Johns Family Dentistry

How to Improve Oral Hygiene While At Home

We all know that washing our hands and practicing safe social distancing are important steps in fighting COVID-19. Did you know that good oral hygiene can also help fight diseases, including viruses?

Why Is Good Oral Hygiene Important?

Healthy teeth and gums look and feel good, but your mouth is also your first line of defense against infectious bacteria, including viruses such as COVID-19. Brushing your teeth removes harmful bacteria and prevents it from invading your body. Also, saliva contains some antibacterial and antiviral proteins that help fight some infections.

On the other hand, poor oral hygiene is linked to a number of health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Insufficient oral care routines can also mean that bad bacteria and viruses spend more time in your mouth and have opportunities to reach your bloodstream.

A good oral care routine is a big step toward good overall health, and it’s something you have complete control over. Now is the perfect time to improve your oral care routine and make new habits for a healthier smile.

Tips to Keep Your Mouth Healthy

Maintaining a healthy mouth doesn’t take much effort. Now that you’re spending plenty of time at home, make sure that good oral care is part of your daily routine. Here are some more tips:

  • Wash your hands before and after brushing and flossing.
  • Store your toothbrush properly. Allow it to air dry and keep all toothbrushes in your household separate to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Disinfect your toothbrush. Here are a few ways to sterilize your toothbrush at home.
  • Add an antibacterial mouthwash to your daily routine.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months, or after you’ve been sick.
  • Dental emergencies can be life-threatening, and often the ER personnel is not qualified to treat tooth pain. Our team is equipped and well-trained to handle any dental problem that requires immediate treatment.

March Madness

It is March Madness time around Johns Family Dentistry!

We are beginning the month, finishing up a successful book drive. We have been collecting children’s new or gently used books. Our book drive ends on March 5th. The books will then be donated to local charities. We could not do this without the support of our amazing patients and generous community!

Following Selection Sunday on March 15, 2020 – we will go live with joining the JFD tournament challenge. In 2019 we did the same fun competition, using the ESPN app. Staff and patients participated and it was a great turnout and a lot of fun! The competition got intense and a lot of fun school rivalries!  Join the fun and if you are the winner, based on a points system from the app, you will be the recipient of a great prize! (We will announce the prize at the start of the tournament!)

Lastly, March 17th is quickly approaching! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Stay safe and enjoy the holiday.

Can I just have a regular cleaning?

You come into the office….the dentist and hygienists scare you with words like Periodontal disease, bacteria and infection.  You undergo a “deep cleaning” – Periodontal scaling and root planing.  They ask you to come back in a couple of months so they can monitor and maintain the disease.  You do as requested, but find out that the visit may be covered at a lesser percentage by your insurance and if they are seeing you more frequently, some of these visits may not be covered.  Frequently, patient’s in this situation ask, “Can’t I just get the cleaning that is covered by my insurance?”

Regular Cleaning vs Periodontal Maintenance
Patients often ask why they are having “periodontal maintenance” when all they want is to have their teeth cleaned. If your dentist or hygienist has recommended that you be scheduled for periodontal maintenance, or if you have noticed that there is a difference in billing for these procedures, here is a brief explanation:

Prophylaxis, or Regular Cleaning
A regular cleaning is recommended for patients who do not have bone loss, periodontal disease, or infection around the teeth. There should be no bleeding, mobility of the teeth, receded areas, or gaps where the spaces around the roots of the teeth are exposed. In other words, the mouth should be healthy with no bone or gum problems. A regular cleaning, or prophylaxis, removes soft plaque, tartar, and stains from the teeth above the gum line, and only slightly below.

A regular cleaning is usually done 2 to 3 times a year, depending on how quickly stain, plaque, and tartar accumulate. It is considered a preventive procedure by your insurance carrier, since regular cleanings will help prevent periodontal disease.

