dr newhart

School Lunches: Squeeze Out the Juice

School Lunches: Squeeze Out the JuiceSending the kids back to school means it’s time to start packing those lunch boxes! And when you do, keep in mind that what your children drink can affect their oral health just as much as what they eat.

The scientific evidence is overwhelming that sugar is the most important dietary factor in causing tooth decay, and soft drinks are the largest source of sugar in many kids’ diets. But they’re not the only culprits: Even 100% fruit juices with no added sugar can promote tooth decay because of the sugar they naturally contain.

That’s one of the reasons why the American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out with new recommendations for children’s juice consumption, based on the latest research. Here are the new guidelines by age:

  • Kids ages 7-18 should have no more than 8 ounces (1 cup) of juice per day.
  • Children ages 4-6 should have no more than 6 ounces of juice per day.
  • Toddlers ages 1-3 should be limited to 4 ounces of juice per day.
  • Babies under age 1, and children of any age with abnormal weight gain, should have no juice at all.

Again, these guidelines apply to 100 percent natural juice with no added sugar.

So what drink should you pack in your child’s lunchbox? Water is the most tooth-friendly beverage of all. Low-fat or non-fat milk are also good choices for school-aged kids.

If you have any questions about nutrition and oral health, be sure to ask your dentist. And have a happy, healthy school year.

To All You Millennial’s Out There: Pick Up That Toothbrush!

To All You Millennials Out There: Pick Up That Toothbrush!Millennials—loosely defined as the group of people who are reaching adulthood in the early 21st Century—have a lot going for them. Soon to surpass baby boomers as the largest living adult generation, they’re poised to have an immense effect on our economy…and a big hand in shaping our future. But there’s one thing that’s not so great about this generation: their oral hygiene habits.

A recent survey of 2,000 millennials found that three in ten brush their teeth only once a day.  Not only that, but many go without brushing for over two days at a time. And despite that fact that 56 % are concerned about losing their teeth, the survey showed that over half were afraid of going to see the dentist.

What’s wrong with this picture? First of all, let’s point out that the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and flossing once a day, to keep your oral health in good shape. Proper brushing and flossing is the most effective way to rid your teeth of plaque: the buildup of food particles and harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing and flossing are the two most important things you can do at home to maintain good oral hygiene—and having good oral hygiene is the best way you can help keep your natural teeth healthy and sound for your whole life.

But even if you’re careful to brush and floss as recommended, you still need to see your dentist for regular checkups. That’s because it’s almost impossible to completely remove harmful plaque from all tooth surfaces—especially in between teeth and under the gums. Left alone, sticky plaque hardens into tartar, a mineralized deposit that can’t be removed at home. A dental professional, however, can effectively remove stubborn plaque during a routine office visit.

What’s more, at a regular dental checkup you’ll get a full teeth cleaning and a complete evaluation of your oral health, including screening for oral cancer and other potentially serious diseases. These conditions are uncommon…but untreated tooth decay is prevalent among millennials, affecting one in three people ages 18 to 34. When decay bacteria are left alone they can cause further problems in teeth and gums, and eventually lead to tooth loss.

Missing teeth and other dental issues can cause problems that aren’t just “skin deep.” A 2017 survey by the ADA found that 28% of young adults say the appearance of their teeth and mouth hurts their job prospects, and 38% find their lives are “less satisfying” due to oral problems. That’s two more reasons not to put off a routine visit to your dentist!

Understanding their Differences: Fixed vs. Removable Bridges

Understanding their Differences: Fixed vs. Removable BridgesWhen it comes down to making a decision between a fixed or removable bridge, the reality is that there is a balance between your preferences as the patient and what your dentist can provide. An evaluation of your remaining teeth, bone, gum tissue, as well as your need for lip, and cheek support will determine the right option for you. To help you make this decision, you can rely on the expertise of your dentist and/or a prosthodontist, a specialist in advanced crown, bridge, and denture work. They will explain why sometimes the aesthetic, hygienic, and long-term maintenance advantages of a removable bridge or “overdenture” that fits on top of implants is a better choice than a fixed bridge. And if those reasons aren’t enough, it is also important to note that people who have previously worn a denture prefer this treatment solution when it comes to their speech.

Learn more when you continue reading Fixed vs. Removable.

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Nervous About Implant Surgery

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Nervous About Implant SurgeryDental implants have gained a popular reputation for their life-like appearance and longevity. Much of the latter is attributable to the titanium post imbedded in the jawbone. Because titanium has a natural affinity with bone, new cells will grow and adhere to the dental implant over time, making their connection strong and durable.

