Recent Posts



Aging Process For Females Could Up Risk For Gum Disease

Posted on Jul 29, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a man, I’ve been made well-aware that menopause is no picnic! From hot flashes to fatigue, night sweats to moodiness, men would be hard-pressed to endure the lengthy menopausal phase.

How does this relate to your oral health? Once post-menopausal, your risk for developing periodontal (gum) disease and experiencing tooth loss increases, particularly in the first decade.

As estrogen levels decline, bone loss increases. Studies now show that bone loss in postmenopausal women can be accompanied by a higher risk of gum disease. One such study determined that post-menopausal women with osteoporosis had a notably higher risk of gum disease than did women with no indications of osteoporosis.

Along with a higher risk of gum disease, post-menopausal women may experience a reduction of saliva, increased dental caries and taste alterations. Estrogen decline after menopause also increases the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.

For women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the restoration of estrogen has been shown to help post-menopausal women be less susceptible to these health issues. This is based on the recommendations of your physician and your receptiveness to using an HRT, of course.

While your oral health is our emphasis, your overall health is also a concern. The two are simply meant to work together. However, it’s natural that adults develop particular risk factors due to the aging process. Our goal is to make recommendations to help you avoid problems in the first place or treat any that arise early to save you time and money.

Begin with a healthy foundation. Call 828-274-9440 for a thorough examination to get your oral health in great shape!

Pace Brushing After Mealtime

Posted on Jul 23, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

In an effort to protect our teeth from accumulating bacteria that causes cavities, bad breath and gum disease, brushing after each meal is wise advice. Right?

Well, right — but there is a proper ‘time delay’ for brushing to avoid damage to tooth enamel. This is because anytime you eat or drink, your mouth endures an ‘acid attack.’ These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can cause damage to the enamel. Naturally, consuming highly-acidic edibles such as tomatoes or orange juice ramp up the acidity level of these attacks.

When eating stops, it takes about 20 minutes for an acid attack to subside. To avoid wearing away tooth enamel, avoid brushing for at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking. If you know you’re going to consume something high in acid ahead of time, brush your teeth first and then swish with water afterwards.

Beware high acid foods and beverages! Your tooth enamel can be the victim.

Beware high acid foods and beverages! Your tooth enamel can be the victim.

Oral bacteria are able to penetrate a tooth easily without its protective shell of enamel or enamel that is worn thin. This can result in cavities and weakened teeth that can lead to cracks or fractures. If a fractured tooth breaks below the gum line, the only recourse is to remove it. Then, an entirely new set of challenges begin.

Obvious high-acid consumables are citrus, coffee, wine, tomatoes (including sauces and catsup) and colas. However, foods and beverages that may have a higher acid content than you realize include corn, olives, blueberries, dairy products, white rice, white bread, bagels, eggs, peanuts and beer.

Our goal is to help you AVOID problems that could lead to any oral disease as well as tooth loss. Timing your brushing just right can help!

The Challenges Of Dentures

Posted on Jul 16, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

At every age, it is important to stay socially active. Being involved with others is good for our overall well-being as it nurtures our innate need for community. So many social activities seem to include food as the centerpiece. When unstable dentures cause an individual to feel uneasy when eating or speaking, they begin to decline invitations due to fear of embarrassing slips or clicks.

A common complaint of long-time denture wear is the unstable fit. Even though a denture may have fit securely when first made, over time it will begin to move while eating. Biting and chewing contributes to uncomfortable rubbing. Just having nuts or seeds become trapped between the gums and denture can painfully pierce tender gum tissues.

Bone loss causes the fit of the denture to change due to an ever-shrinking jaw bone. This is the result of no longer having natural tooth roots in the jaw bone. Without tooth roots to stimulate the bone, it slowly shrinks, or resorbs.

Denture wearers can actually see the extent of bone resorption by looking in the mirror without their denture in place. They’ll likely see deep wrinkles around the mouth with the corners of their mouth turning downward, even while they smile. Jowls form as facial muscles release from the shrinking jaw. The mouth may appear to collapse into the face with the chin becoming more pointed.

Dentures can also make it difficult to eat a healthy diet. To avoid uncomfortable rubbing on tender gums from denture movement, people tend to transition to a diet of soft foods that dissolve easily with minimal chewing. Unfortunately, these foods lack protein and fiber needed for good health. It is not surprising that denture wearers have higher incidences of gastrointestinal problems and take more medications than non-denture wearers.

To minimize ‘rocky dentures,’ relines may help, temporarily. However, modern dentistry offers a far better option that overcomes all the challenges of living with dentures – Dental Implants. Unfortunately, a denture’s cheaper price tag has kept many people stuck in the a miserable situation.

Dentures simply aren’t a good substitute for natural teeth. Although they may seem better than being without teeth, dentures actually contribute to a number of problems. The pressure of wearing dentures speeds up the rate of bone loss and, for those who sleep in their dentures, the pace of resorption is nearly double.

Dentures are an antiquated solution for tooth replacement. No adhesive or reline will ever make a denture a practical alternative for missing teeth. For today’s active adult, Dental Implants provide a dependable option that restores chewing stability and laughing confidence. And even though the cost is higher, for one’s overall health and well-being, they’re a bargain.

Today’s implant dentistry offers many options. Learn those that are best for your needs and budget in a Consultation appointment. Call (828) 274-9440 to schedule a time.

Dry Mouth = Oral Bacteria = Bad Breath

Posted on Jul 08, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Occasionally, we all have breath that is unpleasant. After waking in the morning or drinking a cup of coffee,  our breath is stale.
Coffee Cup
When bad breath is persistent, it is likely a symptom of periodontal (gum) disease. If gum disease is the reason for your breath odor, you may also notice gum tenderness, seeing blood in the sink when brushing or gums that darken in color. Otherwise, the problem is likely related to dry mouth.

Your mouth is stale and sticky when you wake up because your oral tissues are dry, allowing bacteria to accumulate. As they multiply, bacteria form plaque, which is a smelly film you can feel on teeth.

Naturally, poor oral hygiene allows oral bacteria to accumulate in the mouth. Without regular brushing, bacteria reproduce – rapidly. Remember – bacteria are living creatures that have taken up residence in your mouth. All the while, they are eating, reproducing and emitting waste. Could there be a more motivating image to brush?!!!

Periodic dry mouth can be caused by alcoholic beverages or coffee. Although sugary drinks don’t necessarily dry oral tissues, they are an ideal food for bacteria reproduction.

Also drying are some medications, which can decrease saliva flow that works to move bacteria from the mouth. Many antihistamines and some medications for depression and urinary incontinence, among others, can cause dry mouth.

Medical conditions, such as acid reflux, sinus infections, diabetes and bronchitis can also contribute to dry mouth. A bad cold or just being in the habit of breathing through the mouth are drying as well.

And the worst reason of all for dry mouth? Smoking.

Once the reason for your breath odor has been determined, simple measures can often freshen it up!
 – Brush at least twice daily. Use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue with your toothbrush after brushing teeth.
 – Floss daily. If you find this action difficult, buy an electronic or water flosser.
 – Drink plenty of water! If you take medications that have a drying side effect, use an oral rinse that acts as saliva. There are many available over-the-counter.

Nothing assures you of fresh breath like a clean, healthy mouth. If you have symptoms of gum disease or feel you have persistent bad breath, call (828) 274-9440 to arrange an examination.