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preventative dentistry

9 Surprising Foods That Prevent Tooth Decay

9 Surprising Foods That Prevent Tooth Decay

Recently we were quoted in Readers Digest on a story about some foods that are great ways to prevent tooth decay naturally.  The following is an excerpt from the piece courtesy of RD.  

https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/foods-that-prevent-tooth-decay/

“Plain yogurt is loaded with calcium, vitamin D, and immunity-boosting probiotics, so you may not be surprised to find dairy on our list of tooth decay-fighters. However, you'll be excited to learn that yogurt has both mouth-healthy and gut-healthy properties, says Lawrence Fung, DDS, a cosmetic dentist located in Playa Vista adjacent area of Culver City and spokesperson for Hello Oral Care, a natural-focused dental hygiene company. "Since our teeth are made up of calcium, foods containing calcium are great at building up our teeth's enamel," he explains of how to prevent cavities. "To help increase the uptake of calcium in our teeth, foods that contain vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus can help as well."

Oral Health During Pregnancy Tips

Oral Health During Pregnancy Tips

Pregnancy can be pretty daunting for new and existing mothers.  The body goes through some significant temporary changes and the status of your oral health is usually one of them.  Some of the common conditions that occur during pregnancy are the following

1.  Gum disease- During pregnancy, more attention than usual needs to be given to your teeth and gums.  Brushing twice daily, flossing once a day will keep gum disease at bay.  Pregnancy gingivitis (swollen easily bleeding gums) is very common, but regular home maintenance and two, maybe even three visits to your dentist office for a cleaning can help.  

2. Enamel erosion- Morning sickness which is common with pregnancy aside from causing the nausea, the acid if not buffered by rinsing with water or fluoride mouthwash can cause enamel to erode away.  

3.  Dry mouth- Be sure to drink plenty of water during pregnancy.  A dry mouth decreases your body's natural way of buffering and so it places you at higher risk for decay and erosion.  

In our practice, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to be on a three month recall, as there is research evidence linking periodontal disease and risk of complications with pregnancy.  If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and have more questions about oral health maintenance during these times, don't hesitate to reach our to the office at 310-929-7200 or you can email Dr. Lawrence at hello@siliconbeach.dental

Composite Veneers

Composite Veneers

I commonly get asked by patients-- I want to change the shape and color of my teeth but I don't want my teeth shaved down or I'm on a budget.  In the past, dentistry may have been a bit more black and white, but there is a new grey area...maybe grey is the new black? 

Dental composites have been around since the 70's.  Prior to that, silver amalgam filings (and arguably up to recently) have been consider the gold standard.  Today, dental composites are much stronger, esthetic, and economical than before.  Dental composites when used correctly with the right situations, can be a very long lasting, esthetic, highly functional alternative to more costly materials.  In the following link, see how our practice is able to provide dental composites as an alternative to traditional porcelain veneers.  

Eat, drink and be merry!

Eat, drink and be merry!

Does drinking wine through a straw really help prevent wine staining? Do those at-home whitening strips work? 


Before we dive into some stain treatment tips, lets go into what it is, how does it occur? After I go into the various types of stains can we then find out what are some options for treatment, when do we know we need to bring a professional in? And most important of all, how do we prevent it?  

What is it? 
There are three ways teeth can get staining- either internally or on the outer surface, or by natural aging.  For internal staining, that can be developmental (born with it) in origin, or in some cases where a young infant ingests too much fluoridated water (which is rare but happens more often in parts of the country where there is a higher unregulated natural occurring concentration of fluoride in the water), too high of fluoride intake during development can lead to staining of the permanent teeth even if the baby teeth were unaffected. For external stains, those are usually caused by our office favorites; wine and coffee. The last kind, which is less talked about, is how the dentin (the inner portion of the tooth) is naturally yellow and our teeth naturally appear more yellow as we age since the enamel that covers the teeth get thinner.  

How to treat? 
So what can we do about these stains?  Depending the cause of the staining treatment options vary.  The easiest stains to deal with are the surface stains.  Most common, especially on social media is teeth bleaching.  For teeth whitening bleaching, they can be purchased from the store or from your dentist.  Whitening toothpaste is a great option, however they aren’t very effective in many cases. Whitening toothpaste also has a higher abrasive content and so if you have gum recession, it may not be the best choice.  In a future post, we’ll go over whitening; at-home versus in-office, to the stuff you see all over on social media.  

