Plaza Dental Group +15152245999  1089 Jordan Creek Pkwy #100, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Tag: Oral Health

How Does Sugar Destroy Your Teeth?

How Does Sugar Destroy Your Teeth?

How Does Sugar Destroy Your Teeth?

We all know that eating too many sugary foods can harm your teeth and cause tooth decay. However, sugar alone does not cause much damage. Instead, the chain of events that follow is what deals the most harm to your teeth. Read on to see how the process works.

The starting point is the mouth

There are tons of harmless and harmful bacteria present in your mouth. Certain oral bacteria feed on the sugars you eat and create acids that can destroy tooth enamel. This process is called demineralization.

Minerals in your saliva, like phosphate and calcium, help enamel repair itself. However, repeated acid attacks eventually cause mineral losses in the enamel, which eventually weakens the enamel and creates cavities.

In short, tooth decay causes cavities, which result in harmful bacteria digesting the food sugars and producing acids. If left unattended, the cavity can spread into deep layers of the tooth, causing pain and tooth loss.

By limiting your sugar intake, you can give your mouth a chance to fix the damage.

Sugar is a magnet for harmful bacteria 

The two types of harmful bacteria found in the mouth are Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sorbrinus. Both feed on sugar and form dental plaque, a colorless, sticky film that builds around the surface of the teeth.

If the plaque is not washed away while brushing or with saliva, the mouth becomes more acidic, which causes cavities.
The pH scale is used to measure acidic levels in a solution. The neutral pH level is 7. If the pH of plaque drops below normal or is lesser than 5.5, the acid levels cause minerals to dissolve and eventually destroy the tooth’s enamel. This process leads to small erosions, and over time they become larger, creating deeper holes or cavities.

Habits that cause tooth decay

  1. Sticky candies – Caramels, lollipops, and cough drops contain refined sugar and tend to stick to your teeth longer. These foods gradually release sugar and give ample time for harmful bacteria to digest sugar and produce more acid. 
  2. Starchy food – Potato chips, bread, tortilla chips, and flavored crackers get trapped in your teeth and cause tooth decay. Frequent snacking on these sugar-rich foods can harm your teeth extensively. 
  3. Sugar-heavy beverages – There are high chances of increasing cavities if you constantly sip on beverages high in sugar, as the prolonged exposure to sugar is the prime opportunity for harmful bacteria to damage your teeth. 
  4.  Soft drinks – Think twice before you grab your favorite sports drink to feel energized. All energy drinks, sports drinks, and juices contain high sugar levels, which can destroy your teeth to a great extent. Additionally, these drinks have high amounts of acids that can cause tooth decay.
  5. Alcohol and tobacco – Any substances that dry your mouth can also destroy your teeth as a dry mouth increases the chances of producing harmful bacteria. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking as they are common substances that cause your mouth to dry.  

Ways to fight tooth decay

Here are some tips to fight tooth decay

  • Have a balanced diet. Eat whole grains, vegetables, dairy products, and fresh fruits.
  • Use a straw while drinking sugary or acidic drinks to lessen your teeth’s exposure.
  • Eat enough cheese, yogurt, and similar dairy products daily as they contain calcium and phosphate, which will strengthen your teeth.
  • Sip on green or black teas to help suppress harmful oral bacteria.
  • Drink plenty of fluoridated water.

Practicing good oral health is very important to keep tooth decay away.

  • Brush and floss twice a day, especially after meals.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste. 
  • Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva production and prevent plaque build-up. 

Eat a balanced diet, drink water instead of sugar-heavy drinks, maintain good oral hygiene, and visit your dentist in West Des Moines for regular dental check-ups every six months.

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!


Why You Should Never Ignore These Oral Health Warning Signs

Why You Should Never Ignore These Oral Health Warning Signs

Oral health is something that we usually put on the backburner; it is only when things get worse, you start keeping your dentist on speed dial. Similar to the way you take care of your body and mind by exercising and meditating, you also need to be cautious about your oral health and hygiene. You need to pay attention to your teeth, jaw, gums, and tongue – it is your mouth that starts showing early symptoms of underlying diseases. Hence, it is advised to get an oral health check-up done at least twice a year.

Here are 10 oral health warning signs discussed below, and never compromise your dental hygiene.

