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

Can Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?

If you’re pregnant, it’s important that you don’t forget about your teeth. Expecting has major effects on your body and your teeth are no exception. Here’s what you need to know:

As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, make an appointment with your dentist. Let your dental office know how far along you are and if there are any medical conditions they should be aware of, including a high-risk pregnancy.

Your dentist can discuss your oral health with you and come up with a plan for the rest of your pregnancy. If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, you should also make an appointment with your dentist and take care of any outstanding procedures before you become pregnant.

You may have heard the myth that you lose calcium when pregnant or that “one tooth is lost with every pregnancy.” This is not true, but you can experience changes during pregnancy because of an increase in hormones like estrogen and progesterone that can affect the way your gums respond to plaque. Being pregnant can put you at higher risk for tooth decay, gum disease (also known as “pregnancy gingivitis”) and oral growths called “pregnancy tumors.” If you have moderate to severe gum disease, you may be at higher risk for delivering a pre-term, low-birth weight baby. These conditions are all treatable and your dentist can prescribe treatment.

Your regular dental cleanings pose no harm to your or your baby. In fact, they’re the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy, which is especially important during pregnancy.

Dental x-rays are now considered safe during pregnancy by the American Dental Association. X-rays can be crucial in identifying major problems that cannot be seen otherwise, like tooth decay, bone loss or infected root canals. If you have any concerns, talk to your dentist, who can help evaluate your situation and decide whether x-rays can or should be postponed.

Anesthesia may not be safe for you during pregnancy, especially the first trimester. You’ll want to delay dental work that requires anesthesia like a filling or a root canal, until after you’ve given birth.

If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an appointment.

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March Special: Get White Teeth & Help Those In Need

Do you want a nice, bright smile? Do you love helping others less fortunate than yourself?

For the entire month of March, we’re donating 100% of our teeth whitening proceeds to a foundation that helps battered women. Watch this video to find out how you can lighten up your smile and also give one to someone else:

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Dental Practices Throughout History

Going to the dentist today is like a day at Disneyland compared to what people endured thousands of years ago! Nowadays, you walk into your dentist’s office and wait patiently while browsing through magazines and listening to Easy FM. In past civilizations, people were cringing in pain with infected toothaches and full of dread in anticipation for what’s to come.

Sparkly Grills

The Mayans are credited with being the inventors of cosmetic dentistry because they were known to decorate their teeth by embedding them with precious stones or by carving notches and grooves into them. Tiny holes were made in teeth and ornamental stones—including jade—were attached with a glue made from natural resins, such as plant sap, which was mixed with other chemicals and crushed bones. The Mayan “dentists” knew how to drill into teeth without hitting the pulp inside, so they likely had a sophisticated knowledge of tooth anatomy.

Tooth Worms

Have you ever heard of a “tooth worm?” In the middle ages, they believed that a “tooth worm” had entered the body if someone had a hole or crack in their tooth. The idea of this creature came from the idea of a worm eating its way into an apple. “Tooth Worms” don’t exist but it started some pretty crazy dental procedures. Patients thought to have damage from a “tooth worm” were subjected to skin blistering, laxatives, bloodletting, nerve destruction via strong acid or a hot iron, and putting garlic cloves in their ears.

Falsies

Hippo ivory was used to create dentures, like the bottom half of George Washington’s teeth. His dentures also had human teeth fixed in place by gold rivets. While the hippo’s ivory helped hold in other people’s teeth, it did not assist with eating or looking one’s best. George Washington was very particular about reshaping his dentures because he didn’t want his teeth to look as if they were pointing out from under his nose!

Ancient Toothbrushes

The first bristle toothbrush that was like today’s, was invented in China about 1498. The bristles were hand plucked from the backs of wild boars living in the colder climates of Siberia and China (frigid weather causes hogs to grow firmer bristles), and they were fastened into handles of bone or bamboo. Orient Traders introduced the Chinese toothbrush to Europeans, who found boar bristles too firm, they liked softer, horsehair toothbrushes. Nylon bristle toothbrushes weren’t used in the United States until 1938. Nylon was stiff, resilient, tough and kept its space well. Nylon was also impervious to moisture which help to hinder bacterial growth.

Thank goodness our dental practices have improved greatly over time!

Call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule a pain-less and pleasant appointment.

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WHY DO WE HAVE BABY TEETH?

