All Posts by Petaluma Dental Group


Life happens. Life can change on a dime, so it’s good to prepare by knowing what to do in a dental emergency.

At Petaluma Dental Group we have dental information sheets to help you on a variety of subjects. When you come in, take a look or pick up a copy of this flyer to have at home.

Remember, we are always here for you with Same-Day Emergency appointments and after-hours call line. We care about you!

Freshen Your Breath – Bad Breath Stinks!

Bad breath (also known as halitosis or malodor) can be embarrassing and can affect your relationships or even your job.

We all know that certain foods can cause bad breath (think coffee, onions, garlic and others). Other causes can be health problems: sinus infections, acid reflex and colds to name a few and certain medications.

However studies show that 80 – 90% of bad breath comes from an oral source. Here are some common causes:

Cleanliness: When a person does not brush or floss his/her teeth regularly, food particles remaining in the mouth can rot and cause bad odors. Your mouth also acts like a natural hothouse that allows these bacteria to grow. When you eat, bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth and leaves a foul-smelling waste product behind. 

Gum Disease:
Bad breath that just won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease, which is caused by a sticky, cavity-causing bacteria called plaque. Gum disease is an infection in your gums and like all infections, needs to be treated right away.

Cavities, rotten teeth, cracked fillings and oral infections can also cause bad breath that cant be “fixed” with mouthwash. These conditions need to be addressed as the further they deteriorate the more they will affect your body’s overall health.

What are treatment options and home remedies for bad breath? What can be done to prevent bad breath?

Treatment of bad breath depends on the cause.

The American Dental Association recommends the following:

  • Brush and floss teeth regularly. Remember to brush the tongue, or use a tongue scraper, to remove bacteria from its surface. Brushing the tongue can help with bad breath caused by foods a person has eaten.
  • See a dentist regularly for checkups and to ensure dentures and braces are properly fitted and cleaned (and clean dentures thoroughly each night). This prevents bacteria from growing.
  • Quit smoking or using chewing tobacco.
  • Keep the mouth moist by drinking water and chewing sugarless gum or sugar-free hard candy to stimulate the production of saliva. Eat a diet of foods that need to be thoroughly chewed to keep saliva flowing. Foods that require a lot of chewing, such as apples or carrots, are good options.
  • Over-the-counter mouthwash can help kill bad breath-causing bacteria and may temporarily mask bad breath odors, but it may not treat the underlying cause.
  • Natural remedies used in the treatment of bad breath include chewing on mint or parsley.

If bad breath is due to a health problem such as a sinus infection, diabetes, acid reflux, GERD etc., then the underlying medical issue needs to be treated.

If bad breath is a side effect of taking a medication, discuss with a health care professional whether there are other options for medication that can be taken. Never stop taking a medication without first consulting your health care professional.

For patients who suffer from dry mouth (xerostomia), artificial saliva may be prescribed by a dentist.

We are here to help you. If you would like to set up an appointment for a checkup please call us at: (707) 762-0067

3 Good Reasons to See a Dentist BEFORE Cancer Treatment

Feel better...Save Teeth and Bones...Fight Cancer




Cancer treatment can cause side effects in your mouth. A dental checkup before treatment starts can help prevent painful mouth problems.


A dentist will help protect your mouth, teeth and jaw bones from damage caused by head and neck radiation and chemotherapy. Children also need special protection for their growing teeth and facial bones.


Serious side effects in the mouth can delay, or even stop, cancer treatment. To fight cancer best, your cancer care team should include a dentist.


Brush gently, brush often

Floss gently - do it daily

Keep your mouth moist

Eat and Drink with care

Stop using tobacco

• Brush your teeth, and your tongue, gently with an extra-soft toothbrush.

• Soften the bristles in warm water if your mouth is very sore.

• Brush after every meal and at bedtime.

• Floss once a day to remove plaque

• Avoid areas of your gums that are bleeding or sore, but keep flossing your other teeth.

• Rinse often with water

• Don't use mouthwashes that contain alcohol.

• Use a saliva substitute to help moisten your mouth.

• Choose soft, easy-to-chew foods.

• Protect your mouth from spicy, sour, or crunchy foods.

• Choose lukewarm foods and drinks instead of hot or icy-cold ones.

• Avoid alcoholic drinks.

• Ask your cancer care team to help you stop smoking or chewing tobacco. People who quit smoking or chewing tobacco have fewer mouth problems.

We are here to help. We have more information on this subject. If you would like to additional information, just let us know or contact us. 

Should You Replace Your Toothbrush Every 3 Months?

