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Rethink Your Favorite Drink: How Much Sugar is in Your Drinks?
Rethink Your Favorite Drink: How Much Sugar is in Your Drinks?

Since your childhood, you have probably been warned that eating too much sugar will rot your teeth. What many people don’t realize is that some of the most popular drinks out there actually contain just as much (or more) sugar per serving than sugary foods.

Drinks can be a sneaky source of excess sugar, and unfortunately it’s not just sodas we should be worried about - shockingly, many fruit juices and other drinks contain as much sugar as soda! While fruit juices do provide some healthy vitamins and antioxidants, the corrosive threat of sugar to the teeth and overall health may overshadow those benefits.

When we consume sugar, the naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths frenziedly feed off the sugars, and the by-product is enamel-eroding acid. The more sugar consumed, the more acid is produced. This is really bad news for anyone hooked on sugar-laden beverages, because drinking soda or juice is basically like drowning your teeth in sugar, and eroding their protective enamel.

Protecting the enamel coating of your teeth is incredibly important. Enamel wears away easily and once it’s gone, it’s gone; there’s no getting it back. Is it time to re-evaluate your beverage habits to save your teeth?

Take a look at these alarming amounts of sugar in some of the most common popular drinks:


Amount of Sugar

Serving Size




12 ounces

20 ounces




12 ounces

20 ounces

Canada Dry Ginger Ale


12 ounces

Mountain Dew


20 ounces

Sun Drop


20 ounces

Orange soda


20 ounces

RockStar Energy Drink



8 ounces

16 ounces

Red Bull


8.3 ounces

Vitamin Water


20 ounces

Arizona Lemon Iced Tea


24 ounces

Snapple Lemon Iced Tea


16 ounces

MinuteMaid Lemonade


20 ounces

Newman’s Own Limeade


8 ounces

Grape juice


12 ounces

Orange juice


8 ounces

Apple juice


8 ounces

Cranberry juice


16 ounces

Nesquik Chocolate Milk


16 ounces

Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino


16 ounces

McDonald’s Frappe Mocha


12 ounces

Just for comparison, a ½ cup serving of vanilla ice cream only contains about 20 grams of sugar, as does an average slice of apple pie. Serving amounts and beverage size may vary depending on the brand, but these estimates help to give you an idea of just how much sugar you’re getting in your drink. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that only 5% of your calories come from sugar daily, which breaks down to just 25 grams based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

And just when we thought a way around this issue was to select the diet versions of these drinks, more bad news came along: diet sodas and energy drinks contain high amounts of citric acid, which also erodes tooth enamel! The best thing to do is try to select drinks that contain no sugar or other harmful additives in order to preserve good oral health. When you do consume sugary drinks or foods, be sure to brush your teeth afterwards to minimize the damage.

If your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold foods or beverages, you may already have weakened enamel. Call El Portal Dental Group today in Merced at (209) 385-1479 to make an appointment with one of our qualified dental professionals, such as Dr. Dominique Hunt, to discuss what you can do to protect the health of your teeth, gums, and jaw bones. 

Dr. Hunt can evaluate your teeth to determine whether you need procedures to repair or replace teeth that have suffered from decay.

Why Do I Have to See a Dentist Every Six Months?
Why Do I Have to See a Dentist Every Six Months?

Why are regular dental appointments so important? Seeing your dentist twice a year is the best way to safeguard against serious oral health issues that could have a lasting negative impact on your overall well-being and quality of life.

Here are some of the most important reasons to make – and keep –  those twice-yearly dentist visits:

