Dentist Dunwoody: Teeth Cleanings and Your Oral Hygiene

Toothbrush with tooth pasteGood oral hygiene is preeminent in maintaining your overall health.   Poor oral health has been linked to heart and lung disease, diabetes, stroke, extremely high-birth weight, and premature births.  Often, diseases give their first warning signs in the form of oral problems.

There are four basic steps to maintain good oral health:

  1. Brush at least twice daily.
  2. Floss every day.
  3. Limit your consumption of junk food.
  4. Visit the dentist regularly.

When brushing and flossing, the proper technique is important.  Also, using the right products is equally important.[1] Without consistent care, several oral health problems can result.  Risks of gingivitis, cavities, tooth decay, and other gum diseases can lead to oral cancer or tooth loss.[2]

Here are some simple lifestyle changes that will improve oral health:

  1. Set an example for your children by practicing good oral health care habits.
  2. Check your children’s mouth for bleeding gums, swollen gums, gums receding away from teeth.
  3. Check for bad breath.
  4. Eat a balanced and nutritional diet.
  5. Educate your children about the health risks of tobacco use.[3]

Age-specific recommendations.


  • For mothers to be, tetracycline is a no no.[4]
  • Teething usually starts at around 6 months and should be brushed and flossed daily.
  • Avoid baby bottle decay by not allowing your baby to fall asleep with a bottle full of juice or milk.[5]
  • If your water is not fluoridated, ask your doctor about daily fluoride supplements.[6]


  • Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for toddlers, but the habit may result in permanent bite issues.[7]
  • Make sure to use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste when brushing your child’s teeth.
  • At age two (2) schedule regular dental appointments.


  • Emphasize the importance of oral hygiene.
  • Again, set a good example by practicing good oral hygiene yourself.
  • Keep junk foods to a minimum for snacking.
  • Discourage oral piercings as they increase the risk for oral infections and can cause injury to their teeth.


  • Brush twice daily, maybe more when possible.
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Watch for signs of gum disease such as redness, swelling or tenderness.[8]
  • Visit the dentist at least twice each year for regular check-ups.[9]
  • Limit sugary foods and soft drinks.

While practicing good oral hygiene is vital to your health, there is only so much that personal oral maintenance can do, so visiting your dentist for regular checkups is vital to your global health.[10]

The following is a list of reasons why you should visit your dentist frequently:

1) To prevent gum disease[11]

2) To prevent oral cancer[12]

3) To avoid losing your teeth[13]

4) To prevent dental emergencies[14]

5) To help maintain good overall health[15]

If we can be of service or answer any of your concerns, please call our office for a complimentary consult.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


Article Sources:

Colgate World of Care


Caucus Educational Corporation

U.S. Surgeon General

“Top 5 Reasons to Visit the Dentist” by Tammy Davenport

The Oral Cancer Foundation

The American Dental Association

Colgate Family Guide to Oral Care

About the ADA seal of acceptance. (2005, March 14). Retrieved February 7, 2009, from American Dental Association Web site:

American Dental Association News Releases. (2008, February 4). A reminder to parents: Early dental visits essential to children’s health. American Dental Association. Retrieve February 6, 2009, from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006, December). Oral Health for Adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Division of Oral Health. Retrieved February 6, 2009 from

Oral health in America: Summary of the surgeon general’s report. (2006, April 16). Retrieved February 7, 2009, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site:


[1] When buying any dental products, look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. The ADA seal is an important symbol of the dental product’s safety and effectiveness (ADA Seal, 2005).

[2] This “silent epidemic” (U.S. Surgeon General) can be avoided by regular treatment at home and dental visits twice each year.

[3] Smoking is the number one preventable risk factor for gum diseases.

[4] A common antibiotic that causes tooth discoloration to your child and should not be used by nursing mothers or by expectant mothers in the last half of pregnancy.

[5] Try water or a pacifier and make sure to wipe teeth and gums with a gentle cloth or gums after feeding

[6] Fluoride is very important even before teeth start forming.

[7] Buck teeth or overbite.

[8] Contact your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms.

[9] Generally, plaque begins forming to maturity about every 3 months.

[10] “Routine dental exams uncover problems that can be easily treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal” (American Dental Association [ADA], 2008).

[11] Gum disease, specifically gingivitis, is a leading cause of tooth decay and tooth loss. If gum disease is discovered and diagnosed early, it can be treated. However, if left untreated, gum disease can become periodontitis, a more severe and irreversible stage. This may lead to serious damage of the gum tissue and jaw bone, causing your teeth to fall out. This late stage of gum disease can also increase your risk of developing a heart attack or stroke.

