10 Ways to Love Your Teeth

Ah, February, the month of love. Which also happens to be American Heart Month! Did you know that to keep your heart healthy you need healthy gums as well? Your gums are there to hold the roots of your teeth in place. When you don’t properly take care of your teeth and gums by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once, they’re at a higher risk of periodontal disease.

More commonly known as gum disease, its effects vary from redness and swelling, to complete destruction of the tooth’s bone support. Which often ends in tooth loss. The bacteria that cause gum disease can also travel into your bloodstream, causing blood vessel inflammation and damage to your heart. It also leaves tiny blood clots in its wake, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Luckily there are a bunch of things you can do to keep that smile, and heart, safe and healthy!

Here are 10 tips and tricks to keep your mouth, and your heart healthy this Valentine’s Day!

  1. Brush your teeth correctly:  Brushing is extremely important to your oral and brush-floss.pngoverall health. The ADA recommends that you brush gently, in short strokes, and at a 45-degree angle for 2 minutes. This prevents the bristles from removing the enamel that protects your teeth. When brushing the backs of your teeth, it’s best to turn the brush vertically and make multiple short strokes on every tooth.
  2. Know when to toss it: Your toothbrush only needs to stick around for about 3 months, or until the bristles start to fray. When they begin to fray, your brush won’t do its job properly leaving your mouth defenseless against harmful bacteria. Speaking of which, after a while, your toothbrush will start to gather food particles and bacteria that can’t be rinsed away with water. When you don’t replace your brush, all that bacteria gets reintroduced posing a bigger threat to your dental and heart health. This is why it’s important to pay attention to how long you’ve had your brush, notice what condition it’s in, and take action when it’s time for a new one.
  3. Use fluoride toothpaste:  Fluoride, known as natures cavity fighter, is a mineral found in the earth’s core. Before our teeth come in, our body is absorbing fluoride through our nutrients to help build a resistance to tooth decay, this is called a systemic benefit. Once our teeth are in, brushing or using other dental products with fluoride helps rebuild the eroded enamel and reverse the effects of tooth decay. With the risk of tooth decay lowered by using fluoride products, your chances of a heart attack or stroke also decrease.
  4. How to rinse: Contrary to common belief, you are not supposed to rinse your mouth with only water immediately after brushing. When you do this, you are taking all that wonderful fluoride we talked about in #3 and spitting it down the drain. By rinsing right after you brush you aren’t giving the fluoride enough time to attach to your teeth and patch up all that worn-down enamel. It’s best to rinse with water before you spit the foamy left-over toothpaste out. This allows your teeth to absorb the fluoride while rinsing out all the toothpaste.
  5. What to do about sweets: As you may know, sugar is possibly one of the worst things out there for you. Besides its obvious risks of excess sugar, obesity, and diabetes, sugar can have a bad effect on your teeth, gums, and heart. Sugar can increase the triglyceride (fat) in the blood, that fat can then get clogged in your arteries which could result in heart failure. Sugar also puts your teeth and gums at risk of acid attacks. When sugar binds with the bacteria in our mouths it creates acid. This acid can stick to enamel and cause it to erode. It’s best if you eat and drink sugar in small portions; and, if you’re craving something sweet have a bowl of fruit or some dark chocolate. They are both great for your heart and your smile.
  6. Valentine’s candy and ortho appliances: If you have braces, the same candy rulesbraces-candy.png still apply, chewy or sticky candy can get stuck in your brackets. The sugar then reacts with the bacteria in your mouth creating a white film around the brackets. This substance is nearly impossible to clean and can cause extended acid attacks and increases your risk of cavities.
  7. Floss daily: While flossing may be the most tedious part of your dental routine it is also the most important. The bristles on your toothbrush are too wide to get all the yucky plaque that gets stuck between your teeth. When you don’t floss that plaque sits in-between your teeth and hardens. After it has adhered to your tooth it will then make its way down to the root which can cause gum disease and recession.
  8. Cut the Tobacco: Another thing that may be worse for your mouth than sugar is tobacco products. Usage minimizes the amount of blood flow to the gums which can cause and hide signs of gum disease. While using tobacco you are 3 times more likely to develop gum disease, which elevates your risk of heart disease. The nicotine in tobacco reduces saliva flow and causes dry mouth. Both can end in tooth loss due to the lack of moisture in your gums.
  9. Tongues are important: When you forget to brush your tongue all the bacteria that cause bad breath, and plaque that causes cavities just sits there. Even after you have brushed your teeth if you don’t brush your tongue all the bacteria and plaque will attach itself onto your tooth roots and gums. This can lead to gum disease as well.
  10. Checkups: This is the most important part of your dental routine. By visiting your dentist twice a year you are showing your teeth the necessary TLC with a little professional help. Your dentist can clean your teeth, check for cavities, and catch issues in your mouth before they turn into bigger problems

