Beverly Hills · Dubai
310.273.0111

« Back to Blog

Category: Oral Health

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.

The Top 3 Oral Health Problems and How To Prevent Them

A recent survey by The Health Policy Institute, a research division of the American Dental Association, found that the top three oral health problems facing Americans today are dry mouth, difficulty biting and chewing, and pain.

girl-holding-cheek-expressing-tooth-painDry Mouth

Of the 15,000 survey respondents across all states, the top issue was dry mouth (also called xerostomia), with 33 percent experiencing it either occasionally or very often. Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medications and some diseases. On occasion, dry mouth is not a concern, but chronic dry mouth can lead to tooth decay.

Drinking more water is the first simple solution to the problem, but if that does not help, talk to your doctor about alternatives for your medications or a possible explanation for your chronic dry mouth.

Difficulty Biting and Chewing

The next most common oral health problem was difficulty biting and chewing, experienced by 31 percent of those surveyed. Interestingly, this problem was more common among younger people and those with lower incomes. It can be caused by any number of dental issues, including crooked, cracked, loose, or decayed teeth.

Prevention involves regular dental hygiene practices, such as brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and keeping your bi-annual dental cleaning appointments. Some people still experience these issues even when they take preventative measures. Dr. Sands can correct the damage with a number of treatments, including Invisalign®, porcelain veneers, and dental bonding.

Pain

The third biggest oral-health problem was pain in general, experienced by 29 percent of respondents. Since any pain in the mouth can have many causes and solutions, it is best to always consult your dentist for prevention advice and treatment. Ignoring the pain or masking it with pain medication will not solve the underlying problem and could make it worse. It is always best to visit your dentist as soon as possible if you are experience tooth pain.

Dr. Sands can help prevent and correct any of the above problems. Don’t delay your treatment; schedule your appointment today by calling (310) 273-0111, or fill out our online contact form 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

The Truth Your Teeth Tell

The majority of people do not realize that a smile conveys so much more than just mood. A smile can communicate your happiness and sociability, but it also shows your teeth. In addition to having a huge effect on the overall appearance of your smile, your teeth reveal a lot about who you are, the (good and bad) habits you have, and your way of living.

By not closing your mouth, you might be disclosing a lot. Continue reading to discover some of the things your teeth can tell about you.

Age and Gender

Younger people have more rounded teeth, especially those in front, while adult teeth are generally more square. Humans lose approximately one to five millimeters in the length of their central incisors (two front teeth) during their lifetime, so older people have shorter front teeth compared to the more rectangular ones of their youth. The lateral incisors (next to the central Diagram with labels identifying the names of the teethincisors) of women are slightly shorter and more rounded, while men’s lateral incisors are more square and almost the same length as their central incisors.

Personality Traits  

The cuspids, or “canines,” can sometimes signify a person’s behavior, with larger, more prominent and pointed ones indicating a more aggressive personality and smaller rounded or flattened ones implying more passive personality traits. Some people with intense anger, anxiety, or frustration habitually clench and grind their teeth (bruxism), which can sometimes display visible wear along the teeth edges.

Lifestyle

Stained and decaying teeth generally convey an unhealthy lifestyle, although this is not always the case. While the common culprits for not-so-pearly whites are soda, candy, and wine, healthy alternatives like tea and berries can also stain the teeth and cause decay. Following a good dental hygiene regimen that includes brushing and flossing regularly will help prevent decay and stains from developing so you can project a more healthy appearance.

If your teeth do not convey the most healthy dental identity, Dr. Kevin Sands can help you attain teeth that will make your smile radiant. Please call 310-273-0111 or fill out our online contact form for more information.

 

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.

How Low-Carb Diets Affect Oral Health

man eating steakThe term “low carb” means different things to different dieting communities. Some choose the Paleo way to low carb, focusing on a diet rich in meat and void of any grains, dairy, or sugar. Atkins followers who are in the “induction” phase choose to limit their carbs to just 20 grams per day – also without sugar – that triggers ketosis in the body. Still others choose to limit their carb intake moderately by simply eliminating grains, flour, and bread. All of these low carb approaches to weight loss have been proven successful in that department, but what kind of effect do they have on our oral health?

