Minty Fresh: Why We Use Toothpaste | Northridge Dentist

We all know having a good dental routine on the daily is key to keeping our smile bright and shiny. Brushing, flossing and rinsing are the three actions required, and a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash are the tools we need to get the job done appropriately. But have you ever wondered why we use toothpaste? Sure, we know it’s “tooth soap” and tastes delicious both during and after, but do you know why it’s necessary to the whole process? Toothpaste helps to clean our teeth of plaque and food debris without damaging our delicate enamel. And it’s because toothpaste contains fluoride, which helps to protect enamel.

There are a few variations to toothpaste, and your selection should be based on what you’d like the outcome to be. Some focus on whitening, some also include ingredients to reduce plaque. Because it has these benefits, it is the ideal companion to keeping up our smiles in between dental check-ups, making it a huge part of preventive dental care.

Toothpaste is made up of several ingredients that help to clean your teeth, such as:

Abrasives. Abrasives help remove stains and plaque.

Detergents. This is what makes the toothpaste foam. It helps to dislodge food debris.

Humectants. These give the toothpaste texture and moisture.

Thickeners. Thickeners help the toothpaste stay on your brush and squeeze out of the tube that way it does.

Preservatives, flavoring and coloring. These give toothpaste the look and taste it has.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

When to Speak to Your Dentist About a Toothache | Northridge Dentist

When we get a toothache, our first reaction is to ignore the pain. Because chances are, having pain in a tooth means a painful trip to the dentist. The best defense is prevention, but once the damage is done, nothing will cure your aches like a dental visit. But what exactly are the signs to look for?

Tooth sensitivity. One of the first signals we are developing an issue is some pain when we chew or put any pressure on the sensitive tooth. Another time we have some tooth sensitivity is when we consume anything hot or cold. If you find you have a tooth that gives you some trouble, it’s time to make a visit to the dental chair.

Discoloration. When our tooth begins to decay, there may be a noticeable discoloration on a particular tooth. It maybe natural staining that can be taken care of with a whitening procedure, but only a dental professional will be able to tell you for sure.

Recurring gum blemish. We will get sores on our gums from time to time, but a recurring issue is something that needs to be addressed.

Disrupted sleep. It’s one thing to have to deal with pain during the day, when meds are readily available, but when it disrupts our sleep, it leads to more than just a toothache. Sleep is vital to our overall health, so if your toothache is keeping you up at night, it’s time to have it looked at.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal? | Northridge Dentist

Finding out you need a root canal is never fun news, but it can be prevented with good oral hygiene and regular check-ups. In fact, YOU are your first line of defense when it comes to tooth decay. And since knowledge is power, let’s talk about what exactly is causing your teeth to decay. If we know how to dodge the proverbial bullet, we will be less likely to have painful dentist visits. Here is a quick list:

  • Large cavities
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Facial trauma
  • A habit of clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Repeatedly damaged teeth

If left untreated, a tooth can become infected and won’t be able to heal properly, eventually leading to an abscess or even tooth loss. Abscesses aren’t just bad for our smiles, but the content in an abscess can spread to other areas in the body, causing further damage. If you find that you have developed one of these symptoms, it’s time to visit the dentist. It is likely you have developed a condition that can only be remedied by a root canal.

Don’t worry – root canals aren’t as scary as they are made out to be. In fact, their pain level could even be compared to getting a filling. Your dentist needs to remove all of the pulp and nerve causing the issue, then replacing it with a dental crown to make your tooth look good as new. But in the end, if you look after your teeth, you may never need one so make sure to properly brush and floss.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Tooth Abscesses: Not a Laughing Matter | Northridge Dentist

When we develop pain in our mouths, it is something that can turn a nuisance into incredible pain relatively easily. One of the main causes of this is an abscessed tooth. Thankfully, it is something that is completely preventable by following simple oral health steps.

Firstly, an abscessed tooth is an infection at the root of a tooth or between gums caused by decay, trauma to the tooth, gingivitis or other gum diseases. It begins when bacteria infect the core of a tooth, through a cavity or cracked tooth, and progressing until pockets of pus begin to form at the root.  Symptoms include toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold, a bitter taste in mouth, bad breath, swollen glands at the neck or jaw and painful chewing, the severity depending on the patient. Some patients feel excruciating pain right away, while others do not know they have an abscessed tooth until they go in for a routine dental exam.

An abscessed tooth can become very dangerous if left untreated. It can spread infections to other areas of the mouth that may cause loss of teeth, facial disfigurement due to rotting facial bones, while putting your immune system at risk of developing other health problems. If an abscess isn’t treated, it will continue to grow and spread through tissue, causing outward facial swelling called cellulitis, and in rare cases, death.

