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For the latest news about Dr. Nguyen and El Portal Dental Group, read our newsletter below. You’ll learn about:


Five Causes of Tooth Pain
Five Causes of Tooth Pain

What could be more uncomfortable than a persistent tooth pain, which can range from a mild, throbbing sensation to a sharp, unbearable pain that simply won’t go away? Besides being painful, a toothache is a cause for concern regarding its source and what treatment is needed.

Regardless of its severity, pain in your teeth is a symptom that requires prompt dental attention. Here are five common causes of tooth pain and how they are typically taken care of:

Tooth Decay

Poor dental hygiene and/or eating sugary foods causes bacteria and plaque to slowly dissolve protective tooth enamel. Eventually, holes in the enamel (cavities) develop, exposing the dentin inside the tooth to feel sore. To relieve the pain and prevent further tooth erosion, your dentist must clean out the cavity with a drill and fill it with a composite resin.

An abscess

This is an infection – confirmed by a dental x-ray – that occurs when bacteria build up inside a tooth’s pulp chamber. The abscess drains out the tip of your tooth’s root and causes pressure to build up, leading to pain and swelling; also, a pocket of pus can develop around the tooth. An abscess most often is treated with antibiotics, but your dentist may have to cut and drain it as well, depending on the severity of the condition.

A cracked tooth

Even though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, teeth can crack. If a tooth does crack, it can cause intense pain and sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages. The crack may not even be easily visible if it’s on the root of the tooth. Depending on the location and extent of the damage, treatment by your dentist may be as simple as a filling or a crown. More severe cases, however, may require a root canal.

Tooth sensitivity

Over time, your teeth can develop a sensitivity to hot and cold substances. There are several ways to treat tooth sensitivity, including brushing with a special toothpaste like Sensodyne, which contain numbing agents; or applying more fluoride to your teeth. In any case, you should consult your dentist as tooth sensitivity may be a symptom of an underlying dental problem.

Gum disease

Bacteria due to improper dental hygiene can lead to gingivitis or periodontitis, two types of gum disease that make your gums swollen, tender and bleed easily. Left untreated, your gums may detach themselves from your teeth and form loose pockets that not only fill with bacteria but also expose the roots. Gum disease can be treated with more conscientious brushing, flossing, and/or antibiotics, but only if addressed in the early stages. In more severe cases, periodontitis may require surgery to clean the infected pockets and suturing to make your teeth fit more snugly.

If you have any form of tooth pain or sensitivity, tell your dentist. Since 2006, patients in the Las Vegas area have trusted the team at Dedicated Dental to care for their oral health. We treat patients from age four and up at our office in Henderson, Nevada. Take this important step for your dental health. To speak with one of our friendly staff and to make an appointment, call (702) 566-5509 today.

 


How to Look After Your Teeth On the Go
How to Look After Your Teeth On the Go

Did you know there is a connection between poor dental hygiene and your overall health? For instance, if you have gum disease you are at a higher risk of getting heart disease? There is no question that you need to brush, floss, and use mouthwash to keep your teeth healthy, but what if you have a hectic schedule that gives you little or no time for these things or you only think about brushing twice a day? If this applies to you, sink your teeth into these tips on how you can take care of your teeth on the go.

Keep Dental Supplies with You

If you frequently forget to brush, floss, or use mouthwash in the morning, the best thing to do is keep a travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash with you. If you work in an office, keep these things in your desk. If you travel frequently, keep them in a small bag inside your purse or backpack. If you always on the go, maybe that is what your glove compartment is for! When you run to the bathroom, take the supplies with you. It only takes a few minutes and if you have the supplies on you, you are more likely to use them!

Floss Twice a Day

Flossing is a crucial part of any dental care routine yet millions of people neglect to do it. Flossing takes less than a minute yet the benefits are tremendous. Flossing not only dislodges plaque and food particles that are trapped deep between the teeth that a toothbrush simply does not have access to, it also builds up gum strength, putting you less at risk for gum disease. Remember the last time you had popcorn at the movies or enjoyed some BBQ ribs? You wished you had floss then, and you probably wish you had it now! So remember to keep floss on you in your go kit, as well as in your nightstand to assure you remember to floss before bed.  

