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2990 S Sepulveda Blvd Suite 204, Los Angeles, CA 90064 (310) 477-1081

How Saliva Protects Your Smile

July 30, 2013

general dentistryAs we indicated in our last post, saliva can play an important role in protecting teeth from decay. Specifically, saliva helps neutralize the acid created by bacteria in the mouth. But that’s not all it does.

Saliva is 99% water, and water—as we said last time—helps keep teeth clean. The other 1% of saliva is made up of electrolytes, mucus, glycoproteins, enzymes, and antibacterial compounds. As you eat, saliva breaks down food particles around teeth and offers your enamel special protection. What’s more, because saliva contains calcium and phosphates, it helps with the re-mineralization process, too.

It’s because of saliva’s benefits to oral health that dentist will recommend chewing gum after a meal. Not only will it help you clean your teeth, but it will prevent bacteria from getting out of control and creating destructive acid.

Want to know more about how saliva can help you support your oral health? Call Westside Dental Associates today for an appointment with Dr. Latner. We provide great general, cosmetic, and restorative care from patients in and around Los AngelesSanta MonicaBeverly HillsWest LA, and Mar Vista.

Improving Your Oral Health with Food

July 23, 2013

general dentistryYou already know how important brushing, flossing, and regular checkups are for a healthy smile, but what about your diet? While foods high in sugar can have a negative effect on oral health, there are other foods that are more beneficial. Some of those include:

Fruits, veggies, nuts, and more

Vegetables that take some considerable chewing, like carrots and celery, are good for your smile because the more you chew the more saliva your body produces. Why is that good? Because saliva is known for neutralizing acid, which is what causes decay.

Meanwhile, foods like garlic, apples, grapes, cocoa, and nutmeg are beneficial for another reason. Instead of increasing saliva production, they make it more difficult for bacteria to stick to teeth. That will help you protect your teeth from acid and decay.

Dairy foods, like milk, cheese, and yogurt

These foods provide the body with calcium, which strengthens the bones and teeth. They’re also a source of casein, which provide additional protection from decay and cavities.

Beverages like water and tea

Drinking water throughout the day will help you keep your teeth clean, and it will prevent dry mouth. Avoiding dry mouth is one way of preventing bad breath and cavities. As for tea, it contains important antioxidants plus polyphenols, which help prevent inflammation and the growth of bacteria.

Do you have questions about what foods you should add to your diet? Let Dr. Latner talk to you. At Westside Dental Associates, we’re committed to offering great care. Call us today to schedule an appointment. We serve patients from Los AngelesSanta MonicaBeverly HillsWest LAMar Vista, and beyond.

Have You Ever Wondered What Causes Tooth Sensitivity? Here Are Four of Them

July 16, 2013

general dentistryIt’s not uncommon for patients of Westside Dental Associates to ask us about tooth sensitivity. Many experience it, but few know why. In today’s post, we’d like to look at the topic of tooth sensitivity and explain just a few of the things that can cause it.

Gum Disease/Gum Recession

One of the primary causes of tooth sensitivity is gum recession, which itself if caused by gum disease. When gum disease isn’t treated, it can cause the gums to recede, exposing more of the tooth and increasing one’s sensitivity to things that are hot or cold. Treating gum disease early, before it has time to become more developed, will help patients prevent gum recession and the sensitivity related to it.

Brushing Techniques

Are you brushing correctly? If you’re not, that could be what’s causing your tooth sensitivity. Brushing aggressively with a hard-bristled brush can harm both your teeth and your gums. If you have questions about how to brush correctly, Dr. Latner would be happy to demonstrate the next time you come to our Los Angeles dental office.

Teeth Damaged by Grinding or Clenching

Bruxism, a stress-induced condition that involves teeth grinding, can lead to cracked teeth. When that happens, bacteria can get inside the tooth to the nerve, causing tooth sensitivity. Clenching, biting your teeth extremely hard, can do similar damage as bruxism and cause tooth sensitivity. An oral appliance can help patients stop teeth grinding and prevent cracks from forming.


Some patients who are between the ages of 25 and 30 will experience an increase in sensitivity. If you are between these ages and have noticed a change, talk to Dr. Latner.

Don’t live with uncomfortable tooth sensitivity. Call Westside Dental Associates today to schedule an appointment with our Los Angeles team. We provide care to patients from Santa MonicaBeverly HillsWest LAMar Vista, and beyond.

Xylitol: A Sweetener that Will Actually Help Your Smile

July 9, 2013

xylitolDentists are always encouraging their patients to avoid sweets and eat healthy foods, but there’s one sweetener that’s actually good for your smile—xylitol.

Xylitol is derived from the fibers of plants and promotes a neutral pH when consumed. Compare that to what happens with normal sugar. When bacteria in the mouth come into contact with sugar, a feeding frenzy ensues, resulting in the production of harmful acid. But bacteria don’t interact with xylitol the way they do with sugar. In fact, xylitol makes it more difficult for bacteria to cling to teeth, resulting in an overall reduction of bacteria in the mouth.

The benefits of xylitol don’t stop there, though. This natural sweetener has 40% fewer calories and 75% fewer carbs. What’s more, it doesn’t raise blood sugar the way normal sugar does, making it a great substitute for patients with diabetes.

Enjoy Guilt-Free Treats!

Look for treats sweetened with xylitol at your nearest grocery store, especially if they specialize in natural foods. You can also find products like Xlear and Ice Chips online. And for patients who want to brush with toothpaste that contains xylitol, look for products by Tom’s of Maine, among others, in your nearest pharmacy or grocery store.

Do you have questions about xylitol? Call Westside Dental Associates with your questions. Dr. Latner would be happy to talk to you about the benefits of xylitol, in addition to completing a regular exam and cleaning. We provide great services to patients from Los AngelesSanta MonicaBeverly HillsWest LAMar Vista, and beyond.