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.

What to Do When You Cracked a Tooth | Bell Dentist

Ouch! Did you chomp on something your tooth didn’t like? Or get hit in the mouth with a hockey puck?

If you think you may have a cracked tooth, or if you’re holding a piece of your tooth in your hand, follow these steps!

1. Give us a call to schedule an appointment 323-312-0500 or click here. Let us know about your emergency and we will make our best effort to see you right away.

2. If there are tooth fragments that have fallen out, preserve them in a clean container with a moist solution (cold milk, water, saliva), and bring them in to your appointment.

3. Apply a cold pack to your jaw to lessen any pain and swelling.

4. If bleeding, bite down on a gauze pad until bleeding stops.

It is possible to have a cracked tooth and not know it. If you have any pain when biting down, or when eating something hot or cold, it’s best to get it checked out.

In order to prevent further damage to the tooth or an infection, it’s very important to correct a cracked tooth immediately.

If you would like to find out more about dental emergencies, 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.

Effects of Soda on Your Teeth | Bell Dentist

Ever seen those videos where someone puts a baby tooth in a glass of soda and watches it decay? Well, the effect of soda in an actual mouth is a bit different. You have your saliva to help wash away the sugar, you eat other things throughout the day, and brush at least twice a day to remove debris or plaque.

Nevertheless, soda is not something we recommend you consume more often than a once-in-awhile treat. Here’s why:

Sugar. Soda has an extremely high sugar content. The bacteria that cause tooth decay feed off of sugar and excrete acid, which is what causes tooth decay. The more sugar our teeth have to interact with, the more prone to decay they will be.

Acid. Think diet soda is a better alternative? Even though it contains zero sugar, it can still contain acids such as phosphoric acid or citric acid. Acid eats away at a tooth’s enamel and leaves it prone to decay.

Colors. Caramel color, Yellow 5, etc. Any type of artificial coloring can cause tooth-staining. If you prefer your teeth sparkling white, it’s best to stay away from soda.

Instead of soda, we recommend spicing up your daily beverages with other alternatives. How about some sparkling water or plain water infused with fresh fruit? When you do drink soda, make sure to rinse with water afterwards. And, as always, keep up with regular brushing and flossing to protect those precious teeth!

If you would like to find out more about the effects of soda on 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.

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.

Got a Cold Sore? Here’s How to Treat It Quickly | Bell Dentist

Ugh. A cold sore appears a couple days before a party where you’ll be photographed as much as the Royal Couple. That smile that we’ve been working on together just went from hero to zero, right?

Not necessarily. Finding which cold sore treatment works best for you can help speed along its healing. And that’s why we’re here.

Maybe it isn’t a cold sore, right? Let’s clear the air about what a cold sore is and isn’t.

Cold sores are contagious blisters that usually appear on your lips or around your mouth. Caused by a virus, cold sores usually start with a tingling sensation, evolve into numerous tiny, painful blisters, and later crust over.

Canker sores, on the other hand, aren’t contagious, but they still sting. Unlike cold sores, they usually appear as white oval lesions inside your mouth, especially near or on your gums.

Remedies for Cold Sores

The key to treating a cold sore is acting fast. As soon as the first symptom appears, consider these steps to move the healing process along quickly:

  • Apply ice to the cold sore. At the first sign, grab an ice cube, wrap it in a paper towel, place it where you feel the cold sore coming on, and let it melt. Back-to-back applications can reduce the pain.
  • Switch to a cold sore-fighting diet. You can boost your immune system’s fight against this viral nuisance with the right foods. Fill your plate with cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower, and avoid foods with arginine, a cold-sore-triggering amino acid found in nuts, chocolate, and oats.
  • Dial down the stress. One of the most common causes of cold sores is, surprise, surprise, stress. Minimizing stress these days can get so complicated that it causes more stress, right? But try giving yourself some time for the restorative, restful activities that drop your heart rate and raise your smile.
  • Reach for aloe vera or even an over-the-counter cream. Both natural and medicinal creams have shown promise as cold sore remedies. Some studies suggest that aloe vera can help the fever blister heal, and over-the-counter creams, like docosanol, also tout their ability to knock the sore out of cold sores. Prefer the medicinal route? Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before using it.
  • Relieve pain with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Some cold sores can get really painful. For those intense ones, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may provide well-needed relief. Just be sure that your healthcare provider’s on-board with that type of over-the-counter med.

There you have it. You’re on the fast track to treating that cold sore quickly and living your best life at the party. Don’t forget to smile!

If you would like to find out more about cold sore remedies, 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.

When Your TMJ Symptoms Are Overwhelming | Bell Dentist

No one like to have a toothache. For some reason, it feels like pain in our mouths is worse than any other type of pain. Your head is throbbing, your jaw is aching – and nothing seems to help ease the pain. It’s time to make an appointment with your dentist in order to figure out the issue. Not only can the pain exist in a larger area than a single tooth, but it can cause issues when trying to eat, sleep or other day-to-day activities. Thankfully, TMJ disorder is a condition that is temporary and can be alleviated without surgery. 

Individuals suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ, experience many symptoms such as discomfort and pain in areas surrounding the face or jaw. For some it’s a tenderness in the jaw area while some find pain around the ear, others will have difficulty eating or may experience locking of the jaw joint, which makes it tough to open and close the mouth. There are a series of remedies recommended in order to alleviate tension found in those areas. You’ll find that the remedies are simple and can easily done anywhere. Some of these include:

  • Facial exercises such as stretching, relaxing, or massaging the muscles found around the jaw.
  • Evading actions such as yawning, singing, or excessive chewing.
  • Learning new stress relieving techniques, including but not limited to meditation, breathing exercises, or personal stress relievers. There are loads of options online you can experience in order to find what best suits your needs.
  • Formulating an exercise plan in order to increase your pain tolerance.

If you would like to find out more about TMJ disorder, 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.