Tamal Vista Dentistry

Dr. Scott's Dental Bytes: How Does Sparkling Water Affect Your Teeth?


With the popularity of sparkling water on the rise, products like La Croix and San Pellegrino are being consumed more and more as people are shifting away from sugary sodas. Many patients and friends have expressed concerns over whether or not carbonated water is damaging their teeth. 

 Here is the scoop! Sparkling water’s abscence of sugar is an added plus, however it is acidic. All acidity weakens teeth, but it is the amount of time in contact with the teeth, as well as the level of acidity, that determines how much damage can occur. Sparkling water gets its fizz from carbon dioxide, which in your mouth becomes carbonic acid, giving you that refreshing sensation. Although your teeth are in contact with the carbonic acid in these beverages, the level of acidity in most sparkling water is much less harmful than sodas and fruit juices. Unfortunately, many of these fizzy waters are flavored with citrus juices (sorry Pamplemousse fans), which can make them more harmful.

 As with most things we enjoy, moderation is the key. Consumption of fizzy water is safe for your teeth, especially those without added flavoring. Be mindful of what is in your sparkling water. Those with more citrus flavors or sugar added can increase the risk of damage to your enamel. Try to enjoy these drinks in one sitting or with meals to limit the exposure to your teeth. Also, rinsing out with plain water will help minimize the effects by neutralizing the oral environment.


Impress Your Friends with Dental Trivia!

super tooth.jpg

Did you know? 

  • The average American spends 38.5 total days brushing their teeth over a lifetime.
  • People who drink 3 or more glasses of soda each day have 62% more tooth decay, fillings and tooth loss than others. Put down the pop and sports drinks and pick up some nice fresh water instead.
  • Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. However, we do not recommend that you use your pearly whites to open bottle caps!
  • If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 40% of your tooth surfaces. Make sure you brush and floss twice a day!
  • If you're right handed, you will chew your food on your right side. If you're left handed, you will tend to chew your food on your left side.
  • Every year, kids in North America spend close to half a million dollars on chewing gum.
  • More people use blue toothbrushes than red ones.
  • Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different
  • The average woman smiles 62 times/day. The average man smiles about 8 times/day.
  • Kids laugh around 400 times a day, adults just 15 times a day.
  • Giraffes only have bottom teeth.
  • Just like finger prints, tooth prints are unique to each individual.
  • The average person only brushes for 45 to 70 seconds a day, the recommended amount of time is 2-3 minutes.
  • 78% of Americans have had at least 1 cavity by age 17.
  • 1882 was the year commercial floss was first manufactured.
  • The most valuable tooth belonged to Sir Isaac Newton. In 1816 one of his teeth was sold in London for $3,633, or in today's terms $35,700. The tooth was set in a ring! (source: Guinness World Records 2002).
  • More than 300 types of bacteria make up dental plaque.
  • Dogs have 42 teeth, cats have 30 teeth, pigs have 44 teeth, & an armadillo has 104 teeth.
  • A snail's mouth is no larger than the head of a pin, but it can have over 25,000 teeth!
  • The elephant grinds its molars and grows new ones. This happens six times in a lifetime! An elephant's molar is about 7 inches square and can weigh over 6 pounds
  • The Blue Whale is the largest mammal on earth, but it eats only tiny shrimp because it has no teeth.
  • The Crocodile Bird flies into the open mouth of a crocodile and cleans the crocodile's teeth!
  • There are 10-12 teaspoons of sugar in a single can of soda.
Smile facts.jpg

Dental History –            Who Knew?

  • In 1866, Lucy Beaman Hobbs became the first licensed female dentist.
  • In 1986, the winner of the National Spelling Bee won by spelling ODONTALGIA (which means toothache)
  • The average amount of money left by the tooth fairy in 1950 was 25 cents. In 1988 it was $1.00, the going rate now is $2.00.
  • The earliest dentist known by name is Hesi-Re. He lived in Egypt over 5,000 years ago.
  • The first toothbrushes were tree twigs. Chewing on the tips of the twigs spread out the fibers, which were then used to clean the teeth.
  • Ancient Greeks used pumice, talc, alabaster, coral powder or iron rust as toothpaste.
  • George Washington never had wooden teeth. His dentures were made from gold, hippopotamus tusk, elephant ivory and human teeth!
  • In 1905, Dental Assistant Irene Newman was trained to clean teeth. She became the first Dental Hygienist.

* Note: All facts and jokes have been gathered from different internet sources including Children’s Dental Village.

Do your teeth like what you eat?

