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  • Dr. Saunders Visits Asheville Elementary School

    by Dr. Steve Saunders on February 13, 2018

    “Teeth—they come in handy when you chew or smile.”

    Kindergartners at a local Asheville elementary school found out all about teeth when Dr. Steve Saunders visited their school bringing the message of good dental health, as part of the National Children’s Dental Health Month.

    Teacher and Students - Asheville Dentists

    In celebration of the birthday of famed children’s author Dr. Seuss, Dr. Steve read aloud the book, titled The Tooth Book and displayed the tools of the dental trade: mirror, probe, digital x-rays, loops (eye
    glasses with an attached light), and of course–a toothbrush and floss.

    With the aid of a stuffed animal with large teeth, Dr. Steve demonstrated how to brush and floss properly. He gave the children small hour-glass timers to remind them that it takes at least two full
    minutes to brush thoroughly. He also told them to watch out for those sugary drinks and snacks that cause bacteria to grow and to eat healthy foods.

    The children asked many questions, including, “What is your favorite part of being a dentist?” Dr.
    Steve’s answer? “The pleasure of helping his patients achieve their best dental health.”

    When it was time to go, each child went home with their own “dental tool kit,” containing toothbrush,
    toothpaste, floss threader, hour-glass timer, stickers and—an eagerness to brush their teeth!

    Thank You Dr. Saunders - Asheville Dentists

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    Are You Making These 7 Mistakes When Brushing Your Teeth?

    by Saunders DDS on February 13, 2018

    Brushing your teeth is an act that’s done for two minutes two times a day—but how thoroughly are you brushing your teeth during those two minutes?

    Paying attention to the areas that you brush is important. Hasty or incorrect brushing can lead to plaque buildup, tartar, and eventually, tooth decay and gum disease.

    There are numerous mistakes that people make every day when brushing their teeth. Here, we talk about some of those mistakes as well as how they affect your smile.

    Are you making these 7 mistakes when brushing your teeth? Read on to find out more!

    1. Brushing Too Soon

    Brushing immediately after you eat can be damaging to teeth. Why is this?

    Your tooth enamel is porous, so whatever you eat, it affects your enamel. This means that if you eat acidic foods such as tomatoes, lemons, oranges, or sugary substances, your enamel is temporarily weakened by these substances due to the lowered pH level of your saliva.

    During this time period—which lasts about 30 minutes—brushing your teeth can be very harmful. In fact, you can brush your enamel off over periods of time if you do this often enough. This can lead to increased tooth sensitivity and heightened cavity risk, since your enamel is no longer there to protect your teeth from the temperature of foods or harmful bacteria.

    Regardless of what you eat, it’s a good idea to wait at least 30 minutes to brush afterward!

    1. Brushing Too Often

    Brushing your teeth too often can be just as damaging as not brushing your teeth at all. If you brush after every meal, you’re again setting up your teeth for enamel damage, especially if you’re brushing too soon.

    Since plaque takes several hours to fully form, you have a pretty solid time window to brush your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes two times a day. Brushing any more frequently than this or for any longer can hurt your teeth more than help.

    Follow up with your dentist in Asheville to determine if you’re brushing too much!

    1. Not Brushing Your Gums

    Your gums play an important role in the health of your teeth. This tissue helps support the ligaments that anchor your teeth in place.

    Gums should be brushed gently just at the gumline, where the gum tissue meets your teeth. Bacteria can build up here and cause gum disease if not removed. You can do this by positioning your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to gently remove bacteria.

    When you only brush your teeth and completely neglect your gumline, you could be missing harmful bacteria that can affect not only your gums, but your teeth as well.

    1. Not Brushing Your Tongue

    Your tongue contains bacteria just like the rest of your mouth. These bacteria should ideally be removed with a toothbrush once per day. Although some of these bacteria are helpful, others can cause bad breath.

    Bacteria on your tongue can get trapped by a layer of mucus. Fortunately, these bacteria are easy to remove with just your toothbrush. In the morning during your normal brushing routine, start at the back of your tongue and begin brushing your way towards the front.

    Remember that similarly to your teeth, little pressure is needed to actually remove bacteria and to help you have a healthy mouth. Brushing your tongue aggressively simply isn’t necessary and can be harmful!

    1. Brushing Too Hard

    Brushing too hard doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it can lead to some major oral health problems if done regularly.

    Plaque isn’t difficult to remove—it can easily be scrubbed away with a soft-bristled toothbrush. There’s simply no need for aggressive brushing.

    In fact, brushing too hard can wear away tooth enamel over time. This is especially true if you’re doing one of the bad habits we discussed earlier, which is brushing your teeth too often or brushing your teeth immediately after eating a meal.

    When you brush too hard and risk removing tooth enamel, this can actually have the opposite effect, which is increasing your risk for cavities due to lack of protective enamel.

    When you brush, remember that quality matters more than quantity, so brush carefully and give attention to each individual tooth. You don’t need a firm toothbrush or to scrub really hard in order to remove plaque and have a beautiful smile.

    1. Picking the Wrong Toothbrush

    Is the toothbrush you’re using a firm-bristled one? If so, you may be picking the wrong toothbrush.

    Many people don’t need a firm toothbrush to brush their teeth. These types of toothbrushes can make it easy to brush too aggressively and harm the teeth and gums. Harsh brushing combined with a firm toothbrush can also aggravate existing conditions such as gum disease.

    Instead, trying switching to a soft-bristled, or if you like a bit of firmness, a medium-bristled toothbrush. See how it feels to brush your teeth with these softer toothbrushes.

    When your toothbrush bristles are softer and have more flexibility to them, not only are they more gentle on your teeth, but they also allow you to reach into tight spaces easier.

    You can always follow up with your Asheville dentist to determine if the type of toothbrush you’re using is beneficial and what type would be best for your unique smile.

    1. You’re Rushing

    If your oral care routine includes a quick brush in the morning and evenings because you’re rushing, you might want to re-think your brushing habits.

    Brushing when you’re in a hurry and not taking the time to ensure each tooth is brushed accordingly can set you up for cavities. Removing plaque from all the spaces in your teeth can be difficult enough as is, rushing only makes missing areas on your teeth easier.

    Instead of rushing, be sure you have enough time for your oral care routine in both the morning and evening. Be sure you’re not multi-tasking while brushing your teeth. Give complete attention to the task, this way you can be sure you’re not brushing the same areas over and over again while missing others.

