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Dentist Near Me | 6 Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

Oral health is important at every stage in life. Just because your children are going to lose their primary (baby) teeth eventually doesn’t mean that we can ignore the importance of dental care. Tooth decay can be painful and uncomfortable to treat. To protect your child’s smile, it is vital to understand optimal preventive care.

  1. Explain the important of routine dental care to your children and turn brushing and flossing into something fun that they look forward to each day.
  • Schedule routine appointments to our office for cleanings and dental exams. Your child should start seeing a dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges. Make sure to continue visiting us twice a year for optimal oral health.
  • Include crisp and fibrous foods into your child’s diet. Fruits and vegetables high in water content help keep your child’s mouth hydrated. Foods such as apples increase saliva which inhibit bacteria from sticking to their teeth.
  • Avoid food and drinks that are high in sugar. Soda, juice and candy are all treats that most children love to eat. However, these can be detrimental to your child’s teeth and overall health.
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Water flushes bacteria and acid away from teeth. Encourage your children to drink water especially after eating.
  • Ask us about dental sealants for your children. Sealants can add a layer of protection to your child’s teeth where bacteria build up to prevent damage.

Tooth decay starts out as a small problem, but left untreated can lead to serious oral health issues. By adding a few minor habits into your daily routine, your child’s oral health can change for the better. Simple changes in diet and routine can keep cavities at bay.

Call us today to schedule an appointment for your child.

Dentist in Durham | Periodontal disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) are a systemic inflammatory disorder, which is how they have a connection. Both diseases frustrate the immune system and attacks its own tissues, eventually leading to tooth loss and pain of joints. Learn about the connection and what you can do to protect your overall health.

Studies show a strong connection between RA and gum disease, an inflammatory condition that can lead to tooth loss and other health complications. Both diseases have inflammation in common, which explains the connection. Inflammation is a protective immune system response to viruses and bacteria. RA is an autoimmune disease which causes it to mistakenly trigger inflammation even if there are no viruses or bacteria present. Also, Brushing and flossing can be challenging for those with RA. In the journal PLoS Pathogens, they found that the bacteria that causes periodontal disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis, increases the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, leads to an earlier onset of the disease, and causes symptoms to progress quickly.

It is important for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to be brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly. It is very important to work with your doctors to find out what works best for you.  People who have both gum disease and RA should have an informed care team comprised of both a physician and a periodontist. If you don’t have a periodontist, you should get an evaluation from your dentist every year to monitor the status of your gums. Research has found that when patients with RA successfully treat gum disease, pain and other symptoms get better.

For patients with RA, one must pay close attention to oral health and schedule regular dental exams, eat healthy and always brush and floss. If you have trouble taking care of your teeth due to stiff, painful hands or jaws, speak to your dentist or therapist about ways to make dental care easier. Here are some tips as to how you can make dental care easier to manage:

  • Toothbrush: add a tennis ball or bicycle grip to better handle your toothbrush
  • Floss: experiment with different type of floss
  • Toothpaste: using toothpaste in a pump may be easier for you than toothpaste you have to squeeze

If you have any questions or concerns regarding periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, contact our office to schedule a consultation and what we can do for you.

Durham NC Dentist | The Truth Behind “Natural Whitening” Fads

It seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles showcase the idea that whitening can be cheap and easy, if in some cases unpleasant. It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without investing time and money on in-office or at-home whitening under a dentist’s care. However, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, take a look at the truth behind some of the recent fads.

Durham NC Dentist | The Truth Behind “Natural Whitening” Fads

Fad 1: Oil Pulling 

Oil pulling has been cropping up in headlines for months with claims of a wide variety of potential health benefits. It is a very old folk remedy in which a person swishes a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, olive, etc., in their mouth and between teeth for up to 20 minutes daily.  

Despite the number of years this practice has existed and the number of health issues it purports to treat, there is no evidence that oil pulling whitens teeth or improves health. 

Fad 2: Fruits 

Due to celebrity endorsement, some people have begun to try rubbing mashed strawberries on their teeth to try to achieve a whiter smile. Others are using lemon or orange peels, and still others tout the virtues of eating pineapple or swishing apple cider vinegar. 

However, there is no science to support any of these claims. In fact, one recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (which is known to have whitening effects on teeth) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all of these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth. 

Fad 3: Hydrogen Peroxide 

While it is true that many forms of in-office and over-the-counter teeth whitening make use of hydrogen peroxide, there is more to consider before opening a bottle. The hydrogen peroxide used in professional teeth whitening, whether in-office or at-home, is mixed with other substances and provided in a form designed for use in teeth whitening. 

Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will have little or no effect on the whiteness of your teeth, but may cause irritation to your gums and mouth and can be dangerous if accidentally ingested. 

If you want whiter, brighter teeth, there are safe and effective ways to achieve your goal. Talk with our doctor for a recommendation for what kind of whitening will be best for your needs. For more information about whitening, contact our office. 

Durham NC Dentist | Silence Isn’t Always Golden

Periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive inflammation of the gum tissue. It is most frequently caused by bacterial infection. Left untreated, gum disease can have serious consequences for your oral and overall health.  However, one of the biggest challenges for early detection and treatment of gum disease is its silence. Gum disease can often begin and progress with few or no symptoms until reaching an advanced stage. 

Gum disease is caused when the bacteria found in plaque builds up between the teeth and gums. As the bacteria grow, the gums can become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. When gum disease is not treated promptly, it can worsen, leading to increased gum recession, infection, and bone loss. In addition, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. 

Gum disease also impacts other aspects of your overall health. Research has found links between gum disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious inflammatory illnesses. To help prevent gum disease, ensure you are practicing strong oral hygiene habits, including brushing, flossing, use of mouthwash, and regular dental examinations. Be aware of your risk factors for developing gum disease, such as age, tobacco use, genetics, stress, medications, grinding, obesity, or other inflammatory diseases, among others. Consider having an annual periodontal evaluation. 

While symptoms may not appear until later stages of the disease, it is important to watch for the warning signs of gum disease. Some of these include: 

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums 
  • Mouth pain 
  • Bleeding gums caused by brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods 
  • Loose or separating teeth 
  • Pus between gums or teeth 
  • Mouth sores 
  • Chronic bad breath 
  • Gums receding or pulling away from teeth 
  • Changes in your bite or the fit of dentures 

Gum disease can start silently, but may cause great damage if left untreated. Once gum disease has started, it can be effectively treated, but not fully cured. Protect your oral and overall health with preventive care and regular periodontal screenings. For more information about gum disease or to schedule your periodontal screening, contact our office. 

Durham NC Dentist | The Truth Behind 5 Popular Dental Misconceptions

TClearing up misconceptions about oral health can help improve personal oral hygiene efforts for a beautiful and healthier smile.  If you keep up with your oral hygiene regimen, dental visits are significantly easier and dental care is more manageable.  

Durham NC Dentist | The Truth Behind 5 Popular Dental Misconceptions

Misconception #1 – My teeth are fine if I have no pain 

Tooth decay (cavities) usually doesn’t cause pain until they become very severe.  Once it gets to this stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments.  Some of the most dangerous oral disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all.  It is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments.  Our dentist can diagnose problems even at its earliest stages when there is no pain. 

Misconception #2 – Cavities are only caused by sweets 

When you eat sweets, the bacteria in your mouth start consuming it and produce acid.  This acid dissolves the enamel of the tooth, which results in tooth decay or cavities.  However, this process happens when you eat anything that is a starch or carbohydrate.  Food and snacks, such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta, have the same effect on your teeth. 

Misconception #3 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing 

Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease.  This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to a lack of efficient cleaning.  With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed.  However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits.  In such instances, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continuing to brush and floss. 

Misconception #4 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth 

Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades.  Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or cavity between the teeth.  Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side.  

Misconception #5 – Children are more prone to tooth decay 

Tooth decay (cavities) can develop at any age.  People assume children have poor brushing habits and are more prone to tooth decay.  Cavities form when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth.  This is usually seen in people with poor brushing and flossing habits, regardless of age.   

Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception.  It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits.  If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact our dentist.

Durham NC Dentist | How to Prevent Dry Socket

HAlveolar osteitis, more commonly known as dry socket, is a temporary complication that can occur following a tooth extraction. Fortunately, it is rare, preventable, and short-lived. Here are some tips to help avoid dry socket after oral surgery and ensure a quick and comfortable recovery. 

Durham NC Dentist | How to Prevent Dry Socket

What is Dry Socket? 

When your tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the space left behind. This clot helps to block the underlying bone, gum tissue, and nerves from bacterial infection or food debris while the extraction site heals. In rare cases, the clot can be dislodged or not form correctly, which can leave the site exposed. This is dry socket.  

