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Date: 7/5/2017 5:50 AM PDT

When it comes to kick-starting the day, many of us rely on a cup of joe. But what does it do to your teeth? Coffee lovers take note: Your morning routine might affect your dental health.

If it can stain your clothes, it can stain your teeth. This rule of thumb is unfortunately true about coffee. Coffee contains ingredients called tannins, which are a type of polyphenol that break down in water. They are also found in beverages like wine or tea and cause color compounds to more readily stick to your teeth. When these compounds stick, they can leave an unwanted yellow hue behind. It only takes one cup of coffee a day to cause stained teeth. How can you avoid tooth discoloration without giving up your favorite morning drink?

It is best to drink coffee through a straw, as this keeps coffee from touching your teeth, avoiding any chance of unwanted stains. Start by avoiding creamer and sugar, since it only speeds up the growth of discoloring bacteria. Drink your coffee in one sitting to prevent bacteria buildup throughout the day. Lastly, after you’re finished with your morning mug, brush your teeth.

Removing Coffee Stains

If you’re a coffee lover, there’s no need to panic. The dentist can usually get rid of coffee stains during your bi-annual cleaning. You can also supplement professional cleaning with a home remedy. Brushing your teeth with baking soda twice a month further whitens teeth in between check-ups. Raw fruits and vegetables, like strawberries and lemons, also contain natural fibers that can help clean your teeth by breaking down bacteria.

Other Issues with Coffee

Like any drink that isn’t water, coffee helps the bacteria in your mouth to create acids that can lead to tooth and enamel erosion. This can cause your teeth to become thin and brittle. Coffee can also cause bad breath, or halitosis, because it sticks to the tongue. To avoid these coffee problems, eat food before you drink coffee and use a tongue scraper and toothbrush after you finish drinking.

The Good News

You can still drink coffee and maintain a white, healthy smile. Coffee’s polyphenols can have positive effects, as they keep teeth strong and healthy. To enjoy coffee and avoid oral damage, drink in moderation. We suggest no more than two cups a day, plus regular brushing and visits to your local dental office.


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Date: 6/26/2017 2:15 AM PDT


Congratulations on this exciting and busy time of your life! You have so much to think about during pregnancy but don't forget about your teeth and gums. It may be easy to overlook your mouth, but all the changing hormone levels that occur with pregnancy can actually make some dental problems worse. Brushing and flossing contributes to your overall health, too, and if your mouth is healthy, it’s more likely that your baby’s mouth will be healthy. Visit our MouthHealthy slideshow for more information about what to expect for your oral health during pregnancy.

See your dentist

It’s important to continue to see your dentist during pregnancy for oral examinations and professional teeth cleanings. Make sure to tell your dentist that you are pregnant and about any changes you have noticed in your oral health. Good daily care is vital. That means always brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth once a day, eating a balanced diet and limiting between-meal snacks.

To assist you in making healthy eating choices, the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center has compiled a list of tips to follow during pregnancy that can be found here.

Visit our other Pregnancy pages on MouthHealthy here:

Then test yourself with the Fact or Fiction Pregnancy quiz. Keeping your mouth healthy now can help set up you and your child to be Mouth Healthy for Life.


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Date: 6/5/2017 5:45 AM PDT

Dental Health

Nutrition plays an extremely important role in oral health, and you might remember from childhood that too much sugar and not enough brushing is one of the biggest barriers to optimum dental health and wellness. We want to make sure that you know what foods to avoid, what deficiencies to be aware of, and the special considerations to take into account if you choose a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle or herbal supplements.

The first line of defense, after cutting down on sugars, is to immediately brush the teeth, but we also recommend that you try to cut as much sugar from your diet as possible.

Dietary Considerations and Decay

By cutting back on simple carbohydrates, the rate of dental caries can be reduced. Simple sugars are found in many foods and have many names. Some of these are table sugar, corn syrup, honey, molasses and dextrose. By reading labels on food products, you can limit foods high in simple sugars and thus reduce the chance of dental caries. Bacteria need carbohydrates for food. Sucrose (table sugar) is the carbohydrate bacteria prefer. However, other simple carbohydrates, such as fructose, lactose and glucose, are easy to ferment and also support bacteria growth.

Bacteria also can ferment complex carbohydrates (starches), but the process takes longer. However, many complex carbohydrates are sticky and become lodged between teeth and gums. This allows the bacteria time to ferment the carbohydrate. Meats and foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, help clean the teeth of food particles and sugars during the chewing process. These foods promote saliva flow, which helps rinse the teeth of food particles. Saliva also neutralizes the acid.

