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Category: Dental News

Updated Nutrition Labels Will Reveal Added Sugars in 2018

Even though sugar is one of the main causes of expanding waistlines and increased dental cavities, it remains one of the most common ingredients in processed food. Even “diet food” like protein bars and sports and “nutrition” drinks can contain more added sugar than the daily allotment suggested by the American Heart Association, which is 37.5 grams for men and 25 grams for women. In the fast-paced, convenience-driven lifestyle of most Americans, we simply do not have the time to research the healthiest products. Thankfully, making informed choices will become much easier in 2018 with an update to the nutrition facts label we have been familiar with for the last 20 years.

fda-gov-food-label-original-vs-new-formatAccording to scientific data and the 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines released by the government, consuming more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugar makes it difficult to properly nourish your body while staying within calorie limits. Consuming too much sugar can also lead to chronic inflammation, which can cause weight gain and eventual diabetes, heart attack, stroke, or heart disease.

Most consumers are aware of the substantial amount of added sugar in products like soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and sweets, but they are surprised to discover how much sugar is hidden in products like salad dressings, pasta sauces, jam, and flavored water. The average American easily exceeds the “recommended” amount of sugar on a daily basis by consuming about 13 percent of daily calories from added sugar in sources like these. With the addition of the “Added Sugars” line to the nutrition facts label, the hope is that consumers will become more aware of their sugar intake and portion sizes so they can make more informed decisions.

Other updates will be made to the nutrition facts label and are based on scientific data, the latest nutrition and public health research, and dietary recommendations from authoritative sources such as the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine, and the World Health Organization.

For the best oral and general health, consumers should also monitor their intake of carbohydrates, which convert to sugar in the body and can have the same negative effects of sugar over time.

To further maintain your oral health and the overall beauty of your smile, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin Sands. Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today for more information.

Dental Problems: Why It’s Important to Address Them Immediately

Dental ProblemsA chipped tooth, sore gums, sensitivity, or other types of oral pain and discomfort are no doubt an inconvenience to manage. In hopes of avoiding an extra trip to the dentist, you may think it’s just fine to wait until your next cleaning to get such problems assessed. However, procrastination often makes matters worse, costing you more time, money, pain, and stress in the future.

Here are some common complaints and the treatments that typically correspond. Many of these ailments will not get better on their own.

Common Dental Complaints and Treatments

When these issues are left undiagnosed and untreated, they can lead to worse problems, which can then lead to expensive dental repairs. For example, some people may have “room” for their wisdom teeth, but the area is difficult to clean and can lead to painful gums, irritation, and swelling. If you have any of those symptoms, it is important to have your dentist re-evaluate any advantages of keeping your wisdom teeth. Compared to the chronic or long-lasting infection, discomfort, cavities, gingivitis, and other problems it could cause, wisdom tooth removal will save you both time and money on repeated treatments.

A loose tooth is another important issue to immediately address. A loose tooth is often caused by gingivitis that has eaten away at the underlying bone. The surrounding gums can easily trap bacteria near the gumline, further encouraging bacterial growth and infection. Without treatment, the cycle will continue to repeat itself, further weakening the tooth and causing discomfort and deterioration to the jaw.

While it is important to practice regular dental hygiene and keep all your dental cleaning appointments to prevent problems, some of them are unavoidable. Only a dental professional will be able to pinpoint the seriousness of your pain and alleviate it while preventing future damage and treatment costs. Seeking an evaluation as soon as possible will give you peace of mind, pain relief, and an overall better quality of life with the knowledge that you are doing what is best for your long-term oral health.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kevin Sands, please call 310.273.0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

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.

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 consultation with Cosmetic Dentist to the Stars, Dr. Kevin Sands.

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.

Is Coffee Good for Your Teeth?

Coffee cup smiley face

Happy National Coffee Day!

What better way to celebrate National Coffee Day than with some great news about coffee? Recent research has shown that caffeinated coffee offers many benefits for oral health, including less plaque and bacteria in the mouth as well as the potential to stave off serious health risks like oral cancer.

