young woman brushing teeth

Posted & filed under General Dentistry, Oral Health, Prevention.

At our dental office in Cordova, we always recommend that our patients brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes. Following this routine daily isn’t just good for your oral health, but can benefit your overall health, too. However, if you skip a brushing session altogether or don’t brush thoroughly, your body may be at risk for all sorts of scary problems…

Why Two Minutes?

We aren’t alone in our two minute rule. In fact, the American Dental Association also supports brushing for two minutes every day for good oral and overall health. There’s even plenty of research to back up the claim. According to one study in The Journal of Dental Hygiene, patients who brushed for only 30 seconds removed 55% less plaque than those who committed to the full two minutes. Just imagine what would be left lingering around if you skipped brushing altogether?

What Happens if You Don’t Brush for Two Minutes?

Besides plaque buildup, there are other things in your mouth that can stick around and cause problems if not removed regularly through a proper brushing. For instance, food particles that are left behind can feed bacteria found in the mouth. As this bacteria feeds on these tiny pieces of leftover food, they release acid. Acid will then begin to attack tooth enamel and leave teeth at an increased risk for decay. An overabundance of bacteria can also affect gum health. If not treated, it may cause gum disease.

Why is Gum Disease a Concern?

Gum disease is a serious infection caused by an excess of bacteria. Gum disease affects nearly half of all Americans and can eventually lead to tooth loss. But that’s not all. If gum disease isn’t treated by your dentist in Cordova, it can start to put other parts of the body in danger.

  • Heart Health

Numerous studies have found a positive correlation between gum disease and heart disease. In fact, researchers estimate that those who have gum disease are twice as likely to also have heart disease.  

  • Diabetes

People who have diabetes and gum disease are in a unique and dangerous position. Advanced gum disease may cause blood sugar levels to increase, causing diabetic complications.

  • Respiratory Problems

Bronchitis and pneumonia are caused by bacteria that may come from the mouth. So if there’s enough bacteria hanging around to cause gum disease, it can also move throughout the body, into the lungs, and make you sick.

Brushing twice a day for two minutes can help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and minimize your risk for gum disease and the whole-body concerns that can go with it. In addition to those four minutes of brushing a day, make sure you also visit our Cordova dental office twice a year for an even more thorough cleaning that will not only protect your teeth, but also your overall health.

We’re welcoming new patients at both of our dental offices in Cordova and Collierville.

woman with allergies

Posted & filed under Family Health, Oral Health, Prevention.

Nobody enjoys the annoying symptoms of allergies. The stuffy nose, watery eyes, and constant nasal drip are enough to make some people do anything they can to avoid their allergens. At our dental office in Cordova, we’d like to give you just one more reason to hate your allergies. The truth is, the symptoms related to allergies can also affect your oral health.

Dry Mouth: A Bigger Problem Than You Might Think

Perhaps the biggest way allergies affect oral health is by causing dry mouth. When our noses are too stuffy to breathe out of them properly, we resort to the next best thing: breathing out of our mouths. Mouth breathing really slows down saliva production and leaves your mouth feeling uncomfortably dry. And when the mouth is dry with no saliva to help wash away bacteria and neutralize acids, your teeth are left exposed. This can make you more likely to have tooth decay, chronically bad breath, or can even lead to gum disease. Gum disease, if left untreated, can affect the rest of your body by increasing the risk for stroke, heart disease, and heart attacks.

More on Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing is such a concern for your dentist in Cordova that it’s worth talking about the other ways it can affect your dental health. Whether mouth breathing is caused by allergies or not, the truth is it can even cause changes in appearance and developmental problems in children. When kids habitually have to breathe out of their mouths instead of their noses, it can influence how their teeth develop. Children who suffer from allergies also tend to suffer from crooked teeth which may require braces or other orthodontic treatment.

Medicine Can Make Dry Mouth Worse

To help ease allergy symptoms and clear out sinuses so we can breathe out of our noses easier, many of us turn to medicine. Most allergy medicines available list dry mouth as a potential side effect. So while you may be solving one problem by reducing sinus stuffiness, you may be creating another by the very thing that helped you get relief. To combat dry mouth caused by medicine, talk to your doctor for other solutions or try:

  • Chewing sugar-free gum
  • Using mouthwash made to help lubricate the mouth
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Putting a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep

Don’t stop any medicines without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.

If you are suffering from allergies or dry mouth perhaps caused by them, it’s evermore important to maintain regular visits to our Cordova dental office. Appointments every six months can help catch any potential dental issues caused by dry mouth and treat them before they lead to the need for advanced treatment or cause pain.

