Monday, December 29, 2014

Is it ok to skip brushing your teeth once in a while?

I don't really have to brush my teeth twice a day, every I?

Well, we certainly can't control how often our patients actually brush and floss their teeth; however, we can definitely tell them that skipping these tasks (even for a day or two) can have some pretty disgusting results!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tips on Remembering to Floss Your Teeth

Believe it or not, your dentist isn't trying to annoy you when he or she gets on your case about not flossing your teeth. Flossing is one of the best, easiest and cheapest things they can do to maintain their oral health, yet it's one of those things that very few people actually do on a habitual basis.

Monday, December 1, 2014

3 Most Common Dental Problems for Seniors

With age comes wisdom, as the saying goes, but it also comes with a few less-than-appealing characteristics. As we grow older, our bodies generally become weaker and therefore more susceptible to health and physiological problems, including dental health issues. In this post, we'll go over a few of the most common dental health problems for senior citizens and tips for reducing the risk of developing them.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

How Important is Fluoride to Dental Health?

Fluoride and its effects have been a subject of some debate recently. Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have stated that fluoride is a safe and effective substance for preventing tooth decay, however some critics and less-informed members of the general public are fearful that it can cause harmful side effects or serious illness. In this post, we'll go over the basics of fluoride, its benefits and associated risks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pregnancy and Dental Care

A recent article from The Huffington Post reported that certain groups of pregnant women in the U.S. are not receiving appropriate dental care. This is alarming to say the least, since dental care is especially important during pregnancy. Furthermore, since we generally tend to presume that the United States has one of the best dental care establishments in the world, it's confusing as to why this particular demographic isn't getting the care they need.

According to the study, which pulled data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, more pregnant women over age 35 (86 percent) said their teeth were in good condition, compared to just 57 percent of pregnant women younger than 24. Researchers also found that young pregnant women were less likely than their peers who were not pregnant to report going to the dentist over the past year.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Oil Pulling - Is it really good for your dental health?

If you've been paying attention to popular media, you'll probably recall the oil pulling craze that everyone was talking about earlier this year. As with most social media topics, oil pulling was in the forefront of people's news feeds and even the subject of debate among some health professionals, but the hype has already died down quite a bit. Still, there are those who swear by it and continue to claim that this ancient holistic method works wonders, aiding in everything from teeth whitening to allergy relief.

But is oil pulling really all it's cracked up to be? While we can't necessarily discount the potential benefits of oil pulling, as dental professionals we can say that this practice is NOT a substitute for the traditional dental hygiene methods recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). These methods include daily brushing and flossing as well as regular yearly dental cleanings, oral cancer screenings and using ADA-accepted products.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dental Hygeine Tips for Candy Season

With the passing of summer, the fall season brings cooler weather, shorter days and an abundance of CANDY! You might have noticed the stores are already pushing their supplies of Halloween treats to the forefront of the aisles and people are sharing their fall-inspired dessert recipes left and right. From caramel apples to pumpkin spice lattes, to chocolate candy and all the other sugar-laden goodies we're bombarded with this season, it's important to remember a few simple but critical things about taking care of our dental health.

In this post, we'll go over a few tips for everyone with a sweet tooth. Whether you're concerned about your child's teeth or your own, these reminders should help you maintain your healthy and beautiful smile!

Friday, September 5, 2014

If You Have White Spots on Your Gums…

In the last 30 years, major advancements have been made in the field of dentistry that allow for the early detection of a number of diseases and conditions. Thanks to these forms of early detection, millions of patients have been saved from life-threatening illnesses that were first discovered during a routine dental exam

One alarming development patients often report is the occurrence of white spots on the gums. Although it is certainly no cause for immediate alarm, your dentist should definitely check out any abnormality or discoloration. Several scenarios are typical, including, friction from dental appliances, ill-fitting dentures, a toothbrush that is too firm, or irritation caused by some foods or beverages-especially alcohol. The most serious indication when white spots develop on the gums is gum cancer. Since an exam is necessary for an accurate diagnosis, an oral exam should be scheduled immediately.

The medical term for white spots on the gums is "leukoplakia". The spots may appear on the gums, inner cheeks, and tongue. Sometimes, they may only be visible through an oral exam. This is another reason why annual checkups are so important!

Although the immediate cause of this condition is unknown, some form of irritation, such as those already mentioned usually brings it on. Pipe smoking seems to be a big risk factor. Older adults are also more prone to developing leukoplakia.

The good news is that such white spots on the gums are usually harmless and go away after a few days or weeks. If they are present, avoid alcohol and stop all tobacco use, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco. If you think dental work is irritating your gums or mouth, or if the white spots on your gums are especially painful or prevent you from eating, talking, or wearing your dental appliances, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately.

Even though many dental health websites suggest waiting and watching the condition in hopes that it will go away on its own for several days to two weeks maximum-it is best to play it safe and schedule an appointment for a thorough oral exam. Of course we encourage you to make regular appointments for cleanings and exams by calling Dr. Simon Melcher and his experienced team: 919-782-0548.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

How to Have Strong and Healthy Teeth at Any Age

Although a glistening white smile is thought to be an indicator of healthy teeth, it's not exactly true. In fact, over zealous whitening techniques can weaken tooth enamel and place one's teeth in jeopardy. Regular brushing and flossing certainly contribute towards making teeth strong. So, why should you want your teeth to be strong instead of simply gleaming white and cavity-free? Strong teeth are more resistant to decay and cracks that may occur as we age. Aside from brushing and flossing, there are other ways to make your teeth heavy weight champions when it comes to strength:
  • A good multi-vitamin that is fortified with minerals and other essential nutrients helps to keep the teeth safe from damage and makes them stronger.
  • Vitamin C helps strengthen gums and raises one's resistance to fight off some illnesses. Fruits like kiwis, oranges, grapefruit and strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C because they can prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing and contributing to gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums.
  • Snacking on seeds is an easy way to fortify the strength of the teeth. Seeds are high in healthy fats, which help the body resist harmful bacteria. There are also nutrients and minerals in seeds that help to reinforce tooth enamel, make them stronger and thereby more impervious to cavities. Try incorporating pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds into your family's diet. Eat them out of hand or add them to baked goods and salads.
  • Eating raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables help keep the teeth clean and make them stronger. They are a much better choice than overly processed sugary or salty food options. Designate a snack basket or area of the fridge and stock up on apples, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, and radishes. Your teeth will thank you!
  • Dairy products have been recognized as a pro-dental health food source for ages. Low-fat yogurt, cheeses, and milk are excellent choices when it comes to foods that make the teeth stronger. These dairy products raise the pH levels in the mouth and reduce the effect of the acids produced by dental plaque. In turn, the raised pH prevents tooth decay. Dairy products are also rich in calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients adhere to the tooth enamel and act as a defense against acids.
    When choosing dairy products, read the labels, especially on yogurt brands to make sure they are not loaded with sugar. One way to beat sugar at its game is to add fresh or dried fruits, seeds and nuts to plain yogurt. Plain, Greek yogurt topped with grated apples or pears, toasted pecans or walnuts, with a dash of cinnamon is surprisingly delicious!
  • Many people are always shocked to hear that chewing some brands of sugarless gum is actually good for the teeth! It turns out that the right chewing gum is very efficient in polishing tooth surface and removing food debris from the crevices. It also increases saliva production, which acts as an anti-bacterial agent. Only buy the brands with the official American Dental Association's symbol of approval.
  • Drinking plenty of water and making H2O the "go-to" beverage is a no-brainer as a pro-dental health strategy. In addition to washing away food particles, establishing the water drinking habit immediately prevents the consumption of soft drinks, which have zero benefits, especially for the teeth! The sugars and acids in soda are direct causes in the buildup of plaque, cavities, and enamel breakdown. Furthermore, even the sugarless varieties wreak havoc because of their high acidity and artificial ingredients.
Please allow us to guide you in the right direction towards optimal dental health. Our team of dental professionals is skilled and experienced in the latest strategies and treatments for improving the dental health and hygiene of our clients. Simply call 919-782-0548 to schedule an appointment.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School Means Back to Sports - Got That Mouthguard?

