heart health month

When you think about your oral health, you may only consider your teeth. But the bigger truth is that your oral health has a direct link to your overall health and even heart disease. As we begin the annual February celebration of American Heart Health Month, the team at our Franklin dental office has a few important things you need know to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious infection caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth. Untreated plaque buildup can harden into tartar which can only be removed during an appointment with your dentist in Franklin. But if it’s not, the bacteria found in our mouths can infiltrate the gums and cause infection. This could eventually lead to gingivitis, periodontitis, and even tooth loss. But that’s not all. Mounds of research show a strong connection between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.

Heart Disease

When gum disease isn’t treated quickly and properly, it puts your heart in danger. The infection within the gums can move into the bloodstream, and that’s bad news. With the infection in your blood, your body will produce excess amounts of C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP is a known indicator of cardiovascular disease and can lead to serious conditions such as:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes  

Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease can sneak up on people, and you may not realize anything is wrong if you aren’t aware of the typical early warning signs, including:

Early treatment is crucial to treating gum disease before it has a chance to affect the rest of your body. If you’re aware of any of the signs above in your mouth, schedule an appointment with your Franklin dentist as soon as you can.

Prevention

Preventing gum disease can be as easy as brushing properly twice a day, flossing once daily, and seeing your dentist bi-annually to remove any plaque and tartar buildup. You can take it one step further and avoid tobacco products and ensure you’re eating a well-balanced diet.

Reduce your risk of gum disease and other whole-body problems. Schedule an appointment with us today.

man with tooth pain

While we always recommend visiting your dentist at least every six months, there are times when people fall out of the habit and miss a few appointments. Oftentimes a move to a new city or even a fear of the dentist can make it all too easy to pass on seeing the dentist as often as you should. However, the team at our Franklin dental office wants you to know that there are a few signs and symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore…

It’s Like a Desert In Here!

Experiencing dry mouth isn’t only uncomfortable, it’s also concerning. Having periods of occasional dryness is normal, especially with some forms of medication. However, if it becomes an ongoing issue and you just can’t seem to quench the dryness, you may want to see your dentist. Chronic dry mouth leaves the mouth exposed to bacteria and increases the risk for decay.  

There’s An Unpleasant Smell

Sometimes bad breath is unavoidable (think a garlicky pasta dish). But when bad breath becomes chronic, it can be concerning. Bad breath that doesn’t go away is a symptom of gingivitis, or early gum disease. If gingivitis isn’t treated quickly and effectively, it can easily progress into gum disease and lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems.

Red & Puffy Gums

Any gum discomfort or discoloration should raise some red flags for you. Gums are supposed to be a healthy shade of pink, painless, and are definitely not supposed to bleed. Any inflammation, soreness, or blood when you brush or floss are all signs that your dentist will want to know about as soon as possible. These symptoms may indicate gum disease which, if left untreated, can lead to whole body problems such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

You’re Feeling Sensitive

We don’t mean emotionally sensitive, but rather the zinging surge of pain associated with tooth sensitivity. Whether you notice an increase in sensitivity with eating hot or cold foods or while brushing, it’s something you should bring to the attention of your dental team. Sensitivity may be caused by something as simple as brushing too hard, but it can also be a sign of eroding enamel receding gums, both of which need professional treatment to fix.

You Have a Toothache

The most obviously sign that it’s time to schedule an appointment with a dentist in Franklin is suffering from the unique pain of a toothache. The uncomfortable feeling of tooth pain isn’t something you should ignore, and it probably won’t go away on it’s own. Getting in to see a dentist is the best way to determine the root of the problem and get you some relief.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, we recommend scheduling an appointment at our dental office in Franklin sooner rather than later. Many of these dental concerns can be treated easily and successfully if caught early. Don’t let the problem continue to worsen. Call to schedule a visit today.

woman holds toothpaste

We all want to have a bright white smile. And to get it, we often turn to the toothpaste aisle at the local grocery store where there are boxes and boxes of toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth. But the one thing you want to know before you buy is if whitening toothpastes actually work. That’s why we’re here! Join the team at our Franklin dental office as we uncover the truth about whitening toothpastes.

