Do You Lie to Your Dentist About Your Flossing Habits?

Flossing Habits StudyTurns out, many people do! A relatively recent national study has come up with very interesting information regarding our flossing habits – or lack thereof.

Of course you already know (or at least we hope you do) the importance of flossing in maintaining oral health. Brushing alone is not enough. The reason why is because the bristles are often unable to penetrate the small pockets in between your teeth; flossing can. That’s why you are recommended to both brush AND floss.

The National Study Background Information & Results

The study was conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Periodontology to roughly 2,000 adults who submitted their answers online. Respondents were taken from the top 10 U.S. markets from those 18 years of age or older.

27% of the survey respondents had mentioned that they do in fact lie to their dentist about how often they floss. Most likely due to avoiding having the dentist briefly lecture them on flossing.

The shocker…

The shocking part wasn’t the fact that people lie about their flossing habits, but the fact that 36% of the survey respondents said they would rather participate in an unpleasant activity than floss.

Exactly what constitutes an unpleasant activity?

  • Washing a sink full of dirty dishes (18%)
  • Sitting in gridlock traffic for an hour (9%)
  • Waiting in a long check out line (14%)
  • Do their taxes (9%)
  • Cleaning the toilet (14%)

The interesting part is that 33% of the respondents also mentioned that a smile is the first thing they notice when meeting someone – indicating the inherent importance of a nice smile.

So we have to ask, is it really THAT bad to floss? Once you realize it only takes one minute and can prevent you from a lifetime of dental problems, you might be thinking otherwise about these unpleasant activities!

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Common Dental Problems Adults Are Likely To Experience

common dental problemsIn comparison to our whole body, it’s amazing how much importance we place on our mouth – specifically our teeth and gums. We do this for good reason though because oral hygiene is something that needs to be performed on a daily basis. When we do not follow up with routine oral hygiene, then problems quickly arise.

Common Dental Problems Adults Face

Gum Disease

Believe it or not, when we brush our teeth we do it more so for our gums than our teeth. If our gums are bad, then are teeth will inevitably become bad (in absolute worst case scenarios our teeth would just fall out).

How many times have you been to the dentist and heard a bunch of numbers being thrown out at rapid speed? These numbers refer to your gums and the amount of pocket space between them. The higher the number, the worse off your gums are – typically resulting in special treatments such as gum irrigation, deep cleaning, antibiotic shots (i.e. Arestin), and more frequent trips to your dentist in an effort to correct the mistakes.

Remember: early stages of gum disease CAN be reversed, but later stages cannot.

Bad Breath

We’re not referring to bad breath from consuming too many onions or garlic – we’re talking about bad breath that is a result of your teeth. Bad breath can be tricky to pinpoint, but is often the result of a lack of brushing and flossing that leads to decay in your mouth.

You can mask the smell using mouthwash, chewing gum, or other solutions – but if the problem is consistent then warn your dentist about it the next time you’re in.

TMJ

At some point or another, you may begin experiencing jaw pain or a clicking sensation in your jaws. This is known as TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, and can also be difficult to pinpoint the cause. Teeth grinding is often the reason why many experience TMJ. The worst part is that sometimes we grind our teeth at night without even realizing it.

Your first instinct may be to let your general doctor or primary care physician handle the situation, but it’s actually better to let a dentist take care of this one.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay – the main problem that many of us struggle with even as children. Unfortunately, it can only become worse with age. Just keep these three things in mind in order to gain control over a war that you will face forever: stay hydrated, brush and floss your teeth, and visit your dentist.

What does hydration have to do with tooth decay? Good question. Our main defense against tooth decay is actually the naturally occurring saliva in our mouths. This fights off the swarm of bacteria living in our mouths. When we’re hydrated, our body is producing saliva at an appropriate rate.

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Meaning Behind the Emblem or Symbol of Dentistry

emblem of dentistryDid You Know !?

Dr. Paul Mallouk, dentist in Delano, CA, sheds some light on the official dentistry insignia or symbol.

The symbol of dentistry is borrowed from the Greek god of medicine and healing, Asclepius. It was adopted by the American Dental Association (ADA) in 1965, and comprises elements that date far back in Judaism and Greek mythology.

