Protect Your Teeth with Xylitol | Manhattan Beach Dentist

Many patients like to take the extra steps to maintain good oral health and hygiene. After all, this is the age of the selfie, and a selfie just isn’t right without a bright, healthy smile. But we are smack dab in the midst of the holiday season, and we are surrounded by sugary delights. So, in order to keep these smiles bright and helping to satisfy a sweet tooth, we turn to sugar-free gum containing xylitol.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, a natural, sweet substance often used to sweeten foods without the caloric impact of sugar. First, xylitol starves the bacteria in your mouth of food. Where the normal bacteria on your mouth responsible for cavities feeds on sugar, it cannot feed on xylitol. Over time, fewer and fewer bacteria will live in the mouth, and less plaque will form.

Xylitol has been approved as safe by the US FDA and World Health Organization but should be taken in moderation. While common in foods such as gum and mints, it’s also available over the internet directly – care should be taken, as too much xylitol can be difficult for your body to digest and can have fiber-like laxative properties. So, pop in a stick of gum a couple times a day to maintain that smile you love to show off, keep your teeth clean, and help fight off cavities.

Research has shown that the use of xylitol also helps repair damage to the enamel while stimulating saliva. Saliva in itself protects the mouth and teeth and is stimulated saliva in particular contains all the components needed to repair early cavities.

If you have questions or concerns regarding xylitol, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com for additional information.

Proudly serving Manhattan Beach and all surrounding areas.

The Dos and Don’ts of Halloween Candy | Manhattan Beach Dentist

We’ve made it – it’s the spookiest night of the year. Halloween may be a favorite amongst us kids, but it isn’t very fun for your dentist. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable – it’s candy time! And on this night, it is important to keep in mind that candy isn’t great for our teeth, so keep things in moderation. And afterwards, giving your teeth a quick brushing will only help keep your smile healthy.

But not all candy is the same. There are definitely good candies and bad candies. Here is a quick breakdown of the best and worst. And in order to brighten what could be a sad article, we’ll start with the worst so there is hope at the end of the tunnel:

Chewy/sticky sweets, such as gummy candies, taffy, and even dried fruit can be difficult for children and adults to resist, and even more difficult to remove from teeth.

Sour candies are highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel quickly. The good news: Saliva slowly helps to restore the natural balance of the acid in the mouth.

Sugary snacks, including candy corn, cookies, and cake, all contain high amounts of sugar, which can cause tooth decay.

And now, the treats that won’t damage your smile as quickly:

Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies stimulate saliva, which can help prevent dry mouth.

Sugar-free gum can actually prevent cavities as it not only dislodges food particles from between the teeth but also increases saliva—which works to neutralize the acids of the mouth and prevent tooth decay.

Dark chocolate and its antioxidants, according to some studies, can be good for the heart and may even lower blood pressure.

If you have questions or concerns regarding Halloween candy, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com for additional information.

Proudly serving Manhattan Beach and all surrounding areas.

Tooth Decay Prevention | Manhattan Beach Dentist

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems that dentists see among patients and can affect both your tooth enamel and dentine. Tooth decay typically occurs when foods containing carbohydrates, such as bread, cereals, milk or candy, are left on your teeth. Because we are on the brink of this spooky candy-infused holiday, it is important to brush up on our dental hygiene practices, so we continue to maintain a healthy smile:

Brush your teeth daily. It’s important to brush your teeth two times a day, for two minutes each session. This, accompanied with flossing, can go a long way in preventing tooth decay, cavities and gum disease.

Snack on healthy foods. It’s best to avoid eating sweets that may potentially alter your blood sugar and damage your health. Try eating more healthy snacks that contain healthy proteins and fats that will aid in a healthy body and tooth decay prevention.

Ask about dental sealants. Applied by dentists, dental sealants are a plastic coating applied to the back molars to protect them from tooth decay.

Rinse with fluoride. Rinse your mouth out daily with mouthwash that contains fluoride. Some mouthwashes even have antiseptic ingredients that can help kill bacteria that causes plaque.

Visit your dentist regularly. Visiting your dentist for routine checkups and professional teeth cleanings will help prevent tooth decay immensely. Professional cleanings are performed by dentists to remove plaque build-up that can lead to tooth decay.

Sugar-free gum. One study even found that chewing gum that contains xylitol can temporarily slow the growth of the bacteria that causes tooth decay.

If you have questions or concerns regarding tooth decay, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com for additional information.

Proudly serving Manhattan Beach and all surrounding areas.

