‘Tis the Season for Healthy Habits

The holiday season is upon us! That means sweet indulgences, festive functions, long-awaited journeys to see loved ones, and changes to your usual routine. Along with these holiday celebrations come risks for your oral health. And while you should embrace the joyful season, it’s also important to keep an eye on your dental hygiene by remembering the following tips for a jolly jaw.

Outside of the holiday season, a healthy oral hygiene routine is critical to your overall health and consists of brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes, flossing regularly, using an alcohol-free mouthwash, and staying on top of your professional cleanings.

Threats to this routine can appear in the most joyful of ways—like parties, family meals, and get-togethers with friends. These celebrations typically come with bounties of food, sweets, sugary drinks, and other indulgences that could harm your oral health. While you should certainly treat yourself during this time of year, it’s important to keep in mind what’s best for your long-term health.

One well-known tip for staying healthy is avoiding foods that are high in sugar, like candies and chocolate. Limiting sticky candies like toffee is smart since the sugar can get stuck between your teeth, and if you have your choice of chocolates, dark chocolate has a slightly lower sugar content than other chocolates. Hard candies, like candy canes, are popular around the holidays, but can also lead to damage and enamel cracks when bitten.

Another way to cut down on your sugar consumption during the holidays is minding what you drink. Festive beverages like soda, cocktails, hot chocolate, and eggnog are a delicious way to ring in happy tidings, but can also be loaded with sugar and acidity—a destructive combination when it comes to your gum and enamel health.

To minimize the damage of sugary snacks and drinks while still enjoying them, try incorporating glasses of water to wash away stubborn particles. Another way to minimize bacteria buildup is to avoid grazing at cocktail hours, during meals, and at parties. It’s easy to eat more than you normally would when you’re entertaining, attending gatherings, or having a holiday meal that stretches over many hours, so adding water when you can will benefit your oral hygiene.

If you can’t resist the extra nibbles, foods like cheese and meat can be far less harmful to the surfaces of your teeth. Not only is cheese delicious and popular at parties, but as a dairy product it is also a good source of calcium which strengthens teeth and neutralizes the acid and pH levels in the mouth to prevent cavities from forming.

One of the easiest times to stray from your hygiene routine is when traveling. If you’re staying in an unfamiliar place without your usual products, it can be easy to skip steps that you otherwise consider a necessary part of your day. To avoid disruption to your routine, be sure to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, and hand-held flossers. Having everything you’re used to using at home with you on the road will help keep you on track to a healthy mouth.

The season also brings gifts, and sometimes it can be difficult to resist using your teeth as a tool to open plastic wraps and packages. Though it may be tempting, it’s always safer to take an extra moment to get a pair of scissors and avoid any harm you could do to your teeth. Fixing a chipped, broken, or cracked tooth would be much more expensive and time consuming than taking time to find the right tool.

While the holiday season can be packed with activities, it’s important to keep these tips in mind and stick to your regular dental visits. When you have a moment, give us a call to make sure you’re on track for your professional cleaning early in the new year.

Tricky Treats

Halloween is almost here! And with it comes lots of fun: crazy costumes, haunted houses, festive decor,  time with friends, and candy you crave all year. But the treats that kids gather from house to house can be tricky.

Candy is high in sugar, and sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay in mouths of any age. When sugary particles get stuck in your teeth, they cause a layer of bacteria and plaque to form. This bacteria breaks particles down for fuel which increases the acidity in your mouth, and that acidity can cause the protective layers of your teeth to erode. If those protective layers are worn down, the bacteria can permeate the surface and damage the teeth—potentially permanently.

If you have lots of different types of candy to choose from at the end of the night, we recommend avoiding hard candy that stays in your mouth for a long time and could cause breakage if bitten, sticky gummy candy that might not be washed away by saliva, and sour candy that might harm the enamel. The longer candy stays in your mouth, the higher the risk of eventual tooth decay.

Is your Halloween pile heavy on the chocolate? There’s good news! While chocolate is still sugary and can harm the teeth if it remains on the surface for an extended period, it does not bond to the nooks and crannies of teeth in the same sticky way as soft, gummy, or sour candies.

These warnings may seem scary, but fear not! There are tips you can keep in mind that will let you and the little ones in your life enjoy Hallo-sweets to the fullest. When it’s possible, it’s best to enjoy your Halloween haul shortly after mealtime. As you eat a meal, saliva production increases, which can act as a natural mouthwash to rinse away sugary particles and the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth.

