How Can Poor Oral Health Affect the Rest of the Body?

Oral health is extremely important for many reasons. If patients suffer from gum disease, cavities, or bad breath this can cause issues with your teeth and mouth. Our mouths are a pathway for bacteria to enter the body. The bacteria are able to enter the blood stream, and this can also cause infection or inflammation in other parts of our body.

Taking good care of your teeth and mouth can keep your body healthy, and can also help avoid serious issues in the future. At Smile Design in Durham, NC, we encourage our patients to practice good oral hygiene habits at home. We also promote overall health and wellness. Our team cares about each patient, and keeping up with your oral health not only can keep your teeth and mouth feeling great, but your body feeling great also.

What Problems Can Occur From Poor Oral Health?

Respiratory Infections

If you have infected or inflamed gums that bacteria can transfer into the lungs. This can lead to respiratory infections, pneumonia, or even bronchitis.


Inflamed gums can release substances that are harmful to our brain cells. This can lead to memory loss that is a result of bacteria spreading to the nerves.

Cardiovascular Disease

If you have poor oral health you are at risk for cardiovascular disease. The bacteria from the infected gums enters the bloodstream, and can cause the arteries to build up plaque. This can put you at risk for a heart attack.

Prostate Problems

If men suffer from periodontal disease they may have prostatitis. This condition causes irritation and other prostate related problems.


Diabetics are more likely to have infected gums over those that do not have diabetes. This can make diabetes difficult to control due to unregulated blood sugar levels. Gum disease can lead to higher blood sugar levels and this can put a person at risk for developing diabetes.


Poor oral health and infertility in women are linked. If a woman suffers from gum disease this can lead to issues with infertility, and may make it difficult for a woman to conceive or have a healthy pregnancy.


Poor oral health can put patients at risk for kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, or blood cancer. In addition if patients smoke or use tobacco products this can lead to oral or throat cancers.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

People who have gum disease are more likely to have Rheumatoid Arthritis. The bacteria in our mouths can increase inflammation in the body, and this increases the risk for developing Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is a health problem that affects the kidneys, heart, bones, and blood pressure. Periodontal disease can lead to kidney disease. Patients with gum disease typically have weaker immune systems, and this can make them susceptible to infection. Many patients that have poor oral health also have kidney disease, and this can lead to kidney failure if not treated.

How Can I Prevent These Health Issues?

In order to prevent serious health issues caused by bad oral health habits you must take care of your oral health. Scheduling regular dental exams in our office can help keep your teeth and gums clean, and get in front of any issues before they arise. Dr. Efran Imeni’s friendly Durham dental team always put our patients first, and complete a thorough exam of your teeth and mouth to ensure everything is looking and feeling great. If we do have concerns, we will discuss those with you and develop a customized treatment plan to take care of any issues right away.

Tips for Good Oral Hygiene

  • Brush and floss your teeth daily
  • Avoid smoking or using any tobacco products
  • Use mouthwash that contains fluoride
  • Try and stay away from food and drinks that contain lots of sugar
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Exercise and take care of your overall health

If you take care of your oral health, you take care of your body. Good oral hygiene can help prevent problems such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, as well as prevent more serious health issues in your body.

Looking for a Family Dentist Near You?

At Smile Design, we provide the highest level of dental care for patients of all ages. We welcome all new patients, and use state of the art technology to ensure our patients have an exceptional experience when visiting our office. If you are looking for a dentist near you, contact our dental office in Durham, NC to schedule your next dental exam and our friendly staff will be happy to assist you!

When Should a Person Switch Dentists?

Switching dentists can be a hard decision, but patients need to make a change if they notice things aren’t working out with the current practice. Knowing when to make the move can be hard, but there are some tips you can follow to help you find your new dental office or dental clinic in the Durham area. 

There are signs you can look out for that indicate it may be time to start your search to find your next dental practice. At Smile Design Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we welcome new patients to our practice, and strive to provide exceptional service to patients of all ages. We know how important finding the right dentist is, and we go above and beyond to provide the highest level of service and care for our patients!

