Aging and Oral Health



As you age, it becomes even more important to take good care of your teeth and dental health. One common misconception is that losing your teeth is inevitable. This is not true. If cared for properly, your teeth can last a lifetime.

Your mouth changes as you age. The nerves in your teeth can become smaller, making your teeth less sensitive to cavities or other problems. If you don’t get regular dental exams, this in turn can lead to these problems not being diagnosed until it is too late.

If you want to feel good, stay healthy, and look great throughout life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes.


Tips for Maintaining and Improving Your Oral Health

  • Brush twice a day with a toothbrush with soft bristles. You may also benefit from using an electric toothbrush.
  • Clean between your teeth once a day with floss or another flossing tool.
  • If you wear full or partial dentures, remember to clean them on a daily basis. Take your dentures out of your mouth for at least four hours every day. It’s best to remove them at night.
  • Drink tap water. Since most contains fluoride, it helps prevent tooth decay no matter how old you are.
  • Quit smoking. Besides putting you at greater risk for lung and other cancers, smoking increases problems with gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss.
  • Visit your dentist, Dr. Frank Esfandiari regularly for a complete dental check-up.
By adopting healthy oral habits at home, making smart choices about diet and lifestyle, and seeking regular dental care, you can help your teeth last a lifetime—whether you have your natural teeth, implants or wear dentures.

If you need any further assistance, please call our Ventura dentist office today!

New Year, Healthier Mouth



What does ringing in the new year have to do with being mouth healthy?

More than you may think. Did you know that you should replace your toothbrush every three to four months? Bristles that become frayed and worn are less effective at cleaning your teeth. That means, celebrating the new year with a brand new toothbrush is actually smart dental hygiene.

  • Start brushing 2min 2x. Always brush twice a day for two minutes for healthier teeth, good breath, fewer cavities, and to avoid painful dental problems. Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
  • Floss daily. The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth daily with an interdental cleaner (like floss). Cleaning between your teeth may help prevent cavities and gum disease. Cleaning between your teeth helps remove a sticky film called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that feeds on leftover food or sugar in your mouth. When that happens, it releases an acid that can eat away at the outer shell of your teeth and cause cavities.

    Talk to your dentist, and try different options until you find the one that works best for you. For example, dental picks might help you get to hard-to-reach places. Water flossers might be a good option if you have trouble flossing by hand or have dental work that makes flossing difficult, like braces or permanent or fixed bridges. Stick with it and you’ll have adopted a healthy habit for life.
  • Chew sugarless gum. Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. The chewing of sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. For healthy living and for healthy teeth and gums, think before you eat and drink. It’s not only what you eat but when you eat that can affect your dental health. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. If you are on a special diet, keep your physician's advice in mind when choosing foods.
  • Drink fluoridated water. Fluoride helps prevent cavities by making teeth more resistant to the acid attacks that cause cavities. Fluoride is naturally found in most all water sources, rivers, lakes, wells and even the oceans. For the past 70 years, fluoride has been added to public water supplies to bring fluoride levels up to the amount necessary to help prevent tooth decay.
  • See your dentist. Regular dental visits to your dentist near you are important because they can help spot dental health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable. They also help prevent many problems from developing in the first place. If you're in Ventura, Oxnard, Westlake, or Camarillo, visiting a dental office of Dr. Frank Esfandiari regularly is also important because some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth.

A New Year's You: Dental Health Resolutions



Happy New Year! Your dental health is an important part of your overall wellness, and the New Year is a great time to create resolutions for improving your health.

Many people have dental health resolutions that range from improving their toothbrushing habits to completing delayed dental treatment. Understanding the benefits of your particular resolutions can be motivating and rewarding. Whatever your goals might be, it is important to take small steps to achieve them. Consistency is key with any resolution that you make.


Improving Toothbrushing and Flossing Habits

Perhaps you would like to improve your oral health. Daily toothbrushing and flossing is a sure and simple way to improve your oral health. For successful bacterial plaque removal, it is important to brush at least twice a day using an appropriately sized, soft-bristle, manual or electric toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, gently position the toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line and move the toothbrush across the teeth to effectively remove bacterial plaque. It is also important to floss at least once per day to remove bacterial plaque and food that has accumulated throughout the day. Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 to 4 months, as well as after you have a cold or flu or if the bristles are frayed. Daily toothbrushing and flossing help to prevent gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay and halitosis (bad breath). The daily use of antimicrobial and fluoride mouth rinses also helps to improve your oral health.


Healthier Food and Beverage Choices

An important part of achieving your dental health resolutions is making healthier food and beverage choices, especially for snacks. Frequent consumption of food and beverages containing carbohydrates and acids contributes to tooth decay, so it is important to brush after snacking. Using a Xylitol-containing gum or lozenge after a meal will also help to neutralize acids and reduce cavity-causing bacteria and plaque buildup.


Restorative Dentistry

The New Year may be the right time to start or complete deferred restorative dental work, such as crowns, implants or fillings. Completing these types of procedures will help you to preserve the tooth structure and to maintain proper tooth alignment, which could ultimately improve your oral health.


