A silhouette of a spoon and fork in a sprinkling of powdered sugar on a blue table

From the time you were young, you likely have been told by your primary care and dental care providers to be careful with your sugar intake. This is because a diet high in sugar increases your risk of a variety of health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, fatty liver disease, decay, cavities, and gum disease.

Let’s take a closer look at how sugar affects your dental health:

Sugar Feeds Oral Bacteria

Do you love sugar? Bad bacteria in your mouth love to eat it as well! These bacteria multiply and accumulate into plaque (a sticky film that coats your teeth) after feasting upon the sugar in your food, beverages, candy, and gum. They produce acidic waste that irritates your gums and erodes the surface of your teeth, leaving holes called cavities.

Inflamed Gums & Weakened Teeth

A sugary diet, particularly combined with poor hygiene, will lead irritated gum tissue to pull back from your teeth and cavities to grow bigger. This can cause pain, undermine the structure and function of your tooth, and make way for infection. Infections can then spread deeper into the tooth and to your jawbone. Eventually, you can experience tooth loss, bone loss, and even serious inflammation throughout the body.

How to Protect Your Teeth & Gums From the Effects of Sugar

You don’t need to completely remove sugar from your life. Instead, before consuming a food or beverage, carefully consider how much sugar is in it compared to how nutrient-dense it is overall. You can do this by reading the nutrition label, making sure to look at the serving size, as well, for an accurate understanding of the sugar content.

Foods and beverages have a “total sugars” content and an “added sugars” content. Added sugar is not naturally present but is added when the item is processed. In contrast, naturally-occurring sugars are in milk, fruits, and vegetables as part their normal structure. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from added sugars to 50 grams per day based on a 2,000 diet, or 10% of your total calories.

Make smart dietary choices to include a wide variety of natural, whole foods with products that contain added sugar in moderation. For example, while grapes contain natural sugar, they also contain healthful vitamins and minerals that are essential to a strong mouth and body. But a soda contains added sugar and no healthful nutrients besides some water for hydration. Added sugar mainly comes from candy, desserts, baked goods, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Additionally, brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, floss every day, and visit your dentist every six months for professional cleanings and checkups!

If you have additional questions about how sugar affects your dental health, please consult with our team at Hermitage Dental Group, your primary care provider, and/or a nutritionist!

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Dark-haired man smiles while pointing to his teeth because they are healthy and strong

At Hermitage Dental Group, we’re committed to helping our patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles that will last a lifetime. Many times, our patients ask us for tips on how they can achieve a healthier smile easily, so we’re sharing our top three tips for a healthier smile below.

Daily Brush & Floss Your Teeth

This tip might sound straightforward but many people don’t follow the proper brushing technique and/or skip flossing altogether. We can’t stress how important it is to brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day (using small, gentle circles as you brush) and to thoroughly floss every day to remove bacteria and food particles from between your teeth and under the gumline. Doing so will work wonders for your smile.

Maintain a Tooth-Friendly Diet

Candy, pastries, cookies, alcohol, coffee, black tea, chips, white bread, and fruit juice can be damaging to your tooth enamel, which makes it easier to develop cavities and decay. Whenever possible, opt for water, whole fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, and protein-rich foods to support a healthier smile.

Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year

Schedule twice yearly professional dental cleaning and examinations to make sure your teeth and gums remain healthy and to address any issues you may have experienced between appointments. Hermitage Dental Group offers extensive dental services, including preventive, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency treatments to suit the needs of all patients under one roof. We also offer dental sedation, sleep apnea treatment, and treatment for TMJ dysfunction.

Affordable Dentistry in Hermitage, TN

Looking to improve the health of your smile in 2022? We’d love to help you reach your smile goals! Our friendly team can help develop a custom treatment plan so you can improve your smile’s appearance and health at an affordable price. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Brunette woman gets her teeth examined with a special dental mirror at her dentist in Hermitage, TN, during her routine dental visit

When life has you running from one thing to another, you may feel like there’s no extra room in your schedule for something like a trip to the dentist—especially if you feel like there’s nothing wrong with your teeth. We know it’s tempting to skip out on these routine dental visits! Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t delay your dental visits:

  • An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

It’s far easier (not to mention cheaper) to prevent dental issues from developing rather than having to pay for treatment to fix them in the future. By keeping up with your routine dental appointments, you can stop problems from occurring in the first place and you can catch problems while they’re still small.

