Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS

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Is Flossing with a Flosser Pick Enough?

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We get it. Flossing is hard.  And for some reason, it’s not always a big part of every patient’s oral hygiene routine. Whether that’s because patients generally start flossing at an older age – or flossing is just a little more time consuming and tricky than standard brushing, nobody knows. But the fact still stands: people don’t floss nearly as much as they brush. If they could, our dentists in Anaheim will be the first to try and tell as many patients as we can to start flossing. Or, as the saying goes: floss the teeth you want to keep.

But because flossing is so frequently seen as something that’s difficult to do, one product that’s come to market (and become pretty popular) are the dental flossing picks – which can go a long way when it comes to helping patients who need a bit of a hand when it comes to flossing. But are they as good as flossing? Not quite. Let’s take a look…

They don’t give you the same feedback

Unlike a good string of dental floss, a floss pick doesn’t really give you good feedback when it comes down to what you’re doing. Flossing consciously – which means really being careful and noticing colors, smells, and sensations that come about while flossing. The thing about floss picks is that you don’t have a clean section to use for each quadrant of your mouth and you can’t feel as much while you’re doing it either.

They aren’t as comprehensive

Floss picks simply can’t get around your teeth like a flexible strand of dental floss can. While the pick portion of the floss makes it easier to use and, frankly, better than nothing – it’s still not as thorough as real floss. So if you like floss picks for their convenience – keep them, but don’t throw out your box of floss either.

Single-use plastic is bad

Like water bottles and so many other wasteful products, it’s hard to argue that single-use plastics aren’t a problem for the environment. Not only are they not recyclable, but they are manufactured to be used once. You don’t have to be a big environmentalist to appreciate the fact that it’s an amount of waste that we should rather avoid. What better way to make a positive change than by improving your dental habits?

Have a question for our dentists in the Garden Grove area? We’re here to help. To learn more about taking care of your family’s teeth or to schedule an appointment – don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn about our competitive rates. 

 

 

The Best Gum For Your Teeth

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Time and again, our dentists in the Anaheim area have come to the Primary Dental Care blog with tips on how to get cleaner, brighter, and even whiter teeth.

Sometimes those suggestions are pretty normal – like brushing after meals or waiting a while before brushing after meals (to prevent unnecessary acid erosion). Other times, patients think the tips seem strange, like when we say that chewing gum is good for your teeth.

Wait a second. Let’s walk it back for a second.

Not all chewing gum is good for your teeth. That’s better.

Chewing gum can be a powerful tool in your arsenal when it comes to minimizing damage to your teeth and keeping them fresh and healthy. Even the American Dental Association recommends gum as a great stop-gap for middle-of-the-day dental care – especially when you can’t always brush. But the key feature in every ADA approved pack of chewing gum is the same – they don’t have sugar. Only sugar-free gum gets the important ADA seal of approval, and for good reason.

Most sugarless gum is sweetened with a special substance like xylitol or stevia. Stevia, for example, is as sweet as sugar – but doesn’t contain the fermentable carbs that end up getting converted into enamel-damaging acid.

The other big sweetener in gum is xylitol. In addition to not containing fermentable carbs or contributing to dental problems – xylitol even showed in studies that it helped clean the mouth by preventing the bacteria that causes plaque from sticking to teeth.

But this isn’t the only reason sugar-free gum can be good for your teeth  – a bigger reason is saliva flow. In addition to the fact that many people suffer from decreased salivation due to age or medication – saliva is just plain good for your teeth. Popping in some gum after a meal can often give your mouth the extra push it needed to help rid itself of extra food debris and bacteria that might have otherwise stuck around.

So, what’s the best gum for your teeth?  Look for 2 qualities

  1. It has an ADA Approval Seal
  2. It DOES NOT Have Sugar

Don’t Skip The Dentist When You’re Pregnant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy can legitimately get you out of a lot of obligations you’d rather not deal with – and more often than not, nobody will bat an eye. However, when it comes to seeing your dentist for your twice-annual check-up and cleaning – pregnancy won’t really get you out of it. But there’s a good reason for that.

While a whole lot of things may seem like just too much – it’s easy to think, “The dentist!? hell no. I’m pregnant.” but the good reason for keeping your dental checkups and not giving into the urge to reschedule is a pretty simple one: because your mouth goes through a lot of changes when you’re pregnant.

As our dentists in Garden Grove explain:

Many women experience some kind of oral hygiene problem during their pregnancy. This could be blamed partly on a change in routine or a change in diet, but most of all it’s tied to changing hormone levels that influence the gums to gradually get inflamed and sore. This is otherwise known as gingivitis – or, more specifically, pregnancy gingivitis.

