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Harrisburg Dentist | Chewing Gum for Your Oral Health

Dentist in Harrisburg, NC

Dentist in 28075Sugary, sticky, and sweet candies can damage your teeth by increasing your risk of decay. Though gum can be considered a type of candy, chewing sugarless gum approved by the ADA can actually help protect teeth and prevent tooth decay. Here’s what you need to know about gum and your teeth.

How it Works

Chewing gum helps increase the production of saliva. Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay because the saliva helps wash away food and other debris from the surface of your teeth. Increased salivary flow can also neutralize acids that bacteria produce inside your mouth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, leading to decay. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which aid in strengthening tooth enamel.

Look for the ADA Seal

The ADA Seal assures you that the gum is sugarless and has met the ADA’s criteria for safety and effectiveness. ADA-labeled products are tested to ensure they provide the benefits guaranteed by the seal. Companies must verify all relevant data with the ADA to become certified. If you are unable to brush for a short period of time, chewing gum with the ADA seal is a great option to help clean your teeth after a meal or snack.

Can I Stop Brushing if I Chew Gum?

No. Chewing gum for twenty minutes after a meal helps but is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You should brush at least twice each day, for two full minutes. Chewing gum also does not eliminate your need for regular dental examinations. Our dentist recommends scheduling two visits each year, with additional visits necessary for high-risk patients with oral health conditions.

Chewing sugarless gum has noticeable benefits for your oral health, such as increasing the production of saliva. While this can help prevent the build up of decay-causing bacteria, chewing gum should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing. Our dentist recommends that if you are chewing gum, be sure to choose an ADA approved brand of sugarless gum.

 

Schedule your visit to our office and experience what modern dentistry can do for you.

Harrisburg Dentist | Dentistry – Past, Present, and Future

Dentist in Harrisburg, NC

Dentist in 28075“Tooth worms” are the cause of tooth decay. That was the headline of a Sumerian text from around 5,000 B.C.E. Fortunately, the dental industry has evolved since then and we know “tooth worms” don’t exist. Here’s how dentistry has evolved into the comfortable, safe, and beneficial science of today.

In the Beginning

Did you know that the ancient Egyptians had designated doctors for teeth? Evidence has been uncovered suggesting the Chinese used acupuncture to treat pain associated with tooth decay as early as 2700 B.C.E.

Additionally, in 500 B.C.E., Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote of treating teeth and oral diseases by using sterilization procedures and red-hot wires. They also spoke of using these red-hot wires to stabilize jaw fractures and bind loose teeth.

The Visionary Thoughts of the 1600s-1700s

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the 1600s and 1700s were a gold mine of innovation in the dental world. In 1695, Charles Allen published the first ever English dental textbook entitled The Operator of Teeth. In the book, he advises using a homemade toothpaste from powdered coal, rose-water, and “dragon’s blood” to keep teeth clean and white. Allen also suggests using dog’s teeth for transplants and even references wisdom teeth in his book.

In the 18th century, Pierre Fauchard was well ahead of his time in the medical practice when his master work The Surgeon Dentist was published. For the first time, dentistry was described as a modern profession. Some notable highlights in the book include sugar being the cause of dental caries (cavities), braces being used to correct teeth position, and the concept of a dentist’s chair light.

The Progressive 1800s

The discoveries and inventions of the 1800s were significant. In 1816, Auguste Taveau developed the first form of dental fillings made out of silver coins and mercury. In 1840, Horace Wells demonstrated the use of nitrous oxide to sedate patients and Thomas Morton employed the use of ether anesthesia for surgery.

That same year, Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris boosted modern dentistry by opening the first dental school, inventing the modern doctorate of dental surgery, and starting the first dental society. By the end of the 1800’s, porcelain inlays, the first mechanized dental drill, and the toothpaste tube had all been invented.

Scientific Advancement of the 1900s

The scientific development of the 1900s gave birth to some amazing advancements in the dental industry. Electric drills became available due to the invention of electricity. In 1907, precision case fillings made by a “lost wax” casting machine was invented to fill cavities, and Novocain was introduced into US dental offices.