Periodontal Maintenance
If you have periodontal disease that has resulted in bone loss, gum “pockets” deeper than 4 millimeters, bleeding gums, exposed root surfaces, or if you have had periodontal surgery or root planning to treat periodontal surgery or root planning to treat periodontal disease, a regular cleaning is not appropriate. Periodontal maintenance scaling is needed to maintain gum and bone health. This procedure includes removal of plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line, all the way down the length of each tooth to where the root, gum, and bone meet. Rough areas of the roots are smoothed if needed, pocket depths are carefully monitored, and inflamed pockets may be irrigated with antibacterial medicines if necessary.

Periodontal maintenance is considered a basic service by your insurance carrier, and may be subject to a yearly deductible. PM is usually performed 3 to 4 times a year, depending on several factors: how quickly the plaque and tartar accumulate, how much bleeding or inflammation is present, how stable the present condition is, how well you are able to maintain your teeth at home on a daily basis, and any health risk factors you may have.

We know that there is a relationship between chronic inflammation in the gums and overall health, especially heart disease and diabetes. Keeping the gums and the bone surrounding your teeth as healthy as possible is an important part of your regular dental visits or hygienist.

Do I have to have Periodontal Maintenance forever?

The ADA reports, “This is a matter of clinical judgement by the treating dentist.  Follow-up patients who have received active periodontal therapy are appropriately reported using the periodontal maintenance code.”  The actual ADA code book reads, periodontal maintenance will be completed following active periodontal therapy “for the life of the dentition.”  It is safe to assume once a periodontal patient, always a periodontal patient.  In the sense that periodontal disease is chronic and must be controlled.

If you have any questions or concerns, you may always contact Johns Family Dentistry at 253-848-3723.


Are you addicted to sugar?

Overcoming sugar addiction could mean the difference between finally being able to lose weight, eating a health diet, feeling full of natural energy or…

Continuing to struggle with perpetual weight-gain, yo-yo dieting, daily energy crashes, and the frustration that comes with a dependence on eating sweet foods.

So, if you’ve been trapped by the powerful sugar cravings for many months or even years, the following 7 scientifically proven steps are going to restore your health and revitalize your body.

Overcoming Sugar Addiction Using 7 Proven Steps
These 7 steps have been proven to help break even the strongest sugar addictions:


Step #1: Remove all sugar and processed foods from your house.
You can bet you’ll face temptations to eat sugar while you work on breaking your addiction. It is going to happen.

You can drastically increase your ability to resist temptation by removing ALL foods from your house that contain sugar as well as those that are processed (remember, highly-processed foods are quickly converted into sugar once you eat them!)

Look through your kitchen, cupboards, and pantry for all sugary drinks, cereals, snack bars, yogurts, baked goods, breads, and anything else that contains sugar.

Throw ALL of it out and commit to NOT bringing these foods back into your home until you are confident that your addiction has been permanently broken.​


Step #2: Eat breakfast that is balanced in macronutrients.
Many sugar cravings are stimulated because your body hasn’t received the nutrients it really craves. The easiest way to eliminate, or at least minimize, these deficiencies is by eating a well-rounded breakfast.

Eat a breakfast meal that includes healthy sources of the 3 macronutrients: Carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

Step #3: Drink water (a lot more water).
Chronic dehydration can not only amplify your sugar cravings, but it also slows your metabolism and causes your body to store fat.

The general rule of thumb for water consumption tells us to drink 8 glasses per day, but that should be your bare minimum. If you exercise, add another glass for every 20 minutes that you’re physically active.​


Step #4: Prepare healthy snacks in bulk and carry some with you everywhere you go.
Another reason sugar addiction can be difficult to break is because the vast majority of our “on-the-go” snack options are loaded with sugar and refined grains. Cookies, snack bars, crackers, yogurt, granola bars, and many other common snack items will perpetuate your sugar addiction.

Find at least one healthy snack option that is free from sugar and other highly-processed ingredients. Prepare a large batch every few days, and store it in portion-sized containers that you can take with you anywhere you go.

