5 Tips for Creating Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits

Family BrushingLead by Example

Kids look to their parents to set standards in all things, including oral hygiene. How you behave is how they will act. Since the best way to teach children is by example, it is important that your child sees you brushing twice a day and flossing. Include your child in the process. Do it together, allowing them to help by putting toothpaste on your brush. Your demeanor in the dentist office will also influence how your little one behaves during their own visit. Remaining calm demonstrates that going to the dentist isn’t scary, and they’ll be much more cooperative during their own chair time.

Make Brushing Fun

Making brushing and flossing a game rather than a chore can be a great way to engage with your kids and get them excited about maintaining their oral health. Pretending the tooth brush is a hiker exploring a cave (their mouth) and the floss is a rope is one idea. Older kids can benefit from a reward system. Every time they brush their teeth they receive a gold star to add to a sticker chart. Once they get a certain number they’re rewarded with something like staying up an extra half hour past bedtime or an extra 15-minutes of electronics time.

Make a Visual Statement

plaqueDisclosingFind plaque disclosing products. These usually come in tablet form or mouthwash that turns plaque buildup bright colors. This is a great visual to help kids understand that even though they don’t see the plaque, it’s certainly there!

Teach Responsibility

Older kids get excited about the idea of having more responsibility. Provide them with the necessary tools to structure their oral hygiene routine. Have them set an alarm to alert them when it’s time to brush for bed and in the morning. They can even keep a brushing and flossing log to track the times and duration of their sessions.

Start Dental Visits Early

Teaching kids proper dental practices wouldn’t be complete without bi-annual exams. By visiting us regularly, you instill the importance of consistent exams. We love working with children, and we work hard to make the experience stress free and fun for the whole family.

Serramonte Dental Group

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

650-756-0938

Advertisements

Untreated Cavities in the US

Mother Daughter BrushingWith the vast advancements in the dental field this last decade, it may be surprising to learn that untreated cavities are still a prevalent and persistent issue for many people in the United States. More than one in five Americans has untreated cavities and periodontitis, according to Dr. Bruce Dye, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “It appears that we haven’t been able to make any significant strides during the last decade to reduce untreated cavities” (Dye).  This is in part attributed to economic conditions.  With more Americans relying on Medicaid, most states have eliminated dental benefits in order to ease strain on stressed budgets.

The good news is that Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide dental coverage for disadvantaged children, reducing the rates of children needing urgent dental care. Some studies have even suggested that American children are getting the same general level of dental care, regardless of income. The report found that rates of cavities were similar across all age groups, with teens having the lowest rates. Among children aged 5-11, 20% had untreated cavities, compared to 13% of those aged 12-19. Among children and teens, 27% had at least one dental sealant.  (Everyday Health)

shutterstock_14313997While comprehensive dental coverage is an undeniably large factor in the prevention and treatment of gum disease and cavities, you can lower your odds of developing dental issues through healthy lifestyle choices. Practicing good dental hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing is essential. Cutting back on sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks that feed the bacteria that lead to tooth decay is another controllable element in cavity prevention.  Regular dental visits are also paramount. When problems are identified and treated early, it prevents the necessity for more costly and invasive procedures.  If you are experiencing sensitivity or pain, schedule an appointment today.

 

Serramonte Dental Group

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

650-756-0938

Do You Have a Dental Disorder?

Dentist Looking Glass Teeth

The range of possible dental disorders is wide and many and some are more easily recognized than others. It could be a bit perplexing to consider you may have a dental disorder without realizing it, but it’s actually more common than you might think. Some disorders have obvious symptoms that may have you running to our office. Others can be more subtle. Do you feel tired, easily irritable, or have difficulty focusing? Do you have facial soreness or pain? Surprisingly, these may be the result of a dental disorder. Our goal is to educate our patients on common and uncommon symptoms that may be a sign to visit our office and receive the required care to remedy these conditions.

A dental disorder is a disruption of your body’s natural process relating to your oral health. Despite its origins, it is important to understand symptoms may be experienced elsewhere in the body. For this reason, many suffer from ailments they don’t consider relevant to tell their dentist. However, as we are a medical provider we encourage you to share things that may not seem related – you never know! Here are a few to keep on the lookout, so you can better identify signs should something be amiss.

shutterstock_115032628-VECTORRedness and swelling of the gums may indicate the presence of gingivitis, or early-stage gum disease. Left untreated, it can progress into full blown periodontitis that can threaten your smile and even cause tooth loss. Bleeding from the gums, tooth mobility, and soreness are all signs of periodontitis and should be checked.

Simple bad breath, or halitosis, is very common among adults and teens. While it usually isn’t cause for too much concern, we understand it can weigh on your self-esteem. We care about your health and happiness, and would love to work with you to address the root of the issue. Restoring healthy smiles is what we do; restoring confidence is a happy side effect.

Additionally, a dry mouth may not seem like a dire situation. However, if your mouth constantly feels dry it can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay. Saliva plays an important role in ridding your mouth of bacteria, it also aids in digestion meaning it can evolve into issues that transcend the health of your smile.

