Proper Brushing FAQs | Bell Dentist

Mouth open or mouth closed?

After lunch or after dinner?

Flat or at an angle?

We brush our teeth every day (hopefully!), but who knew it was this complicated. Just grab a brush a get to work, right?

Not so fast, my friend! There are actually some best practices to be mindful of when brushing those pearly whites.

The trick is cutting through the fat and finding out exactly what works. We live in a world of alternate facts, truthiness, and lists of “7 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Clean Without Picking Up a Toothbrush.”  What’s even correct these days?!

Fear not, because we’ve got you covered with this handy FAQ (frequently asked questions) guide. We’ll keep it simple with some easy dos and don’ts of brushing. Let’s get to it!

Proper Brushing Habits

Don’t: Keep your brush flat

Do: Use a 45-degree angle when brushing

Don’t: Use looooooooong strokes. No need to cover your whole mouth in one stroke!

Do: Use short, side to side strokes

Don’t: Brush with the force of a giant. This isn’t a strongman contest!

Do: Gently cover all areas. A gentle touch helps prevent wear and tear on your enamel

Don’t: Go one and done

Do: Brush at least twice a day, especially after eating or drinking something acidic (like citrus or soda)

Don’t: Be sentimental and use the same toothbrush for life

Do: Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. A trick to remember? Switch out on the first day of each season

Don’t: Be average – the average person brushes their teeth for 45 seconds

Do: Brush for a full 2 minutes. A helpful trick: say the alphabet while brushing a certain section, move to the next section after you hit Z.

Don’t: Keep your toothbrush in a closed container

Do: All your toothbrush to air dry

Don’t: Store your toothbrush on the sink counter where bathroom particles can get on it

Do: Store your toothbrush in the medicine cabinet

Don’t: Wield a tough-bristled brush

Do: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which is much better for your tooth enamel

And there we have it! Some easy practices to keep that perfect smile. Remember: Brushing is only 4 minutes out of the day, so why not make it the best 4 minutes of the day!

If you would like to find out more about brushing your teeth, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Reasons You May Have a Dry Mouth | Bell Dentist

We all know drinking enough water is good for our health. And when you’re feeling parched, there’s nothing better than a tall drink of ice-cold water to dampen that dry mouth of yours.

But what do you do when you find yourself constantly needing to wet your whistle? There are numerous reasons you could be suffering from dry mouth. Below are the top five.

Physiologic. Sometimes having a dry mouth is just a normal part of life. Temporary anxiety, open-mouthed breathing, mild dehydration, menopause, pregnancy, and decreased saliva due to sleep are all normal causes of dry mouth.

Prescription medication. Sixty-three percent of the top 200 most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S. are known to cause dry mouth. And the higher the number of medications a person takes, the higher the chance of dry mouth.

That’s why as we age, we tend to experience more instances of dry mouth. It’s not necessarily age-related, but our consumption of medication may cause this side effect.

Habitual use of alcohol and tobacco. Use of any of these products will dry out the oral cavity. Please drink in moderation, and make sure to up your water intake when you imbibe. As for tobacco, we always recommend quitting as soon as possible.

Chronic disease. Diabetes, Sjogren’s disease, Sarcoidosis, Hepatitic C can all cause dry mouth.

Psychogenic or idiopathic. When symptoms are present without an identifiable cause (idiopathic), or because of psychological causes (psychogenic), they can be difficult to diagnose.

If you find yourself with a persistent, unidentifiable case of dry mouth, you should make an appointment at (323) 312-0500.

Figuring out which one is causing your dry mouth is so important because a dry mouth has a big effect on your dental health. Saliva is so important for swishing away bacteria.

The dryer the mouth, the more prone you are to cavities, bad breath, and gingivitis. This is just one more reason it is important to practice good daily dental hygiene practices and regular checkups.

If you would like to find out more about dry mouth, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

What Is Plaque? | Bell Dentist

Most people have heard of the word “plaque,” and know it’s not something you want on your teeth. Yet, they don’t know what exactly plaque is or how it contributes to dental decay.

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that lives on the surface of your teeth and along the gumline. It accumulates from normal daily activities such as eating and drinking, especially if you’ve been consuming a lot of sugars and starches.

Ever had that fuzzy feeling on your teeth that goes away after you give them a good brush?

Yep, that’s plaque.

Plaque is what contributes to dental decay, as bacteria like to consume the sugars in your mouth and excrete acids that wear away at your tooth enamel.

When you don’t regularly brush and floss away plaque, it forms tartar. Tartar is the calcified substance on your teeth that only a professional cleaning can remove. If you think you need to schedule a professional cleaning, we are open from 10 am – 7 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 9 am – 2 pm on Saturday for those who need a weekend appointment.

To regularly remove plaque:

1. Brush thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day.

2. Floss at least once a day to remove plaque that your brush can’t reach.

3. Visit us for your regular dental cleanings.

If you would like to find out more about plaque, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

How Being Vegan Affects Your Health | Bell Dentist

There is no doubt that a plant-based diet is optimal for health. Omnivores and vegans alike benefit from the nutrients present in plants.

But how does what we eat relate to our dental health?

Is a vegan diet better or worse for dental health?

Well, it depends. There are some concerns for oral health when one consumes a vegan diet. Here are the main ones:

Vitamin B12 deficiency. A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Vegans should supplement with adequate B12, as plants do not provide this important nutrient. But don’t worry – if you have tooth loss, we have plenty of ways to repair the damage.

Lack of remineralizing foods. Remineralization occurs when essential minerals that support hardened, healthy enamel are resupplied to the tooth after loss caused by acid erosion. The best remineralizing foods include cheese, meat, and milk, but nuts and leafy greens can also help.

Lack of important amino acids. One example is the amino acid arginine, which is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. Arginine helps prevent cavities and gum disease by breaking down dental plaque. While arginine is found in higher quantities in meat, vegan sources of arginine include pumpkin seeds, peanuts, soybeans, lentils, and chickpeas.

Calcium concerns. Your body needs enough calcium to support healthy teeth and gums. Vegans need to supplement their diet with plenty of plant sources that contain calcium (almonds, leafy greens, beans, etc.) as well as fortified vegan milks (almond, soy, rice, etc.).

Frequent snacking. Continual snacking provides an environment for bacteria to thrive and attack your tooth’s enamel. Vegans may be more prone to frequent snacking in an effort to meet their body’s need for energy. You may find eating meals with a higher fat content helps you stay full for longer periods of time.

More sugars/starches in the diet. It can be easy as a vegan to eat a diet based on sweet/starchy foods like fruits and grains (cereal, bread, pasta, crackers, rice, etc.). But the bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay thrive on sugar. Make sure to round out your diet with non-sugary foods, such as tofu, nuts, seeds, and plenty of vegetables.

If you’re a vegan, you already know you have to be mindful of certain key nutrients that you may need to focus on or supplement in your diet. Keep this list in mind to ensure your dental health is also in tip-top shape!

If you would like to find out more about veganism, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Foods that Cause Tooth Decay | Bell Dentist

When it comes to tooth decay, it’s important to know the main culprit – acid. Acid is what eats away at our enamel and causes cavities. Acid can enter our mouths in one of two ways: either directly through what we eat (citrus fruits, for example), or as a byproduct when oral bacteria consume the sugars that we eat.

Ultimately, a simple way to identify foods that cause tooth decay is to ask whether it’s acidic or sweet/starchy. Acidic foods include things like citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, kombucha and sour candy. Sweet/starchy foods include things like candy, soda or sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit, bread, cereal, pasta and crackers.

The longer these things interact with your teeth, the greater the chance for tooth decay to occur. For example, sipping on soda throughout the day, or chewing a gooey caramel treat, increases the amount of sugar that coat your teeth. Bacteria love to feast on this sugar, creating an acidic environment and putting your teeth at risk for decay.

To help protect your teeth against tooth decay:

  • Reduce your consumption of sweets and refined starches
  • Enjoy acidic foods in moderation or as part of a meal
  • Decrease or eliminate your consumption of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Swish with water after meals and snacks
  • Maintain good oral hygiene to brush away plaque buildup (floss at least once a day and brush twice a day)

And, as always, make sure to visit us regularly so we can remove tartar buildup and assess for early signs of decay.

If you would like to find out more about the causes of tooth decay, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Choosing the Right Toothpaste | Bell Dentist

A lot of folks ask us what toothpaste we recommend. Our answer? Any fluoride toothpaste that will help you maintain a good oral health routine!

We know you have a million and one choices facing you in the toothpaste aisle, and it can be hard to figure out what’s best for you. Most people, however, can use any toothpaste that has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval. This seal means that the toothpaste contains fluoride, has the right amount of abrasiveness (not too little and not too much) and has been shown to be both safe and effective for intended use.

If you have any sensitivity to dyes, preservatives, or certain ingredients, opt for a toothpaste that is free of those! Just make sure it has fluoride.

We can’t say it enough: fluoride is your best form of cavity prevention!

Ask us at your next visit if there’s a special kind of toothpaste that we recommend for your specific needs.

If you would like to find out more about toothpaste, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Flossing Tips | Bell Dentist

Of all the things you can do to maintain a healthy mouth, flossing has got to be the least expensive! But many patients don’t take the time to floss. And if you do, you might not be doing it correctly! Welcome to Flossing 101…

Why should you floss?

Your toothbrush isn’t enough to brush away the plaque that can build up between teeth and at the gumline. A complete dental routine includes both brushing and flossing.

