4 Tips for Keeping Your Teeth Healthy When You’re Feeling Sick

Written by Valley Oak Dental Group on . Posted in Dental Tips

With winter weather, it also seems like there’s an increase in illness. Stomach bugs, the flu, colds, coughs, and even respiratory and sinus infections can leave you feeling terrible and trying to make it through as best you can.

Your dental health is probably far from your mind when you’re suffering through a winter illness. However, illnesses can leave lasting negative effects on your teeth if you’re not careful. Here are some tips to help you care for your teeth so that your teeth don’t have to suffer the consequences when you’re sick.

Avoid Losing Valuable Dental Benefits at Year’s End

Written by Valley Oak Dental Group on . Posted in Dental Tips

With insurance costs, dentists’ fees and the cost of dental materials all rising, it’s a smart move to use your dental benefits before they expire at the end of the year. If you don’t use up your benefits, you lose that money.

In addition, you may be giving up dental care that might otherwise cost you thousands of dollars. However, you can use your dental insurance plan wisely by keeping these key points in mind.

A Parent’s Guide to Sports Mouth Guards

Written by Valley Oak Dental Group on . Posted in Dental Tips

Sports can play an important role in a child’s physical and social development. Not only can organized sports keep your child active, but team sports can help him or her build interpersonal skills.

But almost no sport is played without some risk of injury. You always make sure your child has on shin guards before taking to the soccer field and shoulder pads for football, but what about the areas that aren’t protected by standard sports gear?

3 Habits That Can Affect Your Child’s Dental Health

Written by Valley Oak Dental Group on . Posted in Dental Tips

Seemingly innocent habits can ruin your child’s teeth, and that includes habits like thumb-sucking and going to sleep with a bottle. It isn’t hard for babies to fall into some potentially harmful habits that can affect their future oral health. Therefore, it’s important to help your child break any harmful habits that he or she forms or not start certain habits to begin with. Breaking harmful oral habits is one way to ensure the development of healthy primary and permanent teeth.

A Family’s Guide for Keeping Your Teeth Healthy This Summer

Written by Valley Oak Dental Group on . Posted in Dental Tips

When the warmth and freedom of summer finally hit, the health of your teeth might be the last thing on your mind. However, some common summer activities and diets can actually make the warm months one of the most dangerous times of the year for your dental health.

This guide can help you understand common summer dangers so you don’t inadvertently harm your teeth. This guide is especially important to consider if you have children, because kids are less likely to remember or place a priority on dental hygiene, especially with the excitement of summer activities. 

Wisdom Teeth: Do Yours Need to be Pulled?

Written by Valley Oak Dental Group on . Posted in Dental Tips

Many have told frightening tales about wisdom tooth removal and the painful recovery, so you may naturally feel apprehensive about getting yours removed. Extracting wisdom teeth is a very common dental procedure; about 85 percent of the general population get their wisdom teeth removed because this third set of adult molars can cause painful dental problems. 

How do you know if your wisdom teeth should be removed? This guide can help you learn about wisdom teeth and the symptoms that indicate your wisdom teeth will only cause pain and damage.

Dental Crowns: How to Know Which Material Is Right for You

Written by Valley Oak Dental on . Posted in Dental Tips


Dental crowns are one of the most common types of cosmetic and restorative dentistry. They provide support for cracked, broken, decayed, or misshapen teeth. There are many reasons for getting dental crowns, but many patients are surprised to learn that crowns vary widely in cost and even appearance.

Here’s what you need to know about different materials used to make permanent dental crowns, so you can choose which material is right for your smile. 

Your Guide to Adjusting to New Dentures

Written by Valley Oak Dental Group on . Posted in Dental Tips

When people find out they need dentures, they often feel apprehensive. They worry that their new teeth will slip and slide and feel uncomfortable. They also worry that people will notice their new pearly whites.

