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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.

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

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!

Drills and Discomfort: How to Get Over Your Fear of the Dentist

Going to the dentist may elicit many fears (often illogical) in an individual; the fear of excessive pain, having blood in the mouth and loud instruments are all common examples. Avoiding the dentist, however, can lead to extensive tooth and gum damage and, in the worse cases, infections that spread over the entire body. This is because cleanliness in the mouth affects more than just your dental health but also the overall health of your body. The following includes common fears and suggestions as to how to conquer them. According to, one of the most common fears of going to the dentist is embarrassment. Believing that your dentist is going to judge your mouth is slightly ridiculous because your dentist has most likely seen someone with worse teeth than yours during their career. A second fear keeping many people away from the dentist is the fear of pain. If you have been avoiding the dentist for too long for this reason then you may be hanging on to antiquated fears, there are numerous gels and medications the dentist can give you so that any procedure is pain free. Any Orange Country sedation dentist will see that you get through the procedure with as little anxiety as possible. Moreover, feel free to ask your dentist if you can take a pain killer before you come in as to avoid any chance of discomfort. If it is the sounds of the drills that make you tremble, then ask your dentist if you can bring in your music player and headphones so you can drown at any troubling sounds. WebMD suggests that you try to listen to a new CD so that you pay more attention to the music and less to the tools in your mouth. Finally, if it is the tools that scare you then you may want to try keeping your eyes closed.

One of the most important parts of alleviating fear of the dentist is to find a dentist you can trust. WebMD offered the following suggestions. Since about 2/3 of those people who avoid the dentist relate this experience to a bad experience with a prior dentist it is important that you find a dentist that makes you comfortable. Take suggestions from friends and most importantly express your fears to your dentist. If you call the dentist and he/she seems to brush off your fears, then perhaps he/she is not the dentist for you. A good dentist will know that you may need to take things slow, ask for feedback throughout the procedure and be willing to offer you a signal for when things get too intense for you, such as raising your hand.  When you do finally go to the dental office it is perfectly acceptable to bring someone who makes you comfortable along, the dentist should be accommodating to anything/anyone who gets you through your procedure. A good dentist, according to WebMD, will enable you to feel in control of both the process and your pain management. A good dentist, such as professionals at any Orange County sedation dentist office will help you to find the right amount of pain medication to get you through your required treatment.  Finally, if going to the dentist really seems too overwhelming, you may attempt to go to a psychologist so you can conquer your fears in a comfortable and non-dental related space. Using these tips and with a visit to any Orange County sedation dentist, you can find that you can conquer any fear the dental chair may conjure up! Good luck and get those teeth cleaned!

Seal Up Your Potential Cavities

Neglecting to make proper dental hygiene a priority can lead to sugar settling in the crevices of your mouth. This sugar is the reason for harmful bacteria growth which can lead to plaque and cavity formation. Soft drinks, processed foods and other sugary treats are doing more than just harming your body on the inside; they are also attacking your teeth. Your dentist will usually try and let you know if you have cavities forming on your teeth when you go in for your check-up, which is why it is crucial that you schedule visits to your Orange County sedation dentist at least twice a year.

medicine studentsSo what exactly are cavities again? Cavities are a form of tooth decay, when bacteria are allowed to develop they release acids to eat up sugar that remains in your mouth. Food debris and saliva combine with the acidic mixture to form what is called “plaque.” Plaque sticks to teeth almost like glue; it looks white and can irritate your gums. If left untreated, plaque has a great chance of developing into more complicated dental problems, like gingivitis or periodontitis. These details make brushing and flossing your teeth extra important, especially since plaque formation can begin around 20 minutes after you’ve eaten a meal. Try to refrain from eating snacks or meals right before bed as this behavior is likely to leave food particles sitting in your mouth overnight which can foster cavity incubation.

The unfortunate thing with most dental adversities is that you probably won’t experience any physically painful symptoms until the tooth is beyond your own repair. Thanks to modern technology, products like sealants have been developed to help people keep the cavities away. Sealants are thin plastic coatings that get painted onto the enamel of a tooth that help block food particles and tooth decay. After a routine cleaning, if your dentist notices that a tooth or a few of your teeth are particularly susceptible to tooth decay they will most likely recommend you to get a sealant for the tooth. Sealants are temporary so once they are applied you still need to make sure oral hygiene is a priority. Permanent molars are usually the teeth that have the highest priority in getting sealants because these teeth are used to doing a bulk of your food chewing and are at higher risk for tooth decay.

Those who fear the drilling sounds of a dentist’s office can cross sealant procedures of their list. Getting a sealant put in doesn’t require the tooth to be removed or drilled so it is a pretty easy and quick. Gel is applied to a clean tooth surface, usually between the grooves of the tooth to defend against plaque growth. A piece of equipment with a light on the end is also frequently used to help the sealant harden. Sealants are different from fillings because they are applied to a tooth before tooth decay has started. Fillings are inserted into damaged teeth that are trying to be saved from complete degeneration. Getting sealants will help to reduce your need for fillings in the future, and they may also help you save money on expensive and painful procedures related to cavities and tooth decay. Sealants can cost anywhere between $35 and $60 per tooth which is a pretty slim price compared to the $150-$200 that non-mercury cavity fillings can cost per tooth. Talk to your Orange County sedation dentist today if you are interested in learning more about sedation dentistry procedures for you or your family.