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22031 Dentist | Are You Biting Off More than You Can Chew?

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It is not uncommon for many of us to grab a bite to eat in a hurry. Americans have grown accustomed to bigger food portions at restaurants, but our mouths have not. Trying to fit that oversized sandwich or apple in your mouth might be worse for you than you have ever imagined. Below are some reasons why this could be detrimental for your oral health and what you can do about it.

Why This Is a Problem

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), taking bites that are too big for you to chew can not only cause jaw and teeth issues, it can also cause digestive problems. Discomfort, swelling and difficulty eating may result from opening your jaw too wide. Taking large bites may also result in food not being chewed thoroughly, which can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Constantly opening your jaw too wide becomes an even larger problem for people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull bones enabling movement during chewing. People with TMD, usually have a restriction with how wide they can open their jaws. Taking large bites of food, especially hard foods like apples, can aggravate this condition making pain and jaw clicking worse.

What You Can Do

If you have food that is too large to chew or starts to cause jaw discomfort, try cutting your food into smaller portions. This makes food easier to eat with less hassle. Also consider eating softer foods that won’t harm your teeth or irritate your jaw.

Tip: Avoid chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies, and opening nuts with your teeth. This can lead to a chipped tooth!

Contact our team today to schedule an exam and cleaning.

8303 Arlington Blvd., Suite 107
Fairfax, VA 22031

Phone: (703) 226-2222

Fairfax Dentist | Common Brushing Mistakes

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Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of your oral health care – but is there room for improvement? Use our guide to determine if you’ve fallen into these common brushing habit mistakes, so you can keep your smile healthy and bright.

 

  1. Not brushing long enough – The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth for two full minutes at least twice daily. Studies show that most Americans fall short. To ensure you are brushing the full 2 minutes, try using an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer, a clock, or the stopwatch on your smartphone. There are even podcasts designed to act as both a timer and entertainment while you brush.

 

  1. Improper technique – Aim your brush toward your gums at a 45-degree angle when brushing the fronts and backs of your teeth, and don’t forget the chewing surfaces. Avoid using too much pressure when you brush, as this can cause wear that damages the enamel.

 

  1. Using an old brush – The ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush (or brush head, if that part is replaceable) every three to four months – sooner if the bristles begin to fray. A toothbrush kept in service too long will become less effective over time due to wear. Moreover, the bristles on an older toothbrush can harbor harmful bacteria.

 

  1. When to brush, or not brush – Whenever possible, it is best to brush after eating meals or snacks. When you can’t, rinse with water or chew sugarless gum to help remove food particles and neutralize acids. When eating or drinking sugary or acidic items, rinse your mouth and wait 30 minutes to ensure the sugars and acids are washed away by saliva before you brush.

 

  1. Ignoring your tongue – Use your toothbrush or a tongue cleaner to carefully clean your tongue each time you brush your teeth. This helps clear bacteria and prevent bad breath.

 

Improper brushing habits can contribute to tooth decay, bad breath, and other oral health issues. Contact us for more information on home care or to schedule your next cleaning.

 

Optimal Dental Center of Fairfax
8303 Arlington Blvd., Suite 107, Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 226-2222

 

 

Fairfax VA Dentist | Teething Tips for Toddlers

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dentist fairfaxYour baby’s first teeth developing can be a difficult experience for both you and your child. Most teeth begin to appear as early as 3 moths to 1 year old. This process can be uncomfortable and cause sleepless nights. However, there are things you can do to keep your toddler less irritable while they are teething.

What to Expect

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when your baby starts teething. Below are a few symptoms to look for:

  • Fussiness
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling more than usual

It has been thought that teething may cause fever and diarrhea, but research shows that this is not true. If your baby is experiencing any of these symptoms or they worsen, call us for an appointment.

