Riverside Dentist | Why Are My Child’s Permanent Teeth Coming in Behind The Baby Teeth?

Pediatric DentistryIt’s a petrifying experience, seeing your child’s permanent teeth erupting behind their baby teeth. You’ll worry if it’s normal, and you’ll probably ask if it’s alright for the permanent teeth to erupt that way and yes, that is okay.

While not normal, it is okay for the permanent teeth to erupt before the milk tooth falls out. If this happens, the permanent tooth that’s already erupted will slowly make the roots of the milk teeth weaker, eventually leading them to fall off on their own. Eventually, the permanent tooth will move into the space that was once occupied by the permanent teeth.

As you can see, no harm done.

This occurrence happens mostly in the lower front teeth and in kids who are six years old and is referred to as “lingually erupting mandibular incisors”, or you can simply refer to it as shark teeth. This may also happen to the upper molars, usually in children aged 11.

Why “Shark Teeth” Occurs

There’s not an exact explanation as of yet to explain why shark teeth happens, but it may be because of the following reasons:

  1. It may be because the roots of the baby teeth don’t dissolve normally like the permanent teeth do. This leads to the permanent teeth erupting from behind them because it’s where there’s the least resistance and they can emerge easily.
  2. There’s also the possibility that it occurs because of the overcrowding that takes place in the jaws.
  3. There also dentists that believe that such an occurrence is a deviation and all but ensures that the teeth aren’t going to grow naturally.

Is It a Threat?

Not much really, as around 1 out of 10 kids encounter this sort of problem. Also, since the baby teeth eventually fall in time, there’s little need for professional intervention. However, dentists may have to intervene if the baby teeth do not fall on their own, an occurrence known as “retained baby teeth”.

Consulting a Dentist

It is a good idea to go to the dentist to ask about shark teeth, but it isn’t exactly necessary. Not immediately, that is.

What’s important is that you check your child’s shark teeth and monitor it closely. If the baby teeth fall out on their own, which usually happens after a few days or weeks, then it’s all good and the permanent tooth should slowly shift forward to its properly place.

If, however, the baby teeth do not fall off, you’ll want to take your child to the dentist to see if your child suffers from “retained baby teeth”. Again, it’s not an alarming problem, and the dentist may only have to remove the baby teeth to give the permanent teeth enough space to move forward to its proper place.

In any case, shark teeth aren’t something that you’ll need to worry needlessly about. It also does not ensure that your child’s teeth do not grow naturally. Rather, shark teeth is a simple problem that may resolve on its own or if necessary, with the intervention of your child’s dentist.

If you’re worried about the way your children’s teeth are erupting, contact Dr. Gerald Middleton, DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule a consultation today or visit www.gmdental.com for more information regarding pediatric dentistry.

What Is A Full Mouth Reconstruction? | Quality Dentist in Riverside

177406608Those with severe and multiple dental problems may not only need a single dental treatment, but one that tackles their problems as a “whole” via a full mouth reconstruction.

As the name suggests, full mouth reconstruction is a process where the patient’s mouth undergoes a series of treatment to restore the mouth’s function and structure. Though, in many cases, the mouth’s function, structure, and most especially, esthetics, are actually improved as a result of the procedure.

Who Are Good Candidates For It?

Being a combination of a number of restorative, neuromuscular and cosmetic procedures, a full mouth reconstruction’s goal is to restore and even improve how the look of the patient’s teeth, as well as its structure and overall function. This holistic approach is necessary because each one has a direct effect onto the other.

For example, those with broken teeth may experience problems with their bite. This can make chewing a bit more difficult than usual, which then creates premature wear and tear on your teeth. Eventually, this lead to all sorts of pain, from the head, to the jaw, ears, eyes and even the neck.

There are many other cases where the esthetics of a patient’s teeth, or the lack thereof, have a huge effect on the mouth’s function and structure

Most of the time, a full mouth restoration is recommended for those who have a lot of missing teeth. This is especially true for those who’ve had missing teeth for quite some time. Those who have several discolored, worn out, chipped and broken teeth also make for good candidates for a full mouth restoration.