What Are Some Signs That Indicate it May Be Time to Switch Dental Practices?

  • Your dentist has retired or moved
  • You have decided to move away from the area
  • Appointments tend to be at inconvenient times
  • Getting to your dentist is difficult, and the practice may be in an inconvenient location
  • The practice does not offer the dental procedures you need
  • Your friends or family have recommended another practice that sounds like it may be a better fit
  • You have had to call the billing department and dispute charges multiple times
  • Your dental insurance has changed
  • You do not feel comfortable with the recommended treatment plan at your current dentist
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How Should I Go About Switching Dentists?

Once you have made the decision to switch dentists you can focus on finding your new practice. Making sure the new dentist is a good fit is important, and there are many things to consider. Think about what type of dental practice you would like for you and your family. Would a family practice work better and if so, make sure the new practice can provide all of the necessary services for your entire family. Research if the practice offers orthodontics if you have teenagers, should you need that type of treatment. This will help to eliminate the need for switching dentists again in the future.

Do your research and check out some online reviews to read about the dentist’s certifications or background. Read about the mission statement to understand the practice values, and how the practice is run. Make sure the facility is updated, and has the latest technology and advanced procedures available.

Once you have done your research and have found a dentist you think may be a good fit, schedule a visit to check out the practice. This way you can see firsthand if you are comfortable, and if your family would benefit from joining the practice. 

When visiting the office take mental notes of important things such as how you are treated during your visit, and how long it takes you to get to and from the practice. Ask the staff if you can have a tour of the office to ensure the practice meets your expectations.

Looking for a quality Dentist Near You?

If you are looking for a family friendly dentist near you, contact Dr. Efran Imeni for your next dental cleaning. Our goal is to provide exceptional service in a family friendly environment. Our staff is available to answer any questions you may have, and we welcome all new patients to our office.

If you are interested in scheduling your next dental cleaning with us, please contact Smile Design in Durham, NC, and one of our staff members will be happy to assist you.

What is the Difference Between Dental Implants & Veneers?

Dental Veneers and Dental Implants both can give patients a beautiful white smile. Deciding what restorative or cosmetic option works best for you depends on the condition of your teeth. Our staff at Smile Design in Durham, NC provides cosmetic and restorative consultations to all our patients to take a detailed look at your mouth and determine a customized treatment plan that works for you. We listen to your goals and look at all options to give you the opportunity to choose the best one.

So, what is the difference between the two? Typically, Dental Veneers and Dental Implants are used for different reasons. This all depends on how much damage a patient has to their teeth.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental Implants are the leading restorative solution for many patients and one of the most common procedures done today. Implants are permanent and reliable giving patients the feeling that they have natural teeth. Implants are used for patients that have lost a tooth or teeth, have suffered from periodontal disease, or an injury. Dental implants take multiple appointments across a few months to complete.

Implants last upwards of 25 years or a lifetime if taken care for properly. They provide many benefits to patients, and are comfortable in the mouth. Implants allow patients to speak, eat, and function just like they would with natural teeth.

As part of our evaluation process, Dr. Efran Imeni will determine if the patient has enough bone present in the jaw to support the implants. If needed, bone grafting can be done to provide the additional support. During the implant procedure metal posts are placed in the jaw, and these act similar to artificial tooth roots. These posts provide the required support needed for the implants. Once the healing process is complete, an abutment or connector is secured on top of the implants. This allows the crown to be secured on top of the implant.

Crowns are custom made to match the color, size, and shape of your teeth. Temporary crowns are used while the patient waits for the permanent crown to be placed. Practicing good oral hygiene habits and visiting our office regularly will help to keep your implants looking and feeling great.

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Still Not Sure? Contact Our Cosmetic Dentist in Durham, NC

Choosing the best option is important, and our team at Smile Design is here to help give you all of the options available to achieve that bright white smile. We welcome all patients, and strive to always provide quality service our patients can count on.

If you are interested in finding out more about Dental Veneers or are looking to get dental implants in Durham, NC, please contact Dr. Imeni to schedule your consultation.