Although fresh fruits and vegetables do contain carbohydrates that can be fermented by bacteria, the fiber content counteracts the effect and helps clean the teeth, therefore protecting against dental caries. When we eat, we provide food for mouth bacteria. Eating three meals a day is important for adequate energy and nutrient intake, but snacking between meals presents special dental health problems.

Choose snacks that do not harm teeth. Examples of good snacks include cheese, yogurt, meats, plain nuts (not recommended for children younger than school age), peanut butter, fresh fruits and vegetables, unsweetened breads and cereals. The snacks most people enjoy tend to be high in simple sugars like dried fruits such as raisins, sweet rolls, candy bars, pop or caramel corn. Snacking does not need to be completely omitted. In many situations, snacking is important for good physical health.

Categories of Decay Potential of Certain Foods

- High Potential for Decay - Dried fruits, hard and soft candy, cake, cookies, pie, crackers - Moderate Potential for Decay - Fruit juice, sweetened canned fruit, soda, Gatorade, breads - Low Potential for Decay - Raw vegetables, raw fruits, milk - Very Low Potential for Decay - Meat, fish, poultry, fats, oils - Ability to Stop Decay - Cheeses, xylitol , nuts


Beneficial Supplements for Oral Health

In keeping with our whole body approach to dental health and wellness we have prepared a list of known natural ingredients and supplements known to aid in oral and dental health:

- Coenzyme Q10 promotes gum healing and cell growth - Lysine combats canker sores - Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids promotes healing, especially of bleeding gums - Calcium and Magnesium help prevent bone loss around the gums - Vitamins A and E are needed for healing gum tissue - Grape Seed Extract is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory - Zinc plus Copper enhances immune function - Aloe Vera Gel eases inflamed gums and soothes the tissues when applied directly to the affected area - Chamomile Tea is soothing to gum tissues - Green Tea is helpful in decay prevention and decreases plaque - Clove Oil is good for temporary relief of tooth and gum pain - Echinacea keeps inflammation down and enhances immune function.

A Word of Caution for Herbal Supplements for Dentistry

Many people do not realize that herbal suppliments can interact with other medications and local anesthetics. In one study, nearly 70% of participants did not inform their physicians or dentists about using them. Because herbal supplements including echinacea, feverfew, garlic, ginseng, ginkgo, and St. John’s wort may have the potential for adverse effects during or after dental procedures, please let us know if you are taking ANY herbal supplements so that we can provide you with the best care possible.

Calcium – Good For Your Bones, Good For Your Teeth

Research has confirmed the importance of calcium for your teeth and bones. According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, calcium deficiencies are also directly linked to gum disease, which is a leading cause of tooth loss. Researchers discovered that people who consume less than the recommended daily amount of calcium are almost twice as likely to have periodontal disease, an infection caused by bacteria that accumulate between the teeth and gums.

About 75% of people don’t meet their daily calcium needs. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are the best sources of calcium. In addition to milk & dairy products there are several other types of non-dairy sources of calcium that you can choose to ensure your daily calcium intake. The soft bones of fish, as with sardines, pilchards and tinned salmon, provide us with valuable calcium. Other useful sources include bean products, such as tofu, as well as sesame seeds, nuts, white bread, dried fruit, and green leafy vegetables particularly okra and curly kale. Soy milk alternatives, bottled water, breakfast cereals and orange juice are also fortified with extra calcium.

Vegan/Vegetarian Nutrition and Your Teeth


Many patients have upped their consumption of vegetables, and some are vegetarians or vegans. Occasionally these diets and lifestyles can result in some nutritional deficiencies. Some vegetarians and vegans experience deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, putting them at increased risk for periodontal disease. We welcome the opportunity to talk to you about your diet, nutritional choices and how they relate to your dental healthcare needs.

Herbal Supplements for Dental Health

As science finds out more about the beneficial effects of antioxidants, even greater interest has developed in natural foods and natural products. In one study, nearly 70% of participants did not inform their physicians or dentists about using them. Because herbal supplements including echinacea, feverfew, garlic, ginseng, ginkgo, and St. John’s wort may have the potential for adverse effects during or after dental procedures, please let us know if you are taking ANY herbal supplements so that we can provide you with the best care possible.

