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 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.

July 12, 2011

The Importance of Mouthwash

For healthy teeth, you have to eat right and practice daily oral healthcare at home. Teeth should be brushed two times a day, flossed once a day, rinsed after meals, and cleaned professionally at least every six months. Additionally, your entire mouth can benefit from mouthwash. Antiseptic oral rinses and fluoride rinses are two types of beneficial mouthwashes that can promote healthy teeth and gums (and help refresh your breath too!).

Antiseptic mouthwashes, such as Scope and Listerine, decrease plaque and oral bacteria. In conjunction with brushing and flossing, these rinses help remove oral debris, temporarily suppress bad breath, and refresh the mouth with a pleasant taste (flavored versions only). To avoid drying out the tissues of the mouth, rinsing with a non-alcoholic mouthwash is recommended so be sure to check the labels!

Fluoride mouthwashes can also decrease oral bacteria. In addition to acting as an antiseptic, fluoride effectively prevents the growth of cavity-causing dental bacteria and strengthens tooth enamel. ACT, a common over-the-counter fluoride rinse, slows down or even stops the progression of cavities when combined with proper brushing and flossing. For high-risk patients, dentists can provide stronger concentration fluoride supplements or rinses to protect against cavities.

Rinsing with any mouthwash for 30 seconds loosens remaining debris and contributes to good oral health. If you live in the Atlanta area and want healthy teeth for a lifetime, contact me, Dr. Peter Pate at (404)266-9424. I provide preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry to families in Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Lenox, Atlanta, and surrounding areas.