For extra rinsing power, drinking a glass of water after indulging in a Halloween treat will help wash away sugar more than saliva can on its own. Brushing teeth after candy may seem like the most obvious way to minimize particle build up, but only after 30 minutes have gone by. Waiting 30 minutes before brushing allows the saliva to stabilize the pH of the mouth and helps avoid adding more corrosiveness to the surface of the teeth caused by acidic candies.

If you would rather stay away from candy altogether, treats like stickers, spider rings, and glow-in-the-dark toys keep Halloween fun.

If you do end up with more candy in the house than usual, there are ways to minimize the harm. Here are our tips for keeping the fright away from your bite:

  • Remember that chocolate can be rinsed away relatively easily, while sticky, chewy, sour candy cannot.
  • Allow for one or two pieces to be enjoyed each night right after dinner or close to mealtime.
  • Wash treats down with a big glass of water to combat sugar overload.

As always, the most important tip is to stick to a thorough and consistent hygiene routine. That means brushing and flossing regularly, and coming to see us for cleanings twice a year. Call us today to schedule an appointment or book one through our online booking tool!


Under Negative Pressure

In January of this year, we shared all the ways our office is keeping our patients and staff protected from COVID-19. Since then, our office has moved locations, but our dedication to the health and safety of each person who comes through our doors has remained the same.

As the delta variant becomes prevalent, we want to remind all our patients that we continue to follow strict guidelines to maintain hygiene and cleanliness in our office—on surfaces, in the air, and everywhere in between. We have gone above and beyond the CDC’s recommended precautions to ensure that our office is safe, healthy, and comfortable.

Since moving to our new location in May 2021, we have made enhancements and taken the necessary precautions to keep you and our staff safe. The negative pressure rooms in our new location are critical in maintaining a completely germ-free environment. Our high-grade negative pressure rooms eliminate aerosols from the room during treatments to prevent transmission of germs between patients.

Negative pressure rooms are used in a wide range of medical environments, including ICUs, to prevent the spread of infectious contaminants and to maintain sterile spaces, no matter the size. The science behind these rooms helps us ensure that every time a patient steps into a treatment room, they are breathing in clean, sanitary air—never the air from previous patients.

The low-pressure traps and keeps potentially harmful particles within the room, preventing them from being spread to other patients. This video, taken in our previous office, shows how the system works.

To maintain your overall well-being and especially your oral health, we want you to feel comfortable coming to the office for routine cleanings and other procedures. We are always available to answer any questions you might have about how we are keeping patients safe so you can keep up with your dental appointments.

We hope to see you soon! Schedule your next appointment by calling 408.227.1404 or scheduling via our online tool.

We’ve Moved!

After the Great Flood of 2021 we are excited to finally share with you that we have found our new dental home!  We are now located at 6080 Hellyer Ave., Suite 100, San Jose, CA  95138.

Dr. Sraon feels very fortunate to have found such a beautiful office.  This was formally Dr. Blatz’s office who retired after the Covid-19 shutdown, and his son, Dr. Brice Blatz, was offered a job opportunity in Oregon.  The father-son team needed out of their 4 year lease, and the landlord needed the office space rented, and we needed an office. This became a win-win-win situation.  But wait there’s more…The Blatz’s then donated their orthopedic exam tables to the Indian Health Center!  This was a win-win-win-win situation!!!

In addition to this gorgeous office, we look forward to sharing with you our new equipment that includes a Yoshida Imageworks pano machine, a digital scanner for impressions (no more goopy messes!) and a new digital hand held portable X-ray machine.  We are also using new state of the art portable delivery units which now use distilled water.  And yes, the negative pressure rooms have been installed and are currently running!  And yes, CNN is still with us in the waiting room.


All of us here look forward to seeing you soon and let us know if we have built back better.



Dilber S. Sraon, DDS and Team

A Routine Appointment Could Save Your Life

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and we want to make sure that all of our patients are taking the necessary steps to prevent and protect against oral cancer by raising awareness of oral cancer screenings and the importance of early detection.

One person per hour, every hour of the day, dies from oral (mouth) and oropharyngeal (upper throat) cancers, and about 40% of individuals diagnosed with oral cancer have a less-than-5-year life expectancy. Even for those who survive oral cancer, the chances of suffering from facial disfigurement, difficulty eating and speaking, and other long-term effects are high.

The death rate and severity of these cancers are particularly high because they often go undiscovered until they are far along in their development. However, late discovery can be prevented if oral and oropharyngeal cancers are detected and treated early thanks to routine exams designed for just that.

Regular oral cancer exams are the best way to detect oral cancer in its early stages, and our office is proud to offer oral cancer screenings at every hygiene appointment using the VELscope.