The Good News

Whitening toothpastes can be effective at diminishing or removing surface stains that cause our teeth to look discolored. A dull smile as a result of smoking or drinking too much coffee, tea, or soda can see results from using a whitening toothpaste. However, regular use is crucial in order to see an improved appearance. Make sure to use the whitening toothpaste twice a day for several weeks for the best results. While whitening toothpaste can work, there are a few things you should be aware of.

  • Not all whitening toothpastes are created equally. Choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  • Whitening toothpastes aren’t without risks.

The Not-So-Great News

Even though whitening toothpastes can scrub away stains to give us a whiter smile, they can scrub away stuff our teeth need in order to stay protected. Whitening toothpastes typically contain abrasive ingredients which work to rub stains away. However, these same abrasive ingredients can wear away tooth enamel if not used responsibly. A lack of protective enamel leaves teeth exposed to bacteria, and the chance of cavities or tooth sensitivity increases. Furthermore, thinner enamel tends to show more of the dark inner tooth, or dentin, giving teeth a even more discolored appearance — exactly the opposite of the look we were trying to achieve in the first place.

The Other Options

There are other smile whitening solutions available that aren’t whitening toothpastes. Consider doing the following to get a brighter looking smile:

  • Maintain dental cleanings with your dentist in Franklin
  • Rinse your mouth with water after drinking tooth-staining coffee or tea
  • Quit smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Snack on cheese, apples, celery to help gently scrub your teeth between brushings

If you’re truly looking for the biggest bang for your buck, we encourage you to call our Franklin dental office to schedule an appointment to discover the best professional tooth whitening treatment for you.

young man with a cold

When you’re dealing with a cough that just won’t go away, you’d give anything to make it stop. So you do what anyone battling the common cold would do and head to your nearest pharmacy to load up on the best over-the-counter cough syrup you can find. While this remedy can finally make your coughing ease up, there is a link between this soothing fix and cavities that your Franklin dentist wants you to know about.

The Danger is in The Ingredients

Most cough medicines and cough drops contain ingredients that, although made to help treat your cold symptoms, can also be damaging to your oral health. Many of the top medicines designed to help suppress that chronic tickle in your throat contain sugar and alcohol – both of which can contribute to tooth decay and other problems.

Sugar

Sugar is a common ingredient in many medicines for one reason – to make them not taste so horrible. However, these sugars are just the thing that bacteria love to feed on. When bacteria feed on sugars, they release a acidic byproduct. This acid wears away the protective tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to decay.

Alcohol

A healthy mouth is one that produces saliva adequately and remains moist throughout the day. This saliva helps neutralize and rinse away acids caused by the sugar-eating bacteria. However, when alcohol is introduced into the mouth, saliva production is greatly decreased. Alcohol is naturally drying and inhibits your mouths ability to produce as much saliva as it should. A dry mouth is the perfect place for acid to wear away enamel, increasing the likelihood of decay.

Reduce the Risk

Just because your favorite cough medicine may contain these damaging ingredients doesn’t mean you have to suffer through your cold. There are a few ways you can reduce the risk of tooth decay and still find relief..

  • Take your medicine with food. Saliva production increases while eating so it can help wash away dangerous sugars and acids.
  • Avoid taking cough medicine right before bed. If you take medicine after you brush your teeth, the sugars and acids stay on your teeth all night.
  • Try a pill form of the medicine instead of a liquid. A pill reduces the amount of damaging ingredients that come in contact with teeth.

At our dental office in Franklin, it’s our mission to keep our patients healthy, especially during cold and flu season when germs are aplenty. Even if you try every trick in the book to keep germs at bay, sometimes catching the dreaded sore throat, stuffy nose, or constant cough is inevitable. When this happens, we want you to be cautious of how you ease the symptoms to keep your smile healthy.

woman eats chocolate

We’ve got some fantastic news for all of our patients and neighbors with an active sweet tooth! It may come as a surprise, but the team at our Franklin dental office is telling everyone to go ahead and eat chocolate — for your smile’s sake! But before you head out to buy a dozen of your candy bars, keep in mind that not just any chocolate will do.

Dark Chocolate: The Secret Cavity Fighter

Recent studies conducted by researchers in the United States, England, and Japan show a strong correlation between dark chocolate and its ability to ward off decay, cavities, and problem causing plaque. There’s even some evidence to support the idea that dark chocolate may be just as effective, or perhaps more-so, at fighting off cavities as fluoride. However, we’re not suggesting that you pass on your regular fluoride treatments. More research and testing is needed before we can make an absolute claim as to effectiveness of dark chocolate.

