woman chewing gum

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Prevention.

Gum may be your go-to fix to temporarily get rid of bad breath. Or maybe you just like to chew gum and there’s always a pack nearby. But is this sweet treat good for your teeth and overall oral health? Our dental office in Evansville has the answer.

Gum Can Be Good, But Not All Gum is Good Gum

The truth is, chewing gum after a meal when you can’t brush or floss can help remove plaque or food particles that stick around after lunch. It can even help stimulate saliva to neutralize acids and wash away bacteria. But some gum may do more harm than good.

If your chewing gum of choice contains sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or saccharine, chances are that it’s contributing more to the problem of bacteria and acid than helping it. But gum containing Xylitol is a different story.

Why is Xylitol Beneficial?

Xylitol looks like sugar, tastes like sugar, but doesn’t act like sugar once it’s in the body. It doesn’t increase blood sugar levels and doesn’t affect oral health the same way traditional sugar does. Regular sugar and many of the sugar substitutes will feed bacteria in the mouth with a delicious meal, making these bacteria happy and more than willing to stick around. After bacteria feed on sugars they give off an acid byproduct. This acid puts tooth enamel at risk of erosion and increases the chance of decay. But Xylitol functions differently.

Even though bacteria will still feed on Xylitol in the mouth, they aren’t getting any nutrients from it. This starves bacteria and it can die off. This also means that bacteria aren’t excreting the damaging acids that contribute to decay. That’s not all.

Xylitol gum can:

  • Prevent tooth decay
  • Starve bacteria
  • Prevent oral inflammation
  • Reduce your risk for gum disease

Is Xylitol Safe?

Xylitol isn’t only found in gum but actually occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables. It is safe for humans but occasionally, some people have experienced negative, yet not serious, side effects when they ingest too much. Some of these common side effects include gas, bloating, diarrhea, or other discomfort.

The next time you’re looking for a piece of gum to cover up the lingering smells of lunch, choose a brand that includes Xylitol. It can not only freshen your breath, but protect your oral health in the process. However, nothing is as good for oral health as brushing and flossing regularly and maintaining biannual visits to your dentist in Evansville.

woman with toothache

Posted by & filed under Dental Emergency, General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Prevention.

There’s no telling when a toothache may strike. You could be on vacation far away from your dentist in Evansville. Or perhaps you woke up on Sunday morning with a tooth throbbing in pain when no dental office is open. What can you do if these situations occur? We’re happy to help by providing you some easy things to try right in your own home.

Best Ways to Relieve Tooth Pain

Before we dive into the ways you can treat a toothache from home, we need to make sure all of our neighbors and patients know that these are short-term solutions. It’s still crucial to get to our dental office in Evansville as soon as possible so we can treat the pain at the source.

  • Oral Anesthetic. Keeping some over-the-counter oral anesthetic in your medicine cabinet is a great way to be ready for any toothache that comes your way. These gels or liquids contain benzocaine and will temporarily numb your pain. Just apply it to the painful area and follow the usage instructions.
  • Oil of Cloves. Acting very much like an over-the-counter anesthetic, oil of cloves is a natural way to ease tooth pain. Just apply some to the painful tooth or hold a soaked cotton ball to the area.
  • Salt Water. Swishing warm salt water in your mouth, focusing on the painful area, can help reduce pressure on the nerves and allow you some relief. You can do this a few times a day, just don’t swallow the solution.
  • Ice. Some good old fashioned ice may be just want you need to get relief from your tooth pain. Wrap a cold compress in a cloth and apply it to your face. You can keep it there for about 15 minutes at a time, but make sure to take breaks.
  • Anti-inflammatories. If your health allows, taking an anti-inflammatory medication can reduce swelling and ease discomfort. Take as directed… and don’t apply the pill directly to the tooth or gums. This will burn and may cause even more pain.

Keep Toothaches Away

There are ways you can help protect yourself from the discomfort of toothache pain by preventing one in the first place. Start by seeing your dentist twice a year to significantly lower your risk of an unpredictable toothache. Your bi-annual dental cleaning and exam help catch any problems before they have a chance to develop into a bigger, painful problem. Also, make sure you’re brushing twice a day and flossing once a day to remove any food debris, bacteria, or plaque that can contribute to the development of cavities.

