6 Common Dental Ha

Is it cliche to have a New Years Resolution? Probably, but there are a few habits you’d like to kick to the curb! It’s common for people to want to start living a healthy lifestyle. Why not be completely healthy and improve your dental health too? Poor oral health can put you at risk for heart disease.

6 Habits That Harm Your Teeth

 

  1. Nail biting can chip or crack teeth. It can even fracture the enamel on your teeth from chewing on hard surfaces. Also, it has an impact on your jaw and as a result, you can develop TMJ. Do you realize how dirty your fingers are? Even though we wash our hands, it’s hard to keep them clean. Nail biting also leads to gingivitis, there is a lot of dirt under our fingernails we aren’t aware of.

    Are you grossed out yet? Need tips to stop the biting? Cut them short! If you prefer the longer nail look, paint it with bitter-tasting nail polish. If you don’t like color, you can always opt for a clear coat! Because nail biting is often stress-induced, get a tiny stress ball or something to fidget with to keep your hands busy.

 

  1. Chewing on ice can break your tooth or filling. Ice and your teeth are both fragile and when you push them both together one will break. Most times its the ice, but from time to time it can be your teeth. Slow down the chewing and try drinks without ice so you won’t be tempted. If you insist on ice, drink with a straw and a lid to keep the ice out of sight.

 

  1. Teeth as tools may seem convenient at the time but are not good for your teeth. They aren’t supposed to open bags, rip tags off, hold things, or open bottles. They are strong but using them as tools can result in cracks and fracture or even worse, oral and facial injuries. Biting or chewing metal can cause serious damage. We have real tools made especially for things so you don’t have to use your teeth. Such as bottle openers, scissors, and bags. Teeth are for chewing and smiling!

soft bristles

  1. Hard brushing can cause damage to your gums. Soft bristles are the best for your gums. This can be tricky because it’s good to brush twice a day, but how do you know if you are brushing too hard? A sign is a frayed toothbrush, yes that’s common with an old toothbrush. But it starts to fray within the first three months, relax on the brushing. If you also begin to notice your gums receding, soften up on the brushing! Don’t squish the bristles against your gums! Think about brushing as a gentle massage, slow and steady win the race!

 

  1. Smoking and use of other tobacco products increase your risk of oral cancer. It can turn your teeth yellow or brown. You are also at risk for tooth decay, gum disease, bone damage, and tooth loss. Over time your gums get weaker and will have trouble properly holding your teeth in place.

 

  1. Not visiting your dentist is a no-brainer! It’s important to see your dentist every 6 months to avoid issues. CTA - appointment.pngRegular dental cleanings prevent tartar from eroding your teeth which helps prevents cavities and gum disease. Besides having your teeth professionally cleaned, you get checked for other abnormalities that could be a larger health issue.

 

Repeat this to yourself: New Year, New me. Cross things off your list, spice up your oral routine, go crazy at the gym, and eat healthy trendy foods. And most importantly, share how important a solid oral health routine is. Smile at all camera opportunities, and show the benefits of a healthy smile.

Dr. John Schulz, D.D.S.
Stonestown Medical Building
595 Buckingham Way, Suite 331
San Francisco, CA 94132 (map)

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Be A Breath Of Fresh Air This Holiday Season

It’s the season to get together! Do you always avoid one family member because their breath stinks? Or do people avoid you? Either way, nobody wants to be “that” person at gatherings. As time goes on, people don’t forget who the culprit is. Don’t let it be you!

Typically, we all wake up with bad breath because there is no constant saliva flow as we sleep. Saliva helps wash away bacteria growth. A reminder to why we brush and floss before we go to bed and when we wake up.

Did you know that over 40 million people in the U.S have bad breath? Most of the time you aren’t able to smell your own breath! Because of the embarrassment, often times we don’t mention it when we smell others breath.

What is Bad Breath?

It’s your oral bacteria which are living, eating, and breeding organisms. You know how all living things need food and needs to dispose of it? That’s what is happening in your mouth! Use this as motivation to start a better dental routine!

What Causes Bad Breath?

