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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.

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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).  

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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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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