Red Oak Dentistry
3 Ways the Pandemic is Staining Your Teeth
At Red Oak Dentistry during the past few months, we have seen a moderate increase in the number of people who are complaining of increased teeth staining. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to change our daily routines and adapt (at least temporarily) to a “new normal”. Many of us are now doing school from home or working from home.
As a result of being home more, some people have found themselves drinking more coffee during the day or consuming more wine in the evening than they did before the pandemic. Our favorite food and drinks are now much closer than they use to be and as a result, teeth staining is on the increase! One way to combat this is to rinse out with water after eating food or drinks that are likely to stain your teeth. These can include food and drinks that are high in sugar and acid like energy drinks, soda and Gatorade as well as food that is otherwise considered healthy including: Blueberries, Cherries and other citrus fruits, coffee, tea and wine to name a few.
With increased stress and the change in routines, oral health care may have taken a back seat. Poor oral care is a common cause of tooth discoloration. If people fail to brush and floss regularly, it’s all too easy for bacteria, acid, and plaque to accumulate and harden into tartar. Plaque and tartar both create a yellow coating around your teeth that may leads to other issues like bad breath, decay, and tooth loss.
2. Tobacco Use
Stress during this time may cause an increase in tobacco product use. Cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco, and other tobacco products not only exposes you to certain cancers but it also puts you at a very high risk of contracting gum diseases and other oral issues such as yellowing of your teeth and discoloration.
3. Natural Discoloration
Teeth naturally come in a range of colors and shades. Young teeth tend to look whiter when compared with older teeth. There are a few reasons for this. As we age, our teeth can pick up stains and develop wear marks from grinding or craze lines (thin fracture lines usually limited to enamel). Also, as we age, our enamel on our teeth grows thinner through normal attrition of enamel from brushing too vigorously and eating abrasive foods. All of this can combine to give the appearance of darker teeth.
This natural staining coupled with people who may be delaying their regular cleanings and check-ups due to the pandemic will result in darker teeth. At Red Oak Dentistry, we are taking this pandemic very seriously. Please see what preventative measures we are taking by clicking here.
What You Can Do About Stained Teeth
These are just a few reasons why tooth discoloration might be increasing during this difficult time. By making a few simple lifestyle changes, you may be able to prevent teeth discoloration. Fortunately, there are way to help prevent excessive tooth discoloration caused by certain staining.
- Brush and floss twice a day
- After eating or drinking sugary foods try to rinse or swish with water to help remove sugar, acid and stain.
- Reduce or eliminate tobacco use
- Get regular cleanings from your hygienist
- If your teeth are discolored, teeth whitening may be a good option for you. In-office whitening and take-home whitening kits are both available at Red Oak Dentistry if you would like to have whiter teeth.
If you have any questions, please call us at Raleigh Office Phone Number 919-781-8984.
The Team at Red Oak Dentistry
Aug 28th, 2020 8:29 am
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Hello Everyone, I hope you are doing well considering our circumstances.
Last time I discussed how to help prevent tooth decay, but what about crack lines, tooth wear and recession? In other words, how do we prevent tooth damage that has nothing to do with cavities?
Crack lines in teeth, tooth wear and gum recession can all be caused by grinding your teeth or clenching them. These days, we are all much more stressed out than we were just 2 months ago. Simple things like grocery shopping have suddenly become stressful. Things we previously took for granted like going to work or simply going to a friend’s house are suddenly more difficult or out of the question all together. All of this increases our stress levels, which in turn makes some of us clamp down and have a good grind!
The result? Our teeth can develop cracks in them or wear down from all of this additional force over time. This damage isn’t limited to just your teeth. Clenching and grinding your teeth over time can cause gum recession and sore jaw muscles, as well as headaches. In severe cases, it can cause Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD).
This clenching and grinding may occur at night when you aren’t aware of it or it can happen during the day, perhaps also without you being aware. A good rule of thumb is to keep your: “Tongue relaxed, teeth apart, and lips together”. If we are grinding our teeth during the day without realizing it, being mindful can go a long way to stopping the behavior. Pick a personal item that you see all the time, perhaps your phone. Every time you look at this item, think “what are my teeth doing?” If your teeth are together, remember: “Tongue relaxed, teeth apart, lips together”. Night time grinding is more difficult to stop on your own. Often, if severe enough, a night guard is your best bet to limit damage to your teeth and gums. If you feel you are grinding your teeth at night, we would normally make a custom fit night guard for you. Under the current circumstances, you could order a night guard from a sporting goods store. It might not fit perfectly or be really comfortable but it may hold you over until we can make one for you.
