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How to Teach Your Toddler Not to Swallow Toothpaste (and other tips!)

When it comes to pediatric dentistry, our focus in our Downey, CA dental practice is simple: set kids up for a future of healthy teeth. But more often than not, that always starts at home.

Some of the most common advice we give to our families is simple. That is: to lay the ground work for good habits for years to come. However, a lot of more specific questions often arise. Like “How do I actually get my child to spit out their toothpaste?” and “Should toddlers be using mouthwash?”

Today, we’ll do our best to answer some of these questions!

“How do I actually get my toddler to spit their toothpaste out?”

Sometimes toddlers just don’t want to spit out the tasty, minty sauce they use to brush their teeth. Some people just like the flavor! But it’s important you impress upon your children how dangerous it can be to swallow toothpaste. Then again, what toddler would understand the danger of excess fluoride (some is good, too much is not)? Our suggestion: just brush with your children. Simply watching you do it the right way is the most effective way for them to learn by example. Better yet, by establishing these habits early on your children grow strong, healthy teeth that won’t need to be fixed with a crown and (hopefully) not fixed by our denture dentists many years down the road.

“Should my toddler be rinsing with mouthwash?”

Just like there are certain foods and drinks that only adults should drink, there are also certain oral hygiene products that aren’t kid friendly.  Typically, if your child is younger, toothpaste and mouthwash geared towards children are a bit more “fun” and gentle, and often won’t include some of the harsher ingredients (like alcohol) that many adults might not have a problem with.

“What are some healthy snacks that are also good for my child’s teeth?”

if you’re a busy parent looking for a good, quick, and healthy snack for your child – what about cheese!?  You might not realize it, but cheese is one of the healthier snacks for a child’s teeth.  On top of a great deal of calcium, cheese also works to help fight the formation of cavities by kickstarting the mouth’s “saliva factory” to help clear away bacteria, decay, and debris.  But that’s not all, the phosphorous and calcium and cheese also help reduce the ph level of plaque, while also supporting strong enamel to protect your teeth throughout the day.

Are You On Top of Your Dental Hygiene? Think again…

More often than not, when we see patients in our Downey, CA dental practice (My Downey Family Dentistry, check us out!) they have one or two things they could probably be working on.

In fact, many people have perfectly healthy teeth. But the funny thing is, many of the patients we instruct to do things a little differently think they’re doing everything perfectly, which might sound a bit odd at first. But it’s really not. Read below to learn about the 3 ways patients might be a bit too 

Brushing too soon after eating

Many people, in an effort to really make sure they’re taking extra special care of their teeth even go so far as to bring a toothbrush to work, for a quick refresher after eating. While this is a great proactive choice, do be careful. You should try to avoid brushing immediately after eating, especially if you’ve eaten anything acidic. Foods  like grapefruits, lemon, oranges, and many other fruits contain a high amount of citric acid. When you brush immediately after eating them, you’re actually scrubbing their teeth when the enamel’s been weaked by acid. Brushing so soon after you’ve eaten can actually contribute to enamel damage, and (eventually) cavities.

Brushing too hard

When you’re brushing too hard, there’s a good chance you don’t know you’re brushing too hard – or you wouldn’t be! But it’s not too hard to brush too hard. Many times, when patients rush or get a little too vigorous, they end up doing damage to their gums and their enamel – which can lead to problems in the future

Over-whitening

Whitening products, when used too much, can often cause heightened sensitivity – especially if you’re like some of our patients who tend to brush too hard. On top of this, when you whiten too much you might also run into problems where you achieve the exact opposite result. Too much whitening can remove the healthy, white sheen of your teeth and leave you with splotchy white spots. When it comes to in office whitening in our dental practice in Downey, the best rule of thumb is to usually aim to get your teeth as white as the whites in your eyes!

Have questions about your oral hygiene? We can help! 

How Reading the Nutrition Label Can Help You Save On Your Dental Bill

“You’ll rot your teeth out!”