On top of this, women also have a higher likelihood of getting cavities or experiencing enamel erosion while pregnant. Again, this can happen for a number of reasons. On one level, we still have hormones to deal with and a gradually changing diet. On another, we are dealing with symptoms like vomiting, nausea, and acid reflux – which can all increase the number of acids hanging around in your mouth. And If you’ve kept up with our Anaheim area dental practice‘s blog posts for a while, you’ll know how acid helps eat away at your teeth to cause cavities and other problems.

Don’t worry though.

Continue brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste, flossing with good technique, and be sure to see your dentist ideally at least once during your pregnancy. It could be a great way to prevent any troublesome dental issues from cropping up when you least plan for them.

Why Your Teeth Feel “Fuzzy” Sometimes

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Have your teeth ever felt “fuzzy”? Most of ours have. It can feel pretty gross, and is a great reminder that you need to give your teeth a good thorough brushing – but why does it happen and what does it mean?

Generally, there are a few causes for the oddly “fuzzy” sensation you can get in your teeth. Fortunately, most of them aren’t serious. Read on, and our Anaheim dentists will walk you through the most popular causes (and solutions) for “fuzzy” teeth.

Sweet, Starchy, and Sticky Foods….

If you’ve eaten foods that are either sweet (candy, and sweets – of course), starchy (pastas and breads), or sticky  (gummies, jellies, peanut butter, etc), your teeth can become a breeding ground for bacteria quite a bit faster. This causes plaque to form on your teeth – which can make them feel a bit gross. The best way to get rid of this feeling (outside of brushing) is to eat something hard and crisp – like an apple. Or, if you have some sugar free gum handy, that will work too.

Oxalic Acid in Your Mouth

Vegetables are incredibly important for your body and your oral health, however – some vegetables can seem to make your teeth get really fuzzy. This is because of a substance known as oxalic acid – and it can be found in veggies like spinach, kale, and beets. When these acidic crystals coat your teeth – it can make them feel anything but clean.

Tartar

In many cases, something as simple as an apple can make your teeth feel fresh and clean. In other cases, it could take some quality time with your toothbrush. But sometimes, poor oral hygiene can lead to tartar buildup when plaque isn’t removed in a timely (or effective) fashion. Tartar ramps up the bacteria in your mouth, leads to cavities, and contributes a great deal to gum disease.

Have more questions about your teeth? If you’re a patient near Anaheim or Garden Grove, dentists at Primary Dental Care are here to help. Learn more about our new patient specials today!

5 Tips to Help Prevent Oral Cancer

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If you read our last blog post, you know that April is oral cancer awareness month. For that reason, our Anaheim area dentists are reminding every patient that now is a better time than ever to double down on your oral care to prevent oral cancer.But how do you actually help prevent oral cancer? Fortunately, we have some tips.

1.Take Care of Your Skin

Taking care of your skin is incredibly important. But too much time in the sunlight doesn’t just pose a risk for skin cancer, it’s a problem for your lips too. To mitigate this risk, try to stay out of the direct sunlight as much as possible, and make sure you wear sunscreen or lip balm with an SPF of at least 15. Also – make sure you re-apply often.  And do we need to warn you about tanning beds?

2. Eat Better

Eating well and eating smart is one of the most surefire ways to help lower the risk of oral cancer.  A majority of the cancer-fighting nutrients that are found in veggies are cooked away when you cook them too much. Instead, leave a little life in them and avoid too much cooking oils. Bake, broil, steam, or boil your food more than you fry it to avoid some of the carcinogens in cooking oils at high-heat.

3. Watch the Alcohol Consumption

If you’re a heavy drinker, you should know that years and years of alcohol abuse can definitely contribute to your risk for oral cancer. If you have 3 or more drinks a day, your risk of oral cancer goes up considerably. f you drink, try to keep it in check. Try for 1 a day at maximum, and keep binge drinking to a minimum.

4. Visit the Dentist 

It’s important to visit the dentist on a regular basis. This is because your dentist is responsible not just for cleaning, polishing and filling cavities in your teeth. He or she is also responsible for checking everything in your mouth from your tongues and lips to your gums and the soft tissue throughout your mouth. Your dentist is your first line of defense when it comes to finding any problems as early as possible.

5.  Quit Tobacco: Period

One of the best things you can do to minimize your risk for mouth cancer is to never become a smoker. Or, if you already are a smoker – stop. Cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and chewing tobacco all pose a risk for mouth cancer. Even if you already are a tobacco user, quitting now will minimize your risk and make treatment easier.

Could you be at risk for oral cancer? Stop wondering. If you notice any symptoms or feel anything different in your mouth – a simple visit to the dentist could save you some money, or it could save your life. Learn about our new patient specials today and schedule a visit to answer any questions you may have about your teeth. 

 

Did You Know It’s National Oral Cancer Awareness Month?