  1. Bleeding gums – If you start noticing blood in your sink while brushing or flossing, it is better to immediately seek the dentists help. Bleeding or swelling of gums is the first oral health sign which cannot be ignored. A large number of bacteria present in your mouth can cause gum disease and are common in people with conditions like diabetes. Inflammation in the mouth can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis. Other major diseases linked to bleeding and swelling of gums are stroke, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and erectile dysfunction.
  2. Jaw and mouth pain – Stress is the root cause of several mental and physical disorders and is often linked to mouth and jaw pain. You need to consult your dentist to help you identify the main source of jaw and mouth pain. Sometimes the discomfort can be treated if it is a simple toothache, wisdom teeth eruption, gum disease, or sinus problem. You need to be attentive to the pain in your jaw, as it could also mean that you are having a heart attack. So be vigilant and help save you and your loved one’s life.
  3. Bad breath – Your mouth smells when you wake up or after eating a spicy meal or drinking aerated sugary drinks. Brushing, flossing, and tongue scraping can help eliminate the smell. You need to see your dentist if bad breath persists, even after rinsing. Bad breath can occur due to cavities, gum disease or tooth decay, kidney or liver disorder, lung infection, and diabetes, and are other oral health signs which are definitely not worth ignoring.
  4. Loose teeth – Unexpected falling of teeth is a major sign of gum disease. If you have a loose tooth,  see your dentist immediately. Tooth loss also indicates osteoporosis – it decreases bone density and weakens them and is more prevalent in women. Eat a well-balanced diet, go for regular dental check-ups, and exercise regularly to avoid any serious injuries in the future.
  5. Mouth sensitivity – Do you feel pain or experience some kind of sensation while eating something too hot or cold? It might indicate a tooth cavity, infection, or excessive damage to your tooth or gum. Do not settle for numbing gels or over the counter medicines, consult your dentist before the problem becomes severe.
  6. Toothache – Toothache can vary from mild to severe, and sometimes it will not go away. No matter the degree of pain, it should be addressed at the earliest. Toothache, if left unattended, can cause nerve damage or even loss of the tooth. There can be several other reasons for toothache food trapped between teeth or gums, or an infection at the root of the tooth, and ignoring them could cost you later!
  7. Mouth ulcers and sores – If sores, ulcers, or unusual patches appear suddenly and take time to heal, they are a matter of grave concern. Mouth sores and ulcers usually heal within a week, but if the healing process is taking longer than usual, it might suggest a condition of diabetes. Similarly, sensitive spots, patches, or lumps might indicate oral cancer. If you see any of these signs, do not ignore them, speak with your dentist in West Des Moines for an appropriate cure.
  8. Tooth surface and enamel change – If you notice any change in your tooth surface or enamel, you should see your dentist. Eating disorder or acid reflux can cause the erosion of tooth surfaces and enamel. Excessive vomiting might give way to other oral health issues like dry and cracked lips, swollen salivary glands, dry mouth, loss of tooth enamel, and sensitive teeth. Get the right treatment at the right time.
  9. Dry mouth – When there is a decrease in the production of saliva, it leads to the problem of dry mouth or Xerostomia. Salivary gland disease, stress, diabetes, or autoimmune disorders may be linked to dry mouth, so try not to overlook this symptom and seek dental help.
  10. Change in the color and texture of tongue – The most common tongue infection is thrush or oropharyngeal candidiasis. It is a medical condition wherein a yeast-like fungus appears as a white lesion on the surface of the tongue and overgrows in the mouth or back of the throat. Thrush is a result of excessive smoking, stress, HIV, cancer, diabetes, weak immunity, pregnancy, medications, or dentures. Change in the tongue is a serious oral health problem, do not ignore it. 

Take some time out from your busy schedule and go for a regular dental examination every six months and take care of your dental health. Do not ignore the warning signs of oral health, visit our leading dentist in West Des Moines at Plaza Dental Group, and get the desired treatment and care.

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!

5 Reasons to Scrape Your Tongue and the Correct Way to Do It

5 Reasons to Scrape Your Tongue and the Correct Way to Do It

5 Reasons to Scrape Your Tongue and the Correct Way to Do It

It is common for bacteria, food debris, and dead cells to build upon your tongue over time. This can harm your overall oral health and lead to bad breath. Tongue scraping is an effective and fast way to remove these particles from the surface of your tongue. 

Benefits of Scraping Your Tongue

Here are 5 benefits of scraping your tongue: 

  1. Improves your sense of taste. 

    Dental researches suggest that scraping your tongue twice a day improves your sense of taste by helping you distinguish salty, bitter, sweet, and sour sensations more effectively.

  2. Gives your tongue a cleaner appearance.

    When excess debris accumulates on your tongue, it appears white. If you scrape your tongue on a daily basis, this white color will disappear and give your tongue a more natural and cleaner look. 