Coffee May Help Prevent Bacteria

A study by the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro found that the robusta coffee bean grown in Vietnam and Brazil helped to eliminate bacteria on the teeth as well as prevent the formation of plaque. Using bacteria from saliva, researchers cultivated plaque on donated fragments of primary teeth. Once the teeth were exposed to an extract of the robusta bean, the bacteria cells appeared to have burst, thereby lowering the risk of excessive plaque accumulation. Less plaque translates to a lower risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health concerns. While this is great news for us avid coffee drinkers, unfortunately, regular coffee consumption can still stain the teeth. (Could this be why teeth whitening is so popular?)

Coffee May Protect against Oral Cancer

A study conducted by the American Cancer Society in 2012 found that polyphenols in coffee may also help protect against the development or progression of oral cancer. This study associated the consumption of more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day with a 49 percent lower risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer death. While it is less common in the United States, oral/pharyngeal cancer ranks among the top ten cancers in the world. Since coffee is one of the most consumed beverages worldwide, it may give us all one more good reason to enjoy our daily cup of joe.

The Bad News:

Before we all start celebrating, there is just one more caveat to regular coffee consumption besides teeth staining: coffee sweetened with milk or sugar can potentially counter the benefits. Milk contains both sugar and carbohydrates, which erode the enamel and increase bacterial production.

The Good News:

If you can’t get accustomed to the bitterness of black coffee, you can still enjoy the benefits by swapping milk for heavy whipping cream (which contains no carbs and a very low amount of sugar) and by swapping sugar for a sugar-free sweetener like stevia or Truvia®. Any staining that occurs over time can be easily and immediately corrected at Dr. Sands’ office with Zoom!® in-office laser teeth whitening.

If you would like to correct yellow or stained teeth, celebrate National Coffee Day by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Kevin B. Sands. As a cosmetic dentist to the stars, Dr. Sands is a top choice for creating the most beautiful and healthy smiles in Beverly Hills. Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

Grin and Bear It: How Smiling Reduces Stress

Cute baby smiling

We all know that too much stress in our lives can wreak havoc on our health, disrupting nearly every system in our body. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, and even accelerated aging. To remedy this, many people turn to yoga, meditation, stress counseling, or frequent vacations, but one study has shown that the simple act of smiling – even if the smile isn’t genuine – can be very effective to reduce your stress and enhance your mood overall.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Kansas and published in the journal Psychological Science, determined the stress levels of 169 participants when they were put into stressful situations by monitoring their heart rate. All were instructed to perform several multitasking activities as they struggled to hold chopsticks in their mouths, which were used to stimulate neutral as well as genuine smiles. One group was instructed to also smile during the activity. The results of the study showed that those with the forced smiles held only by the chopsticks had lower stress levels and heart rates than those with neutral expressions, and those who had genuine smiles were the most relaxed of all the participants.

So, the next time you have too much on your to-do list and stress is getting the best of you, just smile. “Fake it ‘til you make it” might prove to be a quality piece of advice to follow.

As a highly experienced cosmetic dentist to the stars, Dr. Sands knows the beauty of a genuine smile. He can help to restore lost teeth, straighten crooked teeth, whiten your teeth, and help you correct any other aesthetic or oral health concerns you may have. In case you need one more reason to smile, please schedule an appointment by calling (310) 273-0111 today. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.

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.

The 13 Oddest Dental Facts

Peculiar Dental Facts

Crazy information floats around about your mouth and teeth and you may wonder whether it is true or false. It’s hard to believe, but evidence supports that some of these crazy details are, in fact, true. So, the next time you brush your teeth, eat a snack, or flash a friendly grin, ponder on these outrageous details about your mouth.