There is a very long list of reasons to take care of your teeth and your mouth. While we’ve covered many of the ways your teeth can become injured, discolored, or otherwise damaged. What we haven’t talked about a lot are other dangers to your mouth – like oral cancer.

Fortunately, the month of April provides a good opportunity for our dentists in the Anaheim area to do so – because it just happens to be oral cancer awareness month. So what should you know?

Every year – tens of thousands of men and women across the United States get diagnosed with oral cancer. Sadly, not every single case of oral cancer is treatable. While oral cancer happens most often in either the mouth or throat – it tends to start on squamous cells – or the flat cells that cover your mouth, lips, and tongue.

So how do you avoid it? 

You start by staying on top of your oral health as much as possible. That means staying away from risk-factors like tobacco, too much sun exposure, diet factors, heavy alcohol consumption, and – in some populations – betel nut chewing.

And how do you spot it?

Do you know if you could be at risk for oral cancer? Probably not. Ideally, your dentist or doctor will notice it first. That’s because by going to the dentist regularly, you give him or her the opportunity to take a good look at your mouth and spot the earliest warning signs available for issues like oral cancer. But there are some symptoms you can look out for.

The earliest visible symptoms to look out for include pale, white patches on the inside of your lips and mouth. Similar to this — you might notice a mouth or lip sore that doesn’t seem to want to heal. This could also be a sign of oral cancer.

Other symptoms you need to look out for include bleeding in your mouth – especially if you’re not being very rough (or eating anything particularly tough), painful swallowing, teeth that are loose, numbness in and around your lips and chin, or a lump in your neck. All of these symptoms can point to a potential problem in your mouth that needs to be looked at.

Remember: there’s a great chance it’s something simple. But it’s always healthier to know than to not know.  But if you have any of the above symptoms – see your local family dentist or your physician, whoever you can see first.

 

Medicines that Can Cause Dry Mouth and What You Should Do

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Nobody ever said that taking care of your teeth is easy. In fact, you know what can also be a bit difficult?  Taking care of the rest of your body.

Just like some people have some trouble taking great care of your teeth – an almost endless list of circumstances can make it just as tough to take care of the rest of our bodies. For that reason, we have medicine to help us along the way.

While some medicine is more mundane than others – the fact still stands that every kind of medicine interacts with other systems, chemicals, hormones and other and substances in your body to produce some sort of result. In a lot of cases, if the positive result is better than the minor unintended consequences (otherwise known  as side effects) treatment is usually considered a success.

However, it should be noted that some side effects can influence your mouth. This is why dentists need to know about your medication history. Because while most side effects aren’t incredibly dangerous by themselves – they need to be kept track of to ensure you can properly prevent any problems in the future.

One of the most common medication side effects that impact your teeth is dry mouth.

If you take anything from today’s post. Let it be this:  many medications can cause dry mouth. Unfortunately, while those medications can help you get better or feel better – they won’t help your mouth. This is because a decreased flow of saliva means that your mouth has a harder time ridding itself of debris and bacteria – especially after you eat.

The most common kinds of medicine that cause dry mouth include:

  • Decongestants
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Sedatives
  • Medications for parkinsons
  • Antacids
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Pain meds
  • Cancer medication
  • and others…

 

Fortunately, dry mouth is actually pretty easy to combat. If it’s severe though – you might consider asking your doctor about any suitable alternatives. If that’s not possible, try some of the following:

  • Drink water while you eat – it will make swallowing and chewing easier.
  • Sip on any kind of sugar-free drink throughout the day, it will help prevent cavities and keep your mouth clean
  • Avoid food that’s spicy or salty – if your mouth is dry, salty or spicy foods can irritate it.
  • Skip caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and tobacco if you can – since they contribute to dryness. At the very least – be aware of what they do to your mouth.
  • Try using a humidifier at night.

Every day, our dentists in the Anaheim area work with patients who have dental questions of your own. If you live in the Anaheim or Garden Grove area and are looking for a helpful dentist that cares – give us a try. Check out our new patient specials today, or give us a call to learn more. 

 

 

What Happens When You Don’t Floss

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Everyone knows that flossing is important, but for some reason – while most patients tend to brush their teeth at least semi-regularly (some of them even twice a day, and after meals!) it’s much harder to convince everyone to floss. This isn’t just an observation our dentists in the Anaheim area have noticed, either. It’s pretty safe to say that flossing isn’t the most popular activity for dental patients pretty much anywhere. But it’s still important to do – for a few feasons. Read about some of them below…

1. Prevent Bleeding Gums

If your gums are healthy – they shouldn’t be bleeding. So, if you find that your gums are bleeding when you brush or floss – you might be suffering from a cause of either gingivitis or periodontitis.

In most cases, gum inflammation – otherwise known as gingivitis, comes before gum disease (periodontitis). But in many common cases, an improvement in oral hygiene and other factors can prevent gingivitis from progressing to gum disease.

