My tooth hurts when I drink something cold. Why?

If eating your favorite frozen yogurt or sipping a cup of ice water makes your tooth hurt, or if brushing or flossing occasionally makes your eyes twitch, you may have what is known as tooth sensitivity. When the tooth’s hard enamel wears down or gums recede, the microscopic tubes that lead directly to the tooth’s nerve are exposed and cause discomfort when you chew, drink hot or cold liquids, or even when you breathe through your mouth.

Possible causes of sensitive teeth range from tarter control toothpastes or tooth whitening agents to gum disease and tooth decay. One of the most common causes is acid exposure on teeth from the consumption of soft drinks, candy, cough drops, sports drinks, and sour candies, all of which can eat away at the protective tooth enamel. The good news is that sensitive teeth are very treatable.

Your free smile checkup when your tooth hurts
At no charge, we will give you a quick exam to determine the likely cause of your tooth sensitivity and best solution for your unique situation. We pride ourselves in assessing the best course treatment for each of our patients and avoiding unnecessary procedures. You can request an appointment online or call us at 831-424-0881. Be sure to let us know you are coming in to check a tooth sensitivity.

What we do to ease the hurt
Since there are many causes of tooth sensitivity, it is wise to have it checked by us to ensure there are no serious concerns, such as decay or a tooth with a crack. Decay may require a restoration, such as a crown. A cracked tooth may require a crown to be fixed, but if the hypersensitivity is severe, persistent, and cannot be treated by other means, a root canal may be recommended. Thankfully, the most common causes can be treated by simple measures you can do at home.

What is the best diet for healthy teeth and long life?

More and more research has emerged demonstrating the correlation between dental health and your overall health. We asked you to look over the lunches of the dentists and the staff and decide which one you thought was better to keep your teeth and body strong for a long time. Many of you had great responses. These were the best, most comprehensive answers:

Larry Boulware Dr. A’s lunch has more vitamin & mineral (calcium) rich green vegetables. While Dagmar’s lunch probably tastes better, I think Dr.A’s lunch is better for your teeth as well as your body.
Erica Horn I vote for Dagmar lunch B. More super foods like berries and peppers, a larger variety of veggies and no fattening cheese.
Paulette Gardner Dr. A’s lunch is the better of the two because his has the string cheese which provides both protein and calcium for bones and teeth! Both lunches had good veggies, fruit, and nuts, but Dr. A had protein and Dagmar did not.
Eileen Domalaog Dr. Andresen’s lunch is healthier. Yes, it includes protein, but also has a variety of colors for a wider range of nutrients.
Kay F. Lubansky My vote goes to Dr. A. Seems a bit more balanced on the Carbs/Protein/Fats. More Omega 3’s too.
Andrea Lo Verde Lane I vote for Dr A. He has the calcium, the crunchy fruit, nuts and carrots, all to clean away the bacteria, lunch B has the carbs with three soft fruits.

We put those names in a hat to pick the winner of 2 movie tickets and the winner is………….. Larry Boulware! Congratulations Larry!

For healthy teeth and body what we are looking for in a healthy lunch are pretty much what you would expect – fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and plenty of water. Here we compare how and why the healthy lunches posted in the contest beat fast food – the daily lunch choice of 1 in 4 Americans.  Dr. A, Leslie, Dr. Rosen and Dagmar all had lunches that contribute to stronger teeth and longer life. Here’s what they are made up of:


1.     Fruits and veggies – duh.
Fruits and veggies are great for dental health because the crisp texture acts as a detergent on teeth, wiping away bacteria that can cause plaque. Plus these foods require a lot of chewing, which increases the production of bacteria-neutralizing saliva. They also have a high water content that helps neutralize the acid.

They also contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals (unstable cells caused by a variety of factors including pollution, smoking, aging that attack stable, healthy cells). Many experts believe this damage plays a part in a number of chronic diseases, including hardening of the arteries, cancer, and arthritis. Free radicals can also interfere with your immune system. So, fighting off damage with antioxidants helps keep your immune system strong, making you better able to ward off colds, flu, and other infections. (Ask Dr. A how he never gets sick!).

2.     Whole grains
Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. They also lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood, a marker of inflammation associated with periodontal disease, along with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers announced that, because diabetes and hyperglycemia increase the risk of periodontal inflammation, increasing your daily intake of whole grains and fiber can help offset the risk of developing periodontal disease.

Study participants who replaced their intake of processed grains, like white bread and regular pasta, with whole grains, like whole-grain bread and whole wheat pasta, had a 23% reduction in the incidence of periodontal disease, compared to those who continued to eat processed grains.

Those with the greatest risk reduction ate four servings of whole grains on average by simply replacing servings of processed grains with whole grains. They did not increase their caloric intake when making the switch to whole grains.

3.     Lean protein
The best way to get protein is from beans as they provide both fiber AND protein and have no fat. Along with protein, fiber helps you feel full longer and also helps lower cholesterol. One and a half cups of beans has about as much protein as 3 ounces of broiled steak.

Cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts, and milk are also good as they protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize teeth (a natural process by which minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids).