A full mouth reconstruction may also be necessary for those who’ve been experiencing chronic pain, or a clicking or popping sound in their jaws. Those who’re suffering from frequent headaches and back pain may also benefit from a full mouth reconstruction.

Where To Begin

Each full mouth reconstruction is unique, each engineered to cater to the needs, goals and preferences of the patient.

To know the scope of the full mouth reconstruction, it is best to have your dentist evaluate the overall status of your oral health. This means having your teeth, gums and jaws checked thoroughly. This should help give your dentist a better idea on what type of treatments are necessary or available.

After this, your dentist will be able to discuss with you the different types of treatment available. Your dentist may also take this time to ask you about what goals you have in mind. Be honest and don’t forget to ask about the overall costs of the procedure, as well as what your dental insurance covers. Of course, you should also ask for a timeframe for the whole process, as well as each procedure involved therein.

The discussion should also allow your dentist to know which type of professional they will have to refer you to for the specific care that you’ll need. Though, in many cases, dentists will usually refer their patients to Prosthodontists, or at least consult with them. This is because these dentists have received additional training and education to better handle the complexities that come with a full mouth reconstruction.

Of course, the amount of work involved in a full mouth reconstruction is daunting. This is especially true once you think of the costs involved and how long the treatment takes. Still, you shouldn’t really think too far ahead and instead, worry about taking the initial step, which is to speak with your dentist to see if you’re actually a good candidate for a full mouth reconstruction and if so, what procedures and treatments are involved.

If you’re interested in seeing if you would be an ideal candidate for a full mouth reconstruction, contact Dr. Gerald Middleton, DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.gmdental.com for additional information regarding full mouth reconstructions.

Braces Make Beautiful Faces: Braces vs. Invisalign | Dentist Riverside CA

invisible braces

Crooked teeth. In this superficial day and age, having crooked teeth is more of an issue than it really should be. As an adolescent, you get teased and may not get a lot of dates, so it can turn out to be a tough road to travel when compounded with the typical growing pains. As an adult, having crooked teeth still has a certain stigma but it isn’t quite as traumatizing as those adolescent years. After dealing with crooked teeth for so long, fixing them now is more of a cosmetic choice over a necessity. But no matter who is in need of a perfect set of pearly whites, there are a few options on the market you can go with. The problem is…Which is the better choice to fix those funky fangs, tried-and-true braces or the inconspicuous Invisalign?

The first, and most obvious option, is to go with good ol’ braces. They have the most history of success, are affordable, and are kind of a rite of passage for a teenager. And while they were typically silver metal back in the day, they can now come in a ceramic that makes them a whole lot less noticeable. Or, if you’re in that sort of thing, there are colors you can choose from to create a custom look. On the downside, you still have to get them tightened every month or so and broken pieces are pretty painful. But you can be guaranteed a gorgeous smile as a result.

Since 1998, there has been an aesthetic alternative to the typical tooth-straightening option. Invisalign are transparent tooth aligners that have taken the orthodontic world by storm. The idea is that this system can now straighten your teeth without wires and glued brackets, which to be honest, sounds like a miracle. I mean it’s clear, it’s removable and the treatment time is generally a third of what wearing traditional braces would be. The downside to this is that they are more expensive and it takes a lot more discipline to maintain the strict regimen of wearing the aligners 22 hours/day and the additional steps it takes to clean the system’s trays.

So, which do you choose? Well, it honestly depends on your personal situation. An orthodontic consultation is definitely in order and a treatment program will be based on those results. Because despite what you may hope, not all cases are suitable for either option. While they are fantastic at what they do, the Invisalign system is perfect for minimal to medium dental issues but does not work as well for major ones. Patients with bridgework, certain bite issues or rotational needs are just out of luck. Those issues may be no match for Invisalign but are right up traditional braces alley. Alternatively, traditional braces are not ideal for those that lead a rough and tumble life or have a job that doesn’t allow regular braces. In that instance, you may want to consider the Invisalign system or lingual braces (braces attached to the insides of your teeth) to straighten things out.