Quit Using Tobacco Products

Quitting cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use is important for improving your oral and overall health. There is no better time than the present to make a resolution to stop tobacco use. Consider free online tools, smoking cessation groups, progress-tracking apps and support from friends and family to assist you with tobacco cessation.


Routine Dental Visits

A resolution to make routine visits to our Ventura dentist office may help prevent oral disease or reveal an existing disease in its early stage. Dental visits should take place every 6 months to allow your dentist in Ventura and dental hygienists to monitor the condition of your oral cavity and develop an appropriate treatment plan to meet your wants and needs. Your dentist can refer you to a specialist for a treatment that is beyond the scope of his practice.

Keys to Controlling Bad Breath



If you’re serious about learning what’s causing your bad breath, consider scheduling an appointment with your dental professional. Given your full medical and dental history along with an oral examination, your dentist should be able to identify the culprit. The causes of bad breath are numerous and include certain foods, alcohol or cigarettes, poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, diabetes, dry mouth, sinus or throat infections, lung infections or abscesses, kidney/liver failure, gastrointestinal issues and severe dieting.


Treatment of Bad Breath

It is important to conduct thorough oral hygiene at home twice daily utilizing tooth brushing with a fluoride antibacterial toothpaste and flossing to remove food debris and plaque on teeth, bridgework and implants, and brushing the tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria. A published study reported that tongue and tooth brushing in combination with dental flossing significantly decreased bleeding of the gum tissue over a two week period of time as well as reduced bad breath. Another clinical study conducted by the University of Buffalo dental researchers confirmed that brushing twice a day with an antibacterial toothpaste and using a tooth brush with a tongue cleaner can eliminate bad breath.


Tongue Cleaning is the Key to Fresher, Cleaner Breath

Cleaning your tongue is very important. You can purchase a Colgate 360 toothbrush with the tongue cleaner on the back of the toothbrush for cleaning both your teeth and tongue. After tooth brushing your upper and lower teeth with an antibacterial toothpaste, flip the toothbrush over to the tongue cleaner and place the tongue cleaner in the posterior region of the tongue and move it forward to the anterior section of the tongue. After you have scraped that portion of the tongue, rinse the tongue brush off with warm water to remove any odor causing bacteria. Then replace the tongue brush in the next posterior section again and repeat as described above again.

Consult your dentist or dental hygienist when choosing oral hygiene aids to help you eliminate plaque and odor causing bacteria and review the techniques that should be utilized at home. Also, ask your dental professional what oral hygiene care products they would consider you use to help eliminate bad breath (antibacterial toothpaste, antiseptic mouth rinse, tongue brushes or scrapers and interproximal cleaning devices). The key to a clean, fresh mouth is optimal oral hygiene conducted at home on a regular basis and professional recommendations discussed with you by your dentist.

Caring For Your Dental Implants



Dental implants have been used successfully for many years. Your implant should last for a very long time if you take the following points to heart.


Smoking

This is one of the greatest risks for implant-related complications. You should therefore try to quit smoking.


Oral Hygiene

Thoroughly cleaning and caring for the implant during all steps of the treatment is extremely important. Careful attention to your oral hygiene every day is important for the survival of your implant.




Maintenance

Visiting your dental practice for regular checkups (recalls) is just as important. You and your dental team have to decide how often these visits should take place, but they are usually at intervals of 3 to 6 months. At these visits, your implants, teeth, and gums are checked and professionally cleaned, including the areas you cannot reach at home. Professional cleaning of implants is more complex than cleaning teeth, which means that it takes longer and may require special instruments.

Mucositis and peri-implantitis can develop without any obvious symptoms. This is another reason why regular checkups with your dentist are so important. Mucositis and peri-implantitis do not usually cause pain, so patients often fail to notice the development of these diseases.

Periodontal Disease: Causes and Prevention



What Is It?

Periodontitis is a term used to describe a group of conditions that involves inflammation of the gums and other structures that support the teeth. Periodontitis is caused by bacteria found in dental plaque and often, but not always, starts as gingivitis.

In trying to eliminate the bacterial infection, your body produces substances that destroy the structures that hold the teeth in the jaw, including the periodontal ligament and underlying bone. As this process continues, the teeth become loose. Pockets form between the teeth and gums, allowing more bacteria to accumulate. Left untreated, periodontitis can result in tooth loss.

Periodontitis usually is relatively painless. The onset of significant pain may signal the development of an abscess.

Older adults are more likely to have periodontitis.

People who smoke are four to seven times more likely than nonsmokers to get periodontitis. Smoking may impair the body's defense against bacteria.


Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Reddened, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Loose Teeth
  • Bad breath
  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth
However, many people are unaware of these symptoms or do not believe they are signs of a serious problem.


Diagnosis

Your Ventura dentist, Dr. Frank Esfandiari will examine your mouth, paying special attention to your gums and teeth. If you have periodontitis, a dental probeinserted between your tooth and your gums will penetrate deeper than it normally would.