    A comprehensive dental exam with your Asheville dentist as well as a professional cleaning can help you better take care of your smile!

    Want to Brush Better?

    When it comes to brushing your teeth, making mistakes can cost you in cavities. Are you making these 7 mistakes when it comes to your beautiful smile? Dr. Saunders can help you determine which areas you’re missing that need more attention as well as what you’re doing well.

    Schedule an appointment with us to determine what mistakes you’re making and how you can better your daily brushing habits!

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    5 Ways to Have a Healthier Mouth in the New Year

    by Saunders DDS on December 24, 2017

    With 2018 quickly approaching, it’s time to think about starting fresh again in the New Year. Last year, we talked about some of the best oral health improvements you could make. This year, we’ll be discussing how you can have a healthier smile in 2018.

    A healthy smile is a beautiful smile. Teeth that are well cared for show it. When you keep on top of your oral care by brushing, flossing, and visiting your Asheville dentist, your radiant smile will be something you want to show the world.

    If you think you have a healthy smile, consider whether or not you do the following five things. If not, you’ll want to start thinking about incorporating these items into your agenda for a great smile all year long in the New Year!

    1. Schedule Time to See your Dentist

    Not seeing the dentist is a mistake that many people make. They think that if they brush and floss regularly, they’ll be fine.

    The problem is that plaque is sneaky and can grow in places you can’t reach with a toothbrush. Although flossing helps reach some of this plaque, many people can’t remove all traces of this sticky substance

    Your dentist does much more than clean your teeth. Oral cancer screenings, dental exams, and x-rays are all part of a comprehensive dentist visit. Your Asheville dentist examines your bite, gum tissue, and more during your appointment. Having a professional assist you with taking care of your smile not only helps you prevent tooth decay and gum disease but also keeps your smile looking its best.

    This New Year, make an appointment to see your dentist. Take time to do your smile a favor. Even if you’re on top of brushing and flossing, your dentist provides the professional care that you can’t get at home with a toothbrush.

    How often do you need to go? Although every six months is a general rule, your dentist may need you to come more or less often depending on your unique smile!

    1. Eat Healthier

    More and more research is showing a link between eating healthy and having a healthy smile. For example, diets that are full of processed foods, sugar, and carbohydrates aren’t as ideal as diets rich in whole, nutritious foods that can help build up your smile.

    For 2018, making a resolution to eat healthier may just help your oral health. Research shows that a healthy diet isn’t just linked to oral health diseases such as oral cancer and gum disease, but also to bodily disease as well.

    By consuming more whole foods, you might just be able to impress your dentist at your next visit. What do these foods include?

    • Vegetables. Vegetables either cooked or raw are excellent for your body as well as your smile. In fact, crunchy vegetables such as carrots and celery have been shown to help scrub away plaque!
    • Protein. Protein such as that from fish, grass-fed beef, poultry, and nuts and beans may help strengthen tooth enamel and aid in repairing tissue that’s been damaged, such as gum tissue.
    • Healthy fats. Essential fatty acids such as those found in fish may help you fight gum disease. Research has shown a link between appropriate omega-3 intake and a reduced risk of gum disease!
    • Dairy or calcium. Calcium plays an important role in your smile. Although milk, cheese, and yogurt can all help strengthen your smile, leafy greens such as kale and spinach can also provide you with calcium if you’re lactose intolerant.

    Are you making a resolution to eat healthier this year? It might just help your smile!

    1. Be Aware of Your Alcohol Consumption

    Alcohol is not only a risk factor for oral cancer (as well as many other cancers), it’s also damaging when it comes to tooth enamel. Alcoholic drinks are very acidic and can erode tooth enamel, which can’t be replaced once it’s gone.

    This year, be more aware of your alcohol consumption. There are many different guidelines about how much is safe to drink, but the less you can consume, the better. Even one drink per day for women has been shown to increase breast cancer risk. Alcohol has also been shown to increase plaque levels on your teeth.

    By reducing your alcohol consumption, you can not only help reduce your risk for oral cancer but also help keep your tooth enamel healthy. Let’s not forget that red wine stains teeth, too!

    1. Floss

    There’s been much debate about whether or not flossing is actually helpful for your smile, but dentists still recommend flossing your teeth. Flossing helps you get all the little areas you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach with your toothbrush.

    In fact, some professionals speculate that you’re missing up to 40% of your tooth surfaces when you skip flossing as part of your regular oral care routine.

    Flossing, unlike brushing, only needs to be done once per day to help keep plaque at bay. Proper flossing will take about 18 inches of floss and a few minutes, but once it’s part of your oral care routine, you won’t even notice the extra time.

    Make flossing a priority in 2018 to help remove plaque, create a healthier mouth, and feel better!

    1. Make a Cosmetic Dentistry Appointment

    Have you been embarrassed about your smile but haven’t had the time—or money—to fix it? 2018 is the time to make that cosmetic dentistry consultation with your Asheville dentist.

    Regardless of what brings you to our practice, Dr. Saunders will meet with you to discuss how we can improve your smile. From a simple whitening procedure to dental implants, bridges, dental bonding, or dental veneers, we talk about what your dream smile will look like.

    You deserve to have the best, healthiest smile possible in 2018. Feeling let down by your smile or feeling like it doesn’t represent you isn’t something you should have to feel any longer. All of our cosmetic dentistry appointments are conducted thoroughly and with care and compassion. We want to help you look and feel your best.

    We invite you to schedule that appointment to have a brilliant smile for the New Year—and for every year after!

     

    This New Year, you can make resolutions to have a healthier smile and adopt healthier habits. What’s holding you back from having your best smile? Whether it’s making a simple dental appointment or making adjustments to your daily diet, your best smile is worth every effort. Make an appointment with Saunders DDS today to discover how great your smile can look in 2018!

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    Are My Oral Health Problems Hereditary?

    by Saunders DDS on November 25, 2017

    Practically everything about us is the result of genes we inherited from our parents. The same is true for not just the structure of our mouths and the position of our teeth, but research is showing genes may also play a role in your oral health.

    From tooth decay to gum disease to even your risk for oral cancer, here we determine just how much influence your genes have over how healthy your smile is today. Here’s what you need to know about oral health concerns that could be hereditary.

