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When Should You Buy a New Toothbrush?

toothbrush Doctor2th irvineYou may have wondered at some point as you stared at a dirty looking toothbrush, “When should I replace this thing?”. Well, our dentist will give you insight into this common question.

Clinical Research

Research has actually been done on toothbrushes and we’ll jump straight to the conclusion: a new toothbrush can remove more plaque compared to a worn out one. So how often should you replace your old toothbrush?

The Answer: every 3 months.

Even if you take good care of your toothbrush – you should still replace it around the 3-month mark because the bristles are probably splayed and not nearly as effective, even if you give your brush a thorough clean.

Look at the bristles. If you see they are bulging to the side instead standing erect and firm, then you should begin considering replacement.

Have you been sick lately? When you recover, replace your toothbrush. The reason is because the harmful bacteria that occurred as a result of the sickness has left its mark on your toothbrush and it’s better to do away with the germs at that point.

If you suffer from periodontal disease, then your dentist has probably recommended a new toothbrush every 4-6 weeks to prevent bacteria from spreading wildly throughout your mouth.

I use an Electric Toothbrush?

Electric toothbrushes are actually preferred by dentists because their oscillating heads are far more efficient than what the human hand can produce. However, is the extra effectiveness worthwhile? Many people have used a manual toothbrush for years and have excellent teeth. Pick your preference.

How often to replace electric toothbrush heads? Every 3-6 months. These heads are designed to last much longer – and if you take care of them, they will last you awhile. However, read your manufacturer’s instruction manual for clarification as the heads may be made differently.

New toothbrush or not, you should always practice excellent oral hygiene by brushing and flossing every day and night, but preferably after every meal for best results!

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Why are Invisalign® Braces so Popular?

Invisalign Irvine Doctor2th

The difference is literally night and day. The answer is simple: because they work and are invisible (for the most part)! The main benefit of Invisalign braces are the simple fact that they are indeed clear braces; making them harder to be seen by your peers. This happens to be one of the main selling points, too. It’s even implied by the name “Invisalign” – or invisible aligners.

But I’m Too Old For Braces…

Absolutely not! Believe it or not, more and more adults are flocking to their nearest orthodontist because they want to improve their smile. They’re tired of not being completely satisfied with the way they appear to the outside world. Let’s face it: the way we look and perceive ourselves drastically affects our self-esteem.

An adult having braces is becoming a lot more commonplace and with the option for clear, removable braces such as Invisalign – it becomes that much easier to straighten our teeth without enduring a year or two with odd-looking wires and brackets.

Social Media Plays a Role?

Speculation points to social media being a huge factor in driving people to seek ways they could improve their appearance: plastic surgery, cosmetic dentistry, gym memberships, etc. We want to be able to impress our friends, families, peers, and future employers. Being presentable in our society today has never been so important. Is this a bad thing? That’s up for you to decide – but we like to believe seeking to enhance our lives is never a bad thing!

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Is Flossing Really Necessary for Good Oral Hygiene?

Flossing Good Oral HygieneWhen it comes to maintaining proper oral hygiene, dentists recommend that you cultivate multiple good oral practices, including brushing, flossing, cleaning your tongue and mouth roof, and regular dental checkups with professional cleaning. Dentists agree that an all-inclusive dental care approach is necessary to clean the different areas in your mouth where bacteria and plaque can gather, and possibly lead to tartar, dental cavities, gum disease, and even more serious concerns.

Yet, some people are reluctant about flossing, and tend to avoid it altogether. Do they perhaps think that it is not as necessary if you brush your teeth properly, twice a day?

What Do Scientists Think About Flossing?

Studies performed to identify the benefits of flossing have yielded different results. One study involving school children who had their teeth flossed five days per week – by a professional hygienist – reported a 40 percent decrease in risk of cavities. However, there was no change for those who were trained to floss and asked to do it on themselves. That said, the lack of positive results may be attributed to the poor tooth-brushing habits by the children, combined with low exposure to fluoride – the element in fluorine that helps prevent cavities.

