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1515 Wilson Blvd., Suite 103
Arlington, VA 22209

"I have high anxiety during dental visits. Not this time!" — Alexa H.

Monthly Archives: October 2016

Love Pumpkin? Your Smile Does Too

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR everything pumpkin. As the poster child of fall, pumpkin doesn’t just star in our autumnal decorations, it shows up on our menus too. And as far as we’re concerned, that’s a good thing. Pumpkin is great for your oral and overall health!

Pumpkin: Fall’s Superfood

We’re glad pumpkin has so many health benefits because it sure is delicious! Pumpkins are high in fiber and are a great source of beta-carotene, which are both important for our health in various ways. They’re also full of potassium which can help lower blood pressure. But the reason we love pumpkin is that it’s great for your smile!

Pumpkins benefit your oral health because they are:

  • A great source of zinc. Zinc is considered an anti-plaque agent and is often added to toothpaste to prevent buildup. It also strengthens teeth and bones and boosts gum health.
  • Rich in vitamins. Vitamin A found in pumpkin aids in the flow of saliva, keeping your teeth clean and protecting them from decay. Pumpkin’s vitamin C contributes to a healthy immune system, helping you to fight off oral infections.
  • High in magnesium. In tandem with calcium, magnesium strengthens tooth enamel and prevents decay. Without magnesium, our enamel would be much weaker and more susceptible to cavity-causing bacteria.

Not All Pumpkin Treats Are Good For You

Now before you go running off to Starbucks for that pumpkin spice latte or the bakery for a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, there are a few things you should know. Not everything you encounter with pumpkin in it is going to benefit your health.

A lot of the most popular pumpkin snacks–pumpkin pie, bread and cake, in addition to the aforementioned treats–should actually be considered desserts because of their high sugar content. So when it comes to these sugar-filled pumpkin treats, consume them in moderation.

Here are some healthier ways to satisfy your pumpkin cravings this fall:

  • Baked pumpkin seeds–a guilt-free, vitamin-filled snack
  • Pumpkin smoothie–perfect for breakfast or as a dessert substitute
  • Pumpkin soup–a great way to warm up in the colder autumn weather
  • Roasted pumpkin–make it the main course, use it as a side dish, or throw it in a salad

Enjoy The Fall Season

Nothing says autumn more than the big orange fruit. When you’re eating all that pumpkin this fall, remember that you’re not only satisfying your tastebuds, but you’re also boosting your oral and overall health! So go ahead, eat more pumpkin.

Wishing a wonderful autumn to all our patients.

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 Parents Need To Know About Thumb Sucking

THUMB SUCKING IS NORMAL for infants, but many parents wonder about its effect on their child’s future dental health. As a parent, you may have questions such as, “When should I be worried about thumb sucking?” or, “What will happen if my child continues to suck their thumb?”

Because thumb sucking is so widespread–it’s estimated that about 75 to 95 percent of infants suck their thumb or fingers at some point–we want to help parents understand why it happens and how you can help your child break the habit if necessary.

Thumb Sucking Is Normal–Up To A Certain Point

If your infant develops a thumb sucking habit, remember, it is completely normal. Some children even begin sucking their thumb in the womb! It’s a natural reflex for babies and provides them with a sense of security and comfort.

In most cases, as baby grows and begins to explore the world around them, thumb sucking will gradually decrease and disappear on its own, usually between the ages of two and four. Past age four, however, thumb sucking should be discouraged.

The reason for this is that prolonged sucking can negatively impact your child’s developing teeth. Depending on the frequency and intensity of sucking, teeth and the upper and lower jaws can be pushed out of alignment and the formation of the roof of the mouth can be changed. It can even affect speech development.

What To Do If The Habit Persists

If your child’s thumb sucking habit persists, recognize when it occurs. Is it an absentminded habit or do they suck when they are anxious, stressed or nervous? The method you use to help break your child’s sucking habit may depend on the reason behind it. For some children, a discussion and goal setting is enough. For more difficult cases, you may need to enlist the help of your dentist.

Here are some general tips to help your child break the habit:

  • Explain. If your child is old enough, help them understand the consequences of thumb sucking and why they need to stop.
  • Make your child an active participant. Help your child come up with their own goals and prevention strategies. They will be more likely to keep their own goals.
  • Take note. Observe times they are more prone to sucking, if any, and try to create diversions.
  • Use positive reinforcement. Offer encouragement and support instead of punishments.
  • Make a progress chart. Help your child see their progress and reward them with a prize at the end of each week and/or month. Have your child be the one to place stickers on the chart and choose the prize.

Involve Your Dentist

Whatever the methods you choose to help your child break their thumb sucking habit, we are here for you! We can provide advice, support, and if necessary, further treatment options to help your child stop sucking their thumb or finger.

