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St. Patricks Day Health Tips

March 17th is a special day to the Irish and to those who can appreciate the color green—this Irvine family dentist definitely does! It’s a day filled with four leaf clovers, leprechauns, a possible pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (or the more likely scenario of a fistful of chocolate coins), and pinches. Another familiar factor associated with this holiday is beer, lots of it.

However, alcohol in moderation not only protects your health (particularly) your liver, but it will also keep your smile going strong for several shamrock celebrations to come. Another way to preserve your teeth while enjoying your night on the town at your local watering holes is to drink water throughout the night. Beer, along with other alcoholic beverages, are acidic and can damage your enamel. Water helps balance the pH levels in your saliva, which naturally clean your teeth. Also, don’t forget to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth when returning home from your St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Otherwise you run risk of a trip to your Irvine family dentist. Not that they wouldn’t be happy to see you, but it’s not particularly lucky is it?

With that said. I’ll leave you with some fun St Patrick’s Day facts:

· Historians believe St. Patrick was born into a life of wealth in Great Britain.
· St. Patrick was kidnapped as a teenager and sent to Ireland to work as a slave. His six years in captivity prompted his conversation to Christianity.
· The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in New York City during the Revolutionary War.
· According to legend, St. Patrick used the shamrock ti illustrate the concept of Trinity.

Want to share some other fun facts or need more information on dental care? Contact your Irvine family dentist today at (949) 857-1270!

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

An Apple a Day

There’s a popular saying in society that many, including this Irvine dentist, are familiar with. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? It’s ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ This well-known phrase probably stems from the common knowledge fact that natural unprocessed foods are proven to keep our bodies in good form and health. In fact, I think some could say that fruit is nature’s dessert--being that its natural sugars can be a sweet treat substitute. Instead of reaching for that delicious, but perhaps not as healthy, chocolate chip cookie (or baked good of your choice), you can bite into a granny smith.

With that said, new research findings have to come light that may add a different twist to this popular statement. Dental experts in the UK have warned that apples may be as bad for your teeth as sweets and carbonated beverages are due to high levels of sugar and acidity, which can erode the teeth. In fact the British Dental Association advises that the best and safest approach to eating apples is only during mealtimes (instead of as snacks). Rinsing out the mouth is then recommended to minimize damage to the teeth.

The reasons behind such change of thought on this popular fruit is that evidence has shown a 50 percent rise of sugar content in new breeds of apples. Farmers are cross breeding produce for a sweeter bite—with these new varieties, such as Pink Ladies, Braeburns and Fujis; becoming popular commodities in supermarkets our teeth are exposed to greater risk. Unfortunate news, as this Irvine dentist is partial to the honeycrisp!

Of course, this doesn't mean that apples and their delicious byproducts should be completely avoided. Moderation is key in every diet. For more information and tips on keeping your smile tip top, contact your Irvine dentist today at (949) 857-1270. Until, then remember: an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it won’t keep the dentist at bay.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

Eating Disorders and Dental Care

These last few months have been so jam-packed with holidays and special awareness messages that this Irvine dentist accidentally skirted an important issue! This past February was National Eating Disorder Awareness month, which is a time where this important issue is highlighted to prevent and, of course, to provide resources to the estimated 8 million Americans struggling with this disorder.

Most people know that eating disorders cause much physical and mental anguish, and more relevantly (in this blog’s case) many know that bulimia especially can create severe dental problems—mostly in regards to the erosion of the enamel. What happens is that the hydrochloric acid from our stomachs is exposed to the mouth during a purge.

There are many health consequences to purging, as mentioned there is tooth erosion. There is also dry mouth, caused by an excess of laxatives, diuretics and dehydration from fasting and vomiting. Decreased salivary production and the results that come with it are also an issue. Often times a lack of saliva can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. In addition to this, there are also visible irritations that can stem from excessive purging. Redness and soreness is common, as are cracked lips and enlarged parotid salivary glands.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder I encourage you to speak with your Irvine dentist. Not only can they help you maintain your oral hygiene, but they will also respect your privacy. They can even refer you to someone for support if that is something you need.