Of course, to achieve that requires implant surgery — a prospect that gives many people pause before choosing this replacement option. But implant surgery is a routine undertaking, causes very little discomfort and in trained hands has a very high success rate.

Here are 3 reasons why implant surgery is nothing to be nervous about.

The procedure is precisely planned. Implant surgery is a relatively minor procedure, mainly because all the placement details are often mapped out ahead of time. For complex situations your dentist can use x-ray or CT imaging to determine the exact location for each implant and create a surgical guide to use during the procedure to make incisions and create the small channel that will hold the implant.

Implant surgery can be performed with local anesthesia. Implantation is usually easier than tooth extraction — if you’re healthy enough for that procedure you should have no problem undergoing implant surgery. With a local anesthetic, your dentist will numb only the implant site and surrounding tissues while you remain conscious. If, however, you have any anxiety your dentist can also include a sedative or anti-anxiety medication before proceeding.

There’s minimal discomfort afterward. Thanks to the pre-planned surgical guide and advanced implantation techniques, there’s very little tissue disruption and incised tissues are normally stitched with self-absorbing sutures. While some cases may require stronger pain relievers, most of the time a mild non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin or ibuprofen is sufficient for discomfort afterward.

The implant site heals fairly quickly and predictably with a 95-97% success rate. A few weeks after bone integration your dentist will attach the permanent like-like crown, and you’ll be ready for many years of full function and a confident smile.

If you would like more information on dental implants, read Dental Implant Surgery.

Why Are They Called “Wisdom” Teeth?

Why Are They Called “Wisdom” Teeth?Third molars have been referred to as “teeth of wisdom” since the Seventeenth Century and simply “wisdom teeth” since the Nineteenth Century. The third molars generally appear much later than other teeth, usually between the ages of 17 and 25 when a person reaches adulthood. It is generally thought among linguists that they are called wisdom teeth because they appear so late, at an age when a person matures into adulthood and is “wiser” than when other teeth have erupted.

Lately, science has added some credence to the idea that the third molar does indeed erupt when a person is “wiser”. Recent research has shown the brain continues to grow and develop right on through adolescence: in fact, most researchers believe the brain does not reach full maturity until the age of 25. Perhaps, then, our ancestors weren’t so far off the mark — that the eruption of “wisdom teeth” is a sign that the carefree days of childhood have given way to the responsibilities of adulthood.

Kathy Bates Chose Invisalign to Straighten Her Smile

Kathy Bates Chose Invisalign to Straighten Her SmileAlthough she’s taken on many different roles in her career, Kathy Bates is perhaps best known for portraying creepy characters — like the ones she played in the film Misery and the TV show American Horror Story. So, when she recently told Dear Doctor magazine, “I noticed my teeth were moving around,” was she exaggerating for a sinister effect — or was it for real?

In fact, the celebrated actress was describing how her teeth had literally changed positions over time. That’s why she decided to get orthodontic treatment in her fifties.

What’s more, the changes she noticed aren’t unusual. Over time, teeth really can — and do — move around in the mouth. (If they didn’t, it would much more difficult for dentists to bring them into better alignment.) Many people don’t realize that teeth aren’t solidly anchored in bone — instead, they are held in their bony sockets by a network of stretchy fibers called the periodontal ligament. Dentists and orthodontists can straighten teeth by applying just the right amount of gentle force to teeth, using appliances such as traditional braces or clear aligners. Both work the same way — but Kathy Bates, like many adults, opted for the aligners.

“When I heard about Invisalign®, I thought, hmm, maybe this is better than getting braces, so I’ll give it a try,” she said. “And I’m really glad I did.”

Why? For one thing, they’re more discreet. Aligners consist of clear plastic trays that are custom-made to fit over your teeth perfectly. Even from right up close, it’s difficult or impossible to tell if you’re wearing them. (And that’s something that just can’t be said about braces.) Plus, while they must be worn for 22 hours every day, they can be removed for cleaning, eating, or special occasions. So if you’re concerned that braces don’t fit your image, aligners might be right for you.

Here’s how they work: The aligner trays are custom-made from impressions (digital or physical models) of your own teeth. As you go through treatment, you’ll get a new tray about every two weeks. Each one causes your teeth to move just a little bit. All together, they can make a big change in your smile. Aligners may not be appropriate in every situation, but many people can enjoy the benefits of this effective and unobtrusive treatment. After an examination, your dentist or orthodontist can recommend your best options for orthodontic treatment.

