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Fluoride, poisonous?

The use of fluoride is a constantly talked about topic, particularly when it comes to the practice of water fluoridation. This Irvine sedation dentist will tell you Fluoride can be a wonderful thing in terms of remineralization of your enamel. I offer fluoride treatments in the office. However, incorporating fluoride into water is a controversial issue that gets countries talking.

Fluoride was first introduced in the USA in the 1940s after the discovery that fluoride helps strengthen teeth and oral health. This is the reason why many types of toothpaste incorporate this element, and why dental organizations like the ADA believe drinking water with Fluoride can help teeth—the same way toothpaste does. Following the World Health Organization’s 1969 endorsement countries around the world began fluoridating their drinking water.

However, Fluoride’s popularity began to wane from the 70s to the 90s when some European countries, such as Germany, Sweden and Finland, reversed their stance on the practice of fluoridation. Exact reasons were not given, but sources proclaimed not enough benefits were found or that it wasn’t worth the risk of poisoning. Who knows what the real reasons were?! The only thing that this Irvine sedation dentist can you tell you is that fluoride can indeed be poisonous. However, we have to keep in mind a lot of things we potentially ingest has the same or similar risk. For example: alcohol, mercury in fish (sushi , anyone?), and even magnesium in antacids. Overdosing is possible and in some areas of the US, there are instances of poisoning. Some effects include weakening of bones and corrosion of teeth. On the other hand, it can bring plenty of benefits. The bottom line is there needs to be a balance and general awareness of fluoride ingestion…therefore, the debate continues. For more information on the risks of Fluoride, ask your Irvine sedation dentist today!

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


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. 

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.