4.     Water / Green Tea
Removing substances that attract bacteria that then create the acid that causes cavities is very important in maintaining a healthy mouth. Water is the best way to do this so be sure to drink plenty of it after your meal to wash your teeth.

Green tea has been found to have positive benefits for your teeth as well, as long as it is unsweetened. Research published in Preventive Medicine show that drinking at least one cup of green tea a day increases the odds of keeping your teeth as you age. The researchers suspect that antimicrobial molecules called catechins present in green tea and in lesser amounts in oolong tea provide the benefit.


Fast Food meal of Hamburger, Fries and Soft drink
It really is difficult to find a worse meal for the health of your teeth and longevity than a typical fast food meal.

1.     Fruits and veggies – not
Vegetables are noticeably absent from this meal except in the form of French fries. Though they are the most consumed ‘vegetable’ in America, French fries are highly processed and if they are from a fast food restaurant they also contain animal products and are flavored using them, though it is not clear which animal. Also, because fast food is so highly processed, much of its flavor is destroyed, so the tastes of most fast food are manufactured at a series of special chemical plants.

French fries also stick to the teeth and, because they are so processed, they are quickly broken down into sugar, which accelerates cavity formation.

2.     Whole grains – not even close
Fast food hamburger buns are made from highly processed flour and are created to dissolve quickly and deliciously in your mouth. The list of ingredients in a McDonald’s hamburger bun is as follows: “Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, yeast, soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfatecalcium carbonatewheat glutenammonium sulfateammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour),calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin.”

McDonald’s hamburger buns have been left out for 6 months and have yet to rot, clearly indicating the level of preservatives they contain that also make them very difficult to digest.

Again, like French fries these highly processed grains lodge themselves easily into your teeth and are meant to break down quickly into sugar.

3.     Lean protein – ha ha ha
Fast food burgers are made from the meat of various animals from various parts of the globe and so carry a risk of contamination unlike whole meats. They also are treated with an excessive amount of salt to preserve them, elevating blood pressure dramatically.  As the intake of sodium increases, there is an increase in the urinary excretion of calcium.  This increased excretion of calcium may be responsible for reduced peak bone mass and increased bone demineralization which, in turn, increases the risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures, as well as jaw and teeth problems. This concept is extremely important when thinking in terms of children who are in the critical stage of developing bone density.

4.     Soft drinks – the killer
The high acid and sugar content of soft drinks are the one – two knockout punches for your teeth. In addition, the relationship between soft drink consumption and body weight is so strong that researchers calculate that for each additional soft drink consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times. 70% of cardiovascular disease is related to obesity, 42% of breast and colon cancer is diagnosed in obese individuals, and 30% of gall bladder surgery is related to obesity.

My three year-old refuses to brush her teeth. Any ideas for how to convince her?

Brush your Teeth!

Here are a few ways to encourage your kid to brush their teeth that we’ve compiled. Hopefully some of them will work!


1. Play this YouTube video while they brush. It’s 1.33 minutes long – just the right length for getting all those choppers clean!

2. Try color-change toothpaste!

3. Mark their brushing success with a fun chart!

4. Have them play dentist with their dolls or stuffed animals.

5. Play Simon Says with Mommy playing Simon and Daddy competing with your child to see who will win the game.

Post your ideas to our Facebook page!

American public gets a ‘D’ on basic oral and dental health quiz

Is sugar-free gum really good for your teeth? If I lay an aspirin next to my painful tooth, will it lessen the pain? When should my child see the dentist for the first time?

Turns out these questions have stumped the majority of the nation.  In a national online study by the American Dental Association of 1500 citizens, the average score was 60% – that’s a D average.

The questions that proved most difficult included:

  • When children can and should brush their own teeth (only 6% correct)
  • Whether or not it is important to brush after every meal (10% correct)
  • What age a child should visit dentist for the first time (25 % correct)

This lack of understanding is more troubling given the research that has linked poor oral health to poor health overall. 20+ years of research has firmly established that cardiovascular disease and gum disease are associated with poor gum health and other health issues such as diabetes and pregnancy complications are also being studied for their relationship.

Think you have better oral health knowledge than the average person? Take this quick test and find out! Post your score to our Facebook page and ‘Like’ us for a chance to win a gift card!

My friends tell me Invisalign can correct my wonky tooth. I’m looking for work though and don’t want to look weird. Is Invisalign really invisible?

Invisalign_On_teethInvisalign benefitsWe have seen great success at treating a number of orthodontic issues with Invisalign. Though we can’t be too sure of what exactly a ‘wonky’ tooth is, it seems likely that Invisalign would be a good option. We always offer free smile consultations so you can schedule a visit and we can tell you for sure.

As for how invisible the aligners are, we’ve pasted a few examples of people wearing them here and you can tell that while you may be able to see them under close inspection, they are very difficult to notice in a regular, say job interview, interaction. They won’t impact the way you speak or otherwise impinge upon your appearance or behavior. In fact, getting your teeth straightened just might get you the job!

According to an article on MarketWatch, “Findings back up the negative judgments about people with crooked teeth; Two in five Americans would not go on a second date with someone who has crooked teeth and more than half believe someone with crooked teeth would be less likely to land a job when competing with someone who has a similar skill set and experience. ”

Good luck in your search and hope to see you in the office soon!