The VELscope is a wireless, handheld tool that allows us to see oral mucosal abnormalities (including oral cancer and premalignant dysplasia) much better than the naked eye. The tool is trusted by over 15,000 dental practitioners worldwide for its accuracy and efficacy, and Dr. Sraon is glad to be one of them.

Between appointments, there are signs and symptoms that you can be on the lookout for. If you notice any of the symptoms below, and they last for over 2-3 weeks, you should call our office right away:

  • A sore or ulcer that does not go away in 14 days
  • Red, white, or black discoloration on the soft tissues in the mouth
  • Any abnormality in the mouth that bleeds easily when touched
  • A lump or hard spot in the tongue (usually on the border)
  • A bump that protrudes from the tongue or the side of the neck
  • A sore underneath a denture that does not heal after adjustment
  • A hoarse or sore throat that persists for over 2-3 weeks
  • A single swollen tonsil that is often painless
  • A painless, firm lump on the outside of the neck, lasting at least 2 weeks
  • A stubborn cough that does not resolve in 2-3 weeks
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • An earache on one side that lasts for more than a few days

Individuals over the age of 50 who use tobacco and/or drink alcohol heavily are at especially high risk of developing oral and oropharyngeal cancers. Recently, however, oropharyngeal cancer is occurring more frequently in non-smokers, and instead can be attributed to HPV16, the virus most commonly associated with cervical cancer.

About 99% of people who develop an HPV oral infection will recover from the virus on their own, but for the remaining 1%, the immune system will not beat the virus. If the virus does not succumb to the body’s immune system, it can lay undetected for decades before potentially causing cancer.

Have you had an oral cancer screening recently? If you can’t remember, give us a call and we will get one scheduled for you.

Guard Against Grinding

Have you woken up in the morning with a headache or sore jaw? Have you been woken up by a partner’s teeth grinding in the night? Are your teeth showing signs of severe wear or damage? You’re not alone, and a night guard could be a life-altering solution.

A night guard is a structured plastic device that’s molded to your teeth and gums that prevents your top and bottom teeth from making contact. Wearing a night guard while you sleep minimizes the negative effects of grinding teeth, clenching teeth, and putting stress on your jaw which can cause headaches and worse.

In addition to headaches and soreness that can last all day and interrupt your sleeping patterns, grinding and clenching can cause costly and long-lasting damage to your teeth like chipping, cracking, excessive wear, and compromised fillings.

Night guards relieve your jaw of unnecessary stress and protect the enamel on your teeth from erosion. If not addressed, erosion could cause the unprotected layers of your teeth to be exposed and cause extreme pain and discomfort. By keeping your top and bottom teeth from touching during the night, a night guard will help avoid severe damage that could lead to the loss of teeth and require expensive repairs.

If you are aware that you tend to grind your teeth at night, you may already know that you have bruxism. Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth both at night (sleep bruxism) and in the daytime (awake bruxism). Sleeping with a custom night guard will decrease the stress and destructiveness caused by clenching and grinding that come with bruxism.

Keeping your teeth intact by wearing a night guard will also maintain the attractiveness of your smile and ultimately boost your self esteem. A healthy smile is one of the first things that people notice in others, so keeping yours chip-free will give you the confidence you need to go about your personal and professional life with your head up and your pearly whites on display.

An extra bright smile from whitening treatments is another way to keep your spirits high as well as another reason to wear a night guard when you sleep. The temporary tenderness that bleaching can cause leaves your teeth especially vulnerable to sensitivity caused by clenching. A night guard will keep your fresh white teeth from causing additional discomfort.

On top of alleviating discomfort, wearing a night guard can help relax your jaw by guiding it to a comfortable resting position. A relaxed jaw will make it easier to fall asleep, stay asleep, and breathe easily which in turn will help your partner sleep soundly as well.

If you think you might be a candidate for a custom night guard, give us a call to set up an appointment. We typically recommend a lower night guard with metal framework because wearing a night guard on your lower teeth tends to make speaking and functioning easier on a day-to-day and night-to-night basis.

We look forward to helping you keep your teeth, gums, and mouth protected from the harms of grinding and clenching. Call us today to learn more!

Innovations: New community water fluoridation system is ‘game-changer,’ advocates say

A new community water fluoridation system that is the first advancement in water fluoridation technology in decades has received a coveted approval that primes it for immediate deployment all over the country.

The sodium fluorosilicate tablet system, developed by Florida-based KC Industries and contracted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, received NSF Standard 61 approval in December.

