3 Ways Oral Health Influences Your Body: Heart Disease, Diabetes, Pregnancy

Happy 2018! New Year’s resolutions are not as popular as they once were, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to your everyday life. Now is always the right time!  Did you know oral health affects your overall health?  It’s important to brush and floss daily along with dental check-ups every 6 months. Poor oral habits can lead to gum disease because your mouth is swarming with bacteria. And gum disease is linked to heart diseases, diabetes, and pregnancy. Oral health is connected to your total health.

Heart Disease

Are you wondering how your oral health relates to your heart? Everyday brushing and flossing manages the bacteria levels in your mouth.  Without daily cleaning, bacteria is free to flow into your bloodstream and can travel to your arteries.  Arteries are blood vessels that distribute oxygen from your heart to your body. This can lead to atherosclerosis where plaque builds up on the inner layers of your arteries. This can cause clots that can block blood flow through your body.  Increasing the likelihood of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Source: American Heart Association



Did you know you are 3 to 4 times more likely to have gum disease after being diagnosed with diabetes?  Diabetes affects how your body processes sugar and leaving you at a higher risk for gum disease. It can also make your blood sugar level constantly increase. Meaning your body has a harder time fighting the bacteria attacking your gums. People receiving gum disease treatment along with antibiotics showed improvements with their blood sugar levels. Be sure to keep us updated on your health history and medication lists.

Source: American Diabetes Association


Pregnancy is no excuse to slack on your oral care. Hormone levels are uncontrollable it can cause your gums to bleed, swell, and absorb food. This leads to pregnancy gingivitis.  Another thing to look out for is pregnancy tumors. While harmless, they start to appear during your second trimester between your teeth. If you begin to feel pain or irritation your dentist can have them removed. Most of the time they disappear after your child is born.

A common side effect of pregnancy is morning sickness which can be alarming for your teeth. The acid from your stomach can lead to tooth decay. We recommended gargling with baking soda and water after an episode of morning sickness before brushing your teeth. Dental appointments and procedures are encouraged during pregnancy to help prevent gum disease. It is optimal to have dental work done during your second trimester because the developments of your fetal organs are complete and the risks of side effects are lower.  Once you are in the third trimester it may be harder for you to lay on your back for a long period of time.

Source: American Pregnancy Association

Living a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming but remember to make small strides daily. Here are five healthy habits for a happy life.

  • Brush your teeth twice daily
  • Floss once a day
  • Preventive health care screening, at least once every six months
  • Smile and Laugh
  • Physical Activity
  • Adequate sleep




George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595


3 Ways Oral Health Influences Your Body: Heart Disease, Diabetes, Pregnancy

Be Careful With Tongue Piercing!

Oral piercing is currently on the upswing. Many teens and young adults, as well as some older adults, are having this procedure. Over the years, I have had many patients with a tongue piercing. Most have not had problems, especially when the barbells have been short and plastic.  Some have had chipping of teeth, usually when the barbells have been longer and metal.  I have had three patients who have had serious dental problems because of their tongue bars and have eventually lost teeth and had to have dental implant replacement teeth.

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Some of the serious consequences of tongue piercing include:

Pain, inflammation, and infection.

Damage to teeth, fillings, and other dental work.

Injury or shrinkage of gums and bone.

Difficulty chewing or swallowing.

Greater saliva production.

Prolonged blood loss immediately after the procedure.

Disease transmission, such as hepatitis.

Need for orthodontic treatment due to repositioning the natural teeth alignment.

Tooth damage

The tongue jewelry can chip or break a tooth or a filling. Tooth damage results from the wearer “playing” with the barbell by rubbing it along his/her teeth. Metal barbells are more likely to cause tooth fracture than their plastic counterparts.  Tooth damage can be minimized by proper placement, the use of properly sized jewelry, and avoiding playing with the piercing.

Ten years ago, a 21-year-old woman with a beautiful smile cracked her upper left front lateral incisor due to biting down on her tongue barbell.  Root canal therapy, a fiber-reinforced post, and a porcelain crown were necessary to fix the fractured tooth.  At age 23, she fractured the porcelain crown, again due to biting on her tongue barbell and so a new porcelain crown was placed.   Finally, at age 25, the barbell caused the tooth to break off at the gumline.  The tooth was extracted and a beautiful dental implant was made as a replacement.  At that time, she decided to remove her tongue barbell and she has had no further problems.