Other studies comparing the effects of flossing when combined with brushing on the levels of plaque and gingivitis have shown that flossing provides either minuscule or no reduction in plaque buildup and levels of gingivitis. Considering that studies of professional flossing have shown considerable reduction in plaque buildup, scientists argue that the participants were probably flossing incorrectly.

How to Floss Correctly

Those who floss incorrectly simply insert the string in between the teeth to yank out some bits of food and assume that it’s over, which is wrong. The American Dental Association recommends that you:

  • Cut a length of about 18 inches dental floss and hold it between your thumb and fingers using both hands.
  • Insert the string firmly but carefully in between your teeth, apply pressure carefully if needed.
  • Curve the flossing string into a “C” shape around the side of each tooth and move it up and down gently. Clean both sides of the teeth, and make sure that the floss to reaches under the gum line.
  • Discard the floss after use, and never re-use.
  • If your gums bleed excessively, stop flossing. Consult your dentist.

Verdict – “Why Should I Floss My Teeth”

Flossing may not be as easy to do as brushing, but it is probably the most effective habit that could help you prevent disease and the need for a dentist. Dentists and scientists agree that flossing will keep your teeth free from decay and sparkling, keep your gums healthy, and protect you from heart disease.

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Teeth Whitening in Irvine

Teeth Whitening in IrvineEveryone wants to look their best, and an easy way to boost the appearance of your smile is with teeth whitening. There are several ways to do this as well as some things you can do for longer-lasting results.

Just remember, teeth whitening doesn’t last forever! So to keep your teeth pearly white, try not to eat or drink foods that will stain the enamel. Common staining foods are coffees, teas, red wines, chocolate, deep colored berries, and colored candies. If you do have any of these food and drinks, limit the amount of time your teeth is in contact with them and drink plenty of water. Also, regular teeth cleanings and a good hygiene routine will help to keep your teeth white and healthy for a beautiful smile!

In-Office Teeth Whitening

In-office whitening is the fastest way to whiten your teeth. It takes less than an hour and will whiten your teeth up to eight shades. Our system of choice is the Zoom Brightening which is completely safe and delivers amazing results.

Our office can also make whitening trays for you. These custom fitted trays are created using an impression of your teeth. They are made of plastic, and depending on the results you want, you will fill each tray with a bleaching gel each day, and wear the trays for a prescribed period of time.

At Home Whitening Kits

Over the counter whitening kits come in a few forms. You have probably seen them in strip and gel forms, or maybe even in whitening “rinses”. These will take several weeks to deliver the results most patients want. The formulas used in these over the counter products use hydrogen peroxide, the same substance used for in-office whitening, but in a more diluted form.

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What A Dental Exam Reveals Just By Looking Into Your Mouth

what dental exam reveals

You might often hear the words “your oral health is important for your overall health”. If this were true, then we would be able to point to signs in which these two were connected. Well, truth is: we are able to point to signs. Your dentist can determine a decent amount of information on your overall health just by looking into your mouth during a dental examination.

A great analogy is given by the President of the American Academy of Periodontists, Dr. Stuart Froum: “if the eye is the window to the soul, then the mouth is the window to the body.”

5 Signs Revealed By Looking Into Your Mouth During Dental Examinations

  • You may be depressed – antidepressants (i.e. Zoloft, etc.) are commonly known to cause dry mouth in many. Dry mouth may stem from other issues, but a mouth that is noticeably dry may point to the fact that you are on antidepressants. Your Irvine dentist could suggest ways for you to re-hydrate your mouth.
  • You may be pregnant – small red growths on the gums point to pregnancy. In fact, they are often referred to as pregnancy tumors. They are benign tumors – they are not dangerous. Pregnant mothers are encouraged to stay up to date with oral hygiene for the duration of their pregnancy.
  • You may be iron deficient – when people are iron deficient, it has a possibility to show in the mouth. Your gums will begin to lose their normal, healthy red color and appear pale or pink.
  • You may be stressed – when people are stressed, they develop more sensitivity in their gums and teeth, as well more stress hormones which have been connected to inflammation and gum disease.
  • You may have an autoimmune disease – white spots in the mouth that are painful and/or tender could lead to ulcers of your mouth. The white spots could point to an autoimmune condition known as Lichen planus, which is linked to immune function.

