Each month Dr. Craig Jeong writes an article for the San Dimas Community News and the following link will direct you to read about interesting dental related articles. www.sandimasnews.com/
Via Verde Dental was on the cover of the San Dimas Community Newspaper! All to celebrate 37 years of great service to the community!
(click here to read more!)
Check out Dr. Craig Jeong's latest article in January's edition of the San Dimas Community Newspaper!
Guide to Your First Kiss: Marijuana 4/20 Edition
Quote I'm pondering: “No one dances sober, unless he is insane.” - Cicero
It is now legal to get high. For those who haven’t heard, marijuana is now legal in California. And “getting high” is the effect you receive from smoking marijuana which is the equivalent to getting drunk from alcohol. There are still a lot of unknowns about marijuana. Because it is federally illegal, there are still many limitations on conducting research on the effects of marijuana. The main knowns of marijuana is that it causes a decrease in anxiety and depression and pain, thus medical usage. It also causes laziness and lack of focus as seen among peers and on TV. What many don’t realize are the dental implications with marijuana usage.
I graduated from University of the Pacific for dental school which is located in San Francisco. Being in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to treat a very diverse set of patients. For one, Berkeley was just around the corner so we got our fair share of patients who showed up for their appointments high. In addition, we treated one of the largest populations of HIV positive individuals. Many of the HIV patients had medical marijuana cards to deal with their condition so many of them used marijuana regularly. Needless to say, I have dealt with many people who smoke marijuana regularly and have seen the potential effects of the drug on your teeth and gums.
Because marijuana, or weed, is legal, the use of it will increase over time. There are many adults who refused to try weed when they were younger because it was illegal. But they are willing to try it now that they won't get in trouble over it. In addition there are the teenagers and college students who continue to get their hands on it. (Your kids and grandkids may be one of them and you just don't know.) In addition, 4/20 day is around the corner. April 20th has become the marijuana celebration day where people will get high at 4:20 pm. So if you suspect your kids use marijuana, check on this date as they may be high. Lastly, there will one day be weed restaurants like they have in Colorado where you have a hostess and waiter with a menu with which you can order different kinds of weed. Because of the likely growth in usage of weed I have compiled a list of 4 variables to be aware of when smoking weed.
1. Weed can lead to oral cancer. There are over 70 known cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco and 30 of those chemicals are found in marijuana. These chemicals can cause the cells in the mouth to start mutating which ultimately leads to cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. The most common areas oral cancer occurs are along the side and underside of the tongue as well as the throat. There are 200,000 cases per year in the US and it will increase with marijuana use. The most common age group is from 40-60 years old and 75% are among those who smoke marijuana or cigarettes starting at a younger age.
2. Weed causes dry mouth. One of the effects of marijuana use is having dry mouth or “cottonmouth” where you feel like your mouth is full of cotton. It prevents your saliva glands from properly working. Saliva acts as a natural lubricant of the mouth with enzymes that help fight against bacteria. Dry mouth also leads to bad breath.
3. Weed causes inflamed gums. Smoking marijuana causes burning of your gums just like smoking cigarettes does. In addition, the dry mouth, as mentioned above causes bacteria to thrive which affect the gums. Also, while marijuana decreases anxiety, it can also decrease your immunity which in turn decreases your body’s ability to fight infection. If you already have gum disease, then marijuana will inhibit your body’s ability to heal the gum infection. You never want to leave an infection to chronically affect your body. I always compare your body’s immune system to the military. Your body sends troops to help fight infection. If you constantly have gum infection then you constantly have troops being used to fight in your gums. This takes away from any other potentially larger infections you may contract in other parts of your body. And your ability to fight other infections in your body decreases.
4. Weed increases risk of cavities. When using marijuana, people tend to get “the munchies” which causes for a desire to eat junk food which is usually high in carbohydrates, saturated fats, and sodium. Lastly, more times than not, during marijuana use, you most likely won't brush your teeth. The combination of a dry mouth, with big chunks of dried out burrito, chips, fries, and other junk food stuck in your teeth, and then falling asleep right after eating causes for a huge increase risk of getting cavities. We always encourage patients to brush and floss especially before sleeping because bacteria thrive in dirty mouths while people are asleep. Bacteria thrive more in those who eat late night snacks and go to sleep right after.
