December, 2012

A New Year's Resolution You Can Keep

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Want a New Year’s resolution that will be easy to keep? How about making 2013 your year for good oral health?Sedation dentistry allows anxious patients to receive needed treatment at Wilbanks Smile Center.

We usually make New Year’s resolutions that are hard to keep like losing weight, quitting smoking and exercising more. Those are all great things that we should all be doing, but trying to change too many behaviors at once can set us up for failure.

Making small changes has been proven to work better over the long term. One small change is vowing to keep those regular dental hygiene appointments and to brush and floss every day!

You can keep this promise to yourself even if you experience dental anxiety. The home care part of this resolution means making sure that you brush before bed (some people get too tired and skip this important step). Brush for two minutes, morning and night. Find a time during the day when you can floss – if morning or evening isn’t convenient you can do it after dinner – just make sure you floss every day.

People who experience dental anxiety may have a hard time making it to dental appointments without a little help. Don’t worry, you can have a healthy mouth and avoid the fear. Sedation dentistry offers you several options based upon your needs. For some people a little nitrous oxide during their appointment keeps them calm. Other patients may require stronger sedation which can range from oral sedation to IV sedation.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your appointment at our convenient Toccoa, GA office.

How Often Do You Change Your Toothbrush?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

How often do you change your toothbrush? This simple, inexpensive replacement can help keep your smile healthy.toothbrush

A recent study in Germany showed that the majority of people there change their toothbrush every six months. People who use their toothbrush for 5 or 6 months before opening a fresh one may experience more gingivitis which is the earliest form of gum disease.

In this study, the majority of people switched to a new toothbrush only when the old one had worn out bristles. About 66% change when they believe that their toothbrush looks for feels “unhygienic”. The “ick” factor on that is way to high!

This new year make a resolution to change your toothbrush every 3 months. If you come down with a nasty virus or bacterial infection you might want to change to a new brush even if your 3 months isn’t up. Keep bacteria at bay by storing your brush away from the toilet area of the bathroom and make sure it can dry thoroughly.

Better oral health can help maintain better overall health. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit.

Canker Sores Stressing You Out?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Canker sores always seem to show up at the worst times. These annoyingly painful little sores can appear on the mucous membranes inside your cheeks, on your gums or tongue. No one is quite sure why we get them and no treatments make them go away quickly.Dr. Joseph Wilbanks of Toccoa, GA offers tips for making canker sores more comfortable.

We do know that if you have family members that get canker sores you are more likely to get them. Also, women tend to get more canker sores than men.

Stress can be a trigger for many people — just ask college students during finals week. Other causes include poor nutrition, food allergies and hormonal changes.

Canker sores are not contagious but they are uncomfortable. Over the counter numbing gels can help. Dr. Oz’s had a newspaper column on this subject and suggests rinsing your mouth with a mixture of 1 cup water and 2 teaspoon baking soda to give some relief. He also suggested melting ice chips against the sore. Avoid salty foods or spicy foods while you have a canker sore – they will just irritate an already painful situation.

If you get canker sores on a regular basis or if you get a canker sore that is unusually large you should talk to your dentist and your physician to rule out vitamin deficiencies or other problems.

Oral hygiene is important during a breakout so don’t skip your oral care.. Brush your teeth, gently, twice a day and floss. Your canker sore will heal on its own in about a week to 10 days.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next appointment.

Gum Disease Treatment May Reduce PreTerm Birth

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

The Journal of Periodontology this December includes a review of studies that found pregnant women with periodontal disease and who are at a high risk of pre term birth can reduce their risk by getting scaling and root planing treatment (SRP). Scaling and root planing are a common and effective treatment for gum disease.pregnant

The study authors, from Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. “The connection between periodontitis and general health is of great interest,” said study author Dr. Nadeem Karimbux. “A study like this captures all that is known about the topic to date.” The researchers performed a review and meta-analysis of 12 prior studies and found that the benefits of treating chronic periodontitis (gum disease) in pregnant women who were at high risk of preterm delivery outweighed any potential risks. The fact that women who have other risk factors for pre-term or low-birth-weight babies and also have gum disease can reduce the risk if good news for moms-to-be and public health.