NSF Standard 61 is a set of national standards that relates to water treatment and was developed by the National Sanitation Foundation, a global independent public health and environmental organization.

The tablet system is a more cost-effective way to distribute fluoride into drinking water, and offers an opportunity to distribute fluoride to smaller communities that did not have the previous infrastructure to do so, said Kip Duchon, a consultant to the ADA’s National Fluoridation Advisory Committee and retired CDC national fluoridation engineer.

“It’s a game-changer,” Mr. Duchon said. He said that at the moment, about 75% of the country has fluoridated water. He predicted that within a decade, that number will rise to 85% due to the new system.

The system is designed for small- to medium-sized water systems with flow rates of up to 1 million gallons per day, which serves up to about 15,000 people, said Steve McCarter, managing member of KC Industries. More than a decade in the making, the system is designed to be a safe, easy-to-use, low-maintenance and affordable option for smaller municipalities to access the benefits of water fluoridation for their residents.

The feeder system works through the erosion of sodium fluorosilicate tablets in the patented New Wave Fluoridation Feeder, much like how chlorine is distributed into swimming pools, Mr. McCarter said.

The New Wave Fluoridation Feeder and Tablet system will be marketed by DuBois Chemicals throughout North America commencing Jan. 1, 2021.

KC Industries has a long history in the application and use of fluoride products for use in water fluoridation, as both a producer and distributor, and Dubois is one of the largest water fluoridation companies in North America, with over 75 years of combined experience in water fluoridation sales and technical staff.

Mr. McCarter said interest in the system has come from around the world — including Australia — and that he expects to be implementing the system soon in communities that include those in Colorado and Georgia.

Mr. Duchon expects a half-dozen communities to implement the system within the first few months.

Jayanth Kumar, D.D.S., California state dental director and member of the National Fluoridation Advisory Committee, said he was pleased to see the approval and deployment of the New Wave Fluoridation Feeder and Tablet system throughout the nation.

“This system will expand the benefits of community water fluoridation to many more communities that before were unable to offer community water fluoridation to its residents,” Dr. Kumar said. “Community water fluoridation is one of the best population-based interventions.”

Source: ADA News

Dental practices remain open amid COVID-19 surge

As COVID-19 cases again surge across the U.S., dentists may be worried about the return of restrictions they experienced in the spring, but as of Nov. 30, no states were asking dental offices to limit essential services, and the American Dental Association is also advocating for dental care to continue during the pandemic.

“At this point in time, the American Dental Association firmly believes dental care can continue to be delivered safely,” ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D., said in a statement Nov. 17. “Guidance recommended by the ADA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to safeguard the health of the public. Dental care is essential health care. Regular dental visits are important because treatment, as well as prevention of dental disease, helps keep people healthy.”

The ADA continues to monitor the developing situation and recognizes that local and state health departments, state dental societies and, in some cases, large urban local dental societies may make recommendations they believe are appropriate based on local conditions.

“In general, however, dentists and dental team members across the country have effectively implemented ADA and CDC recommendations, and dental practices should remain open to provide dental care to patients,” Dr. Klemmedson said.

State responses

State dental societies have reached out to their members to clarify guidance from their state governments and assure them essential dental services may continue.

A shelter-in-place order issued Nov. 13 in New Mexico shut down nonessential in-person activities, but the language pertaining to dentistry remained essentially the same as it has for the last several months, according to a post on the New Mexico Dental Association’s website. Dental offices could remain open, but dentists were encouraged to use their professional judgment when responding to the status of the pandemic in their area.

Following the two-week order, the state said it would enact a tiered response system on Dec. 2, allowing counties to lift restrictions after meeting certain health metrics.

In Washington, the state dental association received direct confirmation from Gov. Jay Inslee’s office that restrictions related to social gatherings and other activities announced Nov. 15 and lasting for four weeks do not place any new limits on dental or health care delivery more broadly, according to a post on the Washington State Dental Association’s website.

On Nov. 25, Mr. Inslee also released updates to a May proclamation that had reduced restrictions on and allowed for the safe expansion of “nonurgent” medical and dental procedures. The updates do not enact any additional restrictions or limitations on the delivery of dental or health care and instead allow health care providers to self-regulate their capacity for care based upon certain parameters, according to the state dental association. The updates will go into effect Dec. 3.

“As we continue to work our way through this pandemic, we must continue to exercise good judgment when determining how to provide necessary dental care within the context of our patients’ needs, our area-specific COVID-19 disease burden, PPE supply, and the health care capabilities and capacity of our local communities,” the Washington State Dental Association stated on its website. “A one-size-fits-all approach is not the right path going forward.”

