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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.

Pamper your SMILE!

June 22nd, 2023

When it comes to oral care, many of us tend to view it as a necessary chore rather than an opportunity for self-care and pampering. However, your dental hygiene routine doesn't have to be mundane and monotonous. With the right mindset and a few simple adjustments, you can turn your stroll through the dental hygiene aisle into a luxurious and indulgent experience. In this blog post, we will explore ways to elevate your dental hygiene routine, making it a self-care ritual that you can look forward to.

Choose High-Quality Dental Products:
One of the easiest ways to pamper yourself is by selecting high-quality dental products. Instead of settling for the basics, explore the aisle for premium toothpaste, mouthwash, and toothbrushes that offer additional benefits. Look for toothpaste with whitening properties, enamel protection, or natural ingredients that nourish your teeth and gums. Invest in a toothbrush with soft bristles and a comfortable grip, ensuring a gentle and enjoyable brushing experience.

Upgrade Your Toothbrush:
If you're still using a manual toothbrush, consider treating yourself to an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes offer superior cleaning power and often come with advanced features like timers, pressure sensors, and various brushing modes. These features not only enhance your oral hygiene but also add a touch of luxury to your daily routine.

Explore Mouthwatering Flavors:
Traditional dental products tend to have a minty flavor, but the dental hygiene aisle now offers a range of tantalizing flavors. Branch out from the standard mint and try toothpaste or mouthwash with fruity, herbal, or exotic flavors. The pleasant taste will make your oral care routine more enjoyable and provide a refreshing sensation.

Incorporate Aromatherapy:
Aromatherapy can play a significant role in enhancing your dental hygiene experience. Look for oral care products infused with essential oils like lavender, tea tree, or eucalyptus. These oils not only add a delightful scent but also provide additional benefits such as soothing properties, antimicrobial effects, or breath-freshening qualities. Incorporating aromatherapy into your dental routine will help create a relaxing and indulgent atmosphere.

Treat Yourself to Oral Care Accessories:
Beyond the essentials, the dental hygiene aisle often offers a wide range of oral care accessories that can take your routine to the next level. Consider investing in a tongue scraper to remove bacteria and improve your breath, or try out a water flosser for a more thorough and enjoyable flossing experience. These accessories can make your routine feel like a spa-like treatment for your mouth.

Schedule Regular Dental Check-Ups:
While strolling through the dental hygiene aisle can be exciting, it's important not to forget the most crucial aspect of oral care—professional dental check-ups. Regular visits to your dentist ensure that your teeth and gums are in optimal health and can address any concerns or potential issues promptly. The peace of mind that comes with a clean bill of oral health is a true pampering experience.

Elevating your dental hygiene routine doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. By simply exploring the dental hygiene aisle with a discerning eye, you can find products and accessories that transform your oral care routine into a luxurious and pampering experience. From high-quality dental products to indulgent flavors and aromas, there are numerous ways to treat yourself and make dental hygiene an enjoyable self-care ritual. So, next time you stroll through the dental hygiene aisle, remember to take the opportunity to pamper yourself and prioritize your oral health and well-being!


April 8th, 2022

April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month – 2022

Check your mouth

Oral cancer kills! Avoid this disease by learning to recognize early symptoms, talk to your dentist about any suspicions and have your dentist perform an oral cancer exam twice a year. Caught early, everything from treatments to final outcome, are reduced in severity.

The wise thing to do is to engage in a routine self-exam, easily done in about 5-10 minutes once a month. What you need:

  • A mirror – use a handheld mirror that lets you to get the closest look, clearly inside your mouth.
  • A light source – illumination is critical to be able to see any subtle changes in your mouth.
  • Piece of gauze –to effectively examine the tongue; top, both sides and underneath. A small package of 2X2 gauze is available at any drug store.

Start by looking at yourself in the mirror. Both sides of your face and neck should look relatively symmetrical. If you are not, and an area is swollen and it stays that way, perhaps you have a reason to seek out a professional opinion.

