When you think about your oral health, you may only consider your teeth. But the bigger truth is that your oral health has a direct link to your overall health and even heart disease. As we begin the annual February celebration of American Heart Health Month, the team at our Evansville dental office has a few important things you need know to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Gum disease is a serious infection caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth. Untreated plaque buildup can harden into tartar which can only be removed during an appointment with your dentist in Evansville. But if it’s not, the bacteria found in our mouths can infiltrate the gums and cause infection. This could eventually lead to gingivitis, periodontitis, and even tooth loss. But that’s not all. Mounds of research show a strong connection between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.
When gum disease isn’t treated quickly and properly, it puts your heart in danger. The infection within the gums can move into the bloodstream, and that’s bad news. With the infection in your blood, your body will produce excess amounts of C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP is a known indicator of cardiovascular disease and can lead to serious conditions such as:
- Inflamed arteries
- Blood clots
- Heart attacks
Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease can sneak up on people, and you may not realize anything is wrong if you aren’t aware of the typical early warning signs, including:
Early treatment is crucial to treating gum disease before it has a chance to affect the rest of your body. If you’re aware of any of the signs above in your mouth, schedule an appointment with your Evansville dentist as soon as you can.
Preventing gum disease can be as easy as brushing properly twice a day, flossing once daily, and seeing your dentist bi-annually to remove any plaque and tartar buildup. You can take it one step further and avoid tobacco products and ensure you’re eating a well-balanced diet.
Reduce your risk of gum disease and other whole-body problems. Schedule an appointment with us today.
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 Evansville 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….
Perhaps the most obvious sign that it’s time to see a dentist in Evansville 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.
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 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.
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 Evansville to schedule a visit.
Everyone 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 Evansville 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 Evansville, 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 Evansville to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to determine the best way to whiten your smile safely and effectively.
‘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 Evansville 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.
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 Evansville 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.
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 Evansville 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.
When it comes to talking about food choices that are good for your teeth, your dentist in Evansville has some not-so-surprising go to selections such as veggies, cheeses, and dairy products packed with calcium. But it may surprise you to hear that our dental office in Evansville is also a fan of chocolate.
Fight Cavities, Eat Chocolate!
Recent research conducted on the oral health effects of chocolate have caused dental professionals across the world to take a closer look at the sweet treat. It probably comes as no surprise that dentists typically shy away from sugar-packed snacks such as chocolate. But several studies have shown a positive benefit between consuming dark chocolate and lower amounts of decay.
It’s Not Magic, It’s Science!
It may seem like magic that something so delicious may actually have a host of health benefits, but there’s a solid scientific explanation behind why dark chocolate is actually good for teeth. To better understand the science behind the benefits, we need to take a closer look at what makes up our favorite dark chocolate snacks.
The Good Stuff
The compounds found in dark chocolate, or more specifically the cocoa bean husk, have antibacterial and plaque-fighting properties. One of the main components of dark chocolate, CBH, may even find its way into over-the-counter dental products in the future thanks to the positive research on its beneficial effects. Studies surrounding CBH support the idea that this ingredient may be better at fighting decay than fluoride treatments. But don’t go and pass up the fluoride just yet. More research is needed to truly determine the entire host of CBH benefits.
How Does It Work?
Usually when we eat foods with a lot of sugar content, we leave our teeth exposed to the dangers of the sugars. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and produce acid as a byproduct. This acid eats away at protective enamel and leaves teeth susceptible to cavities. However, the compounds in dark chocolate counteract the high sugar content and the damaging effects that go along with it by releasing their antibacterial properties and fighting off plaque.
Not Just Any Chocolate Will Do
Keep in mind that these studies look at the benefits of dark chocolate. Milk chocolate as well as white chocolate have a higher sugar content, and eating too much of either may contribute to higher rates of decay.
Following a well-balanced diet can do wonders in helping you keep your mouth healthy and cavity free. Add in a few dark chocolate indulgences, brush and floss regularly, and maintain hygiene appointments at our Evansville dental office for the best preventive approach to good oral health.
Late November is when we gear up for a few weeks of feasts, family, fun, shopping, and all that the holiday season brings. Between arranging schedules to see everyone you need to see, fitting in all the parties you’ve been invited to, cooking large meals, and everything in between, it’s no wonder that stress levels tend to soar this time of year. As we all know, stress can affect our overall wellbeing. But at our dental office in Evansville, we also know stress can jeopardize oral health, too.
What’s With The Jaw Pain?