Chew Gum

Chewing gum is a great way to keep your teeth healthy when you have a hectic schedule. It’s easy to get, requires no prep and contains very little calories. Gum is a great way to dislodge food that’s stuck in your teeth. Gums can also help remove stubborn plaque that’s stuck on and between your teeth. Finally, chewing gum increases saliva production in the mouth which protects teeth from tooth decay and is good for tooth enamel.

Eat Healthy Snacks and Lunch

A huge component of dental care is your diet. If you have a busy schedule that doesn’t give you much time to take care of your teeth, improving your diet can help. Foods like citrus fruits, coffee, and sodas are some examples of foods to avoid or limit. They weaken the enamel and end up staining your teeth. Cut down on them and add more water to your routine. Food with natural abrasions include apples and celery; the fiber will gently slough away any excess plaque.

Rinse, Repeat

If you haven’t any time to brush or floss, a good swish of water can remove excess debris as well as residue that could stain your teeth from the likes of coffee or wine. Rinsing also helps after taking certain medications such as asthma inhalers, which leave residue that could result in thrush.  

To ensure your pearly whites are healthy, it’s essential you regularly visit a dentist. At El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California, Dr. Khang Nguyen and his staff would be happy to provide state-of-the-art dental care for you and your family. To make an appointment, call 209-385-1479 today. You can also request an appointment online.


What to Expect After Teeth Whitening
What to Expect After Teeth Whitening

Over time, our teeth can become discolored and stained. Tooth discoloration can be caused by a combination of factors, such as food, medication, smoking, and age.  Professional teeth whitening is a safe and effective way to remove stains from your teeth and to brighten your smile.  In fact, teeth whitening when performed by a dental professional carries very few risks and side effects. If you are considering teeth whitening, here’s some more things you can expect in addition to a great smile.

What can I expect after treatment?

You may experience increased sensitivity for 1-2 days following your whitening procedure.  This discomfort is due to the active ingredient in teeth whitening, hydrogen peroxide; and is mild and temporary. For most patients, this sensitivity is easily managed by avoiding hot or cold food and drinks, or by taking over-the-counter pain medication. If you have sensitive teeth prior to treatment, you are more likely to experience discomfort after the procedure. If you’re concerned about discomfort, you may consider your dentist’s take-home whitening treatment, as it contains less hydrogen peroxide. 

Additionally, your gums may appear slightly discolored or may sting for a few hours after treatment, but there is no need for alarm. This discomfort will dissipate shortly and you should be fully healed in 1-2 days following treatment.

Too much bleaching.

As you can see, teeth whitening is safe and poses few, if any, risks, as long as it is performed or prescribed by a board-certified dentist.  However, it may be possible to have too much of a good thing.  People who have too many consecutive whitening treatments are at risk of over-bleaching. Over-bleaching is when a person overexposes their teeth to the hydrogen peroxide in whitening gel.  Over-bleaching can cause the outer layers of your enamel to wear away, which can leave the dentin and soft inner tissues exposed and vulnerable. This over-exposure can lead to lasting sensitivity.  It can actually lead to permanent discoloration, as dentin is naturally darker than tooth enamel. Because the dentin and soft tissues are exposed, you are left vulnerable to injury or disease.  Over-exposure may eventually require you to get permanent protection for your teeth using porcelain veneers or crowns. If you’ve done teeth whitening in the recent past, speak to your dentist to determine if enough time has passed before doing another treatment.

Is teeth whitening right for me?

Teeth whitening is most effective on surface stains, which are normally the result of food, drinks, or tobacco.  Deeper stains, caused by medication usage or injury, can be more difficult to remove. Your dentist will evaluate you to see if teeth whitening is a good treatment option.  If not, alternative options such as dental bonding or porcelain veneers are available. If you already have restorations, such as crowns or veneers, be aware that they may not be as responsive to whitening treatment as your natural teeth. If that is the case, your dentist can replace them to make them whiter and to blend in more with your natural teeth.

Professional treatment by an experienced dentist can greatly minimize the risk of accidental gum exposure to the whitening gel, which could cause burning.  Your dentist will have aptly fitted dental trays, which helps to prevent the whitening gel from leaking onto the gums. 

You are just one office visit from whiter teeth and a gorgeous smile.  Dr. Khang Nguyen and the dentists at El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California welcome the opportunity to make your teeth beautifully white and healthy by offering both in-office and take-home teeth whitening options. The friendly and knowledgeable staff makes it their priority to provide you with the personalized care you deserve.  To schedule an appointment, please call our office at (209) 385-1479 or request an appointment online.

