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Arlington, VA 22209

"Outstanding dental cleaning" — Ron A.

Monthly Archives: December 2014

Hormonal Changes Affect Women’s Oral Heath

HORMONAL CHANGES CAN AFFECT nearly every part of our bodies—including the mouth and gums. If you, or someone you love, is experiencing sore, swollen, extra pink or bleeding gums it may be a result of such changes. Studies show that changing hormones particularly affect women’s periodontal health.

Increased Gum Disease Risk

Throughout a woman’s life there are periods of time when hormones fluctuate a great deal including puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Beginning an oral contraceptive regime can also affect hormone levels. During these times, changes in estrogen and progesterone can dramatically increase the chances of developing gingivitis.

Pregnant? Be Especially Aware

Pregnancy can be hard on a woman’s teeth and gums. The changes and associated lifestyle adjustments can wreak havoc on one’s mouth, including late night snacking, morning sickness, and dry mouth. Gum disease can even impact the developing baby.

(An Important Morning Sickness Tip)

Suffering from morning sickness? Protect your teeth and gums by rinsing often with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda dissolved into one cup of water. This helps rid your mouth of harmful acids. If you experience dry mouth, drink more water and try sugarless candy or gum to increase saliva production.

Thorough Oral Hygiene During Hormonal Changes

Are you, or is someone you love, going through one of these times in life? If so, it’s important to be extra thorough with one’s oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing every day—without exception—is one of the most important keys to gum health. If sore or bleeding gums continue, be sure to contact us right away so we can discuss other possible solutions and avoid bigger problems.

Do You Have Questions About Gum Disease?

Let’s visit! And please share this information with the women in your life. All of us can benefit from learning more about our bodies and how to adapt to hormonal changes.

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user Hendrik Dacquin used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Tooth-Healthy Entertaining Tips

ENTERTAINING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON? Throw a party that your guest’s teeth can appreciate too with some tooth-healthy tips.

Consider Appetizers Light On Sugar And Starch

Sugary, starchy snacks can contribute to tooth decay. Mix up your appetizers with some of these suggestions…

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are juicy and scrubby. Eating them is a little bit like washing your teeth. They’re also full of great tooth-healthy vitamins and minerals. Try this recipe for fresh fruit skewers, or some greek yogurt onion dip for your veggie spread.
  • Cheese can also have a cleaning effect on your teeth. This is especially handy if you have heavily pigmented food and drinks (like wine, berries, or curry). Here are some tips for making a great cheese plate.

A Few More Amazingly Simple Ideas

The American Academy Of Cosmetic Dentistry’s Recipes

Between the acid, the sugar, and the continuous sipping, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks can hurt your teeth. Turn holiday beverages into something that benefits your teeth instead by utilizing mouth-healthy super foods, like mint, ginger, carrot juice and lemongrass. Check out the AACD’s professional recipes by clicking on the image below:

Always Make Drinking Water An Easily Available Option

Water helps rinse our mouths between snacks and other drinks, which helps counteract tooth decay. You may even want to try something special with a beautiful, infused water. Here are some great recipes.

Let Us Know How It Turns Out!

Good luck with your parties! If you use any of our tips or the AACD’s recipes above, let us know about it! In fact, take some photos and share them on our Facebook page. We’d love to see them.

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends.

Top image by Flickr user Didriks used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Your Jaw: Incredible Force + Amazing Precision

EVER WONDERED HOW THE PRESSURE of the human bite stacks up against the bone-crushing pressure of a hyena bite? We may not have the power some creatures have—but the complexity and precision of the human bite is simply remarkable.

Our Jaws And Teeth Balance Force And Precision

To demonstrate this delicate balance for yourself, try this… Pop a peanut M&M in your mouth and eat the chocolate around the nut, leaving the nut intact. Then, chew the nut. There’s a big difference in the pressure exerted when biting through the chocolate, versus biting through the nut. Also think about the coordination happening between your jaw muscles, brain, tongue, teeth and mouth to make this happen! Amazing.

Or, try this one… Bite into a fresh carrot. The force needed to do so is enough to crack your tooth enamel—yet, your jaw slows down in time to spare damage to your teeth. Our jaw control is sophisticated enough to “brake” and adjust pressure mid-bite!