Back to school time goes hand-in-hand with millions of our nation's kids participating in sports that place their teeth and gums in the danger zone. As you collect school supplies, book bags, lunchboxes, clothing, and sports gear, make sure to put one essential item on your list: a mouth guard. It is an inexpensive little accessory that can save a priceless amount of pain and expense, should an accident happen. This school year alone, thousands of young athletes will experience injuries to their teeth, gums, cheeks, lips, and tongues that a properly fitted mouth guard could have prevented. 

If you think that only the kids who play contact sports such as boxing, football or lacrosse should wear a mouth guard, think again.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that participants in many non-contact sports also wear a mouth guard.  Here is a partial list of sporting activities that the ADA feels should encourage the use of mouth guards:
Equestrian events
Field hockey
Ice hockey
Inline skating
Martial arts
Water polo

An effective mouth guard should have several features: it should be durable, resilient, and comfortable. Mouth guards should also be easy to clean and not restrict the athlete's speech or breathing. There are three different types of mouth guards:
  1. Ready-made
  2. Boil and Bite-which when heated, conform to the user's mouth
  3. Mouth guards custom-made by a dentist
To decide which type of mouth guard is best, it's best to discuss the matter with your dentist. Regardless of which type you choose, it should always be rinsed after each use with antiseptic mouth rinse before and stored in a firm container that is perforated to allow air circulation. Be sure to inspect the mouth guard regularly for wear and tear, and replace it to ensure optimal protection.

Protecting a young athlete's mouth provides piece of mind, allows them to concentrate on the activity and gives everyone something to smile about!

Simply call 919-782-0548 to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School Already? Give Your Kids Something to Smile About!

As another summer comes to a close, give your kids a reason to smile. Along with making a shopping list for supplies, new backpacks, lunch boxes and school clothes, include a dental checklist as well. With a new school year ahead, give your youngster the tools for a successful and healthy start. Just as establishing an organized routine goes hand in hand with doing well in school, the same holds true for achieving excellent dental health.  

Just follow this simple checklist that will help create positive dental health practices:
  • Schedule routine dental checkups for your children. Use a calendar to stay on top of everyone's appointments. Regular cleanings help dental professionals detect any problems early before they get out of control. Annual checkups are the best way to monitor the growth and overall condition of a young person's teeth and gums. In addition to cleaning and polishing the teeth, dental visits are necessary to ensure that all is well with the jaw, tongue, and oral tissue.
  • Oftentimes, attention to dental care details slacks off during the lazy days of summer. Reinforce the importance of brushing after meals and sugary snacks. Also, make sure that your kids know how to floss properly.
  • Want your youngsters to get an A+ after their next visit to the dentist? Set them up for success by providing them with an arsenal of tools to fight tooth decay and maintain a dazzling, healthy smile. Choose products they will be enthusiastic about using such as toothpaste flavors they like, a new toothbrush, colorful floss pics, and their own bottle of anti-cavity rinse. Do not assume that just because you like spearmint gum and floss that it is your child's first choice. They will be more likely to reach for products they enjoy using.
  • Clarify that it can only be enjoyed after school and then buy some gum. Yes! That's correct-numerous clinical studies have revealed that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following a meal is effective in preventing tooth decay. Purchase the sugarless brands that have received the ADA's Seal of Approval. Non-cavity causing sweeteners such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol sweeten them. Using chewing gum can be an added bonus to your family's dental health regime because when sugarless gum is chewed, the flow of saliva increases which in turn helps wash away food particles. Extra saliva also neutralizes acids made by the mouth's naturally occurring bacteria which creates disease-fighting ingredients in the mouth.
  • Explain that correct and frequent brushing is vital to prevent cavities, healthy gums, plaque buildup and bad breath. Make things fun with several packets of "disclosing tablets." They are made from harmless vegetable dye and detect spots that children missed when brushing. They are a great way for kids to see what happens when they forget to brush the right way!
  • Since the ADA recommends brushing for a full 2-minute period, find a fun to use timer to help the little ones keep from rushing the process of brushing their teeth.
  • Stock up on healthy snack and lunch box options. Fresh fruits, whole grain crackers and cookies, popcorn, nuts, and cheeses are the way to go. Invest in a few BPA-free water bottles and promote water as the beverage of choice.
Remember, just like good study habits, practice makes perfect when it comes to achieving excellent dental health! If you have any questions, you can reach us at 919-782-0548 or visit our website at

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Tips for Dental Safety

Summer time can be risky for one’s dental health. Lots of folks have more time for leisure sports or try new ones while on vacation. There is also the temptation to go overboard with warm weather favorites like ice cream, popsicles, sports and soft drinks. With those points in mind, here’s a quick checklist for keeping your dental health in tact this summer.

Mouth guards should be a requirement for any contact sport including lacrosse, soccer, football, and although they are not contact sports-baseball, softball, rollerblading and skateboarding. An inexpensive mouthguard can protect your teeth, gums and lips from disaster.

Take the necessary precautions when it comes to water sports. Surfboards and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards can do quite a bit of damage when they come in contact with your mouth. If you are just beginning these sports, take a few lessons and learn how to protect yourself from dental injuries.

Avid swimmers should be aware that chlorinated pool water has other chemicals that can hurt the teeth. According to the ADA, “Pool water has higher pH than saliva due to the cleaning chemicals. As a result, salivary proteins break down quickly and form organic deposits on the teeth.”  Hard, brown deposits form which are known as “swimmers’ calculus.” They usually appear on the front teeth and can cause yellow or brown discoloration. The good news is that a visit to your dentist for a thorough cleaning should clear up the problem!

Scuba divers need to be aware that the pressure encountered on deep dives, can cause jaw joint pain, gum tissue problems, or what’s known as “tooth squeeze,”-pain in the center of the tooth. Another issue is “diver’s mouth syndrome” (barodontalgia), which is caused by the air pressure as well as divers biting too hard on their scuba air regulators. Anyone with a large cavity, a temporary filling, gum disease, periodontal abscess, or incomplete root canal therapy, is likely to experience pain from the added pressure. Before making plans to scuba dive this summer, it would be a good idea to have an oral exam first.

