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Sleeping for Healthy Teeth

A good night’s rest is an essential part of everyone’s daily routine—I know that this Irvine family dentist needs a good 7-8 hours to feel refreshed! Sleep is key to one’s mental and physical health, and when this is lacking there is almost always physical indicators. Not only does lack of sleep appear in the eyes and the skin, but it also affects the teeth.

What many people don’t know is that lack of sleep is the second most important lifestyle factor when it comes to the appearance of periodontal disease—the first factor being smoking. Research has shown that those who received seven to eight hours of sleep per night exhibited smaller signs of periodontal disease progression compared to those who received six or fewer hours of sleep per night. Other lifestyle factors that affect oral health include: alcohol consumption, drug usage, nutrition, amount of physical activity, and mental stress.

In order to received the proper amount of sleep per night consider these tips:

1) Set a regular bedtime. Creating a routine will help your circadian rhythm work at tip-top shape. Choose a time when you normally start to feel sleepy. This way you will not toss or turn through the night. I know it is hard, but try not to break this routine on weekends. If you do want to change your bedtime, help your body to adjust by making small daily changes—15 minutes is a good standard.

2) Nap, but nap smart. If you find that you’ve missed out on some much needed sleep, you can make up for these hours by opting for a daytime nap rather than sleeping late. However, sometimes this can create problems, particularly insomnia. If you have to nap, try to do it in the early afternoon and limit it to thirty minutes—this Irvine family dentist can definitely appreciate a catnap!

3) Turn off the electronics. Winding down after dinner with some television programs may be an entertaining time, but try to shut off the noise from the TV screens, computers, etc. at least a hour before bedtime. If you must do something before bed, try reading a book or stretching.

For more tips on better oral health, contact your Irvine family dentist today at (949) 857-1270!

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

The Truth About Strawberries

Summer is almost here, which means beach time, long sunny days and of course strawberries—a favorite fruit of this Orange county dentist. Strawberries definitely deserve their fan following, as they are delicious in smoothies, shortcakes, covered in chocolate, and of course all by its natural self. Furthermore, the sensational strawberry is also considered a ‘super-fruit,’ as it is rich in antioxidants and helps protect the heart. They are also low in calories and high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and folic acid! So luckily this Orange county dentist, along with others can feel good about enjoying some strawberries this upcoming season.

However, some is the key word. Like all good things, strawberries must be eaten in moderation. This is because strawberries are highly acidic, and consuming too many can cause tooth erosion. This happens when acid slowly eats away at the enamel of your tooth. Once this enamel is lost, it cannot be recovered. Loss of enamel causes a wide range of dental problems, such as sensitivity, teeth discoloration, cracked teeth and even tooth loss!

This doesn’t mean you should stop eating these wonderful red sweets altogether. It just means you should limit your portions and be smart about it! Here are some tips:

1) Pair them with foods low in sugar and acid content. Examples of these are nuts, bananas, spinach and many diary products. Of course, avoid drinking them with acidic drinks like soda, alcohol and fruit juices.
2) Rinse after eating. The water will help neutralize the acid, while keeping you hydrated during the summer time!
3) Wait at least minutes before brushing. The acid from the strawberries will still be present after eating, so waiting before you brush will help keep your enamel strong.

For more information about enamel health, contact your local Orange county dentist today at (949) 857-1270.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

Does Milk do the Body Good?

Growing up your parents might have told you a few white lies, such as if you keep making that face it will freeze that way to if you’re not good the bogeyman will take you away. The personal favorite of this Irvine dentist is, “yes, we’re almost there.” However, one thing your parents did get right is that drinking milk does create healthy smiles and bones.

Studies have shown that drinking milk and eating cheeses with or after meals can increase the pH levels in your mouth. What this means is that it will lower acidity levels, which can damage the enamel of teeth and therefore create cavities. This Irvine dentist also would like to point out that milk has the ‘right’ ingredients in promoting top oral health. Besides the obvious factor of calcium, milk also has multiple proteins that help build strong smiles. One of them is casein, which helps recruit calcium phosphates to repair cavities. Casein also helps prevent cavity causing bacteria to adhere to the surfaces of the teeth. Other beneficial proteins include: whey, lactoferrin, lysozymes and antibodies that boost your immune system.

The recommended amount of milk for those ages 9 and up is about 3 cups a day. For children younger than 9, 2 should be okay—but consulting a pediatrician is always best. For more information on oral health, contact your local Irvine dentist today at (949) 857-1270!

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

Happy Mother’s Day

May is a special month of the year for several people, including this Irvine dentist. It’s the month that we celebrate a special person in our lives: our mothers. She’s the one, after all, who packed our lunches growing up, the one who picked us up when we fell and skinned our knees, the one who hooted and hollered at our graduation, and the one who grounded us for life after we made those questionable decisions. It’s unfortunate that Mother’s Day is just one day out of the 365 in a year. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t celebrate our mothers on a day-to-day basis.