The most common sign of dry socket is a throbbing, deep-set discomfort from within the extraction area. A foul smell may emanate, causing bad breath as well as an unappealing taste in your mouth. If this occurs, contact our office right away. 

Risk Factors and Prevention 

Developing dry socket is rare, but certain factors can put you at increased risk. Tobacco use, oral contraceptives, poor oral hygiene, or gum infection around the extraction site can increase your chances. To prevent dry socket, avoid using straws, brushing the extraction area, or rinsing your mouth vigorously during healing. Follow your post-treatment instructions and contact our office if you have questions. 

Treatment and Recovery 

If you do develop dry socket, we will provide quick, effective treatment. Our team will flush the area to remove any debris, and pack the extraction site with gauze or other dressing. Medication may be prescribed to help reduce discomfort. It is important to attend follow-up appointments to ensure your timely recovery. 

Dry socket is rare, and is temporary and treatable when it does occur. Our experienced team will guide you throughout your recovery. For more information on post-extraction care, contact our office. 

Durham NC Dentist | Caring For Dental Implants

If you have received a dental implant, you have invested both time and money into the future of your smile. It is important to protect this investment in order to maintain good oral health. There are certain steps you should take after undergoing a dental implant procedure in order to care for your mouth.

Durham NC Dentist | Caring For Dental Implants

After the procedure, your mouth might be tender at first. This tenderness only lasts about ten to fourteen days. Your dentist recommends a diet of warm soup, soft foods, and cold foods during this time. Additionally, you should refrain from smoking. Although the healing time for a dental implant tends to vary depending on the patient and the situation, it generally takes between two and four months for your mouth to fully heal after receiving a dental implant. You will not experience discomfort throughout this period, though. 

Once your mouth has healed, caring for an implant is very similar to caring for a natural tooth. Although an implant cannot develop a cavity, it can still undergo the same wear-and-tear as a normal tooth. When not maintained properly, there is a risk for peri-implantitis to occur, which is similar to periodontal disease. However, this is easily preventable through regular check-ups, as well as daily brushing and flossing. 

In order to maintain good oral health, it is important to continue to regularly visit your dentist. Your dentist can clean the areas that you are unable to reach. Additionally, they will be able to check the surrounding gums and bone to ensure that they are healthy. 

As always, your dentist recommends thorough brushing and flossing on a daily basis. Paying  attention to your oral hygiene will ensure that your implant survives. If you continue to maintain good oral hygiene, your implants can last for the rest of your life without a need for replacement. For information about if dental implants are right for you, contact our team today.

Durham NC Dentist | Stained Teeth

Many people want a smile they can be proud of and one way to achieve a dazzling smile is to have pearly white teeth. However, in order to maintain a bright smile, the dentist says you should be mindful of the types of things you consume. Because of certain factors, some foods or beverages can create harsh stains on your teeth that over time can be difficult to remove.

Durham NC Dentist | Stained Teeth

When considering foods that can stain teeth, be sure to look out for dark pigments. Some foods or beverages stain teeth because they have an intense amount of pigmented molecules that the dentist call chromogens. These chromogens latch on to dental enamel and cause your teeth to become discolored. 

Another thing to look out for is foods or beverages that are very acidic. Acidic foods and beverages can cause staining by eroding the dental enamel which temporarily softens teeth and makes it easier for chromogens to latch on. 

One rule of thumb for determining whether or not what you’re eating will stain your teeth is to determine if it will stain your white table cloth or carpet. Some of the main foods or beverages to consider would include, wine, coffee, cola, berries, sauces (such as soy sauce, curry sauce, or tomato sauce), and sweets. Also another main culprit for staining teeth is smoking or chewing tobacco.  

Even if you consume dark pigmented or acidic foods, just know that there are a variety of options to help you achieve a pearly white smile. One option that can help prevent stains on your teeth would be to brush and floss twice-a-day. To brush more effectively, be sure to ask your dentist about electric tooth brushes. The electric toothbrush gives you the ability to clean your teeth and to help remove any stains or residue more thoroughly. Also be sure to ask your dentist about teeth whitening treatments that can be provided in office or at home.  For more information, contact our office today.

Durham NC Dentist | Don’t Rush to Brush

Don’t Rush to Brush 

Are you a diligent brusher who grabs the toothbrush as soon as you finish each snack or meal? While there are significant benefits to regular brushing, hurrying your hygiene might be doing more harm than good. The key lies in understanding the effects different types of food and drinks have on your teeth. 