Gap Between Teeth

According to a study at the University of Buffalo in New York, playing with a pierced tongue barbell can lead to a gap between the front teeth.  By pushing the tongue barbell continually up against their front teeth, those with tongue piercing were likely to move the teeth apart.  Orthodontic braces work by placing continual force on teeth in the direction that they need to be moved to produce a correct alignment.  Force, over time, moves teeth.  Individuals with tongue piercing are tempted to play with their tongue barbell, placing unnatural forces on the teeth and consequently causing gaps or other problems to occur with teeth.

Gum Damage

A tongue bar can cause damage to the gums along the inside of the upper or lower front teeth, leading to gum recession.  Receding gums expose the roots of the teeth, causing sensitivity to temperature and periodontal disease with bone loss.  This can sometimes be corrected with periodontal surgery and a gum graft.  But if not corrected early, a severe recession can lead to tooth loss.

Several years ago, I treated a 22-year-old male patient who rubbed the gums on the backside of his lower teeth with his tongue ring, causing severe gum infection, gum recession, and bone loss.  He was referred to a periodontist who attempted surgical gum grafting to save the teeth.  However, two years later, he ended up losing his lower front two central teeth.  Eventually with bone grafting, the placement of two dental implants and the removal of his tongue ring, he was in good health again.

Importance of Dental Check-Up Before Tongue Piercing

I recommend not having a tongue piercing.  However, if you do decide to get your tongue adorned, proceed carefully and have a dental examination and cleaning first.

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The goal is to examine your oral tissues and look for any signs of existing infection, such as gum disease or deep decay.  It is much safer having any infection removed from your mouth before proceeding with a tongue piercing.  A prior infection in your mouth could interfere with your tongue’s healing when pierced.  Also, ask your dentist for a prescription strength mouthwash. Rinsing before you have the tongue piercing procedure will decrease the bacteria in your mouth and lessen the chance of infection.

During your dental examination, it is important to check for dental issues that could make dental piercing more dangerous. For example, if you are a tongue-thruster (when you swallow, your tongue pushes against your front teeth), the tongue bar could seriously damage your oral tissues or teeth.

Safe Guidelines


If you decided to have a tongue piercing, please check out the piercing establishment carefully.  Pay particular attention to the following safe piercing guidelines:

The business is licensed and reputable, with clean, well-lit rooms for procedures.

Trained and experienced piercers [a member of the Association of Professional Piercers] use new gloves and a fresh disposable needle for each procedure (never go to an establishment that uses piercing guns — they are more difficult to clean and inflict greater tissue damage).

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An autoclave and ultrasonic cleaner for sterilizing instruments are on the premises.

All of your questions and concerns are answered openly and directly. If you’re unsatisfied or uncomfortable with the answers try somewhere else.

If I have not convinced you to forget about getting an oral piercing, please proceed with extreme caution. I want everyone to express their individuality, be safe, and have healthy teeth for a lifetime!




George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595




Be Careful With Tongue Piercing!

Did You Know Gum Disease Is Now Correlated With Serious Health Problems?


2018. Wow. Time marches on.  So time for a New Year’s resolution.  How about taking care of your gums.

If you’ve been skipping regular dental checkups because you don’t have any tooth pain, beware: you may have periodontal disease and not even feel it! Your gums and jawbone are just as important as your teeth for oral health, as well as your general health.  Periodontal disease is now correlated with serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, strokes, ulcers and pre-term births.

dentist-1639683_1920.jpgWhat Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a serious bacterial infection that attacks the gums and bones that support the teeth.  Periodontal disease [from Latin: perio meaning surrounding and dontal meaning teeth, i.e., gums] is often times without obvious symptoms.  Frequently there is no noticeable pain and since gum disease usually advances slowly, people are unaware of the problem until the disease condition is severe. Untreated periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.

According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, 75 percent of Americans have some form of periodontal disease. Unfortunately, 50 percent of Americans do not receive regular dental care.

There are different types of periodontal disease:

Gingivitis: Gingivitis usually causes little or no pain.
The gums appear red, swollen and bleed easily. Fortunately, gingivitis can be reversed with an immediate treatment at a dental office and consistent homecare.

