10/1/2018 11:36:00 AM | Anonymous

People have been asserting that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” since the 19 th century. While it may not necessarily be true that those who eat apples never have to see a doctor, apples certainly have great health benefits for our bodies! Did you know they can even be good for our teeth? Let’s take a look at what the research says …

It’s widely thought that chewing a crisp, fresh apple can help brush away plaque on our teeth. We’re not too sure on this one, as some studies show a higher plaque content on teeth after eating an apple. At the same time, there is evidence to suggest some polyphenols in apples can lower the ability of cavity-causing bacteria to adhere to teeth. Further, some studies have shown that the antioxidants in apples can help prevent periodontal disease.

Apples even contain a (very) small amount of fluoride. This is worth noting, as fluoride is so important in helping prevent cavities.

Lastly, the act of chewing an apple stimulates saliva production. Saliva helps wash away food debris and bacteria. Remember, though, apples contain sugar and acid so it’s best not to go overboard with them. You can even swish with water after eating one to wash away some of the sugar left behind.

As the science continues to look into how apples affect our teeth, one thing we know is true: regular dental visits, along with daily tooth brushing and flossing, is your best defense against tooth decay!

1/23/2018 4:34:00 PM | Anonymous

"Periodontal disease is independently associated with cardiovascular disease. Identification of periodontal disease as a risk factor for incident ischemic stroke raises the possibility that regular dental care utilization may reduce the stroke risk."


We already know that many people who have gum disease are also at risk for heart disease at some point in their lives. 

And now... we know that gum disease is a "risk factor" for strokes as well. This means that visiting Dr Nijjar and Dr Ruchi at their dental office in Fremont regularly -- could lower the risk of stroke. 

Yes. And there are so many other heath issues that we can be more at risk for if we do not go to the dentist regularly and control/prevent gum disease.

Here's a link to the full American Heart Association article:

See you in the office soon. 

Keep well, Dr. Nijjar & Dr. Ruchi

12/9/2016 11:36:00 AM | Anonymous

Saving money when it comes to dental care is about preparation. Knowing what to plan for, knowing what to look out for, and when and how much to spend on recommended care. To lend a helping hand, we thought we’d lay out a few simple ways for you to stay on top of your game when it comes to keeping your kids in good health, and your hard-earned money where it belongs – in your pocket!
  1. Remind Them to Wear Their Retainer: Ask any adult who has worn braces which piece of orthodontic advice they WISH they had adhered to, and overwhelmingly they’ll say they wish they wore their retainer more often. Without question, ensuring your kids wear their retainer as often as their orthodontist suggests, and in every suggested situation, is the key to avoiding an early return to shifting teeth. And while some shifting is natural as kids grow into adulthood, for those who don’t wear their retainer, that shift might come much, much sooner than desired – sometimes while they’re still in their teens. That could mean a return to some form of orthodontic appliance, another round of braces, and quite likely, if they’re still under your purse strings, another big bill.
  2. Teach Them Proper Brushing Technique: Most kids, and most adults for that matter, still have no idea how to brush properly. And that’s a problem, because all that back’n’forth rapid-fire brushing is wearing away precious tooth enamel. Long-term, this sort of habit can lead to premature deterioration of tooth enamel, resulting in expenses to repair those teeth with bonding. Even worse: gum grafting procedures. Teach them to go soft, and in small circles. If necessary, repeat the instruction while with the dentist … and often. Ask us any of us for a customized brushing instruction for your family - ask Dr.Nijjar, Dr.Ruchi, Anisha, Asha, Gurmit or Pam anytime!
  3. Promote Foods That are Good for Their Teeth: Certain kinds of foods help protect and remineralize teeth. And what’s best isn’t always what you’d think. Take cheese for example … who would have thought all that mac’n’cheese served a purpose? Good food keeps away decay, which keeps away fillings, which keeps more money in your pocket.
  4. Visit the Doc: It bears mentioning that maintaining regular visits to the dentist is important. Why? Because life gets away from us and sometimes we forget. Or, when kids are young, we just think it’s not that necessary. By the time that first tooth comes in, though, they should already be visiting the dentist, and by the time they’re seven, a quick consult with the orthodontist is usually in order as well. Regular visits always help to catch small problems before they become major ones. 
  5. Keep Pushing the Water: We all know kids love their energy drinks. Their teeth, on the other hand, can’t stand them, and decay and enamel wear tend to be the eventual result. So, put a wedge between decay and costly repair by ensuring your kids are drinking a lot of what mother nature has gifted us with: water. Water. Water. Water. It should be a mantra … 
  6. Shop for a Mouthguard: The American Dental Association has said that 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth could be prevented each year simply by wearing a sports mouthguard. The cost of a custom guard is infinitesimal compared to the cost involved in repairing and or replacing several teeth. Get one today if you have a child who participates in sports. We can make you a customized mouthguad. This can’t be stressed enough. 
  7. Stop the Comparison Game: Kids love to compare. Johnny has this, Sally has that. And, when kids start to notice their appearance, the game gets kicked up a notch. But remember when you were a kid? Before whitening agents were in seemingly every toothpaste, and when kids were actually proud of the space between their teeth? Not everything needs to be “fixed” right away. There is a time for these treatments if they’re so desired, and they’re best only when you and your family decide they are. Not when Johnny and Sally say they are. So, save your money. Remember, it’s okay to be a kid. There’s plenty of time to grow up and be “perfect” later in life. 
  8. Use Your Flexible Spending Account: Many parents waste away the money in flexible spending accounts. Don’t do that. Here’s how to prepare so you don’t lose your hard-earned money.
  9. Stay Educated: Good dentists are interested in creating a base of educated patients. That’s why they send out newsletters (like this one)! So be sure to read up on what’s being sent to you – it’ll help you keep abreast of concerns you need to be on the lookout for, or methods you can share with your kids to help them keep their teeth in great shape. The content here is always evolving, and designed to help you stay on top of your kids’ health and budget.
This list could really be book-length, but these are some of the biggies. Follow them, and you’ll win twice-over: good health and good finances.