Baby teeth may seem like no big deal, but in actuality, they are crucial to the development of a toddler’s growing jaw by saving space for the adult teeth they’ll eventually have. In general, babies are not born with any visible teeth but begin “teething” around 6 months old and will have 20 baby teeth when done. Baby teeth are important for chewing but they also play a big role in the development of the jaw and normal speech.

The primary function of baby teeth is to make space for the adult teeth to develop underneath. Toddlers get their baby teeth because adult-sized teeth would be too large to fit into their mouths at that age.  As children use their baby teeth to bite and chew, this exercises the jaw and helps the bones grow. All of these things together allow the adult teeth to come in properly and have enough room.

You may think that losing a baby tooth to cavities is no big deal since a child will lose them in the future anyway, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Missing baby teeth provide the space needed for adult teeth so if that space is not being “held” it could cause the adult teeth to come in crooked or become crowded from not enough space. A prematurely missing baby tooth can even delay the eruption of an adult tooth because bone can fill in above it.

In order to give your child the best chance to get straight, even adult teeth, you need to promote oral health at home and early. Once your toddler begins to get their baby teeth in, make sure they are brushed twice a day.  As your child gets older, this is something that you can teach them to do (supervising to make sure it’s done correctly) on their own and instill good dental habits at an early age.  Bring your child into the dentist for regular check ups and cleanings so that the process becomes familiar to them. Good dental habits and baby teeth that are well-cared for can’t guarantee your child won’t need braces in the future but it can definitely help!

Call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an appointment for your toddler.

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Show Your Teeth Some Love This Valentine’s Day

The message might be l-o-v-e on Valentine’s Day but we like to celebrate it with gifts that involve candy, sweets and treats. Americans spend over 340 million dollars on Valentine’s Day candy each year with over 8 billion candy hearts sold within the first 2 weeks of February. That’s a lot of sugar!

Expecting your kids (and yourself!) to avoid sweets this Valentine’s Day is unrealistic, but making healthier choices will help protect your teeth. Here’s a few do’s and don’ts to follow to show your teeth some love this holiday.

DO: Enjoy healthy, heart-shaped snacks.

Get in the spirit of Valentine’s Day the healthy way and even have some fun by ditching the usual sweets. A few ideas for kid (and adult) friendly snacks:

  • Dark chocolate-dipped fruit on a stick: Bananas, pineapple, cherries, strawberries, etc.
  • Heart-shaped strawberries
  • Sweetheart yogurt parfaits
  • Heart-shaped stacked sandwiches
  • Heart-shaped pancakes
  • Raspberries filled with mini dark chocolate chips
  • Mini heart-shaped pizzas
  • Grilled, heart-shaped mozzarella and tomato sandwiches

Want to take it up a notch? Check out these creative and nutritious Valentine’s Day treat ideas: https://www.disneybaby.com/feeding/24-healthy-valentines-day-treats-2/

DON’T: Choose sticky, hard candies or low-quality chocolate

All those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, but these treats are known to damage teeth. Sour candies can be acidic to your teeth and actually wear down the enamel that protects them, leading to tooth decay and cavities. The worst offenders include gummy bears, jelly beans, tootsie rolls and lollipops.

DO:  Limit the sweets.

If you are going to indulge in sweets, your best bet is chocolate. Choose a high-quality brand that is 50% or more cocoa which has a higher purity level and is free from the additives that do the most damage to your teeth. Opt for softer treats such as peanut butter cups or bakery items.

DON’T: Forget to brush & floss!

After enjoying sweets, make sure to show your teeth some tender loving care. Brush and floss between your teeth, around the brackets and at the gum line. Don’t forget that your tongue carries bacteria as well and needs to be brushed from the back to the front and bottom to top!

You CAN have a “sweet” Valentine’s Day while still keeping your oral health in mind. Try one of our healthier snack ideas above and make this a February 14th that you won’t forget!

Give your teeth the best Valentine’s Day gift of all and call our office at (562) 434-6414 to schedule your bi-annual checkup!

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New Years Resolutions For Your Teeth

We all make new year’s resolutions, but many of us are not likely to follow through. Turning over a new leaf in the New Year can be tricky, but finding a way to stick with it is important when that new leaf benefits your health. If you want to take better care when looking after your teeth and gums this year, these resolutions can keep you diligent:

Visit the Dentist Twice a Year

A resolution to make routine visits to the dentist may help prevent oral disease or reveal an existing disease in its early stage. Dental visits should take place every 6 months to allow your dentist and dental hygienists to monitor the condition of your oral cavity and develop an appropriate treatment plan to meet your wants and needs.

