January, 2011

The Importance of Prevention In Health Care

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Prevention seems to be the new buzz word when it comes to health care. Doctors are urging patients to eat healthier diets and exercise regularly to stave off heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. Dentistry has been practicing prevention for years by teaching our patients about the benefits of good oral health care at home.

Prevention is especially important for children. Many people think that since baby teeth fall out anyway it is not important for children to visit the dentist. Dr. Mark Helpin of Temple University says “Cavities are infectious diseases and are the most common, chronic disease during childhood. It is five times more prevalent in children than asthma, and it is entirely preventable if we begin a program of oral health care early.” When cavities in a child’s teeth are not treated it can affect the development of the permanent teeth which may become crooked or misshapen. Orthodontic treatment will then be needed to ensure that teeth are aligned for proper chewing, biting and speech development.

Help prevent cavities in your family by scheduling regular dental checkups for the entire family, not just the grown-ups. Preventative care which includes good home care and regular dental visits can help avoid cavity formation.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, Georgia today at 706-886–9439 to schedule your appointment for preventive dental care. Your family’s smiles will make you glad you did.

Healthy Mouth Equals Healthy Lungs

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology maintaining healthy gums can also help you keep your lungs healthy. The new study suggested that having periodontal disease (gum disease) can increase your risk for respiratory infections, including pneumonia and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

The study looked at 200 patients. Half of the participants were hospitalized with one of several types of respiratory disease and the other half were healthy. Each participant was given a complete oral evaluation to measure their oral health.

The patients with respiratory disease had worse periodontal health than the healthy group which suggests a relationship between gum disease and respiratory disease. The researchers suspect that the presence of oral bacteria in the mouths of patients with periodontal disease may increase the chances of developing respiratory diseases. The study does note that more studies are needed to form a more conclusive link.

“This study provides yet another example of how periodontal health plays a role in keeping other systems of the body healthy” said Dr. Donald S. Clem, President of the American Academy of Periodontology. Dr. Clem also stressed the importance of home care in helping to prevent periodontal disease. “Taking good care of your periodontal health involves daily tooth brushing and flossing.” Regular visits with your dentist and dental hygienist are a key part of maintaining healthy gums and teeth.

Many patients avoid visiting the dentist office because of anxiety or fear. If anxiety is preventing you from keeping your dental hygiene appointments please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, Georgia today at 706-886-9439 to discuss your options for sedation dental care. Sedation dentistry is  the easy, relaxed way to get the care you need to keep your gums, and the rest of your body, healthy.

Celebrate National Hugging Day

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Evidently today is National Hugging Day.This special day was created in 1986 by Rev. Kevin Zaborney from Caro, Michigan. Celebrate by giving someone a big hug and receiving hugs in return. While you are busy hugging you may want to check your breath. No one wants to receive a hug from someone who hasn’t been keeping up with their oral hygiene!

Some quick tips for fresh breath that will make you a huggable favorite:

  • Floss every day! Only floss can get the food debris that lodges between your teeth and provides food for bad oral bacteria. If you feel awkward flossing try using floss picks.
  • Brush after each meal.  You don’t need a fancy electric toothbrush, just choose a brush with soft bristles so it will be gentle on your teeth and gums. A toothpaste containing fluoride will help harden the enamel of your teeth avoiding damage caused by acidic juices and sodas.
  • Don’t forget your tongue. The tongue can harbor lots of bacteria that are responsible for bad breath. An inexpensive tongue scraper will do the job easily. If you don’t have a tongue scraper just brush your tongue with your toothbrush.
  • Pass on the mints. While breath mints may feel cool and refreshing and make your breath smell sweet temporarily, the sugar in the mints will actually feed your oral bacteria causing even worse breath than before.

If you are suffering from bad breath in spite of your good dental hygiene habits you should contact us immediately. There are a number of dental or medical conditions that may be to blame. A thorough dental examination will be able to determine if your problem is dental or if you need to visit your physician.

Don’t miss out on any hugs because of bad breath. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center at 706-886-9439 today to discuss your concerns.

Asthma Linked to Cavities

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

According to a recent study, children and teens with asthma have a higher rate of dental caries (cavities) and have more gum disease than kids without asthma.

The study showed that 3 year old children with asthma had more cavities than the control group without the disease. The researchers explained that because the asthmatic children tended to breath through the mouth they had much dryer mouths and were given more sugary drinks on a more frequent basis. This probably contributed to their higher rate of cavities.

The older children in the study were 12-16 years of age and showed that only one teen of 20 in the asthma group was cavity free, versus 13 out of 20 being cavity free in the non-asthma group. Again, the lower saliva levels in the mouth were blamed but in addition to mouth breathing, researchers felt that the medications used to control the disease reduced the amount of saliva secreted by the asthma sufferers. Again, the teens with asthma also had higher rates of gum disease.

If you or your child suffers from asthma or a similar breathing disorder please tell your dentist. Cavities and gum disease can be avoided with proper care. Your dentist can help you manage medication side effects such as dry mouth to reduce the likelihood of cavities and gum disease.

If you are an asthma patient who has not visited the dentist recently please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, Georgia today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your appointment today!

Do You Hate the Sound of the Dental Drill?

