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!

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  1. Brush your teeth correctly:  Brushing is extremely important to your oral and overall 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.
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  6. Valentine’s candy and ortho appliances: If you have braces, the same candy rules 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!

 

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity & How is it Treated?

With the weather changing, many may notice that the cold air is causing a sharp pain at the base of a tooth. This could be the result of tooth sensitivity, but what exactly does that mean?

Tooth sensitivity can occur for many reasons

  • Tooth decay AKA cavities
  • Cracked teeth
  • Worn fillings
  • Exposed tooth root from receding gums
  • Worn enamel and cementum

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The leading cause of tooth sensitivity is the erosion of enamel and cementum. Your enamel is a hard substance that covers the surface of your tooth. Its job is to protect the tooth above the gum line from everyday life. The job of the cementum is quite similar except its responsibility lies beneath the gum line. The cementum covers and protects the roots as well as a more delicate layer of the tooth known as the dentin.

 

Dentin has small fluid-filled tubes that connect directly to nerve endings underneath the gum line. When the cementum is eroded, the dentin has a higher exposure to the elements. Which causes pain and sensitivity to hot and cold components that may not have been there before.

 

Fear not, having sensitive teeth is very common and treatable. The treatment you receive is based on what is causing the sensitivity. Common treatments are:

 

  • Desensitizing toothpaste: After multiple uses, it starts to block the pain linked with sensitive teeth.Hot vs Cold.png
  • FluorideThis treatment is applied by your dentist to different parts of your teeth to help strengthen your enamel.
  • Root Canal: If decay is present in the root. Your tooth will be cleaned out and packed with a filling. After that, a crown is set on top to protect the tooth from further damage.
  • Surgical Gum Graft: This is used when root exposure is the cause of sensitivity. Soft tissue is taken from another part of your mouth and used to fill in the gaps. Since there are many types of gum recession, your oral surgeon will recommend which solution is best for your health.

With sensitive teeth it is very important to not neglect your dental hygiene; this can cause your condition to get worse as well as running the risk of developing (or worsening) gum disease. Remember to brush twice a day, floss at least once, and come in for your checkup twice a year. If you are experiencing pain due to tooth sensitivity schedule an appointment for yourself right away!

 

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

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 a teeth-friendly stocking!Toothbrush.png

 

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 are lots of options to choose from.

 

Snacks: Sour, chewy, and acidic candy that are usually placed in stockings can cause damage 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.xylitol (2).png 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.

 

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!

 

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

 

 

6 Common Dental Habits

cta - appointment2Is it cliché to have a New Year’s Resolution? Probably, but there are a few habits you’d like to kick to the curb! It’s common for people to want to start living a healthy lifestyle. Why not be completely healthy and improve your dental health too? Poor oral health can put you at risk for heart disease and stroke.

6 Habits That Harm Your Teeth

Nail biting can chip or crack teeth. It can even fracture the enamel on your teeth from chewing on hard surfaces. Also, it has an impact on your jaw and as a result, you can develop TMJ. Even though we wash our hands, it’s hard to keep them clean. Nail biting also leads to gingivitis, there is a lot of dirt under our fingernails we aren’t aware of.

Are you grossed out yet? Need tips to stop the biting? Cut them short! If you prefer the longer nail look, paint it with bitter-tasting nail polish. If you don’t like color, you can always opt for a clear coat! Because nail biting is often stress-induced, get a tiny stress ball or something to fidget with to keep your hands busy.

Chewing on ice can break your tooth or filling. While your teeth are far stronger than ice there are instances that ice can break your teeth. Particularly if your enamel is damaged by decay or injury. Slow down the chewing and try drinks without ice so you won’t be tempted. If you insist on the ice, drink with a straw and a lid to keep the ice out of sight.

Teeth as tools may seem convenient at the time but are not good for your teeth. They aren’t supposed to open bags, rip tags off, hold things, or open bottles. They are strong but using them as tools can result in cracks and fracture or even worse, oral and facial injuries. Biting or chewing metal can cause serious damage. We have real tools made especially for things so you don’t have to use your teeth. Such as bottle openers, scissors, and bags. Teeth are for chewing and smiling!

soft bristlesHard brushing can cause damage to your gums. Soft bristles are the best for your gums. This can be tricky because it’s good to brush twice a day, but how do you know if you are brushing too hard? A sign is a frayed toothbrush, yes that’s common with an old toothbrush. But if it starts to fray within the first three months, relax on the pressure. If you also begin to notice your gums receding, soften up on the brushing! Don’t squish the bristles against your gums! Think about brushing as a gentle massage, slow and steady win the race!

Smoking and use of other tobacco products increase your risk of oral cancer. It can turn your teeth yellow or brown. You are also at risk for tooth decay, gum disease, bone damage, and tooth loss. Over time your gums get weaker and will have trouble properly holding your teeth in place.

