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Spring Cleaning and Your Oral Hygiene

As the weather gets warmer and summer draws closer, spring cleaning is likely at the top of your To-Do list. While you’re busy cleaning out your closets and dusting the forgotten nooks and crannies of your home, remember to check in on your current dental hygiene regimen. Spring is the perfect time to revamp and refresh your oral care routine!

The first item you should consider when updating your dental routine is your toothbrush. If the bristles are frayed, it’s time to get a new one. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. Instead of buying the same toothbrush as you had before, take the opportunity to consider better, more effective options.

One trait of a good toothbrush is softer bristles. While firm bristles give your mouth the sensation of being cleaner, they can also lead to enamel loss and receding gums. This is a direct result of brushing too hard. With softer bristles, your mouth gets clean and retains its enamel.

Another worthwhile upgrade to make to your routine is opting for an electric toothbrush over a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are proven to clean your mouth more effectively, thanks to their added vibrations and rotations.  If you’re not sure which model to invest in, reach out to your dentist for the best electric toothbrushes for your teeth.

As you clean the rest of your bathroom, pay special attention to the areas you use every day in your oral care routine. Ensure you’re keeping your sink tidy and disinfected. Bacteria thrive in moist, warm environments, so spring cleaning is the perfect excuse to sanitize! Another often forgotten item is your toothbrush holder. The last place you want germs growing is where you store your toothbrush. By washing it out with soap and water or placing it in your dishwasher once a week, you’ll keep the bacteria at bay and away from your toothbrush.

Spring cleaning is also a good chance to take inventory of what you have. Did you know your toothpaste has an expiration date? Be sure to examine the expiration dates on your toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, and any other products you use to keep your teeth healthy. If it’s expired, it’s time to toss it. Use this as an opportunity to try out new products, you might be pleasantly surprised with your purchases.

Finally, while you’re thinking of cleaning your home, consider cleaning your mouth as well! Start your new and improved dental care routine with a fresh slate and coordinate the changes with a professional dental cleaning. It’s recommended that you get your teeth cleaned by a dentist at least once a year, so why not now? With these tips and tricks, you’ll be on track to your best smile yet.

To schedule your routine dental cleaning and exam, give us a call! Our Long Beach dental team is happy to welcome new and existing patients in a safe, hygienic environment. Call our office at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment using this form here.

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The Health Benefits of Happiness and Smiling

There’s the old adage that you should “appreciate the little things in life.” By learning to find joy in even the tiniest moments, you’ll have more reasons to show off your smile! In fact, smiling on a regular basis can greatly improve your life in a variety of ways, including better health, relationships, and mood. By properly taking care of your oral health, you’ll reap a number of other positive benefits that come with putting your pearly whites on display.

The first notable benefit to smiling more is less stress. When we’re bogged down with negative emotions like anger and annoyance, our body produces more of the stress hormone, cortisol. When produced consistently, cortisol puts our bodies at risk of developing health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. However, these problems can be combatted by something as simple as laughing or smiling.

When we smile, our bodies release endorphins. Endorphins are a feel-good chemical produced by the brain, which can serve as a natural pain and stress reliever. In addition to endorphins, smiling and laughing can improve your immune system, help regulate blood sugar, and lower blood pressure, which will lead to a longer, healthier life.

Another advantage to grinning more is better relationships with those around you. When you smile, people are more likely to feel at ease and comfortable in your presence. Smiling also makes you appear confident and in control, which is why people who smile are more often approached than those who don’t.

People who smile perform better at school and work, make friends more easily, and are generally perceived as being happy people. By coming across as pleasant and upbeat, you’re more likely to succeed in the various professional and personal aspects of your life.

Finally, smiling is the perfect excuse to show off the hard work you put into taking care of your dental health! Ensure that your smile is the best it can be by visiting your dentist at least once a year for a deep cleaning and dental exam. When you’re not in the dentist’s chair, continue brushing and flossing regularly in order to ensure the health of your teeth.

Still not comfortable with your smile because of your oral health? Talk to our dental team today about professional whitening options or to explore teeth whitening products available at your local retailer. By keeping your smile in pristine condition, you’ll enjoy the many advantages that come with smiling more, including less stress, lower risk of developing certain health issues, and better relationships.

Give our Long Beach general dentistry a call today at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment at your own convenience here.

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Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Necessary?

When it comes to dental procedures, wisdom teeth extraction has become extremely commonplace among teens and young adults. While not everyone needs to have them removed, these final four molars can cause a variety of problems if they’re left in your mouth. From pain to inflammation, wisdom teeth extraction can lessen a variety of oral health risks.

