Tag Archives: oral health

No Sleep Increases Your Unhealthy Snacking | Indianapolis Dentist

As seen on SleepDallas.com

A decrease in sleep, increases your appetite… and ultimately, your weight.

Ironically in dreamland, we are all our ideal size. Weight issues are non-existent. We don’t have to follow some low-carb diet. There is no working up a sweat running on a treadmill for hours. No need for herbal supplements or any magical pills. We just fall asleep and voila – we are instantly thinner.

Studies have shown that there certainly is a correlation between good health and good sleep. People with sleep deficiencies have distorted quantities of a hormone that has been identified in controlling hunger. This creates an amplified appetite and increases your preference for high calorie foods.

There is an abundance of physical consequences evident when your body lacks sleep. Sleep loss affects your mood, your appetite and your hormones. You’re inclined to desire comfort food when you are tired and it’s more probable that you will indulge your craving for them. You’ll grab for the chips, chocolate and candy rather than choosing carrot sticks.

Even though it may feel like you have a boost in your energy level, you will find yourself hungry more frequently. Your hunger isn’t the real problem; your sleepiness is. That will result in you not just making bad food choices but making frequent bad choices.

For a lot of people, emotional eating is triggered when you are tired. This is because you’re less resistant to stress and stress leads to eating. Also, people will use food as a means to stay awake. Again, your body is craving sleep, not food, but in your sleepy state, you fail to recognize this.

Visit Great Lakes Family Dental today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Great Lakes Family Dental proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

What Happens at a Dental Checkup? | Indianapolis Dentist

We know that our dental visits help ensure that we continue to have a healthy mouth and bright smile. But if you have never been to the dentist, these dental checkups can seem daunting. After all, no one is raving about having to go to the dentist. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. So, in order to clarify some things for those that may be unaware, here is a basic rundown of what you can expect from a typical dental visit:

The first thing most dentists will do when for a patient’s first visit is conduct x-rays. The x-rays not only provide a current glimpse at the state of the patient’s oral health, but they offer a glimpse at the patient’s dental history. Fillings, crowns, bridges and implants will be plainly visible, as well as any existing problems such as untreated decay.

Based on the result of the x-rays, it’s likely that the dentist will determine if any teeth need attention, a cleaning is needed, etc. Depending on the time allotted for the visit, the dentist may be able to address his recommendations at that time or may ask that the patient make a follow-up appointment. This is also the time you can ask about any questions you may have.

If serious problems are discovered, it’s not unusual for dentists to refer patients to other specialists. Some dentists will refer patients needing root canals to an endodontist, and patients needing corrective braces to an orthodontist.

Visiting the dentist shouldn’t be something to fear or avoid. They are here to help and are willing to address any concerns you may have.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Swish Like a Fish | Indianapolis Dentist

periodontal diseaseWho doesn’t love that minty fresh feeling your mouth has after a good rinse with mouthwash? Your breath is not only the benefit of mouthwash, though – mouthwash can help keep your gums and teeth healthy if used properly.

Mouthwash can cut back the level of bacteria in your mouth. Combined with brushing and flossing regularly, rinsing with mouthwash will do a much better job of removing plaque and debris. Research shows that adding a rinse with mouthwash to your oral care routine can in fact improve the overall cleanliness of your mouth and help keep gum inflammation at bay.

Keep in mind – most mouthwashes are at their most effective when in contact with your mouth tissues for 30 seconds per use. It may sound impossible to do with the strong taste, but it’s worth toughing it out if you want the best results. Bonus fact: it’s also a good cleaning agent for mouth guards. Still not convinced? Here are the dental health benefits of mouthwash:

Freshens breath. First and most obviously, mouthwash temporarily reduces bad breath. Mouthwash kills bacteria associated with causing bad breath leaving you with minty fresh breath.

Prevents plaque build-up. Various mouthwashes help prevent plaque build-up on your gums, in-between and on the surface of your teeth. And while it prevents the build-up of plaque, it cannot reduce the plaque that already exists.

Removes particles. We are taught to use mouthwash after brushing but using it prior can loosen particles stuck in your teeth, making it easier to brush.