What You Can Do

View the many different ways to safely soothe your teething baby below:

  • Rub your baby’s gums. Use a clean finger or moistened gauze pad to rub your baby’s gums. The pressure can decrease any discomfort your baby might be feeling.
  • Keep their mouth cool. A cold washcloth, spoon, or teething ring can sooth your baby’s gums. However, make sure the object is not frozen because extreme cold can be harmful. Also monitor your baby so they do not swallow any small objects.
  • Introduce hard food. If your baby is already eating solid food, you might want to give them a chilled carrot or apple slice. This can ease their pain and make them less irritable.

Tip: Contact us before using any teething medications or numbing gels that may pose a risk to your baby.

Teething is a difficult process for not only your baby, but also you. You can relax knowing your baby is more comfortable by using the tips above.

Also, don’t forget to schedule your baby’s first dental appointment as soon as their first tooth has fully emerged. Call us for an appointment today.

Optimal Dental Center of Fairfax
8303 Arlington Blvd., Suite 107, Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 226-2222

Dentist in Fairfax | Can Teething Affect More Than My Child’s Mouth?

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Dentist in FairfaxIt is a common belief that teething causes secondary symptoms such as a runny nose, irritability, high fever, or problems with sleeping. However, studies have shown that these types of concerns are caused by health issues unrelated to teething. Here are some of the things to expect during teething, and some that are often attributed to teething, but are better discussed with your child’s doctor.

A Teething Breakdown
Teething generally begins around 6-12 months of age, and can 24 months or more to complete. Each tooth eruption lasts about a week – 4 days before the tooth breaks through, followed by 3 days of healing. During these episodes, it is common to see some minor symptoms. Your child may experience a low-grade fever (around 99.0°F), excessive drooling, chewing obsession, gum irritation and discomfort, and/or a slight facial rash during tooth eruption. These symptoms are all normal and should pass within a few days.

What Teething Doesn’t Cause
While teething may cause the mild reactions listed above, more serious symptoms like those below, are not related to teething:

· Runny Nose
· High Fever
· Vomiting
· Digestive issues (Diarrhea, cramping)
· Coughing

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms for an extended time, consult your child’s doctor.

Your child should have a dental visit within the first 6 months of tooth eruption. It is important to have examinations done early, so you can start them on a path of life-long oral health. If your child is teething, our team is more than happy to help. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Optimal Dental Center of Fairfax
8303 Arlington Blvd., Suite 107, Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 226-2222

Fairfax VA Dentist | Self-Care: A Woman’s Priority

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Fairfax DentistWhen you travel by plane, your flight attendant will advise that in the rare case of an emergency, you must first put on your air mask before attempting to help those around you. When this is not followed, the results can be catastrophic, both for you and for those you might otherwise have been in a position to assist. While this is crucial information for all, many women particularly require this gentle reminder to prioritize their own needs above those of others.

All too often, we meet women who work tirelessly to fulfill the needs of their families. We see working moms, both at home and in office, who prioritize the health and wellness of their children, spouse and even friends before their own.

We get it: there’s joy and fulfillment in taking care of others. However, it may be time to “put on your oxygen mask” and consider whether you are remembering to care for yourself. Your health, both mental and physical, should be one of your top priorities. This will allow you to have the energy and strength you need to assist with the needs of those around you.

Smile restoration can take years off your appearance, while adding years to your life by improving your health. If you’re looking for a way to jump start your new self-care inclusive way of living, contact us for a cosmetic consultation. Your friends and family will love to see you with a vibrant, beautiful, healthy smile. You deserve it.

Optimal Dental Center of Fairfax
8303 Arlington Blvd., Suite 107, Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 226-2222

Dentist in Fairfax | What Vegetarians and Vegans Need to Know About Their Teeth

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If you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, it is important that you are aware of the impact these diets can have on your teeth and overall oral health. While there are numerous benefits of following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, your teeth depend on certain nutrients to remain strong and healthy. Vegetarians and vegans might be missing some key nutrients by avoiding certain foods. Here’s what you need to know.

