5 Thanksgiving Foods That Are Good for Your Mouth

Aerial view of a Thanksgiving turkey on a silver platter next to water glasses and a green salad

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if you’re like us, you’re getting excited about all the delicious things you’re going to eat. At Villa Vista Dental, we want you to enjoy the holiday, but we also want to make sure you watch out for the health of your teeth while doing so. Don’t worry, you don’t need to pass up on all your favorites. You can still eat well and look after your smile this Thanksgiving! Here are five tooth-friendly Thanksgiving dishes:

1. Turkey

Yes, the star of Thanksgiving is actually good for your teeth! Sweet and starchy foods are the biggest culprits to watch out for when it comes to keeping your teeth in great condition, which means protein-filled turkey passes the test. It also contains gum-strengthening B vitamins and enamel-strengthening vitamin D.

2. Sweet Potatoes

Whether roasted or made into a mash, sweet potatoes are a great dish to dig into this Thanksgiving. This root vegetable is full of healthful vitamins and minerals that are good for your dental health, like vitamin A and C and phosphorus.

3. Cheese

Eyeing that cheese plate or dish of macaroni? Go for it! Cheese, like other dairy products, is rich in calcium and phosphorus, which help strengthen teeth. Moreover, cheese also balances your mouth’s pH level, which help combats the formation of cavities.

4. Green Bean Casserole

The vitamin C in green beans and onions together make for a winning combination when it comes to the health of your gums, so feel free to enjoy this classic Thanksgiving dish.

5. Cranberries

Cranberries contain vitamin C and A, along with beta carotene and potassium. But if you’re eating your cranberries in the form of sauce, we recommend you opt for a homemade, rather than store-bought, version so you can limit the amount of sugar inside.

To learn more about which foods are best for your teeth, or which ones you should avoid, contact our Villa Vista Dental team!


Can Protein Shakes Leave Residue on Teeth?

Aerial view of a strawberry protein shake with uncut strawberries clustered around it

Whether used to add muscle, lose weight, get a jolt of energy, or just have a time-saving meal replacement, protein shakes have become increasingly popular among busy consumers due to their convenience. But are there any negative oral health effects to drinking these beverages? Read on to find out!

What’s In Your Protein Shake?

Despite the overall body wellness benefits touted in promotional hype, certain protein shakes and powders loaded with artificial ingredients and sugar have a few drawbacks.

Residue on Your Teeth

A diet high in sugar encourages a film of sticky bacteria, called plaque, to grow on your teeth and along your gum line. Plaque accumulation often makes your teeth feel fuzzy. Moreover, powder-based protein drinks can leave a filmy, gritty residue on your teeth. As one protein shake drinker vividly described it in an online comment: “My teeth feel like they have sweaters on them!”

Watch Out for Questionable Ingredients

Many consumers don’t realize that protein powders and beverages, like other dietary supplements, do not need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although their manufacture and marketing must comply with FDA regulations, their ingredients are not required to be tested for safety before being sold. So knowing exactly what’s in your protein shake and how it will affect your body can require some research.

Choose Sugar-Free & Nutritious Options

Like all prepackaged items you buy for consumption, we recommend always checking the ingredient list of any shakes and supplements. If the number one ingredient is sugar, don’t buy it! Try to go with a sugar-free option made with natural ingredients and enriched with nutrients essential for strong teeth, like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and vitamin A.

Are You Protecting Your Teeth?

Regardless of the ingredients in your preferred protein shake, follow these tips to help protect your teeth from damage:

Drink Water

It’s always a good idea to drink a glass of water after consuming a protein shake or other protein beverage. Drinking water is critical for both a healthy body and a healthy body. Water and your saliva prevent dry mouth, help clean the surfaces of your teeth, and wash away any lingering residue that could feel filmy, or sugar that could become fuel for bacteria. Otherwise, bacteria will feed on the residue and produce acid that wears away at tooth enamel and puts you at risk for developing gum disease and tooth decay.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Additionally, we recommend chewing sugar-free gum for at least 20 minutes after consuming a meal to further stimulate the production of saliva and help clean your teeth of leftover particles.

