Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS


The Devil (and the Decay) is in the Details: How Sugar is Killing Your Teeth


Every week it seems like there’s a new dieting trend. Whether it’s one that encourages you to eat only vegetables, only meat, or only locally sourced ingredients harvested under a waning crescent moon – one simple fact remains true: it matters to your body what you put in your body. But many times, the totality of this statement is lost.

You see, it’s not just about your belly, your core, your butt, your hips, or your love handles. It’s about your health, and that includes your teeth as well. Why? Because not only does what you eat have a very real impact on your teeth, but your teeth also have a very real impact on what you eat. Without your teeth there, you would most certainly find it harder to eat healthy, because it’s harder to eat period.

But when it comes to diet, there’s an important detail you might be missing that could be contributing to decay and cavities — which (if left untreated) can ultimately require potentially expensive dental treatments like dental bridgework and dental crowns. That detail is sugar, and time and time again  the dentists in our Orange County dental office remind our patients to become extremely aware of the sugar they’re putting in their bodies. Not only can it drastically help your overall fitness, but it can do wonders for your teeth as well.

Are You Eating More Sugar Than You Should?

Experts say most adults should eat, at most, the equivalent of 7 sugar cubes, and they should make up only 5% of the day’s caloric intake. However, there’s a good chance you’re eating a lot of sugar you don’t even know about. The problem is, even if you don’t “Suffer” from a sweet tooth, you could be getting excess sugar from everyday foods that you never thought of, like cereal, fruit juice, soups, and pasta sauces.  The problem here is added sugar. While sugar that’s naturally occurring in the foods we eat isn’t as much of a problem, added sugar (tip: basically anything that ends with “-COSE”, like sucralose, fructose, glucose) can sneak up on you.  This added sugar can also be found in many “low-fat” or “diet” foods – which substitute one evil for another.

Why It Matters

Long story short, while sugar itself won’t “rot your teeth out”, it will provide much needed sustenance to the bacteria and decay that will rot your teeth out. The more sugar you eat, the more fuel that bacteria has.

The Lowdown on Fluoride and Your Teeth: Is it Safe? What’s it For? and How Much is Too Much?

What is Fluoride?

Flouride is a “chemical” compound (remember: chemical isn’t exactly a bad word. everything is a chemical compound of some sort!). that contains the natural element flourine. Flouride in small amounts can help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and prevent tooth decay.


What does Fluoride Do?

When there aren’t sufficient amounts of fluoride occuring naturally, many communities choose to add fluoride to their water supplies. Research by the ADA has shown that these fluoridation efforts have reduced cavities in children by up to 50%. On top of this, fluoride is also added to many dental products like toothpaste, mouthwash, rinses, and more.

Fluoride protects your family’s teeth by working against the loss of minerals in your tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel relies on mineralization to stay tough and strong. However, acids and general wear-and-tear are constantly working against your enamel. Fluoride helps strengthen these weakened areas, while also discouraging bacteria and acid that work away at your teeth around the clock. This protection can help prevent cavities and the need for more extensive treatments like dental crowns, dental bridgework, or full replacement treatments further down the road -like dentures.

Our dental office in Garden Grove, California frequently recommends supplemental fluoride to patients who are prone to cavity, or those who have weak enamel.

So what’s with all the controversy about fluoride? Is it safe?

The story of fluoride is a long, complicated, and contentious one. Legitimate science has been muddied by government conspiracy theories, questionable science, and strong opinions.

Over time, there have been many studies on the effectiveness and safety of fluoride. However, according to – much of the controversy begins with a 1990 study on lab animals, as part of the US National Toxicology Program.  That study found inconclusive evidence of fluoride’s cancer causing potential in male rats. This was based on a higher-than expected occurrence of a certain type of bone-cancer.  However, there was no evidence of the same problem in female rats – or in male or female mice.

On top of this, the National Research Council updated a 1993 report in 2006, re-iterating their conclusion that “On the basis of the committee’s collective consideration of data from humans, genotoxicity assays, and studies of mechanisms of actions in cell systems, the evidence on the potential of fluoride to initiate or promote cancers, particularly of the bone, is tentative and mixed.”

For our patients in California, it can also be helpful to know that in 2011 – our state’s Carcinogen Identification Committee also reviewed the available evidence and concluded that fluoride has not been shown to cause cancer.