Treatments and tools that can be recommended for those who struggled or have struggled with eating disorders include remineralizing toothpaste (which strengthens your enamel) and tooth restorations. If you have not been able to quit purging, rinsing with sodium bicarbonate to lower or neturalized acid in the mouth is advised, as is not brushing teeth immediately after vomiting. This can in fact increase damage.

For more information for special dental care or to seek help, contact your local Irvine dentist today at (949) 857-1270 for more tips and resources.
-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

How to Teach Your Child to Brush their Teeth

In honor of National Children's Dental Health Month, this Irvine dentist would like to offer some advice on how to teach your child how to brush properly. The following is meant to act as a guide, as I know it can be difficult to determine when the 'right' time is to introduce toothbrushing to a child's daily life.

1) Start early!

It is my humble opinion that the 'earlier the better. This Irvine dentist has seen a lot of cavities that could have been avoided, had early tooth brushing started. Remember, just getting your kids to be comfortable with the tools of dental care is a task and accomplishment of its own.

Individual toothbrushing can start at a toddler age, however tooth care starts with babies! After a feeding, using a clean cloth to rub over a baby's gums to keep plaque from accumulating is a great idea. 

Toothpaste isn't always a necessity for younger children, but special kinds of toothpaste are available so they can get used to the idea of using it!

2) Avoid Plaque like the Plague

Plaque is the enemy of a healthy smile. It causes cavities and leads to gum disease. This is why it is so so important for kids to brush correctly! Sometimes giving fun analogies to your children will help them brush properly.
For example, the plaque can be monsters or 'bad guys' who are trying to evade them. Letting your children know the long term consequences of poor dental health is also key in creating a healthy outlook on their smile.

3) Find a routine

Establishing a easy and predictable routine that works well with your entire family will help cement healthy habits for your children. It can be as a simple as your entire family going to brush their teeth an hour after dinner.
Also make sure that when you teach your child to brush properly, that brushing twice a day (in the morning and evening) with a soft-bristled toothbrush is the norm. Cleanings and regular check ups should also be a part of your established routine.

For more information on teaching your child to brush properly, contact your local Irvine dentist today at (949) 857-1270.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

A Valentine's Day Kiss

What do chocolate filled hearts, sweet cards, red roses and bow tie wearing teddy bears have in common? They are main players in thespecial day that Mr. Cupid comes out to play. Yes, Valentine's day! This holiday is romantic for a number of reasons, partially because it usually ends with at least one good romantic kiss--well, if you're lucky.

This Irvine family dentist knows that sharing a kiss is a nice way to show your significant other affection. However, did you know that there are over 500 different types of disease-causing bacteria that can be swapped via a kiss? This is not to deter anyone's romantic plans, but it is to stress the importance of a clean mouth!

Here are two tips to keep your mouth healthy and your Valentine happy:

1) Picking the right meal:
When preparing or picking a meal to eat, steering clear from carb heavy or rich foods will greatly help in controlling the bacteria in your mouth. Choose fresher and lighter meals, it will be better for your mouth and, I imagine, your digestive tract!

2) After meal deal:

Many of us (this Irvine family dentist included) like to treat our extra special dates to a wonderful meal, either it be home cooked or out at a restaurant. Sometimes, wanting to spend every second with our date or being out in public will keep us from brushing teeth after a meal. Therefore, to get kiss ready a mint will replace your oral health routine. There is a better way. Just quickly rinsing your mouth with water a few times, will help get rid of any food particles stuck in the teeth, which bad bacteria love to get a hold of! Rinse and repeat and feel free to pop in that mint!

