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Smiles Ready for School: A Back-to-School Dental Checklist.

August 18th, 2023

As summer comes to an end and the excitement of a new school year begins, it's crucial to ensure that your child's oral health is in its best shape. At Dentistry by Design in Elk Grove, California, we understand the significance of a healthy smile, especially as kids head back to school. In this blog post, we'll provide you with a comprehensive back-to-school dental checklist to ensure your child's oral hygiene is top-notch for the upcoming academic year.

1. Schedule a Back-to-School Dental Checkup:
Starting the school year with a clean bill of oral health is essential. Schedule a visit to Dentistry by Design for a thorough dental checkup and cleaning. This will not only help catch any potential issues early on but also give your child a confident smile as they return to the classroom.

2. Reevaluate Oral Hygiene Routine:
The busy school routine can sometimes disrupt established oral hygiene habits. Take the time to reassess your child's brushing and flossing routine. Ensure they brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and floss daily. A healthy oral care regimen is the foundation of a dazzling smile.

3. Choose Teeth-Friendly Snacks:
With lunchtime at school comes the temptation to indulge in sugary snacks and beverages. Opt for teeth-friendly snacks like crunchy vegetables, cheese, yogurt, and nuts. These options help promote saliva production, which aids in cleaning teeth naturally.

4. Stay Hydrated with Water:
Encourage your child to choose water over sugary drinks, even when they're at school. Water not only keeps them hydrated but also helps rinse away food particles that can lead to cavities.

5. Protect Their Teeth During Physical Activities:
If your child is involved in sports or physical activities at school, consider providing them with a mouthguard. A custom-fit mouthguard from Dentistry by Design can help prevent dental injuries while they have fun and stay active.

6. Replace Old Toothbrushes:
Make sure your child starts the school year with a fresh toothbrush. Old toothbrushes can harbor bacteria and be less effective at cleaning teeth. Stock up on extra toothbrushes so they can replace them every three to four months.

7. Limit Sugary and Acidic Beverages:
Educate your child about the harmful effects of excessive sugary and acidic beverages on their teeth. Encourage them to opt for milk or water instead of soda or energy drinks, which can contribute to enamel erosion and cavities.

8. Incorporate Good Oral Habits in the Morning Routine:
As the morning rush begins, ensure that your child's oral care doesn't get neglected. Make brushing and flossing a non-negotiable part of their morning routine, along with breakfast and getting dressed.

9. Emphasize Regular Hand Washing:
Good oral health goes hand in hand with overall hygiene. Teach your child the importance of regular handwashing to prevent the spread of germs that can affect their oral health and overall well-being.

10. Lead by Example:
Children often learn best by observing their parents. Showcase your commitment to oral health by maintaining your own dental hygiene routine. Brush and floss together to make it a fun and bonding experience.

At Dentistry by Design in Elk Grove, California, we believe that a healthy smile contributes to a successful start to the school year. By following this back-to-school dental checklist, you can ensure that your child's oral health remains a priority as they embark on their academic journey. Schedule a visit with us today to give your child the confidence of a bright and healthy smile throughout the school year and beyond.

Avoid added sugars as much as you can!

September 19th, 2022

Can you entirely avoid sugars? The short answer is NO. Should you avoid all sugars? Definitely NO But…you should .

Sugars occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and dairy products and most of them are healthy for you since they contain fiber, vitamins and minerals your body needs in order to stay healthy, strong and fight many diseases. However, the added sugars, manufacturers add in almost everything you can find on the shelf of a grocery store, are unhealthy and can contribute to weight gain, tooth decay, and a whole array of inflammatory diseases like diabetes and heart disease. There is a lot of naturally occurring sugar in some fruits and some sugar in vegetables (one should consume fruits with high sugar content in moderation if watching their weight, regardless of their other benefits). Some common vegetables with higher sugar content are sweet potatoes, beets, onions, green peas, and sweet corn. Some vegetables with low and very low sugar content are mushrooms, spinach, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, arugula, radishes and asparagus.

Fruits are also healthy for you; they contain antioxidants that counteract free radicals and fight diseases. But some fruits contain a significant amount of sugar. Some examples are mangoes. One mango contains 46 grams of sugar (11 teaspoons of granulated sugar). A cup of grapes has 23 grams of sugar (5 teaspoons), a cup of cherries has 18 grams of sugar (4 teaspoons). Eat them in moderation. Some fruits like lemons, strawberries, blackberries, kiwis, watermelon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches have lower sugar content. Enjoy them as you like. Avocado is my favorite fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit). Is very low in sugar (one gram in one fruit) and has a lot of very beneficial fats, that will keep you satiated.

