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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.

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


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.

 

Cough Syrup Cavities: A Reality

Although the first day of summer has arrived, this Irvine family dentist likes to keep with the motto, “better safe than sorry.” Unfortunately, even with the sun heating up there are never any guarantees of staying free of coughs, colds and the flu, which make our lives so miserable! To help ourselves heal quickly we often times reach for over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms, but next time you do keep this in mind: Mary Poppins wasn’t wrong when she said a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down!

One unmentioned side effect of medicine is tooth decay because many cough drops and liquid medications contain certain variety of ingredients that make your teeth susceptible to decay.





These ingredients include:

  • High fructose corn syrup and sucrose—nope they’re not just in your Twinkies. These ingredients are the major source for the bacteria in your mouth, which form acids to break down tooth enamel.
  • Citric acid, which also wears down enamel.
  • Alcohol, not a total surprise with popular culture displaying it as a possible substitute for drinks. Lil’ Wayne—anyone? I know, how does this Irvine family dentist even know?
In addition, the risks for tooth decay are magnified if medicine is taken before bedtime. In fact it can be seen as the equivalent to drinking juice or soda before sleep—due to the lessened amount of saliva produced during sleep, which usually helps rinse sugars away.

So what is the solution? Just stop taking medicine? Absolutely not! Some helpful ways to reduce decay are to: take medication at meal times, brush your teeth after medicine or rinse well, and if possible take the pill form of your medication if that is available.

For more information on cough syrup and decay, contact your Irvine family 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.

The Truth About Strawberries

Summer is almost here, which means beach time, long sunny days and of course strawberries—a favorite fruit of this Orange county dentist. Strawberries definitely deserve their fan following, as they are delicious in smoothies, shortcakes, covered in chocolate, and of course all by its natural self. Furthermore, the sensational strawberry is also considered a ‘super-fruit,’ as it is rich in antioxidants and helps protect the heart. They are also low in calories and high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and folic acid! So luckily this Orange county dentist, along with others can feel good about enjoying some strawberries this upcoming season.

However, some is the key word. Like all good things, strawberries must be eaten in moderation. This is because strawberries are highly acidic, and consuming too many can cause tooth erosion. This happens when acid slowly eats away at the enamel of your tooth. Once this enamel is lost, it cannot be recovered. Loss of enamel causes a wide range of dental problems, such as sensitivity, teeth discoloration, cracked teeth and even tooth loss!

This doesn’t mean you should stop eating these wonderful red sweets altogether. It just means you should limit your portions and be smart about it! Here are some tips:

1) Pair them with foods low in sugar and acid content. Examples of these are nuts, bananas, spinach and many diary products. Of course, avoid drinking them with acidic drinks like soda, alcohol and fruit juices.
2) Rinse after eating. The water will help neutralize the acid, while keeping you hydrated during the summer time!
3) Wait at least minutes before brushing. The acid from the strawberries will still be present after eating, so waiting before you brush will help keep your enamel strong.

For more information about enamel health, contact your local Orange county dentist today at (949) 857-1270.

-Martha Ha, Tozzer Dental