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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


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.

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. 



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! 

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!

Is Xylitol Chewing Gum the Future of Cavity Fighting?

Dental companies have been trying to market various products to the public in an effort to stop dental decay for many years; all sorts of toothpastes, flosses, mouth rinses, and even chewing gum have been claimed to better our smiles and oral health. While fluoride and the use of floss have shown direct evidence of their disease fighting properties, chewing gum still has not made its way to the title of germ fighter. Many companies, such as, Trident claim that their sugar free gum variations can help to fight cavities; they also maintain dentists recommend chewing a piece after meals whenever brushing is not possible. While this may seem like a good idea for fresh breath and to help remove food debris, many sugarless gums contain an alternative sweetener called aspartame which has been shown to cause cancer and many other negative health conditions. Consult an Irvine sedation dentist for products tailored to your specific needs, dry mouths or those prone to recurrent decay may need better oral hygiene instructions or specially formulated dental products.

gum 4 
Many dentist believe that a substance called Xylitol is the future of cavity fighting; Xylitol has properties that help combat acid by restoring the natural pH of the mouth after eating or drink foods like orange juice, fresh fruit, sweets, and other foods that contain a high acidity. Chewing gum with Xylitol has also shown to make teeth stronger and remineralize areas where decay is about to begin. By chewing or utilizing products that contain Xylitol stimulate saliva production which helps to wash away bacteria in the oral cavity. Critics maintain that while Xylitol is good for teeth, many manufactures are adding acidic fruity compounds for added taste and this counteracts the benefits of the gum. But, if used in moderation, even a small amount of flavoring can be tolerable and beneficial. An Irvine sedation dentist may suggest using Xylitol products in other forms, such as toothpaste or mouth rinses, especially for patients who have had restorative work done like bridges or dental implants.

All dental diseases are 100% avoidable with proper home care and advice from your dentist. Checkups are the best method to spot a problem before it turns into a worse situation. Routine X-rays can spot the smallest irregularities in a tooth and allow for a dentist to treat the area easier, eliminating the need for a root canal or dental implants. Consult an Irvine sedation dentist if you are interested in learning more about Xylitol and if it is the best option for you.

Irvine Sedation Dentist

Dental Implants Give Hope to Those Who Have Lost Teeth

Good oral hygiene is the cornerstone to keeping a mouth healthy; diseases, gingivitis, and cavities can cause chaos if left untreated. With the help and advice of a dental professional, you can prevent issues that lead to tooth loss, a common occurrence with individuals who have recurrent decay. Tooth loss can come from many factors and cause difficulty eating and chewing and even speaking. Our teeth are the first things people see when they talk to us, a bright row of teeth gives us confidence to want to go out and interact with others, when we are ashamed or embarrassed about our teeth, we tend to be reclusive and hide our smile. Contact an Irvine sedation dentist for a consultation if the appearance of your teeth bothers you, a treatment plan can be tailored to your individual needs.

In extreme cases when all teeth have been removed, a denture works well to replace the look of natural smile. A full set is custom made to fit an individual’s mouth and usually lasts a lifetime. There is special care and attention that must be followed to keep the prosthesis clean and bacteria free. Most denture wearers soak them in a water solution overnight, Polident is a popular brand. Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed twice daily to prevent food from lodging between the gum line and to help keep breath fresh.

A partial denture can be fitted for those who have lost just a few teeth, in order for the piece to be successful; you must have natural teeth to anchor it into place. A partial usually lasts a lifetime and is far less expensive than other restorations. A flipper serves the same purpose as a partial, but is usually used as a temporary solution to tooth loss.

A more costly solution that works for many is a fixed dental bridge; this restoration is permanent and does not need to be removed so people feel more comfortable wearing the prosthesis. Adjacent teeth are necessary for the success of a bridge; the teeth need to be filed down in order to serve as an anchor. Cleaning can be difficult for some and it requires some practice especially when flossing and keeping the area clean.

The most expensive solution for a lost tooth is a dental implant; this is fast becoming the most popular solution for many. A dental implant serves a natural tooth and if placed correctly by an Irvine sedation dentist, it cannot be distinguished as a fake. A screw is drilled into supporting bone and months after it has healed, a porcelain crown is fused to the titanium screw. If kept clean, this method can last a lifetime and can provide a beautiful smile.

