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Category: Dental Care

3 Ways to Fix A Chipped Tooth

drawing of a chipped toothThe majority of people will chip a tooth at some point in their lifetime. Constant wear in a particular spot can weaken enamel until it breaks off. You might also bite down on hard food or be involved in an accident that chips and breaks your teeth. Whatever the cause, there are a few options Dr. Sands offers to repair chipped teeth so you can show off your smile with confidence.

Dental Bonding

Treatment for a chipped tooth will depend on the extent of the damage and whether the chip is visible when you smile. If only a small amount of the enamel is missing or if the chip is on the front teeth, dental bonding can repair the damage in just one office visit.

Also called a “filling,” since it fills the missing enamel with tooth-like composite resin, dental bonding is a quick and painless procedure that does not require numbing medication. The chipped area is etched so that the bonding material will adhere securely. An adhesive material is applied, then the composite resin is shaped on top of it to blend with the natural tooth and restore its shape. Once an ultraviolet light hardens the material, the procedure is complete.

Crowns

Larger chips, chipped teeth that have significant decay, or chips on the molar teeth may require a crown, which is a tooth-shaped cap that covers the tooth root. Crowns are made to be long lasting and are composed of metal, porcelain fused to metal, resin, or ceramic. Dr. Sands can help you determine the choice that best meets your needs with regard to cost, durability, and appearance.

Usually it takes two office visits to install a crown. If needed, a root canal will be performed at the first office visit to build up the structure of the root so it can support the crown. X-rays will be taken, and any excess tooth will be removed. Your dentist will take impressions of the tooth receiving the crown as well as the opposing tooth so that the crown will line up correctly. You will go home with a temporary crown while your permanent one is made. At the second visit, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent one is cemented into place. Your teeth should line up seamlessly and look and function just as well as they did before.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are another option for repairing chips on the front teeth. Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that cover the front of the teeth with a thick section that fills the chipped portion of the tooth. A single veneer can be used to repair a chip on one tooth, or the patient may choose to get veneers on all of their front teeth for a total smile restoration. In just two office visits, veneers will not only repair chipped teeth, but they can also disguise gaps, perfect crooked or stained teeth, and improve your bite.

During the first visit, the surface layer of your teeth is removed to make room for the veneer. Your teeth will be color-matched, and molds will be taken so the veneers can be made. Temporary veneers will be placed. At the second visit, the temporary veneers are removed, and the permanent ones are adhered with cement that is made permanent with ultraviolet light.

If you have broken or chipped teeth, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin Sands as soon as possible. He can quickly restore the function and beauty of your smile in as little as one office visit. Call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today for more information.

Am I Prone to Cavities?

cavatiesIt is common knowledge that brushing your teeth, flossing daily, and maintaining your dental hygiene appointments will help keep cavities at bay. However, many people, despite their best efforts, may actually be more prone to cavities than those who slack on their oral hygiene. Why all the unfairness?

The True Cause of Cavities

There is no scientific proof to support the claim that regular brushing and flossing will prevent cavities. Tooth decay can be attributed to two things: the consumption of sugar and genetics.

Sugar

Cavities cannot exist without sugar. Bacteria in our mouths feast on sucrose (the chief component of sugar). The bacteria multiply and thrive between our teeth, causing decay in the process, which is more likely to occur if you have existing holes, small cracks, or deep crevices in your teeth. This fact brings us to our second cavity culprit and the answer to our main question: Am I prone to cavities?

Genetics

Some people naturally have deeper crevices in their teeth than others, which creates a more comfortable place for bacteria to burrow into the tooth and cause a cavity. This can be helped with the use of sealant, which Dr. Sands can apply to the grooves of your teeth to provide a protective layer.

You might also be more prone to cavities if you do not produce much saliva. Your saliva contains bicarbonate, calcium, and phosphate, which help repair early tooth decay and neutralize acid that causes plaque. Certain medications can cause your saliva production to dwindle. Smoking, stress, aging, chemotherapy, and autoimmune disorders can also lead to dry mouth, or “cotton mouth.” Your doctor can help you find ways to increase your production of saliva if drinking more water throughout the day does not help.

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

Although brushing and flossing daily is not proven to completely prevent cavities, it can decrease them by up to 20 percent if you use toothpaste that contains fluoride. Reducing your intake of sugar and carbohydrates (which convert into sugar in the mouth) will also significantly reduce your chances of getting a cavity. If the damage is already done, Dr. Sands can repair your cavities with dental bonding.

If you would like Dr. Kevin Sands to help maintain the health and beauty of your smile, please schedule your appointment today by calling (310) 273-0111. You can also fill out our online contact form at your convenience.

Baby Teeth Care

shutterstock_236032831When you have a baby, most of the time you are not thinking about the future of their teeth. But, did you know that in order to help your child have good oral hygiene later, baby dental care starts before they even grow in their first pearly white? Having a healthy mouth all begins with your child’s gums as a baby.

Taking preventative care of your baby’s oral health will help:

  • Provide proper growth and alignment of the teeth
  • Prevent future problems with chewing or speaking
  • Create overall better dental hygiene into adolescence and adulthood

Even before your child begins to develop his or her first tooth, it is important to keep the mouth clean to stop bacteria from clinging to the gums. This is why it is suggested to wipe your baby’s gums and mouth thoroughly with a wet washcloth at least twice a day, especially after feedings and before bedtime.

Brushing Your Baby’s Teeth

Once your baby starts to grow teeth, you can trade in the washcloth for a toothbrush. Your baby’s toothbrush should have a:

  • Soft brush
  • Small head
  • Large handle

Initially, just water can be used to brush your baby’s teeth. As they grow more teeth, you can slowly use a very small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a grain), and gradually increase the amount to the size of a pea when your child develops into a toddler. Once your child is able to hold the toothbrush properly, you can allow them to brush their own teeth; however, they should be supervised until they are at least six years old and know how to brush safely and effectively.

In addition to teaching your child proper oral hygiene and care, the following factors can affect the overall quality and growth of your child’s teeth:

  • Thumbsucking
  • Pacifier use
  • Bottle use

Although many children will pick up one or more of the above habits, it is important to have them refrain to doing them prevent future problems from occurring. These behavior patterns may lead to tooth decay, change of the roof of the mouth, and misalignment of the teeth. In addition, avoid giving your child sugary drinks, such as fruit juices and sodas.

It is best to only fill your baby’s bottle with:

  • Formula
  • Breast milk
  • Water

During your baby’s first dental visit, which is recommended at age one, you can receive more advice about how to properly provide your baby with healthy dental care.

To learn about how to better care for your child’s teeth, Dr. Sands can provide you with all the information you need. You can schedule an appointment by calling (310) 273-0111 or by filling out our online contact form.