Good for your teeth and gums

We all know that sugar promotes disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. Carbohydrates provide the bacteria with the fuel they need to produce acid in the mouth, which causes demineralization and leads to decay and caries. By limiting consumption of both sugar and carbohydrates, the essential factors for creating acid erosion on the teeth are limited. This means that most low carb diets will lead to a much healthier mouth overall by preventing tartar build-up, cavities, and frequent visits to the dentist.

Bad for your breath

The Atkins diet promotes a two-week induction phase in which followers limit their carbs to only 20 grams per day. This begins the process of ketosis, which tells your body to burn fat for fuel instead of what it naturally chooses to burn first — carbohydrates. Some people can achieve a state of ketosis with more than 20 grams of carbs per day. While ketosis provides the benefit of rapid weight loss, it also leads to halitosis (chronic bad breath). The reason for this is because one of the ketones produced during this state cannot be used by the body, so it is excreted in the urine and exhaled by the lungs as waste. While the resulting chronic bad breath causes no harm to your oral health, it can be especially annoying when you’re in close quarters with others. Drinking plenty of water will help to dilute the concentration of ketones to help weaken the stench. You can also help disguise it by chewing sugarless gum or sucking on mints that contain xylitol. Increasing your carbohydrate intake and exiting the state of ketosis may be the best option for you if your halitosis is too difficult to manage.

If you have any concerns about your oral health or are interested cosmetic dentistry with Dr. Kevin B. Sands, please schedule an appointment by calling (310) 273-0111 or by filling out our online contact form today.

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.

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.

Is Chewing Gum Bad for Your Teeth?

woman blowing bubble gumYou may have heard that chewing gum is bad for your teeth, but the act itself is not harmful. In fact, chewing gum can actually be good for your teeth, depending on the ingredients it contains. It is important to monitor the ingredients in your gum and the length of time your teeth are exposed to certain harmful ingredients. Namely, sugar.

When you chew gum that contains sugar, the sugar is dissolved in the saliva and is absorbed by bacteria in plaque. Once a bacterial cell absorbs the sugar, the bacterial cell is supplied with the energy it needs to multiply. If the bacteria isn’t removed with brushing, bacteria will fester, which can result in gum disease and tooth decay.

On the flip side, chewing gum that contains xylitol has the exact opposite effect. Xylitol is a sweetener that is found naturally in fruits and vegetables. It has 40 percent fewer calories than sucrose (another name for sugar) and can be consumed safely by diabetics. Xylitol is also easily absorbed by a cell of bacteria, but once it is absorbed, the cell will try to expel it. Because its energy is used to expel the xylitol and not to reproduce, a bacterial cell that has come in contact with xylitol is less able to stick to the teeth, and it eventually dies.

What about other sugarless sweeteners?

Xylitol has a completely different chemistry than other sugarless alternatives, such as aspartame (NutraSweet®), sucralose (Splenda®), and saccharin. Sugarless sweeteners like these are too large to penetrate the bacterial cell. While they do not increase bacteria like sugar does, they don’t kill bacteria like xylitol does. What’s more, these artificial sweeteners can have negative effects on the health. They can falsely stimulate the appetite, thereby increasing fat storage and leading to weight gain. Aspartame has been linked to various diseases, including diabetes, depression, auto-immune disorders, and several types of cancer.

Xylitol gum creates a healthy environment in the mouth. After 5 weeks of chewing xylitol gum, plaque bacteria can no longer be found on teeth, and after about 6 months, bacteria is not detectable in saliva, on the tongue, or on the teeth. One of the best brands of xylitol gum is Spry™, which contains no sugars, artificial flavors, artificial colorings, or artificial preservatives. XyloBurst® is another brand of sugar-free gum that is sweetened exclusively with 100% all-natural xylitol.