We’re always welcoming new patients at our dental offices in Collierville and Cordova. Call to schedule your appointment today!

women cycling

Posted & filed under Family Health, General Dentistry, Oral Health, Prevention.

In 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 Collierville, 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 Collierville 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 Collierville 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 at our Collierville or Cordova office today!

dentist goes over x-ray with patient

Posted & filed under Family Health, General Dentistry, Oral Health, Prevention.

When we typically think of x-rays, we may immediately think of a huge machine that’s checking for a broken bone. Dental x-rays are a little bit different. They’re an important part of diagnosing disease or other problems. In fact, at our dental office in Collierville, we use dental x-rays as a crucial aspect to our approach to preventive dentistry so we can catch any issues early while they’re still easy to treat. This month, we examine a few things that dental x-rays can help us diagnose as well as some different types of x-rays you may have.

What Do Dental X-Rays Help Diagnose?

At your bi-annual dental appointments, you’ll receive an in-depth exam and thorough cleaning. During these procedures, we’re taking close look at your overall oral health. But there are a lot of places in your mouth where problems can hide. Dental x-rays help us see and diagnose these issues that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Dental x-rays can help us see:

  • Decay below the surface or in between teeth
  • Bone loss caused by gum disease or other issues
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Damaged bone
  • Abscesses or cysts

Imagery obtained through x-rays give your dentist in Collierville the ability to diagnose disease or problems early and oftentimes before you experience any signs or painful symptoms.

What Are the Different Types of Dental X-Rays?

Dental x-rays can be classified as either intraoral or extraoral, both of which show different views of the mouth. Intraoral x-rays are more detailed images of individual teeth while extraoral x-rays show a more comprehensive look at the overall mouth including all of the teeth and the jaw. Each type of x-ray helps your dental team identify different things. Let’s take a closer look.

Intraoral X-Rays

Since intraoral x-rays show close-up details of each tooth, they’re helpful in diagnosing

Extraoral X-Rays

With a broader view of the entire mouth, extraoral x-rays can help get an up-close-and-personal look at:

  • Tooth development
  • Potential Issues with the jaw joint (TMJ)
  • Impacted teeth

Having dental x-rays taken can help save you from experiencing painful dental problems that may require complex treatment and are a necessary part of a proper preventive approach to dental care. These x-rays emit a low amount of radiation and, along with the additional safety precautions our Collierville dental office take, are incredibly safe.

girls playing field hockey

Posted & filed under Oral Health, Prevention.

Each April, several dental associations join together to sponsor National Facial Protection Month. The goal is to raise awareness on the importance of wearing a mouthguard while participating in sports. As the weather warms up and more and more people start playing sports, its timing couldn’t be better. At our dental office in Collierville, we want to share a few facts about facial and mouth injuries common to sports and how you can protect you or your child’s smile during every game and every practice.

How Common are Mouth Injuries?

There’s a good reason the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists decided to dedicate an entire month to educating people on the importance of protecting teeth when participating in sports. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s “Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries” attribute as many as 39% of all child dental injuries to sports, and usually from direct hits by a ball or another player. And that’s just kids. If we include college, professional, and recreational adult athletes, that number rises.

How to Reduce the Risk of a Mouth Injury While Playing Sports?

Even though an injury to the mouth can happen to anyone, those who play sports, especially contact sports, are definitely at increased risk. In fact, most sport-related mouth injuries are sustained when playing basketball, a sport where a mouthguard isn’t a required piece of protective equipment. That’s no coincidence. Wearing a mouthguard can greatly reduce the chances of a chipped or broken tooth or even getting a tooth knocked out.

All About Sports Mouthguards

The quickest and easiest way to get a sports mouthguard is to head on over your local sporting goods store and grab a boil-and-bite model in your favorite color. While these stock mouthguards can be somewhat custom-molded to your teeth after a quick dip in boiling water, they’re usually uncomfortable and don’t offer as much protection as a completely custom mouthguard, and tend to be chewed on instead of left in the mouth where they belong. The other option you have is to get a custom-made sports mouthguard from your dentist in Collierville.  

Custom mouthguards are specifically molded to fit every contour of your teeth and provide the ultimate protection. They’re also constructed from higher end materials to ensure extended comfort. This means less time out of the mouth and more time protecting your teeth.

