Regular Dental Care Can Help Your Heart

heart health monthWe all know that it’s important to brush and floss regularly in order to protect our smiles from decay and cavities. But did you know that taking care of your oral health can also help protect your heart too? To celebrate American Heart Month, our dental office in Georgetown wants to share some information about just how regular dental care can help your heart.

Oral Health & Heart Health Connection

Keeping your oral health in tip-top shape isn’t just about the mouth itself. In fact, many whole-body concerns including diabetes, kidney disease, certain types of cancer, and heart disease have been linked to oral health, and more specifically, gum health. For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to talk about heart disease.

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), gum disease has a direct connection to an increased risk for heart disease. But how can something that originates in the mouth find its way down to the heart? It’s pretty easy actually. When there’s a buildup of bacteria in the gums (gum disease) it has a direct route to the bloodstream. As the bacteria infiltrate the blood supply they can cause a surge in the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP) present. This is when the problems start. Too much CRP can cause:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Inflamed arteries
  • Heart attack

Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious health problem that requires a diagnosis from your dentist in Georgetown. If caught early, gum disease can be treated successfully before it has a chance to put the rest of your body at risk. Being able to recognize the signs of gum disease quickly can make all the difference. Some common signs of gum disease include:

  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Consistently bad breath
  • Chronic bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth

Any of these symptoms may be cause for concern, so if you notice any of these, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

The best way to protect yourself from gum disease and the whole-body concerns that can go with it is to practice good oral hygiene habits and see your Georgetown dentist regularly. Dental cleanings and checkups every six months can help remove plaque and bacteria that your toothbrush alone can’t touch, which will reduce your risk of gum disease.

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental visit, we welcome you to call our Georgetown dental office to schedule an appointment today.

How Your First Visit is Different at Trade Winds

closeup of beautiful woman

If you’ve just moved to our area, or if you happen to be looking for a new Georgetown dental office, you made have heard through the grapevine that we are different than most. We’d like to show you how different we really are by describing what an initial visit is like at Trade Winds Dental.

Let’s Talk Green

The first thing that you’ll notice is that we are GreenDoc Gold Certified. This designation means that we go well above and beyond what most practices do in an effort to be environmentally friendly. We use no paper towels, no amalgam (metal) dental fillings, and have live plants throughout our office. You’ll also see that we recycle – and we’ll offer you a BPA-free toothbrush made from recycled plastic. When it’s time to change that toothbrush (we recommend every three months), bring it back in and we’ll donate $1 to Hope Alliance when we recycle it.

Digital is Better

After you’ve toured our office, we’ll take digital x-rays using the latest technology. If you ever need dental impressions, perhaps for a crown or other restorative work, we’ll be using an intraoral scanner rather than the old fashioned goopy impression material for the most accurate scans possible.

Advanced Cleanings

When it is time for your first cleaning, you may experience something unexpected at our Georgetown dental office as perform an oral cancer screening. We will regularly check for any changes so that we can detect any anomalies as early as possible. The earlier we find problems, the easier they can be to treat. We’ll then thoroughly clean and polish your teeth, possibly more thoroughly than you’ve ever had it done before. We may also apply a fluoride treatment for extra protection.

Comfort is Key

Before your visit is complete, we’d love to offer you a fresh smoothie, lip balm, or talk to you about how you can be more green at home. If applicable, we’ll be sure that your insurance benefits are being used to the fullest, and develop a treatment plan for any work that you’re looking to complete. Finally, we’ll be sure to answer any and every question you may have about your health and our services.

It’s not just our love of the environment that makes us different – it’s a personal touch that you won’t find from any other dentist in Georgetown. Why not call and make an appointment today?

What Vitamins Are Good for Oral Health?

vitamins in palmOur bodies rely on the vitamins and minerals obtained through what we eat in order to function properly. Our mouth and teeth are no different. The truth is, in order to keep our oral health in good shape we need to make sure we’re getting enough of the right vitamins. In this blog, the team at our dental office in Georgetown cover the most important vitamins you need to maintain good oral health and protect your smile.