  1. Did you know that the average person spends approximately 38.5 days brushing their teeth over their lifetime? That’s over an entire month of straight brushing!
  2. Want to fill a couple of swimming pools…with spit? The average human produces enough saliva in his/her lifetime (about 25,000 quarts) to do just that.
  3. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body.
  4. If you’re happy and you know it, SMILE! Children smile about 400 times a day.
  5. Ever wonder if women are happier than men? Based on the average number of smiles a day, the answer would be YES. Women smile about 62 times a day compared to men who smile 8 times a day.
  6. No two sets of teeth are exactly the same. Each person’s set of teeth is unique much like their fingerprints.
  7. Does the hand you write with affect your teeth? It can. Right-handed people tend to chew food on their right side of their mouth, while left-handed people tend to chew on their left side.
  8. Every year, close to half a million dollars is spent on chewing gum by kids in North America.
  9. More people use blue toothbrushes than red ones. What’s your preference?
  10. The ancient Greeks used pliers for teeth extractions. Ouch!
  11. Have a toothache? It was a common Middle Age custom in Germany to kiss a donkey to relieve the pain.
  12. The first toothbrush bristles were made from hogs, horses, and badgers.
  13. Keep your toothbrush near a toilet? Airborne particles from a toilet flush can travel up to 6 feet! Think about that the next time you want to place your toothbrush on the bathroom counter.

If you have any questions or concerns about your dental health, please contact Dr. Kevin B. Sands, DDS by calling (310) 273-0111 or filling out our contact form. We look forward to meeting you!

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 consultation.

Tell Tale Teeth: Discover our Evolutionary Origins


Image by Esben Horn, 10tons; supervised by Martin Rücklin, John Long and Philippe Janvier

Scientists and dentists may not attend the same schools or encounter the same things every day, but we both have one complex skill in common: we can tell a lot simply from the condition of someone’s teeth. From how old you are to what kind of food you eat each day, your teeth tell a story that you may or may not want to be told.

It was once thought that teeth evolved much later than jaws in living vertebrates (animals with backbones), but new technology has revealed that teeth actually evolved along with or soon after the evolution of jaws. This stunning new research, published in the leading scientific journal Nature, refutes what scientists had believed for a long time.

By performing non-invasive 3D microsurgery with high energy X-rays on a primitive jawed fish called Compagopiscis, researchers were able to see every cell growth line within the jaws to discover how the teeth and jaws developed. By comparing these findings with results from living specimens, they determined that the earliest jawed vertebrates actually did have teeth along with their jaw bones.

Discoveries like this may only be attained with a high-powered X-ray machine, but here at our Beverly Hills office, I can find a lot of information about your health and lifestyle just by performing a simple dental inspection. Sensitive and bleeding gums can be a result of poor diet, stress, or too much spicy food. A permanently dry mouth can be a sign of diabetes. If you have eroded enamel and chipped or sensitive teeth, you may be consuming acidic drinks a bit too often. Be sure to keep up with your daily oral hygiene habits and keep your regular dental appointments because even if you don’t admit how attentive you are to your oral care, your teeth will!

If you are interested in a cosmetic dentistry procedure or simply want a checkup and cleaning for your teeth, please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our contact form today to schedule an appointment!

Inspiration from Mother Nature to Treat Sensitive Teeth

Never underestimate the power of Mother Nature. Before turning to manmade materials and treatments, take a chance on nature’s ability to heal. When it comes to tooth sensitivity, your demand for healing and protecting may be stronger than other conditions. According to recent research, three out of four people experience serious sensitivity in the teeth. Usually the sensitivity surges when the tooth is exposed to hot, cold, sour, and/or overly sweet foods and drinks. Research published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces presents a substance developed to advance tooth sensitivity healing that is inspired by nature.

The unique components of the substance are similar to the adhesive substance that attaches mussels to rocks and other surfaces in the ocean. When a tooth becomes sensitive, it is most likely because the outer layer of enamel on the teeth and the softer layer under the tooth have worn away. This stimulates the sensitive nerves inside. When the exposed nerves touch hot, cold, sour, or sugary substances, it could sting and feel painful. While there are certain gums and toothpastes that can reduce the pain of sensitive teeth, it does not help rebuild the worn down enamel and dentin. Researchers saw this demand and developed a sticky material much like the substance mussels use to stay on for the sensitive tooth. The science behind this is that the adhesive will hold onto healthy materials that protect and rebuild the dentin.

