Loading
Testimonials Survey Blog Patient Forms
Dropdown button
Welcome to our blog

El Portal Dental Blog

rss

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


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.


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.


Top 5 Dental Myths Debunked
Top 5 Dental Myths Debunked

When it comes to maintaining good oral health and a gleaming smile, having the right information is important. Surprisingly, though, certain myths about dental hygiene still persist that could lead to unnecessary problems with your teeth if they are believed and followed.

Here are five common dental myths that should be put to rest:

Myth #1: Brushing and flossing twice a day isn’t as important as dentists have you believe.

In our busy modern world, it’s easy to become lax about dental hygiene. Nevertheless, there is a very good reason why brushing and flossing at least twice a day makes sense. 

Most people have three meals a day, not including snacks here and there. Every time we eat, small food particles get left behind in our gums and between our teeth. Those food particles breed bacteria and, if not removed, eventually become plaque and then tartar.  However, if you brush in the morning and again at night, it helps reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and keeps your tooth surfaces smooth so that bacteria can’t cling as easily. 

However, brushing only covers two sides of your teeth. It hardly affects the spaces between your teeth. That’s why flossing is also important. It removes food particles trapped between your teeth and should be done each time you brush. If flossing daily is a chore, however, at least floss every other day to keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

Myth #2: Brushing your teeth more than once a day can erode tooth enamel.

It’s not the frequency of brushing that can wear down tooth enamel; it’s mostly other factors such as the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth, acid reflux, grinding teeth, and nail-biting. However, a hard-bristled toothbrush can also affect the wear and tear of your tooth enamel. That’s why most dentists recommend that you use a soft toothbrush to avoid damage to your teeth and gums.

Also, it’s a matter of brushing your teeth properly. It should only take about two minutes. Brush gently, in short strokes at a 45-degree angle from the gum line, and use up-and-down strokes brushing the back of your teeth. Hold your toothbrush with your fingertips as opposed to in the palm of your hand to avoid brushing too hard. Rule of thumb, you’re brushing too hard if the bristles bend.

Myth #3: If you eat sugary foods, it’ll destroy your teeth.

Having a sweet tooth doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed to have tooth decay. There’s a simple way to have your cake – and candy and other sweets – and beat tooth decay, too.

What happens is that the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and other carbohydrates and produces an acid that deteriorates the enamel of your teeth. And the longer the sugar lingers in your mouth, the more likely the bacteria will feed off it and produce the acid.

So, the problem isn’t how much sugar you’re eating, but how long the sugar remains on your teeth. The obvious solution is to brush your teeth and rinse out your mouth right after eating, especially if you also sip sugary drinks.

Myth #4: Teeth whitening will ruin your enamel.

Teeth whitening gel (or bleach) does not damage tooth enamel. The hydrogen peroxide is soaked up by the inner tissue of your teeth (dentin), which becomes lighter, and the whiter color is reflected out through the enamel. The process can cause temporary tooth sensitivity, but no erosion of the enamel.

New advances in dental technology have made teeth whitening safer and more effective – for both cosmetic dental procedure and in-office and over-the-counter products.

Myth #5: Dental visits are painful.

This is a common excuse for avoiding dental visits, no doubt fostered by scenes of dentists drilling cavities and prodding sensitive teeth in movies and television shows. Some patients might even have had a bad experience at a dental office that makes them dread seeing any dentist. 

However, dentistry has evolved over the years to the point where a patient’s physical and emotional comfort has become a top priority. One option that eliminates the pain and fear is sedation dentistry. Conscious sedation is administered in the form of a pill that allows you to be awake throughout your dental appointment, yet relaxed throughout a procedure.

Getting the facts straight is an important part of proper dental care. Before skipping a routine visit or trying an unproven treatment, visit a trusted dental practice. 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 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.

 


The Unexpected Benefits of Dental Implants
The Unexpected Benefits of Dental Implants

One of the first things that your dentist or specialist will do when you walk into their office will be to conduct what is called, a comprehensive oral evaluation. This evaluation gives your dentist a complete picture of your oral health. Due to the unique connection between the mouth and the rest of your body, it also gives dental providers a glimpse of what is happening with your overall health.  Ideally, if you are a new patient, you should receive this evaluation. However, if you have been a patient in the office for years but you’ve not had any active treatment in three or more years, you are due for a comprehensive exam.