How Often Should I Visit My Dentist?

shutterstock_133538873Another year, another dental checkup. The average person is sitting in the dentist’s chair annually. However, what some people may not know is that a yearly cleaning and dental checkup may not be enough. The frequency of dentist visits necessary will differ based upon a person’s habits and health history.

Oral Health and Overall Health

The mouth is an entry way into the body; oral problems can lead to other serious issues or diseases involving the heart, brain, bones, and blood pressure. This is why it is important to have healthy hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing daily and seeing the dentist at least every six months.

Anyone who is prone to certain risks and diseases should be getting routine dental checkups every three to four months.

Some High-Risk Patients May Include:

  • Smokers
  • Pregnant women
  • Diabetics
  • Gum disease patients
  • Patients who have a weak immune response to bacterial infections
  • Patients who get cavities or plaque build-up often

These patients are at high risk for future problems such as gingivitis (inflammation of the gums, a form of gum disease), which can lead to:

  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Premature birth
  • Diabetes

All it takes are regular checkups at the dental office and healthy hygiene habits to prevent some serious health issues.

When Should I Call My Dentist?

The frequency of dental visits needed to keep you and your mouth healthy will change throughout your lifetime depending on your habits, age, stress, and illnesses. Your dentist can recommend the ideal frequency of dental visits for you.

Any noticeable changes in the mouth should be checked out by a dental professional. In a dental emergency, it is important for a patient to seek immediate attention. Patients should make an appointment if they have a toothache, teeth that have fallen out, mouth pain, or a chipped tooth.

A bright, beautiful smile could improve a person’s look cosmetically and also be the gateway to better health overall.

If you are due for a checkup, Dr. Sands can help improve your oral hygiene. Contact his office to schedule a consultation by calling (310) 273-0111 or by filling out our online contact form.

Are Bad Teeth Hereditary?

Are Bad Teeth Genetic?“Brush your teeth” and “floss more often” are the two phrases that most people expect to hear when they sit in the dentist’s chair. Yet, while some people have poor oral hygiene habits and rarely get cavities, others take excellent care of their teeth and still get cavities and gum disease. Good oral hygiene care is still the most critical factor in having good teeth, but there is indeed a genetic element to having bad teeth.

Genetic Factors for Bad Teeth

Much like the color of your eyes, the makeup of your teeth and gums is inherited. Children who inherit their father’s large jaw but their mother’s small teeth will likely have large gaps between their teeth. Those who inherit a small jaw and large teeth will likely have overcrowded, crooked teeth. Simple genetic factors such as tooth shape, tooth size, and jaw size all affect how crooked or straight your teeth may be. Additionally, you may inherit teeth with softer enamel that are more vulnerable to cavity-causing bacteria. Gum disease is yet another hereditary factor. Other genetic factors have a more indirect effect: a preference for sugary foods, heartburn or acid reflux, and behavioral tendencies can all be inherited and lead to poor oral hygiene habits that ultimately harm your teeth.

Oral Hygiene and Behavioral Factors for Bad Teeth

While there is a distinct genetic component to having bad teeth, oral hygiene is the far greater predictor of tooth health. Oral hygiene habits, diet, and behavioral factors established at a young age are key predictors of having either bad teeth or healthy teeth. Neglecting dental care for very young children well before permanent teeth come in (and even before all baby teeth have grown) can lead to tooth problems. During tooth development, a lack of calcium in the diet can lead to weak teeth that are more vulnerable to cavities. Bad habits such as sucking on pen caps, chewing on straws, prolonged thumb-sucking, or using your teeth to open packages can cause crooked teeth as well as tooth chips and cracks. Avoiding six-month or yearly dental appointments prevents your dentist from being able to catch warning signs early on, when the problems are easier to manage. Partaking of nicotine and tobacco products can cause gum disease, tissue damage, and tooth decay. Most of all, excess consumption of sugary or acidic foods and drinks can wear down tooth enamel.

Despite the hereditary factors, good oral hygiene habits remain the greatest predictor of having healthy teeth. Follow your dentist’s advice and remember to brush and floss regularly, use fluoride, avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks, avoid smoking, and take care of your teeth so that they can last you a lifetime.

To receive more expert dental advice and improve the health and appearance of your teeth, schedule your consultation with Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin Sands. Call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form to request an appointment for a complimentary consultation today.

Oral Health for Overall Health

If you’re like most people, you probably think that brushing and flossing are just for keeping those pearly whites healthy and beautiful. However, did you know that your oral health can affect the health of the rest of your body? Your mouth is an entryway into your body, so problems in your mouth can easily allow bacteria and other harmful germs to travel into your body and cause problems. So, while good oral hygiene can help keep your body healthy, not taking care of your teeth can have negative effects on your body.

Oral problems commonly lead to problems associated with the following body systems:

  • Heart​Oral Health for Overall Health
  • Brain
  • Bones
  • Blood pressure

Gum Disease and Body Diseases

Bacterial growth in your mouth as a result of poor oral hygiene usually leads to inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), which often leads to gum disease as the bacteria in plaque builds up. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease (periodontitis), is a chronic inflammatory condition that can have detrimental effects on the body. Gingivitis and gum disease allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and lead to inflammation and diseases in the body. Gum disease is associated with multiple body issues and diseases, including heart disease, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, premature birth, and diabetes. Diabetes also has a reciprocal relationship with gum disease; treatment of diabetes improves the condition of the mouth, and treatment of gum disease reduces the need for insulin.

Good Oral Hygiene Practices

To prevent poor oral health and the negative effects it can have on the body, it is important to practice good oral hygiene. You should brush twice daily and floss at least once a day, preferably before bedtime, in addition to visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. There are also many benefits of chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating and drinking.

If you’re having an issue with your teeth, Dr. Kevin Sands offers a variety of services to help you maintain or improve your oral health, including porcelain veneers, Invisalign®, Zoom!® teeth whitening, dental implants, sedation dentistry, and dental bonding.

If you would like to improve the appearance and health of your teeth, Dr. Kevin Sands can help. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Sands, please call (310) 273-0111 today. You may also fill out our online contact form for more information.

The Secret Effects of Your Juice Cleanse

Effects of Juicing on Your TeethMany people who have tried to juice for several days in a row have probably learned of ways to make their vegetable juice taste better. Juice that is primarily green (meaning that all the vegetables used are green vegetables) is typically very “earthy” in flavor, which can be difficult to get used to. A popular way to make green juice a little more palatable is to add items that are either sweet or tart, such as lemons, apples, carrots, or grapes. These flavors can work together to dull the potent taste of a green-only juice and make your pursuit of a healthier body all the more enjoyable. This sounds like a win-win situation, right?

