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


Treatments for Oral Cancer
Treatments for Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is cancer that begins in the mouth or the throat. The American Cancer Society reports that more than 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cavity cancer or oropharyngeal cancer every year, and almost 11,000 will die of the disease. 

However, there is a silver lining – oral cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. It is also among the most treatable of cancers, especially if found early. Your dentist is key in the prevention and early detection of mouth cancer. 

Your dentist checks for signs of oral cancer during every regular checkup, which is just one of the many important reasons why regular visits to your dentist are recommended. If you have a family history of oral cancer or if you smoke, you are considered a high-risk patient and will do well to see your dentist regularly. 

If you are diagnosed with mouth cancer, there are effective treatments for the disease. Let’s talk about some of the early signs and the treatments that are available for oral cancer.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer? 

Oral cancer symptoms include: 

  • Mouth sores
  • Lumps in or around the mouth
  • Red and white patches in the mouth and throat
  • Oral pain or bleeding
  • A feeling of something stuck in the throat
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Pain in your ear
  • Trouble chewing
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Lump or swelling in your neck
  • Change in your voice
  • Unexplained weight loss

Any of these typical symptoms of oral cancer may actually be due to other health conditions, which is why having them examined by an experienced dentist is important for an accurate diagnosis. A diagnosis is the first step of treatment for oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Treatment Methods

Treating oral cancer requires a multidisciplinary approach. This involves the participation of your dentist along with other specialists, such as otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors), dental surgeons, and oncologists (cancer doctors).

The treatment plan will depend on the type and stage of the cancer. It will likely either involve a combination of surgery and radiation, surgery and chemotherapy, or minimally invasive treatments.

If the cancer is localized in one spot (rather than systemic, which means it has spread to other parts of the body), the medical team will work to destroy the cancer cells and prevent the spread to other areas. If the cancer is advanced and has spread (metastasized) to other areas, surgery and chemotherapy is often the recommended treatment.

The goal of oral cancer treatment is to control the cancer and to relieve its symptoms. Discuss any concerns you may have, such as side effects associated with your cancer treatment, with your medical specialist. It’s important to understand how each treatment method works and how your body might respond.

Preventing Oral Cancer in Merced, CA 

Early detection of oral cancer can save your life, which is why the dental team here at El Portal Dental Group recommends regular dental visits and checkups to our patients. We care about your oral health and how it impacts your overall health.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our staff today by calling us at (209) 385-1479 or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to seeing you here!


Benefits of Getting Dental Crowns
Benefits of Getting Dental Crowns

We all want to have a perfect set of pearly whites. But it is estimated that 26% of American adults have untreated tooth decay, while 92% of adults have had cavities in one or more of their permanent teeth.

With the prevalence of tooth decay and tooth loss, it is no wonder that there’s an increase in Americans who have opted to have dental crowns to fill in the gaps. A dental crown restores a damaged tooth by either giving the natural tooth a new top, or “crown,” or by replacing a missing tooth with a perfect prosthetic crown atop a dental implant. 

How Can Dental Crowns Help Me? 

The crown, which is also called a “cap,” mimics the original tooth’s normal shape, size, and function. It can make the tooth and gums stronger and can help maintain proper chewing. If the jaws are forced to chew awkwardly and off-centered due to missing teeth, this can cause problems with the jawbone and the facial muscles, including TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder); therefore, having dental crowns can foster proper chewing and alignment of the upper and lower jaws and teeth. 

Dental crowns are a popular dental restoration solution that can help in protecting damaged and cracked teeth while restoring the tooth’s functionality. There are various reasons why you may need a dental crown, but some of the reasons might include:

  • A cavity is too large for a dental filling.
  • A cracked and damaged tooth is already weak and worn down.
  • You had a root canal and now need a dental crown to help protect the restored tooth.
  • You had an implant that now needs a crown in order to make it in the shape of a real tooth. 

