Green Tea

10 Foods & Drinks with Surprising Oral Health Benefits

If you think that maintaining good oral health means giving up all your favorite foods and drinks, think again! There are actually several foods and drinks that can have surprising oral health benefits.

My favorite foods & drinks with oral health benefits

Cheese

Did you know that eating cheese can actually help protect your teeth against cavities? Cheese contains calcium and phosphorus, which can help to remineralize your tooth enamel.

Yogurt

Like cheese, yogurt is a great source of calcium and phosphorus. It also contains probiotics, which can help to promote good oral health by reducing the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Apples

Crunchy fruits like apples can help to stimulate saliva production, which can help to neutralize harmful acids in your mouth and wash away food particles.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains compounds that can help to fight harmful bacteria in the mouth and reduce the risk of tooth decay. Plus it’s a low sugar sweet snack, and so delicious!

Green tea

Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins, which can help to reduce inflammation in your gums and fight against harmful bacteria in your mouth associated with gum disease.

Almonds

Almonds are a great source of calcium and protein, both of which are important for maintaining strong teeth and healthy gums.

Whole grains

Contains prebiotics and they are essential to helping maintain a balanced community of organisms in your mouth.

Kefir

Another great source of probiotics, and an alternative to yogurt. Drink 1-2 cups a day for optimal oral (and gut) benefits!

Leafy greens

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, that can help to strengthen teeth and promote healthy gums.

Water

Maybe a bit obvious, but still worth mentioning! Drinking plenty of water can help to flush out harmful bacteria and food particles from your mouth, promoting good oral health. Added benefit– it keeps the bad breath away too!

It turns out about 90% of tooth decay is caused primarily by poor diet choices. But remember, it’s still important to practice good dental hygiene habits such as brushing with an electric toothbrush twice a day, floss regularly, and visiting a dentist for checkups and hygiene visits. With the right combination of diet and oral hygiene, you can keep your smile healthy and bright for years to come.

Tongue Scraper

Ditch Your Mouthwash… and Other Tips for Fresh Breath!

Do you find yourself frequently reaching for gum or mints to mask your bad breath? If so, you’re not alone – bad breath, or halitosis, affects millions of people. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to address the issue.

What causes bad breath?

There are several possible causes of bad breath, including poor dental hygiene, certain foods, tobacco use, and underlying medical conditions. When you eat, food particles can get trapped in your teeth and gums, leading to the growth of bacteria that produce foul-smelling compounds. Smoking and other forms of tobacco use can also contribute to bad breath.

Most bad breath origins actually come from an imbalance in the oral microbiome. The oral microbiome is the community of bacteria, both good and bad, that reside inside your mouth. The community of organisms that live in the mouth are incredibly diverse and consist of hundreds of different species of bacteria.

The key is to not destroy all bacteria, but keep them in balance.

I always discourage the use of mouthwashes. Although it may feel effective, (that tingly, minty, ‘fresh’ feeling anyone?), it tends to have alcohol and other agents that dry your mouth out! This is exactly how bad breath can start! Dry mouth is by far the leading cause of bad breath, mouthwash, mouth breathing or low saliva, very simply does not wash away all the foul smelling bacteria from your mouth.

In some cases, bad breath may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. For example, if you have chronic sinusitis or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you may experience bad breath as a result of post-nasal drip or stomach acid reflux.
How to cure bad breath:

The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to address bad breath.

Bad breath tips

  1. Practice good dental hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily to remove food particles and plaque.
  2. I swear by tongue scrapers, which is a specialized tool that gently scrapes and removes bacteria and debris from your tongue. This is by far the number one thing you can do to reduce the amount of odor-causing compounds in your mouth. To use a tongue scraper, simply place the tool at the back of your tongue and gently pull forward, scraping along the surface of your tongue. Be sure to rinse the scraper with water after each use. You’ll be surprised by how much yellow plaque and thick gunk is on your tongue, but once it’s gone, your pink tongue will thank you! It’s so worth it!
  3. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help keep your mouth moist and flush out bacteria.
  4. Avoid certain foods: Some foods, such as onions and garlic, can cause bad breath. Avoiding these foods or brushing your teeth after eating them can help.
  5. Quit smoking: Smoking and other forms of tobacco use can contribute to bad breath. Quitting can improve your breath and your overall health.
  6. Address underlying medical conditions: If you have an underlying medical condition that’s causing bad breath, such as chronic sinusitis or GERD, talk to your doctor about treatment options.
  7. You may possibly want to consider taking prebiotic or probiotic supplements to help develop a balanced flora in your mouth.

