GERD: Can Heartburn and Acid Reflux be Dangerous for Your Teeth?

heartburn gerd tums antacid relief

We experience heartburn when acid escapes from our stomachs.  It travels up through the esophagus and into our mouths, putting both our teeth and health at risk.

Common symptoms include a burning sensation after you eat or at night, chest pain, chronic cough or sore throat,  difficulty swallowing,  or feeling like you have a lump in your throat.

The two major oral health concerns are:

Tooth Erosion: The exposure to acid can eat away at your tooth enamel, impacting the appearance of your smile and putting your teeth at risk for cavities and other dental problems. 

Esophageal Cancer: The acid traveling through your throat damages tissue, which can lead to cancer.  Oral and esophageal cancers are some of the most dangerous, making prevention even more important. 

If you have any symptoms of acid reflux or GERD, it is important to see your medical doctor for treatment and let your dentist know, as well. 

When it comes to your teeth and health, there is no such thing as just a little heartburn. 


Oral Sedation Dentistry – The Key to Anxiety Free Dental Care


Over 30% of Americans avoid dental care because they are afraid of going to the dentist. Unfortunately, this usually results in their developing more more serious dental problems. They end up needing more extensive and expensive treatment that reinforces their worst fears. 

And then, they are even more afraid.

In our office, we offer oral sedation dentistry for our nervous or fearful patients.  A simple little pill helps them feel more relaxed and able to have dental treatment without fear.

Our oral sedation patients tell us:

  • They feel very relaxed
  • Time goes by quickly
  • They are sleepy, but awake
  • They often don’t remember the appointment later

If you would like to feel this way during your dental visits, oral sedation dentistry may be right for you. It can help you:

  • Overcome or at least limit your fear and anxiety about dentistry
  • Stop feeling guilty about avoiding dental care
  • Bring your mouth back to a healthy state & prevent future dental problems
  • Feel proud that you are taking care of yourself
  • Enjoy a smile that you are proud to share

To learn more about oral sedation dentistry and how it can help you enjoy a healthy and happy smile, give us a call. We promise not to judge the state of your mouth and will take great care of you. 

(865) 922-1613  Knoxville, TN

Why You Should See the Dentist Before Having Surgery

doctor see dentist before surgery

It’s important to be as healthy as possible before any surgery to ensure optimal results and healing. For some operations, like heart surgery or joint replacement , you will usually be required to have clearance from your dentist.

Surgeons know that the bacteria in your mouth get into the blood stream easily.  While these bacteria can impact your health in many ways, your heart and artificial joints are especially vulnerable to them.  In order to increase the odds of a successful surgery and recovery your surgeon will want your mouth to be as healthy as possible.

It’s important to be proactive and not wait to the last minute to see your dentist.  One of the most common bacterial oral infections is periodontal, or gum disease.  Your dentist may need time to treat this condition if you have it and return your teeth and gums to a healthy state so that you can proceed with surgery.

Now that you know how your oral health can impact your overall health and medical outcomes, you may want to start seeing the dentist on a regular basis to prevent other issues related to the bacteria in your mouth. And then, you will always be able to feel confident in the health of your mouth if urgent surgery is ever needed.

If you are in the Knoxville area and looking for a new dentist, we would love to meet you. Call (865) 922-1613 to schedule an appointment.

We promise to take great care of you and your smile. 

Protect Your Teeth When Swimming in Chlorinated Water

man swimming protect teeth

Swimming is one of the great things about summer.  There is nothing like immersing yourself in cool water when it’s hot outside.   It’s also a great way to keep the kids corralled and still let them have a lot of fun.  There is one thing about swimming you may not know.  Swimming pools and water parks may be hazardous to your teeth.

How can that be?

Have you ever jumped into a chlorinated pool and realized the water made your eyes burn?  That means the water PH was not balanced correctly.  When the PH is too acidic the water can actually damage tooth enamel.

So, what can you do?