2. Fight Bad Breath: Flossing isn’t just to prevent gum disease and other problems, it can also help a great deal if you suffer from bad breath. Bacteria and leftover food particles contribute to bad breath – they also tend to hang out in between your teeth. Fortunately, some floss can help!

3. Fight Tartar: Plaque is usu

3. Halitosis

Neglecting to floss may be the culprit for bad breath that you can’t seem to get rid of. (Leftover food particles from last weeks lunch are bound to not smell so great, right?)

4. Help keep your teeth white: if you’re trying to make sure your teeth stay white, it’s not a good idea to skip flossing. Removing buildup between your teeth helps cut down on the appearance of coloration in your entire smile.

5. Prevent Cavities: When you let bacteria sit for too long, it begins to contribute to decay. Decay is what leads to cavities. This is a problem not just because a cavity needs to be filled, but because it disrupts the entire structure of the tooth, and should be avoided at all costs. Because a tooth is never as strong as when it’s in it’s healthiest, most natural state.

If you have questions about your teeth and you live in the Anaheim area – contact our dentists today to learn about how we can help, and what specials we have for new patients.  

Whiten Your Teeth The Natural Way, With Food!

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If there’s one thing our dentists in the Anaheim area help patients with frequently, it’s their self-esteem. Teeth are one of the first things we notice in one another, and with so much that can happen in a lifetime – there are far too many people out there who aren’t happy with their teeth. But there is something you can do to dial back the years of hard living or poor dental care: you can whiten your teeth.

Even if more major dental restorations aren’t required (or available), whitening your teeth can be a fantastic way to boost your confidence quickly and safely. From patients who simply developed yellowing teeth – to those who have stained teeth from smoking or other lifestyle choices, it can be quite amazing to see how much better your teeth can look with one or two simple in-office whitening treatments.

But sometimes you don’t need to get a whitening treatment at your dentist’s office to get whiter teeth.  Did you know you can get on the road to whiter teeth by eating certain foods (and avoiding others)?

Broccoli: Fresh, uncooked broccoli works as nature’s toothbrush – as the crispy green florets gently scrape and clean your teeth as you chomp. On top of this, their high iron content helps coat your enamel to protect against stains and erosion.

Carrots: like broccoli, crunch carrots have a gentle but abrasive surface that stains have a hard time standing up to. By snacking on a raw carrot – you can effectively help prevent stains, cavity, and decay all at once. Don’t forget to brush though.

Cheese: It might not always be great for your waistline, but the tough surface on cheeses like gouda can help prevent stains that are created by the build-up of microscopic food particles.

Bonus: Stevia 

Stevia is a sugar alternative that’s derived from a plant. Typically, artificial sweeteners aren’t very popular in the healthcare community – but stevia is a little different. Stevia is actually the healthiest option when it comes to sweeteners, but it’s also highly alkaline. This means that it helps prevent plaque from forming on your teeth by contributing to the neutralization of acids.

 

 

Simple Tips for Better Teeth from your Anaheim Area Dentists

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Taking care of your teeth takes time and effort. When your teeth are healthy – there’s often a reason, and when your teeth are unhealthy you can be sure that there’s a reason. The fact is: there are quite a few factors at play when it comes to your oral health.

Just think about it – from bacteria and pH balance to nutrition, medication, and so much more – the sheer number of ways your teeth and mouth can be impacted by external factors is unlike many other systems in the body.

With that in mind, our dentists in the Anaheim area want to make sure every patient has all the knowledge they need. So without further delay: 3 simple dental tips you can try to improve your teeth now. 

Kick Brushing Into High Gear

Did you realize that an electric toothbrush can remove up to 80% more plaque than a traditional toothbrush? That’s because it’s much harder to brush incorrectly or for too short of a duration when you’re using an electric toothbrush. With a traditional toothbrush – your technique has to be just right.

While some electric toothbrushes are better than others – even a battery powered manual toothbrush can often be more effective than an “old-fashioned” toothbrush.

Rinse Your Mouth Out

Rinsing out your mouth should never be a replacement for brushing – but it sure can be a great supplement. From freshening your breath or giving your teeth a much-needed fluoride rinse to knocking away sugar, food debris, and bacteria – a non-alcohol mouthwash is always a good bet. But do stay away from alcohol-based mouthwash. It’s been shown to have links to oral health problems.

Chew More Gum

Did you ever think your dentist would tell you to chew more gum? Well – there’s a catch. Chew more sugar-free gum after meals. On top of brushing, flossing, and rinsing – chewing gum can increase saliva flow (which helps rinse out your mouth), neutralize acid, and stick-on to any major debris that’s hanging around in your mouth after you eat.

Have a question about your teeth? Our dentists in the Anaheim area have the answers you’re looking for! Get in touch with us today to learn about new patient specials and more.