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January 24, 2012

What Happens When I Sleep?

In a previous blog post, we discussed the risks, causes, and symptoms of sleep apnea. Dr. Peter Pate offers his patients snoring and sleep apnea treatments. Scientists devote a lot of research to sleep. Although we spend nearly 30% of our life in bed, we are often unaware of the science of sleep. Below are a few interesting facts and trivia dedicated to what happens while we rest.

Facts You May Not Know About Sleep

  • Sleep is a necessity. Sleep deprivation can result in death before starvation. In as little as 10 days without sleep, you could be facing mortality.
  • There are four stages of sleep that you progress through in your sleep cycle. The deepest stages of sleep help your organs and tissues repair from daily damage
  • Outside of the four sleep stages, you enter Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep multiple times throughout the night
  • In the past, researchers believed that humans only dreamed during REM sleep. However, recent findings have shown that we dream throughout the night, but REM dreaming is more vivid and strange. (more…)

January 20, 2012

Smiling is Good for You

Psychologists and physiologists have been studying the science behind smiling. Smiles increase your perceived attractiveness, enhance personal relationships, and help you in all aspects of your life. Non-verbal communication is an integral part of our daily lives and smiles are one of the most powerful forms of unspoken interaction between people. With just a simple smile, you can make others feel happier and more comfortable around you. Below are a few facts about smiles.

Fun Smile Facts

  • It takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. Being grumpy is more work!
  • Smiling is universal among people throughout the world.
  • When you smile, your body releases endorphins which boost your mood and energy.
  • Females tend to smile more often than males.
  • Newborn babies are even able to smile.
  • People with a pleasant smile are more likely to be promoted in their careers.
  • Forcing a smile can lower stress levels which then positively affects your immune system and blood pressure.
  • If you smile often, people will smile back. Psychologists believe we mimic the behavior of people around us. (more…)

January 18, 2012

How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

Did you know that Dr. Peter Pate treats patients with sleep apnea? In addition to general and cosmetic dentistry, he provides treatment for sleepy Atlantans, too!

What is sleep apnea?

Over 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and over 40% of adults snore when they sleep. As we learn more about this sleep disorder, we have discovered that sleep apnea is more common than we thought. While you are sleeping, the soft tissues in your mouth relax. As these tissues relax, they can cause obstruction of your airways. Most patients with sleep apnea are disrupted by breathing cessation during their rest. For a few seconds, or even longer than a minute, you can stop breathing. During the short periods throughout the night that you stop breathing, you awaken from sleep. Some patients also experience choking and gasping during these periods. (more…)

September 22, 2011

A Whole Grains Quiz

Happy Whole Grains Month! How much do you know about whole grains? It may seem trivial, whole grain versus processed grain, but whole grains have a wide range of benefits over their processed cousins. Test your knowledge with this Whole Grains Quiz:

Q: Which of these is not part of a whole grain:

  • Bran
  • Shell
  • Germ
  • Endosperm
  • None of the above

A:  Shell – A whole grain consists of bran, germ, and endosperm.

Q: Which of these is a whole grain?

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Wheat
  • Wild Rice
  • All of the above

A:  All of the above – For a list of whole grains, click here.

Q: Whole grains help reduce the risk for:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Gum Disease
  • All of the above

A:  All of the above – Whole grains reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. They may also reduce risk for gum disease, asthma, colorectal cancer, high blood pressure, and tooth loss.

Q: How many servings of whole grains do you need each day?

  • 1
  • 1-2
  • 2-4
  • 3-5
  • None

A:  3-5 servings per day

Q: How can you tell if a food is made with whole grains instead of processed grains?

  • Look for the Whole Grains Council stamp
  • Ask the butcher
  • Ask the cashier
  • Ask the stocker
  • Ask your spouse

A: Look for the Whole Grains Council stamp. Every product bearing the whole grains stamp contains at least half a serving of whole grains.

Q: How much money could you win in the Whole Grains Council September Sweepstakes?

  • $1,000
  • $2,000
  • $3,000
  • $4,000
  • $5,000

A: $5,000 – Click here in the month of September to enter the sweepstakes.

Q: Is “whole white wheat” a whole grain?

  • Yes
  • No

A: Yes: “White wheat” is bleached wheat, which is processed. “Whole white wheat” is actually a white variety of wheat that is used whole.

Be sure to incorporate whole grains into your daily diet to reap some of the bountiful rewards these types of grains offer. Here at Dentistry in Buckhead, Dr. Pate cares about your whole health, and not just your dental health. Call the office today at 404-266-9424 and reserve your appointment with Dr. Pate and his team.

August 7, 2011

Smile Tips from a Star

Photo Credit: Helga Esteb /

You’ve seen the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” right? If not, you’re seriously missing out. Nia Vardalos, the star and brains behind the movie, is hilarious. What you might not know, however, is that she is a probiotics enthusiast, which impacts how she takes care of herself and her daughter.