    Tooth Decay

    A whopping 92% of adults in the United States between the ages of 20-64 have at least one cavity in their permanent teeth.

    For some people, it seems like no matter how well they care for their smile, cavities inevitably surface during a checkup. For others, it seems like they can eat whatever they want and skip the dentist while still having seemingly perfect teeth.

    Why do cavities repeatedly happen to some people and not others? Researchers have gotten close to identifying genes that may impact the immune response to bacteria in the mouth. This means your genes could influence your risk for tooth decay.

    Of course, other factors are at play too, such as enamel development and environmental habits, such as how well you care for your teeth and what you eat.

    Even though you might be predisposed to cavities, this doesn’t mean you should stop caring for your teeth. Without the proper care, your tooth decay will inevitably get worse. Science says to keep brushing your teeth and get checkups as your best defense against tooth decay!

    Gum Disease

    Periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, is an active infection in the mouth that attacks the gums and supporting bone. Ranging in stages from mild to advanced, gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss.

    Certain people may be more susceptible to gum disease. If you have a parent who has gum disease, you may be more likely to inherit the same bacteria in addition to an inadequate immune response. Your immune system plays an active role in combating the bacteria that are responsible for gum disease. If you have any immune system disorders or have a weak immune system, you could be more likely to get gum disease.

    You can take active steps to prevent gum disease. These steps include brushing and flossing your teeth daily in addition to visiting your dentist in Asheville. Your dentist can spot the signs of gum disease much sooner than you can, so you can take steps to reverse the disease before it becomes a bigger problem.

    Orthodontic Problems

    Crooked teeth may be inherited similarly to the other oral health problems we just discussed. The size and shape of your mouth is, you guessed it, determined by your genes.

    This means that if your parents had any orthodontic work done, it’s likely that you’ll need some corrective measures for your teeth as well. People may also inherit conflicting traits from each parent that make orthodontic work necessary, such as dad’s small jaw with mom’s large teeth.

    Teeth that are overcrowded or crooked are often difficult to clean properly. It can feel impossible to reach those tight spaces to remove plaque and bacteria to help prevent problems.

    Your best defense against inherited bite or misalignment issues is to get a referral to an orthodontist from your Asheville dentist. The sooner these problems are taken care of, the higher the potential you have for a beautiful, healthy smile for life.

    Oral Cancer

    A genetic predisposition to oral cancer has not been proven. Although like most cancers, if you have a family member with the disease, you may be more likely to develop it yourself.

    Cancer is a complex disease that’s development depends on many different factors. Genes play a role, but so does your environment, your diet, your exposure to certain chemicals, and many more factors.

    You should get screened for oral cancer annually starting at age 18. Fortunately, your dentist in Asheville can do this easily during your oral exam. If you use any type of tobacco product, this significantly increases your risk for oral cancer, and you should ideally get screened every 6-12 months as soon as your use starts.

    Enamel Strength

    The strength of your tooth enamel will vary. Based on your unique genetic makeup, you may have softer enamel than someone else, which could increase your risk of tooth decay. This is why it’s imperative to take care of your teeth!

    Research suggests that the development of your enamel may be an inherited factor, so if you have weak or strong tooth enamel, this could be the result of genetics and will, therefore, influence your risk of cavities.

    Your Taste for Sweets

    Having a “sweet tooth” might actually be hereditary. Scientists have found different genes that dictate who prefers sweets and how much. People who crave sweets are also more likely to have oral health problems, as sugar is so bad for your smile!

    If you crave sweets or just really enjoy eating sweet foods, this could be an inherited risk factor that could increase your risk for cavities, as these people tend to eat more sweets. People who crave more bitter foods, such as vegetables, cheese, or olives for instance, often have lower rates of tooth decay as well as other diseases such as cancer.

    Your Immune System

    Everyone has bacteria in their mouths, both good and bad. This is normal. Your immune system is closely related to your oral health, as it is responsible for handling bacteria that can negatively affect your smile.

    This immune system response may be influenced by your genes, which means that if you have a strong immune system, you may be less likely to experience tooth decay, and vice versa.

    Your immune system can also help prevent gum disease, meaning that you’d be less likely to get gum disease if your immune system is strong and healthy. Although it’s difficult to tell how high your risk is for certain oral health problems based on your immune system, regular checkups can help keep your teeth strong and healthy!

    Conclusion

    Although several oral health problems have shown a genetic link, this doesn’t mean that your tooth decay or gum disease was caused by your genes. A combination of environmental factors as well as genes ultimately determines your oral health.

    This means that although you might be at greater risk for gum disease or have weak enamel, your most powerful tool is prevention. You control how well you take care of your teeth. It’s never too late to start making sure your teeth are in the best shape possible.

    Schedule a dental exam with your dentist in Asheville today to discuss your risk for oral health problems and to keep your smile in tip-top shape!

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    Considering Dental Veneers: What You Need to Know

    by Saunders DDS on November 10, 2017

    If you’re unhappy with your smile, you’ve probably looked into cosmetic dentistry at one time or another. Dental veneers can improve the look of your smile and create an even, bright look to correct many unsightly issues.

    Dental veneers are custom-made, thin shells of durable ceramic that are bonded to your natural teeth. They’re considered a definitive solution, so only consider dental veneers if you’re certain you want to change your smile for good.

    Should you consider dental veneers? Here’s what you need to know about this form of cosmetic dentistry with your dentist in Asheville!

    What Dental Veneers Are Used for

    Dental veneers are used to cover certain imperfections in the smile. These imperfections are typically cosmetic, so any problems that are a threat to your dental health will need to be taken care of separately. Some imperfections that one might consider dental veneers for include:

    • Chips. If your teeth are chipped in numerous places, dental veneers could be an option for you.
    • Cracks. Fractured teeth might benefit from dental veneers.
    • Discoloration. If your teeth have deep staining that can’t be fixed with professional whitening, veneers might be your only option to help brighten your smile.
    • Worn down teeth. Teeth that are worn down due to excessive wear, such as teeth that have damage from teeth grinding, may affect your appearance and veneers may help.
    • Oddly-shaped teeth. These are teeth that might be pointy, gapped, or uneven. These are all cosmetic issues that can be fixed with veneers.

