Category Archives: Oral Hygiene

Halloween Treats Can Be Frightening for Your Teeth

Halloween Treats Can Be Frightening for Your Teeth

TreatsThe witching hour is upon us. With the likes of creepy clowns, the walking undead and deranged killers lurking in the shadows, Halloween is the most delightfully scary day of the year. But, Michael Myers isn’t the only scary thing on Halloween, some of those sugary treats can be pretty terrifying for your teeth.

Here are a few scary and not-so-scary candy for your fangs.

Scary:

  • Hard candy – Hard candy is tough on teeth because it stays in your mouth for an extended period of time. This ultimately coats teeth with sugar. Additionally, biting down on hard candy can chip or break teeth.
  • Chewy candy – Chewy, sticky treats are particularly damaging because they are high in sugar. Because they spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth, they are more difficult for saliva to break down.

Not so scary:

  • Sugar-free candy and gum with xylitol – Sugar-free foods don’t contain sugar, which feeds on bacteria in the mouth and produce decay-causing acids. Gum and candy with xylitol may actually protect teeth by reducing the acids produced by bacteria and increasing saliva to rinse away excess sugars and acids.
  • Powdery candy – Sure, powdery candy is packed with pure sugar, but the texture allows it to dissolve quickly which prevents sugar from sticking to teeth and producing acids and bacteria.
  • Chocolate – Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth, which decreases the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth. Also, the calcium in chocolate can potentially help protect tooth enamel.

So, you can have your candy and eat it too! You just have to make the right choices. Scary things happen to those that don’t brush. Be sure to brush and floss, so those Halloween treats won’t haunt your mouth later on.

If you find all that Halloween candy has left your teeth a bit scary, or you need a good post-Halloween cleaning, feel free to give please call us, at 972-242-2155, for an appointment. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

National Dental Hygiene Month

October is National Dental Hygiene Month!Dental Hygiene Month

Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month? Which is only fitting since it also happens be the biggest candy eating month of the year!

This October marks the eighth straight year that the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the William Wrigley Jr. Company are teaming together during National Dental Hygiene Month.

The goal of National Dental Hygiene Month is to increase public awareness about the importance of maintaining good oral health with four main components: Brush. Floss. Rinse. Chew. Which the ADHA has dubbed the “Daily 4”.

The “Daily 4”:

1. Brushing Your Teeth 2 times per day for 2 minutes

The single most important thing we can do is to brush our teeth for two minutes, twice each day. Proper brushing reduces plaque, prevents cavities, and help limit the onset of gum disease.

2. Flossing daily

Daily flossing (or other methods of interdental cleaning) removes plaque and food particles that cannot be reached by a toothbrush, particularly under the gum line and between teeth. Failure to do so can allow for plaque buildup in these areas – which in turn can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

3. Rinsing with mouthwash

The ADHA recommends finishing your daily oral care routine with an antiseptic mouthwash that carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Swish, gargle, and spit – this should be one of the easiest things we can do to ensure the long-lasting health of our teeth and gums.

4. Chewing sugar-free gum

Scientific evidence clearly shows that chewing sugar-free gum, especially after eating and drinking, has a positive impact on oral health. Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the most important natural defense against tooth decay — saliva — which in turn helps fight cavities, neutralizes plaque acids, remineralizes enamel to strengthen teeth and washes away food particles.

We, here at Paul A. Griffin, DDS, PA, encourage you to do “The Daily 4″, and of course visit our office at least twice a year for your cleanings and exams! If you have any questions about maintaining your oral health or to schedule your next appointment please call us, at 972-242-2155, Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” from at the top of this page.

 

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) is the largest national organization representing the professional interests of more than 185,000 dental hygienists across the country. Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in dental hygiene, who provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services that support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health. For more information about the ADHA, dental hygiene or the link between oral health and general health, visit the ADHA at http://www.adha.org/national-dental-hygiene-month.

Tooth Decay

Image result for dentistry imagesTooth Decay

 

Tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is an oral disease that affects many people. Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form plaque. The plaque interacts with deposits left on your teeth from sugary and starchy foods and produces acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or demineralizing enamel, which weakens the teeth and leads to tooth decay. Tooth decay is not life threatening and is highly preventable.

What types of foods may contribute to tooth decay?

Foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugars), such as soda pop, candy, ice cream, milk, and cake, and even some fruits, vegetables, and juices, may contribute to tooth decay.

How can cavities be prevented?

