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.

Those Funny Fall Feelings

autumn baby

September is the month of football, pumpkins, and crisp apples on a Saturday morning. It’s also the beginning of one of the most stressful times of the year for a lot of people. Have you ever noticed that the change in the daylight, the shortening of the days, and the impending worries of the holidays can make people….well… downright cranky? At our Georgetown dental office, we’ve got a few suggestions for keeping your spirits high as the temperatures start to drop.

Take a second for YOURSELF

Science has proved that levels of testosterone in both men and women increase in the fall. They think it may be ancient mating instincts – just like how animals ‘rut’ in the fall. If you’re looking to make a great first impression on a prospective mate, ask us about teeth whitening and other cosmetic dentistry options to make your smile bright and confident. We can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted quickly and easily in our Georgetown dental office.

Eat Some Pumpkin

Pumpkins are actually a super-food that we always recommend for our patients. They’re full of fiber, which helps stimulate saliva and protect your teeth against decay. They’re also full of zinc, which is often added to toothpastes to help prevent plaque buildup.

BUT… Watch the Sugar

Now when we say for you to go out and eat some pumpkin, we mean healthy options like pumpkin seeds, a smoothie, or a freshly baked pumpkin pay (maybe baked by your new sweetie!). What we do not recommend are those sugary Pumpkin Spice Latte drinks available at commercial coffeeshops — they’re LOADED with sugar and empty calories that could lead to cavities.

Let Us Help You Plan Ahead

Like we said, fall can be stressful with your kids sports schedules, school events, and the inevitability of all those holiday events on the horizon. BREATHE. It’ll be ok… let’s look at your calendar now and plan out your hygiene appointments for the family for the remainder of the year, as well as making sure you’re using your insurance benefits to the fullest before the end of 2018. We can easily plan appointments several weeks or even months out for you, and adjust them if needed as those dates approach.

We hope that these tips can help to keep the stresses of the Autumnal Equinox at bay so that you can spend more time enjoying the beauty of the changing of the leaves, the fog on a fall morning, and the bounties of nature at the farmers market. Call our Georgetown dental office today and we’ll get you scheduled with no stress.

A Closer Look at Sugary Snacks

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

How Much Sugar is Recommended?

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

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

A Quick Note on Added Sugars

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

Sugar-Packed Snacks

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

Yogurt

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

Granola Bars

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

Soda

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

Candy

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

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

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

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

Migraine Awareness Month

woman with headacheJune is recognized as National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month and serves to not only educate the population on this debilitating illness, but also to increase funding to advance migraine research and treatment options. While numerous causes can be to blame, our dental office in Georgetown wants to take a closer look at how migraines may be related to dentistry.  

Migraine Facts

Over 39 million Americans are affected by migraines, including 18% of U.S. women, 6% of men, and 10% of children. Migraines are also rarely cured, but rather treated and managed through changes in lifestyle or medications. These treatment methods help help lessen the effects of the common migraine symptoms including, but not limited to:

  • Throbbing or aching pain in the head
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck pain
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

These symptoms are often so severe that many sufferers can’t go to work or complete everyday responsibilities when experiencing a migraine.

How Migraines May Be Related to Dentistry

Many migraines can be triggered by an excess surge in serotonin release caused by stress, certain foods, or bright lights or loud noises. However, more research has been showing a positive correlation between migraines and a poor bite or habitual bruxism (tooth grinding or clenching).

Poor Bite & Migraines

A poor bite is diagnosed when the top and bottom jaws don’t align properly. When this happens, the jaw muscles, neck muscles, and even the muscles in the base of the head experience unnecessary pressure every single time the jaws come together. Since that action is done repeatedly every day, those muscles get tired easily and inhibit the normal blood flow. The result could very well be a migraine.  

Bruxism & Migraines

Bruxism is a condition that causes people to constantly clench their teeth or grind them repeatedly, sometimes while they’re asleep and don’t even realize it’s happening. This repetitive stress on the jaw muscles can lead to headaches or migraines.

If you suffer from migraines or unexplainable headaches in the morning, you may have a poor bite or clench your teeth at night. But you don’t need to continue to live in pain or without answers. Start your search towards relief by calling our Georgetown dental office today. We can check for signs of bruxism and TMJ and recommend the best treatment options for you.  

National Women’s Health Week

Iwomen cyclingn just a few days we’ll celebrate National Women’s Health Week which kicks off appropriately on Mother’s Day, May 13th. This seven day celebration serves to raise awareness of the importance of following healthy habits for women of all ages. At our dental office in Georgetown, we know that dental health is an important part of overall health, and there are certain areas of oral health that specifically affect women throughout different phases of life.

Women’s Oral Health Priorities Change Over Time

As bodies change, chemistry throughout the body tends to change too. This includes the mouth. Since women experience hormonal changes at various times in their life, they actually have more oral health concerns to worry about, particularly during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.