    Since dental veneers can fix a variety of cosmetic issues, you can have a whiter, more uniform smile if you’re not satisfied with your teeth due to any of the above problems. Since your veneers will be completely custom, you can work with your Asheville dentist to design the smile that works best for you.

    Things Dental Veneers Can’t Fix

    There are certain things that dental veneers can’t fix. Although veneers can cover minor alignment problems, they can’t cover bigger issues that need to be fixed with orthodontics.

    Dental veneers also can’t fix tooth decay or gum disease. You’ll need to have a healthy smile in order to be considered for this procedure. You’ll also need to have healthy tooth enamel, as dental veneers require a tiny amount of your enamel to be removed in order to properly bond with your teeth.

    If you need root canal therapy, treatment for gum disease, or cavities filled, all of this will need to be taken care of before you can consider dental veneers. Your dentist may even suggest that you get your teeth whitened before the procedure just so all the teeth match and look as bright as you want them to be!

    What You Can Expect with Dental Veneers

    The procedure for dental veneers sometimes does not require local anesthesia. However, if you have dental anxiety or have very sensitive teeth, you can talk with your Asheville dentist about using anesthesia for your procedure.

    You can schedule a consultation to find out if dental veneers are right for you. To make the most out of your dental veneers, it’s important to know what you dislike about your smile. This way, you and your dentist can work to address these problems by designing your custom veneer solution!

    You can expect your dental veneers to be strong, durable, resistant to staining, and to match your natural teeth. If you want to have a whiter smile, your dentist in Asheville might suggest a professional whitening before the procedure.

    Although veneers are thin and light, they’re robust enough to last for years with proper care. They can hide any tooth damage you’re experiencing—from chips and staining to worn-down teeth and gaps—to create your dream smile.

    During your procedure, a very small amount of your tooth’s natural enamel is removed to help the veneers bond properly. At the next appointment your dentist will place the veneers, then finally schedule a follow-up visit with you to ensure the veneers look as they should.

    You may notice some mild tooth sensitivity in the days after your veneers are placed. However, this should go away shortly. You can talk with your dentist about any problems you’re experiencing.

    How to Care for Your New Smile

    Caring for your dental veneers will be very similar to caring for your regular teeth. You should brush and floss as normal. Don’t be afraid of damaging your veneers through brushing; they’re very sturdy. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be gentle, however. Use a non-abrasive toothpaste for best results.

    Although your veneers are bonded directly to your existing teeth, they won’t change your risk for tooth decay. This means you should still keep up with the same practices you normally do to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, including brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist.

    You should avoid doing things that you wouldn’t normally do with your teeth. This includes cracking open nuts, chewing on ice, pencils, or bones. They are still your teeth, so take care of them!

    If you grind your teeth, it’s imperative that you address this issue with your dentist. Grinding can damage veneers, so you need to receive treatment for this problem so that you can protect your veneers for as long as possible.

    Porcelain veneers are resistant to stains, especially if you practice good oral hygiene. However, some dentists still recommend being cautious with beverages that we know stain teeth, such as red wine, coffee, and tea.

    Your dentist will make sure all of your teeth match perfectly, so you can further protect your investment in cosmetic dentistry by taking care of your new dental veneers!

     

    Have you been considering dental veneers to help improve your smile? You might just be a candidate for this cosmetic dentistry procedure that could change your smile for life. Schedule an appointment with your dentist in Asheville to see if you qualify for dental veneers to help create the smile of your dreams for a lifetime!

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    Top 8 FAQs About Dental Sealants

    by Saunders DDS on October 23, 2017

    Dental sealants help protect your teeth from decay by keeping bacteria out and supplementing your oral care routine to help prevent tooth decay. If your Asheville dentist has mentioned dental sealants to you, it could be because you have children who are at risk for tooth decay or because you’re at higher risk for tooth decay yourself!

    Here, Saunders DDS answers your top eight frequently asked questions (FAQs) about dental sealants. These mighty little protectors can have great advantages for the right people!

    1. What Exactly Are Dental Sealants?

    Dental sealants are thin layers of plastic coating—sometimes made from other materials used in dentistry—that protect teeth from tooth decay. Dental sealants have been shown to help decrease the risk of tooth decay by up to 80%, according to the American Dental Association.

    This protective layer essentially covers the surfaces of your teeth to keep out harmful food particles that can be difficult to remove through brushing alone. Dental sealants are instrumental in preventing tooth decay for people who are prone to cavities.

    1. How Long Do They Last?

    After proper application, dental sealants can last up to 10 years, although not all dental sealants will last for this amount of time. Over time, they can wear away, so it’s important to get regular checkups with your dentist in Asheville to ensure that the sealants are still in good condition. If necessary, more sealant material can be applied to help seal out cavities.

    1. What Teeth Are They Applied to?

    Dental sealants are usually applied to the adult molars, which are the larger teeth located in the back of the mouth. Although any tooth can benefit from dental sealants, usually the back teeth are at the most risk for cavities.

    The reason for this placement is because most molars have deep grooves that can easily trap food particles and bacteria. These types of harmful substances can be difficult to remove. When trapped on the teeth, they can quickly work to create acids that eat away at the tooth enamel, therefore causing a cavity.

    The reason molars are the teeth most often used for sealants is because of their vulnerability to tooth decay. It’s often difficult for people to properly brush their molars due to the way the teeth are shaped, making dental sealants a positive choice for people who need extra help keeping tooth decay away.

    1. What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

    Sealants aren’t visible to anyone except your dentist during appointments. Your Asheville dentist will apply the sealants by first properly cleaning the teeth that they’ll be applied to during your professional cleaning. Then, each tooth is properly dried and prepared with a gel-like solution that will help the sealant material bond to the tooth.

    Afterward, the sealant material is properly applied and allowed to dry on your teeth. Your dentist will apply the material with a brush to ensure the tooth is properly covered to seal out decay. There’s no pain, no anesthesia needed, and is usually a quick, easy process with no restrictions afterward.

    1. How Well Do Sealants Protect Teeth?

    Sealants are known for being very effective at keeping tooth decay away, which makes them great aids in the battle against tooth decay. They make your back molars easier to clean, especially for people who have deeper grooves in their teeth.

    Dental sealants can help protect against tooth decay for years, so they are absolutely an investment if you and your dentist decide they are the right choice for you or your children. They can make tooth decay much less prevalent than it currently is in children.