One drawback to adding fruit to your green juice is that you are also adding quite a bit of concentrated sugar. The sugar in fruit juice can more easily stick to your teeth and fill in all the little crevices in your mouth where bacteria are prone to fester. These bacteria convert the sugar to acid, which can easily erode your tooth enamel or irritate your gums and cause infection. Although juicers should beware of this effect, they should not lose hope. Below are a few ways to prevent the damage that can occur from fruit juices.

How to Prevent Tooth Enamel Damage that Can Result from Juicing

  1. Juice only vegetables. Avoiding fruit juice altogether completely avoids the risk of tooth decay caused by sugar. However, this may be difficult for many people.
  2. Drink your juice quickly or through a straw. Swishing the juice in your mouth or taking a while to swallow gives the sugar more of a chance to stick to your teeth.
  3. Wash down your juice with a glass of water. This will eliminate most of the residue that easily sticks to your teeth.
  4. Brush your teeth, but not immediately after drinking your juice. The sugar from the juice will convert to acid, which temporarily softens tooth enamel. You do not want to brush your teeth at this point because brushing soft enamel can wear it away and cause tooth sensitivity.
  5. Skip juicing and eat whole fruits and vegetables. While this option causes you to miss out on the many benefits of juicing, it may be worth it if your juice cleanse is significantly impacting your healthy smile.

Even people who religiously brush their teeth and watch their sugar intake can suffer from gum disease or tooth decay. Dr. Sands offers many options, like porcelain veneers, dental bonding, or Zoom!® teeth whitening, to return your smile to its original health and beauty.

To schedule a consultation with Beverly Hills Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Kevin Sands, please call 310-273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

The DOs and DON’Ts for a Hollywood Smile

Kevin Sands, DDS - Cosmetic Dentist to Hollywood StarsMaintaining a healthy, beautiful smile is mostly about how you care for your teeth. If you want to protect your teeth and maintain a Hollywood-worthy smile, it’s important to do what your dentist tells you. Proper dental care is critical for your teeth’s health, for your body’s health, and even for your social status. Hollywood’s stars typically have the straightest, whitest, and most beautiful teeth you’ve ever seen, and there are two reasons for that. First, they take care of their teeth. Second, when they need extra help, they know to take advantage of cosmetic dentistry. Whether you’re on the red carpet in Hollywood or the red carpet of your personal life, here’s how to make your pearly whites shine so that you can look your absolute best.

Here’s a list of DOs and DON’Ts to keep your teeth healthy:

  • DO brush at least twice daily. Spend two full minutes twice a day brushing for optimal tooth cleanliness. Brushing is especially important after eating sugary foods because the sugar sits on your teeth and eats away at the enamel, eventually causing cavities.
  • DON’T brush too hard. Using abrasive toothbrushes or brushing too hard can scratch the enamel on your teeth, which can wear down over time. Brushing too hard can also damage your gums, and weak gums lead to weaker teeth and a weaker smile.
  • DO floss once a day. Twice a day is even better. Brushing your teeth is not enough because food particles can remain stuck between the teeth. You may choose to floss right after brushing or right before, but definitely be sure to do it.
  • DO go to the dentist regularly. Regular teeth cleanings and checkups are essential to maintaining proper dental health.
  • DON’T put objects like pens or pencils in your mouth. Not only is it a bad habit, but it’s also hard on your teeth and can damage them.
  • DON’T clench your jaw or grind your teeth. Forcing your teeth to scrape against each other like that is really bad for them. Doing this enough will eventually cause your teeth to chip and crack. A custom-made mouthguard can protect your teeth from grinding at night.
  • DON’T chew ice or bite your nails. Both can crack, chip, or otherwise damage your teeth.
  • DON’T drink coffee, tea, or soda. Avoiding these beverages may be difficult, but these drinks hurt your teeth! Not only can they discolor your teeth, but they also wear down the enamel. If you choose to drink one of these teeth-staining drinks, drink it through a straw to minimize your teeth’s exposure.
  • DON’T use your teeth as a tool. Opening packages with your teeth, holding items with your teeth, or ripping anything with your teeth can cause all kinds of damage and ruin your smile.

If you’re doing everything you can to protect your teeth and you still need extra correction, you may wish to consider cosmetic dentistry. Invisalign® can straighten your teeth the modern way and porcelain veneers can protect and cover damaged teeth. Call us today at (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your complimentary consultation with Cosmetic Dentist to the Stars, Dr. Kevin Sands.

The Benefits of Chewing Sugar-Free Gum

While it is an accepted fact in the dental community, many people often question whether chewing gum is good for their oral health. Doubters can rest easy knowing that scientific evidence and numerous studies have shown that munching on sugarless gum is beneficial for your chompers.

How Does Chewing Sugarless Gum Help?

Benefits of Chewing Sugar-Free GumOne major way gum helps is by increasing the production of saliva in the mouth, which:

  • Reduces dry mouth
  • Helps neutralize acids
  • Remineralizes enamel
  • Washes away food particles

When you eat or drink, your teeth are exposed to acid that is produced when the bacteria in your mouth break down the sugar and carbohydrates. This acid can erode the enamel of your teeth over time and cause tooth decay. Gum stimulates your mouth’s production of saliva, which neutralizes this acid. Saliva also helps prevent cavities by dissolving sugars that might be lodged in spaces between the teeth, therefore limiting the growth of bacteria colonies and subsequent acid. Additionally, the mechanism of chewing can help dislodge food particles and break up plaque.

Why Sugar-Free Gum?

Violet Beauregarde may have been onto something, but her obsessive gum chewing doesn’t necessarily mean she can have free range on all the sugary candy in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Although chewing gum is beneficial, chewing sugary gum negates those benefits by increasing the presence of sugar in your mouth. It’s important to limit your sugar consumption (even in the form of gum) because bacteria in the mouth feed off sugar and produce decay-causing acids.

ADA Approved

ADA Approved GumSugar-free gums that have the American Dental Association® (ADA) Seal of Acceptance are sweetened with sweeteners that do not cause cavities, such as aspartame, sorbitol, or mannitol. The following sugar-free gums have the ADA Seal and have been shown to meet ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness:

  • Dentyne® Ice™ Sugarless Gum
  • ICE BREAKERS ICE CUBES Sugar Free Chewing Gum
  • Stride Sugarless Gum
  • Trident® Sugarless Gum
  • Wrigley’s 5® Sugarfree Gum
  • Wrigley’s Extra® Sugarfree Gum
  • Wrigley’s Orbit® for Kids Sugarfree Gum
  • Wrigley’s Orbit® Sugarfree Gum

Dentists and the ADA recommend chewing gum for 20 minutes after eating and drinking.

While sugar-free gum is beneficial, chewing gum does not replace brushing and flossing. It is important to remember to maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing at least twice per day and flossing at least once per day.

If you already have cavities or dental issues, Dr. Sands can help. To schedule a consultation, please call (310) 273-0111 today. You may also fill out our online contact form for more information.

