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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: April 2021

What Builds a Healthy Smile?

WE ALL KNOW how important daily brushing and flossing are to a growing child’s smile. We know about scheduling regular dental appointments, and hopefully we know that cutting back on sugar and keeping it to mealtimes instead of snacks throughout the day is also important. But what about the vitamins and minerals that help build those healthy smiles in the first place?

Vitamins for Oral Health

What keeps saliva flowing so it can protect our teeth and gums? Vitamin A! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps our bodies heal and fight inflammation. When kids don’t get enough, their gums could become more prone to bleeding and their teeth can become looser.

Vitamin D signals our intestines to absorb vitamins into the bloodstream and helps our bones stay dense and strong. Vitamins B2, 3, and 12 are important for reducing the risk of developing canker sores in the mouth, and B3 also helps us convert food into energy.

How About Those Minerals?

Calcium is great for building strong teeth and bones, and magnesium helps the body absorb it. We need iron to maintain good oxygen levels in our cells. Finally, zinc helps us fight oral bacteria and plaque by making it harder for it to build up along the gumline.

We’re here to help you build a healthy smile!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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.

Protecting Kids from Dental Injuries

BEING A KID involves lots of scraped knees and bumps and bruises from running around and discovering the world. Parents want their kids to enjoy everything childhood has to offer, but preferably while avoiding some of its downsides, such as preventable tooth injuries. What can we do to keep our kids’ teeth safe? Here are a few tips to follow.

Common Causes of Childhood Tooth Injuries

Whether our kids are playing in the backyard or at a playground with friends, there are a few simple ways we can keep their teeth safe. First, it’s important to know the common causes of tooth injuries.

Babies and toddlers receive the most tooth injuries in the bathtub, because it’s very easy for them to fall in a wet, slippery porcelain environment. We can minimize the risk by keeping a close eye on them when they’re in the tub.

Anything meant to be thrown, like a ball or frisbee, is a likely culprit of tooth injuries. Make sure to talk to your kids about safety, particularly how important it is not to aim for each other’s heads.

Another common cause of tooth injuries is playground equipment like monkey bars, jungle gyms, and even swings. Talk to your children about being careful around this equipment. Falling on their faces could be enough to knock out a tooth.

Make a Plan in Advance

Accidents sometimes happen no matter how careful we are, and that’s why making a plan for what to do in the event of a sudden tooth injury is so important. The first step to any emergency plan is not to panic. Assess the situation. If the injured tooth is an adult tooth or a baby tooth that wasn’t loose, try to put it back in place (or store it in cold milk if you can’t) and get to the dentist right away. Make sure you know the location of the dentist’s office!

It isn’t always possible to reattach a tooth, but fast action like this will give it its best chance. The goal with a knocked out tooth is to keep the root alive until you reach the dentist. Make sure you don’t touch the root or attempt to clean it, and don’t store it in water or on ice, because any of those things will kill it, and it will be impossible to replant.

If the injury doesn’t only involve teeth, the child may need to go to the emergency room before the dentist. Many hospitals have dentists on staff who can help with dental injuries in a larger medical emergency.

Another Way to Protect Teeth: Keep Them Healthy

A great way to help protect our kids’ teeth from injury is to keep them healthy and strong by teaching great oral hygiene habits. Kids should learn to brush for two minutes twice a day and floss once a day, and we should make sure they have regular dental appointments. When teeth are healthy, they’re better at resisting injuries!

We love those healthy little smiles!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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.

Types of Dental Careers

WHAT DOES A CAREER in dentistry look like? Being a dentist is an incredibly rewarding career, and beyond helping our patients maintain lifelong healthy smiles, we hope our team inspires at least a few budding dentists out there!

Private Practice Dentists Aren’t the Whole Story

The dental career everyone is most familiar with is the private practice dentist, meaning an individual dentist or a partnership working with local patients in their own practice. Not everyone who graduates from a four-year dental program goes in this direction.

Other Types of Dentists

Academic dentists add a teaching role and help usher in the next generation of dentists. Research dentists get to be on the cutting edge of new advancements in treatments and technology. Some dentists go international and work with organizations like the WHO, UNESCO, and FAO. Finally, there are dentists who work alongside physicians in hospitals.

Dental Specialties

About 20% of dentists undergo additional years of training in one of the nine dental specialties: Dental Public Health, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and Prosthodontics.

The Team Is More Than the Dentist

Aside from the dentists themselves, other essential roles in the field of dentistry are dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dental lab technicians. Hygienists and assistants interact closely with patients to ensure a high level of care, while dental lab technicians work behind the scenes designing the dentures, crowns, and braces used by dentists.

And of course we wouldn’t get far without our office staff!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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.

The Impact of Chemistry on Oral Health

HOW MUCH DO you remember from learning about the pH scale in science class? Don’t worry; if you forgot all of it, we’ll give you a little refresher, because acids and bases are pretty important when it comes to the health of our teeth and gums.

A Crash Course in the pH Scale

The pH scale is how we measure how acidic or basic a substance is. The scale goes from 1 to 14. Neutral substances (like water) have a pH of 7, while highly acidic things are lower on the scale and highly basic things are higher on the scale.

To give you an idea of where some common substances land, orange juice ranges from 3.3 to 4.2 and stomach acid is all the way down between 1.5 and 2.5. Soap is mildly basic at between 9 and 10, and bleach is a powerful base at 12.5. What pH is best for our mouths?

Ideal Oral pH

The human body isn’t all the same pH. Our skin is happiest when mildly acidic (with a pH of about 5.5), but blood should be slightly basic (7.4). For our teeth and gums to stay as healthy as possible, we want our oral pH to remain neutral the majority of the time. An unhealthy mouth is more acidic, which can seriously damage tooth enamel over time. Tooth enamel is extremely hard so that it can withstand a lifetime of chewing, but it begins eroding at a mildly acidic pH of 5.5.

What Makes Mouths Acidic?

So how does acid end up in our mouths? The most direct way is by eating or drinking something tart or sour. The bubbles in soda pop, regular and diet alike, come from carbonic acid even though not all soda tastes sour. Our mouths can also become acidic indirectly. When we consume sugary or starchy things, harmful oral bacteria eats the leftovers and excretes acid onto our teeth and gums as a waste product. Acid reflux or vomiting also introduces more acid to the mouth.

Saliva Is the First Line of Defense Against Acid

Fortunately, our mouths have a built-in defense mechanism against acid: our spit! Saliva washes away leftover particles of food and neutralizes our oral pH over time. This is what makes dry mouth so dangerous to our teeth and gums beyond the way it can make chewing and swallowing difficult. Our teeth are left vulnerable to acid erosion without enough saliva.

What can we do to help our saliva do this critical job? We can avoid sipping on or snacking on sugary drinks and treats. Every time we consume something acidic or containing sugar or starch, we reset the clock on our saliva neutralizing our oral pH. That’s why we recommend keeping the treats to mealtimes instead of continuous sipping and snacking.

Consume Less Sugar and Acid

We can also reduce the overall amount of sugary or acidic things we eat, which means minimizing the soda and sugary treats along with breads and dairy products and adding in more fruits and veggies.

Let’s Unite in the Fight Against Enamel Erosion!

Eating less sugary or acidic food and keeping the ones you do to mealtimes will really help your oral pH stay neutral, but it’s not a replacement for twice-daily brushing and daily flossing — nor is it a replacement for regular dental appointments! These habits are still essential to lifelong oral health.

We love our patients’ healthy smiles!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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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