Regardless, any of these options are sure to help correct those meandering molars…It just depends on which one your orthodontist believes is the best option for you. They are the professionals and know what is best for you. Either way, it will take a while for them to fix the problem but rest assured the process will only be temporary. Soon you will have nothing but the prettiest pearly whites in your mouth. And that’s enough to make anyone smile, right? Congrats on your soon-to-be killer smile!

If you’re seeking treatment to straighten your pearly whites, contact Dr. Gerald Middleton, DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule a consultation today or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dentist Riverside CA | One in Every 2,000 Babies is Born with a Tooth

Boy brushing his teeth

As a new parent, you are constantly wondering if you’re doing the job right. The last thing you ever want is to have something happen to your child because X, Y, or Z slipped through the proverbial cracks. One of these overlooked details is a child’s dental health. A survey commissioned by the Delta Dental Plans Association revealed that the average age children had their first dental visit was 2.6 years and 34% of children hadn’t seen the dentist at all. Oftentimes, we as parents think our child is too young or doesn’t have enough teeth to make it much of an issue. In actuality, children should start visiting the dentist any time between first tooth and their first birthday. Why, you ask? Well, an early start with a dentist will help alleviate any trepidation they may have about these visits throughout their lives. It can also be beneficial to get some basic knowledge as to how your child’s dental health should be handled at home so that there aren’t problems growing up.

So, what is the first step to getting your munchkin’s oral health in order? First, find a dentist. You can use your personal dentist or look for a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist is everything your dentist is, but has a couple more years of school so they are fully-equipped to focus on the specific needs of children. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when making the appointment? Setting it after your child has a good rest under their belt is ideal; fussiness is at a minimum and they are much more willing to be cooperative.

Once you have made their first dental appointment, the next step is to get your child into the idea of going. There are lot of ways to prepare your little one for this adventure. Learning about what will happen through books and other resources is fantastic help, but it is also great to give them a bit of a preview. Take them next time you have an appointment, or take turns roleplaying what the dentist will be doing poking around in their mouths. Having a dentist poking around with sharp tools is always going to be a scary thing for a tiny human. The more preparation you do, the smoother the experience will be.

On the day of your child’s first visit, expect to have lots of opportunity to ask any questions you may have. The dentist will go over your child’s history and give you a crash course as to what you can expect in upcoming months. A thorough examination of your child’s mouth will be done so the dentist can clearly distinguish any issues that may arise due to habits like thumb sucking, poor hygienic practice or diet. And, if necessary, your dentist or hygienist may clean your child’s teeth if stains are apparent and/or apply fluoride to prevent future cavities. Making sure your little one is comfortable is your first priority so be sure to bring things that soothe them, whether it be a little snack, a favorite toy or blanket. Keeping them happy will ensure you leave that first appointment ready and able to tackle any surprises that may hinder that sweet baby smile you love so much.

If your little one is ready for their first visit to the dentist, contact Dr. Gerald Middleton, DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.gmdental.com for information regarding our practice.

Why Are My Teeth Yellow? | Riverside, CA Dentist

toothbrushHave you ever taken a close look at yourself in the mirror and wondered when exactly did your teeth start to go yellow? If you have, then you’re not alone. Most people have done that and more often than not, they find themselves surprised that their teeth suddenly got yellow. Though, if it’s any consolation, yellow teeth is not exactly a sign of a serious medical condition.

It can, however, be disheartening to see that your teeth are no longer as bright as it once were and this can make you feel conscious and lose confidence.

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to get it back.

For starters, it would do you good to understand why your teeth are yellow so you can avoid or limit your exposure to things that may contribute to it.