Many things can cause toothaches, but most commonly they’re a result of a cavity or perhaps an infection. But no matter what is causing the toothache, it’s important to have it checked sooner rather than later so you can get permanent relief. We welcome anyone with any dental need to schedule an appointment at our Evansville dental office. We’re here to help get, and keep, our patients and neighbors healthy and pain free.

worrying woman

Posted by & filed under Gum Disease, Oral Health, Prevention.

Gum disease is often one term used to describe what are actually three different things. While each level of infection is recognized by a medical term all its own, they are all in fact an infection of the gums. At our dental office in Evansville, we want to help our neighbors identify each level of gum disease, educate them on the risk factors, and talk about the complications that may result if gum disease is left untreated.

Different Stages of Gum Disease

Gingivitis

Let’s start with the mildest form of gum disease — gingivitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is classified by gum inflammation, redness, or maybe some bleeding while brushing and flossing. It’s caused when too much plaque builds up under the gum line. When caught before it has a chance to progress gingivitis can be treated and reversed.

Periodontitis

The next stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis. When gingivitis isn’t treated, the plaque buildup can start to affect the bone and tissues that are responsible for keeping the teeth sturdy and in place. If this occurs, it usually can’t be undone and recommended treatment is more about limiting any more damage.

Advanced Periodontitis

The most severe form of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. During this stage, bones and tissues are seriously weakened which can cause teeth to shift, become loose, or fall out. While treatment may help stop any damage from progressing, the damage that has already occurred is irreversible.

Gum Disease Risk Factors

There are several factors that may put someone at greater risk for developing gum disease. Some of these risk factors are controllable while others are not. For example, genetics are thought to play a role in the development of gum disease, and we can’t do much about the way we’re built. However, we can reduce our risk by not smoking, brushing and flossing regularly, and eating a well-balanced diet.

Signs of Gum Disease

You may have heard gum disease described as a silent disease, but what does that mean? In the earliest stages of gum disease (gingivitis), a person may have little to no symptoms and never suspect a problem. But knowing what to keep an eye out for can help you identify gum disease early and while it’s still treatable.

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Receding gums
  • Swollen, red gums

Gum Disease & Overall Health

If not treated early gum disease can lead to tooth loss and some other serious whole-body concerns. Numerous studies have shown that gum disease has been linked to serious medical conditions and diseases including:

  • Lung disease
  • Cancers
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

The best way to protect your smile from gum disease is to brushing and floss everyday and make sure to visit your dentist in Evansville at least twice a year.

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental check, give our Evansville dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.

labor day picnic

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Prevention.

The team at our dental office in Evansville is pretty sure that the last thing on your mind when you’re enjoying food at a Labor Day picnic is your oral health. However, we can’t help ourselves when it comes to protecting our patients’ smiles. So in preparation for this year’s Labor Day celebration we’d like to provide a list of some of the best summer treats for your smile as well as some of the worst.

What’s Good?

A good way to determine if a certain food is good for your oral health is to think about whether it’s good for your body. Chances are what’s healthy for one is healthy for the other. Try to select foods that contain calcium and phosphorus as these two minerals help build strong teeth and protect enamel. Some foods high in calcium and phosphorus that you may find at your local Labor Day picnic include:

  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Leafy Vegetables

Additionally, pack your plate with fresh veggies such as raw carrots, apples, celery to help remove plaque buildup and stimulate saliva flow.

What’s Not So Good?

Some of the typical picnic foods that fall under the not-so-good category may be obvious, and others may a bit surprising. Let’s take a look at some of the worst foods for oral health.

  • Condiments Condiments including ketchup and barbeque sauce are loaded with acid and sugar, both of which can damage tooth enamel and cause decay.
  • Soda This is one treat that your dentist in Evansville will always put on the bad list. Soda is packed with sugar and greatly increases the risk for cavities.
  • Alcohol Besides causing dry mouth, alcohol can seriously affect oral health if consumed in excess. In fact, drinking too much alcohol greatly increases the risk of developing gum disease.

Besides brushing and flossing regularly, following a well-balanced diet can really help keep teeth and gums healthy. That’s not to say you can’t or shouldn’t indulge every once and awhile, especially at a celebration like Labor Day. However, we recommend drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, help neutralize acids, and rinse away sugars.

Our Evansville dental office team hopes you and your loved ones have a fun, safe, and delicious Labor Day!

embarrassed woman

Posted by & filed under Dental Emergency, General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Restorative Dentistry.

