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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Does mouth wash really work?

The most common complaint I receive from patients at my Beverly Hills practice is: bad breath. No matter how often they brush, floss, and rinse, some patients just can’t seem to get rid of their bad breath. Furthermore, some patients go so far as to not eating certain foods in order to reduce their chances of a foul odor. But what exactly is the cause of bad breath, and can a swig of mouthwash really be of any help?

Technically, bacteria that causes plaque and releases volatile sulfur compounds can create bad breath. Mouthwash can help reduce the bacteria present and cover up the odor, but it is a temporary fix and eventually the plaque will rebuild. Reducing the occurrence of bad breath is just one reason to regularly brush, floss, and rinse. In order to truly help cut down on bad breath, a therapeutic mouthwash is necessary. This is usually prescribed by your dental practitioner after an oral surgical procedure. A therapeutic mouthwash can help reduce plaque and control gingivitis, which in turn reduces bad breath. However, it is important you follow the directions provided in order to maintain healthy oral hygiene. Typically, no food or drinks should be ingested within 30 minutes of rinsing so that the usefulness of the mouthwash can take full effect.

As a Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist, I am dedicated to helping you achieve a healthy smile. I encourage you to visit my website to learn more regarding your options with cosmetic dentistry and schedule an appointment. We can further discuss your options and create a personalized treatment plan to meet your goals.

The Best (and Worst) Candy for Your Teeth

Halloween is just around the corner, which means that both children and adults will be in possession of plenty of sweets to munch on soon. However, as a dental care provider who is dedicated to helping patients maintain strong, healthy, beautiful teeth, I feel it is important to provide the following tips to help please your sweet tooth, while at the same time, keeping tooth decay at bay.

Good Candy

  • Sugar-free hard candies and lollipops – These can be useful in that they stimulate saliva and in turn, prevent a dry mouth. The saliva can prevent plaque from building up as quickly, which typically leads to cavities.
  • Sugar-free gum – Also a great way to increase the production of saliva, which neutralize acids and prevent decay, chewing gum can help prevent cavities by helping dislodge food particles from the teeth.
  • Dark chocolate – Yes, chocolate contains a lot of sugar; however, it has been proven that the antioxidants in dark chocolate can be good for the heart. It can even help lower blood pressure.

Bad Candy

  • Sugary snacks – Those with high amounts of sugar (candy corn, cake, and cookies) can lead to tooth decay.
  • Chewy/sticky sweets – These types of treats are a serious cause of tooth decay, commonly getting stuck to the teeth. Gummy candies, taffy, and dried fruit often get stuck between the teeth and make it very difficult for saliva to wash away.
  • Sour candies – Tooth enamel can be broken down rather quickly from the high acid levels in these sweets. However, the production of saliva can slowly help restore the balance from the acid.

As a Beverly Hills orthodontics professional, I am sure to always advise patients to eat candy in moderation. No need to deprive yourself all together, just be cautious of what candies you eat and be sure to brush, floss, and rinse!

Facts and Tips About Fluoride

Although there is much debate amongst those who recommend the use of fluoride and those who don’t, below are some facts and tips about its benefits:

Facts about Fluoride

  • It is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in some foods and in all drinking water.
  • It can strengthen enamel, which in turn makes the teeth resistant to decay.
  • After over 50 years of research, the reduction of tooth decay from fluorinated water by 40 to 60 percent has been proven.
  • Toothpaste with added fluoride has helped reduce decay by up to 50 percent.
  • Kids aged three and under should use toothpaste with a minimum fluoride level of 1000 ppm (parts per million). Those over three years old should use toothpaste with 1350 to1500 ppm. Check the packaging to see how much fluoride is in it.
  • Fluoride varnishes applied by the dentist can help further reduce children’s dental decay.
  • Although often claimed, no scientific evidence has been found to prove adverse effects of water fluoridation.

Tips about Fluoride

  • Children under 7 years old should be supervised by a parent during tooth brushing. Be sure to use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • It is important that parents teach the child to spit out the toothpaste (not swallow it), and rinse after brushing.
  • Only when a dentist recommends should anyone take fluoride supplements.
  • Contact your local water company to learn of how much fluoride is in your water.
  • To help protect your child’s teeth from decay, be sure to ask your dentist about fluoride varnishes.

As a Beverly Hills orthodontist and cosmetic dentist, I encourage you to schedule an appointment at my practice to learn more. We can discuss your dental and oral hygiene problems during an initial consultation.

Diabetes May Lead to Oral Health Problems

One of the most important things that I need to know about my patients is if they are in good health. Although we are only treating the teeth and gums, it is crucial to know if there are any other underlying health problems that could cause unexpected complications or issues with dental treatment. Patient with diabetes are often quite concerned with how their illness will affect their oral health.

In a recent study by the British Dental Journal (BDJ), it was found that swollen gums have been shown to “increase the severity of diabetes, worsen cardiovascular disease and increase mortality from oral cancer and oral pre-malignancies.” However, the greatest discovery in this study was the fact that very few people (12 to 13 percent) were aware of the complications associated with oral health problems and diabetes. Due to this, it is extremely important for patients to take extra care of their gums and teeth. Maintaining routine dental visits and following a healthy oral care routine (brushing, flossing, and rinsing) at home can help prevent undesirable side effects.