10/6/2016 1:39:00 PM | Anonymous

The hard clack of cleats echo about as your “little” sports hero rushes to get out of the house … soon to be late for practice. Armed with all they’ll need for a day in the sun, their equipment bag is packed and slung awkwardly over one shoulder, bursting at the seams with untold numbers of pads and dirty gear. And after making a final beeline through the kitchen to raid your refrigerator of a 64oz bottle or two of rainbow-colored sustenance, they’re off for what will no doubt be another grueling practice session. You’re proud of your kids – they’re growing up. And yet you wonder as you stare at the door that just shut behind them. Are those techni-colored drinks they’re drinking every day hurting them?

The truth, unfortunately, is yes. While they may keep your children energized and awake for the next few hours, the bad news is, they’re secretly eating away at their teeth - and fast. 

Why Are Energy Drinks Such a Threat to Teeth?

The crux of the problem is the double-whammy that comes from an exceedingly high sugar content and citric acid pH that can be as low as 2.9. Now, we understand pH can be a tricky thing to understand, so to help put that number in perspective, a bit, consider this: battery acid has a pH of 0.0 (so, a lower number means a higher acid content). Stomach acid (which we can imagine as being quite acidic, at least!) has a pH that fluctuates between 1.0 and 3.0.  A lemon, in contrast, comes in at around 2.0, a grapefruit at 3.0, and tomato juice at 4.0. 

The real distinction though is in knowing that with each increase in numerical value, the acid intensity increases 10-fold. So, in the example above, a lemon ends up being 10 times more acidic than a grapefruit, and 100 times more acidic than tomato juice - a sensation you can certainly taste if you bite into one!  In contrast, milk and water have a pH of 7.0, so, it's easy to see the difference in the numbers - they're huge.

The Science

What all this means to your child’s teeth is the real question, though, and precisely what researchers at Southern Illinois University set out to discover in 2012.  The results, which surprised even the research team, showed considerable damage to tooth enamel after only five days of steady consumption. Five days. 

To determine the effect of these drinks on our teeth, the research team looked at 22 popular sports and energy drinks, and exposed artificial tooth enamel to the beverages for 15 minutes at a time, four times daily. This schedule was chosen because it mirrors the consumption habits of many users who drink these beverages every few hours - a particularly common habit among those who consume sports drinks, particularly when your kids are involved in sports.  After each 15-minute exposure, the enamel was then placed into an artificial saliva solution for two hours to mimic what would happen once consumption stopped.  After only five days on this schedule, the enamel showed a 1.5% loss with sports drinks, and a shocking 3% loss with energy drinks.

The Critics

While critics in the beverage industry suggest the time used to expose the enamel to the drinks may have been excessive, it's widely known that snacking, as well as regular sipping of any beverage other than water, creates acidic activity in the mouth that promotes tooth decay. Of course, adults also need to be careful, and if you’re the weekend warrior type, or are pulling shifts and consuming these beverages throughout the day, the time of exposure might actually not be long enough.  The sweet spot is in the middle-ground, and that's basically the advice we're going to offer today.

There is no doubt that these beverages are not good for our teeth. They're also not good for our stomach, and esophagus if one is prone to acid reflux.

The Middle Ground -- It's about being Informed

We're not asking you to force your kids to give up their sports beverages and energy drinks. However, it is wise to know the risks, and to understand how you can help your kids combat some of their side-effects. Here are two quick tips that will help if they can't shake the habit:
  • Have them keep water nearby so they sip on it to dilute the acid covering their teeth. This also increases saliva production to help protect tooth enamel.
  • Suggest that they don't brush immediately after consuming such beverages.  Why? Because in the thirty minutes to an hour after consumption, tooth enamel will be slightly softer, and brushing in this window of time literally ends up spreading the acid around to other parts of the teeth. Not good.  If brushing is desired, save it for an hour or so after.
Lastly, here is the breakdown of most caustic to least caustic drinks as found by the researchers.

