September 12, 2012

Brushing for Two: Oral Health During Pregnancy

So you’ve discovered that your own little bundle of joy is on the way.  Now that you are caring for yourself as well as your unborn child, you have additional responsibilities.  One topic you may not consider in relation to your pregnancy is your oral health. Atlanta dentist Dr. Peter Pate explains why you shouldn’t place your dental hygiene at the bottom of the list during your pregnancy.

Gum Disease and Your Pregnancy

Periodontal (gum) disease has a direct relation to many chronic inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It also has been linked to preterm and low-birth weight babies. The main culprit suspected in the link is the bacterium P. gingivalis, which induces your body’s inflammatory response. When gum disease causes your gums to swell and bleed, bacteria enters your bloodstream through the soft infected tissue. As P. gingivalis travels throughout your body, it can provoke the same inflammatory response as it did in your gums. When you are pregnant, this can mean abnormal conditions surrounding the birth of your child. (more…)

September 4, 2011

How Summer Impacts Your Smile

It’s official: summer is still here, and it is HOT!

From picnics to barbecues, swimming to sunbathing, summer activities can easily put a smile on anyone’s face.

Unfortunately, many things that make summer fun can also be harmful to your smile. Follow these tips to keep your smile sparkling this season!

Maintain Hydration

Dehydration is one of the biggest problems during our long, hot Atlanta summers. Dehydration can lead to dry mouth, which can cause serious tooth decay.   So, protect yourself by drinking plenty of water, enjoying hard candies sweetened with xylitol, or chewing sugar-free gum to promote saliva production and keep your mouth moist.  Watch out for those energy and fitness drinks!

Ocean vs. Pool

Chlorine, which is used in most swimming pools, can erode and weaken teeth over time. The salt found in ocean water, however, decreases bacteria in the mouth, providing a healthy oral environment.

Limited Sun Bathing

Overexposure to the sun can be harmful, but casual and limited time in the sun increases your level of vitamin D, which is essential to maintaining a healthy smile and body.

Refreshing Summer Snacks

Fruit is always a popular summer snack, so it’s important to know that some fruits are better for your teeth than others. The high water content in watermelon helps clean teeth and gums. Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, can cause enamel erosion because of their high acidity. If you love citrus fruits, rinse your mouth with water after you eat them (but don’t brush right away) to wash away the acids.

Natural Remedies for Teeth Whitening

Believe it or not, strawberries are considered a natural remedy for brightening your smile. Rub them on your teeth to remove all stains. Rubbing the inside of an orange peel on your teeth can also help whiten them, or try brushing your teeth with a mixture of apple cider and vinegar.

For more information about a healthy smile, call Dr. Peter Pate at Dentistry in Buckhead at (404) 226-9424.

August 31, 2011

Immunization Awareness

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently issued its annual update of vaccination guidelines. The new recommendations emphasize the importance of vaccinating children and teens to protect against serious illnesses, such as influenza, pneumonia, and meningitis, as well as other deadly diseases.

The recommendations for 2011 are very similar to those from 2010, but the release of the revised schedule reminds parents to ensure that their children’s immunizations are up to date. Dr. Michael Brady, the chairman of the AAP infectious disease committee, points out that “immunizations have been the most effective medical preventive measure ever developed, but some people who live in the United States right now don’t appreciate how tremendously protected they’ve been because of vaccines. There are still children around the world dying of measles and polio. The vaccination schedules are designed to get vaccines to the child before they are at the greatest risk.”

The updated schedule recommends that all children between the ages of 6 months and 18 years get an annual flu shot. Additionally, children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years who are being vaccinated for the first time, as well as those who have had only one dose of a previous flu vaccine, need two doses of the seasonal flu vaccine.

The AAP recommends the following:

  • Children and teens should receive the recommended whooping cough vaccines.
  • Children ages 7 to 10 years who have not been previously vaccinated against the disease need a single does of the tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and Tdap vaccines.
  • Teens from 13 to 18 years who never received the Tdap should get the vaccine as well as a Td booster every 10 years.
  • All girls should receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, which can be given between the ages of 9 and 18 years in a three-dose series.
  • Children under the age of 5 should get the haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) vaccine to prevent the bacterial disease.
  • Routine childhood vaccines, including those for the rotavirus, polio virus, MMR, and varicella, should be received at the suggested ages.