Dentists are able to look for questionable signs as they are performing a routine dental examination and check-up. During this time, dentists are also able to screen for oral cancer.

Don’t be a victim of preventable conditions. Practice proper preventative dentistry measures as a way to keep your mouth and body clean and free from gum disease, a condition that affects half of American adults.

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Teeth 101: Understanding How to Avoid Ruining Your Teeth

avoid ruining teeth

If you maintain your teeth and keep them in tip-top shape, then you will reap the benefits of healthy teeth which includes less pain, less hassle, less hearing your dentist nag you about your dental habits every visit, and – here’s the big one – a fatter wallet because you won’t have to spend money on correcting mistakes. It’s truly a win-win situation. By understanding what we have to say in regards to teeth, you will become a “judo master” in avoiding situations that damage teeth.

Your Teeth are Not Tools

Many people have what appears to be an instinctual desire to use their teeth as tools to accomplish certain tasks. We’re referring to those people who pop open bottle caps with their teeth or rip open potato chip bags using their teeth. It’s times like these where you just may have enough bad luck to chip – or even break – a tooth. Bottomline: it’s not worth the risk of ruining or damaging your teeth.

Your Teeth are Not Made of Steel

Chewing ice can be one of those sensations that just feels good – similar to the oral act of smoking a cigarette*. We get it, but there are some precautions you should take. The next time you’re chewing ice that has been in the drink you just finished off, consider the fact that many people have ruined their teeth because of these overlooked habits.

The same goes for chewing on any substances or foods which are hard to bite down on. Common examples include many varieties of hard candies, apples, popcorn kernels, and even various nuts for certain people. Hard candies are made to suck on, as well as ice. Resist the urge to bite down forcefully and chew slowly if you have to.

Your Teeth Need Love

Everyone needs love, right? This also happens to include your teeth. It may sound like a “bum analogy”, but as dentists we have to beat this fact into your brain somehow. When we say “your teeth need love” we’re simply referring to the fact that they need to be brushed and flossed (you definitely didn’t see that one coming did you?). When this doesn’t occur, then problems arise and they may arise quickly.

It’s OK if you’re teeth have more than one lover, too. Even the American Dental Association agrees! They recommend you visit a dentist twice a year, so you only have to share your teeth with a dentist two times per year, that isn’t too bad right? Seriously though, don’t skip out on your routine dental visits. It’s important for dentists to remove any damage that has accumulated since your last visit – which we’re hoping hasn’t been more than a year.

Your Teeth are Not Made for Storage

What we’re referring to here is mainly how certain foods we chew will become trapped in our teeth. The biggest factor here are meats of any sort – raw, medium rare, well done, chicken, turkey, pork, and definitely any type of jerky will all find their way stuck in between your teeth. If you don’t remove it the same day with floss, then it will sit in your mouth while bacteria have themselves a loud party until the police arrive in the form of a nagging toothache – pointing to a sign of tooth decay.

*We would never recommend smoking to anyone as it’s a habit that can lead to many undesirable consequences of your mouth, and body too. Smoking and oral health are just not meant to be.

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3 Foods You Didn’t Expect to Stain Your Teeth

Foods Stain TeethStained, yellow teeth are often a sight many of us feel uncomfortable about or uneasy with. What most of us don’t realize is that stained teeth are often the direct result of the foods and drinks we consume.
 
The most obvious foods on this list are the usual culprits of soda, black tea and other dark teas, red wine, dark fruits such as blueberries, and coffee. Most of these foods and drinks are consumed on a regular basis, making it very difficult to keep your pearly whites.
 

