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 While still mostly true, recent research has suggested that dark chocolate, specifically, may defy this outdated rule.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.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Oral Health.

smiling male dentist

Whether you’re new to the area or just looking for a new dentist, choosing the right practice for yourself and your family can be an intimidating process. It’s important to know that not all dentists will be a good fit for your unique needs. But don’t worry, there’s a practice just for you, and we’d like to help you find it.

Do Your Research

The first step to finding the best dentist in Memphis for your family is to do a bit of research. Ask friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers who they trust with their dental care. Then, compile a list of each and every one. Consider how close to work or home you’ll want the office to be and hop online to look into the office specifics. What services do they offer? What do their reviews say? Narrow down your list to a few that hit your most important criteria and pick up the phone and call them.

Ask Questions

Once you get someone on the phone, use this opportunity to ask questions and get a feel of the personality of the practice. Some questions you should consider include:

Having a conversation with a team member in the office can reveal a lot about the dentist and the practice. The team member should answer pleasantly and be willing to answer any questions you have.  

Schedule An Appointment

Once you think you’re ready to make a commitment to one of the dentists you called, it’s a good idea to make an initial appointment and use that visit as a ‘test’ to make sure that you’re comfortable, that you’re treated well, and that the office is clean. At this visit, you should have the opportunity to meet with the dentist so he or she can get to know about your health history, any concerns you may have, and what your oral health goals are. Your first visit should also include a thorough examination of your teeth and gums, an oral cancer check, and any necessary x-rays.

Searching for a new dentist in Memphis is no easy task. You’re looking for someone who can treat your family the way you want to be treated and who makes you feel comfortable. And even though there are plenty of dental offices to choose from, following the tips above can help make the search easier and ensure you find the right practice for you.

Of course, if you’d like to visit our Memphis dental office, we always welcome you to give us a call. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have to help you to find the best dentist for you.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

dentist explains to patient

At our dental office in Memphis, we’re all about preventive dental care and doing everything we can to keep our patients’ smiles healthy. We also believe in educating our neighbors about oral health. After all, the more you know, the healthier you can be. Check out the top seven things we feel are most important for you to know.

There’s more reasons to brush your teeth in the morning besides freshening your breath.

As we sleep, mouths tend to become dry, and when there’s a dry mouth, there’s usually bad breath. Your morning brushing routine can help combat the ‘morning breath’ smell, but it’s also helpful in removing plaque that has built up on teeth overnight.

Unremoved plaque can lead to tartar.

When plaque isn’t removed by properly brushing and flossing everyday, it sticks to teeth and transforms into tartar. Tartar is plaque that has calcified and can only be scraped off through a gentle, yet thorough, cleaning by your Memphis dentist.

Brushing too much or too hard is a real thing.

We typically recommend brushing twice a day every day. You should choose a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush teeth using a small, circular motion. If you scrub your pearly whites vigorously you may do more harm than good. Rough brushing can damage gums and cause them to recede.

Sugar isn’t the only cavity culprit.

When we think of cavity causing foods, we naturally blame the sugar packed treats that help quench the sweet tooth in all of us. But sugar isn’t the only thing that feeds bacteria and causes decay. Foods high in starch such as pasta, bread, and crackers are full of carbohydrates. When carbohydrates begin to break down, they’re converted into sugar, and we all know how bad sugar is for teeth.

Constant snacking is dangerous for your smile.

The more food you ingest daily, the more your teeth are exposed to decay-causing bacteria. As you eat, bacteria in your  mouth also eat. And like all living things, bacteria also eliminate waste. The waste emitted from bacteria is highly acidic. These acids are what attack tooth enamel and cause decay.

Dental health can affect overall health.

Poor dental health has been linked to several whole-body diseases including increased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. To keep both your smile and overall health safe, remember to brush, floss, and receive dental cleanings at least twice a year.

It’s not normal if your gums bleed.

If you see blood in your sink after brushing or flossing, it’s not something you should ignore. Any sign of bleeding gums could be an indicator of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that could lead to tooth loss and other systemic diseases.

If you have questions about your oral health, or if you’re looking for a new dentist, we welcome you to call our Memphis dental office to schedule an appointment.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

back to school baby

As we all gear up to head back to school, loading up on folders, notebooks, pencils, and backpacks, the team at our dental office in Memphis wants to send a friendly reminder to our patients and neighbors about the importance of getting your child (or yourself) to the dentist before school starts.