Teeth can be lost for many reasons, but if your oral hygiene is good, you can keep your natural pearly whites intact. The most important thing is to listen to the advice of your dentist and follow their instructions. If it has been more than 6 months since your last cleaning, contact an Irvine sedation dentist for a consultation. 

Make Brushing and Flossing a Family Affair

Those of us with children understand that our little ones want to act like grownups; children reach a certain age and they desire more freedom to do for themselves and tend to want to do some adult things unsupervised. While this is all part of adolescence, allowing children some freedom actually can help with their self-esteem. While some activities are fine for them to do alone, some must still be supervised by adults, one certain area that should be watched closely is brushing and flossing. Contact an Irvine sedation dentist for a consultation regarding your child’s dental health and to learn the proper methods to keep their teeth disease free.

Dental decay is a childhood epidemic in this country; the disease is becoming the most chronic condition for those under the age of twelve, surpassing asthma and Type II Diabetes. Dentists are seeing more and more children in their chair with cavities that need fillings and even root canals.  With hectic schedules, parents may not have the time to monitor their children’s oral health routine and just take their word for it that they brushed their teeth, but youngsters need assistance especially with flossing until their dexterity is adequate enough to manipulate the floss between every tooth. An Irvine sedation dentist may recommend that a child be supervised until the parent is certain they can do the job on their own. Every child is different and may not mature at the same time so, it is vital to watch your child to ensure that their brushing technique is reaching the back teeth and that they are properly removing plaque twice daily.

Children should see a dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts, but prior to that there are steps that parents must take to make certain cavities will not develop in teeth before they erupt. Always wipe a baby’s mouth out with a wet soft washcloth after eating or nursing. Never allow a baby to go to bed with a bottle in their mouth, bottle caries can decay all the teeth and turn them brown. This can be very troublesome when they attend school and affect their self esteem.

Since many factors affect dental decay, it is important to watch what your child eats and limit sweets and carbonated sugary drinks, these types of food can erode the enamel leaving it more susceptible to cavities. Instead, teach your child to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, milk is also a good choice for a snack since calcium makes teeth stronger.

Visit a dentist at least twice a year and contact an Irvine sedation dentist if your child needs restorative work. It is often easier to sedate children during fillings or any dental surgeries for their own safety and comfort, it is important for the child to have a pleasant experience at the dentist so they are not fearful at the next visit. Generally they will not remember the experience as unpleasant and will be eager to go to future dental checkups.

Energy Drinks: Good For A Quick Pick Me Up, Bad For Our Teeth

In this hectic, fast paced world, sleep may be hard to come by and many of us rely on our morning coffee or espresso to wake us up and give us the energy needed for the day. Fast growing populations are carrying out their need for caffeine throughout the day in the form of energy drinks, the acidic beverages are becoming a very popular pick me up for young teens and adults. While they may give us a much needed boost to complete our tasks, the low pH or high acidic properties are eating away our teeth and causing more harm than good. Dentists are seeing more enamel erosion cases caused by drinks like Red Bull or Monster Energy drink. Enamel is the white covering over our teeth which protect the very sensitive underlying structures; once the enamel has been eaten away from acid, it is gone permanently leaving the tooth more susceptible to decay or sensitivity issues.  To know if your teeth are at risk, contact an Irvine sedation dentist to learn more about how to protect your smile.

Dentists can detect enamel erosion due to the color or transparency of teeth. The problem can be signaled when the dentin (the thin underlying layer of enamel) is exposed or accompanied by a sensitivity to hot or cold, by this time, the enamel has been lost. An Irvine sedation dentist may recommend a change in oral hygiene habits. For sensitivity issues, toothpaste with Potassium Nitrate may be prescribed and change of diet may be warranted. Since enamel erosion comes from acidic foods, it is wise to cut down on them; switch from regular citric juices to low acidic choices, rinse your mouth with water after eating, and follow a meal with a glass of milk to neutralize the acid pH in your mouth.

For proper oral hygiene, floss nightly and utilize a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste when brushing your teeth. Always wait at least an hour after drinking an energy drink or any other acidic beverage to brush your teeth, when acid is exposed to teeth, it leaves them softer and more prone to erosion. Although tooth enamel cannot be restored naturally, an Irvine sedation dentist may suggest many other options for tooth protection, such as, bonding or crowns to protect teeth from further damage.

The best advice one can take is to eat and drink responsibly; in moderation, most foods can be enjoyed.  Always visit your dentist regularly and follow his guidance for the best possible oral health.