March, 2012

Make Your Dentist Happy - Eat Chocolate

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Yup, you read that right. Your dentist will be happy that you are eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate and as long as you are avoiding the sticky, gooey candybar type.  Chocolate and cocoa (which chocolate is made from) offer a host of health benefits including some for your smile.

The world’s largest scientific society, the American Chemical Society, is hosting a symposium titled “Cocoa: Science and Technology” which features reports from experts on the main ingredient in chocolate. Researchers are reporting on the benefits of cocoa and chocolate including:

  • Stress — eating about one and a half ounces of dark chocolate per day reduce levels of stress hormones
  • High blood pressure — Flavonoids in chocolate may help lower blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular problems — Chocolate helps strengthen mitochondria which become weakened in people with heart problems

Also included was a study that thrills dentists everywhere:

  • TMJ and migraine — It seems that chocolate may be useful in treating disorders involving the trigeminal nerve (a very sensitive nerve that runs through the face and jaw area). It seems that some of the active ingredients in chocolate were found to soothe the excitability of the nerve.
  • Previous studies have shown that dark chocolate actually contains substances that help reduce tooth decay.

So enjoy your dark chocolate, in moderation because although it contains lots of chemical compounds that are good for you it also contains lots of fat and sugar.

If you experience jaw or facial pain, chronic headaches or clicking in your jaw you may suffer from a problem with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Please contact  Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA dentist at 706-886-9439 today to schedule your consultation. TMJ pain can be treated and you can live your life headache-free.

Good Oral Health Linked to Good Colon Health

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Good oral health has been linked to our overall health in many ways and now we can include colon health. A recent study from England showed that oral bacteria responsible for periodontal disease can also play a role in the development of colon cancer. More work is needed to confirm the link be it seems that the bacteria act as precursors for the colon cancer.Gum disease has been linked to colon cancer but you can protect yourself with regular dental hygiene visits according to Wilbanks Smile Center.

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute completed a different study that analyzed colorectal tumor samples and they found high amounts of gum disease causing bacteria in the tumors. These separate research projects prove that their is a link and it is now up to researchers to discover how the bacteria is related to the colon cancer.

Until now the prevention of colon cancer has relied upon patients getting a colonoscopy every 10 years. We can add regular dental hygiene appointments and good home care to our prevention menu.

Keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible will not only protect from possible colon cancer. Gum disease is linked to heart disease, diabetes and pregnancy complications.

If you are one of the millions of American’s who avoid dental offices because of fear or anxiety — we can help! Using sedation dentistry Dr. Joseph Willbanks is able to give patients the care they need while they are completely relaxed. Often years of dental neglect can be corrected in just one visit.

Please don’t delay — contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your dental hygiene appointment and don’t forget to ask about your sedation dentistry options.

High Fluoride Toothpaste Offers Protection Against Tooth Decay

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Several years ago in Sweden a high fluoride brand of toothpaste was introduced with the hopes it would provide additional protection for those at high risk of tooth decay. Researchers have now performed the first scientific evaluation of the use of this toothpaste and the study has found a method of using the paste that offers four times the cavity protection.Wilbanks Smile Center shares research about fluoride protection for cavity prone patients.

The study had volunteers brush with the high fluoride toothpaste or regular toothpaste either two or three times per day using a variety of brushing techniques. Researcher Anna Nordstrom said “The study revealed that those who used a high-fluoride toothpaste three times per day had four times better fluoride protection in the mouth than those who used standard toothpaste twice a day.”

The researchers also looked at whether just massaging the toothpaste onto the teeth with a finger was as effective as the third brushing. It turns out that the massage method worked for giving teeth the additional boost of fluoride in the middle of the day but they cautioned that this method cannot replace brushing in the morning and at night.

In the US toothpastes with high levels of fluoride are available only with a prescription. If you are at high risk for cavities using this type of toothpaste can provide extra protection. This research also shows us that if you can’t brush after lunch the old trick of rubbing toothpaste on with your finger to freshen your breath can also protect your teeth as long as it is a fluoride toothpaste. After using the high fluoride toothpaste – don’t rinse! You’ll just wash away all that protection.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next appointment. Preventing cavities and gum disease is easy with regular dental hygiene visits and prevention can save your health care dollars! Ask us for more cavity prevention tips on your next visit.