    1. Who Qualifies for Dental Sealants?

    Typically, children get dental sealants to help protect their teeth throughout childhood until they learn to properly care for their teeth. Dental sealants are applied to adult teeth, usually not baby teeth, so they help protect adult teeth until the child gets a little older.

    However, there are several people who may qualify for dental sealants. In addition to children, teenagers may also qualify for dental sealants. Adults who have many cavities and continue to get cavities may also be candidates for dental sealants. You can talk with your dentist about whether or not you’re a candidate for dental sealants.

    1. Do Dental Sealants Replace Other Oral Care Practices?

    Dental sealants definitely don’t replace brushing and flossing. Although they’re effective at helping to prevent tooth decay, they do not completely guard against cavities. You should always brush and floss your teeth to keep decay away with or without dental sealants. Dental sealants typically make it easier to care for your teeth while still avoiding tooth decay.

    When it comes to fluoride, your dentist in Asheville can talk with you about your fluoride consumption and how much is needed to help tooth decay. In general, however, dental sealants are not a substitute for fluoride and should not be treated as a replacement to fluoride when it comes to helping protect against tooth decay.

    As far as dental exams and professional teeth cleanings go, you should still continue to visit your dentist as recommended. If you have dental sealants, your dentist can monitor how well the sealants are holding up to provide you with the maximum amount of cavity protection that your sealants can offer.

    1. How Much Do Dental Sealants Cost?

     The cost of getting dental sealants will depend on whether or not your insurance company will cover the cost. Fortunately, many dental plans cover sealants. Check to be sure what will be covered and what won’t. Our staff can also help you determine the cost when you come in for an appointment. When you consider the cost compared to getting cavities filled, it’s very affordable!

     

    Have you considered getting dental sealants for your child? This procedure is simple, affordable, and of course, pain-free. Dental sealants are extremely effective at sealing out decay, ensuring that you are protected along with your regular oral care routine of brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist in Asheville.

    Ask your dentist whether you’d be a candidate for dental sealants based on your unique smile, or if you have questions about your children receiving dental sealants!

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    Spotlight on Gum Care: Keeping Gums Healthy for Life

    by Saunders DDS on October 9, 2017

    Focusing on caring for your teeth is important, but your gums need some attention too.

    Your gums play an important role in your smile—their connective tissue actually helps anchor the teeth into place. Without your gums, teeth would be able to fall out much more easily. Gums help nourish and protect teeth from damage and keep them secure and strong for everyday use over your lifetime.

    Keeping your gums healthy is essential to keeping up with your oral health. Since over 47% of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease, gum health should be as much of a priority as taking care of your teeth.

    So how can you keep your gums healthy enough to support your teeth? We’ve compiled a list of best practices to support your best smile!

    Brush and Floss Daily

    Of course, brushing and flossing should be part of your normal oral care routine. To protect gums while brushing, choose a toothbrush with soft bristles rather than a toothbrush with firm ones. This is because harder bristles can damage gum tissue as well as tooth enamel over time.

    It’s also important to replace your toothbrush every three months as recommended by the American Dental Association. If your toothbrush is frayed, this could damage your gums.  Keep a spare toothbrush on hand so you can make replacement easy!

    Flossing also protects your gums by removing plaque in between the teeth.  If you haven’t flossed in a while, you may experience gingival bleeding, but maintaining a routine should alleviate this discomfort. Flossing is essential for removing plaque near the gumline and protecting your gum tissue from harmful bacteria that could lead to infection or decay.

    Schedule Regular Checkups

    Getting routine checkups and professional cleanings with your dentist in Asheville can help keep your gums healthy and prevent gum disease. During your visit, your Asheville dentist will remove any plaque and tartar that is present and talk with you about how you can better care for your teeth and gums. By routinely removing the bacterial flora in you mouth, your smile can remain as healthy as possible.

    Although each person’s smile is unique, it’s a good idea to schedule a visit to your dentist every six months. If your Asheville dentist feels that you need to come more or less often, you can discuss this during your visit. We want you to receive the best care possible with us during your appointment to help keep your teeth and gums healthy!

    Stop Using Tobacco Products

    Smoking is a huge risk factor when it comes to gum disease. In fact, smoking or chewing tobacco has been shown to double your risk of gum disease compared to people who don’t use tobacco.

    Your gums are particularly susceptible to damage from cigarette smoke or chewing tobacco because they have direct contact with it. It can damage the ligaments that help hold your teeth in place, starve blood vessels of oxygen, and even lead to loss of bone in the jaw.

    If you smoke, you should ideally visit the dentist more often to get regular checkups and cleanings, and to begin receiving oral cancer screenings.

    Talk to your dentist in Asheville about quitting this habit. There is help and support for quitting smoking. You’ll have better breath, prevent tooth staining, and protect your smile from oral cancer and gum disease. You can also save $1,000 every year by not smoking!

    When you stop smoking, you enable your entire body to be healthier, making it easier to take care of yourself. Your gum tissue will thank you as well!

    Eat Nutritious Foods

    Eating healthy foods can help you maintain your gum health too. This includes foods that are high in calcium and vitamin C. Since gum disease has been linked to heart disease and diabetes, you can help improve your entire bodily health just by taking care of your smile.

    Some of the best foods to eat to promote oral health include fresh leafy greens, apples, yogurt and cheese, and healthy fats such as fish, avocados, and nuts. Drinking enough water is also crucial, as this can help improve the bacteria balance in your mouth and cut down on plaque formation.

    When it comes to keeping gums healthy, your diet can be instrumental. Cutting down on sugar and processed foods can set you up for a great smile for life.

    Know the Symptoms of Gum Disease

    To protect your gums, knowing the symptoms of gum disease could save your smile. There are different stages of gum disease, so catching this disease early could help you avoid extensive treatment and get your habits back on track to prevent permanent damage.

    Among the signs and symptoms of gum disease include:

    • Chronic bad breath, even after brushing
    • Bleeding gums while brushing
    • Receding gums, or the appearance of “longer” teeth
    • Gums that appear red and irritated
    • Swollen gums that may be tender to the touch
    • Loose teeth

    If you’re at all worried that you’re seeing signs of gum disease, schedule an appointment with your Asheville dentist. Addressing gum disease as soon as possible can help you recover faster and have a healthier smile. Be aware of these signs and symptoms as you take care of your teeth every day—symptoms of gum disease can sneak up on you!

