Healthy Gums, Healthy Teeth! 5 Ways To Keep Your Gums Healthy

Family Dentist in Alabama

More often than not, when you think of the dentist, you think of your teeth. Somehow our gums just seem to fall through the cracks. But, did you know that your gum health is just as important as the health of your teeth? 

Your gums are responsible for protecting your teeth from disease and decay. Without proper oral hygiene, your gums can quickly develop periodontitis, another name for gum disease. Some of the most common signs of early gum disease include bad breath, swollen gums, gums that bleed easily, or gums that appear to be receding from your teeth.

When caught in its early stages, gum disease is easily reversible. However, if left untreated, it can have more serious implications on your oral health. So, how do you prevent gum disease? Here are five easy ways to keep your gums healthy:

1. Floss Every Day

Flossing your teeth once every day is one of the most effective ways to improve the health of your gums. When you floss, you are removing the food and bacteria that become trapped between your teeth. When you fail to floss, this food and bacteria become plaque that will eventually lead to gum disease. 

2. Brush Your Teeth Using Proper Technique

We know we talk about brushing your teeth quite often, this is because it is an important step to achieving optimal oral health! When you brush your teeth, you must use the proper technique to protect and care for your gums. 

Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles to alleviate any unnecessary abrasion to your gums! If the bristles of your toothbrush begin to fray, or your toothbrush shows other signs of wear, replace it with a new toothbrush to avoid gum injury. 

3. Use the Right Oral Hygiene Products

There are countless oral hygiene products to choose from. From various flavors to the wide range of claims made by various products, it can be hard to make your final selection! The best oral hygiene products for gum health include toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride. If you are unsure of the best products for you, ask your dentist during your next visit!

4. Protect Your Gums

In addition to instilling proper oral hygiene habits, there are other ways to protect your gums from injury, decay, or disease. Some lifestyle choices such as diets that are high in sugar or regular smoking can cause damage to your gum health. Additionally, participating in sports may pose an added threat to your gums. Take the proper precautions to prevent unnecessary damage or injury, ensuring healthy gums for years to come.

5. Visit the Dentist

There are countless reasons to visit your dentist twice a year. During your bi-annual cleaning and exam, we are not only caring for your teeth but also your gums! Unfortunately, the earliest signs of gum disease are easy to miss. However, when caught in the early stages, gum disease can be reversed through simple oral hygiene! For this reason, professional dental cleanings and exams are one of the best ways to protect and improve the health of your gums.

By implementing these five easy tips, you can make great strides in maintaining not only healthy teeth but also healthy gums! 

Say Ahhhh – How Your Tongue Affects Your Oral Hygiene

Family Dentist in Alabama

When you think of oral hygiene, the first thought is likely your teeth. Unfortunately, the tongue is often forgotten in the quest for a healthy smile! Did you know that the health of your tongue can not only impact your oral health but your overall health as well? In this post, we will discuss a few of the ways your tongue can affect your oral hygiene. We will also share some tips for including your tongue in your daily oral hygiene routine! 

Is Your Tongue Healthy?

The tongue is a part of the body that often goes unnoticed – until something is wrong. A healthy tongue should be pink in color with tiny, uniform bumps covering the surface. These bumps are called papillae and provide a rough texture that helps us eat. Papillae also contain both taste buds and temperature receptors, helping us enjoy our food! 

If your tongue is sore, swollen, or you notice any changes in color, pattern, sensation, or appearance, it is important to schedule an appointment to eliminate any concerning health issues. So, how can your tongue affect your oral hygiene? 

Your Tongue Can Harbor Bacteria

We understand the importance of brushing our teeth to eliminate bacteria that can cause decay or disease. But brushing your teeth is only half of the job! As you are eating, bacteria settles between the papillae on your tongue’s surface. Although your teeth may be rid of harmful bacteria, the bacteria on your tongue can wreak havoc on the health of your smile! By brushing or scraping your tongue as you are brushing your teeth, you can eliminate this pesky bacteria, achieving a truly clean smile! 

Your Tongue Can Contribute to Bad Breath

Halitosis, or bad breath, is one thing that none of us wish to experience! Not only can bad breath be off-putting to friends and family members, but it can affect the taste of your favorite snack. The bacteria that is harbored in the crevices of your tongue can not only lead to tooth decay, but it can also cause bad breath! 

Taking a few extra moments to clean your tongue will help you achieve truly fresh breath every time you brush! 