I, myself, do NOT advocate the use of marijuana. However, there are many out there whose medical physician will prescribe it for legitimate reasons such as chronic pain or PTSD. For those who have legitimate medical reasons for using marijuana such as pain or anxiety, I encourage the use of edibles. Edibles are the foods that marijuana is placed in. Everyone has heard of weed brownies. You can apparently put weed in any food such as chocolate, ice cream, steak and many more. When you eat it, you don't get the harmful effects of smoking. When I was in San Francisco, the oral health of many of my patients improved as a result of the advice I gave about the effects of marijuana. So if you use marijuana or if your family does, make sure they brush and floss after each use before bed!
Guide to Your First Kiss: 7 Ways to Know You Have Bad Breath
Quote I’m pondering: “Your assumptions are your windows on the world, scrub them off every once in awhile or the light won't come in.” - Isaac Asimov
I am not sure if it is the same for all families and cultures, but my grandma and my aunts will tell me the truth. If I gained weight the past few months, they will tell me I look chubbier. Before I was married they would ask why I don’t have a girlfriend. They would tell my cousins if they are wearing too much makeup. And they will for sure tell you if your breath stinks. Teenagers along with Tinder dates often worry with how their breath smells. And as people age (mainly men), either their sense of smell decreases or they don’t care about the smell. The thing is, everyone has bad breath at some point of the day. For most, it is in the morning until you either brush your teeth or eat breakfast to mask the smells. For others, it is in the afternoon after those garlic fries or the raw onions you had in your burger or salad. Regardless, if you don’t floss, there is likely rotting food stuck in between your teeth for all the world to smell.
The “Bad Breath” industry in America is huge. Americans who suffer bad breath will often avoid the dentist and instead contribute to the industry of $10 billion dollars a year on products: Mints, Gum, Mouthwash, and Toothpaste. 9 out of 10 bad breath sufferers spend over 72 hours and $400 a year to fix their condition without seeing optimal results. You will often spend way less time and money if you went to your dentist and hygienist to get your teeth cleaned with way more effective results at removing bad breath.
I have compiled seven of the most common ways to know your breath stinks:
1. Spacing: If people tend to rub their noses or step back when you are talking, there is a chance you have bad breath. Or if you are about to go in for a kiss and your spouse or date pulls away, your bad breath might be the problem, not your personality.
2. Yellow or brown color around the front teeth: Gum disease and tarter buildup are the largest causes of bad breath. You will see yellow material around your teeth or even black material if it is present for long enough. Those with dentures or clear braces and others with braces often have smelly breath because they don’t take care of their appliance very well. Dentures and clear braces are similar in that they catch food easily. Many with clear braces will start to see their trays to stain a yellow, brownish, or even orange tinge which in turn will cause bad breath.
3. Bleeding gums: Bleeding from flossing or brushing is a sign that your gums are inflamed. Inflammation is a sign that you have calculus, food, or bacteria stuck underneath your gums which in turn causes bad breath. Inflammation can also be a sign of infection. Infection will bring a much more putrid smell that you yourself will notice.
4. Food: You haven’t smelled bad breath until you have cleaned someone’s teeth who ate garlic and onions a week ago. Garlic and onions are the two main foods that cause bad breath. Fish, especially tuna, is a big proponent of bad breath. And lastly, dairy products add to the list of smelly breaths. If your kid has horrible breath, check for a milky tongue. If their tongue is all white from milk, it is a sign they aren’t brushing their tongue.
5. Dry Mouth or Slimy / Stringy / Thick Saliva: You can get dry mouth when you are dehydrated, you just ate a big meal full of sodium or salt, you take medicine for high blood pressure, or you use weed. Moisture traps smells and when things are dry, the smell is released. You know how when your puppy takes a poo on your carpet and you don’t find it for a few hours until you start to smell it. And when you go pick it up and it’s dry. That is kind of like when there is plaque, tarter, and bacteria stuck between your teeth and everything is dried out. It all starts to smell more.