Maintain Superb Preventive Oral Care

Protein shake drinker or not, we advise everyone to practice excellent oral hygiene! Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, floss every day, and come visit us for regular dental cleanings and checkups. If you are overdue for your six-month appointment, contact us today.

Our Villa Vista Dental team looks forward to seeing you!


What Is a Cavity & How Can I Prevent It?

Closeup of a stack of 3 donuts covered in pink and white icing and sprinkles on a clear wavy plate on a gray counter

What’s one of the first oral issues that comes to mind when you hear that someone needs to make a trip to the dentist? If you guessed that they may have a cavity, you’re right. We always hear about cavities and how horrible they are, but what are they exactly and how can we prevent them? Read on to find out!

What Are Cavities?

A cavity is a small hole that develops in a tooth after the outer protective layer of your tooth, called the enamel, has been weakened by decay. Enamel is weakened by certain types of bad bacteria found in the mouth. This bacteria produces acid as it feasts upon sugars and starches that linger in your mouth after eating. In turn, this acid eats away at your teeth, creating cavities.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Cavities?

The symptoms of a cavity vary. Some people don’t have any symptoms at all! Many people aren’t even aware that they have tooth decay until it is detected by a dental professional. However, if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below, you may have a cavity:

  • Toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain when eating or drinking something hot or cold
  • Visible brown or black pits on the teeth
  • White, brown or black staining on the tooth
  • Pain when biting down

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

Some of the easiest ways to prevent cavities are as follows:

  • Make it a habit to brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time with fluoridated toothpaste
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid snacking throughout the day
  • Come in every six months for checkups and cleanings

We Can Help You Have Superb Oral Health!

If left untreated, cavities can spread and cause serious infection and eventual tooth loss. That is why you should come see Dr. Tin at least twice a year to be sure your mouth is free of tooth decay. If you think that you or a loved one may be suffering from tooth decay, please contact our Villa Vista Dental team to schedule an appointment at our Elk Grove dental office today.

Is your mouth cavity-free?


5 Fun Facts About Dental Technology

A structure with a faucet and sink separates two cubicles with dental chairs at a dental office

We know that going to the dentist can be stressful for some people, but we work hard to prove that doesn’t have to be the case. As dental professionals, we love that our job is the business of helping people smile. We came up with a list of some cool facts related to dental technologies to show you the fun side of our profession!

1. Old-School Brushes & Toothpaste

You know that toothbrush that’s sitting in your medicine cabinet? Its modern design was invented in 1938. So what did folks do to clean their teeth back in the day, say around 3,000 BC? An early form of the toothbrush consisted of tree twigs; people would chew the twigs to fan it out and use it to clean their teeth. As far as early toothpaste options, the Ancient Greeks used some interesting ingredients, including pumice, talc, alabaster, coral powder, and iron rust.

2. The Power of Floss

Maybe you dread the dentist asking you the last time you’ve flossed, but the importance of flossing isn’t something new. Dental floss manufacturing dates back to 1882! And if you need more reason to floss consider this: average brushing only cleans about 60% of your tooth surfaces. Flossing is what thoroughly cleans those otherwise hard-to-reach surfaces between teeth.

3. Red or Blue Brush

Whatever the reason may be, people reportedly prefer blue toothbrushes to red toothbrushes. What color is your toothbrush?

4. Invention of Novocaine

You can thank Novocaine for helping make your dental experience pain-free. Unfortunately for people in the past, this local anesthetic wasn’t invented until 1903 thanks to the chemist Alfred Einhorn.

5. Ice Age Filling

Teeth found in Italy dating back to 13,000 BC are the earliest evidence of dental fillings. The teeth had holes that suggested someone had used tiny stone tools to drill out a cavity, and these holes were filled with plant fibers and hairs. Can you say, “Ow?”

