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.

The Why, When, How and Where of Tongue Scraping | Bell Dentist

Imagine it’s still winter … you’re standing at the door, ready to brave the cold. You’re layered-up with three shirts and a sweatshirt, your heavy winter coat, and two layers of socks underneath your waterproof winter boots. Then you’ve got those awesome jeans with the flannel on the inside, your comfy hat, scarf, and gloves. You’re set! But wait. As you step toward the door, you suddenly realize you have an itch … and it’s deep down … buried beneath all those layers. And try as you may, every attempt to reach that bugger-of-an-itch fails. Defeated, you realize the only relief you’re ever gonna’ get is to remove each one of those layers. Where are we going with this?!

We’re going inside your mouth, of course, to your tongue – this is a dental article, after all! Because whether you know it or not, like you in the wintertime, your tongue is also “all covered up” – buried beneath layers of bacteria, fungi, and food residue that can inhibit your ability to taste, let alone cause your tongue to appear various shades of yellow, white, or green! Remove the bacteria, though, and your food will once again directly interact with those taste buds and return to its natural hue. So how does one do that? With a tongue scraper, of course!

WHAT is a tongue scraper?

A tongue scraper is a U-shaped device designed to “scrape” the top layer of scum from your tongue. They have been in use since ancient times and have been made of everything from wood to whalebone. Nowadays, they are made of more hygienic material, and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, designs and colors.

WHY use a tongue scraper?

The residue on your tongue includes things like the cavity-inducing Streptococcus mutans bacterium, fungi, rotting food (that’s not good), and what’s referred to as “volatile sulfur compounds.” In other words, sulfur – that “rotting egg smell.” Talk about ew! So, as you can see, there are several reasons why you’d want to get rid of this gunk in your mouth. Let’s tackle them one by one:

  • Get rid of bad breath. ‘Nuff said!
  • Reduce your risk of periodontal disease and cavities. Bad bacteria contribute to plaque and tartar on teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities. Bacteria build-up can also lead to inflammation of gum tissue (gingivitis). If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, which means a more expensive dental visit (plus other unwanted consequences!).
  • Heart disease prevention. While the debate is still up in the air, some studies suggest there could be a correlation between gum disease and heart disease.

HOW does one use a tongue scraper?

In general, make sure to rinse your tongue scraper before and after use. Apply the tongue scraper to the back of your tongue and drag it forward. Then, rinse and repeat. Make sure to get the sides of your tongue as well, not just the center!

Make sure not to press too hard or you can cause yourself to bleed. And, if you’re wondering if you should scrape your tongue while recovering from a dental procedure, that’s a good question … ask your dentist for the best advice particular to your situation. Still not sure how this thing really works? The next time you’re in ask Dr. Ahmadi for a quick tutorial!

WHERE do I buy one?

Your first choice is, believe it or not, your dentist. They may even have a sample they could provide to you at no cost. Tongue scrapers are relatively inexpensive and can also be found at any local drugstore. It doesn’t matter the material, color, or brand – just find the one you like and get scraping!

If you would like to find out more about tongue scrapers, 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.

Keeping Halitosis at Bay | Bell Dentist

As a social society, we rely a lot on face-to-face conversation. We were safe during the pandemic – we had a mask on that would block any off-putting odors. We all want to have fresh breath, but if we don’t have a toothbrush handy, how do we accomplish that throughout the day? Below are five easy ways to keep your breath fresh all day and avoid awkward social situations:

Stay hydrated. Drinking water helps speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth by rinsing your mouth out after meals and snacks.

Cut down on coffee. It may be tasty, but coffee is a huge culprit of dragon breath.

Quit tobacco habits. Smoking gives people horrible breath and loads of health issues. There are various reasons to quit tobacco products.

Sober up. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth and too much can make your breath reek for up to ten hours after you finish drinking.

Chew sugarless gum. Chewing a stick 20 minutes after a meal can help with produce saliva. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can even help reduce cavities.

If you would like to find out more about controlling bad breath, 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.

Why Does My Breath Smell Bad? | Bell Dentist

It’s quite possibly one of the more embarrassing issues someone could point out to you. So much so, we go to various lengths to prevent it from happening. It’s common and natural, but still a bit shocking to realize. Yes, it’s time to talk about halitosis, or what is commonly called bad breath.

Because there are so many ways one can develop bad breath, so let’s break down the options:

Bacteria. When your mouth isn’t moist enough to produce saliva, bacteria will breed inside your mouth. The longer that bacteria are stagnate, the more chance they have to multiply and give off toxins and stinky odors.

Tonsils. The deep holes in your tonsils, called crypts, are a common cause of halitosis. If your tonsils are too wide and pitted, a cheese-like smelly substance collects in these holes, causing bad breath.

Foods. There are definitely plenty of delicious foods in our diet that can cause our breath to smell. Onion, garlic, and fish are just a few examples of foul-smelling breath culprits.

Stomach issues. Sometimes gastrointestinal problems, such as GERD or an ulcer, can cause bad breath when burping. If you are on a low-carb diet, like keto, which causes a fat-burning state in the body that produces dragon breath.

Bad habits. One of the obvious bad habits we have is with tobacco. Any type of smoking (cigarettes, cigars & pipes), and especially chewing tobacco can leave you with a really nasty taste – and smell – in your mouth. 

Medications. Lastly, there are some medications that can cause dry mouth, leading to a case of halitosis. If this is an issue for you, talk to your dental professional for prevention tips.

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

Dr. Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.