While scary to confront, oral growths are a condition that can emerge as serious. It is possible for oral growths to be completely benign and harmless, but in other cases they can be the beginning stages of cancer. For this reason it’s important a medical professional diagnose and treat the growths accordingly. During your cleaning appointment our hygienists will always perform a soft tissue exam of the cheeks and gums. Along with the top of and underside of your tongue, we check for any lesions, lumps, and bumps. Even if you are certain it’s harmless (for example, perhaps you suffered trauma to the face that injured your mouth), it’s still worth an appointment to ensure you’re not at an increased risk for infection or other potential issues.

We understand some conditions may seem complex. Rest assured we are here to work with you to find a solution to your unique needs. If you feel one or more of these conditions may apply to you or a family member, call our office to begin seeking relief today. We are here for you.

Serramonte Dental Group

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

650-756-0938

Dental X-Rays and Your Health

x-ray-961977_1280.jpg

X-rays, otherwise known as dental radiographs, are a staple of quality dental care. While x-rays bring undeniable advantages when it comes to identifying and diagnosing potential health issues, some may harbor reservations regarding the risks of exposure to radiation.  Fortunately we can ease those concerns and serve as a resource for understanding radiography, so you can feel confident receiving excellent care.

Why Do I Need Dental X-Rays

shutterstock_300017999X-rays are an essential tool in the dental community (and medical community at large) as they provide valuable insights that we would not otherwise be able to access with visual inspection alone. Our team, with the help of x-rays, is able to see between, inside, and under your teeth. In doing so, we have the ability to check a variety of important health factors. This includes the presence of cavities, the health of your tooth roots, the bone structure surrounding the tooth, the status of developing teeth, the health of your jaw bone, and many more conditions that we would not otherwise be able to monitor. X-rays are instrumental when there is a known issue; with them, we are better able to understand the full scope of the situation and design an appropriate treatment plan for the beauty and health of your smile.

Radiation Exposure from X-Rays

shutterstock_8399488Radiography technology has come a long way, and your exposure to radiation is negligible amounts in terms of risk – in fact, the risk you assume by forgoing x-rays can create long-term damage that could otherwise have been identified and treated. We understand some patients have concerns about radiation exposure, and it’s important to understand we are all consistently exposed to radiation each and every day. It’s high levels of exposure that are the true cause for concern. Furthermore, our office is proud to serve our patients using digital x-rays, an even more modernized technology – they use 80% less radiation than traditional versions! Our x-ray machines operate on a micro-scale that simply don’t compare to levels that warrant concern. We assure you receiving x-rays is one of the single most beneficial processes capable of saving your

If you have any unaddressed concerns, in regards to x-rays or other dental procedures, our knowledgeable staff is happy to share answers with you. We want you to feel relaxed in our office, and confident that you are receiving the best care possible!

Serramonte Dental Group

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

SF Office

450 Sutter St., #1836
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 650-756-0938

What Causes Bad Breath?

demons-bad-breathWe’ve probably all known someone with bad breath. It can be uncomfortable to engage in discussion with someone whose breath smells downright foul. It’s also a sensitive topic to broach, as well as being a very common concern – after all, each year Americans spend an estimated $3 billion dollars on breath freshening products. Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, is clearly a concern well felt amongst adults – but what is the cause?

Symptoms and Sources of Bad Breath

There are several sources of bad breath, including diet and dry mouth – both boil down to the presence of bacteria. The most common odor-causing bacteria are located on the tongue, particularly toward the back where they tend to be undisturbed. If neglected during cleaning, it’s a prime breeding ground for bacteria to feed on leftover food particles, dead skin cells, and mucus. In addition to the tongue, less common offenders include build-up between the teeth and below the gum line, increasing the bad odor. In addition to inconsistent oral care, there are other common reasons for mild cases of bad breath.

Most of us are familiar with the term ‘morning breath’ – a common reference to oral odor experienced in the early hours after waking up. Morning breath can be attributed to a dry mouth, as the result of inactivity during the night fueling bacteria production. Saliva is a natural defense against these offenders, and saliva production slows down the longer the mouth is inactive. If you suffer from chronic dry mouth, the same principles apply whether it’s morning or not. Additionally, food particles (especially sugars) remaining in the mouth encourage bacteria growth. All of this adds up to an increasingly unpleasant and embarrassing odor when you are speaking and breathing.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

When it comes to solutions, anything not addressing the presence of bacteria is a purely cosmetic fix. This includes gum, mints, and similar – sorry! The solutions very much depend on the specific source, and may be as easy as improving your general oral hygiene routine, or it could require a deep cleaning by a dental professional. A more serious cause, and subsequent solution, may be decay present in the mouth that requires removal. No matter the case, vigilant oral care will always be helpful in terms of avoiding unpleasant breath!

dentist-1468457_1920Bad breath, while harmless, can be an indicator your oral care habits are insufficient. If you are concerned about your breath, try brushing and flossing more thoroughly to remove any lingering bacteria. If the problem persists, contact us for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan!