In 1955, Michael Buonocore described the method of tooth bonding to repair cracked enamel on teeth. Years later, the first fully-reclining dental chair is introduced to put patients and dentists at ease.  By the 1990s, “invisible” braces were introduced, along with the first at-home tooth bleaching system.

What Will the Future of Dentistry Hold?

Today, dental professionals are investigating the links between oral health and overall health. The use of gene-mediated therapeutics to alter the genetic structure of teeth to increase resistance to tooth decay is receiving attention. Some researchers believe that there may be a way to grow a new tooth structure around weakened enamel. Only time will tell what the future of dentistry will bring, but our office is dedicated to seeking the most effective modern technologies as they arise.

Schedule your visit to our office and experience what modern dentistry can do for you.

Harrisburg Family Dentist | I Chipped a Tooth! What Can I Do?

Dentist in Harrisburg, NC

28075 dentistIt usually starts pretty innocently. You’re biting into your favorite hard candy and suddenly you realize that there’s one little hard piece in your mouth you can’t seem to dissolve. You check it out and fear overcomes you when you see it’s a little chipped piece of a tooth.

Enamel may be one of the hardest substances in the body but like most things in life, it has its limit. Whether you are chewing on ice or grinding your teeth at night, there’s always a chance of putting your teeth at risk. If you have chipped your tooth, there’s no need to panic. Here are a few things we can do to restore your beautiful smile:

Tooth Bonding

Tooth bonding has many structural uses, and it can be very helpful for repairing chipped teeth. Tooth bonding is a simple procedure that doesn’t require any numbing. The bonding materials and porcelain used are natural in color and can be designed to perfectly match your teeth. Your smile will look good as new, and people will have a hard time noticing you ever chipped a tooth to begin with.

Dental Crown

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that helps protect your teeth, while at the same time improving its appearance. An AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry) dentist will likely use a tooth colored crown made out of porcelain or zirconia to look identical to your teeth. Crowns will also provide the durability and strength your teeth need to withstand daily use. You may only need a partial crown if our dentist sees that the chip doesn’t affect the entire tooth.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain laminate veneers are made up of several thin layers of ceramic used to repair chipped teeth. They will be bonded to the teeth to replace the original enamel of the tooth with a special adhesive. Dental veneers are a fantastic way to get your tooth to look whole and healthy again.

If you have a chipped tooth and would like more information on these methods, or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

Harrisburg Dentist | Optimal Gum Health for Seniors

Dentist in Harrisburg, NC

Dentist in 28075For seniors, it is imperative that gum health is a top priority. As you age, your risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease increases. Periodontal disease is both preventable, and in many cases, reversible. When left untreated, it can lead to more serious complications such as bloody or swollen gums, and even tooth loss. Even more alarming are the numerous studies connecting periodontal disease to other serious illnesses. Here’s what you need to know about gum health as you age.

Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health

Periodontal disease has been linked to serious health issues. In fact, a recent study conducted by the University of Southampton and King’s College London uncovered a link between periodontal disease and an increase in the rate of cognitive decline in those who suffer from early Alzheimer’s disease. In patients with periodontal disease, the study found cognitive decline underwent a rapid change, occurring six times as fast on average. Periodontal disease has also been found to increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Risk factors for these serious issues increase with age, among other causes, and it is especially important to limit potential risk factors where possible. This can be as easy as improving your gum health with a visit to our office.

The Numbers You Need to Know

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, moderate or severe periodontal disease was found in over 14% of seniors aged 65 to 74. The number increases to more than 20% for those over 75 years of age. Men were found to be more likely than women to have moderate to severe periodontal disease. Smoking was also found to have a significant impact. The same study showed 32% of current smokers had periodontal disease, compared to 14% for those who never smoked.