Including Your Tongue in Your Oral Hygiene Routine

How exactly do you ensure that your tongue is clean and free from nasty bacteria? There are several methods you can use to clean your tongue. Most of our patients choose to brush their tongue with their toothbrushes as they finish brushing their teeth.

However, there are also special scraping tools made specifically for cleaning your tongue. It may take some practice to develop this as part of your oral hygiene routine. But, the benefits for both your oral health and your overall wellbeing are undeniable. We recommend brushing your tongue at least once a day although incorporating it into your twice-daily brushing is a great way to establish the habit!  

If you have questions about how to improve your oral hygiene by cleaning your tongue, be sure to ask our team during your next visit! 

Tooth Cavities: Separating Fact From Fiction

Family Dentist in Alabama

As one of the most common oral health concerns, there is great confusion surrounding the topic of tooth cavities. What causes cavities? Are some people just more prone to this problem than others? The answers to these questions may surprise you! 

So, what is a cavity? A cavity is a form of tooth decay. The bacteria that is found in the mouth is highly acidic and interacts with plaque to eat away at your tooth’s enamel. Over time, this results in a hole in your tooth that will continue to grow deeper if you don’t receive professional care.

While cavities in their early stages are invisible to the untrained eye, they will begin to cause a toothache or pain once reaching the inside of the tooth. Fortunately, cavities are easily treatable through a process called a dental filling. Now that we know more about what a cavity really is, let’s take a look at some of the most common myths about tooth cavities.

Myth: Only Kids Get Cavities

A cavity is often the first type of oral health problem a child experiences. Because of this, many people are under the impression that only kids get cavities. However, this is simply a myth! 

Patients of every age are susceptible to tooth cavities. In fact, due to advancements in dentistry over the past 20 years, children are now at a lower risk for developing cavities than their older family members. 

Myth: Sugar is The Only Thing That Causes Cavities

This is where things get tricky. While this is mostly a myth, there is some truth behind it! The primary culprit in causing cavities is bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria is responsible for the production of the destructive acid that begins to eat through the enamel of your teeth. 

Where does this bacteria come from? The primary food groups that cause cavities are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are naturally occurring sugars and are exist in a variety of foods including bread, rice, potatoes, and more.

So while that sugary treat certainly doesn’t do your teeth any favors, it is not the only thing that increases your chances of developing a cavity.

Myth: There is No True Way to Prevent Cavities

Unfortunately, some people are more prone to cavities than others. Some individuals are more prone to developing cavity-causing bacteria than others. Others simply have gaps in their smiles that provide more opportunities for decay. However, even for individuals with these pre-existing conditions, there are always ways to prevent cavities! 

Patients of every age can take steps towards preventing cavities by brushing their teeth thoroughly twice each day and flossing daily. However, the most effective way to prevent cavities is to visit your dentist for bi-annual dental cleanings and exams.

As we discussed previously, cavities are caused when the bacteria interacts with the plaque that accumulates on the surface of your teeth. While daily oral hygiene tasks keep this plaque at bay, the only true way to achieve a clean smile is through a professional dental cleaning!

5 Popular Drinks And How They Affect Your Teeth

Family Dentist in Alabama

Just like certain types of foods can impact our oral health for better or worse, so can the types of drinks we choose to consume. Unfortunately, many of the most popular drinks can harm your oral health if you do not limit your intake. In this post, we will discuss how five of the most popular drinks can affect your oral health, as well as some practical tips for avoiding unnecessary damage to your teeth.

Soda

Soda, pop, coke – call it what you want, it all affects your teeth in the same way! While it remains one of the most popular beverages, especially in the United States, soda contains ridiculously high amounts of sugar! The bacteria that reside in your mouth feed off this sugar, eventually leading to the formation of cavities.

However, sugar isn’t the only harmful component of soda. Soda is also highly acidic, something that can exacerbate damage to your teeth. Next time you choose to enjoy a bubbly beverage, use a straw to bypass your teeth, and be sure to rinse your mouth with water once you finish!

Energy Drinks

Although they may seem like a better alternative to soda, energy and sports drinks contain just as much, if not more, sugar! Many energy drinks are also highly acidic, causing even more damage to the enamel of your tooth. Once the enamel becomes compromised, you are likely to experience an increase in tooth sensitivity and discomfort. 

