The Optimal Oral Health Routine | Best Family Dentist Ewa Beach

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If it has been more than 6 months since your last dental visit, it may not be possible to regain optimal oral health care without the assistance of professional care. While creating your oral health plan, make sure to start by scheduling an examination and professional thorough cleaning with our team. Once you’ve received professional care, it’s imperative to adopt an at-home care plan to maintain your oral health between appointments.  

How often should you receive professional care?  

Your professional oral health care plan will vary based on your individual needs. For patients with mild to severe periodontal disease, a program involving 4 visits per year may be necessary to keep the disease from progressing. For others with a smile less susceptible to periodontal disease and tooth decay, 2 visits per year may suffice. Regardless of your individual needs, once set, do your best to keep to your regular schedule. This will prevent harmful bacteria from causing damage to your beautiful smile and affecting your overall health.  

Home Care 

Many don’t realize the regular dental appointments alone do not ensure optimal oral health. In fact, according to the research conducted by the American Dental Association, brushing should occur twice per day for 2 full minutes with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Interdental cleaning should occur daily and can be done with floss or alternative methods, such as with the use of a Waterpik.  

Decay can occur in a few months or less of oral hygiene neglect. Decay can also occur due to an acidic oral environment, underlying health conditions or as a result of a poor dietary habit.  

Oral Health and Overall Health 

Your oral health is directly related to your overall health. The bacteria and infection found in your mouth can travel through your bloodstream to important organs. It’s imperative to care for your smile, just as you would your heart, lungs or brain.  

Whether it has been only a few months or several years since you’ve last received professional oral health care, we welcome you at our practice. You’ll receive compassionate care, free of judgement. It’s our goal to help you achieve a smile that you’re happy to display.

Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 689-7964
91-902 Fort Weaver Road, Suite 208
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

Should I Be Concerned About A Thumb Sucking Habit? | Ewa Beach Dentist

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Thumb sucking is one of the most recognizable behaviors found in children. Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may use thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, and other objects on which to suck. It may make them feel secure and happy, or provide a sense of security at difficult periods. Since thumb sucking is relaxing, it may even encourage sleep. Studies have proposed that as many as 90% of children have engaged in this type of activity in their lives. We have even seen that thumb sucking can begin in the mother’s womb during pregnancy. It’s natural, safe, and can be quite helpful to parents, as their baby learns to soothe themselves from time to time. 

Whether this oral fixation is satisfied with a thumb or the commonly used pacifier, most children discontinue this practice before long. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that most children stop thumb sucking on their own between the ages of 2 and 4.  

Once your baby’s first set of teeth are in and thumb sucking persists, there is a chance that this habit could push the teeth slightly forward. Fortunately, this will in no way affect the placement of the adult teeth or add to the cost of your child’s future dental bills. Thumb sucking, even in toddlers, is considered normal. It does not mean there is anything wrong with your child and that they should feel embarrassed or ashamed. Even the most persistent thumb sucker ordinarily stops on their own by the time toddlerhood has ended. 

Thumb sucking infrequently continues past the age of four. This is usually found to be the result of too much attention or negative reinforcement given to the habit in previous years. Beyond this age, thumb sucking can begin to impact the alignment of the adult teeth, so it is best your child shed the habit sooner rather than later. 

How do you help them with this? Don’t reprimand them because of it, don’t remove the thumb from their mouth and don’t mention it. This is where their growing awareness and social cues come in handy. As your child begins to notice that the kids around them aren’t sucking their thumbs anymore, they won’t want to either. They will also start to discover other skills or items to give them comfort and security. Peer pressure becomes a much greater deterrent than a parent’s disapproval.  

What Can I Do to Support my Child Through Thumb Sucking? 