Our bodies react to stress differently, and we aren’t even aware of some of the things it does when stressed. Clenching and grinding our teeth tends to be one of those things. When we grind our teeth against each other, the forces put on the teeth can cause them to chip, crack, or break. Clenching can do the same thing, but it also affects the jaw. Habitually clenching our teeth may cause serious jaw pain and, if left untreated, long-term TMJ problems. If you’re experiencing clicking or popping in the jaw joint, jaw pain, or occasional jaw locking give your Evansville dentist a call.
The main causes of gum disease usually include improper oral hygiene, dry mouth, or smoking. But one of the lesser known risk factors to developing this serious oral health problem is stress. Research has shown a strong link between prolonged stress and a higher risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a health problem that originates in the mouth but also can affect the entire body. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, and other serious health problems.
Stay Calm, Stay Healthy
At our Evansville dental office, we know that life can be super stressful, especially during the holidays. If you find your blood pressure increasing and your anxiety levels rising, try a few of these tips to relax and keep yourself healthy.
- Eat Well. Fueling your body with the nutrients it needs can keep energy levels high and ready to tackle anything that comes your way.
- Sleep Often. During the holidays we try to shove so many things into our schedules that sleep is usually the first thing we sacrifice. However, getting enough sleep every night can help ensure your body will stay healthy enough to enjoy all the holiday festivities you have planned.
- Exercise Regularly. Hit the treadmill, go for a walk, attend a class — whatever you choose to do, make sure you exercise regularly. Exercise is naturally stress reducing, so don’t skip your workouts
The team at our Evansville dental office wish you and your family a happy, healthy holiday season!
The mission of the American Cancer Society is to eliminate cancer as a widespread health problem through research, service, and education. One of their larger events of the year, the Great American Smokeout, occurs on the third Thursday in November. This annual event strives to encourage all tobacco users to designate a quit date and work towards a smoke-free life. The mission at our dental office in Evansville is to help our neighbors live a healthy, happy life, and not using tobacco is directly related to us fulfilling that mission. So this November, we’re going to highlight a few benefits of quitting as well as a few tips to help.
Smoking & Oral Health
Most people are aware of the various health issues that go along with smoking. And those are absolutely serious. But your dentist in Evansville focuses more on the many oral health problems that tend to accompany years of tobacco use. Some of these concerns include:
- Slowed healing time after dental treatment
Tips to Quit
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, and sometimes people try several times before they stop once and for all. And that’s ok. Whether this is your first try or your twentieth, we believe in you and want to help by providing a few of the best tips we’ve found to help you quit.
- Gather a support system by recruiting friends and family to help you manage cravings. Having a solid support team is one of the key ingredients to a successful quit plan.
- List out your reasons for quitting and refer back to them whenever you feel yourself start to slip. Reminding yourself of the money you’ll save or the health you’ll get back can snap you out of a potential fallback.
- Be aware of your triggers and work to either avoid them or change your habits surrounding them.
- Keep healthy options handy to keep your hands and mouth busy. Chew sugar-free gum or snack on crunchy carrots to help satisfy your cravings.
If you’re looking for help to finally quit smoking, or perhaps you’re ready to get your mouth healthy after quitting, we welcome you to call our Evansville dental office to schedule an appointment. Even it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the dentist or you’ve been a smoker for years, you don’t need to worry about a lecture with us. We believe that supporting you through your journey is much more helpful to getting you healthy.
We’re right in the middle of Halloween season, which typically means all things spooky and eerie come out of the woodwork to try and scare you. While the team at our dental office in Evansville understands the creepiness behind ghosts, goblins, and zombies, there is one thing that many people fear all months out of the year that we’d like to help with: the dentist.
Reasons Behind Dental Fear
Before we can work to overcome a fear, we must first try to identify why the fear exists. Fear of the dentist is no different. Some of the most common reasons behind dental fear include fear of pain, embarrassment, losing control, or a negative past experience.
Overcoming Your Fear of the Dentist
Believe it or not, just by choosing to read this blog, you’ve taken a step towards overcoming your dental fear. The next steps may be a bit more difficult, but we know you can do it.
- Start by calling dental offices that are recommended to you by friends or family. Get a feel for the personality of the office over the phone, without ever stepping foot in the office.
- After you’ve spoken to all your prospective dental offices, schedule a new patient appointment at the one that made you feel the most comfortable.
- Bring a friend or family member with you to your appointment. Having a bit of trusted support can go a long way.
- Consider something to distract you such as an mp3 player with headphones.
- Most importantly, we encourage you to speak with your dentist in Evansville about your fears to help ensure calm and comfortable dental visits.
You’re Not Alone
We understand that trying to explain your fear of the dentist to someone who doesn’t feel the same way can make you feel alone. But dental fear is much more common than you may think. In fact, dental phobia affects 5-8% of Americans, all of which avoid regular dental care because their fear is just so strong. But that’s not all. According to the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle nearly 20% of Americans will only see the dentist when it’s absolutely necessary, such as when there’s pain.
