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To Floss or Not to Floss?

by Linh Cao-Chan, DDS on 09/21/16

That is the question many are asking after the Department of Health and Human Services stopped recommending flossing as part of healthy living guideline. A review of 12 trials showed that flossing helped minimally with removing plaque after 1-3 months of study. So is this a free pass for you to throw away that floss? Sorry, NO. This study only look at short term 3 months effect of removing plaque, and does not look at the long term like 12 months. It didn't look at flossing in reducing gingivitis (gum inflammation & bleeding) and gum disease. It didn't look at flossing in reducing cavities in between the teeth. Those benefits are known to you and I. We've all experienced how our gums are more tender and bleeds more when we don't floss often. It's true there are conflicting studies about health out there- none of these studies are perfect. One can cherry-pick to believe in which studies to fit our outlook and preference. As your dentist, I will still recommend daily flossing so don't even think about skipping it! And personally, I floss before I brush- just feels cleaner that way.

Diet Soda vs. Regular Soda

by Linh Cao-Chan, DDS on 11/01/15

I've talked quite a bit about soda in the past. Soda can be very acidic and sugary, and they cause cavities by eroding the enamel and allowing bacteria to cause damage to the teeth. Some people drink diet soda instead, since at least there'd be no sugar. Well, a new research study shows that some diet sodas are worse in causing teeth erosion. The results showed that 5 out of 7 of the top erosive soft drinks were diet drinks. The top 3 were Sprite Zero (diet), Mountain Dew Voltage (regular), and Mellow Yellow Zero (diet). I was surprised too. There was no correlation between ingredients or pH to explain why some diet sodas are worse than regular ones. Regular Coke is more acidic than Diet Coke, yet it is less erosive than the diet version. There are ways to lessen the harm of drinking sodas. Drink quickly instead of sipping over hours, drink it cold, drink with a straw to minimize the exposure of teeth to the acid, and drink water or milk right after to decrease acidity of your mouth. Probably the best bet is to drink less frequently or cut out soda completely! For more information, click here.

Damaging Diets and Drinks

by Linh Cao-Chan, DDS on 09/14/14

Damaging Diets & Drinks

With the new year, many of us embark on new exercise regiments and diets to a healthier year. But be aware that some weight loss drinks & supplements, and sport energy drinks can be very acidic.  This can cause enamel erosion and cavities. Certain juice cleanses can contain a lot of lemon juice (very acidic), and can make teeth sensitive. Battery acid has pH of 1, and lemon juice has pH of 2, so ingest lemon juice sparingly! For those who like to drink Gatorade after/ during exercise, be aware that those drinks are also very acidic, similar to sodas. The ingredient citric acid is the culprit for low pH, so look for that on labels. Energy drinks such as Red Bull and Rockstar also have pH from 2.5-3.5. Diet sodas, while doesn't have the sugar, still has citric acid (used as flavor enhancer) and are as acidic as regular soda. I see a fair amount of patients getting cavities from drinking diet soda. So what can you drink - seems like everything is off limits! The answer is everything in moderation. Rinse out with water after consumption of something acidic, or drink milk or eat cheese- it will neutralize the acid more quickly. Click on this to read the full article and the pH chart of popular drinks.

Sports Mouthguards

by Linh Cao-Chan, DDS on 09/14/14

Sports mouthguard

There's has been recent published studies about using sports mouthguards and reduction of brain injury.  High school sports such as football, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse and wrestling require wearing mouthguards during participation.  These players are at risk for damage to their teeth if their jaws are hit from any angle from physical impact of another player, or a fast flying ball.  Not only the teeth can be damaged, but also the brain which sits above the upper jaw.  

The mouthguard covers the upper teeth, which creates space between the the upper and lower teeth, and space between where the upper & lower jaw meets at the TMJ (temperomandibular joint).  In a high impact hit with the mouthguard in place, the teeth won't gnash against each other, and the lower jaw won't collide so hard with the upper jaw, therefore lessening the impact on the brain above. 

The study found that kids playing football who had custom made mouthguards (which fit better and are thicker) have less than half the number concussion/ mild brain injury compared to those that wore stock mouthguards (from sporting goods stores).  Of course having  a mouthguard is better than none.  The stock mouthguards just do not fit as well in the mouth and move around, kids may not wear them properly or cut off part of the mouthguard to make it more comfortable, therefore reducing its effectiveness

If you are interested in getting a custom mouthguard, we can make one one for you at the office, even with your school mascot or logo!

Pregnancy and Dental Health

by Linh Cao-Chan, DDS on 05/03/12

During pregnancy, women will experience wild hormone fluctuations, which commonly manifest in gingivitis.  The gums will get more inflamed easily, and therefore bleed more frequently.  Surprisingly, only about 22-34% of pregnant women in the US visit the dentist during pregnancy.  Maybe they are worried that dental treatment can be unsafe for the baby.

We don't take X-rays during the pregnancy, avoid major dental work until the baby is delivered, and are mainly concerned with keeping the gums healthy.  Low birth weight and pre-term labor has been linked to gingivitis and gum disease associated with pregnancy.

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