 

Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Years ago, diseased or injured teeth were usually pulled. But today, a tooth can often be saved by a variety of cosmetic, restorative, and general dental procedures. Each tooth has at least one nerve that runs through the tooth and connect to the gum. The nerve is the life source of the tooth. If the nerve becomes infected or exposed (due to decay or structural damage), it can be very painful.

 

To understand better, we need to learn the anatomy of a tooth. The crown is the part of the tooth that is normally visible in the mouth, located above the gum line. The root of a tooth is the part embedded in the jaw. It anchors the tooth in its bony socket and is normally not visible, and is located below the gum line.

 

It’s no secret that a healthy, radiant smile can improve your appearance, self-esteem, and relationships, both personal and professional. Therefore, if you have tooth decay or missing teeth, that can lower your confidence and self-esteem. You would give just about anything to have your teeth back, to restore your beautiful smile. This is where dental implants can help.

 

What is a dental implant?

 

Dental implants are an artificial titanium replica of your tooth’s root, which are screwed into an implant. In other words, dental implants are prosthetic roots that serve to function the same way a natural tooth root does. These implants are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line to support a dental crown, bridge, or even a full arch of teeth. Dental implants are secure and are not removable, like dentures. If you have healthy gums and bone, you might be a candidate for dental implants. A dental implant has three parts, the implant, which is a screw that acts as a tooth root, and permanently attaches to the jaw, the abutment, which is a permanent connector that supports your set of teeth, and lastly, the crown, which are the prosthetic teeth that is on the dental implant.

 

As technology and dental procedures keep evolving, today, dentists offer people many different treatment options to rebuild and restore the health and beauty of your smile. In other words, thanks to advanced technology, today's dental implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth, where before they maybe didn’t look as natural and aesthetically pleasing. Patients have said, that today’s version of dental implants are comfortable and natural-looking, people won’t even notice that you have had any dental work done.

 

Depending on your situation, Dr. Nguyen of El Portal Dental Group can use implant dentistry to do the following:

 

·         Replace one or more teeth without affecting the other teeth

·         Support a bridge and eliminate the need for dentures

·         Provide support for dentures, making it more secure and comfortable

·         Restore function and balance to your bite

·         Give you a naturally beautiful smile

 

However, besides these general uses of dental implants, there are unexpected benefits of these implants that people may want to know about. These include:

 

1.      Dental implants are the next best thing, besides your normal teeth: Dental implants today are strong and stable, restoring missing and decayed teeth, but in a natural way, so it feels, functions, and fits like your normal teeth. Other possible options such as dentures or bridges can lead the bone to deteriorate, and may interfere with everyday actions such as eating, smiling, and speaking. Dental implants have long-term successful outcomes, and give people a natural and beautiful smile, helping them regain their confidence again.

 

2.      Dental Implants protect your jawbone and your other healthy natural teeth: Losing one or more teeth can lead to large gaps and spaces in your mouth that don’t look aesthetically pleasing, and can cause additional oral health issues such as gum disease, infection, and the loss and deterioration of some of your jawbone. When it is not being used to support your natural teeth, the bone in your jaw starts to deteriorate, causing it to lose strength and firmness. As a restorative dental procedure, dental implants are one of the only options that help preserve and stimulate natural bone growth, and protect your mouth from bone loss, avoiding jaw pain, and other major complications.

 

3.      Dental implants keep your teeth in place, so you don’t have to worry about your teeth: Dental implants unlike dentures are fixed to your jawbone, making it comfortable and easy for you to carry on with daily occurrences, such as eating, talking, and avoiding jaw clicking due to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction. A face without teeth can make your face look unappealing, sad, and different. Dental implants help retain your face’s natural shape, or restore your appearance, and your face’s natural shape, along with restoring your smile, which is the ultimate goal.

 

 

4.      No cavities with dental implants: Dental implants unlike your natural teeth, are not prone to cavities. However, to protect your oral hygiene, it is imperative that you still brush and floss regularly, and get dental cleanings when need be.

 

To find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, call our implant dentistry office in Merced, California at (209) 385-1479 or use our online form to request an appointment with Dr. Khang Nguyen.