Probiotics are “good” bacteria that help keep your health in check. You probably know that probiotics are found naturally in yogurt.  Now there’s another easy source.  GUM® just released PerioBalance, a mint-flavored daily lozenge containing a blend of probiotics to help neutralize harmful bacteria surrounding your teeth and gums.

As a family dentist in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Peter Pate agrees with many of Nia’s tips for a healthier smile. Check them out:

  • Load up on calcium. Drinking milk builds strong bones (yes, your teeth are bones). A lack of calcium increases your risk of tooth decay and cavities.
  • Boost your Vitamin C intake. Citrus fruits and other foods that are high in Vitamin C help ward off infection. Eat more, and lessen your chances of developing gingivitis and gum disease.
  • Get your fill of fruits and veggies. The crispier your food, the better. Fruits and vegetables help to wipe bacteria off of your teeth, and chewing increases the production of bacteria-neutralizing saliva.
  • Stick with tea and water. Studies show that black tea can rid your mouth of the bacteria found in dental plaque. Water rinses away bacteria and food particles that can eventually stick to your teeth and become plaque at the gum line.
  • Avoid candy and soda. Sugar and acid are the enemies of your teeth. You don’t have to avoid these treats completely, but limit your intake as much as possible, and make sure to brush and floss thoroughly after you consume sugar-loaded foods and drinks.

Above all, Nia made a point of teaching her daughter how to brush and floss. “It’s all about prevention. Invest now, avoid health issues in the future,” Nia says.

Well said, Nia! Dr. Pate and his team at Dentistry in Buckhead provide dental care to patients of all ages in the greater Atlanta area. To schedule an appointment, call (404) 266-9424.

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July 12, 2011

The Importance of Mouthwash

For healthy teeth, you have to eat right and practice daily oral healthcare at home. Teeth should be brushed two times a day, flossed once a day, rinsed after meals, and cleaned professionally at least every six months. Additionally, your entire mouth can benefit from mouthwash. Antiseptic oral rinses and fluoride rinses are two types of beneficial mouthwashes that can promote healthy teeth and gums (and help refresh your breath too!).

Antiseptic mouthwashes, such as Scope and Listerine, decrease plaque and oral bacteria. In conjunction with brushing and flossing, these rinses help remove oral debris, temporarily suppress bad breath, and refresh the mouth with a pleasant taste (flavored versions only). To avoid drying out the tissues of the mouth, rinsing with a non-alcoholic mouthwash is recommended so be sure to check the labels!

Fluoride mouthwashes can also decrease oral bacteria. In addition to acting as an antiseptic, fluoride effectively prevents the growth of cavity-causing dental bacteria and strengthens tooth enamel. ACT, a common over-the-counter fluoride rinse, slows down or even stops the progression of cavities when combined with proper brushing and flossing. For high-risk patients, dentists can provide stronger concentration fluoride supplements or rinses to protect against cavities.

Rinsing with any mouthwash for 30 seconds loosens remaining debris and contributes to good oral health. If you live in the Atlanta area and want healthy teeth for a lifetime, contact me, Dr. Peter Pate at (404)266-9424. I provide preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry to families in Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Lenox, Atlanta, and surrounding areas.

January 5, 2011

Promises, Promises (New Year’s Resolutions)

A recent study tells us that most of us make promises to ourselves on New Year’s Day, then promptly break those vows. About 30% of women tend to make and keep their New Year’s resolutions for over 30 days, but most guys ditch their deals in a day or two. I hope we’re all much more diligent with brushing, flossing, checkups, and cleanings!

According to articles from and, these are the top resolutions people make in January. See if any of yours made the list!

  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Get a better education
  • Land a better job
  • Get fit
  • Lose weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Enjoy life more
  • Manage stress
  • Quit drinking
  • Get out of debt
  • Save money
  • Learn something new
  • Take a vacation
  • Help others
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle
  • Get organized

It sure would be great to see people add “go to the dentist regularly” to this list! Only half of Americans visit the dentist each year, and the most widespread childhood disease is dental caries (cavities). I want to ask you to make a resolution – a promise to yourself – to come in and see me twice this year. The ADA and most dental professionals recommend a minimum of two checkups and cleanings each year. These visits allow us to find problems in the early stage, when treatment is more effective and less invasive. Early treatment of oral cancer, for instance, improves a person’s survival potential by 80%! This is serious stuff, folks.

So instead of making a promise that’s just not practical, make one you can keep. If you live in the Atlanta area, visit Dentistry in Buckhead for six-month checkups and cleanings, and you could keep more than your promise. Ultimately, you could keep your teeth for life!