If you are planning on starting a family or if you are pregnant it is very important that you keep your mouth as healthy as possible for both you and your baby. To schedule your next dental hygiene appointment please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.

Golden Years May Bring Cavities

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Cavities aren’t just a problem for kids. Lots of people find that when they get older, those golden years bring lots of new cavities. Why would you suddenly start getting cavities when you are in your 60′s or 70′s? Blame your medications.

One side effect of many types of medications including those for allergies, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression (a lot of the most common prescriptions written today), cause reduced saliva flow. We usually call this “dry mouth” and it is one reason you need to tell your dentist about all of your medications you may be taking. If you are on a medication that causes dry mouth here are some suggestions to reduce your risk of dental decay:

  • Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers – these ususally come in spray or rinse form
  • Drink lots of water all day long. This helps rinse food debris from your mouth and keeps the tissues moist.
  • Chew sugar-free gum (those containing xylitol are most helpful) or suck on sugar-free candies to stimulate saliva flow
  • Avoid beverages that add to the problem like coffee, alcohol and carbonated soft drinks
  • Check with your physician to see if a lower dose or different medication could help

Don’t skip on your dental visits as you get older. Dry mouth not only leads to more dental decay but your gums can be affected as well.  Regular dental hygiene visits can help clear away plaque and bacteria so you can maintain good oral health – which leads to better overall health – as you age. It is not unusual to have decay under older dental restorations. In some cases the decay may require removal of the tooth. While dental bridges are still used in some cases to replace the missing tooth, a far more popular and natural feeling option is a dental implant. Dental implants act just like tooth roots and the restoration is completed with a special crown. The resulting tooth looks and feels like your natural tooth.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next dental hygiene appointment.

Give Yourself the Gift of Sleep

Friday, December 14th, 2012

‘Tis the season to give gifts and the biggest gift you can give yourself during the holidays is the gift of sleep.

Recent surveys have shown that most of us are sleeping less than six hours per ight and almost 75% of us have sleep problems each week. While a few days of insomnia is no fun, it is not usually a big problem and you will most likely go back to your normal sleeping patterns. When sleep loss becomes chronic, however, it can contribute to health problems.

Lack of sleep or poor qualitysleep can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure and weaken the immune system. Our body needs 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep each night so it can perform the following functions:

  • Learning – sleep helps us process new information and consolidate memory
  • Metabolism – lack of sleep affects how our bodies store and process carbohydrates
  • Mood – lack of sleep makes us cranky, moody and impatient
  • Heart health – sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea are linked by heart disease, high blood pressure and arterial damage
  • Safety – sleepy drivers are responsible for a large percentage of serious accidents

Getting a good night’s sleep is impossible if you have a spouse that snores loudly. The snoring spouse may actually be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea which is a serious sleep breathing disorder. Find out about oral appliances to stop simple snoring and to treat obstructive sleep apnea for patients who cannot tolerate CPAP by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA  today at 706-886-9439.

Coffee May Reduce Oral Cancer Risk

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

If you want to reduce your risk of oral cancer you should drink caffeinated coffee. That is according to a new American Cancer Society study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Yes, it will stain your teeth but regular dental visits to polish the stains away can take care of that!Coffee may help protect against oral cancer.

It seems that people who drank more than four cups of regular coffee, not the decaf kind, per day had about half the risk of death as compared to those who rarely or never drank coffee. Previous studies had suggested that coffee intake was associated with a reduced risk of oral cancers. This study looked at the association between caffeinated coffee, decaf coffee, and tea drinking with fatal oral cancers. It seems that drinking tea doesn’t offer protection and drinking less coffee per day offers some protection but not as much as 4 cups.

“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world and contains a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other biologically active compounds that may help protect against development or progression of cancers,” said lead author Janet Hildebrand.

Screening for oral cancer is a regular part of your dental examination – did you know that? If you have not had a recent dental checkup please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-2581 to schedule your visit.

Oral cancers are very treatable if discovered early so don’t avoid this important health screening.

 

Coffee May Reduce Oral Cancer Risk

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

If you want to reduce your risk of oral cancer you should drink caffeinated coffee. That is according to a new American Cancer Society study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Yes, it will stain your teeth but regular dental visits to polish the stains away can take care of that! Coffee may help protect against oral cancer.