Dental fillings are super-strong restorations that help fill the space left over after we remove decay. But sometimes things happen that can cause a filling to come loose or totally fall out. Whether it’s from crunching down on a popcorn kernel or grinding your teeth while you sleep, a lost filling may cause worry. The team at our Evansville dental office is here to help relieve some of the worry by providing you with a few tips on what you can do if you were to lose a filling.

First Things First

The best thing you can do if you lose a filling is call your dentist in Evansville as soon as you can. Many offices, like ours, leave appointments open for situations just like this so we can fit patients in if needed. At the appointment, we will probably talk about what happened and check out the area. Then we’ll recommend the best treatment to restore the filling and your tooth.  

Treatment Options

Recommended treatment will depend on the location of the filling and the amount of damage. In many cases the filling can simply be replaced with another filling. However, if the filling was covering a large area, a crown may be more appropriate. Dental crowns fit over the entire tooth and provide a strong protective cap.

What You Can Do at Home

Sometimes we can’t fit you into the schedule that day, or perhaps you lost your filling on a Saturday afternoon when a dental office isn’t open. But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer. There are a few things you can do on your own to help protect your tooth and reduce pain if you have any.

  • Keep it clean by gently brushing the area after eating to remove any food particles that may have become trapped in the groove.
  • Swishing with salt water will also help loosen food and rinse away bacteria.
  • Use a pain reliever to reduce sensitivity.
  • Place temporary filling material made from zinc oxide into the space. This can be found at most pharmacies. Remember, this is a temporary fix and it’s still important to have the tooth restored.

Reduce Your Risk

Nobody wants to lose a dental filling, and the best thing you can do to protect your dental restorations is to avoid things that can damage them. This includes limiting your intake of chewy, sticky foods as well as hard, crunchy snacks, treating any grinding with a mouthguard, and seeing your dentist regularly to monitor all your dental work.

If you’ve lost a filling, don’t wait. Call our dental office in Evansville.

man fills out paperwork

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Prevention.

Before your first visit with your dentist in Evansville you’ll probably be asked to fill out a medical history form. But why does a doctor who’s looking at your oral health need to know all about your overall health? The truth is, there is a strong connection between the two and the more your dental team knows, the more customized your treatment can be.

Things You Should Share

When it comes to information about your health there’s no such thing as too much information. Knowing anything and everything we can about your overall health will only help our team help give you the best dental care possible. We encourage you to be honest about your health history even it you think it has absolutely nothing to do with your mouth because, in fact, many diseases can affect your oral health. Some things we should know about include:

  • Heart problems
  • Asthma
  • Pacemaker
  • Epilepsy
  • Smoking
  • Allergies
  • Joint replacements
  • Autoimmune conditions

Medications and Oral Health

Our dental office in Evansville may also ask for a list of any prescriptions or over-the-counter medications you’re currently taking. Many medications can cause dry mouth, which puts you at greater risk for cavities. While cavities are easily treated when they’re caught early, if they’re left alone they can lead to bigger problems such as the need for a root canal or even so much as losing the tooth. It’s also important for us to know about any medications you take in case we need to prescribe you anything, that way we can be sure it’s not going to negatively affect or interact with your existing medicine.

Keep it Current

While it’s normal and necessary to collect health history at your first visit to any doctor, you may never touch those forms again. But you should. Any time something changes with your health — if you have surgery, get diagnosed with a disease, are pregnant, or start a new medication — you should ask to update your medical history on file.

Privacy Matters

As with any medical information, your health history is also kept private and can’t be shared with anyone without your permission. Rest assured that any information regarding your health is protected by HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

At our Evansville dental office, we believe that when it comes to your health, the more we know the better we can cater your care to your individual needs. If you have any questions about why we ask what we do or our privacy policy, we welcome you to ask us at any time.

yogurt with granola

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Prevention.

Most of us know that sugar is bad for teeth. So it should come as no surprise that our dental office in Evansville encourages our patients to limit their sugar intake in order to keep teeth healthy and decay-free. But sometimes it’s not so easy know just how much sugar is in the foods we eat. We’re here to help take a closer look…

How Much Sugar is Recommended?