Aggressive periodontitis: The word “aggressive” is appropriate for this type of periodontal disease because it quickly destroys the bones and gums that attach to and support the teeth.

Chronic periodontitis: The most common effects of chronic periodontitis are increased tissue inflammation, receding gums, deeper pockets at the gum line, and destruction of the bone and gums that attach to and support the teeth.

Causes of Periodontal disease

One of the major reasons for periodontal disease (and the most preventable one) is the lack of proper home care of the teeth and gums, i.e., correct and frequent brushing and flossing. Periodontal disease also may arise from tobacco use, stress, clenching or grinding (bruxism), diabetes, HIV/AIDS infections, malnutrition, and hormonal changes (such as during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause). No matter how it has occurred, periodontal disease requires regular dental treatments and rigorous home care procedures.

What Are The Signs Of Periodontal Disease?

gummibarchen-359950_1920.jpgPeriodontal disease generally is painless. So even if your gums and teeth don’t hurt, you should be on the lookout for signs of infection, including:

Gums that bleed, especially when brushing or flossing your teeth

Gums that are red, or swollen

Receding gums

Persistent bad breath

Pus that appears between your teeth and gums

Teeth that feel loose or feel different when you bite together

Checking for Periodontal Disease

A comprehensive evaluation of the gums is done during a dental examination.

X-rays are taken to determine the bone support for the teeth and gums.  In my office, computerized digital x-rays are used, which have the benefit of 80 % less radiation and allow computer storage and enhancement capabilities.

Gum measurements are taken around all the teeth to check gum pocket depths.  The deeper the pocket, the higher the number, and the greater the infection found. Gum recession levels are measured as well.

Teeth are checked for mobility.  Teeth movement indicates bone loss and advance gum infection.

Furcation involvement is checked.  A furcation is an area where the roots separate under the crown of a tooth.  Gum pockets that extend under a tooth where the roots divide become a difficult area to clean and treat.

Areas of inflammation, swelling, bleeding, and pus are recorded.  These are major indicators of gum infection.

Amounts of plaque, tartar, and calculus are noted.  Plaque is a soft bacteria culture on the teeth, gums, and tongue.  Tartar is a hard bacteria formation on the teeth above the gums. Calculus is a hard bacterial growth on the roots of the teeth below the gum line that cause root roughness and act as splinters irritating the gums.

german-2551093_1920.jpgWhat Treatments Can Be Done?

Various levels of gum therapy should be done, depending on your individual gum needs.

Prophy:  A prophy (a commonly used abbreviation for the word prophylaxis) is a polish and cleaning of your teeth above the gum line.  It is all that is necessary in someone who does not have gum disease or only slight gingivitis.

Scaling and Root Planning:  This procedure is a deep cleaning of the roots surfaces of teeth below the gum line.  An ultrasonic scaler uses vibration and heated water spray to remove the hard calculus deposits while smoothing the root surfaces.

Periodontal maintenance therapy:  Usually after scaling and root planning,  a more frequent cleaning and monitoring of the gums is performed, often every 3 months.

Arestin:  Antibiotic therapy can be used to reduce bacterial infection in the gums.  Arestin [minocycline hydrochloride] is an antibiotic that is used in my office during root planning and periodontal maintenance therapy. It comes in powder form and is placed around the teeth in the deeper gum pockets.  I have seen some amazing results with Arestin use where deep pockets have been eliminated without surgery. In fact, last year, a patient had a loose molar with a deep pocket, advanced bone loss, and deep furcation involvement.  In the past, the tooth would not have been able to be saved and would have needed an extraction, but with arestin and root planning, the tooth is still going strong.

Periostat:  Medications that reduce the body’s inflammatory response to gum disease can reduce chronic periodontal disease   Periostat is prescribed as a daily oral medication that reduces the body’s over-response to gum disease.

Laser:  Soft tissue laser therapy can be used to reduce deep gum pockets and remove excess gum tissue. Laser use can sterilize the infected gum pocket, killing bacteria and allow the gum tissue to heal and tighten against the root of a tooth. Recontouring of the gums with a surgical laser can make the gums much easier to clean.  The surgical laser can also improve the appearance of the gums in the front teeth by producing an even, pleasing gum line

Surgery:  Periodontal surgery can remove deep infected gum pockets, recontour underlining infected bone and promote gum tightening.