Remember: If you let yourself get too hungry, your sugar cravings are going to come out in full force. Prevent this from happening by snacking as needed throughout your day.


Step #5: Consciously move your body every single day.
Breaking your sugar addiction is heavily dependent on balancing your blood sugar. When you eat sugary foods, or those that are quickly converted into blood sugar, your body has two options:

Use that sugar as fuel.
Store the excess sugar as fat.
Daily exercise gives your body an outlet for excess blood sugar. This doesn’t mean that you have to sign up for a gym membership and sweat till you drop. Going for a walk, stretching at your desk, and playing outside with your kids can all add up.


Step #6: Lower your stress levels.
If you are living under chronic stress, your sugar cravings are going to be tough to beat. The “high” you get from eating sugar is so much more appealing when it can be used to temporarily reduce anxiety and feelings of stress.

The good news?
You can significantly reduce your stress levels in less than 5 minutes per day using de-stressing techniques.​

Choose one that you would actually look forward to doing each day, then commit to trying it for the next two weeks while you work on breaking your sugar addiction.


Step #7: Get better quality sleep each night.
When do your most intense sugar cravings appear? If you’re like many people, cravings become more intense towards the end of your day.

This is affirmed by research showing that sugar cravings are deeply tied to your circadian rhythm an​d your sleep patterns. If you’re not sleeping on a regular schedule, or if you’re not getting enough quality sleep in general, your sugar addiction will intensify.

The most important step you can take towards getting better quality sleep is to set a bedtime and stick to it. I recommend choosing a realistic bedtime for your weeknights at least (allow yourself some leeway on the weekends if needed).

These 7 steps have been tested and proven to help break even the nastiest sugar addictions. The first few days will likely be the hardest, but you will begin feeling amazing in no time.

The Season of Giving

What Will You Give Back This Giving Season?

This time of year is known for its many heartwarming and joyous occasions. More loved ones get together to celebrate their relationships and, people in general, tend to be not only more giving to one another, but more forgiving and charitable as well.

Many of us experience a heightened spirit of giving around the winter holidays, as we’re more likely to volunteer our time and services to those in need. December is repeatedly shown to be the most charitable month of the year.

And with #GivingTuesday thrown into the holiday mix, it’s no wonder the end of the year is commonly known as giving season, but it may be in more ways than you think…

The Holiday Season is also…
The Season of Love
The time spanning from Thanksgiving to New Years has (by no surprise) been coined “engagement season” in the U.S. More people get engaged during this time than any other time of the year and these engagements, in particular, tend to be more elaborate and more widely shared on social media.

The Season of Peace
Although crime is more noticeable during the holiday season, statistically crime rates tend to decrease in the November and December months. But, more importantly than what the numbers show, the holiday season is a time of increased awareness when it comes to spreading love, joy, and peace, thereby reducing hate, violence, and fear. The commonly celebrated holidays that we associate with this time of year all seem to follow this theme of harmony at their core, which is something people from all backgrounds can celebrate.

The Season of Family
According to data gathered over the years, birth rates are at their highest in the month of August. And if you do the math, this means that the majority of children are conceived around the holiday season, spanning from late October through Thanksgiving and December. Adoption rates are also at their highest this time of year, with November being recognized as National Adoption Month.

The Season of Charity
From soup kitchens to Christmas carolers, people are doling out whatever they have to spare in greater volumes during the holidays. Not to mention #GivingTuesday, marked as the most charitable day of the year, happens annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving!

This Christmas Season we are excited to partner with the Puyallup School District and sponsor local families with our giving tree. If you would like to participate, simply stop by our practice and select a tag from our Christmas tree. Purchase the gift and return unwrapped, with the tag to our practice by Tuesday, December 10th. With your participation, we will enter you in a drawing to win dinner on us! ‘Tis the spirit of the Season! Grateful that we work in such an amazing campus and community.