The Human Bite Is Extremely Efficient

Humans have less jaw muscle mass than gorillas and chimpanzees. However, this reduced mass doesn’t mean reduced strength. It indicates increased efficiency. In fact, the design of the human jaw makes it 40-50% more efficient than a primate’s. Pound for pound, humans exert more biting force than big apes.

You can click on the image below to read more about bite studies:

Caring For Your Teeth And Jaw

Our jaws may be able to withstand lots of pressure, but our teeth are more fragile. Remember to be careful when chewing hard things like nuts and hard candies.

Here’s A Creature With A Crazy Strong Bite

If You’re Having Problems With Your Jaw, Let Us Know

Like any complex system, our jaws can develop problems. If your jaw seems unusually sore too much of the time, if it locks up, seems to be contributing to headaches, or if you’re having any other concerns, let’s visit about potential causes and remedies.

We’re not only concerned with your teeth—we’re interested in your complete oral health.

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends.

Top image by Flickr user David Bleasdale used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Considerations For Dental Patients With Special Needs

FOR BOTH CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS, dental care can be challenging. In some cases, limited coordination can make brushing and flossing tricky. In other cases there may be less access to professional care. Some patients may experience high anxiety levels too.

Medications that lead to dry mouth can also contribute to dental care challenges.

But despite these challenges, everyone deserves a healthy smile. Here are three tips for helping patients and caregivers:

1. Let Us Help

A dental office can feel overwhelming to those with special needs. But you know that regular preventative care training is essential—especially for patients and caregivers who may need instructions about specialized home care. Let us know what we can do to help.

2. Utilize Special Tools If Needed

The average toothbrush may not be ideal. Look into alternative options that can help.

  • Electric toothbrushes can sometimes do more with less effort.
  • Modifying a toothbrush with a gripping tool is often very helpful.
  • A water pik can be more comfortable and a fun alternative to flossing.
  • If you’re cleaning someone else’s mouth, a floss pik can make it much easier.

3. Simple Preventative Habits

Certain simple habits can curtail dental risks, especially when thorough, daily dental care is difficult.

  • Minimize snacks, especially starchy, sugary ones. Opt for crisp fruits and veggies.
  • Reduce soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks. These have lots of acid and sugar that can harm teeth.
  • Drink water regularly, and rinse after each meal or snack.

We Know That Each Patient Is Unique


When we talk about special needs, we recognize we’re addressing a very diverse group from elderly men and women with Alzheimer’s disease, to children with developmental disabilities. We know each patient who comes through our door has different challenges.

Please consider us your go-to resource. If we can’t accommodate your exact needs, we will do everything we can to advise you and point you in the right direction. Please call to visit with us about your specific needs. Or, if you know someone who could benefit from this post, please pass this information along.

Thanks for the trust you place in us. We appreciate you.

Top image by Flickr user Honza Soukup used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The Legend Of The Tooth Fairy

THE LEGEND OF THE TOOTH FAIRY has been around for ages. But you may not recognize the winged pixie you know and love from these old traditions…

Originally, Parents Hid Children’s Teeth

Centuries ago in Europe, parents buried their child’s lost tooth in a “tooth garden”. This was believed to prevent an evil witch from stealing the tooth and casting a spell on the child! The same superstition spread around the world. Early American settlers placed children’s teeth in flowerpots. Some people even believed that swallowing the tooth was the best way to protect children from evil.

The Tooth Mouse Helped Children’s Teeth Grow Strong

Another interesting idea was that if an animal swallowed the child’s tooth, that child’s new adult tooth would resemble the teeth of the animal that swallowed it! This superstition evolved into the story of the “tooth mouse”—a French story in which a fairy turns into a mouse and hides under an evil king’s pillow. To save the queen, the mouse proceeds to knock out all of the king’s teeth while he sleeps!

Eventually, Teeth Were Exchanged For Coins

As the tooth mouse tradition grew, children began putting their teeth into their shoes. While they slept, the mouse exchanged the tooth for a coin or two. Many cultures still hold to the tooth mouse tradition, but in others, the tradition morphed from a mouse to the magical tooth fairy!

The “Making” Of A Tooth Fairy?

Do You Have A Favorite Tooth Fairy Memory?

What was YOUR experience with the tooth fairy when YOU were young? What traditions have you held on to with your own family? We’d love to hear them. Please comment below, or on our Facebook page!

Top image by Flickr user IndyDina With Mr. Wonder used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
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