3 Ways to Prevent Bad Breath

woman with bad breathWe’ve all experienced the embarrassment of bad breath at some point in our lives. Maybe it was after a hearty dish of garlicky pasta or your morning cup of coffee. Or perhaps it’s something you deal with every day. Either way, we think it’s pretty fair to say that nobody wants to live with bad breath. That’s especially true for your dentist in Sacramento. In fact, for us, chronic bad breath goes beyond embarrassment and may actually be a sign of a serious oral health condition. 

What’s So Bad About Bad Breath?

To some, bad breath may seem like no big deal, and sometimes that’s true. Temporary bad breath that’s caused by something we ate or drank is usually nothing to concern yourself with. However, when bad breath doesn’t go away even after brushing your teeth, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Sacramento. Bad breath is one of the top signs of a serious oral health condition called gum disease. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss, which brings on a whole other set of problems. But it doesn’t only put your oral health at risk. Gum disease has also been linked to heart disease, respiratory problems, and increased risk for stroke among other serious whole-body concerns. 

Causes of Bad Breath

There are numerous things that can cause us to have less than fresh breath outside of the foods and drinks we consume. However, the common, underlying cause of bad breath is attributed to a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. If these bacteria are not removed by properly brushing and flossing daily, they will feed on plaque buildup and produce a stinky byproduct called hydrogen sulfide. This is what we smell when we get a whiff of bad breath. 

How to Avoid Bad Breath

The best way to treat bad breath is to prevent it in the first place. Here are a few things you can do that will help keep your breath kissably fresh.  

  1. Brush and Floss. You’re probably tired of hearing your dentist in Sacramento talk about how important it is to brush and floss regularly. But the truth is this is the best way to not only prevent bad breath, but also protect your overall oral health. Brush your teeth every day for about two minutes, and make sure you gently brush your tongue, too. Floss at least once a day to remove food particles and bacteria that found their way deep in between teeth.
  2. Drink Plenty of Water. Many health experts will recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day to help our bodies function optimally, and we agree. Staying properly hydrated helps neutralize acid and wash away bacteria that could otherwise lead to bad breath. When a mouth is too dry, bacteria can take over and the chance of bad breath increases. 
  3. Maintain Dental Visits. Seeing your dentist at least every six months will do several things for your oral health. First, these visits give your dental hygienist the chance to perform a professional dental cleaning that can remove plaque and tartar that at-home brushing alone just won’t touch. If it’s not removed, plaque and tartar can cause bad breath as well as decay, cavities, and other concerns. Also, bi-annual dental visits make sure that your oral health is being monitored regularly so if any problem does pop up your dentist can treat it quickly, easily, and often prevent other problems. 

Chronic bad breath isn’t something that will go away on its own, and it can lead to more serious and costly dental treatment down the road. If you have bad breath that you can’t quite seem to fix, schedule an appointment with your dentist. 

5 Foods That Can Whiten Your Teeth

pineappleEveryone knows that things like coffee, tea, and red wine can take your pearly whites and make them appear dull, stained, or discolored. But your dentist in Sacramento wants you to know that there are also foods that can do the opposite and actually make your teeth whiter. 

  • Dairy

Foods that fall within the dairy food group, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt, contain something called lactic acid. This ingredient can help fight off tooth decay, and this can be directly related to the appearance of your smile. Healthier teeth are free of decay and, therefore, often whiter. More specifically, hard cheeses can help gently scrub the teeth and remove any surface stains. If you can tolerate dairy in your diet it’s a great way to protect your teeth.  

  • Crunchy Fruits & Veggies 

Similarly to hard cheeses, raw, crunchy vegetables and fruits, including celery, apples, and carrots, can effectively remove surface stains as we chew them. Besides helping whiten smiles, veggies and fruit can also increase saliva production which easily rinses away dangerous bacteria that could contribute to decay. 

  • Strawberries

While strawberries are bright red and tend to stain clothes or cutting boards, they do quite the opposite for our teeth. Thanks to the enzyme malic acid, strawberries have been known to help wear away surface stains and can help brighten your smile. 

