Blog

Subscribe via RSS

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.

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


Smoking and Oral Health

I know that this Irvine dentist has already gone on and on about the perils of smoking and dental health, but let me remind you again anyway. Smoking causes a number of dental problems, such as: bad breath, tooth discoloration, inflamed salivary glands, increased plaque, loss of bone, increased risk of gum disease, and increased risk of oral cancer, etc.

How does smoking do this? Well, let me explain. Smoking and other products of tobacco lead to gum disease by affecting bone and soft tissue attachment in the teeth. Specifically, smoking interferes with the function of gum tissue cells, which makes it more susceptible to injury and disease. Cigarettes are not the only kind of tobacco product that creates health problems. In fact, pipes and cigars also lead to oral health issues. According to a 23-year old study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, cigar smokers experienced same levels of tooth loss as cigarette smokers!

This Irvine dentist has even more bad news. Those who are buying into the smokeless tobacco are in for a shock. Smokeless tobacco products also irritate gum tissue and cause tissue recession. What this ultimately means is that teeth are more susceptible to decay. Therefore the only way to protect your teeth against tobacco is to not use it! For more information on the effects of tobacco on teeth and how to quit, contact your Irvine dentist today at (949) 857-1270 for more resources!

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!

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