Despite it being a common procedure, not everyone knows what wisdom teeth extraction entails. It’s best to have them removed before they erupt, but sometimes there isn’t enough room for the teeth to grow. When this happens, the teeth become impacted. In either case, the procedure is considered oral surgery.

Patients are typically put under with a general anesthetic and wake up after the procedure has been finished, thus avoiding any pain or discomfort you would have otherwise felt. While under, the oral surgeon works to extract the troublesome teeth. Post-op recovery generally takes a few days, with complete healing requiring a few weeks. It’s important to monitor your eating habits and activity level in the days following your procedure, as instructed by your oral surgeon.

The procedure is fairly straightforward, however, the reasons people get their wisdom teeth removed can be a bit more complex. For starters, most individuals run into spacing issues if they leave these molars in place. That’s because the human jaw doesn’t grow as large as it used to. In fact, if left to their own devices, these teeth can even grow into the jaw bone, causing more serious problems down the road.

With overcrowding comes plenty of other issues, including inflammation and alignment issues. Wisdom teeth can also cause excessive pain, tumors, eventual gum disease, and tooth decay. The pain comes from the added pressure the teeth add to your jaw and neighboring teeth. Dentists also see damage to other teeth when wisdom teeth aren’t extracted because the extra teeth can make it harder to properly clean and care for your mouth. While they were useful at one point in time, wisdom teeth aren’t necessary nowadays to live a happy and healthy life.

Are you considering having your own wisdom teeth removed? Whether you’re running into some of the issues mentioned above or simply being proactive, seeing a dentist about wisdom teeth extraction bodes well when done sooner rather than later.  Schedule a consultation with one of our Long Beach dentist today. With our help, you’ll be able to decide the best care option for you and your oral health!

Give us a call at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment by using our online system here.

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Reasons Why You Should be Flossing Before Brushing

It’s common knowledge that proper oral health can be maintained by brushing and flossing your teeth every day. These activities help keep your mouth clean and teeth healthy by removing plaque and other cavity-causing bacteria. However, it’s not often mentioned which of the two activities should come first. When taking care of your teeth, should you brush or floss first?

Flossing and brushing help prevent gum disease and other oral health issues. Brushing should be done at least twice a day, while dentists recommend flossing once a day. Whether you’re doing it in the morning or at night, flossing works best when it’s done before you even touch your toothbrush.

Flossing helps remove food debris, bacteria, and plaque from between your teeth, which is why you’re better off doing it before brushing. This allows the bristles of your toothbrush to reach deeper between your teeth. In addition, by flossing before you brush, you’re allowing any loosened food particles to be removed from your mouth during the brushing process.

If you brush and then floss, these particles typically settle into your mouth until the next time you brush, leaving more opportunity for dental plaque to form. This increase in dental plaque can put you and your children at greater risk for gum disease.

Because of the list of potential dental health concerns that your child might face, it’s important to instill good habits early. In addition to brushing twice a day, children should also learn to floss while they’re still young. If they’re not motivated to use plain dental floss, make flossing fun by purchasing kid-friendly flossers! Flossers can be found in a multitude of colors, shapes, and themes, including Dr. Seuss and Crayola. There are even some flossers that are flavored in order to entice young children to regularly use them.

Dental health is extremely important. That’s why dental experts advise brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once before brushing. By making preventative dental care a family affair, you and your children will have healthy smiles for years to come!

Need more tips on at-home dental care? Come into our Long Beach general family dentistry and let our experienced team of dental professionals help! Give us a call at 562-434-6414 to book your family’s appointment. You can also request an appointment time by using our online tool here.

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Healthy Choices for Your Oral Health on Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s important to keep your family’s sweet tooth from turning into a toothache. While your children receive candy and other sweets from friends, teachers, and secret admirers, as well as gift treats in return, be mindful of the impact these could have on their oral health. Consider these tooth-friendly treats and tips to keep their teeth happy this holiday!

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate is a staple on Valentine’s Day, but with up to 168 grams of sugar per serving, it doesn’t make a great option for those concerned about oral health. However, this doesn’t mean you have to give up the popular treat. Instead, practice moderation and follow up any consumption with a glass of water in order to rinse your mouth of sugary residue.

Dark Chocolate

The less sweet counterpart to milk chocolate, dark chocolate racks up a total of 14 grams of sugar per serving. Dark chocolate is also rich in antioxidants, making it a heart-healthy candy option. In addition to its cardiac benefits, dark chocolate also contains chemicals that can limit the amount of oral bacteria in your mouth and lessen the effects of bad breath!