  1. You’re getting older. As the protective white coating on our teeth known as enamel starts to fade away, as a result of both aging and years of use, they start to become more yellowish in tint. While there’s certainly nothing you can do to stop yourself from aging, you can take solace in the fact that the yellowing of teeth is part of the aging process.
  1. You smoke. Regular consumption or use of tobacco products can lead to staining of the teeth, among many other dental and health complications.
  1. You don’t take proper care of your teeth. The recommended oral care routine includes brushing for two minutes twice a day, flossing at least once and rinsing mouth with mouthwash. This is all to remove plaque build-up and tartar, both of which can contribute to the discoloration of teeth, as well as other dental problems.
  1. You’re on medication. Antibiotics such as doxycycline and tetracycline, among many other types of medication, can lead to the darkening of teeth in children no older than 8 years old. Other types of medication that can have the same effect are certain antihistamines, high blood and antipsychotic medications. Make sure that before you start taking any type of medication, you know all of its possible side effects.
  1. You’re sick. Though less common, certain diseases can lead to the discoloration and yellowing of teeth. The same goes for certain types of treatment, such as chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment can cause the teeth to become more brownish in color.
  1. You’re genetically inclined to have yellower teeth. It is also possible that you inherited enamel that’s much more yellow than that of other people.

While tooth discoloration is mainly a cosmetic problem, it is possible that it may have been caused by underlying dental and medical complications.

If you want to have whiter teeth, it is best to consult your dentist immediately to rule out possible medical causes. Your dentist can also give you proper advice on what products to use to help whiten your teeth safely and effectively. Or, if need be, recommend certain cosmetic procedures that can help restore your smile, as well as achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.

If you would like to say farewell to your yellow teeth with the help of modern dentistry, contact Dr. Gerald Middleton, DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.gmdental.com to view our services that can brighten your smile.

What Happens During a Full Mouth Reconstruction? | Dentist Riverside

implant diagramWhether you lost your teeth in an accident, or had them pulled intentionally because of dental complications, the fact is, you need to have them replaced. Not only for esthetic reasons, but also to help improve your speaking and chewing, as well as to prevent any other dental complication resulting from having gaps in your smile.

This is where a procedure known as full mouth reconstruction comes in.

The procedure involves not just replacing missing and broken teeth, but also restoring the function of both your gums and jaw.

The result is a mouth that works and looks exactly the way that it did before you had missing teeth – if not better!

What Exactly is a Full Mouth Reconstruction? 

A full mouth reconstruction isn’t just a single procedure, but rather, it involves multiple restorative, neuromuscular and cosmetic procedures. This means that the aim of full mouth reconstruction isn’t just restoring the function of teeth, but also the function, as well as the structure.

The reason why a full mouth reconstruction aims to fix all three is that they all affect each other.

Case in point, broken teeth can cause a malocclusion, which can lead to difficulty chewing and can result to abnormal wear and tear of your teeth. In worse cases, this can lead to migraines, jaw pain, as well as pain in the eyes, neck, ears and even back.

A full mouth reconstruction, though, isn’t just recommended to anyone.

The procedure is often recommended for the following:

  • Those who have a lot of missing teeth.
  • Those who have several chipped, broken, or worn down teeth.
  • Those who are suffering chronic pain in their jaws or neck, usually accompanied by a clicking and popping sound of the jaw.
  • Those who experience chronic back pain, headaches and muscle tenderness around their jaws.

The Treatments Involved

Each case of full mouth reconstruction is unique, as each is tailor-made to fit a patient’s needs and goals.

The process starts off with a series of tests for the dentist to be able to evaluate the health of your teeth and gums, as well as the jaw. If necessary, you will be referred to other dental specialists that are better suited to handle your specific needs.

For example, you may be referred to a prosthodontist. These dentists have received further training and education that makes them best suited to handle all the complexities involved in a full mouth reconstruction. They typically act as an architect of sorts, planning how the treatment should go.

Because of the number of procedures involved in a full mouth reconstruction, the process will undoubtedly take time. In fact, it isn’t unusual for a full mouth reconstruction to take more than a year to finish.

Get a Better Smile Today!