Not visiting your dentist is a no-brainer! It’s important to see your dentist every 6 months to avoid issues. Regular dental cleanings prevent tartar from eroding your teeth which helps prevents cavities and gum disease. Besides having your teeth professionally cleaned, you get checked for other abnormalities that could be a larger health issue.

Repeat this to yourself: New Year, New me. Cross things off your list, spice up your oral routine, go crazy at the gym, and eat healthy trendy foods. And most importantly, share how important a solid oral health routine is. Smile at all camera opportunities, and show the benefits of a healthy smile.

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

5 Tips for Creating Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits

Lead by Example

Family BrushingKids look to their parents to set standards in all things, including oral hygiene. How you behave is how they will act. Since the best way to teach children is by example, it is important that your child sees you brushing twice a day and flossing. Include your child in the process. Do it together, allowing them to help by putting toothpaste on your brush. Your demeanor in the dentist office will also influence how your little one behaves during their own visit. Remaining calm demonstrates that going to the dentist isn’t scary, and they’ll be much more cooperative during their own chair time.

Make Brushing Fun

Making brushing and flossing a game rather than a chore can be a great way to engage with your kids and get them excited about maintaining their oral health. Pretending the tooth brush is a hiker exploring a cave (their mouth) and the floss is a rope is one idea. Older kids can benefit from a reward system. Every time they brush their teeth they receive a gold star to add to a sticker chart. Once they get a certain number they’re rewarded with something like staying up an extra half hour past bedtime or extra 15-minutes of electronics time.

Make a Visual Statement

plaqueDisclosingFind plaque disclosing products. These usually come in tablet form or mouthwash that turns plaque buildup bright colors. This is a great visual to help kids understand that even though they don’t see the plaque, it’s certainly there!

Teach Responsibility

Older kids get excited about the idea of having more responsibility. Provide them with the necessary tools to structure their oral hygiene routine. Have them set an alarm to alert them when it’s time to brush for bed and in the morning. They can even keep a brushing and flossing log to track the times and duration of their sessions.

Start Dental Visits Early

Finger-Family-No-BackgroundTeaching kids proper dental practices wouldn’t be complete without bi-annual exams. By visiting us regularly, you instill the importance of consistent exams. We love working with children, and we work hard to make the experience stress free and fun for the whole family.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Ernesto Mireles
Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

Dental Health and Pregnancy

Blog Title-ExpectingPregnantLady

Pregnancy changes a lot about the female body, which is no surprise considering all the physical and hormonal effects that take place over the course of those 9 months. All that considered, the profound connection between pregnancy and dental health can still be a shock to many.

As an example, the rapid surge in hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can alter the manner in which gum tissue reacts to plaque. Plaque buildup affects everybody, so it’s always important to make sure your teeth are being cleaned thoroughly. However, ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ is a condition that affects the vast majority of mothers-to-be and should be carefully monitored. Prevention is always more useful than treatment, and for that reason we encourage a diet high in Vitamin C and B12 – don’t forget, baby’s teeth are developing too so it’s important to have a diet that’s nutritious for your teeth and theirs! Be sure to brush twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss each evening as well.

In addition to ‘pregnancy gingivitis’, pregnant women are also at risk for ‘pregnancy tumors’. These tumors are inflamed, but non-cancerous, growths that may develop when the gums become swollen and irritated. Usually the tumors will resolve themselves post-birth, but if you find one and it’s uncomfortable or painful, don’t hesitate to call our office so we can help you proceed with the right treatment for you.

In general, if you are either currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should always let your dentist know immediately in order to best proceed to minimize the risk of pregnancy-related complications. If needed, most procedures can be performed during pregnancy, particularly if you are in pain or have any concerns. However, we do not recommend any elective procedures until after the baby’s birth in order to minimize health risks to you or the child. Pregnancy does come with health concerns to be monitored, but as was the case before you received the news about your bundle of joy, consistent and thorough cleaning is always your best bet. Above all else, relax and enjoy this special time!

 

Dr. Ernesto Mireles
Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

A Time To Give Thanks

A Time to give thanks

As Thanksgiving swiftly approaches, here is a little insight as to how to not over indulge when turkey day hits!  We all know the famous expression “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!” or “You eat with your eyes first!”  This is usually the case with most of us when it comes to sitting down to eat Thanksgiving dinner.  Let’s just put this out there…  Gorging yourself on snacks, cakes, pies, and starches just means a really big stomach-ache and a miserable rest of the night, not to mention the potential for damage that it can have on your teeth and gums!

This year, why not give your smile the attention that it deserves?

Instead of the incessant snacking on all of the empty calories, head over to the veggie tray!  A variety of veggies can do wonders for you!  Not only for your oral health, but also for your health in general.  Reaching for a nice healthy snack is a great decision!

