Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS

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Is the Dentist’s Drill Going Away? Our Anaheim Dentist’s Weigh In

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Perhaps one of the most common mental images the hesitant dental patient has about their dentist is a whirring drill, slowly and terrifyingly approaching their mouth – ready to do it’s dirty work.

Unfortunately, dental drills tend to get a bad rep. Of course, while getting your teeth drilled to fix a cavity or do some dental restoration work is never the most pleasant experience – dental drills have come an incredibly long way since the time they were first used nearly 1,000 years ago by primitive cultures like the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Mayans. Back then, the drills were made of stone and were much, much, much less advanced (naturally). In those times, the drills were twisted (painfully) around the tooth until a hole could be made. This generally took a long time, and – unfortunately – local anesthetic wasn’t a thing. Today, drills are constantly being improved upon, and they’ve even been made to be much quieter, much cleaner, and much faster.

Did you know drills are also becoming less necessary?

On top of this, dental drills also might be starting to see their eventual demise. According to Science Alert, an Australian Study 7 years in the making has suggested that “no drill” dental care techniques could start replacing the drill-centric treatments that so many patients dread.

While these studies haven’t yet started to change the way dentists treat most patients, they are shedding light on the possibility that tooth decay is “fast moving” and instead that, while still progressive, it takes up to a few years for decay to actually make its way through your enamel – which could allow it to be stopped and reversed before ever requiring the intervention of a drill.

By assessing the risk of decay and carefully interpreting X-rays, these studies show that spotting the earliest signs of decay could potentially provide dentists with the opportunity to instead apply special concentrations (including fluoride) to stop decay in its tracks and prevent the need for a more invasive treatment.

However, without an engaged patient that’s willing to really buckle down and improve their dental hygiene habits – these treatments will hardly be effective. So, despite the fact that these sorts of treatments are still in their infancy – our dentists in the Anaheim area recommend that our patients get on board with better oral hygiene routines now — at the very least, if you are susceptible to cavities – it could save you from the drill in the future.

 

Healthy Foods That Aren’t So Healthy For Your Teeth

Fortunately for Americans across the country, healthy diets are on the upswing and more and more people are becoming more focused on what they’re putting in their mouths. While this is incredible (and something that should be encouraged), it’s always important to consider what a change in diet is doing for your teeth as well.

Unfortunately, what’s good for the rest of your body isn’t always good for your teeth. Sometimes, foods that are widely considered great for you are “not so great” for your teeth – which can ultimately lead to problems like accelerated decay and cavities – which can, in turn, lead to more serious problems that might require treatments like root canal therapy. In other cases, it could be as simple as the fact that some healthy foods are more likely to stain your teeth – which can sometimes speed up the need for an in-office teeth whitening treatment.

Chewable Vitamins

There’s a great reason why so many moms love chewable vitamins, because they make convincing your kids to take their vitamins very very easy. The reason behind that is incredibly simple, so simple in fact that a very famous song was written about it, memorialized by an all-time American favorite: Mary Poppins. “A spoonful of sugar, helps the medicine go down in a most delightful way”

Unfortunately, if Mary has her way with every child – the world will be full of many more cavities. While vitamins are typically thought to be “healthy” having sticky bits of sugar stuck to your teeth is never good. So if chewable vitamins are part of your new health regimen, do be sure to brush, floss, and rinse very well. Or a spoonful of sugar could lead to a mouthful of cavities.

Foods that are Dark

It isn’t just wine, coffee, and tea that contribute to stains on your teeth. Anything that’s dark can potentially dull your smile, and that includes superfoods like blueberries. If your teeth are on the porous side – you might be more susceptible to this staining.

Foods that are Sticky

When it comes to losing weight and feeling better, many times your doctor will encourage you to cut out the sugar and sweets. Many times, patients tend to think that this just means that they need to start cutting out sticky candies, but there are plenty of other sticky foods that are sweet and not candy. Think about it, what’s something sticky that you often find inside candy and ice cream? Peanut butter! That’s right, while peanut butter is packed full of good stuff, it isn’t always good for your teeth. Unfortunately, while it can be a great food for your body it is also a great food for bacteria due to the fact that it can sometimes contain a lot of sugar, and it sticks around a good while for bacteria to feast away. Our dentists in Anaheim recommend choosing a peanut butter that has no added sugar to avoid this sticky little problem.

What to Do When You Don’t Have Any Toothpaste

If you’re anything like a lot of our patients – you tend to get a little nervous when you realize you’ve run out of toothpaste. For our dentists in Anaheim, California – this is good thing. It means we’ve convinced patients young and old that brushing is an essential part of the day that shouldn’t be skipped.

So what do you do when, despite all of your best intentions, you realize that you don’t have any toothpaste to brush with?