Zoom! (Look Ten Years Younger in One Hour)

How to Look Younger with Zoom! Whitening

shutterstock_135709073Want to look years younger in just an hour? An influential factor in projecting an attractive and youthful appearance is a nice smile. Yellow or stained teeth can greatly age your smile and your overall appearance. While you may already use toothpaste and strips that contain whitening boosters, the effects tend to be only temporary. This is why Dr. Kevin Sands offers Zoom!® whitening at his Beverly Hills practice.

Zoom!® Teeth Whitening

 

The Zoom!® system is designed to make your teeth noticeably (up to eight shades) whiter! Unlike many other whitening treatments that can irritate the gums and take multiple treatments to complete, Zoom!® whitening causes minimal irritation and takes only ONE, hour-long treatment. Each procedure is simply performed by applying a bleaching solution to the teeth, which are then exposed to a specialized Zoom!® light.

How Long Do the Results Last?

Your newly brightened smile will typically last anywhere between 12 and 18 months. However, to ensure the longest-lasting results, you should maintain proper oral hygiene and refrain from activities that can stain the teeth, such as drinking red wine and smoking.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Kevin Sands at his state-of-the-art practice, feel free to call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today. As a highly experienced and respected cosmetic dentist, Dr. Sands looks forward to meeting you soon and helping you achieve a noticeably whiter smile.

Feel Like a VIP

VIPDuring many office visits, it is common to feel like you are just ANOTHER patient to your doctor. Dr. Kevin Sands wants to change that. He believes that every patient walking through his door should receive the most personalized and attentive care possible. He hopes every patient he sees feels like they matter because they do. For this reason, Dr. Sands offers services and treatments that will leave you feeling like a VIP.

High-Speed Curing Lights

No one wants to waste the day away waiting for fillings to set. Dr. Sands uses high-speed curing lights that cut your in-chair time down by speeding up the process of curing your dental fillings.

Nitrous Oxide

Dr. Sands understands that for many people, dental visits can be extremely stressful and filled with anxiety. In order to make your visits as relaxing as possible, he offers nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide calms the body down, helping people feel less anxious without needing sedation to put them to sleep.

Digital Imaging

Digital imaging is used to better detect and diagnose diseases of the mouth. It can detect cavities, tooth development, and bone health. Early detection of oral irregularities can save time and money. Digital imaging is also quicker, making your visits shorter and more efficient.

Laser Care for Gum Disease

Your teeth are only as healthy as the gums supporting them. Laser care can painlessly treat gum disease and restore a healthy mouth.

Entertainment

Office visits can be tedious and often boring. We have flat screen TVs and DVDs for your enjoyment. This should help the time fly and make your dental visits less of a chore and more of a positive experience.

Schedule your consultation with Dr. Kevin Sands and feel like a VIP. Your teeth aren’t the only thing that deserve priority treatment – you do as well! Call us today at 310.273.0111 or fill out our online contact form here.

Do You Fear the Dentist?

Afraid of the Dentist?

Afraid of the Dentist?If you’re fearful of dental visits, don’t worry; it’s more common than you think. In fact, research done by a Harvard study shows that 13 to 24 percent of all people have a phobia of the dentist. However, to help you ensure that you maintain a healthy mouth and a great smile, it’s important that you regularly see a dental professional, like Dr. Kevin Sands.

To ease your fears about your next dental visit, we’ve provided some tips below.

Eat Beforehand

Consuming a healthy, well-balanced meal at least an hour before your office visit can actually help keep you calm. Be sure to avoid sugary foods and caffeine, as these can make you more jittery and anxious.

Listen to Music

While sitting in the waiting room, listening to music can put you in a relaxed mood rather than sitting in silence and anxiously waiting to be seen by your dental professional. Various studies have shown that classical music has the most soothing effect.

Communicate

Communication is key in any situation, especially when someone is working on your mouth. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what the procedure entails as well as the length of time the treatment is expected to take.

Find a Professional You Can Trust

While some dentists are dedicated to their craft, there are many who simply have more skill and experience than others. Aside from being masterful at his craft in cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Kevin Sands strives to provide each and every one of his patients with a comfortable experience and the excellent results they desire. His unique approach takes your gender, lifestyle, and ethnicity into account to give you the best smile possible.

As a highly-respected dentist, Dr. Kevin Sands looks forward to seeing you soon! To schedule a consultation at his state-of-the-art Beverly Hills practice, call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form to get started today.

 

 

 

How to Strengthen Teeth

Close up of a man biting into an appleEven though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it can demineralize over time. Demineralization weakens the enamel and can lead to cavities, chips in the teeth, and tooth sensitivity. To strengthen your teeth, simply follow these seven steps:

1. Mind your diet

The bacteria that cause cavities feed off of the sugar and starch we eat and produce enamel-eroding acid. The acid present in soda (both diet and regular), citrus fruits, pickles, and tomatoes also weakens the enamel.

Try to limit your sugar intake to no more than 13 grams per day. According to an article published in BMC Public Health, limiting your sugar intake to this amount will significantly reduce your risk of oral health concerns. Remember that refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, chips, and crackers convert to sugar in your mouth, so it is best to limit or avoid them.

2. Snack less often

When your teeth are exposed to sugar and acid consistently, bacteria have a better opportunity to fester. If you cannot significantly limit your sugar and refined carbohydrate intake (which is certainly difficult to do), limit how often you snack.

3. Use a straw for acidic drinks

Soda, lemonade, orange juice, and coffee are all highly acidic. Drink these beverages through a straw to limit your enamel’s exposure to the acid. You should also avoid sipping an acidic drink slowly throughout the day. Instead, drink your beverage with your meal and rinse your mouth with water once you are finished.

4. End your meals with cheese

According to research, the casein and whey protein in many cheeses help to reduce enamel demineralization. Chewing on cheese will also stimulate saliva flow, which helps to wash away acid and bacteria. If you’ve packed some string cheese in your lunch today, be sure to eat that last.

5. Use the right toothbrush and toothpaste

A rough toothbrush can damage your enamel. Be sure to get a soft-bristled toothbrush and be mindful about how much pressure you are applying while brushing. Check your toothpaste for the ingredient Glycerin, which can interfere with strengthening your teeth. It can cause a film over the teeth that blocks the minerals in your saliva from strengthening your enamel.

6. Use remineralizing treatments

Calcium phosphate and fluoride, the ingredients in remineralizing gels, have been scientifically proven to strengthen tooth enamel. Remineralizing gels often come in a pen or in teeth-whitening trays that you can apply to your teeth at home.

7. Chew sugar-free gum

Chewing sugar-free gum can help to stimulate saliva, which washes away bacteria and the acid it creates. However, gum that contains sugar will completely cancel out this effect. Look for sugar-free gum with xylitol, a natural sweetener, listed as the first ingredient.

