What Do the Probing Numbers Mean?

teethprobecrHave you ever been curious about what those numbers mean that your Sacramento Dentist or Hygienist calls out while looking inside your mouth. As your hygienist calls out the numbers, “4, 3,..5,2,3…4,2,5…”, they actually use a tiny ruler called a ‘probe’ to check and measure any pockets in your gums. A pocket is described as the distance between the top of the gum and where the “probe” meets bone. The smaller the pocket, the more bone that exists.

At Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry, we categorize problems as mild, moderate or severe, depending on how deep the probe goes:

  • 1-3 mm: indicates health
  • 4-5 mm: indicates a mild problem
  • 6-7 mm: indicates a moderate problem
  • 9-10 mm: indicates a severe problem

Ideally,  the depth of all your pockets should be 3 mm or less. This means that the teeth can be properly cleaned with the bristles of a toothbrush.  When a pocket measures more than 3 mm, this means that there is bone loss around that area of the tooth or that the gums are swollen, or it could be a combination of both.

We want all of our patients to get maintain picket depths between one and three millimeters to indicate healthy teeth and gums. We understand that may not always be the case, so that is why we recommend different treatment options for patients with deeper mouth pockets.

If swollen gums are causing the higher probing depth, then it can easily be reversed by brushing and flossing twice a day. Continuing to do so with tighten up your gums, stop the bleeding and the pocket measurements will be reduced. We also advise the patient to come in for regular cleanings every six  months.

For measurements that are consistently 4-5 mm, we recommend patients to come in for cleanings every three to four months, rather than six.  By having more frequent cleanings, this allows us to get into the deep pockets and clean them out using specialized equipment.

Those with measurements higher than 5 mm will require a type of gum procedure. called a “deep cleaning” or scaling and root planning to effectively reduce the deeper pockets. Once the treatment is completed, patients will be able to clean their teeth on their own — provided they return every three months for a follow-up cleaning.

So next time you are at your Sacramento Dentist, pay attention to those numbers and ask your hygiene what you can do to improve the health of your teeth.

Should You Let Your Kids Eat Halloween Candy?

ImageHalloween is right around the corner! This means that candy is well within reach for children, but many parents question whether letting their children take part in the festivities of eating Halloween candy.  So, should you let your kids have candy as part of their overall diet?

The answer is YES!  As parents it is important to stress to children the importance of dental health year-long and not just on Halloween. Halloween shouldn’t be to blame for cavities. Cavities develop over time. When children don’t practice good daily oral hygiene habits — that is when the cavities appear.

While it is still important to monitor your child’s sweet intake, it’s OK to have extra sweets for Halloween or any holiday. The American Dental Association recommends brushing two times a day for two minutes at a time. It is also important to rinse your mouth out with water after eating to reduce the risk for cavities and gum disease.

If you ever do worry that your child has cavities or just would like them to have a check-up and cleaning, schedule an appointment in Sacramento. Call Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry at 916-549-0249.

National Dental Hygiene Month: “Brush, Floss, Rinse and Chew!”

Leading patients to a beautiful healthy smile is the goal of hygienists at Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry. The Sacramento practice would like to stress the importance of oral health in observance of National Dental Hygiene Month this October by offering tips on how to maintain good oral health.

According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, the most essential part of oral health is to brush, floss, rinse and chew.

BRUSH

You should brush for two minutes, two times per day.  It is recommended to use products such as electric battery-powered toothbrushes to help maximize the effectiveness of brushing habits.  Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry offers a variety of affordable battery-powered toothbrushes. Be sure to visit Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry at 2550 W. El Camino Ave, Suite 9 to purchase one today!

FLOSS

Flossing is an activity that should be performed daily to remove the substances from your teeth that the toothbrush cannot get to. It is important to floss your teeth to also remove plaque so it doesn’t cause any tooth decay.

 RINSE

Rinsing with a mouthwash is the most important solution to prevent gum disease (gingivitis).  Along with brushing and flossing, rinsing is as equally important to achieve having healthy teeth. After brushing and flossing you should rinse with about 10 ml of mouthwash for around 30 seconds. Afterwards, spit out the mouthwash and don’t rinse with water. Be sure to incorporate rinsing into your daily routine to help in the fight against tooth decay.

