you may just end up with more problems. Finally, custom-made, professional night guards tend to last up to 10 years while store-bought, boil and bite guards last for a considerably shorter amount of time.

Other Bruxism Treatments

Night guards are a common treatment for bruxism, but it’s not the only option available. Other treatments to help you stop grinding may include:

  • Straightening your teeth with orthodontics
  • Reducing stress
  • Limit caffeine intake

Tooth grinding isn’t something you need to live with. You can get relief and stop through proper treatment from your dentist. If you’re looking for a solution, or suspect you suffer from bruxism, we welcome you to call our Memphis dental office. We’ll evaluate your individual situation and talk with you about the best treatment for you.