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Posts for category: Oral Health

By Great Florida Smiles
July 24, 2018
Category: Oral Health

Professional dental cleanings are a few benefits that you may not realize. Dr. Michael O'Donnell and Dr. Chris Farrugia of Great Florida professional cleaningsSmiles & Orthodontics in Santa Rosa Beach and DeFuniak Springs, FL, help their patients enjoy healthy smiles with cleanings and other dental services and treatments.

Regular dental cleanings protect your smile

Plaque and tartar are the culprits responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, dental issues that affect many people at some point in their lives. Plaque plays a role in the formation of cavities, while tartar, an unattractive brown deposit, raises your gum disease risk. Tartar forms when plaque isn't removed after about a week and is so hard it can only be scraped away with dental tools.

Brushing and flossing is an excellent way to remove plaque, but sometimes, it's difficult to completely eliminate the sticky substance from your mouth. If your teeth are crooked or overlap, plaque can build up in hard-to-reach places and soon turn into tartar. Luckily, dental cleanings remove every speck of plaque and tartar, even in hard-to-reach places. Cleanings are particularly important if you don't remember to floss every day.

Dental cleanings offer other advantages

After removing plaque and tartar, the dental hygienist at your Santa Rosa Beach or DeFuniak Springs dentist's offices polishes your teeth. Polishings make your teeth feel clean and smooth and also remove surface stains that can dull your smile. Dental cleanings also freshen your breath by removing food particles trapped in overlapping areas or between teeth.

Regular visits also include dental examinations. After your cleaning, your dentist will examine your mouth for signs of tooth decay, gum disease or potential issues, such as cracks, loose fillings, and oral cancer, and discuss treatment options if he discovers any problems. It takes time for cavities to grow large and gum disease to progress. If you visit every six months, these issues can be detected and treated before they become serious issues.

Keep your smile healthy with dental cleanings. Schedule an appointment with Dr. O'Donnell and Dr. Farrugia of Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics by calling (850) 622-5888 for the Santa Rosa Beach, FL, office or (850) 892-2500 for the DeFuniak Springs, FL, office.

By Great Florida Smiles
April 30, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Maintaining a healthy smile doesn’t have to be challenging.oral hygiene

We know how busy life can get; however, life should never be so hectic that you forget to care for your smile. Of course, caring for your smile shouldn’t be confusing or leave you scratching your head. Our Santa Rosa Beach, FL, dentist is here to give you some key tips for keeping your smile in tip-top shape.

Brushing and Flossing are Crucial

How you brush and floss, and how often you brush and floss, are key to ensuring that you have a healthy, beautiful smile for the long run. Everyone should be brushing their teeth at least twice a day (preferably between each meal) and flossing once a day (ideally before bedtime). It only takes a couple of minutes to complete these tasks and they could just end up saving your smile from common dental problems. Other tips to follow include,

  • Brush your teeth for at least two minutes each time. Make sure to set a timer to hold yourself accountable for brushing the entire time.
  • Make sure that you don’t forget to brush your tongue and roof of your mouth, which harbor nasty bad breathing-causing bacteria.
  • Make sure to replace your toothbrush head at the first signs of wear. If the bristles look splayed out this is a sign that it’s old and needs to be replaced (this will need to happen about every 3-4 months).

Your Diet Nourishes Your Oral Health

What you eat can greatly impact the health of your teeth and gums. This is why it’s important to limit the amount of sugar, white starches and junk food you consume. The same rules apply to sports drinks, sodas and alcohol. Moderation is key. Your diet should consist of a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, low-fat dairy (yogurt and cheese are great sources of calcium) and whole grains.

Visit Your Dentist

No matter how healthy your smile looks and feels you still need to visit your Santa Rosa Beach, FL, general dentist every six months for cleanings and exams. This ensures that if there are any problems like decay or gum disease that they are detected early on when they are much simpler to handle. Plus, these visits ensure that you get a comprehensive dental cleaning and that you get to ask any questions you might have about your at-home oral care routine.

Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics has offices in DeFuniak Springs and Santa Rosa Beach, FL, to serve you better. If you have questions about the services we provide or you just need to schedule a routine cleaning, don’t hesitate to call our office today.

By Great Florida Smiles
January 12, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Oral Cancer  

When you think of malignancies, do you think of lung, colon, or breast cancer? Most people think of everything but oral cancer. However, oral canceryour Santa Rosa Beach, FL, dentists, Dr. Michael O'Donnell and Dr. Chris Farrugia, are well aware of it, teach their patients about it and perform routine assessments for it. Learn about the early signs of oral cancer from the experts at Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics.

First, some facts...

Did you know that oral cancer is not just one kind of malignancy? The term really points to a group of cancers which affect the head and neck, says the Oral Cancer Foundation. Unfortunately, there are more than 49,000 new cases diagnosed among Americans annually, and it's difficult to cure if not detected early.

In fact, the American Society of Clinical Oncology says that only 63 percent of oral cancers found in their later stages will be be effectively cured beyond five years. However, with early detection, that percentage increases to 83 percent. Obviously, regular assessment, and detection is vital.

In addition, you should know that oral cancer affects all kinds of people. However, men over 40 are more prone, as are individuals who:

  • Have been exposed to Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Abuse alcohol
  • Smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco
  • Eat a diet low in fruits and vegetables

Early signs of oral cancer

As you partner with your Santa Rosa Beach, FL, dentist in caring for your oral health, be as informed as possible about tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues, including cancer of the lips, tongue, back of the throat, and other soft tissues of the mouth.