When you are loading up your plate with all those delicious foods, try and plan out your plate.  Be mindful of the items you are scooping on as well as how much of what, you are dishing.  Instead of piling on mashed potatoes, rolls, stuffing and marshmallow covered yams, try this combination instead; A bigger scoop of green beans, some turkey, yams (minus the marshmallow), a smaller portion of the potatoes (minus that extra butter) and a little fruit salad on the side without the whipped topping.  Your plate will be well balanced with more appropriate portions and without all of the sticky, bad-for-your-teeth toppings.

Thanksgiving desserts are a must for most! After you have yourself a small slice, if you are able to excuse yourself and go rinse your mouth and (if at all possible) brush and floss your teeth, you will be well on your way to a happier and healthier smile!  If you brush those teeth and gums after eating the sweets and dinner, they are not able to sit on your teeth allowing time for bacteria build-up and all that comes along with the damaging sugar ingredients that cause harm.

With proper oral health care and limited portion control when eating, you CAN quite literally “Have your cake, and eat it too!”

Aside from eating, here’s something fun to do.  Sit down with a friend or loved one and think about a couple of specific moments when someone’s smile impacted you, or when your smile meant something to someone else; even as little as holding a door open for a stranger and the exchange of smiles that was made at that point in time.  This will open up a conversation about smiles and positivity!  And really, what could be better than that?!

All-in-all, we hope you have a wonderful and love-filled Thanksgiving!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles
Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

7 Serious Health Concerns That Also Affect Your Teeth

Mouth and Body Go Hand-in-Hand

Did you know that poor oral health care can be the cause of many different health issues within your body itself?  There are many connections between taking care of your mouth, teeth and gums and the rest of your body.

People with gum disease have a 40% increased risk of developing a chronic health condition. Bacterial build up on your teeth and gums give you a greater probability of infection which may then spread throughout other areas of your body.

Common Health Issues That Affect Oral HealthJune FB Candy (6)

  • Diabetes: causes oral inflammation and affects the body’s ability to process sugar.
  • Heart Disease: about 91% of those with heart disease are also found to have periodontitis. Inflammation in the mouth corresponds with the inflammation of blood vessels which then leads to less blood flow causing an increase in blood pressure.  There is also a chance of plaque that is attached to the blood vessel itself, breaking off and traveling to the heart and/or brain resulting in a heart attack or stroke.
  • Issues during Pregnancy: pregnant women with gum disease run the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and susceptible to developmental issues such as learning disorders, lung and heart conditions.
  • Osteoporosis: osteoporosis, like periodontitis, causes bone loss. It’s common for those with osteoporosis to also have some degree of gum disease.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: those with rheumatoid arthritis battling gum disease have found gum disease treatment may also reduce overall body pain in regards to their arthritic symptoms.
  • Smoking: bad for your health, both overall and oral.  Nicotine interferes with your gums’ ability to fight infection.  This also extends the recovery period for those gum infection treatments.
  • Obesity: those with 20% or higher body fat percentage have been linked to rapid progression of gum disease.

Taking excellent care of your oral health has a positive domino effect for the rest of your body.  Same can be said with your body – taking care of your health and body can positively affect your mouth, teeth and gums.
If you care about your health and yourself, you in-turn need to care about your mouth.  Be true to your teeth, or they will be false to you!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524

and

696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

April: Oral Cancer Awareness Month

APRIL 2015

Early Detection Saves Lives

Oral cancer is nothing to take lightly.  Causing one death every hour, there will be approximately 45,750 new cases diagnosed this year alone.  It also tends to strike men twice as likely as women.

Contributing factors of oral cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (3+ drinks per day)
  • Over exposure to UV light
  • HPV Virus (sexually transmitted)

7% of diagnosed oral cancer cases that have no identified cause

Smokers are 3 times more likely to develop oral cancer.  Cigars and pipes pose a higher risk than standard cigarettes.

This is how to reduce your risk of oral cancer:

  • Brush & floss regularly
  • Do not use tobacco products
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Limit sun exposure and always use SPF sunscreen
  • Regular exercise
  • Nutritional supplements ( Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Zinc, Fish oil)
  • Oral cancer screening at your bi-annual dentist exam and cleaning

Cancer FightingThe way you prepare your meals can play a role as well.  Rather than frying food, give steaming or baking a try!  Bonus: these techniques are also more figure friendly

Cancer fighting foods:

  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Vegetables
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Green Teas
  • Tomatoes

84% of oral cancer cases can be detected early by your dentist

Dental check-ups are vital to oral cancer detection.  Yes, you should be going in for dental check-ups twice a year anyways; however, request you get regularly scheduled oral cancer screenings as well!

Oral Cancer - spotOral Cancer Signs to Check at Home

  • Check the entirety of your mouth:
  • All the way inside of your cheeks
  • Underside and top of your tongue
  • Roof of your mouth
  • Lymph nodes

You’re looking for discoloration, lumps, asymmetrical swelling or any other abnormalities that you happen to see.  Even if you aren’t too sure about it, it never hurts to give us a call, ask questions and come in to have it checked out.

Get involved.  Help raise awareness.  Spread the word.  Get tested!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524

and

696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501