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January 23, 2012

Why Do I Need Fluoride?

Dr. Peter Pate and our team at Dentistry in Buckhead encourage the use of fluoride in our patients’ oral health regimens. You have probably heard countless times from your parents, dentists, and toothpaste commercials that fluoride is essential to guarding your teeth against dental problems. Although this may seem like common knowledge, fluoride and its history in the use of dentistry is scientifically proven to protect your mouth from harmful bacteria and plaque.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral widely distributed in nature. Read more about it here.   In the middle of the 20th century, after conclusive research, the United States and many countries in Europe began adding small amounts of fluoride to city water supplies. Although the amount is miniscule, the overall oral health of the country has improved. (more…)

November 18, 2011

Quick Snacks for Active Families

Do you feel like you’re always running? Soccer, ballet, PTA, church — the list of commitments goes on and on. Active families can easily miss out on healthy eating opportunities because of their tight schedules. Modern families often forgo a sit-down, home-cooked meal for McDonald’s or KFC. Dashboard dining can ruin all the hours you put in at the gym. These poor meal choices are often accompanied by colas, which can subject your teeth to a sugar bath.

You can have a jam-packed schedule and a healthy diet, but you’ll have to prepare for success.

At the Grocery Store: When shopping, don’t stuff your buggy with pre-packaged sweets and starches like crackers. Instead, hit up the perishable aisles. Yogurt, cheese, and milk come in small, disposable containers, and these dairy foods are packed with protein. They’re also good for your teeth, bones, and overall health. Don’t miss the fruit and veggie aisle. Produce companies have become wise to the needs of busy families. You can now buy small containers of carrots, apples, and grapes. Small bananas and clementine oranges are fun, kid-sized fruits that come in nature’s disposable packaging.

When Unpacking the Groceries: Keep the sweets up high and in the back of the cabinet. Place nutritious snacks on low pantry shelves and in the bottom bins of the refrigerator. As part of putting away your groceries, pack granola and cereals in small sandwich or snack bags. These treats can take the place of Little Debbie snack cakes and Hostess cupcakes. Place a variety of your nutritious grab-bags in a bin, and store it at eye-level for kids.

Good Old H20: Water is best served pure. Don’t offer your kids an option to add sugary or even artificially sweetened water bottle packets. To please everyone, keep some water bottles in the pantry at room temperature, and stock some on the bottom shelves of your refrigerator door. If someone in the family just must have flavoring, keep diced fresh fruit available. Adding a few chopped strawberries, a slice of orange, or a sprig of mint to a water bottle is healthier than adding pre-packaged mixes.

Dr. Pate’s Active Lifestyle: If you’re in search of a family dentist who prioritizes whole health and living well, you’re in the right place. In addition to being a dentist, small business owner, husband, and father, Dr. Pate is an Ironman. As such, the doctor completed the grueling Ironman Lake Placid this summer.  This is a triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bike, and a marathon (42.195-kilometre  or 26.219 mile run) with no breaks. That was nearly 14 hours of workout, start to finish. When it comes to an active lifestyle, Dr. Pate understands! He lives one himself.

Call Dentistry in Buckead at 404-266-9424 to schedule your dental visit with Dr. Peter Pate. Our Atlanta dental office will do our best to take care of your smile.

October 22, 2011

Is It Wise to Pull Wisdom Teeth?

extraction of wisdom teeth

Do you still have your wisdom teeth? If you do, and they’re straight, you may or may not have any problems…yet.  Most people have their wisdom teeth removed as they begin to erupt—meaning as they break through the gum line. Long feared a painful event, and rightfully so, dentists admit, nearly 80% of the population has wisdom teeth extracted as they begin to break through.

Every year, millions of people have wisdom teeth removed that have no obvious sign of disease.  Routinely, dentists advise extraction at the early signs of wisdom teeth. Most individuals start to get their wisdom teeth between the ages of 16 and 25.