Are Your at Risk for Gum Disease? | Manhattan Beach Dentist

The stages of gum disease

This may seem like a staggering statistic, but nearly 75 percent of people over the age of 35 in the U.S. have some form of periodontal disease, or gum disease, in their lives. So, what’s the bottom line?

The main cause of gum disease is the bacteria that’s found in plaque. Plaque is that sticky, colorless film that is constantly forming on your teeth. Practicing proper oral hygiene often scrapes away food debris and plaque and prevents it from building up. If you aren’t taking proper care of your teeth, the plaque will build up and infect both your teeth and gums, causing gingivitis. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. The first symptoms? Your gums usually start to bleed when you brush or floss.

As I mentioned above, gum disease is oftentimes caused by poor oral hygiene, however there are many other risk factors. While some of these risk factors are completely avoidable, others are not. Some risk factors include the following:

  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Smoking/Tobacco Products
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Alcohol Abuse
  • Certain Medications

The key to preventing periodontal disease is to practice proper oral hygiene, every single day. An ideal oral care routine should involve you brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session, flossing at least once and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. Also, be sure that you’re producing enough saliva by drinking enough water, chewing on sugarless gum or snacking on healthy snacks loaded with fiber. Saliva is your mouth’s natural cleanser that helps wash away leftover food debris or loosen plaque from your teeth and gums.

If you have questions or concerns regarding gum disease, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com for additional information.

Proudly serving Manhattan Beach and all surrounding areas.

Sometimes You Don’t Have a Mint Handy | Manhattan Beach Dentist

Let’s face it – bad breath is one thing we never want to have. Unfortunately, we don’t always know we have it until someone happens to offer a mint. It’s nothing to be ashamed of – we all have it at some point. So many of our favorite foods are infused with some strong flavors. It’s only natural that our breath gets affected. But if you find that you have chronic bad breath, it may be another issue entirely. It could be a warning sign of gum disease, cavities or another dental issue.

The medical condition dry mouth also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth. There are other underlying diseases that may cause bad breath as well. If your dentist finds nothing wrong with your mouth, you will need to consult your physician. Bad breath can be reduced or prevented if you:

  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque
  • See your dentist at least twice a year
  • Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products
  • Drink lots of water
  • Keep a log of the foods you eat

In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy and the odor is not of oral origin, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist for further diagnosis.

If you have questions or concerns regarding bad breath, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com for additional information.

Proudly serving Manhattan Beach and all surrounding areas.

When You Can’t Eat Ice Cream in the Summer | Manhattan Beach Dentist

We are smack dab in the middle of summer and with that comes the sun. No matter where you’re at, it seems like this summertime heat is affecting everyone. And what is a great option during these sweltering times? Ice cream. Yes, there’s just something about a frozen confection that makes a hot day just a little bit cooler. But what if eating ice cream gives you pain? Sounds like a cruel joke, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, sensitive teeth can be an annoying affliction. Those sharp jolts of pain when you least expect it are incredibly painful. But why are your teeth suddenly sensitive?

When you have sensitive teeth, certain things, like eating, drinking even brushing your teeth can react to the everyday activity. Teeth sensitivity is typically the result of enamel that has worn away and exposed the tooth roots. However, it can be caused by other things like a cavity, a chipped tooth or it can even be a side effect of whitening your teeth. Depending you circumstances, your dentist may recommend the following to remedy your sensitive tooth/teeth:

Luckily, tooth sensitivity is treatable. In fact, you might find that using toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth helps. If your tooth/teeth sensitivity is extreme and persists no matter what you do, see your dentist for an evaluation. Other possible treatments could involve applying a fluoride gel to areas of the teeth where you have the most sensitivity, to strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce the sensations you feel.

If you have questions or concerns regarding tooth sensitivity, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com for additional information.

Proudly serving Manhattan Beach and all surrounding areas.

Diet Habits that Are Ruining Your Teeth | Manhattan Beach Dentist

The choices in food we make can affect our oral health. That should come as no surprise. And dental visits aren’t exactly at the top of your list of things you look forward to – the poking and scraping of routine cleanings. But that’s nothing compared to the pain of more invasive procedures, like fillings and root canals.

So, wouldn’t it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating? There are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape. What foods does even your dentist avoid? Here are some of the common culprits:

Hard candy. Chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.

Ice. Just like hard candy, munching on ice is an easy way crack or break teeth.

Wine. The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic.

PB&J. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy.

Chewy candy. Any chewy sweets have a chance to damage dental work you’ve had done while creating cavities in your teeth’s crevices.

Dried fruit. Unfortunately, dried fruit is packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy.

Keep your smile healthy with proper oral care and diet. Make sure to brush for two minutes twice a day, floss and rinse. Maintaining your daily hygiene routines will only help make those dental checkups a breeze.

If you have questions or concerns regarding diet choices, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com for additional information.

Proudly serving Manhattan Beach and all surrounding areas.

Is Toothpaste Really Necessary? | Manhattan Beach Dentist

We know the importance of looking after our teeth, including brushing them twice a day. Brushing along with flossing will not only remove food debris and plaque but will also protect your teeth against tooth decay and gum disease. Toothpaste cleans the teeth, protects them, and keeps them looking healthy and attractive to look at as well. It also ensures that your breath is nice and fresh as well. But do we really need it?

Dentists recommend that you use toothpaste, especially fluoride toothpaste as this not only cleans your teeth but protects them as well. Brushing the teeth with toothpaste, flossing and using a mouthwash are all essential parts of a daily dental hygiene routine that will result in healthy and great looking teeth. Brushing with toothpaste is important for several reasons:

  • Toothpaste and a correct brushing action work to remove plaque, a sticky, harmful film of bacteria that grows on your teeth that causes cavities, gum disease and eventual tooth loss if not controlled.
  • Toothpaste contains fluoride, which makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before the damage can even be seen.
  • Special ingredients in toothpaste help to clean and polish the teeth and remove stains over time.
  • Toothpastes help freshen breath and leave your mouth with a clean feeling.

Contrary to what toothpaste commercials show, simply squeeze a pea-sized dab of paste on the top half of your brush. Children under age 6, however, should be given a very small, baby pea-sized dab of toothpaste on their brush. Whatever toothpaste you choose will be effective, but ask your dentist if they suggest one to clean your teeth and prevent tooth decay.

If you have questions or concerns regarding toothpaste, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com for additional information.

Proudly serving Manhattan Beach and all surrounding areas.

Should We Have Mercury Fillings in Our Mouths? | Manhattan Beach Dentist

Fillings made with amalgam, otherwise known as mercury fillings, are commonly used to fill cavities. They consist of a combination of metals, including silver, tin and copper, but the mercury allows the filling material to be soft enough to mix and press into the teeth. The compound hardens quickly and is durable enough to withstand the constant pressure of daily activities, such as biting and chewing, making it ideal replacement material.

Dentists have used this combination of metals to restore teeth and fill cavities for more than a hundred years. While it no longer is the only material available, as tooth-colored materials have also become a popular alternative, mercury fillings remain a popular choice because it is generally cheaper and more durable.

In recent years, it’s been shown that as the mercury filling wears, which happens over time, very small amounts of mercury in the form of vapor are slowly released into the human body. Just how much this affects the human body, if it does at all, is debatable and there are experts that conclude that the amount of mercury released is very low to pose any threat. Still, there has yet to be any conclusion as to whether or not mercury fillings are truly safe.

Thankfully, there are alternatives. You can choose from a wide variety of materials, such as composite resin, porcelain and gold. There are also dental amalgams that contain both iridium and mercury, as well as high-copper dental amalgams, both of which contain much less mercury compared to conventional dental amalgams or mercury fillings.

If you have questions or concerns regarding mercury fillings, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com for additional information.

Proudly serving Manhattan Beach and all surrounding areas.

Enjoy the Holiday Season! | Manhattan Beach Dentist

As we enjoy our holiday season with family and friends, it is important to take the time to look after ourselves as well. We can all get overwhelmed by the hectic schedule and zillions of events we are expected to attend, it is easy to let our health slip by, especially when it comes to our dental health. But the holiday season means excess – more fat, sugar and alcoholic delights. While these are all generally things that make us happier, lots of times the guilt trip hits us after the holidays are. And if we aren’t looking after our smiles, all of the fat, sugar and alcohol will also have done some damage to your teeth. With that, here are some things you should keep in mind to keep your holiday guilt-free:

Avoid the graze. One of the most common issues we all have during the holidays is our need to be constantly eating something. We can’t help it, though right? There are treats EVERYWHERE. With that, you should be aware of the food throughout the day and try to pace yourself. It will save you the guilt, decay, and unnecessary calories.

Overindulge. While we are talking about keeping it together this Christmas, overindulging for ONE day won’t kill you. There is so much temptation around this time of year, and it’s bad enough to indulge and then feel guilty. So, don’t. Give yourself a day out of the week to eat what you want. Enjoy the time with your family and friends. Just make sure to brush, floss, and clean when you’re done. Happy holidays!

If you have questions or concerns regarding holiday dental tips, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultation today, or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com for additional information.

Proudly serving Manhattan Beach and all surrounding areas.