Calcium

We all know that bones need calcium in order to grow and remain strong. But getting enough calcium is also crucial for building strong teeth. Calcium helps strengthen enamel which protects teeth from bacteria and lowers the risk of decay. Some foods that are packed with calcium include:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Broccoli

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important to oral health for several reasons, such as lowering the risk of infection and keeping enamel strong. Your body also needs vitamin D in order to properly absorb calcium. Find vitamin D in:

  • Canned tuna
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Egg yolks

Phosphorus

Similarly to vitamin D, phosphorus is also needed in order to give your body the biggest benefit from calcium. Calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus are a strong triangle of needed vitamins that all work together. You can get phosphorus from:

  • Salmon
  • Lentil beans
  • Beef

Vitamin C

Besides boosting your immune system so you can more effectively fight off germs, vitamin C also protects your gums and reduces the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection in the gum tissues that can lead to tooth loss. Protect your gums by eating:

  • Citrus fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower

The best way to make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins that keep you healthy is to eat a well-balanced diet and include all food groups. However, if it’s tough to get vitamins through your diet,  you can consider a supplement or multivitamin if appropriate.

Fueling your body with the proper mix of vitamins is a great way to protect your oral health. Of course, you still need to brush and floss daily and maintain regular dental cleanings at our Georgetown dental office.  

Top 5 Most Common Dental Misconceptions

boy brushing teethCaring for your smile may seem as simple as brushing and flossing every day and visiting our dental office in Georgetown twice a year. While those things are certainly important for oral health, there are some common misconceptions out there that, if followed, can either damage your smile or make your oral hygiene routine less effective. Let’s take a look at the top five…

  • Sugar is the Main Cause of Cavities

This misconception isn’t entirely false as eating or drinking things with a lot of sugar can definitely increase your risk for cavities. But it’s not necessarily the sugar itself that causes decay. When we eat sugar, the bacteria in our mouths feed on it and produce an acidic byproduct. It is actually this bacteria and acid combo that contribute the most to cavities.

  • Brushing Harder is Better

When you have a dirty dish or sink, you scrub… and scrub… and scrub in order to make it squeaky clean. This vigorous cleaning method is good for most household items, but not so great when it comes to your teeth. Brushing your teeth too hard can actually do more harm than good. A rough brushing can damage tooth enamel, irritate gums, and cause several oral health problems such as sensitivity and an increased chance for cavities.   

  • You Should Rinse After Brushing

After brushing our teeth, it’s incredibly common practice to spit, rinse, spit, and perhaps rinse again. But in order to get the best cleaning and keep the protective fluoride doing its thing for as long as possible, it’s best to pass on the rinse. Instead, spit out any excess toothpaste. This will allow the fluoride to continue to protect teeth over time.

  • You Shouldn’t Brush Bleeding Gums

If gums are bleeding, it may make you think that you shouldn’t brush them so that you don’t further irritate them. However, bleeding gums are usually an early sign of gum disease. The best thing you can do is continue to brush your teeth and gums, but make sure to do so gently. Brushing helps remove bacteria that can make gum disease worse. If you notice bleeding when you brush or floss, you should also schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can.

  • If You Don’t Have a Problem, You Don’t Need to See Your Dentist

We often hear of patients who don’t go to the dentist unless they have a problem. In fact, when it comes to dental care, the best way to prevent a problem from occurring in the first place is to visit your dentist in Georgetown at least twice a year. This can save you from experiencing the pain of many dental problems, as well as the cost of extensive treatment.

Maintaining a good oral health routine of brushing and flossing daily is only half of what it takes to keep your smile healthy for life. Make sure you’re using proper brushing and flossing techniques, eating a well-balanced diet packed with vegetables and fruits, and seeing your dentist every six months. We’re always welcoming new patients at our Georgetown dental office. Call to schedule an appointment today.

Acid Reflux & Dental Health

man wonderingEven though acid reflux is a condition that originates in the stomach, it can affect other areas of the body, including the mouth. The truth is, people who suffer from acid reflux can be at greater risk for oral health concerns than those who don’t. Our dental office in Georgetown is here to help anyone dealing with acid reflux understand how it can negatively affect dental health and what you can do to reduce your risk.  

How Acid Reflux Affects the Mouth

A natural and important part of proper digestion includes the production of stomach acids. These acids help break down food so the body can digest what we eat. But these acids don’t always stay in the stomach. They can creep up the throat and into the mouth. Normally saliva in the mouth helps neutralize the acid and wash it away before it has a chance to cause damage. But when someone has acid reflux, which may also be referred to as GERD, stomach acids make their way up into mouth repeatedly. This leaves the mouth and teeth exposed to the acid. It’s this consistent exposure to the acid that causes damage to teeth.

