Call for an appointment: Long Beach, CA (562)434-6414

How Your Dentist Can Tell if You’re Stressed

These days, a lot of us understand that stress has a negative impact on not just our minds, but also our bodies. We talk about stress with our family, our friends, our coworkers, and our doctors. But where does the dentist come in? In reality, there are many ways that stress can affect our oral health.

During your routine oral exams, your dentist may find signs that you’re dealing with stress and anxiety, and that you’re likely not addressing them, either. It’s important to have conversations about our lifestyle and stress with our dentists during our appointments, so that we can prevent devastating oral health issues and create treatment plans for any current issues caused by our stress.

Teeth Grinding or Bruxism
One of the most common signs of stress is bruxism, the technical term for grinding teeth and clenching jaws. While a clenched jaw may not seem like a big issue on its own, it could lead to other serious oral issues like sensitive or eroded enamel, shifting of the teeth, headaches, and more.

Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction
Grinding your teeth can also lead to TMJD, sometimes called TMJ disorder. This happens when your jaw is not working properly, is severely sore, or is making popping or clicking sounds. TMJD can be severely debilitating to everyday life, and needs to be treated as early as possible.

Periodontal and Gum Disease
Studies have shown that stress can lead to higher chances of gum disease in many otherwise healthy adults. The reasons for this may vary, including lack of attention to normal, daily oral care and eating foods that are bad for your health. Canker sores, which are not a disease and are not contagious, are common in stressed patients, as well.

Addressing Stress and Visiting Your Dentist
As you start to make positive life changes to deal with the stress in your life, it’s important to keep a routine schedule in seeing your dentist. They will be able to identify issues before they get bigger, which can cause even more stress – the last thing anyone needs!

Be sure to schedule a stress-free and easy oral exam today with our experienced and friendly dental team here in Long Beach, CA.

Request an appointment online here, or call us to book your next appointment at 562-434-6414.

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Celebrating “Eat Better, Eat Together Month” and Having Better Oral Health

As our lives today get busier, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters most: quality, face-to-face time with our family.

That’s what “Eat Better, Eat Together Month” hopes to address, urging all of us to get back to basics when it comes to our families and meal time, and to be conscious of the foods we put on the table. Not only is eating together at the dinner table important for building relationships with our family members, but being mindful at planning dinner can have a positive effect on our mental and biological health, too.

When cooking for the family, it can force us to think twice about what we put on our plates. We want to provide the best for our children, so that means shopping for the best quality ingredients and preparing our meals mindfully.

With better food selection, comes better health. It’s no secret that picking wholesome, quality foods can enhance our health, including weight loss, cardiovascular health, and more. But did you know that good foods can also improve your oral health?

Here are some of our smile-friendly food recommendations to consider when preparing your meals:

  • Fibrous fruits and vegetables: There’s a reason why fruits and veggies appear on many lists for improving your health. But what does it mean when it comes to your teeth? Foods with lots of fiber promote saliva production, which is the body’s best defense to periodontal diseases. Saliva helps to clean your mouth and provide the necessary acids and minerals to naturally clean your mouth.
  • Calcium-rich foods, like dairy: Calcium is an important mineral that plays a big role in improving bone and teeth health in our bodies. If you love cheese, then getting more calcium may not be too much of an issue, but if you’re looking for an alternative for lactose-intolerant or vegan loved ones, there are still many options. Try seeds (like sesame and chia), beans and lentils, almonds, and tofu.
  • Water: Yep, you read it right… Water! Not only is this nourishing and necessary for general health and wellness, but water also helps to clear debris from your teeth, and produce more saliva.

In short, simply eating healthier can help improve the health of your teeth and gums. If you’re looking for more food tips and how your diet can help your family’s oral health, consult with your dentist at your next appointment.

Our Long Beach dental team has helped thousands of families in the area achieve beautiful smiles through dental care and guidance. Book your next appointment with Dr. Stephen Coates and his friendly and experienced dental team today.

Request your appointment online, or call us at 562-434-6414.

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Achieving a Straighter Smile by Holiday Time

Shopping list, vacation planning, company parties – there’s a lot to think about this coming holiday season, but one thing that you may not be thinking much about? Your smile.

If you’ve been struggling with having confidence behind your smile, it’s not too late to address this issue. Many adults have started to turn to an orthodontic solution that does not involve multiple trips to the dentist – and, best of all, no metal.

Invisalign, a company that produces clear aligner trays, has helped countless people achieve a better, more beautiful smile in an innovative process that helps you to continue living your life as you already do while straightening your teeth. Your dentist simply works with you to create an Invisalign treatment plan that makes sense for your lifestyle and your budget.