From: Dental Health and Wellness Boston

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Date: 5/26/2017 7:22 AM PDT

Thank you, Mehul Gadhia, for all of the photos, we had a great time at the South Charlotte Study Club 10th anniversary event with friends and colleagues!










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Date: 5/17/2017 6:41 AM PDT


Dental tools like toothbrushes, floss, and other teeth cleaning gadgets make up a multi billion-dollar industry. There are so many different oral health care tools on the market that it can sometimes be overwhelming when trying to pick the best option for your mouth. Some are electronic, many are not, and it is often difficult to know which ones really are more effective in keeping your oral health in check.

Do electric toothbrushes really clean better than traditional ones? What can waterpiks do that normal floss can’t? To help make it easier, we have laid out the pros and cons of powered and traditional versions of two tools that you use twice daily to clean your teeth: the toothbrush and floss.

Electric toothbrushes

Pros: A huge advantage to the electric toothbrush is that it is generally more enticing and seems to be more fun to use. This is a great aspect for those who are reluctant to brush twice each day, and especially for children, as it can inspire enthusiasm to brush. This is a clear case where electric toothbrushes can be more effective than manual toothbrushes.

Electric toothbrushes can be a time saver and can do a more thorough cleaning job as they provide between 6,000 and 30,000 strokes per minute. This means that it can take less time to properly clean your teeth, however this doesn’t mean that quickly running the toothbrush over the teeth will be as effective as a manual toothbrush. Ensuring that every tooth is thoroughly cleaned is still as vitally crucial as ever.

For those who do not have the dexterity or grip needed to operate a manual toothbrush, an electric toothbrush is a great option as it is easy to hold and takes care of the rotating action for you.

Cons: Even cheap electric toothbrushes typically cost more than a manual toothbrush, and higher quality ones are significantly more. Along with the initial cost of the unit and its charging base, the heads should be replaced just as frequently as a manual toothbrush should be, and these can be pricey depending on the toothbrush model type.

The bulk of an electric toothbrush can be a huge con, especially for those who travel or highly value counter space in the bathroom. The toothbrush itself is about double the size of a manual toothbrush and it comes with a variably sized charging station that you’ll need to consider.

Some people find the vibrations created by the toothbrush to be aggravating, or even painful. Those with gum issues, loose teeth, or general sensitivity should seriously consider another brushing method, as controlling the pressure and vigor of an electric toothbrush can be very difficult.

If you’re considering purchasing an electric toothbrush, this is a great time to take the plunge. April is oral health month and 123Dentist offices are selling the Oral-B Genius, bundled with a Crest 3D Whitening kit, for just $99.

Manual Toothbrushes

Pros: The biggest pro to manual toothbrushes is that you have more control over the way that you brush your teeth. You can decide how fast and how hard to brush your teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. This results in a more comfortable cleaning for those who have sensitive areas in their mouth or who find the constant vibrations of electric toothbrushes to be aggravating.

Manual or traditional toothbrushes are a much more cost-effective option than their electric counterparts, costing well under $10. They do not take up much room either, making travel and storage very easy, especially since there are no additional parts.

There is very little that can go wrong with a manual toothbrush, as there are no batteries to charge or accessories needed. It is the simplest option with nothing to fiddle with like replacement heads or power buttons.

Cons: Manual toothbrushes rely on the user having excellent brushing technique in order to thoroughly clean teeth and the mouth. This is an issue for those who do not take the time to properly brush their teeth and who miss spots. This can also present problems for those who find handling a toothbrush to be difficult. In order to thoroughly clean the mouth, quite a bit of dexterity is needed and a manual brush may not be the best option for those who find this challenging. Also, people with motor difficulties, arthritis, or any other number of conditions may find manual toothbrushes to be more challenging than their electric brethren.

Manual brushes also may not have the same allure as an electric toothbrush, and this can result in a lackluster attitude towards brushing. For children, manual brushes do come in fun colors that feature cartoon characters. But for adults who prefer more high tech options, manual toothbrushes are the less enjoyable option. Where are the adult versions of the Batman or My Little Pony toothbrush, we ask!

Water Flossers

Pros: The main advantage to the water flosser, or the brand name it’s more commonly known by – the Waterpik® – is that it provides an alternative to those who choose not to floss. The device shoots out a stream of water that users can aim between teeth. This can help to remove food particles from between teeth which can otherwise lead to tooth decay or gingivitis if not removed.