Don’t worry too much – a single night without toothpaste won’t make or break your stellar dental care routine. So our dentists want to make sure you have a good option.

Brush With Water

You don’t even need to really brush with it – but if you don’t have any toothpaste handy it can help. One of the fastest and most helpful ways to clean your teeth is to simply pour yourself a nice big glass of water. Not only is it good for you, but it will help loosen up dirt on your teeth. If you gargle and spit, there’s a great chance that it’ll take a good deal of the plaque along with it.

 Scrub up with a towel

If a little bit of water’s not going to get the job done, you might need to do a bit more scrubbing. Without a toothbrush or toothpaste, this can get a little difficult. But it doesn’t have to be. In a pinch, wrapping a bit of paper towel around your finger can actually get the job done. It won’t work quite as well as a toothbrush, but for now – it will do.

Find Some Floss

For most people, flossing is already a part of their everyday oral hygiene routine. If you can’t seem to find a toothbrush (that’s yours) but you can get your hands on some floss, a combination of the methods above and some good thorough flossing will do even more to help remove food debris and plaque that can lead to problems like decay and cavities.

 

 

 

 

New Years Resolution Stalled? Why Not Shoot for Better Teeth?

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It happens every year around February or March – your lofty goals for a life-changing New Year’s resolution start to slowly seem harder and harder to attain.

Many times, this can happen because you didn’t start small – instead aiming for a TOTAL transformation instead of little baby steps. That’s okay – it happens to all of us. So if you’ve started to notice that your resolutions are beginning to suffer from burnout – try restarting small by endeavoring to improve your teeth!

If you’ve ever thought you could be better about brushing or flossing, you’ll be happy to know that improving your oral hygiene habits is actually pretty easy. It can also be the perfect way to “think small” about making a real positive change. Today, our dentists in the Anaheim area have provided 3 tips to help you protect and beautify your teeth.

Wash your Mouth

Brushing twice a day (and after meals when possible) is and always will be the golden standard when it comes to taking care of your teeth. However, giving your teeth a good bath with alcohol-free mouthwash can help a great deal. It’s important to remember, though – this shouldn’t be seen as an alternative to brushing altogether. Many of these products also include additives that help prevent cavities and gingivitis.

On top of mouthwash, another essential part of washing your mouth out includes drinking plenty of water. Like mouthwash – water helps rinse your teeth of acids, food debris, and bacteria and will halt the progress of bacteria between brushing.

Watch for Acidic Drinks

While it might be nice to sip on a nice lemonade by the pool, sipping on acidic drinks for extended periods of time can expose your teeth to high levels of acid that can and will eat away at the enamel on your teeth. This isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy a nice lemonade – but do be sure to still drink plenty of water, and – if you can – drink out of a straw.

 

Go on a Diet, for Whiter Teeth

If you’ve been noticing that your teeth are appearing dull or stained, it might be time for you to go on a diet.

No, no, no – not that kind of diet. Just a diet that eliminates or at least minimizes the number of stain-causing foods. If you enjoy red wine, black coffee, you’re a smoker – or maybe you like to start your morning with a glass of cold grape juice, stains could be a very real possibility.  Think about it this way, if it’s dark when you drink or eat it – it will stain your teeth.

If you simply can’t stand the thought of cutting some of these items out of your diet, you should try to either cut back or go cut them out of your “diet” completely.

Bonus Tip: Eat an Apple

For a quick mouth refresher that can also help lift stains, grab an apple (and eat it, of course).

Eat This for Healthier Teeth

What you put into your mouth has a lot to do with what you get out of your mouth. That is, the healthier you eat the better your oral hygiene will be – but that’s not the whole story. There are also some foods that you should gravitate towards that can help ensure your teeth get the boost they need.

This probably isn’t surprising to most people, who know that excess sugar (and starches) can do quite a lot to damage your teeth. But you might not know which foods you should gravitate towards for healthier teeth.

Without further ado, our dentists in Anaheim have provided a few good recommendations to follow when it comes to improving your diet for better teeth.

 

Calcium and Vitamin D

Both calcium and vitamin D play a dual role in strengthening the structures in and around your mouth.

What calcium does for your teeth:

You might know that tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body. However, it can still be damaged by acid.  The thing is, your tooth’s enamel is made of calcium-phosphate, which means that a diet high in calcium is helpful for the protection and development of your teeth. On top of this, calcium directly influences the strength of your bones – like your jawbone, which is responsible for supporting your teeth.

 

Foods with calcium include:

  • Milk
  • Sardines (and other fish)
  • Kale
  • Bok Choy
  • Watercress
  • Broccoli
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt

What vitamin D does for your teeth:  

Vitamin D is required to help your body absorb calcium and help promote the growth and development of your bones. It’s been shown that patients with vitamin D deficiencies are often more susceptible to premature tooth loss. When vitamin D combined with calcium, your teeth have a much easier time holding your teeth in their sockets.