While there is certainly a time and place to enjoy an occasional energy drink, they should be seen as a treat and not as a part of your daily routine. Remember to drink plenty of water following your energy or sports drink to rid your mouth of lingering sugars. Alternatively, opt for green tea for a boost of energy to get you through the day.

Lemonade

Lemonade is good for you, right? This tasty drink falls somewhere in the middle of the list when it comes to drinks that affect your teeth one way or the other. While lemonade does not have the carbonation that can increase damage to the tooth’s enamel, it is highly acidic and often contains high amounts of sugar! 

As we have seen with the drinks we have already discussed, acids and sugars and not your mouth’s best friends. While it is important to not drink lemonade in excess, it is a tasty treat that you should continue to enjoy! Choose a lemonade with lower sugar content and be sure to drink plenty of water following your tasty treat.  

Coffee

Most adults run on a morning (and oftentimes, afternoon) cup of coffee! While coffee is also acidic, the dark color of coffee is more likely to harm your smile. Don’t panic: you don’t have to give up coffee forever! Opt for coffee drinks with lower sugar content, be sure to drink plenty of water, and consider using a whitening toothpaste to counteract the staining you may experience.

Sparkling Water

We know that water is one of the best things we can drink to promote both oral and overall health. But is sparkling water any different? While it is still important to drink plenty of regular water, the carbonation added to sparkling water will not harm your oral health. Additionally, this can be a great alternative to soda or carbonated energy drinks!

Eat Right, Smile Bright! 8 Foods That Are Great For Your Teeth

Family Dentist in Alabama

We often discuss the foods that are not good for our teeth. But did you know that certain foods can benefit the health of both your teeth and your gums? By adding these foods into your diet, you can brighten your smile, strengthen your teeth, and work towards a healthier, happier smile. 

Here are 8 of the best foods to eat for your oral health:

1. Apples

Apples serve many purposes. While it is wise to minimize your intake of sweets, an apple can curb your sweet tooth while also contributing to your oral health! Eating an apple encourages increased saliva production, something that helps to rinse away bacteria and food particles sticking around after your meal. The texture of the apple also helps to stimulate your gums and leaves your teeth feeling fresh! 

2. Yogurt

Yogurt is likely not the first thing that comes to mind as you consider oral health. However, there are many ways that this tasty treat is beneficial to your smile! Yogurt is high in both protein and calcium, two things that help to strengthen your teeth. Additionally, the probiotics found in yogurt help to counteract the bad bacteria that is responsible for forming cavities. 

Not all yogurt is created equal. It is important to look for yogurt with minimal sugars or opt for plain yogurt and add fruit for a bit of sweetness.

3. Cheese

Cheese, like yogurt and other dairy products, is high in calcium and protein. Additionally, studies have suggested that cheese raises the pH of the mouth, lowering the risk of tooth decay! 

4. Leafy Greens

You are likely not surprised that leafy greens found a spot on this list. Greens such as spinach and kale contain plenty of vitamins and minerals that promote optimal health. While greens may not be your snack of choice, they make a perfect addition to a salad, smoothie, or even pizza.

5. Carrots

Carrots are quite similar to apples, encouraging the production of saliva that fends of cavities. This tasty treat also contains high amounts of fiber and vitamin A, both of which benefit your smile!

6. Celery

Celery is by far one of the least popular vegetables. However, it contains antioxidants such as vitamins A and C that benefit your gum health. Additionally, celery gently cleans bacteria and food particles from the surface of your teeth. Not a fan of the taste? Add a bit of cream cheese or peanut butter for a tasty treat!

7. Raisins

Perhaps one of the most surprising foods on this list is raisins! Raisins contain phytochemicals that could help fight cavity-causing bacteria and minimize the risk of gum disease. 

8. Strawberries

As if we needed another reason to love this sweet treat, strawberries contain a variety of nutrients including fiber, folate, manganese, and vitamin C. The malic acid found in many fruits, including strawberries, has even been said to naturally whiten your teeth. We consider that a win! 

Next time you head to the kitchen for a snack, consider one of these healthy (yet delicious) options. By eating right, you can achieve a smile that is both healthy and bright!

Sylacauga AL Dentist | 4 Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Kids

Family Dentist in Alabama

As a parent, the best way to help ensure your child has a lifetime of healthy teeth is to help them establish great dental hygiene habits as they grow.

Sylacauga AL Dentist | 4 Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Kids

Here are some useful tips for keeping your child engaged by making dental hygiene fun:

 

Pick out a special toothbrush.

