Are Sodas Destroying Your Teeth?

We all know a healthy diet is important to maintaining overall health and well-being, but when it comes to your dental health, your diet plays an important role as well.

Avoiding sugary snacks and making sure to brush and floss every day is a good place to start, but what about the things you drink?  Many people are not aware that sodas and fruit juices are a leading cause of tooth decay in adults.

Sodas Are An Acid Bath To Your Teeth

Let’s take closer look at sodas to understand exactly how they can damage your teeth and lead to cavities.

Sodas, even diet sodas are extremely acidic.  Acids in foods and drinks cause damage to your tooth enamel- the hard protective exterior of the tooth structure.  When you drink an acidic soda, fruit juice, flavored water or even sports drinks, the acid bathes your tooth surfaces.  Normally, your saliva will wash away the acids and restore normal psoda factsH in the mouth, but when acidic drinks are consumed too frequently, or sipped on all day, there is no time between acid baths for your body to correct the pH.  Frequent exposure to acids wears on your tooth enamel, causing acid erosion.  Early symptoms may be excess sensitivity to cold or hot food.  As enamel erosion progresses, sensitivity increases as more of the dentin (interior of the tooth) is exposed.  As enamel softens and becomes more porous, pain can increase.

Porous and Softened Enamel Is Susceptible To Tooth Decay

When tooth enamel breaks down, it leaves the tooth susceptible to tooth decay.  As enamel breaks down, teeth lose mineral content.  Enamel erosion can change the surface of the tooth, leaving tiny weak areas for cavity-causing bacteria to take hold.  Simply avoiding sugar is not enough to prevent this damage from occurring.  Drinking water or milk are your best defenses against enamel erosion.

A study in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry concluded that nearly 79% of study participants showed signs of dental erosion.  The most common cause was frequent consumption of sodas and fruit juices.

Avoid Sodas For Dental Health

Avoiding sodas, fruit juices and flavored waters or sports drinks is good advice.  If you cannot kick the habit completely, then watch how you consume these beverages.  Drink a soda or sports drink at once, rather than sip on it slowly.  This will allow your body to correct the pH imbalance that occurs with acidic drinks.  Follow up your acidic beverage with water.  Some studies conclude that brushing immediately after an acidic drink is not a good idea, because enamel softened by the acid can be worn away by brushing.  Instead, rinse well with water and brush later.

Help For Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can be caused by acid erosion.  See your Saratoga dentist for an examination if you have painful, sensitive teeth.  Treatments including fluoride application and preparations that can restore mineral content are available from your dentist.

How Two Hours a Year Can Save You Time and Money on Dental Care

dental healthHalf of American adults avoid going to the dentist unless they are experiencing a painful dental emergency. When many people think about going to the dentist, pangs of dread cause them to postpone an appointment even longer.  The problem with this kind of thinking is that postponement of dental care, especially when there is a problem, actually makes the problem worse, more painful and more expensive to repair.

The truth about dental care is that staying on track with regular dental visits actually prevents many dental problems from occurring in the first place.  In addition, seeing your dentist at least every six months makes it possible to detect problems while they are small, painless and easy to repair.

It is possible for a person with good dental hygiene habits, who sees their dentist regularly, to not experience serious dental problems, toothaches and extensive dental work.   In fact, regular dental care can help prevent serious problems like tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer.

Here are the ways a one-hour dental check-up and professional teeth cleaning can help prevent serious dental problems and have a positive impact on your overall health:

  • Regular dental cleanings remove plaque that cannot be reached by brushing and flossing alone.  This helps prevent tooth decay.
  • Regular dental cleanings are the only way to remove hardened plaque (tartar) which is proven to contribute to cavities and gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.
  • Your dental examination includes an oral cancer screening.  Oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer in the US. Early detection of changes in oral tissue can save lives.
  • Maintaining healthy teeth and gums supports overall health.  Over 120 systemic diseases have oral manifestations that can be identified in the mouth.
  • A study conducted by the University of California, Berkley concluded that women who receive regular dental care reduce their risk of heart disease by a third.
  • Regular dental exams make it possible to detect tooth decay and gum disease early, while treatment or reversal is simple, painless and less expensive

The average dental check-up and teeth cleaning appointment takes about an hour, twice a year.  That’s 2 hours of your time, out of 8,760 hours in a year.  That’s .00023% of a year that you can use to maintain healthy teeth and gums,  improve your smile, support your overall health AND save money on the cost of dental care.