This week we hope to shed some light on why the dentist says: “You might want to steer clear of these foods to help protect your teeth.”  Now, mind you, we love to eat (and drink) many of these foods too!  As with everything, less is more and moderation is key!  Take a peak at this article to learn the “why’s” of limiting these foods — some may surprise you — and always remember to "BRUSH YOUR TEETH"

Brush your teeth image.jpg

My Vision of Tamal Vista Family Dentistry (TVFD)

We love our patients and as a way of connecting with you and helping to demystify the world of dentistry, we invite you to travel with us as we explore and unravel some of the tips, tricks and newsworthy tidbits in the field of dentistry,

Check in frequently as we will post our blogs every other Tuesday!

Dr. James and Cristy McDowell in front of their San Rafael office with their beloved "Laverne".

Dr. James and Cristy McDowell in front of their San Rafael office with their beloved "Laverne".

My wife, Cristy, and I moved to San Rafael in 1999 and we purchased a small dental practice at the corner of 5th and H St at the entrance to the Sun Valley neighborhood of San Rafael.  Our goal was to provide the best treatment I could with my training both from UCSF Dental and from a residency in Advanced General Dentistry at UOP Dental School in San Francisco.  Our small practice grew from wonderful referrals and we also eventually combined practices with Dr. Stephen Jaffe and we worked together for a few years before he retired completely.  It was fun becoming part of the San Rafael and Marin community and growing our family here.  Since we live here in San Rafael, patients often saw me in markets and around town, and I frequently heard people calling out “Hey Doc” and stopping to say hello and show me their smile.  As the practice continued to grow, our office and space became tight and limited my ability to implement the latest technologies and services for my patients creating a barrier to the quality of treatment I wanted to provide.

Dr. James and Cristy McDowell in their first dental practice in San Rafael at the corner of 5th and H Street.

Dr. James and Cristy McDowell in their first dental practice in San Rafael at the corner of 5th and H Street.

I’ve always strived to treat my patients in the most caring manner, to treat everyone as I would family, with the best possible materials, latest techniques and in the most up to date and modern facility as possible.  I realized that to do so at my original location wasn’t possible and for the vision of my practice I needed to find a place to build an office that mirrors my mission, not only now, but would also have the ability to adapt to newer technologies and treatment services in dentistry.

In 2015, Cristy and I decided to create Tamal Vista Family Dentistry (TVFD) and establish a state of the art facility that would allow our practice to continue to grow and provide all of our patients with the best possible care. It was also important to not only create the right space, but maintain the family, “homey” feel that we have built our reputation on.  Most important to our goals and mission was to find talented dental professionals with skills and desires to treat our patients as family as well.  We want patients to walk into the office, feel “at home”, see happy, caring and warm staff and know that they’ll be well taken care of by everyone in the office.  As our practice grows with patients, so does our staff and finding the right team is a big part of what makes TVFD special. 

I knew with the move to our new location, I would need to find the assistance of another dentist to join the practice. Unlike many other dental practices that separate patients between specific doctors, I wanted to find someone to share in the vision established by TVFD and be able to treat all of our patients together and to work as a team.  With some searching, I was happy to be introduced to Dr. Dan Scott and realized early on that he shared a very similar passion for dentistry and personal care to every patient.  We’re often compared to brothers and too frequently even dress the same at the office. He also completed a 2-year advanced dental residency in Philadelphia following his dental education at UOP.  The two of us enjoy collaborating on every patient that comes through the door and being able to treat them with a complete range of services.  With both our training in advanced dentistry and a practice facility that can allow us to provide those treatments, we are happy to able to treat all of our patients for most of their dental needs.  Whether it’s giving kids a great first visit to the dentist, routine adult cleanings, esthetic veneers, crowns, fillings, implants or root canals, we are happy to provide these treatments in a facility and with staff that cares about our patients.

As dentistry changes, our vision is to also grow and find ways to provide our patients with the most current dental options.  Dr. Scott is trained to provide Invisalign as an orthodontic option to many patients and I have recently completed a residency in Dental Sleep Health and can not only assist patients with snoring, but apnea and related issues with sleeping.  We’ve also just brought in a 3-D dental x-ray imaging system to better evaluate and treatment plan cases and also added a new 3-D scanner that uses cameras to make models of your teeth instead of traditional goopy molds.

I hope you find TVFD a special place.  My wife Cristy and I are proud of what we’ve created and know that we’ve established a practice that will continue to grow and standout in Marin as a place of dental excellence.  We’re proud to have been recognized by so many of you and was voted Best Dentist in both the 2018 Marin IJ and 2017/2018 Pacific Sun.  Thank you so much and make sure to say hello and show off that smile the next time you see any of us around town. 

I look forward to sharing more fun stories and dental education in blogs to come! 

James McDowell DDS