How Does It Work? 

In placing dental crowns, it usually requires at least two dental visits to complete the treatment. When a dental crown is placed over a natural tooth, there are several steps involved:

  1. Your dentist needs to prepare the tooth by removing the damaged portion so that a dental cap can fit.
  2. The dentist takes an impression of the tooth so the cap can be made to fit atop the tooth.
  3. A temporary cap is placed.
  4. When the new crown is ready, your dentist installs it on top of the tooth while making any necessary adjustments.

Dental crowns are durable and can last for 5 to 15 years, which makes it an excellent option because it is cost-efficient. To help maintain the crown, it is best to see your dentist regularly for checkups and maintenance. Of course, this will also benefit your oral health and your overall health in the process.

Expert Dentist in Merced 

If you are looking for an experienced dentist who truly cares about people, choose El Portal Dental Group right here in Merced, California. Our dental team can provide state-of-the-art dental care for you and your whole family. We offer general dentistry, implant dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry services to both adults and children.

To schedule an appointment, call us today at (209) 385-1479 or fill out our online appointment request form now. We look forward to partnering with you for excellent oral health and an amazing smile!


What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?
What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?

Accidents happen. You can take precautions to avoid some, but not all of them. Sometimes accidents affect the teeth and gums, and sometimes sudden pain develops in the mouth due to an infection. Any of these events are considered a dental emergency.

There are measures you can take to prevent some dental problems from happening; they are not always inevitable. Some of them you can deal with at home, some you cannot. The question is: Which is which?

Types of Dental Emergencies 

A dental emergency is a situation concerning your teeth and mouth that requires quick dental treatment. This treatment may be necessary in order to avoid a permanent loss of a tooth, to ease pain, or to treat an oral infection. If an oral infection is ignored, dental emergencies can lead to life-threatening conditions such as heart disease. 

Note: If bleeding is excessive and is not stopping, or if there is oral trauma, go to an emergency room. The emergency personnel will provide immediate treatment and will notify your dentist.

The following conditions require a prompt visit to the dentist’s office:

Fractured Tooth

A fractured tooth is a typical dental emergency, especially in athletes. When it happens, follow these steps:

  • Save any pieces of the tooth that you can salvage, and keep them in milk to help maintain their integrity.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Apply a cold compress on the outside of the mouth near the fractured tooth to keep the swelling down.
  • Seek immediate care from a dentist.

Luxated Tooth (Loose Tooth) 

A luxated tooth occurs when the tooth is loose but not completely knocked out. It can be pushed forward, backward, or sideways. However, you should not move it to avoid completely pulling it out. If your tooth is loose, contact your dentist for treatment as soon as possible.

Avulsed Tooth (Tooth Knocked Out) 

This injury happens when the tooth is completely knocked out of the mouth. If this happens:

  • Do not touch the root of the tooth.
  • Only hold the tooth by its crown, which is the exposed part in the mouth.
  • If the tooth has any dirt or debris, gently rinse it with warm water.
  • Put the tooth into a small container of milk. If you don’t have milk, put it in warm water with a pinch of table salt.
  • Call your dentist’s office and tell their emergency contact what has happened. 

Your tooth has a higher chance of being saved, and successfully re-placed back into your mouth, if you see a dentist within an hour after it is knocked out.

Mouth Bleeding 

Bleeding in your mouth can be due to injuries to the soft tissues: cheeks, gums, tongue, and lips. Here are the first-aid steps to do if your mouth is bleeding: 

  • Immediately rinse your mouth with a mild saltwater solution.
  • Using moist gauze or a tea bag, apply gentle pressure to the bleeding area.
  • Using your other hand, apply a cold compress on your cheek near the affected area to control the bleeding and relieve pain.
  • If the bleeding does not subside within a few minutes, seek immediate medical care.
  • Continue applying pressure on the bleeding area until you are seen and treated by your dentist or another medical professional.

