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Yeast: Not Just for Baking Bread

Yeast: Not Just for Baking Bread

 What do scones, wine, crusty loaves of bread, and cheese have in common? Well, besides the fact that this Irvine sedation dentist loves all these delicious treats, they all require yeast! From this short but sweet list, we can see that yeast is an essential ingredient to many wanted goods in our lives, but is there such thing as too much of a good thing?

 This Irvine sedation dentist thinks so! Too much of yeast is not something we want, especially when it comes to oral health. Yeast can overgrow in the mouth and cause conditions like oral thrush, which we definitely do not want. So, as much as yeast is great for our carbohydrates, they aren’t something we should try to grow in our mouths. Already knew this? Well, let’s see how yeast-savvy you are by taking the quiz below.

 1)   What kingdom is yeast apart of?

a)    protists b) fungi c) monera

 2)   What kind of yeast is most commonly the cause of oral thrush?

a) candida albicans b) candida albacore c) candida expelliarmus

            3) The same type of yeast that causes oral thrush also causes…

                  a) diabetes  b) cancer  c) diaper rash

 4)   Oral thrush lesions look like:

a)    cotton balls b) chigger bites c) cottage cheese

 5)   Risk factors for oral thrush are

a)    eating yogurt and cheese excessively b) dust c) smoking

 6)   Why are diabetes more likely to get oral thrush

a)    because they use corticosteroids b) because they are immunocompromised c) because they have extra sugar in saliva

7)   What is a serious side effect of antifungal medication

a)    liver damage b) sickle cell anemia c) HIV

 8)   What is NOT a treatment for Oral thrush?

a) nystatin b) bezoar c) fluconazole


1)   B

2)   A

3)   C

4)   C

5)   C

6)   C

7)   A

8)   B


For more information on oral thrush and yeast and oral health, contact your Irvine sedation dentist today.

Warm regards,

 Martha Ha, D.D.S.

Phone: 319-621-4114

Sore Gums

Soreness isn't necessarily a wanted sign, unless you've recently added a gym membership to your life. In that case, soreness may be good sign of progress. Nevertheless, in the world of this Irvine sedation dentist, soreness is never a good sign; especially when it comes to sore gums.

Let me explain further. Gums are like a good pair of skinny jeans. You want them to be tight, so they fit your body right. Teeth and gums should be tight enough so that they stick together, and it should only accommodate little more than the daily dental floss that we all surely use (at least this Irvine sedation dentist hopes so). Sometimes temporary irritation happens from tightness. However, the most likely scenario is that the gums have lost some attachment to the teeth, making them larger and looser—allowing bacteria and plaque to accumulate.

This accumulation then causes soreness, swelling and even bleeding. So how do you know if this soreness is just a passing phase or a chronic condition that needs treatment? The first step is to look in the mirror. Do your gums look swollen, red or have any ulceration? Gum disease and gingivitis may be the culprit. Still, even if you may not see anything; it may be smart to consult a dentist. This is because gingivitis is often caused by an invisible buildup of tartar and bacteria. So ask yourself, if your oral hygiene routine has been tip-top, if you have some doubt contact your local Irvine sedation dentist to treat your gums and to pick up a good oral health routine! 

Putting the Brakes on Tooth Decay

This Irvine dentist has a favorite topic on this blog, which is probably fairly obvious. It’s tooth decay. Tooth decay, otherwise known as cavities, is the most commonly seen problem at this dental office, if not most. Often times cavities start long before they are identified. This happens when  we neglect our teeth by not brushing and flossing regularly, which leaves food particles in our mouth that provide fuel for the bad bacteria in our mouth.


As the number of bacteria increase, they produce acids that break down the enamel of the tooth. As the enamel wears away, a hole can develop. This is the start of the cavity. This is the point where patients take notice, at least that is what this Irvine dentist has seen! This is for all the wrong reasons, as the tooth starts to become sensitive to touch, heat and cold, painful when you bite down and pus may even form.

The reality is that if left unchecked the cavity would eventually breakdown the entire tooth. Hopefully this point would not be reached. Instead perhaps measures could be taken to stop the cavity from getting worse! Some people seem to believe that treating a cavity via remineralization is a possibility.