Remember to brush 2x a day and floss at minimum once a day because dental hygiene is a vital part of your overall health. These are only a few tips and tricks, ask us at your next appointment how you can give your teeth some love. Make your heart and teeth happy by scheduling your appointment today!

Dental Health of San Francisco
2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368

 

Teeth Friendly Stocking Stuffers

The holidays are here, a time filled with joy, kinship, laughter, presents, and stockings. As you already know finding cute simple things to fill a stocking isn’t always the easiest. Especially when you’re trying to shop healthy. So, here’s our recommendation for teeth-friendly stocking!

Toothbrush: This is the perfect stocking stuffer for all ages. Toothbrushes come in all types of fun options, which makes them easy to toss in. Soft-bristle toothbrushes are the best because hard bristles can damage your teeth. You can even add some fun by personalizing with stickers!

Floss: This is the easiest stuffer out there! Everyone needs it and there’s lots of options to choose from.

Snacks: Sour, chewy, and acidic candy that are usually placed in stockings can cause Gummy Bears.pngdamage to your teeth. When you introduce that much sugar to your mouth, it binds with the bacteria and creates an acid that erodes your enamel. The safer option is chocolate or chocolate with nuts. Remember to rinse with water right after eating sweets and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.

Toothpaste: You can never have enough toothpaste. It can be used for so many things besides brushing! Like treating poison ivy, removing gum from hair, removing carpet stains, clean sneakers, and even shine jewelry! They also have novelty toothpaste that comes in pretty much any flavor you can think of. Anyone tried bacon yet?

Gum sweetened with Xylitol: It’s hard to come across someone who doesn’t enjoy chewing gum. However, most gum has an insane amount of sugar per piece and all that sugar does a lot of damage. Sugar in our mouths is dissolved by the bad bacteria which causes excess plaque to build up and cavities. Chew gum sweetened with Xylitol. Xylitol is as equal in sweetness as sugar and it has a similar flavor, it also fights cavities while you chew!

Travel-sized oral hygiene kit: It works for all ages, and it’s small enough to stash wherever you need it. Typically, these include a folding toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste, mini mouthwash, and a roll of floss.Toothbrush.png

Toothpaste dispenser: For those with oversized stockings this is the perfect stuffer for parents with little ones! A toothpaste dispenser makes brushing teeth fun, and easy. Just place your toothbrush into the dispenser, and it gives you the exact amount of toothpaste needed. No mess. No-fuss!

Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays! And regardless of the stuffers, you get this holiday season, remember to brush your teeth twice a day and floss often Ho, Ho, Ho!

Dental Health of San Francisco
2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368

 

The Impact of “Scary” and “Sweet” Candy on Your Teeth

It’s finally that time of the year, the leaves are falling, the weather is getting cooler, and Halloween is right around the corner! With the spooky season rapidly approaching you should know which candies are “scary” for your teeth and which ones are “sweet”.

The “Scary” Candy

  • Sticky and gummy candies (Laffy Taffy, gummy bears, caramel)
  • Hard candy (jawbreakers, lollipops, Jolly Ranchers)
  • Sour candy (Lemon Heads, War Heads, Sour Patch Kids)
  • Popcorn balls

beware-candy.jpgThese “scary” candies can cause a whole monster of problems from enamel loss to tooth damage. The sticky/gummy candies adhere to your teeth giving the sugar time to seep into all those nooks and crannies. Hard candy sits in your mouth slowly coating your teeth in sugar and can crack or break teeth as you chew them. The sour candies are super acidic and break down the enamel, weakening your teeth and making them more susceptible to cavities. Treats like popcorn balls have sharp kernels that can cause bleeding gums and other painful sores in your mouth.

