September 22, 2012

Warning: Athletes at Higher Risk for Cavities

As a triathlete, Dr. Peter Pate knows the exhilaration of competing in endurance sports. As a dentist, he also understands that the lifestyle required of a dedicated athlete poses many risk factors for the development of tooth decay and other oral health issues. Although athletes are generally health-conscious individuals, many people are still unaware of the link between oral health and overall health.  Even more individuals do not realize just how vulnerable oral health is to the destructive habits of daily life. Many dentists report that their athletic patients in particular have suffered extensive oral health issues, such as rampant tooth decay and even tooth loss. While some cases can be attributed to little more than poor oral hygiene, many are residual effects of the damage done by the necessities of an athletic lifestyle. Dr. Pate explains how athletic dedication can put you at higher risk for cavity development.

Athletic Diet Equals Greater Risk Factors for Tooth Decay

Endurance athletes place tremendous strain on their bodies. In order for the body to withstand this pressure, it must have enough energy; therefore, the endurance lifestyle requires an increase in caloric intake. On average, an athlete will consume 6-10g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight per day — an estimated 60% of their calories. Unfortunately, the same carbohydrates that fuel the body also fuel the bacterial plaque that coats the inside of the mouth. Malicious oral bacteria, mainly Streptococcus mutans, or S. mutans, have an insatiable appetite for refined sugars and carbohydrates. After greedily metabolizing carbs, bacteria excrete the by-product lactic acid onto the surfaces of the teeth. This acid  attacks and weakens the tooth enamel while sapping minerals from your teeth.  This makes it very easy for bacteria to slip past this protective layer into the more vulnerable parts of the tooth, causing the formation of dental caries (cavities). Your teeth are the most vulnerable during a race. Some events (like the Ironman triathlon, for instance) can last up to 17 hours. During this time, you must not only consume the necessary daily intake of carbs, but also maintain the energy supply your body will require to keep up with the demand placed on it. Experts suggest an intake of 30-60g of carbohydrates per hour during exercise to maintain blood glucose levels. With this steady intake of fuel, S. mutans and other harmful bacteria can produce an almost continuous supply of lactic acid on your teeth. (more…)

September 20, 2012

Are Energy Drinks Damaging Your Teeth?

Approximately 30-50% of teens in the US consume energy drinks in an effort to improve their athletic prowess, sharpen their concentration, or just obtain a boost of energy to make it through the rest of the day. 62% of American teens consume sports drinks at least once a day. The general belief is that a sports drink, or even an energy drink, is better for you than a sugary alternative, such as juice or soda. Atlanta dentist Dr. Peter Pate explores whether this belief is true, and how sports and energy drinks affect your oral health.

Testing Sports and Energy Drinks on Teeth

In a study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, researchers uncovered that the alarming increase in adolescent consumption of sports and energy drinks is causing irreversible damage to their teeth. Researchers emulated the consumption of these beverages by immersing samples of human tooth enamel in each beverage for about 15 minutes, then immersing them in artificial saliva for two hours. This process was repeated four times a day for five days to stimulate the same exposure young adults subject their teeth to by drinking these beverages several times a day. The acidity levels of energy drinks were far more impressive than those of sports drinks, but both proved noticeably detrimental to tooth enamel after only five days of exposure. Damage to tooth enamel is irreversible, and without enamel, your tooth is essentially defenseless against food debris and bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. (more…)

September 11, 2012

Risk vs. Reward of Traditional Amalgam Fillings

There is much discussion these days over whether traditional metal tooth fillings are as safe as we’ve believed for the last century. Metal, or amalgam, fillings are composed of a mixture of different metals, including mercury. Several adverse reactions in the brain and kidney have been linked to mercury exposure, so people are becoming wary of having mercury poured onto their teeth. Atlanta dentist Dr. Peter Pate discusses amalgam further.

The Beginning of the Amalgam Wars

The American debate over amalgam began in the 1830s. Two brothers from France, the Crawcours, introduced the filling material in the United States in 1833. By 1844, 50% of dental restorations placed in upstate New York were amalgam. The brothers called their innovative material royal mineral succedaneum, which drew attention away from the mercury content because the public associated the name with gold. In 1843, the American Society of Dental Surgeons ran the brothers out of town, considered them charlatans, and declared the use of amalgam as malpractice. The amalgam solution, however, was cheaper, easier to apply, and less painful than traditional methods, and banning it made the ASDS quite unpopular. In 1850, it rescinded its amalgam boycott, but not soon enough. In 1856, the ASDS disbanded.  (more…)

September 8, 2012

Oral Health: Snapshot of Systemic Wellness

The next time you schedule your annual physical, make sure you have your regular dental visit on the calendar as well.  To get an overall view of your health, it can be beneficial to start with the mouth.   Current research shows that many systemic deficiencies or maladies are illustrated in the tissues of the oral cavity.   Atlanta dentist Dr. Peter Pate explains how he can ascertain details about your overall wellbeing by inspecting the health of your mouth.

The Connection Between Your Mouth and Your Body

The oral-systemic connection refers to the relationship between the health of your mouth and the overall health of your body. Over the last several decades, numerous studies have shown that the two are distinctly connected. For instance, the earliest signs of some potentially fatal systemic diseases appear as lesions in the mouth or other oral problems. This discovery has increased the importance of attending your regular dental checkup. Early detection vastly improves the chances of successful treatment.