Acid Leads to Tooth Damage

Acid is one of the worst things for teeth as it eats away at the protective enamel and leaves teeth at increased risk for decay, cavities, and other problems. As this erosion occurs and teeth are damaged, the need for dental treatment such as fillings, a root canal, or a dental crown may be required to help restore the tooth’s structure. Some signs that your teeth may have some level of acid erosion include:

  • Increased sensitivity
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Painful abscess

Reduce Your Risk

Many times acid reflux can be treated or the symptoms can be minimized through the use of a doctor-recommended medication. Additionally, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of damage caused by acid reflux including:

  • Chewing sugar-free gum to help promote saliva production to rinse away acid
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth to strengthen enamel
  • Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol to reduce acid reflux episodes
  • Seeing your dentist in Georgetown every six months to catch any problems early.

If you suffer from acid reflux and are worried about your dental health, we welcome you to call our Georgetown dental office to schedule an appointment today. We will take a close look at your overall oral health and talk with you about the best way to protect your teeth against the dangers of acid reflux.

Stressed Yet?

woman feels holiday stressIf you’ve walked into any type of retail store lately, you’ve noticed that the holidays are in full swing. No matter what your background or which specific holidays you’ll be celebrating, this can be the most stressful time of year for a lot of people. All the family gatherings, potential arguments about politics and sports, meals to prepare, gifts to purchase… it can all add up to major physical symptoms of stress, along with mental fatigue. At our Georgetown dental office, we’d like to try and help in anyway that we can.

The Jawbone’s Connected to the…. Headaches?

Do you find yourself clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth? Are you waking up with a headache and clicking sounds when you chew? Or, even worse, locking up when you’re eating lunch? These are all symptoms of TMJ – your temporomandibular joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull are telling you that they’re overworked! These symptoms can happen at any time, but are much more frequent during periods of stress.

TMJ can lead to damage to your teeth from the grinding, muscular spasms in the face and jaw, and loss of sleep for many people. Call us to talk about your symptoms and we’ll see if a simple nightguard is all you need to stop the pain.

The Pressure to Be Beautiful

Family gatherings can cause a tremendous amount of stress because we all have family members who will immediately notice our physical flaws. There’s still time to see us for a cosmetic dentistry consultation to whiten dull, yellow teeth, fill in a chip or a gap with bonding, or even get a same-day crown to restore your smile… and your confidence… to it’s fullest potential.

No Judging. We Promise

Maybe you are completely missing one or more teeth, be it from an accident, injury, or even years of neglect. Maybe you’d love to get it fixed, but that means coming into the dentist and being stressed out about what the dental team is going to say about your oral health. Don’t worry, this is a No-Judgement Zone. It doesn’t matter how you got into the situation, we’re here to help restore your smile so that you can live healthier and happier. Dental implants are a permanent option for a missing tooth, and implants can also be use to permanently anchor dentures as an alternative to traditional dentures that can slip or fit improperly. Think of it as the ultimate gift to yourself!

Relax… with Sedation Dentistry

Maybe the holidays aren’t that stressful for you. Maybe you suffer from dental anxiety all year long, making your cleaning appointment before the holidays seem like a bigger moment of dread than getting coal in your stocking. It’s ok – dental anxiety is a very real thing that affects millions of people, and your Georgetown dental office is here to help. We offer oral conscious sedation as well as inhalation sedation to help you feel more comfortable and stress-free during your procedure.

We truly hope that with the whirlwind of activities over the next two months, you find the time to breathe, relax, and enjoy the tiny moments of bliss, like the first snowfall or the smell of freshly baked gingerbread. Our Georgetown dental office is here to help you reduce your stress, so call us today and let’s talk about how we can make you smile more this holiday season.

These Treats Are Worse for Teeth Than Candy

girl with jack-o-lanternWhen it comes to candy-filled holidays like Halloween, we usually caution our patients to enjoy sweet snacks and candy in moderation. And with good reason. It should come as no surprise that sugar is one of those things that concerns the team at our dental office in Georgetown. After all, sugar is a dentist’s worst nightmare, right? Maybe not. It turns out that there are some snacks out there that can be worse for your smile than sugar-packed candies.