In many cases, people will start experiencing visible results in as little as two months. Who would have known that clear, plastic appliances (when supervised by your dentist) would be an easy and simple alternative to traditional metal braces!

Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with metal braces. But Invisalign’s attractive and clear aligners have transformed the lives of many busy, hard-working adults who may have not had the time or opportunity to wear metal braces. Clear aligners can be taken out at home so that you can still enjoy the foods you want. And they’re easy to put back on when you’re done.

Are you ready to have a straighter smile before the end of 2019? Make an appointment with our dental team located in Long Beach, CA and talk to us about Invisalign. We even offer different financing options to help alleviate the financial stress of the holidays.

Request an appointment online today, or call us at 562-434-6414.

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“Fall” into Better Oral Health This Season

The official start of the fall season is kicking off this month, and we are ready to embrace autumn with open arms and a bright smile.

It’s also time to think about how our oral health might change with the season. As it gets colder, you may experience some sensitivity in your teeth in response to the chilly weather. If you do, it could be a sign of some oral health issues, like cracked enamel or a cavity.

Colder weather can also affect saliva production, which is important for maintaining good oral hygiene. Drink more water to stay hydrated, and consider sugar-free chewing gum to get those saliva glands working again.

Your diet may also change with the season, and that will also affect our mouths. Pumpkin spiced lattes are delicious, but the sugar can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums if you don’t clean your teeth often. You may also be drinking more ginger beer, eating more pumpkin-laced desserts, or more fast-food with school in full swing – all of which could negatively affect your oral health if you aren’t careful.

We assume you’re already brushing your teeth twice a day throughout the entire year anyway, but if you’re consuming more sugary treats, you should pay closer attention to your at-home oral care routine. Consider using mouthwash more often, or maybe finally purchase that electric toothbrush you’ve been eyeing.

Your eating habits may also change with the holidays around the corner – Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are opportune times to be bombarded with sweets and treats at every corner. We want you to be able to enjoy the many treats, which is why we also want you to have good oral health.

Come in for your check-up before the season gets more hectic. Our Long Beach dental team is here to help you manage oral care for you and your family.

Schedule an appointment now using our online system, or give us a call at 562-434-6414.

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TMJ Disorders are Common for Teenagers

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is a common concern for teenage kids, according to the American Association for Pediatric Dentistry. The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a complex area of the face that connects the jaw bone, the pit of temporal bone, and connective tissue.

TMD can be painful or restrict movement of the jaw, which makes it a disorder that needs to be addressed as soon as signs of it appear. Other signs may include bruxism (biting or grinding your teeth at night), clicking noises when moving the jaw, dislocated or “locked” jaw, and more.

For many young adults, treating TMD can be relatively simple, given that the problem is identified sooner rather than later. You may be prescribed muscle relaxers for the pain, and you may receive dental appliances – like a bite guard – to help with the grinding or irregular biting movements.

For more serious cases, surgery may be needed to relocate the jaw. This is a more permanent way to realign the mouth and has a higher success rate of treatment. A headgear or even braces may also be used to help manage TMD.

Diagnosing TMD can be done by your family dentist, who can also give you more customized tips for managing TMD and the associated pain. However, it’s important to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you notice signs or symptoms. As with any medical issue, the earlier you identify it, the easier it is to treat it.

What causes TMJ disorder?

There is no known, specific cause for TMJ disorder (or TMD), though many dentists will agree that some cases may arise from injury to the jaw, mouth, or neck. Other reasons may include arthritis, bruxism, or even imprecise previous orthodontic treatments.

Orthodontic treatment may make the teeth straight and give you a great smile, but if the bite is not aligned properly, TMD can develop. Evaluation of the bite may disclose an underlying trigger for the TMD and recommendations may be made by your dentist to tweak the orthodontic results, adjust the bite, or place a bite guard.

Whether you’re experiencing pain or have more questions, make plans to visit our Long Beach general family dentistry. Our experienced team has served the community for many years, and we’re happy to see you, as well.

Book online now with our scheduling system, or call us at 562-434-6414.

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How Oral Health Changes as We Age

September 9th is National Grandparents Day, which is the perfect time to talk about oral health for aging adults! Whether you’re a grandparent who wants a great smile for all the photos and selfies with the grandkids, or you’re wondering how aging affects your teeth, there are some great tips that you should know for your oral health.

Did you know that your oral health directly affects the health for the rest of your body? As much as we think about heart or digestive health as we age, we should be equally focusing on our mouths as well.

