Archive Monthly Archives: February 2019

Non-Candy Stocking Stuffers

Candy is everywhere this time of year. It also seems to be a popular stuffer for the little ones stockings. But there are lots of inexpensive ways to fill that stocking without the added sugar. We have some great alternatives that they won’t cause

1. Small Toys – look for mini Lego

sets, bouncy balls, small stuffed animals,

playdough, Hot Wheels, Hexbug Nano, mini Barbies, army guys and other small figurines.

2. Novelty Items – such as temporary tattoos, silly string, glow sticks, yoyo, a Slinky, bubbles, silly putty, a small flashlight or headlamp.
3. Health & Beauty Items – how about a fun toothbrush, lip balm, cool socks, hairbrush, bows, barrettes, bubble bath, nail polish, and even slippers.
4. Non-Candy Treats – Look for special packaged fish crackers and pretzels, apple chips, real fruit leather, or mini oranges (always perfect for the toe of the stocking).
5. Others Items – you can even include small books, DVD’s, gift cards, water bottles, and small arts and craft kits.
So leave those brightly colored bags of candy on the shelf! A good tip is to look at the aisles next to the novelty candy. There are often small holiday theme toys available. Here’s to a fun and healthy holiday!

New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthy Smile

It’s that time of the year to reflect on the past 365 days and think about what the New Year has in store for us and what we would like to accomplish in 2016. Making New Year’s resolutions are a great way to provide you with some direction and better shape your path throughout the New Year. Resolutions encourage you to go beyond what you’ve been doing so far and challenge yourself in ways you never thought you could. Heath is often at the top of the list of resolutions for many people. We all know that physical health and healthy eating are an important part of living a healthy life, but have you thought about your oral health? Why not add some New Year resolutions for your teeth into the mix? Healthier teeth can lead to a brighter smile and more smiling puts you and the people around you in a happier mood.
Here are some key elements for you to consider in setting your oral health resolution.
1. Buy a new quality toothbrush…and use it!
Think about investing in a good rechargeable toothbrush.Oral B makes a great, affordable spin brush, (available at PDG) that performs beautifully! Commit to using the two-minute brushing timer twice a day and you will notice significantly more plaque removal than a manual brush!
2. Floss every day!

Even the best toothbrush can’t remove bacteria and plaque from between your teeth. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the thought of flossing daily, think about starting out slowly, say…2-3 times per week. You can gradually increase your flossing frequency until you are up to once a day. There are tons of great flossing aids at your local drug store that make flossing less of a chore. Eventually, you won’t be able to miss a day…and your gums with thank you!
3. Quit using tobacco products!
Tobacco use can cause all kinds of oral health problems, including: bad breath, stained teeth, gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer.
If you currently use tobacco, consider quitting this year. Instead, try out a healthier habit, like chewing sugar free gum, which stimulates the flow of saliva that washes away bacteria.
4. Visit your Dentist!
Your dentist knows best when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy. Scheduling regular checkups allows your dentist to monitor your dental health and address any concerns before they become bigger problems. Visiting your dentist every three to six months is the best way to ensure a clean bill of dental health.

5. Smile more in 2016!
It has been scientifically proven that a simple smile can boost your mood, relieve stress, & even strengthen your immune systems.
You owe a lot to those teeth and gums of yours. Do them a favor this New Year by practicing excellent dental health habits and smile big in 2016!

Teeth Grinding Help

Did you know that up to 50% of Americans grind or clench their teeth while sleeping? Do you wake up with a headache, sore jaw, or sluggishness? Perhaps you don’t even know you grind your teeth. Maybe a spouse or loved one woke you up in the middle of the night and made you aware of what was happening.
Teeth grinding, known in the dental community as bruxism, is a serious concern. Bruxism stems from a variety of issues, but is most commonly a result of stress, misaligned bite, or irregular sleep patterns. For some people, it’s a habit they acquired when they were a child and never grew out of. And while it may only be headaches and a sore jaw at first, chronic grinding can cause cracked teeth, receding gums, misaligned jaw, and can wear your teeth down.
What Can You Do?
1. Have your bite evaluated
Have a dental checkup to help identify potential dental-related causes. We can check for signs of wear and misalignment that can be at the root of your habit, as well as suggesting other types of evaluations such as sleep studies to check for apnea.
2. Learn to manage your stress

