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Huntersville NC Dentist | The Truth Behind “Natural Whitening” Fads

It seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles showcase the idea that whitening can be cheap and easy, if in some cases unpleasant. It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without investing time and money on in-office or at-home whitening under a dentist’s care. However, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, take a look at the truth behind some of the recent fads.

Fad 1: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been cropping up in headlines for months with claims of a wide variety of potential health benefits. It is a very old folk remedy in which a person swishes a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, olive, etc., in their mouth and between teeth for up to 20 minutes daily.

Despite the number of years this practice has existed and the number of health issues it purports to treat, there is no evidence that oil pulling whitens teeth or improves health.

Fad 2: Fruits

Due to celebrity endorsement, some people have begun to try rubbing mashed strawberries on their teeth to try to achieve a whiter smile. Others are using lemon or orange peels, and still others tout the virtues of eating pineapple or swishing apple cider vinegar.

However, there is no science to support any of these claims. In fact, one recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (which is known to have whitening effects on teeth) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all of these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.

Fad 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

While it is true that many forms of in-office and over-the-counter teeth whitening make use of hydrogen peroxide, there is more to consider before opening a bottle. The hydrogen peroxide used in professional teeth whitening, whether in-office or at-home, is mixed with other substances and provided in a form designed for use in teeth whitening.

Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will have little or no effect on the whiteness of your teeth, but may cause irritation to your gums and mouth and can be dangerous if accidentally ingested.

If you want whiter, brighter teeth, there are safe and effective ways to achieve your goal. Talk with our doctor for a recommendation for what kind of whitening will be best for your needs. For more information about whitening, contact our office.

Huntersville NC Dentist | Silence Isn’t Always Golden

Periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive inflammation of the gum tissue. It is most frequently caused by bacterial infection. Left untreated, gum disease can have serious consequences for your oral and overall health.  However, one of the biggest challenges for early detection and treatment of gum disease is its silence. Gum disease can often begin and progress with few or no symptoms until reaching an advanced stage.

Gum disease is caused when the bacteria found in plaque builds up between the teeth and gums. As the bacteria grow, the gums can become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. When gum disease is not treated promptly, it can worsen, leading to increased gum recession, infection, and bone loss. In addition, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Gum disease also impacts other aspects of your overall health. Research has found links between gum disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious inflammatory illnesses. To help prevent gum disease, ensure you are practicing strong oral hygiene habits, including brushing, flossing, use of mouthwash, and regular dental examinations. Be aware of your risk factors for developing gum disease, such as age, tobacco use, genetics, stress, medications, grinding, obesity, or other inflammatory diseases, among others. Consider having an annual periodontal evaluation.

While symptoms may not appear until later stages of the disease, it is important to watch for the warning signs of gum disease. Some of these include:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Mouth pain
  • Bleeding gums caused by brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between gums or teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Gums receding or pulling away from teeth
  • Changes in your bite or the fit of dentures

Gum disease can start silently, but may cause great damage if left untreated. Once gum disease has started, it can be effectively treated, but not fully cured. Protect your oral and overall health with preventive care and regular periodontal screenings. For more information about gum disease or to schedule your periodontal screening, contact our office.

Huntersville NC Dentist | The Truth Behind 5 Popular Dental Misconceptions

Clearing up misconceptions about oral health can help improve personal oral hygiene efforts for a beautiful and healthier smile.  If you keep up with your oral hygiene regimen, dental visits are significantly easier and dental care is more manageable.

Huntersville NC Dentist | The Truth Behind 5 Popular Dental Misconceptions

Misconception #1 – My teeth are fine if I have no pain

Tooth decay (cavities) usually doesn’t cause pain until they become very severe.  Once it gets to this stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments.  Some of the most dangerous oral disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all.  It is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments.  Our dentist can diagnose problems even at its earliest stages when there is no pain.

Misconception #2 – Cavities are only caused by sweets

When you eat sweets, the bacteria in your mouth start consuming it and produce acid.  This acid dissolves the enamel of the tooth, which results in tooth decay or cavities.  However, this process happens when you eat anything that is a starch or carbohydrate.  Food and snacks, such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta, have the same effect on your teeth.

Misconception #3 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing

Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease.  This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to a lack of efficient cleaning.  With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed.  However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits.  In such instances, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continuing to brush and floss.

Misconception #4 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth

Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades.  Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or cavity between the teeth.  Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side.

Misconception #5 – Children are more prone to tooth decay

Tooth decay (cavities) can develop at any age.  People assume children have poor brushing habits and are more prone to tooth decay.  Cavities form when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth.  This is usually seen in people with poor brushing and flossing habits, regardless of age. 

Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception.  It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits.  If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact our dentist.

Huntersville NC Dentist | How to Prevent Dry Socket

Alveolar osteitis, more commonly known as dry socket, is a temporary complication that can occur following a tooth extraction. Fortunately, it is rare, preventable, and short-lived. Here are some tips to help avoid dry socket after oral surgery and ensure a quick and comfortable recovery. 

