Dentist in Ashburn | Chewing Gum for Your Oral Health

Sugary, sticky, and sweet candies can damage your teeth by increasing your risk of decay. Though gum can be considered a type of candy, chewing sugarless gum approved by the ADA can actually help protect teeth and prevent tooth decay. Here’s what you need to know about gum and your teeth.

How it Works
Chewing gum helps increase the production of saliva. Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay because the saliva helps wash away food and other debris from the surface of your teeth. Increased salivary flow can also neutralize acids that bacteria produce inside your mouth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, leading to decay. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which aid in strengthening tooth enamel.

Look for the ADA Seal
The ADA Seal assures you that the gum is sugarless and has met the ADA’s criteria for safety and effectiveness. ADA-labeled products are tested to ensure they provide the benefits guaranteed by the seal. Companies must verify all relevant data with the ADA to become certified. If you are unable to brush for a short period of time, chewing gum with the ADA seal is a great option to help clean your teeth after a meal or snack.

Can I Stop Brushing if I Chew Gum?
No. Chewing gum for twenty minutes after a meal helps but is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You should brush at least twice each day, for two full minutes. Chewing gum also does not eliminate your need for regular dental examinations. Our dentist recommends scheduling two visits each year, with additional visits necessary for high-risk patients with oral health conditions.

Chewing sugarless gum has noticeable benefits for your oral health, such as increasing the production of saliva. While this can help prevent the build up of decay-causing bacteria, chewing gum should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing. Our dentist recommends that if you are chewing gum, be sure to choose an ADA approved brand of sugarless gum.

To schedule your next visit, please contact our dental office.

Resources:
http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/chewing-gum
http://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/chewing-gum

Dentist in Ashburn | Understanding Periodontal Disease

Maintaining your gum health is vital to your overall health. When you visit our office for an examination, our trained hygienists perform a periodontal exam. In fact, during your examination, our team is quietly assessing your oral health by performing a number of checks. Here’s what you need to know about periodontal disease.

Many Names, One Illness
You may have heard periodontal disease referred to as gum disease or gingivitis. Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of your gums. These names are frequently used interchangeably.

Signs & Symptoms
Periodontal disease may be marked by swollen and red gums. Bleeding, especially while brushing and flossing, may also occur. Another symptom of periodontal disease is persistent bad breath. If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, please contact our office.

Periodontal Disease Can Impact Your Overall Health
Your gum health is linked to your overall health. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bleeding gums, gum recession, and tooth loss. The effects of periodontal disease extend well beyond your mouth. In fact, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, the disease can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

While you may think of your teeth as the primary reason to visit our office for a regular examination, understand that our team is looking beyond your teeth to assess your oral health and potential impacts on your overall health. Talk to our experienced team if you experience any signs or symptoms of periodontal disease. Our team is trained to identify signs of periodontal disease. When detected early and managed properly, periodontal disease is treatable.

For more information regarding your gum health, please contact our office, or schedule a visit to see us.

Ashburn VA Dentist | 7 Ways to Get Your Calcium Dairy-Free

Calcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth, but not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. About 65% of people have reduced ability to process lactose past infancy.

Ashburn VA Dentist | 7 Ways to Get Your Calcium Dairy-Free

If you have difficulty with lactose but want to ensure you are getting the calcium you need, consider one of these non-dairy sources of natural calcium.

  1. Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be a good source of calcium. These inexpensive options actually contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood contains small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or other dish.
  2. Calcium-fortified juices are available in both orange and cranberry varieties. These juices taste the same as non-fortified options, but contain a substantial amount of calcium. Check the label to ensure it is a calcium-fortified juice.
  3. Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute for many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish in place of regular milk. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.
  4. Beans are a calcium-rich food. Black-eyed peas and baked beans are particularly high in calcium.
  5. Green vegetables are a good source of natural calcium. Collard, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.
  6. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or Brazil nuts are strong sources of calcium. Flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are a great snack or salad additive with calcium. Almond butter, cashew butter, and pumpkin seed butter are a fun and calcium-rich alternative to peanut butter.
  7. Breakfast cereals are highly fortified with several vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Old-fashioned rolled oatmeal adds calcium to your breakfast as well.

Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble with dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.

For more information that can improve your oral health, contact our office.

Ashburn VA Dentist | We’d Love to See You More

Have you ever wondered how often you should be visiting our team? Being proactive rather than reactive with oral health could help prevent long term tooth loss and other dental problems.

Ashburn VA Dentist | We’d Love to See You More

According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research titled “Patient Stratification for Preventive Care in Dentistry,” the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends working closely with your dentist to find a dental plan tailored to your needs. Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry found that individuals need different frequencies of visits to the dentist depending on three risk factors for periodontal disease: smoking, diabetes and interleukin-1 genetic variations. According to the research, high-risk patients would benefit from more frequent dental visits, while low-risk patients may be fine visiting their dentist once a year.

Many of our patients enjoy quarterly visits to our office. We’ve found more frequent professional cleanings reduces the risk of caries and periodontal disease. Our frequent visitors love having optimal oral health and confidence. Many dental professionals also choose to visit 3-4 times per year as well.