Before we dive into some foods that are high in sugar we should talk about how much sugar we typically need every day. While sugar intake limits vary person to person, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following maximum of added sugars daily:

  • Men – 150 calories per day (or 9 teaspoons)
  • Women – 100 calories per day (or 6 teaspoons)

A Quick Note on Added Sugars

There two types of sugars found in food — natural sugars and added sugars. Natural sugars occur naturally in foods and added sugars are, well, added in. While both can negatively affect teeth, added sugars are worse for oral health and overall health.

Sugar-Packed Snacks

As we look at some snacks that are high in sugar, there may be some that surprise you. Remember, you don’t need to avoid these snacks entirely, but try to limit your intake of added sugars and do all you can to follow a well-balanced diet. To try to put the sugar content into better perspective, we’ll be using teaspoons for reference.

Yogurt

Yogurt is usually considered good for you, but certain types can contain loads of sugar. Varieties that have added fruit or flavors are particularly guilty. Some may even top out at more than 6.5 teaspoons of sugar in only a 6 ounce cup.

Granola Bars

Here’s another snack that normally finds its way onto the healthy list. Granola bars can be a quick and easy snack, but there can also be a lot of sugar hiding in these handheld treats. In fact, some may have nearly 3 teaspoons of it.

Soda

This one should come as no surprise. Certain types of soda can have as much as 11 teaspoons in a 12 ounce can!

Candy

Another pretty common sugary snack comes in the form of candy. And while different types of candy pack a different sugar punch, most of them contain at least 7 teaspoons and some have as much as 17 teaspoons!

When it comes to nutrition and snacking smart, read the labels on food carefully and pay attention to serving size to truly know how much sugar (and other stuff) you’ll be putting into your body. If it helps you to picture sugar content by the teaspoon, keep in mind that 4.2 grams is equal to 1 teaspoon.

As always, when it comes to keeping your smile healthy and your teeth in tip-top shape, make sure you brush them twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist in Evansville biannually.

We’re always accepting new patients at our Evansville dental office and welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today.

older gentleman

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Gum Disease, Oral Health, Prevention.

Oral healthcare needs vary from person to person and even between age groups. That’s one reason our dental office in Evansville believes that individualized dental care is the best approach to keeping our neighbors healthy. And while several common dental concerns remain consistent through every stage of life, there are some unique ailments that tend to specifically affect the senior population. Join us as we take a closer look at some of them.

Discolored Teeth – Many things from coffee to wine or cigarettes can cause tooth discoloration at any point throughout our lives. However, seniors in particular may notice a darkening or yellowing of teeth without any explanation at all. But the truth is this discoloration is typically a result of the outer white tooth enamel slowly wearing away and becoming thinner. When teeth become more transparent, we’re able to see more of the inside color of them, and it just so happens that the inner tooth isn’t as white as the outside. In fact, it’s often yellow or dark in color and what gives teeth a darker appearance.

Dry Mouth – Even though dry mouth can also affect anyone at any time and can be caused by a number of things, it does tend to be more common in seniors. One cause of dry mouth is medication. Prescription medication and even over-the-counter options often list dry mouth as a side effect. When these medications are taken regularly, saliva production slows down, the mouth becomes dry, and teeth put at risk for developing cavities. If these cavities aren’t treated, they could lead to the need for a root canal, sensitivity pain, or even tooth loss.  

Tooth Loss – Many people believe that as we get older, we’re surely going to lose our teeth, or at least one or two of them. But this isn’t always true. It’s absolutely possible for people to keep their natural teeth for their entire lives, especially if they take proper care of them. This means brushing and flossing every day and seeing the dentist in Evansville every six months. However, several things can increase the likelihood of tooth loss in seniors including a history of smoking, dry mouth, untreated decay, and gum disease.

Gum Disease – When bacteria isn’t removed from the mouth it can wiggle up under the gum line and become difficult to remove. If it’s not treated it may lead to infection and cause gum disease. Usually categorized by red, bleeding, inflamed gums, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even affect the rest of the body. Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and according to recent studies, Alzheimer’s disease. It should be noted that researchers have not necessarily found a definite correlation between gum disease and Alzheimer’s, but one study found in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy notes a strong link between diseases that cause increased inflammation, including gum disease, and Alzheimer’s.  