The “Sweet” Candy

  • Semi-Sweet and dark chocolate
  • Candy bars with nuts
  • Any fun-sized candy bars

Now, any candy not in moderation can be harmful. However, these “sweet” candies are a safer bet for your teeth and gums. The chocolate and candy bars with nuts can be quickly and easily rinsed out with saliva or water. The fun-sized candy bars are smaller portions which means less sugar while satisfying your cravings!

Speaking of sugar, it can have a pretty sinister effect on your teeth, enamel and your gums. In our mouths, we have bacteria that when introduced to sugar, creates acid. Sugar also lowers the PH balance in our mouths making it more acidic. This acid can bond to and erode your enamel, Scary right? This process is called demineralization, demineralization.jpgluckily our saliva is a base, so it helps prevent and restore some of the damage done in a process called remineralization.

Over time this acid wears our enamel down so much that the sugar can seep into our teeth causing cavities. When these cavities are left untreated, they can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. According to the ADA (American Dental Association), 91% percent of Americans over 20 have had cavities and 27% of them have experienced tooth decay.

Those are some spooky statistics! Thankfully there are some steps you can take to prevent the sugar from doing too much harm to those pearly whites. We suggest that after eating those “scary” treats, you chew some sugar-free gum. The sugar-free gum absorbs some of the acidic gunk stuck to your teeth, lessening its harmful effects on your enamel. It is also wise to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you brush. This keeps the sugar and acid from being ground into your enamel which can cause even more damage.

Always remember whether the candy is “scary” or “sweet” to eat in moderation, AND brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day also helps. Keep those beautiful teeth happy and healthy, schedule your dental check-up today!

Dental Health of San Francisco
2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368

 

This Is How Vaping Damages Your Smile

 

Vape? E-cig? Do you know anyone who has one? It affects your oral and overall health. This trend has become popular within the last decade. E-Cigarette use from 2017 to 2018 increased 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school.

5 Effects Vaping Does To Your Teeth and Gums body (2).png

  • Excess Bacteria
  • Dry Mouth
  • Inflamed Gums
  • Overall Irritation
  • Cell Death

In 2018 a study found that teeth that have been exposed to e-cigarette aerosol had more bacteria. More bacteria can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum diseases. E-cigs base liquid, propylene glycol can cause dry mouth. Which can lead to bad breath, mouth sores, and tooth decay. In 2016, a study suggested that e-cigs can cause an inflammatory response in gum tissues. This may lead to periodontal diseases. Cell death can lead to bone loss, tooth loss, bad breath, tooth decay, and periodontal diseases.

  • E-cigarette cartridges are filled with nicotine and other chemicals. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved e-cigs as a way to quit smoking. Nicotine causes gum recession, it reduces the amount of blood that can flow through your veins. Because of a lack of blood flow, your gums won’t get the oxygen and nutrients needed to stay healthy.

Overall Health

Did you know an unhealthy mouth, especially if you have gum disease may increase your risk of heart problems? Without daily cleaning, bacteria is free to flow into your bloodstream and can travel to your arteries.  Arteries are blood vessels that distribute oxygen from your heart to your body. This can lead to atherosclerosis where plaque builds up on the inner layers of your arteries. This can cause clots that can block blood flow through your body. Increasing the likelihood of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Don’t increase yours or your child’s chance of gum disease, tooth decay, or periodontal disease. STAY AWAY FROM VAPING! Read a book, go out for a walk, or try something relaxing – like yoga. Choose your health, take care of your teeth and gums as well as your heart.

Living a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming but remember to make small stridesbody (1).png daily. Here are five healthy habits for a happy life.

– Smile and Laugh

– Adequate Sleep

– Physical Activity

– Floss once a day

Brush your teeth twice daily

– Preventive health care screening, at least once every six month

If you have any questions about vaping or breaking your teen’s habit call us today! We’re here to help you live your healthiest life!