The “wisdom”—pardon the pun—behind this practice is generally endorsed for reasons of crowding, difficulty of reaching and cleaning the teeth and gums, the increased potential for infection and gum disease, and other problems down the road. Almost without exception, dentists are in favor of extracting wisdom teeth for these motives. Still, there are plenty of individuals whose wisdom teeth come in straight, without any problems. These folks are indeed the exception to the rule, earning peculiar bragging rights. But is it wise to keep extra teeth that will require the same care all teeth do?

Interestingly, some health experts are changing their opinion about extracting wisdom teeth before problems arise.  They contend the latent health risks of extracting wisdom teeth for preventive reasons outweigh anticipated problems.  Bottom line – each case is unique. 

If you have wisdom teeth coming in, or if you have a teenager with emerging wisdom teeth, visit Dr. Peter Pate for a consultation. Before you make any decisions, Dr. Pate can ascertain the progress of the teeth to help you make an informed choice of action. Call us at 404-266-9424 or request an appointment online. You would be wise to do so.

August 22, 2011

The Tooth Fairy!

Today is National Tooth Fairy Day! If you have ever known a young child who has lost a tooth, you know how important it is to be visited by this dental nymph. What is the origin of this fantasy figure?

The history of the tooth fairy, as told by some, is actually a rather dark tale.  In the Middle Ages, witches were on the lookout for items that could be used to work their black magic. They thought items held especially close to someone – like hair, clothing, and even teeth – were prime ingredients for potions and spells. Therefore, baby teeth were quickly discarded either by fire or buried out of sight.

In less ominous traditions, parents took their children’s teeth and buried them in the garden in order to “grow” strong, healthy adult teeth in their place. This tradition was adapted over time and some people buried the teeth in flower pots inside the home.  Today, of course, the location has moved to the pillow where it is “buried” for the night until a fairy comes to retrieve it, leaving a coin, toy, or treat for the child to discover upon waking

Children in Cambodia toss their lower teeth on the roof and bury their upper teeth in the ground. They hope that the new teeth will grow towards the old teeth and be straight. In Turkey, parents bury their children’s teeth in a location that might benefit the child’s future, such as a college campus garden or at a hospital.  In Kyrgyzstan, a child will hide his tooth in a piece of bread and give it to an animal with desirable teeth.  In other countries, the baby teeth are regarded as mementos or small treasures. Such is the case in Chile, where the lost tooth is made into a charm and set in precious metal to be used as a necklace or an earring.

Although children eventually lose these “baby” teeth, it is still important to keep them healthy and clean. One of the best ways to instill healthy oral habits for your child is to practice brushing and flossing with them at an early age. Call Dentistry in Buckhead today if you live in the Atlanta area and would like a family dentist who understands parenting firsthand.  As a family man and father, Dr. Peter Pate knows that you want the best for your kids, and he’ll help you by providing excellent dental care in an inviting, comforting atmosphere. Call 404-266-9424 and schedule your family’s checkups today.

June 15, 2011

Exercise Can Lower the Risk of Periodontal Disease

There are frequent news reports and television shows encouraging Americans to get fit and healthy through proper diet and exercise.  One study revealed that increasing your level of exercise can lead to healthier teeth and gums.

Researchers from the University of Florida measured the body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, and maximal oxygen consumption in a group of volunteers.  The team of researchers then used the measurements to calculate each participant’s exercise capabilities and weight control. The participants’ oral health and oral care habits were also examined.

When all the information was gathered, researchers determined that the people who maintained healthy weight and exercised regularly were less likely to develop periodontal (gum) disease.

“Weight management and physical fitness both contribute to overall health, and now we believe staying in shape may help lower your risk of developing gum disease,” stated Samuel Low, Associate Dean at the school’s College of Dentistry. “Since gum disease is related to other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, there is even more reason to take care of yourself through diet and exercise.”

Dr. Low also suggests that we should follow the American Dental Association’s guidelines of brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, rinsing after meals, and visiting your dentist on a regular schedule for a thorough cleaning and checkup.