Some people can handle stress naturally. For others, stress can cause significant health issues and habits, including teeth grinding. Consider yoga or meditation to calm yourself and relieve anxiety so you don’t subconsciously turn to grinding. If you grind during your sleep, try taking a relaxing bath before bed. regular exercise is also a great stress reliever.
3. Be aware
This tip may sound obvious, but try to pay attention to when and why you grind your teeth during the day. For instance, there may be a time of day or an event that triggers grinding. Once you identify the trigger, you can make a conscious effort to avoid grinding.
4. Rest your jaw muscles
If you have jaw discomfort or headaches, try massaging your jaw muscles or applying a warm compress to the jaw area to relax muscles and relieve pain. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can also help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

5. Wear a night guard
One of the best preventive measures for teeth grinding is wearing a night guard. PDG offers a couple of different styles of mouth guards to fit your individual needs. Each guard is custom designed so they fit comfortably based on each patient’s bite pattern. Worn at night, a mouth guard for teeth grinding can prevent the habit even when you aren’t aware it’s happening.
Preventive measures are the key to combating bruxism, and a visit to Petaluma Dental Group can set you on the right path to a healthy and restful night sleep.

Teeth Trivia & Fun Facts

Jaw muscles can contract with a force as great as 200 pounds of pressure on back molars and 55 pounds of pressure on anterior incisors.
The average human produces 25,000 quarts of saliva in a lifetime. That is enough spit to fill 2 swimming pools!
The Statue of Liberty’s mouth is 3 feet wide.
George Washington had several dentures made of hippopotamus, cow, & walrus teeth, as well as elephant tusk.
A sneeze leaves your mouth at over 600 mph!
If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35% of your tooth surfaces.
100 years ago 50% of adults in North America were toothless. Today less than 10% of adults over age 65 have lost teeth.
Teeth are the hardest substance in the human body.
Ancient cultures chewed on twigs or roots to clean their teeth.
The first nylon bristled toothbrush with a plastic handle was invented in 1938.
Egyptians used a form of toothpaste over 5000 years ago.
Colgate introduced aromatic toothpaste in a jar in 1873.

90% of systemic diseases have oral manifestations.

Regular dental cleanings can help prevent heart attacks.
Tooth Decay is the 2nd most common disease in the U.S. after the common cold.
Over 40% of North Americans have at least one tooth that could benefit from some type of treatment.
Most tooth loss in people under 35 years of age is caused by athletic truma, fights or accidents. Periodontal disease (gun disease) is the most common cause of tooth loss in people over 35 years.

The first set of false teeth were discovered in the 8th century BC.
Certain cheeses including Aged Cheddar, Swiss and Monterey Jack, have been found to protect teeth from decay.In ancient Egyptian times, you were more likely to suffer from a toothache if you were well-to-do. This was because those who could afford to, ate sweets.
Athletes are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth when not wearing a mouth guard during athletic activities.
The earliest record of tooth decay was described by the Sumarians as “tooth worms”. There is also historical evidence that around 2700 BC, Chinese acupuncture was used to treat tooth pain.
Over three million miles of dental floss is purchased in North America each year.

Keep Your Kid’s Cavity FREE

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

There’s nothing we, as parents, want more for our children than a healthy life! We teach our kids to wash their hands, eat nutritious food, and take care of themselves. It’s also important to set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Great dental health now will provide overall health benefits well into adulthood.
The ADA and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that a child have their first dental visit between the ages of six months and one year. Though this may sound early, it’s important to establish a comfortable routine with dental visits, watch for developmental issues, and provide parents the tools they’ll need to help their children remain cavity-free.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic infectious disease of childhood. It’s also one that can be prevented! Here are some basic helpful guidelines provided by the ADA.
When teeth erupt, clean your child’s teeth at least twice a day with a xylitol toothpaste. Xylitol is an important prevention tool against tooth decay.

Take your child to the dentist by the baby’s first birthday. The earlier the visit, the better.