Can Dental Cleanings Damage Enamel?

Dental cleanings are integral part of our oral health, and are typically recommended twice a year. Keeping our teeth and gums free and clear of harmful bacteria is important. At Smile Design, our team is proud to offer general dental treatments like dental cleanings in Durham, NC. We strive to provide quality services for our patients, and always make sure our patients are relaxed and comfortable during their visit.

However, some patients have asked us if having their teeth cleaned regularly can damage the enamel on our teeth. We hope that this article can help address this common concern.

Can Dental Cleanings Damage Enamel?

Dental cleanings do not damage the enamel on your teeth! Cleanings safely remove the plaque and bacteria that builds up over time on the teeth and under the gums. If teeth are not cleaned regularly inflammation can occur, and this can lead to gum disease. Brushing at home is a great way to remove bacteria from the teeth, but brushing cannot clean our teeth like a professional cleaning. Our certified hygienists provide quality cleanings to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

If teeth are cleaned improperly at home or by a non-professional, damage can occur to the enamel. Enamel is extremely durable, and it is hard to chip or damage during cleaning exams. Enamel can wear off if patients suffer from bruxism, or use harsh brushing strokes while brushing their teeth at home. Acidic foods or drinks can also cause erosion to enamel on our teeth.

If you have concerns about the condition of the enamel on your teeth, please let our team know when you schedule your appointment.

What Should I Expect During my Cleaning Appointment?

Dental cleanings in our office typically take anywhere from 30-45 minutes. X-rays are taken if needed, and carefully reviewed during your exam to help our team to provide a customized treatment plan for each patient. Our skilled hygienists use special tools to carefully remove the hard layer of plaque from a patient’s teeth, and we ensure your mouth is free of any plaque or bacteria. Our staff will discuss the health of your teeth and gums, and will recommend further treatment if needed.

Your oral health is extremely important to us, and we encourage our patients to keep up with regularly scheduled dental cleanings to keep their teeth looking and feeling great. Regular dental cleanings are a great way to prevent future issues. Dental exams give us the opportunity to catch any potential issues early, and prevent serious issues from developing.

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Looking for a quality Dentist in Durham for your next Dental Exam?

If you are looking for a family friendly dentist in Durham, NC, contact Dr. Efran Imeni for your next dental cleaning. Our goal is to provide exceptional service in a family friendly environment. Our staff is available to answer any questions you may have, and we welcome all new patients to our office.

If you are interested in scheduling your next dental cleaning with us, please contact Smile Design in Durham, NC, and one of our staff members will be happy to assist you.

National Gum Disease Awareness Month: How You Can Keep Your Gums Vibrant and Healthy!

In honor of February’s Gum Disease Awareness Month – a global public awareness campaign for preventing gum disease – our practice wants to help spread the word about this insidious disease. That’s because it can destroy your smile if it is left untreated. Fortunately, you can take action to help prevent this from happening!

Gum disease is caused by the ongoing attacks of the bacteria that live in dental plaque. Plaque is that sticky, colorless coating you can feel on your teeth before you brush them. The reason you need to brush and floss every day is to remove this bacterial film, which otherwise attacks tooth enamel and gum tissue to break them down. Plaque that isn’t removed daily quickly hardens into tartar, which then needs to be removed at your six-month dental checkup using special tools.

Factors Leading to Gum Disease

As you may have guessed by now, the leading cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. However, additional factors can speed up the development of this disease, including:

– Stress
– A high sugar diet
– Chronic tobacco use
– Regular alcohol consumption
– Misaligned teeth (prevents you from cleaning your teeth effectively)
– Fluctuating hormone levels
– Cancer & diabetes mellitus
– Breathing through the mouth which dries out oral tissues

Symptoms of Gum Disease

How do you know if you have gum disease, especially since it’s often painless in the early stage? Watch out for these symptoms:

– Bleeding gums when you brush and floss
– Red, tender or swollen gums
– Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
– Tooth sensitivity to hot/cold temperatures
– Gum tissue pulling away from the teeth
– Loose-feeling teeth
– Altered bite pattern
– Loose-fitting partial dentures
– Pus around teeth and gums
– Pain when chewing

All of these are signs that you are dealing with some form of gum disease.

