For Dr. Carol E. Follette DDS and her team, a big area of focus is helping patients get the smile of their dreams. As a leading cosmetic dentist serving Southern California, Dr. Follette’s expertise in this area is well-known. What might not be as widely known are the following five ways that you can personally contribute to a better smile.

Patience Pays Off

After a meal, or subsequent to drinking an acidic beverage like orange juice or coffee, many people brush their teeth in order to avoid staining. This is a smart move, but what most people don’t know is that waiting 30 - 60 minutes before brushing is better than picking up your toothbrush right away. It may sound strange, but the fact is that brushing immediately actually facilitates enamel erosion and can lead to dentin exposure, which make the teeth look more yellow.

Use a Straw

Straws are fun to drink with, especially if you’re a kid – and they’re also handy for keeping that scintillating smile of yours. When you drink through a straw and position it near the back of your mouth, you reduce the amount of time that the liquid is in contact with your teeth. The less time a beverage is in your mouth, the better your chances of avoiding stained teeth, cavities, and tooth decay. If you have environmental concerns, we recommend opting for a reusable straw rather than a plastic one.

Rinse With Water

Water offers our bodies countless benefits, and that includes our teeth. Water offers superb protection against enamel erosion and tooth decay, which is why it’s a great idea to rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking – especially if the food/beverage is sugary or acidic. Moreover, rinsing/drinking water is a great way to keep your teeth from staining after you consume a colored beverage.

Brush The Right Way

Regular flossing and brushing is key for keeping teeth looking good – but if you’re not brushing the right way, a lot of your hard work will be undone. Proper brushing means keeping your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle when you’re brushing near your gum line. Maintaining this angle allows you to massage/clean your teeth and your gum line simultaneously. Also, don’t forget about the backside of your teeth. This is an area that’s oft overlooked but one that if ignored can see a buildup of plaque, tartar, and other decay-friendly substances. And of course, as weird as it may feel, be sure to brush your tongue. Doing so gets rid of the bacteria that causes bad breath and contributes to enamel erosion.

Choose “Teeth-Friendly” Foods

If you like to drink coffee and enjoy the occasional sugary treat, that’s ok – as long as you’re also getting a healthy dose of “teeth-friendly” foods. These include raw vegetables like celery and carrots, and fruits such as apples and pears. Not only are these foods healthy, they are also possess a firm, crisp texture that naturally cleans your teeth. Another food that falls into the category is popcorn, though it’s a good idea to rinse afterwards so that smaller particles don’t linger between your teeth.

Schedule an Appointment

Wherever you live in Southern California – Malibu, Marina Del Rey, or Pacific Palisades – trust Dr. Follette to take exceptional care of your mouth. A great smile depends on expert techniques, and our services include teeth whitening, laser periodontics, veneers, and more. Contact us today and make an appointment.



There are many options in dentistry today for missing teeth replacement. A dental bridge is just one such option, and today we explain the benefits of fixed bridges. A fixed (non-removable) bridge is durable and creates an excellent replacement for missing teeth

You’re probably most familiar with a “traditional bridge” that involves two crowns that are placed on two adjacent teeth and are then attached to an artificial tooth (pontic). This creates a “bridge” that fills the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

4 Reasons to Choose a Dental Bridge

You and the Santa Monica family dentist may decide on a fixed bridge for any of the following reasons:

  • Fill space of missing teeth.
  • Prevent drifting of remaining teeth
  • Restore ability to chew and/or speak clearly
  • Upgrade from a removable partial denture
How We Place a Dental Bridge

Placement of a fixed bridge will generally require two or more visits. The two anchoring teeth will be prepared by removing a portion of enamel, allowing room for a crown. Your Santa Monica family dentist will then take an impression of your teeth. This mold is sent to a dental lab where a custom-fit bridge will be created specifically to fit your teeth and accommodate your bite. You will leave your first appointment with a temporary bridge created by your dentist.

Your second appointment takes place once the permanent bridge has been created. At this point, it will be carefully checked and adjusted to make sure it fits properly. The bridge is then permanently cemented.

At the conclusion of this visit, you receive instructions on how to properly care for your new permanent bridge. The life of your new bridge will be extended greatly by following proper brushing and flossing techniques and scheduling regular dental visits.


It will no doubt surprise some of our patients that many of the foods and drinks we love are also among the most damaging to teeth. Dr. Carol E. Follette, a respected Santa Monica dentist with expertise in all facets of oral care, reviews some of the worst offenders.


It’s an incontestable fact that lemons, oranges, and grapefruit are packed with healthy doses of vitamin C. Alas, it’s also a fact that these foods are also packed with enamel-eroding acid that renders teeth vulnerable to cavities and decay. Not only are citrus fruits bad for teeth, they can also exacerbate mouth-sore symptoms. If you enjoy snacking on an orange or adding lemon to your water, our advice is to consume citrus in moderation and rinse your mouth with water right after consuming.

Dried Fruits

Sticking with the fruit theme, the dried versions of the aforementioned foods, as well as figs, prunes, and apricots, also provide health benefits. Acid content is a bit lower in dried fruits, but sugar content is higher, and the fact that dried fruit is sticky means that it lingers on the teeth longer than normal. This gives the sugar time to find its way o to the teeth and into the gums, where it can do damage if left untreated. After consuming dried fruits, our local dentist recommends not just rinsing with water, but brushing and flossing too.


Many of us enjoy an after-work or weekend drink, but few people realize that alcohol actually dries out the mouth. This leaves our mouth short on saliva, which is a key protector of teeth since it washes away food particles and keeps solids and liquids from sticking to teeth and gums. Saliva even helps to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Thus, when you consume alcohol it’s a smart move to drink water during and after consumption.

Sour Candy

Candy is bad enough for our teeth if not consumed in moderation, but sour candy is especially harmful. That’s because sour candy is chewy, sticky, and chock-full of acids that can do a number on enamel. If you’re not diligent about ridding your mouth of a sour candy’s residue, cavities and tooth decay will likely follow. If you’re looking for a sweet that’s better for your mouth, choose chocolate. It tastes good, goes down quickly, and is easily rinsed away.

Potato Chips

Who doesn’t enjoy tearing open a bag of potato chips from time to time? The problem with chips though is their high starch content, which when trapped between our teeth and gums eventually breaks down into sugar. This sugar is consumed by the bacteria present in plaque, and the combination eats away at teeth.

Carbonated Drinks

Soda pop, even “diet” varieties, is loaded with sugar and acids that not only accelerate cavities and tooth decay, but also can stain and discolor teeth.

Schedule an Appointment

Our family dentist serving Santa Monica uses state-of-the-art dental tools and decades of collective experience to keep your mouth healthy. Make an appointment and visit us for all of your dentistry needs, from cleanings and whitening to veneers and bonding.