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Oral Health Myths Debunked

Oral Health Myths Debunked

It is commonplace for patients to have their own set of beliefs, whether they are from experience, their education or maybe word of mouth. Some beliefs are sometimes ludicrous while others make more sense. Regardless this Irvine sedation dentist knows how easy it is to believe in something, when we feel like it’s credible. Oral health is a department where several people beg to differ on what is good or bad for their chompers. As an Irvine sedation dentist, I feel it is my job to debunk some popular ones, if not for a healthier smile; for knowledge’s sake!

Oral Health Myth #1: We are born with weak teeth

This is absolutely not true. Many patients come in believing that they just have naturally ‘weak teeth,’ that allow them to be more susceptible to tooth decay or disease. However, ‘dentally speaking,’ ‘weak teeth’ means developmental defects for dentists. Of course, there are some effects caused by systemic illness or genetics, however, outside of these factors; lifestyle is the largest contributor to oral health. So much is preventable. That is what’s so great about healthcare.

Oral Health Myth #2: My teeth don’t bother me, so I don’t have to visit the dentist

The reality is that often times we don’t know if there is something wrong until it is too late. Many times gum disease does not prevent itself until it is so far along that drastic treatment must be taken. Furthermore, there are conditions that may not necessarily raise a red flag for you but should be treated. For example, teeth grinding, bleeding gums, teeth sensitivity or teeth flatness.

Oral Health Myth #3: My Gums are bleeding, so I shouldn’t brush so much.

If your gums are bleeding it seems natural to let them be, so they can ‘heal.’ However, gums aren’t like other parts of your body. When gums bleed it is a sign that food and plaque have accumulated and are therefore irritating your mouth. The best thing to do is to brush to remove all possible irritants. Gum bleeding can also be a sign that you are flossing or brushing too vigourously. Gentleness and consistency is key to a perfect smile, remember that!

Oral Health Myth #4: My breath smells, so I’m not brushing properly.

Bad breath can be caused by a number of different factors. This of course includes poor hygiene, but it can also mean that the foods you are eating are causing a pungent odor. Dehydration and illness also plays a role.

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

 Answers:

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

Root of Evil: Cavities

Some people like to say that the root of all evil is money. This Irvine dentist likes to blame it on a more likely (or more dental) culprit, the cavity. Yes, that was a bad dental joke. In all seriousness though, cavities found in the mouth can lead to serious problems—ranging from loss of tooth to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.  It’s essential to safeguard against cavities, and the bad bacteria that cause.

As they say, prevention is better than a cure!

 

To help prevent the risk of tooth decay it is important to understand how we become susceptible to cavities. This Irvine dentist will give you the rundown of the top 4 causes.

 

1)   Sugar

             It seems like an obvious answer, eh? Well it all begins with a germ called mutans streptococcus. It’s the bad                  bacteria in the mouth that feeds on accumulated sugar and starches. By consuming a large amount of sugars,              you increase the risk of caries and decay because these bacteria create acid in the mouth, which start                            eating away at your enamel.

 

2)Acidic foods

As you might have guessed from the previous paragraph, acid isn’t really the best thing for your pearly whites. This is because acid can start to destroy the structure of the tooth, which gives way to damage. The best thing to do is limit the intake of citrus foods, carbonated beverages and alcohol.

 

3)Poor Hygeine

Before you roll your eyes and go, ‘duh,’ keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children to begin oral hygiene regimes before they even have teeth. This should stress the importance of a good oral hygiene routine. What’s even better is that you don’t have to always give up you nightly glass of vino.

 

4) Genetics

Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do about this…well besides the first three things mentioned. If your family is prone to cavities it is incredibly be important to be more watchful than the average patient.

 

 

For more tips and information, contact your local Irvine dentist today.

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


Decay: Foods and Drinks that contribute

This Irvine sedation dentist has been so fortunate to have patients who really understand the need for a good oral health routine. Of course, nobody is perfect and there is always room for improvement, but there is a general consensus amongst my patients to take care of their smiles. Oral health happiness is an ongoing battle or process, so there is always a need to keep ourselves sharp. One way in doing that is to test our knowledge.

Because what we eat and drink highly affects our oral health, knowing what helps and hurts our chompers is what this Irvine sedation dentist likes to call, ‘necessary information.’ Take the quiz below to see if you pass the test!

 

1)      What has the same amount of sugar as a candy bar?

A)     Cranberry juice  B) Vitamin Water

2)      Why is Vitamin A necessary?

A)     It helps prevent inflammation of gums B) It forms tooth enamel

3)      What fruit is notorious for sticking sugar to our teeth?

A)     Kiwis  B) Raisins

4)      What teeth are named for the fact they appear later in life?

A)     Bicuspids B) Wisdom Teeth

5)      What drink can help rinse sugar from our teeth?

A)     Water B) Hydrogen peroxide

6)      Eating what after chewing some sticky candy can help clean teeth?

A)     Yogurt  B) crunchy and crisp fruits and veggies

Eating what sugar-free dairy product can help produce saliva?

            A)  Cheese B) Sour Cream

For more information on foods and drinks for better oral health, contact your local Irvine sedation dentist today. 

Answers:

1.B

2. B

3. B

4. B

5. A

6. B

7. A

 

 

Is Tooth Decay Deadly

When we think of the word deadly, we may think of grizzly bears, snakes, chemicals and incurable life threatening diseases or conditions, but a cavity probably doesn't make the cut. Well this Irvine dentist is here to let you know that although you don’t have to worry about a cavity mauling off your limbs, it is smart to think about the consequences of decay.