  • Smoking and Chewing Tobacco
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Dry Mouth
  • Diet

Brush.pngThe worst cause is smoking because it reduces saliva flow. Dry mouth occurs when your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. It is your mouth’s natural defense and without out it plaque and bacteria build up faster. Certain drinks like alcohol and coffee dry your mouth out as well. Sugary foods and drinks are bacteria’s favorite, it helps them grow/multiple faster. It’s important to brush and floss to help prevent plaque build-up.

You might want to keep a closer eye on your tongue as well. Your tongue doesn’t have a smooth surface; food debris, bacteria, and dead cells can be trapped there. Overtime, a coating forms across and as it gets thicker, your odor becomes stronger.

This year, don’t be the one with the breath that clears a room! Have a solid oral hygiene routine, a good one that includes dental cleanings every six months! If you are stuck on what to bring for your gathering try peppermint bark. It’s a nice breath refresher for anyone that needs it!

Pro Tip: Use dark chocolate chips – it’s good for your teeth (in moderation)!

If you are questioning, “How in the world is dark chocolate good for my teeth?” The answer is dark chocolate contains polyphenols which helps fight the growth of bacteria in your mouth, reducing risk of tooth decay. It can also offset bad breath!

Have a great holiday season!

Dr. John Schulz, D.D.S.
Stonestown Medical Building
595 Buckingham Way, Suite 331
San Francisco, CA 94132 (map)

Is it Genetic or Environmental

The air is becoming more crisp, leaves are changing colors and falling off their trees. It’s that time of year when it’s appropriate to add pumpkin spice to any food or drink and not be judged. #PumpkinSpiceEverything

What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving gatherings? Do you consider yourself to have a sweet tooth? Here’s something mind-blowing: a sweet tooth might be genetic. So, when you are going for seconds on that pumpkin pie, be sure to show extra gratitude to your parents.Pumpkin Pie.png

Some people are born with a weakened sweet taste, which means they need more sugar to taste the same level of sweetness. Studies propose that genes might explain up to 30 percent of how much sugar you can taste.

But wait… there’s more! Is it possible bad teeth run in the family as well?

Tooth Decay

The bacteria in our mouth that cause cavities aren’t there at birth. It most likely comes from family members who kiss their child’s lips, share utensils, or even blow on their foods. Studies show that this bacteria isn’t associated with tooth decay. It also revealed that bacteria that can form cavities were environmental. For example, eating sugary foods and lack of oral care.

Tooth decay is preventable but some people are more at risk. Yes, it’s confusing, but really, what isn’t? Jokes aside, genes control how teeth develop. Often times, dentists look into family history because it might help them understand why a child’s teeth have more decay than someone with a similar diet. You don’t get a say about how your teeth develop, but you can control how often you brush, floss, and visit your dentist!

Size, Shape, and Alignment

Are your teeth crooked because of genetics or environmental factors? If you said both, you’re correct! The size of your jaw, teeth, and mouth are typically decided by DNA. Thumb sucking, accidents, or an unbalanced diet are reasons for crooked teeth that you can’t blame your parents for.

It’s never too late to get your teeth in line! Why should you get them straightened? Crooked or crowded teeth can cause tooth decay, difficulty maintaining your daily oral care, and improper chewing.

Parents.pngGum Disease

Did you know half of our population has gum disease? Genetics also play a role in how likely you are to develop periodontal disease. There are tests to run to show if you are affected. The best way to keep your mouth healthy is brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.

Why Are My Teeth Yellow?

It’s a mixture of genes and environment. Typically, if you have thin enamel your teeth will most likely look more yellow. You have no control over the growth of your tooth, but should be aware of what foods and drinks will contribute to the yellowing of your teeth. Example of tooth staining drinks are: coffee or fruit juices; food: berries or tomato sauce.

When it comes to our body developing its natural functions, it usually relies on genes. In conclusion, unhealthy teeth are controlled by both genes and the environment. And ultimately you are in complete control of your daily dental routine.

One of the most important things about knowledge is being able to share it. While you are devouring seconds or thirds you can enlighten everyone else at the table. You can also bring a bag of floss picks to share!

Dr. John Schulz, D.D.S.
Stonestown Medical Building
595 Buckingham Way, Suite 331
San Francisco, CA 94132 (map)

How Green is Your Dental Routine?