3 Stages of Gum Disease

1. Gingivitis

This beginning stage is when you might start noticing gum inflammation, swelling, redness, and bleeding, especially when you go to brush and floss. The good news is that this stage of gum disease can be reversed since it hasn’t yet reached the supportive bone and connective tissue.

2. Periodontitis

This intermediate stage irreversibly destroys supportive bone and connective tissue. You may feel pockets forming below the gum line. Gum pockets allow the formation of plaque buildup under the gum line, which often requires interventive periodontal treatment, like scaling and root planing coupled with a stepped-up daily oral hygiene routine.

3. Advanced Periodontitis

Should there be no periodontal intervention at stage two, you will likely find yourself in this final stage of the disease. Now the connective tissue and bone material will have been destroyed. It causes your teeth to loosen and shift out of position, altering your bite, speech, and ability to chew properly. Without periodontal treatment, the teeth will likely require extraction.

Gum Disease Prevention: Be Proactive!

Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to prevent gum disease from attacking your smile!

– Stick to a diligent daily oral hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing at least twice a day.
– Keep all scheduled biannual dental checkups and cleanings.
– After eating (especially snacks), drink water to rinse away food particles and oral debris.
– Limit bacteria-feeding sugars in your diet, and when you do indulge, chew sugarless gum to increase saliva flow that helps rinse away bacteria.
– If you still use tobacco, there’s no better time than now to give it up. Your gums will thank you!

We hope spreading information about this disease in support of Gum Disease Awareness Month inspires you to be more proactive when it comes to protecting your oral health. After all, healthy teeth and gums are essential for a vibrant, beautiful smile!

New Year’s Resolution: Address Your Bad Breath and Boost Your Self-Confidence Levels!

If you find yourself with bad breath or have had someone remark on your breath, you might be experiencing halitosis. Bad breath may come and go depending on what food you are eating or if you have “morning breath,” common in those who tend to breathe through the mouth. Still, the most common culprit is neglecting your daily oral hygiene care.

The number one reason for halitosis is the unchecked millions of bacteria in your mouth (especially on your tongue) that release bacterial acids (plaque). The sulfur byproducts released by oral bacteria as waste are known as volatile sulfur compounds (VSC’s). Other causes include “fruity” breath that arises in those with uncontrolled diabetes, respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, tooth decay and gum disease.

Proper Diagnosis and Treatment

When you visit our dental office for help with bad breath, our dentist will perform a thorough evaluation of your oral cavity. It includes an inspection of your teeth and gums, salivary glands and tongue. Your medical history will be reviewed, including any medications that might leave you with dry mouth. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, leads to bad breath from the reduction of saliva flow – a vital function when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy.

Other causes of chronic halitosis might involve dietary habits like consuming garlic or onions, drinking coffee or alcohol, practicing intermittent fasting, or adhering to low-carb or ketogenic diets, which leaves you with bad breath. Unhealthy lifestyle habits, like smoking or chewing tobacco, also leave your breath smelling unpleasant.

Improve Your Breath and Boost Your Confidence

– Start by stepping up your daily oral hygiene game. Brush and floss at least twice a day for two minutes, and don’t skip cleaning your tongue! Use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clean the surface of your tongue. An antibacterial toothpaste and mouthwash can also help, and our dentist is happy to recommend the best one for your needs.

– Prevent dry mouth by staying hydrated. Drink drinking plenty of water to maintain healthy saliva levels and even chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production.

– Rinse your mouth after eating to flush away oral debris and prevent food particles from lingering.

– Eat a nutritious diet and stick with healthy snacks like apples, celery and carrots, which scrub the teeth and promote saliva flow.

Address Health Issues or Medical Conditions

Beyond your daily care, you’ll need to address any health issues you might have. Our dentist can determine whether you have oral infections stemming from tooth decay, gum inflammation (gum or periodontal disease) or poorly fitting dentures.

