Is Mouthwash Necessary? | Dentist in Riverside, CA

It’s tough to turn down a slice of pizza or a piping hot cup of coffee. They are just so delicious, but they leave our breath quite brutal. Use bit of mouthwash & we’re good…right? What if I told you mouthwash isn’t helping your bad breath at all? Sorry, but it’s true.

While there are a few medical conditions that can cause bad breath, poor dental hygiene is generally what causes everyday cases of it. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, it is easy for plaque and harmful bacteria to collect and multiply inside of our mouths. That’s where our saliva comes in. We naturally produce saliva to help our mouth maintain a healthy pH balance. Saliva is our natural line of defense against bad breath.

Now 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 collects. Mouthwash is actually doing the complete opposite of what we thought!

There were once claims that mouthwash could replace your daily dental routine. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mouthwash cannot remove plaque. Nothing liquid can remove plaque. It needs to be removed by physically removing it with a toothbrush and floss. If you aren’t doing either of those, the plaque remains on your teeth and the mouthwash cannot get to the bacteria in order to kill 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 and all surrounding areas.

Odd Ways You May Be Damaging Your Teeth | Dentist in Riverside, CA

Let’s face it – we are very busy people. And many times, getting things done is more important than our oral health. Here are five unexpected dental culprits—and the best ways to stop them from damaging your teeth:

Cardio. Some are breathing a sigh of relief, but a study has found that long cardio workouts may take a toll on your teeth.

The fix? Brushing before you exercise and rinsing your mouth after consuming anything sugary or acidic. Chewing sugar-free gum can boost saliva production.

Weights. It’s a natural tendency to clench your jaw when you strain to lift weights. That pressure can wear down your teeth or even crack them.

The fix? If you bite down hard when you exert yourself in the gym, consider wearing a mouthguard.

Medications. Hundreds of meds for allergies, depression, heart health, and blood pressure cause dry mouth.

The fix? Chewing on sugar-free gum and sucking on sugar-free hard candy throughout the day will help stimulate saliva production. Stay away from sugary and acidic foods that encourage decay and erosion.

Heartburn. The acid from your digestive system can wind up in your mouth, dissolving your enamel just like the acid from soda or sports drinks.

The fix? If your dentist finds erosion on the teeth located at the back of your mouth, acid reflux is most likely the culprit. Ask your physician how to tackle your heartburn.

Mealtime hygiene. Brushing after eating acidic foods—like juice, fruit, sports drinks, red wine, and soda—can weaken enamel.

The fix? Swish with water to rinse away the acid and wait 40 minutes to brush.

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.

Why a Good Diet Is a Good Idea | Riverside, CA

We all want to live our healthiest, happiest lives. So, we try to go to the gym and eat healthy, in hope that doing these things will ensure our overall happiness. But what if I told you that having a great diet can also improve your dental health, namely gum disease. And since gum disease affects most adults in their lifetime, keeping this in mind as you prepare your body for greatness will be worthwhile for a few reasons.

The New York Times reported a study done with 30 patients with gingivitis, or the beginning stages of gum disease, to an anti-inflammatory diet full of fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish. And before you stop continuing to read, trans fats, sugar, dairy and other animal by-products were still involved but kept to a minimum. In addition to these healthy foods, vitamin D was also given on a daily basis. To add to this study, both patients on said diet and those not were told not to use floss or other methods to get gunk from between their teeth.

The results? After eight weeks, not only were the dieters way healthier than they were, but their bleeding was minimal compared to the non-dieters. But, keep in mind that there weren’t any differences in plaque development or inflammation blood markers between the two groups.

So, what did we learn from all this? It is important to keep a healthy diet in our lives in order to live our best lives, but it is also important when it comes to keeping a healthy mouth. And who doesn’t want a great dental checkup?

Study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

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.

