Winston-Salem Dental Care

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity & How is it Treated?

With the weather changing, many may notice that the cold air is causing a sharp pain at the base of a tooth. This could be the result of tooth sensitivity, but what exactly does that mean?

Tooth sensitivity can occur for many reasons

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The leading cause of tooth sensitivity is the erosion of enamel and cementum. Your enamel is a hard substance that covers the surface of your tooth. Its job is to protect the tooth above the gum line from everyday life. The job of the cementum is quite similar except its responsibility lies beneath the gum line. The cementum covers and protects the roots as well as a more delicate layer of the tooth known as the dentin.

 

Dentin has small fluid-filled tubes that connect directly to nerve endings underneath the gum line. When the cementum is eroded, the dentin has a higher exposure to the elements. Which causes pain and sensitivity to hot and cold components that may not have been there before.

 

Fear not, having sensitive teeth is very common and treatable. The treatment you receive is based on what is causing the sensitivity. Common treatments are:

 

  • Desensitizing toothpaste: After multiple uses, it starts to block the pain linked with sensitive teeth.Hot vs Cold.png
  • Fluoride: This treatment is applied by your dentist to different parts of your teeth to help strengthen your enamel.
  • Root Canal: If decay is present in the root. Your tooth will be cleaned out and packed with a filling. After that, a crown is set on top to protect the tooth from further damage.
  • Surgical Gum Graft: This is used when root exposure is the cause of sensitivity. Soft tissue is taken from another part of your mouth and used to fill in the gaps. Since there are many types of gum recession, your oral surgeon will recommend which solution is best for your health.

With sensitive teeth it is very important to not neglect your dental hygiene; this can cause your condition to get worse as well as running the risk of developing (or worsening) gum disease. Remember to brush twice a day, floss at least once, and come in for your checkup twice a year. If you are experiencing pain due to tooth sensitivity schedule an appointment for yourself right away!

 

Winston Salem Dental Care
(336) 331-3500
201 Charlois Blvd
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Teeth Friendly Stocking Stuffers

 

The holidays are here, a time filled with joy, kinship, laughter, presents, and stockings. As you already know finding cute simple things to fill a stocking isn’t always the easiest. Especially when you’re trying to shop healthy. So, here’s our recommendation for a teeth-friendly stocking!

 

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Toothbrush: This is the perfect stocking stuffer for all ages. Toothbrushes come in all types of fun options, which makes them easy to toss in. Soft-bristle toothbrushes are the best because hard bristles can damage your teeth. You can even add some fun by personalizing with stickers!

 

Floss: This is the easiest stuffer out there! Everyone needs it and there are lots of options to choose from.

 

Snacks: Sour, chewy, and acidic candy that are usually placed in stockings can cause damage to your teeth. When you introduce that much sugar to your mouth, it binds with the bacteria and creates an acid that erodes your enamel. The safer option is chocolate or chocolate with nuts. Remember to rinse with water right after eating sweets and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.

 

Toothpaste: You can never have enough toothpaste. It can be used for so many things besides brushing! Like treating poison ivy, removing gum from hair, removing carpet stains, clean sneakers, and even shine jewelry! They also have novelty toothpaste that comes in pretty much any flavor you can think of. Anyone tried bacon yet?

 

xylitol (2).pngGum sweetened with Xylitol: It’s hard to come across someone who doesn’t enjoy chewing gum. However, most gum has an insane amount of sugar per piece and all that sugar does a lot of damage. Sugar in our mouths is dissolved by the bad bacteria which causes excess plaque to build up and cavities. Chew gum sweetened with Xylitol. Xylitol is as equal in sweetness as sugar and it has a similar flavor, it also fights cavities while you chew!

 

Travel-sized oral hygiene kit: It works for all ages, and it’s small enough to stash wherever you need it. Typically, these include a folding toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste, mini mouthwash, and a roll of floss.

