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


Surprising Foods that Are Actually Good for Your Teeth
Surprising Foods that Are Actually Good for Your Teeth

We all know that to keep our teeth healthy we need to brush and floss regularly and moderate the sugar in our diet. But did you know that the food you eat can also play a part in keeping your teeth healthy? Although no food will ever replace the need for brushing our teeth, there are some surprising foods that are healthy for your teeth.

Carrots

Carrots are a great cavity-fighting vegetable. Munching on raw carrot acts as a natural toothbrush, and the chewing action massages your gums. Carrots are high in plaque-attacking keratin as well as vitamin A, which is crucial for strengthening tooth enamel.

Cheese

Cheese is known to be full of calcium and phosphate which naturally strengthen teeth and bones, but cheese also helps balance the pH level in your mouth – which means less harmful acid, more cleansing saliva, and fewer cavities.

Onion

Raw onion is not only good for you, it’s also great for your teeth. It contains antibacterial sulphur compounds which kill harmful bacteria on your teeth. The downside is, it might not be so great for your breath!

Celery

When chewed raw, celery helps to clean your teeth and massage your gums – and with all that chewing, you produce plenty of saliva to neutralize bacteria and give your teeth a great workout!

Salmon

Salmon is packed full of vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin for good oral health. Vitamin D allows your body to better absorb calcium and put it to good use throughout your body. Salmon is also full of calcium, making it an all-around superfood for helping to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Strawberries

Strawberries – the natural teeth whitener! They contain malic acid, which cleans enamel and keeps your teeth free of stains. Strawberries are also rich in vitamin C and antioxidants which help to fight gum disease. Just be mindful that the malic acid in strawberries is still an acid, which is great for getting rid of stains but can contribute to tooth decay so should be eaten in moderation.

Yogurt

Natural unsweetened yogurt makes a great healthy breakfast or snack. It contains high levels of calcium and casein proteins, which increase the absorption of calcium to strengthen teeth and bones.

Sesame Seeds

On their own as a snack or baked into bread, sesame seeds will help you in two ways. Firstly they are high in calcium, and secondly they help to scrub plaque from your teeth as you chew.

Apples

Nature’s toothbrush? Eating apples can cleanse and clean teeth and gums and fight bad breath. The fibrous content scrubs like a toothbrush, getting rid of plaque and other food debris, while the acid in the apple can help kill off bad bacteria which cause bad breath. Chewing apples is another good mouth workout for saliva production, and they’re packed with vitamins to keep your mouth healthy. However, today’s apples are high in sugar so should also be eaten in moderation.

Chewing Gum

Although technically not a food, chewing sugar-free gum speeds up saliva production, which in turn helps rinse away harmful acids effectively and, as an added bonus, it makes your breath fresh!

Your diet makes a big difference when it comes to a healthy smile.  For more information about maintaining your dental health, contact El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California at (209) 385-1479 or fill out our online appointment request form now. Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and your smile healthy and bright all year long.


Possible Remedies for a Chipped Tooth
Possible Remedies for a Chipped Tooth

Chipping a tooth is fairly common. Usually, a chipped tooth looks bad but doesn’t cause any health risks.

However, a chipped or cracked tooth may allow bacteria to enter into the person’s system if the tooth’s enamel is penetrated. If the enamel is compromised and the pulp is infected, then the possibility of tooth loss increases. 

There are several remedies for a chipped tooth that will help settle your fears. Let’s take a look at what they are:

What Should I Do if I Have a Chipped Tooth? 

A chipped tooth may or may not be painful, depending on the nature of the break and where it is located on the tooth. If the crack or chip is deep, it may affect the nerve and cause pain.

If the chipped tooth is indeed causing pain, you will need to see a dentist to have the tooth evaluated. In the meantime, there are things you can do to help the situation:

1. Rinse

After a tooth has been chipped, get a cup of warm water, add salt to the water, and use this solution to rinse out your mouth. The warm saltwater will help alleviate any pain and will also help to prevent infection. 

2. Ice 

Inflammation isn’t unusual with a broken or chipped tooth. When inflammation does happen, it exhibits in the jawline near where the tooth was chipped – so apply an ice pack near the location of the chipped tooth to help reduce the swelling. 

3. Use Dental Wax

You can also place soft dental wax (which you can buy at a drugstore) over the sharp edges of the chipped tooth. This prevents the tooth from scratching or cutting the inside of your mouth or from grinding against other teeth.

Sugarless gum can also be used if dental wax isn’t readily available.

4. Take Pain Relievers 

Eliminate pain with over-the-counter medication as necessary. If your tooth is sensitive after it’s been chipped, then avoid foods that are too hot or too cold. If necessary, only consume soft foods and liquids until the dentist repairs the tooth.

5. Save the Chip 

It may help your dentist if you were able to retrieve the chip of tooth that broke off. Carefully rinse off the chip with water, and place it in a sealed sandwich-style plastic bag. Make sure no one will think it is garbage; place it in your personal desk drawer and make a note for yourself so you won’t forget it.

Take the piece(s) with you to the dental appointment to have it fixed. There is a slight chance that the dentist can use the pieces to repair your tooth in a more natural way than if the dentist had to use bonding or other method. 

Dentists in Merced, California 

Our practice at El Portal Dental Group offers same-day emergency and weekend appointments. Whether you have a chipped tooth, a dental injury, or sudden soreness, we’re available to help.

To schedule an appointment with one of our outstanding dentists, call us today at (209) 385-1479 or fill out our appointment request form online. We look forward to serving you.


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.


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.


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.