Have more questions? We have answers! Your family’s teeth are important to us. To learn more about how to prepare your teeth for the future — drop us a line!



Should You Be Brushing after Meals? Yes and No. Confused? Read on!


Everyone who’s ever been to the dentist, and plenty of people who haven’t understand that you have to brush your teeth. It’s not as much about polishing them, but more a matter of keeping them clear of the grit, debris, and bacteria that can undermine the protective enamel of your teeth and lead to problems like cavities.  As we all know, cavities (if left untreated) are the very beginning of a number of problems that are very easily avoided. While a cavity can always be fixed with a filling, putting it off for too long can lead to more serious problems, like dental abscesses (which require root canal treatment). Or, you might end up needing to repair and protect a damaged tooth with a dental crown, or even replace the tooth with a dental bridge or denture – that is, if it’s left on its own for too long.


Brushing after meals is a great way to make sure that your teeth are clear of all the little enablers that make cavities, decay, and enamel erosion possible. However, you want to be careful about when you brush after meals and how you brush after meals. The problem you need to be aware of is acid. Many foods, ranging from grains and sugars to fruit, fish, and (of course) sodas and sweetened beverages contain high amounts of acid. Acid is one of the primary culprits when it comes to damaging your teeth, and that damage generally starts at the enamel, because the acid is sitting right on your teeth.

Now, if your skin was stung by a bee or accidentally covered in bleach. Would you rub it in to remove it? No! That’s why brushing right after eating highly acidic food isn’t actually going to help you. You need to give your mouth some time to wash away the acid, so you’re not doing more harm than good.

Breakfast is the Trickiest

While they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it’s also one of the meals that tends to contain the most acidic foods (like fresh fruit and sweetened juice). Unfortunately, many patients also think it’s better to brush after eating. It makes sense right? Why brush your teeth in the morning and then go right to eating your breakfast?   Instead, brush right when you wake up. Eat your breakfast, and make sure you drink plenty of water to wash all the acid and debris away. Add some mouthwash for good measure, and be on your way. If you have the opportunity to brush after lunch, perfect. But try to time it right!
Have questions about your oral hygiene?

We love to share our expertise. Our dentists in Garden Grove have been in the industry for years, and we thrive on happy, long-lasting smiles. For more information on our practice, our services, our how we can help you – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

From Baby Teeth and Beyond: Keeping Your Kids’ Teeth Healthy

The most important part about keeping kids’ teeth healthy for life is simple: good oral care from day one. That means good brushing habits, good flossing habits, and good eating habits. But just knowing that teeth need to be brushed, flossed, and taken care of isn’t always enough to avoid costly fixes like crowns, dental bridges, and dental implants further down the road.

There’s a whole lot more to good, healthy teeth than just brushing and flossing. So of course, for any parent there are often a lot of questions on the road from visits to the tooth fairy to a mouth full of adult teeth.  Fortunately, our team of dentists in Orange County have all the answers for the many questions parents have about teeth of every shape and size.

When should a baby see the dentist?

It’s recommended that your baby sees the dentist by the time they’re one year old or about 6 months after their first tooth has broken through the surface and inspired plenty of cheek pinches and photographs.

How important are baby teeth?

Your child’s primary teeth (otherwise known as their “baby” teeth) are incredibly important for good reason. Of course, it goes without saying that baby teeth help your child eat. They also help with speech formation. And on top of all this: they provide very important guidance for your future adult teeth to follow when it’s their time to shine

How should I brush my baby’s teeth? 

Brushing a baby’s teeth isn’t too different from brushing your own. Usually, you can find toothbrushes designed specifically for babies – but any soft, small headed toothbrush will work. Before your child has their teeth, a warm washcloth on the gums is perfect.

When should you start using toothpaste? (and how much should you be using?)

Before the teeth actually break through the surface of the gums, a warm cloth and water are more than enough to keep your baby’s gums clean and healthy. After you start seeing teeth, it’s time to start using fluoridated toothpaste, twice daily, gently brushed on using a soft toothbrush. All you need is a tiny smear of toothpaste. How much is that? Consider this: a child under the age of 6 or 7 should only be using about a pea sized amount of toothpaste. A “smear” is even smaller.  Remember: your child doesn’t know how to brush effectively. You need to show them! Be sure to coach your child to spit the toothpaste out after you’ve finished. This is where brushing with your child becomes especially important.

