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Health Alert: Preventing Osteoporosis | 28401 Dentist

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Osteoporosis is a disease that affects roughly 10 million Americans, according to statistics from the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Additionally, another 44 million people are at an increased risk of developing the disease due to of low bone density. Symptoms appear in more than one-third of women over the age of 65. Fractures, pain, and mobility limitations can occur from osteoporosis. Understanding the signs and symptoms, as well as prevention methods, can decrease your chance of developing osteoporosis.   

What is Osteoporosis? 

Osteoporosis is a disease that decreases bone density and weakens bones. Many people are unaware that they have this disease, and only catch it after an injury. Bone fractures can greatly diminish your quality of life through persistent discomfort and limited mobility. 

Oral Health Linked to Osteoporosis 

If you suffer from osteoporosis, your oral health is also at risk. Your jawbone may begin to weaken, leading to significant oral health complications. A routine visit to our dental office can allow us to detect early signs of osteoporosis. Tooth loss and gum disease are potential indicators of an underlying health issue. Our team will take X-rays of your jawbone and surrounding teeth. If we detect diminished bone density, or signs of bone loss, we will discuss the best course of action with you.  

What You Can Do 

The risk factors associated with osteoporosis include genetics, calcium deficiency, smoking, menopause, excessive caffeine or alcohol, and an inactive lifestyle. Simple changes such as increasing your daily calcium and vitamin D intake, exercising, quitting smoking, decreasing consumption of caffeine and alcohol, and visiting our team regularly can help lower your risk. 

Osteoporosis affects the lives of millions of people. It can significantly diminish your quality of life. Through regular oral health examinations, our team may be able to identify early signs of bone loss.  

Schedule your visit to our office today.

Long Dental
Phone: (910) 762-0355
736 Medical Center Drive, Suite #100
Wilmington, NC 28401

You Need to Know About Oral Thrush: Here’s Why | 28401 Dentist

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Even a healthy mouth is lined with bacteria. Normally, your daily oral hygiene routine helps prevent oral health complications. However, it is possible to develop an excess of bacteria and fungi, which can lead to additional problems. Here’s what you should know about oral thrush and what you can do to prevent it. 

What is it? 

Oral thrush is caused by a collection of the fungus Candida in your mouth. Bacteria and fungi occur naturally in your mouth, but it is important that they are not permitted to build up. Thrush can appear as white, thick scrapes on your tongue or inner cheek. It may also look like patchy, white sores.  

Who does it affect? 

Young children, infants, and the elderly are at a higher risk of developing oral thrush. If you have a weakened immune system or diabetes, it is even more important that you stay active to keep your mouth healthy and prevent issues like oral thrush. Smokers also tend to develop oral thrush more than other patients.  

What can it do? 

Oral thrush can lead to trouble swallowing and tasting. As it develops, it can become painful. Oral thrush can make affected areas feel like they are burning, and slight bleeding can occur if you are scraping your tongue or cheeks. Some describe the feeling as having cotton in their mouth. 

Thrush can spread. If you have a weakened immune system, it is possible that thrush moves into your lungs, digestive tract, and even your heart. 

How can I prevent It? 

Our best recommendation for preventing oral thrush is a vigilant daily oral hygiene routine that includes a thorough brushing and flossing of your teeth, and includes your tongue. We sometimes recommend a patient use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue. Just like brushing your teeth, your tongue depends on daily cleaning to stay healthy and free of germs and bacteria.  

The American Dental Association recommends that for some patients it might be helpful to consider an antimicrobial toothpaste or mouthwash. Check with our doctor to see which solutions might be best for you. 

We cannot overstate the importance of regularly scheduled dental exams. If you are a diabetic, it is even more important that you schedule regular visits to our office. By having your mouth checked by our staff, we can work with you to prevent oral health issues like thrush.  

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office

Resources: The American Dental Association http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/Files/patient_18.pdf?la=en

Long Dental
Phone: (910) 762-0355
736 Medical Center Drive, Suite #100
Wilmington, NC 28401

What to Know About E-Cigarettes and Your Oral Health | 28401 Dentist

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The hazards surrounding vaping are not entirely clear. More research is needed in this area, but a recent study indicates that e-cigarette vapors could be damaging to your mouth. Here’s what you need to know.  

The Vapor Ingredients 

Electronic cigarettes are not regulated in the same way tobacco cigarettes are, meaning that their contents can be inaccurately labeled without any oversight. Contents that e-juice usually contains include nicotine, glycerin, chemical flavoring, and propylene glycol. Some of these substances are safe in food, such as chemical flavors, but the effects of inhaling them is not well researched. Heating these chemicals can form dangerous carcinogens such as formaldehyde. E-cigarettes might also include tiny metals and particles that you inhale while smoking. 