Seeing your primary physician will allow you to address other medical conditions such as respiratory tract infections in the sinuses, throat or lungs. Other conditions could include liver or kidney disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, diabetes, etc.

Now Is the Time!

When it comes to your oral health, taking good care of your mouth and addressing lingering health issues can effectively improve both! The New Year is a good time to renew your resolve to better care for your smile and your body by addressing bad breath issues. This can boost your self-confidence in social interactions, including your co-workers, family and friends!

If you need help alleviating your chronic bad breath, please reach out to our dental practice and schedule a visit with our dentist. Regular dental visits can detect problems early and allow us to remove hardened plaque leading to halitosis. Let us help you identify the cause of your bad breath and implement effective solutions for a healthier smile!

Safeguard Your Mouth This Winter by Limiting Cavity-Causing Sugar, Eating Healthy and Wearing an Athletic Guard

Winter is here and if you are exposed to the harsher weather, you could find yourself experiencing more cold and canker sores, chapped lips and dry mouth from the colder, drier conditions of the season. The good news is, there are steps you can take to protect your mouth, teeth, and gums during this time.

1. Cold and Canker Sore Protection

When your smile is exposed to the winter sun you can find yourself with cold sore breakouts. Stress is another trigger for mouth sores, so all the holiday shopping, decorating, baking, entertaining, and extra socializing can bring on stress. Mouth sores can show up as red, fluid-filled blisters on the mouth and lips, or as ulcers on your cheeks, lips, gums, tongue, the bottom of your mouth, or soft palate, and even be accompanied by pain.

Getting plenty of sleep and eating a nutrient-rich diet with vitamins and minerals can build up your immune system. This is important as a weakened immune system are more vulnerable to viral infection.

Canker sores can also arise because of overindulgence in wintery treats if the food is high in acid (hello hot cider and spicy treats)! These are generally small and painful ulcers in the mouth that look red, white, or yellow.

Tip: Treat oral sores and help speed up healing by gargling with salt water and applying a paste of baking soda and water to the ulcer. Over-the-counter medications can help soothe any pain.

2. Limiting Sweets

Another way your smile takes a hit in the winter is from all the excess sugar consumed during the holidays, like hot cocoa and sugary treats. Be mindful of how much sugar you expose your pearly whites to on a daily basis. It doesn’t just feed your sweet tooth but also feeds cavity-causing oral bacteria!

We recommend limiting your consumption of these sugary treats:

– Holiday candy: Candy canes, peppermint bark, chocolate, fudge, truffles

– Chewy, sticky candy: Caramel, jellybeans, divinity, toffee

– Dried fruit: Trail mix, apricots, figs, raisins and prunes

– Alcohol: A double whammy, alcohol is high in sugar and dries out your mouth

Notice we’re not saying to avoid sugar altogether, just limit your consumption. When you do indulge, take a moment to rinse your mouth well with water or brush your teeth to clear any sugary residue.

Tip: Hydration provides a healthier oral environment, so drink plenty of water! Since winter is cold-and-flu season, stick to sugar-free cold/fever medicines and sugar-free cough drops and lozenges for your throat. Your mouth will thank you!

3. Oral Protection During Sports

Protecting your smile from injury is a big deal when you participate in sports that can result in cracked, broken or knocked-out teeth, lacerated oral tissues or even jaw injury. The best protection for teeth and gums and to prevent oral injury is wearing an athletic guard (and a helmet) during sporting activities.

Along with winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and ice skating which can lead to mouth, head and jaw injuries,, an athletic guard can safeguard your smile when you engage in the following:

– Biking
– Skateboarding
– Rollerblading
– Football
– Hockey
– Boxing
– Basketball
– Volleyball
– Baseball
– Softball
– Martial arts
– Lacrosse
– Wrestling

Tip: The main reason people forgo wearing mouth guards is that they can be uncomfortable, and that is often true for the stock and bite-and-boil or over-the-counter versions. However, a customized athletic guard from the dentist can solve that problem as it will be made to fit comfortably in the mouth while letting you breathe with ease.