It seems that people who drank more than four cups of regular coffee, not the decaf kind, per day had about half the risk of death as compared to those who rarely or never drank coffee. Previous studies had suggested that coffee intake was associated with a reduced risk of oral cancers. This study looked at the association between caffeinated coffee, decaf coffee, and tea drinking with fatal oral cancers. It seems that drinking tea doesn’t offer protection and drinking less coffee per day offers some protection but not as much as 4 cups.

“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world and contains a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other biologically active compounds that may help protect against development or progression of cancers,” said lead author Janet Hildebrand.

Screening for oral cancer is a regular part of your dental examination – did you know that? If you have not had a recent dental checkup please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-2581 to schedule your visit.

Oral cancers are very treatable if discovered early so don’t avoid this important health screening.

Dental Visit Anxiety?

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

If you experience fear or anxiety about dental visits – don’t despair. You are not alone and today there are several sedation dentistry options for you.Sedation dentistry allows anxious patients to receive needed treatment at Wilbanks Smile Center.

There are a lot of people who avoid needed dental care because of their anxiety.  Because preventive care is avoided, we usually only see these patients when they are experiencing a dental emergency and there are usually several problems that need care.

The good news – because of sedation dentistry patients who feel anxious or fearful can have the treatment they need and in many cases we can complete most, if not all, of the treatment in just one visit. Even more wonderful, the patient is completely relaxed. This technology allows us to treat patients that would otherwise avoid dental care and we all know that good oral health translates to better overall health.

Patients who have mild anxiety may find relief using nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, creates a sensation of relaxation during treatment. The patient is awake but relaxed and the effects of nitrous oxide leave the body quickly.

For those with more extreme levels of fear we have other options including IV sedation.  This is also called Deep Conscious Sedation and is usually used by dentists with specialized training and special certification. The medications are administered directly into the blood stream and the patient is unaware of the procedures being performed.

Why wait until you are experiencing oral pain? Get the care you need now and prevent small problems from becoming larger. Contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9469 to schedule your consultation.

 

Healthy Smiles for the Holidays

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Keeping healthy during the holidays is always difficult — cookies and eggnog and parties are all around us. Keeping your smile healthy is also going to take a little bit of willpower. Those treats that add to your waistline can also contribute to tooth decay.

Holiday activities always seem designed to make us eat and drink more than we should. Schedules also get busier and stress levels tend to rise during the holidays which means that brushing and flossing may get pushed aside and the chances for gum diseaseor tooth decay increase.Healhty smile tips for the holidays from Wilbanks Smile Center.

Here are a few tips to keep your smile in tip top shape this time of year:

  • Alcoholic drinks are highly acidic and many mixed drinks also contain sugar – this is a bad combination for your teeth because the acids soften the enamel and the sugar feeds bacteria that attack the enamel causing tooth decay. Red or white wine are also acidic. Your best bet is to stay away from sweet mixed drinks and to drink water in between your beverages to rinse the acids off the teeth. This also helps reduce the number of alcohol calories you are taking in! Both red and white wine will stain teeth – maybe this is the time to think about whitening your teeth.
  • Cookies, candies and other sugary treats are everywhere at this time of year. All the sugar makes the bacteria in our mouths very happy and increases the likelihood that we will develop cavities. If you can’t avoid the sweet treats then chew a piece of sugarless gum after you’ve eaten that gingerbread man. The xylitol in the gum fights the bacteria and chewing helps wash away any little cookie bits left behind.
  • Feeling stressed is common at this time of year. Relatives visiting, shopping, baking, too many activities and not enough “down time” make everyone a little more on edge – even if we are having fun. Anxiety can make us grind or clench our teeth, often without realizing it. This grinding can cause jaw pain, headaches and broken or chipped teeth. Many people grind their teeth while sleeping. If you are experiencing jaw pain or morning headaches ask your dentist to check for the signs of grinding. There are ways to protect your jaw and your teeth from damage.

Don’t forget to keep brushing and flossing every day. Start the new year right with clean, sparking teeth by scheduling a visit with your dental hygienist. Contact Wilbanks Smile Center today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your 2013 appointment.

 

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