Chewing on certain things such as almonds or ice can also cause fracture lines in your teeth over time. Ice is especially bad as it is hard and it’s also cold! The rapid temperature change can cause teeth to expand and contract in a similar way that a wooden house does in the summer vs. the winter.
Brushing your teeth too aggressively can also cause gum recession. One of the best ways to combat this is to use one of the more recent electric toothbrushes that has a “brake” on it. If you push too hard while brushing your teeth, the electric brake will slow down the toothbrush to alert you that you are pushing too hard.
Please continue to stay safe and I hope to see you all soon!
Michael King, DMD
Apr 28th, 2020 7:48 am
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Stay at Home Teeth Survival Guide, Part II
Now, more than ever, it is important to be as safe as possible to avoid any unnecessary trips to the dental office or the emergency room, as we want to limit our exposure to COVID19. Many of us have been thrown off of our usual routine; perhaps some of us are home-schooling our kids (best wishes to those of you who are!) We are probably all clenching our teeth more than we normally do. We are idle and maybe eating more than we normally do and, therefore, more prone to cavities!
I’ve been hearing from a lot of people who are worried about getting cavities now that they are stuck at home with food or they are on the go, drinking energy drinks to help stay awake during a long ED shift, for example.
The bacteria that create decay in our mouths love sugar and acid. Therefore, anything we can do to limit sugar and acid in our mouth is a good thing. Here are the top 3 things you can do to avoid cavities:
- Swish with or drink water after eating or drinking anything acidic. This includes energy drinks, soda, sweet tea, sports drinks, juice and wine. This includes sugar free (diet) versions of your sodas and energy drinks. If you are curious about the acid level of your drink, check the back and see if citric acid or phosphorus acid is toward the top of the list.
- Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste after each meal (or alternatively you can chew a piece of sugar free gum). Brushing your teeth, does 2 things, it mechanically removes food debris, which deprives the bacteria of a food source, and it spreads fluoride on your teeth, which kills bacteria and helps to re-mineralize damaged enamel.
- Make sure you are flossing before going to sleep. Mechanically removing any food caught between your teeth before you go to sleep ensures the bacteria aren’t feasting on that left over food and multiplying while you sleep!
Please let me know if you have any questions, until next time, stay safe and stay sane!
Michael King, DMD
Apr 28th, 2020 7:41 am
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Your Mouth and Heart Disease
Today, we often hear in the news that oral health is connected to and an important component of our overall health. More than 80 percent of Americans are living with periodontal disease which is an inflammatory condition affecting the bone and gums around teeth. Periodontal disease often goes untreated in people who don’t regularly visit the dentist because they don’t experience any pain initially and therefore don’t follow up with a dentist.
The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Dental Association (ADA), among other associations, both cite plenty of evidence for the association between oral health and heart disease. While the association has not been shown to be causative, that is, it has not been proven that periodontal disease causes heart disease, patients with periodontal disease had a 20% higher risk for heart disease.
Why are these things related? While there is still more research being done on finding a direct causative link between periodontitis and heart disease, if there is one, there is certainly a more general connection between the 2 conditions. Chronic inflammation in the body in localized areas like the mouth, increases the overall tax on the body as your body tries to fight these areas of chronic inflammation. Lowering your body’s defenses drains defensive resources and can lead to other problems like heart disease.
According to the AHA and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in 2017, it is recommended that patients who have had prosthetic heart valves, congenital heart disease, previous Infective Endocarditis and cardiac transplant with regurgitation engage in antibiotic prophylaxis prior to dental procedures to limit the risk or Infective Endocarditis. Your Cardiology and Dentist can tell you more specifics about these parameters.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
According to the American Association of Periodontology (AAP), you may have gum disease, even if it is in the early stages, if:
- Your gums are red, swollen and sore to the touch.
- Your gums bleed when you eat, brush or floss.
- You see pus or other signs of infection around the gums and teeth.
- Your gums look as if they are “pulling away” from the teeth.
- You frequently have bad breath or notice a bad taste in your mouth.
- Or some of your teeth are loose, or feel as if they are moving away from the other teeth.
Good oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are the best way to protect yourself against the development of gum disease. It is recommended that you brush your teeth twice a day with a soft bristle brush or an electric tooth brush such as Oral B Braun or Sonic Care brush. It is also important to floss once a day and use an ADA accepted toothpaste with fluoride. You should also visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings. We look forward to seeing you and helping you to maintain your optimal oral health!
Carolyn S. RDH
Jan 20th, 2020 11:33 am
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Foods That Cause Tooth Decay
When it comes to tooth decay, it’s important to know the main culprit – acid. Acid is what eats away at our enamel and causes cavities.