The Dangers of Acidic Foods 

Food and drinks that contain acids are particularly harmful to your teeth. Acid can wear away at the enamel on your teeth. As your enamel weakens, your risk for developing decay increases. 

What Foods Should I Look Out For? 

Fruits such as oranges, pineapples, and grapefruit contain problematic acids that can cause damage to your enamel. Diet sodas and wines can be just as damaging, as can fruit juices such as orange juice. Tomato products and foods such as pizza, salsa, soups, and sauces also contain acids.  

But Brushing My Teeth Helps, Right? 

Not necessarily. The acids in these foods weaken the enamel on your teeth. After eating or drinking a highly acidic product, your teeth are in a particularly vulnerable state. Enamel protects your teeth, and it is the strongest mineral in your entire body. However, the layers of your teeth beneath the enamel are not as strong and resilient. If you brush your teeth immediately after consuming something acidic, you can drive the acid further into your teeth. This speeds up the process of breaking down your enamel. 

When Should I Brush? 

Wait about 20 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks before brushing your teeth. While waiting, your mouth will produce saliva which helps to neutralize acids and wash away bacteria. Drinking water, rinsing your mouth, or chewing sugarless gum can help neutralize acids more quickly. 

Should I Always Wait to Brush My Teeth? 

While you should not rush to brush after eating acidic foods, you should not wait long after eating foods that are extremely sticky and sugary. If you are eating candy, taffy, or another sticky treat, waiting is not the best option. The sooner you can clean these sugary substances off your teeth, the better. 

Should I Just Stop Eating Acidic Foods? 

Acidic foods such as fruits contain vitamins and nutrients that are an essential component to your diet. While you don’t have to avoid these foods altogether, you should be mindful of how they impact your teeth. Maintain a daily oral hygiene schedule that includes regular flossing and at least two rounds of brushing for two minutes. 

For more dental health tips, or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us. 

Park Place Dental of Durham, NC 2003 E NC Hwy 54 Suite A Durham, NC 27713 Phone: (919) 484-8088 URL of Map

Durham NC Dentist | Are You Using the Right Mouthwash?

AWhile it should never be used as a replacement for brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be a helpful addition to your at-home oral healthcare routine. Here’s what you need to know in order to pick the best mouthwash for your needs. For more information, or for a personalized recommendation on the best mouthwash for you, contact our team today!

Choosing the Right Mouthwash 

Though there are plenty of brands and varieties of mouthwash available, most fall into one of two general categories as recognized by the ADA: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes treat symptoms only, such temporarily masking bad breath. Therapeutic mouthwashes aim to treat the cause of an issue. Fluoridated anti-cavity mouthwashes are designed to help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and prevent cavities. Anti-bacterial and antiseptic mouthwashes kill odor and disease-causing bacteria in your mouth, with antiseptic options typically having a higher alcohol content. We can help you better understand the difference and find the mouthwash that’s right for your particular needs. 

Should I Use Mouthwash? 

If you maintain a proper oral care routine at home and visit your dentist at least twice yearly, you might not need to use mouthwash. However, depending on the unique needs of your teeth, it might be beneficial to talk to our dentist about working a specialized mouthwash into your routine.  

Though mouthwash is not an acceptable substitute for regular brushing and flossing, it can be a helpful tool to keep your mouth fresh and clean throughout the day. Swishing mouthwash after eating can help dislodge any food that might be stuck in your teeth and mask any odor that might be lingering on your breath. 

Tips for Your Mouthwash Routine 

Generally, you want to use mouthwash after flossing, brushing, and rinsing your mouth. Swish the mouthwash around for 30-60 seconds and avoid rinsing, eating, or drinking for at least 30 minutes afterwards to give the mouthwash time to work. 

Side Effects of Mouthwash 

When used properly, there are minimal risks associated with mouthwash. Many mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can cause a burning sensation in your mouth. If the sensitivity continues long after use or increases over time, ask our dentist about different alcohol-free options. For children, it is important that you supervise their brushing routine, as swallowing mouthwash can be dangerous. 

Mouthwash can be a useful tool for anyone. Whether you’re looking to fight bad breath or help protect your mouth from tooth decay or gum disease, the wide array of mouthwashes available means there’s an option for everyone. Talk to our team during your next visit to learn more about the benefits of working mouthwash into your oral care routine. 

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment, please contact our dental team today! 

Park Place Dental of Durham, NC 2003 E NC Hwy 54 Suite A Durham, NC 27713 Phone: (919) 484-8088 URL of Map