What This Means for Your Oral Health 

A recent study from UCLA found that vapors from an e-cigarette can kill the cells in your oral cavity, or the area of your mouth beyond your teeth and gums. The study placed oral cells in an environment where electronic cigarette smoke was produced for 24 hours, in a machine simulating how a person would smoke. During the test, 85% of the cells died. According to the lead author of the study, they plan to move forward to test the impacts in humans. 

These cells are your mouth’s defense by helping to release antioxidants. As the cells die off or become less effective, your mouth becomes more vulnerable to oral diseases. 

Another study by the University of Rochester Medical Center concluded e-cigarettes are just as bad for your gums as tobacco cigarettes are. Nicotine, which both types of cigarettes contain, is a known factor in contributing to gum disease.  

Steps You Can Take 

Since the e-juice industry is largely unregulated, it is best to avoid smoking electronic cigarettes. The carcinogenic contents pose serious risks to your health, especially to your mouth. Your mouth relies on the functions of these important cells to defend itself against dangerous bacteria and other substances. Without your mouth’s natural defense system, you open yourself up to oral disease. 

Make sure you are regularly visiting our office, especially if you are a smoker of either tobacco cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes. Our experienced dental team will perform a complete oral examination during your visit to check for signs of oral disease. Being proactive is your best defense against combating oral disease. 

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact us

Long Dental
Phone: (910) 762-0355
736 Medical Center Drive, Suite #100
Wilmington, NC 28401

Plaque: Your Teeth’s Number One Enemy | 28401 Dentist

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When buying a toothbrush, toothpaste, or coming into our office, you often hear the word “plaque” associated with the health of your teeth. Plaque is one of the main reasons why it is so important to keep up with a daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing two times each day for at least two minutes, and flossing regularly as well. Here’s what you need to know about plaque and what it can do to your smile.

What is Plaque?

If you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while, you might feel a film-like, sticky buildup on your teeth. This is plaque, a bacteria layer that grips onto your teeth. There isn’t anything you can do to stop plaque from forming, but brushing and flossing as well as keeping up with regular dental visits are your best defenses for cleaning plaque off your teeth.

What Plaque Does to Your Teeth & Mouth

Without regular brushing and cleaning, plaque builds up and multiplies. As plaque is left untreated, it hardens to form tartar (also known as calculus). Plaque also leads to decay, as it produces an acid that damages your teeth. When you come into our office for a dental examination, we thoroughly clean your teeth to ensure that any buildup is taken care of. Tartar can cause staining on your teeth if left untreated. Plaque is the leading cause of gingivitis, causing your gums to swell and become red or bloody.

What You Can Do

The most important steps of keeping plaque in check is to stick to a daily brushing routine. This means brushing twice each day, for two minutes each time, and flossing at least once daily. Plaque occurs naturally, and when you come into our office for a complete examination, we work with you to clean off any buildup. Maintaining regular visits to our office is one way to ensure tartar buildup is minimized and managed. It is particularly important that you are brushing your teeth all the way to the gum, because the gum line is an area that is prone to plaque buildup. Brush gently, as vigorous brushing will only do more damage than good, especially to your gums.

Sticking to your daily brushing and flossing routine will help keep your teeth free of plaque buildup. Make sure you are brushing in the morning and before bed. If you don’t brush before bed, bacteria and plaque will build up throughout the night. Schedule a visit to our office so our experienced, professional dental team can clean your teeth, giving you a smile you can be proud of.

For more tips on keeping your teeth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Long Dental
Phone: (910) 762-0355
736 Medical Center Drive, Suite #100
Wilmington, NC 28401

Help! 5 Tips to Know When You Can’t Brush | Wilmington NC Dentist

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Occasionally you might find yourself in a situation where you won’t be able to brush your teeth, perhaps through a lack of time or your location. Though it is vital to brush twice each day, here are a few steps you can take if you find yourself in a bind.

Drink Water
When you are in a spot where you won’t be able to brush your teeth for a while, water can be your friend. Drink water to help wash away sugars and acids that are in your mouth and on your teeth. Much of the public water supply is also fluorinated, meaning it contains fluoride. Fluoride helps to build strong teeth. Water also helps your mouth produce more saliva, which works to keep enamel strong. Our Wilmington NC Dentist suggests drinking water regularly, not just when you can’t brush your teeth.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Try chewing some gum to help keep your teeth clean. The American Dental Association (ADA) approves certain chewing gum brands with their seal on the package. ADA approved gums are sugar-free and do not contain other decay causing sweeteners. Like drinking water, chewing gum is good for saliva production, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel.

Floss Your Teeth
We suggest always carrying dental floss; it’s usually small enough to fit almost anywhere. Flossing is not a replacement for brushing, just as brushing does not replace the need for flossing, however in a pinch it is essential that you remove any plaque and build up that you can. The ADA suggests flossing once a day. Flossing will help improve your gum health too.

