Q: I have braces. Are there foods that I should avoid?
A: There are certain foods that people with braces should generally avoid to lower their risk of cavities and help preserve their braces.

Hard and crunchy foods like popcorn and nuts can damage your braces, and hard foods like carrots should be cut into smaller bites. Sugary and starchy foods lead to plaque, which promotes gum disease and cavities. Try to avoid foods that are sticky because they can loosen brackets and damage the wires of your braces.
This page features a good list of foods to avoid while you have braces. If you want to learn more about how to protect your braces, visit our office and we’ll be glad to discuss it with you.

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: I need to have a tooth removed soon, and I’ve heard I need to watch out for a dry socket. How do I know if I have one?

A: Sometimes, after a tooth extraction, the remaining socket develops problems and is slow to heal. This is alveolar osteitis, also known as a dry socket. Fortunately dry sockets are fairly uncommon, but you’re at increased risk for getting one if you smoke, you’re taking oral contraceptives or you don’t follow your dentist’s directions for post-extraction care. Wisdom teeth are the most frequent site.

Dry socket problems normally begin two or more days after an extraction, and they can be quite painful. Symptoms of dry socket can include pain that sometimes radiates to your ear, bad breath, or a bad smell or taste in your mouth. Your dentist will help relieve the pain by cleaning the dry socket and placing a medicated dressing in it. In some cases the dentist will need to change the dressing every day, until the socket heals. You can take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen.

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.

Can fillings pick up radio signals?

Q: Is it really possible to hear radio signals through your fillings?

A: We’ve all heard stories about it, and it’s been a popular sitcom plot for decades. (I Love Lucy star Lucille Ball even claimed that it happened to her.) But as far as anybody has been able to prove, it doesn’t really happen.

The popular newspaper column The Straight Dope looked into this years ago, and found no evidence that it’s true. More recently the Discovery Channel show Mythbusters looked into it, and after they conducted their tests they declared the myth busted. So don’t worry, you can get a filling without ending up being stuck listening to the local heavy metal station all day long!

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: What should I do after I’ve bitten my tongue?A: If it’s a bad bite, you should immediately get it looked at by a doctor or dentist. If it’s only a minor bite, you can give it time and it will probably heal well on its own. A lot of tongue injuries heal quickly.

To treat a tongue bite yourself, you should begin by sucking on an ice cube for a few minutes. Then you should press a clean gauze or warm washcloth onto the bleeding area, until the bleeding stops. (If the bleeding won’t stop after 15 minutes, seek medical attention!) Then rinse with a glass of warm saltwater or a mix of one part hydrogen peroxide to two parts water, and spit.

If you’re in some relatively minor pain you can take an over the counter pain reliever, but if the pain is bad, see a health professional. While your tongue is healing, avoid acidic or crunchy foods, and chew carefully.

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 diet sodas as bad for your teeth as regular sodas?A: A diet, sugarless soda isn’t nearly as bad for your teeth as a regular, sugary soda, but diet soda is still acidic and over time it can do a lot of damage to your teeth. Diet colas and other dark drinks can also stain your teeth.
Remember that not all “diet” drinks are actually sugar free, so always read the label so you’ll know exactly what you’re drinking. And whenever you drink a diet soda, be sure to rinse your mouth out immediately afterward to help prevent damage and discoloration.

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: Do baby teeth grow in a certain order, or is it random?
A: Baby teeth (AKA primary teeth) do generally arrive in a predictable order. One of the central incisors erupts on the lower jaw when the baby is between six months to a year old, usually followed not long afterward by a central incisor on the upper jaw. The chart below, provided by the American Dental Association, shows when and where you can expect the rest of your baby’s primary teeth to arrive. If your child’s teeth arrive in a different order it’s probably nothing to worry about, but you should bring it to the attention of your dentist.

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: I’m worried about the possibility of my tooth enamel decaying as I age. What can I do to strengthen it?

A: For strong enamel, it’s important to maintain a healthy flow of saliva. Saliva helps prevent cavities and washes away plaque. If you have a dry mouth, be sure to get it evaluated by a health professional. Many common medications can lead to dry mouth, but this can often be helped by adjusting your dose. You can help stimulate the flow of saliva by chewing sugarless gum containing xylitol or Recaldent.

Fluoride also plays an important role in the strength of your enamel, and you should ask your dentist whether you need fluoride treatments. A lot of people get all the fluoride they require from using fluoride toothpaste and the fluoridation in their city water supply, but some cities don’t fluoridate their water. You should check to make sure that your city does. While many people assume that bottled or filtered water is better for them, they’re actually missing out on the benefits of fluoridated tap water.

Acidic foods and beverages – such as citrus foods and sodas – are harmful to tooth enamel. If you eat or drink something that you know is not good for your enamel, always be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterward.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in Culver City to conveniently serve much of 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.

White webbing in my mouth: what is it?

Q: I found some white webbing in my mouth, on the inside of my cheeks. It’s bumpy and kind of looks like lace. I saw my doctor and he said it’s something called lichen planus. What is that?

A: I’m glad you’ve talked with your doctor. With symptoms like this, it’s very important to be diagnosed by a medical professional.

Lichen planus appears in about 1% of the general population, and nobody is sure what causes it. The mucus membranes of the mouth are the usual target, and it mostly affects people between 30-70. Often the lacy white pattern will first show up in the mouth and then will appear elsewhere on the body. Typically it’s painless, but it can produce painful ulcers.

Lichen planus will frequently go away on its own, but sometimes it needs medical treatment. Even after it goes away, it can return later.

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: Is there any link between Alzheimer’s and gum disease?

A: New research suggests that gum inflammation can eventually lead to dangerous inflammation in the brain.

Researchers at New York University have learned that gum disease may increase the risk of cognitive dysfunction associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The team studied 20 years of data from Denmark and found that among patients who were over 70, those with gum disease were 9 times more likely to test in the lower range of brain function than those without gum disease.

Follow up studies still need to be done to be certain of the link between Alzheimer’s Disease and tooth decay. But we do know that the health of your teeth can have a strong effect on your overall health, so keep brushing and flossing!

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: What’s the difference between tartar and plaque?

A: Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth every day. It is colorless and sticky, and it can be brushed away with a regular toothbrush. Tartar (also known as calculus) is a mix of minerals and the bacteria that plaque becomes if you don’t brush it away. It’s hard, yellowish or brownish, and it can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist.

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.

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