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Waxhaw's Dental Newsletter

Kiss Me, I’m Irish! Oral Health Tips for a Happy St. Patrick’s Day

March 14th 2014

St. Patrick’s Day presents a great opportunity to celebrate with friends and family in true Irish fashion – with amazing food, freely flowing beverages, and festive clothing in every shade of green imaginable. As you gear up to join in on the merrymaking, keep these handy oral health and hygiene tips in mind for a truly happy holiday.

Everything in moderation. It’s entirely expected that millions will enjoy a couple of pints at their nearest pub or a few beers at home to celebrate St. Patty’s Day, but now is as good a time as ever to remember what alcohol can do to your oral health. Too much to drink can contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Enjoy yourself, but not to excess!

Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water during the course of your holiday revelry to maintain your mouth’s healthy pH balance. This will also help your head and body feel better in the morning, so it’s worth remembering.

No matter how late you get home…Be sure to brush and floss as usual. The acid in beer, ale, and other alcoholic beverages can be severely damaging to tooth enamel. Just a few minutes of preventative maintenance to save your smile, and then you can climb into bed. Your teeth will thank you!

And of course, if you are lucky enough on St. Patty’s Day to receive a kiss (Irish or not), make sure to brush and/or use a good mouthwash after all of that delicious corned beef and cabbage! If you have any questions or concerns about your overall oral health, on St. Patrick’s Day or otherwise, contact your local dentist’s office today.

Five Ways to Keep Bad Breath at Bay

February 28th 2014

For some patients, bad breath is something that only happens occasionally, after a meal heavy on garlic, for instance. For others, though, it’s a daily struggle caused by the accumulation and breakdown of bacteria in the mouth. That’s why frequent bad breath–also known as halitosis–is also a sign of early-stage gum disease.

The good news for patients who struggle daily with bad breath is that managing the condition is possible. By following these five helpful steps, patients with halitosis can experience relief and live more confidently.

Brush and floss regularly

Brushing and flossing are the first steps for anyone struggling with bad breath. These simple actions will help you control the amount of bacteria in your mouth by clearing away leftover food particles that contribute to the production and buildup of bacteria. We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing at least once.

Rinse with a mouthwash

Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash is the second step for patients who struggle with bad breath. Antibacterial mouthwashes kill bacteria before they have a chance to accumulate and they simultaneously freshen breath.

Scrape or brush your tongue

In addition to accumulating around the gum line, bacteria can also hide on tongue. Using a tongue scraper–or even your toothbrush–to clean your tongue will do a lot to hold bad breath at bay.

Change your toothbrush

Your toothbrush is another place bacteria can hide. That’s why we recommend switching to a new one about every three months. With a new toothbrush, you can be sure that you’re cleaning your teeth with a bacteria-free brush.

Stay hydrated

What you drink can have a big impact on your oral health. Sugary or acidic drinks can be damaging, while drinking water throughout the day will help you control the buildup of bacteria and wash food particles away.

Do you have questions about what causes bad breath and how it can be treated? Call your local dental office with your questions or to schedule an appointment.

Treat Your Smile This Valentine’s Day!

February 14th 2014

This February, it may be hard to resist the urge to snack on your favorite candy. You might not want to wreck your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, but there might be a compromise!

Did you know that chocolate is good for your teeth?

Recent studies by Tulane University have shown that antioxidants, which occur naturally in dark chocolate, promote dental health by fighting cavities in addition to combating plaque. This means that your “guilty pleasure” sweet is actually actively fighting gum disease while you snack. Dark chocolate substances work to harden the enamel of your teeth. It’s even more effective than fluoride! You can strengthen your teeth and oral health as you eat.

And that’s not all!

Whether you’re enjoying a sweet Valentine’s Day treat or indulging in your favorite candy, you’re even fighting heart disease. Because gum disease has been linked to the development of cardiovascular problems, consuming your daily allowance of chocolate can even protect your heart! Keep in mind that the recommended amount of dark chocolate averages one ounce a day, because everything is better in moderation.

Some experts recommend the raw form of dark chocolate for the most health benefits. This type is less processed, and therefore contains more of the beneficial antioxidants! As always, remember to brush and floss properly after you eat. That way, your smile can shine brightly.

Prevent Periodontal Disease for Better Overall Health

January 31st 2014

When most people consider the topic of good oral hygiene, the first thing they think about is teeth. You brush and floss your teeth to keep them white and cavity-free, but how much do you think about your gums? Often overlooked, the importance of healthy gums goes beyond the matter of a pretty smile. In fact, gums that are allowed to become infected can actually make you seriously ill.

While the initial effects of gingivitis and periodontitis are severe enough on their own – bleeding gums, inflammation, redness and eventual tooth loss, to name a few – the complications of untreated gum disease can be far more serious. When the bacteria from infected gums is inhaled or released into the bloodstream, it can travel throughout the body, wreaking havoc on other organs and tissues.

The most common systemic complications associated with periodontal disease are coronary artery disease, respiratory issues, diabetes and arthritis. In addition to addressing the gum disease itself, patients must take special care to treat any other conditions that arise because of it.

Some problems associated with chronic periodontal disease affect not only the individual patient, but others as well. Pregnant women with gum disease, for example, are significantly more likely to give birth to underweight babies. Infants who begin life at a low birth weight can suffer from a number of potentially serious complications, including respiratory distress shortly after birth. This is why proper oral health care is so crucial for women, especially when they are pregnant.

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or show any signs of redness and swelling, it’s time to see your dentist for periodontal treatment. In most cases, the damage caused by plaque and tartar buildup can be reversed with consistent professional care. Talk to your oral care professional to find out how you can protect yourself and lower your risk of serious infection and illness associated with gum disease.

Have a Healthier Smile for 2014

January 10th 2014

Now that 2014 is here, people are trying to stick to their resolutions and make a better version of themselves for the New Year. Though losing weight or being more organized are good resolutions, there is one resolution that is oftentimes overlooked, and that is the resolution to have a healthier smile. Believe it or not, making sure you are in tip-top oral health means many other parts of your body are healthier. For 2014, why not make the commitment to yourself to be a healthier you?

Dentists recommend you visit their office every six months. During a routine checkup, your dentist will do an oral cancer screening and check for periodontal (gum) disease, making sure there are no early signs and, if there are, treat it right away. They will look at every single tooth, checking for cavities, decay, cracks, and other possible harm. They will also do X-rays of your entire mouth, making sure there are no underlying problems that can’t be seen.

Your dentist will also perform scaling and root planing during your checkup. The scaling is the dentist’s opportunity to remove tartar from below the gum line, while root planing smoothes out the rough surfaces where plaque has built up.

By taking care of your dental needs, you reduce your risk of heart disease, oral cancer, severe tooth decay, and other possible health problems. You will be able to smile with confidence, knowing that your mouth is clean, healthy, and dazzling! Give yourself the gift of excellent oral health this year, and you will not be sorry!