  • Pineapple

Another fruit that can help remove slight tooth staining is pineapple. Pineapple contains bromelain, which has both a natural anti-inflammatory and a cleansing agent. In fact, a study conducted by the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that bromelain can safely and effectively remove stains. 

  • Water

Water should be a staple in everyone’s diet – it not only helps our bodies function properly but also helps keep mouths healthy. Drinking enough water throughout the day can easily rinse away harmful bacteria before it has a chance to settle in and cause decay and, in turn, discolored teeth. 

At our dental office in Sacramento, we understand the desire to have a brighter, whiter smile, and eating some of the foods listed above can help improve your smile’s appearance. However, most of these foods will only work on small surface stains and won’t dramatically whiten your teeth. For stains that are deeper in the teeth or were caused by smoking may require a professional smile whitening treatment or cosmetic dentistry such as veneers. 

If you’re looking to get a brighter, whiter smile, talk to your dentist in Sacramento about the best way to whiten your teeth. 

The Great American Smokeout & Your Oral Health

cigEvery November, the American Cancer Society sponsors the Great American Smokeout to encourage smokers to quit. As we all know, smoking can lead to serious health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Your dentist in Sacramento also wants you to know that smoking can have a negative effect on your oral health, too. Let’s take a look at some of the ways smoking can cause problems in your mouth. 

Oral Cancer

One of the most serious ways smoking can affect your oral health is by increasing your risk of developing oral cancer. While oral cancer doesn’t only occur in smokers, smoking does greatly increase the chances. In fact, smokers are six times more likely to get oral cancer than non-smokers. Like any cancer, oral cancer can be deadly if not caught and treated quickly and appropriately. This is one reason why seeing your Sacramento dentist at least twice a year is so important. Your dental team will check for signs of oral cancer at every appointment so if something suspicious does show up, you’d catch it early and when treatment is often more successful. 

Gum Disease

Another serious oral health problem that oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with smoking is gum disease. Gum disease can affect anyone but smokers are 50% more likely to get it than non-smokers. It’s a serious oral health problem that can lead to tooth loss and even other health are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

Bad Breath & Discolored Teeth

Smokers often have a clear giveaway that they smoke — their breath. Smokers’ breath isn’t something that goes away easily and it can linger around for quite a while. Bad breath may seem like no big deal but it can affect relationships and health. What’s more, the ingredients in cigarettes (such as tar and nicotine) can easily stick to any plaque that may be on your teeth, gums, or tongue. When too much of these sticky substances are introduced to the mouth, they can actually change the color of your teeth into a dull, dingy yellow. These stains are also tough to remove and sometimes even professional tooth whitening isn’t enough to get rid of them. 

Dry Mouth

Smokers may experience the discomfort of dry mouth more often than non-smokers. While dry mouth may seem like simply an annoyance, the truth is, it’s actually pretty bad for oral health. In order to stay healthy, your mouth needs to produce enough saliva to rinse away bacteria and neutralize acids that would otherwise lead to decay and cavities. But when the mouth is dry there isn’t enough saliva to do its job correctly, leaving your teeth exposed to all of the dangerous bacteria and plaque acid.  

As you can see, the risks of smoking go well beyond the commonly known risks and can certainly take its toll on oral health. But there’s hope. Your dentist in Sacramento wants to encourage all smokers to pick a quit date and work towards a smoke-free life. We understand quitting smoking can be very difficult, and it may take a few tries to finally kick it. Don’t give up. Quitting smoking now can save your smile and your life. 

Top Tips To Keep Your Family Healthy This Flu Season

woman with the fluIt’s that time of the year again when the sounds of sneezes and sniffles, and coughs and congestion, are in the air. That’s right, it’s flu season, which can be a concerning time for all of us. At our dental office in Sacramento, we want you to know that you don’t have to suffer this year. There are some easy tips you can try to keep your family healthy all the way to spring. 