Make water your “go-to” beverage. Sports drinks and of course soda are loaded with a variety of ingredients that are guaranteed to wreak havoc on your dental health.

Also make smart snack choices by reaching for fresh, crunchy fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy products, wholesome nuts, and wholegrain crackers, pretzels, and popcorn-(unless you have braces, that is.)

If accidents do happen be sure to give us a call right away. We are here to help with injuries to the mouth and teeth and any other issues that may come up during the summer months. You can reach us at 919-782-0548.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer Time is Snack Time - What’s Your Game Plan?

School’s out and millions of Americans are busy making plans for road trips, vacations and relaxation. Busy parents are likely trying to figure out how to streamline their responsibilities and free up more time for fun. Before heading to the warehouse club or super market to stock up on “grab and go” snacks for the kids, rethink that shopping list!

Sure, it’s nice to have lots of tempting things on hand during the summer. Keeping a ready supply of favorites like ice cream, popsicles, cookies, and soda will surely make your house a popular neighborhood stop. Plus-it’s super convenient to have packaged snack foods in the car for those long road trips. For working parents, who frequently get the call, “There’s nothing to eat in this house!”-routinely stocking up the fridge, freezer, and pantry with kid-friendly options is a life-saver.

Just make sure that the foods you are offering will not sabotage your children’s dental health. It only takes a little extra planning to come up with tempting choices. With inspiration from the folks at “Eat This-Not That” here is a list of typical snack choices and a better option:

Popsicles vs. Homemade Ice Pops
Make your own with a combination of real fruit juice and pureed fresh fruit. In season fresh fruit allows you to make colorful, hard to resist versions, like watermelon lime, strawberry banana, mango peach, or blueberry lemon-YUM!  Because so much of the fresh fruit choices are quite sweet enough on their own, there is usually no need to add sugar. For a creamsicle twist, mix ½ to 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk or 8 ounce carton of vanilla Greek yogurt into the puree.

Canned Soda vs. DIY
Isn’t reading the long list of unpronounceable ingredients on the average soda can enough of a wake up call? Walk away from these products that are loaded with sugar, chemicals, artificial flavors and colors. Instead of canned soda, make your own with seltzer water. Just combine a ½ cup fruit juice and ½ can of seltzer with a splash of lemon or lime for one of the healthiest and most refreshing beverages you’ll have all summer!

Chocolate Chip Cookies vs. Nut Butter Rice Cake with Chocolate Chips
Just as it sounds-spread a little peanut or almond butter on a rice cake and sprinkle on a few chocolate chips. This swap also brings fiber and protein to the table. Yes-chocolate chips contain sugar, however, not nearly as much as cookie dough.

Fruit Roll-Ups vs. Dried Fruit or Tortilla All-Fruit Pinwheels
Most fruit roll-ups have more corn syrup and artificial flavoring and colors than fruit. Invest in dried natural fruits instead, such as mango slices or apples. For a variation on the same theme, spread all-fruit, low sugar jam onto a 8-inch flour tortilla-roll and cut into pinwheels. These may also be chilled and put on skewers for easy eating.

High-Sugar Mainstays (yogurt and granola bars) vs. Smarter Alternatives
For those that think yogurt and granola bars are super healthy choices-read those labels. Some of the best-selling brands of yogurt have as much sugar as two scoops of ice cream.

The same is true for granola bars-many brands have as much sugar as a candy bar. For yogurt and granola bars, choose those that have 9 grams of sugar or less per serving.

A few more ideas:

  • Water is the beverage of choice-make it fun with a few new BPA-free water bottles to keep filled and chilled in the fridge
  • Fruit on a stick or ready made fruit cups
  • Steamed edamame (in the shell)-it’s portable and can be eaten hot or cold-great high protein snack that is very similar to boiled peanuts
  • Hummus with whole grain bread sticks or veggies
  • Veggie cups and dip-Ranch dressing, peanut butter, or salsa
  • Nuts-healthy and wholesome
  • Popcorn-air-popped or bagged low calorie choices, like, “Skinny Pop”

Remember that sugary foods are problematic because of the way they bond with bacteria in the mouth to produce acids that erode the enamel and lead to decay. Look for ways to avoid sugar filled foods and when baking or cooking, try adding less than what is called for. Help prevent cavities by ensuring that all family members brush every morning and evening and in between meals with a fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily! Also discuss how eating crisp fruits and vegetables will help keep everyone’s teeth clean and healthy.

Even though it’s finally summertime, remember to visit your dentist every six months for a checkup (Call 919-782-0548 to schedule!) and help with removing plaque and calculus that you may have missed before cavities can develop.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Link Between Oral Health and Overall Health

If the eyes are the windows to our soul, then our mouths are the portals to our physical well-being. Are you aware that your oral health can impact the rest of your body? There is a very intimate connection between what goes on in your mouth and its “trickle-down” effect.

In addition to killing germs and keeping plaque, tartar, bad breath, and bacteria at bay, proper dental care impacts other bodily systems as well. Of course brushing and flossing help keep the teeth and gums healthy, however, such positive practices also boost your overall health. For example, the oral bacteria and inflammation that accompany gum diseases, such as periodontitis, may spread into the circulatory system. There are also diseases that can put a patient’s oral health in jeopardy, such as Diabetes and HIV. Here is a look at a few conditions where oral health can both be impacted or play a significant role:

Patients have a reduced resistance to fight infection, which puts them at risk for gum disease. In fact, gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people with diabetes. The research also shows that individuals with gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels.

Unfortunately it is quite common for these patients to have oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions.

This condition causes bones to become weak and brittle and may contribute to periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.

Alzheimer's disease
It has been revealed that tooth loss before age 35 could be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

An infection of the inner lining of the heart, Endocarditis usually occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of the body, such as the mouth, spread throughout the bloodstream and attach to damaged areas around the heart.

Cardiovascular disease
Some research suggests that heart disease; clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.

Pregnancy and birth
Did you know that Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight?

These are more good reasons that you should protect your oral health every day by:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and preferably after every meal
  • Flossing daily
  • Eating a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Making water your beverage of choice
  • Using a soft bristle toothbrush, Fluoride toothpaste and replacing your toothbrush every 3 months
  • Scheduling regular visits to the dentist (Call 919-782-0548 to schedule!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Surprise! These 5 Foods Can Spell Trouble for Dental Health

In the quest towards better overall health and especially dental health, Americans are reaching for more natural, less processed foods. They may have an abundance of benefits, yet some may pose unexpected risks to the teeth and gums. According to a recent Good Morning America online article, here are five such foods to be aware of:

Citrus Fruits
Although they contain beneficial Vitamin C and collagen, too much citrus fruit can wear down tooth enamel. Eating too many oranges or grapefruit, along with sucking on lemons and limes should be avoided. The acids and naturally occurring sugars can soften and erode tooth enamel. The GMA piece also cited a 2011 study by the British Journal of Nutrition that stated, “Grapefruit juice is nearly as corrosive as Coca-Cola”.

