Posts for: November, 2020


Although energy drinks are but a blip on the historical timeline compared to coffee or tea, they've displaced these traditional stimulants among nearly half of today's adolescents and young adults. But these sweetened “processed” drinks are also controversial among healthcare experts—particularly the effect they may have on dental health.

Besides the added sugar found in many energy drinks—a prime food source for harmful bacteria—many energy drinks and their cousins sports drinks contain significant amounts of acid. High levels of acid soften and erode tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth decay.

During one experimental study, portions of tooth enamel were subjected to a number of name-brand energy and sports beverages. Over the course of a few days, researchers recorded significant enamel loss, especially involving the energy drink samples.

Abstaining from both energy and sports drinks is a sound way to avoid enamel erosion (the best hydrator, it turns out, is simply water). But if you do wish to continue consuming these beverages, here are a few common sense precautions for reduce the risk of harm to your teeth.

Partake only at mealtimes. Among its many abilities, saliva is able to neutralize oral acid and bring the mouth to a neutral pH level within 30 minutes to an hour. But if you're sipping on high-acid beverages throughout the day, your saliva may not be able to compensate effectively. Drinking energy drinks only during a meal helps saliva do its acid-buffering job better.

Rinse with water afterwards. Rinsing with a little water after eating or drinking something acidic can help reduce the pH levels in the mouth. That's because water is by and large neutral on the acidic/alkaline scale. Because it's not adding more, rinsing with water dilutes any concentrations of acid that may still be lingering in your mouth.

Don't brush immediately. Brushing is essential to overall hygiene, but if you do it right after you eat or drink, you could be doing more harm than good. That's because elevated acid levels that naturally occur after consuming foods and beverages can temporarily soften and demineralize the surface enamel. Brushing could remove microscopic bits of softened enamel. If you wait an hour to brush, you'll be giving saliva time to “re-mineralize” your enamel.

If you would like more information on the role of beverage acid in dental disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Think Before Your Drink.”

By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
November 25, 2020
Category: Family Dentistry
Tags: family dentist  

Having a family means keeping track of everyone's schedules, which can be overwhelming at best. One way to simplify your life is by utilizing a family dentist for everyone in your household. Dr. Wayne Cook, a family dentist in Marion, Arkansas, is experienced and enthusiastic about helping people of all ages achieve optimal dental health. Read on to learn more about why a family dentist just makes sense for your busy lifestyle!

Singular spot

With everyone in your household visiting the same family dentist, you don't have to worry about taking multiple days off of work and school to make sure everyone in your family gets their teeth cleaned. Dr. Cook is skilled in treating patients of all ages and stages of dental growth. In many cases, we can schedule everyone to be treated in one day, minimizing the time you spend on the road and out of your regular routine.

Familiarity factor

Regardless of age, dental anxiety can make even the simplest of checkups a nerve-wracking experience. By visiting a family dentist like Dr. Cook in Marion, you're establishing yourself and your children in a recognizable and comfortable environment that won't change as your dental needs evolve. Knowing what to expect can help calm everyone's nerves, from babies to seniors!

Continuity of care

As life progresses, dental needs change. It's recommended that children begin seeing a dentist by the time their first tooth emerges, but they will eventually "age out" of a pediatric dentist and will need one who manages adult care. Adults, too, have different dental needs depending on their age. Your Marion family dentist thrives on adapting his care to meet the specific needs of his patients. When you have a family dentist, there's no need to transfer records or discuss medical history with a new dentist every few years.

If you're ready to make the switch to a family dentist, we're here for you! Contact the dental office of Dr. Wayne Cook in Marion, AK at 870-739-8799 today!

By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
November 19, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: braces   Floss  

Flossing to clean the spaces between your teeth effectively gets rid of difficult-to-reach spaces that toothbrushing might miss, particularly if wires and brackets are blocking the way. Ideally, you should be flossing between every single tooth once daily, or more depending on what you ate, and then utilize a tiny interproximal toothbrush for cleaning around and under the wires and brackets.

If you’re having a particularly difficult time flossing with braces, you can ask your dentist in Marion, AR, Dr. Wayne Cook of Wayne Cook D.D.S. for personalized recommendations. With this in mind, here are some tips to help you get started.

Simple Tips to Floss Your Teeth

  • Take 18 to 24 inches of waxed floss and then thread it between your teeth and the main wire. It’s important to use waxed floss as unwaxed versions easily tear and can become stuck in your brackets.
  • Always wrap the floss end portions around the index fingers so that you can handle the floss easier.
  • Press the floss gently between the teeth and then slide it up and down along both of the teeth’s sides. If you are flossing your top teeth, do an inverted U shape—go up a tooth’s side portion to your gum line and go down the other tooth’s side.
  • Remove the floss by gently unthreading it from the wire. Don’t just pop it out to avoid accidentally knocking out the wire from the bracket.
  • Do these steps for all the brackets and teeth.

Other Tips for Easier and Proper Flossing with Braces

To speed up flossing the traditional way, you can opt to use a simple floss threader. This tool will help you pull the floss behind the wires of your braces easily. If you have sensitive gums, which usually happen to most people who just started wearing braces, you can likewise consider using dental tape for flossing. This is basically super-slim floss that’s spongy and smooth and is wider than standard dental floss. Also, you can consider flossing with an oral irrigator or Waterpik.