Cavity prevention. Mouthwashes that contain fluoride can help to prevent cavities and strengthen your enamel at the same time. Remember, not all mouthwashes contain fluoride so check the label.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Don’t Ruin Your Dental Implants with Proper Care | Indianapolis Dentist

When we have the chance to improve your smile with dental implants, you will need to realize that while they are made to be quite resilient, you need to take care of them just as much as you do your own teeth. Don’t fret – it isn’t going to be an overhaul of your life. In fact, you may not even notice a difference at all. While you will be given instructions regarding aftercare and upkeep, here is a quick rundown of what you can expect to hear:

Brush and floss twice a day. Just like your regular teeth, implants need to be cleaned and flossed to prevent food particles from invading your gums and implant structure.

Say no to staining. Dental implants can stain the same as normal teeth. Steer clear of smoking, coffee, tea, sodas and wine. Don’t feel you need to avoid them completely – moderation is key.

Mouthwash. Special germicidal mouthwash is often prescribed by dentists for patients with dental implants. It helps reduce the risk of infection.

Dental visits twice a year. Regular dental visits are a part of normal dental hygiene but is especially true for people with dental implants. Your dental implants will need a thorough cleaning and plaque removal to continue to keep their brightness. Along with the cleaning, the condition of your gums, jaw and anchors will be checked.

Caring for restorations is just like caring for your natural teeth. You’ve gone through the process of getting the dental implant – maintain them for a smile that lasts a lifetime.

Visit Great Lakes Family Dental today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Great Lakes Family Dental proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Why It’s Important To Get Your Teeth Cleaned Every Six Months

If only you knew just what exactly is happening inside your mouth every day, you probably wouldn’t need to be reminded, nor wonder, why it’s important to get your teeth cleaned every six months.

You see, brushing and flossing alone aren’t enough to keep your teeth clean and healthy, and to further convince you, here are five reasons why you need to visit the dentist every six months:

  1. It’s the best way to prevent oral cancer. Or, at the very least, make sure that it’s diagnosed as early as possible. Remember, just like with any form of cancer, your survival rate increases dramatically the sooner it is diagnosed. If you frequently drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, then it’s even more important to have your mouth checked every six months for signs of oral cancer.
  1. For the prevention and treatment of oral infection. Contrary to popular belief, normal and healthy mouths do not and never will bleed when flossing or brushing. If it does, then either there’s wrong with your mouth, or the way you brush your teeth. Chances are, it’s more of the former. This is true even if you think that it’s normal for your gums to bleed after a round of dental cleaning. Bleeding teeth and gums are one of the earliest signs of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other complications if not treated early. So, the next time you brush and floss your teeth, and it bleeds, take note of it and tell the dentist. Although it probably shouldn’t hurt to try and switch to another toothbrush with soft bristles, or to not brush your teeth as aggressively as before.
  1. No more bad breath. Sure, it’s normal for the mouth to not always smell minty fresh. But, for your breath to stink regularly, sometimes to the point that it affects your sense of taste, isn’t exactly what you’d call normal. That actually is a telltale sign of an oral infection, something that only your dentist can treat. Even if this hasn’t happened to you yet, this should give you even more of a reason to visit the dentist.
  1. Lowered risk for dental problems. Although dentists recommend paying them a visit every six months to lower one’s risk for dental problems, some people actually need to have their teeth cleaned much more often. And, how exactly would you know how often you need to visit the dentist if you don’t even visit them regularly in the first place?
  1. To keep your teeth white and healthy. It may sound superficial, but we tend to judge other people based on what we see first, which usually is the smile – or at least, the lack thereof. By visiting the dentist regularly, you can keep your teeth looking shiny and healthy, allowing you to smile way more often without being so conscious, giving your self-esteem a much-needed boost.

Let Dr. Kirtley help you to prevent gum disease and keep your teeth looking pretty so you never have to worry about those things ever again. Call for an appointment at 317-841-1111. Learn more about our practice by visiting our website at www.smilesbygeorge.com.

How to Keep Your Breath Fresh | Indianapolis Dentist

Chewing GumDo you suspect you have bad breath? If so, it might be an indication of other problems and not just a lack of proper oral hygiene. With perpetual bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

The medical condition dry mouth (xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

Below are five easy ways to keep your breath fresh all day:

Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth, by rinsing your mouth out as well. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odors. So make sure you drink your daily intake of water and avoid sugary drinks!

Keep coffee use to a minimum. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue. If you feel like you can’t function without it, don’t quit completely. Instead, keep the intake to a minimum and have a toothbrush or sugar-free gum handy for afterwards.