  3. Removes bacteria present in our oral cavity.

    Researchers have concluded that tongue scraping twice a day for a week can reduce several types of bacteria in our mouth that cause dental decay and bad breath.

  4. Builds overall oral health 

    Tongue scraping helps remove bacteria responsible for developing mouth conditions, such as cavities and gum diseases, thereby improving your tongue’s overall appearance and sense of taste.

  5. Reduces bad breath. 

    In regards to removing oral bacteria that cause bad breath, researchers have found that tongue scraping is more effective than brushing. However, tongue scraping is not a substitute for proper brushing of your teeth.

How to tongue scrape?

Rather than using a soft-bristled toothbrush, using a tongue scraper will be much more effective. Follow the steps below to learn how to properly scrape your tongue. 

  • Stand in front of a mirror with your mouth wide open and your tongue sticking out.
  • Gently place the rounded end of the tongue scraper at the back of your tongue. (If you are worried about gagging at this point, start from the middle of your tongue. Gradually move the tongue scraper back as you become more comfortable with the process.)
  • Gently and slowly pull the tongue scraper forward until you reach the tip of your tongue. (Make sure never to reverse the direction of the pulling. Always scrape towards the tip of your tongue.)
  • Use a tissue to remove the debris from the scraper after each scrape.
  • Repeat the process until you have completely scrapped the whole surface of your tongue. 
  • Once you finish, wash the tongue scraper with soap and warm water, then dry and store it in a clean area.

When you are scraping your tongue, take the following precautions:

  • Gag Reflex: To avoid vomiting during tongue scraping, do not place the scraper too far back on your tongue, especially when you first start out in the process.
  • Cuts: To prevent accidentally cutting the surface of your tongue, ensure your tongue scraper does not have any uneven or rough edges before. 
  • Mind the Pressure: Be careful of how much pressure you apply while scraping. Apply enough pressure to clean your tongue, but do not use excessive force because it may harm your taste buds or break your tongue’s surface.

Although tongue scraping can help reduce the buildup on the tongue, it is not a cure-all solution. Contact your dentist in West Des Moines as soon as possible if you need help in improving your oral health.

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!


Gum Disease: Know the Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Gum Disease: Know the Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is the infection of the bone and tissues that hold your teeth in position. If the infection is not treated on time, the gums pull away or recede from the teeth and can cause serious dental problems. 

Types of Gum Disease

  • Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums or gingiva that occurs when plaque accumulates on teeth. It is a non-destructive and reversible disease. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis.
  • Periodontal Disease If the gum inflammation (gingivitis) is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis. Periodontal disease causes the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where more bacteria can accumulate and cause an infection. If not quickly addressed, it can lead to tooth loss.

What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

Gum disease develops when plaque formation extends below the gum line. The factors that cause gum disease include:

  • Poor oral hygiene that allows plaque and tartar buildup
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal changes
  • Certain medications that affect teeth 
  • Genetics
  • Diseases that affect the condition of your gums, including cancer, diabetes, and HIV

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

People who have gum disease can experience symptoms such as:

  • Swollen, red, or bleeding gums
  • Tooth sensitivity caused by receding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Gums that feel tender when touched
  • Abscessed teeth
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Deep pockets formed between gums and teeth
  • Difficult or painful chewing

Treatments for Gum Disease

Your dentist will recommend any of the following treatment options depending on the severity of your gum disease.

  • Scaling: Scaling is performed to eliminate the accumulation of plaque and calculus from the gum line and to smoothen the tooth’s surface. 
  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Your dentist may prescribe medications or a mouthwash that can effectively destroy the bacteria in your mouth. 
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery is required to decrease the progression of the gum disease and to regrow the lost or damaged bones.

Tips on Preventing Gum Disease

These tips can help prevent gum disease and keep your gums healthy:

  • Practice proper oral hygiene such as limiting the intake of sugar, drinking more water, and brushing and flossing twice a day
  • Quit smoking
  • Follow a proper diet
  • Avoid grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Rinse your mouth with mouthwash after eating
  • Schedule routine cleaning sessions with your dentist.

If you are looking for high-quality and effective treatment for gum disease, contact our leading dentist in Des Moines at Plaza Dental Group.

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!