Don’t Dodge the Dentist | Dentist in Riverside, CA

According to recent statistics, more than 51 million hours of school are lost each year by children due to dental related illnesses. As for adults, statistics have proven that employed adults lose more that 164 million hours of work each year due to oral health problems. That is a lot of hours! Not only can a student’s grades slip, but all the time missed could lead to issues at work. How do we prevent this from happening? Visit the dentist. I know it sounds simple but having regular dental cleanings can drastically reduce these dental issues by about fifty percent!

To put it very basically, getting your teeth professionally cleaned and examined is your way of taking preventative measures to ensuring that your dental health is the best it can be. Because you can brush your teeth all you want, but if you aren’t doing it correctly or enough, it will show. These teeth cleanings will fully examine your oral hygiene in order to suggest any changes that may need to be made. If you are a patient that only visits the dentist when something is hurting, you can not only be causing further dental issues, but even more conditions to your overall health. After all, your mouth is the first line of defense for your entire body. In order to avoid the life-threatening consequence of poor oral health, make sure to pay your dental professional a visit at least twice a year. Thorough teeth cleanings will enhance your smile and ensure you and your child remain in school and at work!

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.

Waking Up Without Coffee | Riverside Dentist

We all know that coffee causes our teeth to stain. But did you know that it can also 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.

The ABCs of Thumb Sucking | Riverside Dentist

As parents, we always want our children to be safe and happy, so we do everything we can to give them everything they want within reason and make sure they are always out of harm’s way. But there is one issue some children develop that skates under the radar of most parents – thumb sucking.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), thumb sucking, or finger sucking, is a natural reflex that’s seen even during an infant’s development in the womb that can be soothing and may help your child feel secure and happy. The habit may also help to induce sleep, so it isn’t uncommon for toddlers and infants to suck their thumbs as they fall asleep. But when is enough, enough?

The ADA recommends that the best time to start discouraging thumb sucking behavior in children is by the age of four. Not only because they are getting to be school age, but prolonged sucking could affect your child’s developing jaw and teeth and cause permanent teeth to become misaligned. In fact, the constant pressure of the sucking motion will begin to have an effect on the mouth and teeth. The front teeth, for example, may protrude, leading to ‘buck teeth’. The child’s bite may also become open, a dental disorder where the upper and lower front teeth cannot touch. Even worse, thumb sucking will begin to have an effect on the alignment of not only the permanent teeth, but also the secondary ones. In these cases, a general dentist will usually provide a referral to an orthodontist or pediatric dentist. If necessary, the dental professional may prescribe a crib, which is a dental appliance placed in the roof of the mouth to help discourage thumb sucking. The bite will then eventually correct itself if the habit is stopped in time.

The best way to discourage thumb sucking is to ignore the behavior. Once they’re exposed to various social situations, children eventually figure out on their own that this behavior is not typical. If you notice that your child is continuing to rely on thumb sucking, consider these tips to prevent future damage:

  • Have your child use a pacifier instead. Sucking on pacifiers is easier to discourage and are also easier to take away.
  • Create a chart and reward system to help keep track of your child’s progress for quitting.
  • Encourage and praise your child once you see them make an effort to stop.
  • Schedule a consultation with your child’s dentist.

Whatever you choose to do to discourage thumb sucking in your child, always remember to use positive reinforcement. It’s been proven that children are more likely to respond to positivity, praise and encouragement. Resorting to criticism and nagging may cause your child to become anxious and worsen the problem.

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.

Celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month | Riverside Dentist

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 have you ever thought about how it came to be? February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, so while you are teaching your little one to brush their teeth, teach them a little history of the toothbrush:

Ancient Egyptians are widely regarded as the first group of people to use a toothbrush, constructing one made of twigs and leaves to clean their teeth. By the 15th century, the Chinese had begun using a toothbrush that closely resembles what we use today. 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 about while 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 and went on to make a fortune once released.

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, including the development of toothbrushes made of recyclable materials.

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.