Dental Checkups Help with Overall Health, Too

While we encourage all of our patients to see us at least biannually, we also like to see them prior to starting a new school year. Visits to your dentist in Memphis not only help keep smiles healthy, they also help keep whole bodies healthy. Poor dental health has been linked to:

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity

In fact, the National Institutes of Health reported that 20-30% of children have chronic health conditions due to oral health. Regular dental exams and cleanings are key in catching any problems, or potential problems, early to avoid these serious diseases. It may also be recommended that your child receive protective sealants to aid against decay and cavities.

Keep Kids in School

It’s our goal to keep kids healthy and in school so they can learn, thrive, and get good grades. However, recent research has suggested that poor oral health has been linked to poor grades. According to the American Journal of Public Health Dentistry, children in elementary school missed 6 days of school on average each year. Of those 6 days, 2 of them were because of dental problems. As we all know, when kids aren’t attending class, they’re missing key elements of their education. What’s more, when they’re in pain due to a toothache brought on by a cavity, their ability to pay attention to lessons diminishes.

Hygiene at Home

Back to school dental visits are a great preventive step to ensure your child is starting the school year off healthy. But a good hygiene routine at home is equally important. Make sure your child is brushing every morning (after breakfast!) and every night for two minutes each time. Also, don’t forget to have them floss once a day.

Following a proper hygiene routine and maintaining appointments with our Memphis dental office can keep you and your child smiling and in good health all the way through to summer break.

If you’re looking for a Memphis dentist, schedule an appointment today!

Posted by & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry, Periodontal Disease, Preventive Dentistry.

woman biting nails

Even if you brush twice a day, floss each night, and visit our dental office in Memphis at least twice a year, you may be doing other things that could be damaging your smile… and you may not even know it. Today we’d like to talk about some of the most common smile-damaging habits and offer ways to help you break them.

Brushing Your Teeth

Yes, your dentist in Memphis just said that brushing your teeth can be causing damage to your smile, but there’s a catch. Brushing your teeth too hard can cause gums to recede. Once the protective gum tissue pulls away from the tooth, you can experience painful sensitivity and, if left untreated, could eventually cause gum disease or even tooth loss. Avoid using a back and forth scrubbing motion and focus on brushing in soft circles. Also, make sure you’re using the right toothbrush for you. Usually a soft bristled brush is best.

Biting Your Nails

This is one of two habits that’s not only dangerous for your oral health, but also your overall health (we’ll get the other one is just a bit). Nail biting can introduce all sorts of bacteria that are hiding under nails into your system. And as we know, bacteria isn’t good and can make us sick. In reference to your oral health, biting your nails can lead to jaw issues as well as tooth damage. The position your jaw is in while nibbling on nails can place unnatural pressure on the joint. Doing this repeatedly over years can result in jaw pain or TMJ/TMD. Nails are also made of a hard material, and hard material doesn’t mix well with teeth. Biting nails can lead to chips or cracks in your teeth. To help you break the habit, try using a bitter-tasting nail polish (it even comes in clear if you’re not into colorful nails) to make putting nails to mouth less appealing.

Smoking or Using Tobacco

We mentioned we’d be talking about another habit that’s both dangerous to oral health and overall health… smoking or any type of tobacco use.. It’s fairly common knowledge that using tobacco can lead to all sorts of health problems, but it can also cause some pretty scary oral health issues. Not only can tobacco in any form cause yellow teeth, it can also increase risk for oral cancer or gum disease, which bring on a whole set of problems of their own. We encourage anyone who uses tobacco to try to quit. We know it’s incredibly hard, but we know you can do it.

Clenching and Grinding

Clenching and grinding teeth typically occurs as a response to stress, but it can also happen subconsciously during sleep. No matter when it happens, the results are usually the same. People who clench or grind their teeth tend to experience jaw pain and suffer from TMJ/TMD. What’s more, damage to teeth or dental restorations can also occur. Most times, relief is found by using a nightguard which keeps the teeth from rubbing together or the user from biting down forcefully.

Even though our Memphis dental office is all about preventing dental problems before they arise, we know that issues will still occur, sometimes as a result of any of the habits listed above. If you ever encounter a problem with your smile, we always welcome you to give us a call.