Have more questions about your family’s oral hygiene? Who better to ask than a family dentist? Our family dental practice in Orange County has seen tiny smiles turn into healthy, happy adult smiles.  If you have questions about doing the same for your family – we’re here to help. 

Stop the Grind! Why You’re Grinding Your Teeth and How to Get Relief

You could be the best tooth brusher in the world, but if you’re grinding your teeth at night you’re going to have problems further down the road.

Teeth grinding, otherwise known as bruxism, is an issue experienced by between 5% and 20% of patients in the U.S. Bruxism can affect patients for both short and long durations.

The short term symptoms and consequences of bruxism vary greatly, including:


  • Headaches
  • Sore jaw and face musclesmyalgia (aching jaw & facial muscles)
  • Stiffness in your shoulders
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Ear aches and sinus trouble
  • Gum inflammation and recession

The long term effects of teeth grinding are much more serious, and are generally only a problem if it’s not taken care of for many years. However, these symptoms can lead to a need for tooth replacement treatments ranging from dental bridges or even affordable dentures to replace the worn or damaged teeth.

However, when it comes to teeth grinding – most patients already understand their symptoms. They know that they’re having trouble sleeping. They know they’re waking up with a headache, and experiencing sensitivity. What the patients of our dental practice in Garden Grove are often unsure about is how to actually fix tooth grinding.

More often than not, this comes down to understanding the actual problem. By pinpointing the underlying cause of toothgrinding, our dentists can suggest the best possible solution. These causes often include:


  • Dehydration
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Chewing and nailbiting
  • Tension
  • Alcohol (which causes clenching)
  • Caffeine (which can lead to hyperactivity and tension).

Once these underlying causes are pinpointed, the treatment is relatively easy. Sometimes, it comes down to a simple lifestyle change. Other times, it could require the use of a mouth-guard to be worn at night, while sleeping.

When Flossing Isn’t Enough: Your Introduction to Dental Deep Cleaning

More often than not, when anyone talks about going to the dentist for their regular checkup, they’re typically referring to one of their few yearly visits. Actually, most patients only visit the dentist twice a year. For many of them, this is perfectly acceptable.

However, sometimes you need something just a little more thorough. This will often occur when your gums require a little more “TLC” than can be offered in a regular dental visit. When this is recommended, your dentist (and the dentists in our Garden Grove dental office) call this dental deep cleaning, scaling, or, root planing.

While it’s not hard to let gum disease get out hand without even realizing it, we’re also fortunate that gum disease is a gradually progressing condition that is eminently treatable.

The Diagnosis: So You Have Gum Disease  

Your dentist generally diagnoses you with some stage of gum disease after probing your gums to find periodontal pockets. These are areas where the gum has pulled away from the tooth, creating pockets around your tooth’s lower half (and root), which can collect food particles, bacteria, plaque, tartar, and debris.

This can occur for a number of reasons ranging from poor oral care and too-few visits to the dentist, to old age, pregnancy, and diabetes. But fortunately, treatment is relatively simple and completely painless.

How a Deep Cleaning is Different from a Regular Check-Up 

While your regular dental cleaning will focus on your entire mouth, including a nice polishing for your teeth – a dental deep cleaning is completely focused on your gums.

Because calculus (hardened plaque and tartar) under the gumline creates a ripe breeding ground for bacteria and decay, it needs to be taken care of.


Scaling & Root Planing (Deep Cleaning) versus Regular Cleaning

Scaling and Root Planing, also known as a dental deep cleaning, is very different from a regular cleaning. A regular cleaning focuses on the surfaces of the teeth and between teeth above the gum line. During a regular cleaning, the teeth are also polished.

A dental deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing, is needed in order to remove bacteria, calculus (tartar), and debris that has collected under the gum line. Left untreated, this calculus can contribute to inflammation, infection, and tooth loss. So, the two procedures differ a bit.

While your regular visit to the dentist will likely take care of calculus, debris, and plaque above the gumline — it doesn’t account for nasty stuff that has been permitted below the gumline after your gums weakened in response to gum disease. As a result, this requires more prodding and cleansing. But don’t worry! To do so, your dentist will also provide a local anesthetic to make sure the process isn’t painful.

“What Will My Dentist Actually Do?”

