Q: How do you know if a child has a cavity?

A: The only way to be certain if a child has a cavity is for them to get an examination from a dentist. But if you do suspect your child has a cavity, there are several things you should look for.

Examine your child’s teeth, checking for any holes or dark areas. If the child isn’t old enough to speak, be on the lookout for fussy behavior, loss of appetite, and signs of discomfort when the child eats or drinks anything hot or cold. And of course if your child is old enough to talk, you should ask them if their teeth have been hurting.


Dr. Natalie Khadavi
sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: Were George Washington’s false teeth really made out of wood?
A: George Washington had at least six sets of false teeth during his life, and none of them were wooden. But he did wear false teeth, and some of them were actually made of things weirder than wood!

According to John Adams, Washington had a nasty habit of using his teeth to shell Brazil nuts. This did a lot of damage to Washington’s teeth, and he started to lose them when he was still a fairly young man. When he became president, he apparently only had one natural tooth remaining in his mouth.

During Washington’s era it was a relatively common practice for people to have the teeth of slaves transplanted into their mouths, and historians believe that Washington probably did this. But these transplants didn’t last very long, so Washington eventually resorted to sets of false teeth. These sets reportedly included hippo ivory, donkey teeth and even a few of Washington’s own teeth, but they never fit correctly and they caused many problems. Some historians have even suggested that these painful false teeth were responsible for Washington’s famously stern, unsmiling expression in his painted portraits.

Dentistry has improved quite a bit since Washington’s era, and if he was alive today he could keep his teeth throughout his life by brushing and flossing and getting regular check-ups from his dentist. If his own teeth couldn’t be saved for some reason, he could get a set of false teeth made of acrylic and other modern materials, or he could get permanent dental implants.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi
sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: Are there any dental problems associated with asthma?

A: According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, there doesn’t seem to be a link between asthma and tooth decay. Surprisingly enough, children with asthma tend to have fewer cavities than children without asthma. Dr. Gerardo Maupome, one of the study’s authors, suggests that this may be because asthmatic children tend to see doctors frequently, including dentists, so their teeth are better cared for than those of children without asthma.

While asthma itself doesn’t cause dental problems, some of the medications you take for it can. Rescue inhalers (also known as adrenergic agonists) and an asthma drug called cromolyn can both give you dry mouth, which makes you more vulnerable to cavities. Some anti-inflammatory medications (also known as corticosteroids) can also cause dry mouth, and they can also leave you more vulnerable to develop fungal infections (candidiasis or thrush) in your mouth. If you use corticosteroids, you should use them with a device called a spacer. This is a plastic tube that attaches to your inhaler and controls the dose you’re inhaling. And always rinse your mouth after you use your inhaler.

If you have asthma, be sure to inform your dentist so they can treat you appropriately.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees children and adults in Culver City and serves the greater Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: Why did the US government reduce the recommendations for fluoride in our drinking water?

A: The previous recommendations have been around for half a century, and in that time Americans have seen a remarkable decrease in cavities. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has cited the fluoridation of drinking water as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. But there has been an increase of very mild fluorosis, a condition causing lacy white marks or white spots on the teeth. The ADA suggests that by decreasing the fluoridation levels in our water supply it’s possible to avoid the problem. The US Department of Health and Human Services is recommending 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water to replace the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams.

There are several other ways to get the benefits of fluoride for your teeth, including fluoride pills and having fluoride applied directly to your teeth by you or your dentist using pastes, mouthwashes, or varnishes. Talk to your dentist about how fluoride can help you prevent tooth decay.

Here are some sources offering more information about fluoride.

US Department of Health and Human Services Press Release
Information from the ADA
Find out how much fluoride is in your drinking water
Basic Information about Fluoride in Drinking Water from the Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees children and adults in Culver City and serves the greater Los Angeles area. She and her staff personally write all the information on this website to make sure they stay up-to-date on the latest dental news to help you and your family have beautiful, healthy teeth. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

In this video clip, Dr. Natalie Khadavi tells you how to stop your child from sucking their thumb. This clip is taken from a talk that we gave to a group of kids and their parents at the YWCA in Santa Monica.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

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