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:


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.


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

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

Carrots

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

Cheese

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

Onion

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

Celery

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

Salmon

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

Strawberries

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

Yogurt

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

Sesame Seeds

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

Apples

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

Chewing Gum

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

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


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

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

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

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

What Should I Do if I Have a Chipped Tooth? 

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

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

1. Rinse

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

2. Ice 

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

3. Use Dental Wax

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

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

4. Take Pain Relievers 

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

5. Save the Chip 

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

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

Dentists in Merced, California 

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

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