While we can’t stop ourselves from aging, we can take preventive steps to protect our oral health and bodies. Make sure you always brush twice a day and floss once a day, no matter how old or young you may be, and be sure to get a professional dental cleaning and check up at least twice a year. If you’re overdue for your dental appointment, we welcome you to call our Evansville dental office to schedule a visit with us today.

woman with headache

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

All of us have experienced at least one headache throughout our lives. And while headaches are certainly uncomfortable, there are millions of Americans who suffer with regular headaches or more severe migraines regularly. During this National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month, our dental office in Evansville wants to help do our part by educating our neighbors on how these debilitating migraines or headaches may just be related to dentistry.  

Is it a Migraine or a Headache?

Defining the difference between migraines and headaches can be tricky since both conditions have very similar symptoms. While of course both are marked by some sort of pain in the head, whether that be throbbing pain or dull pain, there are several symptomatic differences between the two that can help distinguish one from the other.

Headache Symptoms

  • Pain isn’t typically concentrated on only one side of the head
  • Pain doesn’t appear to worsen with activity
  • Usually has a more constant pressure sensation
  • Doesn’t result in symptoms in other parts of the body

Migraine Symptoms

  • One side of the head tends to hurt more, although not always
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea

The Link Between Dentistry, Migraines, and Headaches

Even though the symptoms of headaches and migraines are most noticeable in the head, they may be triggered by something in the mouth. As weird as that may sound, it actually makes a lot of sense when considering the complex anatomy that surrounds and links to the head, including the mouth and jaw joints. That’s where the problems can begin.

Research has shown a promising correlation between a bad bite and headaches or migraines. When the top and bottom jaw joints (TMJ) don’t line up in a harmonious way, too much pressure is placed on the muscles in this area. Since everything in our bodies is interconnected, and these muscles happen to connect to the head, the pain that may be caused by a tired, worn out jaw muscle can find its way into the head, causing a headache or migraine. Bruxism, or chronic tooth grinding/clenching can have a similar effect.

An appointment at our our Evansville dental office can help evaluate your bite and check for any signs that you may have bruxism, either of which may be related to headaches or migraines. We will then discuss the best treatment options to help. Give us a call today, we’ll be happy to help.

woman reaches for asthma inhaler

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Prevention.

Asthma is a scary, chronic disease that affects over 20 million adults and more than 6 million children in the United States. If not managed and treated proactively, asthma can make it difficult to breathe, cause the chest to tighten, and can even lead to death. At our dental office in Evansville, we also know that asthma not only affects your lungs and respiratory system, but can actually have a negative effect on oral health, too.

Asthma & Dry Mouth

Since asthma causes the airways that carry oxygen to and from your lungs to become swollen, less air is able to pass through. This can make breathing difficult. When we can’t get enough air or just can’t seem to catch our breath we will involuntarily start to breathe out of our mouths instead of our noses. While mouth breathing can make it easier to breathe, it can also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there’s a decrease in saliva production, and that’s when the problems start. Without saliva, the bacteria and acids in the mouth that are typically rinsed away are left to attack teeth. This increases the risk for decay and cavities. Many asthma medications also list dry mouth as a side effect, which can make the problem even worse.

Asthma & Gum Disease

Besides the increased risk for cavities, asthma patients are also more likely to have gum disease. In fact, a survey conducted by the Journal of Periodontology concluded that people with gum disease were five times more likely to also have asthma. Gum disease is another serious disease caused by a bacterial infection. If not treated gum disease can affect the health of the rest of the body including increasing the risk for heart disease, even more respiratory complications, and even some cancers.

How to Protect Your Smile

If you have asthma, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease including:

Drinking Plenty of Water. The more water you can drink every day, the better. Just as water helps hydrate the body, it does the same for your mouth. Drinking water can help rinse away the bacteria that your saliva is usually responsible for.

Rinsing After Taking Medication. Since many asthma medications can contribute to dry mouth, it’s wise to rinse your mouth with water after taking any medicine. This can help remove any of the drying ingredients.

Brushing and Flossing Regularly. It’s always important to brush and floss every day, but perhaps even more so if you have asthma. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can help remove bacteria and plaque that could lead to cavities or gum disease.

Talking to Your Dentist in Evansville. At your dental appointments your team will ask about your health history. It’s important that you let them know you have asthma and share which medications you use so they can keep a close eye on your dental health.

We’re always welcoming new patients at our Evansville dental office and would encourage you to call to schedule an appointment if it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen a dentist. Preventive dental care, along with a good oral hygiene routine at home, can help protect your smile from cavities, gum disease, and other oral health concerns.