Seniors are also at a bigger risk for poor oral health for a variety of reasons.

Loss of dental insurance

As older adults go into retirement, many will lose dental insurance coverage. Additionally, the federally-funded Medicare does not cover routine dental care. You may need to turn to private insurance companies or even the AARP to find dental insurance specifically tailored to seniors.

Dry mouth

Saliva production is affected by certain medications, and statistically, senior adults generally take more prescription medication compared to other age groups. With less saliva comes an increased chance for periodontal disease and other oral issues. Try chewing on sugar-free gum as a solution to this potential issue.

Arthritis

Pain in the joints, especially in our arms and hands, can make it more difficult to care for our teeth. Because of this, many older adults aren’t cleaning their teeth as well as they could be, which will lead to poor oral health. Invest in an electric toothbrush and work with your dentist to find other tools that will help you maintain a proper oral care routine.

Denture-induced stomatitis

If you don’t properly care for your dentures, you could develop an infection in your mouth that will not only make it harder to wear your dentures later on, but also lead to periodontal diseases that may be difficult to treat. Make sure to clean your appliances daily with cleaning products designed specifically for dentures.

Let our Long Beach dental team help you care for your teeth, no matter what age you are. Our family-centered dentistry has served the area for many years, providing healthy smiles young and old.

Book now using our online system, or by calling us at 562-434-6414.

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These Foods Help Promote Better Oral Health

You’re often told what to stay away from to maintain good oral health (for instance, anything high in sugar), but what about foods that help you achieve a better smile?

For the record, we’re not advising that you completely stay away from sugar, but rather moderate it. We have an informative blog post about sugar, what it can do to your oral health and how to have your cake and eat it too!

But let’s talk about what you should eat. There are a lot of tasty and delicious foods out there that are not only packed with vital nutrients essential to building strong teeth and gums, but can help stimulate saliva flow, which is necessary for fighting off infections and periodontal diseases.

Leafy greens

This comes as no surprise that vegetables like spinach, kale and arugula are packed with great vitamins and nutrients for your overall health. They contain calcium, which helps build strong tooth enamel, and B vitamins, which can help fight off gum disease.

Yogurt

Many dairy products contain protein and calcium, which as we mentioned helps with strong teeth. But yogurt goes the extra mile with the added benefit of probiotics. These beneficial bacteria help keep the good bacteria in your mouth, crowding out the cavity-causing bacteria. Also, probiotics may help those with gastritis or acid reflux, which can cause tooth erosion if left untreated.

Fruits and veggies high in fiber

Apples and carrots are examples of foods with lots of fiber, known to help promote healthier gums and teeth. Foods like celery also act like a natural brush, gently scraping away at food particles that may linger around. Bonus: chewing also produces more saliva, which is an essential and natural part of keeping your mouth clean.

Sugar-free chewing gum

Speaking of chewing, if you need a boost of salivation production, reach for the sugar-free gum. Saliva is important for neutralizing acids, breaking down sugars, defending against tooth decay and gum disease, helping heal oral wounds, making chewing and eating easier, and more.

Water

It’s no wonder that water is on this list, seeing how time and time again we are reminded of its endless benefits. If you need more motivation, just remember that water can help clean out debris in your mouth, aid in saliva production, and – if it contains fluoride – aid in the fight against tooth decay and gum disease.

While diet remains one of the most important factors in your oral health, so is visiting your dentist. Get more information on maintaining a beautiful smile and received a customized plan from your dentist for better oral health.

Book your next appointment with Dr. Stephen Coates and his dental team in Long Beach by scheduling online, or by calling us at 562-434-6414.

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What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay, sometimes referred to as Early Childhood Caries, occurs when there is frequent exposure of a child’s tooth or teeth to sugary liquids. Even naturally-occurring sugars from milk can cause tooth decay in a child.

Even if a child’s teeth are temporary, it’s important to take good care of their teeth. For one, it helps introduce the child to regular oral care and hygiene. Good oral health will also help the child eat comfortably and prevent cavities, which can cause pain.

Healthy baby teeth will also help the permanent teeth grow in correctly. Practicing good oral care now will set them up for success later!

Milk formula and fruit juice will often have sugars that can breed harmful bacteria that promotes tooth decay, especially if the tooth isn’t regularly cleaned and taken care of. Children who also use pacifiers that were dipped in sugary liquids or honey are also at risk.

How do I clean my baby’s teeth?

