How Diabetes Can Affect Your Mouth

Too much sugar in your bloodstream from diabetes can cause pain, infection, and many other oral problems involving all areas of your mouth including your teeth, gums, jaw, tongue, floor and roof of your mouth, and inside of your cheeks.

Glucose (sugar) is present in your saliva. If diabetes is not under control, the high sugar levels in our saliva help harmful bacteria grow. This can lead to gingivitis, tooth decay and other dental problems. Since uncontrolled diabetes can weaken your immune system, you may develop infection more easily. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a gum disease that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth leaving pockets that can become infected. This can lead to resorption of the bone that surrounds your teeth. The gums, bones, and tissue that support the teeth are eventually destroyed if left untreated. Teeth may become loose and might need to be removed.

As a diabetic, it is important to be aware of the early warning signs of infection. Swollen, tender, or bleeding gums are the first clues of gingivitis. Some of the signs may not be noticeable initially. Your best defense is to stay on top of your dental exams so your dentist can check for signs of any developing problems.

Tips Prior to Dental Appointment

If you take insulin or other diabetic medication, take them as prescribed prior to your dental visit. It is also helpful to bring your diabetic medications with you to each dental appointment.

You may need to postpone any nonemergency dental work if your blood sugar is not under control. Give us a call and we will reschedule your visit until it is under control. The South Tampa Smiles team can adapt dental treatment to your meet needs. Give us a call at (813) 289 – 0560 if you have questions or concerns and to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning. We look forward to helping you keep your smile healthy and bright!


Oral Health Concerns with Epilepsy

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. Epilepsy is the 4TH most common neurological disorder. It is associated with abnormal electrical brain activity and marked by unpredictable seizures and can cause other health problems. There are also a number of oral health concerns with epilepsy. Teeth can become cracked or broken during a seizure or fall. Clenching during a seizure episode can also cause complications and discomfort with your jaw. Knowing the oral health concerns with epilepsy will help minimize risks during dental treatment.

It is important for dental professionals to be informed of patients with epilepsy, the frequency of seizures, severity and any known triggers. Inform your dentist of any changes in seizure medications or medical history during each dental visit. Your dentist should have your healthcare team’s phone number on file in the event of a seizure during your dental appointment. Be certain to inform your dentist immediately if you begin experiencing an aura.

There are also some common side effects from taking seizure medications. There is an increased risk of infection and delayed healing time. Bleeding gums, dry mouth, and overgrown gum tissue are a few of the most common problems that can cause pain and discomfort

General dental practices can treat people with epilepsy safely if they are informed of your illness. Your team of dental professionals should be informed, aware and accommodating. The stability your seizure activity should be considered when planning your dental visits. Be sure to take your medications a few hours prior to your appointment time. Schedule your next dental visit with South Tampa Smiles with confidence knowing our team of professionals provides top quality care to each of our patients. Give us a call at (813) 289 – 0560.

More information on oral health concerns with epilepsy: Epilepsy Health Center


Feeling haunted by sweets and treats? Just remember to keep a balanced diet during this season to keep your smile bright and beautiful! Stay on top of your regular dental checkups and cleanings. We look forward to seeing you! (813) 289 – 0560


Senior Citizens Dental Health Concerns

Today we celebrate National Senior Citizens Day. Whether you are a young adult, middle aged or approaching your senior years, this is a day to honor those that have lead us and continue to inspire us along the way. Our senior citizens can lead a fruitful and active lifestyle into their golden years. This will involve taking extra care and focusing on overall health and paying close attention to dental health as well.

Lets take a look at some of the common senior citizens dental health concerns.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the most common dental issue with seniors. Furthermore, the most common cause for new cavities in seniors is dry mouth. Prescription medications are commonly the cause for dry mouth. There is less saliva to break down food and naturally cleanse your teeth. This causes plaque to stick to the teeth longer, which increases the risk for developing cavities.

Gum Disease

Approximately 70 percent of all seniors over 60 have gum diseases. This is because the symptoms may not be noticeable until the disease has advanced. It can become very painful and destroy the gums and tooth-supporting bones, which can lead to tooth loss. Regular dental checkups is crucial to keeping gum disease at bay.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is not as common as gum disease and decay in seniors, but risks become greater as you age. With the average age of oral cancer diagnosis being 62 and an estimated 35,000 new cases per year, it’s important to have regular checkups to screen for early signs. Most oral cancers are treatable if caught early.

Preventative maintenance and repairs will help keep any developing dental issues from becoming more severe with aging adults. South Tampa Smiles encourages everyone to stay on top of your dental checkups and cleanings throughout your life so that you can approach your golden years with a head start on a healthy smile. Give us a call to schedule your next checkup and cleaning at (813) 289 – 0560.  We look forward to being your family dentist for years to come.

Further Reading:

Aging & Oral Health


Jaw Relaxation Techniques – National Relaxation Day

Ever woke up in the middle of the night clenching your teeth and having jaw pain? Or find yourself tightening your jaw when you are feeling stressed? If you have any of these experiences, you should learn some jaw relaxation techniques before the damage gets worse. Waiting too long can cause you to need various forms of dental treatment to control pain and repair broken and chipped teeth.