It’s one thing every child is used to hearing when prime candy season rolls around, but it’s important to remember that warning children about the sugar content in their candy is only half the battle.

Consider, for example the following foods. There’s a good chance they’re a part of your daily life, and there’s also  a good chance they contain a lot more hidden sugar than you might otherwise think.

“Low-Fat” Foods: When any health-craze sweeps the nation, food producers scramble to include less of what the public views as “bad”. This makes total sense! However, what they aren’t telling you is that to improve the flavor after removing all of the fat (which isn’t always bad) it’s often necessary to add all sorts of hidden sugars, hidden behind big names on the nutrition label (like sucrose, glucose, and basically any word ending in “ose”).  If you’re eating “low-fat” food, remember this: it’s better to eat all-natural, with a natural amount of sugar – than “low-fat” with an unnatural amount of sugar to make it taste better.

Breakfast: It’s true that breakfast is an important meal, however, it’s also true that many popular breakfast items are absolutely loaded with sugar, from cereals to breakfast bars – even instant oatmeal! At the very least, be sure to keep an eye on food labels, and instead of cereal for a quick breakfast – consider fresh fruit or a protein shake instead.

Ketchup and Pasta Sauce: For most families, ketchup is ever-present in the kitchen. It often works with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, one slight problem is that ketchup and tomato products like it often contain high levels of sugar. For instance, a full tablespoon of ketchup can contain nearly half sugar.

Why It All Matters

Most patients are concerned about sugar, not because of their teeth, but because of their waistlines. However, keeping an eye out for hidden sugars can easily have an impact on your dental bills when it comes time for your (or a child’s) checkup.

How Sugar Works

In our Downey, CA dentist office, we are constantly reminding patients to be careful about the sugar in their diet. This isn’t because “Sugar” is the main culprit when it comes to problems like cavities (which can ultimately contribute to the need for fillings, root canal treatment, and other problems).

If decay is a chainsaw eating away at a straight, tall, and beautiful redwood tree – sugar is the gasoline. Sugar feeds bacteria, which produces acids that damage your enamel. This makes your teeth weaker when it comes to defending against this constant onslaught, which can lead to cavities that reach beyond the surface of your teeth – leading to more serious problems down the road.

When it comes to your mouth, there is a constant battle going on between your teeth and their shield (enamel) and acid producing bacteria.  Every time you eat, this acid “Attack” lasts somewhere around 20 minutes – since it takes your saliva some time to wash away all the debris and food particles that the bacteria thrives on. So if you think about the last time you thought it was okay to “skip” brushing, think again! A skipped brushing means you could potentially let food particles, bacteria, and sugars linger for hours on end – giving acid a free pass to go-to-town on your teeth.

 

Should You Be Using A Night Guard?

Do you suffer from dental sensitivity? Or maybe “suffer” isn’t quite the right word. Do you ever experience a tingling or an uncomfortable sensation when you eat certain foods? Many times, the biggest culprits are hot or cold liquids and food – or sugary, sweet desserts (like a nice, gooey chocolate bar).

Many times, a patient experiencing such sensitivity may think her or she has a cavity or that they need root canal treatment, but more often than not the dentists in our Downey dentist office discover something much more sinister simple: sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, over-brushing, and periodontal disease. However, many times it can also be caused by teeth grinding that happens at night when you don’t even realize it. This grinding is known as “bruxism” which is the fancy name for any time you (involuntarily) grind your teeth – which happens especially at night.

But it’s not just “Grinding” bruxism encompasses any tooth-to-tooth contact that’s not exactly healthy, including gnashing, grinding, gritting, and clenching. The causes of this can come from a variety of sources ranging from an abnormal bite or misaligned teeth, to a high degree of stress.

Think about it this way, the muscles that help you chew are some of the strongest muscles in the body. If you’re using them on your own teeth without realizing it – imagine how much damage you can do over time!