Remember, oral health is crucial to overall health, and your first step to continued good health is to schedule a thorough checkup and cleaning with me, Dr. Peter Pate, Dentistry of Buckhead. Contact my Atlanta dentist office at (404)266-9424 to schedule an appointment.

May 31, 2011

Kick the Habit

Are you a tobacco user? This is a great time to kick the habit!  The American Cancer Society recently stated that 90 percent of people with oral cancer used at least one form of tobacco.

In addition to cancer, tobacco products increase the risk of gum disease, discolor your teeth, give you bad breath, slow your healing after an oral procedure, and can cause white patches and scar tissue inside the mouth.

The tobacco industry recently introduced a dissolvable tobacco product for smokers to use in establishments that ban smoking. The marketing led consumers to believe that smokeless tobacco and dissolvable tobacco products are less harmful than pipes, cigars, and cigarettes. However, snuff, chewing tobacco, and dissolvable tobacco contain more nicotine than cigarettes, thus making them more addictive.

Nicotine is bad enough, but consider the added chemicals that increase the risk of throat, oral, and esophageal cancers.  These products contain cyanide, arsenic, sand, grit, sugars, and sweeteners that irritate gums, generating a higher risk of gum disease.  Gum disease is the #1 cause of adult tooth loss.

Kicking the habit now will reduce your potential for gum disease. When left untreated, gum disease increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, pre-term births, low birth-weight babies, and oral cancer.

I’m Dr. Peter Pate of Dentistry in Buckhead, and I encourage you to be aware of oral cancer and give up tobacco products forever.  Improve the quality of your life, and those of your friends and loved ones!  If you need help quitting, or if you need your teeth whitened after you quit, contact my Atlanta dental office at (404)266-9424 to schedule an appointment. I care for patients in Buckhead and the greater Atlanta area.

May 20, 2011

HPV: Strong Link to Oral Cancer!

We’ve heard a lot lately about the Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV. Usually this is introduced to us by our physicians as it relates to our reproductive health.  HPV is most easily transmitted through sexual contact, and is strongly linked to cervical cancer.  However, there is new evidence that connects HPV to declining oral health as well.  Would you believe that the HPV positive group is the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population?

I’m Dr. Peter Pate of Dentistry in Buckhead.  It is important that you understand the dangers of HPV and what it can mean for your oral health. I recommend that you first become familiar with the characteristics of the virus and the way it is transmitted, and then learn how to best prevent you and your loved ones from contracting this destructive bug.

Although over 120 different versions of HPV have been identified, the most common strands are HPV-16, 18, 31, and 45. The virus is most easily spread through unprotected sexual contact. All of these HPV strands wreak havoc on the skin and mucosal linings of body tissues and results in an attack of the cells which can lead to various forms of cancer.

Specifically in the mouth, HPV-16 seems to be the culprit for the increasing rates of oral cancer in young adults. The virus manifests itself primarily in the back regions of the oral cavity like the base of the tongue, the back of the throat, and the tonsils. The double stranded DNA virus comes in contact with these areas in the mouth and infects the epithelial cells of the mucosa. The infected cells in the mouth can degrade and mutate to become squamous cell carcinomas (oral cancer).

So, how do you keep from getting HPV? The easiest and most effective way to safeguard yourself is to abstain from unprotected sexual contact – including oral sex, which is what causes the oral cancer we just discussed. Secondly, most physicians offer the HPV vaccine that can be administered at ages as young as 10 years old. This vaccine is thought to offer protection against the most harmful types of HPV, including HPV-16.

Now that you know what HPV is and how it is spread, I would like to remind you that it is vital that you continue your regular hygiene visits. In addition to the examination and cleaning, we screen for any signs of oral cancer. If you are due to visit us, schedule a thorough checkup and cleaning with me, Dr. Peter Pate at Dentistry in Buckhead. Contact my Atlanta dental office at (404)266-9424 to schedule an appointment.

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