To prevent dental harm from citrus, just drink 8 ounces of water, wait 20 minutes and then brush your teeth. This amount of time should allow the acids and sugars to be safely eliminated.

Whole Almonds
Yes-nuts are a wonderful snack-high in vitamin E and a good source of fiber and protein. However, where teeth are concerned, they can spell trouble for some patients. Sometimes, snacking on hard nuts can cause already compromised teeth to crack.

Instead of munching on whole almonds, try slivered almonds instead. Pistachios, pecans and cashews are also good choices, and not quite so tough. Of course-NEVER attempt to crack unshelled nuts of any type with your teeth! That would be a recipe for disaster.

Low calorie/low fat, and yes a nice way to perk up a sandwich or end a meal, but be careful. The acid from the vinegar and sugar used in the pickling process can take sabotage vital minerals and contribute to the start of decay within the teeth.

Counteract the questionable effects of pickled foods by following them with a bite of cheese. The calcium helps to neutralize the vinegar that make pickles-pickles in the first place. Another quick fix is to chew a gum that contains xylitol. The substance reduces the acid and encourages the flow of saliva, which helps to naturally rinse out the mouth.

Dried Fruit
This nature’s candy certainly beats those processed, sugar laden choices. However, the dehydration process leaves the fruit sticky and apt to adhere to the teeth. Also, since the fruit has been dried, the natural sugars are more concentrated.

After enjoying that little box of raisins or baggie of dried mangoes, make a point to swish with water and then brush your teeth within 20 minutes. This should help keep those sticky deposits from trapping bacteria and wreaking havoc in your mouth!

Since the 15th century, folks worldwide have enjoyed this rich, anti-oxidant filled beverage. It may go down easily, but not without consequences. Coffee along with tea, is a huge culprit when it comes to staining our pearly whites. It may be a worthwhile trade-off for some, however, stained teeth are magnets for bacteria!

Avoid this cycle by cutting back on your coffee intake and sipping your java through a straw. Rinsing and brushing immediately after consumption will also be a great deterrent for both decay and discoloration.

Keep your teeth looking and feeling their best with regular cleanings. Overdue? Give us a call at 919-782-0548 to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Flossing 101

Although we all know that daily flossing should be part of our regular dental hygiene regime, many of us treat it like an afterthought: “Oh, yeah, it’s been a few days since I’ve flossed, better get after it” or “Now, where did I put that new pack of floss?…oh dear, no time, I’ll find it tomorrow.”

According to the American Dental Association, it is necessary to floss at least once a day to maintain optimal oral health. Flossing simply reaches particles of food that settle between the teeth that can be too difficult to reach with normal brushing. When tiny food particles remain between the teeth and nestle into the gum line, plaque, tartar, cavities, and bad breath are inevitable! Did you know that a toothbrush can only effectively clean about 75% of each tooth’s surface? Without flossing, that’s like not brushing the fractional equivalent of 8 entire teeth! Avoid a dental health disaster by following these guidelines for better flossing:

Tools-Waxed or unwaxed floss, plastic flossers or dental picks-it is just a matter of personal preference. Some tools make flossing easier for those who may have trouble using traditional floss, such as small children and older adults. Using any type of floss is certainly better than not flossing at all. However, waxed floss may have more of an edge, due to some that are coated with essential oils and enzymes. Those extras aid in the removal of plaque and food debris.

Individuals with large spaces between the teeth tend to have great results with what’s known as “super floss”. It is specially made to stretch and expand in larger spaces and contract to fit through smaller spaces. Those with dental work, such as braces, find that floss threaders make the job much easier.

Another important tool for flossing is a timer or even a watch-that’s because failing to set aside a little time each day for flossing is a common problem!

The Right Way to Floss-Rushing this important activity and just zipping the floss though a couple of teeth is pointless. If you are not sure of the technique, consult  your dental hygienist for a demonstration. In the meantime, here are the basics:

  • Use a length of floss that is 18 to 24 inches long
  • Wrap the ends gently around each index finger
  • Using the thumb and index finger on each hand, grasp the floss and guide it between each tooth-if that is uncomfortable or difficult, use your middle finger and thumb instead

The Nitty Gritty-Here are some pointers to make flossing even more effective:

Consider the way your teeth are set into your gums-they are side by side in rows and each tooth has 2 sides that can not be accessed with a toothbrush. That’s why you should floss each side of each tooth!

Move the floss up and down the length of each tooth. When you come to the gum line, curve the floss into a “C” shape to reach around the tooth. Be sure to go just under the gum line.

Either rinse the floss as you go or use a fresh section of floss for each tooth. This will prevent the transfer of bacteria and food particles from going tooth to tooth.

Ok, this may sound strange, but every now and then, try sniffing the floss just after you’ve worked it between a tooth. If you notice an unpleasant odor, take it as a clue that something is amiss. It could be that it’s been a while since you flossed, that you missed something before, or it could be a sign of decay. Either way, floss again, rinse, and brush to see if the matter persists. If it does, see your dentist to find out the cause.

Be aware that some teeth, especially those with crowns may be what are known as “food trappers”. Be especially diligent with those and never skip flossing! A great trick for to help get the job done is to tie a knot in the floss.

If you have not been flossing regularly, do not be alarmed if it is slightly painful or if you see a little blood. However, if this persists for more that a week to 10 days, see your dentist to ensure that there are no issues.

It’s easy to make flossing a part of your routine when there’s easy access to floss. Try keeping spare packs of floss or flossing picks in the shower, the car, your briefcase or purse, and gym bag. That way, there will be no excuses!

Having any pain from your teeth or jaw? There's no need to suffer, come see us so we can work on a solution and an end to that pain. Simply call 919-782-0548 to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Spring and Summer-Time to Eat Healthy!

Spring and summer can be busy times for families with kids. Some sports are gearing up, there’s Easter, spring break, and then those lazy, crazy days of summer. Time spent running here and there, plus spending hours in the car is typically the rule and not the exception. This is also a period in which healthy habits may fall by the wayside. Crazy schedules force us to dash here and there and “grab and go” foods become a mainstay.

Of course the problem lies in the fact that most of those “grab and go” choices are not the healthiest. Not only do they sabotage a healthy diet, they can also lead to tooth decay. Resorting to the drive through may be the only choice from time to time. However, it does not have to be! Check out these tips to stay on track with better food choices during the spring and summer:

Make your grab and go options an alternative to sugary, salty processed snack foods. Keep baggies of washed and cut up fruits and veggies in the fridge. We already know that fruit is nature’s candy! Crunchy or salty cravings can be satisfied with individual snack size bags of bite size cheese, whole grain crackers and pretzels, wholesome nuts, seeds, and veggie chips.

Speaking of chips, look into purchasing a small dehydrator. They are relatively inexpensive and considering the cost of kale or apple chips, they pay for themselves several times over. Just think….sweet potato chips with cinnamon, garlic/lemon zucchini chips, pear chips, dried peaches with vanilla, plums, figs…mmmmm!