 

Toothpaste dispenser: For those with oversized stockings this is the perfect stuffer for parents with little ones! A toothpaste dispenser makes brushing teeth fun, and easy. Just place your toothbrush into the dispenser, and it gives you the exact amount of toothpaste needed. No mess. No-fuss!

 

Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays! And regardless of the stuffers you get this holiday season, remember to brush your teeth twice a day and floss often Ho, Ho, Ho!

 

 

Winston Salem Dental Care
(336) 331-3500
201 Charlois Blvd
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

 

10 Things To Keep Your Teeth Thankful

It’s the time of the year where we all think a little longer about what we’re thankful for. Whether it’s having a warm place to sleep, a good job, food in our bellies, or having our favorite people around for the holidays. Everyone has something that fills them with gratitude, but have you ever wondered what your teeth are thankful for?

Our teeth do a lot for us on a daily basis. Between being the starting point for digestion and maintaining your facial structure -day or night, your teeth are always on the clock. Which means you should be too when it comes to taking care of them. Here are 10 helpful tips and tricks for keeping your teeth happy, healthy, and thankful this Thanksgiving!

 

  1. Body (1).pngBrush your teeth twice a day: This is crucial for keeping your teeth thankful as well as intact. When you go to bed without brushing you’re wallowing the bacteria on your teeth to sit and harden all night. This can lead to plaque, tartar, and even gum disease. This is why it’s super important to brush your teeth in the morning and before you go to bed for at least 2 minutes each time.

 

  1. Flossing at least once a day: It’s as important as brushing. The bristles on your toothbrush aren’t small enough to get into those little spaces between our teeth. When you don’t floss plaque starts to build up in those little crevices. The longer it sits there the harder it is to remove and then it becomes easier to develop gum disease. Flossing can be difficult, especially with children, ask us about recommended alternatives to traditional floss string.

 

  1. Minimize acidic drinks: Beverages such as fruit juices and sodas all have very low PH balances. Which means they are more acidic and break down the shiny, smooth layer of protection on your teeth called enamel. It’s your enamel’s job to protect your teeth from plaque and tartar. When the acid eats away at it you lose that protection and it doesn’t grow back. It’s best to limit these drinks to special treats and drink lots of water immediately after.

 

  1. Beware of sugary foods: Whether its candy or foods that have a high amount of sugar in them, the bacteria in our mouths pair with that sugar and turn it into acid. The acid then eats away at your enamel, which we covered in No.3. It’s important to limit these foods as well as drink water after, you also want to wait 30 minutes before brushing after you eat or drink sugary things. This helps avoid grinding the acid deeper into your enamel.

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  1. Avoid tobacco: Not only can smoking and chewing tobacco turn your teeth yellow, but it also puts you at a higher risk of tooth loss, developing gum disease, and oral cancer. Tobacco damages the gum line around your teeth leaving pockets where bacteria, plaque, and tartar easily build up. Once those pockets are festering, the bacteria starts to eat away at your bone structure.

 

  1. Only use your teeth for chewing: A lot of people have the bad habit of opening bottles, cracking nuts or seeds, ripping open packages, and doing other things with their teeth. This can lead to cracked or broken teeth and even mouth sores. Remember to only use your teeth for chewing and if you have a cracked or broken tooth call your dentist right away. Teeth don’t fix themselves!

 

  1. Research before poking the hole: An oral piercing, much like any piercing, can make you feel great about yourself but have you thought about the potential harm? Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria and when you introduce a healing wound to it, there are endless amounts of infections you could get if the piercing is not taken care of properly. There is a risk of uncontrollable bleeding and nerve damage. You are also at risk for chipping or breaking teeth, and swallowing or choking on balls or studs if they come loose. Be sure to do the research and only go to a licensed and reputable piercer.

 

  1. Protect your teeth: Injury can happen in any physical activity which is why it’s very important to wear a mouthguard if you play any sports. The mouthguard protects your tongue, teeth, cheeks, lip lining, and gums from serious injury. Ask us about which mouthguard works best for your sport.