Grinding and clenching can cause headaches, joint pain and lead to TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction). If left untreated, TMD can lead to tooth decay, sore muscles, headaches, and nerve pain. TMD can become so severe that it disrupts the ability to chew and open the jaw normally.

We have listed a few jaw relaxation techniques to prevent chronic headaches and TMD caused by grinding and clenching:

• Jaw stretching: Using small, circular motions, gently massage your jaw with your fingertips. After massaging, open your mouth as wide as you can and hold there for a few seconds and gently close. Repeat 10 times. This exercise promotes blood flow to the jaw and relaxes the face and jaw muscles.

• Focal Visualization: Sit in a comfortable and quiet space. Begin slow, deep inhale and exhale exercises. Keep your focus on relaxing the entire face, mouth and jaw. Scrunch your face tightly and pull  open widely then relax and repeat. Focal visualization is a powerful jaw relaxation technique.

• Yawning: Yawning on purpose is another way to get your jaw to relax. Open your jaw wide and take a deep breath then exhale and repeat. This exercise relaxes the muscles of your face and jaw.

If you have tried these techniques and are still experience pain associated with grinding or clenching your teeth, contact South Tampa Smiles at (813)289–0560 today for your TMD consultation!


Celebrate the Power of a Smile

June 15th is National Power of a Smile Day! When you smile at another person you not only help yourself, but you help the other person. A smile is a universal greeting of happiness. It can also change the mood of someone that is feeling down. The staff at South Tampa Smiles would like to take this message and focus on the importance of proper home dental care, good nutrition and regular dental visits. Here are a few simple ways you can celebrate the power of a smile at home:

    1. Gift Yourself – Replace your toothbrushes. Everyone should replace their toothbrushes every 3 or 4 months or as soon as the bristles appear frayed. Buy a batch of new brushes for the whole family or finally get that powered toothbrush you’ve been eyeing.
    2. Gift Someone Else – Family volunteering at a local charity is a perfect way to give back. Take this opportunity to donate to community services for those who can’t afford regular dental check-ups. Or give someone the gift of a bright smile by providing cosmetic dental procedures or dental whitening treatments.
    3. Say Cheese! – Say cheese in more ways that one! Incorporate nutritious foods into your diet. Make healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables and low-fat cheeses a part of your diet. Or show off your family’s happy smiles with a new family photo. Or capture your smile with a fun selfie showing off those pearly whites. Join in on the fun by submitting your selfie to win prizes on their Facebook Page.

Celebrate the Power of a Smile this June 15th and every other day by staying on top of your regular checkups and cleanings. Also, find out about our teeth whitening treatment to brighten your smile! Modern advances in dental treatment, combined with good oral hygiene, can help transform your smile from guarded and infrequent to confident and constant! Give us a call at (813) 289 – 0560. The South Tampa Smiles team of caring professionals can help you harness the Power of Your Smile!  

Celebrate the power of a smile on social media using #smilepower and #smilepowerday

National Day Calendar – National Smile Power Day


Women’s Hormones & Oral Health

Hormones can affect just about everything including your weight and your mood. Hormonal changes can make all aspects of your health go haywire. But did you know that hormone surges may make you more vulnerable to problems with your teeth and gums?

Women experience oral health issues throughout their life due to hormonal fluctuations. Women are more sensitive to the presence of plaque and bacteria around the gums when their hormone levels are high. It’s important to pay attention to women’s hormones and oral health at various stages of life, especially during puberty, pregnancy and menopause.

Women’s Hormones & Oral Health Timeline:
    1. Puberty – Increased production of progesterone and estrogen can lead to increased blood flow to your gums and cause swelling & bleeding during brushing and flossing. Removing plaque and bacteria thoroughly every day can reduce the inflammation, discomfort and bleeding
    1. Pregnancy – During pregnancy, the increased levels of progesterone can bring on pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that causes gums to be red and tender. You can help keep it under control through good daily habits. If you notice any other changes in your mouth during pregnancy, see your dentist.
    1. Menopause – Hormonal changes in your body and age specific medications can cause dry mouth, which increases your risk for developing dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.  Loss of estrogen can lead to bone loss. Loss of bone in your jaw can lead to tooth loss. Talk to your physician and dentist to make sure you are getting the right amount of calcium and vitamin D.

South Tampa Smiles encourages eating a well balanced diet, brushing & flossing twice a day and visiting your dentist twice a year. Give us a call at (813) 289 – 0560 if you are experiencing symptoms or it’s time to make your next appointment. The South Tampa Smiles team is here to assist you!

For further reading on Women’s Hormones & Oral Health visit MouthHealthy.org.


Are Strawberries Good for Your Teeth?

It’s almost summertime, which means that strawberries are back in season. This is why the month of May is National Strawberry Month! What a great time to have some fresh strawberries,  try a new dessert recipe or strawberry infused drink. Delish! Strawberries are not only a delicious fruit, they are also good for your body. This brings us to the questionAre strawberries good for your teeth?