Fruit

Fruit is a great option for your teeth on Valentine’s Day. Not only is it healthy and nutritious, but because of its high water content, it can leave your mouth feeling clean. Take things up a notch and cut your favorite fruit into heart-shaped pieces to share or even coat your fruit in some melted dark chocolate. We’re looking at you chocolate-covered strawberries!

Sugar-Free Candy

Don’t let the “sugar-free” aspect scare you away, because sugar-free candies are an excellent option for Valentine’s Day. These sugarless sweets are known to help your mouth produce excess saliva, which make them a dental-friendly delicacy. Without saliva, mouths become dry and are more at-risk for plaque buildup, which can lead to cavities.

Sticky Candies

While lollipops and caramels are a popular Valentine’s treat, chewing on these for too long can be detrimental to dental health. Treats like these encourage more oral acid production, which can wear away at the protective layer of enamel on your teeth. If you decide to partake in these, be sure to enjoy the ones that stay in your mouth for the shortest amount of time.

As you can see, not all sweet treats are created equal. In order to ensure that you and your child have the best Valentine’s Day possible, while avoiding potential dental disasters, choose teeth-friendly treats to exchange and consume. In addition, opt for candies that can be eaten quickly and be sure to brush teeth after consumption. If that’s not possible in the moment, drinking a glass of water after you’re done can help lessen the negative impact on your oral health. Love may be in the air this Valentine’s Day, so pass on some of that love to your teeth!

We’re two months into the new year, which means your dental benefits may have been renewed! There’s no better time to get your teeth cleaned and examined than after the candy-filled holiday of Valentine’s Day. Give our Long Beach dental team a call today to book your routine dental cleaning!

Call us at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment online here.

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February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Do you know how to keep your children’s teeth and gums healthy? With February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, there’s never been a better time to make sure you’re taking the best care of their oral health! By using the tips outlined below, your kids will be sure to have a radiant smile for years to come.

Keep Regular Dental Cleaning Visits

Routine cleanings and checkups are an important part of a dental health regimen. Children should see a dentist every 6 months. During these visits, the dentist will clean your child’s mouth, removing any plaque buildup that has occurred since their last appointment. This will help prevent cavities from forming in the future.

In addition, the dentist will take an x-ray of your child’s mouth, and identify any potential problems. With regular visits, any issues will likely be caught early, making it easier for your child (and wallet) to handle any needed treatments.

Consider Sealants

As your child’s adult teeth grow in, there is greater potential for food and other debris to get caught in the various dips and fissures that come with permanent teeth. In order to avoid plaque buildup and tooth decay, consider dental sealants for your child. Sealants are easy and painless to apply and provide dental health benefits for years after application. In children, sealants are best applied after each set of molars erupts, which is typically around the ages of 6 and 12.

Replace Their Toothbrush

The effectiveness of your child’s tooth brushing can be greatly affected by the quality of their toothbrush. As a general rule of thumb, toothbrushes should be replaced roughly every 3 months or when the bristles begin to fray, whichever comes first. If you have difficulty remembering when to replace your families’ toothbrushes, make a habit of doing so every time the season changes (which conveniently happens every 3 months).

Consider Fluoride Treatment

Another preventative measure that you can take to ensure your child’s teeth remain healthy is fluoride treatments. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that has been proven to strengthen tooth enamel, the outermost layer of your teeth. Fluoride treatments can be given to your child two to four times a year after their first tooth breaks the surface.

Try a Tooth-Healthy Diet

The health of your child’s teeth is determined by more than just how well they take care of them, but also by what they eat. Foods that are rich in calcium can help your child have strong, healthy teeth and bones. Such foods include dairy, broccoli, and a variety of leafy green vegetables. Other vitamins worth incorporating into your child’s diet include vitamin D, copper, zinc, and potassium. In addition, it’s best to avoid soda and fruit juices that can leave your children’s teeth layered in sugar. This additional sugar can exacerbate plaque buildup and lead to tooth decay.

Be a Role Model

Last, but certainly not least, one of the best things you can do for your child’s teeth is to take care of your own! Children like to mimic the adults in their lives, so by watching you practice good oral health techniques, they’re more likely to do so as well. If they’re resistant to brushing and flossing, do it with them. In doing so, these healthy habits are seen as less of a chore and more as a fun, family activity.

It’s time to set that appointment with your child! Our Long Beach dental team is proud to offer quality dental care to all families that come to our practice. Book an appointment today by calling us at 562-434-6414 or use this form here to request an appointment time.