  • The Necessity of a Trained Eye

Not all dental issues are easily visible by the naked eye, especially if you don’t have specific training in spotting them. It’s also true that not all dental issues cause pain. It may be that you think everything is totally fine with your oral health, but a dental X-ray or a dentist’s trained eye could reveal the opposite. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and leave things in the hands of a professional!

  • The Importance of an Oral Cancer Check

During your regular dental visits, you’ll get a thorough teeth cleaning and an oral cancer screening. The great news is that oral cancer is highly treatable when caught early, so it’s in your best interest to make screenings a fixture in your annual healthcare.

  • The Mouth Is the Gateway to the Body

There’s a strong connection between your oral health and your overall health, and an issue in one can signal or lead to an issue in the other. Your routine dental visit isn’t just to take care of your smile; it will help contribute to a healthy body too!

  • A Healthy Smile Is Priceless

Having great dental health isn’t just good for your dental health. It is also good for your self-confidence! Additionally, your dental visit is a good opportunity to discuss cosmetic treatments that can improve your smile’s appearance. Living life behind a beautiful smile can give you the boost in self-esteem you need.

Ready to book your dental visit? Hermitage Dental Group is ready to welcome you to our office! Contact us today to set up your appointment.

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Image from Authority Dental under CC 2.0

A water flosser next to a blue container of string floss to floss teeth every day in Hermitage, TN

Flossing is one of the most important ways you can protect your teeth against cavities, decay, and gum disease. When paired with regular brushing, flossing can give your entire mouth the deep clean it needs to be healthy and clean.

But there are different ways to floss. In this blog post, we’ll break down the differences between string flossing and water flossing.

String Flossing

Traditional flossing requires you to take a long piece of dental floss and clean between the teeth in a C-shape, using a clean part of the floss between each set of teeth. Because you’re in full control of the floss, you can get a deep clean under the gumline and adjust the pressure to accommodate each part of your mouth. However, the floss can break if you have tight spaces between your teeth or be difficult to handle if you have arthritis or limited mobility.

Water Flossing

Water flossing uses pressurized water to clear the teeth and gums of bacteria and trapped food particles. It also stimulates bloodflow in the gums. This gadget is great at navigating tight and hard-to-reach places gently, particularly for patients who have a difficult time using string floss. While there is nothing to throw away when you’re done and it can be done with only one hand, a water flosser is more expensive up-front and requires electricity and counter space.

Which Floss Should I Use?

If you’re torn between using dental floss or opting for water flossing, you can certainly use both to maintain your dental health! Many patients use dental floss to loosen up plaque and bacteria, and then wash away the excess with a water flosser. Both are effective and any form of daily flossing is better than not flossing at all.

Affordable Dental Care in Hermitage, TN

Apart from regular brushing and flossing, twice yearly dental appointments for routine cleanings and examinations are crucial to maintain a healthy smile. Hermitage Dental Group offers a wide variety of affordable dental services. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office!

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A gloved finger uses a yellow pointer to indicate the TMJ on a fake skull

TMJ is an acronym for the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint on either side of the face that connects the bottom jaw to the skull. The temporomandibular joints give the lower jaw the mobility to move up and down and side to side.

TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (Dysfunction). TMD is when the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are damaged, malfunctioning, or injured.