 

  1. Drink water: Water has lots of benefits not limited to keeping us alive. When you drink water between meals and brushing it helps to rinse away some of that harmful bacteria. It also helps to prevent dry mouth while strengthening your teeth and gums!

 

  1. Visit your dentist at least twice a year: Seeing your dentist twice a year is crucial to your dental health. Get cleanings, check for gum disease, and make sure everything is working the way it’s supposed to.

 

Winston Salem Dental Care
(336) 331-3500
201 Charlois Blvd
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

 

The Impact of “Scary” and “Sweet” Candy on Your Teeth

It’s finally that time of the year, the leaves are falling, the weather is getting cooler, and Halloween is right around the corner! With the spooky season rapidly approaching you should know which candies are “scary” for your teeth and which ones are “sweet”.

The “Scary” Candy

  • Sticky and gummy candies (Laffy Taffy, gummy bears, caramel)
  • Hard candy (jawbreakers, lollipops, Jolly Ranchers)
  • Sour candy (Lemon Heads, War Heads, Sour Patch Kids)
  • Popcorn balls

These “scary” candies can cause a whole monster of problems from enamel loss to tooth damage. The sticky/gummy candies adhere to your teeth giving the sugar time to seep into all those nooks and crannies.beware-candy.jpg Hard candy sits in your mouth slowly coating your teeth in sugar and can crack or break teeth as you chew them. The sour candies are super acidic and break down the enamel, weakening your teeth and making them more susceptible to cavities. Treats like popcorn balls have sharp kernels that can cause bleeding gums and other painful sores in your mouth.

The “Sweet” Candy

  • Semi-Sweet and dark chocolate
  • Candy bars with nuts
  • Any fun-sized candy bars

Now, any candy not in moderation can be harmful. However, these “sweet” candies are a safer bet for your teeth and gums. The chocolate and candy bars with nuts can be quickly and easily rinsed out with saliva or water. The fun-sized candy bars are smaller portions which means less sugar while satisfying your cravings!

Speaking of sugar, it can have a pretty sinister effect on your teeth, enamel and your gums. In our mouths, we have bacteria that when introduced to sugar, creates acid. Sugar also lowers the PH balance in our mouths making it more acidic. This acid can bond to and erode your enamel, Scary right?demineralization.jpg This process is called demineralization, luckily our saliva is a base, so it helps prevent and restore some of the damage done in a process called remineralization.

Over time this acid wears our enamel down so much that the sugar can seep into our teeth causing cavities. When these cavities are left untreated, they can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. According to the ADA (American Dental Association), 91% percent of Americans over 20 have had cavities and 27% of them have experienced tooth decay.

Those are some spooky statistics! Thankfully there are some steps you can take to prevent the sugar from doing too much harm to those pearly whites. We suggest that after eating those “scary” treats, you chew some sugar-free gum. The sugar-free gum absorbs some of the acidic gunk stuck to your teeth, lessening its harmful effects on your enamel. It is also wise to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you brush. This keeps the sugar and acid from being ground into your enamel which can cause even more damage.

Always remember whether the candy is “scary” or “sweet” to eat in moderation, AND brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day also helps. Keep those beautiful teeth happy and healthy, schedule your dental check-up today!

Winston Salem Dental Care
(336) 331-3500
201 Charlois Blvd
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Teeth Friendly Snacks For The School Year

YAY – it’s back to school season!!! It’s parent’s favorite time of year and kids least. It’s time to pack your kid’s more healthy snacks for school! Did you know that 42 percent of children who are ages 2 – 11 develop a cavity in their baby teeth? Healthy snacks can benefit more than just your overall health, it’s your teeth too!

The first thing to remember, you are your child’s example! Teach them healthy habits from the start, from eating well to taking care of your own teeth, and going to the dentist regularly. Teach your child proper brushing and flossing techniques, brush 2x a day and floss daily.