     

    Taking care of your gums requires attention, but not much extra effort than taking care of your teeth!  It is important to prevent gum disease in order to help support beautiful strong teeth for life. By protecting your gums, you can prevent tooth loss and keep your smile beautiful.

    Simply by brushing, flossing, visiting your dentist, eating right, and not smoking, you can protect your gums from disease. Don’t forget to be on the lookout for symptoms of gum disease—since it’s so common, you should be aware of what to look for. Your dentist can further help you develop a long-term care plan for your smile!

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    Top Snacks That Promote Dental Health

    by Saunders DDS on September 7, 2017

    Taking care of your smile means more than just brushing and flossing. Eating well is essential to having healthy teeth. Although you brush twice a day, you typically eat more often than this, making your diet crucial to your dental health.

    What snacks you eat during the day can help you improve your dental health. When we’re not brushing to protect our teeth, certain snacks can actually help clean our teeth and promote healthy teeth and gums.

    So when it comes to packing the kids’ lunches or keeping some food on hand at the office for yourself, keep these top snacks in mind that can help promote your dental health!

    Apples

    You’ve heard it said—an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Does this trick work for dentists too?

    Apples are one of the best snacks for your teeth because of their fiber and water content. While drinking apple juice can be very damaging to teeth, eating an actual apple is quite different. The fiber in apples helps “scrub” plaque off your teeth. When you eat an apple with the skin on, the fibrous skin is especially cleansing for your mouth.

    Did you know that apples are 84% water? Their water content helps keep your breath fresh and stop sugar from sticking to your teeth. When you crunch on an apple—whether sliced, with peanut butter or just plainly whole—your entire mouth benefits.

    Carrots

    Carrots are a crunchy vegetable that can also help clean your smile and protect your dental health. Chewing on crunchy carrots can stimulate gum tissue, which can promote healthy circulation and provide nutrients for healthy tooth enamel. This includes vitamin A!

    These bright orange snacks are also very neutral on the pH scale, which means they help promote an alkaline environment in your mouth. Eating acidic foods can promote enamel damage and therefore, tooth decay.

    The best part about carrots is that they’re portable—especially in their baby carrot form—and pair well with other healthy snacks such as hummus and vegetable dips.

    Yogurt

    High in calcium and probiotics, yogurt is one of the friendliest snacks for your teeth. If you can’t eat dairy, you can still try coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, or cashew milk yogurt. It’s easy to take with you in portable cups and many kids love it.

    Although yogurt is beneficial for your teeth, it’s imperative to make sure that the kind of yogurt you’re buying doesn’t contain loads of added sugar. Getting unsweetened yogurt is best; this way, you can add additional fruits in as you like. Sweetened yogurts can sometimes contain more sugar than a can of soda!

    Enjoy yogurt with its calcium, vitamin D, and probiotic content. It can help strengthen teeth and makes for one of the top healthy snacks on your menu!

    Celery

    Like apples and carrots, celery is crunchy and requires some extra muscle in your jaw to chew. This helps to stimulate saliva production, which not only keeps bacteria away from teeth but also helps stop bad breath.

    Since celery is crunchy and fibrous, it can also help remove plaque and clean teeth during your busy day. Celery pairs great with hummus and vegetable dips in addition to cream cheese for an extra boost of calcium and vitamin D!

    When you want to impress your dentist in Asheville, snack on crunchy vegetables to help clean teeth and promote a stunning smile.

    Nuts

    Nuts not only make an easy and tasty snack choice but can also hugely benefit your teeth.

    Many nuts such as almonds and brazil nuts are high in calcium and folic acid. Walnuts contain numerous minerals such as vitamin E and essential fatty acids such as omega-3s that can help promote a healthy smile.

    Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with a lower risk of gum inflammation and gum disease, meaning that nuts could help your teeth as well as your gums. Choose nuts that are raw without additives such as salt or sugar, which may damage teeth.

    Nuts are fun and easy to eat and have numerous benefits for your smile, so eat up!

    Cheese

    Cheese is a hugely popular food choice. It’s versatile and can be included in just about any dish, but is also a great snack.

    With its calcium content, cheese may be able to help strengthen your tooth enamel and protect your smile from decay, therefore potentially reducing cavities.

    Cheese also contains protein, which is an important building block for tissues in your body.  When it comes to cheese, vitamin D and calcium in addition to protein and the absence of sugar make cheese a great choice.

    Choose less processed cheeses such as aged cheese, feta cheese, parmesan cheese, and even cottage cheese. They all can help your smile shine! If you can’t eat dairy, you can opt for tofu as an extra source of calcium in your diet.

    Fresh Fruit

    We’ve covered apples, but other fresh fruits can be excellent for your teeth too.

    Fruits such as oranges and strawberries are high in vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient for gum health. These fruits also contain fiber and won’t affect your smile in the same way as candy will, although you should still avoid brushing immediately afterward.

    Other great fruits to include for you or your child’s snacks include:

    • Pears
    • Watermelon
    • Grapes
    • Pineapple
    • Kiwi
    • Blueberries
    • Banana

    In place of fruit juice, fruit snacks, and soda, substitute fresh fruit. Your body will love the fiber and won’t miss the added sugar in many other snacks. You can protect your teeth and gums with these great snack choices!

     

    When it comes to keeping your smile healthy for your dentist in Asheville, foods can help. Be choosy about what foods you pick up at the supermarket. Fresh fruits and vegetables can help increase saliva production and reduce your chances for tooth decay. Nuts, cheeses, and yogurt can all benefit your smile through their high nutrient content.

    Impress your Asheville dentist at your next checkup with these top snacks that promote dental health!

    Now is the perfect time to schedule that back-to-school dental checkup at your dentist in Asheville. If you and the kids have had a busy summer and are beginning to settle down for the school year ahead, take this opportunity to get their teeth checked!

    Although children should be getting dental checkups every six months, scheduling an exam before school starts can help ensure there are no oral health problems for the school year ahead. Cavities are prominent in children and need to be filled before they cause tooth loss.

    What else should you know about getting your child’s back-to-school dental checkup in Asheville? Here’s everything you need to know to have a successful and smooth exam!

    Prepare Your Child for the Dentist

    Ideally, children should see the dentist around the age that their first tooth comes in. This is typically around six months old and no later than one year old. You want to be sure your child’s teeth are healthy and erupt on schedule!

