Tag Archives: teeth

I Think There’s Something in the Water

Raise a glass of cavity fighting goodness

You may not know that a simple glass of tap water is one of the best means of maintaing good dental health.

“No way”, you say? Way. That’s because there is something in the water. Fluoride specifically.

“Oh yeah. I forgot about that Dr. Matt. So what’s the deal with it anyway?”

This is the cavity fighting molecule... or maybe just a stack of balls

Fluoride can actually be found naturally in the environment. Seriously. In fact, in the 1940’s people started noticing that communities with fluoride naturally occurring in the water had much less tooth decay than communities without fluoride in the water.

This discovery led to many communities adding fluoride to the public drinking water resulting in one of the greatest achievements in public health since it resulted in a drastic reduction in tooth decay.

So how does it work? Basically fluoride helps reduce the rate at which a tooth

Thanks Mr. Fluoride man for keeping me cavity free!!

breaks down due to tooth decay, and it also helps to remineralize (i.e. rebuild) a tooth after a small cavity has started.

It’s simple and cost-effective since it only costs about 95 cents per person per year… that’s a good deal! Plus it adds no color, flavor, or smell to the water. No spoon-full of sugar to make this medicine go down.

Lots of us have had fluoride in the water as a part of our lives for several decades. Some of us just assume that cavities are no longer a problem, but forget why we don’t have dental problems as much as people in the past.

we do not help fight cavities

Fast forward from the early days of fluoridation to now. Bottled water. I bet people from back-in-the-day would flip out if they knew that people are selling water. I mean I get it and all… pure (maybe), convenient serving size, nothing but hydrogen and oxygen, status symbol. That’s all fine and good, but you may be missing out on the good ‘ole cavity fighter fluoride.

Most bottled water companies are so excited about making their product pure, that they take out the fluoride. What happens next is that people stop drinking tap water in favor of bottled water, and in doing so they are no longer getting fluoride to help prevent cavities.

So why am I telling you this? I just want the good people of Nashville to know that if they are drinking bottled water, they may not be getting the cavity protection that they once were.

“Aw man!” you say. Fear not… there is a website that can tell you which bottled water companies put fluoride in their water. And here it is .

So maybe there is something in the water… or not. Check it out and just know how it affects your teeth.


Happy Late Thanksgiving… Why Your Teeth Are Thankful

Hi. Welcome back. How was your Thanksgiving? I got to travel to Memphis to stuff my piehole and hang out with family. We also saw the movie “Tangled” and had dinner at a place that used to be a beauty parlor. The hair dryers were still there. True story.

Did you think about your teeth on this day that celebrates chewing? Of course you didn’t, that’s what you have me for. And I did think about your teeth and all that you may have put them through. But his time I have good news. I stumbled on a report that tells of research that shows that some of our favorite Thanksgiving foods may actually help prevent tooth decay.

This little dude actually lives in your mouth!!

First the bad news. While you are feasting away on Thanksgiving, millions of little friends living in your mouth are feasting too. They are called bacteria, and they cause cavities in your teeth. So while you were watching football after a belt-loosening meal, the bacteria in your mouth were just getting started on their feast.

The real meanie in this group of microscopic gluttons is known as Streptococcus mutans. This bad boy is responsible for most of those bits of silver in your mouth. Ole’ S. Mutans takes the food you eat and turns it into acid which destroys the enamel of your teeth.

Pass the cranberry sauce please, because this Thanksgiving staple can help prevent damage to your teeth. Researchers have found that compounds in cranberries can actually help prevent our leetle friend S. Mutans from producing acid. Nice. So basically the glob of molded red gelatin can be our ally in the fight against tooth decay.

Take That! you cavity-causing bacteria.

But wait! There’s more. Sit down and pour yourself another glass of red wine because this magic elixir also helps in the fight against S. Mutans and cavities. See red wine contains alcohol, so the bacteria just get drunk and fall asleep on the couch. No wait. That must have been me. Actually the red wine helps because it reduces the amount of acid that S. Mutans produces. So you get tipsy and fight tooth decay. It’s a win-win.

Nashville dentist Dr. Matt McGee fighting cavities!!


Well, dear readers, betcha didn’t know all that. So what have we learned? The main bacteria that causes cavities goes by the moniker Streptococcus mutans. Cranberry sauce and red wine help to combat cavities. An that Nashville dentist Dr. Matt McGee enjoys said red wine and napping.