3 Foods You Didn’t Expect to Stain Your Teeth

 
1. Tomato Sauce
 
Did you know that the tomato-based pasta sauces used for cooking are not great for the teeth? Tomatoes are good for you, but sauces are essentially concentrated versions of tomatoes, which are highly acidic. The acidity eats away at your enamel, causing discoloring over time.
 
2. Salad Dressings
 
Many of us consume salads because they’re light & healthy. However, the salad dressings can make or break your salad. Some of them contain a lot of fat, but almost all of them contain a lot of sugar and spices that work against our enamel.
 
3. Apples
 
It would make sense how blueberries, raspberries, and other berries would stain our teeth, but apples? It’s true. Apples have high levels of acidity and sucrose and every bite we take works against our enamel.
 

The Key Takeaway

 
Whether you were already aware of these or not, the key takeaway here is not to avoid these foods, but rather take more initiative to limit them where possible. Take initiative to also brush your teeth following a meal that may have not been enamel friendly, this way the acids, starches, and sugar do not stay on your teeth for long.
 

Looking to Reverse the Stains?

 
Professional in-office teeth whitening can restore your beautiful, white smile and reverse the years of damage accumulated from consumption of teeth-staining foods.

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Follow These Nighttime Oral Care Tips for Healthy Teeth!

Nighttime Oral Care TipsNighttime is regarded – in the wonderful world of dentistry – as one of the most important times of your entire 24-hour day where your mouth should be addressed. The reason why is because a ton of potentially bad things could happen in the 8 hours you spend sleeping. So we’re going to let you in on the best nighttime oral care tips that will allow your mouth to rest comfortably for 8 hours as well.
 

Nighttime Oral Care Tips by Irvine Dentist

 
1. Avoid consuming food 2 hours before you lay to rest
 
This one many people struggle with because it’s hard to resist that urge to stuff your face with ice cream at 10’ o’clock. Trust us, we understand, but we value the health of our teeth so we make disciplined decisions that we know are for the better of our health. Do yourself and your teeth a favor and skip on the ice cream just before bed. You can still eat ice cream, just give yourself 2 hours in advance and you shouldn’t have an issue.
 
2. Brush & floss right before bed
 
We strongly encourage you to make a habit of making brushing & flossing the very last thing you do as part of your day just before you hit the sack. This way you clear your mouth of all the accumulated debris, food particles, etc. that are stuck in between your teeth and rest at the gum line.
 
The issue is when you don’t clear this debris, and then it sits in your mouth all night where bacteria feed on and begin to create decay on your teeth. That’s why it’s vital for you to remove the debris every night so that bacteria have nothing to feed on.
 
3. Top it off with mouth rinse
 
Mouthwash isn’t necessary, but it’s great way to leave your mouth feeling nice and refreshed just before bedtime and the chemicals used in mouthwash can create a barrier of defense on your teeth and gums in the prevention of tooth decay.
 
4. Stay aware of the possibility of teeth grinding
 
This one can be tough because many people who suffer from teeth grinding do so when they are deep asleep and have no idea they are even committing this act. If you spot signs such as slightly worn tooth enamel, abnormal tooth sensitivity, or torn cheek tissue, then you are most likely grinding your teeth at night and will be a good candidate for an oral mouth guard to wear while you sleep.
 
We’ll leave you with an analogy – think of your teeth as plants. Plants need sunlight in order to survive, other they begin to wilt and die off. Teeth are similar in this regard in that they need to be brushed, flossed, and taken care of otherwise they too will decay and if severe enough, die and fall out. Brushing, flossing, and visiting your Irvine dentist are the sunlight that teeth need in order to thrive.

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Don’t Forget: You Should Also Clean Your Tongue!

clean your tongueThere is a lot of emphasis about properly brushing your teeth: using a soft-bristle toothbrush, holding your brush at an angle, and brushing for two-minutes. But before you rinse your mouth, it is important that you clean your tongue for the same reasons you clean your teeth and gums.