CHEW

Did you know that chewing sugar-free gum can reduce your amount of tooth cavities? Chewing sugar-free gum also neutralizes plaque acids, washes away food particles, and remineralizes enamel to strengthen teeth. When you chew gum it has a positive impact on oral health because your saliva production is also stimulated. Saliva helps remove all of the harmful acids in your mouth.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment in Sacramento and learning more oral hygiene tips, give Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry a call at 916-649-0249 to get on the path to a beautiful healthy smile!

Don’t let tooth decay ruin your child’s teeth

Protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay.

There is a concerning number of children who suffer from tooth decay. In fact, it is the most common chronic disease in children. It is even more common than asthma or hay fever. While children are growing and developing the skills that will benefit them throughout their whole life, children are missing an essential healthy skill, tooth care.

Image

A few Gateway Dental “Cavity Free” patients. Regular checkups and good oral hygiene can help your kids stay on track for health teeth and gums.

It is important to teach children how to take care of their teeth, not just for today but for their future. According to an article by the Academy of General Dentistry, “Children who develop cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to develop cavities in their permanent teeth, as well.” This can lead to a future of painful dental visits, missed school days due to pain, and not to mention a string of heart and gastrointestinal problems that have also been linked to poor gum and teeth health.

Tooth decay can be prevented. By instilling proper eating habits, proper brushing and flossing techniques, and dental visits, you can protect your child from tooth decay.

Brush for two minutes, two times a day.

Brushing for two minutes, two times a day after breakfast and before bedtime is recommended. Children 2 years and older can use a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. If your child is under 2, use a damp cloth to clean his or her gums and a soft bristled toothbrush with water. Make brushing fun! Set a timer or sing a song to help your child brush for the correct amount of time. You can find a collection of fun, 2 minute brushing videos at www.2min2x.org.

When your child is old enough, encourage brushing his or her own teeth. Just supervise to make sure that your child is thorough and using the right brushing and flossing technique.

Dental visits every six months.

Starting six months after your child’s first tooth erupts or by the child’s first birthday– he or she should see the dentist every six months. The dentist doesn’t have to be a scary place. By making regular visits to the dental office, it reduces anxiety and makes future visits less stressful. Your dentist can also check up on the development of your child’s mouth, teach you how to ensure good oral health and recommend special preventative care if necessary.

Sacramento Dentist

Promote healthy eating habits.

Yes, this step might seem easier said than done. Kids (and adults) love sugary snacks and drinks, but they are a major tooth decay offender. Sugar can break down tooth enamel, get between cracks in teeth and cause decay. Limit the number of snacks and drinks that contain a lot of sugar and offer a variety of fruits and vegetables instead. An apple a day really does keep cavities at bay.

Lead by example.

Your child looks up to you, so the best way to ensure your child develops the health habits necessary to stay health, is to practice the healthy habits yourself. Brushing and flossing your teeth with your child will teach him or her the importance of good oral hygiene. Not only do you get the joy of watching your child grow up healthy, you get the benefit of also living healthy. So whether you are enjoying a healthy snack, going to the dentist, or brushing and flossing your teeth, your child will too.

Are you concerned about your child’s oral health?

If your child is complaining about tooth pain, or if you notice any  problems with your child’s teeth, it is important to get any concerns checked out by your dentist immediately. There could be a serious problems that needs immediate attention.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment in Sacramento, give us a call at 916-649-0249 and get on the road to healthy teeth and gums today!

50% of Americans have this disease

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study in 2009 and 2010 that measured the prevalence of periodontitis, familiarly known as gum disease, in American adults. The study CDCestimates that 47.2%, or 64.7 million American adults, have mild, moderate or severe gum disease. For adults over the age of 65, rates increase to 70.1%.

Conclusion: Nearly half of American adults have gum disease.

How can gum disease affect you?
Gum disease can do irreversible damage if not treated and maintained. The plaque that that builds up between teeth and gums creates pockets that bacteria can get into, causing an infection in the gums. The infection can damage the bone and periodontal ligaments (PDL) that hold teeth in place and gums may begin to pull away from teeth. At the advanced stage of gum disease, teeth begin to shift, loosen and fall out because the PDL and bone that usually support the teeth are destroyed.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?Gum Disease

  • Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Gums that are red, puffy or swollen, or tender
  • Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Pus that appears between your teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

At every check-up and cleaning, the hygienist and doctor measures the bone level and inspects gums for any pus, bleeding or inflammation.