In order to prevent a tooth abscess, it is important that you follow a daily dental routine to ensure that your mouth remains healthy and your smile bright and clean. If you feel an abscess may be forming, see your dental professional immediately.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

How to Keep Your Child’s Teeth Healthy | Northridge Dentist

It may sound like quite the chore, teaching proper dental hygiene to your little one, but it’s really easy to do. After all, the earlier you initiate a daily routine, the more likely your child will continue to have great check-ups.

As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and water.  If you are considering using toothpaste before your child’s second birthday, ask your dentist first.

To avoid baby bottle tooth decay and teeth misalignment due to sucking, try to wean your child off the breast and bottle by their first year and monitor excessive sucking of pacifiers and thumbs. Never give your child a bottle of milk, juice or sweetened liquid as a pacifier at naptime or bedtime. The sugars in the drink will sit in their mouths as your child sleeps, slowly causing dental issues.

Brushing at night is a great idea to start teaching good dental habits due to lower salivary flow and higher susceptibility to cavities. Perhaps let the child brush their teeth first to build self-confidence, then follow up to ensure that all plaque is removed. By about age five, your child should be able to brush his or her own teeth with proper parental instruction.

As a parent, the best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene. In addition, preventative routine dental checkups ensure your child has healthy teeth and gums.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Why Dental Cleanings Are Always a Good Idea | Northridge Dentist

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669Twice a year, we make that appointment to see the dentist. We generally know what to expect. A quick exam, sometimes including an x-ray, a good cleaning and off we go. Unless there is something going on, it’s a pretty painless event. But have you ever wondered why we clean our teeth professionally when we brush and floss on a daily. It actually goes beyond just having clean teeth.

Studies show that over 50 percent of individuals are unaware that they are suffering from some sort of dental problem including gum disease, root canal infection, or tooth decay. Studies have also proved that the number one way individuals find out about their dental problems is by going to the dentist for dental exams and cleanings.

When an individual is experiencing symptoms such as red or swollen gums or tooth sensitivity, they usually avoid these problematic indicators. The only way individuals will truly realize that their symptoms could be serious dental issues is through dental exams. Dental cleanings will allow your dental professional to determine whether or not your gums are in good condition. If not done regularly, there is a chance that you could develop periodontal disease, making dental restorations necessary to repair tooth decay.

But what exactly does a thorough tooth cleaning entail? As far as your cleaning goes, your dentist, or dental hygienist will focus on plaque and tartar build up and work hard to remove it before any extra bacteria builds up. They’ll be thoroughly cleaned and sometimes polished, especially if your teeth are worn down from daily use. You will be flossed, and then your dentist will recommend any cleaning techniques that will suit your teeth.

Once your teeth are shiny and bright, your dentist should emphasize the importance of these dental exams and cleanings because they are measures that ensure your teeth remain healthy and strong. After your examination, your dentist will go over what exactly the condition your teeth are in. They will then tell you about any procedures you might have to undergo. If your teeth are healthy, you will be scheduled for another appointment in six months, and sent on your way with a bag of dental goodies that should help you maintain your oral health until your next visit! All that for taking a little bit of time out of your day to take care of your teeth. Isn’t it worth it?

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Halloween and Braces: Trick or Treat? | Northridge Dentist

thinkstockphotos-178564205October is National Orthodontic Health Month, and coincidentally, Halloween. (I know…How did that happen?) So in honor of these two fantastic occasions, let’s do a quick run-down of what is going to happen if you throw caution to the wind and celebrate Halloween like all of your friends without braces. Because if you do decide to not look after your braces, the consequences will be more frightening than the holiday itself.

When we get our braces put on, we are warned that there are certain foods we will have to forgo while our braces are fixing our smile. And when it comes to Halloween, these foods are in full force. Popcorn, nuts, gum and all hard, sticky or chewy candies are pure evil on your mouth’s delicate appliances. As a matter of fact, while everything is fine in moderation, candy is the worst on your teeth. They come in lots of different variations.

They can be a hard candy, like a lollypop or a Jolly Rancher, which are a favorite because they last a while if we suck on them. Having the sugar linger around in your mouth as the candy dissolves makes it easier for cavities to form. And if you chomp on them, you can run the risk of breaking off one of your brackets or chipping an actual tooth. Chewy candies, like a gummy bear or a jelly bean, have similar results but have a tendency to get stuck in the crevices of your molars, making a perfect hideout for cavities. Sticky candy, like caramels or chewing gum, are some of the worst treats of all. Not only can they pull off a bracket from your tooth, but they can burrow within your molars as well, making them basically a sweet combination of the two others. There are also candies on the market that are sour than they are sweet and are an absolute favorite with all kids today. The sourness is actually acidic and can break down your tooth’s enamel, making them more prone to decay, so try to limit these candies the most.