What is Dry Socket? 

When your tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the space left behind. This clot helps to block the underlying bone, gum tissue, and nerves from bacterial infection or food debris while the extraction site heals. In rare cases, the clot can be dislodged or not form correctly, which can leave the site exposed. This is dry socket.  

The most common sign of dry socket is a throbbing, deep-set discomfort from within the extraction area. A foul smell may emanate, causing bad breath as well as an unappealing taste in your mouth. If this occurs, contact our office right away. 

Risk Factors and Prevention 

Developing dry socket is rare, but certain factors can put you at increased risk. Tobacco use, oral contraceptives, poor oral hygiene, or gum infection around the extraction site can increase your chances. To prevent dry socket, avoid using straws, brushing the extraction area, or rinsing your mouth vigorously during healing. Follow your post-treatment instructions and contact our office if you have questions. 

Treatment and Recovery 

If you do develop dry socket, we will provide quick, effective treatment. Our team will flush the area to remove any debris, and pack the extraction site with gauze or other dressing. Medication may be prescribed to help reduce discomfort. It is important to attend follow-up appointments to ensure your timely recovery. 

Dry socket is rare, and is temporary and treatable when it does occur. Our experienced team will guide you throughout your recovery. For more information on post-extraction care, contact our office. 

Huntersville NC Dentist | Caring For Dental Implants

If you have received a dental implant, you have invested both time and money into the future of your smile. It is important to protect this investment in order to  maintain good oral health. There are certain steps you should take after undergoing a dental implant procedure in order to care for your mouth.

Huntersville NC Dentist | Caring For Dental Implants

After the procedure, your mouth might be tender at first. This tenderness only lasts about ten to fourteen days. Your dentist recommends a diet of warm soup, soft foods, and cold foods during this time. Additionally, you should refrain from smoking. Although the healing time for a dental implant tends to vary depending on the patient and the situation, it generally takes between two and four months for your mouth to fully heal after receiving a dental implant. You will not experience discomfort throughout this period, though. 

Once your mouth has healed, caring for an implant is very similar to caring for a natural tooth. Although an implant cannot develop a cavity, it can still undergo the same wear-and-tear as a normal tooth. When not maintained properly, there is a risk for peri-implantitis to occur, which is similar to periodontal disease. However, this is easily preventable through regular check-ups, as well as daily brushing and flossing. 

In order to maintain good oral health, it is important to continue to regularly visit your dentist. Your dentist can clean the areas that you are unable to reach. Additionally, they will be able to check the surrounding gums and bone to ensure that they are healthy. 

As always, your dentist recommends thorough brushing and flossing on a daily basis. Paying  attention to your oral hygiene will ensure that your implant survives. If you continue to maintain good oral hygiene, your implants can last for the rest of your life without a need for replacement. 

Huntersville NC Dentist | Stained Teeth

Many people want a smile they can be proud of and one way to achieve a dazzling smile is to have pearly white teeth. However, in order to maintain a bright smile, the dentist says you should be mindful of the types of things you consume. Because of certain factors, some foods or beverages can create harsh stains on your teeth that over time can be difficult to remove.

Huntersville NC Dentist | Stained Teeth

When considering foods that can stain teeth, be sure to look out for dark pigments. Some foods or beverages stain teeth because they have an intense amount of pigmented molecules that the doctors call chromogens. These chromogens latch on to dental enamel and cause your teeth to become discolored. 

Another thing to look out for is foods or beverages that are very acidic. Acidic foods and beverages can cause staining by eroding the dental enamel which temporarily softens teeth and makes it easier for chromogens to latch on. 

One rule of thumb for determining whether or not what you’re eating will stain your teeth is to determine if it will stain your white table cloth or carpet. Some of the main foods or beverages to consider would include, wine, coffee, cola, berries, sauces (such as soy sauce, curry sauce, or tomato sauce), and sweets. Also another main culprit for staining teeth is smoking or chewing tobacco.  

Even if you consume dark pigmented or acidic foods, just know that there are a variety of options to help you achieve a pearly white smile. One option that can help prevent stains on your teeth would be to brush and floss twice-a-day. To brush more effectively, be sure to ask your dentist about electric tooth brushes. The electric toothbrush gives you the ability to clean your teeth and to help remove any stains or residue more thoroughly. Also be sure to ask your dentist about teeth whitening treatments that can be provided in office or at home.  For more information, contact our team today.

Huntersville NC Dentist | We’d Love to See You More

Have you ever wondered how often you should be visiting our team? Being proactive rather than reactive with oral health could help prevent long term tooth loss and other dental problems.  

According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research titled “Patient Stratification for Preventive Care in Dentistry,” the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends working closely with your dentist to find a dental plan tailored to your needs. Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry found that individuals need different frequencies of visits to the dentist depending on three risk factors for periodontal disease: smoking, diabetes and interleukin-1 genetic variations. According to the research, high-risk patients would benefit from more frequent dental visits, while low-risk patients may be fine visiting their dentist once a year. 