How is gum disease treated?
The doctor or hygienist recommends a deep-cleaning to patients with gum disease. The hygienist scales the teeth by cleaning off the plaque above and below the gum surface and root planing which smoothes out the rough layers of the teeth. For two weeks after a deep cleaning, chlorhexidine mouth wash is used to kill bacteria so sensitive gums will heal. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease it is important to follow the recommendations of your hygienist. She may recommend one to two additional cleanings per year.

shutterstock_2243118-(Medium)-732845Prevent gum disease from affecting you.

  • There are simple steps that you can take to avoid developing gum disease.
  • Brush and clean between teeth with floss
  • Eat a well balanced diet and avoid sugary snacks

Get regular check-ups and cleanings. They are the best way to discover and treat early gum disease before it leads to a more serious problem.

Do you still have questions about gum disease? Contact our Sacramento Dentist.

Brushing is NOT Enough

Simply said, oral hygiene consists of a lot more than just brushing your teeth. Don't Brush Too HardBrushing is not enough to prevent tooth decay and bad breath because your tooth brush is not able to get into the hard-to-reach areas where plaque and bacteria form.  Flossing and rinsing are an essential part of taking care of your teeth from home along with seeing your dentist for regular check-ups.

Every time a person eats the bacterium that is on your teeth with break down your food and creates an acidic environment. The result is a loss of tooth minerals that could result in a cavity.

You may ask, how can I help with the loss of teeth minerals? The best strategy would be to brush and floss immediately after you eat and drink.  However, we know many people are not able to do that.  The conclusion is that most people brush in the morning and at night and maybe floss…sometimes. (Not doing this? HOLD THE PHONE and check this out!)

Steps to brushing your teeth correctly:Periodontics: How to Brush Teeth

  1.  Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
  2.  Make small circles in short strokes.
  3.  Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  4. Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
  5. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and to freshen your breath.

Steps to flossing your teeth correctly:

  1.   Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
  2. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
  3. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  4. Bring the floss back toward the contact point between the teeth and move the floss up or down the other side, conforming the floss to the shape of the tooth.
  5. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up-and-down motions.
  6. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.

Still, this may not be enough. Many of our patients have great oral hygiene but still develop cavities because they may be at risk for tooth decay. To determine why you are prone to getting cavities, please request an appointment at your dentist for an assessment.

Turn Your Child Into the Best Brusher & Avoid Cavities

Sacramento Kids Dentist

Your child’s oral health is very important. It sets the stage for their smile for the rest of their lives. Introducing your kids to good oral health habits at a young age ensures they will carry those habits with them as they get older. 

Consider these facts:

  • A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report from 2007 shows the number of cavities in children ages 2 to 5 have increased from a decade ago. 
  • In a 2004 study, tooth decay was found to be the most common chronic childhood disease, 5 times as common as asthma.
  • A 2000 report found that dental-related illnesses result in a loss of more than 51 million school hours each year.

sacramento-dentist_oral-hygiene-for-kids

Do not fret! You can make oral care fun and easy for your kiddos. 

  • Brush and floss your teeth together to set a good example. (Yes, parents, you need to floss, too)
  • Sing a song or nursery rhyme for 2 minutes to help the process seem to go by faster for your kids.
  • Pick a fun toothbrush with your kids’ favorite character on it.
  • Pick a toothpaste that is flavorful to the child. Ask your dentist for samples.
Sacramento Kids Dentist

This cool toothbrush holder for kids can hold up to 4 toothbrushes. $19.99 at ModCloth.com

Other tips for success: 

1.    Brush teeth twice a day and floss once a day
2.   Change your child’s toothbrush every 3 months to ensure they always brush their best
3.   Have your child’s teeth checked by a dentist twice a year, starting at age 1.
4.   Limit sugary snacks and drinks like juice, sports drinks and soda to help prevent  cavities.

Following these simple guidelines is a great place to start to ensure that your child will lead a life with less cavities and create the habits of a well-oiled brusher and flosser. Good luck, and happy flossing! 

No Cavities? You Can Thank The Fluoride!

People fall into three categories, there’s the “What the heck is fluoride” category, the “NO! I don’t want fluoride” category, and the “Duh, give me the fluoride” category. Although we’re hoping that our patients fall into the latter of the three we know that certainly isn’t the case. Our office is in Sacramento County, a county that does not fluoridate its water. An interesting concept considering that the centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls fluoridation “one of the 10 most valuable public health measures of the 20th century.” (Read that here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056796.htm)

What’s all the fuss about anyway? Fluoride was introduced and the rates of tooth decay decreased significantly in communities who adopted fluoridated drinking water. Fluoridated drinking water was so successful that soon it seemed everything contained fluoride:  orange juice, milk, toothpastes, drops, gels, and ingestible tablets. So while decay was on the decline, over fluoridation was on the rise.Fluoride In Water

This sparked an enormous debate that is still going strong and is not wavering. Over fluoridation called fluorosis, can create dark spots or white spots on the teeth because fluoride used too much will be poisonous. Fluorosis is rarely a result of fluoridated drinking water.  Just like one drink at the end of a long day is fine, 19 drinks will kill you. The CDC, American Dental Association (ADA), and most national health agencies endorse fluoride.