There are some alternatives to these candies that will not only be safe on your braces, but won’t make you feel like you’re being left out of the scariest of holidays. Chocolate, soft treats and ice cream are all braces-friendly treats that are quite enjoyable.

So, what do you do to prevent anything from happening to your braces during this spooky time? Try to limit your candy intake. The more you indulge in these sweets, the higher the risk of damaging your appliances. When eating the candy, make them quick snacks, not an all-day treat. The longer you let the sugar linger in your mouth, the easier it is for the sugars to stake inside your mouth. After you have your sweet treat, rinse you mouth out with water. Saliva is your mouth’s natural fighter against cavity-causing bacteria. And lastly, brush and floss at least two times a day. Cavities are no match for good oral hygiene. Happy Halloween!

For more information on oral health care, contact Dr. David Lunt at (818) 885-7230 or visit our website davidluntdds.com.

Dr. David Lunt also proudly serves Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura, CSUN, Cal State Northridge, and all surrounding areas.

Reasons You Should Quit Smoking | Northridge Dentist

No_smoking_symbol_svgWe all know that smoking is bad. Lung cancer, heart disease, premature wrinkles are just a few of the results taking up smoking will do to someone. But how bad it is for your mouth? Turns out, pretty bad. In the beginning the effects are fairly minor. But bad breath & yellowing teeth are just the tip of the iceberg. Soon you will have a build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth, which can lead to gum disease and even tooth loss. From there it just sort of spirals down. Healing from tooth loss will take longer to heal. The dental implant used to replace the tooth have a lower success rate due to bone loss in the jaw. So, in actuality, smoking is a catalyst for a ton of dental issues, the most harmful being gum disease.

When you smoke, the smoke you inhale interferes with the normal function of your gum tissue. When infected, you are more susceptible to periodontal disease. The more your blood flow is impaired, the longer it takes to heal. As you lose more alveolar bone, or the bones that anchor your teeth in your mouth, the easier it is for them to fall out.

Now you may be thinking, “I smoke cigars so I don’t inhale. How bad can smoking be for me?” The truth is, it really doesn’t matter which version of tobacco you use. Cigars, pipes, even chewing tobacco are bad for your mouth in the same exact way cigarettes are. So if you are thinking about changing methods, it really isn’t going to help prevent dental issues from arising. No, the best thing you can do to prevent dental issues from arising is to quit smoking altogether.

But is it worth quitting your tobacco habit? After all, you’ve been smoking for years. It is. Quitting will benefit your health tremendously, no matter how long you’ve been smoking. Studies show that those who quit can eventually have the same odds of getting oral disease that nonsmokers do! A study in the Journal of the American Dental Association revealed that mouth lesion leukoplakia completely healed in 97.5% of patients just after 6 weeks of quitting. The American Cancer Society states smokers are 6 times more likely to contract cancer of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat than those who do not. And say you do get one of these cancers, but you cure it. If you go back to smoking, you have a 37% chance of getting cancer again. If you stop, that stat drops to 6%. Doesn’t that make quitting so worth it? So grab yourself some nicotine gum, join a support group, or try acupuncture or hypnosis. There are lots of ways you can rid yourself of this bad habit and ensure you stay healthy for a long time to come.

If you’re a smoker and would like to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. David Lunt, DDS at 818-885-7230 or visit www.davidluntdds.com for additional information regarding dental care while on vacation.

David P. Lunt proudly serves Northridge, Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Winnetka and all surrounding areas.