A Higher Risk of Tooth Decay?

While there have not been enough studies to find any conclusive proof, German researches found an interesting correlation: vegetarians had far better periodontal health than meat-eaters, but the reverse was true for dental health. However, the study shouldn’t be taken as conclusive until more research in this area is done.

Getting the Right Nutrients

A vegetarian diet can be deficient in recommended amounts of key vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin D, calcium, and protein. When it comes to vitamin D, deficiencies can sometimes occur in those who don’t eat fish or drink milk. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends adding soy milk or vegetable margarine to your diet to boost vitamin D counts.

Protein: Teeth Strengthener

Protein is an essential nutrient that your body uses to help keep your teeth strong. The phosphorous contained in protein is also helpful for strengthening your jaw. But if you are a vegan, you will need to consider finding alternative sources for protein since common sources such as meat and eggs are not part of your diet. Dried lentils and mixed nuts can provide you with plenty of protein.

The Benefits of Plant Based Diets

According to the National Institutes of Health, diets that primarily include plants, fruits, and vegetables are one way of reducing your risk of developing oral cancer. You can talk to our doctor for more information about oral cancer and your risk factors.

Steps You Can Take

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, we recommend finding a comprehensive multi-vitamin to help you get nutrients you might be lacking. Your doctor is a good resource to ask about the right multi-vitamin for you. Be sure to maintain regular visits to our office. We can help you assess potential problem areas in your mouth. By keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine, you can lower your risk of developing tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Your diet has a tremendous impact on your teeth and your overall oral health. Your mouth depends on a balanced diet, daily oral hygiene, and regular check-ups. But for vegetarians and vegans, it might be helpful in making extra effort to ensure you still receive the proper nutrients your teeth need.

For more information on keeping your teeth healthy, contact our office.

8303 Arlington Blvd., Suite 107
Fairfax, VA 22031

Phone: (703) 226-2222

22031 Dentist | Are You an Appropriate Candidate for Dental Implants?

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Our patients primarily seek out dental implants for two reasons: cosmetic and oral health. If you have lost a tooth due to injury, you may not be pleased with the overall appearance of your mouth and may be looking to improve your smile. Additionally, missing teeth—or even just one tooth—can have detrimental effects on your oral health, affecting how you chew and speak. If left for too long, it can also lead to shifting teeth and bone loss.

If you are considering implants for missing teeth, we can help you decide the appropriate course of action based on your needs and preferences. Ideal candidates for dental implants will meet the following criteria:

Healthy gums. Since dental implants are closely connected with, and surrounded by the gum tissues, ideal candidates will be free of periodontal disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontitis and is often caused by insufficient oral hygiene. We can provide you with information on professional treatment and home care to help reverse and manage gingivitis.

Healthy jaw bone. The titanium implant acts a tooth root or anchor which will hold the individual crown or bridge, if multiple teeth need to be replaced. By a process called osseointegration, the jaw bone will heal and grow around the implant, bonding it in place. We will ensure your comfort and relaxation with a local anesthetic.

Excellent oral hygiene. If you are committed to your oral health and hygiene, then dental implants may be for you. Implants and the surrounding gum tissue require diligent care to ensure they are both healing correctly and maintained. In addition to regular brushing, we recommend that you maintain regular visits with us so that we can continually monitor any changes in the gum tissue and bone. Toothbrushes that can reach between each tooth are particularly helpful in getting to the hard-to-reach spots around your implant.

Non-smokers. Not only does smoking slow healing in the mouth, but it can contribute to implant failure since smoking weakens bone structure. If you are currently a smoker considering implants, we recommend that you quit for your oral and overall health.

If you think you are a candidate for dental implants, contact Optimal Dental Center for more information.

8303 Arlington Blvd., Suite 107
Fairfax, VA 22031

Phone: (703) 226-2222

Fairfax, VA Dentist | 6 Ways to Get Your Calcium

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Calcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth. Not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy, which is often a prime source for calcium. There are a wide variety of options available to get the calcium you need. Here are six options rich in calcium:

Canned Seafood

Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be an excellent source of calcium. These inexpensive options contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood has small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or another dish.