Sports Drinks:
  • Filtered Ionozed Alkaline H2O – pH: 10.0
  • Water – pH: 7.o
  • Odwalla Carrot juice – pH: 6.2
  • Odwalla Vanilla Monster – pH: 5.8
  • Unflavored Pedialyte – pH: 5.4
  • Vita coco – pH: 5.2
  • Aquafina,Dasani, Smart water – pH: 4.0
  • GU2O – pH: 4.29
  • Powerade – pH: 3.89
  • Accelerade – pH: 3.86
  • Gatorade Endurance – pH:  3.22
  • Monster – pH:  2.7
Energy Drinks:
  • Red Bull – pH: 3.3
  • AMP Energy – pH: 2.7
  • Monster Energy – pH: 2.7
  • Full Throttle  - pH: 1.45
  • Rock Star – pH: 1.5
P.S. Don’t forget the mouthguard!

9/2/2016 10:50:00 AM | Anonymous

Whether you call them cold sores or fever blisters, if you're among the more than 40% of Americans who regularly experience this inflammatory viral nuisance, you know they're anything but a joy to deal with. You've also probably heard of countless ways to deal with them, from over-the-counter remedies to treatment options that span generations. So what really works?

Well, quite honestly what "works" when it comes to cold-sores, is management.  And, specifically, preventing, treating and eliminating the transmission of this most annoying of viruses. Here is how you do it: 

Cold Sore Prevention

The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," is certainly true when it comes to cold sores, so knowing what causes them to surface is key. The number one and number two reasons are a weakened immune system, and exposure to rapidly changing weather. The weather can change abruptly in Fremont, California and in the entire Bay Area. To tackle the weather, always keep your preferred brand of lip moisturizer with sunscreen on hand to protect your lips from weather's effect on your lips. And, to boost your immune system, be sure to get enough sleep and find ways to combat stress in your life. Also, as with most things in life, what's good for our waistlines is good for our immune system. Here are some good dietary suggestions for cold sore sufferers:  
  1. Eat Raw, Alkalizing Foods: Fruits and vegetables are super-good for you. Eat as many of them as you enjoy. 
  2. Beef-up On Cruciferous Vegetables: Clinical studies are beginning to suggest that veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kale are of great benefit to cold-sore sufferers.
  3. Avoid Arginine: Cold-sores need the amino acid arginine to grow, so if you can limit the excess intake of this amino acid, you may be able to keep frequent outbreaks at bay. Nuts, chocolate, oats, and some protein shakes are high in arginine, and can be major cold-sore triggers. 
By merely eating well and getting regular rest, you can help yourself avoid several outbreaks a year.  

Cold Sore Treatment and Remedies

Preventing a cold sore from appearing is indeed your best medicine, and if you pay attention to what your body tells you, it is possible to dramatically reduce outbreaks. When a cold-sore does gift you with its presence, though, here are a few things you can do to minimize its pain, size and duration.
  1. Ice It! At the first sign of tingling, get thee to an ice cube, wrap it in a paper-towel, and place it on your lip where you feel the cold-sore coming on. Often two back-to-back applications of an ice cube until it melts can dramatically reduce the pain and swelling that accompanies the sore. 
  2. Slather It? Not Now, But Later. Cold sores love warm, moist environments, and this is precisely the environment you present to a cold-sore when you slather it in cream for days on end.  You're best to let it dry out to the point where it is no longer painful, and then begin applying cream or lip balm to minimize splitting. As the cold sore resolves itself, it's best to keep your lips moist to prevent bleeding, which also aids in the healing at this stage.

Eliminate Transmission of Cold Sores 

Avoid sharing food, utensils, towels, toothbrushes, or any other item that could come in contact with your mouth. Also, be sure to avoid touching the cold sore and then later touching your eyes or genital area.  In fact, your best course of action is to avoid touching your mouth at all during an outbreak, and not again until after the scab has dropped off completely, AND healed over. This can take some weeks, as you know. Kissing, and other aspects of intimacy that involve your mouth should be avoided entirely. Wash your hands often - this cannot be stressed enough to avoid spreading the virus.  

Having a cold sore is not the end of the world. Nine out of ten of all people get at least one cold sore in their life, so there is no need to hide in the closet. Understand your triggers, find a solution that works, don't spread the virus, and stay healthy!

8/29/2016 11:38:00 AM | Anonymous

Dental implants have become the preferred method of tooth replacement because of their natural look and unsurpassed functional ability. To understand why implants work so well, it is important to understand the process of “osseointegration,” which occurs when bone cells in the jaw attach themselves directly to the surface of the titanium implant. First noted by a Swedish researcher in the 1960s, osseointegration essentially locks the implant in place, enabling it to support anything from a single missing tooth to a full arch (all teeth in the upper and lower jaw). Osseointegration is the same process that hip implants rely on to ensure the functional integrity of replacement joints. It is strength that can be relied upon. 

