Category Archives: Oral Health

Did You Know? Toothbrush Edition | Riverside Dentist

woman brushing teethDid you know that February is National Children’s Health Month? It’s true. And we all know our little ones dislike anything that has to do with dental care. But is it important that they learn early to take care of their teeth in order to maintain a healthy smile. But not everything important needs to be boring. So, while you are teaching your tiny human that brushing twice a day, flossing and of course, frequent trips to the dentist for checkups and cleaning, throw in some of these fun dental facts to make taking care of their teeth fun:

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.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.

Don’t Let Diabetes Affect Your Smile | Riverside Dentist

Diabetes is an affliction that affects more Americans every year. Not only do most of us know someone with diabetes, but there are more complications related to it besides heart disease, nerve damage, and limb amputation. In fact, diabetes can also affect your oral health.

In 2015, 30.3 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, 7.2 million unaware they have it at all according to the National Diabetes Statistics Report. Your mouth is the window to your health, and we are trained to look closely for signs. For those of you unaware if you may have diabetes, there are certain signs and symptoms can help diagnose the disease.

Periodontal disease, an infection that affects the gum tissue and bone that hold one’s teeth in place and can lead to bad breath, abscesses and tooth loss, may be a first indicator that a person may not have control of his or her blood sugar level. Diabetics have difficulty controlling their periodontal disease. Conversely, people with periodontal disease have difficulty controlling their diabetes. If we are able to control the periodontal disease, then blood sugar levels are easier to control.

Diabetes also makes people more prone to other dental problems, including oral infections, thrush and dry mouth. A small amount of plaque on a non-diabetic patient may lead to gingivitis, but on a diabetic patient it may lead to rapid bone loss and the loss of teeth. We recommend regular dental visits to regulate the disease’s impact on your dental and overall health.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.

Do I Really Need to Use Mouthwash? | Riverside Dentist

Two of the most common dental problems for patients is tooth decay (cavities) and periodontal disease (gum disease). While they sound very different, they both have a common cause: bacteria within the mouth. While many people realize that mouthwash is effective as a breath-freshener, it can also save your teeth and gums.

Tooth decay is typically caused by acid produced when bacteria consumes food particles and sugars within the mouth. Similarly, periodontal disease occurs when bacterial colonies make their way beneath the gum line, causing damage to tooth roots and gum tissue, and eventual bone loss and tooth loss. In both cases, regular brushing and flossing can help remove plaque before it hardens into tartar. Mouthwash helps maintain oral health by assisting in the process of killing bacteria that isn’t physically removed by the toothbrush or floss and minimizing bacteria on the insides of your cheek and the gum tissue near your teeth.

Mouthwash has other benefits as well. Physically swishing mouthwash within your mouth can wash leftover food particles. While brushing and flossing will help remove food stuck on the surfaces of the teeth, mouthwash may dislodge food particles throughout the mouth, which reduces the available food for bacteria that eventually cause tooth decay. For this reason, it’s often advisable to use mouthwash prior to brushing – mouthwash may help loosen food particles that can be fully removed with the toothbrush.  Finally, some mouthwash contains fluoride to help strengthen tooth enamel, which will help resist cavities and minimize the chances of cracked or broken teeth.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.

Teaching Tiny Humans to Brush | Riverside Dentist

Boy brushing his teethParenting is never an easy job. We need to keep our tiny humans safe while we teach them how to navigate life in the best way they can, and this will generally come along with a struggle as they grow up. After all, they are figuring things out and when something like dental hygiene come up, the last thing they want to do is learn to do it. But when it comes to things like oral hygiene, consistency is key. However, we often find ourselves stuck in a constant struggle with children to get them to brush their teeth. If this is something that occurs whenever you try to help your little one, here are some tips that can make the process of teeth cleaning fun:

Start earlier. Timing can be a huge thing in helping your child adjust to a normal cleaning routine. Sometimes children get crankier as time goes on. With that in mind, try to start your routine earlier in the day, perhaps a little bit after dinner. This will definitely improve their mood.

Brushing together. Younger children love mimic what their parents do, so, take advantage of that habit by brushing your teeth alongside them.

Cleaning teeth to music. Music may play an important role in allowing your child to not only enjoy brushing their teeth, but sufficiently brush their teeth. Choose a song that is at least two minutes long, to ensure the brushing process is done in its full time, and then choose a song that your kid enjoys!

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.

Dental Hygiene for Mommies-to-Be | Riverside Dentist

It is an exciting time when you are expecting. Not only are you creating a tiny human in your body, but your entire life is about to change. But does EVERYTHING change when you’re having a baby? What about our day-to-day routines, like dental hygiene?

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now advises that OB-GYNs conduct basic routine oral health assessments during prenatal visits, and recommends that pregnant women see a dentist during pregnancy. Routine cleaning, x-rays, and local anesthesia have been determined to be safe during pregnancy, so standard dental procedures such as dental fillings and root canals can be handled properly during pregnancy.

Pregnant women are particularly prone to periodontal disease due to hormonal changes. Research has shown that women with periodontal disease are at higher risk of delivering pre-term, low birth weight infants. For that reason, pregnant mothers with sore, swollen, or bleeding gums should be sure to schedule a checkup and cleaning because treating gingivitis early is significantly easier than treating advanced periodontal disease.

It has also been discovered that decay-causing bacteria can be transmitted from mother to baby, so proper cleaning can help minimize the presence of bacterial colonies in the baby after birth, decreasing the likelihood of decay in the child.

