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Not All Dental Habits Are Good Ones

October 25, 2011

YOU KNOW THE ROUTINE: brush your teeth daily, floss regularly, and have your regular checkups with Drs. Bradley and Dr. Boswell twice a year. For the most part, getting in the habit of completing these simple tasks will keep your teeth healthy and strong. However, there are a few less-than-desirable oral habits that can override your good habits and compromise your dental health!Here are some tips to help you avoid those dental habits that can damage your teeth:1. Crunching, Sucking, and Sipping

After slurping down that ice cold and refreshing beverage, try not to crunch the leftover ice between your teeth. The cold temperature of the ice cubes can cause your teeth to fracture. Be careful when eating popcorn too!

Sipping sugary soda is also bad for your teeth. The constant exposure to the acids and sugar can lead to tooth decay.

Solution: Switch to crushed ice & drink your soda through a straw!!2. Using Your Teeth As “Tools”

Some people rely on their teeth for odd jobs like opening a tightly screwed bottle of nail polish, tearing open a bag of chips, straightening a bent fork, or ripping a price tag off a new article of clothing. These actions are actually quite hard on your teeth and can even cause a weakened tooth to fracture or chip.

Solution: Keep some simple tools like scissors and pliers handy and leave the dirty work to them!3. Grinding Your Teeth

Grinding your teeth wears them down and weakens them.

Solution: During the day, be more aware of what you’re doing with your teeth when you feel stressed or anxious. Notice if your jaw muscles are often sore. For those of you who grind at night, ask Drs. Bradley and Dr. Boswellabout custom mouth guards.4. Using A Hard-Bristled Toothbrush

It may be surprising, but a firm toothbrush is actually worse for your teeth than a soft-bristled one. A brush with bristles that are too firm can wear down tooth enamel more quickly and may irritate your gums and make your teeth sensitive.

Solution: Stick with soft-bristles and ask one of our team members about the best type of toothbrush for your particular mouth.5. Not Brushing Or Flossing Properly

Though you may brush and floss everyday, if you aren’t doing it correctly it could cause harm as well as good.

Solution: Make sure that you brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes TWICE a day. Be gentle. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, and consider purchasing an electric one. Ask one of our team members the most effective way to floss. Use an antibacterial mouthwash.If any of these bad habits apply to you, overcome them and develop a healthier oral routine! We promise you’ll see results and have more reasons to smile!

Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions or to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!

Oh, and don’t forget to join us on Facebook!!

Take Extra Care Of Your Teeth This Month!

October 18, 2011

HERE AT LAKE OCONEE DENTISTRY, WE LOVE OCTOBER. Why, you ask? Well, it’s no secret that October ushers in pumpkin-carving contests, frightful haunted houses, spiced apple cider, spooky costumes, and yummy treats.

But, did you know that October is alsoNational Dental Hygiene Month? It’s true! This month of sweets and treats is also a season for learning more about, and celebrating, your own oral health!

Here are four useful, easy tips from the American Dental Hygienists Association to help you keep your mouth clean!

1. BRUSH…

for 2 minutes, twice a day. Studies have shown that following this guideline is the most important step we can take to reduce plaque buildup, oral diseases, and other problems including cavities and gingivitis.

2. FLOSS…

daily. Floss is able to reach those places your toothbrush can’t! We know this is the hardest guideline to follow, but we promise it will pay off. Keep some floss in your purse, briefcase, or backpack so you always have it on hand. Your oral health will improve and you won’t be stuck helpless when that stubborn piece of black pepper gets stuck in between your front teeth!

3. RINSE…

with mouthwash. Brushing and flossing loosen up and remove bacteria from your mouth, but mouthwash kills that leftover bacteria that your toothbrush might not have caught. Fight gum disease!

4. CHEW…

some sugar-free gum after eating. It’s clinically proven to stimulate saliva and improve oral health!

So, have fun at those Halloween parties and enjoy (a little bit of) your trick-or-treat candy—but don’t forget about your dental hygiene!

Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions about the best way to keep your teeth healthy and strong!

Happy October!