Give your Saratoga dentist, Dr. Kathleen Ban and associates, a call to schedule your appointment today.


Is Snoring Keeping You Awake Nights?

snoring help is hereSnoring affects nearly 90 million Americans, and can be more than just an annoying habit. An estimated 160 million people are affected by snoring, when you consider the spouses and children of the snorer.
Habitual snoring disrupts healthy sleep patterns, which can contribute to a number of problems. There are many over the counter products available to help prevent snoring. Treatment options range from special pillows to nose strips, even surgery. Finding the option that works best for you can be as easy as seeing your dentist.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring is caused by the passage of air through a relaxed airway. During sleep, the muscles in the airway relax and narrow the airway, increasing the force of air as it is exchanged. As the force of air increases, the soft tissues such as the soft palate and uvula vibrate, creating the loud snoring sound that keeps you awake at night.

What Is Silent Nite?

One treatment option that is having a huge positive impact on snoring patients is the Silent Nite® oral appliance, available through your dentist The Silent Nite appliance is a custom fitted dental appliance designed to help prevent snoring. It’s streamlined and flexible design make it a comfortable fit, so it is easy to wear while you sleep. Silent Nite fits comfortably over your teeth, repositioning your lower jaw slightly forward, supporting the soft tissues in the airway. This extra support prevents narrowing of the airway and vibration of the soft tissues, effectively reducing or eliminating snoring.

Is a Dental Snoring Device Right for Me?

The Silent Nite snoring prevention device can be prescribed by your dentist. Imagine giving yourself (and your spouse) the gift of a quiet and restful sleep every night. Schedule a consultation to discuss your symptoms and explore whether a snoring device is the best option for you.

Smile Enhancements- Porcelain Crowns vs. Metal

Which Smile Do You Prefer?  Traditional porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) dental crowns can result in a small edge of exposed metal along the gumline.  This dark line can be unattractive when it shows in your smile line.  Replacing porcelain to metal crowns with 100% porcelain crowns can improve your cosmetic results and give you a healthier, younger looking smile.

gray line on crowns
Porcelain to metal crowns can be unattractive


porcelain crowns
All porcelain crowns eliminate exposed metal along the gumline

Advantages of Porcelain Dental Crowns

There are several advantages to consider when replacing old crowns with porcelain restorations.  Over time, dental crowns can weaken or crack.  Your dentist can check for signs of wear or damage in older crowns and may recommend replacement if indicated.  Gum recession can cause the margins (edges of the crown) to become exposed, putting the underlying tooth at risk for tooth decay.  The metal in the margins of your crown can be unattractive, especially if is shows when you smile.  Some problems you might encounter with porcelain-metal crowns are:

  • A dark line at the gumline caused by the exposed metal edge of the PFM crown
  • Opacity of the tooth restoration because light cannot pass through metal as it does in natural teeth.  Porcelain restorations allow for natural areas of transparency in the crown.
  • Unnatural appearance of tooth restoration

Natural Looking Porcelain Crowns

You might consider porcelain crowns when a restoration is needed in the aesthetic zone (the part of your smile that shows most often).  Porcelain crowns are strong and durable, but allow for a more natural looking restoration that more closely matches the surrounding teeth.  Because there is no metal inside, light passes through the thinner edges of the tooth crown more naturally, providing a pleasing cosmetic result.  Porcelain dental crowns provide more options for cosmetic dental enhancement.

Should You Replace Your Porcelain-Metal Crowns?

The best way to find out if replacing your old dental crowns with porcelain crowns is to schedule a consultation with your Saratoga dentist.  Dr. Ban or Dr. Fox will perform an examination to determine whether replacing your crowns is the best option.  You can schedule an appointment with us here.



Straight Talk About Missing Teeth

dentures vs implantsDentures, Bridges and Implants:  Comparison

When it comes to missing teeth, deciding on the treatment option that is right for you means understanding your options.  Missing teeth can affect everything from dental function, appearance and overall health.  Choosing a treatment option that suits your lifestyle and supports your overall health is important.

Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is used to replace a missing tooth by constructing a crown on the adjacent teeth with a false tooth bridged between them.  A dental bridge is a good option for patients who could benefit from crowns on the teeth adjacent to the space.  Other factors that contribute to the decision to use a dental bridge are overall dental health, desires of the patient and cost.  A dental bridge is an effective, affordable and long-lasting solution for a missing tooth.

Dentures or Partial Dentures

A removable prosthesis such as a denture or partial denture can restore appearance and support dental function in the case of multiple missing teeth.  A removable denture is an appliance that can restore the appearance of missing teeth.  The appliance consists of false teeth mounted on a plate which is attached to the adjacent natural teeth with a wire attachment.  The appliance is removable, and must be maintained and/or relined from time to time to ensure a secure fit and function.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is the most permanent, natural looking and functioning method of tooth replacement.  A dental implant replaces the entire tooth structure from root to crown and once placed, it is 98% likely to last the rest of your life.  A dental implant functions just as a natural tooth, making it possible to enjoy the foods you love without worry.  Implants cannot decay and do not require the involvement of adjacent teeth.

For more information about your options for replacing missing teeth, contact Park Saratoga Dental to schedule a consultation appointment.

Wisdom Teeth- To Remove Them or Not?

dental healthFor a large percentage of Americans, wisdom tooth removal is almost a rite of passage. Teenagers in Saratoga and across the country undergo the treatment to extract wisdom teeth every year. Why should you remove your wisdom teeth, and do they always need to be extracted in the first place? Let’s look at some of the reasons why dentists recommend that you have these teeth extracted.

Wisdom Tooth Pain

Most wisdom teeth cause some pain at some period of their growth. For most people pain from the eruption of the teeth (when the teeth break through the gums as they come in) is temporary. Once the teeth have erupted, if they are in a good position and can be kept clean and healthy, then no treatment at all might be recommended. Unfortunately, in many cases, the wisdom teeth continue to cause problems. Most wisdom teeth do not come in straight, and can cause chronic pain or infection. These third molars are also more prone to tooth decay. When problems such as this occur on a regular basis, your dentist will likely recommend that you have the teeth removed in order to prevent continued problems and the potential for damage to your other teeth from decay or infection.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Your jaw might not be large enough for four more teeth to come into position as a teen. For many dental patients, wisdom teeth cannot erupt properly into the arch with the rest of the teeth. As they try to come in, they can turn sideways, or erupt only partially. When this happens, it is a condition called ‘impacted wisdom teeth’. Impacted teeth often become infected, swollen or painful. When the tooth becomes trapped in the bone, it can also form a cyst around it. A cyst is a fluid filled sac that can grow and damage the bone tissue around it. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, or have cysts or other pathology associated with them, your dentist will likely recommend that you have them extracted to avoid further complications.

Dental Crowding From Wisdom Teeth

When the third molars come in, or erupt, they can place a great deal of pressure on the roots of the adjacent teeth, causing them to shift or move out of alignment. In severe cases, the teeth across the jaw can become crooked. This can cause problems with your bite as well as affect the appearance of your smile. When teeth are misaligned, they are harder to keep clean and can develop cavities and gum disease. Wisdom teeth commonly cause orthodontic relapse for patients who have completed orthodontic treatment and braces. This is why so many orthodontists recommend removal of the third molars at the completion of orthodontic treatment.
If you have problems with your wisdom teeth, schedule an appointment to find out if they must be removed in order to preserve your dental health. For most patients, wisdom teeth removal is a simple procedure that requires very little recovery time. Contact your Saratoga dental office for more information about your wisdom teeth.

Dental Implants Replace Missing Teeth

tooth implant
Natural Tooth vs. Implant

Missing teeth are a big concern for millions of Americans.  In fact, 69% of American adults age 35-44 have lost at least one permanent tooth.  More than 25% of Americans over the age of 65 have lost all their permanent teeth.

People with missing teeth often suffer from changes in their bite, difficulties eating and speaking, as well as psychological effects such as decrease in self-confidence and self-consciousness about their appearance.

Dentistry provides a number of solutions that can help replace missing teeth and preserve dental function and aesthetics.  Some solutions are dental bridges, partials and dentures.  One solution stands out above the rest as the ‘gold standard’ for tooth replacement- dental implants.

