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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! 

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! 

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Ever heard of burning mouth syndrome? If you haven't this Irvine dentist isn't surprised. Although burning mouth sounds like what you get when you eat one jalapeño too many, in this particular case it's a bit more serious. Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a condition where there is a painful scalding sensation in the tongue, lips, palate and really just throughout the mouth. It is most commonly found in middle-aged or older women, although it can occur in anyone. There are number of reasons for why BMS occurs, these include: damage to nerves, hormonal changes, dry mouth, nutritional deficiencies, fungal infection, acid reflux, poorly-fitted dentures or allergies to denture materials, and even anxiety or depression. In many cases BMS can occur for more than one reason, but the exact cause may not be found. 

 

The main symptom for BMS is moderate to severe burning sensation in the mouth, but other symptoms are: tingling or numbness, bitter metallic tastes or dry mouth. Howevr, before you start to worry, let this Irvine dentist reassure you that there is treatment for this condition. Some of these include: adjusting irritating dentures, treating existing conditions like diabetes, taking supplements to address nutritional deficiencies, relieving dry mouth and helping control pain from nerve damage.

 

To help relieve the feelings of BMS, drink water frequently, suck on ice, avoid hot spicy food, avoid alcohol and tobacco, and chew sugarless gum. For more  information on Burning mouth syndrome contact your Irvine dentist today!

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.

 

Floss and Mouthwash for Kids

As adults we find it necessary to use floss and mouthwash on the regular—at least this Irvine dentist hopes so! However, what about the young people in our lives, the kids? Adults and children are similar in a lot of ways. We both need the basics, such as food, clothing and love; but the difference is in the amount, size and kind; the details.

Before I answer the question of whether the use of floss and mouthwash is needed or recommended in children, this Irvine dentist will discuss why these tools are important for adult oral health. As I hope most of us know, we need to brush our teeth at least twice a day. Still, that isn’t enough. Flossing plays a significant role in dental care, as it removes plaque and food from our teeth—which the bad cavity-causing bacteria in our mouths feed on. Mouthwash is also helpful, not only in keeping our breath minty fresh, but also in removing plaque and killing bacteria--all while guarding the gums against disease.

We go through the routine of dental care to protect ourselves in the long run, but the thing is children’s teeth is that they fall out, so does it even matter to go through such processed to protect them? The answer is most definitely yes. Just like us, children are vulnerable to all kinds of decay and disease. Therefore, the usage of floss and mouthwash can ensure their healthy smiles last, even if they have only a few teeth in their name.

What we have to remember is this. Not only does initiating this oral hygiene process reinforce behavior so that they are responsible for their permanent teeth when they do eventually come in; but it also sets the foundation for healthy teeth growth. You wouldn’t build a house on a shifty foundation now would you?

For more information on a child’s dental care routine, contact your local Irvine dentist today at (949) 857-1270. 

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

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: ncdhm@ada.org

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