This isn’t just a matter of comfort, though. The sensitivity from grinding stems from the gradual wearing away of enamel and gum tissue near the root of your tooth. If grinding persists, this can contribute to problems with your gums and (eventually) the teeth themselves, which can often lead to a need for periodontal treatment or even tooth loss in the future (though this is very extreme), which could lead to a referral to a denture specialist.

Outside of fixing issues like stress or misalignment, one of the best ways to prevent damage from grinding would be to get a nightguard. Fortunately, if you’re a patient in the Orange County area – we can help! Contact our dental team today to learn more!

 

3 Dental Questions You Can Be Asking Your Dentist

More often than not, when we have patients in the dentist’s chair in our Downey, California dental practice, we tend to do most of the talking. Typically, that involves asking you some questions that you either answer honestly or dishonestly. Of course these are the questions like “How often do you floss” and “What’s your oral hygiene routine like?”.

But those aren’t the only questions that should be asked in the dentists office, and – ideally – your dentist shouldn’t be the only one asking the questions, either. That’s right – sometimes it’s also important for the patient to ask the questions, and it’s not because your dentist is forgetting anything or leaving anything out. However, there’s quite a bit going on in your mouth, and without understanding your thoughts and concerns, your dentist won’t really know which knowledge you’d like her to share with you.

“Am I Missing Anything?”

Sometimes, you might be brushing too hard in one spot but not enough in another. Despite being relatively simple, the way you brush and the tools you use can have an unmistakable impact on the health of your teeth. Fortunately, your dentist is your best bet for assessing the damage and suggesting a solution.

“When Should My Child See A Dentist for the First Time?”

Studies have shown that children can develop cavities as early as their toddler years (two or three). With this in mind, its important to remember that your child’s baby teeth have a very real impact on their future dental health. In fact, in addition to assisting with speech, they also ensure proper spacing of adult teeth – which can prevent problems in the future that might require braces, cosmetic dentistry, or even something like a dental bridge or implant (if damage or misalignment is allowed to cause an even more serious problem).

Why are my teeth sensitive?

Sensitivity isn’t always a serious problem, and can happen for a wide variety of root causes ranging from minor (or major) gum recession to repetitive tooth grinding, excessive tooth whitening, or a potentially fractured tooth. If sweet, hot, or cold foods and beverages give you trouble or discomfort – be sure to ask your dentist about it!

 

 

3 Popular Misconceptions About Oral Health

Misconceptions are a terrible thing, not just because they’re wrong – but because they have a tendency of spreading, growing, and becoming nasty little rumors that go on to spread the wrong information. At our dental practice in Downey, CA, we always do our best to keep our patients informed.

Gum Disease Is Normal, and It Won’t Hurt You

This is a particularly nasty misconception, especially because gum disease never just hurts your gums. In fact, periodontal disease is a chronic and destructive condition that is actually one of the primary causes of adult tooth loss.

While bleeding gums are often one of the primary symptoms of gingivitis (a precursor to gum disease), many patients think that if their gums aren’t bleeding, then they don’t have to worry at all about gum disease.

 

With this in mind, it’s always important to floss regularly and to take care of your gums by brushing gently, and using a soft-bristle toothbrush. Better yet, if you begin to experience discomfort or tenderness from your gums – an even better alternative is an electric toothbrush – which does more than just ensure you brush hard enough and for long enough, they will even often stop brushing if you push too hard, which can prevent over-brushing, gum recession, and damage.

Adult Braces are Ugly

Many times, patients in adulthood feel self conscious about imperfections with their teeth. They also often mistakenly believe that the only options available to them are ugly, noticeable, and uncomfortable. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

Cosmetic dentistry, especially for adults, can be both effective and incognito. For example, our team represents some of the best invisalign dentists in Downey, and the procedure (and others similar to it) has allowed countless adults to get the confidence they’ve hoped for, from teeth that go where they want them to, and look how they want them to.