Steps You Can Take

As you age, it is essential to keep up with your gum health. Doing so is an important link in lowering your risk factors for other serious ailments such as heart disease, stroke, and the impacts of Alzheimer’s disease. You can keep your gums healthy by brushing twice each day for a full two minutes. Be sure to regularly floss your teeth as well. Flossing is an effective way to clean the hard-to-reach cracks and gaps where plaque builds up. Schedule a visit with our team for a complete gum evaluation. We can work with you to devise a course of action to ensure healthy gums.

Harrisburg Dentist | Dental Care Tips While Traveling

Dentist in Harrisburg, NC

Dentist in 28075When you are traveling, it can be challenging to keep up with your usual daily routine. For many people, this can include having difficulty finding the time to properly brush and floss. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, we have gathered a few helpful tips to help you stay on track with your oral health while you are away from home.

Pack Wisely

Be sure you are traveling with enough toothpaste and floss to last your entire trip, if possible. If space is tight, travel sized products can be a great option. You may also wish to purchase a disposable toothbrush for use during your travels. These often require less space and will not cause distress if accidentally left behind. Some disposable toothbrushes even come with toothpaste on already applied. These can be ideal for a one-day trip.

Cover Your Toothbrush

When you travel, you are likely to encounter new and varied germs along the way. Whether you are at a hotel or visiting family, you may be required to share surfaces used by many other people. Consider using a toothbrush cover that slips over the head of your toothbrush to protect it from contact with sinks or nightstands.

Drink Water

One fun part of travel is being able to eat and experiment with new and unusual foods. However, eating and drinking sugary or acidic drinks can be damaging to your teeth. Drinking water is an excellent way to wash away bacteria, as well as helping neutralize the acids that damage tooth enamel. Water also stimulates the flow of saliva, which helps to keep your teeth strong and healthy.

Don’t Break Your Good Habits

Be sure to continue your daily oral hygiene routine while you travel. This should include brushing for two minutes, twice each day, as well as regular flossing. Traveling can make this difficult to fit in, but doing so will keep your mouth healthy.

Travel can be both fun and stressful. Don’t lose track of time and forget to brush and floss. Your teeth depend on regular, thorough care. After your return, schedule a visit with us. We will provide a comprehensive cleaning and examination while you tell us about your trip.

To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team.

Harrisburg Dentist | Are Dental Veneers Right for Me?

Dentist in Harrisburg

Dentist in HarrisburgWe often have visitors to our office ask about solutions for fixing stained teeth or filling in gaps between teeth. We sometimes suggest veneers. Veneers are one cosmetic option available for correcting your smile. Here’s what you should know about veneers, and whether they are right for you and your smile.

What Are Veneers?

A Veneer is a thin cover placed over the front of the tooth. Typically, they are made of dental porcelain and designed to cover your existing tooth, not replace it.

What They Do

Veneers are used to fix a broken or chipped tooth, shrink the noticeable gaps in between teeth, or reduce the visible stains on teeth. Our office specially sizes them to fit your teeth. Generally, the structure of your teeth is not altered since the veneers are placed over your teeth.

What You Need to Know

Those who get veneers sometimes experience a minor increase in sensitivity, particularly to hot or cold food and drinks. Veneers are typically nonreversible, as they often require a small amount of tooth enamel to be removed. After getting them, it is advisable to avoid drinks such as wine, coffee, or tea that are often culprits of causing staining. Taking care of them still requires you to brush twice each day and floss regularly as well. Your teeth are not invincible to staining or decay so be sure to continue to take care of them.

It is important to know that veneers are a solution to minor tooth issues such as discoloration, gaps, or misaligned teeth. They are not a substitute for braces, bridges, or other dental work. Schedule a visit to our office to meet with our dentist. Together our team can work with you to develop a plan to reach the goals and look you are hoping to achieve.

For more information on how to achieve the smile you have dreamed of, contact our office. We look forward to seeing you during your next visit with us!