Your toothbrush looks a little sad. The ends are frayed and sticking out, it looks a little faded and used. Should I pick one up at the store or order one on Amazon? I’ll just get new one when I get my cleaning. It’s probably okay. Sound familiar? What’s the worst that could happen from using an old toothbrush anyway, right?

As we know, a healthy mouth starts with having good a dental habits. Part of a good dental routine is making sure you change your toothbrush every three months because believe it or not, using an old toothbrush can negatively affect your oral health. From causing sickness to damaging your gums, an old toothbrush could be your mouth’s downfall.

Introducing Bacteria

Your toothbrush is constantly exposed to water and the bacteria that is found in your mouth. It makes sense then that bacteria are transferred onto your toothbrush and establish colonies thanks to the wet environment, which allows the bacteria to thrive. That’s the same bacteria that causes cavities. With bacteria living on your brush, it can be continually transferred back to your mouth instead of being rinsed out each night.

Reintroducing bacteria into your mouth on a daily basis can cause damage to your teeth and oral health by causing infections or tooth decay. Replacing your toothbrush every three months can help ensure you are not introducing harmful bacteria into your mouth on a regular basis.

Cleaning Ineffectively

Using your toothbrush twice a day for three months can quickly wear down its bristles. A frayed toothbrush cannot stand up to the cleaning power of a new brush because its bristles aren’t as sturdy. When the bristles of a toothbrush wear down, they cannot reach into crevices as well to clean the bacteria and plaque off of your teeth. It’s best to keep a toothbrush that is in good condition so you clean your teeth as effectively as possible.

Causing Illness

Three months is longer than you may think. In that time, several sicknesses can come and go. While it is best to dispose of your toothbrush right after you recover from an illness, taking the extra precaution of disposing of your toothbrush every three months can help ensure you stay healthy. Bacteria and viruses can live for variable amounts of time including a few hours to several months according to National Health Services.

The Story of our Why: “Live wisely, love well, and serve greatly.”

The passion of Petaluma Dental Group is to provide a unique and exceptional experience for everyone who comes through our doors and to leave a positive impact on their lives.

This has been the commitment of the Petaluma Dental Group since I purchased it in 2009; but, truly, our hope is to do more than that. Not only do we want to leave a positive impact on those who come through our doors, we want to do so for our wider community and the world, and I think it’s important to share with you the story of our WHY.

The Story of our Why - Blog Image 1

The Story of Why

My early life was fraught with my own dental difficulties and plenty of moving — between having a gummy smile until the age of 10, to moving over 13 times in a 4-year span as a teenager, every single experience I had growing up was shaping me and setting me up for what I’m doing now.  The challenges I experienced built character, grit, and passion and helped put my life on the path to become not only the first dentist in my family, but the first to go to college.

Fast forward to the year 2009 — I was working with my own solo practice in Sonoma, and when the opportunity to purchase Petaluma Dental Group arose, I realized something.

My husband and I have two children (who were 2 and 4 years old at the time), and I thought back to my childhood, and I wondered...If my kids live in the same house their whole life and don’t have any exposure to the world, then how will they develop their own grit?  

It has been a dream of mine to be able to teach my kids about living a life of purpose and to be able to actually show them what it’s like to give back to those in need.

Purchasing Petaluma Dental Group was an opportunity to fulfill that lifelong dream of mine. When you have a group working together, like we do with the absolutely amazing team and leaders working together at Petaluma Dental Group, we’re able to support each other and allow one another to live our purpose.  

As such, Petaluma Dental Group is well-equipped to be able to serve and support the community locally and globally.

For example, in addition to our Give Kids a Smile and Super Kids Day events, at least two of our dentists travel 6 weeks out of the year to fulfill their passions, and I have also been able to pursue my calling of giving back with organizations like Missions of Mercy (a domestic philanthropic dental association), as well as international missions, such as the most recent ones this year, where my entire family and I went to serve in places like Haiti (in January), and Vietnam (in March).  

Story Of Our Why - Blog Image 2

These most recent trips to Haiti and Vietnam were amazing experiences, and presented a bigger opportunity than just allowing me to use my skills to give back and serve others.

It was the opportunity for my children to experience the wider world — its challenges, pains, and needs — and to not only inspire gratitude within them, but also show them the positive impact of a supportive mindset and a servant’s heart.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some amazing stories from our trip to Haiti and Vietnam (as well as the contributions that our children made), and I would love to hear your stories of passion, too.

I believe we are capable of inspiring servants’ hearts across generations that can lead and support and contribute to a better world, and I believe that when we all give, the world gives back.

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.

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