 

Serramonte Dental Group

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

SF Office

450 Sutter St., #1836
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 650-756-0938

Holidays & Your Teeth

christmas-table-1909796_1920The holidays are infamous for being diet-breakers, but let’s not forget the effect excessive sweets can have on your oral health! Don’t worry, we aren’t going to convince you to pass on pecan pie or skip the cider; however, it is important to continue practicing healthy habits, even with some well-deserved indulgences peppered into your seasonal celebrations. Sugar affects everyone’s teeth, no matter how old. Younger children’s smiles are still in the process of development, which means they need added care throughout the growing stages.

The Start of Gum Disease and Cavities

To better understand why it’s important to monitor sugar consumption, we must first address the development of gum disease and cavities. When you eat normally throughout the day, food particles and bacteria collect in your mouth and on your teeth. As you brush and floss, these particles and bacteria are removed with no harm done. However, the presence of sugar fuels the bacteria, which creates enamel-destroying acid; left untreated, the acids corrode a hole in the tooth that deepens over time. Additionally, infection can occur in the gum tissues and lead to swelling, bleeding, and pain. It’s important to limit the bacteria’s opportunity to spread by practicing consistent oral care, and keep your mouth free of disease and infection.

Dental Decay in Children

christmas-1078274_1920When teeth are still in development, the story can be a bit different. The above still applies, but the stakes are higher during the formative years of cutting teeth. It isn’t uncommon to hear “oh, they’re just baby teeth”, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Child tooth decay is a rampant condition and, although completely preventable, is five times as common as asthma. It’s entirely possible for the infection to spread beneath the gum line, and compromise the healthy adult teeth growing below. Until children are a certain age, it’s imperative for parents to teach sustainable healthy habits. Fortunately, we have a tip or two for the whole family!

When it comes to limiting sugar intake, but also being practical enough to live a little (especially during the holidays!) we stress that it’s actually the timing of sugar consumption that affects dental health more than the quantity consumed. That means less sweets eaten throughout longer periods of the day can actually harm your teeth more than a large serving of dessert eaten at once. Additionally, serving sweets along with the meal can also prevent over-exposure, as they are less likely to sit on the teeth for extended periods of time. Bearing these facts in mind, we suggest instead of leaving sweets all over the house, limit consumption until meal time, and then allow yourselves and the kids to enjoy your share of holiday confections!

Serramonte Dental Group

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

SF Office

450 Sutter St., #1836
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 650-756-0938

When is it a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies are not like other emergencies. It can be hard to know the difference between harassing your dentist or getting in contact because there is a serious time-sensitive issue at hand – particularly if you’re not even sure what the problem is.

The rule of thumb is this: “If it hurts – it’s an emergency.” additional-img-for-general

If you chipped a tooth, but there’s no pain, it can likely wait until the office’s normal operating hours. Just be sure to take care when chewing as to not worsen the injury. But if it’s fractured or you’re in pain, you may have damaged the soft tissue inside your tooth or “pulp” and that needs to be looked at immediately lest the tooth be compromised.

A knocked out or loose tooth should be immediately brought to a dental professional to attempt to save. The more time that passes between the initial trauma and attempted dental restoration, the less viable the tooth will be. In cases like this, if the tooth is loose please try to keep it in place by either keeping a finger there or gently biting to minimize movement. If it’s completely knocked out, avoid touching the root and either place it back in the socket (if you can comfortably do so), or store it in a small container or submerged in milk if it’s available. Get to our office immediately to minimize the likelihood of permanent tooth loss.

(Did You Know! Milk can help maintain the correct fluid balance of the root, preserving it longer; water, on the other hand, can cause the cells to swell and die.)

Mouth Trauma

If you have any kind of mouth injury including: punctures, lacerations, tears, or similar to the cheeks/tongue/mouth – this is an emergency. Be careful not to take any pain killers which may be blood thinners, like aspirin or ibuprofen, as this can increase the severity of the injury. Abscesses or infections of the mouth are serious and can be life threatening in some cases. If you are experiencing any of these, it is certainly an emergency. If you are bleeding, dealing with a loose/missing tooth, in severe pain, have been dealt trauma to the mouth, or have swelling – this is a dental emergency. Call a medical professional immediately.

Dental emergencies are not a black and white issue, as is the case with injuries like broken bones. But when it comes to your oral health, pain is never normal, and severe pain means a severe issue. Fortunately, dental emergencies rarely pop up for no reason at all, and as long as you take care of yourself and avoid dangerous situations, they are mostly preventable. If you find yourself at a sport outing and take a rogue ball to the mouth, definitely give us a call. Until then, just keep to your usual oral hygiene routine and don’t worry – if the worst happens, you always have us to set things straight (:

Serramonte Dental Group

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

SF Office

450 Sutter St., #1836
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 650-756-0938