Unfortunately, there are those who have already experienced complications and even tooth loss. In these circumstances, we can help restore the patient’s smile with dental implants and/or veneers. It is my goal to help you regain a beautiful smile that you are proud to show off.

You may learn more regarding the cosmetic dental treatments, including dental implants, available at my Beverly Hills practice by viewing my website. I encourage you to schedule an appointment to further discuss your options and implement a personalized treatment plan.

Which foods cause cavities?

As adults, we are well aware of what not to eat in order to prevent tooth decay and cavities. Unfortunately, our children can still be oblivious to these culprits, which means that it’s up to us to better educate them on what foods to avoid. A starting point can be right at home – incorporating healthy eating habits and avoiding sugary, starchy foods.

In addition, keeping routine appointments with their dentist also contribute to a regimen of maintaining healthy oral hygiene. During these visits, I often tell my young patients about the importance of eating the right foods, such as calcium-rich items (i.e., cheese, milk). I also encourage children to skip candy, cake, and other sugar-loaded foods and snacks, including sodas and juice. Once children are educated on the types of foods to avoid and which to incorporate more of, they can carry on these habits into adulthood. This will ultimately help them maintain a healthy smile with minimal dental problems.

Feel free to contact my practice in Beverly Hills if you have any questions on how to get your kids on the right track. Furthermore, should your child require it, we can discuss orthodontics for kids and his/her options.

National Dental Hygiene Awareness Month

October is National Dental Hygiene Awareness Month, and I’d like to take this time to further emphasize the importance of implementing positive oral health routines. Maintaining good oral hygiene isn’t something that happens naturally – it’s something that needs to be instilled early on in life. This is best started when the first tooth that breaks through those tiny gums. Parents should be showing their children how to brush, floss, and keep their teeth clean. Furthermore, it is highly recommended that they visit a dentist by their first birthday. This is to check for any abnormal tooth growth and ensure that the teeth and gums are healthy.

A little trivia for you: Sharing utensils or kissing babies on the mouth may spread bacteria that cause cavities. This is something that most, if any, parents ever think about. It is very natural for a mother or father to share his/her food with a child using the same spoon or fork. However, once that same utensil has been in the parent’s mouth, bacteria clings to the utensil and can then be transferred to the child’s mouth. Even blowing on the child’s food can spread the bacteria it. In order to help prevent the spread of bacteria to the child’s gums and teeth, be sure to keep his/her food separate from everyone else’s.

If you have any questions regarding your child’s oral health or your own, please be sure to schedule an appointment at my practice near Los Angeles. As a cosmetic dentist dedicated to helping patient maintain excellent oral hygiene, I look forward to answering your questions and creating a personalized treatment plan for your specific needs.

Non-Sugary Foods That May Lead to Tooth Loss

While we have been told over and over that sugary foods and drinks play a major role in cavities forming, it is rare that we discuss the other types of food that do just as much harm. Acidic items are quite damaging to the teeth as they wear down the enamel and make them more susceptible to cavities and decay.

Some of the most commonly consumed drinks are often the most harmful – lemons, oranges, coffee, tea, and energy drinks. Not only can these stain the teeth, but they also weaken them and make them more prone to cavities. However, because we can’t stop everyone from consuming these items, we can warn them to be mindful of how much they consume. When possible, try to drink from a straw to avoid direct contact with the teeth. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water afterwards in order to wash away the acidic juices and help neutralize the mouth. To help strengthen the teeth, cheese and other calcium-rich foods can be of great benefit.

Feel free to contact my office in Beverly Hills if you are interested in scheduling an initial consultation. You may also learn more by visiting my website, where you will find additional information on the treatment available, including dental implants, teeth whitening, and porcelain veneers. As a dedicated dental provider, it is my goal to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy-looking smile.

Surprising Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

We all know that brushing and flossing are extremely important in maintaining good oral hygiene, as well as preserving strong, beautiful teeth. But what else can you do to keep your smile in tip top shape? You may be surprised with these tips for healthy teeth and perhaps may already be practicing them.

  • Be sure to consume plenty of calcium-rich food (cheese, low-fat milk, and yogurt), fresh fruits and vegetable (rich in vitamins A and C; chewing promotes healthy gums), and tea (excellent source of fluoride).
  • Limit your intake of dried fruit and foods that could get stuck to and between your teeth (leads to decay and cavities).
  • Avoid sweet drinks and snacks as they can reduce the production of bacteria. In addition, steering clear of sipping on acidic drinks for prolonged periods can also help prevent tooth decay.

Also, it is important to drink plenty of water. This can help wash away any leftover sugars or other damaging particles left behind after eating/drinking items that cause cavities. The more you do to prevent damage to your teeth, the less likely it will be that you require intense dental treatments.

If you would like to learn more regarding your dental health and wish to speak with a Los Angeles cosmetic dentist, be sure to schedule an appointment at my office in nearby Beverly Hills. I look forward to helping you achieve and maintain a sparkling smile.

Tel: (310) 273-0111

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Contact Dr. Sands

Request an appointment for a complimentary consultation with cosmetic dentist Dr. Sands, or feel free to call our Los Angeles (north of Orange County) office at (310) 273-0111 for more information.