 

Alternative Milk Products

Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute in 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. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.

Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are a prime source of calcium. Collard greens, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.

Milk

Milk is one of the best sources of calcium. One cup of cow’s milk can potentially contain a quarter of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Cow’s milk is also a cheap option, as it is generally priced below alternative options like almond milk. Additional benefits provided are good source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin D.

Yogurt

Most yogurts are high in calcium. The highest source of calcium from yogurt comes from the low-fat variety, while Greek yogurt has a lower amount of calcium than regular yogurt.

Cheese

A lot of cheeses are excellent sources of calcium. Parmesan cheese has the highest amount of calcium among cheeses. Softer varieties of cheese generally have less calcium than others. Aged and hard cheeses typically contain less lactose, making them easier to eat for people with dairy restrictions.

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

Contact our office to schedule your visit today.

8303 Arlington Blvd., Suite 107
Fairfax, VA 22031

Phone: (703) 226-2222

Dentist Fairfax, VA | Common Questions from Parents

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These are some of the most common questions we hear from parents, and the answers we provide:

When should I schedule my child’s first visit to the dentist?

Our team recommends that you schedule an appointment for your child as soon as your baby’s first tooth develops. If your child does not have teeth by their first birthday, you should schedule an appointment so we can ensure their teeth are developing properly. You can help protect your child’s teeth by establishing a pattern of regular dental visits.

How is a pediatric dentist different from other dentists?

A pediatric dentist must complete additional education necessary to provide care to children. Pediatric dentists undergo two to three years of specialty training to treat the specific oral health needs of infants and children through adolescence, including those with special needs.

What happens during my child’s first visit to the dentist?

At your child’s first visit, you should expect to:

  •      Review your child’s history
  •      Respond to questions and concerns
  •      Bring any questions you would like answered
  •      Have your child’s mouth examined and cleaned
  •      Have our team help set your child at ease and make their visit fun

For other questions, please call our office. We’re here for you and your child.

Optimal Dental Center of Fairfax
8303 Arlington Blvd., Suite 107, Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 226-2222

 

Dentist 22031 | Early Dental Care Could Save Your Child’s Life

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The negative effects of poor oral hygiene are well documented, and can impact much more than your mouth. A lot of serious medical conditions can be caused or worsened by complications arising for poor oral health. Starting your child’s oral care off right serves the twofold benefit of modeling the importance of good oral hygiene to them and giving their mouth a solid foundation of oral health. If you want to ensure your child’s oral health is taken care of, contact our pediatric dental team today to schedule your child’s next examination and cleaning!

The Dangers of Poor Oral Health
Poor oral health can result in much more than cavities and toothaches. Studies have linked a long list of serious and life-threatening conditions to poor oral hygiene, including heart disease, dementia, stroke, respiratory issues, an increased risk of miscarriage, and more. Most of these conditions are worsened by the bacteria that can enter your bloodstream due to gum disease or tooth decay. These issues take time to develop and time to treat. However, the sooner you start practicing good oral health, the better defense your mouth with have against disease, protecting your whole body.

Care for All Ages
Everyone experience different oral care needs throughout their childhood. From the teething stage as baby teeth start to appear to loss of teeth as adult ones begin to take their place, there are a lot of different stages a child’s mouth will go through before it’s fully developed. It’s important to recognize that each of these stages requires their own unique oral care. Waiting to teach your child good oral hygiene could be disastrous for their health.

Invest in your child’s future health by starting off their oral care routine off well. Contact our pediatric dental team today to learn more about the potentially life-saving benefits of early childhood dental care or to schedule your child’s next examination and cleaning.

Optimal Dental Center of Fairfax
8303 Arlington Blvd., Suite 107, Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 226-2222