[12] According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, a United States citizen will die from this type of cancer every hour of every day. Of similar concern is the fact that out of the 34,000 newly diagnosed Americans every year, only half of these people will be alive in the next five years. However, while attending your regular dental checkup, your dentist and oral hygienist screen you for this specific cancer. If diagnosed early, there is a good chance that oral cancer can be treated successfully.

[13] Without your teeth, normal eating habits can obviously be far more difficult. Also, taking care of your natural teeth now will help you avoid paying for dentures later. As stated previously, gum disease can easily lead to adult tooth loss, but regular visits to your dentist and good oral hygiene can prevent it.

[14] Toothaches, a broken jaw, chipped teeth, and other dental emergencies can be easily avoided with regular dental visits. Early signs or symptoms of these unpleasant conditions can be detected and treated by your dentist. If left untreated, you may have to endure root canals or forced tooth removals- these treatments are significantly more expensive than preventative care such as regular check-ups (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2006).

[15] Since gum disease is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and certain forms of cancer, regular visits to your dentist can help prevent and treat this disease. By treating conditions early and learning from your dentist how to prevent oral damage, you can achieve better health and ultimately better quality years of life.


Dentist Sandy Springs – Older patients have special dental needs

A dental hygienist demonstrates scaling.
Examining Oral Health

Mouths, like people, are affected by years as well as by genes. If you’re over 60, your oral chemistry is changing—and thorough examinations of gums and salivary glands can be a lifesaving early detector of oral cancer or other disease.  Older Americans are becoming the largest segment of our population and suffer disproportionately from oral diseases, with the problem being particularly acute for individuals in long term care facilities.  They generally require multiple medications, and common side effects of the more than 500 medications used to treat their overall health issues usually reduce salivary flow.[1]   Usually the reduction in saliva can adversely affect their quality of life, the ability to chew, and lead to significant problems of the teeth and their supporting structures.

The elderly may also have difficulty performing routine oral hygiene procedures because of physical limitations, such as Parkinson’s or rheumatoid arthritis.   In addition,oral infection is now recognized as a risk factor for a number of systemic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases,diabetes, mellitus, and respiratory disorders.  Also,it is important to note that once people have lost their teeth and are using complete dentures, their oral health needs do not decrease.   Our jaws are not static and may continue to resorb over time.  Besides the continued resorption of bone, improperly fitted dentures can adversely affect chewing, leading to poor nutrition.  In addition, those without teeth remain susceptible to oral cancer, mucosal diseases, and alterations in salivary gland function.

As early as 55 patients are developing twice as many cavities as children do. All these health issues and their medications that create reduced saliva and cause dry mouth have become an open invitation for tooth decay and periodontal disease.  Does the patient have to make a choice between his or her general health verses their oral hygiene?  They shouldn’t have to.

What should you expect from a visit to your dental hygienist?  Along with your dental cleaning you may need professional scaling and root planing to remove harmful plaque and calculus deposits.  Your hygienist should also record the depths of your periodontal pockets (that space between your teeth and gums where decay and periodontal disease flourish).

Keeping track of you is a key part of the hygienist’s job. It includes keeping your dental chart and health history current, making preliminary oral inspections, and creating tooth impressions.

Our hygienist is also an educator—someone who can teach you preventive dentistry skills—brushing and flossing techniques that make for healthy, trouble-free gums and teeth, regardless your age or your onset of other health issues. Together, you two can make an unbeatable team!

Specializing in Geriatric Patients, Dr. Scheinfeld was trained in prosthodontics at Emory University School of Dentistry.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328



[1] Fox PC, Eversole LR. Diseases of the salivary glands. In: Silverman S, Eversole LR, Truelove EL, eds. Essentials of Oral Medicine. Ontario, Canada: BC Decker; 2002:260–276.

Bottled Water – Good or Bad? Dentist Sandy Springs

Bottled water
fluoride free water

According to the ADA the majority of bottled water does not contain optimal levels of fluoride to protect your teeth against harmful bacteria.  In addition, some types of home water treatment systems also reduce the fluoride levels decreasing the decay-preventive effects of tap water.  The absence of fluoride is not to be inferred as some kind of public or private ban on the use of fluoridation, because this is not the case.  And with respect to your oral health, when used appropriately, fluoride is both safe and effective and probably your best means of preventing and controlling dental caries.

So how do you use fluoride to achieve the maximum protection against dental caries and efficiently reducing the likelihood of enamel fluorosis?  There are numerous fluoride modalities that are effective, inexpensive, readily available, and can be used in both private and public health settings.  And if left unchecked, the resulting bacteria can penetrate dissolved surfaces, attack the underlying dentin, and reach the soft pulp tissue, causing of course tooth decay.  Drinking fluoridated water, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, or using other fluoride dental products can effectively and inexpensively raise the concentration of fluoride in the saliva present in your mouth 100- to 1,000-fold.

