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


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.


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.

 


The Health Benefits of Implants Versus Dentures
The Health Benefits of Implants Versus Dentures

The Benefits of Implants Versus Dentures

Trying to decide whether to go with dentures or implants can be a daunting task, and many times the decision comes down to both time and money. However, the often overlooked but perhaps most important factor on deciding between implants or dentures is health.  You see, when a tooth has been removed or lost, there is a gap between the remaining teeth.

If left untreated, missing teeth can lead to tooth shifting, gum deterioration and can even alter the shape of the face, over time. As the natural teeth shift in position, a person will likely develop bite alignment problems or noticeable gaps. What dental implants do for the health of the mouth:

·        Dental implants act as natural teeth – Dental implants actually take the place of missing teeth and function the same way. Since they are placed in the gap the natural tooth was in, this makes them more stable and the look is more natural as it feels, fits, and functions as if it were the tooth it was replacing.

·         Implants retain your natural smile and overall face shape – Missing teeth can be the start of the face changing shape. Teeth actually keep the shape of the jaw, when missing, the face can start to sag and appear sunken.

·         Healthy bone – Empty spaces in the mouth can also lead to other health issues such as bone loss and deterioration of the jaw. The jawbone can lose its strength and firmness if left untreated.

·         Protect your healthy teeth – Not only can bone deteriorate if the gap in teeth are left empty, but the gums deteriorate as well. This can have an adverse reaction on the health of the remaining teeth. Teeth simply cannot stay healthy if the gums are bad.

·         Strengthens the jaw bone – Over time, the jaw bone will eventually build up around the implant, making it stronger and reinforcing the area that was once weak.

·         Dental implants do not have the side effect that plague denture wearers – increased saliva and mild irritation or soreness.

The good news is that with advanced dental implant technology, more and more patients have the option of choosing dental implants over dentures. Now, more than ever, dental implants are more affordable. While not everyone is a candidate for dental implants, it is worth talking to your dentist about your options.

At El Portal Dental Group, we are experts in all areas of dentistry – including dental implants. If you, or a loved one is in need of exceptional dental care, or to learn if dental implants are for you, please call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today, or schedule an appointment online

 

 


Great American Smokeout Day is Coming – Are You Ready to Quit Smoking?
Great American Smokeout Day is Coming – Are You Ready to Quit Smoking?

November 17, 2016 - this is THE DAY. It will be a big day for smokers across the nation this year, as it is designated as the date that hundreds of smokers will make the decision to quit. Will you be one of them? The American Cancer Society has deemed it National Smokeout Day, a day for your community to come together and support one another in making the difficult decision to stop harming their bodies with tobacco once and for all.

El Portal Dental Group respects those who are strong enough to commit to the cause, because they show respect for their bodies and overall health by doing so. The moment that you stop smoking, it’s only a matter of time before your overall health improves, including your mouth, teeth, and gums.

Smoking tobacco, no matter the delivery system (cigarette, cigar, hookah, or chewing tobacco), puts you at high risk of developing gum (periodontal) disease, the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.  When plaque, a sticky film created by a mixture of naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth as well as sugary or starchy foods, hardens onto the teeth it becomes what is known as tartar. 

Tartar bonds bad bacteria to your teeth, making it very difficult to get rid of plaque. While bacteria are held fast to your teeth, they burrow down into your gums, slowly digging and effectively loosening the tooth from the gums. This ultimately results in decay and many other dental health issues.

When you smoke, you allow less oxygen into the bloodstream, which unfortunately means that your body cannot repair or protect itself from oral health concerns as effectively as it normally could. Yet just 1 to 3 months after quitting tobacco, your body’s circulation improves significantly.

Dangers of Oral Cancer From Tobacco

Oral cancer can affect your lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat. Your risk for oral cancer increases significantly with regular use of tobacco, and it takes 5 years after quitting for that risk to lessen even just halfway.

Some of the early telling signs of oral cancer include: 

  • A red or white patch or irritation on the gums, the tongue, or the lining of the mouth
  • Unusual bleeding in the mouth
  • Swelling of the jaw

Oral cancer kills thousands every year and can only be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. The earlier it is caught, the better your chances are of recovery. However, it can be very difficult to catch in its early stages if you do not regularly visit your dentist, because early oral cancer isn’t always painful and therefore may not be noticed.

When you make the decision to smoke, you must also be prepared to take extra precautions to ensure relative healthiness. It’s important to see your dentist on a regular basis – at least twice every year – so that we can perform a thorough inspection of your mouth to keep an eye out for any early signs of diseases or cancer. Smoking can also cause undesirable cosmetic issues, like bad breath and yellow or brown stained teeth.

For a thorough cleaning and comprehensive oral cancer exam, call us today at (209) 385-1479 or request an appointment online. Our Merced dental experts can help further educate you about the dangers of smoking and support you in your quitting journey.

Do you plan on quitting on National Smokeout Day? Do you need support? Let us know and we’ll be happy to help guide you to the proper resources you need to quit smoking successfully.


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! 


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.