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Why You Still Need Regular Exams and Cleanings When You Have Braces

till Need Regular Exams and Cleanings

Going to the dentist is important for everyone. It’s the main defense against dental disease. As important as it is to visit the dentist for everyone, it’s even more important when you have braces. Regardless of whether you have traditional braces or Invisalign, the added hardware can cause major issues if your dental care is neglected.

Consequences Of Poor Dental Care

Here are just a few reasons to stay up-to-date with your dental cleanings, especially when you have braces:

Tooth Decay

While it may feel like your teeth are wearing a shield of armor having braces, you are just as susceptible to tooth decay, if not more susceptible. Food and debris can become stuck around the braces or under your straightening tray and, if left there, can cause decay and eventually cavities.

Bad Breath

Just like when you don’t have braces, neglecting your professional dental treatments can cause bad breath. The difference is braces offer more places for food and debris to hide, leading to more opportunities for bad breath.

Gum Disease

Although it’s a bit more difficult to do so with braces, brushing and flossing is still crucial to your gum health. By having regular dental exams, you can keep your gums healthy, improving your overall health along the way.

Stained Teeth

As we’ve seen with tooth decay and bad breath, extra hardware on your teeth offers many more great hiding places for food and debris. Letting this junk sit on your teeth can quickly lead to staining. Without regular dental treatments, you could have your braces removed and see a faint outline of where they were.

Tips for In-between Visits

Having a dental cleaning every six months can greatly improve the chances that you will avoid cavities, tooth decay, and staining. In-between those appointments, here are some things you can do to improve your dental health with braces:

Brushing

Brushing twice a day is the habit most people are in. However, with braces you should be brushing after each time you eat. That includes lunch, snacks, and mid-night treats. This is because of the likelihood of food getting stuck around your braces. Keeping a travel toothbrush with you and getting in the habit of brushing every time you eat will greatly improve your chances of avoiding tooth decay.

Flossing

Flossing is notoriously difficult to keep up as a habit. It’s arguably even harder with braces. While it can feel like you are fighting with your braces every time, flossing at least once a day can help to remove any hidden food stuff, especially under the wires. Try a floss threader for an easier experience and talk with your dentist about other options.

Watch What You Eat

Because it’s so easy for food to build up around the hardware of your braces, watching what you eat is critical. Be mindful of things like caramel, corn on the cob, chewing gum, and other things that could damage your braces or cause serious issues if it becomes trapped around your braces.

Rinse

If you find yourself without a toothbrush after you eat, one thing you can do is have a quick rinse. Simply swishing vigorously after you eat can dislodge food that has become stuck around your braces and that will help to prevent dental disease.

With a little extra effort and regular dental treatments can help you maintain your dental health and leave you with beautiful teeth after your braces are removed. Schedule your next dental appointment today and stay on track with your dental health.

Call our Long Beach dental office at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment date and time here.

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For Better Oral Health, Resolve for Less Stress This Year

For Better Oral Health, Resolve for Less Stress This Year

“New Year, New Me!”

We’ve all said it before, or at least meant to say it. After that we gave our resolution the ‘good ol’ college try’ for a little while. Maybe we even kept it up into February, or March.

But after a tumultuous 2020, committing to a resolution that will focus on making our lives better and healthier will never be more important. Lessening and managing our stress is the most important thing we can do for our general well-being in the new year. The benefits will of course be many, if we do so.

We all know the obvious signs of stress on our physical and mental state; mood changes and depression, weight gain, poor sleep patterns, and being more susceptible to seasonal illnesses. But what is often forgotten, as a sign of more stress in our lives, is the toll it takes on our mouths.

Yes, oral health is often overlooked in times like these and the long-term effects can be very detrimental.

Higher stress levels can lead to teeth grinding and clenching, usually while we sleep. Ever wake up with a sore jaw or headache? Classic case of teeth grinding! Furthermore, teeth grinding (or bruxism) can lead to TMJ (temporomandibular joints) disorder, which is when you experience swelling and stiffness in your lower jaw.

Canker and cold sores have been linked to higher than normal stress also. Because stress can take its toll on your immune system, it can occasionally lead to these flare-ups.

When we are stressed, obvious parts of healthy routines start to slip too. Rushing or skipping teeth cleaning will have obvious long-term oral health impacts such as teeth decay and gum disease. And then there are dietary choices like sugary snacks and drinks high in acidity (looking at you coffee) that do a world of hurt to our mouths.