 


What Dental Procedures will Leave My Teeth Sensitive?
What Dental Procedures will Leave My Teeth Sensitive?

Some people have tooth sensitivity when they eat or drink cold, hot, sweet, or acidic foods or drinks. Sensitivity most often means that the root area is exposed somewhere in your mouth. However, tooth sensitivity can also happen after a dental procedure; usually, the symptoms go away on their own as the mouth heals after the procedure. Here are some dental procedures that may leave your teeth feeling sensitive.

Root canals

A root canal involves removal of infected pulp from inside the tooth to prevent further infection.  The area where the root is located contains nerve tissue, blood vessels, and other cells.  A root canal removes all of this, leaving the inside of the tooth hollow.  During the root canal, the dentist will clean out all contamination and then fill the void with a temporary, then permanent filling.  With root canals, the pain is temporary and over the counter, painkillers are generally good enough to deal with the pain. Your dentist can also prescribe medication to help deal with the pain.

Crowns

Dental crowns are needed if you have a cracked, decaying, or broken tooth. The crown is sort of a manmade tooth that covers an implant or is cemented to part of a broken tooth. When the crown is put in, it can irritate the nearby nerves and gums and cause some pain. It is common to feel pain after a crown is put in because of the inflammation. Fortunately, this pain is temporary and will go away on its own. You can control the pain symptoms through over the counter painkillers. If there is rubbing or sharp pains, see your dentist immediately; an improperly placed or jagged crown can irritate the gums and cause infection.

Tooth Extraction

You may need to get a tooth removed for any number of reasons – from tooth decay, crowded teeth, gum disease, and painful wisdom teeth to a baby tooth that refused to come out on its own.  Pain after an extraction is expected as it leaves nerves and the pulp under the tooth exposed. Dentists generally prescribe pain medication to control the pain and to prevent infection.

Gum tissue grafts

Gum tissue grafts are used to fix roots that have been exposed due to receding gums. You are more likely to feel pain and sensitivity while the wound heals. Your dentist or periodontist may prescribe pain medication as well as antibiotics to prevent infection.

If you recently have undergone one of these procedures will be getting one done soon, you should expect pain and sensitivity. However, if your symptoms last longer than a few days or get worse over time, it’s important to seek medical attention. Finally, there are many other dental procedures that can cause tooth sensitivity. If you are about to get any dental procedure done, make sure to talk to your doctor about what symptoms to expect and what you can do to reduce them.

Braces

Getting braces can result in sensitivity. After all, you are applying hardware to reform the placement of your teeth. Pain and sensitivity are to be expected as your teeth shift; if the pain comes from sharp wires or rough edges, see your dentist or orthodontist immediately to repair the wire or bracket.

At El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California, Dr. Khang Nguyen and his staff provide state-of-the-art dental care for you and your family. Dr. Nguyen offers general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry, and emergency dentistry services to adults and children in Merced, California in a comfortable and caring environment. In addition, we speak English, Spanish, Hmong, and Vietnamese. Dr. Nguyen can create beautiful, confident smiles that are as healthy as they are functional. Come and discover dental excellence at El Portal Dental Group. Request an appointment with Dr. Nguyen, cosmetic and family dentist in Merced, California. Call (209) 385-1479 today. Same-day emergency and weekend dental appointments are available.


The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health
The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

Want to know if you’re at risk for heart disease? Check out your oral hygiene.

Research shows that people with periodontal disease (serious gum infection) are almost twice as likely to have heart disease – and their risk could be greater than those with high cholesterol.

What’s the connection? In a word, bacteria.

In periodontal disease, the bacteria festering in infected gum tissue around your teeth break down the barrier between your gums and the underlying connective tissue, causing inflammation or swelling.  When you chew your food or brush your teeth, bacteria can enter your bloodstream, where it moves to other parts of your circulatory system. Ultimately, they attach to fatty deposits in the heart’s blood vessels, leading to the formation of arterial plaque and the onset of atherosclerosis. These deposits can narrow your arteries or break loose and clog them entirely, causing blood clots that can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Clearly, there is a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. To help protect your gums – and potentially your heart – look out for these warning signs of periodontal disease:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums or other painful conditions in your mouth.
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, or when you eat hard or tough food.
  • Gums that are receding from your teeth, causing them to look longer than before.
  • Loose or separating teeth.
  • Pus deposits between your gums and teeth.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Persistent bad breath.
  • A change in the way your teeth meet when you bite down.
  • A change in the fit of your partial dentures.