A full mouth reconstructions doesn’t just take a long time to finish, they’re also quite expensive. However, most dental practitioners will be more than happy to discuss the costs of the care and create an affordable payment plan. Also, speaking of payment plans, make sure that you know which parts of the full mouth reconstruction is covered by your dental insurance and which are not.

It is also recommended to speak with other dentists as well, to get a second, third or even a fourth opinion.

Make sure that you take your time to ease through things and once you’re done, speak with your dentist and talk about how you can get yourself a better-looking, more functional and healthier smile!

If you’re seeking a dental professional to perform a full mouth construction, contact Dr. Gerald Middleton DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule a consultation today. Visit www.gmdental.com for more information regarding Dr. Gerald Middleton and his wonderful team.

A Little History And a Few Fun Facts About The Toothbrush

Boy brushing his teethBrushing our teeth has long been touted as an important part of oral health. Using a toothbrush, a very simple personal hygiene tool found in every household, we’ve come to make a habit of using it more than twice a day. But, as often as we use the toothbrush, we don’t exactly know what it is, what it’s made from and most especially, how it came to be.

Since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, below is a quick history of the toothbrush and a few fun facts that you can share with your friends, family, and especially, children.

History of the Toothbrush

Ancient Egypiants are widely regarded as the first group of people to use a toothbrush, constructing one made of twigs and leaves to clean their teeth. Other cultures also adopted the same habit, specifically the Greeks, Romans and Indians. The Miswak, a stick used thousands of years ago to clean teeth are still being used by Muslims around the world per recommendation of their Prophet.

By the 15th century, the Chinese had begun using a toothbrush resembling the one we use today using a literal brush attached to a handle. Around a century later, English noblemen and privileged families began using toothbrushes made out of silver.

William Addis would then go on to invent what’s widely considered as the first modern toothbrush in 1780 while in prison. It’s believed that the idea came to him while get bored of watching how the floors were swept clean using a brush. He’d then fashion the toothbrush using a bone and bristles he had obtained from the guard. Once he got out, Addis would go on to make a fortune by mass producing his invention.

The design of the toothbrush would then be refined over time and in 1938, soft-bristles toothbrushes were invented. Soon enough, companies such as Oral-B would begin mass producing soft-bristled toothbrushes.

Innovation still has not left toothbrushes and up to this day, the design and the bristles are still being refined to better meet modern needs.

Fun Facts

  • Did you know that dentists recommend that the optimal time to spend brushing teeth is about two to three minutes? This would amount to around 122 days in a person’s lifetime. However, according to a recent survey, the average American spends only about 38 to 39 days brushing their teeth over a lifetime. That means that the average American spends only about 30 to 40 seconds brushing their teeth, as opposed to the recommended two to three minutes.
  • In 2003, toothbrushes were considered much more important than phones and cars. However, many years later, another survey showed that roughly around 4 billion people use a mobile device, but about only 3.5 billion actually use a toothbrush!
  • In an effort to cut down on the waste produced by toothbrushes every year, manufacturers have begun selling toothbrushes made out of recyclable materials, as well as ones that feature replaceable heads.
  • While modern toothbrushes are usually made from synthetic fiber, it’s said that animal bristles are still used sometimes today.


Now that you could very well be considered a toothbrush guru, be sure to start sharing these fun facts with other people, especially children. After all, it is the National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Of course, you may also want to take the time to share just how important proper dental care is, including brushing twice a day, flossing and of course, frequent trips to the dentist for checkups and cleaning.

Call Dr. Gerald Middleton DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule an appointment. To learn more about the practice visit www.gmdental.com.  

To Fear or Not To Fear the Dentist | Riverside, CA

dental fearIf you ask anyone to name one of their biggest issues are regarding the upkeep of their health, a large percentage of them will say, “I hate the dentist”. If you ask why that is, chances are the response will be one of two things: the needles or that numbness that seems to last long after the procedure is complete. Unfortunately, there are a lot of needles used in your typical dentist office, and in order to help relieve your anxiety, some type of sedation is administered during the visit. And for many, this makes something as simple as a dental check-up a dreaded fact of life. And we ought to do this TWICE a year?!?! Yikes!