Prevent Tooth Decay Five Ways | Riverside Dentist

Keeping a healthy, bright smile isn’t an easy task. Well, let’s say that again – keeping a healthy, bright smile isn’t difficult if you keep up with the daily basics of dental hygiene – brushing, flossing and rinsing. But it doesn’t just stop there. It takes a village to raise a child, and a healthy smile. The following are five tips to help prevent tooth decay:

Dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing properly, along with regular dental checkups, can help prevent tooth decay and gum diseases. Brushing your teeth three times a day makes your teeth stronger.

Regular professional cleanings. It is very important to seek the help of a dentist since they know a lot about it. They know what to do and where to focus on your teeth.

Dietary snacks. It is good to limit sweet snacks as excessive intake of sweets alters’ your blood sugar. If you avoid snacks, you may be depriving your body of nutrition from food. Good snacks should include healthy proteins and fats.

Fluoride therapy. When you have treated your smile with fluoride, you are doing your first steps to preventing the tooth decay that causes cavities. Fluoride therapy involves fluoride supplementation using water, salt, tablets or drops which are swallowed. When the public water supplies aren’t fluoridated, tablets and/or drops are used as a substitute.

Dental sealant. It is the dental treatment that consists of plastic material that covers one or more teeth, for preventing of cavities and tooth decay. Dental sealants are applied in a dentist’s office.

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.

MythBusters: Cavities Edition | Riverside Dentist

Cavities are perhaps the most treatable and preventable dental issue in the world. That being said, there are a lot of ways in which cavities have been brought upon, and while some are completely true others are myths. Here’s a breakdown on what are facts and what are fiction when it comes to cavities.

Exposure to acidic foods causes tooth decay.

Fact. Acidic foods such as lemons, citrus juices, or soft fruit drink don’t cause cavities, but they put enamel in danger. Acids may cause erosion of the tooth protecting enamel, thus weakening the tooth. At the same time, acidic foods naturally help to clean off our teeth and brighten it a bit. With acidic foods, stick to keeping them to a minimum.

Children are more likely to get cavities than adults.

Fiction. While it would seem to be that the rookies to dental hygiene and lovers of sweets are more susceptible to cavities, but there has been an increase in cavities found in older people. Many times, it is because there are some medications dry out the mouth and reduce saliva. Saliva is vital in fighting tooth decay because it helps neutralize acids.

Sugar is the prime cause of cavities.

Trick question – this is both true and false. It is actually the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities, however, sugar is a substance that fuels bacteria to keep doing what they’re doing. Think of it as bacteria food. The longer you leave it in your mouth, the longer the bacteria have to dine on it and cause 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 and all surrounding areas.

Flossing Isn’t Just a Slang Term | Riverside Dentist

If there’s anything in our daily dental routine that we find a chore, it has to be flossing. So much so, when you go in for your regular dental checkup and cleaning, your dentist can actually tell when you have or haven’t been doing your due diligence. What you may fail to realize is that flossing is more than just picking leftover food out of our teeth. It plays a key role in preventing many dental issues we may encounter in the future. So, let’s get reacquainted with our dental friend, the floss…

Flossing is merely the act of wrapping a piece of string around your teeth, one by one, in order to remove any bacteria and excess material stuck between each tooth. Whether you choose dental floss or the flossing devices available on the market now, you need help reaching all of your teeth or working your way around complicated places your toothbrush can’t reach.

To floss, cut yourself a piece of floss about 18 inches long. Wrap both sides around your fingers until you have a good two inches separating either side. Pull it taut between your thumb and index finger and guide the floss in between each tooth, gently scrubbing all the spaces between your teeth. Use a new area of floss for every tooth, and work from top to bottom or vice versa. Flossing before or after you brush doesn’t matter – you just want to get the cleanest mouth you possibly can each time you clean those pearly whites so that bacteria can’t settle in to cause cavities or some other kind of gum disease while you aren’t looking.

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.