For more information on healthy habits, contact your local Irvine family dentist today at (949) 857-1270! Until then, have a great Valentine's day.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

A Bright Smile for Your Valentine

Love is definitely in the air mid month with both young and old couples celebrating their love for each other in the most romantic ways possible. Some will go to swanky restaurants, others may picnic in the park, and some may choose to keep it low key and stay in. Regardless of what one chooses to do (or not do), what most V-day celebrations usually have in common is that the people celebrating are usually smiling ear to ear--it's no different for this Irvine dentist.

With big smiles coming out to shine for this special occasion, it makes sense to want to brighten up ones smile before the big romantic day.
To get a whiter smile there are multiple options available at the office of an Irvine dentist. There are also some things you can do at home to ensure that your teeth are date ready.

At the dental office the most common procedures are:

1) In office bleaching: This cosmetic procedure is quick and easy that takes about one hour to complete. It involves careful application of hydrogen-peroxide gel to the teeth, which is then activated by a special light only available at the dentist.
This whitening system is very comfortable and clean, and what's most great about it is that results can be seen immediately!

2) Customized bleach trays: These bleach trays are made to fit the your mouth! They are to be used at home, which is not only convenient, but also economical if one is wanting to maintain a white smile.
The dentist will create a molding mixture and the place it in a special tray, which will be placed in your mouth. After a quick minute or two, the mold will be taken out and will be sent to the lab for a plastic bleach tray.

Some ways to maintain one's smile at home are to:

1) Avoid staining foods such as: coffee, red wine, tea, sports drinks, sauces, sodas and sweets.
2) Quit smoking--a difficult task, but so worth it. Not only will it make a smile brighter, but it will be good for overall health!
3) Evaluate and update your current oral health routine. Is brushing and flossing a priority for you? If not, it should be! It keeps cavities at bay and helps with staining or discoloration from foods when not brushed away properly.

For more information on how to impress your Valentine's day with a new white smile contact your local Irvine dentist today at (949) 857-1270.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

National Children's Dental Health Month

The month of February is especially dear to this Orange County dentist because the American Dental Association (ADA) has announced it to be National Children's Dental Health Month. This is to bring about awareness to the importance of oral health. It's a near and dear issue to this Orange County dentist because it's my belief that healthy habits should start at a young age because most of us know that the longer we practice a habit, the more likely it is to stick!

There is nothing more crucial than ensuring a lifetime of healthy smiles (teeth and gums and all), as poor oral health does not only affect our smiles; but it also has deeper ramifications into our general health.Poor oral health has been linked to cancer, heart disease and much more. To keep a child's smile bright for years to come here are a few tips:

1) Start a Dental routine early
A good time to start is toddler age, take small steps. Let them become comfortable with holding their toothbrush and slowly integrate with brushing. Observing a child's teeth brushing routine is also important, to both ensure that they are brushing properly, and also so they don't swallow too much toothpaste! Nobody likes that!

2) Try to stay sugar free
Sugar fuels the bad bacteria that lives in the mouth. When we eat sugar, we activate them by giving them more energy. We don't want that because bacteria because it causes decay!

3) Drink a lot of water
Water hydrates our bodies and also helps flush food particles and bacteria stuck in the crevices in our mouth. I know this Irvine dentist tries to drink at least 8 cups a day.
Children generally need 5-8 cups, but the situation depends on their age, the weather and activity level.

4) Make a Smile Interesting
This year the ADA has some great promotional materials available for classrooms or the home. Coloring books, posters and personalized activity books are available. What's great is that these materials also give a great amount of information on the correct methods of brushing and flossing in a child friendly format. You can contact the ADA via e-mail for these promotional materials:

For more information about how to keep a child's smile in tip top shape, contact your Orange County Dentist today!

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

What's the Deal with Digital X-Rays?