 

The mouth is full of harmful bacteria, about 50 percent of which is on your tongue. While bacteria can hide in-between your teeth and in the crevices of your molars, the tongue also has a rough surface comprising ridges and grooves that trap bacteria. Allowing bacteria to build up on your tongue is the biggest cause of bad breath or halitosis, accounting for about 90 percent of cases.

 

If you brush your teeth and forget to clean your tongue as well, the bacteria on your tongue will just transfer to your teeth, leaving you just as vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease.

 

What causes a white coated tongue?

A clean and healthy tongue should have a uniform pink color. But if a brown or white film forms on the top, it is a sign of a combination of dead cells, food debris, and bacteria. Fortunately, this condition is not permanent, and proper tongue cleaning or scraping can make your tongue appear healthy again, while reducing the risk of halitosis and other oral health issues.

 

How to clean your tongue

You should clean the entire surface of your tongue, including the underside to ensure that all debris, dead cells, and bacteria are completely removes. Clean starting from the back to the front, making sure to rinse the tool you’re using after each stroke.

 

Most of the germs are concentrated at the back of your tongue where it can be a little hard to reach, especially for those with a strong gag reflex. To make tongue cleaning easier, you can use specialty tools such as:

 

  • A tongue scraper – This tool comprises a soft and flexible plastic (or metal) that gently removes the thin mucus-based film of germs from the surface of your tongue. Start from the back to the front, and remember to rinse after each swipe. Rinse it well after use.

 

  • A tongue brush – This tool has specially-made bristles that make it easy to clean the tongue crevices. The cleaning technique is the same as for a tongue scraper.

 

If you don’t have access to these tongue-cleaning tools, you can still use your regular toothbrush, but you will need to be very gentle to avoid injury.

 

Finally, make cleaning your tongue part of your oral hygiene routine. You can clean your tongue once a day or even twice after brushing. This will give you fresh breath and boost your oral health.

 

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Winter Sports that Require a Mouthguard to Protect Your Teeth

winter sports that require mouthguardThe cold weather should not keep you from going outside and enjoying the range of winter sports and other fun activities available in your region. However, it is important that you protect your mouth from potential impact with hard surfaces, other players, or balls by wearing a mouthguard during practice or competitions.

A mouth guard could prove to be helpful if you participate in any of these winter sports:

    • Basketball – Basketball can get a bit rough with aggressive defending and boxing out. As a high-contact sport, you risk getting injured or losing a tooth in the unfortunate event that the ball or a player’s elbow, knee, or shoulder hits your mouth with great impact.

 

    • Hockey – For a sport where you don’t get any points for slamming into the opponent, this is a very common and enjoyable part of the game that puts every player at risk of all sorts of bodily injury. Both the attacker and opponent risk biting their lip or tongue or injuring their mouth in other ways from the sudden impact. So, it is critical that you wear a mouthguard.

 

    • Skiing/snowboarding – Although this is not a high contact sport, any accident that arises can ruin your smile. You should protect your mouth in the event that crash into another person or obstacle, or even fall on your own.

 

    • Sledding – Just like skiing, sledding can cause injury even though it is not a high-contact activity, ruining your smile. You could fall when sliding down a hill, crash into another sledder, or even crash as try to maneuver or stop. Any part of your body could get injured from the impact, so it is important that you get the necessary protective gear, including a mouth guard.

 

    • Wrestling – With wrestling, you will be in constant contact with your opponent – pushing, rolling, flipping – which dramatically increases the risk of mouth injury. So, you should protect your teeth, gums, tongue, and lips from sudden impact by wearing a mouth guard.

 

Get custom-fitted mouth guards

Mouth guards are designed to fit over the upper teeth to protect them from cracking, chipping, or breaking due to impact to your mouth, face or head. They also protect your mouth from internal injuries like biting your tongue or lips.

You can choose to purchase a ready-made mouth guard that has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, or consult your dentist for a custom-made guard that is specially designed for your mouth to provide comfort and superior protection. You will, however, have to part with a little more cash for the extra benefits.

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