Signs That You Should See Your Dentist

If you are brushing and flossing your teeth daily and seeing your dentist every six months, you are well on your way to a healthy smile. But there are times when you may need to see your dentist in between checkups and cleanings if you are noticing any of the following signs:

Toothache – If you experience tooth pain that lasts longer than a couple of days, you may have a cavity or something serious going on.

Gum Inflammation – Sometimes the gums bleed if you brush too harshly, or when you first begin flossing. But if your gums are swollen or inflamed and it doesn’t go away, this could also be a sign of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease.

White Spots on Teeth – These are the first sign of dental decay. This is an infection due to the acid produced by bacteria which starts dissolving your tooth. Cavities can occur without any symptoms, so if you are noticing these spots you should see your dentist.

Tooth Sensitivity (Hot v. Cold) – If you’re suddenly experiencing increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures, you may have a cavity. You may also have receding gums, which allow the dentin to be exposed.

Canker Sores – Canker sores are not uncommon, but if you experience a canker sore that does not heal in a few days your dentist can help.

Tartar – Tartar is mineralized plaque, oral bacteria that has hardened into a white material that you can see at the gum line, where the teeth meet the gums. This requires removal by a dental professional using scaling tools.

Bad breath or taste in the mouth – Persistent or prolonged bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth and can be an indication of gingivitis, the early stages of gum disease. Another sign of gingivitis is a bad, metallic taste in the mouth.

Headaches – If you wake up with a headache, you may be grinding your teeth at night. Bruxism occurs when you clench or grind your teeth while you sleep. Over time this will wear down the teeth. Your dentist can help you stop by making a night guard (a mouth guard specifically for wearing at night) to protect your pearly whites. Teeth grinding can wear away your enamel as well as crack your teeth.

Don’t ignore the signs your mouth is giving you. Prevention is key, but early intervention is the next best thing. If you would like to schedule a visit with our dentist to help restore your healthy smile, please call our Newport Healthy Smiles team in Newport Beach, California at 949-642-9928 today!

Are Dental Sealants for You?

Dental sealants are just one of the many benefits of dentistry today. They have been in existence and proven effective since the 1970’s. Sealants are essentially cavity-prevention barriers, they coat the chewing surfaces of your pearly whites—mainly the molars and premolars—which reside in the back of the mouth and are ripe for cavities. They are hard to reach and hard to brush and floss effectively.

Your molars are also flat on the top, replete with fissures and grooves which make them easy targets for harmful bacteria and sticky plaque. Sealants basically seal out bacteria, plaque and food particles that would otherwise make these fissures their home and lead to dental caries.

Sealants are a painless procedure which our dentist can apply in just one easy visit. The sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, bonding to the tooth as it hardens. This plastic resin can be clear, white or slightly tinted, depending on the sealant which is used. Our dentist will check on the sealants during regular cleaning visits, to ensure that it is crack-free and keeping out bacteria. The sealants can last up to ten years with proper maintenance and care. Typical candidates for sealants are children and teenagers, but so are adults who have molars with no cavities or fillings and yet cavity prone. See Newport Healthy Smiles with questions about sealants, or give our team a call at 949-642-9928 today!

What’s up with Tooth Sensitivity?

Are you experiencing tooth sensitivity? If you have tooth sensitivity you likely have exposed dentin. What is dentin? It is the layer under tooth enamel containing microscopic tubules filled with nerve endings. While the tooth enamel protects the dentin in the crown, your cementum protects the dentin that reaches beneath the crown to the tooth roots.

Possible Causes of Tooth Sensitivity:

–Brushing your teeth with a hard-bristled toothbrush and brushing in a harsh sawing motion.
–Eating and drinking highly acidic products (soda, tea with lemon, citrus fruits, pickles).
–Worn, leaky fillings in your teeth, or broken teeth exposing the dentin.
–Receding gums (gum recession).
–Grinding your teeth while you sleep.
–Recent dental work such as fillings, whitening, or a crown.
–A buildup of plaque on your teeth.

Breaking Down What’s in Your Tooth:

Enamel

Tooth enamel is a hard tissue that coats the crown, and it is the hardest tissue in the body. After fully forming, it cannot grow or repair itself, but can remineralize–or regain–lost minerals. To remineralize your teeth you must get enough calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D.