Acid can enter our mouths in one of two ways: either directly through what we eat (citrus fruits, for example), or as a byproduct when oral bacteria consume the sugars that we eat.
Ultimately, a simple way to identify foods that cause tooth decay is to ask whether it’s acidic or sweet/starchy.
Acidic foods include things like energy drinks, soda, coffee, Gatorade, wine, citrus fruits, and sour candy.
Sweet foods include things like candy or sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit while starches include food like bread, chips, cereal, pasta and crackers.
The longer these things interact with your teeth, the greater the chance for tooth decay to occur. For example, sipping on soda throughout the day, or chewing a gooey caramel treat, increases the amount of sugar that coat your teeth. Bacteria love to feast on this sugar, creating an acidic environment and putting your teeth at risk for decay.
To help protect your teeth against tooth decay:
- Reduce your consumption of sweets and refined starches
- Enjoy acidic foods in moderation or as part of a meal
- Decrease or eliminate your consumption of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages
- Swish with water after meals and snacks
- Maintain good oral hygiene to brush away plaque buildup (floss at least once a day and brush twice a day)
And, as always, make sure to visit us regularly so we can remove tartar buildup and assess for early signs of decay.
If it has been more than 6 months since your last dental cleaning and exam don’t hesitate to call us today and book your next appointment. Raleigh Office Phone Number 919-781-8984
Carolyn S. RDH
Dec 23rd, 2019 9:33 am
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Dental X-Rays: Why They’re Important
Many patients feel that Dental X-rays or radiographs are not necessary if they are not having any pain or issues with their teeth. However, x-rays are used to detect damage and disease that may not be felt or visible to the eye. X-rays are also used to evaluate a patient’s periodontal status and used to check for any oral pathology like oral cancers, cysts, and tumors.
Typically, the type of x-rays taken during a routine dental visit are bitewings and/or a panoramic image. Bitewings are used to evaluate the mouth for decay and periodontal disease while the panoramic image is used to evaluate the entire jaw structure for any abnormalities or the presence of wisdom teeth. Although both types of images require very low levels of radiation, they are completely safe to take. Even so, every safety precaution such as a lead apron with a thyroid collar will be used to minimize radiation exposure. If necessary, x-rays are safe to take during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or if you are trying to become pregnant.
A common question most patients have regarding x-rays is “how often should I have them?” Frequency can depend on a number of factors, such as oral health status, risk for disease, health, age, and any signs and symptoms of disease. Children may need x-rays more often as the teeth and jaw structure are still developing, and the teeth are more likely to be affected by decay. Ultimately, bitewing radiographs are typically taken once a year while the panoramic radiograph is taken about every 3 to 5 years.
The bottom line is x-rays are extremely important and absolutely necessary to perform a thorough, comprehensive exam. Your dentist will review your history, examine, your mouth, and determine your specific needs for dental x-rays. As always, patient safety is of the upmost importance, so please don’t hesitate to share any concerns during your next appointment.
Emily H., RDH
Nov 5th, 2019 11:59 am
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Now In-Network With Delta Dental Premiere
Not happy with your current coverage?
We are proud to announce our in-network status with
Delta Dental Premiere!
About a third of the American population has not seen a dentist in the last year. When asked why not, almost half responded that it was too expensive. Here’s the thing. Going to the dentist can be expensive, but NOT going can lead to extreme tooth decay and much more costly problems down the road. That’s why getting the right dental health coverage is crucial.
Why Delta Dental Premiere?
Imagine the luxury of freely visiting any dentist in the world, receiving the highest quality of dentistry, and enjoying cost protection from all unnecessary expenses. Network-based, Delta Dental Premier saves enrollees out-of-pocket fees because Delta Dental Premier dentists agree to accept fees that are typically lower than average submitted fees. In the end, this saves money for both employees and employers. Talk to your employer today about having unlimited access to any dentist and other advantages available through Delta Dental Premier.
For all things Delta Dental Premiere, click here.
Is dental health insurance out of the question for you?
We’ve got you covered. Our simple and affordable in-house dental plan may be just what you’re looking for because it requires:
- No yearly maximums
- No deductibles
- No claim forms
- No preauthorization requirements
- No waiting periods
- No pre-existing condition exclusions
For an annual cost of $299 per person, we will keep your oral health in tip-top shape with preventative care that includes two periodic exams, two cleanings, two X-rays and two oral cancer screenings each year. It even includes 10% off all other needed treatments.