Talk to us about thumb sucking today–we’d love to address your concerns, answer questions and help come up with the best solution for your child.

Thank you for your continued trust in our practice.

Top image by Flickr user Raoul Snyman 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.

Make Your Game Day Snacks More Smile-Friendly

MANY FAMILIES AND FRIENDS gather together on a weekly basis to watch their favorite teams go head to head. And while people come to watch the game, we all know what they’re really there for… the food!

Traditional game day snacks may be delicious–think wings, sliders, nachos, pizza–but they are certainly not the healthiest for our bodies, or our teeth for that matter.

Make Healthier Choices On Game Day

October is one of the busiest sports months of the year. For all you sports fans out there, you’re going to have a lot of games to watch and, as a result, a lot of unhealthy finger food you may be planning to eat. Making healthier choices for the big game is easy… and well worth it!

For more smile-friendly snacks, try these healthy alternatives to traditional game day food:

  • Veggie-filled wraps instead of sliders. Leafy greens contain vitamins essential for healthy teeth and gums.
  • Yogurt instead of ice cream. You know dairy is good for your teeth! But watch out for added sugars you can find in ice cream and some yogurts. Make a greek yogurt parfait or a yogurt-based dip for fruit to protect those chompers.
  • Bruschetta instead of pizza. Fresh-made bruschetta, especially with calcium-rich cheese on top, is a great substitute for greasy pizza.
  • Vegetables instead of chips. Refined, starchy foods can be worse for your teeth than sugar. Bake your own kale chips or substitute cucumbers, celery, and carrots for greasy chips. You’ll get that crunch factor you crave as well as protect your teeth from decay.
  • Zucchini or sweet potato fries instead of french fries. Bake your fries instead of deep-fry them. Sweet potatoes have a lot of vitamin C which promotes healthy gums. Zucchini has an extremely high water content which will get your saliva flowing.

You could even try this healthy spinach and artichoke dip at your next watch-party!

Here’s another fun fact: including apples and strawberries in your snack game plan can actually help whiten your teeth! These fruits contain malic acid which removes surface stains from your teeth and whitens enamel.

In addition, nuts, celery, carrots and again, apples, are great finger foods that work as natural toothbrushes. That’s right! Because of their abrasive texture, they naturally remove bacteria and plaque. They also increase saliva production, helping to wash away food particles and bacteria in your mouth. So the next time you want to just eat the wings and leave the celery, think again.

Eat Right For A Winning Smile

We know you want your team to win the big game, but it’s even more important to have a winning smile! What are your favorite healthy game day snacks? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to get some more ideas!

Happy watching to all our sports fans!

Top image by Flickr user Abdulla Al Muhairi 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.

Are You Prepared For A Dental Emergency?

ACCIDENTS ALWAYS SEEM to happen when we least expect them. When those accidents involve tooth damage, it’s important to know what steps to take. Being prepared before a dental emergency occurs can save a damaged or knocked out tooth, prevent infection and decrease the need for extensive treatment.

Step One: Find Your Dental Home

The most important step to being well-prepared for a dental emergency is establishing a dental home. This means finding a dental practice that is right for you and sticking with it. When the worst happens unexpectedly, it can be a great help to have a dentist and practice you trust by your side.

If you have found your dental home, you will likely be more familiar with their hours and know if and when your dentist provides emergency services. With an already established relationship, you know your preferred practice will be able to provide high-quality care, advice and support.

Step Two: Be Prepared

We all know accidents happen. Being “prepared” simply means knowing what to do in certain situations before a mishap actually occurs. In a dental emergency, time is of the essence–it could mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), here’s how you should handle these dental emergencies:

When a baby tooth is knocked out…

If this happens to your child, contact their dentist as soon as possible. The tooth will most likely not be replanted because of potential damage to the developing permanent tooth.

When a tooth is fractured or chipped…

Contact your dentist immediately as prompt treatment is required. Rinse out your mouth with water and find any broken tooth fragments. Place the fragments in cold milk or water and bring it with you to the dentist.

When a permanent tooth is knocked out…

Again, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention from your dentist. Most knocked-out teeth can be saved if a dentist is seen within 30 minutes to an hour of the accident. In the meantime, find the tooth and rinse it gently in cool water (no soap), without scrubbing or cleaning it. Replace the tooth back in the socket, if possible, and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you cannot put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a container with cold milk, saliva or water.

We’re Here For You

If you have a dental emergency, call us immediately. We make it our priority to be here for you, rain or shine! Do you have any more questions? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

Thank you to our wonderful patients!

Top image by Flickr user Sebastiaan ter Burg 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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