Signs of TMJ Dysfunction

There are certain signs you can look for to see if your temporomandibular joints are damaged. Some of the most common signs and symptoms are:

  • Clicking & Popping Sounds When Opening Jaw
  • Frequent, Chronic Headaches
  • Lock Jaw
  • Pain Behind Eyes or in Shoulders, Face, Neck & Upper Back
  • Ringing in Ears
  • Tight & Sore Jaw

TMD Treatment at the Dentist

For patients struggling with TMD, dentists can design a custom oral appliance for patients to help minimize and alleviate symptoms while the joints heal. The custom appliances look similar to a retainer and reposition the jawbone to provide pain relief and comfort. For more severe cases of TMD, oral surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged TMJs. Each patient and case of TMD is unique, so treatment may vary based on each patient’s unique needs.

Schedule Your TMD Consultation!

Are you feeling any of the symptoms listed above? You may suffer from TMD! At Hermitage Dental Group in Hermitage, TN, we proudly offer treatments to help patients gain relief from jaw pain and injury caused by TMD. At your consultation, we’ll be able to examine your jaw, discuss the symptoms you’re experiencing, and determine which treatment is right for you.

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Aerial view of a white plate against a yellow table with a knife and fork

Any health professional will tell you how important good nutrition is for your overall health. Some of the benefits include more energy, a stronger immune system, and decreased risk of disease. What you eat also affects your dental health. While a diet heavy in sugar increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, a balanced diet will fortify your teeth against cavities and protect your gums from inflammation and infection.

Here are the nutrients that matter most for your oral health and where to find them!

Fiber

Fresh produce like apples, carrots, and celery are full of fiber. These crunchy foods need to be chewed well. Chewing increases your mouth’s saliva production, which washes away food particles and fights tooth decay through remineralization. Remineralization occurs when saliva coats your teeth in minerals. They are absorbed into the crystalline mineral structure of your enamel, the outer layer of teeth. This strengthens it against erosion and decay.

Calcium, Vitamin D & Phosphorus

Calcium is a mineral that’s critical for strong bones and tooth enamel. Eat calcium-rich foods like seeds, nuts, plain yogurt, dark leafy greens, and cheese. To properly absorb calcium from your diet, your body needs vitamin D. You can find vitamin D in eggs, salmon, sardines, and fortified milk, orange juice, and cereal. Phosphorus supports calcium in building strong teeth. It is in beans, lentils, milk, meat, and whole grains

Vitamin A

Vitamin A promotes healthy gums and combats mouth dryness. Most foods with vitamin A are orange, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe.

Pair Good Nutrition with Regular Dental Visits

In addition to consuming a balanced diet, brush and floss every day at home and visit Hermitage Dental Group for regular exams and cleanings! To schedule your next appointment at our office, please contact us today.

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Brunette woman in a purple shirt wonders about fluoride in Hermitage, TN

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water, soil, and in some foods. For example, spinach, grapes, and potatoes all naturally have fluoride. In many communities in the United States, fluoride is added to public water supplies to reduce the incidence of cavities.

Is Fluoride Good for Teeth?

Fluoride strengthens enamel, the outer protective layer of teeth. This occurs in a process called remineralization, where it deposits into the crystalline mineral structure of the enamel. This fortifies enamel against cavities and can even reverse early-stage tooth decay. This is why you’ll often come across toothpastes and mouthwashes that specify they have fluoride in them. It’s also why we encourage patients to choose toothpaste that has fluoride.

Professional Fluoride Treatment

Children, patients who are particularly vulnerable to cavities, or anyone wanting extra cavity protection can benefit from a professional fluoride treatment at Hermitage Dental Group. During this simple procedure, we brush liquid fluoride over your teeth to help remineralize them. This is considered a preventive dental treatment because its purpose is to prevent dental disease.

Strong enamel is less likely to be eroded by acids produced by mouth bacteria. This reduces your risk of experiencing decay, discoloration, and sensitivity.

Comprehensive Dental Care in Hermitage, TN

Do you have more dental-related questions? Schedule an appointment with our team at Hermitage Dental Group. We’d be thrilled to care for all of your smile needs. We offer a variety of services, including preventive, cosmetic, restorative, emergency, and sedation dentistry. We also treat obstructive sleep apnea and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. We hope to see you soon!

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