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Monthly Archives: October 2013

How Does Sugar Harm the Teeth?

Trick or Treat? How the Most Popular Halloween Candies Can Harm Your Teeth

Bucket of Halloween Candy tipped overLike many American holidays, Halloween involves plenty of sweets that contain added sugars. Even many “fun size” candies contain half the recommended amount of sugar per day. Below are the top six most popular Halloween candies that are given out at Halloween, along with the amount of sugar in each.

Halloween Candy Calorie and Sugar Count Chart

While there is no exact recommendation from the American Dental Association for how many grams of sugar one should eat to avoid tooth decay, the American Heart Association recommends a maximum amount for optimal health:

Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).

Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).

This means that when you “help” your kids eat the Halloween treats they’ve received, mom can have just two Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups®, while dad (lucky him), can have three.

How does sugar harm the teeth?

Plaque is a naturally occurring substance in the mouth that results from bacteria. Each and every time sugar or starch comes in contact with bacteria in the mouth, acid is produced. This acid can eat away at the teeth for up to 20 minutes after the sugary food or beverage is consumed. This can eventually lead to cavities or worse problems for your oral health.

How to Control your Sugar Intake

Aside from simply avoiding sugar all together, here are a few simple tips to keeping your sugar intake under control this Halloween season:

1. Plan ahead

Explain to your family why monitoring the amount of sugar you eat is so important for oral and overall health. Make sure they know ahead of time that they will just be consuming about two treats per day — not the whole bag of candy at once.

2. Hand out candy alternatives

Set an example for your family by handing out healthier alternatives, such as bags of trail mix or granola bars. You can also hand out stickers or small toys.

3. Rinse your mouth

After consuming sugary food, candy, or drinks, simply rinsing your mouth with water can help remove some of the acid from the teeth. Brushing the teeth is always best, but rinsing with water is better than letting the acid fester on the teeth until you have the time to brush.

If you suspect you have a cavity or any other oral health concern, Dr. Sands would be happy to see you at his Beverly Hills office. To schedule an appointment, call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

Why Use Xylitol Gum?

Female smiling with white teeth and pink lipstick Many people have often heard that chewing gum directly after consuming a meal is good for your teeth. However, many gums are often loaded with ingredients that are actually harmful to teeth, such as sugar and aspartame. Chewing gum that contains sugar can actually cause the enamel of the teeth to erode, which eventually leads to cavities, and the ingredient aspartame has been linked to cancer, diabetes, and birth defects.

What is Xylitol?

Derived from a plant tissue called xylose, xylitol is a crystalline alcohol that is used as a sweetener in a wide-array of foods.

How Does Xylitol Work?

Xylitol tastes just like sugar and unlike its enamel-eating counterpart, it is not converted into acids that cause tooth decay. It is able to achieve this because it reduces the level of bacteria in the saliva, sometimes up to as much as 90%. Xylitol can also repair damaged tooth enamel that has been affected by the acids that sugar produces. In addition to restoring the enamel, the amount of plaque that is present in the mouth decreases since harmful bacteria are unable to stick to the teeth after xylitol is present.

To further protect your teeth, always read the label on your gum and try to chew brands that contain xylitol and not sugar or aspartame.

If you wish to improve the appearance of your teeth or if you have cavities that you want to get rid of, we encourage you to contact our Beverly Hills office today. Dr. Kevin B. Sands looks forward to meeting and helping you achieve the best smile possible. To schedule your consultation, call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

 

Celebrities With Great Smiles

Brittany SpearsBrittany Spears (left) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, former television music competition judge on American Idol, and author.

Kim Kardashian and Kevin B. Sands, DDS

 

 

 

Kim Kardashian (right) is an American television personality, fashion designer, model, and actress. She is well known for staring in the television series Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Kanye West & Kevin B. Sands, DDS

 

 

 

 

 

Kanye West (left) is an American hip-hop musician, songwriter, record producer, film director, and fashion designer.

Elle McPherson & Kevin B. Sands, DDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elle Macpherson (right) is an Australian model, actress, businesswoman, producer, and television host of NBC’s Fashion Star. She is well known for appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for a record five times.

 

Richard Jefferson and Kevin B. Sands, DDS

 

 

 

 

Richard Jefferson (left) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do these five celebrities have in common? Besides being patients of Dr. Sands, they all have amazing “Hollywood” smiles! You might be thinking, “If only I had a smile like that, I could…” So what can you do in order to be confident of your smile? Here are some tips to help keep your pearly whites looking their best.

Tips to keep your teeth looking their best:

 

Brush and Floss Your Teeth Daily

Brushing and flossing your teeth will keep your teeth clean and free of plaque, and will keep your breath smelling fabulous.