  • Insecurity often causes anxiety in children and this may lead to thumb sucking. Instead of reprimanding them, try to focus on what is making them feel anxious. 
  • Parents who provide comfort and positive reinforcement to their children will see a less likelihood of thumb sucking. 
  • Take note of the times your child tends to suck on their thumb and create diversions during these occasions. 
  • Ask your child’s dentist to speak with them about the impact thumb sucking will have on their mouths.  
  • Place a band-aid or a sock on your child’s thumb as a reminder to avoid putting their thumb or fingers in their mouth. 

Thumb sucking can be a troublesome habit for parents, mostly when it feels like your child is the only one still engaging in the behavior. Permitting your child to find other ways of comforting themselves is more helpful to them in the end. If you have any other questions on how to improve your child’s oral health, please give our pediatric dental office a call. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, visit our website or give us a call today. 

Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 689-7964
91-902 Fort Weaver Road, Suite 208
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

Easy Flossing Alternatives to Preserve Your Healthy Smile | Family Dentist Ewa Beach HI

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If there is one recommended dental habit that many people struggle to embrace, it’s flossing. Whether you find traditional thread flossing challenging to maneuver, messy, or just time consuming, you are not alone. However, The American Dental Association (ADA) and our office want you to be able to floss regularly and thoroughly. Consider these effective alternatives to remove unwanted plaque from the places your toothbrush simply can’t reach.

1.) Disposable Floss Pick

These convenient little tools have plastic handles and Y-shaped prongs that come pre-threaded with floss. No measuring, snipping or finger threading required. Ideal for travel and on-the-go use, simply grab the handle, insert the floss between your teeth, and when done, toss the tool away.

2.) Non-Disposable Floss Picks

Fashioned with a longer handle than their disposable counterparts, these picks may be an excellent option for patients with small mouths and/or crowded teeth. They also help to make reaching back teeth a breeze.

3.) Water Flossers

Electronic flossers use streams of pressurized water to clean between your teeth. There are many different models to accommodate price preferences, and most offer adjustable pressure settings to ensure your comfort during use.

4.) Interdental Brushes

Designed to look like tiny toothbrushes, interdental brushes are especially effective for those who wear braces. They are also a nice option for patients with mobility issues who struggle with traditional flossing. Another plus? Like toothbrushes they can be used repeatedly – simply ask our office when we recommend replacement.

5.) Air Flossers

These high-tech tools use air pressure combined with a small amount of water to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy. Considered to be less messy than their water-based cousins, air flossers offer easy point and click instructions – just aim the flosser between your teeth and a blast of air does the rest.

Keeping the spaces between your teeth and gums free from plaque and tartar is essential to your oral health. Finding tools and techniques that work for you is the first step towards establishing lifelong habits that lead to a lasting, healthy smile. Consider any of these flossing alternatives or call our office for a recommendation. Our team will be happy to evaluate your unique needs to help you find the solution that is right for you.

Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 689-7964
91-902 Fort Weaver Road, Suite 208
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

Craze Lines: Not as Crazy as You May Have Thought | Cosmetic Dentist Ewa Beach

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If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and seen what appeared to be small cracks on the outside of your teeth, congratulations. You may have craze lines.

First, it’s important to know that these lines are relatively harmless in most cases. Craze lines appear as a natural response to years of normal tooth function. Throughout your life, teeth can take a lot of pressure from normal chewing. If you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding), or regularly use your teeth as a tool to cut things, these effects may be more severe.

Craze lines can appear on the front or back of your teeth and are common in adult teeth. Usually, they don’t require treatment and are considered by many dental professionals to be simple cosmetic concerns. For instance, if you drink certain beverages or use tobacco, these lines can become stained.

If you have concerns, your doctor can check on your craze lines to see if they are exasperbating any tooth injuries, or seemed to be caused by frequent grinding. The majority of cases have no negative effects. Some studies have explored the possibility that craze lines may increase sensitivity after bleaching treatments, but the results were inconclusive.

If you don’t already have craze lines and want to limit your chances of getting them, it’s important to keep up with your regularly scheduled visits to a dental professional. While they may be unavoidable for some patients, it’s always a good idea to practice the best possible oral health care.