To test the substance, laboratory researchers bathed human teeth with damaged enamel and dentin in a liquid comprised of the minerals and adhesive material. The teeth that had the sticky material for protection were able to rebuild the enamel and dentin, while teeth that did not have the adhesive material only reformed enamel. This new sticky material could be a major advancement in dentistry to protect and rebuild enamel and dentin and reduce tooth sensitivity.

If you have sensitive teeth, please contact my cosmetic dentistry practice by calling (310) 273-0111. I will be happy to meet with you for an appointment and further discuss how to keep your teeth looking and feeling great.

Ancient Tooth Provides Possible Evidence of Prehistoric Dentistry

Prehistoric ToothHave you ever wondered what the prehistoric dentists used to take care of their patients’ teeth without the technology that we have today? Thanks to researchers, you may not need to wonder anymore. Researchers have discovered something that may open up knowledge and insight into the world of ancient dentistry.

In September 2012, researchers from Italy’s Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics found a 6,500 year-old human jawbone with a tooth still fused to it. The tooth contained small traces of beeswax that appeared to be a filling. This was reported in the open access journal PLOS ONE. The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics worked with Sincrotone Trieste and several other institutions.

According to PLOS ONE, the beeswax was applied to the tooth close to the time when the person died. Studies hypothesized that if it were applied before the individual died, the beeswax may have been used to reduce pain or sensitivity, which could have been caused by a crack in the tooth. This breakthrough in research is exciting and may offer advanced knowledge of prehistoric dentistry.

If you have questions regarding dentistry and how to improve the condition of your oral health, please visit my Beverly Hills practice today. We welcome your visit.

ADA Gives the Big Apple Ban on Large Sugary Drinks a Thumbs Up

Lage Soda BanIt is common knowledge that large sodas and sugary drinks are unhealthy. However, restaurants, theaters, and food chains always have super-sized and extra large cups available for purchase, most of which include unlimited refills. It is not healthy for people to consume such large quantities of sugary drinks, but who is going to put a stop to these excessive beverage options?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a regulation to ban restaurants, theaters, concession stands, and other eateries from selling large sodas and other sugary drinks. Specifically, the regulation bans the sale of sweetened drinks in cups and bottles that are larger than 16 ounces. This was the first time a mayor had attempted to do this. New York City’s Board of Health approved this regulation, and the ban will go into effect on March 12, 2013. The restaurant and beverage industries are fighting against this ban, even threatening to bring it to court.

Drinking massive amounts of soda and other beverages that contain large amounts of sugar may lead to heart disease, obesity, tooth decay, and a variety of other health conditions that are not to be taken lightly. The American Dental Association (ADA) has attempted several times to share this knowledge with the public and keep them informed of these dangers so that they could make better choices when they order a drink.

Though this ban has caused controversy and may not stop people from consuming these large drinks, many health institutions, including the ADA, are recognizing Mayor Bloomberg for shedding light on the dangers of large sugar consumption.

At my Los Angeles dentistry practice, I will help improve the appearance and quality of your teeth, and I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Please schedule your consultation today!

Coconut Oil May Prevent Tooth Decay

CoconutCoconut Oil Benefits

“I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts…do dee do dee…” We all know the Merv Griffin song singing the praises of delicious coconuts. Now dentists and doctors are singing the praises of coconut oil for tooth decay. Scientists believe that enzyme-modified coconut oil, or semi-digested coconut oil has feasible antimicrobial qualities for oral health.

Oral Bacteria Causes Tooth Decay

Streptococcus bacteria is one of the most common bacteria in people’s mouths and is a strong component that causes tooth decay. Certain food, when digested, has the ability to destroy microorganisms in the mouth and digestion system.