Winter is a fun-filled time of year, but it can also bring elements that harm your teeth and gums. Call our team if you have any questions or concerns about protecting your smile. Take extra care of your mouth this season and ring in the New Year with a beautiful smile all-year-round!

Celebrate Healthy Teeth and Gums With Healthy Foods and Drinks

Upcoming holidays are around the corner, and you’re probably already thinking of all the foodie goodness coming your way. November is Good Nutrition Month, so you might want to consider adding healthy options to your meals to maintain good oral and general health and wellbeing. The goal of our dental practice is to help you keep your teeth healthy, strong and bright!

Nutritionally-Rich Foods

A healthy smile starts with eating a balanced diet to protect teeth and gums. Not only do healthy teeth allow you to chew (and digest) the nutritious foods that your body needs, but if your diet is poor, your mouth’s resistance to infection is lowered. Mouth-healthy foods include fresh fruits, leafy greens, vegetables and lean meat and dairy, all giving you the nutrients you need to thrive.

Sugar Attacks

Modern diets can’t seem to get away from sugar because manufacturers add it to nearly everything. If you read the packaging on processed foods, it’s often added for flavor and as a preservative. The problem is sugar feeds the oral bacteria, which then attacks tooth enamel and creates harmful plaque and tartar.

If you love soda, you should know that it is one of the biggest “bad guys” when it comes to sugar (and acid). Sucrose is a major culprit in tooth decay, so regular consumption of soda, candy, cakes, pies and cookies are top tooth hazards. Even dried fruits harm tooth enamel since they are high in sugar and often sticky, so they cling to enamel. Sugar is also derived from starches like bread, chips, cereals, and pretzels, leading to tooth decay when consumed regularly.

Sticking to fresh fruits like raw apples can safely satisfy sweet cravings and protect your pearly whites. Raw fruits require lots of chewing, which stimulates saliva production that lowers oral acidity, rinses away food particles, and diminishes cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.

Acid Attacks

Permanent damage to teeth and gums also arises from acidic foods and drinks as they erode precious tooth enamel, and unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to begin the erosion process.

Highly acidic liquids:

– Citrus juice (lemon, grapefruit, lime, orange)
– Fruit juices (apple, grape, cranberry)
– Wine
– Soda
– Tonic water
– Iced tea
– Sports drinks

Highly acidic foods:

– Fruits (such as pineapple, berries, oranges and lemons)
– Tomatoes
– Pickles (such as cucumbers, artichokes, beets and sauerkraut)

Protect your teeth from an acid attack by waiting half an hour after eating or drinking before brushing your teeth. You can rinse food particles and oral debris out of your mouth after consuming these items by swishing with plain water for 30 seconds. When you do brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently at a 45-degree angle.

Oral Care Tips

– When you are away from home and can’t brush, try chewing sugarless gum. The act of chewing stimulates saliva production and flushes away food particles while lowering your oral acids.

– Avoid dry mouth (insufficient saliva production), which increases your risk of tooth decay. Stay well hydrated, and be sure to brush your teeth before bedtime. Saliva production slows down while you sleep, so don’t skip your nightly brushing routine!

– Don’t skip your biannual dental checkups. These are crucial to a healthy smile as we remove hardened dental plaque and check teeth and gums for potential problems.

This November, we hope you enjoy the sweetness of being with loved ones, consuming tasty, healthy foods and beverages and remember all the things you are thankful for! We are here to help you take good care of your teeth and gums so you can be grateful for your healthy smile and body!

October is National Dental Hygiene Month: Brushing, Flossing and More!

Happy October, everyone! It’s one of the spookiest seasons of the year, and one of the scariest things we can think of is having problems with our teeth and gums. Since October is National Dental Hygiene Month, we want to promote a healthy mouth for everyone by acknowledging the importance of your daily hygiene efforts. Healthy teeth and gums are the foundation of a healthy, beautiful smile!


The mouth is full of living bacteria, some of which feed and thrive on carbohydrates and sugary drinks. These can release acids mixed with saliva and food particles to create a sticky bacterial film (plaque). As plaque builds up, it attacks and weakens tooth enamel, working its way through the softer dentin and tooth pulp below it to create decay and cavities.