Most importantly, please don’t be embarrassed to talk to your dentist if you think you may have questions about it. We want, and actually need to know, so we can help you take the right steps to fix it!

Dental Savings

8 Insider Secrets to Save Money at the Dentist

Maintaining good oral health is essential for a healthy and happy life. However, dental procedures can be expensive, and many people struggle to afford them. But there are several ways to save money on your oral health. Let’s discuss some tips that can help you save money while keeping your teeth healthy.

Practice good oral hygiene and come in for preventative dental services

It goes without saying that the best way to save money on your oral health is to practice good oral hygiene.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Eat a low sugar and low carbohydrate diet

This will help prevent cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems that can be costly to treat.

In addition, preventive dental services such as cleanings, X-rays, and fluoride treatments can help identify and address oral health issues before they become more serious and expensive to treat. Schedule regular dental checkups with your dentist to catch any issues early and avoid costly procedures down the road. A missed cleaning, can lead to a deep cleaning, and even further treatment, so act early and treat early!

Wear a nightguard or occlusal guard

Up to 1 in 3 adults clenches or grinds their teeth during the day and/or nighttime. It is by far much more common than you realize and may even happen when you’re sleeping and you’re unaware it’s even an issue.

The consequences of constant and consistent patterns of grinding can be gum and bone recession, wear and cracks in existing fillings, and deep pits and grooves in enamel, exposing the second layer of dentin in teeth. All of this requires additional dental work along with the inevitable pain and soreness in the jaw muscles. A night guard or occlusal guard might be the best investment in your overall oral health and many dental benefit plans cover a portion of it!

Take advantage of flexible spending accounts (FSAs)

Many employers offer FSAs, which allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified medical expenses, including dental care. You can save money on your oral health by taking advantage of an FSA and using the funds to pay for dental procedures. Ask us for a detailed receipt at the end of your procedures, so you can get reimbursed accordingly!

Treat oral health issues early

If you do develop an oral health issue, such as a cavity or gum disease, treat it early. The longer you wait to address the issue, the more expensive the treatment will be. Ignoring oral health problems can also lead to more serious health issues, which can be costly to treat along with added time and discomfort. It may be more expensive to skip a checkup when as I’ve seen $100 fillings turn into a cracked tooth and need a $1,000+ root canal!

Sign up for a dental membership plan

If you don’t have insurance, dental treatment can be expensive and costs can get very high. Dental discount plans, such as ours, offer coverage for things like:

  • 2 cleanings per year
  • Unlimited x-rays
  • 1 emergency visit
  • 10% discount on all other procedures (such as implants, crowns, etc.)

This and other office’s membership plans are excellent options for patients, as they function as a hassle and insurance- free alternative, and without the downside of the insurance company skimming off your premium or deductibles, downgrades, or waiting periods.

Many membership plans offer monthly payment options, including ours, that can make the discount plan even more appealing. It may sound crazy, but depending on how robust your benefits are, you may be spending more on your dental insurance premiums, than the cost of your dental visits or monthly membership fees.

In conclusion, taking care of your oral health is important, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. By practicing good oral hygiene, taking advantage of preventive services, and being a bit more proactive and smart you can save money while keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

Remember, prevention is always better than treatment, so take care of your oral health today, to avoid costly procedures in the future.

White Smile

8 Ways to (Safely) Achieve a Whiter Smile

The question I get asked by far the most as a dentist is, “how can I get a whiter smile?”

It honestly makes sense! Having a bright smile is something that most people desire, but it can SEEM daunting and even a bit elusive. So many questions… Do I need to get veneers for a whiter smile? Does whitening toothpaste work? Will whitening damage my teeth?

Not to mention, every moment we are inundated with Instagram ads and sponsored products depicting the latest and greatest whitening solutions, it can be hard to see through the noise and pick what actually works best and is also the safest solution!
So, I’ve decided to countdown the 8 best ways to whiten your teeth that not only have proven results—but are actually safe too!

8. No smoking or using tobacco

This one is a no-brainer! Not only can smoking kill you, it also causes external tooth staining and ages your teeth prematurely. Even THC can often lead to a dry mouth, which can actually cause more staining and yellowing of teeth. You are better off not exposing your teeth and gums to the nicotine and tar in cigarettes or tobacco—as it definitely causes yellow & brown streaks in a short period of time!