Wash Those Hands

There’s a reason you’ll find posters in every bathroom stressing the importance of proper handwashing and why your dentist in Sacramento stresses washing those hands regularly — because it works! A little bit of soap and warm water can go a long way in keeping you healthy and flu-free. Make sure to wash your hands after using the restroom, touching another person, touching anything in public (think escalators and doorknobs!), and before every meal or snack. While soap and warm water work best to kill those pesky germs, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can work well in a pinch.

Clean Often

Having clean hands is one thing that can certainly help reduce the risk of catching the flu, but having a clean house is also important. Pay attention to the areas where your family spends the most time, like the bathrooms (don’t forget the toilet handles!) and kitchen. Sanitize things that are often overlooked, such as remote control, faucets, and toys. When in doubt, give it a quick wipe down with an antibacterial cleaner. 

No Hands to the Face

Hands touch so many things throughout the day, and even if you’re washing them regularly, there’s still a chance germs are lingering around. In fact, the CDC states that one of the most common ways germs are spread is by touching a contaminated surface, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts have mucus that can easily transport germs into the body and make us sick. 

Take Care of That Toothbrush

The truth is, toothbrushes can play host to all sorts of gross germs that can make you sick. But with proper care, those germs don’t stand a chance. Make sure the bristles are getting a thorough rinsing with warm water after every use to help flush bacteria down the drain (where they belong!). When it comes to storage, keep all toothbrushes in an upright position with the bristles at the top and allow them to air dry. Avoid using those little plastic toothbrush covers — they create the ultimate home for bacteria because it’s wet, cold, and dark. Keep family members’ toothbrushes separated from each other to avoid cross-contamination, and of course, never share toothbrushes. 

Drink More Water

Water is the best thing for everyone to drink, but even more so during flu season. The truth is, a well-hydrated body is better equipped to fight off any infection. Try your best to have each member of your family drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. During flu season, if you can get them to drink a little bit more, it can only help. 

Follow these tips this flu season to help keep your entire family healthy all winter long. However, sometimes pesky germs find their way inside and make us sick. If that happens, your Sacramento dentist encourages you to use sugar-free medicines to help alleviate symptoms.

Everyone Can Do These Three Things to Relax at the Dentist

young woman in dental chairYour dentist in Sacramento knows how incredibly unnerving a trip to have your teeth checked or cleaned can be for some patients. If this sounds like you, it’s essential to know that you’re not alone. Besides the fact that millions of Americans struggle with anxiety about seeing the dentist, you’ve got an extended family at our office who cares about your comfort and happiness.

We thought it might be a good idea to devote a blog to different ways you or someone you care about can alleviate your dental anxiety and relax in the chair. There are a few things we tell our patients that are sure to work for you too.

#1 – Talk it Out

No matter what age you are or where you’re at in life, one of the most significant, most effective ways to overcome dental anxiety is to talk to us. Communication with your Sacramento dentist will help to lower your stress levels associated with dental visits and make you feel less anxious about scheduling an appointment with us. Your dentist treats patients every day who are not too excited about having to sit in the dental chair, even for as something as routine as a cleaning. We have the right tools and training to make sure you’re always feeling comfortable and at ease.

Remember, starting with the first phone call if you’re a new patient, share your questions and concerns with our dental team. We can adapt to fit your needs and your schedule, to make seeing the dentist an experience that’s stress-free (and dare we say, enjoyable).

#2 – Relax and Breathe

It may seem a little silly having your dentist remind you to breathe, but so many people tense up when they’re at the dentist. Sometimes when we do this or we’re feeling anxious, we hold our breath and don’t breathe properly. This decreases oxygen levels and can further increase your feeling of anxiety or panic. 