May God bless you all and Merry Christmas!

November = Turkey Drive

The meaning of the word Puyallup, is generous people. We are lucky to practice dentistry and live in a community of such generous people, as the people of Puyallup.

This year we celebrate our 11th annual “Turkey Drop!” For over a decade, the amazing patients of Johns Family Dentistry have graciously donated turkeys to help families in need.

This year, we ask that you drop off donated turkeys to our office by Monday, November 25, 2019 through 12:00 pm noon. Our staff will excitedly deliver the turkeys to the local food bank, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Thank you for always making this such a successful event!

Why all the X-Rays?

In our practice here at Johns Family Dentistry, we follow the standards of taking radiographs that has been established by the American Dental Association. But why do you need dental x-rays? In this blog, let me break it down a bit so you can understand.

At our initial visit appointment and every 5 years afterwards , Dr. Johns needs a full-mouth series of x-rays. A full mouth x-ray is composed of a series of individual images, including a combination of bitewing and periapical. Dr. Johns and the hygienists use these initial images as a baseline on the health of your mouth. These radiographs are necessary to examine the dentition and supporting structures of the mouth. This film gives Dr. Johns a clear view of each tooth and allows him to look for decay and bone loss and infection.


Within the first year at our practice, after a patient has had the full-mouth series of x-rays, Dr. Johns recommends that you have a panoramic film done. A panoramic image is a two-dimensional dental x-ray that captures the entire mouth in a single image, including teeth, upper and lower jaws and the surrounding structures and tissues, such as the joint and sinuses. The panoramic film can reveal advanced periodontal disease, cysts in the jaw bones, jaw tumors and oral cancer, impacted wisdom teeth, jaw disorders and sinusitis. Dr. Johns also recommends that this film is taken every 5 years, unless he is monitoring an area and has specifically requested it taken more frequently.

Depending on the patients caries rate, Dr. Johns will make his recommendation for taking bitewing x-rays. These x-rays are typically taken during a check-up once a year and look primarily at your molars and front teeth. This series does not capture every tooth. What is a caries rate? Dr. Johns performs a caries risk assessment as part of your examination. This is to predict future caries before the clinical onset of the disease. Risk factors are the lifestyle and biochemical determinants that contribute to the development and progression of the disease.

Are they safe? If you’ve ever wondered why your dentist draped you in a lead apron and all of their staff step out of the room each time you need a dental X-ray, it’s normal to have some concern about the safety of the procedure.

Fortunately, getting dental X-rays today is extremely safe…and the only reason why your dental team stays far away, is because of the risk of gradual exposure that accumulates day after day throughout their career.

Otherwise, dental X-rays are usually nothing to be concerned about!

At Johns Family Dentistry, we take digital x-rays. A digital X-ray requires less radiation to capture a high-resolution image than the traditional X-rays used a few decades ago. Depending on the type of film, equipment, and image being taken, it may be as much as a 90% reduction in exposure! As such, it’s safe to say that today’s dental X-rays are extremely safe.

Compared to not getting dental X-rays, the tiny amount of radiation exposure is an important trade off. Why? Because diagnostic imaging allows dentists to see inside and around the tooth structures where pathology (such as bone loss, oral cancer, or tooth decay) commonly lurk. Diagnosing them as early as possible allows for less-invasive and more cost-effective treatments. Otherwise, such problems can’t be detected until they’ve reached an advanced state that requires more aggressive therapies to manage.

Every day, we’re exposed to radiation. It comes from the sun, our cell phones, and even riding in an airplane (the longer the airplane ride, the more radiation you’re exposed to!)

But when you get a set of four “bitewing” X-rays (the images that are usually taken about once a year to check for new cavities,) the total amount of radiation is only about 0.005 mSv (micro-Sieverts,) which is less than an average daily dose of radiation in everyday life.