 

In fact evidence suggests that what happens in your mouth doesn’t stay in your mouth. Instead, it has far reaching consequences with statistical correlation between poor oral health and heart disease, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, cancers, diabetes, respiratory infections and even pregnancy problems.

 

Ongoing research continues to try to ascertain how the bacteria in our mouths invade our bodies, with the link between oral health and cardiovascular problems being one of the most urgent issues. This is because those with gum disease are twice as likely to develop coronary artery disease. Trust this Irvine dentist when I say, you don’t want either!

 

Some theories exist on why one affects the other. One is that oral bacteria enters the bloodstream through stores in bleeding gums and then attach themselves to fatty plaques lining the blood vessels in the heart; which them obstruct blood flow. The other theory is that periodontal bacteria causes arterial inflammation restricts blood flow, which then causes a heart attack.

 

Regardless of which scenario is the reality, both cases are life-threatening and to the point, deadly. For more information on how to reduce risk of decay or infection, contact your local Irvine dentisttoday! 

Happy Halloween

Ah, do you hear that? It’s the scream of the wind whooshing through the dead space in the trees. It’s the rattle of the skeletons on the front door of the neighbor’s house. It’s the howl of the (were) wolf chasing the midnight moon. It’s that Halloween sound that we have all learned to recognize and look forward to all year-long. Well at least, this Irvine family dentist has.

Halloween is a ghostly good time, where children and adults alike can dress up and be anything they want to be—from a famous pop star to a pirate without a ship. As a dentist, some might think that shoveling sugar-filled treats would be good for business; but the fact is that it’s not good for patients! As a lover of a traditional Halloween, I’m not saying not to enjoy the night. Definitely do! However, there are ways to enjoy the night and keep your smile safe.

 
Therefore, as much as this Irvine family dentist hates to be a broken record, sticking with the following tips will keep your Halloween both enjoyable and cavity-free.

 
1) Try to stick with chocolate. They melt in your mouth and are more easily brushed away than sugary candy or sticky caramel.

 
2) Drink water in between. Water will help keep your mouth and body hydrates (giving you the energy to keep going), and will help rinse excess sugar away.

3) Try avoiding sugary drinks. You’re already getting enough sugar from all the candy, limiting with fizzy drinks will help!

4) Remember to floss and brush the sugars away. We don’t want any excess sugars feeding the bacteria in your mouth!

With that all said, enjoy your Halloween. I know that this Irvine family dentist will.  949-857-1270.

 

Cavities Have Class

Common sense dictates that if you neglect your smile by brushing less and eating more sugar, a mouthful of cavities may be coming your way. This Irvine dentist has warned of the perils of a bad oral hygiene routine, but perhaps I have not made clear what you can exactly expect.

Cavities develop when the bad bacteria that lives in your mouth indulges on the leftover sugars and starches that your lunch or dinner may have left behind. As these bacteria digest, acid is produced. This acid in combination with saliva, food particles and the bacteria itself form something called plaque—which eventually wears away at the enamel of the tooth. This process ends in a cavity, which your Irvine dentist will classify.

Cavities develop in several different locations—from the pits and grooves of your teeth to the smoothest of surfaces. What is more common in cavity formation is in the deep grooves of your teeth. This is because food and bacteria can easily be stuck there, and it is harder for these areas to be cleaned properly.

Classification is based on a system that was created back in 1908 by an American dentist named G.V. Black. His system defines five classes of cavities, with a sixth class being added later.

Class I cavities occur in the cracks of your teeth (pits and fissures).

Class II cavities are on the chewing surfaces or, including premolars and molars in the back of the mouth.

Class III can be on the sides of the incisors or the canine teeth which are located in the front of the mouth.

Class IV is similar to III, but it involves an angle where the middle and far side of the teeth connect. This is called the incisal angle.

Class V cavities develop on the surfaces of the teeth, which are closest to the face or tongue. They don’t involve formation on cracks (pits or grooves).

Class VI cavities occur on the edges of the front teeth or even on the back teeth that touch the jaw.

As we mentioned previously, smooth surface cavities aren't as common, but they may be more serious than cavities that occur in the grooves of your teeth because they cover a wider area of your tooth. Typically, the more of your tooth that is involved, the more damage the cavity will do.

It is via this classification system that your dentist will treat you. It helps assess how much damage has taken place and what materials can be used for the best replacement. For more information on cavity classification contact your local Irvine dentist today (949) 857-1270!

Tooth Decay

As an Irvine dentist, it’s quite a common thing to be talking about tooth decay on a normal day-to-day basis. Usually, I talk about how to prevent decay and what decay actually is. However, I thought I would take the time to discuss another important aspect of decay: why some teeth decay more quickly than others.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that you tend to get cavities in a certain parts of your mouth, perhaps in the back of your mouth, and this Irvine dentist is here to inform on why that is; and what factors inform such processes. 

Decay really depends on the age and lifestyle of the individual. In the case of infants and small children, the most likely cause of cavities are baby-bottle tooth decay. This is primarily developed in the upper front teeth as children sleep with their bottles of juice or milk—leaving sugar on the teeth over night (what the bad bacteria in our mouths live on).

In teens and adults, decay usually occurs in the permanent back teeth. This is because their job is to grind and chew-up food—sealing their fate, so to speak. Furthermore, the pits and fissures in the back teeth allow for food to get stuck and toothbrush bristles can be too large to fit. To prevent decay, at any age, it is essential to limit sugary or starchy foods. A good oral hygiene routine is mandatory as well.

For more information, contact your local Irvine dentist at (949) 857-1270.