A dental implant is the most permanent, natural looking and feeling method of tooth replacement.  They are reliable, predictable, and designed to last a lifetime.

An implant replaces the entire tooth structure, from root to crown.  This provides an unsurpassed level of stability, strength and aesthetics.  In addition, an implant will help maintain the jaw bone in an area that would otherwise shrink away from non-use.

The first titanium dental implant was placed in a volunteer patient by Per Ingvar Branemark in 1965.  Since then, dental implants have become the preferred method of tooth replacement.  Dental implants have a success rate of 98%.  This means, if you have one, it will most likely last you the rest of your life.

A dental implant is a root shaped titanium post which is inserted into the prepared jaw.  The titanium metal is biocompatible, meaning that the surrounding bone tissue is attracted to it and will heal right onto the surface of the implant (known as osseointegration), making it extremely stable and solid.  Once osseointegration has occurred, the implant can be completed with a porcelain crown which is made to look and feel just like the rest of your natural teeth.

A dental implant cannot decay, and with proper care and cleaning will remain healthy and stable for life.  It is important to maintain good personal dental hygiene and to see your dentist regularly to ensure the health of your implant.  An implant can still develop gum disease and bone loss from oral bacteria.

To learn more about dental implants as a tooth replacement options, visit Park Saratoga Dental.


*Sources:  American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and

How Going to the Dentist More Often Can Save You Money on Dental Care

save money on dentalAlmost half of Americans only go to the dentist when they know they have a dental problem of a toothache. Dental patients who are motivated by pain, rather than prevention pay significantly more for their dental care, even though they go to the dentist less often.

Brushing and Flossing is Not Enough

Good personal oral hygiene is imperative to prevention of dental disease. Brushing and flossing daily will remove plaque and bacteria from the oral cavity, teeth and gums. This reduces the chances that destructive bacteria will take hold and lead to cavities and gum disease.

Even with good dental habits, plaque and bacteria collect at and below the gum line on tooth surfaces, forming hardened tartar. This substance cannot be removed from the teeth with brushing and flossing, and must be removed with a professional dental cleaning. Tartar will build up over time, leading to decay and periodontal disease.

Skipping Your Preventive Dental Care is Expensive

Your dentist recommends a dental check-up and professional cleaning at least every six months, and more frequently if you are prone to tooth decay or gum (periodontal) disease. This is because your dentist knows that regular dental care makes it possible to prevent major dental problems from developing in the first place. In addition, a regular dental exam will give your dentist the opportunity to detect and diagnose the beginning stages of disease processes such as a small cavity or reddened inflamed gum tissue. When diagnosed in their early stages, reversal of the disease process or removal of the decay is much simpler and far less expensive than waiting until it has progressed into a more serious problem.
Most dental insurance plans know that preventive dental care reduces the risk of developing serious dental problems such as advanced decay, periodontitis and tooth abscess. This is why many dental plans cover the cost of preventive dental care at no cost to the patient. For patients without insurance, the cost of regular dental cleanings and check-ups is still far lower than the cost of seeking dental care only in painful situations.

Early Stage Dental Disease Is Not Painful

Waiting until you have a toothache to go to the dentist usually means that you will require restorative treatment in order to repair and preserve your diseased tooth. Most dental problems start off on the microscopic level, and gradually get worse.  A tiny cavity does not hurt, and you probably cannot see it.  By the time you feel discomfort from the decay, it has likely spread to the vital structures within the tooth. If you feel the pangs of a toothache, it is likely that treatment such as a large filling, dental crown or even root canal treatment is necessary to repair it. These types of treatment are much more costly than a small filling. The treatment to repair it is likely more expensive than your dental check-up and cleaning would be, even with the cost of a small filling included.

Regular Check-Ups Save Money Over Time, But They Also Save Your Teeth

Although saving money is great, it is not the only reason to stay current with your regular dental care. When dental problems are prevented or detected early, your teeth stay healthier. Routine dental care makes it possible to prevent the common causes of tooth loss, which are untreated tooth decay and periodontal disease. When you see your dentist at least every six months, you give yourself the gift of healthier teeth that will last you a lifetime.

