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


The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health
The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

Want to know if you’re at risk for heart disease? Check out your oral hygiene.

Research shows that people with periodontal disease (serious gum infection) are almost twice as likely to have heart disease – and their risk could be greater than those with high cholesterol.

What’s the connection? In a word, bacteria.

In periodontal disease, the bacteria festering in infected gum tissue around your teeth break down the barrier between your gums and the underlying connective tissue, causing inflammation or swelling.  When you chew your food or brush your teeth, bacteria can enter your bloodstream, where it moves to other parts of your circulatory system. Ultimately, they attach to fatty deposits in the heart’s blood vessels, leading to the formation of arterial plaque and the onset of atherosclerosis. These deposits can narrow your arteries or break loose and clog them entirely, causing blood clots that can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Clearly, there is a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. To help protect your gums – and potentially your heart – look out for these warning signs of periodontal disease:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums or other painful conditions in your mouth.
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, or when you eat hard or tough food.
  • Gums that are receding from your teeth, causing them to look longer than before.
  • Loose or separating teeth.
  • Pus deposits between your gums and teeth.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Persistent bad breath.
  • A change in the way your teeth meet when you bite down.
  • A change in the fit of your partial dentures.

Getting to the heart of the matter

It’s easy to ignore these indicators of periodontal disease, which is why it’s important to maintain your oral health – especially if you already have or have a family history of heart disease. Here’s what doctors and dentists recommend:

·       Brush and floss your teeth daily and consider rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash to rid your mouth of bacteria.

·       If you have an existing heart problem, make sure your dentist is aware of it.

·       Conscientiously follow your doctor’s and dentist’s instructions, and use prescribed medications, such as antibiotics, as directed.

·       Keep clear of sugary or acidic foods that encourage bacteria to thrive.

Most importantly, maintain regular check-ups with your dentist.  Depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, your dentist will decide the best way to treat your condition. It may merely require a professional cleaning. However, if your condition is more serious and has already progressed to periodontitis, more aggressive treatment may be required. The most effective will probably involve scaling and planning, a procedure that cleans between the teeth and gums to remove the infection. Your dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic to help eliminate the infection.

If you suspect you may or a loved one may have gum disease – even if you are a conscientious brusher and flosser – don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for an assessment as promptly as possible. Both your oral health and heart health may be at stake.

If you live in the greater Merced area, contact El Portal Dental Group 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.

 


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.


Is Dental Insurance Worth the Cost?
Is Dental Insurance Worth the Cost?

It can be difficult to remember just how important it is to take good care of your teeth. You constantly use them every day, for both eating and talking, so it’s important to prepare for the worst should something happen to them. Dental insurance is a great plan to have in place, and the premiums are often affordable enough. When compared to the high costs of dental procedures, the logic that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings true.

With open enrollment beginning next Tuesday, November 1st, it’s time to take a look at your current plan and weigh the benefits of having dental insurance. Typically, dental insurance is worth the cost when it comes to larger surgical procedures such as crowns, bridges, inlays, dentures, or root canals.

Just like with medical or vision insurance, you buy dental insurance to prepare for accidents or illnesses that might have become financially detrimental if you hadn’t prepared in advance.

Approximately 64% of Americans have dental insurance, and nearly all of them are provided through workplaces or group plans. Going through your workplace or a group plan is a great way to keep the cost of insurance down, whether medical, vision, or dental.

If you have a set of strong, healthy teeth, maybe you only ever see Dr. Nguyen, Dr. Regalado, or Dr. Hunt once annually for a checkup and cleaning. In that case, you may not need to worry about preparing for the worst. However, some teeth are more prone to disease and other issues. In these cases, it is better to have more frequent checkups so your dentist is likely to catch issues in their early stages. By having dental insurance, you'll be prepared for costly procedures by having insurance. 

Typically, the most advertised feature of a dental insurance plan is its focus on providing free preventative and diagnostic care. Most often, it provides recipients with one or two free annual exams and cleanings and will also cover the cost of X-rays.

Aside from these free benefits, your insurance will usually cover 70 to 80% of the cost of basic procedures, such as fillings, extractions, office visits, and periodontal treatments. Major procedures, such as dentures or implants, are usually covered up to 50%. Similar to medical insurance, however, your dental insurance will not cover cosmetic procedures or surgeries.

Basically, you will most likely save money having insurance as long as you remember to take advantage of the savings offered. So don’t forget to schedule your two annual cleanings with our amazing team of dentists and hygienists!

Open enrollment is just a few days away. Now is the time to review your current plan if you have one and choose a new dental insurance plan before January 31st. 

Remember, your dental benefits do not roll over, so if you haven’t yet taken advantage of your plan’s preventative care, make sure you schedule your next cleaning as soon as possible. Request an appointment online, or call (209) 385-1479 to schedule today. 


Back-To-School

Back-To-School:  Get the School Year off to a Healthy Start

Starting the new school year can be a time of great excitement.  To help your child get a healthy start, make a back-to-school health care checklist.  Aside from school supplies, this health care checklist should include:

  1. Schedule medical exams and vaccines.

  2. Schedule an eye exam.

  3. Schedule a dental cleaning.  If there is any treatments (such as fillings) needed to be done, make sure you get them DONE before your child goes back to school.

     

    Make a habit to schedule appointment early.  Don’t wait until the last minute.  This way you can be sure to get an appointment that is convenient for you.  Most medical or dental offices are very busy right before school starts.

     

    At El Portal Dental Group, we are excepting New Patients.  If you have any questions about your dental health, visit us at 3393 G Street, Ste B, Merced or call us at 209-385-1479.