Here is another great resource :

8/9/2016 1:51:00 PM | Anonymous

We are really enjoying watching the Olympics! Whether it is swimming, weightlifting, or volleyball Dr. Nijjar & Dr. Ruchi and their family is watching EVERYTHING!

We all know how hard Olympians must work to reach the Olympics. But that training can play a toll on their teeth. Think about it...what effect can energy drinks, gels, bars, and frequent snacking have on athletes’ teeth? 

The dental director for the International Olympic Committee reveals that a great many Olympic athletes have broken teeth, abscesses, decay, and other dental issues. The problem is that many of them consume acidic, sugary drinks and energy bars that attack teeth while their dehydrated bodies do not produce enough saliva to remineralize their tooth enamel. In addition, most Olympic athletes are ages 16 to 25 years old, which is a group at high risk for tooth decay. As these young adults fly the family nest and focus on only qualifying for the Olympics, they become more susceptible to tooth decay. 

Athletes and exercisers take careful note. 

Many competitive athletes grind their teeth at night, probably in response to the competitive pressures they face. 

7/28/2016 3:16:00 PM | Anonymous

When they say “age is all in your head,” they’re probably right. But then, your teeth ARE in your head -- so you likely can’t escape having to pay a little more attention to them after the age of 50. Although some oral health concerns are seen as common as we age, if you adopt a proactive mindset and educate yourself, these concerns do not have to be common for you. Anticipating and recognizing changes in your mouth can help you be on top of your health in this area -- so let’s take a look at the main ones you have to watch out for.
  1. Dry Mouth: The most common oral health concern you’re likely to experience as you age is dry mouth. In the medical world, dry mouth goes by the name xerostomia, and can be brought on by a number of contributing factors, including the over-consumption of drying beverages like coffee and alcohol, as well as the frequent consumption of salty foods. Another big offender is the medication we take over a lifetime to treat various illness. And the list isn’t a short one – there are at least 400 medications that can contribute to xerostomia, including medications for high blood pressure and depression. 
  2. Ill-fitting Dentures: First off, it’s important to note that the need for dentures is not a must as we age. Today, healthier living and better access to dental care has reduced the percentage of seniors wearing dentures to 27% from nearly 50% just a few decades ago. That said, should dentures be a part of your life, or that of a loved one, wearing properly-fitting dentures is critical.Sometimes, all that’s needed is a denture reline. Call Dr. Nijjar & Dr. Ruchi at 510-794-7058 to see if we can help. Dentures that cause pain or shift in the mouth tend to alter a person’s eating habits, which can lead to nutrition deficits if healthy, but hard-to-chew, foods are avoided. Ill-fitting dentures can also cause thrush.
  3. Physical Obstacles to Good Oral Care: As we age, we sometimes find ourselves having to contend with physical ailments that limit our desire to maintain good oral care. Arthritis, vision loss, or injuries are a few of the most common. To combat these concerns, using a floss pick to get between teeth can be helpful, and the regular use of oral rinses can assist in dislodging difficult-to-remove food debris, while adding to the overall health of one’s mouth and gum tissue. Here’s how to choose the best mouth rinse for your needs!
  4. Naturally Receding Gums: The old expression “long in the tooth” isn’t just a quaint idiom about how one accumulates wisdom with age – it also refers to how our teeth appear to “lengthen” as we age. In other words, it’s a fancy way of saying our gums are receding. While some degree of gum recession is indeed natural as we get up in years, this predisposes us to cavities along the root structure of the tooth where enamel doesn’t exist. So, as one ages, flossing, brushing and rinses are more important than ever.
  5. Gum Disease: Natural gum recession is one thing, and a part of “growing up,” if you will. Gum disease, however, is preventable. So, if it’s been longer than six months since you’ve seen us, please do give us a call at 510-794-7058. Each of the above items in this list can contribute to gum disease, and good oral care can prevent it. Failing to do so can lead to a need for dentures at its most extreme, and pain and swollen gums at its least. We’d prefer you experience neither concern!
  6. Tooth Loss: If a tooth is lost due to trauma or decay, and not replaced with an implant or other prosthetic, it can have serious complications for the health of the jawbone. Teeth can shift out of place and fall out, and bone tissue can be resorbed back into the body. Not a good thing.
  7. Loss of Insurance Coverage: Retirees without dental coverage can sometimes cover the expense of dental care on their own; sometimes they cannot. But a lack of funds to take care of one’s teeth can be devastating to the health of our mouths, and our overall health. So we need to plan for two things: a care routine that allows us to take care of our teeth as much as humanly possible and some sort of financial backup plan for when problems do arise.