    If your child hasn’t been to an Asheville dentist before, there are things you can do to help prepare him or her. Reading books about going to the dentist is a good place to start. Talking with your child about who the dentist is and what happens at the dentist office is important.

    Being a role model for your child can help too. Let your child know when you’re going to the dentist. Have fun with your child and play dentist with your child’s stuffed animals. Finding a good child-friendly dentist in Asheville can help your child feel at ease and prepared for their checkup!

    Ask about Dental Sealants

    Ask your Asheville dentist about dental sealants when you go in for your child’s checkup. Dental sealants can help protect your child’s teeth from future decay. These plastic-like coatings are applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth, which are usually only on the molars.

    Children, teens, and even some adults can benefit from dental sealants. If your child is prone to cavities, sealants could be beneficial. You can talk to Dr. Saunders about whether or not dental sealants are a good choice for your child during your back-to-school visit!

    Get a Mouthguard While You’re There

    Is your child playing sports during their new school year? Most sports require that your child wear a mouthguard to protect their smile while having fun with their friends and engaging in physical activity.  Although there are mouthguards available at nearly all sports stores, these mouthguards weren’t made for your child’s specific mouth and can’t offer the complete protection he or she needs.  Many of them are the wrong size, making them bulky, uncomfortable, and can even cause your child to have trouble breathing.

    Custom mouthguards for sports enable your child to be more comfortable and breathe easier, therefore ensuring that your child will actually wear his or her mouthguard during sports. Custom mouthguards are worth every penny for the protection they provide and can help you avoid a dental emergency!

    Consider an Orthodontist Recommendation

    The American Orthodontic Association recommends that all children be evaluated for orthodontic treatment by age 7.  If your child hasn’t seen the orthodontist yet, you can ask Dr. Saunders for a recommendation in Asheville. The sooner your child is evaluated for orthodontic care, the better idea you have of what type of care your child needs and when treatment should start.

    You may be unaware of your child’s orthodontic needs.  A complete exam with x-rays can reveal missing permanent teeth, teeth that are coming in crooked due to a lack of space or a misaligned bite. An experienced orthodontist can evaluate your child and give you a straightforward assessment!

    Address Cavities and Tooth Decay

    Getting your child’s teeth professionally cleaned goes a long way when it comes to tooth decay.

    Most children aren’t expert brushers. Plaque is often missed which can can unfortunately cause cavities.

    During your child’s back-to-school dental checkup, he or she will receive a professional teeth cleaning. Your dentist in Asheville can recommend any improvements that might be needed in your child’s oral care routine, including proper brushing techniques and the importance of floss.

    If there are any cavities, you can get them filled using non-mercury fillings to protect your child’s smile and move forward with the best care possible.

    Boost Self-Esteem

    Children who have tooth decay can begin to experience effects if the cavity is left to progress. Through getting regular cleanings—and especially with a back-to-school dental checkup—you can boost your child’s self-esteem and prepare them for going back to school this fall.

    Getting your child to care for their smile doesn’t have to be a chore. Your Asheville dentist can further help motivate your son or daughter to care for his or her smile. Also, research has shown that people who skip the dentist tend to be unhappier in life. Isn’t it time you and your child got a checkup?

    Talk about Fluoride

    Your child’s back-to-school dental checkup is the perfect time to talk to Dr. Saunders about your child’s use of fluoride. There is such a thing as overexposure to fluoride, which can affect the appearance of your child’s teeth in the form of white spots referred to as fluorosis.

    If your child is drinking water with fluoride and using toothpaste with fluoride, talk with your Asheville dentist about how much fluoride is enough for your child’s smile. Fluoride can help prevent cavities and strengthen your child’s teeth, but it’s beneficial to know how much is too much!

     

    Did you protect your child’s smile while on summer vacation this year? Getting that back-to-school dental checkup can help your child be ready for the great school year ahead.

    Tooth decay can cause children to miss school, get distracted, and have poor self-esteem. Fortunately, a simple cleaning and checkup can treat existing tooth decay and prevent future tooth decay. Boost your child’s self-esteem with a back-to-school dentist visit!

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    How to Protect Your Smile During Summer Vacation

    by Saunders DDS on August 14, 2017

    It’s summer and chances are you’re packing the kids up for a vacation before school starts. You’ve got entertainment, clothes, sunblock, food… did you remember the toothbrushes?

    Forgetting to pack your toothbrush can happen all too easily with all the other things you have to remember to pack. Just because it’s vacation time doesn’t mean you or the kids should skip your oral care routine! Plus, everyone likes to look their best on their special trip away.

    Whether you’re flying to the beach or driving to the mountains, you want your smile to look its best all summer long. You can do this with just a few tips that will keep everyone in your family smiling big for the pictures!

    Don’t Skip the Checkup Before Your Trip

    Visiting your Asheville dentist every six months shouldn’t stop just because your appointment falls right around vacation time. In fact, this is the perfect time to go. If there’s any type of problem with your smile, you can get it taken care of before your trip.

    Imagine having a dental infection during your trip. You’ll not only be in pain, but you might be scrambling to find a dentist who can address the problem.

    Make your teeth and gums one less thing to worry about while you’re on vacation. Get a checkup with your dentist in Asheville before you go. This is the perfect time to take the kids since they’re out of school and may have been slacking on their brushing and flossing.

    Plus, getting a professional teeth cleaning can help remove surface stains, making your smile look that much better for your photos.

    No matter when your dental checkup is scheduled, don’t skip it just because you have a million things to do before vacation. Your smile will thank you while you’re enjoying the time off!

    Keep Up with Healthy Eating Habits

    It’s a vacation, so it’s time to indulge! Right?

    Of course, having treats on vacation is perfectly fine. However, your trip shouldn’t be a free-for-all for you and the kids just because you’re enjoying some time away.

    Keeping up with healthy eating habits as much as possible will benefit your beautiful smile. This means eating foods that don’t contain sugar and enjoying fresh foods as much as possible. There are some excellent summer treats out there that you can enjoy that are actually good for your teeth!

    If you do choose to indulge in sugar—whether it’s in the form of dessert or a glass of wine—take care to protect your teeth from plaque and staining. This is as easy as sipping water afterward, waiting a minimum of 30 minutes to brush after eating acidic foods such as sugar, and consuming these foods in moderation.