 

 

 


5 Tips for the Best Oral Health You've Ever Had in 2017
5 Tips for the Best Oral Health You've Ever Had in 2017

With 2017 quickly approaching, you may be writing a list of New Year’s resolutions. Starting on a healthier path always seems to top the list. While diet and exercise are great ways to improve your health, why not make a resolution to improve your oral health as well?

Here are 5 tips for having the best oral health in 2017.

1. Monitor fluoride use. It is important to use enough – but not too much – fluoride. It’s biggest role in protecting your teeth is to strengthen enamel, making your teeth less likely to decay. A large majority of American drinking water is fluoridated. However, if your water does not contain fluoride, talk to your dentist about prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste and rinses or special fluoride applications.

2. Chew gum if you can’t brush. While it is best to brush your teeth after every meal, sometimes it just isn’t convenient to do so. In these instances, chewing sugar-free gum can help increase the amount of saliva in your mouth, which helps to neutralize acid and wash away harmful tooth decay-causing bacteria.

3. Change your tooth brush every 3 months and after illnesses. After just a few months of use, the bristles can become worn and dull, leaving your toothbrush unable to effectively clean your teeth the way it did when you first started using it. Additionally, studies show that toothbrushes can contain up to 10 million bacteria at any given time, and even more when you are sick. Remember to replace your toothbrush regularly, especially after each bout of illness to prevent reinfection.  

4. Clean your tongue. Due to the rough surface of your tongue, bacteria thrives and abounds on it.  Using a professional tongue cleaner helps rid the tongue of bacteria, which in turn leads to fresher breath and a healthier mouth.

5. Make and keep your bi-annual dental cleanings. This one should really go without saying, but the importance of visiting your dentist regularly cannot be emphasized enough. In addition to the obvious benefits of a good dental cleaning, routine exams can also be good for your overall health. Early signs of oral cancer and diabetes can be detected during a routine dental exam. We’ll also check for any issues that may cause decay in the future: gingivitis, teeth grinding, and dry mouth.  Early detection and intervention can help save your teeth from these damaging effects.

Whether you haven’t been to the dentist in years, or just want more information on keeping your teeth and mouth healthy, El Portal Dental Group in Merced is available to help. Offering general, cosmetic, orthodontic, and emergency dentistry, we are dedicated to helping you to achieve a sense of well-being by enhancing your oral health and appearance. For more information or to make an appointment, call the office today at (209) 385-1479 or schedule your dental exam 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.


Dental Insurance – Use It or Lose It
Dental Insurance – Use It or Lose It

Do you have dental insurance for yourself or your family? Did you know that if you don’t use your benefits by the end of the year you will lose some of the money saving aspects, even if you stay on the same plan? Unlike data on cell phone plans, there is no “rollover” in the insurance industry when it comes to benefits – you use them or lose them at the end of the year. (And the same holds true for any type of health insurance, whether it be dental, vision, or general health insurance.)

Why would you spend your hard-earned money on insurance and not take full advantage of your benefits? Since the end of the year is quickly approaching, now is a great time to schedule a dental exam if you haven’t already exceeded the limit allowed on your dental policy.

It is important to get at least one dental exam per year for many reasons. Regular exams can help prevent cavities and catch early problems before the damage becomes irreversible. Exams and cleanings help to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent gum disease and other conditions, and they also help to detect oral cancers in the earlier stages.

Many other services are often covered under your dental plan in addition to your checkups and cleanings. Once you’ve reached your deductible, some services, such as a necessary root canal or crowns, may be covered at 100% so you don’t have any out-of-pocket costs. After your insurance lapses, however, you lose that 100% benefit, resetting your deductible.

Open enrollment for health and dental insurance begins November 1, 2016. If you don’t currently have dental insurance or are unhappy with your current plan, the open enrollment period is a great time to choose a new plan with benefits that suit your needs. After open enrollment ends, your insurance options are drastically limited, so don’t wait!

Take advantage of your coverage and get the most out of your healthcare dollar by scheduling an exam with one of our amazing dental health professionals. Call (209) 385-1479 or request an appointment online today. We’d love to help you improve your smile while maximizing your savings.



Are You Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth Correctly?
Are You Brushing Your Toddler’s Teeth Correctly?

You may wonder if the energy and effort it takes to brush your toddler’s teeth is worth it; after all, they’re going to loose them anyway. However, brushing and flossing your child’s teeth is one of the most important things you can do to prevent tooth decay and cavities, both now and in the future.