Grafts:  Gingival grafts can be added to the gum areas to fix gum recession. Advanced gum surgery and grafting are done by a periodontist, who is a specialist of the gums.


George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595


Did You Know Gum Disease Is Now Correlated With Serious Health Problems?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Christmas will be difficult for many, particularly for those who lost their homes in the Fire Storm of October, so many memories lost. My heart goes out to them.  My mother-in-law Mary lost her home and all of her 86 years of accumulated possessions.  Luckily she is safe and living in my home.  We are thankful that she is alive and will be celebrating Christmas here with family. Most of us are so busy this time of year, but please take some time for anyone that you know, who is in a possible sad situation and bring him or her some cheer.

I am revisiting an article that I wrote four years ago, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth’. The week before Christmas I placed a ten-teeth, upper front fixed bridge on a wonderful 87-year-old woman who had recently lost many upper front teeth.  She was so happy smiling and chewing again.  She looked great.  Her daughter kidded her that she was coming to visit for the holidays just to see her new smile.

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Front teeth are not only important for smiling and tearing and chewing food, but also for speech.  Placing the upper front teeth on the lower lip makes the f sound.  The s sound is made using the upper front teeth against the lower front teeth.  The th sound is made by placing the tip of the tongue on the upper front teeth.  And of course, it takes front teeth to whistle.  This explains the song lines:

It seems so long since I could say,

“Sister Susie sitting on a thistle!”

Gosh oh gee, how happy I’d be,

If I could only whistle (thhhh, thhhh)

Have a Great New Year 2018.  The article follows.

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth

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Every year during the holidays, I have a number of patients who have broken off a front tooth or have missing front teeth and want to have their smile back for Christmas.  I am always reminded of the song “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”.  I often joke with these patients about the song.  They agree.  I even had a gentleman return wearing a Santa Hat and brought Christmas treats for the office staff after having his two front teeth fixed with beautiful crowns.  He serenaded us with a merry rendition of  “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”.   We all smiled and laughed, he especially.

During the holiday season in 1944, Donald Yetter Gardner at age 31 wrote the Christmas song “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”.  He was inspired while teaching music to his wife’s second-grade class is Smithtown, New York. He asked the class what they wanted for Christmas, and noticed that almost all of the students had at least one front tooth missing as they answered in a lisp. That night he wrote the song in 30 minutes.

On December 6, 1948, Spike Jones and the City Slickers first recorded the song and in 1949, it reached number one on the Pop Charts.  The song sold nearly one and a half million copies in less than two months.  It has since been recorded by numerous artists, among them: Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mariah Carey, George Strait, The Andrew Sisters, the cast of Sesame Street, The Boston Pops, and Gardner’s favorite Nat King Cole. In a 1995 interview, Gardner said, “I was amazed at the way that silly little song was picked up by the whole country.”

This December, I helped 3 patients with new cosmetic dentures.  They had a few remaining broken and infected ugly teeth.  Understandably they had been avoiding smiling for many years and were extremely self-conscious about their mouths. One of the patients was in constant pain from his infected teeth.  All three had let their teeth go bad from a terrible fear of dental treatment, related to bad experiences when young.  Using Conscious Sedation, they were made comfortable, had the remaining teeth removed and then they were given immediate dentures with natural looking teeth.  They all loved their experience and their new smile.  Only their dentist would know they had dentures.

The most rewarding case that I completed in time for Christmas was a 68-year old lady who had a complete smile makeover.  Last January she came to the office with a picture of herself in her mid-twenties holding her baby daughter who is now 48.  In the picture, the woman has a huge beautiful white smile. She told me she wanted that smile again and she was very unhappy with her present smile.  On examination, she had ground her teeth down to less than half their original length.  Her smile now showed a lot of gum and extremely short dark teeth.  Digital photographs, digital x-rays, and study model impressions were taken.  Upon analysis, her front upper teeth needed to be lengthened towards the edges and towards the gums.  All her teeth needed to be lengthened to open her bite to allow the front teeth to be longer.  A periodontist performed gum sculpting to allow ideal length on her upper front teeth.  He also placed an implant for a lower front missing tooth and performed gum surgery in some molar areas.  I placed custom temporary crowns on all 28 of her teeth, which she wore for 6 months to make sure she adjusted well to the change.  She did great. Last month permanent porcelain crowns were placed.  Her smile sparkles again.  She looks years younger.  She is ecstatic!  All I want for Christmas are my beautiful 28 teeth!