Other dental emergencies that require quick dental care (within 24 hours) are a lost filling, lost crown, broken braces wires, and loose brackets. Should something lodge between your teeth, try to remove it with dental floss, not a pin or another sharp object; if you cannot remove it safely, seek dental care right away.

Dental Emergency Care In Merced, California

Our caring and experienced dentists at El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California, are trained to perform treatments on all types of dental emergencies. Contact us right now if you have an urgent dental issue.


Different Types of Teeth Covering
Different Types of Teeth Covering

A lot of people are uncomfortable with the way their smiles look, and it can be a huge confidence killer. Genetics, poor dental care habits, living an unhealthy lifestyle, and other factors impact the way your teeth look. If you have discolored, chipped, or damaged teeth that make you feel embarrassed, it’s time to find a solution.

One of the most popular dental procedures for dental imperfections is the application of veneers. Using veneers, dentists can restore your smile to look healthy and beautiful. 

What Are Veneers?

Dental veneers are thin shells made to cover the front surface of damaged, discolored, or chipped teeth. They are customized to match your natural teeth in color, size, shape, and length. Veneers allow you to enjoy beautiful and healthy looking smiles without the need of full tooth replacements, dentures, or implants. Veneers are made to look as similar to your natural teeth as possible. The goal is to make all your teeth look uniform so that your smile appears natural as well as aesthetically pleasing.

There are different types of veneers, but the two most widely used ones are made of composite or porcelain materials. The type of teeth covering or veneer your dentist will recommend will depend on your unique situation, preference, and budget.

Composite Veneers

Veneers are custom-made to address your unique cosmetic needs. One of the benefits of composite veneers is that they are polished to look very similar to natural teeth. Once installed, it will be difficult to tell them apart from your teeth, giving you a natural and beautiful smile. Composite veneers are also cheaper and can last you many years. However, composite veneers are more prone to chipping and staining, which means they require more care and attention. Fortunately, composite veneers are bonded which makes them easier to replace after wear and tear.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are also known as traditional veneers and have been improving smiles since the 1930s. Porcelain veneers are thin ceramic shells that are bonded with your teeth. They can last more than a decade with proper care. Porcelain veneers require a couple of appointments, however, because the dentist needs to get an impression of your teeth and order the porcelain veneers to be custom made. Porcelain veneers are tougher than composite veneers and are more resistant to staining and chips.

Veneers in Merced, California

At El Portal Dental Group, we offer the latest in cosmetic dental treatments, including veneers. Our other specialties include general dentistry, dental implants, and orthodontics. What sets us apart from other dental clinics is the personalized treatment we give each of our patients. We are a family clinic and look forward to serving your entire family’s dental care needs.

When walking out of our hygienic, relaxing, and comfortable dental clinic, you will leave with a bright, beautiful, and healthy smile. 

To make an appointment with one of the experienced and caring dentists at El Portal Dental Group, please call (209) 385-1479 or request an appointment now. Our friendly staff looks forward to serving you!


Fun Facts About Saliva
Fun Facts About Saliva

When we talk about spit or drool, gross things come to mind. However, the saliva in our mouths is a healthy bodily fluid which promotes good oral health – and, therefore, good overall health as well. 

Here are some fun facts about saliva that you may not have known before:

Saliva Promotes Natural Oral Hygiene

Saliva is key to oral health and hygiene because of its antibacterial and lubricating properties. It serves as the first line of defense against tooth decay, washing away remnants of food and cavity-causing bacteria. 

It also helps balance the acid levels in the mouth. Some dentists promote gum-chewing because it stimulates the flow of saliva and keeps your teeth and mouth healthy.

Saliva and Food Go Together 

Without saliva, people would not enjoy the delicious food they eat. It acts as a solvent, bringing out the flavor of food to the taste receptors. Saliva also keeps these taste receptors healthy by preventing them from drying out and protecting them from bacteria.