Harrisburg Dentist on Tobacco & Your Teeth: The Risks of Chewing and Smoking

Dentist in Harrisburg

Dentist in HarrisburgChewing and smoking tobacco are known to cause severe health problems, particularly in the lungs. But the risks to your mouth and teeth can be just as extensive and alarming. If you use tobacco, stop. Here’s what tobacco can do to your oral health.

Chewing Tobacco

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), tobacco chewers increase their risk of developing gum and cheek cancers by 50 times. Tobacco dissolves the gums which leads to sensitivity from exposed roots. This also makes for an ideal location for bacteria to grow, leading to decay. If you are chewing tobacco, stop, and ask our experienced oral health team about what you can do to keep your mouth healthy.

Smoking

According to a report by the AGD, smoking one pack a day can lead to the loss of two teeth each decade of your life. Smoking increases your odds of losing teeth. Cigarettes and cigars are both damaging to your oral health. Smoking can cause staining as well, leading to an unattractive smile.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can develop in several places in your mouth including on your tongue, lips, mouth floor, and gums. Those over 50, are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer, as are men. However, Oral cancer has been on the rise, especially for people under 30 according to the AGD.  Schedule an appointment with us to receive a thorough oral health examination, and ask us about an oral cancer screening, particularly if you are a tobacco user. Oral cancer screenings are often very quick as our dentist checks your mouth, teeth, and cheeks for signs of irregularities. If caught early, oral cancer can be treated.

If you are a tobacco user, we strongly advise you to quit. You can work with our professional dental team as well as your doctor to overcome tobacco use. Everyone should be receiving regular oral health examinations, but if you are a tobacco user, you need to be especially vigilant in doing so. Schedule a visit to our office so that we can work with you to identify any potential issues.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.

Harrisburg Dentist | Tooth Decay – Something You Need to Know About

Dentist Harrisburg

Painful, infected teeth are not a pleasant experience, but they are common symptoms of tooth decay. The good news however is that tooth decay is preventable. Your best defense against decay is a daily oral hygiene routine, as well as regular visits to our office. It can be helpful to know more about tooth decay and what causes it so that you are better equipped with the knowledge to prevent it.

More Than Just Sugar

Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay. Sugar build-up and deposits on your teeth lead to the erosion of the tooth. While it is important to be mindful of the sugary products you are consuming, sugar is not the only culprit in causing tooth decay. Acids can also damage your teeth. Foods that are high in acidic content can speed up the process of decay. Our dentist suggests you avoid drinks and candies with high sugar or acid content. If you find yourself consuming such things, make sure to keep up with your daily oral hygiene routine.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends avoiding snacks between meals, limiting sugary drinks and fruit juices, and not eating or drinking before bedtime after brushing.

You Can’t Always Tell

Decay doesn’t always have noticeable signs. When discomfort is felt, it could be a sign the decay has spread beyond one tooth. In other words, by the time you do feel it decay is far along. This can be prevented by regular visits to our office. Our doctor can help identify potential issues early and you will receive the best possible treatments for your teeth.

Teeth with Fillings Still Need to Be Cared for Properly

Previous fillings do not mean that your teeth are free of decay forever. It is essential you maintain proper daily care of your teeth. It is possible to develop decay around existing fillings, so be sure you are taking extra care especially around fillings. If you feel your existing fillings are giving you trouble, schedule an appointment to see us.

Tooth Decay Not Just a Kids Thing

All age groups are equally at risk of developing tooth decay.  Parents should keep an eye on their children’s sugary snacks and treats, but this advice holds true for everyone. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable because of certain medications can damage their teeth. It is essential that all age groups are receiving twice-yearly dental examinations.

Tooth decay is a common dental issue. However, with the right knowledge you can prevent damage to your teeth. Watch your diet and make sure you limit sugary candies and snacks. Remember, you won’t always be able to see or feel decay, so contact our office to schedule a regular visit.

For more helpful tips on preventing decay, or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

Harrisburg Dentist | 5 Tips for Denture Wearers

Dentist Harrisburg

Taking care of your dentures can seem like an added chore. Don’t worry, with a little effort your dentures can stay clean. Here are 5 tips for keeping your dentures clean and your smile healthy.

