Having a healthy, beautiful smile is not just a matter of the luck of the genetic draw. Even someone with the best genetic advantages will have a less than perfect smile without careful attention to the basics of good oral hygiene, regular preventive care and a healthy diet. Here's how to put your best smile forward, courtesy of Tarzana dentist Afsoon Gerayli, DDS, of Victory Cosmetic Dentistry.

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The Basics – Diet

Healthy teeth start with the basics. The odds are high that if you eat lots of junk food, neither your body nor your teeth will be healthy. Important nutrients for teeth include minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, as well as vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. In addition you need vitamin K to help promote bone strength. Vitamin C is key for healthy gums and soft tissues, and can protect you from gum inflammation (gingivitis). Vitamin A is another important helper for mucous membranes and promotes healing. Interestingly, nearly all of these important nutrients are found in leafy greens - although dairy products are also good sources of calcium - while meats provide other minerals and citrus fruits and bell peppers are high in vitamin C. Avoid sugar in all forms – it does nothing for you health-wise but has a lot of negative effects like obesity and tooth decay, as well as harming the immune system. Refined grains don't offer much in the way of nutrition and can cause blood sugar spikes.

Children have quite a few dental needs and those needs often appear much earlier than many parents might expect. Tooth decay is one of the most common health problems in childhood and even infants can develop dental problems. It's important to have your children seen by a Tarzana dentist like Afsoon Gerayli, DDS, early in the game. Common dental problems in children include tooth decay, chipped or broken teeth.

happy children

What Does Child-Friendly Dentistry Mean?

Preventive care is vitally important in children and any good general dentist should offer this service. However, a child-friendly dental practice typically offers some additional services. For example, children can find it very difficult to remain still for a dental procedure, especially if they're anxious or fearful. Allowing extra time for an appointment means there's time to take a break, while patience and compassion make it easier for the child. Sedation techniques and the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can provide the additional help a truly fearful child needs or get them through a long and complex procedure. Other child-friendly strategies include electronic media that appeals to children or books and toys in the waiting room.

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A twice-yearly visit to the dentist is considered the norm to ensure proper professional tooth care and to get your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist. At those visits, a professional like Tarzana dentist, Afsoon Gerayli, DDS, will examine your teeth, take X-rays if necessary, provide any treatment and educate you about caring for your teeth. Outside of those regular visits, however, there are some signs and symptoms that indicate you should go in for a visit even if it's not your usual time.

Pain in the Teeth

Healthy teeth don't hurt. When you have pain, it's usually an indication of a problem. You might have an infection, which should be treated as soon as possible to prevent tooth or gum damage. The nerve might be exposed. Gum disease can cause pain in the teeth and gums. Sometimes tooth pain occurs because you have something like a piece of toothpick lodged between your teeth. Occasionally, a broken or chipped tooth will be painful.

A perfect set of teeth and a flashy smile goes a long way to bolstering your confidence. It will improve your image and sometimes could improve your work efficiency. Dental implants give you a second chance at making your teeth perfect. They are a perfect way to replace partials, chipped or malformed teeth hence giving you that natural appeal that comes with a perfect set of natural teeth.

Dental Implants: What Are They?

Dental implants are a titanium or another appropriate component fixtures that play the role of the tooth's root. They are covered with a hydroxyapatite that allows the implant to integrate into your jawbone hence giving them a solid foundation.

The dental implant will be the anchor to permanent or temporary tooth crowns that will replace your damaged or lost teeth. The process of fusing with the jawbone (integration) must run its full course before a crown is placed on the implant. This could take between five and nine months depending on how fast your jawbone forms around the implant.