If you put your child to bed with a bottle, use nothing but water. When a child is given a bottle containing sugary liquids such as milk, formula or fruit juice, the teeth are under attack by bacterial acid for extended periods.
Breast-feeding has been shown to be beneficial for a baby’s health and development. However, after teeth appear, breast feeding often or for long periods can put your child at risk for severe tooth decay. Clean the baby’s mouth with a wet washcloth after breast-feeding, and encourage a bottle with plain water during the nighttime.
Switch from a bottle to a cup by age one.
With the right care, your child can grow up to have healthy teeth for a lifetime of smiles.

Thumb Sucking or Pacifier Use

If your child uses sucking to relieve boredom, keep his hands busy or distract him with things he finds fun.
Praise or reward your child when he does not suck his thumb or use the pacifier. Star charts, daily rewards, and gentle reminders, especially during the day, can be very helpful.

Apply a bandage on the thumb or finger, or wear a glove at nightSucking is a natural instinct for infants. Sucking thumbs, fingers or pacifiers canmake children feel secure and happy, and it helps them learn about their world. When does pacifier use and thumb, or finger sucking become a problem? If your child sucks aggressively on a pacifier, his thumb or fingers beyond 2 to 4 years of age, it may affect the shape of his mouth or how his teeth are lining up. It can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth. Breaking the habit often occurs on its own. But if your child’s habit continues beyond age 4, there are several thing you can try:to act as a reminder. No matter what method you try, be sure to explain things to your child. Never use harsh words, teasing or punishment. Upsetting your child is not an effective way of getting rid of the habit.

Fluoride and Adults

Experts used to think that fluoride was best suited for children by

strengthening teeth while they were still developing. Studies now show that topical fluoride, the kind in toothpastes and mouth rinses, as well as fluoride treatments, are beneficial for people of all ages. Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay and can repair teeth in the very early, microscopic stages of the disease.
How do I know if I need fluoride treatments?
If your drinking water has fluoride added, (Petaluma does NOT add fluoride to water), then brushing regularly with fluoride toothpaste is considered sufficient for most adults with healthy teeth. People who drink mostly bottled water and those with certain conditions such as dry mouth or receded gums should talk to the dentist about special fluoride treatments. Fluoride treatments can also be helpful for people who wear braces or have had radiation therapy to the neck or head.
What’s the difference between fluoride toothpaste and fluoride treatments?

Fluoride is added to most toothpastes or fluoride mouth rinses that are available in a store or at a pharmacy, but the fluoride preparation used in the dental office is a much stronger concentration. Typically your hygienist can apply the treatment by simply brushing on the fluoride. This takes only a few minutes. After the fluoride is applied you will be asked not to eat or drink for a least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride and help repair microscopic carious areas. Depending on your oral health status, fluoride treatments may be recommended every three, six or 12 months.
If you have any questions regarding fluoride treatments, please ask you dentist or hygienist.

Bad Breath and What To Do About It

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be embarrassing and tough on those around you. Don’t feel bad though. Nearly 1 in 3 people have bad breath.

Fortunately, this problem is often easy to fix. What helps? Good oral hygiene, regular visits to your dentist, and ruling out any other factors, such as some medications, diets, and foods, that could make your breath less than pleasant.
What causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath is often caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth that causes inflammation and gives off noxious odors or gases that smell bad. Everybody has nasty breath at some point, like when you get out of bed in the morning.
If you’re not sure if you have bad breath, ask a trusted friend. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell on your own. There is also another way to know. It may seem a bit gross, but look at and smell your dental floss after you use it. If your floss smells or there is blood on it, then there are probably foul odors in your mouth.
Studies show that about 80% of bad breath comes from an oral source. For instance, cavities or gum disease can lead to bad breath, as can tonsils that have trapped food particles, cracked fillings, and less-than-clean dentures.
Several internal medical conditions can also cause your breath to turn bad. They include diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, and chronic bronchitis. You’ll want to see your doctor to rule out things like acid reflux, postnasal drip, and other causes of chronic dry mouth.
What can help Bad Breath?
If your bad breath is not cause by a medical condition, then the best thing that you can do is be sure to visit your dentist at least every six months and take good care of your teeth and gums at home. Ideally, you should brush and floss after every meal to help reduce the odor-causing bacteria in your mouth. While a regular toothbrush works just fine, we recommend using an electric toothbrush with a timer. This encourages most to brush their teeth for a full two minutes! Electric toothbrushes also have a uniform motion that helps remove plaque more efficiently than manual brushes.
What you eat affects breath. That’s because as food is digested, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream and then is released by your lungs when you breathe. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and regular meals. Snacking on raw carrots, celery, or apple slices can help clear your mouth of food particles.