Why Do I Get Canker Sores?

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Why are you the lucky one with the canker sores? Some people get canker sores often, some every once in a while. About 80% of us never get canker sores and scientists still don’t really understand what causes them. The theory is that we get canker sores because of a problem with our immune system.

Canker sores are not dangerous, they are just annoying and painful. They can show up on the inside of the lips, inside the cheeks, at the base of the gums or on the tongue. Most of the time we only get one canker sore at a time but some unlucky folks can have several at once. Fortunately they only occur a few times each year. They have been linked with other diseases such as Behcet’s syndrome.

You may feel a burning or tingling before the sore starts to form. The sores take two or three days to form and usually are painful for only a few days. Most canker sores go away after two weeks. You should call on dentist if your canker sore is unusually large (almost 1/2 inch across) or if you are getting more sores, or getting them more often than you used to. If a mouth sore doesn’t heal after an appropriate period of time please visit us immediately to rule out any serious conditions. If you have other symptoms such as rashes, joint pain or fever call your physician.

Treatment of canker sores consists mainly of relieving the discomfort. Over-the-counter numbing creams and gels may be helpful, rinsing with warm water and avoiding spicy or salty foods are suggested. If a sore is very large or painful prescription medications may be called for. While canker sores are painful, don’t skip brushing and flossing!

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next appointment if canker sores or other mouth sores have been bothering you.

Those Born With Heart Problems Need Better Dental Hygiene

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Heart problems and dental hygiene have been linked in several studies but what about people born with heart problems? How dental hygiene affects people with congenital heart issues was the subject of two studies presented at a recent meeting on cardiovascular nursing.

It turns out that teens and adults with congenital heart problems have better overall health behaviors than their peers. They eat better, drink and smoke less and are less likely to engage in illicit drug use. However, both the teens and adults studied had worse dental hygiene and visited the dentist less than their healthy peers. This could increase their risk of endocarditis.

In the past, efforts to prevent endocarditis focused on having patients take antibiotics before any dental procedure. This prevented bacteria released into the blood from traveling to the heart and causing an infection. But researchers have discovered that daily dental hygiene is more important for preventing heart infection than taking the antibiotics. Some patients still take antibiotics before procedures and some do not — it depends upon their physician and dentist but the most important thing to remember is daily hygiene practices at home. This means brushing and flossing every day and visiting your dental hygienist regularly. If your gums are healthy then you may be placed on a six month recall schedule. If there are signs of gum disease your dental hygienist will probably switch you to a 90 day recall schedule. This is to protect your health, not just because she misses your smiling face!

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your dental hygiene appointment. Remember to tell us in advance about any medical conditions and especially let us know if you experience dental anxiety. Congenital heart disease and dental anxiety are a bad combination but using sedation dentistry we can help!


Who Is More Afraid of the Dentist

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Who do you think is more likely to be afraid of the dentist? According to a study currently underway at the University of Sydney it looks like women in their 40′s are more likely to be the ones experiencing fear and anxiety about their dental visits. A recent telephone survey showed that people with severe dental phobias wait 17 days on average before making an appointment for needed care, as opposed to 3 days for people without any fears.Wilbanks Smile Center specializes in treating patients with dental anxiety.

Dr. Avanti Karve from the University of Sydney said “Dental anxiety is very real and complex and it should never be downplayed.” Here at Wilbanks Smile Center we couldn’t agree more that’s why we take special care with our patients who feel anxious or fearful about their dental treatment.

Patients with dental fears have a higher risk of gum disease, early tooth loss and may suffer from worse overall health because of untreated dental issues. Working with anxious patients is our specialty and using sedation dentistry we are able to help patients get the treatment they need without anxiety. Depending upon the needs of the patient Dr. Wilbanks has a range of sedation dentistry options for his fearful patients.

If you have been putting off needed dental care because of your fears please don’t endanger your health by delaying any longer. Contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your consultation.


Inflammation Is The New Health Buzz

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Inflammation seems to be the new buzz word in health and prevention circles these days. While researchers have known about the links between gum disease and other systemic problems like heart disease, pre-term birth and diabetes they are just beginning to figure out why the link occurs. The winner is… inflammation.

We get gum disease because of bacteria which cause our gums to become infected and inflamed. These bacteria can get into our blood stream and travel throughout our bodies. Wherever they land they cause more inflammation which is part of our body’s immune response. While short-term inflammatory response can be a good thing and can help the body heal, when the inflammation lasts a long time it causes damage to our bodies.