If you live in Nashville and would like to discuss other means of obtaining better oral health, please feel free to contact our office at 298-2385 or check us out on the information super-highway at http://www.MusicCitySmiles.com .


Rinse and Repeat

Why should your hair get all the fun? The mouth needs a rinse too, right?

swish, swish, swishPeople ask me this all the time. “what mouth rinse should I be using Doc?” or “I’ve been rinsing my mouth with hydrogen peroxide for years…” or “My great grand pappy only used baking soda to clean his teeth.” Nice.

So what is the deal with mouth rinses. Are they all that, or just hype. There’s all sorts of old wive’s tales and crazy stories about the benefits of rinsing with peroxide, Listerine, or mop n’ glow, or diesel fuel. Well, I’m going to provide a dentists perspective and help you decide what is best.

First things first. Brush and floss your teeth. Mouth rinses are no substitute for brushing and flossing as a means of keeping your teeth clean. After you’ve done that, and if you want get a little extra credit, you can use a rinse that will give you an extra dose of fluoride, or one that fights gum disease, or one that will help you have fresh breath.

Listerine is at the top of my list and is my personal fav. This stuff has been around for ever, and is the only rinse out there that is actually considered a drug. That’s right my little yuck-mouthed friends, it actually attacks and kills specific germs that cause gingivitis… and none of us want gingivitis, right.. RIGHT! Ok,moving on. This is a great addition to your oral hygiene regimen , and I’ve seen it really make a difference for lots of patients. It’s burns like the dickens, but you gotta feel that burn to get results baby!!

If you are one of those who has a sweet tooth and like to eat a lot of candy, you could probably use some extra fluoride. Well then Mr. & Mrs. Sugarbug say hello to my leetle friend Act. I get on to people’s cases about not getting enough fluoride. As a dentist it is my obligation to fuss at the residents of Nashville for not taking care of their teeth. It’s part of the dental oath… :  ). Anyway, this is a nice little rinse to get a little extra fluoride. Why fluoride you ask? Because fluoride makes your teeth stronger and more resistant to cavities, and that means fewer trips to my chair for fillings. Wait, forget what I said. Fluoride is evil. It will turn your hair green and make you smell funny… and I need to buy my kids Christmas presents. Just kidding. Fluoride will help prevent cavities, and you should use it.

If it’s bad breath you’re wanting to eliminate, I have a suggestion. Don’t eat garlic… and try a rinse like Breath Rx. This stuff used to only be available in a dentist office, but now you can buy it at a pharmacy or grocery store.  Use caution though when purchasing a rinse for bad breath because some mouth rinses contain alcohol and that will dry your mouth and make the problem worse. Eeeew.

There’s other rinses out there, and these I have listed are not the only ones that are good. If you have any doubt or concerns about a mouth rinse, ask your dentist. If you live in Nashville, ask me, I’ll be glad to help and/or be your dentist. Feel free to contact us at 615-298-2385 or visit our website at www.MusicCitySmiles.com .



Confession Time…

Just because I’m a dentist, doesn’t mean I enjoy flossing any more than the rest of yous. Ever feel like this?

I do. There’s my confession. I feel better.

How ’bout you?

Can You Guess the Celebrity Smile?

The Country Music Association awards are tonight in Nashville. This is a pretty big deal here in Music City and around the country. Get it… country. Anyhoo, there will be tons of celebrities strutting downtown dressed to impress in their finest attire and accessories.

As a Nashville dentist, I of course think that their most important accessory is their smile. So while most of you will be watching to see the dresses and the shoes, I’ll be checking out the grills for symmetry and the whitest whites. Maybe some of them out there have been to a cosmetic dentist to have a little, ahem… enhancement.

Ok, so I’m gonna give you all a little quiz to help you prepare to analyze smiles on the red carpet. I’m going to show you a smile, and you have to tell me which celebrity it belongs to. You can decide if they’ve had a little cosmetic dentistry to help them shine up on the stage…


The rest of your quiz can be found here…

For more information on finding a Nashville dentist, or on cosmetic dentistry in Nashville, please feel free to call our office at 615-298-2385 or visit our website at www.MusicCitySmiles.com

So how’d you do on the quiz? What makes a great smile and do you think it is the ultimate accessory?