Go green for Earth Day! Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin Senator created Earth Day.  In 1970, 20 million Americans rallied in streets, parks, and auditoriums for a sustainable environment. After the first Earth Day, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created. Every April 22nd Earth Day is celebrated worldwide.

Fast forward to present day and we still celebrate Earth  Day. We’re focused on global warming and clean energy. Everything we do,  from brushing our teeth to eating and driving all contributes to polluting the environment. Did you know that toothbrushes are plastic and nylon which can’t be recycled? When you throw your toothbrush away it sits in our landfill forever! Floss is wax covered nylon and comes in a container that has metal. Every year 50 million pounds of toothbrushes get added to our landfill. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade because it’s not in nature’s food chain.

A completely plastic-free dental routine might not be possible, but small changes can make a big difference. There are toothbrushes made of bamboo or wood. Wood toothbrush bristles are made from pig hair. They can all be recycled and will reduce the amount of plastic in landfills. One billion toothbrushes get thrown away yearly in the US. Landfill

Change isn’t easy. If you aren’t ready to make the change to pig hair bristles then stick to your regular toothbrush. And when it’s time to get rid of it and get a new one, keep it and reuse it for household cleaning! Toothbrushes are great for cleaning bathroom tiles, toilets, computer keyboards, jewelry, and even shoes.

Bamboo and wood toothbrushes aren’t your only options for a healthy smile and healthy environment. Plastic toothbrushes are made from recycled materials such as yogurt containers and the bristles are new plastic. There are also compostable cornstarch toothbrushes that won’t clog landfills.

The most common way floss is sold in unrecyclable plastic containers.  Good news, there is plastic free and refillable floss!  Refillable floss is sold in a glass container with a protective label for drops. The bundle of floss comes in a clear compostable bag and it also has a plastic-free spool. It is completely made from silk and coated with vegetablebased wax.

 Toothbrush Tip

Show your gums some love! Don’t brush with all your strength, it’s not good for your gums or your toothbrush!  Every time you brush your teeth it affects your toothbrush. The harder you brush your teeth the quicker you will need to replace your toothbrush. Protect your gums and the lifespan of your toothbrush! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

 Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

These are the three R’s when protecting the environment. Do you leave the water running while brushing? Try filling a small glass and set it in reaching distance to rinse after brushing. Another tip is don’t leave your electric toothbrush plugged in all day every day.

How Green is Your Dental Routine?

The average toothbrush lasts up to several weeks. Unplug!

Are you ready to make the change to help save our environment? We know this is a lot of information at once, and it’s okay to take small steps and make one change at a time. It’s as simple as sharing with your family and friends about the environment and how they can help sustain it too!

Remember to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss daily!  We hope you have a Happy Earth Day!

Dr. John Schulz, D.D.S.
Stonestown Medical Building
595 Buckingham Way, Suite 331
San Francisco, CA 94132 (map)

Know and Love Your Smile

Do you know where smiling comes from? We have not drifted far from where the smile first started; today we often received or give smiles to strangers in passing. Chimpanzees were known to have a “fear grin” that told others they were harmless. Many of our traits are quite similar to them including our smile. Smiles bring us comfort and make us happier.

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From a young age, we have been told, “smile for the camera.” How many times have you heard “say cheese” while posing for a picture? How often have you said it? Now think back to old historic pictures, have you ever wondered why nobody is smiling in the pictures? One reason is their horrible teeth or lack of. Oral health was not a part of their daily routine. Fortunately, we live in a time where dentistry is prominent. Technology has advanced and quality dental care is readily available. Take advantage of dentistry and love your smile!

Smiling more brings positive emotion to your life. It’s easier to smile than frown and it’s also the universal sign of happiness. Babies are born with the ability to smile, and the most recognizable facial expression that can be seen from up to 300 feet away.

Your brain can tell immediately whether someone’s smile is genuine or not. It compares the geometry of a face to a standard smile. Our minds evaluate the situation and determine whether or not a smile is expected.  After our mind makes a conclusion about someone else’s smile then it automatically mimics their smile. Smiling is contagious!