Think about this, less tooth decay means less visits to the dentist and less of your money going to the dentist, but yet all the dental associations and all the dentists you know ENCOURAGE you to get fluoride. That must mean that is a beneficial mineral for your teeth.

Fluoride provided in the office is not swallowed; it is applied topically, just like toothpaste. The fluoride helps to strengthen your teeth by filling the porous surfaces of your teeth with vitamins and minerals. According to the CDC, every $1 invested in fluoridated saves approximately $38 in dental treatment costs.

But still, this effort to fluoride communities has been called an unconstitutional form of mass medication and the culprit for medical issues such as AIDS, Down syndrome, all forms and cancer, the list goes on. Although no scientific data validates these claims, fluorosis (over fluoridation) does occur. Therefore, babies younger than 6 months old should not be given fluoride, their formula should not be prepared with fluoridated water and children that are younger than 2 years of age are advised not to use fluoridate toothpaste. For all children, toothpaste use should be monitored, kept out of their reach, and made sure to be spit out.

For information on flossing visit this article: https://bestsacramentodentist.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/irritated-bleeding-gums-and-flossing_sacramentodentist/

Irritated, Bleeding Gums and Flossing

While Urbandictionary may describe floss as “flaunting expensive merchandise such as iced-out Rollies and Gem-encrusted Pimp goblets” we are talking about the kind of floss that goes between your teeth.

Why is it that every time you go to the dentist the first thing that they ask you about is “How have you been doing with flossing?” Before I worked for a Sacramento Dentist  I used to lie and tell them I did it all the time. But guess what, they know that you are lying. They just knowSacramento Dentist.

Your gums are telling an entirely different story than what you are telling your hygienist. They know because you have deep pockets that are forming in between your gums and teeth.

They know because your bleeding gums aren’t getting any better. They know because your irritated gums are puffy.

Most people do brush their teeth twice a day and think that because they do that then flossing isn’t necessary. But that’s false. Do you notice that you have redness or bleeding gums when brushing, frequent gum swelling, bad breath, or loose teeth? Then you have a gum problem.

The quickest fix to your gum problems is to start flossing immediately. There is a chance that it may be painful and that bleeding will occur, that’s okay. The food and gunk between your gums and teeth has to be cleaned out somehow and it sure isn’t going to happen just from brushing.

However, when you are brushing, angle your tooth brush at a 45 degree angle, that way you can maximize the use of your brushing and you will be able to get under the gum line a little bit. Again, this does not replace brushing.

 

Frequently pondered, but not always asked, questions:

Sacramento Dentist

The probing instruments that hygienists and dentists use to determine pocket depth. Healthy gums measure under 3 mm.

  • What do all the numbers mean? Your teeth are numbered, unless you are a kid in which case they are lettered, and often times they aren’t referred to as “the molar on the top left” but instead as “You need a filling on #14.” In addition to that the hygienist probes, or inspects, the soft gum tissues around the teeth. The hygienist uses a periodontal probe that is used to measure the depths of pockets around the tooth to identify the state of health of your gums. The numbers correlate to how deep the probe goes down into the gums by the millimeter. The smaller the number, the better.
  • What is a pocket? Flossing is the most effective tool for cleaning the tight spaces between your teeth. The floss scrapes up and down each tooth picking up clinging bacteria and food particles. Pockets indicate the presence of abnormal spaces between the tooth and the gums.  When the pockets form a crevice, or space, is created where fluids, food debris, and bacteria float around.  The depth of the pocket is constantly trying to fight off what has gotten trapped in there.

The next steps for you is to begin flossing immediately. There are lots of YouTube videos that can show you how to floss if you aren’t sure if you are doing it properly. Do it twice a day, religiously. And if you aren’t flossing well just tell your hygienist your concerns at your next appointment. She can show you what is going on in your mouth and how it will reduce gum irritation and bleeding gums.

Happy Flossing!