The scaling process carefully and methodically removes plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your root surfaces, gum, and teeth. On the other end of things, root planing smooths rough areas around the root of your teeth to prevent sticky tartar and plaque from re-adhering to your teeth.

Are you concerned about your teeth? Could it be time to see a dentist nearby after a long absence? Or maybe you’re starting to experience the irritation and inflammation characteristic of periodontal disease. 

If any of the above are true, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly dental office in Garden Grove today. Our goal is to help give you better teeth for life, all you have to do is ask!

Common Causes of Dental Dilemmas for Adults Under 40


If you’re a dental patient who’s under the age of 40, there’s a great chance you probably don’t have a need for a denture dentist yet. There’s also probably a good chance that you may not even have had a need for a dental bridge or implant

But there are a wide variety of dental dilemmas you can encounter, even when your teeth may still seem to have plenty of useful years left.  So, if you’re not encountering issues and you’re a patient under 40  – you might be wondering, “am I missing something?” The simple truth of the matter could be the fact that you’re just doing a good job. But no matter what, every dental patient has to keep an eye on decay.

As an experienced dentist in Orange County, we frequently see  patients of all ages. But many times, patients under 40 think that they’re somehow immune to the never-ending pursuit of tooth decay. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. As long as you have teeth, the bacteria naturally living in your mouth (at all times, no matter how many times you rinse), and the healthy desire to eat – you’ll always have to contend with tooth decay.

While some think that tooth decay is just something that children have to worry about – all of them are wrong. Preventing tooth decay actively protects your teeth. Otherwise, say hello to plenty of dental crowns and bridgework to replace the constant damage and tooth loss that occurs when fractures become cavities, and cavities become infections that, eventually, go far beyond just undermining your oral health.

Fortunately, when it comes to preventing tooth decay and dental damage, the preventative measures are incredibly simple. In fact, all you have to do is keep doing what you’ve been doing. Or, if you’ve been a bit lackluster in your oral care, you need to start doing what you haven’t been. That includes:

  • Bi-annual trips to the dentist: For checkups, X-rays, and cleaning
  • Twice a day brushing: And, if possible – you can even try brushing after every meal (as long as your technique is good)
  • Regular Flossing: Flossing helps ensure that your gums stay strong and healthy, while also getting rid of stubborn food, debris, and bacteria.
  • A Good, Healthy Diet: Keeping a healthy diet is one of the central tenets to keeping healthy teeth. By limiting sugar and  remaining careful with overly hard foods (that can cause cracks and chips), you help ensure your teeth stay in your mouth and in-service for years to come.

Are your teeth feeling a little worse for wear? Have a question about your oral health? Our dentists in Orange County are here to help. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

The Major Dental Problems for People Over the Age of 50

For dental patients over the age of 50, there is a good reason to smile these days. That's because more patients than ever are keeping their natural teeth well into their lives.

For dental patients over the age of 50, there is a good reason to smile these days. That’s because more patients than ever are keeping their natural teeth well into their lives.

However, there’s also another side to that story. And that is, because as more people are keeping  their natural teeth longer, the opportunity for new problems to arise can be greater.  In order to keep your natural teeth and prevent the need for dentures, dental bridges, or other tooth replacement treatments – our dentists in Orange County are here to present 5 of the biggest dental obstacles patients over 50 should work to avoid.

Dry Mouth

Would you believe that dry mouth can hurt your teeth? It’s true. Saliva’s job isn’t just to help with digestion. Actually, the organic compounds in saliva (phosphate and calcium, for example) help prevent calcification of plaque and tartar on your teeth – which contributes to decay and cavities.

Have trouble swallowing, taste something metallic, or have a sticky feeling in your mouth? Chances are it’s dry. Hydrate as often as possible and always avoid smoking. In order to stimulate more saliva production, you can both sip water or suck on sugar-free candy or gum.

Dental Decay

Contrary to what some might think, dental decay affects everyone with teeth.  Not only is it possible for people over 50 to get cavities in places that have never been an issue, cavities can also pop up near the root of the tooth or even around fillings. The solution is simple, and if you have your natural teeth to this day – you probably don’t need to be told, but all it comes down to is good oral hygiene and proper flouridation to keep your teeth strong and healthy while preventing cavities.

