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El Portal Dental Blog


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

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. 

Why Do We Need to Floss?

We know you hate it, but flossing really does preserve the health and aesthetics of your smile.

Every six months, when you visit your dentist for a cleaning, you always have to listen to a lecture of how important it is to floss. We know you don’t like to hear it but we have to do our part of educating our patients the benefits of flossing. 

Flossing does about 40% of the work required to remove sticky bacteria, or plaque, from your teeth. Plaque generates acid, which can cause cavities, irritate the gums, and lead to gum disease. People who preserve the height of that bone by flossing look better as they age.

Choosing the Right Dental Floss

Most floss is made of either nylon or Teflon, and both are equally effective.

1.    If you have larger spaces between their teeth or with gum recession (loss of gum tissue, which exposes the roots of the teeth) tend to get better results with a flat, wide dental tape.

2.    If your teeth are close together, try thin floss (sometimes made of Gore-Tex) that bills itself as shred resistant.

3.  Bridges and braces call for a defter touch to get underneath the restorations or wires and between the teeth. Use a floss threader, which looks like a plastic sewing needle.

Flossing Tips

Perfect your flossing technique. Use a piece of floss 15 to 18 inches long, slide it between the teeth, wrap it around each tooth in the shape of a "C," and polish with an up and down motion.

Don't worry about a little blood.  Bleeding means the gums are inflamed because plaque has built up and needs to be cleaned away. Don't let that deter you.  Bleeding after a few days, however, could be a sign of periodontal disease. Talk to your dentist. Call El Portal Dental Group for appointment! 

Do Pacifiers Affect Babies’ Teeth?

Do Pacifiers Affect Babies’ Teeth?

Pacifiers can have some adverse effects on the structures of the oral cavity, especially after prolonged use. The most common effect is seen in chronic pacifier use which will cause an anterior open bite, an obvious gap between the upper front and lower front teeth when the jaw is closed. In this circumstance, the back teeth touch, but the front teeth do not.  Another common effect is a posterior cross-bite.  When the upper back teeth are tucked inside the lower back teeth due to the constant sucking habit, there will be a significantly increased overjet, a marked horizontal projection of the upper teeth beyond the lower teeth. (Overbite is when the upper teeth overlap the lower ones more than normal.)

Pacifier use past the age of 5 can delay the front baby teeth from falling out at a normal time and hinder emergence of adult teeth.  Studies have shown that increased pacifier use is associated with more ear infections and more speech and language problems. A pacifier should be used only when a child is going to sleep, then removed immediately.  The habit should end before the second birthday, but the sooner the better.



1.     Etiquette laughter: politely laugh at everything your boss says.

2.   Contagious laughter: walking into a restaurant and you see everyone is laughing, you want to laugh too.

3.   Nervous laughter:  you laugh during the time of anxiety.  You laugh in a subconscious attempt to reduce stress and calm down.

4.   Belly laughter: this is the most honest type.  Children do this a lot.

5.    Silent laughter: this type exists in laughter yoga, laughter therapy and can be called a joker’s laughter.

6.   Stress-relieving laughter: laugh to relieve stress. 

7.    Pigeon laughter:  laughing without open your mouth.

8.   Snorting laughter: blowing air out or sucking it in through the nose.

9.   Canned laughter:  this is the real laughter

10. Cruel laughter:  insensitive laughter like laughing at a funeral.

Remember laughter does not cost anything, so laugh a lot.  Not too confident with your smile, call us at El Portal Dental Group.  We will help you to gain that confidence. 

A 10-Second Kiss Is Long Enough to Transfer 80 Million Bacteria

A 10-Second Kiss Is Long Enough to Transfer 80 Million Bacteria

Love comes with kissing.  It is great that we are in love and we kiss.  However, researchers from Netherlands, leaded by Kort, a microbiologist with the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, have found that just 10-second kiss, there will be up to 80 million bacteria being transferred.   

The true is that our mouth is a perfect host for bacteria to live.  They are part of an ecosystem of bacteria, or microbiome, that help digest and break down food.  Factors including genetics and diet influence the makeup of that bacteria.  The bad part is that if you have periodontal disease (gum disease) of which there is infection in your mouth and if you kiss, your partner will have it too.

You can enjoy kissing, just make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.  And to have a healthy mouth, don’t skip seeing your dentist every 6 months.