If you’re interested in learning more about your dental health and diving into more dental facts, the Villa Vista Dental team would be happy to chat. Feel free to call or email us!

You have questions? We have answers!


Dental Fads to Avoid

woman with wavy brown hair, sitting by window, looking serious

The internet is filled with a whole host of tips and tricks on how to save time and a few dollars. When it comes to your mouth, Dr. Tin wants you to be armed with the facts about dental fads: Not only do the vast majority of them not work, some can even be harmful to your oral health. Read on for a tour into today’s dental fads, arranged here from the controversial (but not necessarily harmful) to the dangerous.

Oil Pulling

Advocates of oil pulling claim that swishing oil (usually coconut oil) in your mouth for a prolonged period of time will strengthen gums, whiten teeth, and fight plaque. The proclaimed benefits of oil pulling go oven further to improved sleep and an overall body detoxification. However, as noted by the American Dental Association, there is a lack of scientific studies showing that oil pulling improves oral health. Snopes, the definitive internet resource for urban legends and misinformation, debunked oil pulling in an extensive article.

Who should use it?

Although swishing oil in your mouth has not been scientifically proven to improve oral health, it’s unlikely to be damaging. Swishing water in the same way, or better yet antibacterial mouthwash, will be just as effective.

Fluoride-Free Toothpaste

The movement towards organic and all-natural everything has reached toothpaste. The main thing that distinguishes natural toothpaste is that it does not have fluoride.

Who should use it?

Fluoride-free toothpaste makes sense for children under the age of two, because most kids that age won’t fully understand how to spit it out and will be tempted to swallow their toothpaste. Ingesting high amounts of fluoride is unsafe and can lead to the development of dental fluorosis.

For everyone else though, fluoride toothpaste is generally the way to go. Fluoride is hugely beneficial because it remineralizes teeth and helps to prevent tooth decay. Topical fluoride in toothpaste is one of the main reasons that dental cavities aren’t as much of a problem as they were before fluoride.

Charcoal Toothpaste

Does it seem counterintuitive that black charcoal would help to whiten your teeth? Although charcoal toothpaste (in its activated form, not the stuff you use on the grill!) is making the rounds as the latest and greatest thing for brightening your pearly whites, there are serious concerns about the abrasiveness of charcoal.

Who should use it?

Steer clear! Using charcoal toothpaste to whiten your teeth can actually cause more harm than good. Once you lose enamel, there’s no getting it back, and enamel erosion can lead to extreme tooth sensitivity, discoloration, and cracks and chips in the enamel.

Brushing your teeth and flossing regularly are great first steps to take toward a brighter smile. Next, biyearly checkups with the team at Villa Vista Dental are also crucial to your oral health. If you’re worried about tooth discoloration, talk to our office about professional teeth whitening options.

Have more questions or want to schedule an appointment?


Why Do My Teeth Feel Fuzzy?

young woman with long dark hair, resting chin in hands, sitting at wooden table

Have you ever noticed that your teeth feel fuzzy after eating certain foods or after it’s been a particularly long time since you last brushed? Healthy teeth should feel smooth, and that unusual fuzzy feeling on your teeth is actually due to plaque.

What Is Plaque?

Plaque is a soft, sticky film that forms and builds up on your teeth. It forms when saliva and food combine. Saliva contains bacteria (up to 600 different kinds!) that are fed by the food we eat. These bacteria multiply and, particularly in the case of sugars and starches, can produce damaging acids that corrode the teeth’s enamel. When you allow dental plaque to linger on the surface of the teeth, it can lead to tooth decay and the wearing away of your enamel.

How to Fight the Fuzz

Here are some easy strategies for keeping that fuzzy feeling at bay.

  • Brush and floss thoroughly and regularly.
  • Remember to visit the dentist twice a year for your regular checkups.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Cut back on the sugars and starches in your diet.

Plaque Buildup

Plague that is not removed by regular brushing and flossing can harden into tartar, which is sometimes called calculus. To remove tartar buildup, you’ll need to visit the dentist’s office to get a professional cleaning.