Saliva Is Mostly Water 

Saliva is made up of about 99% water. The rest is composed of electrolytes, digestive enzymes, mucus, and other beneficial properties.

We Require a Lot of Saliva Every Day 

An average person’s saliva production is the equivalent of up to six cups each day, and this statistic excludes stimulated activities such as eating. One person can therefore produce enough saliva to fill two bathtubs every year!

Only Babies Use Bibs

Babies do not yet know how to control the muscles in their mouths, so saliva comes in a continuous flow. Only at around the age of two do they learn how to manage these mouth muscles fully.

Salivary Glands Have a Circadian Rhythm

The body usually produces the most saliva in the late afternoon. Saliva production is an unconscious process controlled by the autonomic nervous system.

Saliva Can Identify Conditions in the Body

Testing saliva can be used to identify a person’s susceptibility to certain diseases, such as heart failure, cancer, and diabetes. It can also indicate cavities and periodontal disease. Researchers are continually studying the various ways in which saliva can be used to test a person for various conditions rather than a blood test, which is invasive.

Saliva Exchanges Bacteria

This next tidbit might give you second thoughts about kissing anybody. While saliva can help protect your mouth from bacteria, it can also transfer millions of bacteria when kissing.

Saliva Tells Secrets 

Saliva production decreases when we feel stressed or nervous. Indeed, when people suddenly feel nervous, their mouth gets dry. This also happens when people feel guilty.

Trusted Dentist in Merced, California 

Saliva plays a vital role in our everyday functions. If our body’s ability to produce saliva fails, there would be major consequences to our health.

To keep your oral hygiene in check, book an appointment with El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California. Our dentists and dental professionals are here to help you maintain optimum oral health.

Call us today at (209) 385-1479, or request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you here and helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile for a lifetime.


Coconut Oil Pulling
Coconut Oil Pulling

The National Institutes of Health defines oil pulling or oil swishing as “a traditional procedure in which the practitioners rinse or swish oil in their mouths.” Some people also refer to oil pulling as gargling. While this practice may sound a little strange, it can definitely improve your oral health. The practice can be traced back to homeopathic and traditional medicine in the sub-continent of India. 

One of the best oils to use for oil pulling is coconut oil. Coconut oil has a lot of health benefits including: medicinal properties, ability to kill microorganisms and bacteria, and anti-inflammatory qualities. 

Benefits of Coconut Oil Pulling

To understand why coconut oil pulling is a beneficial technique that you should add to your oral care routine, let’s take a look at the different benefits it offers: 

  • Killing Bacteria – Studies have shown that oil pulling can significantly reduce the number of bacteria that live in your mouth. While oil pulling cannot replace the benefits of brushing or flossing your teeth, it is a great complementary treatment that will make your oral care regimen stronger and healthier.
  • Preventing Cavities – Because oil pulling reduces the number of bacteria that live in your mouth, it reduces the chances of cavities, as a result. The less bacteria in your mouth, the less chance of cavities and tooth decay development. This method will help keep your teeth healthy and beautiful.
  • Reducing Bad Breath – Oil pulling can also help control bad breath. This is because of its ability to reduce the number of microorganisms that are responsible for bad breath. These microorganisms generally coat the teeth, gums, and surfaces of the mouth and can be difficult to control. Oil pulling can help bolster your oral care routine so you can enjoy fresh breath.
  • Reducing Inflammation in Gums – Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help calm down inflamed and red gums. Additionally, because of its ability to eliminate bacteria, it helps reduce plaque buildup which is the culprit that causes gum disease.
  • Affordable, Easily Accessible, and Easy to Use – Coconut oil is very affordable and is available in almost every supermarket. Additionally, it does not require any special instructions, can be transported easily, and is very easy to use.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits coconut oil pulling has to offer, talk to a dentist. Before beginning any new oral health care technique, always discuss with your dentist if it’s the right option for you. Additionally, oil pulling does not replace the benefits of regularly brushing your teeth, using floss, and dental checkups. Make sure to continue to do these crucial activities to ensure you have a healthy and beautiful smile for years to come.