But that’s not all. Vitamin D also helps reduce the occurrence of gingivitis in your mouth, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.  Vitamin D can actually be kind of tough to get if you don’t get outside very often, because one of its most prevalent sources is natural sunlight – which is fortunate for patients of our dental office in Garden Grove. But there are other sources, such as:

  • Tuna and other fatty fish (like salmon)
  • Vitamin D fortified foods, like dairy products, soy milk, juice, and some (healthy) cereals.
  • Beef liver
  • Cheeses
  • Egg yolks

 

Simple “Life Hacks” for Healthier Teeth

Everyone knows that their teeth are important, but do they treat them like they’re important? Well, that’s a different story.

When you don’t take good care of your teeth, they can begin to pose a troublesome problem for you sooner than you might think. For that reason, it’s very important to do everything you can to keep your teeth as healthy as possible – but that doesn’t need to be hard. So our Anaheim area dentists have come up with a short list of “dental life hacks” to make caring for your teeth easier and more successful in the long-run.

Try floss sticks or “pre-strung” floss

It’s not just dentists in the Anaheim area that have to contend with patients that would rather not floss. But fortunately, there’s a pretty simple solution to making a good flossing routine easier for even the most stubborn. If you just can’t seem to start a flossing habit with traditional floss, you can try switching to floss-sticks. While alternative flossing tools make it easier to reach your molars while also keeping your fingers from being covered in drool – they do have one downside in that they don’t quite work the whole tooth like traditional floss does. So do be thorough.

Say no to your vegetables, at least until the end of your meal

Everyone knows that vegetables are good for you, but did you know that they’re good for your teeth as well? If your meal has vegetables (which it really should!) be sure to eat them last. In fact, you should try to include some sort of raw, crunchy vegetable in your diet for this very reason: because they are nature’s toothbrushes! Not only are they great for you, but they help scrape debris and bacteria off your teeth as you eat them.

Drink More Water

Quite a few people know that they should be drinking more water. Not only can it help with weight loss and skin health – but, just like vegetables, water is also great for your teeth (and for many of the same reasons). Just like vegetables like carrots and celeries help keep your teeth free and clear of bacteria and debris – water also helps wash your teeth clean of bacteria, acid, and food debris.

Not only can a dry mouth contribute to an increase in decay, but the bacteria that causes bad breath (and halitosis) also tends to thrive when your mouth is dry. Ever wondered why your breath often smells extra bad in the morning? Part of the reason is because you haven’t been drinking water, and bacteria has had an opportunity to multiply and thrive.

 

 

 

So, You Forgot Your Toothbrush

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It’s happened before and it will happen again. You’re traveling and you remembered to pack just about everything – but you ended up forgetting your toothbrush. Easy mistake! Fortunately, your teeth are not going to fall out. You’re going to be okay, but our dentists from the Anaheim area do have some pointers.

First, remember that brushing and flossing are both incredibly important. Also, keep in mind that there is bacteria in your mouth every day and it has one, single mission: feed. As it does that, it will continue to contribute to more and more decay as bacteria attempts to work its way deeper into your teeth. This leads us to our first point:

Don’t Just Take a Night Off

You would be better off scratching your teeth with your fingernails than not brushing at all (though that’s not perfect either). By skipping just a single brushing, you enable bacteria in your mouth to establish a stronger foothold on your teeth – which helps create decay. On top of this, getting rid of that bacteria next time  you brush will be even harder than it normally would.

So, what can you do?

Well, if you have toothpaste  – one thing you can do is brush your teeth with your finger and a little toothpaste.  If you don’t have any toothpaste, but do have some baking soda – you can use a small amount of baking soda on your finger as well.

Of course, there are other options (all with varying degrees of success – but ultimately better than not brushing at all). The first, and perhaps most popular option is to chew sugar-free gum, which will freshen your breath and help pull away any remaining debris (just remember to choose sugar free! – or you’ll be doing more harm than good.)

Have a question about your teeth and live in the Anaheim area? Dentists in our office are standing by! 

 

3 Ways You Can Help Your Infant’s Teeth

For every new parent, a feeling of being overwhelmed is far from uncommon. It’s also not uncommon for new parents to look for help and tips online to make their new task of parenting even easier.

Sometimes, that’s lead to parents and at Garden Grove dental Arts to ask for advice on how to care for an infant’s teeth – even if they haven’t come in yet.