  • Screening. One of the most important things the dentist does during a visit is to check for signs of oral health issues that are undetectable on your own until it’s too late. The dentist will review your X-rays and also do a visual exam to check for signs of oral cancer, cysts, abscesses, jaw bone deterioration, and cavities.
  • Cleaning. Often, brushing and flossing between dental appointments is not enough to keep plaque and tartar buildup at bay. The dental hygienist will provide deep cleaning to remove plaque and tartar that can cause problems later if not eliminated.
  • Oral hygiene recommendations. If there is excessive buildup of plaque or tartar, or signs of gingivitis such as bleeding gums, the oral hygienist will be able to make recommendations on improving oral hygiene. They can show you how to brush and floss properly in order to maximize dental hygiene between visits.
  • Prevention. In the dental field, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Seeing the dentist every six months will help ensure that any problems that may occur are caught early on and treated before they get really serious.
  • Meaningful for overall health. Dental disease is linked with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, diabetic complications, and even dementia. If your teeth are not properly cared for, the bacteria in your mouth may enter the bloodstream through the gums and circulate around your body, settling in different places and organs, and causing all kinds of health issues.
  • Avoid painful, unnecessary procedures. By the time dental issues get to be serious, the treatments can be very painful. By catching problems early on before they progress to be very serious, a lot of pain can be avoided.
  • Upkeep of previous work. If you’ve had previous procedures like root canals, or have implants or dentures, regular visits to the dentist are very important to ensure that the previous work is being kept up properly.
  • Braces. Regular visits will allow your dentist to observe any severe misalignment or overbite that needs to be corrected and can refer to an orthodontist. Braces are meaningful for producing a beautiful, straight smile, but they are even more important for correcting potential sources of jaw and head pain.

Dr. Regalado has been practicing dentistry in California for over 10 years, and she has helped many patients experience healthier smiles through regular exams.

Call El Portal Dental Group today at (209) 385-1479 for an appointment with Dr. Regalado, whose expertise will help guarantee you have the best oral health possible.

Back to School: The Importance of an Oral Checkup
Back to School: The Importance of an Oral Checkup

It’s the time of year that children either love or absolutely dread - back to school time. If you are a parent, you probably feel a little bit emotional in August. It’s exciting, yet it can be a very sad time too. There seems to be an overwhelming number of items to check off the list before the first day of class, and an appointment with the dentist may be one of them. So, why does your child need a dental checkup before school starts?

Studies have found that untreated cavities can cause behavior problems due to pain and other issues within the cavity itself. This can lead to struggles in class when it comes to learning and focus. Considering about 19 percent of children ages 2 to 19 have untreated cavities, that’s a whole lot of kids that may suffer unnecessarily in the classroom.

Another great reason is to get custom-fitted protective mouth guards for children who will play fall sports including football. Up to 39 percent of dental injuries occur during sports and other physical activity, but proper gear can protect your child from tooth and gum damage, or from jaw dysfunction due to an injury.

Tooth decay surpasses asthma and allergies as the most common childhood disease, yet surprisingly up to 23 percent of kids between 2 and 11 have never been to a dentist. Teaching children good dental hygiene at a young age is the best way to ensure that this does not occur. It is important not only for your child’s oral health, but also for their academic progress, that they get a back-to-school dental checkup.

For every 100 students, there is approximately 117 hours of school missed per year due to dental problems. If your child goes back to school with a happy, healthy mouth, they may be more likely to succeed in the classroom. 

Dr. Khang Nguyen offers checkups and preventive dental care in our Merced office for school-age children. Our pediatric patients relax around his warm smile and friendly demeanor.

Whether your child needs a dental exam for school entry this August or needs a routine cleaning soon, Dr. Nguyen would love to provide the dental care needed for a healthier school year. Request an appointment with Dr. Nguyen online or call our Merced office at (209) 385-1479 today.

Good Foods vs Bad Foods for Oral Health
Good Foods vs Bad Foods for Oral Health

A healthy smile doesn’t just look good, it’s good for you. Oral health plays a significant role in your overall health; in fact, researchers have found that people with oral diseases, such as tooth decay and periodontal disease, have a higher likelihood of  developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

So what can you do to improve your oral health and prevent this from happening?

Eat More: Fruit and Vegetables

Vegetables and fruit aren’t just good for your body; they are good for your teeth too. Fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber to help balance sugar content. They help clean your teeth and stimulate saliva production, which washes away harmful food particles.

Many fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, which has been shown to help prevent gum disease. Dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach are an excellent choice for oral health, as they contain important bone-strengthening minerals including calcium and phosphorus, helping to protect tooth enamel.

Eat Less: Sugary Foods, Including Candy

Eating refined sugar in food of any form promotes tooth decay and gum disease, as sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth that produce tooth-destroying acid. The longer sugar is left on your teeth after you eat it, the greater your risk for cavities and other dental problems.