Getting to the heart of the matter

It’s easy to ignore these indicators of periodontal disease, which is why it’s important to maintain your oral health – especially if you already have or have a family history of heart disease. Here’s what doctors and dentists recommend:

·       Brush and floss your teeth daily and consider rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash to rid your mouth of bacteria.

·       If you have an existing heart problem, make sure your dentist is aware of it.

·       Conscientiously follow your doctor’s and dentist’s instructions, and use prescribed medications, such as antibiotics, as directed.

·       Keep clear of sugary or acidic foods that encourage bacteria to thrive.

Most importantly, maintain regular check-ups with your dentist.  Depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, your dentist will decide the best way to treat your condition. It may merely require a professional cleaning. However, if your condition is more serious and has already progressed to periodontitis, more aggressive treatment may be required. The most effective will probably involve scaling and planning, a procedure that cleans between the teeth and gums to remove the infection. Your dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic to help eliminate the infection.

If you suspect you may or a loved one may have gum disease – even if you are a conscientious brusher and flosser – don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for an assessment as promptly as possible. Both your oral health and heart health may be at stake.

If you live in the greater Merced area, contact El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479.  Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and your smile healthy and bright all year long.

 


Transforming Your Smile for the Summer
Transforming Your Smile for the Summer

With summer here, lots of us will be working on our tans and getting in shape. Why not add your smile to your transformation wish list?  Whether straightening your teeth or brightening those pearly whites, there are several options you should definitely consider. Here are some ways to transform your smile this summer.

A Clear Alternative to Traditional Braces

As an adult, you want a straight and flawless smile, but wearing geeky traditional braces out of the question. No worries – you can straighten your teeth with ClearCorrect aligners that are plastic and virtually invisible, and no one will be the wiser for it. Plus, you can conveniently remove your clear braces when you eat, brush or floss, or for special events or posing for photographs. There are no wires or metal brackets, which means you won’t irritate your mouth, break your hardware or experience headaches.

At El Portal Dental Group, we’ll take impressions of your teeth and send them to the ClearCorrect lab, where they will be scanned and a computer model of your teeth will be constructed. From this model, your custom aligners will be created. Once the aligners are returned to our office, we will set up an appointment to bond/glue any small, clear buttons/attachments to your teeth. These clear attachments will act as your “braces” and will allow us to manipulate the teeth. Then, your first aligner will be inserted and instructions on wear and care will be given. ClearCorrect aligners are worn for 22-23 hours of the day and are usually changed every two weeks, or as prescribed by Dr. Nguyen.

Tooth Whitening for a dazzling smile

Over time, your teeth can become stained, darker, or discolored. Teeth whitening lighten their shade and transform a dull smile into a dazzling one that enhances your confidence and self-esteem.

Teeth whitening systems are safe, easy, and an effective way to remove or bleach external stains on your teeth to brighten the appearance of your smile. El Portal Dental Group offers both as an in-office or take-home option.

The Sapphire In-Office Teeth Whitening System uses a powerful light along with professional-grade teeth whitening gel to bleach your teeth. This is a one-visit office treatment that gently yet dramatically whitens and brightens dull, discolored teeth in less than an hour.

As an at-home solution, Contrast PM® Teeth Whitening Gel is a safe, effective, and easy-to-use whitening system. Custom-fit whitening trays surround the teeth so that the gel coats the surface of the teeth. The gel has a mild, minty flavor and noticeably whitens teeth in just seven to ten days, as opposed to the three weeks it takes other at-home teeth whitening solutions.

Restoring your teeth’s youthful appearance

If it’s a flawless, beautiful smile you’re looking for, porcelain veneers can achieve this by improving the color, shape, and spacing of your teeth. Veneers are thin artificial coverings that are bonded to the front of your natural teeth, providing a great solution for correcting the appearance of chipped, cracked, or gapped teeth or to whiten stained teeth. They can also correct misaligned or misshapen teeth while strengthening your natural teeth and preserving their natural structure.

What’s more, porcelain veneers are natural-looking and last a long time. Veneers are stain- and chip-resistant and won’t discolor over time, plus, they can restore your teeth’s youthful appearance and protect them from further damage. By bonding a thin porcelain shell to the front of your teeth, Dr. Nguyen can create the dazzling, natural-looking smile you’ve always wanted – not just for summer, but for all year long.