When you come to Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics for your usual six-month check-up and cleaning, Dr. O'Donnell or Dr. Farrugia also will inspect the soft tissues of your mouth and palpate, or feel, the sides of your throat and the angles of the jaw. The assessment takes just a couple of minutes but yields information so helpful in detecting cancerous lesions.

So what are the early signs of oral cancer? They may include:

  • White or red patches on the oral mucosa
  • Lumps
  • A change in dental bite or in the fit of a denture
  • Mouth pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • Loose teeth

Be sure to alert your dentist right away if you discover any of these signs at home. Remember, the sooner a lesion is discovered and treated, the better the chances are for a complete cure.

Find out more

Your Santa Rosa Beach, FL, dentist will be happy to tell you more. Why not schedule your six-month cleaning and exam at Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics? In Santa Rosa Beach, call (850) 622-5888. In DeFuniak Springs, call (850) 892-2500.

By Great Florida Smiles
July 14, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: nutrition  

Your teeth must last a lifetime, and you should do everything you can to care for them--including monitoring what you eat. Your DeFuniak nutritionSprings and Santa Rosa Beach, FL, dentists, Dr. Michael O'Donnell and Dr. Chris Farrugia, encourage you to consider how your diet benefits your teeth and gums. What you eat and drink should not be a list of don'ts, but instead a lifestyle that strengthens and beautifies your oral health. So here are some tooth-friendly tips from the professional team at Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics that will keep you smiling.

Four categories of do's

Before you eat or drink something, consider if it nourishes your smile. The American Dental Association says that a poor diet impacts your mouth before it affects anything else. So strive to include these 4 kinds of foods in your diet. Research shows that oral health improves with intake of:

  • Calcium-rich foods
  • Water
  • Protein
  • Fiber

All 4 categories help avoid dental decay, gum disease and yes, even oral cancer. Here are some suggestions on how to include them in your meals and snacks.

1. Consume cheese, yogurt and low-fat milk. All 3 foods are rich in bone- and enamel-building calcium, but they also help your mouth in other ways. Cheese and yogurt, says the American Academy of General Dentistry, contain probiotics, healthy micro-orgranisms which benefit your digestion and also keep bad oral bacteria at bay. Cheese buffers acidic foods such as wine and tomatoes, too.

2. Drink several glass of water. Water washes food residues off your teeth and gums, and it increases saliva production. What's the big deal about saliva? Saliva has excellent antibacterial properties and defends you against cavities and gum disease.

3. Increase lean proteins such as fish and poultry. Even almonds and other nuts provide significant amounts of this nutrient, keeping gums and other oral tissues strong and vibrant.

4. Include several servings of leafy green vegetables and fibrous fruits daily. They literally scrape teeth and gums clean, exercise the jaw bone and are a good source of vitamin C. When choosing breads, crackers and cereals, look for high fiber content as well.

Two don'ts

While your DeFuniak Springs and Santa Rosa Beach dentist wants you to consume nutritious foods, your oral health also benefits from avoiding 2 things--processed sugar and starch. That means limiting:

  • Soda pop and sports drinks
  • White bread
  • Sugary cereals
  • Candy

If you do consume them, brush and floss right away, or if you cannot, at least rinse your mouth well with water. Carbohydrates are the building blocks of toxic plaque and tartar which lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Eat well and come see us

Your friends at Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics advise six-month exams and cleanings for patients of all ages. Is it time for your routine visit? Call for your appointment. You can ask your DeFuniak Springs and Santa Rosa Beach, FL, dentist more about the benefits of a healthy diet.

By Great Florida Smiles
May 31, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Are you a brushing and flossing pro? A good oral hygiene routine is the key to preventing cavities and gum disease. Dr. Michael oral hygieneO'Donnell and Dr. Chris Farrugia of Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics in DeFuniak Springs and Santa Rosa Beach, FL, explain why good oral hygiene is so important.

Plaque is always ready to attack

You may not be able to see plaque, but it's constantly trying to ruin your smile. When bacteria in plaque combine with sugar, a chemical reaction occurs that creates strong acids. The acids erode tooth enamel and cause cavities. Reducing the amount of plaque on your teeth with regular flossing and brushing is a simple way to avoid tooth decay. Floss once a day and brush in the morning and evening to keep plaque from damaging your teeth.

Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel

Fluoride, found in most toothpastes and many mouthwashes, has an amazing effect on your teeth. The mineral can actually repair and strengthen weak spots, making your teeth less vulnerable to cavities. Protecting your tooth enamel is another important reason to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.

Using the proper technique is key

Stronger isn't better when it comes to brushing your teeth. When you brush too hard, you can erode your enamel and push your gums away from your teeth. When gums begin to recede, your teeth become sensitive, and your exposed roots may be at risk of tooth decay. For best results, hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and use short, gentle strokes. Make sure you only buy toothbrushes labeled "soft," as harder bristles can cause enamel erosion.

Dental visits help support your oral hygiene routine

Paying a visit to Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics in DeFuniak Springs or Santa Rosa Beach is an excellent way to keep your teeth healthy. Regular visits help Dr. O'Donnell and Dr. Farrugia ensure that tooth decay or other issues don't threaten your smile. If they do notice a problem, they'll recommend a treatment plan to address it.

Plaque and tartar can collect in places you can't reach with your toothbrush or floss. Dental cleanings, part of every dental exam, remove the substances from your mouth and also eliminate mild stains on the surface of teeth.

Has it been a while since you last made a dental appointment? Call Dr. O'Donnell and Dr. Farrugia of Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics at the Santa Rosa Beach office (850) 622-5888 or the DeFuniak Springs office (850) 892-2500 to schedule your visit.