Commit to Brushing & Flossing Twice a Day

Brushing and flossing protect your teeth from decay and gum disease, which is caused by your teeth’s most persistent enemy, plaque – a sticky, colorless, invisible film of harmful bacteria that builds up on your teeth every day. Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health. Only flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gum line, where decay and gum disease often begins. Without proper brushing and flossing, you may develop bleeding gums, which may worsen to severely swollen, red, bleeding gums (gingivitis) and, eventually, gum disease. Because diseases of the mouth can affect the rest of your body, it is especially important to maintain good oral health. Remember to floss first & brush second!

Kick the Habit

Quitting cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use is important for improving your oral and overall health. There is no better time than the present to make a resolution to stop tobacco use. Consider free online tools, smoking cessation groups, progress-tracking apps and support from friends and family to assist you with tobacco cessation.

Eat More Mouth-Health Foods

Eating well is important for your dental health. Poor nutrition can affect the entire immune system, increasing susceptibility to many common oral disorders, including gum (periodontal) disease. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums. In addition, crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.

Make Smarter Beverage Choices

Frequent consumption of beverages containing carbohydrates and carbonation, like soda, contributes to tooth decay. Limit your soda intake and always brush your teeth after drinking sugary or carbonated drinks.

Improve Your Smile

There are several smile-improving techniques that you can use while you brush and floss. In recent years, tooth whitening has acquired enormous popularity. It enhances the appearance of teeth by removing deep (intrinsic) or surface (extrinsic) stains. There are a number of tooth whitening products that can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) for at-home use and higher performance products administered by a dentist or dispensed by a dentist for at-home use.

And finally, SMILE more! It has been scientifically proven that a simple smile can boost our moods, relieve stress, and even strengthen our immune system!

Stick to your New Year’s Resolutions and give us a call our office at (562) 434-6414 to schedule your bi-annual checkup!

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Your Guide to Healing Canker Sores Naturally

canker-soersCanker sores (aphthous ulcers) are gray or white lesions that develop only inside the mouth on the cheeks, inner lips, tongue, or throat. Not to be confused with cold sores, which develop on the outside of the mouth or lip area and very specific parts of the mouth. The cause of canker sores is still unknown today, however they are believed to be caused by an overreaction of the immune system to a type of localized irritant. They can appear after times of high stress or in some cases after injury or irritation to the area. There are several steps you can take to heal these pesky irritants, and a few things you can try to prevent them from coming back.

Coconut oil has a plethora of uses these days from cooking, to beauty, and now canker sores. It contains anti-inflammatory agents that help to shrink the infected tissues allowing them to heal faster. The oil also contains anti-microbial agents that help with cell repair and boost the immune system. Not only can you use coconut oil as a topical treatment, but oil pulling has also been found to help prevent the reoccurrence of canker sores.

Oil pulling works by taking a table spoon of organic raw extra virgin coconut oil and swishing it around in your mouth for a period of 2-15 minutes. Once you’ve completed the rinse, spit the oil into the trash. Be careful not to drink the oil as it can cause you to become nauseous. This process has been found to draw out bad bacteria and toxins from the gums and salivary glands, which helps to prevent future canker sores from coming back.

Yogurt is another powerful natural aid to help battle canker sores. Made from a fermentation process that converts bacteria or yeast into organic acids, yogurt has good bacterias in it that help balance the bad bacterias in our mouths. It helps to both treat the pain and other symptoms of canker sores, while also preventing future break outs.

If the pain is still too strong, cayenne pepper is recommend. This sounds crazy, but capsaicin, the ingredient in cayenne pepper that makes it spicy, can also inhibit something called substance P. Substance P is found in the brain and is responsible for regulating pain response in the body. So by mixing a little water and cayenne into a paste and dabbing it on the canker sore, it will actually numb the pain you are experiencing.

While canker sores are inconvenient and painful, there are easy solutions that can be found right in your kitchen pantry to help heal and even prevent them from coming back.

Call our Long Beach Dentist office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule your bi-annual check-up!

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Using Music to Manage Anxiety at the Dentist

musicianAnxiety about going to the dentist is extremely common. Some estimates say as many as 75% of Americans suffer from some form of anxiety. If you, or someone you know, falls into this category, music could be the answer to calming these nerves.