See Your Dentist Regularly

Seeing your dentist regularly will help with early prevention of cavities or tartar build-up.

Whiten Your Teeth

Teeth whitening can brighten your smile by getting rid of tooth discoloration caused by caffeine, cigarettes, or aging. There are several options available such as ZOOM!® Whitening, in-house bleaching, laser whitening, and at-home bleaching products.

Straighten Your Teeth

Invisalign can straighten your teeth and make them look fuller. It’s a great option if you want straighter teeth but don’t want to deal with metal braces.

Veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin, shell-like sheets of porcelain that are bonded directly to the enamel of the teeth. If you have crooked, chipped, cracked, or discolored teeth, then this may be the option for you to give you that confident smile back.

Dental Implants

Dental implants may be the solution you need to have a “Hollywood” smile if you are missing a tooth, have any gaps, or have imperfect teeth. Not only will you have confidence in your smile, but also your teeth will function better, and your overall facial appearance will be improved.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to have a “Hollywood” smile!

 

Dr. Kevin B. Sands would love to meet with you at his Beverly Hills office to discuss any dental procedure you desire. To schedule your free consultation with Dr. Sands, please call our office at (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form if you have comments or questions.

Why Is Flossing Important?

Woman holding dental floss in her hands flossing her teethEvery time you visit the dentist, you will inevitably be asked, “Do you brush your teeth at least twice a day?” Most of you will say, “Yes!” But, how many of you can say yes to the second question: “Do you floss everyday?”

Here are some of the reasons why dentists stress the importance of flossing and making it a part of your daily routine:

Reduces Plaque Build-up

Plaque contains bacteria, which, following a meal or snack, can release acids that attack tooth enamel. Repeated attacks can cause the enamel to break down and eventually result in cavities.

Reduces Tartar Build-up

Tartar buildup on front lower teethPlaque that is not removed daily by brushing and flossing will eventually harden into tartar. When this happens, your gums can become inflamed and may bleed. Unlike plaque, only your dentist can remove tartar. Flossing helps remove plaque between your teeth.

Avoids Tooth Decay

Brushing alone cannot clean the entire tooth especially since toothbrushes cannot reach in between your teeth. Flossing on a daily basis will help to prevent tooth decay and cavities especially in those hard to reach places. If cavities aren’t treated, they can get larger and cause more problems, such as severe toothache and infection.

Reduces Gingivitis & Periodontal Disease

Drawing of teeth with 4 stages of periodontal disease, each in a separate corner: healthy, gingivitis, periodontal pockets, and periodontitis

As plaque and tartar continue to build up and are left untreated, it can lead to inflammation in the mouth, which is also known as gingivitis (gum disease). If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. Periodontitis is inflammation around the tooth; it is a serious infection that can damage the gum and bones that are holding the teeth in the mouth and can eventually lead to tooth loss. If you’ve experienced tooth loss, then dental implants may be an option for you.

Reduces Bad Breath

Who wants to walk around with bad breath? Flossing on a daily basis will help remove plaque and food that can cause bad breath.

Prevents Heart Disease

Bacteria from plaque and tartar can increase inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation can then trigger the release of a large number of chemicals called, mediators, which is the same cause of inflammation indicated in heart disease.

Take care of your pearly whites and they’ll take care of you. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day, and make flossing a part of your daily oral care program.

Feel free to contact our Beverly Hills practice for all of your dental needs. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Kevin Sands, please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form.

Should I Get My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, come in between the ages of 17 and 25, a time of life that has been called the “Age of Wisdom.” They are the last teeth to develop and erupt in the mouth. In most cases, dentists recommend that these teeth should be removed. Here are the main reasons why:

1. Impacted wisdom teeth may damage other teeth.

When a tooth is unable to fully enter the mouth, it is said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can remain completely sideways beneath the gumline, or they simply are unable to break through the gums because there is no room. Nine out of ten people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. If impacted wisdom teeth are not removed, they may cause infection or damage to the other teeth.

2. Wisdom teeth are difficult to clean.

A wisdom tooth that is only partially erupted often has portions of the tooth covered by flaps of gum tissue. This, along with the location so far back in the mouth, can make wisdom teeth difficult to clean. Bacteria and plaque can collect in the gums, which can cause cavities that are difficult to treat. Infections can also develop that can lead to gum disease. Teeth that are next to the wisdom teeth are also more prone to developing gum problems because the wisdom teeth can get in the way of cleaning them. In rare cases, cysts can develop, which can cause permanent damage to bone, teeth, and nerves.

When should I keep my wisdom teeth?