Dr. Peter Pate, a family dentist in Atlanta, Georgia, strives to help his patients lead healthy lives. For information about how to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy to prevent the onset of serious oral and overall health conditions, call Dentistry in Buckhead at (404) 266-9424.

August 7, 2011

Smile Tips from a Star

Photo Credit: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

You’ve seen the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” right? If not, you’re seriously missing out. Nia Vardalos, the star and brains behind the movie, is hilarious. What you might not know, however, is that she is a probiotics enthusiast, which impacts how she takes care of herself and her daughter.

Probiotics are “good” bacteria that help keep your health in check. You probably know that probiotics are found naturally in yogurt.  Now there’s another easy source.  GUM® just released PerioBalance, a mint-flavored daily lozenge containing a blend of probiotics to help neutralize harmful bacteria surrounding your teeth and gums.

As a family dentist in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Peter Pate agrees with many of Nia’s tips for a healthier smile. Check them out:

  • Load up on calcium. Drinking milk builds strong bones (yes, your teeth are bones). A lack of calcium increases your risk of tooth decay and cavities.
  • Boost your Vitamin C intake. Citrus fruits and other foods that are high in Vitamin C help ward off infection. Eat more, and lessen your chances of developing gingivitis and gum disease.
  • Get your fill of fruits and veggies. The crispier your food, the better. Fruits and vegetables help to wipe bacteria off of your teeth, and chewing increases the production of bacteria-neutralizing saliva.
  • Stick with tea and water. Studies show that black tea can rid your mouth of the bacteria found in dental plaque. Water rinses away bacteria and food particles that can eventually stick to your teeth and become plaque at the gum line.
  • Avoid candy and soda. Sugar and acid are the enemies of your teeth. You don’t have to avoid these treats completely, but limit your intake as much as possible, and make sure to brush and floss thoroughly after you consume sugar-loaded foods and drinks.

Above all, Nia made a point of teaching her daughter how to brush and floss. “It’s all about prevention. Invest now, avoid health issues in the future,” Nia says.

Well said, Nia! Dr. Pate and his team at Dentistry in Buckhead provide dental care to patients of all ages in the greater Atlanta area. To schedule an appointment, call (404) 266-9424.

Content for this blog post found on EverydayHealth.com.

June 20, 2011

A Few Facts about Fluoride

Dental fluoride used to be a routine part of most dental cleanings and exams, but for some time now, the use of fluoride has been debatedamong dental and other health professionals.

Here are a few facts about fluoride from the Fluoride Information Network:

1.     Fluoride is a community health measure that benefits people of all ages, income levels, and ethnicities.

2.     Fluoride protects over 300 million people in more than 40 countries worldwide. More than 10,000 communities and 145 million people benefit from fluoride in the U.S. alone.

3.     Fluoride is a natural mineral widely distributed in nature.  When added to water supplies at optimal levels, it is effective in reducing tooth decay.

4.     Multiple studies have shown that fluoridation can reduce tooth decay by 60% in baby teeth and up to 35% in adult teeth.

5.     Underprivileged children have more cavities than children from middle or upper income families. Children from families earning less than $20,000 annually have 10 times more unmet dental care needs than children from families earning at least $50,000 annually.

6.      Fluoride serves as the natural protector for tooth enamel and encourages healthy teeth and gums.

7.     Systemic fluoride (in the water supply) is the best fluoride source for developing teeth. Topical application is the next best way to gain the dental benefits of fluoride, and is a great option for enhancing the benefits of fluoridated water.

8.     Water fluoridation is safe! Studies show that adjustment to appropriate levels does not pose a health risk for the public. Fluoride at recommended levels has been used for more than 50 years with no side effects.

9.     Water fluoridation saves money. It costs approximately 50 cents per person per year to receive fluoridated water. A filling for a single cavity can cost upwards of $200!

10.    Oral health is a critical component of overall health and wellbeing. Fluoride helps to keep your enamel healthy, which in turn protects your teeth and promotes quality oral and overall health.

The bottom line: Don’t be afraid of fluoride. It’s safe to assume that you use fluoridated toothpaste. In fact, it’s unlikely that toothpaste will get the ADA seal of approval if it doesn’t contain fluoride.

Dr. Peter Pate gives most of his patients a fluoride treatment at dental exams and cleanings because it is crucial to quality oral health. For more information about the services and treatments offered at Dentistry in Buckhead, call our dental office in Atlanta, Georgia at (404) 266-9424.