We Believe in You
Avoiding regular dental visits can allow serious oral health problems to sneak up on you, requiring more in-depth treatment. That’s why the team at our Evansville dental office encourage all of our patients to maintain dental cleanings and checkups twice a year. But doing something that may scare you so deeply can be hard. That’s why we’re all dedicated to learning about you, your fears, and your dental goals so we can cater your treatment to you and keep you calm and relaxed throughout your entire visit.
If you’re looking for a dentist in Evansville that understands your dental fear, will work with you to overcome and that fear, and will provide you with nothing but compassionate, gentle care at every single visit, we welcome you to give us a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll be honored to see you!
Every October the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP) sponsor National Dental Hygiene Month to both recognize talented dental hygienists everywhere and to drive awareness to the importance of practicing proper oral hygiene. Of course this is a celebration our Evansville dental office can certainly get behind.
The Daily 4
Each year there’s a new theme surrounding National Dental Hygiene Month and for 2017, the focus is on the four crucial parts to a healthy oral health routine. Recognized as The Daily 4, the activities to build a foundation for great oral health include:
In this blog, we break down each component of The Daily 4 and its benefits to oral health.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing is actually a delicate undertaking and you should use soft, gentle circles with your brush to effectively remove bacteria and plaque but not do harm to your teeth.
When we brush our teeth and pass on the floss, we miss cleaning about 35% of each tooth’s surface. That leaves a lot of surface area free to bacteria that can cause decay. To make sure you’re getting the best clean possible, make sure to floss in between each and every tooth and up under the gum line every day.
Using mouthwash can also be an important part of your oral hygiene routine. Therapeutic mouthwashes contain ingredients that help protect or fight off bad breath, gingivitis, decay, and plaque. But not all mouthwashes are created equal. Look for one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, this means the rinse you’re buying has scientific evidence that supports the claim made on the label.
After meals, it would ideal if you could escape to the bathroom and brush your teeth. But we understand that’s not always an option. Instead, carry sugar-free gum on you at all times and pop a piece in your mouth after eating. Chewing sugar-free gum causes you to produce more saliva. This increased saliva helps neutralize food bacteria that tends to linger around in the mouth after eating. Again, look for a gum that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Following The Daily 4 every day can really help keep your mouth healthy. But that doesn’t mean you can skip your dental cleanings at our dental office in Evansville. Make sure you maintain bi-annual visits with your hygienist to protect your smile.
Dental night guards are usually recommended for patients who suffer from nighttime tooth grinding, also known as bruxism. According to the American Dental Association, bruxism affects around 10-15% Americans, so it’s a pretty common problem. While night guards are typically the treatment of choice for bruxism patients, our dental office in Evansville would like to explain why, how they help, and options you may have.
Why is a Night Guard Used to Treat Bruxism?
Many people who grind their teeth do so during sleep when they are unaware of the problem. And since they’re unaware, they can’t do anything consciously to help correct it. This is when a night guard can help. Night guards are appliances that are fitted individually to each patient and designed to wear while sleeping. They help keep the patient from grinding their teeth together and limits jaw movement. If bruxism is left untreated, the chance of chipped, cracked, or broken teeth, and problems with TMJ/TMD are increased.
Types of Night Guards
There are two types of night guards that may first appear very similar, but are actually quite different. Night guards you can buy at any drugstore are usually cheaper and follow the boil-and-bite method of molding. While they can work to stop tooth grinding, they’re not always the best choice. Custom-made night guards created by a dentist are usually the better option. These professionally crafted night guards use precise molds of your teeth for a tight, proper, comfortable fit. Your dentist will also look at your jaw positioning during the fitting process to ensure your jaw is aligned properly. This may help avoid additional problems with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) later on. Custom night guards can also last up to 10 years as opposed to the over-the-counter night guards which may only last a few months before you need a new one.
Other Ways to Treat Tooth Grinding
Night guards are the most commonly recommended treatment method to combat tooth grinding, but just because it’s the most common doesn’t mean it’s the only option. Depending on the case, treatments may include orthodontics, stress reduction exercises, limiting caffeine intake, or considering an alternative medication that may include a stimulant.
Know the Signs of Bruxism
Your dentist in Evansville may suspect bruxism before you do, but there are signs you should be aware of.
- Flat or chipped teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Waking up with sore jaw muscles
- Neck or facial pain
Bruxism can be treated following a proper diagnosis from a dentist. There’s no need for you to live with pain or at risk for tooth damage and TMJ problems in the future. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, we encourage you to give our Evansville dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your individual needs and recommend the best treatment option for you.