Primary Dental Care Blog

Questions about Dentistry

The Reason You Have Bad Breath in the Morning

Have you ever been watching a movie – maybe a romantic comedy, where the couple wakes up with a passionate kiss, and all you can think is – “Who the hell wouldn’t brush their teeth first?”

We’ve all been there. Morning breath is a thing, and there’s a relatively simple reason why it happens. When you’re sleeping, your mouth tends to dry out. The whole purpose of saliva in your mouth is to help break down food and keep your teeth clean. Part of the entire reason you need to brush your teeth regularly is because of bacteria that can take hold while you’re sleeping.

Unfortunately, when the flow of saliva decreases at night (especially if you breathe out of your mouth, or snore at night) it can also lead to that distinct foul breath in the morning. On top of that, it means that bacteria is having a much better chance to grow and thrive in your mouth – which means you should probably take some sort of action to prevent any further oral health problems.

How to Fight Bad Breath (and Bacteria)

Our dentists in Anaheim agree – good oral health, including regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing is the best way to fight off bad breath. However, what many patients might not realize is that bad breath often comes from the tongue, which can become a haven for bacteria. So when you brush your teeth, do be sure to brush your tongue too.

 

Easy Ways to Help Keep Your Teeth White

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s true that appearances can make a difference in our personal and professional lives. On top of that, external stresses from your dating life or even social media can often make any little imperfection seem absolutely horrendous.

As dentists near Anaheim, we see this all the time. Fortunately, there are many occasions where the problem is not as glaringly obvious as patients may think.

Even still, those patients often wonder what sort of natural teeth whitening remedies there are to try before you consider in-office teeth whitening or simply to preserve the whiteness of your teeth.

Use a Whitening Toothpaste

These days, even people with sensitive teeth can find a whitening toothpaste proven to help keep teeth whiter and reverse the progress of stains. It’s always best to choose an ADA approved whitening toothpaste, which ensures the product you use has been tested and given the thumbs up by a panel of dentists.

Buy Some Straws

No, you don’t need to drink wine through a straw. But – if you enjoy drinks like dark fruit juices, or even highly acidic juices (like oranges) it’s best to drink them through a straw. Not only does this help prevent staining from dark juices, it also tends to contribute to the breakdown of enamel.

Continue to Take Care of Your Teeth

To keep your teeth white, part of what you have to do is continue taking care of them. Brush shortly after eating, and your teeth will have a much greater chance of retaining their whiteness.

For some more tips on keeping your teeth white, and preventing yellowing – see the below infographic put together by the great health blog, Draxe.com

 

From Draxe.com, a handy infographic explaining some reasons your teeth could turn yellow.

From Draxe.com, a handy infographic explaining some reasons your teeth could turn yellow.

Surprising Ways to Help Your Teeth Fight back

Our bodies are strange and complicated things. They react in many interesting ways to how we help them and what we put them through. Your teeth aren’t a whole lot different. Just like there are plenty of ways to try and help out your overall health, there are just as many methods to improve your teeth – some of them tried and true, some of them mumbo jumbo, and some of them simply waiting to be verified by the American Dental Association (it’s always good to look to them when it comes to these judgements)

But it’s not just brushing, flossing, and properly supporting your teeth with fluoride that will ensure your teeth are healthy for years to come.

In order to prevent problems with your teeth, it’s essential that you understand how they’re attacked. Cavities and gum disease all have microscopic colonies of bacteria to thank. To keep both decay and gum disease at bay you need to do everything you can to brush, wash, and rinse this bacteria away. If this doesn’t happen, the bacteria eventually breaks down into starches and sugars – which ultimately produce acids that eat away at enamel and contribute to the decay.

So, what else can you do to prevent problems with your teeth? Our Anaheim dentists have some hints.

Cheese and Tea

Calcium helps both your teeth and your jaw stay strong and healthy. You can find it in many dairy products, including cheese. Along with tea – which happens to be a great source of natural fluoride. Fluoride prevents tooth decay by giving your enamel an extra shield against the damage of acid and bacteria.