Our Collierville dental office is always here to help protect our neighbors’ smiles, and it’s important to us that as you’re getting game-ready this spring, you don’t forget your mouthguard. If you’re looking for custom sports mouthguard, give us a call!

Posted & filed under Oral Cancer, Oral Health, Prevention.

It’s scary when anyone mentions the word cancer, and oral cancer is no different. A serious and sometimes life threatening disease, oral cancer affects thousands of Americans each year – yet awareness and education regarding its seriousness isn’t often talked about. This Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the team at our dental office in Cordova wants to help change that by providing you with some startling statistics about the disease, as well as key signs to look out for and ways you can protect yourself.

Oral Cancer Statistics

The number of oral cancer patients is expected to rise in 2018. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that over 51,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed this year alone. Additionally, out of all the known people with the disease, over 10,000 will die by the end of the year. Even though mortality rates were declining in the past, throughout the past 10 years they’ve stayed relatively the same. While these statistics are absolutely scary, oral cancer can be treated successfully. Currently, the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer is 65%

What Are The Signs of Oral Cancer?

One of the key points to surviving oral cancer is detecting and treating it early. This makes being able to recognize the common signs incredibly important. Signs of oral cancer can include:

  • 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

If you suspect any problem at all, get help from your dentist in Cordova as soon as possible.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

While oral cancer can affect anyone thanks to genetics or even gender and age, there are a lot of lifestyle factors that can greatly increase your risk including:

  • Using Tobacco: Whether you smoke cigarettes or cigars, or use smokeless tobacco, it can put you at risk for oral cancer. Around 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are tobacco users.
  • Drinking Alcohol: Drinking alcohol excessively also increases the likelihood of oral cancer. Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer drink alcohol often.
  • HPV: The sexually transmitted disease of the human papillomavirus (HPV) can also increase someone’s risk of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Prevention

Changing a few lifestyle factors can help prevent the development of oral cancer. Quitting smoking, along with reducing your alcohol intake, are a few great places to start. However, it’s also crucial to maintain good oral health and get dental checkups every six months. These exams and cleanings can help spot any potential problems early, when treatment is most successful.

Don’t have a dentist you trust? We welcome you to call our Cordova dental office to schedule an appointment today. It could save your life.

foods with calcium

Posted & filed under Family Health, General Dentistry, Oral Health.

When 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 Collierville 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 Collierville 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 Collierville 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.

We have dental offices in Cordova and Collierville to better serve you.

nutrition month

Posted & filed under Family Health, General Dentistry, Oral Health.

Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month to raise awareness on the importance of eating a healthy diet for overall health. At our dental office in Cordova, we want to do our part and take this opportunity to also share the oral health benefits of eating a well-balanced diet.

Nutrition Can Be Confusing

While we know the basics to eating well include things such as avoiding too much fast food and eating more vegetables, the ins and outs to really optimizing your nutrition can get convoluted and confusing. Things have changed from the days of the Food Guide Pyramid released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992. In fact, they’ve changed twice. Currently, the USDA recommends following the MyPlate recommendations for dietary guidelines. However, it’s still not quite that simple. The MyPlate model is individualized based on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. So proper nutrition isn’t so clearly defined anymore. Head on over to the MyPlate Checklist to find your ideal balance, but essentially a lot of the basics still stand, including eating plenty of:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Lean Proteins
  • Dairy

What Does This Have To Do with Your Mouth?

Following a well-balanced diet has been proven to keep you healthy and help protect your body from serious diseases. It turns out, what you eat also affects the health of your mouth, too. If you choose nutrient-rich foods and follow your MyPlate recommendations, you’re taking steps to keep your oral health in great shape. However, if your diet is poor, you’re putting your mouth at increased risk for dental problems.

Oh, Sugar!

Your dentist in Cordova really doesn’t like sugar, and with good reason. This sweet stuff can wreak havoc on your teeth. When sugar is introduced to the mouth, acid levels surge. It’s this acid that attacks tooth enamel, wearing it down and leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and at risk for decay and cavities. A reduction in enamel may also increase tooth sensitivity or give teeth a dark, dull appearance.

But Wait, There’s More!

Although sugar tends to get all of the attention when it comes to talking about food and oral health, there are hidden sugars you should be aware of. Carbohydrates, while not typically sweet in taste, break down into simple sugars as we eat them. These sugars are just as dangerous as the stuff found in sugar-packed treats. Try to get into the habit of reading nutrition labels to reduce both your sugar and carbohydrate intake, as well as your fat, cholesterol, and sodium consumption.