Whether you’re on your way to the office for an appointment or if you’re getting ready to sit down for treatment, you can always practice deep, meditative breathing. It’s easy! Just try focusing on your breath. Keep taking steady, slow inhalations and exhalations. When you develop a more rhythmic breathing pattern, you’re able to focus on that more than your feelings of dread from having to see the dentist. Focusing on our breathing helps dramatically reduce stress levels

#3 – See Your Dentist in Sacramento Regularly

It may seem a bit strange, but the best way to avoid the dentist is to see your dentist regularly. If you can overcome your anxiety and get through regular, routine checkups and cleanings, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to avoid more extensive, time-consuming procedures in the future.

Also, remember this if you’re in the chair having work done: it’s OK to have a signal to stop and take a break if you’re uncomfortable. This puts you in control of the procedure and alerts your dentist if you need a time out for a minute or two. 

We hope these tips can help provide you some relief from your dental worries and anxiety. Like we mentioned earlier, please don’t hesitate to call our Sacramento dental office and explain your feelings to us. There’s a solution for every patient, for every smile! We’re happy to help you find what makes you comfortable. 

What’s The Most Dangerous Sport for Teeth? (You’re Going to Be Surprised!)

kids playing lacrosseIt’s always good to get out and get some exercise. When you’re participating in any sport, your dentist in Sacramento will always remind you to protect your smile. All too often, we talk about avoiding sweets or sports drinks, food, and beverages that can damage your enamel and break down teeth. We forget about what’s happening on the field, the court, or the ice that may be putting your teeth in far greater danger than a piece of candy.

We’re going to break down the top 4 most dangerous sports for smiles. (We’re willing to bet you can’t guess what number one is… it fools a lot of folks!)

#1 – Sports That Rely on Sticks, Bats, Etc.

There’s a reason this is number one on our list. Sports involving the combination of a ball and a stick or bat are a big danger to your smile. Think about what it’s like for your teeth to be on the receiving end of a stick or a bat. Not too fun right? Some popular pastimes that fall into this category include:

– Baseball

– Hockey

– Field Hockey

– Lacrosse

– Cricket

– And More

One of the most damaging things about these sports is that athletes (we’re talking to you, hockey players) tend not to wear mouthguards. We don’t know if it’s wanting to appear tougher, etc. but it can have a significant impact on your smile and your wallet if your teeth get knocked out by a fastball or slapshot. 

(And don’t think football should be left off this list. Football players wear mouthguards for a reason, whether it’s contact or even a football to the face, there’s damage to be done on the gridiron.)

#2 – X-treme Sports

This one goes out to all of our thrill-seekers and fans of alternative-type sports. There’s certainly nothing wrong with:

– Shredding some pipe on your skateboard

– Enjoying corduroy conditions on your snowboard

– Doing some freestyle tricks on your BMX bike

You may think these sports are reserved for the pros you see killing it at the X-Games, but in all reality, they’re still pretty popular recreational activities. Sometimes you take a tumble or suffer a fall that impacts your smile. This can spell big trouble for teeth, both big and small. Your Sacramento dentist reminds dads, moms, and kids to protect your teeth with a custom sportsguard!

#3 – Boxing, MMA, Martial Arts

Sports such as martial arts, mixed martial arts, boxing, and others shouldn’t be overlooked when taking teeth. On the professional level, most of these types of sports require a participant to wear some form of mouthguard or sportsguard. But that still doesn’t mean that accidents can’t happen when you take a kick or a punch straight to the face.  

#4 – Basketball

Even though it’s number four on our list, basketball actually ranks at the top for being dangerous for your smile. This is simply because many players, whether on the court at the local gym or suiting up for the NBA, don’t wear a mouthguard or sportsguard. Despite how it might appear sometimes, basketball can get pretty physical, and it’s easy for an elbow to go flying and smack you right in the mouth. Players are often exerting a lot of force to gain position or control of the ball to get that game-changing shot. Believe it or not, basketball can be bad for your smile!

We hope you always give it your all, no matter what you do. Remember that it only takes a few seconds to do damage to your teeth, whether they’re broken or completely knocked out when you’re playing the sport you love. Your smile is yours for the rest of your life, so you want to make sure you’re taking all of the necessary steps to protect it both on and off the field, court, or ice. 