If you are interested in the general and cosmetic dental services offered by Dr. Kevin B. Sands, please contact our Beverly Hills office by calling (310) 273-0111 today. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Your Gums

If you’re like most people, you trudge through the motions of your morning routine while your mind is busy reeling about the day’s agenda. Out of habit, you quickly brush your teeth, floss (maybe), and look forward to moving on to your next task. You many not even notice if you have puffy or bleeding gums, which are tell-tale signs of a trouble-causing disease: gingivitis.

man looking in mirror at gumsWhile gingivitis (also called gum disease) is extremely common, affecting over 64.7 million Americans annually, its repercussions should not be taken lightly. Aside from leading to decay or total tooth loss, several studies have linked gum disease to more serious health concerns, such as heart disease, diabetes, anemia, and osteoporosis. In fact, when these diseases are already present in the body, gingivitis can make them worse.

Between routine visits to the dentist, it is important to pay attention to certain changes in your gums that can indicate a serious infection like gingivitis. Here are a few signs to watch for as you brush your teeth each day:

Receding Gums

Gum disease, when it has progressed to its more serious state of periodontitis, can lead to receding gums. If your gums pull away from your teeth and make them appear longer than they once did, you likely have this condition. Pain or discomfort from receding gums may not be noticeable, but with daily attentiveness, you should be able to tell if your gums are receding or separating from your teeth.

Bleeding Gums

If your gums bleed while you brush, floss, or eat hard food, you could have gingivitis. Your gums may also appear puffy and red and feel soft to the touch. If you experience these symptoms, be sure to see your dentist right away. Your dentist may advise you to visit more often than the recommended twice a year for a cleaning if your teeth are particularly susceptible to infection.

Dark Gums

Dark or discolored gums can occur from smoking, drugs, inflammation, or hyperpigmentation, but they can also result from gum disease. Hardened plaque (called calculus or tartar) can collect beneath the gums and cause a blackened appearance. Laser gum disease treatment can effectively remove the build-up and, therefore, the unsightly dark color. When infection is not the cause of darkened gums, laser depigmentation is the best treatment to restore the gums to a more natural-looking color.

If you have symptoms of gingivitis, or if you would like to schedule a consultation for a cosmetic procedure by Dr. Kevin Sands, please call our dental office in Beverly Hills today at (310) 273-0111. You may also conveniently 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.

Chronic Bad Breath: Can It Be Treated by a Dentist?

woman with mouth openThe majority of people wake up in the morning with bad breath. This is because the saliva production that washes away odor-causing bacteria slows during sleep. Simply brush your teeth when you awake, or follow these simple tips to avoid bad breath, and your fresh breath will be instantly restored.

But what if you have “morning breath” all the time – even after you brush your teeth? You may be one of the 80 million Americans who suffer from chronic bad breath, also called chronic halitosis. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin B. Sands can treat chronic bad breath at his Beverly Hills practice, depending on what has caused the condition.

What causes chronic bad breath?

Xerostomia

There are many causes of chronic halitosis. Since a lack of saliva leads to oral odor, it makes sense that conditions such as acid reflux or postnasal drip, which cause chronic dry mouth (xerostomia), would lead to chronic bad breath. If your mouth is constantly dry and you do not have a treatable condition or disease, follow these tips for how to treat dry mouth.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Those who don’t regularly brush and floss their teeth often develop excess bacterial growth in their mouth. Dentures that are not properly cleaned can also become a breeding ground for bacteria. Gum disease, also called gingivitis, can develop from these poor habits and can lead to dreaded “dragon breath,” as well as bleeding gums.

Gingivitis often occurs when plaque, which can only be removed with dental tools, builds up on the teeth. Visiting your dentist for cleanings twice a year will definitely help to prevent gum disease and other odor-causing problems like cavities (also called “dental caries”). Knowing how to properly brush your teeth is also crucial to avoiding bad breath.