Eat More: Dairy Products

Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and plain yogurt are high in calcium and phosphorus to help prevent tooth loss. These types of foods also contain a protein which can prevent tooth decay from acid-producing bacteria. Recent research has shown that dairy products can reduce tooth decay in addition to preventing it.

Eat Less: Starchy Foods

Starch can get trapped in between your teeth, becoming difficult to remove which in turn encourages cavities and gum disease. Consumption of high-starch foods such as white bread, cake, and chips should be reduced to protect your teeth.

Eat More: Proteins, Nuts, and Seeds

Proteins like meat (including poultry and fish), nuts, and seeds contain phosphorus to help protect your tooth enamel, and many of them also contain calcium to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Too much protein is not good for your body, so don’t overdo it.

Eat Less: Acidic Foods (and Drinks)

Foods with a high acid content, such as pickles, processed deli meats, and soda can be even more harmful than sugar. While occasionally indulging is not likely to cause any harmful effects, long-term daily consumption of acidic foods can destroy tooth enamel.

Of course, good oral health also includes regular professional dental checkups. Take control of your health by eating right and keeping regular dental appointments. Our team at El Portal Dental Group would love to help you reach your health goals – call us at (209)385-1479 or request an appointment online today.

DIY Teeth Whitening: More Harm than Actual Results

There is no objection that whiter teeth can make you look younger and give you the bright smile everyone wants. With so many products on the market and do-it-yourself recipes, getting exactly what you want seems to be a lot easier. So much so that the majority of people forgo going to the dentist to whiten their teeth and rely solely on these recipes and products. However, the fact of the of the matter is that these recipes and products may actually be doing more harm than good.

Whitening Mouthwash and Toothpaste

Crest, Colgate, and many other brands have made a fortune selling you on the idea that whitening your teeth could be as easy as brushing them. Using the same products, you were used to using before, with some extra ingredients, could provide the same results. However, what most people don’t understand is that these products have a high level of alcohol. The alcohol level could actually harm your gums and internal organs over time. In addition, the content of the active ingredients is simply not strong enough to really achieve the pearly white look we all seek. Making the results lesser than the negative impacts of these products.

Whitening Strips

Strips are the second most popular at-home teeth-whitening products, as the active ingredients are high and some are extremely effective. However, it is imperative to use them correctly. Many people simply overuse the strips, using them year-round and leaving them on for longer than the directed amount of time. It is important to note that strips should only be used for a maximum of twice every year, and only for the amount of time allowed. Overdoing the strip could increase teeth sensitivity and cause undesirable splotching in the teeth.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Many swear by the hydrogen peroxide method. Hydrogen peroxide works by releasing free radicals in the mouth and can actually age the gums and bones. So while an effect to decrease yellowing will take place, the long term result is actually not desirable. The problem is that most people do not know what the proper dosage is to balance the risk and results. Improper usage can actually irritate the gum and worsen teeth condition over time.

Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

This method seems to be one of the most popular ones online, as it is one of the only DIY methods that actually works. But, it is important to note that while baking soda could have a positive effect on your mouth, it actually does very little for teeth whitening. Baking soda is supposed to eliminate bacteria (that could cause yellowing) and have an exfoliating effect on the teeth (decreasing the amount of surface stains). On the other hand, baking soda can actually limit the amount of good bacteria in the mouth that is necessary for proper oral health.

The active ingredient in this method is actually the lemon juice, because of its acidic properties, it helps break down stains in the teeth. However, it is very acidic and because of this over time it can actually erode the enamel. Any issues with the enamel is actually a permanent problem, as the enamel cannot be recreated. Therefore, this method can actually leave permanent damage in the teeth. Making this method one of the most dangerous ones.

Visiting Your Dentist

The only way to ensure you are getting best results, while maintaining the highest quality of ingredients is to actually visit your dentist. At El Portal Dental, we are here to help you get the bright smile you’ve been wanting. Call us today at (209)385-1479 to schedule your appointment!


What are the active ingredients in tobacco?