Gum Disease

If you have gums that are red, swollen, or prone to bleeding when you floss or brush – there’s a good sign that you have some degree of gum disease. In its later stages, gum disease can lead to bad breath, accelerated decay, and even tooth loss. So, if you’ve made it this far with your natural teeth – be sure to continue babying the gums that support them!

Have a question about your teeth, or maybe you’re looking for a dentist near Orange County? Our team can help. Schedule a consultation today to learn more about keeping your teeth for years to come. 



Getting Used to Your Dentures: Why It Takes Some Time

“I’m having a hard time getting used to lower and upper partials. Not only do they tire my mouth out, they feel heavy and uncomfortable. What can I do to try and get used to them?”


It’s no secret, that it takes some time to get used to dentures, no matter how extensive your need for tooth replacement. Our denture dentists in Orange County have seen countless patients work their way through the process. Many times, we’ve been reminded that it’s not always easy. But that’s not to say it isn’t entirely manageable.

The goal of your dentures is to replace not just your teeth, but your gums as well. In order to be stable, your dentures must also cover the roof of your mouth (including all of the ridge). Add in your actual replacement teeth, and it’s true that wearing dentures can make it feel like you have quite a bit of extra material in your mouth.

With all of this in mind, it can definitely take some time for you to get used to dentures, and this is especially true if you also had teeth extracted around the same time you had your denture placed.

More often than not, time is all it comes down to. But time is also your best friend. Because the more time you spend wearing your dentures, the quicker you’ll get used to them.t know this: not wearing your dentures will never help! Really try to wear them for a few hours a day.

I can’t talk right with my dentures, is there anything I can do?

If you’re having a hard time speaking with your dentures and they’re new, there’s a good chance you still need some time adjusting to them. Just like above, it all comes down to time. However, there are ways to speed the adjustment period up a little bit. For example, take the time to read with them out loud. While it might temporarily inconvenience a spouse or loved one, just tell them that they benefit in two ways: they get a story read to them, free of charge and they get to hear you speak the way you used to speak sooner.

Have questions about dentures? For patients in Orange County, our denture experts offer the highest level of care for affordable dentures that deliver comfort and confidence. Get in touch with us today to learn more.


What to Watch out for With Baby Teeth


At Primary Dental Care we believe a lifetime of healthy smile starts at its most logical beginning. The beginning of your life.

But we’re not just talking about baby teeth. We’re talking about the literal infancy of your oral health. Starting strong with focused and disciplined oral hygiene can mean years upon years of healthy teeth that don’t cause any problems.  While it might be too late for parents, don’t you want to start strong with your child? Good habits now mean fewer cavities, fewer fillings, and ultimately – less of a need for more advanced tooth replacement treatments later on (like dental crowns, dental bridges, and – ultimately – dentures).

Many parents often wonder about what they need to look out for to ensure a trouble-free dental future for their children. Fortunately, the answers are pretty simple. Typically, it comes down to three things.


A dental injury with baby teeth doesn’t necessarily mean an adult tooth will replace it perfectly. If left untreated, disturbance to a baby tooth could very well mean that an adult tooth doesn’t have the guidance or support it needs to become a straight and properly aligned adult tooth. Not only do baby teeth help your child eat, they also serve as a valuable guide for teeth that are on their way. So, discourage your child from risky dental behaviors  that can lead to chipping, cracking, or even knocking teeth out. These risks can range from biting into hard candies and getting into trouble with gravity, to running with objects dangling out of their mouths. Needless to say, while it’s impossible to prevent some accidents – early treatment (if possible) is the best solution to ensure a better long-term outcome.


Around the world, the most common dental problem in children is almost always decay (and the cavities that come with it). In most cases, pain signals the presence of a cavity and the problem is relatively easy to patch up for good. However, when a cavity is left untreated – it can easily lead to infection, chewing issues, pain and discomfort, speech problems, malnutrition, and more.

This is where a good oral hygiene foundation is important, and it should always include brushing (twice a day), flossing daily, rinsing, and yearly visits to your dentist’s office. At our dental office in Orange County – we recommend twice a year.


There are a wide variety of common, treatable, and manageable congenital dental conditions. These can often range from weaker enamel to a long list of abnormalities pertaining to tooth position, shape, and size. In some cases, some teeth can also be missing. Conditions like these aren’t altogether uncommon, and are one thing a good local dentist will discuss with new parents at their baby’s first dentist appointment (learn more about your baby’s first dental exam here).