One great way to keep your child excited about brushing is to allow him or her to choose their own toothbrush in a favorite color or branded with a favorite cartoon character. Child-size soft-bristled brushes come in a wide variety of options designed to make your child like their toothbrush.

 

Choose children’s toothpaste.

Another great option is to use a toothpaste that is designed for kids. While adults generally prefer the fresh mouth taste of a minty toothpaste, many children find mint to be too powerful a flavor. This can make brushing unpleasant or even painful to sensitive taste buds. Instead, let your child choose a children’s toothpaste. There are many options available in a variety of soft mint, fruity, and bubble gum flavors. It is much easier to keep your child brushing for a full two minutes when their toothpaste tastes good.

 

Use a timer.

Two minutes can seem like a long time to a child. It can be very difficult for your child to try to estimate or count how long to brush without some kind of visual aid. You can help your child stay more engaged and ensure a full two minutes of brushing by using a timer. Choices range from a small sand timer your child can flip over, to a manual stopwatch with buttons to press, or even an app on a phone or tablet to time digitally (if your child is old enough). By letting your child take control of the timer, they can be more confident and more engaged in their brushing.

 

Brush together.

A parent is the first and strongest role model for their child. Brushing together can help your child model your great brushing technique, which will improve their own. Additionally, brushing together emphasizes to your child that brushing is important. When your child sees that you take dental hygiene seriously, they are likely to follow suit.

 

For more tips on making dental hygiene fun for your child, contact our office.

 

Sylacauga AL Dentist | To Floss or Not to Floss?

Family Dentist in Alabama

By now, you have likely seen news reports questioning whether flossing is necessary for your oral health.

Sylacauga AL Dentist | To Floss or Not to Floss?

We want to answer your question right away with an absolute YES. Cleaning between your teeth is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums.

 

Whether you use traditional string dental floss, a water flosser, an interdental (between teeth) brush, or other form of interdental cleaning, it is important that you clean between your teeth correctly and on a daily basis.

 

Unfortunately, in the quest for catchy headlines, many news agencies have been providing a great deal of incomplete and inaccurate information.

 

Here’s the truth: Plaque and bacteria can be prevented from building up between teeth when flossing is done correctly on a daily basis.

 

Why does that matter? Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other systemic health issues.

 

The next time you visit our office, ask your hygienist to show you the most effective way to clean between your teeth. For more information on flossing and interdental cleaning or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

​Sylacauga AL Dentist | Oral Cancer Screening Can Save Your Life 

Family Dentist in Alabama

 

​Sylacauga AL Dentist | Oral Cancer Screening Can Save Your Life 

 

 

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​Sylacauga AL Dentist | Providing Relief from Periodontal Disease 

Family Dentist in Alabama

 

Sylacauga AL Dentist | Providing Relief from Periodontal Disease 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Dentist in Sylacauga | Only Floss The Teeth You Want To Keep 

Family Dentist in Alabama

Family Dentist in SylacaugaEvery time you stop in to visit your dentist, you are asked, “Do you floss regularly?” This is because flossing is instrumental in maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile. It helps to remove the plaque that brushing alone can’t reach. While we all know brushing is critical to your oral health, it is important to understand the benefits of flossing daily. 

 Flossing is a great way to protect your gums. When you floss, your dentist recommends also working between your gums and teeth in order to remove plaque within between your gums. This will prevent the accumulation of plaque that eventually hardens into tartar. Tartar buildup can cause gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss. While you can remove plaque from your teeth and gums, tartar is much stronger, meaning that it requires a trip to your dentist in order to remove it. Simple, preventative care such as flossing regularly can help to ward off tartar and to keep all of your teeth. 

 Flossing can also provide financial benefits. This preventative care can reduce more severe problems down the road. Regular visits to the dentist for a cleaning is a lot more cost effective than needing emergency care due to a lack of flossing. Flossing is a great way to stop the problems before they even start. 

 Flossing is also beneficial to your overall health. By maintaining great oral health, you are able to prevent other systemic problems such as heart disease and respiratory disease.  

 

Contact our office today to schedule your next appointment and stay on top of your oral health.  

 

Visit Our Sylacauga
Dental Office

Sylacauga Family Dentist

Dental Associates of Sylacauga

Sylacauga Location

499 W. 3rd Street
Sylacauga, AL 35150

(256) 245-6039

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