At Our Practice, Your Smile Is A Work Of Art

October 11, 2011

Answer: The Principle of Divine Proportion

DID YOU KNOW THAT HIGHLY SKILLED COSMETIC DENTISTS LIKE DRS. BRADLEY AND DR. BOSWELLoften use Leonardo da Vinci’s “Principle of Divine Proportion” when designing new smiles? It’s true.

When it comes to smile design, many factors must be taken into account including the patient’s age, lifestyle, and physical characteristics. In addition, there are other truisms associated with your teeth themselves that Drs. Bradley and Dr. Boswell and the rest of Lake Oconee Dentistrymust consider—including the fact that our teeth tend to get shorter with age as they wear.

Much like a fine oil painter working on a canvas, our doctors take their artistic inspiration and experience and transforms them into awesome smiles. In some cases, procedural and design techniques include tooth lengthening or shortening. Veneers are also considered sometimes to widen your teeth or broaden a smile. Crowns can bring subtle, yet totally different dimensions to a patient’s facial proportions. Most people are surprised with the stunning difference even the smallest of adjustments can make. It’s a fusion of science and art.Just for kicks, take a few minutes, look into a mirror and ask yourself the following questions:> Can I draw a vertical line from my pupil to a corner of my mouth?> Does my face divide horizontally into thirds?> Does the lower third of my face divide into thirds again (from nose to chin)?> Does my face divide into fifths vertically (5 times the width of one eye)?

It’s exciting to see mother nature’s “divine” and intricate connections to artistic principles!

Cosmetic dental procedures are absolutely worth the investment in altering or restoring the ideal proportions for your own physical characteristics. There’s nothing more fulfilling for our team, than witnessing the often life-changing transformation that takes place for many of our patients through smile makeovers.Have you ever wondered how your life would change if you fixed your smile? How would your self-confidence be affected? What would that newfound confidence do to your relationships or career? If you’re curious, come in and visit with us.Chances are, after we’re finished, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.

Also, be sure to click on the logo below to like us on Facebook and keep up with everything going on in our practice that directly affects you and your family’s oral health. Thanks!

The Tooth Fairy Does Exist!

September 6, 2011

DID YOU KNOW THAT FEBRUARY 28th AND AUGUST 22nd ARE NATIONAL TOOTH FAIRY DAYS? Yes, this tiny-winged, mythical creature actually has TWO of her own daysof celebration…crazy, huh!? It might sound odd that the Tooth Fairy even gets one day of observance, but it’s actually for good reason!

Unfortunately, the next time most of us lose a tooth it will probably be in a brawl or nursing home. However, for all the children out there who have yet to lose their baby whites, these days are meant to celebrate the right of passage that losing baby teeth brings—and of course the little lady who’s smart (or crazy!) enough to collect them from under our pillows.

So, how did the tooth fairy come to be anyway? Well, for starters, losing teeth as a child can sometimes be a traumatic experience! A little bit of blood is all the excuse a child needs to shed some tears, regardless of whether or not there is actually any pain involved. Seeing their own little tooth in their hand and inspecting the new hole in their smile isn’t always enough to dry their eyes.

That’s where the tooth fairy comes into play

It’s much easier to be excited about losing a tooth if you know it’s going to be exchanged for cash while you’re sleeping! The tooth fairy replaces that fear and trauma with hope and excitement. It’s starting to make sense that she deserves some holidays, isn’t it?

Here at Lake Oconee Dentistry, we care about yours and your children’s oral health. Make sure to exercise proper oral careso that those teeth and gums stay healthy and strong! Besides, rumor is that the tooth fairy gives even better prizes for healthy teeth!Now we’d like to hear from you! What was the going rate for teeth when you were a child? What do you give your kids today in exchange for those pearly whites? Let us know in the comments section below!Happy Brushing!

Positive Views About Dentistry Will Benefit Your Child’s Health

July 26, 2011

IF YOU’RE A PARENT, YOU INTUITIVELY UNDERSTAND that your children look to you as they form their own early opinions about life and all of its complexities. This principle applies to the things that you believe and the priorities you value. Kids ride piggyback on many of our opinions until they grow old enough to adapt, interpret, and challenge those beliefs on their own.

So, how does this notion relate to dentistry? Here at Lake Oconee Dentistry we believe that the best way to help your children not only understand the importance of oral health, but also make it a priority in their lives, is to get them in the habit of seeing us when they’re young.

Kids whose parents start taking them to the dentist at an early age have much better oral health in the long run.

As parents it’s our obligation to make sure our children are getting the best oral health care possible to help ensure they keep healthy smiles for life. Here at Lake Oconee Dentistry, Drs. Bradley and Dr. Boswell know that preventative care is much less costly than restorative care. Sometimes, people don’t look at regular preventive care this way, yet it’s an important principle to teach our children. Indeed, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

You can also help your children understand the benefits of a healthy smile, and having a mouth free of pain and hassle. If children hear a parent disparaging dental care they may start putting up a fight when it’s time for the next cleaning appointment.

Here’s a short video from CNN on the importance of early childhood dental care:Early visits to our practice help prevent future problems with tooth decay and gum disease—and perhaps most importantly, help your children become accustomed to visiting the dentist regularly so they won’t be hesitant in the future. These visits also show your kids that sound oral health is important to YOU, and that it’s a high priority.

If you haven’t already done so, feel free to “like” us on Facebook by clicking on the logo below! It’s a great way to stay updated on everything going on at our practice!

Stay Informed About Early Childhood Caries

July 19, 2011

EACH YEAR, MANY INFANTS AND TODDLERS SUFFER FROM EXTENSIVE TOOTH DECAY that could be avoided—and the culprit is surprising. Milk and sweet liquids are the biggest contributors to something referred to as ECC (Early Childhood Caries).

Just like adult mouths, babies’ mouths are full of bacteria that feed on the sugars found in the foods and liquids they consume. One of the byproducts of these bacteria buffets is an acid that can attack tooth enamel and cause cavities.

Now, don’t worry… We’re not suggesting that you stop using baby bottles or that you don’t give milk to your infants and toddlers. Drs. Bradley and Dr. Boswell simply recommend being aware of the issue and taking some simple preventive steps to help avoid a potential problem.

Here’s a short video from Nursery Water about preventing baby bottle tooth decay:

Many parents give their children a bottle to suck on as a way of helping them settle down and doze off at night. Unfortunately, studies show thatwhen a baby falls asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth, the fluid from the bottle can settle in a pool around their fragile teeth. This allows the bacteria in the baby’s mouth to feed off the sugar present in the liquid ALL night long, creating a steady stream of tooth-decaying acid. If your child absolutely needs a bottle to suck on as he or she goes to sleep, your best bet is to fill it with warm water. Or, once asleep, at least be sure to remove the bottle from your child’s mouth.

Here are a few other ways you can take care of your baby’s teeth:

  • Only Fill Bottles with Milk Or Formula. If you choose to give your child juice or other sugary drinks, make sure you only do so in a sippy cup so that the sugar doesn’t sit at the front of their mouths too long.
  • Clean Your Baby’s Teeth and Gums. Even before your child’s first teeth have come in, it’s important to gently wipe their teeth with a wet towel or gauze after they are fed.
  • Don’t Dip Pacifiers In Anything Containing Sugar. Some parents dip pacifiers in sweet substances like honey. This can be very damaging for baby teeth.

ECC is an infectious disease that can begin as soon as the baby’s first teeth appear, and it can have lasting, damaging effects on your child’s oral health. Here at Lake Oconee Dentistry we want to help you take care of your baby’s teeth. Not only are they more susceptible to cavities than are adults, but they are also at risk of gum disease if the bacteria in their mouths gets too out of hand.

If you think your child may be a victim of baby bottle tooth decay, set up an appointment to come in and see one of our doctors, or a member of our team today. We’d love to help return your baby’s mouth to its healthiest state! Feel free to contact usif you have any additional questions or concerns!

You Are What You Eat…

July 12, 2011

WE’VE ALL HEARD THE SAYING “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.” Surprisingly, it’s actually quite true—especially when it comes to your teeth and gums.

When you eat or drink sugary and starchy foods you are also feeding the plaque in your mouth. What you choose to eat, or not eat, has a huge affect on your teeth.