Dental Health of San Francisco
2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368

 

 

Teeth Friendly Snacks For The School Year

YAY – it’s back to school season!!! It’s parent’s favorite time of year and kids least. It’s time to pack your kid’s more healthy snacks for school! Did you know that 42 percent of children who are ages 2 – 11 develop a cavity in their baby teeth? Healthy snacks can benefit more than just your overall health, it’s your teeth too!

The first thing to remember, you are your child’s example! Teach them healthy habits from the start, from eating well to taking care of your own teeth, and going to the dentist regularly. Teach your child proper brushing and flossing techniques, brush 2x a day and floss daily.

Have you ever wondered what plaque is? It’s a soft sticky film that builds up on your teeth and it forms regularly. Plaque contains bacteria, which produce acids that invade body-image (1).pngtooth enamel and can damage your gums. It contains millions of bacteria that love the food and drinks you consume every day. Do you know who plaque’s best friend is? If you guessed tooth decay you are correct!

If dental plaque isn’t removed within a couple of days it hardens into tartar. Regular brushing and flossing cannot remove tartar, only a dental professional can. Fun fact: 68 percent of adults have tartar! They even deposit faster with age!

What Causes Dental Plaque and Tartar?

The bacteria in your mouth thrive off of saliva, food, and fluids. Plaque loves carbohydrates, simple sugars, soft drinks or candy. It hides between teeth and under the gum line, brushing cleans your surfaces of your teeth and your tongue and flossing removes plaque between your teeth.

Plaque is your worst enemy, it hides between your teeth and gum lines and there’s no way to avoid it entirely, that’s why it’s important to have a good oral routine. It can also lead to bad breath, gingivitis, cavities, and other dental issues.

3 Things To Remember For Back To School

  1. Visit your dentist every 6 months
  2. Brush twice a day and floss daily
  3. Pick the right snacks

Make brushing and flossing fun! You can use a sticker calendar and have your child body-YOUR.pngplace a sticker after they brush and floss. Also, you can let them choose their favorite color toothbrush or a themed one with their favorite character. Make it fun for you too, play a song for two minutes and brush together!

#ProTip: look for a kid-friendly floss holder, they make flossing more comfortable for small mouths.

Teeth-Friendly Snacks

  • Cheese cubes
  • Celery sticks and baby carrots
  • Apples and pears
  • Nuts

Snacks To Limit

  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Fruit Roll-Ups
  • Candy
  • Chewy granola bars

Schedule your cleaning sooner rather than later and get the kiddos in before school starts!

Dental Health of San Francisco
2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368

 

Movie Snacks vs. Your Teeth

Do you prefer to watch movies at home, drive-in theaters, or theaters? Regardless of your preference, drinks and snacks pair well with your movie. Lots of good movies are out or soon to be released, be sure to learn the effects it will have on your teeth.

Popcorn

Walking into a theater, you immediately smell the freshly popped butter popcorn. We all know it’s hard to resist, but something we don’t know is popcorn packs a surprise… The kernel! Be careful this can actually crack your tooth! It’s also easy to get caught in between your teeth and the sharp edges can scratch your gums.

Another thing to know is popcorn creates lactic acid in your mouth. This is damaging to your enamel if not cleaned properly. If a kernel gets stuck in your mouth it can irritate your gum tissue and bring more bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.

Favorite Snacks

As you go through the line for snacks and drinks at the movie theater they have candy right next to the register for any last minute decisions/cravings. Typically, there are chocolate, sour candy, or hard candy. Sticky candy gets stuck in between teeth putting your teeth at a higher risk of decay. Sour and hard candy such as Skittles and Jolly Ranchers are highly acidic.Body Image

Sugar doesn’t directly create a cavity, the process is a chain reaction. Everyone has bacteria in their mouths, some beneficial but some are harmful. Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause cavities. As the bacteria feed on sugar, it produces acid, and that acid attacks your tooth enamel.

Soft Drinks

Soda is bad for your teeth. No news here, but did you know some sodas are worse than others? Not all sodas are created equally. Some have more acid while some have more sugar. Let’s take a look at two popular sodas, Coca- Cola and Mountain Dew.