Oct 25th, 2019 8:25 am
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Mouth Sores and Lesions
Mouth sores and oral lesions are a common issue for many patients. Unfortunately, they are often a painful problem to have. Luckily, most sores will generally heal on their own within two weeks. Mouth sores can be caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, as well as trauma from a sharp edge on a tooth, a sharp chip, or an ill-fitting appliance. Occasionally, oral lesions can be caused by other disease or autoimmune processes. The most commonly experienced mouth sores are canker sores and fever blisters.
Canker sores are commonly referred to as ulcers. These non-contagious lesions can be small or large and typically have a white or gray appearance with a red border. Although canker sores generally go away on their own within two weeks, they can be extremely painful. Topical anesthetics, antimicrobial mouthwashes, and warm salt water rinses can help alleviate some of the pain. It is also a good idea to stay away from hot, spicy, or acidic foods that can cause more irritation to the ulcer.
Fever blisters on the other hand, are highly contagious lesions that are caused by the Herpes Simplex type 1 virus. Lesions present themselves as painful, fluid-filled blisters that erupt and scab over. Patients may notice a tingling sensation prior to the arrival of the fluid-filled blisters. The blisters may erupt in the oral cavity and around the nose, chin, and lips. Like the canker sore, fever blisters should heal on their own within two weeks. However, topical anesthetics and prescribed antiviral medications can be used lessen the symptoms and duration of the outbreak, especially is used before the outbreak. If you get the tingling feeling that accompanies fever blisters or have active vesicles, it is best to defer dental treatment so it doesn’t spread to other areas of your mouth and face or to other people. Once infected with the virus, it is possible to have multiple outbreaks throughout a lifetime.
When it comes to any type of mouth sore or oral lesion, it is always a good idea to err on the side of caution. On rare occasion, oral lesions can be caused by diseases and autoimmune processes, or cancer. As a rule of thumb, if a lesion does not go away within three weeks, come in for an evaluation or possible biopsy.
Emily H., RDH
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can be a common problem for many patients. Unfortunately, dry mouth can result as a side effect of certain medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, diuretics and many others. It is always a good idea to discuss any possible side effects such as dry mouth with your doctor or pharmacist. Another cause of dry mouth is Sjogren’s syndrome. Sjogren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the glands and organs that are responsible for secreting tears and producing saliva.
Experiencing a dry mouth can be a major annoyance. However, a dry mouth can also lead to extensive tooth decay. This occurs because saliva acts as the body’s defense mechanism to wash away food debris, neutralize harmful acids, and provide disease fighting substances for the mouth. Common symptoms and problems associated with dry mouth may include:
- A constant sore throat
- A burning sensation
- Trouble speaking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry nasal passages
Luckily, there are some things that you can do to lessen the harmful and annoying effects of a dry mouth. Using a spray bottle filled with water can be a very helpful method to restore moisture to the mouth (without making you have to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes!) Chewing sugar-free gum or using sugar-free candy can also help to stimulate salivary flow. Finally, there are a plethora of products designed specifically for dry mouth. As always, it is important that any product used contains the ADA seal of acceptance.
Emily H., RDH
Sep 5th, 2019 11:53 am
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You’re not alone.
Due to the stress, you could be clenching or grinding your teeth.
This process called bruxism, which usually occurs as you sleep. Clenching and grinding can also be a result of sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, or teeth that are misaligned. Bruxism is also twice as likely to occur in individuals who smoke and drink alcohol. Although teeth grinding can also be common in children, treatment is usually not necessary. Children usually outgrow this damaging habit by adolescence.
You may be wondering what symptoms could possibly arise from clenching and grinding your teeth.
Fractured or loose, painful teeth are the very serious, obvious signs of clenching and grinding. However, jaw soreness and dull headaches are other tell-tale, less obvious signs. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to discuss the option of a custom fit night guard that is worn during sleep to protect the teeth. Many individuals also find themselves clenching or grinding during the day. If you feel like you may fall into this category, try to be aware of the conditions that may cause you to clench or grind. Try to make a conscious effort to have your lips and jaw relaxed with your teeth apart.
Stress can also be a huge influencing factor for clenching and grinding.
Although relaxing can be difficult, it’s important to try for the sake of your teeth and overall well-being. Medication, counseling, and exercising are all excellent options to help alleviate stress. In extreme cases, a muscle relaxant before bedtime may be recommended.
Finally, a sleep study is recommended for any individuals grinding as a result of a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to many other health issues. If you think you may be clenching and grinding, please bring any questions or concerns to your next dental visit.
Emily H., RDH
Jun 19th, 2019 3:10 pm
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