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Dentist in Fairfax, VA | Dry Mouth And Why It’s A Problem!

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Fairfax DentistDry mouth can be very uncomfortable for people. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, can cause patients to have difficulty speaking, tasting, chewing and swallowing. It can also cause bad breath. What many people don’t know is that dry mouth can significantly contribute to a rise in cavities, demineralization of teeth, teeth sensitivity and oral infections.

What causes dry mouth? A reduction in salivary flow can be a result of an autoimmune disease, chemotherapy or radiation, or more commonly a side effect of a medication. Other causes may be uncontrolled diabetes or hormonal changes.  At night, salivary flow naturally decreases which is why the symptoms are exacerbated while you’re sleeping. Mouth breathing at night makes it even worse!

Why is saliva so important? We all can understand that saliva keeps your mouth moist and allows you to chew, swallow and digest your food.  What we may not realize is the importance of saliva in cleansing your mouth and maintaining a neutral pH. Dry mouth can create an acidic environment which allows for your enamel to demineralize and tooth decay to develop and grow.  Xerostomia can also allow for the development of fungal or bacterial infections.

What can you do about it? A thorough exam and medical history background can help identify the cause of the dry mouth. Next would be to discuss tips on relieving it. Below are a few:

-Drink plenty of water, including leaving a glass or bottle of water on your bedside table. Avoid alcohol and sugary soda and juice. Alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco are irritants. Use an alcohol free mouth rinse.

-Breathe through your nose! If you find this difficult to do at night, try using a nose strip to open your nasal passages.

-Chew sugar-free gum containing Xylitol or suck on sugar free candy.

-Frequent dental exams to help identify the cause and check for developing cavities and infections, as well as evaluate your gums.

-Fluoride, Fluoride, Fluoride! Using prescription strength fluoride toothpaste at home and fluoride treatments at your hygiene visits will help tremendously in the prevention of tooth decay.

-Use a humidifier at night.

If you are experiencing dry mouth we encourage you to schedule a visit and share your concerns with us. You can also share this information with a family member or friend who is complaining of dry mouth. Your oral and overall health is important to us!

Dentist in Fairfax | 7 Ways to Get Your Calcium Dairy-Free

Dentist in Fairfax, VA

Dentist in FairfaxCalcium 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.

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.

Dentist in Fairfax | Should I Be Using a Tongue Scraper?

Fairfax Dentist

Dentist Near MeIn 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.

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.

22031 Dentist | 6 Harmful Habits that Affect Your Teeth

Dentist Fairfax, VA

Nearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.

  1. Nail Biting

Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.

The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.

  1. Brushing Too Hard

Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.

The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.

  1. Grinding and Clenching 

Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your mouth wide.

The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.

  1. Chewing Ice Cubes 

Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.

The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.

  1. Constant Snacking

Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.

  1. Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.

The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.

Contact our office to schedule your next dental appointment.

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

Fairfax Dentist | Health Alert: Preventing Osteoporosis

Dentist in Fairfax, VA

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects roughly 10 million Americans, according to statistics from the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Additionally, another 44 million people are at an increased risk of developing the disease due to of low bone density. Symptoms appear in more than one-third of women over the age of 65. Fractures, pain, and mobility limitations can occur from osteoporosis. Understanding the signs and symptoms, as well as prevention methods, can decrease your chance of developing osteoporosis.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that decreases bone density and weakens bones. Many people are unaware that they have this disease, and only catch it after an injury. Bone fractures can greatly diminish your quality of life through persistent discomfort and limited mobility.

Oral Health Linked to Osteoporosis

If you suffer from osteoporosis, your oral health is also at risk. Your jawbone may begin to weaken, leading to significant oral health complications. A routine visit to our dental office can allow us to detect early signs of osteoporosis. Tooth loss and gum disease are potential indicators of an underlying health issue. Our team will take X-rays of your jawbone and surrounding teeth. If we detect diminished bone density, or signs of bone loss, we will discuss the best course of action with you.

What You Can Do

The risk factors associated with osteoporosis include genetics, calcium deficiency, smoking, menopause, excessive caffeine or alcohol, and an inactive lifestyle. Simple changes such as increasing your daily calcium and vitamin D intake, exercising, quitting smoking, decreasing consumption of caffeine and alcohol, and visiting our team regularly can help lower your risk.