This May 12th many of us will buy our mother’s chocolate (this Irvine dentist included), flowers or take her out to a special meal. Great, she deserves it! However, keeping our loved ones happy includes keeping them healthy. Here are a few tips on making Mother’s Day a happy, but healthy one:

+If your mom has a sweet tooth chocolates are a better option than other candies. Try avoiding anything too ‘sticky,’ such as caramel. These sticky substances are more likely to get stuck on teeth, which can cause decay.

+For your Mother’s Day meal, try to avoid rich carbohydrate heavy foods. These meals fuel the bad bacteria in your mouth. However, being that it is a celebration if this is unavoidable make sure water is taken in between bites, to flush all bits and pieces away.

+Give your mom and yourself some time to freshen up after a bit of celebrating, if travel size toothbrushes aren’t a possibility; rinsing your mouth out after a meal with help some before you go home and brush for the night.

For more information and tips on how to keep your Mother smiling on her big day, contact your local Irvine dentist today at (949) 857-1270. Until then, have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

Why Your Gums Might Be Bleeding

Let’s ‘be real’ here, most people are not even close to being die-hard daily flossers—trust me, this Irvine Family dentist knows. That doesn’t mean most patients don’t have good oral health routines, several do. However, even those who are extremely attentive with their flossing can see some bleeding.

This may not seem like a big deal, but don’t brush it off so fast! Gum disease is alarmingly common—with up to 80% of the adult population having some level of disease. Here are just a few reasons why your gums might be bleeding, and how you can help stop it!

1) Your Oral Hygiene Routine Isn’t ‘There’ Yet.
Poor dental hygiene can result in visible plaque on teeth and red swollen gums. The reality is that this can happen overnight. Research shows that even the healthiest of gums can become diseased within 24 to 36 hours if brushing is not maintained properly. To avoid this stay committed to your dental routine by using tools that make it easy. This includes: electric toothbrushes, antibacterial rinses and water picks for flossing.

2) Your Diet Isn’t Great
This Irvine Family Dentist knows the temptations of junk food. Who doesn’t like a sprinkle chocolate donut? However, having a poor diet not only increases your waistline, but it also sets you up for a poor smile. Eating well helps build strong teeth and boosts the overall integrity of your immune system. So make sure to get several servings of fruits and vegetables, and to supplement with calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, magnesium, etc. if needed!

3) You Haven’t Discovered Nicotine Patches Yet
Smoking increases risk for gum disease due to the many toxins that these little butts contain. These toxins create an inflammatory response that decreases the body’s defenses. In addition, chronic smoking enlarges gums, which can be more open to bacteria to invade.

4) You Need a Stress Ball
Being in a constant state of agitation not only wears on your mind, but also your body. What it does is hinder your immune system’s ability to fight off gum disease. In addition, stress can cause inflammation of blood vessels that break down the soft tissues of the mouth—inhibiting its ability to heal properly.

For more information on why your gums might be bleeding, contact your local Irvine Family dentist today at 949-857-1270!

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

Common Teeth Whitening Mistakes

A bright white smile is a common request at the office of this Orange County dentist, and it’s no wonder. Studies done by Kelton of Invasalign have shown that a great smile can have lasting first impressions—a good tool when trying to find a job or date even!

Patients who are in search for their best smile often take measures into their own hands. Many of them are appropriate, such as avoiding staining foods and drinks. However, others can be damaging or a wasted effort.

The following are a list of common teeth whitening mistakes:

1) Avoiding Real Talk with your Orange County dentist
We get it. Coming to the office can be a drag, but it’s a necessary evil to go—at least every 6 months. Many times patients start their own whitening regime without informing their dentist. This can be dangerous because if your teeth are damaged or have holes in them, bleaching products can seep in and hit nerves. This would cause major pain and even damage your teeth.

2) Using Whitening Mouth Wash
Keep your hard earned cash and give tooth-whitening mouthwash a miss. Using a rinse won’t give you the results that you desire and its harsh nature could do more harm than good.

3) Leaving on Whitening Materials too Long
There’s a reason a time limit is suggested when it comes to bleaching your smile. Ignoring directions can lead to splotchy teeth and increased sensitivity.

4) Not Checking for the FDA Seal
Whitening can be costly and because of it many go online for more budget-friendly alternatives. This can be iffy because patients will often buy products or brands that are not FDA-approved, which can ultimately do great damage to your smile!

5) Going too Far
Yes, we all understand that you want the same smile as the hottest starlet on TV, but sometimes trying to get your ivories stark white—will end in loss of a healthy sheen. A good guideline is to match the color of your teeth to the whites of your eyes

For more information on how to get a whiter smile the right way, contact your local Orange County dentist today at 949-857-1270.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

Is Flossing Really Necessary?