To give you an idea of other types of radiation encountered in everyday activities, consider these comparisons:

• Going through an airport security scanner 80 times is the equivalent to a single day of casual radiation exposure. 1,000 times equals the amount of radiation used for a chest X-ray.
• An average 7-hour plane ride exposes each passenger to approximately 0.02 mSv (or 16 small dental X-rays).

But your office takes photographs too!  Intraoral photographs are an important addition to patient records (charting, radiographs, study models). They provide a static, in-depth look at the patient’s dentition that is easily reviewed and compared with the patient’s other records. They not only help with education, showing you a picture of tooth breaking down, is far easier to see and grasp compared to trying to read an x-ray, but it is also one more piece of evidence that we can submit on your behalf to insurance. Also, we do not have an in-house laboratory. We have to send your case to our ceramist. Sending photographs to the laboratory, help ensure that your case turns out exceptional.

If you have questions about dental X-rays or how often imaging is necessary to keep your smile healthy, be sure to speak with one of here at Johns Family Dentistry.

Successful Start to Fall

Our practice just wrapped up our annual “Fill the Canoe” Drive. We partner with Puyallup-Communitees in Schools and Red Canoe Credit Union, collecting school supplies for the month of August that are donated back to Puyallup School District children in need. This year our office collected a total of 56 pounds of supplies, which is matched by Red Canoe Credit Union. This is always a fun and satisfying event! Thank you to our wonderful patients who participated!

With the school year upon us, we like to encourage great dental habits for kids!
When creating a back-to-school list, we hope that you will think of a dental checklist as well! Here are some suggestions for maintaining healthy teeth during the school year.

1. Schedule dental checkup appointments:
We recommend that your child should visit the dentist twice a year. Professional dental assessments are important to ensure your child’s healthy teeth. Dentists can also advise your child on correct oral hygiene habits and encourage them to keep up the good work. Call Johns Family Dentistry today to schedule your child’s next appointment.

2. Establish healthy oral hygiene routines:
Are your children brushing twice a day and flossing once a day? It’s easy to skip brushing your teeth in the early morning rush to school, but a consistent, healthy routine that you start from the summer can prevent this from happening. Do you have trouble convincing your child to brush their teeth every day? Make it fun!  Set a timer, award them a sticker.

3. Prepare healthy snacks and lunches:
Brainstorming healthy lunch ideas may already be on your to-do list, but have you thought of creating lunches that also are good for your child’s teeth? Snacks that are kind to teeth include fruit, string cheese, vegetables, and unsweetened applesauce. Try to avoid sticky snacks such as fruit roll-ups and granola bars that can stick to your child’s teeth surfaces and in-between teeth. Instead of packing sugary soda, think about water or other non-sugared drinks.

4. Guard against injuries:
If your child has sports practices, think about purchasing a mouth guard that could prevent dental injuries from happening. One of the most common ways that you can injure your teeth is by playing sports, and we want your child’s teeth to be healthy! Contact sports, such as basketball and soccer, are where your children are most at risk for injuries. Our office can make custom guards to protect their precious mouths.

5. Replace toothbrushes:
The American Dental Association recommends that you replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or when the bristles are frayed. A new school year is a great time to check on your children’s toothbrushes!

Schedule your next appointment with Johns Family Dentistry today! We guarantee a fun and friendly atmosphere for your children and offer excellent pediatric dental care.

Fill the Canoe School Supply Drive 2019


For the past 7 years, Johns Family Dentistry have proudly partnered with Red Canoe Credit Union and Puyallup – Communities In Schools, to collect school supplies for all 32 schools in the Puyallup School District. For every pound that is donated, Red Canoe Credit Union will match on the dollar!


We believe that every child deserves the chance to start the school year with the right tools to succeed. With the generous donations provided by our patients, together we can make this philanthropic event successful.

Please drop off your new school supplies to our office now until Thursday, August 23. As an added bonus you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win tickets (2) to see Foreigner at the Washington State Fair on September 18, 2019.