    Keeping up with healthy eating habits is easy while you’re away. Enjoy some fresh local cuisine and keep indulgences as just that—indulgences!

    Never Skip Your Oral Care Routine

    Bringing your toothbrush and floss on vacation is only half of the work. Remembering to use them and continuing with your oral care routine is the other half.

    Just because you’re taking some time off doesn’t mean you should skip your brushing and flossing habits. Between packing, traveling, and settling into a different routine, it can feel like more of a chore than usual to remember to brush and floss your pearly whites.

    Skipping your oral care routine is a bad idea. Brushing in the morning is essential to remove bacteria and plaque. Not brushing before you go to bed leaves plaque time to collect on your teeth and cause enamel damage. Flossing helps ensure all plaque and food particles are out from in-between your teeth.

    No matter where you’re going this summer, never forget to take oral care with you.  Skipping a night or two while you’re on vacation might not seem like a big deal, but you don’t want this habit when you return back home!

    Remember That Water Is Your Friend

    It’s easy to get dehydrated while traveling. This is one of the worst things you can do to your teeth.

    Surprised? Consider that the body is about 60% water. Your oral cavity depends on saliva to protect the teeth. Water acts as a buffer to keep plaque and bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Without it, enamel erosion can happen.

    Damaged enamel can lead to a number of problems with your smile, including tooth decay, tooth sensitivity, and tooth discoloration.

    You can help prevent all these things simply by staying hydrated. Although there are other beverages that can contribute to your hydration, water is your best and safest bet. Consume other drinks only in moderation.

    During your vacation, always have water with you. You may be subject to altitude changes that could affect your body and make you feel fine when you are actually dehydrated. Plane rides often dehydrate passengers and can lead to a dry mouth as well.

    Remember that water is your friend this summer!

    Be Informed and Prepared

    Vacations can be full of surprises—even staycations can, too! It never hurts to be prepared when it comes to dental emergencies.

    If you’re going away, keep the numbers of local dentists and hospitals handy so that you have someone to call if an emergency does happen. Although a dentist would be the best person to handle a tooth emergency, not all dentists are available during emergency hours and you may need to visit your local emergency room.

    You should also know what to do in the event of an emergency with your mouth. If a tooth is knocked out, it’ll need to be kept in saliva or milk until you can receive care. A chipped or cracked tooth should still be evaluated by your dentist in Asheville.

    If you’re having severe tooth pain, seeing a dentist as soon as possible is always ideal. Be informed about dental emergencies and know what to do should something happen to you or your children during your trip.

     

    You can still enjoy your vacation without taking a break from your oral care routine. A vacation is just another reason to let your smile shine! So make an appointment before you go on your trip. Remember to pack that toothbrush. Your smile benefits when you eat healthily. Drink enough water and never skip brushing and flossing, even when it feels inconvenient.

    Are you ready to make your smile vacation ready? Make an appointment with us today. Remember that tooth decay and gum disease never go on vacation!

    Dental Implants vs. Dentures: Which Are Better Tooth Replacements?

    July 18, 2017
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    Missing teeth are nothing to smile about. If you’re missing a back tooth or two, you might not think it’s a big deal. Gaps that aren’t visible cannot impact your appearance, right? So why would you replace them? Replacing your missing teeth is actually important for the stability of your mouth. Over time, your jaw […]

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    The Top Ways to Prevent Sugar from Ruining Your Smile

    July 10, 2017
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    Sugar has an addictive effect that’s been proven to be similar to both cocaine and heroin. This substance can not only cause other problems to your body—including increasing your risk of heart disease and diabetes—but is hugely damaging to your mouth. It’s fine to desire a sugary beverage or dessert and to one every once in […]

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    6 Things You Didn’t Know about Tooth Decay

    July 2, 2017
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    Tooth decay is a problem that affects the majority of people. In fact, 92% of adult Americans have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth! With tooth decay being such a prevalent problem, it’s important to know how tooth decay could impact your health and what you can do about it. Decay happens […]

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    6 Benefits of Getting a Professional Teeth Whitening

    June 13, 2017
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    If you’ve been down about how stained your smile looks lately, you’re not alone. Surveys show that as many as 80% of Americans want whiter teeth. Since teeth can lose their natural whiteness with age, teeth whitening is an attractive option for many people. Most dentist offices today provide in-office professional whitening with results in […]

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    Your Guide to Dental Emergencies

    May 23, 2017
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    Emergencies are part of life, even when it comes to your teeth. Not everyone has thought about what they would do in the event of a dental emergency or how the situation should be handled! This guide will help you not only be able to identify a dental emergency, but also to know what to […]

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    Research Shows Skipping the Dentist Could Make You Unhappier

    May 10, 2017
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    A new study published in the British Medical Journal shows that people who avoid the dentist, because of dental anxiety, tend to be unhappy and experience a poorer quality of life. This may be due to the fact that people who avoid the dentist tend to have more cavities. Cavities that are left untreated can […]

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    What You Don’t Know about Oral Cancer—and Why Screenings Are Important

    May 1, 2017
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    Oral cancer will kill almost 10,000 people in the United States this year. Oral cancer can be a sneaky disease. Often, people don’t notice the symptoms until cancer has already progressed in the body. This is why getting oral cancer screenings with your Asheville dentist is so important! Knowing your risk for oral cancer as […]

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    What Is Your Mouth Trying to Tell You? 6 Symptoms and What They Mean

    April 20, 2017
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    Most of us are so busy in our daily lives that taking care of our oral health tends to be an afterthought. Our bodies have ways of telling us when something is wrong—the same is true for our mouth. Your mouth will let you know if something is amiss. It’s your job to notice the […]

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    5 Myths about Root Canal Therapy

    March 8, 2017
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    Root canal therapy has gotten a bad reputation throughout the years. You may have heard your parents talk about how terrible their root canal treatment was. Perhaps you even need a root canal but are dreading having one done, and are therefore putting off the procedure. Forget everything you know about root canal therapy. This […]

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    Headaches? Might Be Time to See the Dentist

    February 28, 2017
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    Having a headache is an awful experience. From a mild headache to a tension migraine, headaches can be intense and traumatic. If you frequently have headaches, you know that they impact your daily life. Trying to find out the cause of your headaches can often be an ineffective and frustrating search. This is because headaches […]

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