Osteoporosis affects the lives of millions of people. It can significantly diminish your quality of life. Through regular oral health examinations, our team may be able to identify early signs of bone loss.

Schedule your visit to our office today.

Fairfax, VA Dentist | How Chocolate Affects the Health of Your Teeth

Dentist 22031

dentist fairfaxDid you know that chocolate might not be as bad for your teeth as people may have thought? You can now eat your favorite treat without feeling guilty. Studies have shown that there are benefits to eating chocolate, however, not all chocolate is created equal. It is important to note that these benefits apply to dark chocolate, not milk chocolate or white chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.

A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 67% Iron
  • 58% Magnesium
  • 89% Copper
  • 98% Manganese
  • It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium

Here are more advantages to eating dark chocolate and how to maintain good oral health while doing so.

Chocolate and Your Teeth

Chocolate is a candy that dissolves quickly in your mouth, resulting in less time on your teeth. It does less damage than a chewy or sticky candy because the sugar doesn’t cling to your teeth as long.

Chocolate and Your Health

Cocoa and dark chocolate are also a powerful source of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease, cancer, and other conditions. The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.

Chocolate Benefits

Eating chocolate can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. A study also showed that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.

Remember to eat responsibly as too much sugary food can be harmful, regardless of the benefits. Eating dark chocolate and brushing your teeth after will reduce the negative effects of chocolate.

While you can indulge on your favorite chocolate treat occasionally, be sure to keep up with your oral hygiene routine. Brush at least twice each day for two minutes, and floss regularly. To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team.

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

Dentist in Fairfax, VA | Health Link: Oral Hygiene and Heart Disease

Dentist 22031

dentist fairfax vaThe human body is a network of interconnected systems and organs. Unfortunately, issues that impact one particular area of your body can also effect the health and function of other areas. Recently, studies have highlighted evidence for links between gum disease and heart disease.

While the exact nature of the connection is still being researched, heart disease is almost twice as likely to occur in people who have gum disease. Nearly half of all Americans have undiagnosed gum disease. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death, making it pertinent that you maintain a healthy heart. The first key to doing so might lie in keeping your gums healthy.

While gum disease may be a contributing factor to heart disease, it is not the only cause. It is essential that you maintain regular visits to your primary care physician as well to measure your overall health. Other factors and lifestyle choices can impact your heart health.

Diet and exercise. Maintain an active lifestyle with activities you enjoy, such as taking walks, riding bikes, playing sports, or doing yoga. Avoid foods high in starches and sugars, including carbonated soft drinks, as they can also damage your teeth.

Don’t smoke. Whether you’re smoking or vaping, nicotine has a detrimental effect on your cardiovascular system and can damage teeth, gums, and lungs. Recent studies have connected vaping to a rapid loss in healthy cells that line the top layer of your mouth. These cells play an essential role in keeping your mouth healthy.

Brush your teeth. The most basic part of oral hygiene is also the most effective. Make sure you brush and floss at least twice a day.

By keeping a balanced, exercising regularly, and taking care of your teeth, you’re taking a holistic approach to your well-being and minimizing your risk of developing heart disease.

As with other diseases, preventing gum disease alone will not completely remove the risk of developing heart disease. However, you can take a proactive approach to keeping your body healthy, starting with your oral health.

To schedule a cleaning and examination, please contact our office.
8303 Arlington Blvd., Suite 107
Faifax, VA 22031

Dentist 22031 | Fruit Juice & Your Teeth

Dentist in Fairfax, VA

Dentist fairfaxDon’t be fooled by the label “100 percent fruit juice.” Drinks advertised in this way might seem like a healthy choice, but these drinks may be doing more harm than good. In fact, fruit juices contain sugar that can lead to tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently reevaluated their recommendations for allowing small children to consume fruit juice. Here’s what you need to know about the new guidelines.

No Fruit Juice in First 12 Months

The AAP used to suggest that infants younger than 6 months old should not be given fruit juice to drink. This year, however, the AAP updated these recommendations to suggest refraining from fruit juice for any infant 12 months and younger.

A Good Source of Vitamins – And Sugar

Fruit juice can be an excellent source for vitamins and minerals. Many fruit juices contain vitamin C and potassium. However, fruit juices are often high in sugar content. According to a study summarized by Medical News Today, fruit juice may contain as much as 2 teaspoons of sugar for every 100-mililiters.

