5 Causes of Tooth Discoloration

woman wearing a hoodie smoking a cigarette

You know that taking good care of your teeth is all about keeping good habits. But what about bad habits? There may be ways that you’re sabotaging your oral health without even realizing it. Several habits can lead to problems like discoloration that can be hard to treat or reverse. Here are a few habits that you should avoid if you want to maintain bright, white teeth.

1. Using Tobacco Products

Smoking and using chewing tobacco is a quick way to stain teeth and cause discoloration. These products contain particles that will stick to the teeth and create a brownish hue. Not only that, cigarettes and tobacco products can cause oral and lung cancers. We recommend quitting as soon as possible if you use these.

2. Staining Beverages

Coffee, tea, and wine are some of the most popular beverages consumed by American adults. The problem is that they can also cause a lot of extrinsic staining on your teeth. That means that the dark tint these drinks create stay on the enamel, or outer layer of the teeth. If you’re not ready to give up your favorite morning or evening drink, try drinking them through a straw. This will reduce the chances of staining. When you do drink coffee, wine, and tea, be sure to drink plenty of water to rinse and brush teeth after if possible.

3. Abrasive Tooth Cleaning Products

“Natural” whitening products like charcoal toothpaste, baking soda, or fruit can create irreversible staining by eroding the enamel of the teeth. Unlike extrinsic staining, this type of staining is harder to fix. We recommend avoiding these types of products for tooth cleaning. If you’re interested in having your teeth whitened, let us know. We are happy to talk to you about professional whitening.

4. Bad Brushing Technique

Forgetting to brush or not brushing correctly is a surefire way to stain teeth. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each day. We recommend using a soft-bristled brush. Many people brush their teeth too hard. This can also lead to enamel erosion and staining that’s difficult to correct. Brush gently and in circular motions.

5. Ditching the Dentist

Not prioritizing your biannual dental appointments will not only contribute to discoloration and staining, but it will also increase your chances of developing cavities, plaque and gingivitis. Coming in for regular cleanings is necessary for a bright, healthy smile.

Interested in Whitening Options?

Call today if it’s time to set up a checkup. Let us know at your appointment if you’re interested in whitening options for your teeth. We have solutions to help you achieve your brightest smile!

Want to avoid tooth discoloration?


Toothache Pain Relief Options

Brunette woman cringes in pain and touches her cheek due to a toothache

Toothaches can happen for a variety of reasons. If you’ve ever had a severe toothache, you know how much they can affect your ability to function. Trouble eating, sleeping, brushing teeth, or even concentrating can be side effects of a toothache.

A severe toothache is considered a dental emergency because it could signify a deeper issue, like advanced decay or an abscess. Call our office if you’re suffering from new or worsened tooth pain. Additionally, there are a few ways you can manage your pain from home until we see you.

1. Use A Cold Compress

If your toothache is so bad that it feels as though it’s radiating from your cheek and face, use a cold compress for some quick relief. Soak washcloths or dishrags in cool water and place them in the fridge. Switch them out intermittently as they begin to become warm on your face. Doing this will help reduce pain and swelling.

2. Take Over-The-Counter Medication

Anti-inflammatory pain medication is available at your local drugstore and can bring fast relief and help to reduce swelling. Ibuprofen and aspirin are the best options until we can see you. If you need a stronger medication, call us first. Do not take a friend or family member’s prescribed pain killer.

3. Eat Soft Foods

Avoid hard, hot, and cold foods until your problem is addressed. Applesauce, scrambled eggs, low-sugar yogurt, purees, and other soft foods are best to help you not aggravate the area in pain.

4. Be Gentle While Brushing & Flossing

Brush gently around the area in pain and try to not place too much pressure on it. A few times a day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water to cleanse and reduce pain.

Toothache Treatment in Elk Grove, CA

We’re so sorry if you’re experiencing dental pain! Rest assured, there is a solution and we can help you find it. So please don’t delay calling us if you have a toothache.

Tooth pain driving you crazy?


How to Strengthen Tooth Enamel

Brunette woman with strong enamel, glasses, and gray shirt smiles in a downtown of a busy city

Did you know that the enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in your body? It’s true! Consisting mostly of minerals, it covers the outer layer of each tooth. Strong enamel acts as a shield for the sensitive inner layers of your teeth from decay, infection, and foods and beverages that are very hot or very cold. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to maintain and even strengthen your teeth enamel.

1. Consume an Enamel-Friendly Diet

Eat a diet high in whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and dairy products with tooth-strengthening calcium and phosphate. In particular, cheese, nuts, and celery are foods that promote or maintain saliva, which remineralizes enamel. Additionally, limit your consumption of acidic foods and beverages. Drinks like carbonated sodas, citrus fruits, and wine can gradually remove small amounts of tooth enamel. If you do drink acidic liquids, use a straw to reduce the fluid’s contact with your teeth and drink water afterwards to wash any residue away.

2. Maintain a Daily Oral Hygiene Routine

Brushing your teeth too hard can wear down the enamel and create sensitive spots. The dentist-recommended routine is to brush gently for two minutes, twice per day, and use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Floss between your teeth at least once a day with string floss or a water flosser.

3. Use a Fluoridated Toothpaste

Fluoride has a remineralizing effect, which helps strengthen enamel, so be sure to choose a fluoridated toothpaste. Most municipal water supplies in the United States also contain fluoride, so merely drinking tap water can help strengthen your enamel, too. In addition, consult with our team to determine if you need a professional fluoride treatment. Although some skeptics question the safety of fluoride, it has been deemed safe by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Dental Association, the World Health Organization, and more than 100 other health organizations around the world.