Internal Medical Conditions

Continuous mouth odor can also be caused by internal medical conditions, such as liver disease, diabetes, chronic bronchitis, and respiratory tract infections. If you suspect that one of these diseases is the cause of your offensive breath, consult your primary care physician.

Cracked fillings

If your dental filling becomes cracked, it can collect food particles that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. These food particles can breed bacteria and cause infection and, consequently, poor breath. After Dr. Sands replaces the cracked filling and cleans the patient’s teeth, the problem of chronic bad breath will usually resolve.

There are so many causes of chronic halitosis, yet these are just a few. Be sure to read our previous post for more surprising causes of bad breath.

Dr. Sands can help prevent as well as treat chronic bad breath for patients in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and the surrounding areas of Southern California. If you would like treatment for chronic bad breath, or if you are interested in cosmetic dental services provided by Dr. Kevin B. Sands, please schedule an appointment by calling (310) 273-0111 today. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.

 

A Clean Mouth for Overall Health

A smiling woman pointing to her perfect teeth on a white backgroundIt is generally known that keeping our mouths clean is important for our oral health, but many do not know that oral health is directly related to overall health. Many health issues originate in the mouth and then spread or contribute to problems in other areas of the body. So, while you’re practicing good habits and avoiding the bad to keep your mouth healthy, you are actually keeping the rest of your body healthy as well.

Prevent Health Problems From Disease

Good oral hygiene will help prevent diseases of the mouth, which will eliminate the risk of these diseases causing other health problems. One study conducted at the University of Texas found that poor oral health was a risk factor for oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV has been shown to cause between 40 to 80 percent of oropharyngeal cancers. Gum disease is known to increase your risk for many ailments; 40 percent of the bacteria found in the arteries of stroke patients originated in the mouth, and bacteria from the mouth can combine with platelets in the blood and lead to blood clots, heart disease, and heart attack. Individuals with gum disease also have an increased risk of high blood sugar and chronic lung disease. Maintaining a good oral care regimen will keep your mouth clean and help prevent bacteria in the mouth from causing issues in the rest of your body. Surprisingly, taking care of your mouth may also help you achieve your weight-loss goal.

Healthy Weight

The desire for a healthy mouth can help you attain and sustain a healthy weight by motivating you to make good food choices for the sake of your teeth and by preventing mindless snacking. People often try to avoid sugary foods, such as soda and candy, when they are trying to lose weight, but this can be difficult. Preventing the sugar from damaging your teeth can give you additional encouragement to stay away from these harmful foods and choose hearty, fresh foods instead. Check out my previous blog for more information on how sugar harms the teeth. Small lifestyle changes like brushing your teeth more frequently can also help you lose weight. If you brush your teeth after every meal, the minty taste of the toothpaste left in your mouth doesn’t mix well with most foods, which will prevent you from going back for another helping. That fresh, clean feeling in your mouth after brushing (don’t forget the importance of flossing!) can also help stop you from polluting your mouth with an unnecessary snack.

If you have any oral health concerns, Dr. Kevin B. Sands is available at his Beverly Hills cosmetic dentistry office. To schedule your consultation, call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

How Damaging Is Acidic Food to Enamel?

Young woman with nice teeth biting into a lemonMost of us know that soda is bad for our teeth, but did you know some fruit can be just as damaging? Strawberries, blackberries, grapes, pomegranates, and fruit jellies and jams all have a high level of acidity. Acidic foods do not cause significant harm to the teeth, but they can temporarily weaken or soften the enamel if they are too consistent in your diet.

Signs of acid erosion

Acid erosion can become a problem as time passes, which is why it is important to visit your dentist regularly. When tooth enamel is softened, there is an increased risk for it to be brushed or worn away over time. Here are some of the most common signs of acid erosion:

  • A change in the shape, texture, or appearance of the teeth

  • Loss of brightness

  • Transparency

  • Tooth sensitivity

  • Discoloration

  • Dents on the chewing surface

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to visit your dentist for treatment. The earlier acid erosion is detected, the better.