Children and adults who are at low risk for dental caries can remain low risk through frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride by drinking fluoridated water and using fluoride toothpaste.  While children and adults at high risk for dental caries should benefit from additional exposure to fluoride by going one step further and utilizing mouth rinse, dietary supplements, and professionally applied products.  The ADA reviews fluoride products for caries prevention through its voluntary Seal of Acceptance program and accepted products are listed in the ADA Guide to Dental Therapeutics.   At this particular moment in our oral healthcare, fluoride is the only nonprescription toothpaste additive proven to prevent dental caries.   As I have recommended in previous articles, brushing is the simplest and number one action you can take to maintain your teeth and oral hygiene.  This of course should be followed by regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist.

American Dental Association. ADA guide to dental therapeutics. 1st ed. Chicago, IL: American Dental Association, 1998.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs) GA, 30328


Dentist Alpharetta: Cavities FAQs

no-cavitiesMost of us have had at least one.  Some of us couldn’t help ourselves and have quite a few. So what makes cavities so persistent? Usually, the answer is simple: not enough brushing your teeth, flossing and visiting the dentist.  Snacking on sweets and slurping sodas doesn’t help either.  Even healthy cran-raisins are a culprit in the cause of cavities[1].  But rather than feel guilty, get informed and do some things to prevent cavities.

Q: What’s the difference between tooth decay and tooth cavity?

A: Good question! Most people think tooth decay and tooth cavity are the same thing. But they’re not. Tooth decay refers to a gradual process during which bacteria in the mouth produce acids that destroy the surfaces of teeth. Over time, tooth decay can erode enamel to the point that a hole, or cavity, forms.

Q: Can I get cavities from kissing?

A: Actually, you can.  But I am not sure if that’s a reason to give up kissing.  You might try brushing more frequently to disrupt the decaying process and keep kissing[2]!

Q: How do I know if I have cavities?

A: Cavities are one of the first things your dentist looks for during a regular dental exam. X-rays allow your dentist to diagnose whether you have dental cavities and how extensive they are.  Other methods of discovery come from the probing in the top surfaces of the tooth[3] for ‘stickiness’.  Sometimes a tooth cavity is visible to the naked eye, but that may mean you haven’t seen your dentist in a while.[4]

Q: How do dentists treat dental cavities?

A: Treatment depends on the size of the cavity and the degree of damage.   Although many dental cavities are treated with fillings, onlays may be necessary to treat large cavities affecting the cusps of teeth, while cavities affecting the areas in between the cusps may be treated with inlays. In some cases, dental crowns are used to protect a tooth from further tooth decay. Dental sealants are often applied to children’s and adult’s teeth as a preventative measure against cavities.

Still have questions about cavities or other dental problems? Your dentist will be happy to answer them during your next checkup or give us a call or email.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


Related articles

[1] Raisins stick to your tooth, ergo bacteria attachment site.

[2] Kissing has a lot of immune building advantages.  There are costs and benefits to everything.

[3] In between the cusps of the tooth.

[4] If you see black holes in your teeth, those could be signs. Another cavity red flag is a toothache or sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks.


Dentist Alpharetta: Mayor Bloomberg and Soda Drinkers

bloomberg-soda-banMy preference is to have government stay out of my arena even if the Mayor might be right. Dentists can usually spot a soda drinker a mile away.  These patients are often prone to dental cavities and white spots on their teeth known as decalcifications, which are actually the start of new cavities.

A cavity is an infection caused by a combination of carbohydrate-containing foods or beverages and bacteria that live in our mouths.  Sweetened soda contains a high amount of sugar, a carbohydrate that can promote cavities.  Sodas may be even more damaging to the teeth than other sugar containing beverages because they are acidic as well.

Before we drink a sugar-sweetened soda, the pH in our mouth is about 7.0, which is slightly more acidic than water. When the bacteria in our mouths are exposed to sugar, they metabolize it and produce acid. The acid causes the pH on the tooth surface to drop. At a pH of 5.2 or below, the acid begins to dissolve the hard enamel that forms the outer coating of our teeth. Over time this leads to erosion that causes cavities and painful toothaches.[1]

Of all of the sodas tested, cola caused the most decalcification. Sweetened soda seems to damage teeth in two ways. The soda has a low PH and makes the mouth acidic, and the sugar content causes tooth decay when it comes into contact with bacteria in the mouth.

The easiest way to prevent cavities is by reducing the amount and frequency of eating sugary foods and beverages.  If you can’t stop the consumption then consider brushing your teeth at least three times a day, especially after eating or drinking and before bed.