Puberty

Typically puberty in girls begins between 8 and 14 years old. Girls will experience quite a transformation during this time since a lot is happening inside their bodies. Hormone levels fluctuate and these hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, can affect oral health. Both estrogen and progesterone increase blood flow to the gums which may cause them to become inflamed, red, and sore. Bacteria in the mouth can also build up easier, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease.

Menstruation

Just as during puberty, hormone levels continue to ebb and flow throughout a women’s childbearing years. Gums may still become sore or perhaps bleed when brushing or flossing close to when a period is about to begin. Some women may even experience a canker sore during this time. During menstruation, it’s also common to experience a decrease in saliva production, which will make a mouth feel dry and can potentially cause the breath to smell bad.

Pregnancy

Another time in a woman’s life when hormones and dental health changes is during pregnancy. Since about half of all pregnant women will get pregnancy gingivitis, dental care is especially important. What’s more is that poor dental health during pregnancy has been associated with premature babies, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. It’s recommended that pregnant women visit their dentist in Georgetown during the second trimester.

Menopause

During menopause women’s estrogen levels drop… which is directly related to bone loss. Women who have gone through menopause are aware of the risks associated with bone loss and are most commonly concerned with osteoporosis. While osteoporosis leads to brittle bones, it can also decrease bone density in the jaw increasing the risk of tooth loss. There are several ways dentists can replace these lost or damaged teeth, including dental implants and dentures.

Our Georgetown dental office is here to care for all of our patients during every stage of life. If you’re experiencing changes in your oral health, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, there’s no better time than now to schedule an appointment. Give us a call today!

Tasty Treats that are also Good for Teeth

applesIt’s Spring! FINALLY! The staff at our Georgetown dental office is excited to get outside and get active with family and friends. We’re also thinking about eating healthier and lighter, and shaking off the heavy comfort food that we indulged in all winter long. We wanted to tell you about some healthy snacking ideas for spring that are not only tasty, they’re also good for your teeth!

Cheese Please!

Cheese is a great, healthy snack for kids and adults because of all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients inside, including calcium for strong tooth enamel. But that’s not all…. Chewing on a piece of cheese also increase the saliva in your mouth, keeping bad bacteria and sugars from lingering on your tooth surfaces.

An Apple A Day

Apples are great for your teeth because eating them also increases the saliva in your mouth. Not only that, the rough texture of apples stimulates your gums as it lightly scrubs against your teeth. (Apples are also full of fiber, which is great for your overall health.)

Almonds and Sunflower Seeds

Nuts like almonds and seeds like those from our happy sunflowers are a great source of protein and calcium while still being really low in sugar. Maybe try some in homemade hummus! (YUM!)

Low-Fat Yogurt

You’ve probably heard those commercials for yogurts with probiotics in them that are so good for your tummy. Well guess what? All that good bacteria is great for your gums, blocking out the bad bacteria that can lead to cavities.

If you’re getting hungry, consider going to one of the three local Farmers Markets here in Georgetown to stock up on those healthy snacks!

On Thursdays from 2:30-5:30 p.m., visit The Farmers Market in the Republic Shopping Center at 900 N. Austin Ave. The Sun City Farmers Market is every Tuesday, 9 a.m. till Noon at 2 Texas Drive, and the Wolf Ranch Farmers Market is every Saturday, 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Wolf Ranch Shopping Center.

Your Georgetown dental office is full of great ideas for healthy snacks that are also great for your oral health. Ask us about it at your next appointment!

5 Important Facts About Oral Cancer

oral cancer awareness

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and all month long is dedicated to educating the public on the seriousness of the disease. At our dental office in Georgetown, we’d like to help our community by discussing some current oral cancer statistics, sharing the most common symptoms, and talking about some factors that can put you at increased risk.

Oral Cancer Cases Continue to Grow in America

According to the American Cancer Society, just over 51,500 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. That’s an increase of over 1,750 from 2017.

Death Rates Have Remained the Same Over 10 Years

Even though the survival rate for oral cancer is 65%, it still takes the lives of thousands of Americans every year. In 2018, an estimated 10,000 will die. Advancements in treatment options helped reduced the mortality rates in the past, however they have remained steady over the past 10 years.

Catching Oral Cancer Early Can Save Your Life

One of the contributing factors to the 65% oral cancer survival rate is due to early diagnosis and treatment intervention. The best way you can help protect yourself is by recognizing the signs of oral cancer and seeing your dentist in Georgetown as soon as possible if notice any of the common symptoms including:

  • A sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away and bleeds easily
  • A chronic white or red area
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue
  • A lump on the cheek, tongue, or throat
  • Coughing up blood
  • Ear pain

Tobacco Use Increases the Risk of Oral Cancer

It’s a well known fact that smoking causes lung cancer, but it can also cause other types of cancer including oral cancer. In fact, 80% of those who have oral cancer smoke or use other forms of tobacco. Quitting can help reduce your risk.

