When Medical Conditions Give You a Headache | Dentist in Riverside, CA

When we think about our health, we often overlook our smile, but we really need to rethink this point of view. Our mouths are the first line of defense to many of our health issues, so maintaining good dental health is imperative to our overall health. But it also can work in the opposite direction – certain health conditions can affect your dental health.

One instance of this is diabetes – patients with poorly controlled diabetes can have very severe dental problems. The lack of blood supply can contribute to infections in the gums and bones beneath teeth, and high blood sugar can cause dry mouth, where the resulting lack of saliva contributes to an increase in bacterial buildup and tooth decay.

Sleep apnea, a medical condition where the body tissue often blocks the airway, causing significant sleep problems, can cause dry mouth leading to bacterial buildup and tooth decay, jaw fatigue leading to TMJ disorders, and in some cases bruxism (tooth grinding), which wears down tooth enamel, and can cause tooth loss as teeth are damaged during sleep.

But don’t worry – there is plenty of hope. Keeping up a healthy diet can contribute to a healthy mouth. Avoiding foods high in sugar and acid can help minimize your risk of tooth decay, and maintaining sufficient calcium is necessary for bone and tooth health. Couple that with brushing, flossing, and regular cleaning, and you have healthy teeth and gums. So, if you’re having medical issues, mention them to your dentist – it may help in diagnosing and treating problems they see within your mouth.

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 Be Scared of the Dental Chair | Riverside Dentist

dental fear

Does the thought of having your teeth worked on make you anxious or uncomfortable? Do the sight of needles and the sound of dental drills make you cringe? Now imagine if you could have everything done while you nap comfortably and awake to not remembering anything from the procedure. By the use of oral conscious sedation, we can do this for you.

One the day of your dental appointment, your dentist will prescribe the appropriate medication in a pill form that you will take in his office before your treatment. Most oral sedation dentistry patients nap through their visit and leave feeling relaxed, healthy, and well cared for. This can benefit a wide range of patients, including people with:

  • High dental anxiety and fear
  • A severe gag reflex
  • Difficulty getting numb
  • Extensive treatment needs
  • A desire to have dentistry done comfortably while they are fully relaxed

The good thing is, your dental experience can be virtually painless when you have been given a bit of Nitrous Oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas. This mild sedative inhalant will put you in a euphoric state of relaxation and will help make the dental procedures much easier for you to handle.

We understand that going to the dentist can be very difficult for some people. Dental phobia is actually a lot more common than you may think. It is estimated that about 15% of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of this reason. Rest at ease – your dental professional can help ease your fears. Just let them know you have an issue.

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.

Mouth Guards: Do You Need One? | Dentist in Riverside, CA

Regardless of the sport, we all enjoy a good game. If you are the athlete, it is important to not only help your team win but stay healthy in the process. Because injury is so prevalent, various equipment is created in order to protect your body from serious injury. One of these protective pieces of sports equipment is the mouthguard.

Just for a quick point of reference, young athletes who have a tooth knocked out can anticipate upwards of $20,000 worth of lifetime dental costs associated with just that one tooth. This is why it is important to protect those pearly whites from any injury. But with so many versions available, which is best for you?

While the store-bought, or “boil and bite”, varieties are relatively inexpensive and represent over 90 percent of the mouth guards purchased today, they can also fit poorly and interfere with speech, breathing and swallowing, making them less likely to be worn.

Athletes can also see a dentist for a custom-fit mouth guard. These guards can be somewhat more expensive, but they are made to fit very accurately to the athlete’s 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.

A third area of the mouth guard industry is the performance mouth guard, designed as much for increased strength, balance and overall improved athletic performance, as it is for tooth protection. These guards utilize repositioning of the bite to better align the athletes 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 Did I Get Gingivitis? | Riverside Dentist

woman brushing teeth

No one wants to hear bad news from the dentist, but gingivitis is one of those words a patient absolutely dreads hearing come out of their dentist’s mouth. We’ve all heard the word gingivitis, but how do we get it?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene, characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed. Gingivitis is not the same thing as periodontitis, although sometimes a person may be affected by both. But there are other factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth create more areas for plaque and calculus to accumulate
  • Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause cause the blood vessels in the gums to be more susceptible to bacterial and chemical attack
  • Cancer and cancer treatment
  • Stress
  • Mouth breathing can be harsh on the gums when they aren’t protected by the lips, causing chronic irritation and inflammation.
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake, will increase the formation of plaque. Also, a deficiency of important nutrients such as vitamin C will impair healing.
  • Diabetes
  • Medications, such as anti-seizure medications

While gingivitis is inflammation of the gums around the teeth, periodontal disease occurs when the bone below the gums gets inflamed or infected. Gingivitis forms when food particles mix with saliva and bacteria-plaque forms that then sticks to the surfaces of teeth. This is why it is so important to maintain proper dental hygiene. A clean, healthy mouth will keep gingivitis at bay.

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.

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.