Category Archives: Preventive Dentistry

Protect Your Teeth from Summer Fun | Riverside Dentist

As we are smack dab in the middle of summer, it is important that we know that while we are having summer fun in the sun, our teeth can be affected if we aren’t careful. Not only by eating too many sweets and neglecting our dental hygiene routines, but through physical activities we indulge in during these warm summer months.

Patients who have a tooth knocked out can anticipate upwards of $20,000 worth of lifetime dental costs associated with just that one tooth. In addition to these expenses, the person can suffer through lost work time, emotional and psychological scars and pain. An easy way to prevent these accidents from happening is to use a mouthguard when playing physical sports. But which is best for your needs?

Boil and bite. “Boil and bite” mouth guards are not thick enough in the most vulnerable areas and do not provide optimum protection in the prevention of dental injuries and concussions. This is unfortunate because athletes and their parents purchase these items expecting a certain level of protection, despite their inexpensive advantage.

Custom-fitted. These guards can be somewhat more expensive, but they are made to fit very accurately to the mouth with minimal interference to speech, breathing and swallowing. These types of guards can be made to an ideal thickness in order to properly reduce or prevent dental injuries and concussions.

Performance. A third mouth guard is the so-called “performance mouth guard” utilize the repositioning of the bite to better align the athlete’s head, neck and spine for this increased strength.

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 and all surrounding areas.

How to Prevent Bad Breath | Riverside Dentist

Do you suspect you have bad breath? If so, it might be an indication of other problems and not just a lack of proper oral hygiene. With perpetual bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) 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.

Bad breath can be reduced or prevented if you:

  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between teeth once a day. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth the next morning.
  • See your dentist regularly. They 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.
  • Drink lots of water. This will keep your mouth moist. Using sugarless gum or candies can stimulate saliva production, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Gums and mints containing xylitol are best.
  • Keep a log of the foods you eat. Bring the log and a list of medications to your dentist for review.

In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family doctor or to a specialist to determine the odor source and treatment plan.

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.

Is Chewing Gum Good for My Smile? | Riverside Dentist

We all know we shouldn’t consume a lot of sugary snacks if we want our smiles to remain healthy. Have you ever stopped to think – is choosing sugar-free gum even necessary? It turns out, many sugar-free products 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; happily, it cannot feed on Xylitol. Chewing sugar-free gum containing Xylitol not only prevents 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.

The good news is, gum and mint products are the most common sources of Xylitol for dental impact. If Xylitol is listed as the first ingredient, it likely has enough to decrease decay-causing bacteria over time if chewed regularly. How much is regularly? Even as much as 3-5 times per day for 5 minutes at a time.

Xylitol has been approved as safe by the U.S. FDA and World Health Organization but should be taken in moderation. Too much Xylitol can be difficult for your body to digest. However, chewing gum a few times per day is a cheap, simple way to keep your teeth clean, while fighting off cavities, making it a great snack to enjoy.

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.

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.

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.