I’ll Have a Glass of Battery Acid and Pack of Duracells… AKA Why My Teeth Have All These Holes

Man, I used to love candy as a kid. I still do. If anyone has a Reeses , please bring it to me. Now.

Alas, being a dentist, I have learned of the ills of candy and other sugary nuggets of goodness that will cause the untimely demise of your pearly whites. Not only is sugar a tooth destroyer, but more sneaky is it’s taste-bud affecting counter-part… sour.

“What gives? So you’re tellin’ me that sour stuff is bad for your teeth too.” Sorry. Yeah. I have a note with charts and graphs to show you too. I’m not tryin’ to spoil your snacking fun, but I just want you to know what the deal is with sweets and sours.

Ok, so this little graph is to show you how continued exposure of your toofs to various beverages will destroy your enamel. Now, keep in mind that enamel is the pretty white outside part of the tooth and is also the hardest tissue in your body. I always warn people about sodas, but dang look at what Red Bull and Snapple can do to your teeth!! Remember that this is continuous exposure and not a one time thing. So if you drink  a Red Bull, your tooth will not spontaneously decay.

This next graph just makes me sad. It’s eye-opening too. Here we are comparing some of the most delicious candy out there to battery acid. First a quick review of acids and bases: things that are neutral pH have a ph of 7. if your pH is lower than 7 then you’re an acid, higher than 7 and you’re a base.  The critical number is ph 4, because that’s the level below which teeth start to break down. So any time the ph in your mouth and on your tooth goes below 4, it ain’t good.

Ok, back to why this graph is sad… all that candy is sour candy. I like sour candy. But apparently sour candy equals low pH and acidic conditions in the mouth and on your tooth.

Look up there at the Fun Dip!! That is my all time favorite childhood candy!! A stick made of sugar used to dip more sugar. What could be better?! And some fancy schmancy scientist has to go out and show that the pH it produces in your mouth is similar to battery acid. Sweet Tarts, Spree, and Starburst you all are up there too. Bummer.

The take home lesson here is that sour candy is doubly dangerous to your teeth because of the sugar content, and its ability to lower the pH in your mouth and start the breakdown of teeth.

I recently attended a continuing education course which revealed some research that demonstrated that when your mouth pH turns acidic, more more more types of bacteria that live in your mouth become cavity producers.

This is merely a friendly reminder from your Nashville dentist that sugar and sour candy can be bad for your teeth. Really bad. If you are going to enjoy this stuff, please be sure to brush and floss diligently. And don’t forget to come see me every 6 months!!

For more information on preventing cavities, or if you just want to give us some candy, please contact our office at 615-298-2385, or visit us on the web at www.MusicCitySmiles.com

Dental Road Trip, What Have We Learned, and Dental HQ…

I’ve always been a little jealous of my friends who get to travel for business. It’s nice to get a change of scene from time to time, and as  a dentist in Nashville I pretty much stick to the same routine, and don’t often get to venture outside the confines of my office.

Well, this past weekend I got to do a little bit of business travel to attend a little bit of continuing education in Chicago with one of the real leaders in dental research, Dr. Gordon Christensen.

Dr. Christensen is the head of a research group that evaluates dental products to test how well they work under real-life circumstances. The great thing about his research is that he doesn’t receive any funding from dental companies, so it’s much easier to be objective.

Products are evaluated by dentists around the world in clinical practice. The result is a non nonsense report on what works and what doesn’t, which new products are booms and which are busts, and what is conservative treatment and what is aggressive.

basically, ole Gord is a no nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is kinda dentist. I’m sure some of his comments may not have set well with some other dentists out there (especially those who like to do complete and total mouth overhauls), but he’s got a lot of research backing him up. Anyway, good stuff.

I also got to report to what could be considered headquarters of the dental world here in the USA… the American Dental Association. So what exactly does the ADA do? Well, it basically is here to serve dentists and the public by regulating what is acceptable practice and what is not, evaluating products for dental health, providing information for the public about dental health, and working with government agencies to help protect the best interests of the public and the profession.

Unfortunately they were closed.

But I got to check the place out anyway and see the epicenter of the dental world. It was a tall building, not the tallest, but quite impressive. The security guard at the front desk told me that the ADA only occupies part of the building. Thanks dude. Way to burst my bubble.

So overall it was nice to get to visit a city I’ve never been to before, and to pick up a little continuing education from one of the best. Oh, and I got to do a little sight seeing with my with Kathy sans children…

Have a great week!!!