6. Smoking / Chewing Tobacco: Smoking and tobacco have their own odors. Tobacco products tend to dry your mouth out. So as stated above with plaque in a dry mouth with the smell of tobacco, you receive even a stronger stinky breath.
7. Medicine and Diabetes: Many medications such as antidepressants, aspirin, and high blood pressure medicine leave an odor in your mouth. In addition, those with uncontrolled diabetes can have smelly breath commonly called ketone or acetone breath. Acetone is what is used in nail polish remover which is what your breath would smell like. If you have this, you must go see your physician to check your diabetes.
I always tell my patients that smells of our breath originate in between the teeth and on the tongue. The best way to prevent bad breath is to floss everyday and brush your teeth and tongue. The air that you breathe out passes through your tongue and teeth on the way out, giving the stinky breath odor.
This is Part 2 of the “First Kiss” series. To view Part 1: Guide to Your First Kiss, visit viaverdedental.com/newspaper-article. Dr. Craig Jeong is one of three dentists at Via Verde Dental. He is the son of Dr. Bennett Jeong, and the cousin of Dr. Kimberly Foon. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!
How Much Do You Starbucks?
By Dr. Craig Jeong
Quote I’m pondering: “Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship” - Benjamin Franklin.
We would like to thank our amazing friends and family for supporting us and our firefighters by donating new toys for Spark of Love! You helped provide an amazing holiday season for those less fortunate!
My parents didn't grow up wealthy. Both my parents had immigrant parents who moved to America with close to nothing in their pockets. They created their American dream by working hard, working smart, and spending wisely. My mom would tell me how she had most of her clothes made by my grandmother. And she once had to write a check for 35 cents at the grocery store because she had no cash. My father grew up in East LA having to walk to school everyday even in the rain. He used to watch two movies and a cartoon for 25 cents at the theater, but my grandma never game him the 5 cents to buy a candy bar inside the theater.
I learned a lot from my parents. Before I went to dental school, my father had me take a seminar about leadership. The class was for young adults 18 to 25 years old. One of the questions they asked everyone was how much do we spend on average at Starbucks per day. Some said $2.00, $3.00, $5.00, and the highest was $10.00. Personally I didn't drink coffee at the time so I never went to Starbucks. Now $2.00 a day doesn't sound like much. But when you add it up, that's about $60 a month or $720 dollars a year! And if you spend $10 a day, that's $300 a month or $3600 a year on just coffee!! Granted the guy who spent $10 a day on Starbucks was one of the speakers and he was a self made multi-millionaire, so he can afford it. However, everyone else were either students or minimum wage workers. For someone making minimum wage, the $720 spent at Starbucks equals almost 2 weeks of wages! One of the biggest lessons we learned was to spend within our means. That includes spending on needs instead of wants until you have more discretionary income available.
Many surveys and polls report that Millennials are spending more on coffee than they are on investments for retirement. When you start thinking about planning for the future, the taste of Starbucks might not be as great. Making your own coffee at home will save a lot of money and likely even time. The average wait time for your cup of coffee can range from 10 to 25 minutes in a Starbucks line! You could have easily made your coffee and washed everything within 10 minutes.
For your New Year’s Resolution, it might be a great idea to encourage your high school and college kids to figure out how much they are spending on Starbucks or any coffee. The cost can be high and it is often less convenient with how long Starbucks lines are. Encourage them to buy their Starbucks coffee from Costco in the 2-3 pound bags instead to save a lot of money and time. Keurig and Nespresso pods can also add up in cost over time. The old fashion way of grinding your own beans is the most economic and sometimes the tastiest way to drink your coffee.
Instead of spending on Starbucks, Via Verde Dental donated all that money saved to Gladstone Elementary. We held our annual Candy Buyback program in November and for each bag of candy we received, we donated a dollar to Gladstone Elementary! We love to team up with our local schools to donate money and keep our kids cavity free!