How to avoid acid erosion

Since your enamel will be softest right after consuming acidic foods and drinks, you should wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth, or consider brushing before you eat. You should also avoid swishing acidic drinks, like soda and lemonade, in your mouth. Since the way you drink has more of an effect on the teeth than the amount you drink, consider drinking these beverages through a straw. The goal is to have as little acidic contact with the teeth as possible.

Which foods are highly acidic?

When it comes to acidic foods, moderation is key. Pay attention to the way your teeth look and feel after eating or drinking something acidic. If sensitivity develops, take a break from highly acidic foods. Refer to the following list to learn which foods and drinks are more acidic than others.

Highly Acidic

Food: blackberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, cranberries, grapefruit, limes, lemons, pineapples, raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, lemon juice, pickles, salad dressings, vinegar

Drinks: apple cider, apple juice, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice

Medium Acidity

Food: apples, figs, apricots, nectarines, mangos, oranges, peaches, pears, tomatoes, green olives, pesto, raisins, honey

Drinks: Buttermilk, orange juice, red and white wine

No/Low Acidity

Food: rye, wheat, and white bread; cheddar and parmesan cheese; barley; beans; artichokes; asparagus; avocado; broccoli; cabbage; cauliflower; carrots; celery; corn; cucumber; eggplant; yams; zucchini; black olives; peanut butter

Drinks: milk, mineral water

If you are concerned about acid erosion on your teeth, please schedule a consultation with Beverly Hills dentist Dr. Kevin Sands. He can help determine a plan of action to restore your teeth to their best possible form and function. Please 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.

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.

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Brushing Your Teeth

The time you spend cleaning your teeth is minimal compared to all your other daily tasks, but it is no less important. Remember these daily do’s and don’ts, and your smile will remain healthy and radiant for years to come.

Time

Don’t: Rush When You Brush

The average person brushes their teeth for only one minute, which is about half the time it should take to thoroughly clean your teeth. Some brush their teeth for this short amount of time multiple times per day, but cleaning your teeth for a longer period of time per session is likely to remove more bacteria than several sessions of hurried brushing.

Do: Brush to the Beat

If you have trouble brushing your teeth for the entire 120 seconds, I advise turning on the radio and brushing for the length of one song. This will give you plenty of time to clean all the hard-to-reach places in your mouth – that is, if you brush your teeth correctly.

Technique

Don’t: Brush Back-and-Forth

A back-and-forth motion can cause the gum surface to recede, and you risk wearing down the gum line. You could also expose the root surface or make the root surface tender.

Do: Use Circular Motions

A circular or elliptical motion will help gently remove plaque. Tilt the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and brush the outside and inside of the teeth, the chewing surfaces, and your tongue. Brushing your tongue can minimize bacteria and give you longer-lasting fresh breath.

Thoroughness

Don’t: Brush too Hard

How do you get something really clean? You scrub it as hard as you can, right? This may be true for your kitchen sink, but not for your teeth. Brushing your teeth too aggressively or with too much pressure can actually do more harm than good.

Do: Brush Lightly

Use light force when brushing your teeth. If you are using an electric toothbrush, use slow movements as the brush will do most of the scrubbing for you.

Tenacity

Don’t: Skip Brushing

Plaque builds up on your teeth each day, and when it is not removed by brushing it combines with your saliva and becomes hardened tartar. The less often you brush your teeth, the higher the risk for infection and the development of gum disease.

Do: Brush Often

Aim to brush your teeth twice a day or after each meal. A survey by Oral-B Laboratories and the Academy of General Dentistry shows that you are 65 percent more likely to brush your teeth at work if you keep a toothbrush available. Brushing immediately after meals can prevent sugars from turning into damaging acids. If you brush each morning at night, just rinsing your mouth with water after lunch or brushing without toothpaste can help prevent bacteria from settling in.

Knowing how to properly brush your teeth will prevent future oral health problems and give you the radiant, healthy smile you deserve. Be sure to keep up with your regular checkup appointments and cleanings to maintain optimal oral health.

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

[ Get Directions ]


SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

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.