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1515 Wilson Blvd., Suite 103
Arlington, VA 22209

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Monthly Archives: September 2015

Are Cavities Contagious?

WE ALL KNOW it’s possible to catch a cold from someone who’s under the weather. Did you know cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from person-to-person too?

Bacteria Is At The Root Of Cavities

While sugary treats often take the blame for causing cavities, the real culprits for tooth decay are bacteria. Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus are bacteria which stick to our teeth and eat food particles left behind from our last meal, producing acids which threaten gum health and cause tooth decay.

And just like cold-causing bacteria, these bacteria like to travel.

Bacteria Travels From Person-to-Person

Whether it’s through sharing a drink or kissing a loved one, cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from person-to-person the same way many other bacterial infections can. Studies have shown that “catching a cavity” is not only possible, it happens far more often than you might think.

One of the most common transmissions is from parent and child. Cavity-causing bacteria is commonly passed along to a child when a mother or father tastes food to ensure it’s not too hot or when he or she “cleans” a pacifier by sucking on it before handing it over.

Take Simple Steps To Stop The Spread of Bacteria

What can you do to reduce your risk of transmitting these cavity-causing bacterias to someone else?

  • Floss and brush frequently.
  • Chew sugar-free gum—this promotes saliva production and washes away plaque and bacteria).
  • Be mindful of drinks and eating utensils you’re sharing and the risks that are involved.
  • Be aware of other behaviors which may spread these bacteria.

Trust Our Practice For Solutions

Nobody wants to inadvertently “catch a cavity.” Our practice is committed to providing you with the best information possible to help you create a healthy and resilient smile. If you have any questions about this, be sure to ask us! We love visiting about your oral health. You can also comment below and reach out to us on social media.

Thank you for reading our blog! We value our relationship with you as our patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user bigbirdz used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Wisdom Teeth: Why Do We Have Them?

WHEN DENTISTS SEE emerging wisdom teeth are going to cause dental problems, wisdom tooth removal is likely in the cards.

Wisdom teeth–also known as the third molars–received their nickname because they emerge during young adulthood, when a person has a little more wisdom. But why do we wait until the late teenage years to address the issue? In fact, if wisdom teeth so often cause complications, why has nature given them to us at all?

Wisdom Teeth Have Ancient Roots

The most widely accepted theory behind wisdom teeth suggests we look to our ancestors in the distant past for answers. Early humans had a much different diet than we do today: roots, raw meat, tough plants—foods that would have required a lot of grinding. Big, wide molars were the perfect teeth for the job, and that third set of molars would have helped them immensely! They also had larger jaws to accommodate these extra teeth.

Today, we have smaller jaws and eat much softer foods, but our genes still produce third molars! When they don’t have enough room to emerge properly, wisdom teeth can begin erupting at angles of 45 degrees or more—even horizontally! When teeth grow where there isn’t space for them, they cause a lot of problems.

When Is Removal The Right Decision?

Wisdom teeth emerging at bad angles or crowding other teeth can damage oral health. They might not even emerge at all, becoming impacted below the gum surface. In either case, they can cause constant pain and infection, weaken bone structure, and undo orthodontic work.

You might ask why wisdom teeth aren’t addressed in early childhood. It’s because they actually don’t begin forming until around age 10! All teeth (adult teeth included) begin forming in the jaws during fetal development—except for wisdom teeth.

We Treat Each Wisdom Teeth Case Individually

There are the lucky few that have no problems with their wisdom teeth. It is possible for them to emerge at the right angle, with enough space, and not have to be removed.

Each case is unique, and by getting to know your unique dental profile, we will prescribe the best dental health solution—without any unnecessary treatment. From diagnosis to wisdom teeth removal recovery, we’ll be there every step of the way to provide the best in advice and care.

Thank you for choosing us as your family’s lifelong dental health partners. We treasure the trust you place in our practice!

Top image by Flickr user Celestine Chua used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Juice Smarter: Your Teeth Will Thank You

WHILE JUICING IS ONE OF THE most popular health fads right now, how does it affect your smile?

Juices Can Be Tough On Teeth

Many juices contain high amounts of acid and sugar that can compromise healthy teeth. Frequently drinking juices with overly acidic and sugary ingredients can begin to wear away the enamel of our teeth, putting us at greater risk for cavities.

But, don’t fret—you don’t need to go throw away your juicer just yet! There are a variety of simple ways to make your juices healthier and still taste great.