If you have any concerns about your oral health or are interested in a cosmetic dental procedure, please schedule a consultation with celebrity cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin B. Sands. Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

How to Floss Correctly

Illustration of a man flossing his teeth“Have you been flossing?”

This is a question you’ve probably been asked many times at your regular dental visits, and for good reasons. Flossing is very important to maintaining oral health because it removes plaque and bacteria that a toothbrush cannot reach. This is common knowledge, yet so few people floss on a regular basis. Common excuses for not flossing are, “It hurts when I floss,” “My teeth are too close together,” and “I never get food stuck in my teeth.” The reality is, if you are flossing correctly and using the right kind of floss, these excuses will no longer apply!

Why Floss?

If your excuse for not flossing is, “I never get food stuck in my teeth,” you might not understand the main objective of flossing. While flossing does remove noticeably annoying food particles that get caught between your teeth, the main purpose of flossing is to scrape away the thin film of bacteria that collects on the teeth during the day. Between the teeth and the gums is a small pocket that easily traps bacteria and is difficult to reach with a toothbrush. As you scrape the floss down the side of each tooth and gently down into the gum pocket, you remove a film of bacteria that would otherwise linger and eventually cause plaque buildup.

How to Floss

If it hurts to floss, you may have gingivitis, or you may simply not be flossing correctly. Here is how to floss the right way:

  1. Insert the floss between two teeth.
  2. Slowly place the floss beneath the gum line at the base of one tooth.
  3. Curve the floss around the tooth, and scrape it along the edge of the tooth.
  4. Repeat step 3 in the same space between those teeth, but scrape the floss against the neighboring tooth, making sure to go all the way to the base of the tooth beneath the gum line.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 between each two teeth using a clean section of floss each time. This prevents transferring bacteria to neighboring teeth.

The Right Floss

If your teeth are very close together or if you have braces, flossing might be a little more challenging. Try waxed floss, glide floss, or use a threader that is made to get around the brackets of braces. If your floss shreds, you might have a problem with your dental work, or you could have a cavity. A visit to your dentist can help to identify the problem.

If you are interested in general or cosmetic dental services offered by Dr. Kevin B. Sands, please schedule your appointment today. Call 310-273-0111 or fill out our online contact form for more information.

3 Tricks to Get Dentist-Approved Halloween Treats

boy dressed in skeleton costume eating Halloween candyWith Halloween right around the corner, you’ve probably been reminded of Jimmy Fallon’s Youtube challenge, “I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy.” Maybe you’ve also heard about the “candy tax” where parents keep a certain percentage of their child’s Halloween candy for themselves. It’s become obvious that many adults feel entitled to a piece of the sweet candy goodness of the holiday, and some of them will pull any trick in order to get it. The problem is, most candy collected by the typical trick-or-treater is FILLED with sugar, and too much sugar can wreak havoc on a beautiful, healthy smile. Sugar provides the energy needed for bacteria to multiply, fester, and eventually cause gum disease and tooth decay. Sound spooky? We thought so! To help, we’re sharing a few tricks that will keep your teeth healthy – and your kids happy – this Halloween.

The Little Treat

According to the National Confectioners Association, 72 percent of all candy purchased for Halloween last year consisted of milk chocolate. The typical milk chocolate bar contains 30 percent cacao, 20 percent milk solids, and 49 percent sugar. That’s right; HALF of the typical milk chocolate bar is pure sugar! Fortunately, the majority of chocolate Halloween candy comes in “fun size,” which is about one-fourth the size of a regular chocolate bar. The sugar content in these little devilishly delicious bites is obviously much lower overall than that of a full chocolate bar, but just a few of them can add up quickly. Limit yourself to just one or two fun-size treats per day to avoid sugar overload.little girl witch costume holding Halloween candy

The Treat and Cheat

Another way to steer clear of too much sugar is to enjoy your fill and immediately wash the sugar away. If you brush your teeth thoroughly after enjoying your (or your child’s) Halloween candy, there is less of a chance for bacteria to multiply. If you don’t have time to brush, rinsing your mouth with water will help to get rid of some of the lingering sugar. Flossing will also help to remove sugar that can stick to the teeth below the gum line.

The Substitute Treat

Although milk chocolate contains a percentage of the healthy ingredient cacao, which is high in antioxidants, the high sugar content in milk chocolate cancels out any of its health benefits. Dark chocolate that is 70 percent cacao may taste more bitter, but it has a lot less sugar to harm the teeth and can serve as a great candy alternative. If the bitter taste of dark chocolate is too difficult to get used to, you can substitute sugar-laden candy for sugar-free, or choose a candy alternative like trail mix.

Whether you need a general assessment or a total smile makeover, treat your teeth this Halloween to the services provided by celebrity cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin B. Sands.  Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule an appointment.

What Causes Tooth Enamel Damage?

woman getting teeth inspected by denistTooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, built to withstand literal wear and tear on a daily basis as we bite, speak, clench, and chew. Each year, your enamel will wear down an average of eight micrometers from normal factors, but there are several factors that can accelerate its decline.

Acid

Acid will erode enamel over time. Acid occurs in your mouth naturally after you eat food that contains sugar and carbohydrates. Soda and fruit juices are among some of the most harmful to consume, especially when you sip on them throughout the day. The longer the sugar remains on your teeth, the longer the bacteria in your mouth have to feast on it and create the corrosive acid.

Acid can also occur in your mouth if you have a condition that causes frequent vomiting or if you have acid reflux disease. Since your saliva neutralizes these acids, dry mouth will cause these acids to linger even longer, causing even more damage.

As we mentioned in a previous post, you can avoid excessive acid in your mouth by avoiding certain foods and beverages.

Using Teeth as Tools

Tooth enamel damage is also caused when you use your teeth as tools. You should never open bottles, packages, or other containers with your teeth. Doing so can permanently chip or crack your enamel. Chewing fingernails, non-food items, or ice can have the same result.

Grinding Teeth

Many people grind their teeth and are not even aware that they do it. This will definitely accelerate enamel erosion and can even fracture the enamel. Your dentist will be able to tell if you have excessive wear on your enamel and may recommend wearing a mouthguard at night, when teeth-grinding is most likely to occur.

If you have chips, cracks, or any degree of enamel erosion, Dr. Sands can give you a treatment plan that will set you on the road to repair. To schedule a consultation, please call (310) 27-0111 today. You may also fill out our online contact form for more information.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Portrait of a man putting his hand to his cheek from pain from frozen popsicle in his hand, isolated white backgroundIt is important to protect the outer layers of your teeth and the surrounding tissue in order to prevent tooth sensitivity. Sensitive teeth are easily irritated and can be very painful when exposed to certain elements, such as heat and cold, that easily send nerve signals to the center of your teeth. The following conditions and materials that wear away the protective coverings of your teeth can cause sensitivity by exposing the dentin and roots.