Use a Disposable Toothbrush
If you know you might be out of the house for a while, perhaps because of a long day at work or an overnight stay, we recommend you consider a disposable toothbrush. Disposable brushes usually come with toothpaste already applied and are easy to store and carry. They are an excellent alternative that allow you to still thoroughly clean your teeth.

Avoid Sugary Foods
A helpful step you can take if you find yourself in a situation where brushing isn’t possible is to avoid eating or drinking sugary or acidic things. Acids and sugars are what contribute to decay, as they weaken your teeth’s enamel. If you cannot brush your teeth, then don’t eat foods that lead to decay. Avoid sugary soft drinks, juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks as these drinks will leave behind sugars and acids that sit on your teeth.

Keep a Routine
Your oral health depends on your ability to brush your teeth twice-daily. Sometimes however, you might find yourself in a situation where that’s not an option. We suggest following these steps to minimize the damage to your teeth.

For more helpful tips on keeping your smile healthy, contact Long Dental.

Long Dental
Phone: (910) 762-0355
736 Medical Center Drive, Suite #100
Wilmington, NC 28401

7 Ways to Combat Bad Breath | Wilmington NC Dentist

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Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is commonly associated with certain foods. Garlic, onion, and cabbage can all cause a foul odor and taste for several hours after you’ve eaten them. This type of temporary halitosis is easily solved by avoiding the foods that cause it. However, in some cases bad breath is a chronic problem that simply changing your diet won’t solve. 

Long-term bad breath is caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are most often found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. There are a variety of ways you can help reduce or eliminate chronic bad breath. Some of these include:

Practice good oral hygiene.
Brush your teeth after you eat as often as possible and at least twice daily. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day. Food particles between teeth will break down slowly and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.

Brush your tongue.
Even if you brush and floss your teeth as recommended, the bacteria causing your bad breath may remain on your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently scrape away any particles of food or bacteria every time you brush. For best results, place the scraper or brush as far back as you can manage without gagging. This will generally become easier over time.

Keep well-hydrated.
Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent the bacteria growth and reduce or stop bad breath.

Avoid bad breath triggers.
Onions, garlic, cabbage, coffee, and tobacco products are all known to cause bad breath.

Chew sugarless gum.
By chewing sugarless gum, you increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. This helps slow or prevent bacteria growth, minimizing chances of bad breath. 

Improve your diet.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and foods rich in vitamins C and D all work to prevent the growth of bacteria, keep your mouth cleaner, and increase saliva flow.

See your dentist.
Follow your regular schedule of dental hygiene appointments and exams. If you have tried the tips above without improvement, make an appointment for an exam to see if there may be an underlying condition that requires treatment. Treat any oral illnesses, such as decayed teeth, periodontal (gum) disease, or infection.

For more information about the potential causes and treatments for halitosis, contact Long Dental.

Long Dental
Phone: (910) 762-0355
736 Medical Center Drive, Suite #100
Wilmington, NC 28401

The Truth Behind “Natural Whitening” Fads | Wilmington NC Dentist

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It seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles showcase the idea that whitening can be cheap and easy, if in some cases unpleasant. It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without investing time and money on in-office or at-home whitening under a dentist’s care. However, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, take a look at the truth behind some of the recent fads.

Fad 1: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been cropping up in headlines for months with claims of a wide variety of potential health benefits. It is a very old folk remedy in which a person swishes a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, olive, etc., in their mouth and between teeth for up to 20 minutes daily.

Despite the number of years this practice has existed and the number of health issues it purports to treat, there is no evidence that oil pulling whitens teeth or improves health.

Fad 2: Fruits

Due to celebrity endorsement, some people have begun to try rubbing mashed strawberries on their teeth to try to achieve a whiter smile. Others are using lemon or orange peels, and still others tout the virtues of eating pineapple or swishing apple cider vinegar.

However, there is no science to support any of these claims. In fact, one recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (which is known to have whitening effects on teeth) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all of these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.

Fad 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

While it is true that many forms of in-office and over-the-counter teeth whitening make use of hydrogen peroxide, there is more to consider before opening a bottle. The hydrogen peroxide used in professional teeth whitening, whether in-office or at-home, is mixed with other substances and provided in a form designed for use in teeth whitening.

Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will have little or no effect on the whiteness of your teeth, but may cause irritation to your gums and mouth and can be dangerous if accidentally ingested.

If you want whiter, brighter teeth, there are safe and effective ways to achieve your goal. Talk with our Wilmington NC dentist for a recommendation for what kind of whitening will be best for your needs. For more information about whitening, contact Long Dental.