Dr. Tin and the team at Villa Vista Dental care about your oral health (and how it impacts your overall health too!). When you come to our stress-free office, we will clean your teeth and check for any signs of tooth decay. If you are having trouble with that fuzzy-teeth feeling, don’t hesitate to talk to us about your oral hygiene habits, together we’ll figure out how to improve your plaque-fighting technique!

Have more dental questions or want to make an appointment?


Why You Should Brush Your Tongue

young man with long brown hair wearing sunglasses sticking tongue out

Here’s the deal: no one wants to have bad breath. Bad breath can affect your social life and how people see you professionally. But don’t despair—there’s an easy way to fight one of the leading causes of bad breath, and it’s probably simpler than you think: brush your tongue!

The Importance of Tongue Brushing

Can you believe that some 700 different types of bacteria live in your mouth, some of which cause bad breath? By brushing your tongue, you’re helping to make sure harmful bacteria doesn’t spread throughout your mouth, causing other dental problems including foul breath. If you’ve never brushed your tongue before, it might seem strange at first, but it’s an effective way to maintain your dental hygiene.

How to Brush Your Tongue

Brushing your tongue is extremely simple. After you brush your teeth at night, use your toothbrush to brush your tongue. Work your way from back to front and side to side to make sure you’re covering as much surface area as possible to pick up the maximum amount of bacteria. Then rinse with water at the end, and gargle if you wish. Get into the habit of brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth.

Do I Need Special Equipment?

Some drugstores sell special tongue cleaners or tongue scrapers, but your regular toothbrush is sufficient. Just make sure to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after every use. This will help it work more effectively and last longer.

Part of Your Dental Routine

Brushing your tongue is one of the easiest things you can do to improve the freshness of your breath. If you don’t brush your tongue, you’re not just dealing with stinky breath—you’re at a greater risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Do you have other questions about maintaining your dental health?


How Oral Health Can Affect Your Overall Health

woman with long brunette hair wearing a black hat and denim shirt smiling and looking away

The team at Villa Vista Dental encourages you brush and floss regularly, and to keep consistent with your biannual dental checkups. Of course, we all want you have to have a healthy mouth so you can smile, talk, and eat easily and happily. But did you know that your physician would also want you to do the same?

It’s more than just your teeth and your breath on the line when you neglect your oral health. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research shared a report from the US Surgeon General on Oral Health in America back in 2000 that focused on the relationship between oral health and general health and well-being. The Surgeon General even called the mouth “a mirror” reflecting general health or disease status.

Tobacco Use & Diet

Lifestyle behaviors like smoking and poor diet clearly affect both your oral health and your overall health. For instance, smoking has negative cosmetic effects, like bad breath and tobacco-stained teeth, and smoking also increases your chances of developing cancers of the mouth and lungs. A diet that is high in sugar increases your risk for cavities and it is also a risk factor for general health concerns, like diabetes and obesity.

Gum Disease

Researchers involved with Dentistry Network found that people with periodontitis, or gum disease, are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease. The link between the two is partly due to bacteria. Those with gum disease have inflammation in their infected gum tissue and through normal chewing or brushing allow that bacteria into the blood steam. Gum disease is also connected to stoke, although what exactly makes these two problems correlated is still being studied.

Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you already have an increased risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease also makes it harder to manage diabetes. Periodontitis and diabetes feed off each, so uncontrolled periodontitis worsens diabetes symptoms and poorly controlled diabetes will worsen periodontitis.

Pregnancy

The American Academy of Periodontology and European Federation of Periodontology have linked periodontitis to an increased risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight baby. It’s always important to maintain good oral health, and it’s especially important during pregnancy.

Your mouth and body are connected and so complications in one can (and often do) affect the other. While it’s not the whole equation, a healthy mouth is a key part of a healthy body. The foundation for good oral health and hygiene begins in at the dentist. If you’re due for a dental checkup, call us today!

Plan your next dental visit to Villa Vista Dental!