The state association had been actively involved in discussions with the governor’s office, state department of health and other health care organizations about updates to the proclamation.

Dentistry is essential

The ADA House of Delegates passed a policy stating dentistry is essential health care during its virtual meeting in October.

Resolution 84H-2020 states oral health is an integral component of systemic health and explains dentistry is essential health care because of its role in evaluating, diagnosing, preventing or treating oral diseases, which can affect systemic health.

It states the ADA will use the term “essential dental care” — defined as any care that prevents or eliminates infection and preserves the structure and function of teeth and orofacial hard and soft tissues — in place of “emergency dental care” and “elective dental care” when communicating with legislators, regulators, policymakers and the media about care that should continue to be delivered during global pandemics or other disaster situations, if any limitations are proposed.

The policy also states that state agencies and officials should recognize the oral health workforce when designating their state’s essential workforce during public health emergencies, in order to assist oral health care workers in protecting the health of their constituents. Federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency have already acknowledged dentistry as an essential service needed to maintain the health of Americans.

The American College of Emergency Physicians issued a letter in September supporting the ADA policy, stating it understands the consequences of neglected dental care and sees the resulting infections on a daily basis.

From March 16-April 30, the ADA called for dentists to postpone all but urgent and emergency procedures to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, keep patients out of overburdened hospital emergency departments and conserve personal protective equipment. By the end of May, most state governments had lifted restrictions on dental offices.

COVID-19 rates and resources

study from the ADA Science & Research Institute and Health Policy Institute found that fewer than 1% of dentists nationwide were estimated to be COVID-19 positive as of June. The study was published in the November issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

The authors of the study are continuing to collect infection rate data, and they have added dental hygienists to their ongoing survey, in collaboration with the American Dental Hygienists Association. Preliminary data suggest the monthly incidence rate among dentists has remained less than 1%. Conclusive data from a six-month period will be part of an upcoming publication.

The CDC also has not reported any documented transmissions of COVID-19 in a clinical dental setting to date, Dr. Klemmedson said in his statement.

Interim guidance from both the ADA and CDC calls for dental professionals to use the highest level of personal protective equipment available, including masks, goggles and face shields. To minimize aerosols, the ADA guidance also recommends dental professionals use rubber dams and high-velocity suction whenever possible and hand scaling instead of ultrasonic scaling when cleaning teeth.

Dentists can find ADA resources related to COVID-19 at ADA.org/virus, including the Patient Return Resource Center, which has talking points for dentists and their staff to use to help patients who have concerns about visiting the dentist during the pandemic.


Source: ADA News

Safe with Sraon

There has been almost nothing routine about 2020. We’ve hit “pause” on travel, holidays, weddings, birthdays, graduations, and so much more—including routine medical appointments—in an effort to stay safe.

We always recommend that patients visit the dentist at least twice a year to keep your mouth healthy and clean, and skipping just one cleaning can put you behind. Without two cleanings a year, you expose your mouth to the risk of bacteria growth which can cause decay and disease. While skipping a routine cleaning or other visit to avoid the risk of COVID-19, you run the risk of dealing with big problems in the future.

While it may seem scary to visit any sort of medical office in the midst of a global pandemic, we want you to rest assured that you will be safe and protected inside our doors. In the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, dentistry was listed as one of the professions at highest risk of virus transmission because of the close proximity of dentists and their patients. We understand why patients might have been hesitant to visit the office for this reason.

However, there has been no evidence of coronavirus transmission in dental offices since many reopened at the beginning of the summer. In fact, an American Dental Association Science & Research Institute and Health Policy Institute study in October found that the COVID-19 rate among dentists is less than 1%.

Since we were able to reopen in July, our office has implemented strict guidelines to maintain hygiene and cleanliness in our office—on surfaces, in the air, and everywhere in between. We have gone above and beyond the CDC’s recommended precautions to ensure that our office is safe, healthy, and comfortable.

In addition to deep cleans and social distancing, we’ve:

  • installed high-grade medical negative pressure rooms to eliminate aerosols from the room during treatments to prevent transmission of germs between patients
  • added hospital-grade filters to the HVAC ducting to attract and capture airborne particles and allergens
  • installed UV-C lighting to deactivate the DNA of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens in the air and on surfaces. These measures destroy a virus’ ability to cause disease

We want you to feel comfortable coming to the office and are always available to answer any questions you might have about how we are keeping patients safe.

We hope to see you soon! Schedule your next appointment by calling 408.227.1404 or scheduling via our online tool.