 

Teeth Whitening is Unsafe

On top of more advanced cosmetic dentistry procedures like Invisalign and adult braces, teeth whitening is also a popular topic of concern for patients who have found themselves on the receiving end of some less-than-accurate information.

In fact, in-office teeth whitening is one of the fastest, most effective, and safest ways to experience an almost immediate change in the way your teeth look. So if you were hoping for a confidence boost from your smile – this one can surely help.

While some might report that whitening is dangerous, or that it can contribute to sensitivity – there’s a tooth whitening solution that can work for just about any patient. If you want whiter teeth and are a patient in the Orange County area, all you have to do is ask! (it doesn’t take much longer than that, either.)

 

Tingling In Your Teeth: What It Means and When You Should See a Dentist

“Why are my teeth tingling?” you might wonder…..and the question is actually a little bit harder to answer than you might think, because first we have to get to the bottom of what “tingling” means and where it’s coming from before we can figure out how to get it to stop!

Any amount of discomfort or “weirdness” from your teeth can be a incredibly annoying, especially when you can’t stop focusing on it. Our dentists in Downey, CA have addressed tooth sensitivity and other problems on a number of occasions.

More often than not, if you’re experiencing a “tingling” Sensation from your teeth – sensitivity is usually the root cause. However, while sensitivity is often rather simple and benign, tingling can also come from a variety of other more serious causes, such as:

  • Dental cavities
  • Referred pain from the jaw
  • Pulpitis
  • Teeth abscesses
  • Trauma to the teeth and / or gums
  • Impacted tooth

While tingling or twitching pain can come about for a wide variety of reasons, it’s very important to get to the bottom of the problem as quickly as possible to ensure that the root of the problem isn’t something that your dentist needs to treat right away. This is because, when it comes to your teeth – a lingering problem that may only cause some tingling right now can do long-term damage beneath the surface.

What You Can Do NOW

Like we’ve said, if you’re experiencing tingling, there’s a great chance that it’s just run-of-the-mill sensitivity. For that, you can try changing your toothpaste to one designed for sensitive teeth, get better about flossing, and maybe even try a night guard. In the meantime, contact your dentist – especially if tingling is persistent. In our dental office in Downey, CA – we’ve helped countless patients get to the bottom of dental discomfort while taking care of a number of symptoms.

Are fixed dentures for me?

Would a set of fixed dentures make your smile picture perfect again?

Replacing any number of teeth can be a stressful and worrisome process. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be.  There are a number of available solutions for replacing teeth that you hagve to replace, whether you’re doing so due to an injury, sickness, or a period of less than adequate oral hygiene.

But today, our focus is on dentures – particularly the fixed variety. If you’re curious about options available for replacing just one or two teeth, take a look at some of our previous posts about dental bridges and dental implants.

So, what are fixed dentures?

Like any other denture , a fixed denture uses a single piece dental restoration for each row of teeth. However, where it’s different is in the way the denture attaches. Unlike a traditional denture, a fixed denture is supported by dental implants that are placed in the gum, eventually fuzing with the underlying jawbone. A denture is then created to create a strong, beautiful smile that secures firmly to the dental implants and offers unbeatable stability and ease of use. This type of denture is often preferred by patients, for the way it strikes a balance between the convenience and cost effectiveness of dentures with the stability, security, and ease of use characteristic of dental implants.

Implant supported dentures sound perfect, can anyone get them?

Unfortunately, no. Dentures that rely on dental implants work great for many patients. However, a successful dental implant requires a few key components, including : sufficient gum tissue and jawbone mass.  So, if you’ve already experienced bone or gum loss due to sickness or prior treatment with  traditional dentures or dental bridges, implant supported dentures might not work, unless you’re a candidate for certain procedures that can repair your jaw and/or gums and prepare you for the implant procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions about Root Canals

Is it going to hurt?