Have you ever wondered what plaque is? It’s a soft sticky film that builds up on your teeth and it forms regularly. Plaque contains bacteria, which produce acids that invade tooth enamel and can damage your gums. It contains millions of bacteria that love the food and drinks you consume every day. Do you know who plaque’s best friend is? If you guessed tooth decay you are correct!

If dental plaque isn’t removed within a couple of days it hardens into tartar. Regular brushing and flossing cannot remove tartar, only a dental professional can. Fun fact: 68 percent of adults have tartar! They even deposit faster with age!

What Causes Dental Plaque and Tartar?body-YOUR.png

The bacteria in your mouth thrive off of saliva, food, and fluids. Plaque loves carbohydrates, simple sugars, soft drinks or candy. It hides between teeth and under the gum line, brushing cleans your surfaces of your teeth and your tongue and flossing removes plaque between your teeth.

Plaque is your worst enemy, it hides between your teeth and gum lines and there’s no way to avoid it entirely, that’s why it’s important to have a good oral routine. It can also lead to bad breath, gingivitis, cavities, and other dental issues.

3 Things To Remember For Back To School

  1. Visit your dentist every 6 months
  2. Brush twice a day and floss daily
  3. Pick the right snacks

Make brushing and flossing fun! You can use a sticker calendar and have your child place a sticker after they brush and floss. Also, you can let them choose their favorite color toothbrush or a themed one with their favorite character. Make it fun for you too, play a song for two minutes and brush together!

#ProTip: look for a kid-friendly floss holder, they make flossing more comfortable for small mouths.body-image (1).png

Teeth-Friendly Snacks

  • Cheese cubes
  • Celery sticks and baby carrots
  • Apples and pears
  • Nuts

Snacks To Limit

  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Fruit Roll-Ups
  • Candy
  • Chewy granola bars

Schedule your cleaning sooner rather than later and get the kiddos in before school starts!

Winston Salem Dental Care
(336) 331-3500
201 Charlois Blvd
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

 

 

Spark Joy In Your Smile

As you get ready for your day, look in your mirror, smile and ask yourself “does this spark joy?” This can be part of your spring cleaning routine. It’s time to get rid of any clutter, throw out broken or non-working items, and remember to get a breath of fresh air – literally or figuratively.

Make your smile spark joy!

Obviously, we have teeth to chew our food but they do much more than that. They shape your face and help you speak, healthy teeth and gums are just as important as a healthy body.

Teeth Whitening – Nothing sparks joy like a sparkling smile. It’s a completely safe, life brightening process that can positively change your physical appearance and enhance your mental health. blog.png

Veneers– Do you want to make your teeth more attractive? If you want to fix crooked, discolored, uneven, and unsightly teeth, the solution is porcelain veneers!

Dental Implants– Fill the missing gap in your smile. Implants involve putting a new “root” into the bone of your jaw. The success rate is high because they feel and look like your natural teeth.

Orthodontics – Always wanted that straight smile? You might also have the option to straighten your teeth with a clear aligner. That means you can eat all the foods you want and not worry about it being stuck in your braces because they are removable!

Oral Health and Overall Health

Your teeth are more than just how you and others see them. How does oral health affect my heart? The bacteria infects your gums causing gingivitis that leads to periodontitis. It can also get into your bloodstream. Our gums protect our teeth and bone. If they aren’t properly cleaned and maintained it can lead to tooth loss as well as other medical complications.

What exactly is gum disease? Some signs are bleeding gums when you brush and floss, persistent bad breath, and your teeth look longer because your gums are beginning to recede. The only for sure way to know if you have gum disease is a visit to your dentist.

Does gum disease go away on its own? No, brushing and flossing will not make it go away. The best way is getting it professionally cleaned, your dentist can deep clean below your gum line to remove the built-up plaque and tartar. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults. It’s treatable, don’t ignore it!

Can impacted wisdom teeth affect my health? They are the last teeth to come in and there isn’t enough room for them to erupt normally. Most people have four, two on top and on the bottom, Because they are hard to clean, they are more likely to have tooth decay and gum disease, Some people are lucky enough to not get painful symptoms. Others might have swelling around the jaw, tender, or bleeding gums, bad breath, or trouble opening your mouth.