If you are looking for a high-quality and patient-focused dentist for your dental needs, consider the experts at El Portal Dental Group.  We would be happy to discuss techniques to help your oral health, including coconut oil pulling. To make an appointment, call (209) 385-1479 or request an appointment online.


The Best Kind of Toothbrush
The Best Kind of Toothbrush

Every day your mouth is at war, fighting off harmful bacteria and dangerous invaders like plaque. Believe it or not, your best line of defense in this war against decay is your toothbrush. Weaponized with a fluoridated toothpaste, your toothbrush can ensure victory every time you visit your dentist. But what’s the best kind of toothbrush? Next time you arm yourself with a plaque-busting toothbrush, be sure it meets these criteria.  

Softer is better

The harder the bristle the better the brush, right? That may be true if you are scrubbing your charcoal grill but the opposite is true when it comes to toothbrushes. In fact, dentists recommend extra soft bristles to gently slough away plaque and other foreign objects stuck in the nooks and crannies of your teeth. Soft brushes will not wear the enamel on your teeth, nor will they harm gums; on the contrary, a soft brush actually massages the gums to both clean and strengthen them. A soft brush also feels pleasant when brushing the tongue.

Choose a small head

Even as an adult, opt for a smaller, more compact head on your toothbrush – they are easy to maneuver into hard-to-reach places of your mouth where plaque can build up quickly. They also allow for better navigation in the mouth.

Find your fit

Brushing your teeth should be a pleasant experience; that said be sure to choose a toothbrush that feels good in your hand and fits nicely in your mouth. The angle of the brush should work for you and it should not leave your inner cheeks or gums feeling scraped up or compromised.

Electronic toothbrushes

If you do not feel disposable toothbrushes are doing their job, it may be time to consider an electric or battery-powered toothbrush. Some have settings to help brushing along; others may be combined with a hydroflossers for an enhanced and total brushing experience.

Make your own

Brushing your teeth should not feel like a chore. Get the toothbrush that you actually will enjoy using. Choose your favorite color; encourage your child to select his favorite super hero or cartoon character. Experiment to find the one that works best for you and your family. Whatever you choose, you should look forward to brushing every day.

El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California

In the war on dental disease, it’s good to have an ally.  In Merced, California, look no further than El Portal Dental Group, where our expert staff of dentists and hygienists look forward to working with you to achieve life-long dental health for you and your family. Call us today at (209) 385-1479 or schedule an appointment online now. We look forward to working with you!

 

 


8 Causes of Sensitive Teeth
8 Causes of Sensitive Teeth

After a long, hard workout you decide to take a sip of cold water from your jug. But suddenly you feel a sharp flash of pain in your teeth. You start to wonder if there is anything wrong with you. Do not fret; chances are you experiencing tooth sensitivity. 

So, what is responsible for the pain associated with sensitive teeth? The enamel surface of healthy teeth protects the layer of dentin underneath it. Pain arises when the enamel is worn down, allowing the dentin and microscopic canals that run through the dentin to become exposed. Tooth enamel may become worn away for a number of reasons. Here is a list of things you may be doing that has led to enamel wear and contributed to tooth sensitivity:

Aggressive brushing

Brushing your teeth is necessary. However, brushing your teeth too vigorously tooth sensitivity can cause tooth sensitivity. When you brush, the protective coating on your teeth wears down over time, exposing the microscopic canals that lead to your nerves. Paying attention to how hard you are brushing is important, as is using a toothbrush with soft rather than firm bristles.

Acidic foods

Acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus could also wear down your enamel and expose the dentin underneath it. In addition to this, eating this type of food when the microscopic canals are exposed can cause extreme pain or discomfort. Simply avoiding acidic foods may provide some relief if you have sensitive teeth.