Cavities can cause your toddler to loose teeth prematurely, and early loss of baby teeth can have big consequences. Temporary teeth are not just needed to chew food – they influence the way a child learns to talk. Also, baby teeth hold a place for the permanent teeth. When a tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth under it can shift, causing spacing issues when the permanent teeth arrive. These issues could lead to more costly procedures for straightening and alignment.

Brushing your toddler’s teeth twice a day will help form a habit that your child will carry with them into adulthood. It is important to make sure their teeth are being brushed properly and that they learn how to brush them well.

Step 1: Use a Child-Sized Toothbrush.

It may not seem necessary, but smaller toothbrushes prevent discomfort and make it easier to reach the back teeth in your child’s mouth. The bristles should have a rounded edge and be varied in length. Don’t forget, toothbrushes should be changed once every three months or when the bristles start to spread (this can happen sooner with toddlers who like to bite the brush). We offer small toothbrushes to fit your child’s mouth perfectly and will send one home with them after each cleaning. 

Step 2: Add the Appropriate Amount of Toothpaste.

The amount of toothpaste you should use depends on the age of your child. Those younger than 3 should use an amount about the size of a grain of rice. Children 4 and up can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

Step 3: Brush Each Surface.

Hold the toothbrush at a 45° angle and brush the outer surfaces of the teeth by using short back and forth strokes. To brush the inside surface of the teeth, hold the toothbrush as vertically as possible and brush up and down. Don’t forget to brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth, as well as their tongue. Brushing the tongue helps to eliminate harmful bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.

Step 4: Rinse and Spit.

Try to avoid spitting while in the middle of brushing, since this can remove toothpaste before you have a chance to get it onto all of their teeth. Once you are finished with every surface, they can rinse and spit.

EXTRA TIP: Many parents find it easier to stand behind their child while brushing. This allows for more natural movement, as if you were brushing your own teeth.

Oral health is extremely important, and getting your children into the routine of brushing their teeth properly as well as regular dental exams sets them up for a lifetime of healthy habits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child see a dentist after their first tooth, or by their first birthday to help get a jumpstart on proper oral care. El Portal Dental Group offers state-of-the-art professional dental treatment for your child, as well as the rest of your family. Call us today at (209) 385-1479, or use our convenient online appointment scheduler.



Open Enrollment for Dental Insurance is November 1
Open Enrollment for Dental Insurance is November 1

Considering dental insurance to help ease the strain on your wallet? Great news – open enrollment for most health insurance plans begins on November 1. While some dental insurance plans only cover basic cleanings, other dental plans can drastically reduce your out-of-pocket expenses, saving you a ton of money on necessary dental work for oral health.

Here’s what you need to know before you buy a dental insurance plan:

  • There may be a waiting period. Purchasing a plan for coverage on procedures you need immediately? There is likely to be a specified amount of time that must pass after your policy begins before you have coverage for certain treatments, so be sure to read the fine print.
  • Orthodontic coverage may require a special policy rider. Braces and other corrective services are not typically covered, so if you need treatment to straighten and align your teeth make sure you add it to your policy or choose a plan that covers it.
  • Some plans have a maximum allowance. This limits the amount of your coverage to a specific dollar amount per calendar year. For instance, if your maximum allowance is $1000, after you have received that amount in paid benefits, you will be responsible for further expenses.
  • Some “insurances” are simply discount programs. While they can offer great discounts for teeth cleaning and other basic preventive services, they don’t save much (if anything) on emergency or corrective dental work.
  • Annual checkups are typically covered 100%, meaning you won’t have to satisfy a deductible first. Preventive coverage is important, since it can help avoid costly procedures such as fillings, root canals, and extractions down the road.
  • Pick a plan that allows you to choose one of our amazing dentists, or guarantees coverage at our practice. Freedom to choose your dentist is important, especially if you are a patient of El Portal Dental Group.

Always remember to read any policy thoroughly before you sign a contract to ensure it will suit your needs for total oral wellness. If you come in for regular check-ups and have healthy teeth and gums, a simple, low-cost plan may be best for you, while others may need plans with extra coverage.

Need help choosing a dental plan? Talk to one of our friendly front desk associates at El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California to learn more about dental plans that offer great benefits. Call (209) 385-1479 today!