Testing Conducted

Dr. Damien Brady and his team of researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland
researched whether coconut oil has antibiotic elements against oral bacteria also known as
streptococcus bacteria. Their tests were conducted naturally and as semi-digested.


The research team determined that although natural and undigested coconut oil has no impact
on the bacteria, digested coconut oil could combat bacteria. They reported that coconut oil can
destroy bacteria that causes tooth decay. The researchers also stated that digested coconut oil
can be added to dental care products as an antibiotic component.

Future Studies

Dr. Brady and his team of researchers have future plans of testing how coconut oil works
against streptococcus bacteria and determining whether digested coconut oil has the ability to
fight against other bacteria and yeasts that can cause health issues.

I look forward to answering any of your questions and addressing your concerns. Please feel
free to schedule your consultation with me at my Beverly Hills cosmetic dentistry practice.

What's a tooth worth? Tooth Fairy says it's now $3

Tooth FairyImagine a world where a child is paid almost your hourly wage for losing their tooth and putting it under their pillow? Open your eyes and you’re in that world. According to a survey conducted by Visa, the average amount of money the Tooth Fairy is paying kids these days is $3, and some receive as much as $20 per tooth!

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Child psychologists say that giving children higher amounts of money may warp their insight of money. For instance, it may teach a child that they have to do something to earn money, but it may also teach children that they didn’t have to do much to earn the money. A survey of teachers said that “high-paying teeth” is becoming too popular in elementary schools because children compare the amount of money they received from the Tooth Fairy. If a child learns that their peers are being given $20 for each tooth they lose, then he/she will feel unhappy about earning only $1.

So, how do parents determine how much to pay for their children’s teeth? Visa launched an iPhone and iPad app that calculates a parent’s gender, education, location, age, and income to determine the recommended dollar amount for his/her child. According to Visa, the tooth fairy calculator promotes fiscal responsibility for kids.

Feel free to contact my Los Angeles office for all of your dental needs, as well as your child’s dental needs. I am here to help every individual achieve a healthy-looking, A-list smile! Please schedule your consultation today.

Oral Bacteria May Signal Pancreatic Cancer Risk

PancreasMany do not realize how crucial it is to take care of their teeth for overall health. Those who do not brush, floss, and visit the dentist regularly increase their chances of developing other serious health issues.

One of the most difficult cancers to detect, as well as one of the most deadly, is pancreatic cancer. When a cancer is hard to detect, it is nearly impossible to take precautions. However, recent studies have found a link between high levels of antibodies for oral bacteria and pancreatic cancer.

In September 2012, a study was published in Gut, a monthly peer-reviewed international journal of gastroenterology and hepatology. In this study, over 800 blood samples from European adults were collected and tested, 405 from pancreatic cancer cases and 416 matched controls. Researchers found that those with high levels of antibodies against pathogenic periodontal bacteria (Porphyromonas gingivalis) had a twofold higher risk of pancreatic cancer than those with lower levels of these antibodies. On the other hand, those with high levels of antibodies against common, non-pathogenic oral bacteria had a 45% lower risk of pancreatic cancer. The researchers concluded that periodontal disease may increase the risk for pancreatic cancer. While there were previous studies on the correlation of periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer, Gut was the first to study antibodies for oral bacteria as a sign of pancreatic cancer risk.

Studies such as this are strong evidence of the importance of taking care of your teeth and oral
health. The research is not meant to scare anyone. Rather, it is confirmation of the danger of
not keeping your mouth healthy. It is vitally important to present this information to educate
and keep you informed so you can continue to practice healthy oral hygiene, including regular
brushing and flossing. Reduce your risk of developing serious health conditions, such as
pancreatic cancer, by taking care of your mouth today!

Please contact my Beverly Hills dental practice to schedule a consultation. I look forward to
meeting with you and addressing your concerns.

Americans Score Poorly Regarding Knowledge on Oral Health

How often should you brush? What causes cavities?