It’s important to first schedule a visit with your family dentist right when your infant grows their first tooth, or before their first birthday. Your dentist will be able to work with you on the correct way of cleaning your baby’s mouth.

Be sure to not let the child fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth. You can even gently dab the insides of their mouth to soak up leftover liquids before they go to bed.

When their tooth appears, you can use a toothbrush made for infants to clean the tooth. Until your child can spit on their own, use toothpaste that is free from fluoride. You may also choose to use no toothpaste at first, and slowly work up to using toothpaste (a small, pea-sized amount will suffice) as the child gets used to it.

You should be sure to also clean the gums that do not have teeth yet.

Is your baby ready for their first dental visit? Dr. Stephen Coates and his dental team welcome families and children of all ages, and are committed to helping you achieve beautiful smiles and maintain great oral health.

Book your appointment now via our online scheduler, or call us at 562-434-6414.

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Yes, Sleep Apnea Can Affect Young Children Too!

Snoring in children can be a sign of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea – something your family dentist can actually help you screen for & and treat.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by complications in breathing during sleep or rest. In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), irregular breathing is generally caused by a narrowed or obstructed airway, which can cause snoring, long pauses in breathing, tossing and turning, and more.

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain is not sending the proper signals to your muscles that control breathing.

OSA is far more common and can easily be screened for and eventually treated by your family dentist!

It’s important to note that people of all ages can have obstructive sleep apnea, and the signs and treatments may differ for children than for adults.

Signs of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea

Snoring is not the only sign of sleep apnea. In fact, children (and adults) with sleep apnea may not even snore at all.

Here are some other signs to look out for in your child:

  • Snoring or irregular breathing patterns
  • Restless sleep, including tossing and turning
  • Bedwetting
  • Teeth grinding, sometimes called bruxism
  • Behavioral issues, or inability to focus
  • Excessive napping, or trouble staying awake
  • Childhood obesity

Sleep issues like OSA that are left untreated in children can cause more complications later in life, including some of the aforementioned signs listed above. It is estimated that about 4% of children may have sleep apnea, and almost 30% of children diagnosed with ADHD were actually incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD and should have been treated for pediatric sleep apnea instead. A study has shown that undiagnosed pediatric sleep apnea can cause up to 20 points of IQ loss.

The next time you take your child to the dentist, ask them about pediatric OSA. Dentists are able to screen for this sleep disorder and can help you find the best treatment plan, which may include dental appliances or surgery.

Book your dental appointment now

The dental team along with Dr. Stephen Coates is committed to helping families in or near the Long Beach area find their smiles and live healthier lives through better oral care. Dr. Coates has years of experience in assessing and treating pediatric & adult sleep breathing disorders and works with a team of physicians and other health care specialists so his patients achieve optimal results.

To book your appointment online, use our scheduling tool here, or call us at 562-434-6414.

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Book Your Dental Appointment Now Before the Back-to-School Rush

While a regular dental check-up is necessary throughout the year, it’s especially important for children and teens to go before school starts.

According to the AAPD, almost 51 million school hours are missed due to dental-related health issues in the U.S. Set up your children for success and empower them to take care of their oral health by visiting your dentist soon.

To take action after all the foods and drinks consumed this summer, and to protect from future cavities and other periodontal diseases, follow these easy steps to prepare your child before school starts!

  • Schedule your dental visit today
    This can be a busy time for your dentist, as many other parents will also want to take their children in for a dental visit. To avoid the crowds and waiting times, we suggest you book an appointment soon so that you’re not rushing to secure one later.
  • Check with your school and dentist about dental emergencies
    Some schools may have options for your children to address health issues, though some may not offer dental help. If your child gets a chipped tooth or has other dental emergencies throughout the school year, be sure that your teachers are equipped with the right phone numbers to address the situation. Talk to your dentist about creating a plan for this scenario so you can be prepared in the case of a sudden emergency.
  • Encourage healthier snacks for lunch boxes
    If you pack your child’s lunch, or if you have influence over what the school offers during lunchtime, now is the time to introduce your child to healthier eating. Instead of packing chips or fruit loops, opt for nuts or low-sugar yogurt.
  • Create a daily routine for your child’s dental health
    It’s easy during the summer to loosen up on daily routines, especially caring for teeth. But with school right around the corner, it’s time to get your children back on track. Getting kids to care about anything can be hard, but we have some tips on making dental care fun for children here.

As a parent, we understand how difficult it can be to juggle the many facets of caring for a child. Let our experienced Long Beach-based team of family dentists and hygienists care for your family.

Book an appointment online, or speak to a receptionist by calling 562-434-6414.

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