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I have used Plaza Dental Group since I moved to West Des Moines in 2009. The welcoming staff, clean pleasant surroundings. and competent providers have served me well. My experiences have been pleasant, productive outings I approach with gratefulness at the service my mouth and teeth will receive. Thank you, wonderful Dental more
Phyllis Newton
Phyllis Newton
I had an amazing experience at Plaza Dental! Sara my dental hygienist made it even spectacular. I felt comfortable around her. She was very personable and professional. She took the time to explain the whole process and very thorough with the whole process of taking X-ray and cleaning my teeth. I was impressed by her expertise and most of all I felt as if I’d known her for years because she made me feel comfortable! Thank you Sara and the rest of the team for an amazing first time experience!read more
Winnie Lee
Winnie Lee
I finally found my dental home. I had my first consultation with Dr Dietrich today, she is genuinely nice as well as her assistant . I felt welcomed , they care about me and my dental health . I'm looking forward to my first visit in a few weeks!!!!
Cheryl Santee
Cheryl Santee
My experience is just starting but yesterday was my first day and I was treated with so much care, love & respect. They made me feel as if I was at home it was a wonderful feeling. Mind you I am terrified of dentist and here I felt so welcomed with open arms . I will be continuing to go here. So far the best place I highly recommendread more
Danielle Ceballos
Danielle Ceballos
The staff at Plaza Dental are the best. Dr. Odland and his assistant, Becca, have been amazing to work with. They have always been patient, kind, and compassionate. I was always kept comfortable during my procedures and have always had a great experience. I look forward to working with them in the more
Erika Sieren
Erika Sieren
Today I had my first appointment at Plaza Dental. I am one of those patients who is extremely anxious about dental visits and I had avoided getting dental care for awhile .My hygienist Hilary was AMAZING! I'm so happy that I made the appointment and that i am on my way to wanting to show my smile again .read more
Pam Gronewold
Pam Gronewold
Dr. Dietrich is so easy to work with. She's very skilled and her assistants are always able to explain every step of the way. My implant feels great!!
Amanda Godfrey
Amanda Godfrey
I moved to Iowa at the end Of February, and have been looking for a dentist that cared about their patients. When I found Plaza Dental Group, they were able to get me right in, and my experience from the when I walked in to the office, to the time I walked out after my first visit was beyond what I could have hoped for. Dr.Odland and his staff are incredible and made me feel comfortable from start to finish. They explained the next steps regarding my next appointments, and everything that was going to take place. I feel at ease knowing that I am being taken care of. All of my appointments have been great. The front staff is great as well! I can not say enough great things about this office!read more
Jessica Ford
Jessica Ford
Thank you so much got me in fast and great help very nice staff and helped me with a problem that another dentist caused and helping me get the proper care 😁
Rachel Hinrichs
Rachel Hinrichs
My hygienist rocks, love Sarah. We have become friends through the years, she is just too sweet. But there are many great hygienists and Dr. Odland and his team took such good care of me when i broke my jaw and several teeth.
Amanda Westerhold
Amanda Westerhold
Hands down the BEST dentist I’ve ever been to. I have severe anxiety when it comes to the dentist and they were SO sweet/accommodating. Only place I will be going to for my dental needs going forward.
Breanna Bedford
Breanna Bedford
To the whole plaza dental family you guys are the best I strongly recommend you guys to every one🙂🙂🙂 really kind nice people and do the best job EVER!!! Doctor JAY JENSEN you rock and congratulations on your move,also to all the staff you ladies made me feel very comfortable thank you thank you god bless.Doctor Jay Jensen keep doing your thing🙂 and the ladies up front you guys double rock🙂🙂 thanks for opening the door for me Lol, Alvin Thanks Plaza!!!!read more
Alvin Lee
Alvin Lee
As usual, I only waited a few minutes until Talia came to bring me to the back. The treatment itself was pleasant and efficient and everybody was very friendly and helpful. I definitely recommend this place!
Martina Walther
Martina Walther
This place is the BEST. I cannot say enough about how great Lacey is and the job she does! I was so impressed by Plaza Dental Group compared to previous dentists I've visited that I won't be going anywhere else. Highly recommend Lacey, Dr. Odland, and Dr. Dietrich - they are highly educated and knowledgeable, very thorough with their care and listening to your needs, inform/explain things every step of the way, and are so enjoyable and fun to be around. Wish I could give more than 5 stars!read more
Jasenn Greiner
Jasenn Greiner
Dr Colin Odland is the best! He is very knowledgeable, patient, kind and makes sure you are doing ok as he works. I highly recommend him, especially patients that have had bad experiences with dentists in the past.
Debora Lynn
Debora Lynn
I just switched to Plaza because it’s closer to my work/home and I’d give them 100 stars if I could! My hygienist Talia had amazing attention to detail (and I’m known to be very particular) and Dr. Odland’s chairside manner was amazing. I don’t know why I didn’t come here sooner!
Derek Zarn
Derek Zarn
Plaza Dental Group
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