Think Before You Drink: The Worst Soft Drinks for Your Teeth

unicorn-ice-cream.jpgIt was hard to miss the impact Starbucks’ limited-time Unicorn Frappuccino had on social media over the last few weeks. Surprisingly, critics argued not so much over the taste of the beverage but about its sugar content. Mixed in with all the vividly colored pictures of people trying out the new highly-anticipated drink, were graphics detailing just how much sugar the sweet treat contained. One of the most shared claims was that it had the equivalent to up to 3 or 4 Snickers candy bars in just one drink.

So, how much sugar was really in it?

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5 Quick Tips to Improve Your Child’s Dental Routine

The evolution of the internet has been an amazing thing for people who seek to learn new skills. Videos abound on every subject you can imagine. It’s never been easier to learn to repair a small problem with your car or fix a leaky faucet. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing can quickly turn bad.

A dangerous new trend has found its way around the internet in the form of Do-it-yourself dentistry. Video tutorials recorded by amateurs with no medical experience or education claim to teach people how to do everything from pull teeth to straighten them.

It may have become even more popular when the television show Extreme Cheapskates, which aired on TLC, featured an episode devoted to people too "cheap" to go to the dentist. In the segment, a woman needs her tooth pulled but doesn’t want to spend the $185 that the dentist quoted. So, she has her husband watch some videos online and perform the procedure himself.

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10 Fun Facts About Animal Teeth

It’s hard to find a loving, kind example of a dentist in movies and television. Most are portrayed as terrifying or cold and sterile. Does this depiction of the profession mirror our culture’s feelings about going to the dentist, or does it create more fear and anxiety than already exists?

It’s hard to tell but according to research from the CDC only 62 percent of adults aged 18-64 visited the dentist in 2014. In fact, they found that of the adults aged 20-44, 27.4 percent had untreated cavities. 1

If people aren’t avoiding the dentist because of what they see on television, then why are close to 40 percent of Americans not going in at least once a year for professional care? Cost is one reason. Dental insurance can be complicated and costly. One study found that if your mouth has a healthy year, your dental insurance probably caused you to lose around $200. 2 Obviously, that’s not always the case and dental insurance can be a huge relief if major work is needed such as a root canal.

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A Vaccine for Gum Disease

b2ap3_thumbnail_spring-cleaning.jpgAround March and April each year, people around the nation begin thinking about cleaning and airing out the house after winter. After a few months of basic cleaning, it starts to feel like it’s time for a deep cleaning. Those hard to reach places like the baseboards and windows are in desperate need of a wipe down and the floors and bathrooms could use a deeper clean than normal for all those easy to miss spots.

The same holds true for your mouth. Throughout the year, we clean them daily and hopefully twice a day, but there’s no way to reach every single nook and cranny with just a toothbrush and floss. That’s where your biannual professional dental cleaning comes in. It’s important to keep up with these appointments because a thorough cleaning helps prevent plaque build-up and keeps things looking and feeling great.

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Hope for Dental Phobias Sufferers

b2ap3_thumbnail_tooth-graphic.jpgOne of the things that often gets overlooked during or after cancer treatment is the mouth. Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation can be hard on the whole body but some people are truly surprised at the toll it takes on their teeth.Although no statistics seem to exist yet, if you ask a group of cancer survivors about their teeth after chemotherapy and radiation, you’ll be surprised at how many are struggling to keep up with the decay and destruction that the treatment has left in its path.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research says that the side effects of chemotherapy treatments can make it difficult and painful for patients to eat, talk and swallow. They recommend visiting the dentist at least one month before treatment begins when possible. It’s also imperative to communicate regularly with your dentist during treatments so the doctor and dentist can work together to keep cancer patients as comfortable as possible. While undergoing cancer treatments, your body is at an increased risk for infection says Dr. Martin Abelar, DDS, San Diego area dentist.

"It’s important to see a dentist as early as possible before treatment begins so we can address any preexisting concerns and treat them before the patient begins cancer therapies," Abelar said. "This also gives us a chance to go over the best care practices for oral hygiene during treatment and some tips on how to minimize discomfort from any potential side effects."

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Dollar Store Dentistry

b2ap3_thumbnail_dental-implant.jpgThree million adults in the United States have dental implants according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and the numbers are rising each year by about 500,000. A dental implant is the best way to replace a missing tooth according to Dr. Martin Abelar, DDS, a leading cosmetic and restorative dentist in the San Diego area. 

"When a tooth is lost the only way to keep the jaw bone strong and the other teeth from shifting to fill the space is with an implant because it fills the space all the way into the root," Abelar said. "Many people don’t realize that over time, the bone loss associated with a missing tooth can even cause premature aging as the jaw bone plays a big part in our facial structure."

According to the American Association of Endodontists, the success rate for dental implant placement is well above 90 percent. Although implant failure isn’t common, the reasons for it include rejection from the jawbone, failure to connect with the jawbone, nerve or tissue damage, allergic reaction and infection. The most common of the causes is infection also called peri-implantitis says Abelar.  

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Why Aren’t My Teeth White?

b2ap3_thumbnail_smiling-patient.jpgIt’s safe to say that few people look forward coming to the dentist. But for some, the idea of a visit to the dentist creates such fear and anxiety, that they may not go at all until they find themselves in severe pain. As a dental professional, Dr. Abelar understands these feelings and offers options for his patients that experience anxiety.

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If You Love Root Beer, You're In Luck!

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Social Anxiety and Teeth Grinding

b2ap3_thumbnail_childrens-teeth.jpgThe state of children’s oral health in the United States is no less concerning today than it was in the past. Early childhood caries, also more generally called cavities, is the most common chronic disease affecting children today. The upper front teeth are most frequently affected, but all teeth are vulnerable to decay.

In the first three years of a child’s life, 20 baby teeth will break through the gum's surface where they have been located since birth, and become imperative to their ability to chew and speak. Unfortunately, it’s very common for those baby teeth to be left alone until the child reaches toddlerhood or even until their first dental exam. What many don’t realize, is that tooth decay in babies is a real possibility and with just a few simple practices can be prevented. Dr. Martin Abelar, DDS, one of Southern California’s premiere dentists believes healthy baby teeth are the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health.

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Implant Technology

b2ap3_thumbnail_misaligned-jaw.jpgApril has been National Stress Awareness Month for twenty-five years. It might seem like stress is all mental, but it can affect you physically in serious ways. Stress can cause headaches, depression, insomnia, upset stomach, mouth sores, low energy, dry mouth and clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth.

Surprisingly, stress is often noticed first at dental appointments. This is because many of the physical symptoms of stress are manifested in the mouth or jaw.

Have you ever found yourself clenching your teeth when stress or anxious? When this happens, you’re likely placing hundreds of pounds of pressure on your teeth. Not only can grinding and clenching weaken and eventually fracture teeth, but it can also damage the joint that controls your jaw. The medical term for grinding and clenching the teeth is called bruxism. One of the reasons it often goes undiagnosed is because many people experience bruxism almost exclusively when sleeping and may not know they’re doing it.

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Protecting the Teeth of America's Youth

b2ap3_thumbnail_mercury-periodic-table.jpgIt can be hard to keep up with emerging technologies and news in the healthcare world. You may be wondering if the dental care you are receiving is safe and modern, so today we’re going to talk about two red flags that may indicate it’s not.

Have you heard of the saying ‘Mad as a hatter’? If you have, you may not know that it started in the 19th century when what is known as mad hatter disease became such a phenomenon that word began to spread all over the world. Hat makers from Russia to England and even the U.S. were experiencing, unbeknownst to them, mercury poisoning because of the chemicals used to treat the hat materials and aid in their forming.

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Does Oil Pulling Whiten Teeth and Eliminate Oral Bacteria?

b2ap3_thumbnail_taj-mahal_20170222-174525_1.jpgResearchers at Princeton University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have discovered that hydroxyapatite, a calcium compound found in teeth and bones, can be used successfully to protect marble structures.

The research team set out to find a way to protect landmarks and other important pieces made of marble from the harsh elements that cause them to crumble and decay over time. Although marble is fairly durable, it’s especially susceptible to damage from exposure to acidic substances. For this reason, pollutants and weathering can have an effect on the ability of these structures to withstand the test of time, especially outdoors.

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Feeling Sleepy? It's More than just Being Tired.

b2ap3_thumbnail_coldsensitivetoothanim.jpgThere are few things more frustrating than having to skip your favorite ice cream or morning latte because of the pain it causes your teeth due to sensitivity. It can leave you desperate for answers and a solution that lets you enjoy your favorite hot or cold treats again. The tricky thing with tooth sensitivity is that it can be caused by a number of things.

The strongest substance in the human body is enamel. This enamel is actually what the outermost layer of your teeth is composed of. Under the enamel lies a layer called the dentin. When the enamel is weakened, the dentin, which contains tiny hollow tubes that stimulate the nerves inside the tooth, can cause sensitivity when exposed to temperature extremes.

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Solutions for Dental Anxiety

b2ap3_thumbnail_cartoon-implant-anim--med.jpgOne of the many things that sets Dr. Abelar apart from other dentists is his investment in technology that allows for the highest level of quality care for his patients. CBCT, cone beam computerized tomography, is a medical imaging device that is designed specifically for the head and jaw and uses x-rays that form the shape of a cone to get a 360-degree view of the patient’s mouth.

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Advice from Dr. Abelar

b2ap3_thumbnail_kid-brushing-teeth-braids.jpgAs children get older and start to take control of their own oral hygiene routine, it’s normal for parents to worry. Making sure they are brushing and flossing for the right amount of time and reaching all the problem areas can be daunting at first. Here are a few tips and tricks to help both you and your children make your dental routine easier and more efficient.

Tip #1: Timer

This can be as simple as a little kitchen timer at the discount store. If you want to get them a special themed timer, tooth shaped hourglass timers are available online in different colors. Time is one concept that is really hard for kids to grasp. Knowing exactly how long two to three minutes is (depending on the rule you live by) can really help.

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A Dental Implant That Protects Teeth From the Inside

b2ap3_thumbnail_narwhal-copy-small.jpgIt’s no secret that kids love animals. Most adults do, too. Finding common interests is a great way to connect with your children over something fun and educational. Here are some fun facts about animals and their teeth you can share with your children. Hopefully, this will help create an opportunity to associate healthy oral care habits with something fun that they will remember.

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The Link Between Teeth and the Taj Mahal

b2ap3_thumbnail_vaccine.jpgGum Disease, also called periodontitis, occurs when bacteria builds up around the teeth and gums. Symptoms include red, swollen and sometimes bleeding gums (especially when flossing), bad breath and even loss of teeth. More than three million people are diagnosed each year with this disease in the United States alone.

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What’s Causing Your Tooth Sensitivity?

b2ap3_thumbnail_scared-child-2.jpgAccording to WebMD, up to 20 percent of Americans report avoiding visits to the dentists due to anxiety and Live Science even ranked dental phobia in its list of top ten phobias. More severe than anxiety, anywhere from five to ten percent suffer from dental phobia and unless in unbearable pain won't step foot in a dental office.

Dr. Martin Abelar, DDS, leading San Diego area restorative and cosmetic dentist says it’s a vicious circle.

"One of the major reasons I find people putting off dental work is because they fear the dentist. Maybe they had a bad experience as a young child. Maybe they had a bad experience as an adult. Perhaps they don’t even know why they fear visiting the dentist. But those are the patients that end up having most of the problems and needing the most serious work because it's been put off for so long."

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Outdated and Potentially Harmful Dental Practices

b2ap3_thumbnail_green-dollar-sign.jpgOne of Dr. Abelar’s favorite stories is about a $5.00 haircut. The story tells of a well- established barber shop that had been providing quality, personal care to the community for years. As the town grew, new business came to town, and a big-chain barber shop opened up across the street offering quicker, cheaper haircuts for $5.00. The local barber loses some of his business to those seeking to save a few dollars, and he begins to worry. He knows his quality of work and the trusted tools he uses cannot be offered for that price and he isn’t interested in compromising. After a few weeks, his once loyal customers suddenly return. They tell him that the new barbers didn’t know exactly how they liked it shaped and cut and it never turned out like they wanted. As their hair grew out, they realized how uneven it was. A few days later the local barber places a sign outside his shop that says "We Fix $5 Haircuts" and his days of worry are gone.

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Cancer Treatment and Oral Health

b2ap3_thumbnail_teeth-whitening-paint-anim.jpgIt’s hard to ignore how you feel about your teeth when you see them every time you look in the mirror. If you’re unhappy with how they look, it can be especially frustrating and disheartening. Discoloration and stains are one of the most popular complaints surrounding smiles all over the nation. The best way to prevent this from happening is to know what causes it.

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