Here at Lake Oconee Dentistryyou hear us say the word “plaque” all the time, and although most of our patients understand that it’s something we want to avoid, they don’t really know what it is.

The best way to understand plaque is to think of it as a thin, invisible film of sticky bacteria and other unfriendly materials that coats the surfaces of your teeth. When sugars and starches come in contact with plaque, an acid is created that can attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes after you finish eating! Repeated attacks can break down tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities, decay, and gum disease.

So… How do we best avoid plaque? Here are some recommendations from our doctors about the effects of different foods:The “Good Guys”

  • Fruits and Vegetables: These high-fiber content foods stimulate saliva flow and defend against cavities and gum disease. Saliva is your best natural defense.
  • Dairy: Cheeses, milk, plain yogurt and other dairy products are more good saliva generators. The calcium in these products also helps put minerals back in your teeth.
  • Foods With Fluoride: Fluoridated water and any product made with that water is good for your teeth (as long as it doesn’t contain sugar).
  • Sugarless Chewing Gum: Gum is another great saliva generator, and it also helps remove leftover food from your mouth.
  • Licorice Root: Researches at the University of California, Los Angeles found that this herb contains compounds that inhibit the growth of plaque.

The “Bad Guys”

  • Sugar and Sweets That Stick To Your Teeth: We understand that treats aren’t easy to give up completely, so we recommend choosing the sweets that clear out of your mouth quickly. This means lollipops, cough drops, and caramels aren’t your best bet. However, chocolate washes out quickly because its sugars are coated in fat.
  • Starchy Foods: Starches like bread and potato chips get stuck in your teeth, and bacteria love to feed on carbohydrates.
  • Carbonated Soft Drinks and Sports Drinks: These drinks contain A LOT of sugar as well as acids that erode tooth enamel.
  • Other Sugary Drinks: High sugar levels promote tooth decay.
  • Lemons: Lemons are okay to eat, but don’t suck on them—they also contain acids that will erode the enamel of your teeth.

Be smart about what you eat—we promise it will pay off! And since avoiding plaque altogether is impossible, don’t forget to schedule your regular dental appointments with us so we can help brighten your smile and keep your teeth healthy for life!

Thoughts On Oral Piercings…

June 28, 2011

ALTHOUGH ORAL PIERCINGS’ ORIGINS TECHNICALLY GO BACK TO ANCIENT MAYAN AND AZTEC tradition and religion, this unique form of accessorizing didn’t really become a means of self-expression until just a few decades ago.

As with traditional earrings, oral piercings come in a variety of styles including rings, barbells, and studs. However, piercing your tongue, cheek, or lips involves a lot more risk than piercing your earlobes. Before considering having any sort of oral piercing, get some advice from our doctorsand take a few minutes to learn about the risks…

  • Infection: Our mouths are filled with zillions of bacteria, putting you at significant risk of infection after an oral piercing.
  • Prolonged Bleeding: Sometimes blood vessels are punctured by the needle during piercing which can result in serious blood loss.
  • Pain and Swelling: Both pain and swelling are typical side effects of oral piercings. In some extreme cases, the tongue can swell up so much that it can block your airway.
  • Chipped or Cracked Teeth: When a tooth makes contact with oral jewelry it can often lead to tooth damage.
  • Injury To Your Gums: Metal jewelry can injure your gum tissue and cause your gums to recede, putting you at greater risks of decay and gum disease, and leaving your mouth much less attractive.
  • Interference With Normal Oral Function: The presence of jewelry in your mouth can cause excessive saliva flow, make it more difficult to chew or swallow, and impede your ability to speak correctly.
  • Blood-borne Diseases: The National Institutes of Health have identified oral piercings as possible factors in transmitting hepatitis B, C, D, and G.
  • Endocarditis: The wound that is created from an oral piercing gives the bacteria in your mouth the opportunity to enter your bloodstream where they can travel to the heart, putting you at risk of endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves and tissues.

