Kendall K. Jang D.D.S.

223 Reindollar Avenue, Suite B
Marina, CA 93933

831-384-6333

Monday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Wednesday: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

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Taking Care of Your Teeth

When you get your picture taken, everyone says, "Say cheese! Smile!" So you do - you open your mouth and show your teeth. When you see the picture, you see a happy person looking back at you. The healthier those teeth are, the happier you look. Why is that?

It's because your teeth are important in many ways. If you take care of them, they'll help take care of you. Strong, healthy teeth help you chew the right foods to help you grow. They help you speak clearly. And yes, they help you look your best.

Why Healthy Teeth Are Important

How does taking care of your teeth help with all those things? Taking care of your teeth helps prevent plaque (say: plak), which is a clear film that sticks to your teeth. The film itself might not sound so bad, but it's very sticky, and it acts like a magnet for bacteria (say: bak-teer-ee-uh) and sugar.

Like ants at a picnic, bacteria go crazy over the sugar on your teeth, breaking it down into acids that eat away tooth enamel, causing holes called cavities. Plaque also causes gingivitis (say: jin-juh-vi-tis), which is gum disease that can make your gums red, swollen, and sore. Your gums are those soft pink tissues in your mouth that hold your teeth in place.

If you don't take care of your teeth, it won't be long before cavities and unhealthy gums make your mouth very, very sore. Eating meals will be difficult. And you won't feel like smiling so much.

Before Toothpaste Was Invented

We're lucky that we know so much now about taking care of our teeth. Long ago, as people got older, their teeth would rot away and be very painful. To get rid of a toothache, they had their teeth pulled out. Finally people learned that cleaning their teeth was important, but they didn't have toothpaste right away. While you're swishing that minty-fresh paste around your mouth, think about what people used long ago to clean teeth:

*       ground-up chalk or charcoal

*       lemon juice

*       ashes (you know, the stuff that's left over after a fire)

*       tobacco and honey mixed together

Yuck!

It was only about 100 years ago that someone finally created a minty cream to clean teeth. Not long after that, the toothpaste tube was invented, so people could squeeze the paste right onto the toothbrush! Tooth brushing became popular during World War II. The U.S. Army gave brushes and toothpaste to all soldiers, and they learned to brush twice a day. Back then, toothpaste tubes were made of metal; today they're made of soft plastic and are much easier to squeeze!

Today there are plenty of toothpaste choices: lots of colors and flavors to choose from, and some brands are made just for kids. People with great-looking teeth advertise toothpaste on TV commercials and in magazines. When you're choosing a toothpaste, make sure it contains flouride. Fluoride makes your teeth strong and protects them from cavities. When you brush, you don't need a lot of toothpaste: just squeeze out a bit the size of a pea. It's not a good idea to swallow the toothpaste, either, so be sure to rinse and spit after brushing.

How You Can Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Kids can take charge of their teeth by taking these steps:

*       Brush at least twice a day - after breakfast and before bedtime. If you can, brush after lunch or after sweet snacks. Brushing properly breaks down plaque.

*       Brush all of your teeth, not just the front ones. Spend some time on the teeth along the sides and in the back. Brush away from your gums.

*       Take your time while brushing. Spend at least 3 minutes each time you brush. If you have trouble keeping track of the time, use a timer or play a recording of a song you like to help pass the time.

*       Be sure your toothbrush has soft bristles (the package will tell you if they're soft). Ask your parent to help you get a new toothbrush every 3 months. Some toothbrushes come with bristles that change color when it's time to change them.

*       Learn how to floss your teeth, which is a very important way to keep them healthy. It feels weird the first few times you do it, but pretty soon you'll be a pro. Slip the dental floss between each tooth and up along the gum line. The floss gets rid of food that's hidden where your toothbrush can't get it, no matter how well you brush.

It's also important to visit the dentis twice a year. Besides checking for signs of cavities or gum disease, the dentist will help keep your teeth extra clean, and he or she can help you learn the best way to brush and floss.

It's not just brushing and flossing that keep your teeth healthy - you also need to be careful about what you eat and drink. Remember, the plaque on your teeth is just waiting for that sugar to arrive. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink water instead of soda. And don't forget to smile!

What is a Cavity…

Cavity. That's the word no one wants to hear at the dentist's office. A cavity (say: ka-vuh-tee) develops when a tooth decays (say: dih-kaze), or breaks down. A cavity is a hole that can grow bigger and deeper over time. Cavities are also called dental caries (say: kar-eez), and if you have a cavity, it's important to get it repaired.

But why would your tooth develop a hole? Blame plaque. That's a sticky, slimy substance made up mostly of the germs that cause tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth make acids and when plaque clings to your teeth, the acids can eat away at the outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel (say: ih-na-mul).

If you don't go to the dentist, the acids can continue to make their way through the enamel, and the inside parts of your tooth can begin to decay. If you've ever had a toothache or heard an adult complain about one, it may have been because there was a cavity that reached all the way inside a tooth, where the nerve endings are. Ouch!

Your dentist will carefully examine your teeth and may take x-rays. If your dentist discovers a cavity, he or she can repair it for you by first removing the rotted part of your tooth with a special drill. The dentist then fills the hole in your tooth with a special material. The result is called a filling.

Does it hurt? Sometimes it does, but your dentist can give you an anesthetic.  That's a kind of medicine that will numb the area around the problem tooth while you're getting your new filling.

Though cavities can be repaired, try to avoid them by taking care of your teeth. Here's how:

*       Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after every meal or at least twice a day. Bedtime is an important time to brush.

*       Brush up and down in a circular motion.

*       Gently brush your gums as well to keep them healthy.

*       Floss your teeth once a day to remove plaque and food that's stuck between your teeth.

*       Limit sweets and sugary drinks, like soda.

*       See your dentist twice a year for regular checkups. We hope you'll hear those two wonderful words: "No cavities!"

 

Bad Breath…

You lean over to whisper something to your friend and you can tell by the look on your friend's face that something is up. Could it be your breath? Maybe you shouldn't have put extra onions on your hamburger at lunch. What's a kid with smelly breath to do?

The good news is that bad breath happens to everyone once in a while. Let's find out how to detect it, prevent it, and even treat it.

What's That Smell?

Bad breath is the common name for the medical condition known as halitosis (say: hal-uh-toe-sis). Many different things can cause halitosis — from not brushing your teeth  to certain medical conditions.

Sometimes, a person's bad breath can blow you away — and he or she may not realize there's a problem. There are tactful (nice) ways of letting someone know about bad breath. You could offer mints or sugarless gum without having to say anything.

If you need to tell a friend he or she has bad breath, you could say that you understand foods can cause bad breath because you've had it before yourself. By letting someone know that bad breath isn't something unusual, you'll make the person feel more comfortable and less embarrassed about accepting your piece of chewing gum.

If you suspect your own breath is foul, ask someone who will give you an honest answer without making fun of you. (Just don't ask your brother or sister — they just might tell you your breath stinks even when it doesn't!) Although everyone gets bad breath sometimes, if you have bad breath a lot, you may need to visit your dentist or doctor.

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