Receding Gums

Gum tissue protects the roots of the teeth, but certain conditions, such as periodontal disease, can cause the gums to move away from the teeth. This leaves the roots susceptible to irritation, which can cause tooth pain and sensitivity.

Acidic Foods and Drinks

Highly acidic foods and drinks (citrus fruits, lentils, olives, tomatoes, fruit juice, soda) can eat away at the enamel on the teeth and lead to sensitivity by exposing the dentin beneath it. There are microscopic holes in the dentin that allow the tooth nerves to be stimulated and cause pain. After consuming an acidic food or drink, neutralizing the acids by eating or drinking neutral substances like cheese or milk will help prevent the teeth from being affected by the acid.

Whitening Products

Some whiteners with peroxide-based bleaching solutions can contribute to tooth sensitivity. If you are interested in whitening your teeth, it is recommended that you speak with your dentist about the best product for you. Dr. Sands offers a variety of teeth whitening treatments and can help determine the ideal whitening procedure for you.

Too Frequent Use of Mouthwash

The acids found in most mouthwashes can make teeth sensitive or irritate teeth that are already sensitive. Although it may be nice to have minty fresh breath after each meal, stick to using mouthwash only once or twice per day to avoid tooth sensitivity.

If you are experiencing sensitive teeth or any dental pain, Illustration of a blue arrow going around a toothDr. Kevin B. Sands is available to diagnose and treat your condition. To schedule your consultation or find out more information about the dental procedures we offer, please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form.

 

What to Eat (and Avoid) for Healthy Teeth

Our bodies need food to provide nourishment and energy, making food an essential part of everyday life. Although many people know that what they eat has a major impact on the health of their bodies, many do not realize that it also has a major impact on the health of their teeth. In addition to brushing and flossing, including the following healthy foods in your diet and limiting your consumption of the tooth-damaging foods listed here can help maintain healthy teeth.

EatA glass pitcher of milk, an egg, and cheese on a white background

Foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus, protect enamel and promote remineralization (replacement of minerals) in teeth.

  • Low-fat milk and cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Dark, leafy veggies
  • Fish and tofu

Crunchy foods with a high water content put your chompers to work and stimulate the production of saliva while gently removing plaque from the surfaces.

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Raw pears

Avoid/Limit

Acidic foods can erode the enamel on the teethA red 'X' going through soda cans, donuts, and ice cream cones on a white background and lead to tooth decay, and dark-colored foods (and drinks) of this type can usually stain the teeth as well.

  • Citrus fruits
  • Pickles
  • Tomatoes
  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Soda

Foods high in sugar can get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your teeth and easily cause cavities.

  • Candy (especially hard candies)
  • Dried fruit

If you’re concerned about the health and/or appearance of your teeth, Dr. Kevin Sands offers a wide variety of procedures to improve virtually any oral condition. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Sands, please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today. We look forward to helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile!

Coconut Oil Toothpaste Alternative

coconut oilYou’ve probably heard about the wonderful effects of coconut oil. You can cook, clean, wash your face, condition your hair, and even prevent tooth decay with this versatile, natural product that can be found in almost any grocery store. A recent study by the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland has shown that coconut oil toothpaste alternative can serve yet another purpose as ‘an effective alternative to chemical additives’ in most dental hygiene products.

Many who are on board with the holistic, all-natural way of living, which has increased in popularity in recent years, are beaming about this discovery. They can avoid sulfate chemicals and added fluoride by using coconut oil as a toothpaste alternative. While this is a significant discovery, it is important to note that products containing coconut oil have yet to be endorsed by the American Dental Association because this process can take several years.

Here is a recipe you can make at home to make using coconut oil as a toothpaste alternative a more sudsy, toothpaste-like experience, courtesy of The Paleo Hygienist:

Coconut Oil Toothpaste Recipe

 

3 Tbsp. softened coconut oil (look for a USDA certified organic or 100% organic label that says “unrefined” or “cold-pressed”)

3 Tbsp. baking soda

15 to 25 drops of peppermint essential oil (or flavor of your choice)

1 packet of stevia or xylitol to taste (optional, depending on your desired sweetness)

2 tsp. vegetable glycerin (optional, to help consistency)

1 tsp. castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s brand (optional; provides more of a “sudsy” effect like regular toothpaste)

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

Many who have a sensitivity to fluoride or other chemical additives may benefit from using coconut oil as a mouth rinse (also called “oil pulling”) or or using coconut oil as a toothpaste alternative during their daily cleaning regimen.

If you are interested in cosmetic dental procedures in Beverly Hills, CA, please schedule a consultation with celebrity cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin B. Sands. Call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today for more information.

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.

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 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.

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Correctly?

It’s pretty common knowledge that one of the most important ways to maintain good oral hygiene is to brush your teeth twice a day. However, many people brush their teeth incorrectly without even realizing it. This can not only allow plaque and bacteria to build up and lead to cavities, but incorrect brushing can also potentially cause damage to tooth enamel. Here are some helpful suggestions to make sure you get the most out of your brushing time.

Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

Many people mistakenly think that stiffer bristles will get teeth cleaner, but the reality is that tough bristles can actually damage the tooth enamel and irritate the gums. Brushing with bristles that are sturdy enough to remove plaque but soft enough so they don’t damage the teeth is the best start to a healthy mouth.

Do Not Brush Too Hard

Pressing the bristles against your teeth too hard or brushing too vigorously can erode tooth enamel. You can get your teeth just as clean without damaging them by safely using gentle brush strokes with the right technique.

Angle Your Toothbrush Toward the Gum Line

For brushing the inner and outer surfaces of your teeth, position your toothbrush so that the bristles are at a 45-degree angle and pointed toward the gum line. This will help remove stubborn plaque from along the gum line.

Young woman brushing teeth

Use Vertical or Circular Strokes

Avoid brushing with horizontal strokes across the teeth. Vertical or circular strokes will work better to remove plaque by getting into the crevices of the teeth. Don’t forget to brush every surface of your teeth – the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces – as well as the gums.

Brush for 2 Minutes

Brushing your teeth for an entire 2 minutes with the proper technique is a great way to guarantee that your teeth get thoroughly cleaned. Dividing the mouth into quadrants and brushing each for 30 seconds will ensure that you spend an equal amount of time on each section of your mouth.

Floss Daily

While brushing your teeth correctly is very important to your oral health, brushing alone is insufficient for reaching areas between the teeth. Flossing at least once a day is essential for preventing gum disease and tooth loss because it is the only effective way to remove plaque from between the teeth.

If you have any questions or concerns about your dental health, please contact Dr. Kevin B. Sands, DDS, at his Beverly Hills cosmetic dentistry office. Please feel free to call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sands.

The Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Brushing and flossing your teeth are crucial to protecting the enamel and maintaining a bright, white smile. Additionally, the food we eat plays an important role in oral health. The standard rule has always been, if a food can stain a white shirt, chances are it can do the same to your teeth. There are several foods that many of us consume every day that can have either favorable or adverse effects on the overall appearance and health of our teeth.

The Best Foods for Your Teeth

Milk: It’s long been known that this dairy product provides strong bones, but the high content of calcium also keeps your teeth durable while promoting oral health.

Nuts: Not only are nuts rich in vitamins and minerals, but they also stimulate the production of saliva, which is part of the mouth’s natural cleansing system.

Onions: Although onions can make your breath smell less than great, surprisingly, they contain a combination of antibacterial components that protect the teeth from decay.

Fish: Fish contain many vitamins and healthy Omega-3 fats, but it is the phosphorus in fish that’s most important for building as well as protecting tooth enamel.

The Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Dried Fruit: Fresh fruit is most often a healthy food choice. Dried fruit, on the other hand, is usually packed with added sugar that becomes a primary cause of cavities once it gets in between teeth.

Vinegar: Since vinegar is extremely acidic, it can actually remove surface stains from the teeth and make them whiter. However, the high concentration of acid also eats away the enamel, causing tooth decay.

Saltine Crackers: These bland crackers can actually be harmful to teeth because they are almost entirely made of starch, which is byproduct of sugar. As you chew them up, they become stuck in your teeth for an extended period of time, leading to tooth decay.

Berries: Although berries are filled with vitamins and antioxidants, the acidity and dark color can erode enamel and permanently stain your teeth.

One of the best and easiest ways to keep your mouth clean throughout the day is to drink plenty of water or chew sugar-free gum that contains xylitol after every meal. This not only increases saliva production in your mouth, but it keeps bacteria from forming.

Feel free to contact our Beverly Hills practice for all of your dental needs. To schedule a consultation with our board certified cosmetic dentist, please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out an online consultation form. Dr. Sands looks forward to meeting you and helping you attain the best smile possible.

Fluoride and You

What is Fluoride and Why Do We Need it?

Fluoride is an abundant mineral that is found naturally in various places all over the world. Not only does it exist in the water that runs out of your faucet, but it is also present in foods such as spinach, grapes, and potatoes. At some point in your life you have probably heard that fluoride is good for your teeth, but in what ways is it beneficial?

Fluoride works to protect and repair teeth by preventing the effects of tooth decay caused by demineralization and restoring the enamel of teeth through remineralization.

Demineralization: Tooth enamel is a highly mineralized substance, meaning that the majority of it is composed of inorganic minerals. Demineralization occurs when acids are introduced to or develop in the mouth and dissolve the essential minerals in tooth enamel, such as calcium. This erodes the enamel and makes teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay. Acids can be present in the mouth simply as a result of consuming acidic foods, and acids are also produced when the sugars in the foods we eat combine with bacteria in the mouth. Fluoride works to prevent demineralization by reducing the bacteria’s ability to produce this harmful acid that damages tooth enamel.

Remineralization: If demineralization has already occurred, fluoride will protect teeth using the remineralization process, in which the fluoride will gather in the damaged areas of the teeth and begin to strengthen the enamel. Patients who are trying to remineralize their teeth should avoid acidic and sugary foods and, instead, consume calcium-rich foods like milk, lean meats, and vegetables, in addition to using fluoride on their teeth.

How to Get Fluoride

Besides water and food, there are other ways to get the necessary amount of fluoride to ensure your teeth are protected from cavities and tooth decay. Fluoride is also present in toothpaste, mouthwash, and in supplemental form. Professional fluoride treatments are also available for patients who are especially in need of them. No matter how you get your fluoride intake, it is important to never consume more than 1.00 ppm (parts per million) of fluoride per day.

Fluorosis

Fluorosis can develop if you consume more than 1.00 ppm of fluoride per day. This dental condition can leave white spots, brown stains, or rough and pitted enamel on the teeth. Although this condition usually occurs in children who are developing their permanent teeth, it can occur in adults as well. To reduce the chances of fluorosis developing on your teeth, be sure check the amount of fluoride that your water contains if you begin taking a fluoride prescription and be sure not to use excess amounts of toothpaste when brushing your teeth.

If you are interested in improving the appearance of your teeth and attaining a more attractive smile, please feel free to call (310) 273-0111 today. Dr. Sands has helped many individuals improve the appearance of their teeth and looks forward to helping you do the same.

 

Surprising Causes of Bad Breath

 

Causes of Bad Breath

Sometimes the causes of bad breath need more than brushing!

Also known as halitosis, the causes of bad breath affect everyone at one time or another. Whether it is a side-effect of waking up in the morning or a consequence of eating a meal containing garlic and onions, there are various causes of bad breath. Neglecting regular brushing and flossing are common reasons why someone may have halitosis, but there are other ways individuals can develop bad breath that may come as a surprise.

Diet

High-protein, low-carb diets work in two ways to cause bad breath. Consuming food that is high in protein produces large quantities of amino acids, which feed on bacteria and smell unpleasant. Low-carb diets make your body burn more fat, leading to the development of ketones, which make the breath smell bad.

Medications

Over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin, reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth. This leaves the mouth dry and creates a thriving environment for bacteria to multiply, which leads to bad breath.

Illness & Infection

Illnesses such as diabetes, kidney failure, and gastro esophageal reflux disease can cause an increase in the amount of bacteria in the breath, which causes foul smells to be released from the mouth. Tooth and gum infections can cause the tissues in the mouth to break down, making it more susceptible to become dry and contain more bacteria as well.

Alcohol

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it dehydrates the body. In turn, it dries out the mouth by slowing saliva production and increasing bacteria to create bad breath. Drinking alcohol also interferes with the digestive system and esophagus, causing the smell of stomach acid to emerge from the mouth.

Treatment

As it stands, bad breath affects almost half of the American population. By implementing a few simple habits into your routine, you can drastically diminish your chances for developing bad breath and chronic halitosis.

  •  Brush and floss your teeth daily
  •  Drink more water
  •  Treat gum disease and cavities before they fully develop
  •  Regularly visit your dentist for professional cleanings

To learn more information about the in-office treatments we offer to reduce bad breath, please contact our Beverly Hills practice at (310) 273-0111 today. Dr. Sands looks forward to meeting you and addressing any and all of your dental concerns.

 

Natural Teeth Whitening

White Teeth Smile

Whiter teeth complete a beautiful smile and help renew confidence.

Dull or yellow teeth are caused by a variety of elements in our daily lives. As the enamel of your teeth wears down from consuming sugary, starchy, and acidic foods and drinks, the yellow dentin beneath it becomes more apparent. Consistently drinking liquids such as tea, wine, coffee, and soda, as well as using tobacco products, contribute to a negative color change in our teeth.