Coca- Cola vs. Mountain Dew (link to video)

In this video, the young scientist drops a molar in a bottle of Mountain Dew and another into a bottle of Coca-Cola and leaves it soaking for almost three weeks. He notes that Mountain Dew has a pH of 3.1 while Coca-Cola has a pH of 2.5 meaning Coca-Cola is six times more acidic than Mountain Dew.

He weighed each tooth before soaking them and found out that the Coca-Cola tooth lost 7% of its mass while the Mountain Dew tooth lost 14% of its mass. Mountain Dew contains organic citric acid and Coca-Cola has phosphoric acid. In conclusion, he found out that citric acid eats away at enamel more than phosphoric acid.

Other Drinks To Be On The Lookout For

  • Coffee and Tea – They can stain your teeth and if you add sugar or vanilla it causes more harm.
  • Sports Drinks – They are high in sugar and acid that erode your enamel. Some drinks also have a high amount of sodium, which can tally more than a bag of potato chips.
  • Citrus – They are highly acidic and can wear away at your tooth enamel.
  • Alcohol – Reduces saliva production which can lead to dry mouth and increases your risk of gum disease.

Wow, that was a lot to take in! Are you feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry we’ll give you three #ProTips to help you have healthy long lasting teeth and enjoy your movie. The first thing to know is saliva is your teeth’s natural protector! Saliva contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate which strengthen your teeth. This process is called remineralization.

#ProTip 1. is MODERATION. We all know soda and snacks aren’t good for our teeth or physical health but also hard to resist. Instead of consuming the most your body can, take time and challenge yourself to follow the suggested serving size.

#ProTip 2. WATER. Carry a bottle with you at all times. Take a sip and swoosh it around to re-hydrate your mouth and flush away sugar and acid after snacking.

#ProTip 3. ORAL HYGIENE. Remember to brush twice a day and floss daily. Also, make sure to visit your dentist every 6 months for your check-up because without a true exam you don’t know what’s hiding in or around your pearly whites!

Dental Health of San Francisco
2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know April is Oral Cancer Awareness month? About 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer and nearly 10,860 people die annually. It is twice as common in men as women. Oral cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity. Which is the lip, tongue, mouth, and throat. Through visual inspection, your dentist can detect abnormalities at an early stage resulting in less extensive and more successful treatment.

5 Myths and The Actual Facts

  1. Oral Cancer is rare.

Fact: More people are diagnosed with oral cancer than stomach cancer.

  1. I’m too young to get oral cancer.

Fact: It’s now more common for our younger patients to develop oral cancer because of the link to human papillomavirus (HPV.)

  1. I don’t smoke so I can’t get oral cancer.

Fact: Smoking does increase your risk for oral cancer but it isn’t the only factor. Drinking alcohol, HPV, and genetics play a role in developing the disease.

  1. No pain, no problem.

Fact: Not all cancer spots can cause pain.

  1. I will know when I have oral cancer.

Fact: It’s not easy to identify, it can go undetected in your tonsils, lymph nodes, and the base of your tongue.

Causes

The exact cause of oral cancer is unknown, but here are some things that can put people more at risk.

  • Tobacco of any form – cigarettes/ e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco.
  • Alcohol
  • Excessive sun exposure on your lips
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Weakened immune system

Signs and Symptoms or Oral Cancer

  • Mouth sore that doesn’t heal
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing and moving the jaw and tongue
  • Jaw swelling
  • Lump in the neck
  • Constant bad breathcta 2.png

A lot of these signs and symptoms can be caused by other things, schedule an appointment if any of these conditions go on for more than two weeks.

Prevention

Stop using tobacco or don’t start. It exposes the cells in your mouth to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals. Drink alcohol in moderation. Excessive alcohol can aggravate cells and make them more susceptible to cancer.

Protect your lips from the sun! Constant exposure increases the risk of cancer. Be sure to use lip balm with SPF!

Last but not least, see your dentist regularly! It’s recommended to have an exam and cleaning every six months. Schedule yours today!

Dental Health of San Francisco
2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368