What’s the Big Deal About Sugar Anyway?

Before we dive into some of the surprising snacks that are scarier to oral health than candy, it’s important to take a look at why sugar is such a concern. When we eat foods or drink beverages with high sugar content we essentially feed the bacteria that live in our mouths. This bacteria then releases an acid as a byproduct of their feasting. The acid is what contributes to decay and cavities as it wears away the protective tooth enamel, leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and more acid.

Other Spooky Snacks

While candy will always be one of those things that your dentist in Georgetown will encourage you to eat in moderation, there are other snacks that are also a concern.

Citrus & Dried Fruits

These are surprising treats that can be dangerous for your grin but usually fall under the healthy category. It is fruit, after all. But certain fruits are highly acidic, and as we know, acid is bad for teeth. Citrus fruits such as grapefruit will quite literally eat away tooth enamel and leave teeth at risk. Dried fruit is also a healthy snack that’s not so great for your smile. These super sticky fruits can get stuck on teeth and are loaded with sugar. The longer the sugar is left around, the more the bacteria will eat it, and more acid is produced.

Crackers & Chips

Chips and crackers are perhaps more surprising that fruits as cavity-causing treats. Even though these foods aren’t sweet and don’t typically contain a lot of sugar, if any, they can still be a threat to oral health. Blame it on the high starch content. These starches affect your body similarly to the way sugar does. This is due to their high glycemic index. Foods with a high glycemic index will increase blood glucose and will feed bacteria in the mouth, just like sugar. The result is more food for the bacteria, more acidic byproduct, and more risk for cavities.

Do Your Part to Limit Your Risk of Decay

We’re not here to tell you to completely avoid candy this Halloween, or to quit eating certain fruits, chips, and crackers forever. Like anything, these things can be enjoyed in moderation. But our Georgetown dental office does encourage you to also drink plenty of water when snacking on foods that are known to increase the risk of decay. Most of all, have a happy and safe Halloween!

How to Stop a Toothache

woman with toothacheNobody ever wants to experience the pain and discomfort of a toothache. But the truth is, toothaches can happen to anyone, and they can come without warning. While the best way to treat a toothache is to see your dentist in Georgetown as quickly as you can, there are some things you can do before your appointment to help ease the pain.

5 Ways to Ease a Toothache

Toothache pain can come with a lot of discomfort. But this pain doesn’t necessarily stay only in the affected tooth. You can get a headache, your gums may pulse, and your entire mouth can feel the effects. Try these tips to help.

  • Salt Water RinseGently swish a solution of warm water and salt around your mouth a few times a day. This will help dry out fluid in the affected area and ease pressure on the nerves. Just make sure not to swallow the concoction.
  • IceJust like any other injury, ice can help reduce inflammation and pressure on the nerves. Put an ice pack or a cold compress on the side of your face where the pain is coming from. Don’t put anything cold directly onto your skin. Use a cloth as a barrier.
  • Anti-inflammatoriesOver-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may also ease toothache pain. Read the label on the bottle to determine how much should take. Remember, swallow the medication and do not apply it directly to the gums or tooth.
  • FlossIf a piece of food stuck between two teeth may be causing the pain it’s ok to take a piece of floss and gently try to wiggle it out. The keyword here is gently. Too much pressure or roughly flossing can cause damage and more pain.
  • AnestheticMany pharmacies and grocery stores carry over-the-counter oral anesthetics for tooth pain relief. They will temporary numb your mouth so you can get a little relief. However, these gels or liquids are not meant to be a permanent solution.

What Causes Toothaches Anyway?

There’s no one thing that can cause a toothache. Many things ranging from decay, cavities, or a dental injury may be to blame. While usually caused something minor which is easily treated at our Georgetown dental office, there are times when a toothache may be a sign of gum disease, infection, or chronic tooth grinding. Whatever is causing your toothache, it’s best to get it checked as soon as you can to avoid the need for in-depth treatment.

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk

Although toothaches can happen to anyone at any time, there are certain precautions you can take to reduce your risk of getting one. First, make sure to keep up with your dental appointments every six months. These dental cleanings and exams can catch potential problems before they have a chance to turn into an unwanted toothache. Second, practice good oral hygiene habits of brushing and flossing every day to remove food particles, bacteria, and plaque from teeth that could otherwise cause decay.