The acids formed by plaque can be counteracted by the saliva in your mouth, which acts as a buffer and remineralizing agent. Dentists often recommend chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow. However, the best way to prevent cavities is to brush and floss regularly. Fluoride, a natural substance that helps to remineralize the tooth structure, makes the tooth more resistant to the acids and helps to correct damage produced by the plaque bacteria. Fluoride is added to toothpaste and water sources to help fight cavities. Your dentist also may recommend that you use special high concentration fluoride gels, mouth rinses, or dietary fluoride supplements. In addition, professional strength anti-cavity varnish or sealants may be recommended.

Who is at risk for cavities?

Because we all carry bacteria in our mouths, everyone is at risk for cavities. Those with a diet high in carbohydrates and sugary foods and those who live in communities without fluoridated water are likely candidates for cavities. Also, those with a lot of fillings have a higher chance of developing tooth decay because the area around the restored portion of a tooth is a good breeding ground for bacteria. In general, children and senior citizens are the two groups at the highest risk for cavities.

What can I do to help protect my teeth?

The best way to combat cavities is to follow three simple steps:

  • Cut down on sweets and between-meal snacks. Remember, sugary and starchy foods put your teeth at risk.
  • Brush after every meal and floss daily. Cavities most often begin in hard-to clean areas between the teeth and in the fissures and pits on the biting surfaces of the teeth. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush inside, outside, on top of, and in between your teeth. Replace your toothbrush every few months. Only buy toothpastes and rinses that contain fluoride.
  • See your Dr. Griffin at least every six months for checkups and professional cleanings. Because cavities can be difficult to detect, a thorough dental examination is very important. If left untreated, cavities can lead to permanent loss of the tooth structure, root canal therapy, and even loss of the tooth.

In general, children and senior citizens are the two groups at highest risk for cavities.

If you suspect you may have tooth decay or if you have any questions, please call us here at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

 

(Compiled for you by the Academy of General Dentistry)

 

Senior Oral Health Care

Senior Oral Health Care

Proper oral care can keep you smiling well into retirement. Brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush are important. Flossing helps save your teeth by removing plaque between teeth and below the gum line that your toothbrush can’t reach.

  • What problems should I watch for?
  • Why should I be concerned about gum disease?
  • What if it is too difficult to brush?
  • What are the signs of oral cancer?


What problems should I watch for?

Gingivitis is caused by the bacteria found in plaque that attacks the gums. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums and possible bleeding when you brush. If you have any of these symptoms, see Dr. Griffin at once. Gingivitis can lead to a more serious form of gum disease if problems persist.

Why should I be concerned about gum disease?

Three out of four adults over age 35 are affected by some sort of gum (periodontal)disease. In gum disease, the infection may become severe. Your gums begin to recede, pulling back from the teeth. In the worst cases, bacteria form pockets between the teeth and gums, weakening the bone. This can lead to tooth loss if untreated, especially in patients with osteoporosis. If regular oral care is too difficult, Dr. Griffin can provide alternatives to aid in flossing and prescribe medication to keep the infection from getting worse.

What if it is too difficult to brush?

If you have arthritis, you may find it difficult to brush and floss. Ask us for ways to overcome this problem. Certain dental products are designed to make dental care less painful for arthritis sufferers. Try using a battery operated toothbrush with a large handle. These toothbrushes can help by doing some of the work for you.

What are the signs of oral cancer?

Oral cancer most often occurs in people over 40 years of age. See Dr. Griffin immediately if you notice any red or white patches on your gums or tongue, sores that fail to heal within two weeks, or an unusual hard spot on the side of your tongue. Oral cancer is often difficult to detect in its early stages, when it can be cured easily. Dr. Griffin will perform a head and neck exam to screen for signs of cancer.

Three out of four adults over age 35 are affected by some sort of gum (periodontal) disease.

If you have any questions about senior dental care or any other dental issues, please feel free to give us a call here in Carrollton, TX at 972-242-2155.  Or, simply use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form on this page.

(Information gathered from the Academy of General Dentistry)

Back to School Dental Tips

Start the school year with a smile: 3 back-to-school tips

It’s the start of a new school year, and your kids are set with new clothes and school supplies. But don’t forget about oral health! Add these dental health tips to your back-to-school checklist.

1. Take your kids to the dentist

Start the school year right with a dental cleaning and exam. Ask your child’s dentist about sealants and fluoride treatments to prevent decay. These treatments are easy ways to stop cavities before they start. And they can even improve your child’s performance at school. A third of children miss school because of oral health problems, according to Delta Dental’s 2015 Children’s Oral Health Survey.