If you have your own pool, maintain a PH between 7.2 and 7.8  Create a habit of rinsing your teeth with drinking water after swimming.  And, if you are concerned about a public pool, get some inexpensive PH test strips to check it before you swim.

And, when you know the water is safe –  Dive on In!

Dry Mouth: Uncomfortable & Dangerous for Your Teeth

dry mouth lips

You may think it is just about feeling thirsty or dry, but there are potentially serious consequences for having a chronically dry mouth.

Saliva neutralizes acids in your mouth and limits bacterial growth.  It also helps keep your teeth clean by rinsing away food debris.  When you have a shortage of saliva, your oral health can suffer.  The most common challenges are:

Increase in Cavities: Cavities thrive in a dry mouth.  The situation can be even worse if you are using sugary throat lozenges, gum, or hard candies to feel more comfortable.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease: When bacteria is not rinsed away by saliva it gathers into colonies and creates infections like gum disease.  Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss and has been linked to many life threatening conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Halitosis: Bad breath is a common side effect of having a dry mouth that can limit your social and relationship confidence.

There are things you can do to protect your teeth and gums.  Be sure to:

  • Talk to your dentist and hygienist about your dry mouth.  They may have recommendations and suggest you come in more often.
  • Sip water regularly
  • Try sugar free options for throat lozenges or candies
  • Chew sugarless gum to help keep your teeth clean
  • Eat plenty of crunchy fruits and vegetables

And, if you are in the Knoxville area, we would love to help.

Call (865) 922-1613

Toilets, Toothbrushes, and the Little Germy Guys – How to Keep Your Toothbrush Clean


dental plaque bacteria

We know you are not rinsing your toothbrush in the toilet, but some of you might as well be. When a toilet is flushed, the germs are spewed out in an invisible aerosol spray that can travel over 6 feet.

Bacteria and viruses from your own mouth can also gather on your toothbrush and be reintroduced the next time you clean your teeth. This can be an issue if you have gum disease, or recently experienced a cold or the flu.

Enough with the gross stuff.  Now that we have your attention, you are probably wondering what you can do to protect your family? Keep in mind that this is especially important for anyone receiving chemotherapy or who has a compromised immune system.

Here are our recommendations:

  • Teach everyone in your family to put the toilet seat down when they flush
  • Brushes should be thoroughly rinsed and allowed to dry between uses
  • Do not put a cap over brushes as bacteria love to grow in dark, damp places
  • Store toothbrushes in a cabinet or at least 6 feet away from the toilet
  • Clean and disinfect bathroom surfaces regularly
  • When a person is healthy, brushes should be replaced every 3-4 months
  • If a person has periodontal disease or compromised health,  1-2 months
  • Don’t store family toothbrushes where they can touch each other, especially if someone has gum disease or has been sick
  • Disinfect brushes by immersing them in peroxide or an antimicrobial mouthwash

Knoxville Family & Sedation Dentistry (865) 922-1613

How Hard Should You Brush Your Teeth?

toothbrushes brush teeth hard

Scrubbing hard feels like the best way to get something really clean.  The harder you work at it, the better the result. Right?

Not with your teeth.  Hard scrubbing is not as effective and can cause damage to both your gums and tooth enamel. Gums are very delicate and can’t be replaced so it is important to treat them gently.

We often see people who need dental work to repair grooves worn into their teeth from hard brushing. If the grooves are near the gums they can cause your teeth to be sensitive or painful.

Surprisingly, soft brushes do the best job. The most important area to clean when brushing your teeth is the pocket- like area between your gums and teeth. This is where bacteria like to hide and where gum disease usually begins.

Angling your toothbrush bristles into this area works best.  You can brush lightly or jiggle your brush into all the nooks and crannies.  Once that is done, run your brush across the tops of your teeth and brush your tongue gently for a thorough cleaning.

And lastly, don’t forget to floss daily and get a professional cleaning by your dental hygienist on a regular basis.

For a professional teeth cleaning in the Knoxville area, call (865) 922-1613