Long Dental
Phone: (910) 762-0355
736 Medical Center Drive, Suite #100
Wilmington, NC 28401

Silence Isn’t Always Golden | Wilmington NC Dentist

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Periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive inflammation of the gum tissue. It is most frequently caused by bacterial infection. Left untreated, gum disease can have serious consequences for your oral and overall health.  However, one of the biggest challenges for early detection and treatment of gum disease is its silence. Gum disease can often begin and progress with few or no symptoms until reaching an advanced stage. 

Gum disease is caused when the bacteria found in plaque builds up between the teeth and gums. As the bacteria grow, the gums can become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. When gum disease is not treated promptly, it can worsen, leading to increased gum recession, infection, and bone loss. In addition, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. 

Gum disease also impacts other aspects of your overall health. Research has found links between gum disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious inflammatory illnesses. To help prevent gum disease, ensure you are practicing strong oral hygiene habits, including brushing, flossing, use of mouthwash, and regular dental examinations. Be aware of your risk factors for developing gum disease, such as age, tobacco use, genetics, stress, medications, grinding, obesity, or other inflammatory diseases, among others. Consider having an annual periodontal evaluation. 

While symptoms may not appear until later stages of the disease, it is important to watch for the warning signs of gum disease. Some of these include: 

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums 
  • Mouth pain 
  • Bleeding gums caused by brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods 
  • Loose or separating teeth 
  • Pus between gums or teeth 
  • Mouth sores 
  • Chronic bad breath 
  • Gums receding or pulling away from teeth 
  • Changes in your bite or the fit of dentures 

Gum disease can start silently, but may cause great damage if left untreated. Once gum disease has started, it can be effectively treated, but not fully cured. Protect your oral and overall health with preventive care and regular periodontal screenings. For more information from our Wilmington dentist about gum disease or to schedule your periodontal screening, contact Long Dental.

Long Dental
Phone: (910) 762-0355
736 Medical Center Drive, Suite #100
Wilmington, NC 28401

The Truth Behind 5 Popular Dental Misconceptions | Wilmington NC Dentist

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Clearing up misconceptions about oral health can help improve personal oral hygiene efforts for a beautiful and healthier smile.  If you keep up with your oral hygiene regimen, dental visits are significantly easier and dental care is more manageable.  

Misconception #1 – My teeth are fine if I have no pain 

Tooth decay (cavities) usually doesn’t cause pain until they become very severe.  Once it gets to this stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments.  Some of the most dangerous oral disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all.  It is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments.  Our dentist can diagnose problems even at its earliest stages when there is no pain. 

Misconception #2 – Cavities are only caused by sweets 

When you eat sweets, the bacteria in your mouth start consuming it and produce acid.  This acid dissolves the enamel of the tooth, which results in tooth decay or cavities.  However, this process happens when you eat anything that is a starch or carbohydrate.  Food and snacks, such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta, have the same effect on your teeth. 

Misconception #3 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing 

Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease.  This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to a lack of efficient cleaning.  With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed.  However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits.  In such instances, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continue to brush and floss. 

Misconception #4 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth 

Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades.  Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or cavity between the teeth.  Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side.  

Misconception #5 – Children are more prone to tooth decay 

Tooth decay (cavities) can develop at any age.  People assume children have poor brushing habits and are more prone to tooth decay.  Cavities form when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth.  This is usually seen in people with poor brushing and flossing habits, regardless of age.   

Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception.  It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits.  If you have any questions for our Wilmington dentist regarding your dental health, please contact Long Dental. 

Long Dental
Phone: (910) 762-0355
736 Medical Center Drive, Suite #100
Wilmington, NC 28401

The Dangers of Grinding  | Wilmington NC Best Dentist

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Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.  

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth? 

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing. 

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors. 

What Grinding Does Your Teeth 

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night. 

What We Can Do 

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment. 

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage. 

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our office. We look forward to assisting you!

Long Dental
Phone: (910) 762-0355
736 Medical Center Drive, Suite #100
Wilmington, NC 28401

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Wilmington, NC Dentist

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736 Medical Center Drive Ste 101
Wilmington, NC 28401

Phone: (910) 762-0355

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Read Our Wilmington Dental News

Dentist in Wilmington, NC

Health Alert: Preventing Osteoporosis | 28401 D...

February 15th 2024

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects roughly 10 million Americans, according to statistics f...

Read More

You Need to Know About Oral Thrush: Here’s Why ...

February 1st 2024

Even a healthy mouth is lined with bacteria. Normally, your daily oral hygiene routine helps p...

Read More

What to Know About E-Cigarettes and Your Oral H...

January 15th 2024

The hazards surrounding vaping are not entirely clear. More research is needed in this area, b...

Read More