Flossing has often been thought of as the bane of existence in a patient’s dental world. Believe me, this Irvine dentist has heard all of the complaints. Many come into the office and ask whether flossing is actually that important, and I hate to be a dream crusher but there is no room for negotiation.

The problem most patients find with flossing is that there is no ‘instant gratification,’ but trust that any reputable Irvine dentist will say that flossing plays a significant role in preventing tooth decay. In fact flossing does about 40% of the work that is required when removing sticky harmful bacteria or plaque.

What plaque does is generate acid that can cause cavities, irritate gums or even lead to disease. The tooth has about five surfaces, so when you choose not to floss; you open yourself up to leaving at least two of these surfaces unclean. The only tool that will help get into the spaces between teeth and clean certain areas is floss—the unsung hero of dental care.

One helpful way to get flossing permanently worked into your dental care routine is to find the right one. Not all floss is created the same, and different patients have different preferences.

Floss is usually made of either nylon or Teflon—both great choices. Generally speaking those with larger spaces between teeth or those with some gum recession tend to have better results with a flat, wide dental floss. On the other hand if your teeth are closer together, thin floss may be a better fit. If you have bridges or braces using a floss threader (that resembles a plastic sewing needle) is something to think about.

Regardless of what you choose, just remember to floss!
For more information of different kinds of floss or flossing tips, contact your local Irvine dentist today at 949-857-1270.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

A Fresh Beginning

In most of the Northern hemisphere the snow is ceasing to fall, the flower buds starting to awaken and the soft chirps of birds burgeoning from their return home. Yes, spring is coming and what a wonderful feeling. While much of Mother Nature has hibernated, this Irvine dentist has kept his office chair warm for those needing some refreshing.

Spring is the perfect time to revitalize your dental care routine, as it is a mark of a new beginning for you and your smile. This can be anything from adding extra precautions to your dental upkeep or even whitening and brightening your teeth!

Some ideas on how to embrace the spring season are:

1) Evaluate your Toothbrush

Getting rid of the winter blues in your household is often times a priority for most--this Irvine dentist can sure appreciate a spring cleaning. However, don't forget to take a good long look at your toothbrush. Ask yourself, how long has it been since a replacement? A good rule of thumb is to change your toothbrush every three months.

2) Spring into a New Routine

It's easy to have had some bad dental slipups over the multiple holidays that the winter season can bring, so don't be too hard on yourself. Instead take the time to go over your routine and get into practicing good habits. Remember that exercising good clean habits will protect your teeth from the bad bacteria living in your mouth. Brushing and flossing will keep your smile sparkling for all seasons.

Tip: a good start is to brush twice a day, floss and maybe even carry a travel toothbrush for on the go freshness.

3) Dental Spring Cleaning

Depending on when your last cleaning was, it might be time for a check up. Having your dentist have a thorough look is especially a good idea if you're prone to decay. For more information on how to get your smile ready for spring time contact your local Irvine dentist today at 949-857-1270!

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

Good Oral Hygiene and Preterm Labor

Having your Orange County dentist lecture, err inform you of the importance of good oral hygiene is likely a common scenario. I mean it’s expected…after all dentists care for your oral health. However, what may surprise you is that your obstetrician may soon be urging you to keep your mouth clean too!
Why you ask? What connects the ‘tools’ you use to eat a literal bun to the bun in your oven? Well, the answer is that several obstetrics journals have found there to be a relationship between preterm labor and periodontal disease. Researchers believe that periodontal treatment greatly reduces the risk of having a preterm birth or even low infant birth weight. A whopping 68 percent reduction of preterm birth and low birth weight was found with women who visited a dentist before and during pregnancy!

Still not understanding the connection? Don’t worry, even this Orange county dentist finds this news to be quite incredible. However, the current school of thought is that the effect of chronic inflammation around the gums leaks over to the rest of the body, which puts it into an inflammatory state. This may decrease the threshold of uterine irritability.

So what’s the bottom line? The truth of the matter is that a study conducted by the University of North Carolina has shown that a woman is five to seven times more likely to experience preterm labor if she has gum disease! I say that’s reason enough to keep your teeth clean and your dentist on speed dial.

For more information on your oral health routine, contact your Orange county dentist today at (949) 857-1270.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

Avoid "Green Teeth" This St. Patty's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Whether this year's celebrations call for "green eggs and ham" or an illustrious "green beer", be sure to keep a toothbrush close by. This Irvine Dentist warns that the green food coloring found in these festive foods is perfectly safe for your teeth when consumed in small amounts, but after a full day of eating green foods, your teeth may begin to take on a green tint of their own.

Not to worry, you can avoid "green teeth" with these simple steps. First, make sure to brush thoroughly before eating anything green. If there is plaque on your teeth, the dye will stick to that first. Second, brush, floss and use mouthwash before bed. This will remove the green residue left on your teeth and prevent stains.

If all else fails, you can always come in and see this Irvine Dentist for a cleaning! Call the office to make an appointment at (949) 857-1270.