Do You Have Sensitive Teeth?

If your teeth are sensitive to ordinary eating, drinking, and brushing, you probably already have some enamel damage. Fortunately, desensitizing toothpastes are readily available, which contain ingredients that help block painful sensations from sensitivity. A reduction in tooth sensitivity should be noticeable after using a desensitizing toothpaste several times.

If you have additional questions about tooth enamel, contact Villa Vista Dental to set up an appointment with Dr. Tin today!


Tips for Recovery Post-Dental Surgery

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Whether you’ve had a tooth extraction, root canal therapy, or a more complex dental procedure, there are certain things you can do after it’s complete to increase your comfort and promote healing. In this article, we offer a few basic recovery tips.

1. Get Plenty of Rest

Avoid physical activity and exercise for two to three days. Vigorous activity soon after your procedure can dislodge the blood clots that are necessary for your mouth to heal. When lying down, you can keep your head propped up with pillows to help reduce any swelling.

2. Ice As Necessary

Ice helps keep inflammation down and helps to numb the area of pain. If you don’t have a proper ice pack, you can put ice in a ziplock bag and wrap it in a hand towel, or even just place ice directly in a towel. Then, place the ice pack on the affected area for 15 minutes on, then 15 minutes off. Remember to never place ice directly onto your skin or to ice longer than 20 minutes.

3. Eat Soft Foods Only

For the first few days after surgery, be sure to follow a liquid or soft food diet. Drink plenty of water and avoid soda. Pureed soup, yogurt, smoothies, pudding, gelatin, and mashed sweet potatoes are tasty and easy to eat. Definitely avoid drinking through straws and eating anything hard or crunchy until a dental professional gives you the go-ahead. Also, until the anesthesia wears off, avoid anything hot, because the numbness can cause you to burn your mouth without even knowing it!

4. Take Prescribed Antibiotics

As in general medicine, antibiotics are also sometimes prescribed in dentistry. If prescribed antibiotics for an infection, it’s very important to finish the entire course as directed. Not doing so can be harmful to public health by ultimately leading to antibiotic resistance.

5. Brush Gently & Keep Your Mouth Clean

Although you shouldn’t brush or floss the teeth in the surgical area for at least 24 hours, you should continue to gently brush and floss the other parts of your mouth. After 24 hours have passed, you can rinse gently with warm salt water. However, avoid vigorous rinsing and spitting. In many cases following oral surgery, the antibacterial rinse chlorhexidine is prescribed, which provides the surgical area with extra protection.

6. Don’t Smoke or Drink Alcohol

Smoking and using other forms of tobacco are incredibly harmful for oral health. Not surprisingly, it should be avoided when recovering from oral surgery — as should alcohol, because they both can interfere with the healing process.

Further Concerns? Contact Us!

If you have any questions about your after-care instructions or if you experience abnormal pain, swelling, or bleeding, call us at 916-691-6802. Dr. Tin and our team at Villa Vista Dental are here to make your recovery as smooth, pain-free, and successful as possible.

Reach out to us with any additional questions about your recovery!


4 Tips to Help Your Breath Smell Fresh

Brunette woman hides behind a gray curtain with only half her face showing due to embarrassment about her bad breath
Is bad breath bringing you down? Don’t let morning breath and garlic breath ruin your whole day. Here are four tips and tricks to make sure your mouth stays minty fresh!

1. Follow a Routine Oral Care Regimen

Following a strict oral care regimen is essential to not only ensure that your mouth is healthy, but that it smells good, too. Make sure you are brushing twice a day for two minutes each time (don’t forget to brush your tongue!) and flossing at least once a day. Plaque and tartar can release gases that are less than pleasant to smell, so keeping your teeth squeaky clean is a good start to getting your bad breath under control. If you’re noticing particularly serious issues with plaque buildup or if you have persistent bad breath, try chewing sugar-free gum after every meal and decreasing your intake of sugar and processed foods. You may be tempted to brush your teeth immediately after eating, but wait to brush your teeth for 30-60 minutes after eating and drinking anything other than water to allow your enamel time to re-harden from any acids in your meal.

2. Mouthwash Is Your Friend

For those who are experiencing bad-breath issues and even for those who aren’t, adding an alcohol-free antibacterial/antiplaque mouthwash in to your oral care routine is a good way to combat bad breath. Just swish and gargle at least two to three times a week, and you should notice a significant difference.

3. Hydrate with H2O

Did you know that saliva actually helps fight bacteria in your mouth? If you suffer from dry mouth, that could be the cause of your bad breath. When your mouth is dry, the saliva isn’t breaking down that bacteria. Thus, a dry mouth allows yucky oral bacteria to proliferate and produce foul-smelling gasses. Stay hydrated with water throughout the day to keep bad breath at bay.

4. Visit Villa Vista Dental Every 6 Months

Even if you’re already doing all the above, there are just some nooks and crannies you have difficulty reaching yourself. When plaque starts to build up in these spots, those foul gases can rear their nasty heads. But we’re here to help you have a clean mouth and excellent oral health. By visiting us every six months, we can help keep your mouth smelling less like death and a lot more fresh. Contact us to schedule your next appointment!

Don’t let dragon breath set fire to your self-confidence.


Dental Fads to Avoid

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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 You Should Brush Your Tongue

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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?