Can I prevent my wisdom teeth from erupting sideways? No, the best way to monitor your teeth us by going to your 6-month dental check-up. X-rays can show if your wisdom teeth are impacted or not before you suffer from any symptoms.

A spring cleaning is more than just your closets and cabinets. Be sure to clean out your mouth too! Schedule your appointment today to spark joy in your smile.

Winston Salem Dental Care
(336) 331-3500
201 Charlois Blvd
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Show Love To Your Oral Health

Whether you choose to deny it or not, it’s the month of love. February is American Heart Month. Did you know there’s a connection between your heart and oral health? If you plan on stuffing yourself with a ton of sweets, you should be careful! Your teeth need love as well, don’t forget about them.

Yes, it’s true, gum disease increases your risk for heart disease. Lack of care for your teeth and gums can lead to gum disease. If it’s not treated, plaque and bacteria can make its way to your bloodstream and travel through your body to your heart which can lead to blood clots or possibly heart attacks.

Tips For Healthy Living

Valentine’s day – Date night, some people might say they go hand-in-hand. But If you don’t think so, use this tip for whenever you go out and eat.

  • Keep some floss in your bag or pocket. The quicker you get rid of the food particles and bacteria the better! Also, water is the best drink for your teeth, it rinses away acids from your teeth. Pro Tip: order water with your meals.
  • Dark chocolate is actually good for your teeth! Well, in moderation of course. It contains less sugar than milk chocolate and can help with preventing cavities and tooth decay. Chocolates that have a chewy sugary center will more likely cling to your teeth. Yes, you might like those better, just try to eat a couple rather than the whole box.Candy.png
  • Gummy candy, you want to try to avoid those! They are the worst candy for your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth set off a chemical reaction that turns the sugar into an acidic form then it eats away at the enamel of your teeth. This is known as demineralization. Also, gummy candy sticks to your teeth. When you think about saliva you might be grossed out but when it comes to your mouth, it’s a good thing. It neutralizes acids that come from sugars and protects your teeth.

Alternatives to gummy candy: Xylitol is a sugar replacement that bacteria won’t recognize and doesn’t attack and turn it into acid like they do with sugars. Save your teeth from an attack and read the ingredients!

It’s always a good time for sweets! – WRONG. For some of us, we can’t say no to candy. Eat them after a meal to limit the exposure of sugar and bacteria! Be sure to wash them down with water.

Love is in the air! Did you know that kissing helps prevents cavities? It stimulates saliva and breaks down plaque to get rid of bacteria.

Love Your Teeth

  • Brush twice daily
  • Floss daily
  • Schedule bi-annual teeth cleanings

Those are the basics! Here are a few changes that might benefit you:Brush.png

  • New toothbrush – your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 months! Use soft bristles, don’t be rough with your gums and teeth.
  • New floss? There a bunch of floss out there, don’t be afraid to try something new! Or if you are new to flossing try something and fall in love with how it makes your mouth feel!
  • Toothpaste – Are you loyal to a certain brand? If you can never settle on a certain brand, look for one with an ADA seal! They help remove the plaque from your teeth and protect them from decay and gum disease.
  • Time – sleep in too long or too tired at night to brush your teeth? It’s recommended to brush your teeth for two minutes. Make this change, your mouth and dentist will love you for it! Use a timer while brushing or play your favorite song! It’ll make the time fly by.

Are you wondering if this check-list applies to you if you have dental implants? The answer is: YES, they feel and function like your natural teeth. Which means there shouldn’t be a change in your dental routine.

Treat your heart how it deserves to be treated! Limit your sugar intake, walk or take the stairs rather than the elevator, and take care of your teeth and gums.

Winston Salem Dental Care
(336) 331-3500
201 Charlois Blvd
Winston-Salem, North Carolina