Teeth grinding

Some people who grind their teeth at night unconsciously also put their teeth at high risk of enamel erosion. To combat this, your dentist can prescribe you a custom-fitted mouth guard that prevents you from grinding your teeth while asleep.

Excessive plaque

After you eat, plaque can form and build up on your teeth. An excess of this can be harmful to your tooth’s enamel. Maintaining good oral hygiene such as flossing and brushing after eating can help to remove plaque before it can build up. You should also visit a dentist to have your teeth cleaned every six months or so.

Gum disease

Gums surround each and every one of your teeth. If your gums are damaged, they begin to recede, exposing more and more of your teeth – which can result in tooth sensitivity. Consult your dentist about the state of your gums and what you can do to improve your gum health and minimize your tooth sensitivity.

Cracked teeth

Your teeth may crack when you bite into hard foods. When this occurs, the nerves of your teeth become exposed and cause discomfort. Bacteria can also take up residence in the cracks, cause cavities and more pain.

Mouthwash overuse

Tooth sensitivity can also arise from the harsh chemicals present in some over-the-counter mouthwashes. By limiting how often you rinse your mouth with mouthwash (to once a day) can help reduce sensitivity – as can switching to a mouthwash your dentist recommends.

Tooth decay

Decay increases your risk of tooth sensitivity. Cavities can expose the dentin and nerves of your teeth, causing pain.

Feeling Good About Your Teeth 

Sensitivity to hot or cold beverages will be a thing of the past when you treat your sensitive teeth. Here at El Portal Dental Group, our dental specialists can help you achieve goal this in no time. So, what are you waiting for? Call (209) 385-1479 now or fill out our appointment request form to start feeling good about your teeth.


Five Foods that Rot Teeth
Five Foods that Rot Teeth

When it comes to preventing decay, the foods you eat play as much a role as do brushing and flossing. There are certain foods that are great for your teeth – foods like celery and apples that are loaded with natural abrasives and juices that gently slough away plaque and residue – and then there are foods that serve as catalysts for decay. For those wanting to have the perfect, healthy smile, you might want to reconsider eating certain foods. Here are five foods that are known to rot your teeth, and how even the best brushers should think twice before indulging in any foods that can do more harm than good.

Chewy/Sticky Candies and Sweets

Sweets like caramels, toffees, gummy bears have lots of sugar that serve as food for acid-producing bacteria in the mouth. Not only that, some candies are sticky enough to cling or get stuck between teeth, allowing plaque to build up. It is always a good practice to rinse first, then brush and floss your teeth after eating sweets.

Dried fruits/Canned fruits

Dried fruits like raisins, apricots, prunes, and dates have no liquid content; that means that the sugars that remain after the fruit is dried are concentrated. Even though dried fruits are full of fiber and quite filling, this excessive amount of sugar can cause plaque and decay. On the other hand, fruits that are canned in heavy syrup contain sugars and sweeteners that feed the bacteria-producing acid that can erode the enamel. Fresh fruits are still your best option for a cavity-free mouth.

Bread, Crackers, Chips, Pasta

Starchy foods like breads and pastas convert into simple sugars in the body. Aside from being sugar producers, these foods easily attach and linger for a longer time in the mouth for non-stop acid production. Plus, many breads and pastas are made from refined flour, meaning their nutritional value is minimal. If you want to incorporate breads and pasta in your diet, opt for a whole grain or vegetable-based noodle alternative.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes supply the body with much-needed Vitamin C and other nutrients that help fight infection, but the notable amount of acids they contain may harm your teeth. Best to rinse with water after eating them, then brush as normal.