You don’t need to continue to suffer from toothache pain, and often times they’re easily treated. Try these at-home remedies and schedule an appointment at our dental office in Georgetown as soon as you can. We’re always happy to help.

How to Deal with Losing a Filling

woman embarrassedDental fillings are an incredibly common type of dental restoration used to treat cavities and decay. In fact, nearly 91% of Americans between 20 and 64 have at least one dental filling. While dental fillings are strong and can last for many, many years, there are still some things that can cause a dental filling to become loose or fall out. Here’s what to do if that happens.

Don’t Wait, Call

Before you do anything else you should call your dentist in Georgetown. Many times our dental office will be able to see you the same day or the next day. At the appointment, you can expect to have a thorough exam of the area so your dental team can assess the damage. This allows us the opportunity to determine the best way to fix it.

What to Expect

Sometimes your dentist may recommend replacing the filling with another one. This is typically what happens if the filling was small and the damage didn’t really affect the tooth. Other times a filling just won’t get the job done and a dental crown may be recommended. Dental crowns cap the entire tooth and provide greater protection.  

Do Your Part

If you lose a filling there are important steps you should take in order to protect your tooth and ease any discomfort.

  • Clean the area. When a filling falls out, your tooth is left with a small hole that food and bacteria can get wedged into. If left there, it could lead to more damage. Rinse with salt water or gently brush the area after eating.
  • Reduce the pain. Using pain reliever can help minimize any sensitivity and increase comfort. There are also temporary fillers available at many pharmacies. Look for one that contains zinc oxide and place it in the gap, but only temporarily.

Avoid the Problem in the First Place

While very common, there are ways you can avoid losing a filling… including choosing your snacks wisely. Many lost or loose fillings are the result of sticky foods or hidden popcorn kernels, so be sure to eat these in moderation and use caution. Tooth grinding or clenching is also a common cause of lost fillings. Make sure to use a nightguard if you grind your teeth in your sleep to protect both your dental restorations as well as your jaw health. Lastly, seeing your Georgetown dentist every six months can help catch any loose fillings before they have a chance to fall out when you least expect it.
We’re always welcoming new patients at our dental office in Georgetown and are here to help with any dental concern. If you’ve lost a filling or suspect you may need one, we welcome you to give us a call to schedule an appointment today.

Ways to Enjoy Those Last Moments of Summer

kids swimmingIt’s August, and that means that we’re spending our free time thinking about back to school supplies, the beginning of football season, and all the pumpkin spice-ness that will come with the start of the Autumn season. What you may not have thought about are things like getting your kids sports mouthguards for fall sports, getting them their back to school checkups and cleanings, and capturing those last precious moments of summertime fun. Your dentist in Georgetown wants to help with your to-do list, so let’s check these boxes one by one…

Sports Mouthguards? CHECK.

We’ve previously shared some scary statistics with you about mouth injuries, like the fact that 5 million teeth are knocked out every year, with up to 39% of them being from sports injuries. Of those, 80% of dental injuries involve the top front teeth. No matter what age you are, or what sport you play, no one wants to deal with the pain (and cost!) of damaging your smile when it can be prevented. Just ask your Georgetown dentist about a custom sports mouthguard at your child’s next appointment. And speaking of which….

Cleanings for the Kids? CHECK.

Whether your kids are in elementary school or off at college, setting up their appointments for checkups and cleanings is easy. We offer convenient hours including super early appointments to fit into your (and your child’s) busy schedules.

Enjoying the last moments of summer? Big Time CHECK.

There’s still one more Movie In the Park to enjoy at the soccer fields on August 17th, Music on the Square on Friday nights, and of course, our three Georgetown area Farmers Markets will continue to be full of the bounty of the seasons for healthy vegetables and fruits to add to your end of summer feasts.

So go ahead, catch those fireflies in a jar, take one more dip in the pool, and eat another blue ice pop – just be sure to brush your teeth after that last one. And of course, call your Georgetown dental office to quickly and easily take care of the first two items on your to-do list, so you can spend more time concentrating on those last precious moments of summer.

Don’t forget, we’re always accepting new patients, so tell your friends and family about your favorite dental office.