Don’t forget to take your mouth or sportsguard with you when you’re suiting up. We want you and your smile to be part of the action for years to come. Stay safe and always remember to have fun. 

If, for whatever reason, you ever find yourself in a dental emergency, please don’t hesitate to call our Sacramento dental office right away. There’s always someone ready to listen and help you get out of pain, fast. Call us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment for you and your smile. 

How to Pick the Best Dental Floss

dental flossWhen you walk down the oral health care aisle at your local supermarket, it can quickly become overwhelming. There are just so many different types of toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste, bottles of mouthwashes, and packets of floss to pick from. How in the world are you supposed to pick the best products for you? Don’t worry, today the team at our Sacramento dental office is here to help narrow your options for one of the most important tools in your oral hygiene toolbox — floss. 

Flossing can sometimes be overlooked as a crucial part of your oral health, but the truth is, flossing every day is incredibly effective at lowering your risk for cavities and gum disease. This means that you need to choose a type of floss that you will use regularly and properly. Let’s take a closer look at the three most common types of floss recommended by your dentist in Sacramento

Traditional Floss

The most common type of floss is the traditional string floss found in those little, compact containers. This time-tested original can work really well for many people as it’s what they first learned to floss with, so it’s comfortable to use. However, those who may have trouble using their hands or fingers may not be able to reach around each tooth or back into the molars. This is when an alternative option should be considered.

Floss Picks

Floss picks are those little plastic tools that have a small piece of floss threaded between two posts. They’re pretty inexpensive and can be just as effective as traditional floss if used properly. However, while some people may find floss picks easier to use, others find just the opposite. So essentially, there’s no real right or wrong answer when it comes to which is better. The best way to decide is to try both options and see which is easier for you to use. Keep in mind, floss picks only use a small section of floss so you may need to use a few flossers each and every time you floss. 

Water Flosser

A newer and more high-tech flossing option that’s making its way into bathrooms across the country is electric water flossers. These tools are highly effective at removing plaque and bacteria, and many studies suggest that they may be the most effective of any flossing device. But they don’t come without a few potential cons. Water flossers need to either be plugged in or charged, so they aren’t incredibly convenient. They’re also larger in size so storage and traveling may pose a few complications. Lastly, they can be pricey, although they do last a long time and reduce waste.   

What matters most to your dentist in Sacramento isn’t necessarily which type of floss you use, but rather that you floss regularly and properly. If you’re finding that flossing is challenging and you’re looking for a better solution, we welcome you to call our dental office in Sacramento. We’re always happy to help find the best tools for each one of our patients. 

The Importance of Healthy Gums

examining gums with mirrorOften we think of a healthy mouth as straight, white teeth. But the truth is, a healthy mouth goes beyond our smiles. Our gums are easily overlooked when it comes to talking about our oral health. However, our gums are crucial to not only our mouths but to our overall health. At our dental office in Sacramento, we strive to educate our patients about the importance of healthy gums, so in this blog, we’re going to talk about just how serious of a role our gums play in our bodies.

Gum Disease

When we don’t take care of our gums, we can develop a serious condition called gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque. Plaque is loaded with dangerous bacteria that if not removed, can lead to infection of the gums. This infection is gum disease. There are three stages of gum disease — gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

Gingivitis – This is the earliest stage of gum disease and can be treated.

Periodontitis – If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis when the disease starts to affect the bones holding our teeth in place.

Advanced Periodontitis – As periodontitis gets worse, it can turn into advanced periodontitis. If this happens, the bones supporting our teeth are beginning to break down, and we may experience tooth loss.

Gum Disease & Your Body

The bacteria that cause gum disease can also lead to other serious problems in the body. In fact, many research studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and several health conditions, such as:

Signs of Gum Disease

  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth

In the early stages, gum disease may not necessarily show any signs. This is why appointments with your dentist in Sacramento every six months are so important. Your dental team is trained to look for early warning signs of gum disease so they can recommend treatment quickly. Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.