Added sugar comes under many names. Do yourself a favor and check the food label for added sugar like: cane sugar, raw sugar, high fructose corn syrup (the most detrimental), agave nectar, brown sugar, evaporated cane juice, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, honey, syrup and more. Very important to keep in mind that the quantity of total sugar or added sugar is listed per serving, not for the entire bag or container. Be aware of dried fruits!  For example, a bag of 2.5 lb. of Organic dried mango, unsweetened, has 28 servings (1/2 cup) and each serving contains 24 g of sugar. That means the bag holds 672 g of sugar or 134 teaspoons of sugar.

Pay special attention to sodas. A 20 once bottle contains 70 grams of sugar and that’s 14 teaspoons of sugar of empty calories, no nutritional benefits once so ever. Plus reduces the PH that demineralizes teeth!

In one cup of milk there is 17 grams of naturally occurring sugar but in a cup of chocolate milk there is 23 grams or more due to added sugars.

Plain yogurt might be beneficial to you if you choose the right one, with probiotics and no sugar added; has about 12 grams of naturally occurring sugar(lactose) per 6 oz container. Flavored yogurt has 24 grams of sugar per container. They also might contain nasty additives and harmful sweeteners.

Alcohol contains sugar too. If you like sweet wine, you can get 24 grams of sugar in one glass. Thanksgiving is coming! Be aware there are 22 plus grams of sugar in a cup of eggnog.

Bottom line, read food labels carefully and pay increased attention to total sugar content and added sugar content. You can make better choices if you are aware of how much sugar a serving contains. Choices that will serve you well in maintaining a healthy weight, a healthy heart, staying diabetes free, cavities free and avoid aggravating your whole-body health.


Sugar is used by bacteria in the mouth as fuel and create acid that is damaging to tooth enamel!


Yours in good dental health,


Dr Horia T. Ionescu

Allergy Season

April 21st, 2022


That time of the year again, beautiful, warmer weather, blossoming trees, green grass, and…Allergies

Allergy season and dental symptoms. Really!?

Allergies have really unpleasant symptoms: red, itchy and watery eyes and the endless sneezing and congestion. Well, sometimes may impact your oral health! Here are some dental symptoms to watch for when seasonal allergies strike.

Tooth Pain

Allergies might give you congested sinuses. Sinus pressure in the maxillary can sometimes cause the upper molars to ache.  Tooth pain should go away when you are treating your allergies. However, if the pain persists, make an appointment with your dentist. Just to make sure the aching teeth aren’t the result of tooth decay.

Bad Breath

All that mucus your body is creating can also be bad news for your breath. When you’re congested, mucus from the sinuses leaks into the back of the throat–we call this “post-nasal drip.” Not only can post-nasal drip lead to a sore throat, it can also be the cause of persistent bad breath.

Dry Mouth

Antihistamines are often used to keep your allergies under control. They are helpful but they can often lead to an unpleasant side effect: dry mouth. Saliva is our number one protection against cavity-causing bacteria, so when your mouth is dry, you have a higher risk of developing tooth decay.

Protect Your Mouth This Spring

We, at Dentistry by Design of Elk Grove, CA want your mouth to stay healthy, even during allergy season. Here are some helpful tips from Dr. Ionescu to help you protect your mouth this spring:

  • Exercise good oral hygiene. Brush after meals, and floss on a daily basis!
  • Drink plenty of water to compensate for dry mouth.
  • Try rinsing with salt water to help with congestion. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water and gargle for a few seconds before spitting it out.

Don’t Let Allergies Get the Best of You

Spring can be difficult for some of our patients because of allergies. Doctor Ionescu and our team of dental professionals at Dentistry by Design are here to help. Call us if you need anything! We’re here to get you through allergy season with a smile on your face.


March 9th, 2022

MOUTH-BREATHING CAN cause all kinds of short-term problems, many of which are linked to poor sleep quality from getting inadequate oxygen by breathing through the mouth.

Short-Term Consequences of a Mouth-Breathing Habit

If a child displays the following signs, it could be due to mouth-breathing:

1.    Impaired talking. When a child’s mouth is constantly open, certain sounds become more problematic to say.

2.    Halitosis (chronic bad breath). An open mouth tends to be a dry mouth, which means there isn’t enough saliva to clean out the germs.

3.    Tooth decay. Other serious consequences of dry mouth are tooth decay and cavities.

4.    Irritability, lethargy, and inattention. Less oxygen means worse sleep, which makes it much harder for kids to pay attention in school and to be their bright, happy selves.

How Mouth-Breathing Impacts Health Long-Term

While the above issues are bad enough, the complications that come from mouth-breathing don’t stop there. If left unchecked throughout childhood, mouth-breathing can cause the following:

1.    Extended orthodontic treatment. Braces will take longer and there will be a higher chance of the teeth moving back to their pre-braces position.

2.    Changed facial structure. The bones in the face can actually develop differently because of mouth-breathing, resulting in flatter features, droopy eyes, a thin jaw, and a smaller chin.

3.    Sleep apnea. Mouth-breathing can increase a person’s risk for sleep apnea, a unsafe sleep disorder that makes it hard to get a restful night’s sleep.