2. Pick the right snacks

Swap out lunchbox no-no’s with healthy alternatives. Instead of chips or crackers, try nuts. Salty snacks may seem healthy because they don’t contain sugar, but simple starches can be just as bad. These snacks break down into a sticky goo, coating teeth and promoting decay. Replace juice and soda with milk or water. Avoid candies and granola bars, offering crunchy snacks like celery sticks, baby carrots and cubes of cheddar cheese.

3. Make brushing and flossing fun

To keep their mouths healthy, kids need to brush twice a day for two minutes at a time. They should also floss every day, preferably after dinner. Try these tricks to make oral hygiene more exciting:

  • Use a sticker calendar. Let your kids place stickers on each day to represent brushing and flossing.
  • Play music. Collect your kids’ favorite two-minute songs and make sure they brush the whole time.
  • Personalize. Help your child pick a themed toothbrush in his or her favorite color.
  • Provide a kid-friendly floss holder. These Y-shaped devices make flossing more comfortable

We hope you have a wonderful school year and be sure to keep those smiles happy and healthy!

To schedule your next appointment, please call us at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

 

(Information gathered from Delta Dental)

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth

Sensitive teeth

It’s summer in Texas!  It’s natural for all of us in Carrollton and surrounding areas to start heading for the nearest ice cream store, or get a giant cold drink in an effort to cool down.  But, is the taste of ice cream (or a sip of hot coffee) sometimes a painful experience for you? Does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.

Possible causes include:

In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin. 
Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.

Sensitive teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Your dentist may suggest one of a variety of treatments:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve, and usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
  • Fluoride gel. An in-office technique which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations.
  • A crown, inlay or bonding. These may be used to correct a flaw or decay that results in sensitivity.
  • Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
  • Root canal. If sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. Ask Dr. Griffin if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.  We can help!

(Click HERE to see a video from Colgate regarding tooth sensitivity).

Chewing Sugarfree Gum Helps Keep Mouths Healthy

Chewing sugar-free Gum Helps Keep Mouths Healthy

We all know sugar-free gum tastes great and freshens our breath, but did you also know that it is good for your teeth? Chewing sugar-free gum after meals has proven benefits for oral health.

Chewing sugar-free gum after meals helps:

  • Stimulate saliva flow
  • Neutralize plaque acids
  • Maintain proper pH
  • Promote tooth remineralization
  • Clear food debris

Chewing sugar-free gum, especially after eating and drinking during the day, is a simple step to improving your oral healthcare.

And, remember, while chewing sugar-free gum is beneficial, it does not replace brushing and flossing. It is important to remember to maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing at least twice per day and flossing at least once per day.

Wrigley’s has been researching the oral care benefits of chewing sugar-free gum since the 1930s. Their dedicated science and technology team continues to conduct research into the oral-care benefits of chewing. They also partner with national dental associations and dental professionals worldwide to support this research, promote oral health education and support better access to oral care.

Wrigley’s Orbit® and Extra® sugar-free chewing gums were the first chewing gums to be awarded the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

To further maintain your oral health and the overall beauty of your smile, schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul Griffin. Please call (972) 242-2155 or you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of the page. 

 

Fourth of July Dental Tips

Happy 4th of July!!July 4 Dental Tips

Independence Day is coming up and we know that many of you will be celebrating this 4th of July holiday by enjoying cookouts, fireworks, and fun. While you’re celebrating it’s easy to engage in some not-so-tooth-friendly activities, especially with all the sugar-laden foods and drinks that are eaten on this summer holiday. We here, at Paul A. Griffin, DDS, want you to enjoy this July 4th, and make sure you keep your mouth healthy, so here are some dental tips to keep your teeth safe while celebrating.

Eat Healthy

We know July 4th is a time for barbecues and brews, but try to fit in some fruits and vegetables, too. A balanced diet will not only help your waistline, it will help your teeth as well. When you eat sugary foods (which by the way, BBQ sauce is loaded with sugar), the decay-causing bacteria inside your mouth multiply. They feed on sugar to form plaque on your teeth. If the plaque isn’t removed, it can cause cavities. If you do eat a lot of sugary stuff, remember to brush your teeth afterward. At the very least, rinse with water immediately to remove as much food particles and sugar as possible.