Together, responsibly consuming both helps give your teeth an additional boost against damage and decay over time.

Avoid Drinking Acid at All Costs

It may sound silly. But you may be drinking far more acid than you thought you were.

Acid – it’s something we cover a lot. Because whenever our dentists or dental hygienists in the Anaheim area see cavities and other problems – it often started with acid damage. But what can you do to avoid it? Don’t drink acid! Or, at the very least -try to avoid it. This includes drinks like sodas, lemonade, and even water with lemon juice in it. If there’s extra acid added – you aren’t doing your teeth any favors. At the very least, use a straw – or try to remember to drink some water shortly after.

Chew Some Gum

As long as you make it sugar-free, chewing gum can be one of the best things you do for your teeth. While you might consider it candy – sugar-free gum can actually be a very powerful tool when it comes to clearing your teeth of sugars, bacteria, and debris.

Hoping for a quick way to give your dental hygiene a boost between meals? Chew some gum. It’s a great option.

A Simple Dental Tip You Might be Surprised By

gum-good-for-teeth

If you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time you understand that there’s a constant battle being waged inside of your mouth. It may sound dramatic at first, but it’s entirely true! Like most living things, the sole motivation for bacteria in-life (whether it knows it or not) is to stay alive, thrive, and multiply. Unfortunately, the way that happens for bacteria in your mouth is for it to slowly work its way into your teeth where it can really settle in.

To do that, bacteria relies on debris, acids, and other junk that get left behind in your mouth by a number of sources. In large part, brushing, flossing and rinsing play a major role when it comes to reducing these decay causing stowaways in your mouth.

But you can always do better.

If you’re one of those people with a flawless dental hygiene routine. You have to wonder, what could you be missing? You brush your teeth after meals – but not so soon that it furthers damage from acid. You floss, rinse, and brush daily. You get your bi-annual dental checkups. To all our dentists in Garden Grove, your routine is pretty much perfect.

But where’s your secret weapon? Could it be chewing gum?

“Wait a second.” You may be wondering. “Chewing gum? Candy?! How is that good for my teeth?” 

Of course, it may be surprising but it shouldn’t be a secret that many chewing gums are sugar-free. Combined with the stickiness of gum, this makes gum the perfect vehicle to clear your teeth of stubborn debris that can contribute to decay and cavities.

Can chewing gum replace your toothbrush and floss? Definitely not. But by helping those classic tools do the job while also helping you keep your breath fresh there’s no reason a pack of sugar-free gum shouldn’t be within reach at all time – the perfect tool for healthier teeth in-between brushings.

Could your teeth use a helping hand? Our dentists in the Anaheim area have all the tips and tools to help.

Why A Cavity Can Be a Major Problem

cavities-dental-garden-grove

When it comes to your teeth and virtually everything else in your body – if it hurts there’s a good chance that it’s gone far too long without being treated.

Pain is a wonderful signal from your body (that you might not tend to describe as “wonderful” that amazingly and accurately predicts when something is wrong. But what’s actually “wrong” when you have a cavity? What does a cavity mean?

Let’s take a look.

While you might think a cavity is just the beginning of your problems, it’s actually one of the first (hard to ignore) signs that something has gone very wrong with one of your teeth.

All day, every day your teeth fight against the attack of acid as it tries to wear away at the enamel of your teeth so that bacteria can work its way inward to live and thrive off of the inside of your tooth.

When your tooth is frequently exposed to acids – like if you’re frequently eating or drinking acidic foods, the continued exposure can slowly begin to contribute to decay, which often starts as a simple white spot where de-mineralization has occurred.

At this point, your teeth probably don’t even hurt or feel sensitive. The good thing is that your teeth can actually heal – if you take quick action. This process of decay can and will reverse itself. However, if it gets any worse, and more minerals are lost, the enamel gets weaker and weaker – eventually forming a small hole known as a cavity. This eventually needs to be repaired by your dentist with a filling.

Every year, our dentists near Anaheim fix countless cavities all over the mouth. Fillings can be comprised of a couple different materials – all with their various advantages and disadvantages, from a more natural look, to stronger and longer lasting fillings – the benefits and downsides are all factors you should discuss with your dentist.

But what happens if you don’t fill a cavity?

If you think about any cavity like you’d think about an infection, you’ll understand that like an infection the bacteria at the heart of a cavity moves deeper and deeper – consuming as it goes.

If you don’t treat a cavity, the hole only gets bigger and bigger. Unfortunately, this makes it harder for cavities to treat. And when a conventional filling can’t treat the cavity – all you can do is use a crown. Unfortunately – a crown can make the tooth weaker, and sometimes – all that can be done is to replace the tooth completely.

 

In the event that the bacteria reaches deep enough in your tooth to affect the pulp chamber, this is when an abscess can form – requiring the intervention of root canal treatment in order to save the tooth.

Are you beginning to experience the signs of decay, or feeling pain? Don’t put it off before it’s too hard to treat with a simple filling. If you’re a patient in the Anaheim area – contact our dental team today!

 

How Aging Can Affect Your Oral Health: Facts You Should Know

Did You Know?: Dentures can help you start smiling again. It only takes a small adjustment period.

Aging can impact your teeth – be prepared with our easy guide to dental health as you age. 

For anyone getting along in age, it’s not uncommon to start noticing some changes when it comes to your mouth, your teeth, and the way they all come together.

As you’ve aged, have you noticed any of the following changes?

  • Loss of taste
  • Chewing and swallowing is much harder
  • Increased dry-mouth
  • Change in how foods feel or taste in your mouth
  • More cavities than usual

Unfortunately, as we age it’s not uncommon to begin experiencing greater difficulty chewing and swallowing. However, this also tends to lead to some lifestyle and diet changes that can hurt you in the long run. First of all, if you’re having trouble chewing – it can impact how well you chew, which can lead to both a choking risk and digestion problems. If you can’t completely chew your food, you should be sure to speak to your local dentist.

Cavity Risk Also Increases as You Age

Outside of a difficulty chewing and swallowing effectively, if you’re starting to notice that your mouth is drier than it usually is, you shouldn’t ignore it. One of the most common reasons for increased decay and cavities as you age is because of dry mouth – which can be caused by many of the medications that patients over the age of 50 tend to take. While hundreds of medications can cause dry-mouth, the most common tend to be those that treat conditions like depression, anxiety, and nerve pain – while antihistamines, muscle relaxants, many pain medications, and decongestants can also contribute to reduced salivary production.

 

Saliva is important because it makes chewing, eating, and swallowing much easier. But on top of that, it also fights many of the harmful bacteria’s that cause decay while helping your teeth stay free from sugars and debris. Of course, brushing and flossing help – and if you’ve started noticing reduced saliva production you should be sure to drink plenty of water, continue brushing and flossing every day, and talk to both your doctor and your local dentist to learn how to approach any possible medication side-effects.

Have questions about your teeth? Our dentists have plenty of answers. To learn more or to schedule a consultation – please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team of dentists and hygienists near Anaheim today. 

 

3 Tips for a Tooth-Friendly Easter

Many of our dental patients in the Anaheim area celebrate the Easter holiday with their families. What many of them experience, every year is a large and exciting basket full of candy to enjoy – sometimes Easter baskets even include small toys to enjoy. But does all that candy have to risk your family’s dental health? Not necessarily. Our Anaheim area dentists have some simple tips to help avoid that risk.

 

Tip 1: Do Away with the Massive Chocolate Bunny

Let’s face it. While a big chocolate bunny is often the centerpiece of a child’s Easter basket, it’s also a huge source of sugar that can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth.  But let’s also not forget – more often than not, the chocolate in a BIG chocolate Easter bunny also tends to be, generally, somewhat lacking when compared to smaller candies. Why not cut out the waste and the risk? Instead put something fun that’s not candy in the center of the basket — like a stuffed (inedible) bunny instead. It’ll still be exciting to discover, and if you’re one of our patients near Anaheim – your child will be exposed to much less risk for decay and cavities.

Tip 2: Stay Away from Sticky

No matter the season, sticky candies are always a problem for our dental office in Anaheim. Unfortunately, around this time of year they become more and more popular. We actually discussed these potentially dangerous candies in yesterday’s post: Candies to Be Careful of This Easter – learn more about which candies to avoid to keep your kids’ teeth as healthy as possible, for as long as possible.

Tip 3: Minimize Candy, Maximize Fun 

Minimizing the amount of candy you include in your family’s easter baskets doesn’t mean that Easter can’t be fun. Try adding different presents to Easter Baskets to continue making the holiday fun and exciting, while eliminating the high volume of sugary candies your children are exposed to. You don’t have to shut candy down completely – just be more careful. 

Tip 4: Extend Easter by “Rationing” Candy

Eating hand-over-fist of candy can be enjoyable for a couple minutes – but afterward, all it can lead to is a big stomach-ache and a good chance at a disheartening dental check-up in the weeks afterward. Instead, make the case for a longer-lasting Easter by freezing most of the candy, breaking it out as a reward for small chores around the house. It’s a win-win. Candy lasts longer, Easter “lasts longer”, and the whole family’s teeth escape the risk of bacteria, decay, and cavities.

 

Candies to Be Careful of This Easter

Our dentists near Anaheim are always trying to give our patients easy new ways to improve their dental health.

In the past, we’ve come to you with plenty of suggestions on how you can give your dental hygiene a quick boost.

Between articles exploring What to Do When You Don’t Have Any Toothpaste to Simple Changes You Can Make for Healthier Teeth – you should already be able to pick out a handful of ways to give your oral care routine a quick boost. But it’s still important to remain vigilant every season – especially around holidays.

March and the Easter holiday in particular can sometimes present its own special challenges for healthy teeth. While easter egg hunts are always fun, read on to learn about some of the dental dangers you should be aware of when it comes to the month of March.

We all know that eating candy isn’t always the best proposition for your teeth, but what would life be if you couldn’t indulge every once in a while? So our dentists from the Anaheim area come to you with tips on which Easter candies should be avoided.

Which Easter Candies You Should Avoid for Better Teeth

Peeps

You know them, you love them, there’s a chance you’ve also sent some to their melty-doom in the microwave.

But this is part of the reason why peeps are so bad for your teeth – they’re pretty much all sugar. Unfortunately, as you are by now very well aware if you’ve been reading our blog for a while, sugar actively feeds bacteria and supports tooth decay.

On top of this, the sugary “goodness” that is a Peep also happens to make this sort of candy very sticky – which causes the sugar to stick to your teeth long after you’ve enjoyed one.

 Chocolates with Fillings

Whether you’re enjoying one of the season’s famous cream eggs or a deliciously filled “bunny” filled with marshmallow – these candies all have one thing in common,  they’re sticky and full of sugar. Unfortunately, this makes them not much better than Peepers.

Jelly Beans

Are you beginning to see a theme here? Anything that ends up sticky and stuck to your teeth is never good when it comes to preventing dental decay. Like Peeps and chocolate treats with delicious fillings – all of the above candies can and will stick to your teeth – allowing bacteria and decay to thrive.

Are Athletes More Prone To Cavities?

athletes-teeth-dental-health-garden-grove

Did you know that athletes often experience more decay and get more cavities? Learn how to avoid the same if you live an active lifestyle.

While it can sometimes do a number on your joints and ligaments, the benefits of vigorous exercise far outweigh the consequences. In fact, exercise is one of the finest gifts you can give your body. It can lower cholesterol, help you lose weight, improve your blood pressure, and the list of benefits goes on and on.

But did you know that exercise could potentially put your dental health at risk? That is, if you’re not careful. But don’t worry too much – our Dentists in Garden Grove remind all of our patients that a diligent oral healthcare routine will protect your teeth from the ongoing attack that happens at the hands of bacteria every day, which creates acid that slowly but surely eats away at your enamel to get into the “meat” of your teeth and thrive. Unfortunately, this is how cavities happen – and what often necessitates procedures like root canal treatment (if the cavity goes untreated). By understanding what happens if you’re an athlete, you can make sure that your healthy and active lifestyle doesn’t backfire on your teeth.

So, how can being an athlete impact your teeth?

Breathing through your mouth

Whenever you’re engaged in strenuous physical activity – what happens? Besides sweat and exhaustion – you tend to breathe a lot heavier than you normally do. This causes you to breathe more through your mouth than your nose, which also tends to dry up saliva production. What saliva does – if you weren’t aware, is help your mouth clear itself of bacteria and debris that aids bacteria when it comes to breaking substances down into acids, which contribute to decay.

While it’s hard to avoid breathing heavy (and you shouldn’t try!), there’s one thing you can do, and our dentists in Garden Grove frequently recommend this tactic: drink more water! by keeping your mouth moist and rinsed, you minimize the bad bacteria and debris hanging around waiting to do damage. Which leads us to our next topic….

Sugary Sports Drinks

Many times, athletes sometimes drink sugary sports drinks to replenish fluids and nutrients like electrolytes. While these can sometimes taste better than water – they’re far worse for your teeth and can often go a long way towards contributing towards decay and cavities. Combined with mouth guards, which sit in your mouth and help trap bacteria on your teeth for the entire time you wear them – and athletes are presented with a dental disaster waiting to happen. Fortunately, all it takes is diligent care, brushing, and plenty of water.

 

Chlorine

If your sport is in the pool, do be wary of chlorine – as a caustic chemical that eats away at all sorts of organic compounds – chlorine can and will do damage to your teeth. Again – water is the key here. Bring a water bottle to the pool every time, and be sure to drink plenty.

Your Tooth Are Important Tools: Treat them Like It

caps

There are plenty of ways to open a  bottle without an actual bottle opener (or “churchkey” if you’re feeling old-fashioned). But if you’re searching for a way to do it with your teeth, you’ve come to the wrong place.

You’ll find countless videos and tutorials showing you how to accomplish such a feat. We won’t be sharing any of them here for a very good reason: it’s an incredibly stupid idea that can send you on the road to thousands of dollars worth of dental repairs.

What else can you do with your teeth that you shouldn’t?

From using your teeth as scissors to open packages to using them to slowly, but surely untie a monster of a knot you can’t seem to untie – your teeth can accomplish many great things. Then again, our dentists in Anaheim always recommend using them for their intended purpose – eating food.

Every year, patients who use their teeth for purposes other than eating food land themselves in our dental office near Anaheim for emergency dental work.

Obviously, one of the most likely outcomes from using your teeth as tools (for anything other than food) is the very real possibility of a fracture. But that’s not all. Tooth cracks and chips are also a very common outcome from the sort of stresses that you put your teeth through when you’re using them for things like tightening knots or opening a bag of chips. But that’s not all. If you’re using your back teeth, there’s also the chance that you can damage a filling or a crown.

No matter the damage, it can all lead to the same thing: more dental damage. Whether it’s a broken filling or a cracked tooth – any sort of damage can allow decay and bacteria to enter into your teeth and go to work. Unfortunately, if the damage is bad enough it can mean needing much more than just repair. If any bacteria or decay gets inside, you could need root canal treatment. If it’s even worse, and your tooth is irreparably damaged – it could mean a need for a new, replacement tooth.

So, next time you think about using your teeth as scissors, nail clippers, or bottle openers – think again!