Best of all, there’s no age limit for getting straighter teeth: As long as they are otherwise healthy, teeth can be moved at any age. In fact, about one in five orthodontic patients today is an adult, and many opt for clear aligners — like Kathy Bates.

Getting the Most Out of Your Dental Insurance Health Plan

1-5-2017  Inglewood, Torrance, Hawthorne
Getting the Most Out of Your Dental Insurance PlanHealthcare can be costly. And while there’s a lot of angst today about insurance, most people depend on it to manage costs.

The same is true about dental care. If you’re going to effectively maintain healthy teeth and gums you will have expenses. And to keep those expenses as low as possible, many people depend on dental insurance.

While similar to general health insurance, most dental plans function more like a discount coupon to reduce overall cost. For example, a typical plan might cover 50% of a tooth extraction, while the patient or guarantor pays the rest of the charge.

This can be a great cost savings if your plan is part of a compensation package with your employer. With this arrangement, your employer pays the premiums as an employee benefit, which enables you to pay much less for dental care. (If you’re paying for the plan, though, you should “do the math” to see whether any cost savings is worth the annual premium.)

There’s one caveat, however, with employee benefit insurance: your employer and not you has negotiated the plan benefits with the insurance carrier. The plan could therefore contain deductibles and restrictions on types of procedures and materials covered. For example, your policy might pay for a certain type of crown, although your dentist may have another material of higher quality or durability available.

Although your dentist understands these constraints and their effect on your finances, his or her top priority is what’s best for your dental health. Your dentist will recommend your best options health-wise, not necessarily what a dental policy will cover. That could mean costs above what your policy will pay.

While policy details are often confusing to individuals, your dental office staff likely works regularly with several plans and carriers. They will do their best to help you get the most out of your coverage. And, if there are remaining costs for dental work after insurance pays, they may be able to work with you on a payment arrangement or program for the balance.

Your dentist will be glad to discuss with you what you can expect from your insurance plan for any upcoming dental work. The goal is to provide the best care possible within your budget.

Inglewood, Torrance, Hawthorne

Dental implants and how crucial replacing teeth really is…

Dental implants and how crucial replacing teeth really is…

Before we get into the importance of replacing teeth, let’s address the most common question first: what exactly is a dental implant anyway? A dental implant is a tiny, but extremely strong, titanium alloy screw which is used while surgically replacing damaged or missing natural teeth.  It is drilled into the jawbone, so that the screw can firmly connect the artificial teeth or any other dental prosthesis to the jaw.

In addition to its use in replacing broken/missing teeth, implants can also be used to provide support to loose, removable dentures. Now that you know what a dental implant is exactly, let’s take a look at why replacing lost or badly damaged teeth is important in the first place.


Superficial as it may sound to someone who has all their teeth, even a single missing tooth can put a lot of emotional stress on us. In varying degrees, we are all somewhat concerned about our appearance, and it affects our confidence as well.

To lose your perfect smile because of a missing tooth or two can cause depression and loss of confidence, which in turn may affect your work and personal life. It has been found that dental implants are often effective in boosting the patient’s morale and overall confidence. Since there is no externally visible difference between a replaced tooth and a natural one after the procedure, it does actually affect physical appearance positively.

Oral Health

As soon as a tooth is lost, the balance in your entire dental structure is disturbed. The created gap allows for the remaining teeth (especially the ones nearest to the gap) to tilt and shift as a result of even the most normal regular chewing.

This could lead to further oral problems down the line, especially if the distorted structure of the teeth interferes with the patient’s chewing abilities. It isn’t uncommon to see someone lose multiple teeth over the years as a result of this and more often than not, the bone loss occurs in the same row, side by side.

The Comfort

If you have all your teeth intact, then you probably don’t have any idea how it feels when a particularly hard piece of food comes in-between the exposed root of the missing molar and an existing one.

Let’s just say that it isn’t a very comfortable experience and once that keeps happening almost every time you try to eat, it’s not rare to see people giving up on meat and other previously loved food sources to alleviate themselves from the continuous pain and discomfort. In a way, losing your ability to properly chew food can potentially stop you from enjoying a very big part of your life.

Dental prosthetics with the proper dental implant to support it can dramatically change the life of someone

who is missing teeth. However, it is important that the procedure is carried out by a reputed institution like Progressive Dentistry. A lot depends on the skill of the dentist/dentists involved and it is a complex surgical procedure; so, it is best to not take any risks with this one. The good news is that dental implants have a success rate over 95%.