Water, Water, Water

Texas is HOT, especially in July! And, those hot July days can really make you sweat, so don’t forget to hydrate. Replenish those lost fluids with water instead of sodas, sports drinks and beer. The sugar and acids in those beverages can really do a number on your teeth, yes even beer has sugar in it! Water helps neutralize those acids and keep saliva levels high. Saliva contains proteins and minerals that act against the acids that harm your enamel. So, instead of sipping on sugary drinks all day, grab that water bottle and drink up!

Chew Sugarless Gum

With all that yummy food at 4th of July celebrations, daylong snacking is going to happen. Snacking can be bad for your teeth because you’re not brushing between snacks, because, who honestly brings their toothbrush along for the party? To keep your teeth clean without a toothbrush, try chewing sugar-free gum. It will help remove food particles and stimulate saliva production. Sugar-free gum with xylitol is the best choice, because studies have shown xylitol interferes with the production of bacteria in your mouth.

Do Not Use Your Teeth as Tools

Remember teeth are jewels not tools! So, don’t be using your teeth to open that soda or beer bottle, for goodness sake! You could break a tooth, which can be a very painful problem for you and your wallet.

 

Dr. Griffin and his team, would like to wish all of our patients, friends, and family, a fun, safe, and Happy Fourth of July! And, we look forward to seeing you at your next visit.

The office will be closed on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 but if you need us, please don’t hesitate to call us at 972-242-2155. We will return your call when we get back in the office on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. And as always, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

Getting Rid of Bad Breath

Getting Rid of Bad Breath

Bad breath — we’ve all had it at some point, like after eating a garlic laden pizza, or after drinking that grande caramel macchiato, and most of the time it’s temporary. On the other hand, chronic bad breath can mean poor oral hygiene or more serious dental and medical issues. In this video, American Dental Association spokesperson, Dr. Ada Cooper, provides tips to avoid bad breath.

 

 

If you feel like your breath isn’t as fresh as it should be, give us a call at 972-242-2155, and we’ll get you in for an appointment. You can also use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

Oral Malignant Melanoma & Melanoma Awareness Month

MelanomaOral Malignant Melanoma & Melanoma Awareness Month

May is Melanoma Awareness Month, and you are probably wondering why we are talking about Melanoma Awareness Month on our dental blog? Well, melanoma, which is the most dangerous and deadly form of skin cancer, can also occur in the mouth.

What Is Melanoma?

Malignant melanoma is a type of skin cancer that begins when melanocytes, which are the cells that produce darker pigments in the skin, mutate and become cancerous. There are several factors that may increase the risk of getting melanoma, including having fair skin and light eyes, numerous moles, a family history of melanoma, and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and/or tanning beds. Exposure to UV light is thought to be the cause of most melanomas on the skin.

Even though melanoma accounts for less than 1% of skin cancer cases, it accounts for the majority of skin cancer deaths. An estimated 87,110 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017. An estimated 9,730 people will die of malignant melanoma in 2017.

Oral Malignant Melanoma

While malignant melanoma mainly occurs on the skin, it can develop in the oral cavity. Oral malignant melanomas are extremely rare, accounting for only 0.2-8% of all melanoma cancers found on the body, and less than 1% of all cancers found in the mouth. The most common locations oral melanoma are found are the palate (roof of the mouth) and maxillary gingiva (gum tissue on the upper part of the mouth).

Unlike most cases of melanoma of the skin, oral melanoma is not considered to be caused by UV exposure. Additionally, there are no obvious identified risk factors, such as poor oral hygiene, alcohol consumption, smoking, or even family history.

Although oral malignant melanomas are rare, they tend to be more aggressive than melanoma found on the skin and often prove to be fatal.

Signs of Oral Malignant Melanoma

Oral malignant melanomas do not usually have symptoms in the early stages. They may appear as a dark spot or patch on the gum tissue. The color of the spots can vary from dark brown to blue-black, however white, red and lesions the color of the oral tissue have been seen. The lesions may be flat or elevated.

Pain, bleeding, and ulceration are rarely seen until late in the disease, which by that point prognosis and survival rate is very poor.

Diagnosis of oral melanoma is often difficult due to the absence of symptoms in the early stages and they can be confused with a number of asymptomatic, benign, pigmented lesions.

This is why getting yearly oral cancer screenings with Dr. Griffin, is so important. Any suspicious, pigmented lesion of the oral cavity for which no direct cause can be found requires further examination and possibly biopsy. Even though oral malignant melanoma is very rare you can never be too careful.

 

If you have spot you would like Dr. Griffin to look at, please call our office at 972-242-2155. Early and detailed examinations for oral malignant melanoma are critical for improving the survival rate.