Make an Appointment at Park Saratoga Dental

Baby Teeth- A Parent’s Guide


kids dental health month
A Healthy Dental Start is Important

February is Children’s Dental Health Month and the perfect time to discuss the basics for a healthy dental start for your little ones. Taking good care of your child’s baby teeth will help set him up for a lifetime of healthy dental habits. Experts agree that teaching good personal dental hygiene from an early age has a big impact on dental hygiene habits later on. In addition, introducing professional dental care from the start helps alleviate any stress your child may feel about going to the dentist. Here are some common questions and answers about children’s dental health which will help you get on the best dental path for healthy adult teeth.

At What Age Should I Take My Child For His First Check-Up?

According to the American Dental Association, children should have their first professional dental check-up within six months of the arrival of their first tooth, but no later than age one. Starting out in a dental ‘home’ with well-baby dental check-ups sets the stage for dental success, and ensures that your child’s first visits to the dentist occur when no problems exist. Your dentist can provide instruction on proper cleaning and caring for your baby’s teeth. He may also offer important insight on topics such as a healthy diet, fluoride and preventing tooth decay. A clinical examination will detect early signs of cavities or other dental problems that may exist.

How Do I Brush My Baby’s Teeth?

The first teeth will come in around age 6 months to one year. Even before the arrival of the first tooth, you will want to begin daily teeth cleaning. You can use a clean, dampened gauze pad, washcloth or fingertip brush made for this purpose. Clean teeth and gums twice a day. Once there are several baby teeth present, you can use a soft baby toothbrush to gently clean teeth.

Does My Child Need Sealants?

Sealants are designed to fill crevices in tooth surfaces which are likely to harbor bacteria and result in tooth decay. Sealants are often used to prevent cavities in the permanent molars, and are placed as they arrive. In some cases, your dentist may recommend sealants in baby teeth. Children are often not capable of practicing truly effective preventive care. They may not be coordinated enough to brush thoroughly. Sealants can help keep destructive bacteria out of the grooves and crevices in teeth and prevent cavities until your child’s dental habits become well-practiced and effective.
Setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth is important. Kids who learn good dental habits early have healthier teeth as adults. To schedule your child’s dental visit now, visit our website.

The Top 5 Foods That Stain Your Teeth

worst foods for staining teethA bright, white, healthy smile is something people notice about you right away. Whitening dental products are some of the most popular beauty products on the market. In order to get the whitest, brightest smile, safely, we recommend professional teeth whitening. In order to keep teeth their whitest between professional treatments, you might want to avoid these top 5 foods that stain your teeth.
1. Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea leave behind a dark residue that can stain your teeth brown or yellow. Avoiding these beverages can help prevent staining. If you do not want to give up your morning coffee, consider brushing and flossing well after you get your caffeine kick for the day.
2. Red and White Wine
One of the worst offenders when it comes to tooth discoloration is red wine. The deep pigments can give your teeth a darkened or even bluish hue. Did you know that even white wine can promote staining on your teeth? Drinking white wine followed by foods or beverages that are known to cause staining causes teeth to stain more deeply.
3. Sodas and Sports Drinks
The high sugar and acid content in these beverages can not only damage your teeth, but they can promote discoloration and stains. Your body and your teeth will thank you for switching to water instead.
4. Berries
Dark red, blue and purple berries are great for your health, but they can stain your teeth just like wine. If you include deeply pigmented berries as a part of your regular diet, be sure to brush and floss after enjoying them in order to help prevent staining.
5. Sauces and Seasonings
Tomato sauce, soy sauce, and other condiments with deep pigment can stain your teeth. Acidic sauces can actually weaken tooth enamel, making it more porous and more likely to absorb stains.
To prevent stains from foods and beverages, make sure to follow these tips:
• Enjoy stain causing foods in moderation
• Brush and floss after consuming stain promoting foods and drinks
• Use a straw and swallow promptly
• Rinse well with water after eating or drinking
• Get your teeth professionally cleaned at least every six months
• Professionally whiten teeth to get them bright and white. Touch up your treatments with an at-home whitening kit available from your dentist.

To schedule a professional teeth cleaning and in-office dramatic dental whitening at Park Saratoga Dental, contact us today.