4 Things You Should Know About Your Dental Insurance

4 Things You Should Know About Your Dental InsuranceReceiving proper dental care is important — and not just for your teeth and gums. A healthy mouth is essential to a healthy body.

But dental care costs money. Even routine, preventive care can have an impact on a family budget — not to mention treatment for disease or injury. As with other healthcare costs, people often turn to dental insurance to help soften this financial impact.

But is dental insurance right for you and your family? Here are 4 things you should know if you have insurance or are thinking of getting it.

Dental insurance operates differently from other types. We often understand “insurance” as protection against unforeseen expenses. Dental insurance, though, works more like a “discount coupon” to offset dental care costs. It’s important, therefore, that you know what your plan pays for (routine care and treatment, orthodontics, cosmetic enhancement, etc.), at what percentage (50%, 80%) of the usual and customary fee. Find out what the plan refers to as the usual fee as that can be much less than 2016 costs and any annual deductible, the amount you pay before the policy pays. Also, there is always a cap as to the maximum benefit you can receive in one year.

Weigh all the costs if you’re the insurance purchaser. Employers pay the premiums on many dental plans as an employee benefit. If, however, you’re paying the premiums yourself, you need to add that cost to your other out-of-pocket costs for a true picture of what you’re actually spending on dental care. It’s possible a self-paying policy won’t save you money or could even increase what you might otherwise pay for dental care.

Your policy might limit your options. Most plans pay for the “basics”: routine cleanings and checkups, repairs and some restorations. They may or may not pay for orthodontics, certain dental materials for fillings or crowns or restorations like dental implants. Some plans could require you to see a dentist in their network, which may not include the one you prefer. It’s important to find out any limitations in your policy and factor them into your cost vs. benefits evaluation.

Ask your dentist for help managing your dental care costs. While your plan may seem to you to be written in a “foreign language,” your dentist’s staff works with it and other policies on a daily basis. They may be able to help you figure out the best approach for a procedure within your policy or help you arrange payments and financing that fit your family budget.

A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep: Cut Out the Sugar

01/26/2017  |
A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep: Cut Out the SugarJust days ago, countless people resolved to make positive changes in the New Year — for example, eating a better diet or improving their overall health. And while it hasn’t been long since we flipped our calendars, many of us are already struggling to keep those promises. Some resolutions can be difficult to follow through — like pledging to lose a certain number of pounds or follow a strict dietary regimen. Here’s one that’s a little easier: Stop consuming foods and drinks with ingredients that are known to cause serious problems for your health. Can you guess what ingredient is number one on this list? It’s sugar!

Like tobacco and alcohol, sugar affects many different parts of the body. In the mouth, it provides food for the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease — respectively, the largest causes of tooth loss in children and adults. In the bloodstream, excessive sugar is linked to metabolic diseases like diabetes and the troubling epidemic of obesity, and is suspected to play a role in many other ailments.

Over the years, Dear Doctor – Dentistry & Oral Health magazine has run numerous articles from practicing dentists and researchers pointing out the harmful effects of too much sugar in your diet. These effects are seen not only in your mouth, but in all areas of your body. In fact, medical and dental researchers are finding increasing evidence that your body should be viewed as an interconnected system, where the health of one area — oral health, for example — can have a direct impact on other areas, such as the cardiovascular system.

If you’re interested in some eye-opening reading about sugar’s danger to your health, look for the new book by best-selling science writer Gary Taubes. In The Case Against Sugar, Taubes not only sums up recent scientific research, but also traces how some food companies tried to downplay the harmful effects of excessive sugar (much like the tobacco industry did for decades regarding the health effects of smoking).

In his book, Taubes cites the work of Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor and medical researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. His influential book, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, was published in 2013. The following year, Dr. Lustig also authored a feature article for Dear Doctor magazine entitled The Bitter Truth About Sugar. That article points out how sugar has become an omnipresent ingredient in our foods, how it can harm our health… and what we can do about it.

As we deal with the challenges of the coming year, it’s not hard to understand why some New Year’s resolutions (like running five miles a week or eating kale every day) may go unfulfilled. So here’s a simpler one: Become aware of how much sugar is in the foods you and your family eat and drink every day — and then take steps to control your sugar intake. Like quitting smoking and giving up other harmful habits, it’s one of the best things you can do for your overall health. And if you’re looking for ways to improve your oral health, keep reading Dear Doctor magazine.