Many of our patients enjoy quarterly visits to our office. We’ve found more frequent professional cleanings reduces the risk of caries and periodontal disease. Our frequent visitors love having optimal oral health and confidence. Many dental professionals also choose to visit 3-4 times per year as well.  

If you’re interested in creating an oral health plan which includes more frequent professional cleanings, contact us. We’re here for you.  

Huntersville Dentist | An Important Reminder About Your Next Dental Appointment

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At times, life can seem to move quickly. Between work, school, sports, and social events, it can seem there is little time left for you and your health. It’s imperative for a healthy mouth and body to always have your next dental appointment scheduled and to prioritize this care. Our team will work with you to find the most convenient day and time for you. If you need to reschedule, we will do our best to accommodate you. Advanced notice of a change is greatly appreciated, whenever possible. Missed appointments without notice are harmful to our practice, as we’ve reserved your appointment time exclusively for you.

Missed dental appointments can lead to worsened oral and overall health. Whether receiving preventive or restorative care, if left without professional treatment, plaque and decay will progress and the state of your oral health will likely decline. Some of our patients are predisposed to more frequent oral health issues. Many times, these guests prefer more frequent office visits. Please know this is an option for you as well. Investing in one extra cleaning each year can often prevent more costly concerns.

We know it can be tempting to skip your dental appointment. Perhaps you’d rather be relaxing at home or you’ve had a last-minute obligation arise. Please make every effort to prioritize your healthy smile, as it significantly contributes to your overall health.

Please know we’re here for you. If you have any questions about our care or practice philosophy, don’t hesitate to contact us.

15329 Hodges Cir, Huntersville, NC 28078

Huntersville Dentist | Keeping your Toothbrush Clean

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It’s no surprise that brushing your teeth twice a day lowers plaque, keeps your gums healthy, and helps fight bad breath.  But in the process of brushing, the bacteria in our mouths also get onto our toothbrushes and remain there even after we rinse.  This unfortunately makes them an ideal breeding ground for various viruses and bacteria.

Luckily there are measures you can take to clean your toothbrush.  Here are some toothbrush cleaning tips:

Daily Toothbrush Maintenance:

● Always rinse off any excess toothpaste (including on the handle) before storing.

● Store your toothbrush in an upright position, such as in a cup or a toothbrush holder.

● Don’t let your toothbrush touch any surfaces or other toothbrushes.

● Leave the brush open to the air to dry.  Avoid storing it in containers or drawers.

Weekly In-depth Cleaning Options:

● Soak your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide for 2-3 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly before using again.

● Boil your toothbrush in water for approximately 3 minutes.  This can be hard on your brush, but is the most effective in killing germs.

● You can throw it in your dishwasher for a good cleaning.  This can be damaging to the bristles, so it is not recommended to use this option regularly.

● If you want to be extra thorough, you can use an FDA-approved UV toothbrush sanitizer.

Don’t forget to change your toothbrush every 3 months, or sooner if your bristles are showing signs of wear (i.e. frayed, missing, or bent bristles).

For further information on how to properly care for your toothbrush AND your teeth, contact our office for an appointment today!

15329 Hodges Circle
Huntersville, NC 28078

Phone: (704­) 875­-0123


Dentist in Huntersville | I’m On Blood Thinners – What Should My Dentist Know?

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Blood thinning medications are helpful in regulating your body to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other serious issues. When visiting our office, it is important our dentist is aware of all medications you are using.

How Blood Thinners Work

There are two types of blood thinners. The first type works to prevent blood clotting. Medications ranging from aspirin to Plavix fit into this category. The other type of blood thinners work to prevent blood from coagulating; Coumadin or warfarin accomplish this.

What Our Dentist Should Know

When you visit our office, be sure to share with us any medications you are taking. We need to have your complete medical history to ensure your safety and proper treatment. Our dentist might also ask you the purpose of each medication you are taking to better understand any side-effects or other medical issues that could be associated with medication.

Steps to Take Before Visiting Our Office

Never stop any medication without consulting your doctor. Depending on your medical history, your doctor might suggest specific blood tests before visiting our office for dental treatment. Communication is key, both for you and your primary physician, and for you and our office. If your treatment requires additional medication to be taken, ask about potential drug interactions.

Steps to Take to Minimize Oral Bleeding

Oral bleeding resulting from dental treatments is uncommon, but each patient will have different results. The most effective ways to minimize oral bleeding is to firmly apply pressure to the area for up to 30 minutes. Gauze is especially helpful in stopping bleeding. Depending on the treatment, we may ask you to refrain from drinking hot liquids and rinsing your mouth for the first day. We suggest avoiding rough or sharp foods that might cut your mouth.

Prior to receiving any dental treatment, it is important that our experienced dental team has a thorough knowledge of your medical history. This enables us to find the best possible solutions for your needs, while ensuring your safety.

If you have any questions about medications and dental treatments, contact our office.

15329 Hodges Circle
Huntersville, NC 28078

Phone: (704­) 875­-0123