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


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.

 


Keeping Your Teeth Clean in the New Year
Keeping Your Teeth Clean in the New Year

You may have welcomed 2018 with a bright, shiny and fresh smile, but keeping up with it is going to take some work. Keeping your teeth clean in the new year means you will have to ditch some bad habits and form some new maintenance habits. Remember, though, keeping your teeth clean is about your overall dental health, and not just keeping them white.

Regular brushing

Most of us brush first thing in the morning and at night. It’s the extra daytime brushing that can help prevent the plaque and bacteria buildup in between meals. Did you have breakfast after brushing your teeth this morning? A quick rinse makes a huge difference. Did you have berries as a snack or corn for lunch? Again, regular brushing will prevent build up of the bad stuff. 

Routine hygiene

Another trick to keeping your teeth clean is keeping up with the routine hygiene – yes, even flossing. Flossing and mouthwash might be irritating and time-consuming, but they make a huge difference in killing bacteria. When bacteria build up, it causes cavities – which can be far more irritating and time-consuming later on down the road. 

Buy a new toothbrush

Starting 2018 might also mean that it’s time for a new toothbrush or brush head. After a few months of use, your brush bristles wear down, making them weaker and basically, not as good at their job or scrubbing away plaque. Dentists recommend you get a new toothbrush every 3-4 months, so if its been longer than that: it’s time to trade in.

Avoid bad habits

If you are a smoker or a heavy wine drinker, 2018 is the year to cut it out, or at least cut back! Smoking tobacco not only stains your teeth, but the chemicals in cigarettes open your mouth up to a whole host of other issues - like sores or mouth cancer.

Ditch the dark drinks

This means you, caffeine lovers! Unfortunately, two of your biggest vehicles for caffeine intake – coffee and soda – are dark drinks that stain your teeth. Let’s not forget that both are (or can be) loaded with sugar - the nemesis of healthy teeth. In this new year, look to cut back on these drinks to salvage your pearly whites. 

If you would like to brighten your smile in 2018 and get more tips for overall 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 smile healthy and bright all year long.


The Complete Guide to Root Canals
The Complete Guide to Root Canals

Dental anxiety is very common, especially if you are already in pain. And it doesn’t help when you think about the sounds of drilling that you associate with serious dental work. Have you ever been to the dentist and you get the bad news that you need a root canal? Perhaps it’s the name that scares people, or the guilty fear of what happens when we don’t take care of our teeth properly. Well, don’t fret. A root canal is one of the most well-practiced dental procedures, and your dentist will keep you pain free, and have you done in no time. Sometimes, just being more informed can ease your nerves.

What is a Root Canal?

Once your teeth are fully developed, the pulp is no longer needed inside your teeth. The pulp in your teeth is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue to help your teeth grow. However, sometimes this pulp stays in your teeth for a long time, and can lead to a painful infection. If left untreated without a root canal, not only will pain persist, you can lose your tooth.

The root canal procedure takes around 30-90 minutes depending on the severity of the root canal and the person’s mouth. In some cases where pain and infection are present, your dentist may be able to prescribe antibiotics and pain medication. The procedure is done as follows:

  1.  A local anesthetic will be applied to the nerves that lead to the tooth
  2. A rubber suction will be placed around the tooth to keep the area clean during the treatment
  3. A small hole will be drilled into the tooth
  4. The infected pulp will be removed
  5. The root canal space is disinfected

6.     The endodontist will then fill the root canal space with a biocompatible material called Gutta Percha. The access cavity will be covered with a temporary material, and will be assessed for permanent restoration

You may be a candidate for a root canal if:

  •      You’re experiencing sensitive teeth for a prolonged period (hot and cold)
  •       Your gums and jaw are painful and swollen
  •      Your jaw and tooth hurts
  •      You have a fractured or cracked tooth

A root canal will not only relieve your pain, and in most cases the procedure itself is relatively painless. The procedure is not what it used to be, so if you have reservations make sure to talk to your dentist.

If you’re experiencing dental pain, or it’s just time to schedule your next checkup, call El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479 to request an appointment, or request one online.


Veneers: a Facelift without Surgery
Veneers: a Facelift without Surgery

Your smile is one of your most important features, a defining trait that is often the first thing people notice about you. There is an old saying that goes, “You are never fully dressed without a smile.” This rings true, as a great smile can say a lot about someone.  From subtle changes to major repairs, your cosmetic dentist can perform a variety of procedures to improve your smile. There are many techniques and options available to treat teeth that are discolored, chipped, misshapen or missing. You ask, how much of a difference can a nice set of teeth really make? The answer ultimately depends on how you feel, but it is often a huge difference.

Veneers are known as the non-surgical facelift, as they can make someone look younger without going under the knife. Veneers can not only help improve your smile, but the overall look of your face. In other words, veneers can make you appear younger aesthetically.

Veneers are thin shells of ceramic (porcelain) material, which are bonded to the front of your teeth. This procedure requires little or no anesthesia, and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth. Veneers are placed to mask discolorations, to brighten teeth and to improve your smile.

While many people consider porcelain veneers to hide stained, broken, chipped, or missing teeth, porcelain veneers are more than just brightening your smile. They provide a much more traditional approach to changing a tooth's color, size, or shape. Veneers can mask undesirable defects, such as teeth staining, and damage due to an injury. Generally, veneers will last for many years, and the technique has shown remarkable long-term results – for a beautiful smile that you have always desired.

Porcelain Veneers are becoming more popular, because of their accessibility, affordability, and the fact that they can change someone’s appearance for the better. If you would rather avoid surgery, porcelain veneers may be right for you. A dental exam will help determine if veneers are right for you, as well as if there are any underlying dental conditions that should be treated before veneers are applied.

To learn more about porcelain veneers and if you may be a candidate, call El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479 to request an appointment.