Strawberries are indeed great for your overall health. They are low in calories and rich in antioxidants, which are extremely beneficial to heart health. Just like oranges, strawberries are packed with collagen-producing vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential in maintaining the strength and integrity of your gums. Just one serving provides about half of your daily vitamin C needs. They are high in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals including folate, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese and magnesium.

Although strawberries are a tasty part of a healthy diet, too much of anything can be bad for your teeth. Just like many citrus fruits, they are highly acidic. Eating acidic foods on an ongoing basis can lead to erosion of the tooth enamel. Erosion wears down the protective coating of enamel of your teeth, which is irreversible. This can lead to a wide range of dental problems, including discoloration, cracked teeth, sensitivity and even tooth loss.

South Tampa Smiles encourages eating a well-balanced diet for maintaining good health and wellness. If your diet is low in the nutrients, your overall health and oral health become more vulnerable to infection and other complications. Discuss your diet at your next dental visit if you have more questions or concerns about proper nutrition to keep your teeth and gums in great health. Give us a call at (813) 289-0560 for your next dental appointment. We look forward to helping you keep your smile healthy and bright!

Read our previous article: Can Strawberries Whiten Your Teeth?

Source: 1-800-DENTIST and colgate.com


Spring Cleaning for Your Dental Health

Spring has arrived! This is the time of year that many people enjoy getting things in order and the tedious cleaning that often gets put on the back burner.  Along with cleaning out your garage and tidying up the cupboards, add a dental visit to your spring cleaning list. Professional dental cleanings every six months are strongly recommended to keep your smile sparkling and keep dental problems at bay.

Why do we need a cleaning versus simple routine brushing and flossing? Diligent flossing and brushing can remove most plaque that accumulate on teeth. Overtime, plaque can harden into calculus and due to its strength and ability to tightly adhere to teeth, calculus will not come off from brushing and flossing at home. This is why your dentist or dental hygienist have many different tools used to clean those hard-to-reach areas that bacteria, plaque, and calculus like to hide. The ultimate goal of a professional cleaning is to remove these substances from the teeth to prevent the onset of gingivitis and periodontitis.

What can you expect during your dental cleaning visit to our office? Our dental hygienist will begin your cleaning by removing any tartar that has built up on your teeth. If the build-up is extensive, a deeper cleaning could be required and split into several visits to completely remove the tartar from your teeth. Next, your hygienist will polish your teeth. Your hygienist will also provide you with helpful advice so you can maintain proper dental habits at home and keep your teeth tartar, stain and cavity-free between regular dental visits.

Scheduling your spring cleaning for your dental health is as simple as giving us a call at (813)  289 – 0560. So give South Tampa Smiles a call today and give your smile a fresh start for this spring season!


Top 5 Tooth Damaging Habits

Your teeth are supposed to last a lifetime. In order for that to happen, practice good oral hygiene and maintain dental checkups and professional cleanings. Unfortunately, many people are damaging their teeth without even realizing it. Some of these habits develop at a very early age and do not show any signs of damage until years later and the harmful effects manifest over time. There are a number habits that people do daily that can cause this kind of damage to your oral health. We have picked our top 5 that people may not be aware are harmful.

Our top 5 tooth damaging habits to avoid are:
  1. Nail Biting – Nail biting can cause your teeth to chip or break off and can cause damage to the enamel. Since most nail biters use the front teeth to bite their nails, the front teeth typically suffer the wear and tear that nail biting can cause.
  1. Crunching Ice – Chewing on ice can lead to chipped, cracked and fractured teeth. The extreme cold can weaken teeth and make them more susceptible to breakage. Chewing ice also chips away tooth enamel and can cause serious damage over time. Teeth aren’t intended to crush ice cubes.
  1. Using Teeth as a Tool  Teeth should not be used as can openers, scissors, pliers, or knives because they aren’t tools. Even if you feel you have not harmed your teeth by using them in place of the correct tools, you may cause micro-cracks that are not visible and may eventually lead to more serious dental problems.
  1. Using Non-Dental Products – Paperclips, paper, or other non-dental products shouldn’t be used to get something out from your teeth. Using these objects may lead to gum and tooth damage.  Using a piece of paper can cut your gums just as a paper cut on your finger.
  1. Biting on Pens and Pencils – Chewing on pens or pencils can crack and break teeth or even damage existing dental work. Chewing on hard objects can damage dental restorations such as fillings or crowns.

Your teeth are made to chew food and nothing more. To break any of these top 5 tooth damaging habits, begin by recognizing any tooth-damaging habits you may have. Try substituting your habit with healthier ones. Discipline yourself to healthier choices that will help make your teeth healthier and preserve your smile.

Stay on top of your regular checkups and cleanings as part of your healthy lifestyle. Contact South Tampa Smiles at (813) 289-0560 for your next appointment. Our friendly staff is ready to assist you!


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