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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


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.

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.


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. 

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!

A Summer at the Movies

If I haven’t said it enough, summer time is one of my favorite times! One specific reason that makes this Irvine dentist a big fan is the number of blockbuster hits available during the summer time. I mean the movies are just jam-packed with hits this time around aren’t they? The lights from the silver screen, the crisp sound of the speakers, and the plush red seats are all appealing, but the cinema going experience wouldn’t be quite complete without a snack to keep all 5 senses entertained.

Tradition dictates soda, popcorn and some candy. However, tradition can be overrated. Besides this being a recipe for a few extra calories and a possible stomach ache, it also means increasing chances of tooth decay. Let me break it down for you:

1) Soda

This carbonated drink just seems so especially refreshing in the air-conditioned rooms of the theatre, but remember to not get too carried away by the acid and sugar content of these drinks! Acid and sugar ruin the protective layer of your teeth, called the enamel and fuels the bad bacteria in your teeth, respectively. Try drinking some carbonated or flavored water instead, but if you must have some Coke—try to remember to rinse after the movie. This will help limit damage to your teeth.

2) Popcorn

If this wasn’t obvious, popcorn is one of the worst snacks to, well, snack on. Common sense probably dictates you to know that anything that sticks to the corners of your teeth can’t be good for you. However, this Irvine dentist understands the appeal of a little crunch in your life. First try an alternative, maybe a pretzel or even chips. Popcorn kernels are hard to floss out and unpopped kernels can even crack your teeth. If this snack is unavoidable, rinse and bring some floss!

3) Candy

After having a salty snack at the movie theatre, it seems natural for you to want a little bit of sweet in your mouth. If that is the case go for something chocolaty instead of chewy. Chewy tends to get stuck in your mouth and can be difficult to brush out. After getting out of the movie remember to brush your teeth to decrease chances of decay.

For more information on protecting your smile during your movie experience, and all other experiences in life, contact your local Irvine dentist today at (949) 857-1270.

Why Your Gums Might Be Bleeding

Let’s ‘be real’ here, most people are not even close to being die-hard daily flossers—trust me, this Irvine Family dentist knows. That doesn’t mean most patients don’t have good oral health routines, several do. However, even those who are extremely attentive with their flossing can see some bleeding.

This may not seem like a big deal, but don’t brush it off so fast! Gum disease is alarmingly common—with up to 80% of the adult population having some level of disease. Here are just a few reasons why your gums might be bleeding, and how you can help stop it!

1) Your Oral Hygiene Routine Isn’t ‘There’ Yet.
Poor dental hygiene can result in visible plaque on teeth and red swollen gums. The reality is that this can happen overnight. Research shows that even the healthiest of gums can become diseased within 24 to 36 hours if brushing is not maintained properly. To avoid this stay committed to your dental routine by using tools that make it easy. This includes: electric toothbrushes, antibacterial rinses and water picks for flossing.

2) Your Diet Isn’t Great
This Irvine Family Dentist knows the temptations of junk food. Who doesn’t like a sprinkle chocolate donut? However, having a poor diet not only increases your waistline, but it also sets you up for a poor smile. Eating well helps build strong teeth and boosts the overall integrity of your immune system. So make sure to get several servings of fruits and vegetables, and to supplement with calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, magnesium, etc. if needed!

3) You Haven’t Discovered Nicotine Patches Yet
Smoking increases risk for gum disease due to the many toxins that these little butts contain. These toxins create an inflammatory response that decreases the body’s defenses. In addition, chronic smoking enlarges gums, which can be more open to bacteria to invade.

4) You Need a Stress Ball
Being in a constant state of agitation not only wears on your mind, but also your body. What it does is hinder your immune system’s ability to fight off gum disease. In addition, stress can cause inflammation of blood vessels that break down the soft tissues of the mouth—inhibiting its ability to heal properly.

For more information on why your gums might be bleeding, contact your local Irvine Family dentist today at 949-857-1270!

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental

Is Flossing Really Necessary?

Flossing has often been thought of as the bane of existence in a patient’s dental world. Believe me, this Irvine dentist has heard all of the complaints. Many come into the office and ask whether flossing is actually that important, and I hate to be a dream crusher but there is no room for negotiation.

The problem most patients find with flossing is that there is no ‘instant gratification,’ but trust that any reputable Irvine dentist will say that flossing plays a significant role in preventing tooth decay. In fact flossing does about 40% of the work that is required when removing sticky harmful bacteria or plaque.

What plaque does is generate acid that can cause cavities, irritate gums or even lead to disease. The tooth has about five surfaces, so when you choose not to floss; you open yourself up to leaving at least two of these surfaces unclean. The only tool that will help get into the spaces between teeth and clean certain areas is floss—the unsung hero of dental care.

One helpful way to get flossing permanently worked into your dental care routine is to find the right one. Not all floss is created the same, and different patients have different preferences.

Floss is usually made of either nylon or Teflon—both great choices. Generally speaking those with larger spaces between teeth or those with some gum recession tend to have better results with a flat, wide dental floss. On the other hand if your teeth are closer together, thin floss may be a better fit. If you have bridges or braces using a floss threader (that resembles a plastic sewing needle) is something to think about.

Regardless of what you choose, just remember to floss!
For more information of different kinds of floss or flossing tips, contact your local Irvine dentist today at 949-857-1270.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental