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Chaparral Village Dental & Orthodontics

27287 Nicolas Road Suite 104, Temecula, CA 92591

951-676-7200

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How Medications Affect Your Dental Health

Posted on October 23, 2019 at 12:57 PM Comments comments (5)
If you're taking medications for certain health conditions, it may not have crossed your mind that they can also impact your oral health. After all, medications are supposed to bring equilibrium back to your system, not stir things up, right? Truth is a variety of prescribed medications can affect your teeth. 

Antihistamines may cause dry mouth syndrome, which can lead to sore gums, making the mouth more prone to infection. Contraceptives and blood pressure medications may cause mouth sores, gum inflammation and discoloration. Blood thinners can interfere with your ability to form blood clots or cause heavy bleeding after a tooth extraction. Anti-seizure medications can cause an overgrowth of gum tissue (gingival hyperplasia) and make it difficult to practice good oral hygiene. 

When you're taking medications and start taking other medications - whether prescribed, over-the-counter or illegal - it can change the effects of both the original and the new medications. Simply put, when certain drugs interact, they may increase or decrease the effects or produce another, unintended effect. This is why it's so important to keep your dentist informed about all the medications you take; any teeth medications you are prescribed will take this into consideration. 

Smokers More Likely to Need Root Canals

Posted on April 26, 2019 at 5:31 PM Comments comments (3)
It's never fun to hear the words "root canal" coming out of your dentist's mouth. But if you've recently been diagnosed as needing a root canal treatment, it may be comforting to know that you're not alone. Like you, it's estimated that about half of the adult population in the U.S. will need a root canal treatment by the age of 50.The good news is if you don't smoke you can avoid increasing your chances of needing a root canal. If you do smoke, you may be surprised to learn about the recent dental health findings at Boston University's Goldman School of Dental Medicine. Studies there revealed that your gender, how much you smoke and how long you've been smoking can significantly multiply your need for root canal treatment.

Are Men More Vulnerable? Poets, musicians and humorists have long opined the differences between men and women. How the sexes are dissimilar will always be hotly debated, but one thing is certain: Men and women are distinctly different when it comes to dental health. A survey revealed that men of all ages are more likely than women to develop cavities, periodontal disease and oral cancer; smoking puts men at twice the risk over women. Smoking also doubles the need for root canals in men. " Our study has shown that men have almost twice the risk of having root canal treatments if they smoke cigarettes, compared to men who never smoke," said Elizabeth Krall Kaye, author of the Boston University study and professor in the department of health policy and health services. So does that mean women are in the clear? Not really, says Kaye. Historically, women haven't smoked as long or as much per day as men but Kaye believes that the risk associated with smoking and root canals still applies. Why smoking makes men and women more susceptible to dental problems that require root canal treatment is still somewhat of a mystery. Kaye and her associates think the answers lie in what smoking does to your overall health: It affects your ability to ward off infection, increases inflammation and damages your circulation system.

Why Time Matters. If you recently picked up the habit of smoking, you may be at lower risk for root canals -- but don't let that fool you into thinking you're safe. The likelihood that a "newbie" smoker will need a root canal is still 20 percent greater than a non-smoker. Smoking for 4-12 years doubles the risk. But the most vulnerable are long-time smokers or anyone who has smoked for 12 or more years; the chances of needing a root canal then jumps to a whopping 120 percent more than non-smokers! Fortunately, you can greatly reduce your need for root canals by quitting cigarette smoking and staying smoke-free. In fact, if you stay smoke-free for at least nine years, your chances of needing a root canal treatment can drop as low as a non-smoker's.

Rely on Your Dentist. It's important to remember that your dentist is the one person who can help you maintain good oral health even if you smoke. So don't shy away from your dentist if you're a smoker; dentists want to help you, not judge you. With regular dental visits and dental cleanings, your dentist can monitor your dental health and help alleviate some of the consequences of smoking. Even better, if you need help quitting, your dentist is a great person to turn to for advice. Your dentist will be able to provide smoking cessation products such as nicotine patches or can help refer you to effective smoking cessation programs or clinics.

The Aging Mouth: What’s Normal, What’s Not?

Posted on November 11, 2018 at 12:37 AM Comments comments (0)
If you're like most seniors, you know that some changes to your body are a normal part of the aging process and others aren't. The same applies to your dental health. That's right, the health of your teeth matters as you age, too! So it's easy to understand why you might be wondering what changes are normal and what might signal something more serious.

What to Expect The natural process of aging takes its toll on your teeth and mouth just as it does your body. Here are some common oral health changes seniors can anticipate:

Tooth Wear -- Chewing, cleaning and the normal processes of aging mean your teeth wear down over time. The wear is more advanced in seniors who suffer from bruxism.

Darker Tooth Color -- Aging dentin (the tooth's middle layer) holds stains easier than younger dentin, making your teeth appear slightly darker. Dental plaque, the sticky invisible film that accumulates on your teeth and traps stains, also builds up faster in seniors.

Gum Changes -- Aging gums naturally recede over time. As gum tissue moves up and away from teeth, the roots are exposed. This makes your teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay and more sensitive to hot and cold.

Cavities -- Cavities around the root of the tooth are more common among seniors. Any tooth filling material you already have is also aging and can weaken or crack. Your tooth may also decay around the edges of the fillings, allowing bacteria to seep into your tooth and create new decay.

Cause for Concern Some changes to your teeth and gums aren't normal and shouldn't be overlooked. These symptoms could signal something more serious and are reason to talk to your dentist right away:

Tooth Loss -- Dental cavities and gum disease are the leading culprits of tooth loss in seniors, but neither is a normal part of aging. If your teeth and gums are healthy, there's no reason why your teeth should fall out. With good oral hygiene and regular professional care, your teeth are meant to last a lifetime.

Dry Mouth -- Many seniors experience a reduced flow of saliva, sometimes as a side effect of medical conditions, medications or medical treatment. The problem is that saliva is needed to lubricate the mouth, wash foods away and neutralize the acids produced by plaque. Left untreated, dry mouth can lead to tooth decay.

Bleeding Gums -- Experiencing bleeding gums when you brush is a sign of periodontal (gum) disease, a leading cause of tooth loss in seniors. But gum disease is not an inevitable result of aging; it's caused by the build up of plaque. Left untreated, gum disease is linked to other health concerns like arthritis and heart disease. If you think you have gingivitis or gum disease, see your dentist for gum disease treatment.

Mouth Pain -- Any lesion found on the tongue or anywhere in the mouth should be examined by a dentist. Such sores can signal gum disease or oral cancer. Seniors are at higher risk for oral cancer, especially smokers, heavy drinkers and those who've had a lot of exposure to ultraviolet light.

Regular dental visits can help detect and treat dental problems in the early stages and are just as important for seniors as for younger people. Simple self-help tips such as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily are also important in combating the effects of aging. Talk to your dentist to find out how often you should come in for routine dental care.

A Step-by-Step Flossing Guide for Kids

Posted on August 18, 2018 at 3:11 AM Comments comments (1)
Regular tooth brushing and flossing are important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. The best way to insure that your child maintains good oral health through adulthood is to establish their oral hygiene routine early.

You can start teaching your child to floss when they are 2 or 3 years old. They will require supervision and assistance until they are about 8 years old, but establishing regular flossing habits will put them ahead of the dental health game as they grow up.

Flossing is important for removing the dental plaque trapped between teeth and along the gum line that a toothbrush cannot usually reach. Flossing should be performed at least once a day and should take about two minutes. Speak to your child's dentist for specific suggestions about how and when to begin teaching your child to floss.

Floss comes in many colors and flavors, so it is a good idea to let your child pick one that they like. By making flossing something exciting to look forward to, you will increase the chance that your child will maintain the habit.

Three Easy Steps to Help Your Child Floss

Step One. To begin flossing, have your child cut off a piece of floss approximately 18 inches long.

Step Two. Have them wrap the ends around their middle or index fingers on both hands.

Step Three. Next, have them gently guide the floss between their teeth, carefully moving the floss around the tooth and under the gum line. Make sure they floss between the gum line and the side of each tooth.

Your dentist may also suggest that you use a prethreaded flosser or floss holder to make it easier for your child to maneuver floss around teeth. If you have any questions about your child's dental care habits, talk to your dentist today.

Seniors at Higher Risk for Dental Cavities

Posted on June 3, 2018 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (5)
You may think that as an adult you don't have to worry about cavities anymore -- but dental cavities aren't just child's play!

As we entered the new millennium, it was discovered that seniors were actually getting more dental cavities than children. Today, children and seniors are still the two highest at-risk groups for tooth decay.

Aging puts us at greater risk for dental problems -- the wearing away of tooth enamel, receding gums and loss of jawbone are signs that our mouths are aging along with our bodies.
Your grandparents could probably tell you that, in their youth, most senior citizens had missing teeth. Many lost their teeth to dental disease, and a tooth extraction was a common treatment for dental problems.

With current dental technology, we're relying less on old-fashioned dentistry and more on modern dental procedures to restore our smiles. That's great news to seniors, who are keeping their teeth longer. Now for the bad news -- anyone with natural teeth can get dental cavities. And the longer we have our teeth, the more we expose them to the elements that can cause tooth decay.

The Risk Factors
Unfortunately, geriatric teeth are less able to handle the normal wear and tear of those in younger generations. There are several reasons why seniors may be prone to more dental cavities:

Lack of Fluoride -- Most of our nation's seniors didn't have the benefits of community water fluoridation while growing up. And with the popularity of bottled water today, seniors may still not be getting the fluoride they need. Fluoride strengthens teeth and helps prevent tooth decay.

Arthritis -- Those who suffer from arthritis, or other medical conditions, may have a hard time gripping a toothbrush or floss, making it difficult to practice daily oral hygiene.

Gum Disease -- Over 95% of seniors have receding gums, exposing the roots of teeth and making them vulnerable to the same dental diseases that affect the tooth's crown. Root decay is becoming much more common among seniors.

Dry Mouth -- Dry mouth is often a side effect of medications or health problems often associated with seniors. Saliva is needed to wash away food particles and neutralize the acid that promotes tooth decay. When our mouths are dry, our teeth become more susceptible to cavities.

Diet -- Aging may cause our diet to change. Seniors often lean towards softer foods, which don't always have the nutrients you need for healthy teeth. A diet heavy in carbohydrates and sugar also contributes to dental cavities.

Assisted Living -- Although assisted living centers are designed to help our loved ones get the care they need, oral hygiene may fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, a lack of individual attention may keep seniors from maintaining their smiles.

Finances -- When on a fixed income, oral health care may not be a priority. Some seniors can't afford to pay for dental products or professional dental care.

Look Grandma -- No Dental Cavities!

There are several ways seniors can improve their chances of staying dental cavity-free. A diet low in sugar and high in calcium promotes tooth health. If you aren't getting enough fluoride, try using fluoride toothpastes, mouth rinses or tablets. Drinking water, sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugarless gum promotes saliva production and reduces dry mouth.

For seniors with dexterity problems, wrap tape or an elastic bandage around the toothbrush. If a wider grip is needed, you can even try taping a tennis ball, sponge or rubber bicycle grip to the handle. An electric toothbrush may also be helpful for those who cannot maneuver a manual toothbrush easily. And daily flossing should not be forgotten, either -- floss holders and waxed floss may make it easier for seniors to continue their oral hygiene routine.

Because of the special dental needs of seniors, regular dental visits are necessary to maintain their oral health. Dentists use this time to check for the dental problems that affect older patients, including gum disease, root decay and oral cancer. If a senior you know is living in a nursing home, arrange for them to receive oral care and continue with their dental appointments. If transporting them to the dental office is impossible, try finding a dentist who can arrange in-house care at their facility.

Now that you have the chance to keep your teeth for a lifetime, you should take advantage of it. Taking the right steps to maintain your smile will help you remain cavity-free, so you can truly experience what your golden years have to offer!

How Oral Health Affects the Rest of You

Posted on June 12, 2017 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (8)

"Show me your teeth, and I will tell you who you are," declared preeminent 18th-century naturalist George Cuvier. The guy was onto something.

Click HERE to read this excellent article about mouth-body connection...

How To Promote Healthy Dental Habits For Your Children

Posted on May 26, 2017 at 2:34 AM Comments comments (8)

Getting your kids to adopt healthy dental habits is crucial to having a strong smile for life! The habits you teach your kids now will follow them into adulthood. Having your kids brush and floss for healthy teeth and gums will help them learn how important it is to care for their smile. Starting your kids off right shouldn’t feel like a chore—here’s how you can easily promote smart dental habits in your children!

Click here to learn more...

Do You Have Good Oral Health? Answer These Questions to Find Out!

Posted on May 15, 2017 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (18)
Having good oral health is more than just brushing every day and flossing once in a while. Your mouth is an entire unit that requires regular care—both at-home and in the dentist’s chair! As we age, our mouths become more susceptible to oral health problems like gum disease, so taking proper care of our teeth and gums is vital.

How can you know if you have good oral health? By answering these questions, you can find out where you stand when it comes to excellent oral hygiene!

Do You Follow the Two Minutes Two Times Rule?

The two minutes two times a day rule refers to brushing your teeth. This means that for two minutes two times a day, you should be gently brushing your teeth! Do you brush your teeth for the full two minutes, and do you actually take the time to brush twice a day? If you answered no to even one of these questions, you could be setting yourself up for subpar oral health!

Do You Floss After Meals?

Flossing once a day is crucial to help clean the surfaces of your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. By flossing after meals, you can effectively remove plaque and trapped food particles that would otherwise affect the protective enamel layer of your teeth. Floss is easy to keep with you and flossing can help clean teeth and gums better than brushing alone.

Are You Eating a Healthy Diet?

What we eat has a huge impact on our health. Eating lots of sugary foods will create an imbalance of good and bad oral bacteria in your mouth. When the bad bacteria take over, your mouth becomes acidic and your enamel is subject to damage. This can cause cavities, sensitive teeth, and bad breath! By eating a well balanced diet with lots of fresh vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats, you can maintain excellent oral health.

How Often Do You Replace Your Toothbrush?

If it’s been more than three months since you’ve replaced your toothbrush, you’ve got a problem. Soft- bristled toothbrushes are the best kind to have since they’re gentle on your teeth. Your soft-bristled toothbrush doesn’t have to fray to mean it needs to be replaced. Dentists agree that three months is the maximum amount of time before getting a new one due to its daily use and bacteria exposure!

Do You Smoke?

Smoking greatly increases your risk for oral diseases, including gum disease and oral cancers. If you smoke or use tobacco products, quitting can help restore your oral health. Talk to your dentist about setting a date to quit!

How Often Do You Visit Your Dentist?

Speaking of dentists, how often do you visit yours? You should be visiting your dentist at least once a year, ideally every six months. Some people may need to see the dentist more often, some less often. Your dentist can assess your oral health and let you know what’s appropriate for you. Visiting your dentist can not only help prevent oral health issues, but also keeps your mouth clean and healthy!

So how good is your oral health based on your answers? Maintaining proper oral health is a habit that’s easy to make. By ceasing use of tobacco products, eating a balanced diet, and visiting your dentist, you can help your smile to stay healthy for life. Of course don’t forget to brush and floss—and replace that toothbrush if it’s been longer than three months!

The Impact of Liquid Diets on Your Teeth

Posted on January 30, 2017 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (15)
Liquid diets are all the rage. We’re bombarded daily with advice on how juicing can cleanse the body, the benefits of protein shakes as meal replacements, and even drinking tea to keep sickness at bay. While liquid diets do have value, they can be destructive to the teeth if you’re not careful.