For more information about improving your smile, contact El Portal Dental Group in Merced, at (209) 385-1479. Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and your smile healthy and bright all year long.


Do Veneers Ruin Your Teeth?
Do Veneers Ruin Your Teeth?

Cutting Your Teeth: Why Veneers Can Be a Valuable Option

 

Hollywood is synonymous with glittering gowns, perfectly coifed hair, and shining smiles – so it’s no surprise that it was a California dentist, Charles Pincus, who was the first to develop a solution to less-than-perfect teeth. First introduced to the cosmetic dentistry field in the 1930s, this innovative procedure certainly made an impression. Veneers were considered a groundbreaking development for those on the hunt for an A-list smile.

 

Today, the popularity of veneers is still very much on the rise. A 2011 study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that dental veneers have experienced a growth of over 250 percent in recent years. And with most Americans holding the belief that a smile is an important social asset, chances are this technique isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 

While this procedure is considered cosmetic, it isn’t to be taken lightly.

 

Speak with a reputable cosmetic dentist who will discuss the pros and cons involved, as well as your other options. Dental veneers (also known as porcelain veneers, or dental porcelain laminates), are medical-grade shells of tooth-like material that are placed over the surface of your current teeth to enhance their appearance. Whether you have chipped, misaligned, discolored, uneven, or irregularly shaped teeth, veneers can certainly transform your smile.

 

Enamel is strong, but not impervious to damage; which is why we hear so often from dentists about protecting our enamel with fluoride and proper brushing techniques. Once it has degraded, our tooth enamel can’t be regenerated because it doesn’t contain living tissue or organisms. When you undergo a veneer procedure, your cosmetic dentist will have to remove a certain portion of the outer layer of enamel to make room for the covering. It is important to understand this before deciding to get veneers.

 

Unlike crowns, which can require grinding down the teeth into tiny nubs, no major structural changes are needed for veneer placement. According to one article, 99 percent of the time a dentist doesn’t have to shave away more than 0.5 mm of tooth enamel to achieve a patient’s desired results. Otherwise, veneers are relatively risk-free and won’t cause any other damage to your natural teeth. 

 

According to the AACD, temporary tooth sensitivity is expected following this procedure and there are a variety of products your dentist can recommend to mitigate this. Prior to choosing veneers, you’ll have a series of X-rays, photographs, and study models prepared to ensure that your teeth are healthy and that you’re an appropriate candidate for veneers. Keep in mind that veneers don’t treat any medical conditions, and are solely a cosmetic fix.

 

If you’re willing to pay the price for veneers – which can cost between $925 and $2,500 per tooth, you’ll reap a multitude of benefits. According to El Portal Dental Group, one dental office performing this highly requested procedure, porcelain veneers are long-lasting, natural-looking, chip-resistant, and won’t discolor over time. If chipped or discolored teeth are keeping you from smiling, consider the option of veneers.

 

While it’s a rare occurrence, veneers that are improperly placed may lead to long-term complications to the gums and underlying structures. In some cases, the procedure could damage the dentin, change the alignment of your bite, or cause jaw pain and difficulty chewing. This is why it’s important to choose the right provider for your veneers. Do your due diligence and select an experienced cosmetic dentist with plenty of training.

 

Dr. Khang Nguyen of El Portal Dental Group earned his DDS degree from New York University College of Dentistry – one of the most respected dental programs in the country. In order to offer patients the most cutting-edge dental treatments available, he regularly attends continuing education courses. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, call El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479.


Top 5 Dental Myths Debunked
Top 5 Dental Myths Debunked

When it comes to maintaining good oral health and a gleaming smile, having the right information is important. Surprisingly, though, certain myths about dental hygiene still persist that could lead to unnecessary problems with your teeth if they are believed and followed.

Here are five common dental myths that should be put to rest:

Myth #1: Brushing and flossing twice a day isn’t as important as dentists have you believe.

In our busy modern world, it’s easy to become lax about dental hygiene. Nevertheless, there is a very good reason why brushing and flossing at least twice a day makes sense. 

Most people have three meals a day, not including snacks here and there. Every time we eat, small food particles get left behind in our gums and between our teeth. Those food particles breed bacteria and, if not removed, eventually become plaque and then tartar.  However, if you brush in the morning and again at night, it helps reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and keeps your tooth surfaces smooth so that bacteria can’t cling as easily. 