If you’re interested in creating an oral health plan which includes more frequent professional cleanings, contact us. We’re here for you.

Ashburn VA Dentist | 9 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Tongue

We use our tongues every day to talk, taste, and swallow, yet we rarely take time to think about this flexible organ. Here are 9 things you may not know about the tongue:

Ashburn VA Dentist | 9 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Tongue
  • The longest recorded tongue was more than 3.8 inches from back to tip; the widest measured over 3” across. 
  • The human tongue contains 8 separate muscles intertwined. 
  • A blue whale tongue weighs about 5,400 pounds and is roughly the size of an adult elephant! 
  • Tongues come in many shapes and have varying numbers of taste buds. This makes a human tongue imprint as unique as a fingerprint. 
  • The average person has about 10,000 taste buds in their mouth. 
  • A single taste bud contains between 50 and 100 taste cells, which may have sensors for multiple tastes. 
  • No individual taste cell can identify both bitter and sweet flavors. 
  • 1 milliliter of saliva contains about 1,000,000 bacteria. 
  • Using a tongue scraper to clean your tongue is proven to help prevent osteoporosis, pneumonia, heart attacks, premature births, diabetes, and male infertility. 

Health issues involving the tongue are most commonly caused by bacteria or tobacco use. Proper cleaning of the tongue can help prevent these conditions from developing. However, if you notice sores, discoloration, or other symptoms, contact our office. 

Some tongue-affecting illnesses include: 

  • Leukoplakia – excessive cell growth characterized by white patches in the mouth and on the tongue. It is not dangerous, but can be a precursor to oral cancer. 
  • Oral thrush – an oral yeast infection common after antibiotic use, often characterized by cottage-cheese like white patches on the surface of the tongue and mouth. 
  • Red tongue – may be caused by a deficiency of folic acid and/or vitamin B-12. 
  • Hairy tongue – black and/or hairy-feeling tongue can be caused by build-up of bacteria. 
  • Canker sores – small ulcerous sores on the tongue, often associated with stress. These sores are not the same as cold sores and are not contagious. 
  • Oral cancer – most sore tongue issues are not serious. However, if you have a sore or lump on your tongue that does not heal within a week or two, schedule a screening. 

For more information about the tongue or to schedule a screening with our doctor, contact our office. 

Ashburn VA Dentist | Seniors and Oral Health

Your teeth age with you. It’s important to keep them strong and healthy even as you grow older. Seniors are at a higher risk for developing periodontal disease. In addition to getting a regular dental examination, here are some other tips to keep your teeth healthy.

Ashburn VA Dentist | Seniors and Oral Health

Keep a Routine 

Regardless of age, we cannot stress the importance of keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine. Make sure you are brushing twice-daily and flossing at least once per day. For seniors with dentures, it is important that you remove them for at least four hours each day. We recommend removing them at night. Dentures need to be cleaned daily so make it part of your routine as well. We also suggest staying hydrated by drinking water. Not only does water help keep you producing enamel building saliva, but if it contains fluoride, it can help keep your teeth strong. Make a regular visit to our office part of your routine as well. 

Tips for Caregivers 

If you are the primary caregiver of someone elderly, working with them to keep their teeth healthy can be a challenge. It is up to you to remind them to brush and floss regularly. Help them by establishing a routine and set times for brushing their teeth. We ask that you assist them in making an appointment to visit our dental office. If keeping up with daily dental health seems to be too difficult, please contact our office. We can work with you to offer some advice and solutions.  

Financial Assistance 

For seniors in a nursing home that are enrolled in state or national financial programs, the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests considering the Incurred Medical Expense regulation. This works to assist in paying for care that is deemed a necessity. If our dentist finds that treatment must be done, consider this as an option to lessen the financial burden. Talk to your nursing home or care facility’s caseworker for more information. 

Don’t Forget About Gums 

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, can be brought on by certain medications. When you visit our office, be sure to update us on any changes to your medications. At times, early periodontal disease is painless which makes it even more important that you keep a regular routine of visiting our office for a thorough exam and evaluation. According to the ADA, more than 47% of adults over the age of 30 have chronic periodontitis.  

Keeping your teeth healthy as you age can be difficult. We suggest sticking to a daily routine in terms of brushing and flossing, and keeping up with regular visits to our office. If you are the caregiver of an elderly spouse, parent, or loved one, do not overlook their oral health. Make sure they are receiving the needed attention and are sticking to a daily oral healthy routine.  

For more tips on keeping your teeth health or to set up your next appointment, please contact our office. 

Ashburn VA Dentist | Should I Be Using a Tongue Scraper?

SIn addition to brushing your teeth twice each day and flossing at least once, it is also important to take good care of your tongue. Bacteria can build up on your tongue throughout the day. For some patients, using a tongue scraper can be the best solution for a cleaner, healthier tongue. 

Ashburn VA Dentist | Should I Be Using a Tongue Scraper?

Should You Be Using One? 

