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

 

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

 

What’s In a Kiss?

In 2006 International Kissing Day was established and it’s celebrated on July 6th. In our society, a kiss is a sign of affection or a warm greeting. Did you know a single kiss can spread up to 80 million bacteria?

We are not born with the bacteria that cause cavities. Studies have proven that parents often infect their child before 2. Once your child becomes exposed they are prone to cavities in baby and permanent teeth. In fact, babies can also begin to develop them before their first tooth erupts!Blog

Tooth decay is a disease known as dental caries. It is caused by specific germs and is easily spread throughout families by sharing a cup, utensils, or toothbrushes, and lasts a lifetime. Did you know it’s more common for a child to have cavities than any other chronic illness? Bacteria loves sugar and attacks the structure of teeth by diminishing calcium. It also creates plaque which builds even more enamel-eroding acid.

Can tooth decay be spotted early?

Early tooth decay can be hard to see. A sign is a white strip along the gum line at the base of the teeth. During the early stages, you might be able to see brown spots on the teeth, and gums are red and inflamed. When more advanced, the spots are blackened.

If you have had your fair share of troubles with your teeth, it’s important to take precautions when it comes to your child’s dental care. It’s recommended to bring your child to the dentist six months after the first tooth erupts or by their first birthday. The best way to limit cavities is to brush and floss with your kids daily. Setting the example, helps create and reinforce these healthy habits.

Tips for keeping decay away from your children:

  • Wipe down your baby’s gums with a washcloth after feedings, even if the first tooth has not erupted.
  • Start brushing with fluoride-free toothpaste as the first tooth erupts.
  • When your child is two or three years old, begin using toothpaste with a small amount of fluoride, and begin flossing when two teeth are touching.

What can happen to untreated cavities?

Cavities don’t go away by themselves. If you ignore a cavity, it continues to grow. They are small holes in your teeth that will become wider and deeper making your teeth more fragile, increasing the risk to crack. If left untreated, the cavity will next reach your tooth’s nerves, which is likely to cause severe pain. Depending on your situation, your tooth will either need a root canal or require extraction. If your tooth is infected you will need antibiotics along with cavity treatment.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection at your gum line which may result in damaged jaw bone.
There are three different stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gum disease is caused by bacteria and plaque. If not removed it hardens and turns into tartar while plaque continues to form more build up. The only way for it to be removed is by visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning.

Warning Signs of Gum Disease

  • Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  • Gums that are pulled away from teeth- making teeth look longer
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bad breath

stages of perioWhat happens if I don’t treat my Periodontitis?

The first stage of gum disease might be easy to miss, but if left untreated it will result in larger problems. If you notice any of the warning signs or think you may have gum disease contact us today. Lack of treatment results in tender gums, receding gums, sensitive teeth, loose teeth, and eventually leads to tooth loss. Let’s prevent that together!

Have you ever wondered why we kiss with our eyes closed? Maybe it’s because when oral care wasn’t popular nobody wanted to see others teeth up close… Just kidding! But because of dental advancements, it’s easy to keep your smile in tip-top shape. Protect you and your family from bacteria and tooth decay by requesting your appointments today!

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

Navigating the Holiday Table

Can you believe it; the holiday season is already here! It’s time to start digging out family recipes, decorations, and all those holiday goodies buried in your closet. Schedules are everywhere from family gatherings to local festivities. Peppermint, gingerbread, and pumpkin are holiday classics! What is your favorite holiday dish? We all know that sugary foods and drinks may rot our teeth, but most don’t know what foods can be beneficial.  So here’s a list of those that might actually surprise you.

  • Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Broccoli
    • Kale
    • Okra
    • Apples
    • Pumpkin has magnesium which takes care of your enamel. Pumpkin seeds have iron and help keep your tongue healthy.
  • Cheese and Dairy
    • Plain yogurt
    • Cheese has a lot of protein and calcium which is good for enamel.
  • Seafood
    • Salmon
    • Mackerel
    • Eel
    • Tuna
    • Most seafood has fluoride.Food

Fun Facts

  • Nuts have calcium along with phosphorous that helps strengthens enamel.
  • High fiber triggers your flow of saliva.
  • Whole grains have B vitamins and iron, keeping your gums in tip-top shape!
  • Dark chocolate has polyphenols which are a natural chemical that limits bacteria.

Sources: Colgate, Oral-B, and Medical Daily

Healthy Holidays Recipe

Yes, there are health benefits to these foods and drinks but it’s important to remember: MODERATION IS KEY! So enjoy your favorite holiday foods and indulge in a bit of guilty pleasure.Moderation

We wish you happy holidays and good cheer!

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

4 Risk Factors of Gum Disease to Discuss with Your Dentist

july blog

Have you ever had something caught in your teeth for days? It’s likely because it was lodged deep between a tooth and your gums. That gum tissue is what keeps our chompers in place. There are three stages of gum disease and all are treatable.

The mild form of gum disease is Gingivitis. This is where plaque and other byproducts irritate the gums. It makes them swollen, tender, and more likely to bleed. Periodontitis is stage two. The gum tissue starts deteriorating as it detaches from the teeth forming pockets around the roots. This leaves teeth exposed and more susceptible to decay. Finally, Advanced Periodontitis can set in. Tooth pockets get deeper as the severe gum recession leads to bone loss causing loose teeth.

Common Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease

  • Genetics – it’s hereditary and some of us are just unlucky! While you may be more susceptible to periodontitis, having a good oral hygiene routine with regular dental visits can help your smile stay healthy. Talk to us about finding the right balance for your needs.
  • Health – underlying medical conditions like diabetes and Crohn’s disease, as well as lowered immunity from illnesses and treatments often affect gum tissue. Medications, hormonal changes and obesity are also culprits and should be discussed.
  • Bad Habits – chewing on ice, not brushing or flossing daily and using tobacco are the most common behavior changes we encourage you to ditch. However, substance abuse and a diet lacking in vitamin C will also impact your smile.
  • Stress – it’s inevitable. But keep an eye on exactly how much it’s weighing you down. High levels or chronic stress can lead to poor hygiene habits. Anxiety can also lower your immune system from effectively fighting off bacteria that causes gingivitis (stage 1).

When to Seek Helpjuly blog (1)

Common red flags of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Gums look bright red
  • Teeth wiggle

There’s no home remedy to cure gum disease. Only professional treatment can help, so call and schedule an exam today [PHONE].

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

Dental Deep Cleaning for Healthy Gums

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What is scaling and root planing? When is it recommended?

As with many aspects of general dentistry, scaling and root planing is a treatment related to keeping your mouth free of gum disease. Your routine appointments and your home care are preventative measures to maintain your oral health; but as nice as it would be to keep your oral health in perfect condition all the time, sometimes that just doesn’t happen. When we identify the onset of gum disease, we work quickly to reverse the condition and get you back on a healthy track. This is where scaling and root planing treatments play a critical role.

Often referred to as periodontal cleaning or deep cleaning, they are all the same form of treatment. The procedure removes dental plaque and tartar, specifically below the visible gum line. The spaces between your gums and teeth are prime breeding ground for bacteria and infection, so without treatment they can deepen and compromise your oral health. There are a variety of tools and methods available for periodontal cleaning, and each is designed to finely clean the dental pockets the gum disease is attacking and deepening. Successfully completed, the build-up collected around the teeth and gums will be removed, and the gums will heal tightly around the teeth for a secure and healthy fit.

Post-Treatment Follow-Up

Scaling and root planing are advantageous procedures if gum disease is present, but what about the importance of following up after you’ve been treated? Despite the fact healing and improvements will be seen immediately following treatment, the actual procedure is only the first step in arresting the periodontal disease. The true efficacy of scaling and root planing is contingent upon a number of variables, including patient compliance.