The problem is, one can never be too sure what will happen when they see the dentist, and this causes a lot of fear as the dental appointment slowly creeps up on us. In fact, there is an official diagnosis for this fear. It is called Dental Anxiety, or DA. So, see? You are not alone.

Thankfully, there have been a lot of advancements in the world of dental procedures. Now we utilize the digital age by working with technologies like lasers, digital radiology & impressions, and even social media. Yes, even social media can help ease your fears as a particular dental procedure looms near. The advancement that has come the furthest has been laser technology by far. In 2012, Convergent Dental introduced an isotopic CO₂ dental laser that can perform more than 95% of restorative treatment WITHOUT the use of needles. No need for needles, no need for anesthesia. Can you imagine?

It gets even better. Braces are no longer metal cages surrounding all of your teeth since the development of Invisalign. With 3-D technology, invisible aligners can be custom made for you, and as you follow your treatment plan, these subtle aligners will begin slowly straightening your teeth week by week. No popped wires, no head gear, no more awful selfies. It truly is a revolutionary development for all teenagers worldwide.

Now, what if you need a more difficult procedure, like a crown or veneers? A state-of-the-art procedure has been developed to not only make your procedure less painful, but also much more hassle-free than it’s ever been. Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramic (CEREC®) uses computers to design and manufacture ceramic restorations that are metal-free, tooth-colored and completely finished in one single dental visit. Yes, you heard it right. One visit. Are you starting to feel a little bit better now?

But what if you are one of those patients that will forever have a problem relaxing with a dentist? We know you’re nervous, but now we can offer you an oral sedative to settle those nerves enough for you to get through your visit, without IV sedatives or general anesthesia. At our Riverside dental location, we make it our business to provide you with the smile of your dreams, while making you feel comfortable at each visit by utilizing every type of dental technology available. So don’t be afraid. Give us a call to set up your next dental appointment. We aren’t your grandparents’ dentist anymore…

Call Gerald Middleton DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 for an appointment. Learn more about the practice by visiting the website at www.gmdental.com.




Six Fun Facts About The Beloved Toothbrush

toothbrushYou’ve heard it over and over again, about how important brushing our teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush, whether manual or electric, is to our oral and overall health. However, as much as you know about the importance of brushing, you probably don’t know much about your toothbrush.

Let’s see. You do know that it’s a dental appliance, and that it comes in many different types, with some with much softer bristles compared to others. But, what else?

Given how February is national children’s dental health month and how children love fun facts, here’s five about the beloved toothbrush.

  • The average person spends around 38 to 39 days brushing their teeth over their lifetime. While that number is daunting, most dentists claim that the number shows just how people neglect oral care, as it would only equate to around 40-seconds per brushing session, which is far from the recommended two-to-three minutes. Dentists believe that if people followed recommendations, the number should be around 122 days
  • Did you know that the materials used initially for toothbrush bristle was cow hair or boar bristles? It was only until 1938 that commercial toothbrush stopped using other materials and opted for nylon bristles thanks to Dupont De Nemour’s introduction of “Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush”.
  • Toothbrushes can be traced as far back as 3,000 B.C where ancient civilizations used a thin twig with a frayed end as a makeshift toothbrush.

The Chinese would then on “refine” this and in 1498, used a toothbrush made from stiff hairs from a hog’s neck and with bone or bamboo as its handle.

By 1780, William Adis would invent the modern toothbrush while in prison and make money by mass-producing it.

  • According to research, the average person buys about three toothbrushes every two years, or about once in roughly every eight or nine months. Again, this is far from the recommended every three to four months.
  • The journey of the toothpaste, the  toothbrush’s best buddy, is also quite intriguing. It’s believed that the first toothpastes were used back about 5000 years ago in Egypt using a formula consisting of oxen hooves, pumice and burnt eggshells.  This would then be refined over time until the 1800s, when the first semblance of the toothpastes we use today would also be used, with the collapsible tube being introduced in 1892 by Dr. Washington Sheffield of Connecticut.
  • In America, around 25,000 tons of toothbrushes are thrown around every year, leading to enormous amounts of waste. To cut down on this, manufacturers have begun selling toothbrushes made of recyclable plastic, as well as those with replaceable heads.