“The biggest problem with liquid diets is the act of bathing your teeth in a liquid all day—they can be especially harmful if the liquid is acidic or has added or natural sugar,” said Cherri Kading, RDH, MS, director of clinical operations at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. “Tooth decay and erosion of tooth enamel are the biggest concerns associated with liquid diets.” Like the name suggests, a liquid diet is when the majority of a person’s calorie intake comes from drinking liquids. Some liquid diets are limited to fruit or vegetable juices, or even shakes that replace all of your meals. While many liquid diets are personal choices, some need medical supervision.

Certain liquid diets like juicing do have related health benefits, but Kading emphasized some fruits are better than others for your teeth. “Apples, pineapples and grapes have more sucrose than fruits like berries and pears,” she said. “Fruits are good for us, but we need to be mindful of how much sugar we’re exposing the mouth to.”

According to Kading, sugar and acids are some of the leading culprits behind tooth decay. “Sports drinks, soft drinks, and even some fruit juices are extremely acidic,” she said. “If you drink these chronically they can cause erosion, which is like a “melting away” of the enamel. Sugar content in these drinks is troublesome, too, because sugar feeds the bacteria that live on the teeth and eventually causes decalcification—the beginning process of a cavity.”

The amount of liquid and how often we drink it per day is also key. “We need to ask ourselves how often are we drinking our tea, coffee or soft drinks,” Kading said. “If you’re constantly sipping on something that contains sugar or acid, your mouth never has time to recover from the effects these ingredients may cause. Saliva is what neutralizes the mouth, and it’s important to give the mouth a break from both acid and sugar so the saliva can do its job.”

Worth noting, water is the only liquid acceptable to sip all day. Kading stressed those who partake in liquid diets should always be drinking water along with any other liquids. “If you’re drinking water, this will help dilute, flush and cleanse the mouth,” she said.

If you’ve recently had oral or jaw surgery, liquids may be your only nutrient option—at least for a little while. Kading said health care professionals should always educate their patients on the cavity process, so they understand why proper care of the teeth is essential while on a liquid diet.

“You can’t just send the patient off with a special toothbrush or floss and tell them to use it. You have to tell them why it’s important,” she said. “If the patient doesn’t understand the ‘why’ behind proper oral care during a liquid diet, they are likely not to stick with their oral care regimen. Patients need to know not to sip on acidic drinks, to watch sugar intake and always rinse with water.”

But, don’t think liquid diets are all bad for the mouth. “There can be some benefits to liquid diets,” Kading said. “One is that liquids wash over your teeth and are easily rinsed out with water. The best way to approach a liquid diet is drink your shake or juice, rinse with water and then be done with it. The real harm lies in sipping on drinks and keeping your mouth awash in acids and sugar all day.”

Baby Teeth Care Basics

Posted on December 22, 2016 at 2:06 AM Comments comments (5)
It's never too early to start taking good care of your baby's teeth. Here are some baby teeth care basics:

- Prevent early childhood caries, also known as baby bottle tooth decay, by making sure baby doesn't sleep with a bottle containing any sugary liquids -- even breast milk. And never give your child a pacifier that's been dipped into anything sweet.

- Start brushing baby teeth as soon as the first tooth appears. Routine baby dental care should also include massaging the gums with a clean gauze pad. When all teeth have erupted, floss at least once a day to help prevent the buildup of dental plaque.

- Wean your baby off thumb-sucking if he or she is still doing so by age four. Otherwise, it can cause overcrowded or crooked teeth.

- Consider a combination of fluoride treatment and dental sealants, thin plastic coatings applied on baby molars to keep dental plaque from accumulating. Talk to your dentist before giving your child any fluoride dental treatment and have your child use only un-fluoridated toothpaste until two years of age.

- Take your child to the dentist after the first tooth arrives or by age one. Regular dental visits combined with daily baby teeth care can help give your baby a good head start on the road to dental health.


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