When should I call my dentist? 
It is highly recommended that you consult with your dentist before attempting to address any staining concerns. In our practice, our job is to help our patients find out the root cause of the staining problem and present the most conservative treatment option to address that. Like most things in life, there isn’t a one-size solution that fits all.  You dentist should be able to recommend the appropriate treatment options- whether an at-home remedy or in-office option.   

Most importantly
Ok, now to the most important part of this post.  As always, we like to save the best for last.  Prevention, prevention, prevention.  No matter what type of procedure you decide to go with to whiten teeth, there are relapses that occur.  So unless you want to keep purchasing whitening in perpetuity, here are a few tips that I recommend.  


Keep up with your brushing!  Brush at least twice a day.  Rinse with water after having wine, coffee, or other drinks and foods that can stain your teeth.  Also, keep up with your regular cleanings.  The cleanings will help reduce the amount of plaque and calculus (tartar) buildup, which will allow your teeth to stay stain free as well.  And yes, drinking things through a straw can help but not as much as you would think.  The fluid will still make contact with your teeth.   Glass Dharma makes a great reusable glass straw so you can keep enjoying you glass of yummy merlot from Malibu Wines or that cup of joe from Blue Bottle!  


For more tips, follow us on our instagram which can be found on our office website-- http://siliconbeach.dental 

Less Is More

Less Is More

“Wearing a veneer of perfection never did me any good.” -Liz Phair

I frequently get asked by friends and patients what I think about veneers. Before I go into my answer, let me define what a veneer is. A veneer is a thin shell of medical-grade ceramic (or resin) that is traditionally attached to the front surface of a tooth. Veneers are individually crafted by a skilled lab technician who uses man-made materials to mimic a natural tooth. Dentists use veneers for a variety of dental issues including  color correction and orthodontic adjustments.

Due to Hollywood, veneers are synonymous with cosmetic dentistry. (Literally, in the 1920’s, Hollywood actors and actresses were known to get false front teeth.) Generally, when a patient comes to my office inquiring on how to improve their smile, they always ask about veneers. But are veneers really the best choice for everyone in every situation?

Honestly, it depends on the situation. If it's a color modification you seek, a simple course of teeth whitening may be all that is needed. If the goal is to correct the alignment of your teeth, a visit to your orthodontist is a much more conservative option. Although veneers are a conservative alternative compared to crowns, in most cases you still need to give up some tooth structure for the veneer to properly bond.

In summary, more is not always better. Ask your dentist to explore less invasive options before you begin an irreversible procedure. Keep in mind that in some cases, ultimate results can be achieved with a blend of the veneer alternative treatments discussed above. There are instances where good intra-professional collaboration of teeth whitening, orthodontics, and good planning can yield optimal cosmetic results as conservatively as possible.

 

 

So Many Choices

playavistadentaltoothpaste

I am frequently asked "What toothpaste do you recommend?"  To be honest, there is no single toothpaste that serves everyone's needs. When deciding, there are a few things to keep in mind.


Cavity Protection
Does the product contain fluoride?  Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water sources, it’s really unavoidable unless you want to consume only deionized water for life. Fluoride has garnered a bad rep lately, kind of unfair if you ask me. Fluoride is actually pretty cool; if Fluoride were a person, we’d definitely hang out. Research has shown that fluoride not only reduces cavities, but it also helps repair and potentially reverse the early stages of tooth decay. Pretty cool, right? 


Whitening
Whitening toothpastes are formulated with a higher abrasive content, sometimes in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide. If you have sensitive teeth or have been told by your dentist that you have gum recession, you may want to use these with caution.


Desensitizing
For sensitive teeth, these operate on the opposite mechanism as your whitening toothpaste. They contain less abrasives and use ingredients which help locally sedate the tooth surface. An ingredient to look for would be potassium nitrate. Little known fact: sodium fluoride also has desensitizing properties.


Antibacterial
For those who are trying to keep the bugs that cause gingivitis and periodontitis at bay, some brands are incorporating antibacterial ingredients into their toothpastes. Triclosan and stannous fluoride (told you fluoride was amazing) are two ingredients with antibacterial properties.


At the end of the day, when in doubt, consult with your general dentist for any professional recommendations. You can clearly tell from my casual writing style that these are my own off-the-cuff opinions.

For more of my opinions, check us out on http://siliconbeach.dental or shoot me an email at hello@siliconbeach.dental.