So Does Drinking Alcohol Excessively

Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer consume alcohol heavily. And if someone both drinks excessively and smokes, their risk for oral cancer may be as high as 100%.

Prevention

Avoiding known risk factors such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol can certainly help lower your chances of developing oral cancer. However, there are other factors that we can’t control. For example, men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women and those over the age of 55 are most commonly affected by the disease. While we can’t do much to change those risks, we can do our best to protect ourselves by practicing good oral hygiene and maintaining dental checkups every six months. These appointments can help in catching oral cancer early when chances of successful treatment and survival are highest.

We welcome all of our neighbors to call our Georgetown dental office to schedule an appointment with us. We’re here to keep your smile, and your whole body, healthy.

4 Things You Need to Know About Calcium

foods with calicumWhen most people think of calcium, they often associate it with building super strong bones. While that’s certainly part of its benefits, the team at our dental office in Georgetown also knows that calcium is crucial for a strong smile, too. But before you start diving in to a calcium-rich diet, consider some important facts to keep your body, and mouth, healthy.

Know How Much Calcium You Need

Your recommended level of calcium intake depends on your age and your gender. The following chart from the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) shows just how much calcium each age group needs each and every day.

  • 0-6 months = 200 mg for both males and females
  • 7-12 months = 260 mg for both males and females
  • 1-3 years = 700 mg for both males and females
  • 4-8 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
  • 9-18 years = 1,300 mg for both males and females
  • 19-50 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
  • 51-70 years = 1,000 mg for males, 1,200 mg for females
  • 71+ years = 1,200 mg for both males and females

Too Much Calcium Is a Real Thing

While you should always try your best to get your recommended daily intake of calcium, there’s no need to go overboard. In fact, your Georgetown dentist wants you to know that ingesting too much calcium can have adverse effects on your oral and overall health. Excess calcium can lead to gum disease, plaque deposits, and has even been studied to potentially increase the risk for heart disease. Just like most things in life, calcium is best in moderation. Make sure to follow the recommended amount for your age and gender.  

Mix in Some Vitamin D

Even if you’re getting your recommended intake of calcium daily, it may not be enough to keep your bones and teeth strong. In order for calcium to be absorbed into the body properly, it needs an adequate amount of vitamin D, too. Your body needs both vitamin D and calcium to function, so read the nutrition labels on your food and provide yourself with a nice mix of the two.

Look Past the Dairy Aisle

The most common way to get calcium is to eat or drink dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese. And while those are excellent sources of calcium, and usually vitamin D too, there are plenty of other non-dairy options to explore including:

  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Soymilk
  • Orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified cereal

Our Georgetown dental office strives to keep our patients as healthy as possible, and not just their smiles. That’s why we encourage each and every one of them to eat well balanced meals and get enough calcium and vitamin D. That, along with maintaining bi-annual dental visits and brushing and flossing regularly, will help keep their smiles and bodies strong, for life.

How Your Oral Health Can Affect Your Heart

heart health monthFebruary is nationally recognized as Heart Health Month. Every year the American Heart Association and medical professionals across the country join together to publicize the seriousness of heart disease and educate the population on how to reduce your risk. At our dental office in Georgetown, we want to help do our part and bring awareness to how your oral health is directly linked to your heart health.  

The Oral Health, Heart Health Connection

It’s been said that your eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, another phrase we should be promoting is that your mouth is the window to your overall health. Throughout the years, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between oral health and overall health, including its link to heart disease.

It’s All About the Gums

When you come to see your dentist in Georgetown, your dental team is looking at more than just your teeth. We’re also taking an incredibly close look at the health of your gums. Your gums play an important role not only in your oral health and keeping your teeth in place, but also in the health of your heart. If gum disease is present and left untreated, the infection can transfer into the bloodstream. When this happens, your body responds by producing more C-reactive protein (CRP). Higher than normal levels of CRP can cause some serious health issues including:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

Signs of Gum Disease

Since gum disease can develop quickly, it’s important to be aware of the most common signs so that you can get it treated immediately. Early intervention is the key to a easier and more successful treatment. If you notice any of the signs below, contact your Georgetown dentist as soon as possible.

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Puffy, tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth

Protect Your Gums, Protect Your Heart

Prevention of gum disease is one way you can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Make sure you brush your teeth, floss every day, and maintain visits to our Georgetown dental office at least twice a year. These bi-annual appointments help remove buildup on teeth that, if left alone, could develop into gum disease or other oral health problems.

Don’t put yourself at risk to the seriousness of heart disease. Schedule an appointment with us today.