Added bonus of quitting

It can only improve your overall health and bad breath too! Stay tuned for more on this in a future blog…

7. Brush with baking soda and peroxide

This is a safe, affordable, and surprisingly effective teeth whitening method. Take a small bowl of baking soda, mix in a few drops of water and/or hydrogen peroxide, dip your toothbrush in it, and brush as normal. Although your tongue might initially want to protest the salty and frothy concoction, your whiter teeth will thank you. And this is even safe for young kids!

Confession: my kids have a small bowl of baking soda in their bathrooms for this very reason!

6. Switch to an electric toothbrush

This can be underrated, but it truly is so important! Studies have shown that regular use of a high quality electric toothbrush not only reduces plaque around the gums by up to 80%, but actually removes stain more effectively than a manual toothbrush ever will!

Let’s be honest, all electric toothbrushes are not created equal. So do you actually *need* all the bells and whistles that some of those electric toothbrushes come with? Although it can be super cool to have an app and be able to track exactly how many minutes you brushed on average this last week, you can also do a more basic electric toothbrush that does the job and is just as effective. In other words, some of the upgraded features on certain electric toothbrush brands are by no means necessary for you to achieve great whitening results.

5. Use a whitening toothpaste

There are many whitening toothpastes on the market that have some of those extra abrasives eg, baking soda, to help brighten your pearly whites! It’s totally okay to use these long term, as long as you don’t get too much tooth sensitivity or have worn-down enamel.

Remember, there is a difference between intrinsic whitening and extrinsic! These toothpastes fall short of actually whitening your teeth intrinsically, but they can definitely counteract pigmented foods from sticking to your tooth surface and reducing surface stains. For intrinsic stain removal, read on!

4. Apply over-the-counter whitening strips

Technology has come a long way here and most strips do a pretty good job of whitening your teeth. Just beware, not everyone is a candidate or will get great results with these strips, especially if you have cosmetic facial bonding, ceramic crowns or overlapping teeth, as these may cause uneven whitening results. This is something that can definitely help with both the intrinsic and extrinsic staining, but it’s important that you are using the right kind for your teeth.

For best results, consult us or your dentist for further info.

3. Get a professional cleaning with ultrasonic scaler and polish

If you’re reading this and you’re looking to whiten your teeth, a regular checkup and cleaning may be all you need to achieve a brighter smile. Yellow plaque and tartar can build above and below the gums and this can make your teeth look more yellow than they actually are. It also is just a good idea to get a checkup to assess your individual oral health status. At our Sayva Dental Culver City office, we do a comprehensive gum evaluation, evaluate overall gum and bone health, and check for cavities each time a patient walks in.

A good cleaning really CAN solve most of life’s problems :)

2. Professional in-office whitening treatment

This is by far the quickest way to get whiter teeth, as results can happen after only an hour! Perfect for those who like immediate gratification and don’t like to wait. Normally a whitening session at our Culver office entails placing a carbamide peroxide gel onto the teeth in 2-3 sessions of 15 min each. Total treatment time can be up to 1- 1.5 hours.

Disclaimer and PSA: Some dentists may suggest using a UV light during the procedure. Studies have shown that the light only serves to dehydrate the teeth and cause further sensitivity, rather than better results. At Sayva Dental we use a highly concentrated gel, do multiple sessions, and take the time to explain the full office procedure instructions as well as post op care.

1. Custom whitening trays made by a dentist

By far, custom whitening trays are the best method of whitening your teeth that will give you superior results AND also will allow you to maintain the results for months and years to come, is custom whitening trays. These whitening gel trays are custom fabricated by us based on a custom mold and bite taken of your teeth.

Once you get the trays made, we will give you professional strength whitening gel that you can place in the trays, which will then be placed in your mouth, and voila… Pearly whites while reading a book in bed or even watching White Lotus! What’s even better is that you have your trays indefinitely and you can continue to whiten as long and as much as you desire to maintain your results.

This is by far my most preferred method of whitening, and one that I reach for myself on the regular.

Although the 8 techniques above will definitely achieve a brighter smile, please remember, whiter teeth don’t always equate to healthier teeth…and I always recommend seeing a dentist before starting any of the above.

Consult with us today for further information and see what type of whitening treatments you might be a candidate for. In most cases, it’s easier to achieve a whiter and more beautiful smile than we realize!