Fruit Juice May Be Harming Your Teeth

Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, especially in children. The AAP also advises that toddlers and young children should not be served fruit juice in a “sippy cup.” These cups provide greater exposure of decay-causing sugar to teeth, leading to an ideal environment for tooth decay.

According to the updated guidelines set by the AAP, moderation is key. While children under 12 months of age should not be provided fruit juice, small amounts may be permitted for older children. The AAP suggests a maximum of 4 ounces of fruit juice per day for children aged 1 to 3, 4 to 6 ounces per day for children aged 4 to 6, and 8 ounces per day for those between the ages of 7 and 18. You may also consider adding water to dilute the juice before giving it to your child, so they receive less sugar.

Children and adolescents aren’t the only group that can benefit from consuming fewer sugary drinks. Sugar still leads to decay in adults as well. Our team suggests trying to limit your own consumption of sugary drinks.

Maintaining regular visits to our office will allow our dental team to ensure your child’s teeth are healthy. We will provide a comprehensive screening to locate and treat decay. If your child drinks more than the suggested amount of sugary fruit drinks, consider scheduling an extra cleaning with our team. Together, we can work to promote a lifetime of optimal oral health.

To schedule a visit to our dental office, please contact our team.

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

Fairfax Dentist | Bad Breath Remedies

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According to the American Dental Association, 50 percent of adults experience bad breath at some point in their life. Although some causes are harmless, other causes may be signaling something more serious. Below are three common causes of bad breath, accompanied by the best remedy for each cause.

Cause of Bad Breath: Food

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You are what you eat”? Many foods and spices, such as onions, garlic, and coffee, leave a lingering odor on your breath.

Nothing rids your breath of odor like brushing and flossing. Brushing and flossing also keeps your mouth free from bacteria, preventing any infections. Mouthwash is a great backup solution. Although the use of mouthwash is only a temporary fix for bad breath, it too works to remove potentially harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Cause of Bad Breath: Dry Mouth

Does it feel like you just can’t quench your thirst? Dry mouth is due to your mouth not producing enough saliva. It is often a symptom of medications, salivary gland problems, or breathing through your mouth.

Foods that require more chewing can increase saliva production. Healthy foods such as carrots and apples are great choices. Another alternative is to chew sugar-free gum.

Cause of Bad Breath: Medical Conditions

Bacteria and infections in the mouth can cause bad breath. Bad breath may also be a sign of conditions affecting the sinuses, liver, or kidneys, as well as a sign of acid reflux or diabetes.

By visiting our office regularly, our team is able to detect any problems or infections, and stop them before they become serious.

Schedule your visit to our office today. Contact our team.

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

Dentist in Fairfax, VA | Why Do My Gums Bleed?

22031 Dentist

While brushing or flossing your teeth, do you notice blood on your toothbrush or in the sink? Swollen, red, or tender gums can bleed when brushing or flossing, even if you are brushing gently. While it may seem harmless, it is important that you do not ignore these symptoms as they may be signs of a more serious issue. Here are four reasons why your gums may be bleeding, and what you can do for prevention.

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene Habits

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily is recommended. However, this routine might still cause your gums to bleed. Bleeding gums can be a consequence of flossing too hard. Use soft bristle toothbrushes for a gentler cleaning.

  1. Smoking

Inhaling smoke can leave toxins on the teeth that irritate gums and cause them to bleed. Smoking can cause your immune system to be compromised, and prevent tissues from healing correctly. Quitting cigarette use will reduce bleeding gums. If you smoke, be sure to schedule an extra oral examination with our team to evaluate your gum health.

  1. Nutritionally Poor Diet

A healthy lifestyle is beneficial to every aspect of your health.  Eating junk food high in sugar content can cause decay and lead to poor oral health. A balanced diet and proper oral hygiene can reduce the risk of bleeding gums.

  1. Gingivitis

Plaque and bacteria can build up on your teeth and become inflamed. Gingivitis is often symptom free. The one symptom that typically appears is bleeding gums, which is usually ignored because it is generally painless. Gingivitis is preventable by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and flossing regularly to reduce plaque build-up.  Schedule an appointment with us today if you suspect you have gingivitis.

If your gums regularly bleed, it is important that you contact our office. Our team can provide a complete oral examination and recommend proper treatment. Your oral health can significantly impact your overall health. For a healthy life, start by maintaining healthy gums.

To schedule your visit, please contact our office today.

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