6/21/2016 1:48:00 PM | Anonymous

On July 3rd, 1806, two years into their journey to chart the uncharted west of America, pioneer explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached a challenge of epic proportion – the Rocky Mountains. What next, they wondered? Without a map, they were forced to do what explorers do – explore, and hope for the best. So, that got us thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a handy map you could use to chart your own dental health? With that in mind, and in honor of our “Dog Days of Summer” explorers, we at Dr. Nijjar & Dr. Ruchi's office wanted to share with you a few mile markers you can use to stay on top of your child’s health today, next year, and for years to come!

6 to 24 months

When you’re a new parent, life is a whirlwind, and the dental care of your newborn may not be top of mind when you look in their mouths and see no teeth! Here are some things to keep in mind: 

Schedule a visit: As soon as that first tooth comes in, you’ll want to give us a call at 510-794-7058 to schedule a visit and set up a periodic exam schedule. Also, be aware the ADA recommends fluoridated toothpaste now for all children under the age of three. Don’t wait!

Ask us about:
  • Home hygiene basics: Things like, tips and tricks on brushing and other care. There’s nothing better than having our hygienists give brushing tutorials – they’re experts!
  • Preventative dentistry: The possible need for fluoride supplements
  • Dietary strategies: Achieving a balanced diet early in life for good oral health later
  • Feeding practice awareness: Bottle, breastfeeding, and no-spill training cups
  • Non-nutritive oral habits: Thumb sucking, pacifiers

2 to 12 years old

Ah, the little ones are growing up. Teeth are coming in at all sorts of crazy angles, and you’re going crazy from the rise in obligations. Here’s a quick list of what to consider during this time frame:
  • Preventative dentistry: Pit and fissure sealants can do wonders for keeping your child’s dental bills down, and their teeth in their head until they’re ready to fall out naturally. Ask us about them. They’re affordable AND useful. And, super-fast, you’ll be in and out in no time.
  • Orthodontic Consultation: Visiting an orthodontist for an early consultation is best done around your child’s seventh birthday. With today’s technology, early intervention can reduce the cost and duration of braces when your child gets older. 

The Teen Years

The years “everything” happens! As children start to come into their own, new habits and desires begin to unfold as well. You’ll have to address every imaginable concern during these years, from piercings, to calls for whitening, braces, and the need to refer yourself away from your pediatric dentist and to a general dentist for continuing oral care. So, speak with us about: 
  • Cosmetic Dentistry: What solutions are advisable now, and what things should be avoided.
  • Teen social pressures: Smoking, alcohol, intraoral/perioral piercings and the like. Believe it or not, we can help a lot with this. We might be able to arrange for that person to help when your teen comes in so they can address these concerns with an intermediary they trust. Give us a call at 510-794-7058 to see how we can help!
  • Orthodontics: Options for minimizing appearance and health problems later in life.
  • Home hygiene tips: Brushing, flossing, choosing the right mouthwash.
  • Craniofacial injury prevention: With your children’s possible participation in sports, you’ll want to get them a mouthguard. Hands down it’ll be one of your best investments in a healthy mouth. And we make great ones at Dr. Nijjar & Dr. Ruchi's office!
Staying on top of your child’s oral health isn’t as hard as you think, and if you keep this schedule handy, you’ll be ahead of most of your neighbor's kids when it comes to a healthy mouth and body. Come to think of it … why not share it with them as well? They’ll thank you for the help.

6/2/2016 3:46:00 PM | Anonymous

If your little one's teeth have begun to fall out, and their permanent replacements appear to be lagging far behind, you may wish to consider a space maintainer to minimize future orthodontic work. Believe it or not, the absence of your child's teeth might seem cute now, but those tiny little gaps can cause deep gouges in your pocketbook as you watch them fill up with teeth that don't belong there. Space maintainers are simple to use, kids get along fine with them, and they have become the de-facto standard for protecting the cosmetic and functional aspects of your growing child's mouth.

Why Your Child Might Need a Space Maintainer

When a child's tooth is lost early due to trauma, tooth decay, or nature's insistence that it drop out before its permanent replacement is due, a space maintainer can be used to hold back the natural inclination of teeth to move forward. Without preventing this movement, teeth that should be in the rear of our mouths end up along the sides, and take up precious real estate destined for another tenant. The result is overcrowding, and in some cases impacted teeth. In the end, it's always easier to save the space now, then create it later.

How They Work

Space maintainers are very similar in purpose and design to an adult "bridge," but instead of placing artificial teeth over the gap, the space is kept open to accommodate its future resident. At our office, we make most space maintainers out of metal, (sometimes both metal and plastic), and custom-mold them to the shape of your child's mouth. In most cases, the maintainer is made up of a metal band attached to a rectangular-shaped wire that butts up against the tooth across the gap. This acts to temporarily preserve the space where the baby tooth once was, so its replacement can erupt without obstruction. To some, the final product looks like an old Radio Flyer® snow sled, or a shoe horn you might use to maintain the shape of unworn shoes.