This is also the time of year when local farmers markets begin to reopen. Make shopping directly from the farmers a family affair. Something magic happens when youngsters have hands on experiences and make the connection that the foods they eat do not actually come just from only the supermarket! And…this is one of the best sources for healthy food choices.

Designate two snack baskets or boxes-one for home and one for the car. Fill them with healthy options so you will always be prepared.

Make water the hands-down beverage of choice. Invest in a few appealing (packaging is everything!) BPA-free water bottles. Keep them chillin in the fridge for the best grab and go thirst quencher around!

Another important "to-do" item for your overall health? Regular visits to the dentist! Give us a call at 919-782-0548 to be sure you are up to date, or to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

True or False? Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Teeth…

Since it most often falls into the “sweets and candy” food group, chocolate is usually considered something to avoid when it comes to choosing healthy snacks. Surprise! Among the three types of chocolate-milk, white, and dark, the dark chocolate choice has a slew of health benefits.

One of the most publicized is the fact that dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. They help the body by eliminating free radicals, which can cause cell damage, in the form of aging and possibly cancer. Along with its anti-oxidant properties, dark chocolate has been proven to increase HDL levels, which are known as “good cholesterol”. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure, improve cognition, plus it’s high in Magnesium, Copper, Potassium, and Iron.

Recent information has revealed that dark chocolate can be good for your teeth and even prevent tooth decay! The key is in choosing chocolate that is truly dark, which will be those containing between 70 and 85% pure cocoa. The magic in the mix is due to the fact that cocoa beans contain tannins, polyphenols and flavonoids, each of which is a type of powerful antioxidant that benefits the mouth and teeth. Here’s how they help:

  • Tannins prevent bacteria from adhering to the teeth, which helps nip cavities in the bud! Tannins are also what give dark chocolate its dark color and bitter taste.
  • Polyphenols work to neutralize the microorganisms linked to bad breath, ward off gum infections and fight tooth decay. 
  • Flavonoids keep harmful dental plaque from gaining a stronghold on tooth enamel, thus, preventing cavities.

Those three heavy hitters mean that dark chocolate has about four times the amount of antioxidants contained in the much praised beverage-green tea. Hmmm-rich dark chocolate or a cup of pale green tea…which would you choose? Even better, the cocoa butter in dark chocolate coats the teeth and once again, fights plaque.

Before indulging, please keep in mind that enjoying dark chocolate should be done in moderation. Just one ounce a day is recommended, which is equal to 6 Hershey’s Dark Kisses. Be aware that the calories, fat, and sugar are still there, so use a little will power and just one ounce a day, please! Of course, brush and rinse thoroughly after all meals and snacks-even those that are good for you!

Time for a cleaning and oral health check-up? Simply call 919-782-0548 to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Not Sure About Fluoridated Water?

Around 60 years ago, cavities and tooth decay were common problems. Thankfully, numerous advances in the field of dentistry have changed things. The use of fluoride has been proven to reduce cavities and help repair very early stages of tooth decay.

When it was discovered how dramatically just a small amount of fluoride could change a person’s smile for the better, communities across the country began supplementing water supplies with the nutrient. It is important to understand that fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in all water sources, including the ocean. As it works with the hydrogen and oxygen found in drinking water, fluoride is effective in preventing and reversing the early signs of tooth decay. It acts by making the tooth structure stronger, which makes the teeth more resistant to the harmful effects from the acids that are found in many foods, including soft drinks, candy, and fruit. When those acids are not removed, they join forces with the bacteria in plaque and weaken dental enamel.

Fluoride acts to repair those teeth that are in danger of decay. It does this through a process called “remineralization” which can stop the decay process in its tracks! Fluoride also performs as a shield or armour by creating a surface on the teeth that makes them resistant to decay.  Of course, using fluoridated toothpaste is effective. However, the combination of fluoridated toothpaste and drinking water is even better!
If you are not sure about your community’s drinking water and the level of fluoride it contains, there are ways to find out. The best bet is to contact the local utilities department or your county health department. This information may also be found online.

The Environmental Protection Agency maintains a website with a map of the U.S. that provides water quality reports. Access it here:

Another helpful site is the Centers for Disease Control’s “My Water’s Fluoride”-see it here:

For those who drink well water, a certified laboratory should test it periodically. Contact your local or state health department for information about where you can have a water sample tested.

If you find out that your water supply is not fluoridated-don’t worry! There are still ways to get the right amount of fluoride for adequate protection. Your dental professional or health care provider should be able to prescribe fluoride supplements in the form of drops, lozenges, or tablets. They are especially geared towards youngsters between the ages of six months to 16 years who do not have access to fluoridated water. This age group is at higher risk for developing tooth decay. Please note that the American Dental Association has stated, “It is important to note that fluoridated water may be consumed from sources other than the home water supply, such as the workplace, school and/or day care, bottled water, filtered water and from processed beverages and foods prepared with fluoridated water. For this reason, dietary fluoride supplements should be prescribed by carefully following the recommended dosage.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?

 For those who are missing one or more teeth, dental implants may be a great alternative to the usual solutions of bridges or dentures. Because implants do not rest on the gum line like removable dentures or require the surrounding teeth to serve as anchor points like bridges, they are considered a long-term answer.

Anyone who is considering dental implants should be aware that certain health conditions might rule them out as an option. The reason is due to the fact that implants are fused to the bone. When the bone is in a weakened state, dental implants are just not always a choice. The conditions that most commonly prevent a patient from having dental implants are the following: uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, smoking, alcoholism, or uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease. Some medications and herbal supplements can also hamper the possibilities for this line of treatment. For these reasons, it is vital to inform your dental professionals about any health issues-past or present, that you have experienced.

According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, "Statistics show that 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay. Furthermore, by age 74, 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth." Missing teeth cause embarrassment, make eating difficult, and can severely impact one's self-confidence. An issue with dentures and bridges is that over time they can cause further bone loss. Another strike against them is that they usually need to be replaced every 7 to 15 years.

That is why, for the ideal candidates, dental implants make a lot of sense! An implant is essentially a crown on a titanium post. The post is fused with the jawbone and is the next best thing to a healthy, permanent tooth. Unlike dentures or bridges, that can potentially slip or make clicking sounds when talking or chewing, dental implants remain firmly in place. Another plus is that they do not decay or cause bone loss.

Our dental implant patients frequently report how wonderful it is to be free of the day-to-day frustrations caused by missing teeth, ill-fitting bridges and dentures. With their self-confidence restored, many have said they truly have, "a new lease on life," which is something we love to hear!

If you would like to learn more about dental implants, dentures, bridges, or just need experienced and professional dental care, please contact the office of Dr. Simon Melcher of Implant and General Dentistry in Raleigh.

From bridges to wisdom teeth, our team of dental professionals is skilled and experienced in the latest strategies and treatments for improving the dental health and hygiene of our clients. Simply call 919-782-0548 to schedule an appointment.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Think Dental Hygiene is Just for Kids?