The emblem is in the form of a physician’s staff with a snake wound around it, flanked by leaves on both sides, inside a black triangle, and surrounded/intertwined with a green/brown circle on a purple background.

Origin of the Symbol of Dentistry

As mentioned before, the symbol was inspired by the Greek mythology. Asclepius was the son of Apollo, who is symbolized as the god driving a chariot across the sky while carrying the sun. Apollo himself had many abilities, including healing.

Asclepius was also associated with healing, and his symbol – the one adopted by the ADA – was an indicator of his ability to assume the form of a serpent and heal the Greek people. There is a story that he once healed the Greek people that were afflicted from a Roman plague.

Today, snakes are perceived in a negative connotation, but from a mythological viewpoint, the snake was considered a creature of rebirth. The ability of the snake to shed its skin was viewed as rejuvenation or healing. This is also why the symbol of Asclepius resembles that of Caduceus – symbol of medicine – which comprises a winged staff with two snakes coiled around it.

The two branches of leaves on the dentistry emblem have berries on them to draw a specific reference to the number of teeth people have: 32 leaves for the 32 permanent teeth; and 20 berries for the 20 primary teeth.

The triangle is not exactly a shape, but the Greek letter delta, Δ, referring to dentistry, while the intertwined circle is omicron, O, representing “odont” which is the Greek word for tooth.

The purplish color is actually lilac, which was chosen as the color of dentistry back in 1897 by the National Association of Dental Faculties (NADF).

A Brilliant Design

Generally, logos and emblems are not intended to relay the message at face value. They are meticulously designed so that each element has a deep meaning that you will appreciate if you dig enough. The symbol of dentistry is truly creative, according to Delano dentist, Dr. Paul Mallouk.

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Dental News: Innovative Technology for Diagnosing Oral Cancer

oral cancer screening newsSpanish scientists have recently discovered a new technology to help dentists detect oral cancer quickly and more efficiently.*

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers ranking in as the sixth-leading cause of cancer.

Currently, we (dentists) rely on observation and biopsy to confirm an oral cancer diagnosis. This traditional process often requires at least a couple weeks of time just to confirm the diagnosis before any treatment may begin.

The new portable device that the Spanish scientists have discovered will be able to diagnose and confirm oral cancer on the same exact day. In terms of time alone, this is a substantial improvement. No longer will patients be required to wait for a confirmation before beginning treatment. Treatment will be able to start the same day for increased chances of successful recovery.

To add, biopsy or removal of a small piece of tissue will no longer be required, allowing the diagnosing process to be as minimally invasive as possible which is an aspect comforting to many patients. This also removes a third part from the situation, reducing costs.

It’s portability will also aid in bringing costs down as one machine will able to be moved from room to room.

A prototype of this portable machine is expected to be revealed later this year (2015) as further research must be conducted in order to finalize everything necessary for presentation at events, conferences, and to specialists around the globe as well as meeting all federal regulations and requirements.

*The full study can be found here.

Have You Been Screened for Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer screening is highly recommended at any age being one of the top cancers worldwide, while also being one of the most curable with early detection. Ask your Delano dentist, Dr. Paul Mallouk, about oral cancer screenings on your next appointment.

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Best Foods for Your Teeth & Oral Health

best foods for teeth & oral healthWhen it comes to dental health, many people assume that regular brushing and flossing coupled with occasional dental visits is enough. However, there are other factors that influence the health of your teeth and gums, like getting the right nutrition.

Considering the amount of work required for your teeth to prepare food for easy digestion, and the fact that there are different microbes in the mouth (some beneficial and others harmful), it is apparent that your mouth is exposed to great dangers that can adversely affect your health. For starters, hard and sugary foods increase the rate of demineralization of tooth enamel. For seconds, food debris, acids, and hard substances can injure both soft and hard tissues in the mouth.

Oral Health Requires Proper Nutrition

Like other parts of your body, the mouth needs proper nutrition to recover and fight infection. Some of the key nutrients needed include:

  • Protein – Necessary for tooth structure formation, immune function, and connective tissue development
  • Calcium – Promotes tooth enamel remineralization and tooth structure
  • Phosphorus – Helps maintain tooth structure
  • Iron, Zinc, Folate, Antioxidants – Boosts immune function and connective tissues
  • Vitamin C – Immune function, Connective tissues, and collagen maturation, as well as maintaining the integrity of the periodontal ligament
  • Vitamin A, B, D – Improve immune function, connective tissue, enhance remineralization
  • Omega-3 Fats – modulates inflammatory response, boosts immune function, and connective tissues

Best Foods for Teeth & Oral Health

There are different foods that can provide you with these essential nutrients. Whole foods are generally good, as well as:

Proteins

Beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, and other animal proteins are rich in phosphorus, which improves the function of calcium and vitamin D in developing strong teeth and bones

Dairy

Milk, cheese, and yogurt are not only low in sugar and acidity, but also rich in calcium and phosphate that promote re-mineralization. Cheese is also known to balance the mouth pH, promote saliva secretion, and kill harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Vegetables

Broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, and other vegetables are not only rich in vitamin A, but also clean the teeth and massage your gums when eaten raw. Different vegetables offer different extra benefits. For instance, celery is known to promote saliva secretion and neutralize harmful bacteria in the mouth, while onions contain antibacterial properties that kill harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Fruit

Fresh, raw fruits are great for your teeth. They are packed with nutrients, have high moisture content that promotes saliva secretion for fighting against decay, and the crunchy ones help to clean teeth.

Final Note

While you cannot completely limit the items you consume, it is important that you rinse your mouth with clean water after meals, or chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow and remove food debris and bacteria from the teeth. This does not, however, mean that you should brush, floss, or visit the dentist less often.

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4 Easy Ways on How to Prevent Cavities

Dental cavities, also referred as dental caries, are holes that form in the teeth over time due to tooth decay. They develop gradually, beginning as tiny and painless holes that are not visible to the naked eye. With time, and continued poor oral hygiene, plaque continue to eat away your tooth enamel and eventually leads to sensitivities and pain. While cavities are prevalent among both children and adults, they are also one of the most preventable dental problems.

4 Easy Ways on How to Prevent Cavities (both Children & Adults)

Brushing properly twice a day.

It is important to brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and before going to bed. It is particularly important to brush before bed to get rid of debris and bacteria that may allow acid to form, eroding your tooth enamel.

In addition, you should brush properly, using the right toothbrush, technique, timing, and fluoride toothpaste. It is recommended that you use a toothbrush with a head that is small enough to reach inside your mouth. The bristles should be soft so you don’t abrade the tooth surface.

Brush for at least two minutes using gentle strokes to clean all tooth surfaces, your tongue, gumline, and around the mouth.

Floss every day.

While brushing is good, it needs to be supplemented with other dental care practices, such as flossing. Using dental floss every day, preferably at night before brushing, helps to reach in between your teeth where your brush bristles cannot reach.

Many people rarely remember to floss, yet plaque can easily accumulate in the tiny spaces around the gum line, leading to tooth decay and cavities. Ask your dentist to provide you with dental floss, preferably those containing myrrh, green tea, or cranberry that has antimicrobial properties.

Chew sugar-free gum.

Dental professionals recommend chewing sugar-free gum for around 20 minutes per day to reduce the risk of tooth decay and cavities. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals helps to remove food particles and bacteria from around your teeth, and promotes saliva production to help clean your mouth and remove harmful bacteria.

Consider Dental Sealants!

Dental sealants are one tool available for preventing dental caries, which is claimed to affect nearly 50 percent of children and adolescents in the US. Dental sealants are a form of protective cover applied to the surface of children’s teeth to help prevent cavities.

Dr. Paul Mallouk offers dental sealants in Delano for cavity prevention.

Visit Your Delano Dentist Every Six Months – Very Important!

Although cavities are easy to prevent, they can be very painful and dangerous once they form. If the problem is not corrected with a filling, root canal, or other dental treatment, the cavity will continue to grow, infecting your gums, dental root, and even the jawbone. In severe cases, the tooth cannot be restored, and it must be extracted and restored, which increases the cost of treatment.

Even with proper at-home oral care, it is important to visit your dentist every six months for professional cleaning and an oral checkup, so that any cavities and other problems can be spotted early and treated before they become serious issues.

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5 Things Your Dentist Can Find Out Just By Looking in Your Mouth

5 Things Your Dentist Can Find Out Just By Looking in Your MouthAn oral exam can reveal a lot about your dental and overall health. During a dental visit, your dentist typically removes tartar from your teeth to avoid plaque buildup and inspects your teeth for any looming problems, like cavities and gum disease. A regular dental checkup can also show the early signs of diseases like cancer, diabetes, and anemia, allowing you to seek early intervention and possibly save your life.

Besides identifying diseases, dentists can tell a lot more by looking you your mouth, including:

1. You are pregnant
An estimated 40 percent of pregnant women develop gingivitis during their term. This is believed to be caused by the increased progesterone that facilitates the growth of gingivitis-causing bacteria. The affected women develop a deep red lump (benign tumor) on their gums referred to as a pregnancy tumor or pyogenic granuloma. It disappears automatically after delivery.

2. You drink a lot
Alcohol dehydrates your body and causes dry mouth, which in turn increases your risk for cavities. Too much alcohol consumption reduces saliva secretion, which is needed to wash away food debris from your teeth and neutralize harmful acids in the mouth. This leads to cavities, “chipmunk” red cheeks, and a foul smelling mouth.

3. You don’t consume enough vitamins
You need a balanced diet that is rich in certain vitamins and minerals that help to fight common oral problems, including bleeding gums, delayed healing, tissue sloughing off, burning tongue syndrome, and increased infections. Anemic patients (due to iron deficiency) tend to experience severe sores in the corners of their mouth, changes in the appearance of their tongues, a painful burning sensation, or a glossy and smooth tongue (caused by papillae falling off). The problem can be corrected by increasing iron intake.

4. You have an eating disorder
Bulimia causes a unique pattern of tooth wear that happens exclusively on the tongue-side of the front teeth, increasing the risk of cavities. This acid erosion, however, is not always indicative of an eating disorder. It could also be caused by acid reflux and the use of mood-elevating drugs or antidepressants, both of which limit saliva secretion and increase the risk of acid damage.

5. You bite your nails
Signs of nail biting include chipped and cracked tooth enamel, as well as wear and tear caused by constant stress when the top and bottom teeth make hard, sudden contact. This habit can cause uneven front teeth that may result in jaw pain and discomfort.

There are many other things that your dentist can detect from the condition of your mouth, including signs of diabetes, oral cancer, sinus infection, halitosis, or even that you had a thumb-sucking habit or you rarely floss. Visiting your dentist twice a year can help ensure that your mouth and body stay healthy by taking timely remedial action when need be.

 

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Delano Dentist on How to Make Your Own Vegan Toothpaste

how to make vegan toothpaste recipeMany people are completely unaware of the ingredients contained within their toothpaste. Most of us look for cues such as “Contains Fluoride!” or “Whiten Teeths!”, etc. when we shop for toothpaste. However, there are many ingredients that consumers may not be fond of & show concern for, fluoride being one of the controversial ingredients.

Other questionable ingredients often found in commercial toothpastes are sodium hydroxide, sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial sweeteners/dyes, titanium dioxide, and triclosan, among others. Just reading these ingredients out loud may make you question why it is you purchased the product in the first place.

If putting these chemicals in your mouth is a concern, you can make your own natural vegan toothpaste, omitting anything you find questionable – a recipe by Delano dentist, Dr. Paul Mallouk.

How to Make Your Own Vegan Toothpaste Recipe

For vegan toothpaste, the main ingredient is vegetable glycerin instead. Glycerin is used in many commercial toothpastes to maintain the texture.

Ingredients

● 2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin

● 4 tablespoons baking soda

● 8 tablespoons of water

● ½ teaspoon guar gum

● 5 drops clove, peppermint, or citrus pure essential oil

Procedure

1. Cook all the ingredients (except essential oil) in a pot on low heat for five minutes

2. Stir frequently until you achieve a paste-like texture

3. Cool and add essential oil to taste

4. Store in a sterile jar at room temperature

Do Homemade Toothpaste Recipes Work?

Many people who have used natural, vegan toothpastes for a considerable amount of time claim that they work great, resulting in less plaque, smoother teeth, and less of a “chemical feel” or taste in the mouth.

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The Connection Between Tooth Pain and Sinus Infection

tooth pain sinus infectionA sinus infection, or sinusitis, occurs when the nasal cavities are infected by a virus, causing them to become inflamed and swollen. Sinusitis can also be caused by bacteria or fungi, or triggered by a tooth infection, nasal polyps, allergies, or a deviated septum.

The most common symptom of sinusitis is pain. Since you have multiple sinuses behind the nose and around the eyes, any of them can hurt, causing you to experience facial pain. The swelling and inflammation also causes your pain in your sinuses with a dull pressure, causing you to suffer a headache.

You may feel pain between your eyes, in your teeth and upper jaws, in your forehead, or on either side of the nose.

Why do you also experience a toothache?

Generally, any harm in the maxillary sinuses and/or paranasal mucosa tends to refer pain to the upper teeth. People experience sinus infection-related tooth pain when fluid builds up in the sinus cavities during the infection, causing pressure in the upper teeth that are in close proximity to the maxillary sinus.

How the pain feels like.

Sinus infection tooth pain tends to occur suddenly, and is felt in multiple teeth as a throbbing, aching, or dull pain. In some cases, you can experience some pressure below the eyes that increases when you lower your head, cough, sneeze, or apply pressure over the sinuses. The dull ache feels like something exerting a force down on your teeth. You may also experience some sensitivity when chewing.

This kind of pain can occur even when you don’t have a bad case of sinus infection. For instance, you can experience similar pain when you have a bad head cold, or a mild case of sinus congestion.

Other side effects of a sinus infection include:

● Congestion that forces you to breathe through the mouth
● This promotes a dry mouth
● Diminished saliva production increases the risk of dental health problems like gum disease, bad breath, and tooth decay

More about nasal/sinus toothaches.

A “sinus toothache” is often associated with a history of sinus problem, nasal congestion, or upper respiratory infection. The condition can be diagnosed through a number of tests, including MRI, sinus x-rays, or a visual nasal exam. It is fairly easy to manage by treating the cause of the infection and relieving pressure in the sinuses. You can inhale warm air or drink plenty of water to thin the mucus, or treat it with decongestants, antibiotics, and antihistamines.

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Teeth Whitening FAQ – Everything You Need to Know

Teeth Whitening FAQ GuideTeeth whitening is a great way to spiffy up your smile and reverse years of accumulated damage! Dr. Mallouk offers teeth whitening in Delano, CA as a way to help his patients add a little shine to their smile. Below you will find a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding teeth whitening. It’s important to understand that professional in-office teeth whitening is currently the most effective way to whiten your teeth.

Teeth Whitening FAQ by Dr. Mallouk – Delano Dentist


Am I a good candidate for tooth whitening?

Teeth whitening can be used for anyone above the age of 10 years. However, it is not recommended for patients with dental cracks, leaky fillings, or dental decay because the whitening products may irritate the tooth nerve, resulting in discomfort or a need for endodontic treatment. In addition, patients with short teeth or a gummy smile may not necessarily look better after bleaching because whiter teeth tend to accentuate a gummy smile.

Can a single tooth be whitened?

Yes. The first step should be to determine the cause of the discoloration, as it may be an indication of dental disease that requires a different treatment. Possible options include bleaching from inside the tooth, for a dead tooth that has root canal, or a single-tooth bleaching tray for a living tooth.

Do teeth whitening damage the tooth surface?

The most commonly used whitening product is 10 percent carbamide peroxide, and studies have shown that it does not affect the mineral content or hardness of tooth enamel.

Can teeth whitening be used on teeth with dental restorations?

Many existing restorations like tooth-colored fillings, veneers, bonding, bridges, and crowns do not stain or lighten. So, these products have no effect on existing dental restorations, leave along damaging them. That said, you may need to replace pre-existing dental work to match the new tooth shade achieved in your natural teeth following whitening.

How long do the results of teeth whitening last?

Tooth whitening is not permanent, and people who expose their teeth to substances, foods, and beverages that cause staining may realize faster fading of the whiteness in as little as one month. Avoiding foods/beverages that stain may allow you to stay one year or longer before requiring touch-up whitening treatment.

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