Examining your neck. You’ll want to look and feel your neck, under your jawline, and even in the hollow above your collarbone. You’ll want to look and feel both sides of your neck, under the jawline, along the muscle that runs down each side of your neck, then ending with feeling the hollow above your collarbone.

There are many lymph nodes in these areas that give us a lot of information about our health. They tell us about the presence of an infection in our body, and also can be related to cancer. Most often they are related to an infection and this causes swelling and tenderness. But lymph nodes that swell and enlarge, are not tender to the touch and feel firm and fixated in place are a red flag. In general, painful means infection, not cancer (which if it does not go away still needs to be evaluated), swollen and not painful nodes, a warning sign that needs to be evaluated by a professional.

Using your fingertips, use a circular motion or rolling stroke to check the lymph nodes from the corner of your jaw all the way forward to under your chin. You likely will feel nothing, and that is good. It is the hard, painless, swollen ones we are concerned with. They are usually about the size and shape of a small almond.

Next with your fingertips on the inside of the muscle that runs down each side of your neck, roll your fingertips from under the jaw down to your collarbone. Turn your head one way then the other to feel the area occupied by the deeper nodes along this muscle. It is not unusual to feel a number of different lymph nodes in this area. Healthy ones are soft and move about easily when you push against them. Next check the lymph nodes above your collarbone. To do this, you will want to raise your shoulders and round them forward. This allows you to feel inside the hollow area above your collarbone.


What am I looking for?

There are 100’s of lymph nodes in your neck. From time to time, they may enlarge. This is often related to an infection, a cold, or a sore throat for example. If infection related, they will often be tender/sore, moveable, and will feel like a pea or blueberry. In contrast, if you find a hard lump like a small stone, first compare it to the other side. If it feels different from the other side, if it doesn’t move around, if it is not tender/sore, and persists for more than two weeks, have it checked by a dental or medical professional.

Now it’s time to look inside your mouth.

The examination of your mouth should include your lips, your gums, the inside of your cheeks, your tongue, the floor of your mouth, the roof of your mouth and back of the throat including your tonsils. It is best to follow a system each month when checking your mouth so you don’t overlook an area as you will have a routine. Here’s what you’ll need; a tongue depressor, light source, mirror, and a piece of gauze. We recommend the lit tongue depressor from Throat Scope because it combines full lighting to the area while working as a tongue depressor to move your tongue around. Look for any unusual sore, thickened area or lumps on your lips, discoloration, ulceration, sore or grows on your gum, tissue of a different surface texture, inside your cheeks and around your tongue including under your tongue (With a piece of gauze get a good hold on your tongue, pull it forward and move to the right and then to the left). Examine the floor of your mouth for discolorations or ulcerations. Examine the roof of your mouth to also be free from any sores or ulcerations.

Your job is to find things, it is the job of a professional to determine that what you discover, which has met the criteria of persisting for more than 2-3 weeks is dangerous or not. Out of hundreds of things that you may come across in your mouth, we cannot teach you enough to decide that something is cancer or not. The professional community itself is more than aware that from a visual exam, many times even they cannot with certainty definitively say what something is. This means that if they, like you, find it suspect, they will take a small piece of it (biopsy), and send it to an oral pathologist who will examine it under a microscope, and that person will come up with a gold standard, black and white answer as to what it is.

Catching a change early, and referring yourself to a professional to have them decide it needs to be removed, treated, or monitored, or not. Finding a precancer will likely save your life. Finding the very earliest stage of something that is already a cancer, will mean that your treatment to remove it and have it no longer part of your life, will be a much less invasive and difficult process, accomplished with a high degree of success and ultimately long-term survival.

Doctor Ionescu, here at Dentistry by Design performs thorough oral cancer exams every six months as part of our Professional Cleaning appointment. Oral cancer is a serious disease that can affect all parts of the mouth. We are taking it very seriously! Are you going to do the same?