Your dentist may also test for loose teeth. Teeth have a normal range of mobility, but in people with periodontitis, the teeth are looser due to the destruction of the fibers and bone supporting the teeth.

Your dentist may also order X-rays to help diagnose periodontitis. These can be compared with older X-rays to see if changes have occurred in your teeth and gums.


Expected Duration

Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis cannot be completely reversed. In some situations, the supporting fibers and bone that have been lost can be regenerated. In most cases, however, particularly in advanced stages of the disease, the effects are permanent. However, treatment and improved oral hygiene at any stage can improve the health of your gums and prevent further destruction.


Prevention

Daily brushing and flossing (morning and night) and regular visits for professional cleaning can help prevent periodontitis or allow you to have it treated during its earliest stages. If you smoke, quitting will reduce your risk significantly.


Treatment

Treatment depends on how severe your periodontitis is. Dentists classify the disease as mild, moderate or severe.

Mild periodontitis is usually treated first with a thorough cleaning called scaling and root planing. Scaling removes plaque or calculus that has accumulated on the crowns of your teeth (the parts that show) and slightly below the gum line. Root planing has two purposes: 1) to remove plaque or calculus from the roots of your teeth and 2) to smooth the roots of the teeth, making it more difficult for bacteria to cling to them. This, combined with good oral hygiene at home, often is enough for successful treatment.

Moderate periodontitis may require more than scaling and root planing. Typically, your dentist will scale and root-plane your teeth. If this does not take care of the problem, he or she may decide that you need surgical treatment. Surgery can involve reshaping the gums to fit the teeth (resective surgeries) or encouraging lost bone to regrow (regenerative surgeries). Your dentist will decide whether you will need surgery and what type you need.

Severe periodontitis likely will require surgical intervention and, in some instances, antibiotics. At this stage of disease, tooth loss is a distinct possibility.

No matter which treatment you undergo, you should start a strict regimen of brushing and flossing to help restore your teeth to health.


When To Call Your Ventura Dentist

The best course of action is to get regular dental checkups. If you have persistent bleeding or swelling of your gums or notice loose teeth, call your dentist.


Prognosis

The outlook is good if the disease is recognized early and treated aggressively. Once bone loss occurs, the prognosis depends on the severity of the loss. Quitting smoking is very important for periodontal therapy to be successful. Lifelong maintenance will be required once the disease is controlled.

New Year's Resolutions For A Healthy Smile



You might have already started about your New Year's resolutions for a healthy smile. Maybe it's to save more money, get a better job or lose some weight. Many people set new goals about having a healthy lifestyle in 2019.

Whatever your goals might be, it is important to take small steps to achieve them. Consistency is key with any resolution that you make.

Your dental health is an important part of your overall wellness, and the New Year is a great time to create resolutions for improving your health.

Healthy resolutions can keep your teeth healthy, and any of the following strategies will go a long way toward giving you a brighter, healthier smile in the coming year:


Quit Smoking or Using Other Tobacco Products

Using tobacco can harm your mouth in a number of ways, increasing your risk for tooth discoloration, cavities, gum recession, gum disease and throat, lung and oral cancer. Smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth as non-smokers. It’s not just smoking tobacco that has negative effects on your oral health: use of smokeless tobacco can be just as harmful to your oral health. The good news is that the risk of tooth loss decreases after you quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco.


Limit Your Alcohol Intake

You may already know that excessive alcohol intake can have an effect on your overall health, but did you know that it may also affect your oral health? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, those who smoke, eat poorly and consume excessive alcohol also have increased gum recession (periodontal pocketing). Their studies show that smokers who regularly consume alcohol are less likely to brush their teeth on a regular basis and are less concerned about their basic health than nonsmokers.


Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

Eating well is important for your dental health. Poor nutrition can affect the entire immune system, increasing susceptibility to many common oral disorders, including gum (periodontal) disease. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums. In addition, crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.


Brush at Least Twice a Day and Floss at Least Once a Day

Brushing and flossing protect your teeth from decay and gum disease, which is caused by your teeth’s most persistent enemy, plaque – a sticky, colorless, invisible film of harmful bacteria that builds up on your teeth every day. Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health: according to the Academy of General Dentistry, only flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gumline, where decay and gum disease often begins.

Without proper brushing and flossing, you may develop bleeding gums, which may worsen to severely swollen, red, bleeding gums (gingivitis) and, eventually, gum disease. Because diseases of the mouth can affect the rest of your body, it is especially important to maintain good oral health.


See Your Ventura Dentist, Dr. Frank Esfandiari for Regular Checkups

By seeing your dentist in Ventura, CA, Dr. Frank Esfandiari at least twice a year, you can help prevent any dental health problems before they cause discomfort or require more comprehensive or expensive treatment. Regular visits allow Dr. Esfandiari to monitor your oral health and recommend a dental health regimen to address areas of concern.

For this new year, resolve to treat your mouth right: improve your diet, quit smoking and improve your oral hygiene habits – your teeth and your body will thank you for it!

For more information about regular dental checkups, please contact our Ventura dentist office today!