Sweetened Drinks

Energy drinks, fruit juices, frappes and carbonated soft drinks are loaded with sugars and syrups that can harm your teeth. Even sugar-free diet sodas and non-carbonated sports drinks that may seem like healthy options are still acidic and sweet. Minimize or reduce the effects by rinsing with water right after consuming sweet drinks; better yet, opt for water or seltzer water with a splash of cucumber or mint for a refreshing, healthy treat for your bones and teeth.

Achieving Your Best Smile in Merced

Dental plaque is a clear, sticky films that coats your teeth and traps food debris. When acid-producing bacteria act on these films, the result can be damaging to your teeth. The good news is that maintaining a healthy mouth can be as easy as eating the right foods, brushing and flossing, and seeing a dentist who cares about you and your family. In Merced, that dentist is El Portal Dental Group, where our expert team of dentists and hygienists make it their mission to keep a healthy smile on your face. If it’s been a while since you’ve visited the dentist, why not make it a healthy habit and call El Portal Dental Group today at (209) 385-1479 or fill out our online appointment request form.


How to Take Care of Your Gums
How to Take Care of Your Gums

When it comes to keeping your mouth healthy, it’s not only about how straight or white or cavity-free your teeth are. Your gums are equally important!

Even if you have a perfect set of teeth, this doesn’t mean you’re immune to gum disease. Most people with gum disease don’t realize that anything is wrong with their gums, since it’s usually painless and not very obvious.

How Does Gum Disease Develop?

Gum disease starts when plaque (the sticky stuff that forms when bacteria collects on the surface of the teeth) builds up under and along the gum line. The bacteria in the plaque can cause infections that hurt the gum and bone, and it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

The plaque can also harden into tartar if left untreated. Unlike plaque, which is sticky, tartar is rough and porous and can lead to receding gums and gum disease.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

The initial symptoms of gum disease are usually red and swollen gums which are prone to bleeding after brushing or flossing. This stage of gum disease is called gingivitis.

If gingivitis is left untreated, the other tissues and bone that support the teeth can also become affected. This is known as periodontitis – and symptoms include an unpleasant taste in your mouth, bad breath, loose teeth, and gums that are tender, red, or swollen.

Practicing Good Oral Hygiene

The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene every day. This involves the following:

Brush

Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day – especially last thing at night before you go to bed. Brushing helps to remove the plaque trapped between your teeth and gums.

Use Fluoride Toothpaste

There are lots of different toothpastes on the market today, but using a toothpaste that contains the right amount of fluoride is what is important. Fluoride is a natural mineral that effectively protects against tooth decay and gum disease.

Rinse

Using mouthwash can help reduce plaque and remove food particles and debris from your mouth, including from your gums. Just keep in mind that it is to be in addition to, not instead of, brushing and flossing.

Floss

Floss your teeth at least once a day. This helps to remove the plaque and any food debris that your toothbrush can’t reach.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is strongly associated with the onset of gum disease. Studies have shown that smokers have more tartar buildup than nonsmokers, which may be the result of a decreased flow of saliva.

Smokers also tend to have more severe bone loss and are much more likely to suffer gum destruction than nonsmokers. Not only does smoking increase the chance that you will develop gum disease, but it makes treatment much more difficult because smoking weakens your immune system – making it more difficult for damaged gums to heal.

Get Regular Dental Checkups and Cleanings

Regularly visiting your dentist ensures that any early symptoms of gum disease are detected. That way, they can be treated before they get more serious.

A professional cleaning helps to remove any plaque you have missed when brushing or flossing, and it is the only way to remove tartar effectively. If you have gingivitis, regular dental cleanings can help reverse it.

Family Dentist in Merced, CA

Whether you have symptoms of gum disease, have concerns about your teeth or gums, or are just looking for an excellent dentist, our friendly staff at El Portal Dental Group welcomes your call and looks forward to serving you.

We offer general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and orthodontic dentistry services of all kinds. If you would like to schedule an appointment or consultation, please call our office today at (209) 385-1479 or fill out our appointment request form. Let us help you enjoy excellent oral health for a lifetime.