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Brushing: Before or after breakfast?

December 4th, 2019

In a perfect world, we would all jump out of bed ready to greet the day with a big smile and a toothbrush close at hand to clean our teeth immediately. But if you can’t even find your toothbrush before you’ve had your first cup of coffee, does it really make a difference if you brush and floss after breakfast? Perhaps! Let’s talk biology.

Normal saliva production during the day benefits our teeth and mouths in surprising ways. Saliva washes away food particles to keep our teeth cleaner. It contains cells which combat bacteria and infection. It even provides proteins and minerals to help protect our teeth from decay. But saliva production slows dramatically as we sleep, and the amount of bacteria in our mouths increases. While one of the nasty—and obvious—side effects of bacterial growth is morning breath, there is an invisible effect, which is more harmful. Bacteria in plaque convert sugar and carbohydrates into acids which attack our gums and enamel and can lead to both gingivitis and cavities.

  • If You Brush Before Breakfast

Brushing and flossing first thing in the morning removes the plaque that has built up during the night and takes care of many of the bacteria who are ready to enjoy the sugar and carbs in that breakfast with you. If you brush before eating breakfast, rinse your mouth with water after your meal, floss if needed, and you are good to go.

  • If You Choose to Brush After Breakfast

But if you decide that doughnut simply can’t wait, you should ideally postpone brushing for 20-30 minutes after your meal. Of course, these are minutes in which bacteria can make use of those new sugars and carbohydrates. So why shouldn’t you brush immediately after eating? Many foods and beverages, especially acidic ones such as grapefruit and orange juice, can weaken the surface of your teeth. If you rinse with water after eating and wait at least 20-30 minutes before brushing, your enamel will be “remineralized” (another benefit of saliva) and ready for cleaning.

No matter if you take a “seize the day” approach and brush first thing in the morning, or a “seize the doughnut” approach and brush soon after eating, the important word here is “brushing.” Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis and our San Mateo, CA team are happy to make suggestions as to the best morning routine for you. One thing is certain: if you give your teeth and gums two minutes of careful brushing and flossing in the morning, you can’t help but start your day off right!

Blog Suggestions? Let’s Hear Them!

November 27th, 2019

Your opinions matter to Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis and our team! Our blog is meant to be an educational channel, but we always want to know what things you’re interested in learning more about. After all, our blog is here for you to enjoy!

We’d like to encourage you to send us any ideas about what you want to see more of. No idea is too small! Whether it involves a specific treatment or advice on what kind of toothpaste you should use, we’d love to hear from you about it.

To share your thoughts with us, simply leave your comments below or on our Facebook page! You can also fill out a comment card the next time you visit our San Mateo, CA office!

Restore Your Gums to a Healthier, More Natural State with Osseous Surgery

November 8th, 2019

Gum disease starts quietly and invisibly, but can lead to very serious and noticeable consequences if left untreated. Excess plaque and bacteria around the gum line cause irritation. This irritation can result in the gums pulling away from the teeth. When the gums pull away, they leave pockets between the gums and teeth which become home to more bacteria, leading to more irritation and infection. Gum pockets can get larger, resulting in more severe irritation and infection that can lead to bone loss around the tooth and eventually loss of the tooth itself.

The good news is that we can intervene at any of these stages to provide the periodontal care which will help restore your gums and teeth to health.  One of the procedures we use is osseous surgery. “Osseous” refers to bone tissue, and this treatment works to restore the bone structures supporting your teeth if gum disease has damaged or weakened them.

Healthy gums fit tightly around the teeth, keeping bacteria from affecting the roots and bone. Small pockets can be cleaned in our San Mateo, CA office and plaque removed from tooth areas normally hidden by the gums. But if the pocket has become too deep, normal home and even office cleanings cannot fully treat the gum and bone tissue involved. The bone which holds our teeth securely in our jaws can become pitted and irregular. Osseous surgery can be used not only to clean the area, but to restore gum and bone tissue to health.

After an anesthetic numbs the area, your periodontist will fold back the gum tissue around the affected tooth and bone. The gums will be carefully cleaned. If the bone has become pitted, this offers bacteria another place to grow and cause damage to your tooth structures. We will smooth damaged areas of the bone to their natural shape, where your gum tissue will find it easier to attach to the healthy bone. When we have finished, the gums will be secured around the tooth. After surgery, the pockets will be reduced in size, and you should be able to return to a normal routine of regular gum care.

We know the idea of oral surgery can be intimidating, so talk Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis us about osseous surgery if it has been recommended for you. We are experienced in preventing gum disease from causing more damage, and in gently restoring your gums and bone to health for your most attractive and lasting smile.

Famous Teeth throughout History

November 1st, 2019

We probably all remember sitting through history lessons during our schooling years. Revolutionary war heroes, English royals, and pop-culture icons filled the pages of our textbooks. Although you may recall a detail or two about their historical significance, how much do you know about their teeth?

Picture England in the mid 1500s. People wore frilly clothes as they hustled along the street, and talked about the latest import from the Indies: sugar. Wealthy Brits did not hesitate to indulge their sweet tooth, and it was no different for the monarch, Queen Elizabeth I.

The queen was especially fond of sweets, but not so fond of the dentist. Her teeth rotted; they turned black and gave off a foul odor. Eventually, Elizabeth lost so many teeth that people found it difficult to understand her when she spoke.

Flash forward to the Revolutionary-era colonies in the 1770s and we encounter the famous dentures of George Washington. They were not made of wood, but rather a combination of ivory and human teeth, some of which were his own pulled teeth and some he purchased from slaves.

Washington did not practice proper dental hygiene throughout his life. He began to suffer dental problems as early as age 24, when he had his first tooth pulled. By the time he was inaugurated in as the first president in 1789, he had only one tooth remaining in his mouth, which was pulled in 1796.

Washington’s dentures were made too wide and never quite fit his mouth properly. He complained that they were painful to wear and caused his jaw to protrude visibly outward.

If you’ve heard of Doc Holliday, you know him as the gun-toting, mustached criminal that ran the Wild West in the late 1800s. You might be surprised to learn that John Henry “Doc” Holliday actually had a career as a dentist.

He graduated from dental school in 1872 and began to practice in Griffin, Georgia. Holliday was later diagnosed with tuberculosis and his violent coughing fits during exams drove patients away. Jobless, he packed his bags for Texas and spent the rest of his days running from town to town as a criminal.

The Beatles brought pop music and British culture to their fans, as well as … teeth? In the mid-1960s, John Lennon had a molar removed that he presented as a gift to his housekeeper, Dorothy. Dorothy’s daughter was a huge fan of the Beatles and he thought she might like to a keepsake. Her family held onto the tooth until 2011, when they auctioned it off to a Canadian dentist for $31,000.

These historical figures had very different experiences with their teeth, but it’s safe to say a bit of extra brushing and flossing could’ve saved them a lot of trouble. Whether you’re queen, president, or an average citizen, it’s up to you to practice good dental hygiene!

Ask a member of our team at our San Mateo, CA office if you have any questions about how to keep your teeth in top shape!

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