However, brushing only covers two sides of your teeth. It hardly affects the spaces between your teeth. That’s why flossing is also important. It removes food particles trapped between your teeth and should be done each time you brush. If flossing daily is a chore, however, at least floss every other day to keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

Myth #2: Brushing your teeth more than once a day can erode tooth enamel.

It’s not the frequency of brushing that can wear down tooth enamel; it’s mostly other factors such as the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth, acid reflux, grinding teeth, and nail-biting. However, a hard-bristled toothbrush can also affect the wear and tear of your tooth enamel. That’s why most dentists recommend that you use a soft toothbrush to avoid damage to your teeth and gums.

Also, it’s a matter of brushing your teeth properly. It should only take about two minutes. Brush gently, in short strokes at a 45-degree angle from the gum line, and use up-and-down strokes brushing the back of your teeth. Hold your toothbrush with your fingertips as opposed to in the palm of your hand to avoid brushing too hard. Rule of thumb, you’re brushing too hard if the bristles bend.

Myth #3: If you eat sugary foods, it’ll destroy your teeth.

Having a sweet tooth doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed to have tooth decay. There’s a simple way to have your cake – and candy and other sweets – and beat tooth decay, too.

What happens is that the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and other carbohydrates and produces an acid that deteriorates the enamel of your teeth. And the longer the sugar lingers in your mouth, the more likely the bacteria will feed off it and produce the acid.

So, the problem isn’t how much sugar you’re eating, but how long the sugar remains on your teeth. The obvious solution is to brush your teeth and rinse out your mouth right after eating, especially if you also sip sugary drinks.

Myth #4: Teeth whitening will ruin your enamel.

Teeth whitening gel (or bleach) does not damage tooth enamel. The hydrogen peroxide is soaked up by the inner tissue of your teeth (dentin), which becomes lighter, and the whiter color is reflected out through the enamel. The process can cause temporary tooth sensitivity, but no erosion of the enamel.

New advances in dental technology have made teeth whitening safer and more effective – for both cosmetic dental procedure and in-office and over-the-counter products.

Myth #5: Dental visits are painful.

This is a common excuse for avoiding dental visits, no doubt fostered by scenes of dentists drilling cavities and prodding sensitive teeth in movies and television shows. Some patients might even have had a bad experience at a dental office that makes them dread seeing any dentist. 

However, dentistry has evolved over the years to the point where a patient’s physical and emotional comfort has become a top priority. One option that eliminates the pain and fear is sedation dentistry. Conscious sedation is administered in the form of a pill that allows you to be awake throughout your dental appointment, yet relaxed throughout a procedure.

Getting the facts straight is an important part of proper dental care. Before skipping a routine visit or trying an unproven treatment, visit a trusted dental practice. For more information about maintaining your dental health, contact El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California at (209) 385-1479. Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and your smile healthy and bright all year long.

 


The Oral Cancer Foundation Announces the "Check Your Mouth" Campaign
The Oral Cancer Foundation Announces the

Most Americans have never heard of oral cancer, let alone how deadly it is. Oral cancer kills one person in the United States every hour of every day, all year round. In 2018, there will be approximately 50,000 Americans diagnosed with this form of cancer, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Oral and oropharyngeal cancers affect the base of the tongue, the tonsils, the soft palate, and the walls of the throat. Although relatively rare, these cancers have a very high mortality rate due to the fact that many cases are discovered at a late stage of the disease. The lack of awareness among the general public has made it a silent threat. And its prevalence seems to be on the rise. 

The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) has launched a nationwide public service campaign aimed at the early discovery of oral cancer. Their "Check Your Mouth™" effort is based on an interactive website designed to familiarize individuals with the disease, empowering them to find its early signs and symptoms through self-examination. Timely discovery of oral cancer, as with most cancer, may lead to less invasive treatments, and better outcomes and survival. 

Tobacco and alcohol

You may already know that tobacco use increases risk of oral cancers. High alcohol consumption can also put you at risk for oral cancer. Tobacco use of any form is a blatantly obvious oral health hazard, directly contributing to an increased risk of oral cancer.

HPV and oral cancers

According to the OCF site, the increase in oral cancer diagnoses may be the result of infection by a certain variant of the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV virus is common; The Centers for Disease Control states that 80% of Americans will have an HPV infection at some point in their lifetimes. For most people, the immune system clears the virus from their body, doing no harm whatsoever.