Stay away from tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can not only make you more susceptible to health issues, but smoking gives people horrible breath. Keeping them out of your life will have multiple benefits.

Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath smell less than fresh for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.

Chew sugarless gum. Wait for a good half hour after a meal before popping in a piece of sugarless gum. It can help with saliva flow, cleaning cavity-forming bacteria from your mouth before they can do any damage. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities, so feel free to indulge in this sweet treat after a good meal.

For more information regarding bad breath and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

Your Dental Visit Doesn’t Have to Be Scary | Indianapolis Dentist

Dental treatmentIt will always be a nerve-wracking time preparing to see any sort of health professional. As adults, we seem to try dodging these appointments whenever possible. You aren’t exactly sure why, you just know you don’t want to go. For many, the thought of the unknown is the worst part about these meetings. So after years of deflecting the inevitable, don’t you want to understand why?

The good thing about returning to the dentist after a long hiatus is that our first encounter is going to be virtually painless. The goal for this visit is to basically get to know you and your oral health. It’s going to be a breeze, so make your appointment to get that first consultation taken care of. Every journey begins with a proverbial first step, even if that step is your mouth’s.

When you appointment begins, your dentist is going to do is ask about your health history. It may seem intrusive because dentists focus on oral health, but a lot of issues can be determined via the mouth, so it’s important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your general health.

Typically, next will be x-rays. They’re necessary in order for your dentist to monitor your bone & jaw health. If you have recent ones, bring them with you to bypass this step. But prepare to have them done. Once they are done, your dental professional will clean your teeth. This will help them see any issues, like chips and cavities that may be developing due to your daily oral care or other health issues. Once that is done, not only will your mouth feel amazing, but your dentist can give you a better idea about things you need to do in order to take preventative measures. We want to stay ahead of anything that may happen in the future, so a good cleaning will help see the current state of your teeth.

And that’s basically it as far as the exam is concerned. Now it’s your turn to ask the questions. Take this time to discuss any questions or concerns you have going forward. They will have the best ideas about how to treat any issue they find necessary and prepare you for any surgeries that may need to take place. Be thorough. They are there to help you feel more at ease about your health, so don’t hesitate to mention any fears you may have.

Don’t worry. This first dental visit isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, it’s your first step to a beautiful smile. That in and of itself is good news.

For more information regarding and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

Why Athletes Have to Worry About Their Teeth | Indianapolis Dentist

thinkstockphotos-166340009When we think about athletes, we think about strong healthy individuals that take their sport by storm with all of their physical ability. They train hard, they eat well to give their bodies the proper nutrition in order to perform at their peak. But what if I told you that athletes actually have more to worry about when it comes to their oral health. It’s true. We may all have the same basic guidelines when it comes to oral care, but an athlete’s lifestyle isn’t the same as ours and needs to be treated as such. During their training, athletes often have high-carb diets and drink lots of energy drinks to keep up with things. Those two things alone are driving sugars and acids into their mouths, and these are the main causes for tooth decay and cavity-causing erosion. What they don’t realize is that when you have issues in your mouth, it can progress to cause pain. These pains may not be directly involved in the sport, but it can cause issues with sleeping and training in general, two necessities for all athletes to perform their best. So, if you are an athlete looking to better your overall performance on the field, track, court, or ice, you should look into your oral health!

Recent studies done and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2012 showed that 18 percent of athletes who attended the dental clinic of the London 2012 Olympic Games reported that their oral health damaged their training and performance in the games.

Researchers surveyed and examined 302 athletes from 25 sports and concluded these results:

  • Fifty-five percent had dental caries, the disease that causes cavities
  • Forty-five percent had dental erosion
  • More than three-quarters had gingivitis and 15 percent had gum disease
  • More than 40 percent of athletes were “bothered” by their oral health with 28 percent saying it impacted their quality of life and 18 percent saw an impact on their training and performance
  • Nearly half of the participants had not had an oral exam or hygiene care in the previous year

This just goes to show that oral health is an important tool and element of overall health, as it can effect one’s overall performance. And if you are in a sport that is more physical, make sure to see your dentist for a custom-fit mouthguard to ensure your teeth are protected from those tough hits. Preventative measures are key to keeping your entire athletic machine running in tiptop shape.