Before you tell yourself that you haven’t been to the dentist since you were a child and you’re doing fine, consider this: Avoiding the dentist places you at a high risk for gum disease and early tooth decay. Having these problems can affect more than just your mouth. Discolored or damaged teeth have been shown to impact people’s self-esteem both personally and professionally. Also, since our mouths have direct contact with our blood stream and respiratory system, poor oral care has been linked to heart disease and lung infections resulting in overall shorter life expectancy for individuals who avoid dental care.

Due to the severe consequences of poor oral hygiene, it is imperative that we are able to find a solution to dental anxiety. In recent years, music has been used as an anxiety and stress reducer. Using a combination of soothing electronic instrumental sounds and hypnotic suggestion have been found to be incredibly successful in reducing patient anxiety and pain. Music is a non-invasive technique that works by relaxing and distracting our brain’s neuroendocrine and sympathetic nervous systems. These are the systems in our brains responsible for producing anxiety, fear, stress, and adrenaline. Music relaxes and distracts these systems allowing patients to go through procedures without their previously experienced pains and traumas.

Dental anxiety can be brought on by many things. The number one reason people give for putting off their dental visits is a fear of pain. Fear of pain is as much a cognitive and emotional experience as it is a psychological one. Anticipating pain prior to a dental procedure can actually trick our brains into feeling pain during the procedure. This is why music has been so successful in revolutionizing the treatment of patients with dental anxiety. By intercepting those brain waves in the neuroendocrine and sympathetic nervous systems, music effectively reduces patients’ levels of anxiety and pain during their visits.

So next time you want to ditch the dentist, remember how much you love to smile and give music a try. It’s already working for many.

Call our Long Beach Dentist office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule your bi-annual check-up!

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What You Should Know About Root Canals

root-canalsFinding out you need to have a root canal done might be the scariest thought you have had in a while, but you’re not alone. Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with a root canal treatment. This fact alone may not be enough to put your fear at ease, so let’s talk about a few things you should know going into a root canal so you can be prepared and feel confident.

It helps to know a little of the tooth anatomy to understand how the root canal procedure works. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development. The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root. A root canal becomes needed when the pulp inside the root becomes infected or inflamed.

During the procedure the dentist will make an opening in the crown of the tooth and use very small tools to clean out the infected pulp and shape the space for filling. After the space is cleaned and shaped, the dentist will fill the canal area with biocompatible material. This substance seals the root and protects against further infection. The last step is to return to your dentist to have a crown put on the tooth to protect and restore it back to its full function.

After the procedure, it is normal to feel some tenderness in the area for several days. Until you have gone back to your dentist to have a crown put on, you must avoid using that tooth to eat. There are several home remedies for pain such as tee tree oil, ice packs, cold cucumber placed directly on the tooth, or a baking soda rinse. All of these are useful in keeping the tooth clean and reducing any swelling and discomfort that you may be experiencing.

The important thing to remember is to ask your dentist any questions you may have before you schedule the procedure. Make sure you know exactly what the plan is for before, during, and after the root canal so that you go into the procedure ready. It will take several hours, so be sure to plan ahead with a good podcast or audio book you can distract yourself with.

Call our Long Beach Dentist office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule your bi-annual check-up!

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Dental Tips For Thanksgiving

dental-tips-for-thanksgivingThanksgiving should be a day to relax, enjoy family & friends and sit down to a fabulous meal with your loved ones. And of course, discussing what we are thankful for… and maybe a little football. But with all the non-stop eating and grazing that people tend to do on Thanksgiving, it’s not a great day for your teeth.

To prepare for the upcoming holiday, here are four tooth tips on how to have a smile-friendly day:

Have a glass of water every time you eat.

One of the worst things you can do for your teeth is snack all day long. When you snack frequently, your saliva doesn’t have time to clean your teeth, therefore bacteria continues to breed. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help wash away food.

Avoid foods that stain teeth.

Thanksgiving staples like pecan pie and cranberries are two of the most delicious and tooth-staining treats. Stay away from foods that have a strong coloring, since these colors can wind up on your teeth. That means stick to just a half a glass of the red wine as well.

Brush at least three times throughout the day.

Although travel may inhibit your ability to brush like you would at home, it’s important that you try your best. Remember to pack your toothbrush and clean teeth at least three times throughout the day, especially after eating a meal or snacking.

Don’t forget to floss.

Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth. Floss immediately after eating to remove any left over particles from between your teeth. This can be especially critical after partaking in those extra sticky items like pecan pie.

Following these simple tips on Thanksgiving (and year round!), will give your teeth many more years of health. That’s something to smile about and be thankful for!

Call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an appointment for a post-Thanksgiving teeth cleaning!

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