Many adults regard the practice of brushing and flossing as kids' stuff when, in fact, our teeth can last a lifetime with proper care. As we age, our teeth and gums change and can be affected by a variety of factors, including medications, diet, illness, and injury. Please consider that no matter what your age, daily brushing and flossing is a must. Combine those habits with a healthy diet that's low in sugar, artificial ingredients, and processed foods, and you will have plenty to smile about!

Here are a few reasons why we should always pay proper attention to our dental health:
  • Plaque has a tendency to build up more quickly on the teeth of older adults. Left unchecked, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Always use a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily because cavities and decay that form on the surface of the teeth are more common as we age.
  • Many adults have receding gums, which makes brushing and flossing sometimes painful. When anti-sensitivity toothpastes don't work, it's time to come see us. Sensitivity may be an indication of a more serious condition, such as a cavity or a cracked or fractured tooth.
  • Certain medications or medical conditions can cause individuals to have a lack of saliva, which leads to a condition known as dry mouth. If not treated, this lack of moisture can actually damage the teeth. A visit to Dr. Simon Melcher can help patients discover various methods to restore moisture in the mouth, as well as appropriate treatments or medications to help prevent the problems associated with dry mouth.
  • Several serious disorders can affect one's dental health. Please contact our office if you are facing illnesses such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, because they can each impact your dental well-being.
  • If you have dentures or bridgework, schedule regular check-ups with your dentist to ensure they are doing their job and being maintained correctly.
  • Did you know that anyone over the age of 40 is more at risk for gum disease? Rule it out of your life completely by brushing and flossing regularly, avoiding stress, not smoking, eating healthy foods, and monitoring other serious conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Sticking to those practices can prevent it and even reverse gum disease when it is detected in the early stages.
  • Fun toothbrushes and colorful bottles of cavity fighting dental rinses are not just for kids! Treat yourself to a new toothbrush, minty-waxed floss, and even some sugarless gum to liven up your routine and brighten those pearly whites!
We hope these  reasons for maintaining excellent dental health help motivate you to take good care of your teeth.  Please call Dr. Simon Melcher at Implant & General Dentistry to schedule an appointment today: (919) 782-0548

Friday, March 28, 2014

Toothbrush Care and Replacement

Have you ever stopped to think about what happens to the germs that reside in your mouth when you brush? Of course, proper dental care eliminates food particles and bacteria that cause plaque and tooth decay. However, it is highly likely that some of those tiny bits and pieces are transferred to the very tool you use to get rid of them - your toothbrush! That is why taking extra steps to keep your toothbrush hygienic and replace it when it has passed its prime are extremely important steps on the path to a healthy smile.

Please consider the following tips for taking care of one of your most important tools in the fight against tooth decay:
  • Never, ever, share a toothbrush with another individual-that means between spouses, siblings, and children.
  • After use, take a good look at your toothbrush and rinse it under running water several times. Tiny food particles can become trapped between the bristles and result in a bacteria infested situation-right on your toothbrush!After rinsing, make sure to store toothbrushes, upright so they can air dry. Bacteria and other organisms will grow faster on bristles kept in a closed, damp environment.Never allow the bristles of other toothbrushes to touch one another. Even such light contact can spread germs.
  • Whenever a toilet is flushed and the lid is open, microscopic bacteria can become airborne. To prevent contact with your toothbrush, make sure it is kept at least 6 feet away from the toilet.
  • As an extra precaution, try disinfecting your toothbrush in a strong dental rinse or mouthwash, such as Listerine. You also can purchase an ADA-approved sanitizer machine, which uses ultraviolet lamps or steam and dry heat to destroy nearly all bacteria and viruses.
  • Periodically check the condition of your toothbrush. When the bristles are frayed and worn, they are just not up to the job of maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
  • The American Dental Association recommends getting a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
We encourage you to pay attention to your toothbrush and follow these tips to make sure that you stay as healthy as possible.  Contact Implant & General Dentistry in Raleigh NC to schedule an appointment with Dr. Simon Melcher today: (919) 782-0548.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Resources Aimed at Pediatric Dental Care

Establishing healthy habits such as proper dental care and wholesome snacking are vital for putting children on the path to a lifetime of well-being. As parents, we certainly need all of the help we can get towards imparting this information and making it appealing for our youngsters.

In addition to regular dental visits and having access to all of the tools needed to maintain a healthy smile, kids often need a little boost to ensure that they follow through. Here is a list of a few very helpful websites that improve your child's chances for making the right choices when it comes to dental health and hygiene:
Dr. Simon Melcher at Implant and General Dentistry in Raleigh works with children and can help you and your family establish a great dental care routine.  Be sure to call our office to schedule an appointment: 919-782-0548.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dental Screenings are Crucial for Early Detection

How many times have you ignored bodily pain or discomfort and convinced yourself it was nothing to be concerned about? These types of symptoms are warning signs from our bodies that something is amiss. Back pain, vision problems, tummy trouble, colds, and flu, are issues we commonly choose to live with. After all, they typically resolve themselves and pose no real danger. However, there are signs that should not be overlooked.

When it comes to oral health matters, folks seem to really turn a blind eye. "Oh, that little bump is nothing, my glands are just swollen." "My gums are inflamed because I brushed too hard."

In fact, new screening techniques allow today's dental health care professionals to identify red flags and detect a variety of conditions at the onset. This process is vital in discovering a number of health problems early and can mean life or death in some situations.

The American Academy of Family Physicians, reports that careful examinations of the mouth may reveal symptoms related to an underlying systemic disease. Their information notes that "swollen gums, ulcers, bad breath and dry mouth are just a few symptoms that could signal more serious conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis and more."

Other conditions that may be detected during a routine dental screening are Parkinson's Disease, Sleep Apnea, and Autoimmune Disorders.

Remember that your dentist has access to places that are virtually impossible for you to see! A thorough dental exam involves more than just the teeth, tongue, and gums.

Dr. Melcher and his staff are committed to providing the highest level of dental care. Please do not ignore dental issues. Instead, schedule an appointment for a complete screening. Contact our office to make an appointment by calling: (919) 782-0548

Monday, March 3, 2014

News About Fluoride Toothpaste for Kids

Fluoride is something that many of us seldom think about. It was first added to toothpaste in Germany in the 1890s. In the U.S., fluoride toothpastes only received ADA-approval in the 1950s and were finally available to consumers by 1955. Numerous long-term studies revealed that including fluoride in toothpaste is an effective anticavity measure that can significantly improve dental health and hygiene.

For decades, it has been recommended that youngsters begin using a fluoridated toothpaste by the age of 2, Now the results of 17 systematic studies published in the The Journal of the American Dental Association reveals some interesting new scientific evidence.

Data analysis from the 17 separate studies showed that using fluoride toothpaste is effective in controlling tooth decay in all children, regardless of their age.

A New York Times article, published in early February 2014, discussed how this news changes the way we currently understand and deal with fluoride.  Presently toothpaste labels advise consulting with a dentist or family doctor before introducing fluoride toothpaste to kids 2 or under. Many parents interpret that as a warning that fluoride use before age 2 is either unnecessary, unsafe or both. The reason that the age of 2 was chosen as the right time to begin using a fluoridated toothpaste is because that is when most children are able to spit. This is important because "swallowing more than a pea-sized amount each day increases a kid's risk for dental fluorosis, a condition that leads to brown spots and staining of the teeth."