Regardless of the method you choose, you must keep up with your daily oral care regimen and visits to your dentist in Marion, AR, to prevent oral health issues while your braces work to make your teeth and smile straighter.

Talk to Us For More Oral Hygiene Tips and Tricks When Wearing Braces

Schedule an appointment here at Wayne Cook, D.D.S. in Marion, AR, with Dr. Wayne Cook by calling 870-739-8799.

By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
November 19, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

Heartburn is a big problem: Each year we Americans spend around $10 billion on antacid products, twice as much as for over-the-counter pain relievers. It's an even bigger problem because many indigestion sufferers actually have acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), a chronic disease that can cause physical harm—including to teeth.

That's why we've joined with other healthcare providers for GERD Awareness Week, November 17-23, to call attention to the causes and consequences of this disease. In addition to the harm it poses to the esophagus (the “tube” leading from the mouth to the stomach through which food passes), GERD could also damage your teeth to the point of losing them.

GERD is usually caused by the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter, a ringed muscle located at the junction between the esophagus and the stomach. It acts as a “one-way valve” allowing food into the stomach, but not back into the esophagus. If it weakens, powerful stomach acid can come back into the esophagus and possibly even the mouth. The latter scenario poses a danger to teeth's protective layer of enamel.

Although tough and durable, enamel softens after prolonged contact with acid. Oral acid isn't all that unusual—acid levels typically rise right after eating, causing a temporary softening of enamel. Our saliva, however, goes to work to bring down those acid levels and stabilize enamel.

But if stomach acid enters the mouth because of GERD, the increased acidity can overwhelm saliva's ability to neutralize it. This can lead to enamel erosion, tooth decay and ultimately tooth loss. The enamel damage can be so pronounced that dentists are often the first to suspect GERD.

If you're diagnosed with GERD, here's what you can do to protect your teeth.

  • Manage your GERD symptoms through medication, avoidance of spicy/acidic foods, alcohol, caffeine or tobacco products, and maintaining an optimum weight;
  • Stimulate saliva by drinking more water, using saliva boosters, or (with your doctor's consent) changing from medications that may be restricting saliva flow;
  • Speak with your dentist about strengthening your enamel with special toothpastes or mouthrinses containing extra fluoride or amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP).

You should also brush and floss daily to lower your risk of dental disease, but with one caveat: Don't brush your teeth during or immediately after a reflux episode, as you might remove microscopic bits of softened enamel. Instead, rinse your mouth with water mixed with a half-teaspoon of baking soda (an acid neutralizer) and wait about an hour to brush. The extra time also gives saliva time to further neutralize any remaining acid.

GERD can be unpleasant at best and highly destructive at worst. Don't let it ruin your teeth or your smile.

If you would like more information about GERD and dental health, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “GERD and Oral Health” and “Dry Mouth.”


If you're well past your teen years, you probably have several reasons for not straightening your crooked smile: the expense, the time and the embarrassment of being a 30-, 40- or 50+- something wearing braces. But we have five reasons why adult orthodontic treatment can be a smart choice: Tom Cruise, Kathy Bates, Carrie Underwood, Danny Glover and Faith Hill.

That's right: Each of these well-known entertainers and performers—and quite a few more—underwent treatment to improve a poor dental bite. And not as teenage unknowns: Each on our list wore braces or clear aligners as famous adults (the paparazzi don't lie!).

Here are a few of the reasons why these celebrities chose to change their smile through orthodontics—and why you can, too.

Age isn't a factor. Straightening misaligned teeth isn't reserved only for tweens and teens—there are a growing number of adults well into their middle and senior years undergoing orthodontic treatment. As long as your teeth are relatively sound and your gums are healthy, it's altogether appropriate to undergo bite correction at any age.

A boost to your dental health. Gaining a more attractive smile through orthodontics is in some ways an added benefit. The biggest gain by far is the improvement straightening your teeth can bring to your long-term health. Misaligned teeth are more difficult to keep clean of dental plaque, which can increase your disease risk. They also may not function as well as they should while chewing food, which can affect your digestion.

Traditional braces aren't the only way. If the thought of displaying all that hardware makes you cringe, it's not your only option. One of the most popular alternatives is clear aligners, custom plastic trays that are nearly invisible on your teeth—and you can take them out, too. Another method growing in popularity are lingual braces: All the hardware is behind the teeth and thus out of sight. And you can, of course, opt for traditional braces—just ask Tom Cruise!

Oh, yes—a new smile! Orthodontics was truly the first “smile makeover.” It can improve your appearance all by itself, or it can be part of a comprehensive plan to give you an entirely new look. While the gains to your health are primary, don't discount what a more attractive smile could do for you in every area of your life.

The best way to find out if orthodontics will work for you is to visit us for an initial exam and consultation. Just like our A-list celebrities, you may find that orthodontics could be a sound investment in your health and self-confidence.

If you would like more information about orthodontic treatments, please contact us or schedule an appointment. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Orthodontics for the Older Adult” and “The Magic of Orthodontics: The Original Smile Makeover.”

Marion, AR Family Dentist
Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
303 Bancario Rd.Suite 7
Marion, AR 72364
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