Does My Child Need One?

It's important to note that dental space maintainers are not required for all childhood tooth loss, and that we’re not going to suggest you create a decade worth of space maintainers as each tooth falls out of your child's mouth. Our bodies are quite effective at saving space for the loss of our front teeth as well as our incisors - it's the teeth along the sides of our mouths that tend to cause the majority of complications. Of course, each mouth is different, so be sure to discuss with us the best course of action for you and your child. If your child has recently lost a tooth, or several teeth, and it’ll be awhile before they’re scheduled to see Dr.Nijjar & Dr.Ruchi, give us a call at 510-794-7058 to see if you should come in a little earlier.

Using a space maintainer is an affordable and effective way to ensure your child's teeth come in where they are supposed to, and when they're ready. It can have a positive effect on your wallet, reduce the amount of time your child needs to wear braces, and control the cosmetic appearance of your child's teeth and mouth.  

5/13/2016 2:08:00 PM | Anonymous

Do you wake up some mornings with a headache of origins you can’t define? Do you experience vague muscle pain in your face? If so, you may be experiencing symptoms of bruxism. What’s bruxism? You likely know it by its more informal name – two names, actually: “clenching” and “grinding.” It’s also not something you’ll want to ignore, because bruxism wears down the surface of your teeth and sets you up for cavities and tooth fractures. Severe cases can even contribute to tooth loss. Let’s find out how to stop this menace in its tracks. 

What Causes Bruxism?

At the office of Dr. Nijjar and Dr. Ruchi, we’ve seen many factors can combine to create a bruxism habit. Stress and anxiety are believed to be leading causes, as are a misaligned bite, missing teeth, and sleep abnormalities. Some medications can also trigger episodes, as can neurological or musculature illnesses. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort due to bruxism, give us a call at

Why Should I Be Concerned About Teeth Grinding? Isn’t It Normal?

Teeth grinding may be common, but it’s not “normal,” per se. Because the stresses of bruxism affect the entire jaw, this pressure can create cracks and chips in teeth, and over time can contribute to a shortening of lower face height due to bone loss. If that sounds scary, it should. It’s also a change you’ve seen before – in individuals who have lost all their teeth and do not wear dentures. We’re pretty sure that’s not a look you’re aiming to achieve.

How Do I Know I Have a Problem, and What Treatments Are Available?

In many cases, we’ll be able to see evidence of bruxism in your X-rays – and on the surface of your teeth – and will alert you to the problem long before you exhibit a single symptom, particularly if you sleep alone.  Occasionally however, you may start to clench and grind between visits and begin to notice symptoms on your own. If that’s more like your situation, and you find that you often wake with a sore jaw, a headache that goes away shortly after rising, or if a loved one tells you your teeth are making clickity-clankity noises all night, mention it the next time you’re visiting us.

As far as treatment goes, because the causes of bruxism are varied, the treatments vary as well. If we determine stress is the primary cause, we’ll likely recommend you abstain from excessive caffeine and alcohol, and attempt some form of daily relaxation. Even something as simple as a warm bath before sleeping can work wonders.

If your bite is a concern, we may suggest you visit an orthodontist for an evaluation, and if prescription medicine or neuromuscular illnesses are believed to be the cause, referral to the appropriate specialist would be part of your plan to break the habit. Call us at the office of Dr. Nijjar and Dr. Ruchi if you need such a referral. You can reach us at 510-794-7058

In each of these cases, though, we’ll likely recommend a splint, or occlusal mouth guard to protect your teeth and bone from further damage. These protective devices are easy to wear, and contrary to what you may believe, will not impede your ability to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, they tend to enhance the quality of your sleep so you’ll wake up more refreshed. 

So, the next time you’re sitting in one of our super-comfy chairs at the office of Dr. Nijjar and Dr. Ruchi, ask if some sort of guard may be right for you. Many people go years without being aware they’re clenching and grinding since it takes time for symptoms to show in your mouth. Getting a mouthguard or splint once you know you have this habit, though, will help you with headaches and muscle pain now – and tooth trouble down the road. And, we make some beautiful, comfortable mouthguards at the office of Dr. Nijjar and Dr. Ruchi.

5/10/2016 10:30:00 AM | Anonymous

If you are an adult who thinks that the cavity-fighting benefits of fluoridated water are limited to children, think again, because recent research points to the fact that adults also reap benefits. Studies show that, after adjusting for socioeconomic factors and variables in oral health care (frequency of brushing, etc.), people aged 15 years and older who spent at least three-quarters of their lives in communities with fluoridated water had 10 to 30 percent fewer cavities than people who spent less than one-quarter of their lives in such areas. If you are an adult who drinks lots of bottled water and has doubts as to whether you are getting enough fluoride, consult with your  dentist. 

