When a Toothache is Not a Toothache

Most of us in San Luis Obispo have experienced a toothache. At their mildest, toothaches may cause just enough discomfort to get on your nerves and disrupt your concentration, but at their worst, they can be debilitating. Because the pain feels like it’s coming from your tooth, it’s natural to assume that all toothaches are caused by cavities, gum disease or some other tooth-related problem. However, Dr. Michael Colleran would like you to know that not all toothaches are related to your teeth.

Wait, what? Toothaches that have nothing to do with teeth? Yes– as anyone at Michael Colleran, DDS will tell you –it is possible and it does happen. That being said, most toothaches are tooth-related. Read more ›

Posted in Dental Health, Patient Care

Crowns, Bridges, Dentures, and Implants: The Facts

Crowns, Bridges, Dentures, and Implants: The Facts

There are lots of ways to deal with missing or damaged teeth. You’ve probably heard one of us at Michael Colleran, DDS talking about implants, dentures, bridges, and crowns, but have you ever wondered what they are and how they work? Dr. Colleran knows that folks in San Luis Obispo like to be informed, so think of this as your personal guide to things that might end up in your mouth. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call!

Crowns, Bridges, and Dentures, Oh My!

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Posted in Dental News

Sugar: Teeth’s Worst Nightmare

People in the United States eat more sugar than any other country in the world!

(It’s a good thing we also have some of the best dentists in the world.)

You hear it all the time: “sugar rots your teeth.” But is it true? What exactly does sugar do to your teeth and why is it so bad? Dr. Michael Colleran in San Luis Obispo tells us why below. After reading that fact above, you might want to learn more about this substance that’s added to nearly every product at the grocery store.

Sugar 101

All food causes some build up on your teeth. After eating and drinking, little bits of food get left behind in your mouth. But out of all the food we eat, sugar does the worst damage to your teeth.

Even healthy food like milk, bread, and produce naturally contain some natural sugar, but these foods also contain necessary vitamins and nutrients. Eaten in healthy amounts, your body has no problem breaking down this sugar with the other food bits on your teeth.

The problem is when you eat food that has way more sugar than nutritional value. Without proper nutrition, your body may not be able to fight the bacteria and decay that sugar causes in your mouth. Especially if you’re eating loads of excess sugar every day.

Sugar is sneaky. It’s in everything. Read the labels of all your regular groceries, just to get an idea of how much sugar you are actually consuming. Keep an eye out for some of these common and misleading names for sugar that are added to almost everything:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Barley malt
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Rice syrup
  • To name a few…

The American Heart Association recommends you have no more than 9.5 teaspoons of sugar per day. However, the average adult consumes 22 and the average child consumes 32 teaspoons…every day!

Plaque

Why is sugar bad for your teeth? Because it causes plaque build-up and tooth decay.

Some bacteria is normal and fine for your mouth. But sugar left on your teeth attracts bad bacteria that create plaque, and plaque breaks down your teeth. Think of how wind sweeps away bits of sand off a dune, little by little, until eventually there is no dune left. That’s what plaque does to your teeth. It causes an acidic reaction that weakens enamel, your tooth’s outer layer.

Snacking all day means your teeth are exposed to food build up (and bacteria, and plaque) over a long period of time with no break. Drinking sugary beverages is especially harmful because the sugar liquid gets into all the grooves and hard-to-reach parts of your mouth. The average American consumes 53 gallons of soft drinks per year! You see where this is going?

Decay

When plaque ruins your enamel, you get a hole in your tooth called a cavity. Because of the hole, more bacteria and plaque can move deeper into the inside of your tooth. This is known as tooth decay. Your enamel is the shiny white surface of your teeth and it’s made to protect the inner layers of each tooth. Each tooth has a blood source and a nerve that keep the tooth alive. If decay reaches to the inner layers, your tooth may die and fall out. And all of that happens much quicker than you may realize.

Next Steps

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children, and many adults struggle with decay, too. But it’s totally preventable with good eating habits and proper oral hygiene. Here are some tips if you want to protect your teeth from the negative effects of sugar:

  • Don’t snack all day
  • Especially avoid sugar in any beverage
  • Enjoy sweets in moderation
  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste
  • Try natural forms of licorice and cinnamon which taste sweet without any sugar
  • Beware of sugar alternatives (those little yellow, blue, and pink packets) that can still have negative effects on your health
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once

Last but not least, contact Michael Colleran, DDS today to make an appointment and be sure to get your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year by our amazing hygienists.