Our Cordova dental office prides ourselves as being active members of your healthcare team, and we’re to help get you healthy any way we can. Schedule your appointment with us today.  

Welcoming new patients at both our Collierville and Cordova dental offices.

green beer

Posted & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry, General Dentistry, Oral Health.

St. Patrick’s Day is often celebrated by wearing a bunch of green, maybe going to a parade, and oftentimes, drinking beer. Sometimes bars and restaurants even go the extra mile by dyeing their beer green to enhance the festive feeling. While the team at our dental office in Collierville is all for enjoying the day responsibly, there are a few things about beer and your dental health that you should know about.

Acid Attack

It may surprise you to know that beer is quite acidic. While different types of beer have varying levels of acidity –  darker brews having more than their lighter counterparts – it’s all potentially dangerous to your grin. When large amounts of acid are introduced into the mouth, it begins to wear away the protective layer of tooth enamel. Without this barrier, teeth may become increasingly sensitive and even appear less vibrant and white.

Dingy Discoloration

Enamel erosion is only one potential reason your teeth may be looking a bit discolored. Drinking excessively may also cause your teeth to yellow over time. Dark stouts and porters, along with fruity beers, are the biggest culprits to beer related tooth discoloration. However, the food coloring used in beer on St. Patrick’s Day can also temporarily stain your smile a not-so-lovely shade of green.

Gum Disease

You’ll typically hear us talk about the main causes of gum disease being poor dental hygiene or tobacco use, but those aren’t the only contributors. Drinking alcohol in excess, beer included, leaves your mouth exposed to the loads of sugar found in these types of beverages. When sugar and bacteria unite they form a super sticky film known as plaque. This plaque can be removed through regular brushing, but if you forego brushing, it will harden into tartar. Tartar can block your toothbrush from cleaning all the nooks and crannies, especially along the gum line. This means bacteria is free to do as it pleases, including damaging gums and causing gum disease.   

Reduce The Risk

You can help protect your smile from the side effects of drinking beer by first enjoying it in moderation. Alternating a cup beer with a glass of water will rinse away excess sugars and acid that would otherwise be free to damage teeth. Of course, we also recommend seeing your dentist in Collierville twice a year and brushing and flossing every day.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the dentist, or you see some leftover green tint on your teeth following your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, give our dental office in Collierville a call to schedule an appointment today.

Welcoming new patients at both our Collierville and Cordova dental offices.

dog with toothbrush

Posted & filed under General Dentistry, Gum Disease, Oral Health, Prevention.

Although our dental office in Collierville is focused on keeping our human patients’ mouths healthy, we also understand just how important it is to take care of your furry friends’ dental health, too. During this National Pet Dental Health Month, we’re switching things up to talk about some common pet oral health tips that aren’t so different from your own dental needs.

Brush Their Teeth

To some, brushing your pet’s teeth may sound unnecessary and perhaps even a bit silly. But our furry friends’ mouths aren’t so much different than ours, and brushing their teeth is an important part of keeping your dog or cat in good oral health. Just like humans should visit their dentist in Collierville to get a professional teeth cleaning, pets should also visit a vet to get the same. However, instead of the recommended bi-annual cleanings for humans, pets only need a thorough cleaning once a year. In between those visits, you can take steps to keep their mouths healthy at home. Consider wrapping a piece of clean gauze around a finger and gently scrubbing your pet’s teeth using a dedicated toothpaste just for animals. Doing this two or three times a week can go a long way in fighting tartar and plaque buildup.

Let Them Chew

While we normally discourage our pets from gnawing on things around the house, chewing on toys or bones can actually help strengthen teeth and minimize plaque. But not just any bone or toy will do. For example, a tough, solid bone may be your go-to pick, but these types of bones can increase the risk of breaking a tooth. There are plenty of treats and toys that are designed to stimulate the gums and remove tartar. It should be noted that chewing doesn’t remove the need for proper brushing, just as you eating smile-friendly foods doesn’t mean you should stop brushing.  

Be Aware of a Problem

When we talk to our patients about the signs of a potential dental disease or problem, we highlight symptoms such as:

  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Bleeding

These symptoms also apply to your pet. If you notice any signs of concern, contact your vet as soon as possible.

Taking care of your pets’ oral health can set them up for a lifetime of good overall health. Just don’t forget to take care of your own, too. Regular visits to your Collierville dentist, along with a great at-home routine, are the best ways to ensure your smile is in the best shape.

At our Collierville dental office, we’re always welcoming new patients of the human kind and would be happy to see you! Give us a call today!