It is a fine option for people who would otherwise do nothing to clean in between teeth, and for some can inject a sense of novelty and fun into the teeth cleaning process. We believe that any tool that makes users more enthusiastic about their own oral care is a good tool to use!

Water flossers may also be easier to operate for those who have a hard time using their hands or do not have the dexterity needed to use floss, providing a decent alternative to fiddly floss strings.

Cons: Unfortunately, they do not do as good of a job cleaning plaque off of teeth as traditional floss does. The stream of water that hits the teeth can pass over built up plaque and tartar and does not have the strength needed to clean deeply between teeth. In general, dentists do not consider water flossers to be a substitute to brushing and flossing but rather an additional step in the mouth cleaning process.

Water flossers can be quite expensive, too, easily costing anywhere from $20-$100. The initial purchase of a water pick can be costly, as well as any replacements needed should something not operate properly.


Pros: Traditional floss is still the most effective tool in scraping plaque and tartar from the sides of teeth and removing food particles from between them. Because it is flexible it can curve around teeth to clean all sides of each tooth, and it can be pulled taut to scrape off stubborn residue.

Traditional floss is the most cost effective dental tool on the market, costing less than five dollars per package, and you can monitor how much of it you want to use. It also comes in un-waxed or waxed versions with various flavors to make it easy to customize your flossing routine.

Because you operate floss with your own two hands and nothing else, you have total control over where the floss goes in your mouth and how much pressure is applied. This can be important for those with sensitive areas in their mouths or those who feel more comfortable with more control over their oral cleaning.

Cons: The biggest issue with traditional floss is that some find it difficult to handle as it does require a certain level of dexterity. However, there are options such as tools, which provide a handle at the end of a pre-threaded piece of floss. This can be an easier and quicker option for those who do not want to fiddle with strings wound around their fingers.

Unfortunately, many people see flossing as a tedious task and this highlights another issue with traditional floss: it does not have the allure of a more high tech option. Because of this, and surely other reasons, many do not bother to floss at all, in which case traditional floss is completely ineffective. As with all dental tools, in order to be effective, they have to be used.

In the end, the most effective tools for cleaning your teeth are the ones that you will actually use.

If technology excites you and makes the idea of cleaning your teeth twice daily more enjoyable, pick something more high tech. If you are more of a traditionalist, or have a health condition that complicates hand movements, it only makes sense to choose the tool that you are most comfortable with. For more information, ask your dentist about which dental tools are best for you.


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Date: 4/26/2017 11:16 AM PDT

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Bad breath happens. If you’ve ever gotten that not-so-fresh feeling on a date, at a job interview or just talking with friends, you’re not alone. Studies show that 50 percent of adults have had bad breath, or halitosis, at some point in their lives.

What Causes Bad Breath? There are a number of reasons you might have dragon breath. While many causes are harmless, bad breath can sometimes be a sign of something more serious.

Bacteria Bad breath can happen anytime thanks to the hundreds of types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally lives in your mouth. Your mouth also acts like a natural hothouse that allows these bacteria to grow. When you eat, bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth and leaves a foul-smelling waste product behind.

Dry Mouth Feeling parched? Your mouth might not be making enough saliva. Saliva is important because it works around the clock to wash out your mouth. If you don’t have enough, your mouth isn’t being cleaned as much as it should be. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems or by simply breathing through your mouth.

Gum Disease Bad breath that just won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease, which is caused by a sticky, cavity-causing bacteria called plaque.

Food Garlic, onions, coffee… The list of breath-offending foods is long, and what you eat affects the air you exhale.

Smoking and Tobacco Smoking stains your teeth, gives you bad breath and puts you at risk for a host of health problems. Tobacco reduces your ability to taste foods and irritates gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease. Since smoking also affects your sense of smell, smokers may not be aware of how their breath smells.

Medical Conditions Mouth infections can cause bad breath. However, if your dentist has ruled out other causes and you brush and floss every day, your bad breath could be the result of another problem, such as a sinus condition, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In this case, see your healthcare provider.

How Can I Keep Bad Breath Away?

Brush and Floss Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss to get rid of all that bacteria that’s causing your bad breath.

Take Care of Your Tongue Don’t forget about your tongue when you’re taking care of your teeth. If you stick out your tongue and look way back, you’ll see a white or brown coating. That’s where most of bad breath bacteria can be found. Use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clear them out.