There is some truth to this. The first stage of a cavity is when a white spot appears on the enamel, which is before it has made a hole. It is at this stage that fluoride treatment may help avoid the dentist drill. However, once the enamel has been penetrated, it is too late. Fluoride can strengthen existing enamel, but it cannot replace what is already gone. So in one sense, yes you definitely can stop a cavity in its tracks, but that takes a certain level of vigilance and a visit to your dentist.


 For more information on tooth decay and oral health tips, contact your local Irvine dentist today.

(949) 857-1270

Whitening Strips and your Teeth

Living in proximity to the stars can result in a lot of people being inspired by the bright white smiles of Hollywood stars. In fact this Orange county dentist can attest to the demand of whitening procedures. However, not everyone gets their whitening done at the dentist. In fact, at home teeth-whitening products are crowding the markets, as they are appealing for their convenience, price and easy use. 

Most whitening strips are small pieces of flexible plastic that can be molded to the surfaces of your teeth. The strips are coated with a treatment of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide that breakdown surface stains. Now what’s the difference between whitening done at home and whitening done in the office? According to the American Dental Association both methods are mostly safe and effective.

With that said, the ADA recommends consulting a professional (your Orange county dentist will do) in order to avoid and prevent problems with teeth or gums. Also, the ADA acknowledges that whitening products can cause irritation, which is further aggravated by cheap chemicals that some products may use. The best way to avoid this is by consulting a professional and purchasing products from a trusted professional or brand.

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

The Big C-Word

Cancer is the kind of word that can send shivers through anyone’s spine—this Irvine dentist included. Like the many forms of this horrible disease, oral cancer—also known as mouth cancer—can have long-lasting physical and emotional effects on its victims. Still, these survivors can be considered ‘lucky’ in some ways because oral cancer can be fatal.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 36,000 people were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2010, and almost 8,000 deaths were directly associated with it. So how does oral cancer develop? Cells that form malignant tumors attack healthy tissues in the oral cavity—this includes the lips, the lining inside the lips and cheeks, the floor of the mouth, the front two-thirds of the tongue, the hard palate, the uvula, teeth, gums and even salivary glands.

The mouth is a region that is very susceptible to infection, as it is the entrance to the rest of the body. Therefore it is extremely important to be careful and watchful of any symptoms. Some symptoms include: persistent earaches, white or red patches in the mouth, and abnormal lumps and bleeding. With that said, part of being watchful is going to see your Irvine dentist, as he or she is the one who will be the most likely to detect it first.

In addition, being aware of the risk factors will help reduce chances of cancer. Tobacco use is a major contributor, with more than 90 percent of all oral cancers being attributed to some tobacco use. Frequent alcohol consumption is also a red flag, as is the combination of the two. Being male is an indicator too, as they are twice as likely to develop mouth cancer compared to women. Another factor is age, especially for those over 35. Other factors include: excessive exposure to the sun, poor diet and HPV infection.

For more information on risks and signs of oral cancer, contact your local Irvine dentist today at (949) 857-1270.

Does Your Gum Get ADA Approval?

Chewing gum can be an ingrained habit for many of us Americans. It helps keep our breath fresh, it staves off hunger and it’s just plain old fun to chew—at least for this Orange county dentist. Despite gum seeming like a modern day invention, it actually has roots since the ‘ancient times’—in various forms, of course.

The Greeks chewed something called mastiche, a sap from the mastic tree. While, the ancient Mayans liked to chew on the sap of the sapodilla tree, called tsicite. Native Americans from the New England area even chewed sap from the spruce tree—a habit they passed on to the European settlers. Now a day, gum isn’t usually made of sap from a tree. Instead the base is a blend of synthetic materials, like resins and waxes.

What’s even more exciting about chewing gum is that it has been demonstrated that it can protect teeth, so it’s not just a sweet treat! This, of course, only applies to gums that contain the American Dental Association’s seal. So, what does chewing gum actually do? Let this Orange county dentist tell you!

The act of chewing increases saliva flow in the mouth, which is especially helpful after eating. This increased flow of saliva helps neutralize and wash away acids that break down tooth enamel and causes decay. Increased saliva flow has also been shown to carry more calcium and phosphate to strengthen the enamel, with clinical studies showing that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes, after a meal, to be helpful in preventing tooth decay.

Again not all types of gum are applicable. It must be sugar free and contain the ADA’s seal of approval. For more information on what chewing gums are appropriate, contact your Orange county dentist today at (949) 857-1270.