Why Dark Chocolate?

It’s not necessarily the dark chocolate itself that has all the oral health benefits. In fact, most credit is being given to compounds found within dark chocolate, or more specifically the cocoa bean husk. All of the beneficial compounds found in dark chocolate are incredibly unique in that they have the ability to fight off both bacteria and plaque. There are even talks of one of these compounds, CBH, becoming an active ingredient in some dental products such as mouthwash and toothpaste because of its benefits.

Why is This Good News?

When we eat anything that contains a lot of sugar, we put our teeth at risk for decay and cavities. As we snack on these sweet treats, sugar gets left behind in the mouth. But it’s not the sugar itself that causes the problem, it’s the bacteria that feed on the sugar. As bacteria fuel up on leftover sugar particles, they also release acid as a byproduct. This acid wears away the protective enamel, leaving teeth exposed to decay. What’s so unique and interesting about dark chocolate is that the bacteria and plaque fighting compounds counteract this process by eliminating bacteria from the beginning.

Remember, Not All Chocolate is Good Chocolate

It’s important to remember that these studies and beneficial oral health claims are limited to dark chocolate and do not include milk chocolate or white chocolate. Even so, not all dark chocolate is created equal either. Try to find dark chocolate with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving. If you can get your hands on organic dark chocolate, that’s even better. Besides having oral health benefits, dark chocolate is also loaded with antioxidants and can be beneficial to overall health too, so don’t shy away from snacking on it.

As always, it’s also important, to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine at home and visit our dental office in Franklin twice a year for an optimally healthy mouth.

holiday stress

Every year around this time, we begin the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Coordinating schedules, braving the crowds at the grocery store and in the mall, cooking meals, and all the craziness that comes along with preparing for the holidays is bound to increase stress levels. But during a time when we’re supposed to be enjoying friends and family, stress is that last thing we want to get in the way. After all, as everyone at our dental office in Franklin knows, stress can wreak havoc on not only our overall health, but oral health as well.

A Little Clench & Grind

During times of increased stress, we tend to subconsciously clench our teeth tightly together or grind them against each other. While this may seem like no big deal, if done repeatedly over a long period of time, grinding and clenching can cause damage to both the teeth as well as the jaw joint. Putting constant force on the teeth can lead to chipped, cracked, or fractured teeth, while habitually engaging jaw muscles may cause TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can be painful and may lead to long term problems. So if you’re experiencing any popping, clicking, or locking in the jaw joint, we recommend contacting your Franklin dentist.

Gum Disease

Usually we talk about gum disease being caused by an improper hygiene routine or missing regular visits with your dentist. However, recent research has also shown a positive link between stress and the development of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects your mouth, but your whole body as well. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, heart disease, and pregnancy complications, along with a host of other health problems.

Take It Easy for Health’s Sake

To help protect your body and oral health during the stressful holiday season, we encourage you find ways to help yourself relax. Check out the following tips for a few things to try.

  • Breath it Out. Something as simple as setting aside a few moments to take a few deep breaths can really help lower stress. Practicing deep breathing exercises has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce overall anxiety levels.
  • Work it Out. Hit the gym, go for a walk, do some yoga. Whatever you choose to do, just get your heart pumping and sweat it out. Physical exercise can do wonders to decrease stress, and all the other health benefits don’t hurt either.
  • Sleep it Off. It can be difficult to get enough sleep during non-crazy times of the year. And during the holidays it can be even harder. Remember to schedule in time to make sure you’re catching enough zzz’s. Giving your body a chance to relax can keep you healthy so you can actually enjoy everything the holidays have to offer.

From all of us at our Franklin dental office, we hope you have a great holiday season with limited stress and anxiety and packed full of friends, family, laughs, and great memories.

Great American Smokeout

Every year on the third Thursday in November the American Cancer Society puts on the Great American Smokeout, which encourages smokers to try and quit once and for all. The team at our Franklin dental office can certainly get behind an event that promotes health! Which is why we’re covering a few reasons why quitting smoking, even if you’ve tried before, is a worthwhile goal.

Smokers are 50% more likely to get gum disease than non-smokers

Advanced research has shown smoking has been linked to an increased risk of infection, including gum disease. Gum disease can be a painful problem that may eventually lead to tooth loss.