Malkemus- Blog photos (10).pngThe lyrics to ‘All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth’ by Donald Yetter Gardner follows:

Everybody Pauses and stares at me

These two teeth are gone as you can see

I don’t know just who to blame for this catastrophe!

But my one wish on Christmas Eve is as plain as it can be!

All I want for Christmas

Is my two front teeth,

My two front teeth,

See my two front teeth!

Gee, if I could only

Have my two front teeth,

Then I could wish you

“Merry Christmas.”

It seems so long since I could say,

“Sister Susie sitting on a thistle!”

Gosh oh gee, how happy I’d be,

If I could only whistle (thhhh, thhhh)

All I want for Christmas

Is my two front teeth,

My two front teeth,

See my two front teeth.

Gee, if I could only

Have my two front teeth,

Then I could wish you

“Merry Christmas.”


George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Navigating The Holiday Table

Can you believe it; the holiday season is already here! It’s time to start digging out family recipes, decorations, and all those holiday goodies buried in your closet. Schedules are everywhere from family gatherings to local festivities. Peppermint, gingerbread, and pumpkin are holiday classics! What is your favorite holiday dish? We all know that sugary foods and drinks may rot our teeth, but most don’t know what foods can be beneficial.  So here’s a list of those that might actually surprise you.

  • Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Okra
  • Apples
  • Pumpkin has magnesium which takes care of your enamel. Pumpkin seeds have iron and help keep your tongue healthy.


  • Cheese and Dairy
  • Plain yogurt
  • Cheese has a lot of protein and calcium which is good for enamel.


  • Seafood
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Eel
  • Tuna
  • Most seafood has fluoride.


Fun Facts

  • Nuts have calcium along with phosphorous that helps strengthens enamel.
  • High fiber triggers your flow of saliva.
  • Whole grains have B vitamins and iron, keeping your gums in tip-top shape!
  • Dark chocolate has polyphenols which are a natural chemical that limits bacteria.

Sources: Colgate, Oral-B, and Medical Daily

Healthy Holidays Recipe

 Whole- Wheat Pumpkin Bread

Gingerbread Cookies

Triple Chocolate Peppermint Cookies


Yes, there are health benefits to these foods and drinks but it’s important to remember: MODERATION IS KEY! So enjoy your favorite holiday foods and indulge in a bit of guilty pleasure.





George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595


Navigating The Holiday Table

Cracked Teeth


The holidays came rapidly this year.  Thanksgiving is barely over and Christmas is almost here. We have so much to be thankful for and we should take time to appreciate it, particularly in this joyous holiday season.  But with our increasing rapid pace, the holidays can be a stressful time, being ‘Merry’ while doing shopping, decorating, and partying while having to continue the daily routine.  It can be particularly stressful for the many who have lost their homes.  Continued trauma from the October Fire Storm makes this holiday season especially difficult for them.  Giving to those in need can be the most rewarding time spent during the holidays and throughout the year.

Holiday stress can often lead to cracked teeth.  Every year around the holidays, I see many patients with toothaches related to the extra stresses of grinding or clenching their teeth.  This can lead to a common problem called cracked tooth syndrome.

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When a cusp of a tooth cracks and begins flexing upon biting, it can cause sharp pain. This is called cracked tooth syndrome.  Sometimes the sharp pain will only occur occasionally when the cusp is bitten at just the right angle. Often cold, hot or sweets will also cause the sharp pain by seeping into the crack. Cracked tooth syndrome is corrected by putting a crown over and around the tooth to hold the tooth together.  If left untreated, the cusp will eventually fracture, causing the possible need for root canal therapy or even extraction.

Often times the cracks are very fine and cannot be seen.  So to determine cracked tooth syndrome, I have the patient bite on a dental bite stick on each cusp in a particular area until the cracked cusp is identified.  As long as the tooth pain goes way immediately on release, it can be treated with a crown.  However, if the tooth pain lingers with a dull ache, then the nerve is dying and the tooth needs root canal therapy.

