Do You Have Bad Dental Habits? | Manhattan Beach Dentist

Most people have heard that poor dental care is linked to various health conditions. And while you may brush regularly, how you brush is just as important as brushing itself. Unfortunately, many of us have developed habits over the years that may be doing a disservice to our dental health in the future. Here are the common bad habits we have and the fixes for each:

When you brush. Your toothbrush should be the last thing your teeth touch at night and your morning method is equally important. Brush twice a day for at least 2 minutes, making sure you spend 30 seconds on each quadrant.

Using the wrong toothbrush. Pick a soft bristle toothbrush that can slip under your gum tissue and dislodge any plaque stuck there. Brushing with a medium or hard model—and using excessive pressure—can cause your gums to recede and expose the surface of your roots, or the bottom of your teeth.

Rinsing issues. Spitting out your toothpaste doesn’t totally remove all the harmful stuff that you loosened while brushing. Adding an oral rinse to your routine is greatly beneficial to your oral health.

Incorrect technique. Position the handle of your brush so the bristles point at a 30- to 45-degree angle when they touch your gum tissue. Rotate your wrist in a circular motion to effectively remove the plaque.

Toothbrush replacement. The ADA recommends buying a new brush every 3 or 4 months. Worn bristles won’t effectively remove plaque or bacteria. If you’ve been sick, swap out your brush immediately.

You ignore the rest of your mouth. Food or debris can easily get stuck in the crevices between the carpet-like strands, known as papillae, on the surface of your tongue.

If you have questions or concerns regarding dental hygiene, 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, which includes brushing them twice a day. Brushing, along with flossing and using mouthwash, will not only remove food debris and plaque but will also protect your teeth against tooth decay and gum disease, leaving your mouth happy and healthy. But have you ever wondered why we use toothpaste? Sure, it tastes good, but do we need it? To be fair, yes. 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.
  • It also 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, but contrary to what toothpaste commercials show, the amount of paste or gel needed on your brush for effective cleaning does not have to be a heaping amount. Simply squeeze a pea-sized dab of paste on the top half of your brush. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush inside, outside and between your teeth, the paste should foam enough to cover all of your teeth. Children under age 6, however, should be given a very small dab of toothpaste on their brush. As to which flavor or type, this is up to you. But if it becomes overwhelming to choose from the hundreds of options, ask your dental professional.

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.

Why Do We Rinse? | Manhattan Beach Dentist

There are three basic steps when it comes to daily oral hygiene – brushing, flossing and rinsing. We all know why we brush and why we floss, but why it is that we rinse? Believe it or not, but there are a few benefits to rinsing your mouth with mouthwash.

Mouthwash can help keep your gums and teeth healthy—but only if you use them properly. Rinsing with mouthwash will loosen bits of food from your teeth, lessen bacteria in your mouth, temporarily reduce bad breath and leave a refreshing taste in your mouth. But Mouthwash can cut back the level of bacteria in your mouth. Of course, you still have to brush and floss your teeth regularly and combined will do a much better job of removing plaque and debris. Research shows that adding a rinse with mouthwash to your oral care routine can in fact improve the overall cleanliness of your mouth and help keep gum inflammation at bay. Just remember – most mouthwashes are at their most effective when in contact with your mouth tissues for 30 seconds per use.

Freshens breath. First and most obviously, mouthwash temporarily reduces bad breath. Mouthwash kills bacteria associated with causing bad breath leaving you with minty fresh breath.

Prevents plaque. Various mouthwashes help prevent the build-up of plaque but cannot reduce the plaque that already exists on your teeth.

Removes particles. Most people use mouthwash only after brushing, but beforehand can help loosen particles stuck between your teeth, making brushing more productive.

Stop cavities. Regular use of mouthwash before and after you brush and floss, you can reduce the chances of cavities forming if your mouthwash contains fluoride so be sure to check the label.

If you have questions or concerns regarding rinsing, 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.

Do You Have Gum Disease? | Manhattan Beach Dentist

The stages of gum disease

Do you have gum disease? Are you sure? Many patients can be suffering from the early stages of gum disease and not even know it. Are you still sure? Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults and often goes unnoticed.

Don’t worry – it isn’t the end of the world. Many Americans suffer from some form of gum disease, or gingivitis and its most common cause is straightforward: poor oral hygiene.

Gum disease can progress without obvious signs, even in the late stages of the disease. Although the symptoms of periodontal disease often are subtle, the condition can present some warning signs. Certain symptoms may point to some form of the disease. Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. However, other factors can contribute to periodontal disease.

The symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures

Unfortunately, you can have gum disease and not even know it. Keeping a proper daily dental routine is intricate to keeping your mouth free from harmful bacteria. This is also why it is so important to keep your dental appointments regular – so that your dentist can make sure to keep your mouth clean and healthy. Only a dentist or a periodontist can recognize and determine the progression of gum disease.

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.

How to Celebrate with Zero Dental Guilt | Manhattan Beach Dentist

Being smack dab in the holiday season is a wonderful time of year. Not only do we get to spend time with our family and friends, but there is so much delicious food around to delight in! So much so that many times we forget to maintain our dental hygiene routine because we are elbow deep in holiday treats.

We aren’t going to stop you. In fact, we are going to be joining you in lots of it. But we need to make sure you keep some things in mind while you are celebrating. Because it may be fantastic at the time, we don’t want to have regrets once the holidays are over and we visit the dentist. So, enjoy yourself this holiday season – just make sure your smile doesn’t suffer. It’s a time to smile and be merry!

Avoid grazing. One of the most common issues we all have during the holidays is our need to be constantly eating something. Grazing is just so good to do as we are catching up with family and friends. And let’s be fair, there are treats EVERYWHERE. Be aware of the food you snack on throughout the day and try to pace yourself. It will save you the guilt, decay, and unnecessary calories.

It’s okay to overindulge. While we are talking about keeping it together this holiday season, 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. Just make sure to brush, floss, and clean when you’re done.

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.

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.

Don’t Break Down when You Break a Tooth | Manhattan Beach Dentist

Sometimes accidents happen – they just can’t be helped. If this accident leads to breaking a tooth, it can be a rather jarring situation. But there is no need to panic – we have a solution to your dismay. Follow these tips to ensure the dental emergency goes smoothly.

Start by rinsing your mouth with saltwater to both remove any remaining tooth pieces and help sterilize the mouth. If the tooth is painful, consider taking acetaminophen to reduce the pain. Until you can visit a dentist, try to eat only soft foods, and avoid biting down on that part of your mouth.

Even if the broken tooth isn’t painful, a dental examination is required. If the chip is minor, the dentist may use composite resin or bonding material to strengthen the broken area, polish down the sharp edges, and ensure that the tooth will be safe for eating. If a large area of the tooth has broken off, or if the break is due to decay, the dentist may recommend replacing the remaining tooth surface with a crown.

It is very difficult to determine if the tooth root is jeopardized without a proper dental exam.  Even if you believe the crack is minor, be sure to have a dentist inspect the tooth to ensure that the root is not damaged. Ignoring a cracked tooth can allow the tooth pulp (the soft interior of the tooth containing nerves and blood that keep the tooth alive) to become infected, which is not only painful, but can also threaten your overall health long term.

If you have questions or concerns regarding dental emergencies, 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.