The Effects of Soda on Your Teeth | Northridge Dentist

177406608They’re fizzy, refreshing and delicious. They are ruining your teeth. I’m talking about those bubbly carbonated beverages we all know and love. Soda, pop, cola, whatever you call it, we Americans love it. In fact, half the people in America consume soda every day. In moderation it poses very little threat, but a steady consumption of soft drinks is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. It’s no secret there exists a strong link between soda consumption and tooth decay. Heavy soda consumption has also been linked to other health complications including diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.
The term ‘Sip All Day, Get Decay!’ is very true. Bacteria feeds off sugar, which is exactly what is in that drink. Diet or “sugar-free” soda contains its own acid, so you may be saving calories, but you’re still damaging your teeth. Sipping on soda allows the sugar and acidity sit on your teeth, eating away at your enamel, staining your teeth, and setting off bacteria bombs. Each attack lasts about 20 minutes and starts over with every sip of soda you take. These ongoing acid attacks weaken tooth enamel. Kids and teens are most susceptible to tooth decay because their tooth enamel is not fully developed. (Source: WDA.org).
The idea isn’t to cut yourself off completely, but be mindful of your intake. Tooth decay is no laughing matter. Prevention is easy. Drink more water. Water is tooth decay’s worst enemy. Drink more dairy. The calcium will help reinforce your teeth’s strength the soda is breaking down. You can avoid tooth decay and other health problems that arise from drinking too many carbonated beverages, sports drinks, iced and sweet teas and other sweetened liquids (like fruit juices). So when you do drink them, drink them quickly and use a straw. The less time or ability bacteria has to rest on your teeth, the easier it is to create decay. After you drink soda, give your mouth a quick rinse with water to flush away the sugar on your mouth from attacking your teeth.
We all know brushing your teeth is the best way to prevent decay, but wait 30 to 60 minutes after drinking soda before you do so. Your teeth are sensitive at the moment from all of the soda’s acidity. Brushing will actually do more harm than good, but just in this instance. Brushing, flossing and rinsing twice a day and visiting your dentist regularly reduces your risk of tooth decay and maintains your oral health.

If you’re considering a vacation and would like to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. David Lunt, DDS at 818-885-7230 or visit www.davidluntdds.com for additional information regarding dental care while on vacation.

David P. Lunt proudly serves Northridge, Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Winnetka and all surrounding areas.

How To Avoid Tooth Decay in Babies

89683018Even though the baby teeth will eventually fall out on their own, they’re very important. If they’re lost too early, the remaining may shift and move to their places. This may not leave any room for the adult teeth once they come in. Also, if the baby teeth end up having tooth decay, it may not be just painful, but also be hard to treat and at the same time, increases the chances of it recurring later on.

To prevent tooth decay in children, it is important to start taking preventative measures as soon as the first tooth comes in.

Preventing Tooth Decay in Babies

  • For pregnant women, take good care of your teeth and gums. Not that they weren’t as important before, but pregnant women need to make it a point to still visit their dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleaning.
  • Take care of your baby’s teeth by doing the following:
  • Newborn to 12-months: Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean washcloth or a clean soft-bristled toothbrush. Once the first tooth erupts, brush it using a soft-baby toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste.
  • 12-months to 13-months: Brush your child’s teeth for two minutes twice a day, preferably after eating breakfast and before going to bed. Use a non-fluoride toothpaste until your child learns how to spit the toothpaste out on his own.
  • Avoid letting your child sleep with a bottle of milk or food. Doing so exposes your child’s teeth to sugar, as well as puts your child at risk for choking, gum disease, ant bites and even ear infections.
  • Do not substitute pacifiers with bottles or sippy You can use bottles or sippy cups, but you should never let your child drink from them for a long time. If your child insists on drinking from the bottle or sippy cup, fill it with water instead of juice or milk.
  • Ask if your child can benefit from a fluoride supplement. Additional fluoride supplement can help protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay. You can also ask the dentist to apply fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth for added protection.
  • Have your child drink from a regular glass or cup as soon as possible. As soon as your child is able to, have them drink from a regular cup or glass. These cups are less likely to cause liquid to collect around the teeth, making them healthier to use.
  • Don’t spoil your child with sweet or sticky foods. Candies, cookies, gummies and so on are nice, but only when given as treats. Do not let your child snack on them every day, especially outside of mealtime. Also, teach your child to use his or her tongue to clean food particles off the teeth after eating.
  • Try not to let your child drink juice as much as possible. For babies, the amount of juice should not exceed more than 4 ounces a day. For toddlers aged 1 to 6 years, consumption shouldn’t be over 6 ounces a day. Although, none would be preferable.
  • Take your child to the dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts. Or a few months after your child’s first birthday. Either way, the sooner your dentist checks your child’s mouth, the better. The first meeting isn’t even for checking, but for helping children familiarize themselves with the place.

Signs of tooth decay aren’t so easy to spot in baby teeth. In fact, even pediatric dentists have a hard time doing so. However, if you take proper care of your child’s teeth, you wouldn’t really have to worry about that much. Besides, starting early helps make sure that your child grows up enjoying a healthy set of teeth for as long as they live.

To help prevent tooth decay in your baby, contact Dr. David Lunt, DDS at 818-885-7230 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.davidluntdds.com for additional information regarding tooth decay.