How often should you floss?

Once a day is ideal. Believe it or not, flossing more often (or with more rigor) can damage your gums. The only exception to once-a-day flossing is if you need to remove pieces of stringy or sticky foods that get stuck after eating. Don’t leave those in there too long.

Should you floss before or after brushing?

Either one is fine!

How should you floss?

Pull out about 18 inches of floss (any brand is fine). Wind the floss tightly around your index or middle fingers on both hands so that the floss between your hands is taut. Slide the floss between each set of teeth that touch, as well as where your last molar meets your gums. Slide the floss up and down the teeth, following the natural curve of each tooth in a “C” shape.

Imagine the floss giving each tooth a little hug! Floss between teeth and where your teeth meet your gums. Use a new clean section of floss for each set of teeth.

For a helpful infographic, use this one from the American Dental Association. You can also ask our hygienist to show you how to floss at your next visit.

Can’t floss?

If arthritis in your hands or another condition prevents you from flossing adequately, consider a dental pick, oral irrigator, or electric flosser. Give us a call at 323-312-0500 or ask about options at your next visit. We will help find a solution for you!

If you would like to find out more about flossing, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Electrical or Manual Toothbrushes: Which Is Better? | Bell Dentist

This is one of our most frequently asked questions! Our answer? It’s not the brush that matters, it’s who’s doing the brushing.

Let’s break that down. The goal of tooth brushing is to remove plaque from your teeth on a consistent (daily!) basis, so that we prevent the buildup of tartar which leads to tooth decay. A manual toothbrush is a great and inexpensive tool that helps us do just that. Make sure to brush two minutes per day, twice a day. Gently brush ALL surfaces and make sure to reach those back molars.

For some people, it can be difficult to brush properly with a manual toothbrush. Those with some form of motor disability or arthritis may benefit from using an electric toothbrush. An electric brush can also be helpful for kids or anyone with braces.

The same tooth brushing rules apply – two times per day, two minutes at a time. One advantage of an electric toothbrush is that some have a built-in timer. If you’re one of those quick brushers who has a hard time making it to two minutes, consider using a timed electric brush.

At your next dental visit, ask us whether we think you would do better with a manual or electric brush! And, as always, don’t forget to floss!

If you would like to find out more about toothbrush options, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

How Apples Are Good for Your Teeth | Bell Dentist

People have been asserting that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” since the 19th century. While it may not necessarily be true that those who eat apples never have to see a doctor, apples certainly have great health benefits for our bodies! Did you know they can even be good for our teeth? Let’s take a look at what the research says…

It’s widely thought that chewing a crisp, fresh apple can help brush away plaque on our teeth. We’re not too sure on this one, as some studies show a higher plaque content on teeth after eating an apple. At the same time, there is evidence to suggest some polyphenols in apples can lower the ability of cavity-causing bacteria to adhere to teeth. Further, some studies have shown that the antioxidants in apples can help prevent periodontal disease.

Apples even contain a (very) small amount of fluoride. This is worth noting, as fluoride is so important in helping prevent cavities.

Lastly, the act of chewing an apple stimulates saliva production. Saliva helps wash away food debris and bacteria. Remember, though, apples contain sugar and acid so it’s best not to go overboard with them.

You can even swish with water after eating one to wash away some of the sugar left behind. As the science continues to look into how apples affect our teeth, one thing we know is true: regular dental visits, along with daily tooth brushing and flossing, is your best defense against tooth decay!

If you would like to find out more about the smile benefits of apples, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Should I Brush Before I Floss? | Bell Dentist

The age-old question – should you floss before you brush or after? If you asked any one of our team members, you just might get a different answer on this one!

Before you report them for not knowing their stuff, each response can be right! As long as you’re doing a thorough job, we don’t care when you floss!

The Case for Flossing Before Brushing

Theoretically, flossing first dislodges the gunk between your teeth, letting the fluoride in your toothpaste reach those crevices better. Also, behavioral scientists say since most people don’t like to floss, it’s better to get the least-pleasant half of your dental routine out of the way first – you’ll be less likely to skip it. Once you have a minty, fresh mouth from brushing, you might be less inclined to feel the need to floss afterward.

The Case for Flossing After Brushing

Some say flossing last is better because it clears your mouth from extra food and debris that could otherwise be carried by the floss into the very spaces you’re trying to clean out.

Plus, it might be more pleasant to put those flossing hands into a clean mouth versus an unbrushed one.

Bottom Line

Floss when it works for you. But make it a habit! Choose the same time every day, floss once a day, and floss thoroughly.

And don’t forget to use the right flossing method: for each new set of teeth, use a new section of floss, and hug each side of the tooth by dragging the floss upward in the shape of a “C.”

Want us to show you how? Just ask!

If you would like to find out more about flossing, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.