Modern dentures can relieve many of these worries. Modern dentures are custom-made to fit snugly in your mouth. Your dentist makes an impression of your mouth before giving you your new dentures. The impression ensures that your dentures will fit the shape of your mouth and gums.

But even custom-made dentures take some getting used to. Follow these steps to make the adjustment easier.

Oil Pulling and Your Teeth: 3 Things You Should Know

Written by Valley Oak Dental Group on . Posted in Dental Tips

In recent years, oil pulling has peaked in popularity. Red-carpet celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley swear by the technique, asserting that oil pulling naturally whitens teeth and freshens breath. And naturally, thousands upon thousands of fans have followed suit, claiming to have almost miraculous results.

But is oil pulling as beneficial to your teeth as it seems?

Here are a few of the most important things you should know about oil pulling and its effects.

1. It’s in a Scientific Gray Area

Oil pulling isn’t a newly discovered trend in pseudo-science. In fact, the technique has long been a traditional Ayurveda treatment for reducing dry mouth and inflammation.

Researchers have had plenty of time to conduct a few studies on oil pulling’s effectiveness. In one study, experts found that oil pulling reduced S. Mutans (bacteria known to cause cavities and tooth decay) levels in two weeks. Researchers concluded that oil pulling could maintain and even improve oral health.

But the American Dental Association isn’t too impressed with the research just yet. The conducted studies often had a cultural bias, a small sample size, and a lack of negative controls. Additional clinical evidence is needed to fully determine the oral effects oil pulling has and whether it compares to other oral hygiene practices.

While anecdotal evidence shows promise, you might want to keep your toothbrush and floss handy until more information becomes available.

2. It Can’t Treat Gum Disease

According to a study published in the Nigeria Medical Journal, oil pulling with coconut oil reduced plaque formation and plaque-induced gingivitis. Adolescents who practiced oil pulling for 30 days exhibited a statistically significant decrease in gingival indices.

However, researchers have not proven whether oil pulling removes enough bacteria to decrease the risk of cavities, nor have they compared the effectiveness to the brushing and flossing. While oil pulling could work well for those with relatively healthy teeth and gums, the technique doesn’t present a reliable cure for gingivitis and gum disease.

In severe infections, the gums inflame, swell, and pull away from the teeth, creating pockets that even more bacteria can hide. As gingivitis progresses, these pockets increase from a healthy two or three millimeter depth to a four or five millimeter depth (or more).

As the oils slide along the gum’s surface, they likely won’t fight or remove plaque lodged deep within the gums. Only a professional scaling (scraping) and root planning can clean tartar from below the gum line, so don’t skip out on your dentist appointment just yet.

3. It May Lead to Side Effects

Many people assert that oil pulling causes no side effects and that the technique is completely safe for anyone to try. But as with many other aspects of oil pulling, the side effects need additional study and analyzation.

Some practitioners warn against using improper oil pulling techniques. If performed incorrectly, oil pulling could result in muscular stiffness and exhaustion, excessive thirst, and dry mouth. Others have noted diarrhea, upset stomach, nausea, and flu-like symptoms.

In a few rare cases, individuals who inhaled the oils while oil pulling developed lipoid pneumonia. Symptoms of the condition varied from asymptomatic to life-threatening, but lipoid pneumonia often results in a chronic cough, chest pain, and intermittent fever.

Talk to Your Dentist Before You Try Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has the potential to improve oral health when combined with other solid habits. Rinsing your mouth regularly could stimulate saliva production, which in turn fights bacteria and lifts stains.

But oil pulling isn’t for everyone, even if it does seem to give your favorite celebrities a winning smile or your best friend fresh breath. If you try to use the technique as a cure-all or a substitute for scientifically proven practices, you may find yourself with more cavities than you anticipated.

If you are curious about trying oil pulling, talk to your dentist about the risks and whether it would benefit your teeth and gums.

The Tooth Hurts: 8 Causes of Dental Pain

Written by Valley Oak Dental Group on . Posted in Dental Tips

It’s been a long day, and you’re just sitting down with a bowl of your favorite ice cream. As you put on your current television obsession, you scoop a bit of ice cream into your mouth.