STOP WORRYING. It’s not going to be bad. Most patients compare the discomfort of a root canal to child birth or limb-loss. No. Full stop, that’s not real life. In reality, most patients compare the pain of a root canal to a simple cavity filling. In fact, root canal treatment gets a bad rep, mostly because it used to be painful before modern local anesthesia came into play – but fortunately for patients today, things are much diffe

I already had x-rays done. Why do I need more for a root canal?

It might seem weird at first, but a new set of x-rays for root canal treatment is actually very necessary. The way an x-ray works, it uses radiation to “See” layers deep into your skin. With this in mind, the settings used to see conditions in root and bone near the root of your tooth are much different than what’s needed to see a cavity. So, unless comprehensive X-rays have been done recently, your dentist will typically need to take a few more.

What do I do after root canal treatment?

Post-treatment care is actually pretty simple. First, if there’s need for any restoration work to be done (for example, if the tooth requires a crown rather than a filling), you will schedule an appointment to follow-up.

After root canal treatment, it is fairly normal to feel a bit tender in the general area for up to a few days after treatment. This is just your body going through it’s normal healing process. On top of this local pain, your jaw may also be a bit sore from being open for longer than usual. In most cases, all you’ll need to solve these minor problems will be an over-the-counter pain reliever and a bit of time.

After treatment, there’s a chance that your teeth will feel a little different than your other teeth. This is normal. However, if you experience any pain or pressure that persists for longer than a couple days. Do contact your dentist!

Is there a chance my tooth is doomed?

Unfortunately, yes. When it comes to root canal treatment, there’s always a chance that your tooth isn’t a candidate at all. When this is determined, it’s usually deemed best to remove the tooth safely, and replace it with either a dental bridge or a dental implant. Both implants and dental bridges have their many benefits and downsides.

Learn more about them in some of our previous posts:

 

 

Have questions about your own root canal treatment? Our dentists have helped patients in Orange County save countless teeth, using the most modern treatments in a clean, friendly, and professional environment. Looking to learn more? Contact us today!

When It Can’t Be Saved

In just about any situation, when it comes to your teeth our ultimate goal is to keep as many of the original ones as possible. As our dentists in Orange County are likely to repeat, the original equipment is the best equipment.

But sometimes, preserving your natural teeth just isn’t possible. In some cases, trying to save the tooth could be a lost cause – meaning it will just need to be replaced anyways. In other cases, it might not even be possible to save the original tooth. In every case, it’s going to come down to a meeting between you and your dentist where she lays out the best option for you.

In most cases, when your damaged tooth can’t be fixed – you’ll be relying on both an endodontist ( to determine whether or not the tooth can be saved via a root canal) and an implant specialist, to actually strategize the placement of a new, artificial tooth.

 

You might wonder, “Well can’t I just live without it?” and the answer to that question is unfortunately more than just a “Yes” or a “No” (but the short answer is, “No”). This is because your teeth aren’t islands unto themselves. They rely on each other for support. So, when you lose one – the remaining teeth can change position, which can often result in more cavities, a higher risk for gum disease, and a grab bag of bite and alignment problems.  When there’s a possibility that you need to replace a tooth, make a decision rather quickly – it could be the decision that means you only need a single dental implant or dental bridge, rather than a partial denture or full denture.

Why Some Dentists Now Prefer Implants

While dental bridges and dentures have long been recognized as a safe, natural-looking, and effective tooth replacement, they both share one problem. As soon as teeth are extracted, the supporting bone begins to atrophy due to lack of stimulation. This bone loss is impossible to avoid or reverse, unless the patient has a dental implant. Because dental implants are biocompatible with the jaw (meaning: they fuze into the jaw and essentially become one with the bone), they continue to stimulate the jaw bone and prevent bone loss. Ultimately, this helps prevent facial changes while prolonging a youthful appearance.

Ever wonder why some older individuals seem to have faces that have shrunk and sagged with time? Lost teeth and the subsequent loss of bone structure could be the reason!