Pediatric dentists are applauding the news and agree that prevention against tooth decay should take place as soon as possible. This is especially true for children that sleep with a bottle and those with family histories of dental issues. The key to using this information successfully requires participation and guidance from parents and caregivers. Here are the suggestions:
  • For infants, gently wipe their gums with a warm, damp wash cloth after feeding.
  • For babies, "parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt, instead of waiting until children are older." (American Dental Association)
  • For toddlers, use a rice grain-size amount of fluoride toothpaste and brush twice daily. Demonstrate swishing, rinsing, and spitting with water until they are able to do it on their own.
  • Please note that the updated guidelines change the previous advice from the A.D.A. that recommended using a pea-size amount of toothpaste when children reach 24 months. Now that amount should be used from the age of 3 through 6.
The most important information to take away from this news is that early prevention and establishing routine dental hygiene are the keys to establishing excellent dental health.

Want to see the difference between a "smear" of toothpaste vs. a "pea-sized" squirt? Use the following link for that image and more details regarding this story: Dental Group Advises Fluoride Before Age 2

Other Source:

Also See: Kids' Dental Care Tips for Parents

Monday, February 10, 2014

Why Daily Flossing is So Important

Dr. Melcher and his staff of dental hygienists have heard all of the excuses as to why patients don't floss. They range from, "I forget" to "It's a pain" to "I brush really well!"

Regardless of the reason, not flossing is inexcusable, because it is a vital part of maintaining the best dental health possible. The American Dental Association suggests that we floss at least once a day in order to keep teeth and gums healthy and bacteria free. If you think brushing alone is enough think again:
  • Simply brushing, even combined with swishing with a dental rinse just can not remove all of the food particles and plaque that collects between the teeth.
  • Flossing reaches the nooks and crannies that a toothbrush can not.
  • Patients who fail to floss run the risk of allowing plaque to harden into even tougher to remove tartar, which then promotes tooth decay.
  • Flossing prevents gum disease and cavities. It also helps condition the gums and keep them healthy and strong.
  • Some people have teeth that are "food trappers". When flossing is not routine, food particles remain lodged between the teeth and cause the growth of bacteria and bad breath!
To make flossing a part of your daily routine, experiment with several different types of floss and flossers. There are flavored, waxed, and easy glide nylon dental flosses available. Disposable, plastic flossers are handy to keep in a purse, briefcase, or gym bag. Another product that some patients like is a wooden plaque remover, also known as an interdental cleaner. For teeth that are difficult to get in between, it may be necessary to use "threaders," that allow one to loop the floss and access tight spaces.

If flossing hurts, or your gums bleed, do not be concerned right away. Sometimes it takes a week or two for your gums to toughen up. If pain or discomfort persists beyond two weeks, schedule an appointment with Dr. Melcher.

Just like anything that becomes part of our routine, we may take shortcuts from time to time. However, with flossing, there are tried and true ways to receive the most benefits. That's why even if you have been flossing for years, it is a great idea to have one of our hygienists demonstrate the most effective flossing techniques.

Need more convincing? See our earlier post about The Importance of Flossing.

Remember that flossing is not just for adults. Young children need to learn the importance of flossing as well. A good rule of thumb is to discuss flossing and show them how when youngsters have two teeth that touch. Plastic flossers are usually easier for small children to use and these days come in enticing shapes and colors!

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call our Raleigh office at 919-782-0548.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tips for Treating Sensitive Teeth

As we age, so do our teeth. A common complaint among many adults is that of discomfort when eating or drinking certain foods. Sometimes, hot or cold foods can trigger dental pain. Also, sweet foods, brushing, flossing and exposure to air, may result in an aggravating, uncomfortable sensation. This is referred to as dental sensitivity.

Teeth can become sensitive for a number of reasons. The explanation may be one or a combination of the following:
  • Exposed tooth root
  • Worn fillings
  • Cracked teeth
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Breakdown in tooth enamel
Again, any of the above or combinations of those conditions, can result in pain and discomfort. The good news is that Dr. Simon Melcher and his skilled team of dental professionals offer a variety of ways to treat this all too common condition.

The first matter of business will be to identify the cause. Next, depending on what factors are causing the sensitivity, one or more of the following may be in order:
  • Dr. Melcher may feel the problem could be best remedied with a desensitizing toothpaste. This treatment involves the application of a special toothpaste that contains compounds that prohibit uncomfortable sensations such as heat or cold, from penetrating either or both the tooth enamel and root.
  • Another effective solution is the in-office application of a fluoride gel. These products serve to strengthen the enamel, which in turn eliminates discomfort.
  • When a tooth is sensitive due to a crack or decay, a crown or inlay bonding is the best choice to correct the problem.
  • Sensitivity that is caused by compromised gums may be treated with a surgical gum graft. This is an effective treatment plan for patients who have lost gum tissue at the root level.
  • For patients that have severe and persistent sensitivity that other methods can not cure, a root canal is often the best bet.
Please do not ignore dental issues. You do not have to live with pain or discomfort. Contact our office to make an appointment by calling: (919) 782-0548.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Resolutions for a Healthier Mouth

Are you amazed sometimes by the dazzling white, A-lister worthy perfection of the smiles of those around you? Don't write it off to good genes or good luck, chances are those friends, co-workers, family members, and neighbors work hard to look their best. In addition to maintaining healthy gums and a glistening smile, routine self-care is the key to establishing excellent mouth health.

If you resolved to do better this year in regard to your overall dental care, and have had trouble getting started, here is a quick and easy action plan just for you!
  • Start the new year by scheduling your first routine checkup and cleaning. That way, you will know if there are any issues your dental professionals need to address with you, such as sensitivity, cracked teeth, or damaged fillings. Make the most of your visit and get a refresher on the proper ways to brush and floss.  Contact our office to schedule an appointment: 919-782-0548.
  • In the spirit of new beginnings, treat yourself to a new dental "tool" kit. Having the best tools will ensure that the job is done right. Ask your dentist about new electric toothbrushes and other ADA approved items including: fluoride toothpaste, an egg timer, waxed floss, a tongue scraper, dental rinse, sugarless gum and lip balm.
  • Resolve to brush 2 X daily for 2 minutes.* This is when your egg timer will come in handy! Brushing twice daily is a step in the right direction for a brighter smile and fewer dental problems.
  • Floss your teeth and scrape your each night before bedtime.* That way, particles that cause cavities and bacteria that can lead to decay and bad breath will be banished!
  • Reach for a stick of sugarless gum 20 minutes after a meal. Recent advancements have made chewing sugarless gum a good thing because many brands now contain ingredients that can protect the teeth. Look for the ADA seal of approval before you buy that pack of spearmint or favorite fruit flavored gum.
  • Pay attention to your diet. That means eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Whenever possible, consume raw carrots, apples, and celery. These healthy snacks are great for crunching away other food particles that can cause decay. Also, avoid sugary snacks and beverages, processed foods, and drink plenty of fluoridated water.
*(or even better - after every meal)

Need more motivation? Dr. Melcher and his team of dental professionals in Raleigh, NC would be happy to see you soon! Just give us a call at: (919) 782-0548.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Common Dental Symptoms

Seeing a dentist regularly is so important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. In addition to good health, dental professionals also help their patients keep a smile they can be confident about! Scheduling routine dental visits is perhaps the most important strategy for monitoring your overall health, which can be directly impacted by the state of your teeth and gums. Even though dental health is linked directly to the body's other systems, many find that they typically ignore common dental symptoms. Doing so can lead to more serious problems, which is why these issues should always be addressed by your dental team.

