Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Your Sacramento dentists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group want you to find answers to your dental health questions. Here are some questions we commonly receive in our office.

Q:How often should I brush and floss?

A:You should brush your teeth a minimum of twice daily and floss daily.

Science and centuries of dental practice have demonstrated that if you don’t care for your teeth you will spend more time in the dental office and possibly even lose them prematurely. Dental visits are not a substitute for daily oral maintenance. Your Sacramento dentist is just one part of a comprehensive oral health strategy that will keep your teeth attractive and functional. You, your toothbrush and dental floss are the primary defense against dental disease and decay.

The primary enemy of your teeth is plaque, a film of leftover food and the bacteria that feed on it, which sticks to the teeth and gums. Acids created by plaque bacteria cause tartar and tooth decay. Both eventually destroy the teeth, gums and bone, the foundation of most dental problems.

Plaque forms and grows every day so you have to fight it just as often


Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste.

  • Brush gently using small, circular motions, touching the gums with the bristles.

  • Brush every surface of each tooth.

  • Brush your tongue – this removes additional bacteria and improves your breath.

Electric toothbrushes are recommended, since they remove plaque more efficiently when used according to specifications


Flossing daily is the best method for cleaning between teeth and under the gums. It removes trapped food particles and disrupts plaque colonies, saving your teeth, gums and bone and making regular dental cleanings easier.

When flossing:

  • Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently inserting it between teeth with a sawing motion. Use a new section of floss for each quarter of your jaw.

  • Curve the floss around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the sides of each tooth

Floss holders are recommended only if you have difficulty using conventional floss. Water flossing and interdental brushes are additional flossing options.


Rinse your mouth with water after brushing to further disrupt bacteria and remove particles from your mouth. If you are unable to brush after a meal, sugar-free chewing gum and rinsing are short-term stopgaps until you can brush your teeth. Over-the-counter products for rinsing are beneficial; however, consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on the type that’s right for you.

Q:How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

A:Visit the dental offices of Sacramento Dentistry Group at least twice a year. For specific conditions, more frequent visits may be necessary to preserve your dental health.

Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are the next step after regular oral hygiene in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. Regular dental office visits prevent problems and catch minor dental health issues before they lead to major, potentially costly, oral health emergencies.

In addition, the quality dental exam and cleaning from our dentists involves more than just checking for cavities and polishing your teeth. Oral cancer affects both smokers and non-smokers and its early diagnosis is a major priority for the staff at the Sacramento Dentistry Group. We are committed to providing you with the best possible care and that requires a minimum of semi-annual check-ups and cleanings.

If anxiety affects your desire to take care of your teeth, please let us help you with sleep dentistry. Also known as sedation dentistry, it’s an effective way of making a dental visit seem like it never even happened! Afterwards, you may not remember much about your visit, but your improved oral health will be remarkable!

Q:How can I fix my bad breath?

A:Bad breath, or halitosis, is an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. You may not realize you have it, but others will. Halitosis can be a major deal-breaker in all aspects of life: business, relationships, pleasure.”

For healthy people, the major reason for bad breath is microbes on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Studies show that simply brushing the tongue reduces bad breath by up to 70 percent. “Morning breath,” the common name for bad breath when you wake up, is normal and affects almost everyone. Caused by increased oral bacterial growth while you sleep, it’s cured by brushing your teeth with toothpaste first thing after arising.

Causes of bad breath:

  • Foods – The classic bad smells come from pungent foods like garlic and onions, etc. These foods actually contain odor-causing molecules that enter the bloodstream when digested. They then transfer to the lungs and are exhaled. Avoid these foods when bad breath is a bad idea.

  • Poor oral hygiene – Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth. Bacteria stink, which makes your breath stink. This also leads to gum disease, which creates more space for rotting food and bacteria under the gums. The end result is continually worsening breath that can’t be cured at home.

  • Dental cavities and poorly fitted dental appliances also contribute to bad breath.

  • Dry mouth, or xerostomia, leads to bad breath because the acids in saliva help reduce the presence of oral bacteria. It may be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or breathing through your mouth instead of your nose.

  • Tobacco products dry the mouth, which leads to bad breath (in addition to oral cancers and stained teeth).

  • Certain illnesses, such as diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia, contribute to bad breath as side effects.

Review your current eating habits, medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with your Sacramento dentist to find a cause of bad breath not related to your oral hygiene. In most cases, your dentist can treat halitosis. If your mouth is healthy, but bad breath remains a problem, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.


Preventing bad breath

  • Practice good oral hygiene –Brush your tongue or use a scraper to clean it and reach its back areas. Replace your toothbrush every two to three months and use a UV sanitizer to destroy bacteria or leave it where the sun can dry it out. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly every night.

  • See your dentist regularly, at least twice a year.

  • Stop smoking or chewing tobacco – your dentist can help you break the habit.

  • Drink water frequently – Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria. Soda and coffee are not substitutes for water.

  • Use mouthwashes or rinses that do more than provide a temporary solution to unpleasant odors. The Sacramento Dentistry Group can recommend antiseptic rinses that cover bad breath and eradicate germs that cause halitosis.