The supplies that are considered high needs are the following:

  • 2 -3 inch binders
  • Dividers
  • Highlighters
  • Sharpies
  • 3 Ring Pencil Pouches
  • Colored Pencils

All of us here at JFD appreciate your giving hearts and support.

Thank you!

What Your Tongue Can Tell You About Your Health

Healthy Tongue

For clues about problems in your mouth, stick out your tongue and look in the mirror. A healthy tongue should be pink and covered with small nodules (papillae). Any deviation from your tongue’s normal appearance, or any pain, may be cause for concern.


If your tongue has a white coating or white spots

A white tongue, or white spots on your tongue, could be an indication of:

Oral thrush: a yeast infection that develops inside the mouth. It appears as white patches that are often the consistency of cottage cheese.  Oral thrush is most commonly seen in infants and the elderly, especially denture wearers, or in people with weakened immune systems.  People with diabetes and those who are taking inhaled steroids for asthma or lung disease can also get it.  Oral thrush is more likely to occur after you’ve taken antibiotics.

Leukoplakia: a condition in which the cells in the mouth grow excessively, which leads to white patches on the tongue and inside the mouth. Leukoplakia can develop when the tongue has been irritated.  It’s often seen in people who use tobacco products.  Leukoplakia can be a precursor to cancer, but isn’t inherently dangerous by itself.  If you see what you think could be leukoplakia, Dr. Johns would be happy to see you for an evaluation.

Oral lichen planus: a network of raised white lines on your tongue that look similar to lace.  We don’t always know what causes this condition, but it usually resolves on its own.

If your tongue is red

A red tongue could be a sign of:

Vitamin deficiency:  Folic acid and vitamin B-12 deficiencies may cause your tongue to take on a reddish appearance.

Geographic tongue: This condition causes a map-like pattern of reddish spots to develop on the surface of your tongue.  These patches can have a white border around them, and their location on your tongue may shift over time.  Geographic tongue is usually harmless.

Scarlet fever: an infection that causes the tongue to have a strawberry-like (red and bumpy) appearance.  If you have a high fever and a red tongue, you need to see your primary care doctor.  Antibiotics are necessary to treat scarlet fever.

Kawasaki disease: a condition that can also cause the tongue to have a strawberry-like appearance. It is seen in children under the age of 5 and is accompanied by a high fever.  Kawasaki syndrome is a serious condition that demands immediate medical evaluation and you should be seen by your primary care physician.

If your tongue is black and hairy

Much like hair, the papillae on your tongue grow throughout your lifetime. In some people, they become excessively long, which makes them more likely to harbor bacteria.

When these bacteria grow, they may look dark or black, and the overgrown papillae can appear hair-like.  Fortunately, this condition is not common and is typically not serious.  It’s most likely to occur in people who don’t practice good dental hygiene.

People with diabetes, taking antibiotics or receiving chemotherapy may also develop a black hairy tongue.

If your tongue is sore or bumpy

Painful bumps on your tongue can be due to:

Trauma:  Accidentally biting your tongue or scalding it on something straight out of the oven can result in a sore tongue until the damage heals.  Grinding or clenching your teeth can also irritate the sides of your tongue and cause it to become painful.

Smoking: Smoking irritates your tongue, which can cause soreness.

Canker sores: mouth ulcers.  Many people develop canker sores on the tongue at one time or another.  The cause is unknown, but stress is believed to be a factor.  Canker sores normally heal without treatment within a week or two.

Oral cancer:  A lump or sore on your tongue that doesn’t go away within two weeks could be an indication of oral cancer.  Keep in mind that many oral cancers don’t hurt in the early stages, so don’t assume a lack of pain means nothing is wrong.

Watch your tongue!

Dr. Johns says everyone should check their tongue on a daily basis when they brush their teeth and tongue. “Any discoloration, lumps, sores or pain should be monitored and evaluated by a medical professional if they don’t go away within two weeks,” he says.