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons strongly recommends that third molars be evaluated by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon by the time a patient is a young adult. The surgeon can assess the presence of third molars and their disease status and can suggest removal or management options. Regular dental visits that involve x-rays are especially important in the later teen years as the teeth finish developing within the gums.

Wisdom teeth may not need to be removed if they are:

Healthy

Fully erupted (grown in completely)

Positioned correctly and bite properly with the opposite tooth

Able to be cleaned as part of daily hygiene practices

If wisdom teeth are not removed, they will require regular professional cleaning, annual check-ups, and periodic radiographs to monitor any changes.

At a dental checkup with Dr. Kevin B. Sands, the health of your gums and teeth will be evaluated and x-rays may be taken. If necessary, Dr. Sands will refer you to an oral or maxillofacial surgeon for further assessment for your wisdom teeth. Please schedule your dental appointment with Dr. Sands by calling (310) 273-0111 or filling out our online contact form today.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Cold?

Woman holding a popsicle with a bite taken out of it, while holding her jaw and grimacingIf your teeth are suddenly sensitive to cold, you may be wondering if there is a serious problem developing. Tooth sensitivity can be temporary, and it can also be a result of the natural aging process.

Usually, if your teeth show no signs of decay, you’ve been practicing good oral hygiene, and you visit your dentist regularly, you have nothing to worry about. However, tooth sensitivity can also lead to more serious problems. You should always consult your dentist if sensitive teeth are becoming a concern.

Tooth sensitivity occurs when nerves in the pulp of the tooth become exposed due to:

– Tooth decay or cavities near the gum line – Caused by poor oral hygiene

– Gum disease – Caused by poor oral hygiene

– Cracked or broken teeth – Caused by trauma to the tooth

– Worn enamel – Caused by habitual teeth grinding or clenching, certain mouthwashes, or highly acidic foods

Tooth decay

Tiny holes (cavities) near the front or back of the tooth can occur due to lack of oral hygiene. Since these can be difficult for you to see, regular dental check-ups are necessary for early detection.

Gum disease

Also called gingivitis, gum disease occurs when the gums become inflamed or sore due to lack of proper oral care. Advanced gingivitis, or periodontal disease, involves the gums moving away from the teeth, which exposes the roots.

Cracked or broken teeth

A cracked or broken tooth can expose the tooth roots. Cracks in the teeth can also fill with plaque, causing inflammation and further sensitivity.

Worn Enamel

Habitual grinding or clenching your teeth wears down the enamel and can expose the underlying dentin. The acid in certain over-the-counter mouthwashes can also worsen tooth sensitivity if the dentin has been exposed. Highly acidic foods, such as citrus and tomatoes can weaken the enamel, which also causes further sensitivity.

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

Here are a few simple tips for preventing and treating sensitive teeth:

1. Continue to follow a good brushing and flossing routine and visit your dentist regularly.

2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently. A soft-bristled toothbrush can help reduce the gum irritation that may make teeth sensitive.

3. Use a natural fluoride solution for mouthwash. Ask your dentist for a brand he or she recommends.

4. Try desensitizing toothpaste. With regular use, you should notice an improvement in the degree of sensitivity. You may need to try several different brands before you find the one that works best for you.

Other causes for tooth sensitivity may include a loose filling or crown, recent teeth whitening, or a recent dental procedure. If tooth sensitivity is a problem for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin B. Sands at his Beverly Hills cosmetic dentistry office. Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

How Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss

Dental implant in gum next to regular tooth in gumWhenever an individual loses one or more teeth, the mass of the bones in the mouth decreases in size. This bone loss affects the gums and muscles of the mouth as well as the nerve endings that surround it. In many instances, patients opt for dentures, crowns, or bridges because these provide a decent smile and are an easy short-term fix. However, the problem with these options is that they sit on top of the teeth rather than connect to the bones inside the gums. This can eventually lead to nerve pain and the possibility of the jawbone to dissipate if the mouth is not properly cared for.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is an artificial tooth with a metal post that replaces the root of a missing tooth. Unlike the other tooth alternatives mentioned, patients do not need to worry about dental implants slipping or causing damage to the bone because the posts of the implant screw directly into the jawbone.

Stopping Bone Loss

Since dental implants screw directly into the root of a tooth, they fuse with the jawbone over time. This prevents bone loss and lessens the possibility of complications occurring in the gums and nerves of the mouth. Although there are various options available when replacing your teeth, only dental implants can prevent bone loss.

For all of your dental needs in Beverly Hills, please feel free to contact the cosmetic dentistry practice of Dr. Kevin B. Sands. Call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online consultation form today.

414 N. CAMDEN DRIVE, SUITE 940
BEVERLY HILLS, CA 90210
Tel: (310) 273-0111

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