A cracked tooth cannot heal itself.  At first, a crack may be small and unobtrusive. But if it is left untreated, the crack may progress further across the tooth or deeper into the tooth.  Therefore, the sooner the crack can be treated, the more likely the tooth can be saved.


A craze is a surface crack that shows as a line on the tooth enamel. Although it may not look very attractive, a craze usually does not need treatment. If there are cosmetic reasons the tooth with the crazed enamel can be treated with a veneer or bonding.

A fracture is a crack, usually through the cusp of a tooth that causes part of the tooth to grow weaker and even break off. A fractured cusp usually can be restored with a crown.  However, if the fracture extends into the nerve or the jawbone, then a root canal or extraction will be necessary.

A split is a vertical crack that extends so deeply into the tooth that it can separate into 2 or more pieces. Depending on the location and severity of the split, the tooth may be saved or need to be extracted.  Last month, I had a 45-year-old male patient that split his upper bicuspid in half.  The two halves were removed and a dental implant placed under sedation dentistry.  The patient never had any discomfort and could not tell he ever had a missing tooth.

A root fracture is a crack that begins in the root of the tooth and slowly extends upward. This type of crack may not be noticed until the surrounding gum and bone show signs of infection. In this situation, the tooth usually needs removal.


Symptoms of a cracked tooth may include:

  • Pain when you bite down
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages
  • Malkemus- Blog photos (6).pngDiscomfort when the tooth is exposed to air
  • Toothache for no apparent reason

Sometimes there are no symptoms at all, only visual evidence of a crack. Other times a crack may be more difficult to identify, even with examinations or x-rays.  Also, the pain or sensitivity may be intermittent, usually a sign of cracked tooth syndrome.


Do not chew on hard items (ice, unpopped popcorn kernels, pens, pipes, etc.).

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Do not use your teeth for gripping or tearing, like opening bottles or tearing bags.

Do not clench or grind your teeth.

Use a bite splint or night guard to help alleviate clenching and grinding.

Use a mouth guard to protect your mouth when participating in sports.

A number of years ago, I saw an electrician who was continual stripping wire with his teeth. On numerous occasions, I repaired fractures of the edges of his upper front teeth with cosmetic bonding.  He would confess the fractures occurred from stripping wire with his teeth.  He knew that he should use wire strippers, but was always in a rush and could not easily find the tool.  I recommended he have many wire stripping tools everywhere; it would be much better and cheaper.  After his fifth time, I jokingly offered to drill different gauge grooves in his teeth to help him easily strip different sized wire.  He laughed and began using the wire stripping tools more often.

By following these prevention tips and having regular dental checkups to monitor any emerging cracks, you can help preserve your teeth in good health.  Have a great stress free holiday season!



George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595


Cracked Teeth

Giving Thanks.

The fires are over, but the shock is still upon us. The effects of the destruction will continue for many years in Sonoma County. My heart goes out to the families who have lost their homes and years of memories. Many are still homeless, looking for a place to live. My mother-in-law Mary lost her house on Fountain Grove Ridge. She is lucky to be alive, being rescued and escaping only with her purse and her cat Meeko. I am thankful for her survival and happy that my wife and I are able to give her a safe place to live.

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Life must continue onward, even when it is difficult. There is only so much that we can control. Natural disasters are shockingly unpredictable and cause stressful unwanted change. Forced to adapt, we must endure, through difficult, and be thankful for what we do have.

Thanksgiving is a time for family, giving thanks and refection. Thanks and giving, two important words to live by. I am from the ‘Boomer Generation’ that has only seen continual material improvement in life since WWII. Now is the time for some inward reflection on what is really important in our lives. Family and friends come to mind. The value of the quality of life and good health should replace the importance of acquiring material possessions. Let us take time to appreciate what we have. There is a limit to the stress we as humans can press on mother earth, with more and more people and only a limited number of resources. Our continued expansion and consumer mentality need to be adjusted to a more centered lifestyle and satisfaction with the now.