Smoking inhibits your body’s ability to heal

Whenever your body undergoes trauma, whether that’s a major surgery or minor cut, it relies on a strong flow of healthy blood to heal. Smoking, however, restricts blood vessels and diminishes the amount of blood that moves throughout the system.

Tobacco users are 6 times more likely to develop oral cancer

While oral cancer can occur in anyone, people who use tobacco are at a much greater risk. Oral cancer can affect the tongue, throat, cheeks, or any other area of the mouth. If caught early oral cancer can be successfully treated.

Yellow teeth and bad breath are incredibly common

Tobacco products contain tar and nicotine. Both of these ingredients can stick to teeth, gums, and the tongue and are difficult to remove. Because of this, smokers and users of other forms of tobacco usually have discolored teeth and unpleasant breath.

Using tobacco decreases saliva production

This may not immediately seem like a huge concern, but to your dentist in Franklin, decreased saliva production could mean serious trouble. Saliva helps neutralize acids in the mouth and rinse away bacteria. Without it teeth are left exposed to the damaging elements and the likelihood of decay increases.

Tooth loss is 2 times more prevalent in smokers

Due to several of the other reasons above, such as a drier mouth and a decreased ability to heal, smokers are more likely to suffer more tooth loss than non-smokers. Oftentimes smokers may lose their teeth earlier than their non-using counterparts.

If you’re unsure where to start the quest towards a smoke-free life, we welcome you to call our dental office in Franklin. We can work together to determine how quitting can benefit your oral and overall health and talk about ways you can try to quit.

woman afraid of dentist

You have a dental appointment early tomorrow morning…and you can’t sleep. You toss and turn in bed, you feel tense and can’t seem to relax, you start sweating, your heart starts pounding, and you may even start to feel nauseated. Does this sound like you? If so, you’re one of an estimated 80 million Americans that suffer from dental fear. The dental team at our dental office in Franklin understands that dental fear is very real and very hard to overcome, but we’re here to try to help.

Top 4 Causes of Dental Fear

Before we launch into some tips that can help ease your fear of the dentist, it’s important to take a look at some of the most common reasons why people have dental fear.

  • Pain
  • Loss of Control
  • Embarrassment
  • Negative Experience

All of these reasons may keep patients from maintaining regular visits with their dentist in Franklin, and that’s concerning.

Regular Visits Are Important

According to the Dental Fears Research Clinic in Seattle, nearly 20% of Americans will only see the dentist when it’s absolutely necessary instead of taking a preventative approach to oral healthcare. While visiting the dentist may be uncomfortable and cause a lot of stress, seeing your dentist bi-annually can really help keep more involved treatments to a minimum and, in turn, lower anxiety typically associated with the dental office.

Overcome Your Fear

When a fear or anxiety is so strong, it may seem as if all hope is lost and you’ll never overcome it. But give yourself some credit. By opening and reading this blog, you’ve already taken the first step to understanding your fear and how to help alleviate it. Below we highlight our guide to overcoming dental fear. We hope it helps you continue to learn more about your fear and gives you some hope.

  • Talk with friends and family to get a list of potential dentists. Then pick up the phone and call them. Notice the feeling you have on the call and how your concerns are addressed before you even step into a dental office.
  • Take your pick of all the offices you spoke with and call them back to schedule a new patient appointment. Remember to be open and honest on that call about your dental fear so the team is prepared at your visit.
  • Bring a friend or family member to that first dental appointment, preferably one without a dental fear. Just knowing you have a trusted person with you can really help you relax and feel comfortable.
  • Distract yourself by bringing some music and headphones or talk with your dental team about any amenities they may have to help ease stress such as blankets, sunglasses, or noise cancelling headphone.
  • Always be honest with your Franklin dentist and dental team. Dental professionals are committed to both your health and overall comfort and they should be willing to help you relax so you can get the best care.

If you’d like to come into our Franklin dental office for a visit, we welcome you to give us a call. We’re always happy to see new patients and are dedicated to providing gentle dentistry in a relaxing and calm environment.

hygiene appointment

When most people think of October, we doubt they immediately think of their teeth. In fact, they might not think about teeth at all except if a piece of Halloween candy does some unexpected damage. That’s where we’re a little different. At our dental office in Franklin, when we think of October, we think of National Dental Hygiene Month, our dental hygienists, and their dedication to keeping patients’ mouths healthy.