Beyond routine cleaning, typical dental advice still applies: minimize sugary foods and drinks, brush with fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day, and visit a dentist twice a year for a professional checkup. These simple steps will not only apply to your pregnancy, but are also great habits going forward.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.

Why Are My Teeth Stained? | Riverside Dentist

toothbrushIf you’re tired of having yellow, stained teeth, you are not alone. Teeth whitening restores natural tooth color and bleaching whitens beyond the natural color. There are many methods available, but teeth whitening has become the most requested procedure in cosmetic dentistry today.

But, if you brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly, why are your teeth still discolored? The outer layers of your teeth get stained over the years by consumption of beverages with caffeine, soda, wine and smoking. When these outside sources of staining are left to sit on the teeth until your next brushing, the dentin on your teeth becomes yellowish or darkened.

Contributing factors to yellowing, stained teeth:

  • Tetracycline based antibiotics used before the age of 8 years old
  • Excessive exposure to fluoride as a child
  • Internal bleeding due to trauma
  • Discoloration due to a health condition
  • Natural aging- as time goes by enamel gets thinner and thinner and will get a yellowish hue
  • Soda
  • Wine
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine

As you can see, these factors just happen to be involved in our day-to-day lives. And unless you intend on stopping some of these less than healthy habits, you will need to be careful about how much you use. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to slow the process of teeth staining in between professional teeth whitening procedures. To slow the process, follow these simple rules:

  • Visit your dentist regularly for teeth cleanings
  • Rinse your mouth out with water several times throughout the day
  • Use toothpaste with whitening agents

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.

Bad Breath: Is It Treatable? | Riverside Dentist

Do you suspect you have bad breath? Perpetual bad breath may be a warning sign of gum disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

Practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or after an illness. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between teeth once a day.

See your dentist regularly. With an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning, your dentist will be able to detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor.

Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.

Drink lots of water. This will keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria.

If the odor is due to gum disease, for example, your dentist can either treat the disease or refer you to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in treating gum conditions.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.

Why a Professional Cleaning Is Necessary | Riverside Dentist

If we want to keep our smile healthy and bright, keeping up with our dental hygiene is an important of our daily routine. By regularly cleaning our teeth, we prevent oral bacterial infections that lead to complications in other parts of our body, such as the brain, lungs, heart and so on.

Something else we can do to maintain our oral health all year round is to visit the dentist regularly for professional cleanings twice a year. There are two reasons why you’ll want to have your teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office – to prevent tooth loss and to prevent oral infections from infecting other parts of your body.

In a way, professional dental cleanings help level the playing field. It helps remove most of the plaque and tartar responsible for the infection, so that your body’s immune system won’t have to fight them off on its own. This then lowers your mouth’s risk for gum disease.

Before and during the procedure, the dentist will explain to you the status of your oral health, like why your teeth are sensitive or why your gums are bleeding, and what’s going to be done to help remedy your situation. In some cases, such as when you already have gum disease, your dentist may recommend deep cleaning, or scaling and root planning. This type of treatment is more thorough than a regular dental cleaning. This is type of cleaning is necessary when there are already large amounts of tartar and bacteria under your gums.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.

Myth Busters: Mouthwash Edition | Riverside Dentist

As much as we hate to admit it, some of our favorite foods leave us with some of the worst breath. We enjoy our garlic, onions and coffee, and the dragon breath that follows is completely worth it. Pop in a stick of gum and we’re good. What if I told you it’s all a myth, that mouthwash isn’t helping you out with bad breath at all? Sorry to have to break the news, but it’s true.

So, what causes bad breath? While there are a few medical conditions that can cause bad breath, poor dental hygiene is generally what causes everyday cases of it. We naturally produce saliva to help our mouth maintain a healthy pH balance and break up all the built-up bacteria, giving us bad breath.

Okay, let’s look at mouthwash. We know for a fact that mouthwash is full of alcohol, some as much as 25 percent. We also know that alcohol dehydrates us. So, by default, mouthwash is also dehydrating. Now, if mouthwash dehydrates us, we are not producing enough saliva. Not enough saliva, our pH balance is thrown off and bacteria is allowed to collect. Mouthwash is actually doing the complete opposite of what we thought!

Now, what do we do? Drink water. The more you drink, the more saliva you’re producing. Brush and floss a couple times a day, and tongue scrape at least once daily. If you are in a jam, munching on an apple or a stick of gum will do the trick.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.

Gingivitis: What You Need to Know | Riverside Dentist

Woman Smiling

If you know anything, you know that proper dental care will prevent major dental issues from arising. One of these dental issues that can lead to more is gingivitis. According to the ADA, gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, usually caused by a bacterial infection. Doesn’t seem so bad, right? The problem is, if left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis and can cause tooth loss.

Your gums attach to the teeth at a lower point than what we can see. This small space is called a sulcus where food can get trapped and cause an infection or gingivitis as your gums separate from the teeth. This can cause injury to the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth, causing the tooth to become loose and unstable. If infection progresses, you may ultimately lose your tooth or need a dentist to remove it.

Now that you know what happens, take a look at common symptoms. Know what to look for can help keep your smile healthy.

  • Gums that are red, tender, or swollen
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Foul-smelling breath, even after you brush your teeth

The good news is gingivitis can be prevented by proper and consistent oral hygiene, so keep a balanced diet and visit the dentist regularly. And of course, brush your teeth twice daily and floss. Prevention is key to keeping your smile bright and healthy.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.