Choose Ingredients That Strengthen Your Smile

Make your juices healthier by considering some of these options:

  • Add more leafy greens! Leafy greens help build strong bones and strong teeth because they are high in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Greens won’t spike your blood sugar like sugary fruits and vegetables will.
  • Use fruit sparingly and when you do, be sure to use ripe fruits. Unripe fruits tend to have more acid than ripened ones.
  • Add a teaspoon of coconut oil. Coconut oil, amongst other amazing properties, contains antibacterial properties that are great for your teeth!
  • Add cranberry juice! Amongst numerous vitamins and nutrients, fresh cranberries have compounds that keep cavity-causing bacteria from sticking to your teeth. So, to add nutrients and teeth-protecting properties, simply add a splash of cranberry juice to your recipe.
  • Steer clear from highly pigmented foods. Fruits and vegetables that are strongly pigmented can potentially stain your teeth. Examples of these foods are: dark berries and beets.

What you put into your juices is the important thing to keep in mind when juicing. Ask yourself when adding ingredients: Does this add nutrients to my juice? Will my teeth benefit from this or not? Is there too much sugar or acid in this ingredient?

Here’s a few recipes to get you started:

We Care About Your Whole Body Health

By being mindful and aware of the ingredients you add to your juices, you can begin making smart decisions for not only your teeth, but your overall health. If you have any questions about how the juices you enjoy affect your teeth, feel free to schedule an appointment to see us or leave a comment below!

Thank you for reading our blog and being our valued patient and friend!

Top image by Flickr user Rob Bertholf used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

A Custom Mouthguard Can Save Your Smile

PROTECTION DURING sports and other extreme activities can potentially save your teeth and gums from serious, or permanent damage.

Cheap over-the-counter mouthguards may seem appealing because of the low price tag, but without the correct protective properties, cheap mouthguards could cost an athlete more in the long run.

Not All Mouthguards Give Equal Protection

Contrary to custom-fitted athletic mouthguards, over-the-counter options are often uncomfortable to wear and do not provide the proper amount of protection to the teeth and mouth. On the other hand, custom mouthguards are far more comfortable because they are made to fit your mouth specifically.

Other benefits of custom mouthguards include:

  • easy breathing and improved speech for maximum endurance and clear communication,
  • a secure fit that stays in place during impact,
  • professionally sized to any mouth size,
  • resistant to irritation of sensitive gums,
  • reduced risk and severity of dental injuries,
  • rated for the highest level of protection,
  • and minimal discomfort and inconvenience when worn.

Mouth Protection Is An Investment

Although personalized athletic mouthguards have a higher cost than over-the-counter options, they can potentially save you from serious expenses from injuries sustained from insufficient protection.

We Want To Help Protect Your Smile

Investing in a custom mouthguard can make all of the difference for you and your family’s oral health. While participating in sports and other activities is fun, it’s important that you protect your beautiful smile while doing so! Let’s talk about your unique and individual oral safety needs. If you or someone you know are in need of a custom mouthguard or have questions about custom mouthguards, please contact us.

Thank you for being our valued patient and friend!

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

How Do Your Brushing Habits Compare?

Woman Brushing Teeth

WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BRUSH twice a day for two minutes each time. How many of us actually do that? See how you measure up!

From a recent poll:

  • 49% of men brush their teeth only once a day.
  • 57% of women brush their teeth only once a day.

And, the average person only brushes his or her teeth for 30 seconds each time—not nearly long enough! That’s only one-fourth of the time really needed!

Brush Softer, And Take The Full 2 Minutes

Many choose to brush more vigorously to save time. Although it’s quicker, brushing aggressively can wear down tooth enamel. If you brush harder than needed, remember to brush gently but thoroughly for the full two minutes.

Think About Your Brushing Technique

For the deepest clean possible, brush at a 45-degree angle in small circular motions around all tooth surfaces. One of the biggest places for build-up is around the gum line. If neglected, gums can become swollen and infected because of plaque left behind.

Clean Your Tongue!

The tongue is the biggest bacteria host in the mouth! If you only brush your teeth, the bacteria left on your tongue transfers to your teeth, making them dirty again. Remember to clean every area of the tongue. If you experience a gag reflex when using a toothbrush, consider trying a tongue scraper. A clean tongue helps keep your teeth clean, and it helps keep your breath fresh!

We Love Your Smile

We’re focused on helping your smile look and feel its best! We’re committed to your overall health as well. Remember, brushing twice a day for two minutes each time is a necessity, not a recommendation.

Thanks for reading our blog, and happy brushing!

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