Dentist Blog

Posts for tag: hygiene

By Dr JoAnne Carr
October 17, 2016
Tags: Fluoride   hygiene   decay prevention  


December 5, 2016 is the date when areas of Santa Clara County will begin receiving fluoridated water. 

Here are the zip codes of fully or partially fluoridated water as of December 5, 2016:

94022       94024       94028       94040       94041

94043       94085       94086       94089       94301 

94303       94304       94305       94306       95002

95008       95032       95035       95054       95111

95112       95116       95118       95120       95121

95122       95123       95124       95125       95127

95131       95132       95133       95134       95135

95136       95138       95148   

Interestingly enough, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) voted to fluoridate its water five years ago, in 2011.  It has taken this long to fund and implement the change.  Fluoridation for the entire county is expected to be complete by 2020. 

Non-fluoridated zip codes:

94087       95013       95014       95020       95030

95037       95046       95050       95051       95053

95070       95110       95113       95117       95119

95126       95128       95129       95130       95139

94550       95023       95033       95140       95141

If you live in an area that will be newly fluoridated, we recommend that you discontinue your children’s fluoride supplements starting in December.  (Fluoride drops or fluoride in vitamins are regularly prescribed when drinking water is non-fluoridated.)

Questions?  The SCVWD has a great website:

By Dr JoAnne Carr
October 05, 2016
Category: Preventative Care

Question:  Is the water in the South Bay fluoridated?

Answer:  It’s complicated.

First, some background info.  What’s the big deal about fluoride?

Fluoride has been shown to be a player in the fight against tooth decay (i.e., cavities).  Fluoride gives teeth resistance to acid attack from the bacteria in plaque.  It also reverses early decay by remineralizing the enamel of your teeth.

Fluoride comes in two forms:  topical and ingested.  The topicals are toothpastes, mouth rinses and in-office varnish we paint on your teeth.  Ingested fluorides are swallowed, like supplements and fluoridated water. 

20-40% = the decrease in tooth decay when fluoride is added to a community water supply.

So…….fluoride in your water IS a big deal because it helps you, and everyone else in town, not get cavities.  It really works!

Is it safe?  Yes.  “After 60 years of research and practical experience, the preponderance of scientific evidence indicates…..(fluoride is) both safe and effective”, says the American Dental Association website:

Fun fact:  The CDC has proclaimed community water fluoridation as one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.

Not-so-fun fact:  San Jose is the largest city in the US without fluoridated water.

But that is about to change!  Stay tuned. 

By Dr. JoAnne Carr
October 26, 2015
Category: Nutrition
Tags: hygiene   Sugar   water  

There is an addendum to our previous discussion about pH and bottled water from ourknowledgeable representative from GSK, the company that makes Sensodyne.

Our previous discussion was about flavored water drinks.  Now we hear that some plain bottled water that we pay good money for have pH readings that fall in the acidic range.  In particular, Dasani (made by Coca Cola) and Aquafina (PepsiCo) have pH’s of 5.5 or less (some websites said 4).  Remember that pH’s of 5 and under can be harmful to teeth.

Bottled water in general is tricky.  It takes some serious research to find out exactly what is in the water we buy, and the results are not always positive. I’m resolved to continue to use my Nalgene bottle, filled with filtered water from our kitchen sink, and carry it with me through the day. 


Our patients are wonderful, and I can say without a doubt that the relationships we have with our “peeps” over many years is the best part of our job.

Here’s an example:  A few weeks ago, during a hygiene appointment, I had a lovely chat with my patient about her business of supplying fresh herbs to upscale restaurants.  A few days later, what appeared in our office but a flat of gorgeous plants.

It made my day!  Thanks to Michelle C. for showing this kindness.


By Dr. JoAnne Carr
September 22, 2014
Category: Hygiene
Tags: hygiene   Waterpik   flosssing   water flossing  

So yes, flossing reigns supreme as the best way to clean the spaces between teeth, but oral irrigators have their place. 

First, there are the non-flossing people.  At some point you have to concede that a patient does not, perhaps cannot, and/or will never EVER use floss.  This is where the Waterpik comes in.  Its’ ease of use is highlighted in this video:  We won’t argue the point that

“water flossing” is better than no flossing at all.

Second, there are special situations where a Waterpik can really help.  Orthodontics, for one.  How difficult it is to floss under wires and around brackets!  A Waterpik can clean in nooks and crannies that would otherwise be filled with food and debris.  When you invest the time and expense on braces, it’s worth it to spend a little more and buy an irrigator to protect that investment and keep the teeth clean and disease-free during ortho treatment. 

You also might want to get an irrigator if you have implants, crowns, or bridgework in your mouth.  Implants, especially, which can be difficult to floss around, will benefit from the cleansing that a Waterpik provides.  Studies show that irrigation can disrupt bacteria down 6 mm into the pockets around implants and teeth, which can greatly reduce inflammation and keep things healthy. 

And then there are those who have recession and many spaces between their teeth.   A combined regimen of brushing, flossing, and irrigating can keep these teeth and root surfaces clean, free of the bacterial film that so easily reattaches itself to the rougher exposed roots that those “long in the tooth” have.  The irrigator here is an adjunct – an additional step in the home care routine that can have dramatic beneficial effects.  We are continually impressed with our patients that floss AND irrigate:  they stay healthy long term. 

Next time:  Kiwi’s and Canker sores

January 06, 2014
Category: Preventative Care
Tags: Cleaning   hygiene   ultrasonic   plaque   tartar  

We were enjoying a meal with friends on Christmas Eve, when one of the 20-something men related the story of his last dental cleaning in the military.  He gave a detailed, and hilarious, description of a painful go-around with the ultrasonic by an unsympathetic hygienist.  He felt it was a torturous experience that was nothing like his previous cleanings in his civilian office. 

We all laughed and commiserated with him over his difficult time, but I got to thinking about it later.   Here’s the question: how does a person in a dental chair distinguish between a thorough, complete cleaning, and an unnecessarily aggressive one?  Is it possible to tell the difference?  Perhaps the previous cleaning wasn’t thorough or complete and tartar and plaque were left.  That would make the better job seem harsh in comparison, wouldn’t it?

There is certainly an issue of trust going on here, too.  If a client isn’t sure his best interests are a priority for the dental professional, he will not be accepting of the treatment performed.

All of this reminds me how important it is to take the time to be attentive to the person in my chair – to check in on their comfort, and to make sure that they understand the reason for the treatment given.  The proper thorough treatment must be rendered, but only in a way that is well received by our precious patients.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2014!