Sources

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/nutrition-and-oral-health/article/ada-04-food-choices-affect-your-oral-health

http://www.livescience.com/44081-does-sugar-cause-cavities-plaque.html

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/cavities/article/what-are-the-effects-of-sugar-on-teeth-1214

Posted in Dental Health, Dental Services, Patient Care

Your Options for Teeth Straightening

Maybe Mona Lisa would have cracked a real smile if she had been more confident in her teeth!

All jokes aside, you don’t have to live every day in embarrassment of your own smile. Orthodontic treatments today are much more desirable than those of yesteryear. There are a lot of good reasons to straighten your teeth, both functional and aesthetic. And there are a lot of good times in your life to commit to a treatment – like now! But how do you decide among all of your options for teeth straightening?

Dr. Michael Colleran is an experienced dentist in San Luis Obispo and can help you understand your options. Read more ›

Posted in Dental Health, Dental Services, Dental Technology, Patient Care

Are Your Teeth Safe From Coffee Stains?

First things first, put your worries away! We are not about to tell you that your coffee drinking days are over. We know that each shot of caffeine is crucial and we cherish our coffee, too! Here at Michael Colleran, DDS we want to educate you on what causes coffee stains and what you can do to fight them.

It’s no secret how San Luis Obispo residents feel about their coffee, and we’re not about to get in the way of that love. However, we will help you keep your smile healthy and beautiful with tips that won’t drastically affect your lifestyle. Dr. Michael Colleran and the rest of us at Michael Colleran, DDS are your oral health allies!

So let’s start off with the basics. What makes coffee stain your teeth? Read more ›

Posted in Dental Health, Patient Care

Don’t Eat That: A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Mouth

Some foods will help you grow healthy teeth and keep them forever. Some foods will prevent you from growing healthy teeth, or will harm the ones you already have. You can grow and maintain strong, healthy teeth by eating a diet your mouth (and your body) will truly love.

Diet is Everything

The word diet has earned a bad reputation over the years as a verb that means eating less to lose weight, but it’s actually a noun and a powerful way you can give yourself the best
life possible. Your diet is simply the food you eat, and most of us are trying our best to eat wholesome food with just a few sweet treats here and there. Read more ›

Posted in Dental Health, Patient Care

Oral Anatomy 101

Welcome to your mouth! You might be surprised at how many different parts work together to make your mouth work for you. A healthy mouth is necessary for a healthy life. Read more below from Dr. Michael Colleran in San Luis Obispo to get an in-depth look at the human mouth and how it works.

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Posted in Dental Health, Patient Care

Prevention vs. Treatment of Oral Health

The World Health Organization defines health as “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Sadly, in our fast-paced culture, many of us settle for less-than-healthy or even truly sick conditions every day. We allow ourselves to be tired, achy, stressed and in pain more often than not. Why? Because it’s hard to prioritize our long-term health in a world of so many immediate needs competing for our attention. But long-term health is actually the most important need of all. Without our health, we won’t truly be able to enjoy life or contribute to a greater good.

Dr. Colleran offers a few points on how to seek wellness and prevent oral health problems before they even start.

Starting Upstream

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Posted in Dental Health

An Orthodontics Overview

The root word “ortho” means “straight or upright.” And orthodontics, you guessed it, makes your teeth straight! But oh, how it can do so much more!

A lovely smile with straight teeth and an even bite is equal parts functional and beautiful. And thanks to scientific progress, all this can be yours. Orthodontics is an area of dentistry that focuses on how the bones and teeth of your mouth are placed and fit together.

Dr. Colleran in San Luis Obispo is a professional provider of orthodontic treatments. Read more for our general overview of orthodontics and what teeth straightening can do for you.

How Do Orthodontics Work?

Orthodontics moves the placement of your teeth slowly over time. Appliances (fixed or removable pieces in your mouth) add a tiny bit of pressure to help your mouth and teeth achieve the perfect shape and alignment. Read more ›

Posted in Dental Health

The Importance of Dental X-Rays

The technology of dental medicine is advancing by the minute. There are now sophisticated techniques for diagnosing and tracking oral cancer, correcting crooked teeth in less than a year, treating periodontitis (advanced gum disease)without surgery, and many more. Yet, when it comes down to diagnosing issues and creating an effective treatment plan, nothing beats a fresh set of X-rays. Dr. Colleran uses dental X-rays to see the whole picture, in order to keep your teeth healthy, bright, and beautiful. If you are a San Luis Obispo resident with questions about how X-rays work, read on, and don’t hesitate to call Michael Colleran, DDS with any concerns.

What are X-rays? Read more ›

Posted in Dental Health

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