We are experts in keeping your smile as healthy as possible for as long as you live. If you have any questions about your dental health, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We look forward to hearing from you.    

Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 689-7964
91-902 Fort Weaver Road, Suite 208
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

Top 5 Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth | Family Dentist Ewa Beach HI

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When it comes to your oral health, what you should eat is just as important as what you shouldn’t. By limiting certain types of foods and focusing on others, you can set yourself up for a lifetime with a healthy smile. Here is a list of foods shared by our 96706 dentist that you should strive to eat, and others to consume with moderation. 

Best Foods for Your Teeth 

Cheese and other dairy products. Dairy is high in calcium and protein, which strengthen tooth enamel. Cheese, milk, yogurt, and other dairy products are all great sources. 

High-fiber foods. Fiber keeps saliva flowing, which helps to get rid of bacteria and fight decay. Leafy greens, beans, and many fresh fruits contain high amounts of fiber. 

Water. Water should be your main drink of choice. It helps rinse food particles or sugars away and keeps saliva levels high. 

Sugar-free gum. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), sugar-free gum can protect your teeth by increasing saliva flow. Chewing a stick after a meal can also help clean any food particles that remain. 

Lean protein. Foods like eggs, fish, chicken, and various red meats contain phosphorus, which is necessary for your body to fully absorb calcium. 

Worst Foods for Your Teeth 

Acidic foods. The acids found in citrus fruits, wine, and candy can wear down the calcium buildup in your teeth and create opportunities for tooth erosion. 

Sodas. Soft drinks contain high levels of sugar and acidity which are both equally destructive to your teeth. 

Sports drinks. While sports drinks may help you rehydrate during physical activity, they also contain a lot of sugar. We recommend limiting sports drink consumption and switching to water. 

Alcohol. Alcohol is known to dry out your mouth, which prevents saliva from doing its job. Alcohol can also stain your teeth. 

Sticky or sugary candies. Sugar is one of the main causes of tooth decay and is commonly found in candy. Limit how much candy you eat and drink water afterwards to wash away any remaining sugars. 

By watching what you eat or drink, you can protect your oral health. Minimize your consumption of problematic foods and aim for those that will benefit your teeth. In addition, regular cleanings and exams will help keep your smile bright and healthy. Contact our Ewa Beach, HI dental office today to schedule your next dental appointment.

Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 689-7964
91-902 Fort Weaver Road, Suite 208
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

Cracked Teeth and How to Avoid Them | Dentist in 96706

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A cracked tooth can affect the appearance of your smile and hinder the function of your teeth. Depending on the severity, you may experience discomfort or find it difficult to chew comfortably. Thankfully, damage to your teeth can be avoided by knowing what causes it. Below we have gathered the most common reasons for a tooth to crack and how to avoid it from happening. 

Chewing Hard Foods 

While healthy teeth are strong, they are not indestructible. Try to avoid or limit chewing on hard foods such as nuts, ice, or popcorn kernels, as these can cause cracks in your teeth. 

Grinding Your Teeth at Night 

Teeth grinding (known as bruxism) is a common occurrence and can happen without your knowledge. Most teeth grinding happens in your sleep and can gradually damage your enamel, causing stress fractures or what are known as craze lines. Combat this issue by wearing a night guard, which acts as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth and protects them from wear. 

Natural Aging 

As you age, so do your teeth. While you can’t avoid aging, you can help limit the effects it has on your oral health. Cracked teeth are commonly found in people over the age of 50 due to a lifetime of daily use. Because of this, it is important to practice strong oral hygiene habits and visit the dentist on a regular basis.  

Trauma to the Mouth 

Traumatic dental injuries can occur during vehicle or sport collisions. Often, these accidents are unavoidable and can cause damage to your teeth. While playing contact sports, we encourage you to wear a mouth guard to lower your chances of cracking a tooth. 