If you have to have sweetened soda, drink it through a straw in one sitting, to bypass the teeth altogether.  If we can answer any of your questions or concerns please contact us.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


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[1] Teeth exposed to cola, orange and lime soda had significantly more decalcification than those exposed to mineral water.  Mayor Bloomberg has no restrictions on mineral water, yet.

Alpharetta Dentist: Green Tea and Your Oral Health

Green teaDrinking green tea is in style, but guess what, it may also be good for your teeth.  A recent study found that those who regularly drank green tea had better oral health than those who didn’t.[1]  Examining three indicators of gum disease, researchers found that for every cup of green tea consumed per day, a decrease in all three indicators occurred.[2]

In the study, the researchers examined 940 men ages 49 through 59 on the three indicators of gum disease by measuring the pocket depth between the gums and tooth, loss of the bone attachment of the tooth and probing bleeding gums[3]. They found that the men who had regular intake of green tea had healthier gums and teeth than those who drank less green tea. They noted that a cup a day increase in consumption resulted in the shrinking of the above indicators or symptoms.

Unlike black tea, green tea is not fermented, so its active ingredients remain unaltered. Green tea’s protection comes from a powerful antioxidant, a polyphenol called EGCG.[4]

Because our mouths are an oxygen-rich environment closely connected to our blood vessels, they provide an ideal habitat for the growth and rapid proliferation of cancer cells. Scientists have confirmed that green tea not only halts the growth of new oral cancer cells but actually breaks down and kills existing oral cancer cells.  A double-blind study of people with leukoplakia (a precancerous oral condition), showed that those in the green tea group compared to those in the placebo group had significant decreases in the pre-cancerous condition.[5]

This is why we examine your mouth closely at each visit to determine any changes in texture or color that might indicate the presence of oral cancers. This early screening is just one more reason to make sure you don’t miss your regular checkup.

Ingredients in green tea may reduce the risk of getting dental cavities. One study compared two groups. The one that rinsed each night with an alcohol extract of oolong tea leaves had significantly less plaque formation than the group that did not.[6]

Another benefit of green tea is that it stunts the growth of odor causing bacteria, thus helping you maintain a fresh breath.

To fully obtain the benefits, we should have at least four to six cups a day.  Decaffeinated tea is recommended to reduce the side effects associated with caffeine, including anxiety and insomnia.  This seems like an awful lot of tea to ingest, so if you don’t want to drink that much, simply use it as a mouthwash.

If we can be of assistance or answer any of your questions or concerns feel free to contact us.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


[1] Journal of Periodontology, March 2009, Vol. 80, No. 3, Pages 372-377 , DOI 10.1902/jop.2009.080510

[2] Ibid

[3] These 3 methods of examining gum tissue are the most common methods utilized by your dentist when you have your teeth cleaned.

[4] Graham HN. Green tea consumption, and polyphenol chemistry. Prev Med 1992;21:334-50.

[5] Li N, Sun Z, Han C, Chen J. The chemopreventive effects of tea on human oral precancerous mucosa lesions. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1999;220:218-24.

[6] Otake S, Makimura M, Kuroki t, et al. Anticaries effects of polyphenolic compounds from Japanese green tea. Caries Res 1991;25:438-43.

Dentist Alpharetta: The Good News About Root Canals

FearThey are virtually pain-free.  Patients used to worry about root canals, and rightfully so.  Once synonymous with serious pain, today’s root canal procedures are almost pain-free.  Usually the pain associated with root canals is caused by waiting until the infection has become all too tolerable.                               

Root canals are needed when the dental infection, or tooth decay reaches the pulp chamber of the tooth. The infection destroys the nerves located within the root of the tooth, eventually causing the tooth to die. Years ago, the only option for this type of dental problem was a tooth extraction. Now, thanks to the progress in dental technology, often your infection can be stopped with a topical medicine applied to the tooth. And where this is not successful, the tooth can be saved with a root canal. 

If you’re in need of root canal therapy, you may be having trouble eating or sleeping.  A toothache or sensitivity to hot or cold is common for those with infected pulp, and you may even have swelling or tenderness in the gums.

The best course of action is not to self-diagnose and don’t procrastinate.  Only a dentist can properly diagnose the pain and provide you with the appropriate treatment.

If you are experiencing symptoms of an infection in your teeth, don’t ignore them!  Our goal is to save your tooth rather than extract it, and with good reason.  Missing teeth can cause bite problems, shifting teeth and bone loss in the jaw.  The vast majority of preventative treatment or root canal procedures are effective, and a successful procedure can help you keep that tooth for a long time.

If we can be of assistance or answer any of your questions, please give us a call or email us.


Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328



Thank you for all your referrals.  We truly appreciate them.

Information included is not dental or medical advice.  For your specific information

 be sure to consult your dentist.

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