703-528-3336
1-855-VA-SMILE
1515 Wilson Blvd., Suite 103
Arlington, VA 22209

"You have a kind and professional staff and office." — Trisha H.

Monthly Archives: December 2015

Brightening Your Smile Is Easy!

IS YOUR SMILE AS WHITE as it used to be? Even good oral hygiene won’t prevent tooth discoloration forever. While daily brushing and flossing help keep your teeth clean and healthy, it’s normal to feel like your smile is lacking some sparkle as you get older. If you’re looking to bring that sparkle back, cosmetic tooth whitening may be the answer!

Teeth Change Color Over Time

Here are some reasons our teeth may be a bit more discolored than we’d like:

  • Food and Drink: Coffee, tea, red wine, and cola are all drinks with strong color pigments that easily attach to enamel, the outer part of the tooth.
  • Age: Over time, tooth enamel gets thinner, allowing the more yellow dentin to show through.
  • Tobacco Use: The tar in tobacco is naturally dark, and nicotine, when mixed with oxygen in the air, turns into a yellow surface-staining substance.

Tooth Whitening Is A Simple Process

Whitening agents use hydrogen peroxide in one form or another to brighten your smile. Hydrogen peroxide acts as a strong bleaching agent that breaks up deep stains into smaller pieces, making the color less concentrated and your teeth brighter. It’s that simple!

There Are Whitening Options For Everyone

In-office bleaching is done at the dentist’s office and is a fast, effective way to whiten your teeth. You can usually get your whitening done in one to three visits, depending on the method used and the severity of tooth discoloration.

When you come in to get your teeth whitened, a substance is applied to cover and protect your gums. The whitening gel is then applied directly to the tooth surface. This gel is then activated, usually by a laser light, enhancing the action of the whitening agent. These professional tools produce the fastest tooth-whitening results.

At-home bleaching is another option! Many use at-home whitening kits to supplement their in-office whitening treatments. Ask us about our at-home whitening kits after your in-office whitening procedure to keep your newly white smile sparkling!

Over-the-counter whitening kits are also widely available for home use. These provide trays to hold whitening gel or whitening strips that stick to your teeth. Over-the-counter products contain a weaker whitening agent than the products you can get from your dentist and as a result, require a longer treatment period. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions when using at-home products and always follow package directions.

Whitening toothpaste is another simple option for those who want a whiter smile! Whitening toothpastes contain abrasives that remove stains on the enamel, helping your teeth stay clean and bright.

Put The Shine Back In Your Smile!

Whitening procedures are a fast and simple way to boost your confidence and brighten your smile. And getting that white, sparkly smile you’ve always wanted has never been easier. Give us a call or stop by. We’d love to discuss what whitening options would be best for you and your teeth!

Thank you for placing your trust in our practice!

Top image by Flickr user mark sebastian 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.

Making Oral Hygiene Fun For Teens

MANY PARENTS mention how difficult it can be to get their teenagers to practice good oral hygiene. The teenage years are rife with junk food, soda consumption, and in some cases, an indifference to daily brushing and flossing.

Although it may be challenging, motivating teens toward better oral health care is extremely important. For the teenagers of this generation, a parent’s best bet of making oral hygiene more fun may be technology!

Oral Health Tech Can Pique Your Teen’s Interest

Motivate your teenagers to engage in good oral hygiene by showing them these gadgets for their morning and nightly routine!

  • Oral Irrigator: Flossing the old-fashioned way can seem tedious. Using a water flosser is quicker and more fun! Even teenagers seem to love the idea of power washing their teeth.
  • Shower Flosser: A spin on oral irrigation, the shower flosser makes it even more convenient to floss your teeth. Simply attach an oral irrigation unit to your shower head for mess-free flossing!
  • Power Flosser: With a flexible nylon tip that slips easily in between teeth, a power flosser will floss your teeth with up to 10,000 gentle tip strokes per minute. It’s fast and fun!
  • Air Flosser: Another alternative to conventional flossing, the air flosser cleans out debris and plaque by shooting quick bursts of air and water in between teeth.
  • Natural Sweeteners: Many trendy new snacks and candies contain non-sugar sweeteners. Xylitol, for example, is effective in fighting off plaque and cavities. Research shows that xylitol protects teeth from decay by preventing bacteria from sticking to teeth and keeping a neutral pH level in the mouth. Buy your kids some sugar-free, xylitol-sweetened gum or mints and encourage them to use them after eating.

Start Good Habits When They’re Young

Dental decay is the most common chronic disease in young people between the ages of five and 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Good oral health habits should be taught early so that when your children do become teenagers, they have already established an oral hygiene routine and have a sound understanding of why it is important.

After all, if they keep up good dental habits, they could end up like this hip grandma who still has all of her teeth!

Partners In Promoting Oral Health

As your trusted dental professionals, we are your partners in promoting the oral health of your whole family. We’re here to help motivate children and teenagers toward better oral care so that your family can remain happy and healthy!

Thank you for reading our blog and for trusting us with your family’s dental care!

Top image by Flickr user Teeejayy 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.

What Causes Bad Breath?

LET’S JUST SAY IT… bad breath is unpleasant. And yet we’ve all suffered from it. Sometimes, however, it’s worse than others. You may wonder, what causes bad breath? And perhaps more importantly, what is the best way to prevent it?

Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by a number of things. Here are some reasons your breath may not be as fresh as you’d like:

Good Oral Hygiene Makes All The Difference

If you don’t brush and floss everyday, food stays in your mouth and collects bacteria. This bacteria causes bad breath. On top of that, food that remains in your mouth and in between your teeth will begin to rot and smell bad.

Brush and floss regularly and go to your biannual dental cleanings (or more, as directed). As bacteria that causes bad breath often congregates on the back of your tongue, make the tongue scraper your best friend!