Mouthwash Over-the-counter mouthwashes can help kill bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. It’s only a temporary solution, however. The longer you wait to brush and floss away food in your mouth, the more likely your breath will offend.

Clean Dentures If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night, and clean them thoroughly before using them again the next morning.

Keep Saliva Flowing To get more saliva moving in your mouth, try eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies. Your dentist may also recommend artificial saliva.

Quit Smoking Giving up this dangerous habit is good for your body in many ways. Not only will you have better breath, you’ll have a better quality of life.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly If you’re concerned about what’s causing your bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist. Regular checkups allow your dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your dentist determines your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor.


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Date: 4/26/2017 2:35 AM PDT

Dr. Rao, Dr. Brikina, and their two daughters recently took a spring break beach trip to the beautiful Turks and Caicos, a British Territory and an archipelago of coral islands in the Atlantic Ocean near the Bahamas.  Judging by these pictures, it looks like a great time was had by all!


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Date: 3/31/2017 5:17 PM PDT

 Spring Dental Cleaning Anyone?

Spring has finally sprung…at least for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere!

From cleaning out the garage to dusting away those sneaky little bunnies that invade every nook, cranny, and crevice, but Spring is also the perfect time to visit your dentist for your semi-annual checkup and cleaning.

Our DIY daily dental routines just don’t cut it!

Here are 3 reasons why Spring is the perfect time to dust off those chompers and give our smiles a tip-top shape up heading into Summer.

1. We Smile More In Summer

No scientific evidence or behavioral research to back that one up, it just seems that while Winter could have us hunkering down gaining weight, Spring and Summer have us taking better advantage of longer days and nicer weather.

A healthy smile is certainly more attractive than an unhealthy one, don’t you think?

The best and really only way we can maintain a healthy smile is to have our teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist at least every six months. Much like our homes or apartments, the regular smile maintenance routine of daily brushing and flossing doesn’t really reach all those oral orifices where the cavity creeps have entrenched themselves since our last dental cleaning.

A professional dental cleaning by our dentists is really the only way to attack the plaque and tartar buildup that we’ve been adding to our teeth everyday since our last dental appointment.

2. Our Dentists Will Notice Any Potential Problem Areas

Just like when we simply sweep those pesky little dust bunnies under the rug or don’t take the time to move and clean behind furniture, little problems can quickly become big problems.

The same goes for dental cleanings, if we don’t get a thorough examination of our teeth and gums at least every six months, we could be laying out the welcome mat for the cavity creeps to come a calling…or worse!

It’s like a leaky pipe in your home left to keep leaking; what could have been a simple inexpensive fix of a relatively small problem, will eventually turn into a larger (more expensive) job. Same goes for our teeth and gums, if our dentists notice a small speck of decay or a potential lesion that could turn into oral cancer, they can help us address the issue before it becomes a burden to our oral health, overall health, and our bank accounts.

Did You Know April Is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month?

3. Professional Dental Cleanings Help Prevent Gum Disease…And More?

When our dentists and hygienists tool up to scrubbing away that nasty plaque and tartar from below the gumline, we not only do our gums a service, but our overall health as well. There is a growing body of research and studies linking gum disease to more systemic health problems.

The bacteria found in plaque that causes gum disease has been potentially linked to other overall health problems like stroke risk, heart disease,  diabetes, even prostate health, and problems with pregnancy.

“Sometimes people forget how important oral health is as a component of medical health.” says Dolores Lindsay, CEO of The HealthCare Connection.

Gum disease is an infection, and that infection can lead to more serious problems down the road. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis and can eventually lead to tooth loss and other health problems.

Why not take a little preventative palate maintenance to ensure the cavity creeps aren’t entrenching themselves to make holes in our teeth…or worse?

We should all take the time this Spring to schedule a dental cleaning & examination to make sure we’re maintaining optimal oral health – and overall health!

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Date: 3/21/2017 3:00 AM PDT

Dr. Rao and Dr. Brikina and their daughters recently went on a ski vacation to Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. We love seeing their little girls go! Dr. Rao was the family photographer and if you're wondering where Dr. Brikina is, she's the one in the white coat with fur hood under the mask!

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Date: 2/20/2017 11:53 AM PST

Dr. Rao recently attended the ICOI Winter Symposium in New Orleans! This 3-day workshop consisted of seminars and hands-on techniques to further their knowledge in dental implants. See pictures below!





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