In line with the celebration of National Children’s Dental Health month, let us not forget to teach children the basics of proper oral hygiene. This includes, of course, the use of a soft-bristled toothbrush and brushing with it twice a day, flossing at least once and last, but not the least, visiting the dentist as regularly as every six months.

That said, now that you know all these fun facts about toothbrushes, why not share it with your friends and with kids? They will surely love it!

Call Dr. Gerald Middleton DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule an appointment. To learn more about the practice visit www.gmdental.com.  


Call Dr. Gerald Middleton DDS in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 to schedule an appointment. To learn more about the practice visit www.gmdental.com.  

Riverside, CA Dentist | Is That Your Smile or a Mouthful of Corn Kernels?

teeth whitening“I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He said to wear a brown tie.” – Rodney Dangerfield

It seems like everywhere we turn, we are exposed to yet another onslaught of what society considers a new trend in beauty. It is a constant struggle to try to keep up with the ever-changing beauty requirements imposed upon us. Whether we are flipping through our favorite magazines or watching our favorite celebrities on the screen, we are constantly surrounded by beautiful people. And while we may not all be able to be tall, svelte human beings, there is one thing that is possible to attain for even the commonest of folk: a gorgeous mouth full of white teeth.

Now I know what you’re thinking…”My teeth are FAR from being pearly white! What can I do to have one of those fantastic celebrity smiles?” As we all know, proper dental hygiene and regular visits to your dentist will always help, but is there anything else we can do to keep our ivories sparkling? The answer is yes. Take a quick look at your diet.

There are a couple of reasons that the food or drinks we consume tend to tinge our teeth a bit. Some foods and/or drinks are naturally a darker color, while others have a lot of acidity. And it’s these acids that start to wear down the enamel in our teeth so much that the dentin (which is a slightly yellower layer of our teeth) begins to show through. The more enamel you lose throughout your life, the yellower your teeth will become. Let’s take a look at some of these dental culprits:

First, we’ll start with the drinks. Because our teeth are very porous, it is easy for things to begin to change their hue. The darker the drink, the worse the stain so drinks like coffees, teas and red wines are always going to be somewhat rough on your teeth. In fact, even dark fruit juices can have a staining effect. On the other hand, carbonated drinks aren’t your friends either. Not only can dark sodas stain your teeth, but the acidity in them will start to erode your teeth enamel, exposing the dentin quicker than you’d like. Soda is definitely bringing two pistols to the gunfight.

When it comes to foods or spices, the rule of thumb is pretty easy. If it stains your mouth when you eat it, or your carpet when you spill it (think popsicles or spicy anything), it will stain your teeth. Dark sauces, like balsamic vinegars or curries, will leave remnants. Even healthy fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, blueberries and beets, all contribute to the discoloring of your teeth. The point is not to knock these delicious foods completely out of your diet; just keep in mind that they are all part of the problem and take some preventative measures upon consumption.

So, now that we know which kinds of foods are slowly changing the color of our smiles, what can we do to help deflect their influences? I know first reaction is to grab a toothbrush after you partake in one of these tarnishing foods, but make sure you wait an hour so you give your weakened enamel a chance to harden again. A surprising protector of your pearly whites is lettuce. For one magical reason or another, leafy veggies leave a protective film over your teeth that actually helps prevent staining altogether. But if you don’t have any salad hanging around, taking a gulp of water or popping in a piece of stevia-based gum afterwards will also help cleanse your teeth so the stains don’t have a chance. The more saliva you have in your mouth, the cleaner your teeth will remain.

If you are looking for a brighter whiter smile, call Riverside dentist Dr. Gerald Middleton at 951-688-3442 for more information on teeth whitening. Visit the website at www.gmdental.com.