Q: I know I need to watch out for plaque and tartar, but I don’t really know the difference between them. What is it?

A: Put simply, plaque is the film of bacteria that develops 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.

"Why is my tongue turning white?"

Q: Lately my tongue has been turning white. What’s going on?

A: There are many possible reasons for why your tongue is turning white. Certain toothpastes can cause tissues in the mouth to turn white and slough away. Were you on antibiotics recently? If so, it’s possible you’ve developed oral thrush, a kind of yeast infection. If you’re suffering from postnasal drip or dry mouth, these conditions can also leave a whitish coating on the tongue. Leukoplakia is a condition that develops after your tongue has been irritated, and is commonly seen in people who use tobacco. While leukoplakia isn’t a serious condition by itself, it can sometimes be a precursor to cancer so it’s very important that you don’t ignore it. There is also a condition called lichen planus, which we discussed in another post.

If your tongue turns white off and on, it could be nothing to worry about but you should talk to your dentist to make sure. If your tongue turns white and stays white, you should definitely see a doctor or dentist to find out what’s happening.

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: I have braces. What extra steps do I have to take to keep my teeth clean?

A: Bits of food can get stuck in your braces and cause a lot of problems, so it’s very important to be extra careful about keeping your teeth clean. Ideally you should brush after every meal. Your dentist may also suggest you use a fluoride mouthwash, which will be able to get to parts of your teeth beneath your braces that it’s hard to reach with a toothbrush.

Flossing can be a bit tricky to learn with braces, but it’s essential that you do it. Carefully feed the floss through the braces, between the main arch wire and the part of the tooth closest to your gums. Floss very gently, taking care not to harm the braces by tugging too hard.

Using a regular, soft brush, brush carefully up and then down on the front and back of each tooth. (Don’t neglect the back of your molars, a common spot for tooth decay.) Then go over your teeth with a Christmas tree-shaped brush called a Proxabrush, which is designed specifally for use with braces. Insert it into the top and then the bottom of of your braces, making careful strokes in several directions.

Finally, when you have braces you should avoid chewy foods like bubble gum and taffy, and particularly hard and cruchy foods like nuts and tortilla chips. A good rule to remember is that foods that get stuck between your teeth when you don’t have braces – like corn on the cob, for instance – should be avoided when you do have braces.

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: I was recently told that I need to have a tooth pulled. What should I do to minimize the chances of complications after the tooth is removed?

A: After your tooth is extracted, your dentist will give you some gauze to firmly bite down on for at least 30-45 minutes. If you’re still bleeding then, you should bite down on another gauze pad for 30 minutes, and repeat as needed. This is so you’ll form a blood clot and avoid a “dry socket,” a painful infection that fortunately only develops in about 5% of extractions. You should be bleeding less with each gauze pad you use; if you continue bleeding heavily, you need to talk to your dentist.

For the next 24 hours you should avoid doing anything that could weaken or dislodge the clot. This includes drinking through a straw, drinking alcohol of any kind, smoking or chewing tobacco, eating hot or spicy foods and brushing or flossing near the area of the extraction. You need to eat soft foods and drink a lot of water. You should gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater three times daily and after every meal; don’t rinse or spit too vigorously or you could damage the clot. Don’t blow your nose, and if you have to sneeze, sneeze with your mouth open. If you experience significant facial swelling, you can help control it by placing a bag of ice against the swollen area for 20 minutes at a time.

Your dentist will probably prescribe antibiotics and medications to control pain. You should take the full course of any antibiotics your dentist has prescribed, even if your symptoms have gone away.

Take it easy for a couple of days, avoiding activities that make your heart race. When you sleep, use an extra pillow to keep your head elevated above your heart.

24 hours after your extraction, you should resume normal eating, flossing and brushing. Contact your dentist immediately if you’re experiencing severe pain, continued bleeding or any reactions to your medications. Call your dentist if you still have swelling after 2 or 3 days. Be on the lookout for symptoms of dry socket, which can include a bad taste in the mouth, bad breath and severe pain that can sometimes feel like an earache.



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.

The previous recommendations have been around for the past 50 years. Since they were made, Americans have seen a decrease in caries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even named the fluoridation of drinking water one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. However, there has been an increase of very mild flurosis in the form of lacy white marks or white spots on the teeth. The
ADA suggests that it is possible to avoid the mild fluorosis and still get the benefits of lower caries risk by decreasing the fluoridation levels in our drinking supply. The US Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a recommendation of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water to replace the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams.

There are a variety of methods to have the benefits of fluoride for your teeth including ingesting it through your water or fluoride pills, and having it applied directly to your teeth by you or your dentist by pastes, mouthwashes, or varnishes. Ask your dentist about how fluoride can help you prevent tooth decay without unwanted side effects.

Here are some sources to get 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.


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: My kids are scared to go to the dentist. Do you have anything at your office in Culver City to help keep kids entertained and relaxed?
A: Keeping our patients as calm and as comfortable as possible is vitally important at Dr. Khadavi’s office. We have many ways of helping kids relax. While they wait to see the doctor they can watch movies in our waiting room, color with crayons, read children’s books or play with toys. During their exam we can show them movies or play relaxing music. Perhaps the most important thing we do is talk to the children. We use the tell-show-do method to make the procedures easy for them. First we tell them what we are going to do, then we show them on a model, then we do the procedure. This helps them understand and takes the fear of the unknown away. Then as they’re leaving we give them a fun toy, along with a free toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. More importantly, we teach them how to use these tools properly so they’ll have healthy smiles in the years to come.

During their entire visit, we work hard to make the experience as easy and stress-free for your child as possible.

While the way we talk and act with children is sometimes for examining their teeth and doing a cleaning, children with larger treatment sometimes need laughing gas or mild sedation to help them get their teeth healthy. We offer both in the office. See our website for more information about procedures we perform routinely in our office.

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: I know I need to floss my teeth every day, but the floss always gets stuck between my teeth. It often shreds too, and it can be a real pain to get it out of there. What can I do?
A: Yours is a common complaint, but fortunately you don’t need to get floss stuck in your teeth.

If the floss keeps getting stuck or it always sheds in a particular area, that may mean there is an irregularity on the surface of the tooth and the floss is catching on it. You should bring this area to the attention of your dentist to rule out decay, tartar and other potential problems. There are brands of waxed dental floss available, including teflon floss, which should pass between your teeth more smoothly than regular floss and usually won’t shred.
You should also ask your dentist to give you a demonstration of proper flossing technique. It’s possible you haven’t been flossing correctly, and that’s why you keep having problems with floss.

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.

We do currently offer some Sunday appointments. We also offer evening appointments. Call us now to make an appointment that is convenient for you.

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.

"Do men face a higher risk of gum disease?"

Q: I’ve heard that men face a higher risk of gum disease than women do. Is this true?

A: For many years dentists had noted that men seemed to have more gum problems, and recent studies suggests that it’s true. In late 2009 researchers at the University of Maryland Dental School published a study that examined the situation, and they conjectured that it may be an issue of genetics.

“Differential gene regulation, particularly in sex steroid-responsive genes, could likely play a part in the observed sexual dimorphism of destructive periodontal disease,” said Harlan Shiau, DDS, DMedSc, assistant professor and co-author of the study.

While there are still things we don’t know about why men seem to have more gum issues than women, we do know that men have to be particularly careful about their dental hygiene.

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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