In today’s culture, a magnificent smile is not complete without a set of bright, white teeth. Although there are countless whitening kits available to make even the most yellow teeth noticeably whiter, many people use natural teeth whitening methods to improve and maintain the color of their teeth. In some cases, people have found natural remedies with even better results than whitening kits, at a fraction of the cost!

 

Hydrogen Peroxide & Baking Soda

This is one of the oldest methods for teeth whitening that is still used today. In fact, peroxide is the main ingredient in just about every professional whitening kit. After mixing these two products together to form a consistency similar to toothpaste, gently brush the mixture onto your teeth. Be careful to avoid your gums though, as the mixture could irritate them. Let the mixture sit on the teeth for about two minutes and then rinse. Follow this routine once a week for whiter teeth.

Strawberries

This one may seem a bit odd, but some people have seen an improvement in the whiteness of their teeth after a few weeks of simply rubbing strawberries on them. This is because strawberries contain malic acid, which is a natural whitening agent. However, it should be noted that rubbing fruits containing acids and sugars will eventually eat away at the enamel of your teeth, so it is very important to brush your teeth after whitening with strawberries.

Oil Pulling

This is another uncommon method, but according to many reviews it has a positive effect on oral health in general as well as the appearance of teeth. Swish one tablespoon of sesame oil or olive oil throughout your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes. The oil will turn white because it naturally pulls toxins from your teeth and mouth. After the time is up, spit the oil out and rinse your mouth with water.

Although natural whitening methods have shown results for some people, the most effective approach to teeth whitening is whitening dentistry, which involves a variety of options such as in-house bleaching or laser whitening. To brighten your teeth and enhance your smile, please feel free to call our Beverly Hills practice at (310) 273-0111 today. Dr. Sands looks forward to helping you attain the brilliant smile you desire.

 

Vitamin D is Linked to a 50 Percent Reduction in Tooth Decay

Sun and CloudsThe sun does quite a bit for us here on earth. Without the sun, we would have no plants, no animals, and no food — life as we know it would cease to exist. A key component of the sun’s life-giving power is vitamin D. This vitamin is crucial to the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous in living things, which help maintain healthy bones. Someone who is vitamin D deficient is prone to developing weak, brittle bones, which consequently includes your teeth.

The fact that vitamin D promotes bone density has not been questioned, but the necessity of vitamin D in preventing tooth decay has. Dr. Philippe Hujoel of the University of Washington conducted a review of a study that tested 3,000 children in several countries from the 1920s to the 1980s. He found that vitamin D levels in many populations decreased as dental caries (tooth decay) levels increased.

Coincidence or not, vitamin D is essential to health and does lead to stronger bones and teeth.
Data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), USA, found that 61 percent, or 50.8 million people, were vitamin D insufficient.

You may be at risk for vitamin D insufficiency if you:

  • are a strict vegetarian
  • have severe milk allergies
  • avoid the sun
  • have a body mass index greater than 30

For strong and healthy teeth, be sure to spend some time outdoors each day. If you do have a vitamin D insufficiency, drinking milk or taking vitamin D supplements will help. Include foods in your diet that are rich in vitamin D, such as fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, and fortified dairy and grain products. When you take care of your overall health, the benefits extend to your teeth as well!

If your teeth have been affected by a vitamin D deficiency and you wish to correct the damage it may have caused your teeth, contact Dr. Sands today. He can assess your situation and determine which procedure will best suit your needs to reveal a beautiful, healthy smile. Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our contact form to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

If you wake up each morning with a headache or a sore jaw, it may be because you grind your teeth while you sleep. Teeth grinding, medically known as “bruxism,” is relatively common and only harmful when done on a regular basis. Since bruxism usually occurs during sleep, the symptoms are often not noticeable until the teeth have been significantly worn down. This can damage the teeth and cause other health complications. In some cases, bruxism can result in fractured teeth, loose teeth, or complete tooth loss, and it can also cause hearing loss and negatively affect your jaws.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

Bruxism can be caused by stress and anxiety but is more often the result of missing teeth, crooked teeth, or an abnormal bite pattern.

How to Prevent Teeth Grinding

If teeth grinding is a chronic problem, your dentist can fit you for a mouth guard to wear while you sleep. If your teeth grinding is stress-related, look for ways to reduce stress, such as starting an exercise program, seeking stress counseling, practicing yoga, or getting a prescription for muscle relaxants.

Cutting back on foods and beverages that contain caffeine can also help prevent bruxism. Do not chew on non-food items, such as gum, during the day. Gum causes you to develop the habit of clenching your teeth. You can help relax your jaw muscles by putting your tongue between your teeth during the day and by holding a warm washcloth along your jawline at night. Dehydration is also linked to bruxism, so be sure to drink plenty of water each day.

Fixing the Damage Caused by Teeth Grinding

Depending on the resulting damage, there are several procedures available to repair teeth after grinding. When bruxism results in missing teeth, the gaps can be filled by inserting dental implants, bridges, dentures, or partial dentures. If the tooth becomes fractured, loose, or chipped, the solution is often crowns or dental bonding.

If you are concerned that you grind your teeth at night, schedule a consultation with Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist, Dr. Sands. He can check for signs of bruxism, determine if the habit will cause damage in the future, and correct any damage it may have already caused. Please visit our contact page or call (310) 273-0111 today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Dr. Sands’s Favorite Product

Rotodent ToothbrushAs a Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist, I am often asked what products I recommend for optimal oral care. The Rotadent toothbrush is one of my favorite products because it is the most gentle yet effective toothbrush on the market. Especially ideal for patients who have sensitive teeth or gums, the Rotadent toothbrush does an effective job of cleaning your teeth without being too abrasive.

The Rotadent toothbrush is the only powered toothbrush that has patented microfilament brush tips which are designed to reach under the gum line and in between teeth. It has also been clinically proven to reduce the gum disease-causing bacteria that lurk in the periodontal pockets (the spaces between your teeth and gums).

The toothbrush also comes with multiple heads that serve different purposes so you can achieve a more thorough cleaning. The hollow brush head is much like what your dental hygienist uses to clean your teeth. It has a flat tip that cleans the broad surface of each tooth easily. The short tip brush head cleans effectively between the teeth and is a great option for those who wear braces. The long tip brush head is perfect for getting in larger spaces that are difficult to reach with a regular toothbrush. It works well for large gaps between teeth, under fixed bridges, in certain areas for braces, or where other conditions exist. The set also includes a tongue cleaner, which is an effective tool for keeping your breath fresh. The set costs about $140 and is well worth the investment!

If you have questions about other products I would recommend or if you would like to schedule an appointment, call (310) 273-0111 today.

414 N. CAMDEN DRIVE, SUITE 940
BEVERLY HILLS, CA 90210
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.