Dentin

Dentin is the main part of the tooth. It is harder than bone and softer than enamel and contains microscopic canals, or tubules. These canals transmit pain stimuli and nutrition through the tissues. Dentin gives the tooth its color, grayish white or yellowish.

Cementum

Cementum is the thin layer of calcified or mineralized tissue covering the root of the tooth and sits inside the gum socket. Cementum is harder than bone but softer than the enamel or dentin.

Pulp

The tooth pulp is the soft tissue in a tooth’s center and is surrounded by the dentin. It is comprised of: blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerve tissue, connective tissue and cells. The pulp is what nourishes the tooth and repairs the dentin.

What you can do to minimize tooth sensitivity includes such things as brushing with a soft-bristled brush, limiting the exposure of your teeth to acidic foods, using a densensitizing toothpaste (and avoiding abrasive toothpastes) and wearing a mouth guard if you grind your teeth while you sleep.

For more about how to help with your tooth sensitivity, please call our Newport Healthy Smiles dental team today at 949-642-9928!

Flossing Is a Essential for Good Oral Health

The American Dental Association recommends that you brush and floss your teeth two times each day. Brushing your teeth is the first step to removing plaque and food particles from the surfaces of your teeth. However, there are some areas that your toothbrush simply can’t reach.

Once you are done, brushing should floss between the teeth and along the gum line. If plaque is not removed from these areas, it can harden into tartar which can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

If you have a hard time work the floss between your teeth, you might want to use waxed floss. The waxy coating helps you work the floss in easily without risk of injuring your gums. If you have braces or a fixed retainer a floss threader can help you work floss into place.

When flossing you should start by cutting off a 16 to 18-inch piece of floss. Spool excess floss around your middle fingers then grip the floss firmly. Work the floss between your teeth, then curve it into U shape. Make sure you floss up into the gum line as well as behind your back teeth. These areas can sometimes be ignored, yet it just as likely to harbor plaque and dangerous tartar.

If you’d like to learn more about flossing, please call our office at 949-642-9928 to schedule an appointment. We’re always happy to answer your questions. We look forward to seeing you!

Facts About Your Tongue You Didn’t Know

The average tongue is about four inches long. It has two parts; the anterior or the front which you can see, and the posterior, the part near the back that hangs out near the throat. It is the only muscle in the body that doesn’t work with help from the skeleton making it a muscular hydrostat.

The tongue transfers food when your teeth chew and then swallows it down the hatch! The frenulum is the part of the mouth—the fold—that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth. The end of your mouth, the tip, is called the apex. Since it isn’t attached to the floor of the mouth, it can reach the upper areas of the mouth to clean and to talk. The bottom of your mouth is smooth and purple, which comes from the blood vessels that run along the bottom.

You have anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 taste buds. These bumps on your tongue are known as papillae, and are where the taste buds live. Your taste buds lounge around on the upper surface of the tongue with taste receptors, which let you know what your food tastes like. The taste buds have five flavor tasters: sweet, sour, bitter, savory and salty, and need saliva to make the food moist so the tongue recognizes the flavor. It is incapable of detecting taste if it is dry! So saliva and your tongue are a team.

If you are one of the 60 million people in the U.S. who have halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath, this can happen because of bacteria that congregate on the tongue. You can help eliminate this bacteria by scraping your tongue every morning with a tongue scraper.

The color of your tongue can tell you about your health. If your tongue is pink, it you are in good health. If it is white you may have a fungal infection. If your tongue is yellow, it can mean you have a fever or stomach problem. If your tongue is smooth instead of bumpy you might have an iron, folic acid or vitamin B12 deficiency. If you have hairy or dark tongue, this could come from food, bacteria or tobacco.

Take good care of your tongue and your tongue will take good care of you! Brush your tongue gently with light strokes using your toothbrush, or better yet, a tongue scraper, which is gentle on your tongue and also doesn’t set off your gag reflex. If you use toothpaste to coat the tongue before scraping it neutralizes bacteria on your tongue and helps remove them.

At Newport Healthy Smiles, we are happy to answer any questions about your oral health! You can reach us at 949-642-9928.