Category Archives: Teeth

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.

Are Shark Teeth Something to Worry About? | Riverside Dentist

Pediatric DentistryWe all want what’s best for our children. And unfortunately, there are some thing we can’t control. One of these things is our child’s teeth. So, you can imagine it’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 have a lot of questions about why they are doing this and if it’s okay. Let’s get through some of the basics to set your mind at ease:

While not normal, it is okay for the permanent teeth to erupt before the baby tooth falls out. If this happens, the permanent tooth 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. So, you see? No harm, no foul.

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

  • The roots of the baby teeth don’t dissolve normally like the permanent teeth do, so the permanent teeth erupting from behind them.
  • Overcrowding that takes place in the jaws.
  • A deviation is occurring, ensuring that the teeth aren’t going to grow naturally.

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 after a few weeks, an occurrence known as retained baby 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.

When You Lose a Tooth | Riverside Dentist

Woman SmilingBelieve it or not, but millions of Americans will lose one or more teeth due to some combination of tooth decay, gingivitis, and physical trauma. Despite the prevalence of dentists and dental care, it’s still quite common for patients of all ages to suffer tooth loss of one or more teeth. While brushing, flossing, and routine professional cleanings are very effective at combating tooth decay and gingivitis, it is unfortunately quite common for patients to neglect professional cleaning, and teeth need to be removed.

In cases where the tooth must be removed, patients are typically left with a handful of options: either create fake teeth that cover the area, or replace the tooth with a combination of synthetic root and crown using a dental implant. While dentures and bridges have their advantages and disadvantages, implants are often recommended by dentists for a variety of reasons:

  • Closely match the appearance of natural teeth
  • Allow for natural eating, drinking, and speaking
  • Very comfortable, nearly indistinguishable from a normal tooth
  • Quite durable, often lasting decades

Dental implants are replacement tooth roots, often made of titanium, and fixed permanently into the bone of the tooth socket. The dentist then attaches a crown – often porcelain or ceramic above the titanium post, providing a structure that looks and feels almost exactly the same as a normal tooth, but without any natural tooth material. The implant can be brushed and flossed as if it were a normal tooth, but the crown surface is impervious to decay, and when properly installed, the titanium post will last for decades.

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.

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.

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.

Things on Your Toothbrush Aren’t Always Toothpaste | Riverside Dentist

toothbrushThere is one hygienic tool we interact with on a daily basis. In fact, if we are using it correctly, we use it on a couple of occasions throughout the day. That handy tool? The toothbrush. Manual or electric, soft or hard bristles, our toothbrush not only keeps our smiles bright, but it also affects our overall health. Unfortunately, there may be things left on your toothbrush after these cleanings you may not notice after the rinse.

Blood. When you brush your teeth, it is not uncommon to find traces of blood from time to time. It may be the way you are brushing, it may be something more serious, like the beginnings of gum disease. So, if you find that you have begun bleeding during a tooth-brushing session, make sure you rinse your toothbrush well so it doesn’t remain there until next time

E.Coli. We don’t want to bring up anything gross, but there is the likelihood of fecal matter being on your toothbrush. What’s worse is that dangerous bacteria, like E. Coli, can come along with it. If you brush with a toothbrush that has E. Coli on it, it can make you very sick.

Staphylococcus Aureus. These bacteria live in our respiratory systems and on our skin. While rare, if conditions are just right, it can lead to a MRSA infection.

Keep your toothbrush bacteria-free with these few tips:

  • Don’t let anyone use your toothbrush.
  • Let your toothbrush air-dry upright.
  • Store your toothbrush at least six feet from your toilet.
  • Replace every 3-4 months.

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.

Before You Have That Second Cup of Joe, Read This | Riverside Dentist

If you are a coffee drinker, you may want to think twice before you grab another cup. Not only does coffee stain your teeth, but it can contribute to the buildup of plaque and tartar, and accelerate the progression of periodontal disease. Don’t worry, periodontal disease is actually one of the most common dental problems in general dentistry, but it isn’t something you want to acquire.

There are two forms of periodontal disease: gingivitis – an inflammation of your gums caused by plaque, and periodontitis – a more advanced version of gingivitis that results in a gap between your teeth and your gums. Gum disease, when caught in the gingivitis stage, can be treated and prevented. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is more difficult to treat because of the resulting gap between the teeth and gums. If left untreated, periodontal disease may cause your teeth to become loose and fall out.

Now let’s look at how it comes into play with your coffee consumption. Coffee affects your mouth in two ways. First, it lowers the temperature of your mouth and gums. Second, it reduces the blood flow. The combination of lowered temperature and restricted blood flow means your gums do not get the oxygen needed to function properly.

Saliva contains oxygen and specialized enzymes which help prevent gum disease by killing the unnecessary bacteria in your mouth. However, drinking coffee causes dehydration and reduces the amount of saliva you produce, increasing your chances of developing gum disease. So, when you are thinking about that second caffeine boost, make sure you take good care of your teeth afterwards.

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.