If it’s been more than six months since your last visit or you notice any signs of gum disease, call our dental office in Sacramento to schedule a visit.

How Does Oral Health Affect Heart Health?

heart monthFebruary marks the beginning of a month-long dedication to heart health. It’s officially known as American Heart Month, and its purpose is to raise awareness of the risks associated with heart disease. Many people know that things like smoking and a poor diet can cause troubles with the heart, but at our dental office in Sacramento, we also know that your oral health can affect your heart health.

The Mouth is the Window to Whole-Body Health

You may have heard the expression that the eyes are the window to the soul, and while that may be true, another part of your body can tell you a lot about your overall wellbeing. The truth is, your mouth can give your dentist in Sacramento insight to other problems that may be going on in the rest of your body. More specifically, researchers have found a connection between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.

More About Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious dental problem that requires early treatment to resolve. Without proper intervention, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other health concerns throughout the body. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) has concluded that people who have gum disease are at increased risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. This happens because the bacteria that cause gum disease have a pretty easy path into the bloodstream and can raise the levels of something called C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP can cause some scary problems such as:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Inflamed arteries
  • Heart attack

Signs of Gum Disease

Some of the most common signs of gum disease are easy to explain away and some may think they’re actually normal. However, any of the following signs could mean that you may have gum disease.

  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Consistently bad breath
  • Chronic bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth

If you notice any of the signs of gum disease, it’s important to see your Sacramento dentist as soon as possible.

The team at our Sacramento dental office wants to encourage all of our patients and neighbors to practice a good oral hygiene routine at home as well as get professional teeth cleanings and dental checkups at least twice a year. These appointments can help catch and treat gum disease before it has a chance to cause bigger, more serious complications.  

Don’t leave your heart at risk, call to schedule an appointment today.

Root Canals Are Painful, And Other Dental Myths

frustrated woman

When it comes to dentistry, there are many common myths and misconceptions that could actually hurt your smile and oral health rather than help. At our dental office in Sacramento, we believe in preventive dentistry and giving professional dental advice in order to protect your teeth. That’s why we want to debunk several of the most common dental myths we often hear about.

Myth: Root Canals Hurt

When patients are told that they need to have a root canal, the first reaction we usually get is fear over the pain they think they’re about to endure. The truth is, root canals have a bad reputation that just isn’t true. Many times when a root canal is needed it’s because a tooth has severe decay. This decay can cause some serious pain and sensitivity. Root canal treatment actually relieves that pain by removing infected parts of the inner tooth — the source of pain. A root canal is a common procedure done under local anesthetic and is completely pain-free.  

Myth: Lemon Juice Can Whiten Teeth

Thanks to the popularity of the internet and people from all backgrounds sharing “life hacks” on social media platforms, it’s not surprising to hear of DIY tooth whitening methods. One, in particular, that’s concerning to your dentist in Sacramento is using lemon juice to remove tooth staining. In actuality, lemon juice is highly acidic and using it in an attempt to brighten your smile can cause irreversible damage to your tooth enamel. Once acid eats away the protective enamel, teeth are exposed to harmful bacteria and plaque. This increases your risk of cavities and decay.

Myth: Baby Teeth Aren’t That Important

Since baby teeth are meant to fall out, many people assume that it doesn’t matter when we lose them. However, quite the opposite is true. Baby teeth are important for several reasons including holding the space for permanent adult teeth, helping develop speech, and aiding in chewing. When baby teeth are lost before their natural time, nutrition can be affected, speech difficulties may develop, and teeth may start to shift and become crooked.

Myth: You Don’t Need to go to The Dentist if You’re Not in Pain

One of the biggest myths out there is that you only need to see a dentist when you’re experiencing a problem. In fact, seeing the dentist regularly can greatly help prevent a problem from ever happening. Regular dental cleanings and checkups can diagnose any problems early when treatment is easier and less expensive.

When it comes to your dental health, trust the professionals. If you have any questions about how to best care for your smile or if it’s time for a checkup, call our Sacramento dental office to schedule an appointment today.