Further Implications of the Oral-Systemic Connection

The oral-systemic connection has other important implications as well. Incidences of tooth decay and gum disease have been linked to specific malicious bacteria within the oral cavity (S. mutans and P. gingivalis, respectively). When you consume food and beverages that contain refined sugars and other fermentable carbohydrates, bacterial plaque (which is constantly present in your mouth) digests these substances. The by-product of this digestion is lactic acid, which plaque secretes over the surfaces of the teeth. When lactic acid attacks enamel, it also saps teeth of essential enamel-strengthening minerals (calcium and phosphate).  Without these ingredients, the enamel is not able to remineralize and strengthen itself.   Weakened enamel leaves teeth vulnerable to bacterial attack, which leads to tooth decay. The plaque under your gum line secretes acid, and attacks the connective tissue between the gums and teeth. This irritation causes the gums to recede from the teeth, increasing the chance of gum disease. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through diseased soft gum tissue and travel throughout the body, irritating body tissue cells along its journey. (more…)

June 17, 2012

It’s Father’s Day! Smile!

You can’t be the life of the party without a spectacular smile. Studies have shown that smiling at work and in your personal life can greatly improve the moods of those around you. As the saying goes, smiling is contagious.

Do you like your smile? Small blemishes and imperfections on your teeth can make you self-conscious, causing you to smile less or hide your smile in public. This Father’s Day, Atlanta’s family and cosmetic dentist, Dr. Peter Pate, can help you put your best smile forward.

A Wide Variety of Cosmetic Dentistry Choices

At Dentistry in Buckhead, we offer a wide variety of cosmetic procedures to shape your smile into a masterpiece. If you’re short on time and would like to brighten your smile quickly, our in-office Zoom! treatment can lighten your teeth in just one office visit. The procedure often results in teeth that are eight to ten shades brighter. We also offer professional-strength take-home whitening kits that enable you to whiten when your schedule allows.

Porcelain veneers can cover a variety of imperfections at once. They can change the shape, size, and color of multiple teeth to create optimal uniformity. Modern, minimally invasive veneers are secured to the front of your teeth to create a flawless smile.

For chipped or permanently stained teeth, Dr. Pate may recommend dental bonding. This quick cosmetic procedure involves applying a tooth-colored composite resin that works like sculpting clay. Dr. Pate hardens the resin using a curing light, then sculpts and polishes the resin to the ideal shape. If you have only one or two blemished teeth, bonding is a simple and inexpensive alternative to porcelain veneers.

Your Smile is Your Choice

A healthy, beautiful smile is no accident. At our office, it is the combined effort of a devoted dentist and an informed patient. After a comprehensive exam, Dr. Pate will consult with you to decide the best option for achieving the smile of your dreams. To schedule a consultation, call Dentistry in Buckhead at (404) 266-9424. We proudly welcome patients from the Buckhead area, as well as Sandy Springs, Lenox, Brookhaven, Atlanta, and surrounding communities.

June 3, 2012

Keep Your Smile Bright This Summer

Kids miss about 51 million hours of school and adults miss about 164 million hours of work each year due to unforeseen dental treatments. During the summer, children are out of school and adults spend a few days of vacation away from the office. Dr. Pate encourages you to take advantage of your time off to handle your dental needs.

Summertime Dental Emergencies

The Academy of General Dentistry reports that the majority of dental emergencies during the summer are caused by swimming pool accidents. Running on slippery ground, diving into shallow pools, and playing summer sports can break, loosen or knock out healthy teeth. Fortunately, Dr. Pate offers dental crowns and dental implants to restore your smile mishaps. Additionally, chlorinated water is shown to erode and stain your tooth enamel, but Dr. Pate can hide discolorations with veneers, bonding, or whitening.  Visiting Dr. Pate during the summer will help protect your mouth from summertime damage.

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May 11, 2012

Make Mom Smile this Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is almost here. How will you show your mom how much you love her? Dr. Pate suggests giving your mother a smile makeover and dental evaluation to brighten her appearance, renew her confidence, and improve her quality of life. Make mom smile with a visit to Dentistry in Buckhead!

Smile Makeover

If your mom wishes for youth this Mother’s Day, Dr. Pate recommends refreshing her image with a smile makeover. Stress and aging may be wearing out your mom’s grin. If she has chips, stains, or misalignments, porcelain veneers can improve and reshape her smile. In addition, professional teeth whitening can take years off her appearance and help your mother look younger. If she feels confident in her smile, she will want to smile more—thereby lifting up her facial muscles to appear more energetic, friendly, happy, and youthful.

Sleep Therapy

Mom’s busy schedule drains her energy, but a sleep disorder may keep her up at night. Sleep apnea contributes to high blood pressure, fatigue, stroke, and depression. Help your mother sleep better and improve her health by scheduling a sleep apnea analysis with Dr. Pate.

A bright smile will help brighten your mom’s day and her oral health. Contact Dentistry in Buckhead at (404) 266-9424 to schedule an appointment for your family. We welcome patients from Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Lenox, Brookhaven, Atlanta, and surrounding communities.

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