For more information on dental care for athletes and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

DIY Remedies: The All-Natural Edition | Indianapolis Dentist

Vector cartoon sick tooth. Decay and destroy tooth.There are lots of dental problems that arise as we progress in life, and they range from minor to serious. Sometimes you don’t have time to make it to the dentist, and sometimes you are just waiting for your appointment. There must be something you can do in the meantime to help remedy a few of the more common problems that may present itself. There are loads of different over-the-counter remedies to counter these issues, but there are also natural remedies you could actually have in your home at this very moment. The following is a list of things you can do at home for a quick fix to various dental issues, listed from minor to major:

Bad breath. No one likes to know they have bad breath. It’s awkward and embarrassing, for everyone involved. Try chewing on fennel seeds or parsley. Fenugreek leaves boiled into a tea can be used as a mouthwash. Grab a handful of leaves and swish the tea around in your mouth twice a day.

Discolored teeth. There are a few things you can do to gradually turn your yellowed teeth to a sparkling white grin. Make a paste with some baking soda and water and brush your teeth with it once a week. Turn some strawberries into a paste and rub it onto your teeth. It may sound strange but the acids in strawberries scrub your teeth in the most delicious way possible. If you are looking for something a bit more exotic, mix mustard oil with holy basil leaves. The paste is fantastic for fading your teeth’s tinge.

Gum infections. If you find that your gums have become inflamed, chances are you will need to take a trip to the dentist. But in the meantime, rinse with warm saline water three times a day. It will keep the area clean and plaque-free. Chewing basil leaves is also known to sooth gums so have some handy if you begin to feel some discomfort. Mustard oil come in handy here too. Mix a little with a pinch of salt to help relieve any mild infection, or loose tooth, you may have.

Toothaches. If your pain has progressed all the way to full-blown toothache, it may feel like nothing will help it. Would you believe it can be fixed by pressing a clove of garlic on the pain? It works. Turmeric powder pressed on a cavity will work wonders on a cavity. Similar to a topical anesthetics we use for cuts, clove oil will do the same anti-bacterial things, but for your mouth.

Dental problems are bound to happen at some point. It’s natural. And as you can see, there are lots of natural ways we can help relieve some of our dental problems. They may not be total solutions, but they will work great until you can get into the dental chair.

For more information on dental emergencies and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

How Implant Dentistry Can Bring Your Smile Back to Life | Indianapolis Dentist

thinkstockphotos-507064929We all know a person’s smile is one of the first things you see when meeting someone. Some are lovely, some need work, but their smile is unique and what sets them apart from the rest. But say something unfortunate happens and you lose a tooth or two. Chances are, it is going to affect your overall demeanor. Because we know it’s a major first impression, if you don’t have a full set of pearly whites, you may be more apt to not want to show off your teeth. Don’t worry. Most adults have lost a couple of teeth already, either to decay or some form of accident. Couldn’t tell, could you? Yes, it’s true. And if you’re wondering how some adults have managed to hide their missing teeth – it’s because of dental implants.

So if you lose a tooth, here are just a few of the tooth replacement options available:

Dental Implants – Dental implants are surgically implanted into your mouth, offering a sturdy and long-term solution for your missing teeth. The process typically involves three stages and can take several months to finish. However, people are willing to wait because dental implants are considered to offer the best mix of both durability and comfort out of all the other tooth replacement options available.

Bridges – Bridges come in different types, but they’re a dental appliance used to bridge a gap left by missing teeth. Unlike dental implants, which are surgically attached to your mouth, bridges use the adjacent teeth to anchor your teeth down for support.

Dentures – Dentures are removal appliances that mimic how a full set of teeth looks and functions. You will be fitted with either full dentures, which replace all of your teeth. Or, you can be fitted with overdentures, which fit over your few remaining teeth. Either way, dentures are often recommended to those missing a couple of teeth.

Now that we know our smile can be saved if something happens, how can we take preventative measures so that we don’t have to deal with having any of these procedures done? Because not only does missing teeth ruin your smile, it can also lead to other health issues if not taken care of in a timely manner. For starters, you can start by thinking that age is the predominant factor, because it isn’t. Like so many other complications, lifestyle, diet and healthy practices play much bigger factors in your overall dental health than the year we were born.

When it comes to missing teeth, or your oral health in general, good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent teeth from eventually falling out. Missing teeth are usually the result of severe gum disease, a dental complication that can be prevented with regular and daily brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash. So take care of your smile. We may be able to fix it, but what you do dictates the need.

For more information on dental implants and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.