To learn more, take a look at our 3 key tips for healthier baby teeth

Start Early

When it comes to really helping ensure your baby’s teeth are healthy and well-supported for years to come, it can definitely help to start caring for them early.  Start “brushing” your baby’s gums with a damp washcloth or piece of gauze well before you can actually see the teeth coming in. You should also be able to find thin, rubbery devices (that look kind of like a thimble) that are designed for this exact purpose. This cleaning is important because it establishes a routine early and prevents bacteria, decay, and extra food from collecting on the gums – and potentially on the surface of teeth you might not see emerging yet.

Follow Meals with Water

Typically, your baby’s food will easily wash off after meals with a little water. However, our Anaheim area dentists always recommend following this up with a very soft toothbrush to make sure you’ve gotten everything. This is almost more for getting your child used to brushing than it is for actually brushing.

In most cases, you won’t need to be actually brushing your child’s teeth until they have more of them – this generally happens around 16-18 months.

Start Brushing With Toothpaste After 2 Years

In most cases, your baby’s teeth should have all grown in by the time they are about two years old. This is when it’s time to start brushing for real – with a very small dab of fluoridated toothpaste that’s about the same size as a piece of rice.

The Top 3 Myths Our Dentists in Garden Grove Hear About Your Teeth

When it comes to the health of your teeth and mouth, a lot of misinformation gets spread around. Sometimes, a simple wives-tale here or there won’t do much harm, but sometimes there are myths and misconceptions about your teeth that can alter the way you care for them, which isn’t a good thing.

Sugar Causes Cavities

The myth that sugar causes cavities is a prevalent one for a few key reasons. This misunderstanding is, actually, pretty understandable because of the way we frequently tie poor diets, full of sugary food and drink to dental problems. But it’s actually not sugar that causes cavities. In fact, you could have a diet rich in carbs – while avoiding sugary sweets altogether, and still have dental problems. This is because cavities come from bacteria and acid, and just because bacteria feeds on the acid that sugar creates, doesn’t mean that other substances (like carbs) don’t break down into acid as well.  So, if you want to avoid the dentist’s office, our dentists in Garden Grove recommend a well balanced diet. Don’t just avoid sugar.

Brushing Harder Helps Clean Teeth Better

Do you ever suffer from dental sensitivity, or have you noticed that your teeth might seem a little “longer” than they normally do? It could stem to the fact that you’re brushing too hard. What many patients don’t know that our dentists have to remind them of is that you don’t need to scrub your teeth, you just need to gently brush them. When you “brush” your hair, do you use a lot of force?” No! So when you brush your teeth you don’t need to either. Over-brushing (and brushing too much) can slowly wear away your gum tissue and even your enamel. Our tip is to hold your toothbrush like a pencil, and be sure to use a soft brush head.

You can whiten your teeth with baking soda

 

Many times, baking soda gets pointed to as a great way to whiten your teeth – and many patients are quick to point out that it can be found in many toothpastes. While baking soda does serve as a good and mild abrasive substance that can remove some surface stains from your teeth – our dentists in Garden Grove often warn patients against using it. While it can help your teeth appear whiter, it won’t take care of deeper stains that have been there a long time and – if overused – it can wear away the enamel on your teeth (which will make your teeth more susceptible to damage and staining).

Can Flushing the Toilet Contaminate My Toothbrush?

When it comes to your teeth and your mouth, there’s actually quite a few factors that can ultimately decide on whether or not you have a good dental checkup.  Fortunately, it’s not too hard to adopt a good oral hygiene routine. But with so much going on in your mouth, it’s not exactly surprising that some interesting myths can develop about your mouth and your teeth.

Today, our dentists from around Anaheim, California want to clear up one particular myth that people like to share online. Usually, it starts something like this: “Did you know, Flushing Your Toilet Infects Your Toothbrush with Feces”

Since it pertains to your toothbrush, this is myth our dentists in Garden Grove have heard a number of times. It goes kind of like this: when you flush your toilet, it launches fecal germs out of the toilet and – if your toothbrush is nearby, it just so happens to get caught in the crossfire.

However, this myth is based on one serious misconception: that your toilet is dirty to begin with. There’s a good chance that your toothbrush is actually already dirtier than your toilet.  Many of studies have shown that your toilet happens to be one of the least germ-ridden places in your house. On the other hand, since your toothbrush’s job is to scrape away bacteria – it usually end sup covered in it. Fortunately, your immune system can handle the bacteria.

With all of this in mind though, you might still be wondering – “do I need to keep my toothbrush away from the toilet, or the bathroom, altogether?” No. Keeping your toothbrush away from your toilet isn’t a good way to keep it clean. The best way to keep it clean is to ensure that it stays dry. 

That’s right – safe toothbrush is a dry toothbrush. Bacteria relies on moisture to survive. Without it, it will have a much harder time. To make sure your toothbrush stays clenaer, Our Garden Grove dentists simply recommend making sure you store your toothbrush with plenty of airflow so it can dry out.