It is pretty cool to see how fluoride works. Check out this infographic!

5/6/2016 10:28:00 AM | Anonymous

When you see celebrities with gorgeous white teeth, chances are they have undergone a smiletransformation that involves porcelain veneers. These thin, custom-fabricated shells made of tooth-colored materials are used to resurface the tooth. 

They also provide very satisfactory results when used to close overly large spaces and correct minor irregularities and crookedness of front teeth. 

Materials used for veneers include materials like composite (white filling material), but porcelain is often preferred for its durability, stain resistance, and natural look. The big advantage that veneers provide over tooth crowning is that they require very little alteration of the natural tooth beyond removal of sufficient enamel to accept the thickness of the veneer. The results are extraordinary. 

3/9/2016 10:23:00 PM | Anonymous

If you haven't read her first book... stop reading this post and go get that book!!! "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" is an all-time favorite of mine. It is FIVE stars all the way.

Unfortunately, Mindy's second book isn't all that great. It was pretty similar to "Yes, Please" by Amy Poehler (my review of that book is down below in italics).

Though it still has the personal ringtones of Mindy's hilarious subconscious, it did not delve deep enough for me to relate -- the way I related to Mindy in her first book. It needed even more girl power. Though I loved the 5am wake up time pictures and knowing that oh-so-glamorous Mindy Kaling too works until the wee-hours of the night... I yearned for MORE nerdiness.

Sigh... I fear I'm being to hard on this.

If you watch The Mindy Project, you might relate to this book a bit more. I have too many shows on my DVR right now. I haven't had time to sign up for a Hulu account either. But maybe someday I will - and then maybe someday I'll return to this book and "get it" the way most other Amazon readers did (most folks gave this book 5! stars!).

For this present moment: I give 2 Ruchi-Reads Stars for Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling.

**My 2015 review of Amy Pohler's Yes,Please reads: : It was no Bossypants. It was no Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me. But... it had its moments of wit, enthusiasm, and perspective. Any book with some girl power is worth reading! 2.5 "ruchi-reads" stars!)"

3/5/2016 11:41:00 AM | Anonymous

If you are missing one or more teeth and think that you can get along fine without them, keep in mind the old adage “nature abhors a vacuum.” 

If missing teeth are not replaced with a bridge or implant, the teeth adjacent to the open space(s) will shift out of their normal positions and fill in the empty spaces on their own. Moreover, the corresponding teeth in the opposing jaw will begin to protrude, because there are no biting forces holding them down. 

As a result of all these unchecked movements, missing teeth can lead to chewing problems and looseness of remaining teeth. Instead, work with Dr Nijjar & Dr Ruchi to develop a plan to replace missing teeth  before further problems arise. 

You have options: a bridge, an implant, or a partial denture.

While a bridge may cost less than a dental implant, implants provide greater value, have a more natural look and feel, and require no preparation of surrounding teeth.

2/27/2016 7:29:00 AM | Anonymous

LOVED it! Great book by Andy Weir: The Martian.

This book was high on my list because my family raved about the movie. Usually I try to get to the book before the movie comes out, but I was super pregnant when this movie came out and didn't have the time to get to the book. (Note: I still haven't watched the movie. yikes!)

I'm so glad I got the book...finally.

I was also curious about this book because the Golden Globes classified the movie as "A Comedy". How could this astronaut story about getting stuck on another planet -- be funny?

Indeed it was. It was everything. It was funny. It was inquisitive. It was emotional, but not sad-crying-like-a-baby emotional. It was interesting. And it was inspiring! All things a good book should be. 

2/26/2016 7:18:00 AM | Anonymous

Did you know the most common type of cavity in babies is due to milk bottles during bedtime?

According to The American Dental Association: 
"Baby Bottle Tooth Decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.There are many factors which can cause tooth decay. One common cause is the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. Tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby. Tooth decay is a disease that can begin with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the mother (or primary caregiver) to the infant. These bacteria are passed through the saliva. When the mother puts the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth, or cleans a pacifier in her mouth, the bacteria can be passed to the baby. If your infant or toddler does not receive an adequate amount of fluoride, they may also have an increased risk for tooth decay. The good news is that decay is preventable"
Find more information about taking good care of baby teeth on

2/11/2016 1:38:00 PM | Anonymous

We saw this on Pinterest and couldn't help but share.

We will all be surrounded by sweets this weekend. Be sure to Brush 2x a day and Floss 1x a day! And try to limit yourself to only chocolates after meals -- the saliva that was built up from the meal will help wash away the harmful sweets and bacteria. And this will hopefully PREVENT cavities! :) 

HAPPY Valentine's Day!

2/7/2016 9:21:00 PM | Anonymous

While there have been many recent studies showing that people with gum (periodontal) disease are at increased risk for heart disease, a 2012 American Heart Association review cast some doubt on this conclusion. 