Cracked teeth, especially when left untreated, are one of the leading causes of tooth loss. There are ways to avoid these injuries that will help keep your teeth strong and safe. Sometimes, a cracked or chipped tooth is unavoidable. In this case, our team at Tokunaga Family Dentistry can help restore your teeth back to full health. 

For more information or to schedule your next appointment, contact our Ewa Beach, HI dental office today.

Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 689-7964
91-902 Fort Weaver Road, Suite 208
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

How to Keep a Healthy Tongue | 96706 Dentist

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When it comes to oral health, protecting your teeth and gums are often the focus. However, did you know that your tongue needs proper care as well? Your tongue is responsible for many essential functions like swallowing, tasting, and talking, but it can harbor bacteria that harms your oral health. Learn how to keep your tongue healthy by following these four treatment tips shared by our Ewa Beach dentist

Practice Optimal Oral Hygiene 

Brushing and flossing twice a day will protect your mouth from pesky bacteria, but make sure to brush your tongue as well. As an alternative, try using a tongue scraper once a day. Tongue scrapers will scrape away any build up that has formed on your tongue. 

Drink Plenty of Water 

If you are dehydrated, it’s possible for your tongue to lose moisture and become uncomfortable. Drinking water ensures your hydration and will wash away food particles and bacteria from the surface of your tongue. Proper hydration can also prevent bad breath. 

Maintain a Healthy Diet 

Your tongue is a muscle, and what you eat can affect its health. Fill your diet with foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, calcium, lean protein, and fiber. Avoid eating processed foods and treats that are filled with sugar. 

Visit our Dental Office 

By visiting your dentist at least twice a year for a routine dental cleaning and examination, you can protect your tongue, teeth, and the rest of your mouth. During these visits, we will thoroughly check all aspects of your oral health. We will then work with you to create an oral health plan that is tailored to your needs. 

Don’t let your oral health slip by neglecting proper care for your tongue! Put these four tips into practice so you can enjoy a bright and healthy smile. Contact our dental office in Ewa Beach, HI today to learn more about proper oral care or to schedule your next appointment.

Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 689-7964
91-902 Fort Weaver Road, Suite 208
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

Chipped a Tooth! What Can I Do? | Ewa Beach HI Dentist

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It usually starts pretty innocently. You’re biting into your favorite hard candy and suddenly you realize that there’s one little hard piece in your mouth you can’t seem to dissolve. You check it out and fear overcomes you when you see it’s a little chipped piece of a tooth. 

Enamel may be one of the hardest substances in the body but like most things in life, it has its limit. Whether you are chewing on ice or grinding your teeth at night, there’s always a chance of putting your teeth at risk. If you have chipped your tooth, there’s no need to panic. Here are a few things we can do to restore your beautiful smile: 

Tooth Bonding 

Tooth bonding has many structural uses, and it can be very helpful for repairing chipped teeth. Tooth bonding is a simple procedure that doesn’t require any numbing. The bonding materials and porcelain used are natural in color and can be designed to perfectly match your teeth. Your smile will look good as new, and people will have a hard time noticing you ever chipped a tooth to begin with.  

Dental Crown 

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that helps protect your teeth, while at the same time improving its appearance. An AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry) dentist will likely use a tooth colored crown made out of porcelain or zirconia to look identical to your teeth. Crowns will also provide the durability and strength your teeth need to withstand daily use. You may only need a partial crown if our dentist sees that the chip doesn’t affect the entire tooth.  

Porcelain Veneers 

Porcelain laminate veneers are made up of several thin layers of ceramic used to repair chipped teeth. They will be bonded to the teeth to replace the original enamel of the tooth with a special adhesive. Dental veneers are a fantastic way to get your tooth to look whole and healthy again.  

If you have a chipped tooth and would like more information on these methods, or to schedule a consultation with our Ewa Beach HI dentist, contact Tokunaga Family Dentistry today. 

Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 689-7964
91-902 Fort Weaver Road, Suite 208
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

How Long Does a Temporary Crown Last? | Ewa Beach HI Dentist

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If you have recently seen the dentist in Ewa Beach HI for root canal therapy, you likely have a temporary crown placed over the tooth until the permanent crown is molded and created for your unique mouth. While some patients are eager to get through the entire process, some patients may be less eager to return for additional, necessary dental work and wondering how long they can get away with wearing the temporary crown.  

So, how long can you wear the temporary crown? Well, the answer is, “It depends.” The permanent crown is typically placed within a few weeks to a month after dental procedures. The tooth and soft tissue are given time to heal, and the lab needs time to manufacture the one-of-a-kind crown. Placing the final crown may be delayed if our Ewa Beach HI dentist has recommended other dental procedures. Ideally, the permanent crown should be placed as soon as possible. 

What Happens if the Temporary Crown Has Been in Longer than a Few Weeks? 

The longer the temporary crown is in your mouth, the more likely the crown is to significantly wear. This can cause a shift in tooth position and the occlusion. Our Ewa Beach HI dentist will advise you on how long your temporary crown can last based on placement and your oral habits. 

Remember, even if you can get away with leaving a temporary crown longer than the recommended time frame, it doesn’t mean you should. Contact Tokunaga Family Dentistry if you have a question about your crown, or to schedule an appointment with our Ewa Beach dentist for your root canal therapy. 

Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 689-7964
91-902 Fort Weaver Road, Suite 208
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

Effective Prevention for Healthier Smiles | Dentist Ewa Beach HI

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Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children and adolescents. About ¼ of children and more than half of teens currently have this illness. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 90% of adults over age 20 have some amount of tooth-root decay. However, tooth decay is highly preventable. By providing effective dental care during childhood, better long-term oral health may be achieved.

Here are some practices that can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues at every age:

Hygiene

Brush teeth twice each day with a soft-bristled brush. Clean your tongue gently with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Use fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen enamel. Children should use only toothpastes designed for kids’ use. Replace toothbrushes every 2-3 months.

Clean between teeth daily. Use dental floss or another interdental cleaner. Talk to your hygienist for a recommendation and instructions for effective use.

Diet

Eat healthy foods and limit sugary and acidic foods. Drink plenty of water.

Sealants

A recent study on the effectiveness of sealants was published jointly by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). They found that sealants can prevent up to 80% of tooth decay in permanent molars when used for children and teens. Adults may see similar benefits from use, as well. Additionally, no adverse effects have been reported with use of sealants on patients of any age. Talk to our dentist about whether dental sealants may help you prevent tooth decay.

Fluoride

Fluoridation of public water has been listed by the CDC as one of the great achievements in public health in the 20th century. Studies have shown tooth decay in children who have fluoridated water sources is reduced by up to 40%. If you have concerns about tooth enamel weakness or if you live in an area without fluoridated water, ask our 96706 dentist whether supplemental fluoride may be right for you.

Dental Care

Visit our office for a professional dental cleaning and thorough exam at least twice each year, or as instructed. Seek treatment right away if issues are identified.

Effective preventive care saves time and money and can help ensure a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles. For more information about tooth decay prevention, contact our Ewa Beach, HI dental office.

Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 689-7964
91-902 Fort Weaver Road, Suite 208
Ewa Beach, HI 96706

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“I love Dr. Tokunaga and all of the staff! My family and I been seeing Dr. Tokunaga for over 20 years, pretty much my whole life. She makes me feel comfortable and in return I trust her with my teeth. I’ve never had a cavity and she helps me keep close eyes on ways of preventing it as well. I look forward to sharing more family and friends to see Tokunaga Family Dentistry very soon!” – Dezsanna

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Dentist in Ewa Beach
91- 902 Fort Weaver Road, Suite 208
Ewa Beach, Hawaii 96706

(808) 689-7964 |  

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