About National Dental Hygiene Month

Every October, the dental community celebrates National Dental Hygiene Month. Sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP), National Dental Hygiene Month is designed to increase awareness of how proper dental hygiene is crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth and healthy body. According to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) there is a link between oral health and several whole body concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and others.

The Daily 4

The main focus of National Dental Hygiene Month this year is on the top four necessary components of a proper at home oral hygiene routine. These four aspects include:

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing
  • Chewing

Read on to learn more important information from your dentist in Franklin.

Brushing

We all know we should brush our teeth everyday, but according to American Dental Association (ADA), there are certain guidelines you should follow to get the most out of your brushing routine. Make sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each. You should select a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small, gentle circular motion instead of a back and forth scrubbing technique to reduce potential damage to your enamel.

Flossing

Sometimes we’re asked if flossing is really necessary. The short answer? Absolutely. Why? We’re glad you asked. When you only brush your teeth and don’t floss you’re missing out on cleaning about 35% of each tooth. That’s a lot of opportunity for bacteria to get comfy and start the decay process. Make sure you’re removing as much bacteria and plaque as possible by flossing in between each tooth and up under the gum line.

Rinsing

Mouthwash may seem like an unnecessary part of an oral healthcare routine. However, the right product can help reduce bad breath, gingivitis, decay, and plaque. Look for one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This means the product has been scientifically tested and evidence supports the claims made on the label.

Chewing

Brushing your teeth after you eat is ideal, but we realize that may not be possible for everyone all the time. When you can’t brush after a meal, chew a piece of sugarless gum instead. Chewing gum helps produce saliva which aids in neutralizing bacteria that may be left over from your meal.

We encourage every one of our patients and neighbors to follow The Daily 4 diligently for a healthy, happy mouth. However, it’s still important to maintain dental cleanings and bi-annual appointments with your dentist. These visits help remove stuck-on plaque or tartar that you just can’t get at home and ensure there are no problems lurking in your mouth. If you’re looking for a new dental team, we’re always accepting new patients and would love to see you. Give our Franklin dental office a call to schedule an appointment.

dental nightguard

Dental night guards are usually recommended for patients who suffer from nighttime tooth grinding, also known as bruxism. According to the American Dental Association, bruxism affects around 10-15% Americans, so it’s a pretty common problem. While night guards are typically the treatment of choice for bruxism patients, our dental office in Franklin would like to explain why, how they help, and options you may have.

Why is a Night Guard Used to Treat Bruxism?

Many people who grind their teeth do so during sleep when they are unaware of the problem. And since they’re unaware, they can’t do anything consciously to help correct it. This is when a night guard can help. Night guards are appliances that are fitted individually to each patient and designed to wear while sleeping. They help keep the patient from grinding their teeth together and limits jaw movement. If bruxism is left untreated, the chance of chipped, cracked, or broken teeth, and problems with TMJ/TMD are increased.

Types of Night Guards

There are two types of night guards that may first appear very similar, but are actually quite different. Night guards you can buy at any drugstore are usually cheaper and follow the boil-and-bite method of molding. While they can work to stop tooth grinding, they’re not always the best choice. Custom-made night guards created by a dentist are usually the better option. These professionally crafted night guards use precise molds of your teeth for a tight, proper, comfortable fit. Your dentist will also look at your jaw positioning during the fitting process to ensure your jaw is aligned properly. This may help avoid additional problems with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) later on.  Custom night guards can also last up to 10 years as opposed to the over-the-counter night guards which may only last a few months before you need a new one.

Other Ways to Treat Tooth Grinding

Night guards are the most commonly recommended treatment method to combat tooth grinding, but just because it’s the most common doesn’t mean it’s the only option. Depending on the case, treatments may include orthodontics, stress reduction exercises, limiting caffeine intake, or considering an alternative medication that may include a stimulant.

Know the Signs of Bruxism

Your dentist in Franklin may suspect bruxism before you do, but there are signs you should be aware of.

Bruxism can be treated following a proper diagnosis from a dentist. There’s no need for you to live with pain or at risk for tooth damage and TMJ problems in the future. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, we encourage you to give our Franklin dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your individual needs and recommend the best treatment option for you.