Avoid breath busters such as garlic, onions, and some other spicy foods. Stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth. Avoid sugary drinks and don’t drink too much coffee. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue. Consider switching to an herbal or green tea.
Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can give people foul breath. Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath reek for up to 10 hours after you finish drinking.
Chew sugarless gum. Doing so 20 minutes after a meal can help with saliva flow. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities while freshening breath.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Spring is here, and along with it comes baseball season. While we all love baseball, there is a dark cloud that hangs over the sport…the overwhelming use of chewing tobacco. Well, the tide is beginning to turn.

Chewing or smokeless
tobacco, which has been stuffed in the cheeks of major league baseball players for decades, is being banned at a growing number of ballparks. So far, four ballparks have passed bans on smokeless tobacco, including San Francisco. It’s important that children not be exposed to smokeless tobacco or see it being used by their on-field sports heroes.
Did you know that almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year? The good news is that when cancer is detected and treated early, there is a high survival rate!
Besides environmental factors; tobacco, sun, age, diet and alcohol, HPV (human papillomavirus) has a strong link to oral cancer. Petaluma Dental Group can do a screening to test you for HPV and will be able to tell you more about your susceptibility to oral cancer. Regular visits to your dentist can also improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, when cancer can be treated more easily.

In between visits, it’s important to know the following signs and symptoms of oral cancer. Contact Petaluma Dental Group if you have any of these symptoms and they do not disappear after two weeks.
The symptoms of mouth or throat cancer can include:
• a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
• red or white patches
• pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
• a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
• difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
• a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
So enjoy our beautiful Sonoma County spring, take the kids to baseball games, picnic on our beautiful hills and don’t forget to ask your dentist to do your oral cancer screening and HPV testing on your next visit.

Spring Cleaning? Don’t Forget Your Teeth!

When many of us think of spring, we think of spring cleaning! But don’t forget about your teeth! Here are some top reasons to visit your dentist regularly.
Stop tooth loss and prevent cavities

We all know that plaque is the leading cause of tooth decay and can cause cavities if left unattended. Did you also know that gum disease begins when plaque builds up? As gum disease advances, plaque moves further down the tooth where it can destroy the supporting bone in your jaw, causing teeth to loosen and fall out. Regular check-ups and dental cleanings, flossing daily, and brushing twice a day are key factors in preventing gum disease.
Help maintain your overall health
Recent studies have linked heart attacks and strokes to gum disease, resulting from poor oral hygiene. Regular dental cleanings help to keep your teeth and gums healthy and could possibly reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes. Your dentist also screens you for oral cancer, which is highly curable if diagnosed early.
Brighten your smile
A dental cleaning can remove some of the built-up stains that can happen over time by drinking coffee, tea or wine, leaving you with a brighter, whiter smile!
Freshen your breath
Dental studies show that about 85 percent of people with persistent bad breath, also known as halitosis, have a dental problem that is to blame. Even if you brush and floss regularly, professional dental cleaning are needed to remove plaque and bacteria that regular brushing and flossing can’t reach. This will help keep your mouth healthy and fresh.
Save money
Most dental insurance plans pay for all or most of the cost of dental
cleanings and check-ups. At Petaluma Dental Group we offer Plan For Health, a wellness program that includes 3 cleanings, all exams and

x-rays for a year. It’s a great, low cost way to keep healthy and up to date with your oral hygiene. In the long run you will save money, time and pain by maintaining good oral hygiene at home and visiting your dentist regularly!
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