Our digital age connection allows us to see the poverty, destruction, and terror, as well as the beauty, joy, and love throughout our world in an instant. The constant speed of change can lead to stress. And our incredible speeding busyness can consume our precious time. So let us take a few moments to slow down and gaze at the beauty around us and enjoy the moment.

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The holidays are always a balance between stress and joy. There is so much more to do and you have to be merry while doing it all. Work does not stop and in many cases gets busier, having to finish everything before the end of the year, plus shopping, trees, decorating, lights, wrapping, parties, church, cards and holiday letters. Doing it all while staying merry with a joyful smile on your face. Ironically, the holiday season should be the most spiritual time. It should be a time of forgiveness, accepting and taking the pressure off yourself and others. It should be a time of self-reflection, a spiritual time of inner peace, and communion with God, earth, the universe and everything. It should be a time for what is important: family and friends, cherishing the moment and living the day.

The holidays can be particularly stressful for the many people who are alone for the holidays, and for the many, who are barely making ends meet, or without work or without a home. Giving to those in need can be the most rewarding time spent during the holidays and throughout the year. Joining a service club, like the Rotary or 20/30 is one rewarding way to give back to the community and help throughout the world.

I am a member of the Rotary Club of Rancho Cotati. During my younger years, I was active in the 20/30 Club. Both service clubs give back to the community. Rotary is an amazing organization, dedicated to positive peaceful change. Locally, the club is involved in giving out food weekly to the needy in our community. Last Sunday, the local Rotary Clubs sponsored a pasta food and music event at the RP Community Center for fire relief fund.

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On Tuesday, December 12th from 5 pm to 9 pm, the SSU Rotaract Club is helping The Lime Foundation put on “NIGHT of 1,000 COATS”. Families affected by the fires are encouraged to come and choose a coat and enjoy an evening of fun. There will be fun activities for kids and adults, including arts and crafts, massages, facial waxing, hair styling, puppet show, karaoke and more. The event will be at Sally Tomatoes, 1100 ValleyHours Dr. WWW.LIMECOATSSONOMA.EVENTBRITE.COM

For the holidays, Rotary helps the local fire and police force give presents to needy children in Cotati and Rohnert Park. Via a Fire Truck, Santa Claus visits their homes and his helpers give presents from Santa’s bag. The excitement, the smiles and high 5s from the children are touching.

I have much to be thankful for and feel particularly lucky in my life. I have a wonderful family. I want to thank my wife Mary Alice and my family for their continued love and support. We will have Thanksgiving at our home with four generations of family, including my 91-year-old father Gene, and his great-grandsons 2-year-old Ocean and Arthur. And of course, Mary Alice’s Mom will be prominent in her new home with us on Thanksgiving.

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I am thankful for being a cancer survivor, healthy and cancer free for over ten years after having colorectal surgery on December 6, 2006. I have many patients who have become friends over the years and who have been supportive during stressful times. I want to thank my dedicated staff for their hard work in helping me serve our patients in a warm, caring atmosphere. I have a rewarding dental practice, which allows me to help people enjoy good health.

I also want to thank the passionate dedicated people at the Community Voice for giving me the opportunity to give back my knowledge of health through these bi-weekly articles. I have been enjoying writing since the beginning of 2006. Writing for an ongoing paper has its stressful deadline moments, and I admire the people at the Voice for their ability to come up with an interesting weekly paper.

Please keep a positive attitude during these turbulent times. Smile, laugh and be joyful throughout the day. We can consciously pick our own attitude every day. So begin each day with a refreshing, positive, uplifting attitude. Your happy radiance can become contagious to others. And their joyous response can reflect back to you. I try to be chipper every day; some days are more difficult than others, so I make a conscious decision every morning when I wake up to be happy, positive and cheerful. Most days I ride my bicycle to work on the paths along the creek between Cotati and Rohnert Park. For the last few years, I have been singing ‘Oh What A Beautiful Morning’ as I ride to put me in a cheerful, positive mood before work. ‘Everything is going by way!’ My father has always said, “What a beautiful day! Isn’t it great to be alive!” We only have one go around, so let us cherish each moment.

Have A Great Holiday Season! And take a moment to ‘Give Thanks’.


George A. Malkemus DDS
2 Padre Pkwy #200, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone | (707) 585-8595


Giving Thanks.