Plaza Dental Group 515 612 7148  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!

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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!

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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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4.5
Based on 146 reviews
I’ve been so impressed and grateful for the care I’ve received at Plaza Dental! From cleanings to potential periodontal issues, Lacey and Dr. J have been on top of my progress. Highly educated, thorough, incredibly friendly, and patient-focused. I would highly recommend them!
Cynthia Shidler
Cynthia Shidler
The Plaza Dental staff is just the BEST! I always enjoy coming in for my cleanings and my Invisalign appointments. I always feel at home like I'm a part of the family. Thank you all for that. A big shoutout to Dr. Dietrich, Susan (Suzie), and Noel. I love you guys so much!!!! Thank you all for your contribution on this journey to a beautiful smile. Xoxo!!!!read more
Savion Solé
Savion Solé
My experience was amazing! Everyone was so kind and answered all my questions. I am usually one who has a fear of dentist, but I felt so comfortable and relaxed which I have never experienced at a dental office before.
Taylor Moore
Taylor Moore
My experience with the Plaza Dental Group has been amazing! The receptionist was delightful when I initially called to schedule my appointment. She had me laughing. I was warmly greeted and didn't have to wait long. They were non judgemental and thorough in my initial examination. I was given a detailed plan of action to address my issues. Today my appointment with Dr. Odland was excellent. He has the most gentle touch by the way. A must in a Dentist in my opinion. Aaron a future dentist helped make me comfortable and he assisted Dr. Odland perfectly while keeping me comfortable throughout the process. My overall experience has been wonderful. I highly recommend this experienced group of professionals. They've got a lifelong client with me.read more
MS Cacklebottom
MS Cacklebottom
Lacey does an amazing job- highly recommend her for hygiene needs. Also- Dr. Jay is hands down the best dentist I’ve ever seen. These folks deal with your anxiety in a positive way, are supportive and helpful — and you leave there feeling better and definitely being a little more proud of your smile!read more
Nick Ryan
Nick Ryan
I always have THE best experiences at Plaza Dental. The entire staff is amazing and friendly. Especially Susie and Noel who are simply THE best! I highly recommend for regular dental visits and I was highly impressed with my Invisalign treatment. I actually look forward to going to the dentist now! Love it!read more
Jamie Petersen
Jamie Petersen
I recently had cosmetic surgery. Dr. Dietrich and her assistant Joel were so professional and did excellent work. I am beyond pleased with my new smile!
LR Meyer
LR Meyer
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
This place is amazing. I feel the most comfortable and at ease here over any dental office I've ever been to and I've been around the block. Lacey is best although one time she wore white after labor day, but I won't fault her for that.
David Prins
David Prins
My dental hygienist, Sara, is the kindest person to work with. She is honest with her overview and analysis. She is friendly and happy to talk to you. I’ve never had a bad experience at Plaza and would recommend anyone come in for a consult or to be a new client with the dental practice. Thank you Sara for all that you do!read more
Kevin Black
Kevin Black
I would recommend to anyone! Great and friendly staff.Really put me at ease.Kept me well informed during my visit as to what procedure was being done.Great experience overall.
Dave Gates
Dave Gates
Professional, really caring team!! It’s awesome to be able to receive such expert care and most procedures can be taken care of in one place. Highly recommend this great place!!!! So kind and helpful.
Amy Gionis
Amy Gionis
They are the best! I do not like going to the dentist. I think most people don't. My dental hygienists, Sara, is amazing! She very quick but very thorough. My teeth look great when I leave and I am in and out quickly, which I appreciate. The dentist are all wonderful and I trust them. They also have wonderful whitening options. Been going for several years now and I'm never disappointed.read more
Katie Petersen
Katie Petersen
I highly recommend! They have the friendliest staff and are so professional and seem very knowledgeable! I had the boost whitening done and loved the results.
Taylor Brummer
Taylor Brummer
Dr. Odland is the best dentist I've ever had! He was so comfortable and personable. He transformed my smile in just 30 minutes and I've never felt more confident. Thank you!!
Alexa Wolfe
Alexa Wolfe
The Staff and Doctors are friendly, courteous, and professional. I no longer have "Dentist" phobia. Early morning appointments are greatly appreciated.
Donald Ryan
Donald Ryan
They were great! I loved how the dentist came and discussed my options at length with me. Shared the truth about some of the challenges I would face with each option! It was the best dental office experience I have ever had!
Tom Byber
Tom Byber
This office was so beautiful and clean. The staff was friendly and warm. I never felt rushed and all my needs were addressed. The dentist had great bedside manner and was very informative. I would highly recommend!
Austin Fawler
Austin Fawler
I had to get fillings for the first time and I was nervous wreck. Noelle and Jennifer were talking the whole time about their lives and they kept me calm. Noelle's playlist was great and they were both professional! They made sure I was doing alright and not feeling anything every couple minutes or if I was wincing. They would stop immediately and asked if I needed a break.read more
Nicole Jackson
Nicole Jackson
My experience at Ideal was awesome! The dental assistant Kevyon is always friendly and does a good job at calming me with great attitude and energy before my work is done. The dentist was very experienced and did each procedure without causing me any pain. Brooke Shields was very knowledgeable and answered all of my questions and concerns. Thank you all for another great visit.read more
John Farny
John Farny
My daughter has had a number of bad dental experiences and has become a challenging/anxious patient. She’s now had her first cleaning and a filling, all within a week. The staff was able to help her manage her anxiety and made it a great experience for both of us - something I didn’t think was possible.read more
Mikki Neff
Mikki Neff
Susan was absolutely phenomenal! I have a huge fear of anything doctor or dentist related and she made the trip so great! She explained as she went, she took the time to listen to me and she gave me great information to everything I asked. She was very thorough and knowledgeable. She was efficient, but I did not feel rushed at all. The entire office was very nice and friendly and so welcoming. And the extra things they offer to make sure you're comfortable (warm neck towel, paraffin wax hand dip, extra water, etc) made it the most relaxing trip to the dentist I've ever experienced. 100% recommending to everyone I know and will never go anywhere else! Thank you Susan and the entire office staff! I actually look forward to my next appointment!read more
Kathrina Petersen
Kathrina Petersen
Plaza Dental Group
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