Here is a quick look at some of the most frequent complaints among dental patients:
  • Toothaches - Pain in the teeth and gums may be a sign of decay, night grinding, TMJ, or something else. The tooth could be impacted, abscessed, or signal the beginning phases of gum disease.
  • Sensitivity - Pain experienced with hot or cold food or beverages or even air, are indications of sensitive teeth. Pinpointing the cause is necessary in order to rule out a variety of conditions. Sensitivity in the teeth is often caused by tooth decay, worn out fillings, cracks in the teeth, an exposed root, or gum disease.
  • Sore or Bleeding Gums - The cause could be as simple as overly vigorous brushing or flossing or using a stiff bristled toothbrush. However, these symptoms may also be traced to something more severe, such as gingivitis, which may lead to gum disease.(See: My Gums Bleed When I Brush. What Does It Mean?)
  • Mouth Sores - These come in all shapes and sizes-some are severe-and vary in the cause. Although sores are often caused by an abrasion from a jagged tooth, dentures, or braces, they can also be indications of infection caused by viruses, bacteria, or oral cancers. Never ignore this symptom for over 1 week. (See: How to Treat Canker Sores.)
  • Bad Breath - Those plagued with frequent bad breath should first evaluate their dental hygiene routine. Proper brushing, flossing, tongue scraping and rinsing-at least twice daily-are all necessary to achieve fresh breath. Other factors that may contribute to bad breath are post-nasal drip, smoking, tooth decay, gum disease, and some medications. (See: What Causes Bad Breath and What Can I Do About It?)
  • Jaw Popping and Pain - This common complaint can be attributed to a variety of factors. Some explanations are sinus problems, teeth grinding, stress, gingivitis, and TMJ.(See: Why Does my Jaw Pop When I Open It?)
  • Dry Mouth - Many do not realize that the body's production of saliva aids digestion and helps prevent tooth decay. Having an insufficient amount of saliva may be due to a medical disorder or a side effect of some medications.
  • Problems with Oral Piercings - Because the mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria, when piercings are made in unsanitary conditions or improperly looked after, numerous problems can arise. Discoloration, pain, swelling, foul odor, oozing at the site, plus chills or fever, are all signs that something is wrong.
  • Cracked or Broken Teeth - When teeth become cracked or broken, it is very important to determine the cause. Very often, the damage may be naked to the human eye, which is why it is vital to see a dental professional regularly. Regardless of the cause, whether it's from grinding, injury, or tooth decay, bigger problems are in store if cracked or broken teeth are left untreated.(See: Crowns for Damaged, Decayed, or Broken Teeth.)
  • Stained or Discolored Teeth - As we age, the ravages of tobacco use, coffee, tea, certain foods, some medications, and just genetics, can cause tooth enamel to become discolored. Regular cleanings help and there are also whitening options. Your dentist can rule out anything serious and offer the best solutions for whitening or stain removal.
Please do not ignore any of these symptoms. Make an appointment with Dr. Melcher and establish a plan of action immediately.

When ignored, dental problems can lead to irreversible conditions. Whenever a problem persists for more than 5 to 7 days, make an appointment with our office. Early detection is truly the key for eliminating dental concerns. Remember that bacteria and other infections located in the mouth can make their way into the body's circulatory and cardiovascular systems. Recent indicators show a real connection between several common dental issues and heart disease!

If you are in need of a full-service dental office in the greater Raleigh area, contact the office of Dr. Simon Melcher of Implant and General Dentistry. From bridges to wisdom teeth, our team of dental professionals is skilled and experienced in the latest strategies and treatments for improving the dental health and hygiene of our clients.

Learn more by giving us a call to schedule an appointment at 919-782-0548. Our office is located at 3340 Six Forks Road in Raleigh.  Read some of our many success stories here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Find ADA - Approved Dental Products

With so many products on the market promising whiter teeth, fresher breath, and fewer cavities, sometimes it's hard to know which ones you can really trust. That's why it is always best to locate items bearing the American Dental Association's seal of approval. Do keep in mind that an ADA seal is not an endorsement, but aimed at guiding consumers to more reliable products when interpreting labels on dental health products.

When the ADA seal of approval is present it shows that the product has gone through a rigorous scientific and safety review by qualified dental professionals. Being able to post the ADA seal is a privilege for the manufacturers of everything from floss to sugar free gum to rinses and toothbrushes. Even denture cleansers and water filters have the opportunity to go through the ADA's inspection process. Gaining this esteemed approval is not easy, which is why ADA recommended items typically surpass higher standards than those required by law.

Search ADA Approved Dental Products Here.

In an effort to promote dental health and ensure that Americans are able to obtain the very best dental hygiene and anti-cavity products, ADA testers must prove that items perform as they claim to. That is why such claims are verified before the seal is earned and even before the products go on supermarket and drugstore shelves.

Dr. Simon Melcher and his team of highly skilled and professional dental hygienists are happy to make suggestions regarding which ADA-approved products will maximize your dental routine. Please call us to schedule an appointment: (919) 782-0548

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dentists Providing Care in the Face of Hardship

The American Dental Association's Foundation, or simply, the ADA Foundation, is a charitable organization whose mission is to unite people, interested groups, corporations and resources to "make a difference through better oral health."

Through contributions made by the general public and those in the field of dentistry and orthodontics, the foundation spearheads research, educational programs, and recruits volunteers to carry out their mission. The ADA Foundation offers scholarships for dental students, oral health care to disadvantaged areas, and assistance for dentists and their families who are experiencing difficulties. In addition to obtaining donations and grants, the ADA Foundation strives to provide accessible dental care to those in need. Thanks to their strong alliance with the American Dental Association, their membership is able to take on special challenges that affect dentistry and dental health, around the globe.

Currently, members of the ADA Foundation team are assisting victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines in early November. Its impact devastated several islands in the area, and killed over 6,000 individuals. Even now, UN officials estimate that close to 11 million people were severely affected and many of them were left homeless.

Please consider helping the ADA Foundation with a donation to help its disaster relief efforts in the Philippines. Funds raised will provide much needed dental care for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

Please note that all donations will be combined, and a grant will be issued from the ADAF directly to the ADA's Division of Global Affairs, which will identify and work with a reputable non-profit (NGO) to distribute the funds appropriately to serve the greatest need.

If you would like to learn more about donations, how the funds are used or how to volunteer, here is the contact information:

By Mail:
ADA Foundation
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-440-2547
Fax: 312-440-3526