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Let’s Talk about Plaque

This Irvine family dentist uses the term ‘plaque’ considerably, as it is basically the enemy of the smile, and therefore this dental professional. Plaque is an unwanted guest in our mouths who enters after we consume food. As most people know, plaque is a filmy yellow coating on the teeth. If left alone, it grows and eventually covers every crack, crevice and surface. Even more, it can settle into a hard and crusty layer that can be noticeably felt on the teeth.

To evict plaque from the mouth, a good oral hygiene routine is necessary. Because it is the nature of plaque to stick to the bacteria in the mouth, much effort must be made to be rid of it. This effort requires the right set of tools (floss, toothbrush, toothpaste) and even some allies, this Irvine family dentist for example. 

The reality of plaque is that just after 20 minutes of consuming food; food particles, bacteria and saliva combine to become plaque. This small window of time is when bacteria are most active. Starchy, sugary and foods that have stick factor are ones that contribute most to plaque formation, so avoidance is key. That and of course flossing and brushing regularly, preferably after meal time.

For more information on how to avoid plaque, contact your local Irvine family dentist today at (949) 857-1270. 

How Much Do You Know About Remineralization?

This Irvine dentist has often talked about the importance of enamel in protecting the structure and health of our teeth, but how closely have you been listening?

To test your knowledge on remineralization, see if you can answer the questions below. If you can, you deserve a pat on the back from your Irvine dentist!

1) True or False: Remineralization means to re-grow tooth enamel.

2) True or False: The hard layer that fills the tooth, below the enamel coating, is called the cementum.

3) True or False: You should keep your mouth dry while teeth remineralize so the mineral bonds can attach.

4) True or False: Demineralization is rate and only occurs due to extreme wear-and-tear.

Answers are below:

1) False. This process means to strengthen the enamel by putting minerals back into the teeth. It is not possible to re-grow enamel after breakage or erosion.

2) False. It is called dentin. Cementum is another layer which surrounds the roots.

3) False. The opposite is true. Saliva should be flowing in order to supply appropriate amounts of calcium and phosphates for remineralization!

4) False. Demineralization is continually happening as food and drinks create different reactions on the surfaces of the teeth.

For more information on how to take care of your smile, contact your Irvine dentist today at (949) 857-1270.

Pregnancy and Dental Care

I know that this Irvine family dentist has no first hand knowledge when it comes to pregnancy, but what I do know is that pregnancy is a beautiful journey that ends with a beautiful gift: a baby. This journey is unique and often times filled with weird cravings, swollen feet and of course a swarm of other specific issues.

Some of these issues happen to be dental! The reality is this: pregnancy can lead to a number of dental problems in women, including gum disease; as well as increased risk of tooth decay. This is because when a woman is pregnant, hormone levels increase; which can typically sometimes worsen your body’s response to plaque.

That is not to say that pregnancy automatically ruins smiles. That old wives tale about tooth loss for each baby born is completely false. However, that being said, this Irvine family dentist still likes to take certain precautions. Some of these are increasing your supplement of Vitamin D and Calcium. Others are exercising proper dental hygiene (i.e.—brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly). Also, when at the dentist, be sure to mention that you’re not glowing due to a recent Caribbean vacation! Remember that the demands of pregnancy on the body should not be overlooked! It is estimated that about 18 out of every 100 premature births are triggered by periodontal disease!

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

Stuck in Between

Being stuck is never a good feeling, whether it be being stuck in traffic, stuck on a homework problem or in the case of this Orange county dentist stuck in a pair of jeans after a long weekend of snacking! Another ‘stuck’ problem is when food gets stuck in between teeth! It’s a horrible feeling, that not only doesn't look great, but it also has really negative health consequences.

Let this Orange county dentist explain! When food gets in between teeth, it acts as a source of food for the bad bacteria living in our mouths. When the bacteria consume these foods in our mouth, they produce an acid that wears down the enamel in our teeth and causes tooth decay—ultimately making our pretty smile, not so pretty.

Some of the top foods that get stuck-in-between (and should be avoided) are: corn, taffy, tenderloin (meats in general), popcorn, and toffee! However, if these items do happen to get stuck, just follow these easy tips: rinse your mouth (gurgle if necessary), floss, and brush! Easy as can be!

For more information on dental care, contact your Orange county dentist today at (949) 857-1270!

Happy Independence Day!

The Fourth of July conjures up a whole batch of images for this Irvine dentist, including: barbeques, fireworks, melting ice cream cones, and of course Will Smith defending America from invading aliens—all the more reason to celebrate! Our founding fathers worked hard to free us from British rule, so it makes sense for us to enjoy ourselves. With that said, let’s not get too crazy and forget about our oral health!

Here are some tips from this Irvine dentist, to keep your 4th of July smile sparkling:

1) Stay away from hard or crunchy foods

Barbeques are renowned for crunchy things to snack on. Some of these items are: ice, chips and pretzels. Sometimes biting down too hard or the wrong way can chip teeth, and we definitely don’t want that!

2) Bring some gum

Fourth of July snacking usually ends up being a gateway to all day snacking. To help keep your teeth clean, without a toothbrush, chew on sugarless ADA approved gum. This will remove particles, while stimulating saliva production that will rinse away food too!

3) Drink some H20!

Water not only keeps the breath fresh, but it also helps neutralize acids that cause tooth decay. So drink enough in between snacking.

4) Don’t open Beer with Your Teeth

It sounds like a ridiculous request, but it happens more often than thought. Beer bottle teeth injuries actually comprise of a large percentage of BBQ-related dental issues, so just don’t do it!

For more information on how to keep your smile healthy, contact your 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.

Happy Father's Day

Every June this Irvine dentist, along with millions of others, celebrates a special person in our lives—the person who cheered us on at little league, the one who taught us how to drive and the one who gave us a pat on the back when we needed it most; we celebrate our fathers.

Some people will buy their pop a fancy tie, some fishing gear, or even host a nice barbeque! The manner in which we show our appreciation will differ, but the sentiment will be the same. We appreciate the time, effort and love they have put into this special relationship. To carry this important relationship into the future, it is important to safeguard our fathers’ health; this includes oral health!

This Irvine dentist will give you some tips on how to keep dear old dad healthy through the years.

1) If your dad is a big BBQ fan—well that’s fantastic. Protein is an essential part of our diet and some studies even show that a diet high in protein versus carbohydrates will amount to less plaque. However, the problem with BBQ can be the sauce. Many bastings are high in sugar content, which the bad bacteria in our mouths love. To reduce sugars, try dry rubbing with seasoning or lemon juice. If dad needs that BBQ sauce, make sure he rinses his mouth after eating.

2) Some dads like to go hunting and in effect they like to make some tasty jerky! Jerky is a healthy snack and more nutritious than say a candy bar. However, Jerky can also get stuck in between teeth. Therefore, after snacking remember to floss and rinse thoroughly to prevent decay.

3) Alcohol is a nice way to wind down a celebratory evening. However, it can also be quite acidic and thus cause damage to our enamel. This isn’t to say to skip the beer altogether. Go ahead and enjoy, just try to limit yourself. Your teeth and liver will thank you in the long run!

4) That Lazy Boy you got your pops for Christmas was probably well appreciated, but it probably doesn’t help motivate him to get off the couch! They are just too comfortable, aren’t they? However, ensuring that your dad gets enough exercise is good for the heart, as well as the teeth and gums!

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