So, as January progresses and February comes around, continually remind yourself the importance of stress management.

And when your stress is better managed, so will your oral health.

Need some help with committing to a better oral health routine? Our dental team in Long Beach can help! Book your exam with us and get tips on improving your health. Give us a call at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment time here.

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How to Use Your New HSA or FSA for Dental Care

Use Your New HSA or FSA for Dental Care

It’s the beginning of the new year, which likely means you’ve got new insurance, and maybe a new HSA (health savings account) or FSA (flexible spending account.) While both accounts seem pretty similar, they do have some differences. For the purposes of this article, we’ll discuss more into its similarities.

Flexible spending accounts or FSA’s are, according to healthcare.gov, “arrangement through your employer that lets you pay for many out-of-pocket medical expenses with tax-free dollars.” HSAs work in a similar fashion, where you contribute money pre-tax into a separate savings account that you can use to pay for certain medical-related expenses.

The key difference between the two is that normally FSA funds must be spent by a certain time, or else your funds will expire. Funds in an HSA do not expire and are 100% yours, regardless of whether you leave your employer.

But, a key similarity is that both accounts can be used to pay for many dental services, so as long as it is health-related.

Which Dental Expenses Can Be Paid For With FSAs and HSAs?

The IRS guidelines for eligible dental expenses are pretty clear. They will cover any dental expenses which treat or prevent dental disease. This can include:

  • Dentures
  • Cleaning
  • Bonding
  • Crowns
  • Tooth Extraction
  • Gingivitis Treatments

What Is Excluded?

Unfortunately, different cosmetic procedures, including teeth whitening and veneers are exempt from the list of dental expenses. If you’re looking to make your teeth shine, you’re going to have to pay out of pocket. Even dental floss and toothpaste are exempt from the list.

Orthodontia is a little bit of a grey area when it comes to your FSA or HSA plan. If you want to know the specifics you should contact your dentist, and they will be able to go over the details with you.

Check with Your Human Resources

It’s a good idea to go over the FSA or HSA plan of your employer. There are some variations and if you’re concerned about whether or not the procedure that you’re looking for is covered, you should contact HR.

They will be able to go over the plan with you and ensure that you know exactly what is covered and what isn’t.

Start the new year off right by booking your dental exam soon! Our Long Beach dental team is ready to help you and your family with their dental care needs. Call us at 562-434-6414 or
request an appointment here.

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Dental-Related Resolutions to Make for 2021

The year is quickly coming to a close and with it will come a new year. In this new year, you have the chance to improve your dental health through New Year’s Resolutions. Many people make these resolutions, whether it is to lose weight, go to church, or just call your mom once in a while. But dental goals often go overlooked. This year, take the time to consider some of your dental health goals! Below are some that you might consider:

Eat Better

We all know we should eat healthy to help our bodies run smoothly. Did you realize that eating healthy can also improve your dental health? Cutting out the sweets and reducing your alcohol intake, for starters, can have huge impacts on your dental health. Sure, kale isn’t as tasty as fried chicken, but making simple choices like that can have long-term benefits for your teeth.

Commit to Your Habits

When was the last time you flossed? If you said anything other than yesterday, you have some room for improvement. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day isn’t just recommended for fun – these two habits can make a huge difference in your overall dental health and systemic health. As the new year rolls in, recommit to brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.

Quit Smoking and Other Tobacco Products

There are many reasons to quit smoking and other tobacco products, but some of those reasons are dental. Did you know smokers are twice as likely to lose their teeth as a non-smoker? If you want to make sure you never have to worry about a toothless smile, consider ditching the cigarettes and tobacco products, if for no other reason than your pearly whites.

Try Restorative and Cosmetic Services

Whatever the reasons are that your teeth aren’t what you would like, you can have them fixed. This can improve your health and, just as importantly, your confidence. Try a teeth whitening treatment or even Invisalign® to fix a crooked smile. Talk to your dentist about your options and what procedures are available to you.

Preventative, Regular Dental Visits

When was the last time you visited the dentist? When is your next appointment? You should be having dental visits every six months to maintain your dental health. The x-rays can show you where cavities are forming and the cleanings are great for preventing things like cavities and gingivitis. You need these cleanings for your overall health and you can commit to having two dental visits this year as part of your New Year’s Resolutions.

No matter what you choose for the rest of your New Year’s Resolutions, make sure you have at least a couple dental goals on there, too. Enjoy the celebration and maybe go buy some floss!

Take the next step and book your next dental appointment with our Long Beach dental team! Give us a call at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment here.

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