Certain Foods Make Breath Worse Than Others

Watch out for foods such as garlic, onions, cheese, and soda, as they can be a major cause of unpleasant breath. Once food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it’s transferred to the lungs where it is expelled through your breath. Thus, foods with strong tastes or odors, like the ones mentioned above, can stick around longer than you’d like.

Consumption of tobacco products can also cause severe halitosis. If you use tobacco, ask us for assistance in helping you quit.

Bad Breath Can Be Linked To A Medical Disorder

Our oral health is strongly connected to other health conditions. In fact, bad breath could be the first sign of a medical disorder. Severe and persistent halitosis is a major symptom of dental diseases such as gum disease and cavities. Other maladies can negatively affect our breath as well such as diabetes, sinus infections, and liver or kidney ailments.

What’s Up With Morning Breath?

Morning breath seems to be an especially pungent offender. Morning breath gets to be so bad mainly because of dry mouth. During the day, saliva works to wash away food debris and keep bacteria in check.

When we sleep at night, our saliva production goes down, causing our mouths to become more dry and allowing bacteria to proliferate. Many people sleep with their mouths open as well, which can make dry mouth even worse.

Here’s what you can do to make your morning breath a little less offensive:

  • Clean your teeth before bed. This is a given! The less food bacteria have to munch on, the less odorous your mouth will be in the morning.
  • Keep water by the bed. When you wake up during the night, take a drink of water. Keeping your mouth moist will combat the spread of those smelly bacteria.

We’re Here To Help

For the most part, bad breath is manageable. However, chronic or extreme bad breath is not normal. If you are concerned about halitosis or have any questions, call and make an appointment with us. Our job is to find solutions for a healthier, happier you!

Thank you for being a part of our practice family!

Top image by Flickr user fiverlocker 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.

Foods That Naturally Whiten Teeth

REGULAR BRUSHING AND FLOSSING remain your best protection against tooth decay and gum disease. However, there are some tooth-friendly foods out there that will help you maintain a bright, healthy smile and even naturally whiten your teeth!

Here are some foods that help whiten your teeth.

Fruits And Veggies

Fruits such as apples and strawberries contain malic acid which removes surface stains from your teeth and whitens enamel. Strawberries are also beneficial in that they contain ellagitannins—antioxidants that are known to reduce stain-attracting bacteria and inflammation in your mouth.

Furthermore, apples—along with celery, carrots and pears—have a high water content. This increases production of saliva, which washes away bacteria in the mouth. Pears are also great for neutralizing odor-causing bacteria on teeth that lead to bad breath.

Pineapple is the only food that naturally contains bromelain. Guess where else we can find bromelain? In stain-removing toothpaste! Bromelain is a compound that has anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties and is effective in removing surface stains from your teeth, resulting in a brighter smile.

Natural Scrubbers

Other foods act as a natural brush due to their abrasive texture. Broccoli, seeds and nuts, and, yet again, apples, scrub your teeth and naturally remove bacteria and plaque. Eat these foods in the afternoons to clean and polish your teeth, giving them a brief midday brush. What’s more, broccoli is high in fiber and iron, resulting in a lower risk of inflammation in your mouth and greater protection against enamel-degrading acids produced by bacteria.

Dairy

Cheese and milk are full of calcium, which we all know is very good for teeth and bones. Calcium, as well as other minerals and proteins found in dairy products, protect tooth enamel from erosion and decay. They also don’t stain your teeth like coffee, wine, or beets would.

More Than Just Brushing

Achieving and maintaining a healthy, bright smile is more than just eating foods that can damage your teeth (mainly sugary drinks and candy, as well as refined, starchy foods) and then brushing the consequences away. To keep your mouth clean and smile white, avoid foods that can damage or stain your teeth, and opt for some of the healthier options mentioned above. Your teeth will thank you for it!

Thank you for being our valued patient and friend.

Top image by Flickr user Artotem 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.

Why You May Need To See The Dentist More Frequently

GOING TO THE DENTIST TWICE A YEAR, while a good rule of thumb, is not necessarily fitting for everyone. Depending on certain lifestyle choices and medical conditions, some people need to see their dentist even more frequently.

Fifty years ago, there were really no instructions as to how often you should see a dentist. Back then, dentistry was more about fixing existing problems rather than preventing them from occurring. When dentists began recommending biannual check-ups and cleanings as a preventive measure against oral disease and infection, the American population’s dental health vastly improved. However, that doesn’t mean that this twice a year recommendation is a “one size fits all” umbrella.

Who Needs To Go More Than Twice A Year?

There are a number of conditions and circumstances that may require more frequent dental visits. Listed below are people who should talk to their dentist about going more than twice a year:

  • Diabetics
  • Smokers
  • Pregnant women
  • People with gum disease
  • People who have dry mouth
  • People with a weak immune response to bacterial infection
  • People who are more prone to cavities or plaque buildup
  • People who do not keep up with their dental hygiene very well
  • People whose diet is rich in sugary foods and/or drinks

Some people may need to go biannually one year and, due to changing circumstances, need to go more frequently the next. For example, as we get older and start to accumulate more health issues, we might be more prone to damage that bacteria can cause to our teeth and gums. Furthermore, many medications can cause dry mouth which makes it easier for bacteria to grow.

How often you need to make a dental visit is determined by your dentist and hygienist and is based on the health of your gums, as well as how committed you are to a good oral hygiene program. More frequent visits, especially for high-risk patients, can prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health conditions. The preventive care we provide will save you time, stress, and money.

You Are Unique

You are a unique individual! Keeping your smile healthy means addressing your unique needs. We are not interested in a “one size fits all” mentality. Our practice is devoted to providing you with the best and most specialized care.

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user Alessandro Valli 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.
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