Why would we have long term inflammation? One of the most common causes is gum disease. Because gum disease is not obvious and does not cause pain until the advanced stages it can go untreated for a long time.  Bleeding while brushing or flossing your teeth is a good sign that you may have gum disease.

Gum disease can be treated and the inflammation can be brought under control. The important thing is to brush and floss every day and visit your dental hygienist for regular professional cleanings. While those with healthy smiles may only have to visit the dentist every six months, patients with gum disease will be visiting more often.

Think of your dental hygiene visits as an insurance policy for the rest of your body! A clean, healthy smile can be yours by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439. Do you suffer from dental fear or anxiety? Ask us about your options for sedation dentistry – you can get the care you need without feeling anxious.

Sugary Drinks Bad for Heart and Smile

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Dentists have been complaining about sugary drinks being bad for your smile for years and now there is evidence that they are also bad for your heart.

Research published in the journal Circulation found that men who drank a 12 ounce sugary beverage once a day increased their risk of heart disease 20% compared to men who didn’t drink the stuff.

Dr. Frank B. Hu said “This study adds to the growing evidence that sugary beverages are detrimental to cardiovascular health.” Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States so anything that can be done to reduce the risk is important.

The researchers looked at over 40,000 men and found the increased risk even after they controlled for other risk factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, alcohol use and family health history. Having a sugary drink once or twice a week didn’t seem to have the same increase in risk. Although this study looked at men, previous research had found comparable findings about women.

Hopefully this will convince people to put down the sweet tea and soda and choose a beverage that is good for your smile and your heart. Remember, you don’t have to cut these treats from your diet completely — just remember that they are treats and shouldn’t be consumed every day. You’ll have fewer cavities and a healthier smile if you start drinking tap water instead of soda with your meals — this is especially important for your children!

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule you appointment. We are a full service practice so you’ll never be referred out of the office – we do it all!


Spring Forward On March 11

Friday, March 9th, 2012

March 11th is the day we  “Spring Forward” for Daylight Savings Time – and lose an hour of sleep. Sleep is considered one of the three pillars of good health. Nutrition and exercise are the other two and usually have gotten all the attention over the years but the importance of sleep is finally hitting the mainstream. AOL and its partner The Huffington Post have an entire section devoted to sleep information.

On March 12th we can predict that most of us will be a little groggy and feel sleepy during the day. But what should you do if you feel that way every day?

Regular,  severe daytime sleepiness  means that there is a problem with your sleep.  Some sleep disorders are obvious like insomnia or restless leg syndrome. People who have asleep breathing disorder may not know it.  Those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea fall asleep and think that they have slept a full night – they don’t understand why they never feel rested.

The majority of people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea have not been diagnosed. Most will not seek help unless a bed partner complains about the loud snoring or tells them that they stop breathing during sleep. If anyone has said these things to you it is time to get checked out. You can get your energy and your health back on track by treating your obstructive sleep apnea with an oral appliance.

Contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today to schedule your dental sleep medicine consultation. If you have already been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and are CPAP intolerant we can help. If you are unsure about your diagnosis please call 706-886-9439 today. Our full service office means that you will never need a referral.

National Sleep Awareness Week - How Did You Sleep?

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

National Sleep Awareness Week is March 5 through 11 and reminds us that sleep is vital for our health. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep does more than make you cranky it also increases your risk for serious health problems. Poor sleep is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and erectile dysfunction.

Does it seem like every time you are over-scheduled and not getting enough rest you get sick? It is not your imagination. Our immune systems suffer when we don’t get enough rest. A study in the journal Immunity showed that our circadian clock, which determines our daily sleep and hunger cycles, also appears to control an important immune system gene.

Lots of us have poor quality sleep because of snoring – either our own or our bed partner is sawing wood all night.  Snoring can be a sign of a serious  sleep breathing disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. The health of the bed partner of the snorer is also effected because of disturbed sleep. Treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnea using an oral appliance can allow both partners a good night’s sleep and lead to better overall health and well-being.

Patients living in Toccoa, GA and surrounding areas can contact Wilbanks Smile Center for more information about oral appliances for treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Please contact our office today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your consultation.

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