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) found scraping your tongue results in a noticeable decrease in the sulfur compounds which can lead to bad breath. According to a study in the Journal of Periodontology, tongue scrapers reduced these compounds by 75%, while using a standard toothbrush only reduced 45% of sulfur compounds. Choose a method that works best for your mouth, but make sure you are taking care of your tongue. 

What Do They Do? 

While they may help alleviate bad breath, scraper’s main function is to clean off debris and bacteria from your tongue. Your toothbrush is designed to effectively clean teeth, but the surface of your tongue is very different from that of your teeth. A tongue scraper may provide a more thorough cleaning for your tongue. 

How Do I Use One? 

Start by washing out your mouth. When you are ready clean your tongue, place the scraper in the back of your mouth, and gently pull it forward. Make sure you are scraping all areas of your tongue, but do not push so far back that you gag. You will want to rinse your mouth after you are done. Be sure to clean the scraper when you are finished. 

While you might not be used to cleaning your tongue, it can be an effective solution for bad breath and bacteria caused by food. At your next appointment, ask about other ways of keeping your tongue clean and your mouth healthy. Keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing is crucial to maintaining your oral health and preventing unhealthy bacteria. 

For more tips on a healthy mouth or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us. We look forward to seeing you. 

Ashburn VA Dentist | Root Canals – Debunking the Myths

RThe internet is fraught with myths about everything. In this “information age” you might think it would be easy to find the truth, but that’s not always the case. Dentistry is no different. It’s no surprise that dental myths are abundant, especially in regard to some of the more intimidating procedures. However, advancements in dental technology have made it possible to receive the advanced care you need with little to no discomfort. Here are some common myths you might hear about root canals debunked. Contact our dental office to learn more. 

Ashburn VA Dentist | Root Canals – Debunking the Myths

Myth 1: Root canals are painful. 

Long ago, this might have been the case. However, modern advancements in the techniques and technology available to dentists have made this procedure quick and relatively painless. In fact, the damaged tissue often causes more day-to-day pain and discomfort than the procedure itself will! 

Myth 2: Root canals can cause illness. 

In the 20th century there was a popular misconception that a root canal could put you at risk of developing illness or an infection. Not only has this been definitively disproven, but root canals have actually been shown to help prevent illness. According to a study published in a journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery), root canals can lower your risk of certain cancers by up to 45%. 

Myth 3: Extraction is a better option. 

When possible, it’s always preferable to keep your natural teeth. In addition to the inconvenience of dealing with a missing tooth, removing teeth can cause the surrounding ones to loosen and shift over time, possibly necessitating more procedures in the future. The success rate of a root canal treatment is extremely high and the tooth itself, with proper care, can last for a lifetime. 

Don’t let misinformation about dental care stop you from receiving the treatments you need. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and set the record straight on root canals. 

Ashburn VA Dentist | Healthy is the New Beautiful

HCosmetic dentistry has been around for ages. We’ve noticed that now, more than ever, people are concerned with overall wellness in addition to a beautiful smile. In past years, we had many patients come to us seeking whitening and seeming unconcerned with ridding their smile of infection and decay.  

Ashburn VA Dentist | Healthy is the New Beautiful

More recently, however, mainstream news has joined our efforts to educate the public on the oral & overall health connection. This has led to patients seeking care that will contribute to overall wellness. We’ve experienced a surge in questions such as:  

· Does periodontal disease really increase my odds of heart disease? 

· Does untreated decay lead to root canal therapy and risk eventual loss of the tooth?  

· Do oral lesions signify potential oral cancer? How is that screened and treated?  

This increase in “Dental IQ” is leading to more comprehensive care for our community. It’s allowing us to provide dentistry which we know is in the best interest of our patients. Dentistry is not only about the aesthetic appeal of your smile. As many of our patients have been learning, valuable overall health benefits go hand-in-hand with preventive and restorative dental care.  

If you’re seeking a dentist that contributes to your overall health and wellness, contact us today.  

Ashburn VA Dentist | Coffee and Your Teeth

CCoffee is well-known as hazardous to teeth, but there are things you can do besides cut it out completely. Here are some things to know about coffee’s effects on your oral health and diet, as well as how to mitigate them. 

Ashburn VA Dentist | Coffee and Your Teeth

Contrary to popular belief, the pigments that give coffee its color can stain your teeth regardless of whether you take your coffee black or with cream. These pigments embed themselves in microscopic crevices and pits in your tooth enamel and are difficult to remove. To counteract this, don’t give the pigments time to set. When drinking coffee, drink quickly instead of sipping over a long period. Enjoy, then rinse your mouth with water to help neutralize the acid. In addition, following your recommended schedule of dental cleanings can help prevent stains. Whitening can improve the color of your teeth if mild staining has started. Ask our doctor how best to keep your smile bright. 

Coffee can have minor benefits for your nutrition, but there are also things to beware. Drinks that are high in dairy fat or sugar can add substantial calories, as well as contributing to the chance of tooth decay. Try making your own coffee at home, where you can control the ingredients used. Minimize your use of creamer and sugar, or try using non-fat or sugar-free substitutes. 

Coffee can still be a healthy party of your life if you take some care to protect your teeth. For more tips or to schedule a professional cleaning, contact our office.