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Smiling not only brings comfort to others but also ourselves. Try smiling throughout the day and here’s why:

  • Even a fake smile is a mood booster
  • Helps to relieve stress
  • Smiling makes you more approachable
  • Smiling gets the creative and productive juices flowing

“Laughter is the best medicine” is a well-known phrase and for all the right reasons. There are short and long term benefits to smiling and laughing. Short term, it can stimulate your heart, lungs, and muscles. In the long run in can improve your immune system, be a natural painkiller, boost your interpersonal skills, and help make you feel livelier.  Source: mayoclinic

Would you rather approach someone who’s smiling at you or mugging you? Of course we choose the smiling person because we’re social creatures. We want acceptance and approval.  If we are in a funk and someone smiles at us, it can instantly change our mood turning our bad day into a good one.

The more you smile; your brain will create more positive patterns than negative ones. Our brains are naturally negative. Smiling more trains our brains to be positive. Creativity and productivity will increase and we can produce better work in our everyday lives. Source: fast company

How often do you smile? You can flash your lovely smile at someone, make their day, and yours too. Remember to love your smile! Treat your smile with the care it deserves, schedule your appointment today.

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Dr. John Schulz, D.D.S.
Stonestown Medical Building
595 Buckingham Way, Suite 331
San Francisco, CA 94132 (map)

4 Risk Factors of Gum Disease to Discuss with Your Dentist

july blogHave you ever had something caught in your teeth for days? It’s likely because it was lodged deep between a tooth and your gums. That gum tissue is what keeps our chompers in place. There are three stages of gum disease and all are treatable.

The mild form of gum disease is Gingivitis. This is where plaque and other byproducts irritate the gums. It makes them swollen, tender, and more likely to bleed. Periodontitis is stage two. The gum tissue starts deteriorating as it detaches from the teeth forming pockets around the roots. This leaves teeth exposed and more susceptible to decay. Finally, Advanced Periodontitis can set in. Tooth pockets get deeper as the severe gum recession leads to bone loss causing loose teeth.

Common Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease

  • Genetics – it’s hereditary and some of us are just unlucky! While you may be more susceptible to periodontitis, having a good oral hygiene routine with regular dental visits can help your smile stay healthy. Talk to us about finding the right balance for your needs.
  • Health – underlying medical conditions like diabetes and Crohn’s disease, as well as lowered immunity from illnesses and treatments often affect gum tissue. Medications, hormonal changes and obesity are also culprits and should be discussed.
  • Bad Habits – chewing on ice, not brushing or flossing daily and using tobacco are the most common behavior changes we encourage you to ditch. However, substance abuse and a diet lacking in vitamin C will also impact your smile.
  • Stress – it’s inevitable. But keep an eye on exactly how much it’s weighing you down. High levels or chronic stress can lead to poor hygiene habits. Anxiety can also lower your immune system from effectively fighting off bacteria that causes gingivitis (stage 1).

When to Seek Help july blog (1)

Common red flags of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Gums look bright red
  • Teeth wiggle

There’s no home remedy to cure gum disease. Only professional treatment can help, so call and schedule an exam today 415.731.9300.

Dr. John Schulz, D.D.S.
Stonestown Medical Building
595 Buckingham Way, Suite 331
San Francisco, CA 94132 (map)

Untreated Cavities in the US

Mother Daughter Brushing

With 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.

Dr. John Schulz, D.D.S.
Stonestown Medical Building
595 Buckingham Way, Suite 331
San Francisco, CA 94132 (map)

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. 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.

Dr. John Schulz, D.D.S.
Stonestown Medical Building
595 Buckingham Way, Suite 331
San Francisco, CA 94132 (map)

Dental X-Rays and Your Health

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

X-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

Radiography 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. Our x-ray machines operate on a micro-scale that simply don’t compare. We assure you receiving x-rays is one of the single most beneficial processes capable of saving your health by identifying small problems before they progress into serious conditions.

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!

Dr. John Schulz, D.D.S.
Stonestown Medical Building
595 Buckingham Way, Suite 331
San Francisco, CA 94132 (map)

How the Holidays Affect Your Teeth

The 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

When 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!

 

Dr. John Schulz, D.D.S.
Stonestown Medical Building
595 Buckingham Way, Suite 331
San Francisco, CA 94132 (map)