For a small number of Americans, however, the immune system can’t clear the virus, which can stay dormant for several years. Decades later, the infection may resurface and progress into cancer. 

Public awareness 

The "Check Your Mouth" site was designed to help people avoid the disease when possible, and teach them how to recognize its early signs and symptoms, and when to seek the advice of a dentist or other healthcare professional. 

The Self-discovery video at the site provides step-by-step directions on how to perform your own visual and tactile examination. This “Check Your Mouth™” exam actually starts outside of your mouth by looking at yourself in the mirror. The first step begins with checking your neck and lymph nodes and proceeding to checking the inside of your cheeks, your lips, gum tissues and tongue. It then moves to the floor and roof of your mouth and ends with the back of your mouth and tonsils.

The main objective of this OCF campaign is to reduce the incidence of difficult to treat, late stage oral cancer. The best outcomes, like most forms of cancer, occur with the earliest possible diagnosis. In the case of oral cancer, either a timely self-examination or regularly scheduled dental exams are vital for finding any signs of cancer.

Remember that you can perform self-examination, but only a dentist or healthcare professional can determine the presence of the disease. You can take the first step to beating oral cancer by visiting the “Check Your Mouth™” website.  

If you would like more information about oral cancer screening and prevention, or have any other dental concerns, please call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today, or schedule an appointment online. We are here to meet all of your dental needs.


Food Choices and Their Effect on Your Oral Health
Food Choices and Their Effect on Your Oral Health

Food and drink fuels your day. Basic health aside, what and how you eat are also vital factors in your oral health. A healthy diet packed with nutrients can go a long way in helping you maintain good oral health.

 

On the other hand, a bad diet can hurt the health of your teeth and gums. Your smile may be the first to suffer! Unhealthy diets can stain or dim tooth enamel, which can be clearly visible on your front teeth where you eat and drink.

 

An unhealthy diet can also promote tooth decay and cause gum disease, so taking the time to be mindful of what you eat and drink can go a long way towards healthy teeth and gums.

 

Here are a few common things that can hurt your oral health.

 

 

·       Sugar loading

We all have a “sweet tooth” every now and then, but sugary foods and drink can create an unhealthy oral environment. The bacteria present in your mouth loves the sweet stuff and it reacts by releasing acids that promote tooth decay and other problems. The average American consumes up to 15 pounds of sugar a year! We love the stuff, but it doesn’t love us back.

 

 

·       Drinking too much of certain beverages:

Drinking too many soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks can impact your oral health. And you probably know that daily coffee and tea drinking can stain your tooth enamel. Regular cleanings can help if you can’t do without your morning coffee and evening tea. Finally, limit the amount of alcohol you drink; moderation is the key!

 

·       Snacking:

With our hectic, work-centered schedules, we may rely on snacks between meals to keep us going. But, chewy or sticky snacks, and even chewing gum may promote dental decay.

 

There’s another hazard with snacking: We are also unlikely to brush our teeth after an on-the-run snack. This further adds to potential problems down the road when we allow bacteria to collect between our teeth. A good piece of advice is to avoid sugary snacks and try to at least rinse out your mouth with water after snacking.

 

 

Are you more at risk?

 

Certain conditions and medications make keeping oral health more of a challenge:

 

·       Conditions such as diabetes and acid reflux may make keeping your oral health top-notch more of a challenge. Consult your dentist or physician to find out if any of your chronic conditions may also affect your oral health.

 

·       Medications

Ingredients in some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can make you more vulnerable to oral health problems. For example, antihistamines may dry your mouth, which can make you more likely to have oral health problems.

 

Remember, your meds are important! Just keep your dentist up to date about what you take.

 

What you can do:

 

·       Maintain a balanced, healthy diet and eat regular meals. Keep added sugars to a minimum, and avoid processed foods. Instead, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Replace soft drinks with water.

 

·       Brush and clean often! Don’t let hours elapse between a meal and brushing your teeth.

 

·       Keep your dentist up to date with any changes in your health or meds, and most important, go in for your regular dental check-ups.

 

 

Sticking to good dental habits that include regular brushing and flossing, and regular check-ups, can help prepare you for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. For more information about maintaining your dental health, contact El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California at (209) 385-1479. Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and you’re your smile healthy and bright all year long.