However, a more recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association provides proof of a causal link between gum disease and heart disease. In the most recent study, researchers tracked the gum health of 420 people (average age 68) for three years by conducting clinical exams and analyzing certain bacteria that cause gum disease. This information was correlated with changes in narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) in the carotid artery observed via ultrasound. They found that, as gum health improved, carotid narrowing slowed significantly. 

In addition, the study controlled for factors such as smoking, diabetes, age, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol, provides the “most direct evidence yet” that treating gum disease can prevent or slow atherosclerosis. 

Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see Dr Nijjar and Dr Ruchi regularly to help keep your heart healthy!

1/29/2016 1:30:00 PM | Anonymous

The Namesake is one of my favorite, favorite books. So when Jhumpa Lahiri publishes a new piece of work, I jump at the chance to read it.

Somehow, it took me time to get to The Lowland. But as soon as I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. 

It is true Lahiri. Well developed characters. Awesome prose. A story that makes you turn the pages quickly and crisply. For a historical fiction addict like me, this book was just right up my ally. 

I loved the first three fourths of the book. The last quarter..... Well. Let's just say that the ending was a bit expected. 

The more I read, and the more I "go through life", I expect more from the experiences to which I devote my time. So perhaps I'm being a bit hard on the last quarter of this book.

Overall, this book is a B+! 

1/27/2016 10:42:00 PM | Anonymous

An article in U.S. News today featured quotes by Dr Ruchi. 

The list encourages avoiding sugary foods, kicking that nail biting habit, and neglecting baby teeth. But those are just a few. 

Check out the who list and tell us what you think in the comments section below.

1/26/2016 10:58:00 PM | Anonymous

We've all heard the "3 month rule". Do you know what that rule is all about? Why do dentist's usually recommend that you replace your toothbrush after three months?

Experts say that bristles usually wear away in about 200 uses. If bristles are worn away, they may not be cleaning your teeth properly.

You should also replace your toothbrush after you have been sick. Bacteria can stick to the bristles and you do not want those bugs sticking around after you have gotten over being sick!

The most important thing you need to know about your toothbrush is: how to use it!

Check out this video of Dr Ruchi Sahota on for some great tips:

11/29/2015 7:06:00 AM | Anonymous

There's an app for everything these days... even an app for figuring out why you have bad breath!? That's hard to believe... bad breath is usually a puzzle only a dentist can solve. 

Ridding yourself and those around of you of your bad breath starts with determining the real cause!

Dr. Ruchi has been interviewed about this topic a few times. Check out these articles:

  1. Oprah Winfrey OWN 
  2. Completely you: The guide to looking and feeling great

According to the American Dental Association, bad breath is usually caused by the following factors: 
  • Food. What you eat affects the air you exhale, like garlic or onions. If you don't brush and floss daily, particles of food can remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Dieters may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating.
  • Gum disease. Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth can also be one of the warning signs of gum disease; which is caused by plaque.
  • Dry mouth. This occurs when the flow of saliva decreases and can be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems or continuously breathing through the mouth. Without enough saliva, food particles are not cleaned away. If you suffer from dry mouth, your dentist may prescribe anartificial saliva, or suggest using sugarless candy or increase your fluid intake.
  • Smoking and tobacco. In addition to staining teeth and being bad for overall health, tobacco can add to bad breath. Tobacco reduces your ability to taste foods and irritates gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease and are at greater risk for developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco, ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.
  • Medical conditions. Some diseases have symptoms related to bad breath. Sinus or lung infections, bronchitis, diabetes, and some liver or kidney diseases may be associated with bad breath.

11/20/2015 9:56:00 PM | Anonymous

Usually a cavity is a dark spot on your tooth. Sometimes, a small cavity that is in between your teeth can only be seen in an x-ray.

The most important thing to note in the image below - is that what starts off as a small stain progresses into a large hole. Often this large hole can only be fixed by completing a root canal. But sometimes, if the cavity is too big, the only option we have is to take the tooth out.

Lesson: Visit us regularly so we can spot the early signs of cavities -- and hopefully help you prevent them all together.

11/8/2015 9:11:00 PM | Anonymous

Yes. We love to talk about TV shows in the office. We are both comforting by talking about something other than teeth and also talking about something we love!

While Dr Nijjar will talk about shows on the OWN network or ZeeTV, I will talk about everything from Scandal to Big Bang Theory to 60 minutes to allllll of the Real Housewives series. 

Which is why I was looking forward to reading this book. I love Andy Cohen and DVR "Watch What Happens Live" every night.

But this... This was too much Andy Cohen. Granted he warned me. In the very first chapter, he warns that the book may be mindless series of rants of name dropping -- my fan-goggles didn't allow me to understand. 

 When my kindle had only reached 20 percent (and I was hoping it was 80 percent) I knew it was time to listen -- it was time to move on to the next book. 

Not my cup of tea. But maybe it's just not the right time for me to read this. 

I will come back to this book probably. C-



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