When a new patient comes into the office of an orange county dentist, they are usually given a full set of x-rays. This is to check for potential: abscesses, cysts, bone loss, decay, developmental abnormalities, and other problems within the tooth. Sometimes patients are hesitant about exposure to radiation, but using the latest technology (digital x-rays) patients are exposed to much less radiation than the traditional x-ray—about 80-90% less!

Digital radiography uses a special electronic sensor, rather than film, which can capture and store the image (of your mouth/teeth) on the computer. These images can be viewed instantly, and can be enlarged to help your orange county dentist pinpoint possible problems.

It is completely necessary to get dental x-rays at least once a year (although this varies based on need and other characteristics) because they are not only a diagnostic tool, but preventative as well. They help dental professionals by showing valuable information that can be hidden from the naked eye. From these images a safe, accurate and efficient treatment plan can be obtained!

If radiation is still worrisome think about it this way, we are almost always exposed to some level of natural radiation in our environment; and as mentioned previously, thanks to new technology, we are able to lessen the exposure. In addition to this, your dental professional will do everything possible to keep you healthy and safe. Precautions are always taken, including only taking necessary x-rays, and using lead aprons when called for.

For more information on digital x-rays and how often they are needed, contact your local orange county dentist today!

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

Fluoride Treatments

If you have been a loyal follower of this blog, you may have noticed that fluoride is quite commonly mentioned when it comes to taking care of one’s smile. For those who are less avid readers, here is a quick recap:Fluoride is found in food, water and in most toothpaste brands. It is important because it helps remineralize your teeth, which ultimately protects them from decay.

Unfortunately, this Irvine family dentist has seen cases where fluoride may have helped certain patients. However, some individuals, despite effort, are at increased risk of tooth decay; therefore they would benefit from additional fluoride treatment.

Individuals at greater risk include people with dry mouth conditions (xerostomia), and those taking certain medications (antihistamines, anti-anxiety, high blood pressure). In addition, those who are undergoing head and neck radiation treatment may be more prone to cavities--along with patients with gum disease, a history of frequent cavities or those with several crowns, bridges or braces. These patients would likely also benefit from fluoride treatment.

Fluoride treatments are easy, quick and painless. A dentist will apply fluoride to the teeth in gel, foam or varnish form. These treatments contain a higher level of fluoride than those found in toothpaste or even mouth wash. Each form is applied a bit differently.

Varnishes are carefully painted on the surfaces of the teeth, while foams are placed into mouth guards then applied for a few minutes. Gels can be applied in both ways. What is great about this treatment is that they will keep your teeth strong and healthy, and are very common procedures that your Irvine family dentist will surely offer.

For more information on fluoride treatments, contact your local Irvine family dentist today.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

Battle of the Sexes

For as long as this Irvine dentist can remember there has always been a sort of battle of the sexes in regards to which gender is ‘better.’ The boys versus girls mentality may have started on grade school playgrounds, where each side stated (or rather taunted) that they were ‘better, smarter, faster,’ this mentality or comparison has been built into society—in serious and trivial matters alike.

As far as dental health is concerned, research has shown that generally the ‘better’ gender when it comes to dental care is: (drumroll) women! In the Journal of Periodontology, it was found that women were more proactive about maintaining dental hygiene in teeth and gums. They were also almost twice as likely to receive regular dental checkups, schedule recommended treatment and have better indicators of periodontal health. These indicators included lower incidence of plaque, calculus and bleeding upon probing. Other notable factors are that women have been found to have a better comprehension of what good oral health exactly is, and they have been found to have a more positive attitude when it comes to visiting the dentist.

As far as what this Irvine dentist thinks about which gender has ‘better’ oral hygiene, I have noticed both great dental hygiene and not so great dental hygiene in patients of both genders. The most important thing to take away is that periodontal disease affects all, regardless of being male or female. Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that surrounds your teeth. It is completely possible to have an infection without any warning signs. This is why it is particularly important to schedule regular visits to your local dentist. For more information on periodontal disease and prevention contact your Irvine dentist today!

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental