Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS


Dental Risks: 3 More Hidden Dental Dangers

When you’re a shiny set of teeth, there’s quite a few dangers in the world that are looking to take a piece out of you. A few days ago, we discussed a few of them in “Dental Risks: 3 Fast Ways to Ruin Your Teeth”  and today, we’re going to look at a few more.

When it comes to today’s batch of dental dangers, the theme remains more or less the same. That theme, is mindfulness. Not remaining mindful of your teeth is a surefire way to see them, eventually, do the same to you. Part of being mindful is being aware of what you’re putting on them, which brings us to our first danger  for this week: throat lozenges.

(to continue with the previous post, numbering of dental risks will remain consecutive. Starting us today at #4.

Dental Risk #4: Throat Lozenges

It’s that time of year again, the seasons are changing and the germs are out in force which has inevitably manifested as a scratchy tickle in your throat. But not to worry! Throat lozenges do a great job of alleviating the pain and making a sore throat just a bit easier to tolerate. But don’t forget! Some lozenges contain a large amount of sugar, which is fuel for plaque and decay. Be careful! Choose a lozenge without sugar or at the very least make sure you’re constantly drinking water to minimize sugar exposure for your teeth.

Dental Risk #5: Brushing too Soon after Consuming Acidy Food

You’ve probably learned from previous blog posts that acid isn’t great for your teeth. You’ve probably also read that to minimize the damage from harmful substances like sugar and acid, you can brush your teeth. But don’t grab your toothbrush too quickly. Acid in your food can also contribute to an overall softening of the tooth structure, which — when combined with the abrasion of your toothbrush — can contribute to faster enamel wear. The simple solution to avoid this is to simply wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. Even more simply, chew sugar-free gum, which will freshen your breath while producing extra saliva to help wash away the acid.

Dental Risk #6: Bottles at Bedtime

This one’s geared toward the parents concerned about pediatric dentistry and nighttime bottle feeding (or the adults who drink out of a baby bottle, which is likely a small group). A bottle at night is bad for one simple reason: whether it’s milk or juice, it bathes your child’s teeth in acid or bacteria for extended periods of time, and encourages them to do so. By leaving bottles out of the crib, you prevent your child’s teeth from getting on the fast-track to decay. You will learn about this and other tips on your child’s first pediatric dental exam.

We’re always here to help

There’s dental dangers everywhere, and we’re fighting to keep you informed. If you have general dentistry or pediatric dentistry questions and are a patient in the Anaheim area, we can help. Get in touch with our friendly team today to learn more.




Dental Dangers: 3 Fast Ways to Ruin Your Teeth

As a dentist in Garden Grove California, we see quite a few patients every day and they call come from very different walks of life. From children with perfect teeth to the occasional patient that hasn’t really done a great job of sticking to their oral healthcare routine, we’ve truly seen it all.

However, beyond factors like “not flossing” or “not using a fluoride rinse” serious damage to teeth is often caused directly by us, the humans in charge.

Many times, patients have a problem with their teeth for one simple reason: carelessness.

In fact, many of the leading ways to damage, hurt, or outright ruin your teeth begin with carelessness, which leads into our first “method” of absolutely ruining your teeth

Dental Risk #1: Using your Teeth as a Tool (for something other than chewing)

Have you ever opened a bottle, can, or bag of chips with your teeth? Take this as your warning: never do it again. While they might seem like a perfectly effective tool for opening all kinds of packages and products, your teeth are meant for chewing food. Resist the temptation to use them for anything else. Otherwise, you can risk cracking and chipping your teeth — which often occurs with the most visible teeth, and can surely land you in your dentist’s chair for repair work.  Not only can using your teeth as a tool cause visible damage, it can also open your teeth up to invisible damage by causing fractures that provide an invisible pipeline for bacteria and decay — which can lead to cavities, infection, and more.

Dental Risk #2: Playing Sports without a Mouth Guard

Of course, mouth guards were invented for a reason — and they tend to do their job quite well. If the sport you’re participating in poses any opportunity for your face to be recipient of any significant impact, you should be wearing a mouthguard. As a pediatric dentist in the fountain valley area, you can imagine that we also see plenty of children with sports related dental problems. Do yourself a favor. Spend the small amount of money on a “boil and bite” mouth guard instead of the more expensive option of repeated dental work.

Dental Risk #3: Chewing on Ice Cubes

You might not think that chewing on ice cubes can be bad for your teeth, but that’s where you’d be wrong. While it shouldn’t hurt your teeth to suck on an ice-cube to relieve a sore throat or simply cool off, try to limit the amount of time you spend actually cruuuuuuunching on ice cubes. Not only can this wear away at the enamel of your teeth, it can also cause cracking or chipping.

There’s a lot out there that can have an impact on your teeth, and it’s our job to make you aware of it. Come back later for the next installment of “Dental Risks” to learn about some more of the every-day habits, foods, and activities you might participate in that can have a very real impact on your teeth.

In the meantime, if you have questions about your teeth and live in the Garden Grove or Fountain Valley area, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

“Will brushing my teeth whiten them?” and other Patient Questions


If your teeth were whiter than the driven snow, like so many little chiclets carefully arranged in your mouth, there’s a good chance that you run faster, jump higher, tell better jokes, and get a better job.

Okay, maybe that’s pushing it. But it’s no surprise that people feel more confident when their teeth are white, and confidence can accomplish a whole lot.

In 2007, the “Femail” section of  the Daily Mail  published a report in that showed a greater perception of wealth, status, and success when the subject has white teeth. The study said:


  • 75%  want whiter teeth, while 25% of them don’t properly brush.
  • Survey results showed that white teeth can make you like 20% more attractive.
  • Survey respondents thought those with white teeth made, on average, $10,000 more.
  • White teeth can increase employment chances by 10%

Fortunately, whiter teeth aren’t that hard to attain.

For today’s post, we answer a couple of the most common questions about getting whiter teeth. Starting with:

“Can just brushing make my teeth whiter?”

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day helps reduce staining by eliminating the bacteria and debris that remain on your teeth and stain them over time. This cleansing helps protect the whiteness of your teeth drastically, but it likely won’t make them whiter, unless you use a toothpaste with an extra whitening agent. Typically, these toothpastes include extra abrasives and polishers that eliminate stains. This often isn’t instant though, and you should expect results to be noticeable after about 4 weeks.

“Should I do at-home whitening or in-office whitening?”

At-home teeth whitening is a favorite with many patients because it’s inexpensive, easy to use at your own convenience, and relatively successful. We say “relatively” successful for a couple reasons. For one, at-home whitening kits are often difficult to use 100% correctly. That is, some teeth get the most of it — others don’t. While this makes these kits somewhat imperfect, the result for many patients has been positive. The other reason many patients may not like at-home whitening is because they can sometimes cause sensitivity (which we discussed in tuesday’s post). At-home whitening kits can be found at many stores, and from your dentist.

In-office tooth whitening is a service we’ve offered in our family dental practice in Garden Grove for many years. Compared to at-home whitening, any variety of in-office whitening will have more complete coverage and longer lasting results. Procedures are available that use technologies ranging from advanced bleaching agents, to gels applied in a mouthpiece. While in-office whitening can be slightly more expensive than at-home whitening, the effectiveness and longevity of the treatment can often make them more cost efficient in the long run.

Would whiter teeth make you more confident? Confidence goes a long way. Fortunately, we can help. Whether it’s an at-home whitening solution or in-office treatment, whiter teeth are never far away. If you’re a patient in the Garden Grove our Fountain Valley area, contact us today to learn more.




Do Sensitive Teeth Go Away?

There you are, it’s a hot day and you finally found the time to sit still, enjoy the day, and indulge in a cold one.  Everything is perfect, but before the taste even registers on your tongue,  the experience is tinged by a stinging in your teeth.

Studied show that 1 in 8 adults experience sensitive teeth to some degree. Sensitive teeth are most common in young adults, with the more susceptible patients being women, those using at-home whitening kits, and patients with receding gums.

In our dental clinic in Garden Grove, we try to educate every patient experiencing sensitive teeth on the many different causes of sensitivity, as well as what can be done to minimize sensitivity.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Overbrushing: For some patients, too much brushing can be a bad thing. Overbrushing, brushing with a hard toothbrush, and grinding your teeth can cause excessive wear to your enamel, exposing the dentin.

Damage: if you’ve broken or chipped your tooth, there’s a good chance it will be extra sensitive.

Gum disease: Gingivitis can cause the gums to be inflamed, which can cause them to pull back and expose your teeth to sensitivity.

Grinding: grinding or clenching your teeth can inevitably cause undue wear to your enamel, exposing your dentin and contributing to sensitivity.

Whitening products: Whitening products, especially those of the “at-home” variety can be a major contributor to sensitivity. For some patients, sensitivity won’t persist and will remain dull. Others are far more sensitive, making in-office teeth whitening a more viable and comfortable option.

Recent Dental Work: If you’ve recently had some work done on your teeth, ranging from a cleaning or crown placement to more serious dental restorations, you can expect teeth to be extra sensitive.

Highly acidic foods: If the food you’re eating has a high degree of acid, it can wear your enamel down over time. In addition to drinking water for hydration, if your diet includes lots of tomatoes, citrus, pickles, or fruit — you’re also drinking to rinse. 

Will Tooth Sensitivity Go Away?

Because your enamel doesn’t really grow back (though you could often accomplish the desired result with a crown) if you’re susceptible to sensitive teeth, that susceptibility won’t exactly go away, but there are plenty of ways to prevent it. These include:

Practice Good Oral Hygiene: using good brushing techniques, regularly flossing, using antiseptic mouthwash, and fluoride rinses are all the average patient needs to alleviate the most common symptoms of sensitivity.

Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth: finding the right toothpaste is critical. If you ever experience sensitive teeth, a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth will act as a shield to even some of the most intense sensitivity. Need help finding a good toothpaste? Read our guide to finding the best toothpaste.

Use dental products with Fluoride: Rinses, toothpastes, and the works. If it’s got fluoride, it will help.

.Are you grinding?: If you or a partner have been woken up by the sound of you grinding your teeth at night, or if your dentist has noticed the signs of tooth grinding, a night guard might be recommended. Night guards are inexpensive, prevent damage to your teeth, and patients report that they’re incredibly easy to get used to.

Have more questions? We’ve got more answers

Are you a patient in the Garden Grove our Fountain Valley area with questions about sensitive teeth? Get in touch with Primary Dental Care of Garden Grove for more information.


The Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth (and other questions answered!)












There’s a magical time in every adolescent’s journey from childhood to adulthood, one specific moment where they go from being a child to an adult. Maybe not in terms of maturity or experience, but physically.  For many teenagers and young adults, the early talk, worry, and anxiety about wisdom teeth removal is often one of the first signs that childhood is long gone. Of course, that’s because removing your wisdom teeth is, in a way, the last time you really want your mouth to lose any teeth for the rest of your adult life.

Here at our family dentist office and oral surgeon in Garden Grove Ca, we have quite a bit of experience with wisdom teeth. For many of our patients, one of the first concerns is whether or not the wisdom teeth are “impacted”. This is often one of the first questions we get asked, and for many,  that’s because it can have an impact on the length and (potentially) the discomfort of your recovery.

But are impacted wisdom teeth even something you have to worry about? Read on to find out.

the Early (and not so early) Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

It is painful or difficult to Chew

You’ve noticed swelling, irritation, or redness of the gums in the back of your mouth.

You’re starting to find it’s difficult or painful to open your mouth

You’ve started to notice your breath is bad

You have a bad taste in your mouth

You’re experiencing pain in the back of your mouth

What do Impacted Wisdom Teeth Look Like?

Many patients often read about wisdom teeth online and attempt to self-diagnose. This is perfectly normal. However, it’s important to see your dentist before you draw any conclusions about your wisdom teeth and whether or not they’re impacted or not. That said, the image below shows a good example what a typical mesial impaction (and a fair amount of plaque and staining. Don’t forget to brush extra carefully to get those hard to reach places!).

















Does Treatment and Recovery for Impacted Teeth Hurt More?

Generally, no. Patients will often hear that their wisdom teeth are impacted and take the news like a death sentence. Really, for most patients it’s nothing to worry about. The only difference between pulling an impact wisdom tooth and a non-impacted wisdom tooth is the length and “difficulty” of the procedure for your dentist. The simple fact that a wisdom tooth is a little harder to access than a non-impacted tooth means that there’s a slightly greater chance that your post-operative discomfort might be a little greater. But this is only due to the relative amount of  activity  your mouth and jaw had to go through to achieve the end goal of getting rid of your wisdom teeth.



The Good Side of Gum: Study Says, Gum is a Go for Healthy Teeth


A recent report by the American Dental Association has reminded the public that, while chewing gum can make for messy conversation and a sticky mess, it has a far more desirable effect on oral health.

The study outlines some of the early trials conducted as researchers set out to evaluate the effectiveness of gum at removing bacteria from the oral cavity.

But the bigger picture is simple:  chewing gum is actually good for you, and that’s something patients at our family dental clinic in Garden Grove are happy to learn.

The earliest studies made clear that the bacteria removal capabilities of gum remain unknown, but went they did go so far as to identify three key ingredients for tooth-friendly sugar free gum:

The data presented suggests that the two evaluated chewing gums, both of which were described as being ‘commercially available spearmint gum’ with sorbitol, gum base and glycerin listed as the first three ingredients, trapped bacteria when chewed

While the study hasn’t accounted for whether or not chewing sugar-free gum simply trapped or “changed the balance” of bacteria in the month, research is ongoing and the available evidence seems to say that chewing sugar-free gum can make a difference for your oral health by cutting down on bacteria and even contributing to plaque and buildup removal.

To support this, you can take the ADA’s recognition of gum as an actual oral healthcare tool as final proof that chewing sugar-free gum is GOOD for your teeth. That same recognition lead the ADA to create the following list of sugar-free chewing gums, with full ADA approval (look for the seal ).

It’s Not Too Good to Be True

Any gum (as long as it’s sugar-free) can help clean your teeth

There’s no need to go out and buy a box of sugar-free gum that’s been advertised as a cavity fighting, energy boosting, protein supplement, that will help you sprout wings and solve complex arithmetic without using your fingers. Nothing fancy is required. Any sugar free gum will help prevent cavities in precisely the way you’d think it would, by actually picking up bits of food and debris. On top of this, chewing gum also simulates saliva production, which goes even further to help rinse away food.

Look for Xylitol

Many sugar free chewing gums use a sugar alternative called Xylitol to give the gum it’s sweet flavor that can surprisingly last for quite some time. The best part, however, is the studies that show how Xylitol can reduce bacteria in your mouth.

And When in Doubt, Ask Your Dentist


What are Dental Sealants and Do My Kids Need Them?

Think about what your children eat every day. You do everything you can to make sure they eat a healthy, balanced diet but you can’t control everything. While it’s not possible to fix damage to your teeth, it is possible to prevent damage to teeth, especially young ones.

As they always say, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of the cure. Considering the “cure” for decayed teeth is to simply replace the teeth, which can be both involved and expensive. On the other hand, preventing damage to your teeth is a much more effective course of action. For many parents, pediatric dental sealants are the best version of prevention. 

Dental sealants are a thin layer of plastic material added to a child’s teeth that looks normal, feels normal, and protects the teeth against enamel erosion.

Who needs dental sealants

Dental sealants are designed for young children, and can be applied as soon as the first teeth come through. Because the molars are often the hardest to reach and properly brush, they are also the first teeth to experience decay. For this reason, the pediatric dentists in our Garden Grove dental clinic frequently recommend getting your child dental sealants when their first molars grow in.

If you’re wondering how this impacts your child’s “dental timeline,” you can expect your child to get their first set of molars when they’re between the age of five and seven. The second set of molars come between the ages of 11 and 14. Naturally, children who show signs of tooth decay are the most common recipients of dental sealants. However, if your child doesn’t show signs of decay but you’re still concerned about the damage being done to their teeth, dental sealants are still an option.

What is the process of getting sealants?

As if often the magic question when it comes to pediatric dental care in Garden Grove and virtually anywhere else

Applying sealants is a simple, pain-free procedure that is done quickly at Pearland Pediatric Dentistry. There is absolutely no effect on the tooth structure from sealants.



How long will dental sealants last?

When dental sealants have been placed on your child’s teeth, they are designed to last roughly 10 years and will be frequently checked by your family dentist at every cleaning. Think of dental sealants as “armor” for your child’s teeth by providing valuable added protection against decay and cavities.

Do you have questions about dental sealants or any other concern about your child’s teeth? We’re here to help. If you don’t have questions, and you’re simply a patient looking to schedule an appointment for your child’s dental sealants — we can help there too!


The Vitamins and Minerals that are Best for Your Teeth

When it comes to protecting your teeth, your body can use all the help it can get. But there’s a lot of food out there and plenty to choose from, which can lead many of our patients to wonder, “what should I be eating for better teeth?”

At our Garden Grove dental office, we encounter questions about dental treatment every day. As a dedicated family dentist, we realize one important thing: every family is different.  With that in mind, we’ve gotten as basic as possible. Instead of forcing his food or that food into your diet, simply try for the following vitamins and minerals.


Calcium is one of the most important chemical elements for your teeth and is known to actively help protect your teeth and gums by preventing periodontal disease while keeping the underlying jaw bone healthy and strong.

While conventional wisdom often says, “Drink milk for calcium!” you might wonder, “where do I get my calcium if I’m lactose intolerant?” and fortunately, there are answers. If milk isn’t an option, leafy green vegetables like broccoli and spinach provide the valuable calcium your teeth and bones rely on.  You can also find many calcium-fortified cereals and juices

Vitamin C

You might have heard (maybe even in one of our recent blog posts) that citrus isn’t especially good for your teeth. To put it simply, the acid in fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits can wear away the enamel on your teeth. However! While citrus fruits can do damage if you’re not careful about rinsing and blushing, they also tend to contain a high amount of vitamin C, which helps your blood vessels, connective tissue, and gums. On top of all this, Vitamin C also helps reduce inflammation, and can also potentially slow the spread of gingivitis.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is nearly more important than Calcium, yet you might not even realize it. The reason for that is this: Vitamin D is critical because it allows your body to actually use the calcium in your body.  Unfortunately, vitamin D is rare!

While it’s readily available in fatty fish like salmon and tuna, it’s truly available in a small amount of naturally occurring foods. While sunlight can help encourage the production of Vitamin D, the only other place you’ll really find this vital nutrient is in supplements.

Even with all the calcium in the world, without vitamin D to put it to work your teeth won’t be any better off.


When it comes to the vitamins and minerals that your teeth rely on for a long, useful life, fluoride is often regarded as one of the most powerful tools. Before the widespread use of fluoride began after the 1940’s, many communities began to notice that more fluoride in the water was linked to fewer cavities in the community.  By adding fluoride to the water supply, a majority of communities in the US, Canada, Europe, and beyond have successfully helped families protect against tooth decay.

But how does it actually work?

Fluoride comes together with your teeth by mixing with saliva to help protect your tooth’s enamel from hazards like plaque, acids, and sugar. If fluoride isn’t added to your water, you can often find it in fluoride toothpastes and rinses.



An Introduction to Oral Cancer

What causes Oral Cancer

At Garden Grove Primary Dental Care, you’d be surprised by how many patients worry about oral cancer. While most of them are happy to learn that oral cancer is actually quite rare, it’s still important to know the symptoms and understand the risk factors to be sure that any sign of oral cancer is caught early to maximize the treatment’s effectiveness.  So first, before considering any of the following symptoms — consider the risk factors and determine if they apply to you.

Alcohol and/or tobacco use: one of the most widespread causes of oral cancer is and will always be tobacco. Whether smoked or chewed, tobacco of all kinds is inextricably linked to oral cancer. Combined with heavy alcohol use, the two come together to become a major risk factor for oral cancer.

Exposure to the Sun

Just like with skin cancer, oral cancer that originates at the lips can be influenced by excessive exposure to the sun.


Transmitted diseases like HPV (human papillomavirus), particularly HPV 16, have been known to put patients at risk for oral cancer. While it’s unclear as to why, patients with HPV should be diligent about reporting any irregularities to their dentist’s.

Old age

The risk of oral cancer also happens to increase with age, and is most often found in patients over the age of 40.

But before you worry about oral cancer, keep in mind that these risk factors are broad. Worrying never does you good, and if you experience any symptoms and are prone to any of the above risk factors, simply speak to your dentist. The earlier you catch the first warning signs of oral cancer, the better.

How common is Oral Cancer?

When it comes to the world of “Cancer” oral cancer is relatively uncommon, and is typically only seen in roughly 2% of cancers diagnosed in the united states. Of the population, about 36,000 will be affected — and about 61% receive a prognosis of over 5 years.

The Earliest Warning Signs of Oral Cancer:White or Red Lesions

There are a few early warning signs of oral cancer, and the easiest way to break them down is by color. First are the white lesions — leukoplakia — which are the most common form of lesion. Erythroplakia are less common, and are much more likely to become cancerous. If you have either a red or a white lesion that doesn’t go away, be sure to visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Other Possible Signs and Symptoms:

While a red or white lesion can often be the most obvious sign of oral cancer, there are a few other symptoms to look out for as well. The first of these signs is a thickening mass, or lump, of soft tissue. This can often come accompanied with ear pain, difficulty chewing, numbness in your mouth, and hoarseness.

If symptoms like these last for an extended period of time — typically more than 2 or 3 weeks — it’s best that you visit your dentist for laboratory tests. Many times, in order to make a proper diagnosis, your dentist will often recommend you to a specialist.

Don’t be afraid to ask!

At Primary Dental Care of Garden Grove, teeth and mouths are our specialty. If you ever have a concern about your mouth and its health, or you expect you might be at risk for oral cancer and you live in the Garden Grove area, we can help. Contact us today with any questions you have about your teeth, your mouth, and how it all comes together.

Tips and Tricks for Getting a Toddler to Brush


When you only have one set of teeth for life, it’s important that you hold on to them. This is what you should keep in mind when it comes to convincing your toddler to have good oral hygiene habits.

Apart from the obvious benefits to health and confidence, good dental habits in your children also help you save money in the long run — which can mean saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars in dental care along the way.

For that reason, it’s important to remember that good oral habits in childhood, translate into good oral hygiene habits in adulthood. Which leads you to wonder, “how on earth do I get my toddler to brush properly?” Here are some helpful toddler training tips.

  • Keep your expectations low. If your child can hardly color in the lines, there’s a good chance she can’t completely brush hr gum lines, or the small crevices in her teeth. This is okay. Even if the technique is lacking, simply encouraging a good habit is the straightest road to whiter, brighter teeth.
  • Put the Ball in the Toddler’s Court. Their tools, their rules? Right? Is that a saying? Either way, if you take your toddler to the store so that she or he can pick their own toothbrush, you can be certain that they’ll be more exciting about putting their new “tool” to use.  While you’re at it, let your toddler choose the toothpaste too and they’ll be more excited to try the flavor.
  • Brush at the same time. Seeing is doing! Brush with your toddler and the added sense of teamwork can help ensure that your toddler is more careful and more diligent when it comes to brushing. Get in on the action, and join your toddler while he brushes his teeth. Having a little camaraderie might encourage him to take a little longer and give his teeth a more-thorough cleaning. You can also try making it a competition to see who can be more thorough.
  • Get some horsepower. Does your child seem bored by their oral hygiene routine? Or is it hard to get them to brush with any conviction? When it comes to pediatric dentistry in Garden Grove, one of the best solutions we have for stubborn toddlers is to give the child a bit of novelty. A spinning toothbrush can do just that, while also often including a song that plays until “brushing time” is over.
  • Imitation is the Highest form of Flattery. If there’s a concern that your child isn’t brushing properly, one of the most effective methods for teaching proper technique is to do it yourself! Let your toddler brush on their own in the morning, and make a point to do it yourself at night. Seeing how it’s done by an expert can encourage them to emulate it for themselves.