A study conducted a few months ago by the American Dental Association (ADA) revealed that Americans need to brush up on their knowledge about good oral health practices. The results from the survey heeded an average score of a “D” on a range of true/false questions about basic oral hygiene.

The survey which involved almost 1,500 adults showed:

  • 90 percent of people think they should clean their teeth after every meal. According to theADA, cleaning your teeth twice a day is sufficient.
  • 81 percent of people believe that cavities are caused by sugar. Actually, they are caused by germs in the mouth that feed on sugar, producing an acid that attacks the tooth enamel which will wear down over time, forming cavities.
  • 75 percent do not know the age a child should be for his or her first dental exam. TheADArecommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist should be within six months after their first tooth appears or before the child’s first birthday.
  • 65 percent of people think that replacing their toothbrush twice a year is adequate, when it should actually be replaced every three months.
  • 59 percent are unaware that cavity causing germs can be passed from person to person.

The survey also asked adults for their opinion on a number of other oral health topics:

  • 85 percent of respondents indicated that a good smile plays a key role in finding a job.
  • In regards to physical attractiveness, a nice smile outweighed skin, eyes, hair, and figure as the most important attribute.

To enhance the look and quality of your teeth I encourage you to schedule a consultation with me at my Beverly Hills practice. My years of certified experience and dedication can help improve your smile and your overall oral health.

The Demand for Dental Implants Continues to Grow

Nothing looks better than a full set of good-looking teeth, but sometimes various factors such as disease or accidents can cause tooth loss. For these individuals, looking to restore their smile means replacing a missing tooth or teeth and doing away with self-consciousness. Whatever your reason may be, dental implants are a great option. They are known to provide durable, natural-looking results.

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of sterile titanium cylinders and are positioned in the jawbone beneath the gums. This allows one or more of your teeth to be replaced, eliminating the need for removable dentures and bridges.

The want for dental implants is rising. According to a recent Business Wire news article, patients are increasingly requesting dental implants rather than bridges and other traditional treatments because of the advantages that they offer. This includes: decreased bone loss, more secure tooth placement, and a longer lifespan.

Why are dental implants better than dentures and bridges?

Dentures can cause discomfort and slip when eating or talking. Bridges can also become loose and weakened over time. Dental implants are permanent and should never have to be replaced. It can also not be expressed enough on how much more natural dental implants look than dentures and bridges.

With my experience and understanding I can give you a more aesthetically pleasing smile and more comfortable alternative treatment for missing teeth. Please don’t hesitate to check out my website for information on my dental implant procedure. I look forward to giving you the healthy and natural-looking smile that you deserve. Schedule your appointment at my Beverly Hills cosmetic dentistry practice today!

Using Our Own Stem Cells to Create New Teeth?

Throughout life many of us will lose teeth, with one of the best replacement methods being dental implants. But what if we could grow new teeth made from our own stem cells?

In the past, the main reason why teeth haven’t been made from stem cells is because researchers have not been able to find a marker that enables them to find a match between cells. But recently researchers have found a specific marker that matched stem cells with regular tooth cells. They discovered that a certain transcription factor is expressed in stem cells that exist in the front teeth, and it is these particular stem cells that provide building blocks for the production of new cells.

As of recent, it was reported that researchers are working on developing a way to record the separation and specification of these cells in order to give rise to cell lineages including enamel-forming ameloblasts. In the future, to grow these teeth, stem cells will be multiplied in a lab and then grown into 3-D scaffolds made out of dissolvable sutures in the shape of teeth.

Even with this new advancement on the horizon, it should be noted that dental implants remain an effective option for those who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or due to another reason.

Please contact my Los Angeles office for all of your dental needs. I am here to help you achieve a healthy-looking, A-list smile! As an experienced Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist I will evaluate which procedure will give you the most beneficial results. Please feel free to schedule your consultation today.

Tel: (310) 273-0111

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Request an appointment for a 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.