Teeth with extensive decay often require a root canal treatment to save the tooth from the severe infection that has taken root. A root canal removes the bad bacteria and dead tissue that might otherwise require extracting the tooth.

Signs You Might Need a Root Canal

– Tooth pain or pain when chewing
– Sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks
– Sensitive gums
– Gum infection
– Darkened or chipped teeth
– Swollen lymph nodes
– Oral trauma

What You Can Do

Did you know that the first known bristle toothbrush was invented in China in 1948? Unlike the smooth nylon-bristled brushes we use today, the original toothbrush used boar hairs attached to bamboo or bone handles. We don’t know about you, but we’re grateful for today’s toothbrushes!

To prevent damaged teeth, you’ll want to start by protecting your mouth from plaque. For example, drinks like soda, fruit juices, sports drinks, carbonated water and other acidic and sweetened beverages are pretty much a lifeline for oral bacteria that attach your teeth. To lessen plaque, limit these beverages, and when you drink them, use a straw to reduce contact on tooth enamel. Better choices include water, milk, low-sugar vegetable juice, and unsweetened green and black tea.

This year’s National Dental Hygiene Awareness Month focuses on four habits you need to practice daily:


Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session with a soft-bristled toothbrush (no boars hair!). You want to gently clean them without harming the enamel or soft gum tissues. Make sure the head and shape of the brush fit comfortable in your mouth so you can get to the back areas to remove bacteria and food particles. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Using short strokes, move your toothbrush back and forth to clean all tooth surfaces – outside, inside and the top of the molars – where the food is chewed. Make sure to clean those grooves and crevices. Use up-and-down-strokes to clean the inside of your front teeth.

Tip: Don’t forget to brush your tongue to get rid of plaque and freshen your breath.


Clean between your teeth once a day using a flossing tool of choice (one that makes you want to floss every day) to get rid of dental plaque your toothbrush can’t reach. Plaque buildup will cause it to harden into tartar or calculus, which has to be removed by a dental hygienist using special tools.


Some areas of the mouth can’t get rid of plaque by brushing and flossing alone. Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash daily destroys bacteria to prevent tooth decay and gum disease (infection of the oral tissue) from gaining hold. Your dentist can recommend a non-alcoholic antimicrobial rinse that is right for your needs.


Speaking of dry mouth, did you know that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after you eat lessens the chances of tooth decay? That’s because chewing stimulates saliva glands to promote healthy saliva flow. Your saliva plays a vital role by rinsing away food particles and bacterial debris and neutralizes the acids from oral bacteria.

This month is a good time to toss out your old worn-out toothbrush and find a flossing method you will enjoy using every day. You’ll also want to thank your dental hygienist the next time you see them for all their efforts to make your smile the best it can be!

What is considered a dental emergency?

Calling the dentist in an emergency can be stressful, and it is important to know when to call our office. At Smile Design, we offer same day or next day appointments to address any emergency situations for our patients.
It is important to know the signs or symptoms that may tell you that you need to contact us. Any pain or discomfort that is dismissed or not addressed can make a bad situation worse, and additional problems can arise.
The quicker you make an appointment in our office, the faster we can help you recover and prevent future issues.
Dental emergencies include any problems that may require immediate attention. Some examples include saving a tooth, infections, and alleviating pain. Infections can be life-threatening and should be addressed right away.

Signs or symptoms of a dental emergency:

  • Abscess or infection
  • Bleeding or irritated gums
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Any tooth pain that is persistent and does not go away
  • Mouth or lip sores that will not go away
  • Jaw pain, clicking, or popping
  • Change in tooth color, or spots that have formed on the tooth’s surface
  • Loose teeth

If you experience any of the above symptoms, please do not hesitate to call our office. Any pain or trauma is a good reason to call so we can evaluate the issue. Our team at Smile Design is highly trained to handle any dental emergency. We are happy to assist our patients in any way we can.
Call Smile Design today to schedule your appointment, and let us help get you.