Because there are so many risks surrounding oral jewelry, even after the initial wound has healed, the safest decision you can make is to avoid oral piercings altogether. However, if you or a loved one has an oral piercing, make sure you come in and see us at the first sign of pain or trouble so that any potential ‘bigger’ problems can be avoided.

Are you a parent with a child who may be considering oral piercing? Yes, we understand… Sometimes kids won’t listen to a parent, but they may listen to a healthcare professional. Don’t hesitate to contact Lake Oconee Dentistry and ask for our help if you feel like it would be appropriate. We’re here to help.

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All About Wisdom Teeth Extraction

May 16, 2011

MOST PEOPLE’S WISDOM TEETH APPEAR between the ages of 17 to 27 years. They grow in the very back of the lower and upper jaw bones and are the last big molars to develop in the four corners of the mouth. You guessed it… They’re called “wisdom teeth” because people are supposed to be wise by then, right?

Sometimes, wisdom teeth can become a big problem for our patients. When that’s the case, Drs. Bradleywill often suggest that they be removed.

Some wisdom teeth only partially erupt or don’t erupt at all. The term “impacted wisdom tooth” is used to describe this condition which can lead to a host of other problems in your mouth—including gum disease, bone-destroying cysts, crowding or damage to adjacent teeth, and unwanted decay (due to the difficulty in keeping the area clean). For some people, wisdom teeth grow in fine and don’t cause any problems at all.

The illustration below (created by Bupa UK) shows the relationships of all the teeth in your mouth, where your wisdom teeth are located, and how they might look if they grow in without any problems:

Dr. Boswell and our team have a great deal of experience in extracting wisdom teeth. Whether or not you have obvious problem symptoms, it’s important to evaluate existing or potential problems with your wisdom teeth. Sometimes, removal is the wisest decision for your well-being and oral health.

Have you had your wisdom teeth removed? Is there an interesting experience you’ve had related to either keeping them or having “let them go”? Share it with us below in the comments section! And if you have questions, let us know.

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Stay Healthy And Avoid Gum Disease!

May 3, 2011

OBESITY-RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS HAVE BEGUN REACHING EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS over the last 20 years—and the trend doesn’t appear to be reversing itself. According to the Center for Disease Control, childhood obesity has more than tripled since 1980, and 67% of adults in the United States today are considered “overweight.” Here at Lake Oconee Dentistry, we understand it’s no secret that obesity is associated with a variety of medical problems including diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis—but, did you know that obesity can dramatically affect your oral health as well?

It’s true. Dr. Bradley points out that with the increasing number of overweight adults each year, many studies are being conducted to investigate the relationships between obesity and periodontal disease. The results may surprise you.

As you may already know, periodontal disease is an oral, chronic bacterial infection that affects gum tissue and can eventually affect the bones that hold your teeth in place. If you are a victim of gum disease or gingivitis you may be dealing with bleeding gums, inflammation, persistent bad breath, loose teeth, and changes in your bite. Talk to Dr. David Bradley, Dr. Boswell, or Dr. Patti Bradley today if any of these symptoms apply to you! Untreated gum disease can lead to much more serious issues, ranging from permanent tooth loss to heart disease.

In a recent Boston University study, results showed that overweight individuals are twice as likely to be diagnosed with gum disease, and those who are considered “obese” are three times as likely, making this a bigger problem than most people realize!

So, what’s the connection between being overweight and gum disease? Most theories suggest that fat cells produce many chemical signals and hormones that can increase inflammation in the body, decrease the effectiveness of your immune system, and increase your susceptibility to periodontal disease. Other theories point to the possible eating habits of overweight people and the connections to simple sugars that our mouths convert to plaque. As plaque accumulates on teeth and gums, gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth decay may become inevitable.

Don’t let gum disease become a problem for you. Stay healthy. Keep your weight in check. Maintain meticulous dental hygiene through flossing and brushing. Schedule regular cleanings and checkups to control plaque buildup and to avoid bigger problems. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask us! What your mom told you is true…An ounce of prevention IS worth more than a pound of cure. And if periodontal treatment is needed, our team can help.

We care about you, our valued patients. That isn’t just lip service. Our entire team wants to make sure you have best possible care available! Thanks for the trust you place in us.

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