And then it hits: an overwhelming, stinging pain in several of your teeth.

Tooth pain isn’t fun for anyone. It can be distracting and frustrating, and it can quickly turn a great day into a sour one. But what causes tooth pain? There are actually a lot of dental conditions that can cause tooth pain, and each seems to have its own brand of intense and biting pain. Below, we’ll discuss eight causes of tooth pain and what type of pain you might experience with each condition.

1. Thinning Enamel or Receding Gums

If you’re experiencing some sharp sensitivity to cold and hot foods and beverages, you may have an issue with your enamel or gums. Avoid the hot coffee for a while and schedule an appointment with your dentist. He or she can help you find the right solutions to strengthen your enamel and restore your gums.

Until you make it to your appointment, stick to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Also, try not to brush too hard, as doing so can have a negative impact on your gums.

2. Decay

Decay is the top cause of tooth pain, and it can lead to other painful dental issues. If one of your teeth is a bit sensitive to hot and cold foods, a small portion of your tooth is starting to decay. But if you’re experiencing a severe, sudden pain when you bite down, the decay may have overtaken your tooth.

Go see your dentist if you suspect decay is the problem. They can evaluate your tooth and determine the best course of action.

3. Cavities

Sometimes, decay can result in a cavity. Most cavities may go unnoticed until you see the dentist, but if the cavity grows enough, you may be left in a painful situation. Cold and hot foods will bring out that sharp sensitivity in the affected tooth, or biting and chewing will result in a bolt of intense pain.

Luckily, most cavities are quick fixes. Visit your dentist to get a filling and return to your pain-free life.

4. A Loose or Damaged Filling

While fillings are handy and wonderful appliances, they can sometimes turn against you. A damaged or loose filling can provoke a sharp pain whenever you bite down. Chewing gum will be painful, and enjoying a steak will be impossible. Take a trip to your dentist and have him or her take a look at your fillings. If your fillings look a little worse for wear, your dentist can replace or repair them.

5. Damaged Pulp in the Tooth

When a mouthful of cold lemonade turns into an extended bout of pain, you may have damaged pulp in one of your teeth. Pulp can be damaged by extensive decay or some kind of trauma to the tooth, and inflamed or dying pulp can cause lingering, painful sensitivity to hot and cold foods.

Schedule an appointment with your dentist before the problem gets worse. You may need a root canal to prevent worse issues, but you can enjoy that cold lemonade again.

6. Temporary Pulp Inflammation

After certain dental treatments, you may experience temporary sensitivity to cold and hot foods. But don’t fret; the sensitivity should go away after a few days or so. However, if the temperature sensitivity persists after a couple weeks, check in with your dentist to ensure nothing’s wrong.

7. Abscessed Tooth or Infection

If you let tooth decay sit too long or your tooth took a beating in the annual family football game, an infection or a tooth abscess can develop. With an abscessed tooth or an infection, you may experience a constant, throbbing pain in your tooth. If you suspect this is the problem, see your dentist immediately before the situation gets out of hand.

8. A Cracked Tooth or Other Trauma

Teeth are fairly resilient most of the time, but breaking a tooth isn’t as difficult as you think. A tooth may unexpectedly crack while chewing on a handful of nuts, or you may break a tooth during a rousing game of street hockey.

When you have a crack in your tooth, it can lead to quite a bit of pain. Chewing can be extremely uncomfortable. Sharp, shooting pain can surge through your broken tooth, and your damaged tooth may also have severe sensitivity to that hot soup or chilled soda. Be sure to visit your dentist right away to repair your tooth.

No matter what kind of dental pain you’re experiencing, call a qualified, reliable dentist, such as Valley Oak Dental Group. We can take a look at your teeth and determine what’s causing your pain before offering the best solution for the situation. Don’t let tooth pain take over your life; schedule an appointment and get back to pain-free living.