  • • Polonium 210 (nuclear waste)
  • • N-Nitrosamines (cancer-causing)
  • • Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)
  • • Nicotine (addictive drug)
  • • Cadmium (used in batteries and nuclear reactor shields)
  • • Cyanide (poisonous compound)
  • • Arsenic (poisonous metallic element)
  • • Benzene (used in insecticides and motor fuels)
  • • Lead (nerve poison)

Using tobacco products can wear away the tooth enamels. Along with the wearing away of the enamel, smoking can lead to other dental problems such as bad breath and stained teeth.  It also increases tartar buildup within your mouth, and eventually tooth decay. Smoking can also delay the healing process following tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, or oral surgery.  Smoking can even dull your sense of taste and smell. Most importantly, smoking will increase the risk of oral cancer.  The choice is yours.  Stop smoking and your teeth will thank you.  If you have any questions regarding any dental relates, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 209-385-1479.  Visit us at www.elportaldentalgroup.com.


As spring and summer are approaching, there will be an increase in outdoor activities among adults and children.  Our dentists at El Portal Dental Group would like to remind everyone who is playing sports to wear a mouth guard and other forms of facial protections to prevent getting injured.  According to American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouth guard.  Mouth guards help buffer the impact that otherwise would cause broken teeth or facial injuries.  Mouth guards may reduce the rate and severity of concussion.  Our dentists at El Portal Dental Group can make a custom mouth guard for you and your child that is comfortable and offer superior protection.  Because treating dental related injuries can cost thousands of dollars, a custom mouth guard is worthwhile investment.   If you have any questions regarding any dental relates, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 209-385-1479 or check out our website at www.elportaldentalgroup.com. 


A change in their sense of taste is usually related to an upper respiratory problem. This occurs because sense of taste is closely related to acuity of the sense of smell, and anything that impairs the sense of smell will cause a change in the acuity of taste as well. For example, impaired taste is very common in those who have nasal polyps, frequent throat infections, or chronic sinus congestion. If you have symptoms such as sore throat, cough, sneezing, or nasal congestion, these are probably related to the change in your ability to taste foods. The first step would be to go see your primary care doctor, who can perform a thorough examination and help figure out what might be the upper respiratory cause. Very effective treatments are available for all of these conditions. .  Some vitamin deficiencies, such as iron deficiency or B vitamin deficiency may cause inflammation of the tongue and loss of taste.  Specially, loss of taste sensation can be related to bad oral hygiene or tooth infections .  This can be easily treated by visiting your dentist.  Call El Portal Dental Group for an appointment.

El Portal Dental Group is located at 3393 G Street, Ste B, Merced, CA 95340. Visit our website at www.elportaldentalgroup.com for more information.


Yes. A soft-bristled toothbrush works well to clean full or partial dentures.  Avoid hard bristles which will damage the surface of the denture. Denture cleaners, hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid are suggested for cleaning, as toothpastes are too abrasive.

Denture wearers should pay attention to their mouths, even if they have no or few teeth remaining. Mouths should be brushed with a soft-bristled toothbrush with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Pay special attention to cleaning teeth that fit under the denture’s metal clasps. Plaque that becomes trapped under these clasps will increase the risk of tooth decay.  Patients with dentures are still recommended to see your dentist every 6 months. 

El Portal Dental Group is located at 3393 G Street, Ste B, Merced, CA 95340. Visit our website at www.elportaldentalgroup.com for more information.


Did you know, 3 out of 4 children have crowded teeth and incorrectly developing jaws. These problems can be seen from as early as 5 years of age.

These habits such as mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, reverse swallowing and thumb sucking are the real causes of crooked teeth. Allergies, asthma and an open mouth posture also contribute to incorrect jaw development. Growing up, most of us have had one or more of these habits, which may have been the cause of incorrect dental and facial development.

Just getting braces, with or without extractions, does not address the underlying causes of crooked teeth. This is why once the braces are removed, the teeth usually crowd up again, unless poor oral habits are corrected. This is why treatment with braces alone commonly results in the need for life-long retainers.

At El Portal Dental Group, we do braces (orthodontic treatment) as well.  Give us a call for a complimentary consultation at 209-385-1479. We are located at 3393 G Street, Ste B, Merced, CA 95340.  Visit our website at www.elportaldentalgroup.com for more information.