It is imperative the patient and our office collaborate to prevent the infection from recurring. Infection is often the result of negligent oral care, which will need to be excellent and diligently preformed following treatment. As it takes a significant period of time for the infection and bacteria to build-up, the remedial steps taken after scaling and root planing will not be an overnight solution – time and consistency will be necessary for a full recovery.

Subsequent appointments are often necessary in order to monitor and track the healing progress, and we will discuss the frequency and importance of these with you to ensure your understanding and comfort. Our office will be there to help through each and every step of this process with respect to your unique needs, as well as offer any resources or information necessary to restore your smile to a happy and healthy state.

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

Deep Cleaning: What it means to you

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You’re a good person – you pay your taxes, pick up litter, and make it to the dentist every 6 months. Now you’re being told you may need a deep cleaning…but don’t you clean your teeth every day? And isn’t a deep cleaning what the dentist always does? Not quite, although we know it can sometimes feel that way.

A regular dental cleaning is what you are accustomed to receiving every 6 months. The intention of this visit to the dentist is to maintain your healthy gums and give your teeth a little extra attention when it comes to matters of plaque and tartar, which can be difficult to remove fully with a toothbrush and floss alone. The odds are that if you are brushing and flossing every day, and taking any other steps recommended by your doctor, a regular dental cleaning is the perfect addition to your regular care that will keep your smile happy and healthy.

Deep cleaning, a necessity?

A deep cleaning, on the other hand, is what becomes necessary when the health of your teeth and gums become jeopardized by gum disease (or ‘periodontitis’). To put it in perspective, your gums are supposed to have tight and healthy seals around your teeth to protect them and keep them firmly in place. A standard part of your regular cleaning is your doctor using a diagnostic tool called a ‘periodontal probe’ to ensure this is the case; the probe is used to measure the depth of the space between your gums and teeth. Typically 1-3mm is considered normal, and there should be very little or no bleeding at all. Upwards of 4mm is a sign that you are developing ‘pockets’, which are a space between the teeth and gums that becomes prime breeding ground for bacteria and tartar buildup. Plaque that is not brushed and flossed away left on the teeth for more than 24 hours can become tartar, which only your dentist can remove. Left unattended, these pockets can deepen and compromise the tooth and the surrounding bone structure. If the dentist uses the probe and measures 4mm or more, and/or there is significant bleeding and signs of inflammation, then a deep cleaning will be scheduled to help you get your smile back on track.

Deep cleaning is not a scary process.

Oftentimes, your dentist will break the cleaning into two separate visits to most effectively treat your mouth, this is especially important if your entire mouth needs attention so that you’ll be numbed in only smaller sections of your mouth each time, making for a completely comfortable process and quick recovery. The most common forms of treatment are ‘scaling’ and ‘root planing’. The process of scaling involves using a professional tool to remove plaque and tartar from both the surface of the teeth, and the pocket area that has been created between your teeth and gums. A scaling instrument, on the other hand, removes plaque and tartar from the surface of the root of your teeth, which is below the gum line and not visible. These tools are the only thing that can removed built up plaque, as even floss cannot reach far into deepened pockets. The good news is they do a wonderful job of cleaning up any tartar that has built up beneath the visible surface.

Periodontitis is a progressive disease, and left unattended can turn into a much more serious problem. Fortunately, the treatment is typically straight forward and as long as you follow the doctor’s aftercare instructions, the bacteria should be reduced to manageable levels and your gums should return to normal and lose any signs of redness. If you are feeling pain or sensitivity in your teeth, have red and/or puffy gums, or are experiencing bleeding during normal brushing and flossing – call us. The sooner periodontitis is identified the easier it is to treat and the less expensive it is for you, if you have any concerns about your oral health just remember that a professional evaluation is never harmful and may offer you some great information.

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