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Good news for people who experience anxiety when they hear the high pitched whine of a dental drill. Scientists at King’s College in London and others have created a device that cancels out the noise.

The sound of the drill is a prime cause of anxiety for many, causing them to avoid needed dental treatment. This new device could help people avoid the sound that triggers their fears and allow them to seek much needed treatment.

The proposed device works much like noise-canceling headphones. However it is designed to deal with the extreme high pitch of the dental drill.  Patients could simply plug the noise canceling device into their Ipod or cell phone and use the headphones to listen to their own music. The noise of the drill would be completely blocked.

Although the product is not commercially available yet, the college is seeking investors to bring it to market. Professor Brian Millar said “Many people put off going to the dentists because of anxiety associated with the noise of the dentist’s drill. But this device has the potential to make fear of the drill a thing of the past.”

If you suffer from fear or anxiety when visiting the dentist, whether it is caused by drill noise or not, you are not alone. Many patients feel anxious and there are several treatment options available depending upon the severity of your fear. Sedation dentistry can allow you to have the dental care you desperately need in a calm, relaxed state.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, Georgia today at 706-886-9439 to discuss your options for Sedation Dentistry.

Fluoride Levels Changing

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Last week the federal government announced that for the first time in almost 50 years they will be lowering the recommended levels for fluoride in water supplies.  While controversial for many, the addition of fluoride has been considered one of the 10 greatest public health accomplishments of the past century reducing the incidence of tooth decay among teens from 90% to 60%.

Fluoride is now added to toothpastes, mouth rinses and some kids even take fluoride supplements. This overabundance has lead to streaks and spots on the teeth of nearly 40% of adolescents in the US. While this condition, called fluorisis, is considered merely cosmetic it seems to have grown much more common since the 1980′s.  This prompted the government to make the changes.

Too much fluoride is only one reason that teeth can become discolored during childhood. Some antibiotics and other medications can also leave teeth stained or spotted.

Whatever the reason, if you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile you have many options for attaining the smile of your dreams.  Choices range from simple dental bleaching to cosmetic makeovers using dental veneers and crowns.

Contact Wilbanks Smile Center today at 706-886-9439 today to schedule your consultation.  You’ll be glad you did!

Why Floss?

Friday, January 7th, 2011

A study completed a couple of years ago found that less than half of Americans floss daily and 10% NEVER floss.  Flossing is even more important than brushing when it comes to preventing gum disease and future tooth loss.  Dentists have a saying – Only floss the teeth you want to keep!

People have lots of excuses for not flossing.

  • Food doesn’t get stuck between my teeth so I don’t have to. Flossing isn’t just about getting that popcorn kernel unstuck.  It is about removing dental plaque, the bacteria that forms colonies on your teeth in between cleanings.  Plaque causes bad breath, gum disease, tooth decay and eventual tooth loss.
  • I’m not coordinated enough to floss. While using a nice long strand of dental floss is best, the people who use this excuse find that  floss picks are just the thing.  Floss picks are sold at dollar stores, drug stores and supermarkets and consist of a little piece of floss on a handy plastic handle.  Keep a pack in the car and you can floss at stoplights!
  • It hurts when I floss. If flossing causes pain or if you see blood on the floss you probably already have gum disease — which is exactly why you need to floss more than ever before.  When you are brushing and flossing on a regular basis the gum pain and bleeding should stop within a few days.  If they don’t then you need to call your dentist.
  • The floss shreds in my mouth. If the floss is getting stuck or shredding between certain teeth you probably have old dental work that is failing and needs to be replaced.  Mention the areas where you are having problems with floss on your next visit.  You may just need a simple fix to end the shreds.

Even if you have braces or bridgework you can still floss using floss threaders.  Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you how at your next appointment.

For additional information about flossing and gum disease and to schedule your dental hygiene appointment  please contact your Toccoa, Georgia area full-service dentist, Dr. Joseph Wilbanks at 706-886-9439.  Keep flossing!

Dental Care Important for Diabetes Patients

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Good oral health is important for all of us.  For patients with diabetes maintaining healthy teeth and gums is critical.  Patients with diabetes are three times for more likely to contract periodontal disease and tooth decay.  Unfortunately, the presence of gum disease also makes controlling blood sugar more difficult.

One of the complications of diabetes is the thickening of blood vessels which slows the flow of nutrients into the body’s tissues and also slows the removal of waste products. One of the early effects of diabetes may show up in the mouth as gum disease.  It is well known that patients who experience frequent or severe gum disease may have diabetes.

If your diabetes is uncontrolled you not only have elevated blood sugar but you also have elevated levels of sugar in your saliva.  Diabetic patients commonly experience “dry mouth” or reduced saliva production as well.  The combination then leads to explosive growth of oral bacteria and sets up perfect conditions for tooth decay.

Practicing good oral hygiene at home and visiting the dentist on a regular basis can help diabetic patients control or even eliminate periodontal disease.  The combination of brushing and flossing after each meal, regular dental cleanings and controlling blood glucose levels can help maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.

If you are a diabetic patient please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, Georgia at 706-886-9439 to schedule your dental hygiene appointment. A healthier mouth means a healthier you!

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