  1. Rinse Thoroughly

Prior to brushing, it helps to rinse your dentures off.  Run them through water to help wash away food and other small particles. Be extra careful when handling your fragile dentures. Avoid using hot or boiling water, as that could damage your dentures.

  1. Clean Your Dentures

Just as you would brush your teeth, your dentures need to be brushed as well. Never use cleaning solutions while your dentures are in. Rather, remove your dentures and carefully brush using a soft toothbrush. Avoid using whitening toothpastes or harsh cleaning materials like bleach products. Talk to our dentist about the right type of cleaner for your dentures. Using too strong a solution can cause damage to your dentures.

  1. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Teeth

You still need to take care of your natural teeth. Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush. Be gentle when brushing and cleaning your gums. Cleaning your gums will help you reduce your risk of developing an oral infection. If your toothbrush is too rough on your gums, an alternative is to use gauze. Be sure to come see us if you are experiencing gum pain and we can make recommendations.

  1. Keep Them Covered

When you remove your dentures for bed, be sure to keep them in a covered container overnight. Use a denture-soaking solution to keep them clean overnight. Water works as a substitute, as your dentures need moisture to retain their shape. If you have any questions about storing your dentures, talk to us and we’ll help you.

  1. Care with Adhesives

It can sometimes be difficult to remove your dentures with an adhesive. If you are having trouble, try swishing warm water or a mouthwash around your mouth. Never use any cleaning solution, tool, or foreign object to remove your dentures. Take special care to ensure the grooves of your dentures that attach to your gums are clean and free of adhesive.

When taken care of properly, your dentures will provide you with a lasting smile. Be vigilant in keeping up with cleaning your dentures. If you have any questions about caring for your dentures, get in touch with our office. We would be happy to work with you to figure out a solution for your denture concerns.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment, contact us today.

Dentist Harrisburg, NC | Help! 5 Tips to Know When You Can’t Brush

Harrisburg Dentist

Dentist HarrisburgOccasionally you might find yourself in a situation where you won’t be able to brush your teeth, perhaps through a lack of time or your location. Though it is vital to brush twice each day, here are a few steps you can take if you find yourself in a bind.

Drink Water

When you are in a spot where you won’t be able to brush your teeth for a while, water can be your friend. Drink water to help wash away sugars and acids that are in your mouth and on your teeth. Water also helps your mouth produce more saliva, which works to keep enamel strong. Our doctor suggests drinking water regularly, not just when you can’t brush your teeth.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Try chewing some gum to help keep your teeth clean. The American Dental Association (ADA) approves certain chewing gum brands with their seal on the package. ADA approved gums are sugar-free and do not contain other decay causing sweeteners. Like drinking water, chewing gum is good for saliva production, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel.

Floss Your Teeth

We suggest always carrying dental floss; it’s usually small enough to fit almost anywhere. Flossing is not a replacement for brushing, just as brushing does not replace the need for flossing, however in a pinch it is essential that you remove any plaque and build up that you can. The ADA suggests flossing once a day. Flossing will help improve your gum health too.

Use a Disposable Toothbrush

If you know you might be out of the house for a while, perhaps because of a long day at work or an overnight stay, we recommend you consider a disposable toothbrush. Disposable brushes usually come with toothpaste already applied and are easy to store and carry. They are an excellent alternative that allow you to still thoroughly clean your teeth.

Avoid Sugary Foods

A helpful step you can take if you find yourself in a situation where brushing isn’t possible is to avoid eating or drinking sugary or acidic things. Acids and sugars are what contribute to decay, as they weaken your teeth’s enamel. If you cannot brush your teeth, then don’t eat foods that lead to decay. Avoid sugary soft drinks, juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks as these drinks will leave behind sugars and acids that sit on your teeth.

For more helpful tips on keeping your smile healthy, contact our office.