Category Archives: Oral Health

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.

My Child Has Shark Teeth? | Riverside Dentist

Pediatric DentistryIt doesn’t happen to everyone, but from time to time, the permanent set of teeth comes in before the baby teeth falls out. If it’s your child’s teeth, you may think there is cause of concern. Don’t worry, it may seem strange, but it isn’t abnormal. It is okay for the permanent teeth to erupt before the baby tooth falls out. The permanent tooth will slowly make the roots of the baby 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.

There are a couple of age groups affected by this dental issue, often referred to as shark teeth – it happens mostly in the lower front teeth for kids who are six years old. This may also happen to the upper molars, usually in children aged 11. There’s not an exact explanation as to explain why shark teeth happens. Sometimes the roots of the baby teeth don’t dissolve normally like the permanent teeth do. Sometimes overcrowding that takes place in the jaws. And since the baby teeth eventually fall in time, there’s little need for professional intervention.

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.

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.

The “Sugar” in Sugar-Free Gum | Riverside Dentist

Do like chewing gum? Is it a sugar-free brand? Have you ever wondered if the advantages of sugar-free gum are actually benefiting your teeth? It turns out, many of those products actually do work, and it is because of a common sugar replacement called Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, a natural, sweet substance often used to sweeten foods without the caloric impact of sugar. While Xylitol is sweet, it doesn’t have the same impact on your body as sugar.

Cavity-causing bacteria needs to feed on sugar, but it cannot feed on Xylitol. Chewing sugar-free gum containing Xylitol not only doesn’t feed these damaging bacteria, but it allows your body to wash away the sugar by producing more saliva. Over time, fewer and fewer bacteria will live in the mouth, and less plaque will form.

Gum and mint products are the most common, and most sufficient, sources of Xylitol for dental impact. If Xylitol is listed as the first ingredient, it likely has enough to actually decrease decay-causing bacteria over time if chewed regularly, perhaps 3-5 times per day for 5 minutes at a time.

Xylitol has been approved as safe by the US FDA and World Health Organization, but should be taken in moderation. While common in foods such as gum and mints, care should be taken, as too much Xylitol can be difficult for your body to digest. Chewing gum a few times per day is a cheap, simple way to keep your teeth clean, while fighting off cavities.

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.

No More Excuses for Those Snack Attacks! | Riverside Dentist

There you are, standing in front of the fridge or pantry, craving something to snack on. Then the thought hits, “but aren’t you trying to watch your diet?” It is important to understand that if we intend to stick to our good healthy diets, we need to re-calibrate some of the excuses we come up with to justify our poor snack decisions.

Sweet or salty, it’s no question some of our favorite snacks are not exactly the best options. “We’re at our most creative when we’re trying to justify giving in to a craving,” says David Colbert, MD, a coauthor of The High School Reunion Diet. So, it’s no wonder we can fully convince ourselves of that bag of chips or candies when the craving is unbearable.

The saying holds true: ‘We want what we can’t have’. The more we keep ourselves from a craving, the easier it is to justify indulging. Instead of depriving yourself of your favorite snacks, try enjoying them as a reward for a goal you’ve set for yourself. When you wait to indulge, you’re probably in less of an impulsive mind-set and in more of a reflective, ready-to-savor one. Not only will you be able to enjoy your favorite snack, but you will also be working towards goals bettering yourself. And if that’s too much for you to handle, try a healthier option for that snack. There are plenty of snacks out there that can satiate that desire.

Here’s something you may not know about your chocolate craving: Research shows that chocolate’s comforting effect lasts only three minutes. Is it really worth it?

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.