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When should I floss during the day?

March 10th, 2021

A vital step in your oral health routine is flossing. We hope our patients at Peninsula Periodontal Associates maintain good oral hygiene, including daily flossing between each visit to our San Mateo, CA office. A toothbrush is not always enough to get to the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. When food remains between your teeth, bacteria starts to grow and will break down your enamel. This is where flossing comes in!

Should you floss before or after brushing?

Whatever your personal preference, you may floss before or after you brush your teeth. When you floss first, you can brush away any leftover dislodged food debris from your teeth. On the other hand, when you brush first, you will loosen the plaque between your teeth, which makes flossing more effective.

The essential aspect is that you floss thoroughly by using a fresh strand of floss and make sure to get between every tooth. Even if your teeth look and feel clean, don’t skip flossing or plaque will begin to build up on your teeth.

When is the best time to floss?

Although you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis and our team recommend flossing your teeth thoroughly once a day. Many people prefer to floss before bed, so that plaque doesn’t sit between their teeth all night.

What kind of floss should I use?

You may choose between interdental cleaning picks or flexible floss strands to perform your daily flossing routine. If you have permanent oral appliances or restorations, be sure to follow the flossing instructions provided to you.

Do you need help flossing?

If you’re having trouble flossing or have questions about which floss is best for your teeth, contact our San Mateo, CA office and we can provide you with support. Be sure to keep up with your daily flossing routine, and we will see you at your next appointment!

Restoring Your Smile and Dental Health with Bone Grafting

March 3rd, 2021

For those of our patients who suffer from periodontal (gum) disease or those who have experienced moderate to severe tooth bone loss, Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis may suggest you undergo a procedure called a bone graft, which can help replace the bone destroyed by periodontitis, an advanced gum disease that is known to not only damage the gum tissue, but also the underlying bone which supports the teeth.

Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis may recommend you undergo a bone graft for reasons other than the presence of periodontal disease or tooth loss. These reasons include:

  • Treating fractures
  • Reconstructing chipped, broken, or shattered bones
  • Placing of a dental implant
  • Filling a gap in bones affected by cysts or tumors
  • Shrinkage or loss of bone due to trauma
  • Dentures that don’t fit properly

Bone grafting includes folding back part of the gum and cleaning out harmful bacteria that is making your gum disease worse. At that point, Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis will insert the bone graft, which will help spur bone growth, bridge a gap in a bone, and aid in healing. Bone grafts can repair damage from gum disease and boost the chances that you can keep your teeth for a lifetime. In addition to a bone graft, Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis may suggest a procedure called guided tissue regeneration, an advanced method used not only to help fight gum disease, but also to replace damaged or destroyed bone and tissue.

For more information on bone grafts, or to find out if you are a candidate for a bone graft, we invite you to give us a call at Peninsula Periodontal Associates or set up an appointment at our convenient San Mateo, CA office. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have!

What to do about Dry Mouth

February 24th, 2021

Xerostomia, commonly known as dry mouth, is a condition in which the salivary glands in the mouth don’t produce enough saliva. Saliva keeps the mouth moist and cleanses it of bacteria. A lack of it makes for an uncomfortably dry mouth that is also more susceptible to infection and disease.

Symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • Dryness or a sticky feeling
  • Frequent thirst
  • Burning sensations or redness in the throat or on the tongue
  • A sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or tasting food

Dry mouth usually comes about as a side effect of certain medications or medical conditions, but can also be caused by damage to the salivary glands because of injury or surgery.

If you're experiencing any of the symptoms of dry mouth, here are a few tips for what to do:

Double-check medications: If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, speak with Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis to see if any of these could be causing the dry mouth as a side effect.

There may be ways to alleviate the symptoms.

  • Stay hydrated: Whether you have dry mouth or not, it’s essential to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fresh and pure water throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day.
  • Suck or chew on a natural, sugar-free candy or gum: Sucking on candy or chewing gum will keep your salivary glands producing saliva. Healthier versions of sugar-free candy and gum are available these days. Some are made with xylitol, a sugar alcohol that actually helps prevent tooth decay.
  • Add moisture to your living spaces: Try adding a vaporizer to your bedroom or the rooms where you spend the most time. It’s best for your home to have a humidity level of between 40 to 50%. Anything less than 30% is too low. You can measure humidity with a hygrometer, which is easy to find at your local department store or online.

These are just a few general tips, but if you’re experiencing the symptoms of dry mouth often and it’s interfering with your life, pay a visit to our San Mateo, CA office. That way you’re more likely to get to the root of the problem.

Gum Disease vs. Periodontitis

February 17th, 2021

Many people use the terms gum disease and periodontitis interchangeably, but periodontitis is only one stage of gum disease. The phrase refers to all diseases that affect the gingiva, or gums.

Periodontitis can vary in severity from early to advanced and is often treated by a periodontist — a dentist who specializes in treatment and prevention of gum disease — like Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis.

Gum disease begins with inflammation of the gums, but it can progress to cause damage to the soft tissues and bones in the mouth. Bacteria in the mouth that build up to form plaque and tartar cause the inflammation.

Inadequate oral hygiene is usually the culprit of this bacterial build-up, which leads to inflammation — what’s called gingivitis. Gums with gingivitis become red and swollen, bleed easily, and are sometimes painful. Practicing good oral hygiene and getting regular dental exams and cleanings can usually reverse gingivitis.

If left untreated, gingivitis can deteriorate into periodontitis, when the inflamed gums pull away from the teeth. This forms spaces or pockets where bacteria can gather and cause infection.

The body’s immune response and bacterial deposits start to break down the connective tissue and bone that hold teeth in place. This can result in loss of teeth and destruction to the surrounding bones and gums.

The main goal of any treatment for gum disease at our San Mateo, CA office is to control the infection. Treatment varies, depending on the severity, and may include medication and surgery.

So not all gum disease is created equal, but it is all equally easy to prevent. It's best to avoid the problems of gum disease by:

  • Brushing twice a day and flossing regularly
  • Getting regular cleanings from your dentist or dental hygienist
  • Avoiding activities that harm the gums, such as smoking or chewing tobacco

 

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