5 Habits that Harm Teeth

Even if you brush and floss everyday, there are some common daily habits that put your teeth at increased risk for disease or damage. At our Potomac Falls dental office, we’re here to educate our patients on all the ways they can help keep their smiles in the best shape, so we’ve included a guide to the top five tooth-damaging habits we often see.

  • Ice, Ice, Baby! A great way to cause tiny cracks, or sometimes even large ones, is to crunch on hard, cold ice cubes. Although it’s made of water and there are no threats of sugar damage, their solid texture is hard on teeth. Fractures in teeth make room for bacteria to settle in and cause decay.
  • Lay Off The Snacks! Don’t worry, you don’t need to give up snacking completely. However, you should limit the number of times you snack throughout the day. The longer teeth are exposed to food and food particles, the more opportunity bacteria have to feed on sugars or starches. When bacteria feed, they produce acid. This acid may lead to decay and the need for dental restorations.
  • That’s Juicy! While packed with healthy nutrients, fruit juices are also packed with harmful sugar. As we know, sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth, erodes enamel, and increases risk of cavities. Try diluting juice with water and making sure your choice of juice has no added sugar.
  • Chew on This! Well, actually, don’t chew on it. What exactly do we mean by it? Pens, pencils, fingernails, or basically anything not designed to go in the mouth. Foreign objects that are hard in texture can cause teeth to chip, break, or crack. If you find yourself chewing on things as a habit, try a gum with Xylitol instead.
  • Up in Smoke! Tobacco, whether cigars, cigarettes, or smokeless, not only greatly increases the risk of oral cancer, it also leads to yellowed teeth. Often times staining caused by tobacco can’t be removed through traditional teeth whitening and cosmetic dentistry treatments are needed. What’s more, tobacco users have a greater chance for tooth loss.

Besides kicking the habits above, or at least limiting them, you’re helping keep your smile bright and healthy. But that alone isn’t enough. Visit your dentist in Potomac Falls at least twice a year in order to catch any problems early. Early detection is key to successful treatment of many oral health diseases and concerns.

If it’s time to get your smile in its best shape yet, give our Potomac Falls dental office a call. We’re always accepting new patients and would love to see you.

Serving patients from Potomac Falls and Herndon.

Celebrate World Oral Health Day with Your Potomac Falls Dentist

Every year the World Dental Federation (FDI) sponsors World Oral Health Day to promote awareness on the effects a healthy mouth has on a healthy body. Everyone at our Potomac Falls dental office wants to do our part and share some of connections between your dental health and whole body health.

“Do We Really Need a Day Dedicated to Oral Health?”

In short, yes, we really do. Here’s why. 90% of the world’s population will be diagnosed with dental disease at least once in their lifetime. That’s a huge number and the main reason behind the World Oral Health Day. Many of the diseases that will affect most of us are preventable. But only if we spread the knowledge. By joining together and educating each other on the importance of dental health not only for the mouth’s sake, but for the whole body too, we can cut that number down.

It All Starts Here. Healthy Mouth. Healthy Body.

That’s this year’s theme for World Oral Health Day, and we couldn’t agree more. Dental health is just as important to an overall healthy body as eating right, working out, and avoiding dangerous habits like smoking. In fact, some whole-body diseases can be linked to oral health concerns. For example, research on patients with gum disease shows a probable link between it and heart disease, respiratory disease, some cancers, and diabetic issues.

Know the Signs

If you recognize any of these signs in your mouth, we encourage you to see your dentist in Potomac Falls as soon as possible.

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when your mouth is closed

Take Action

Now is the time to take care of your smile, and your body. We welcome you to start right here at our dental office in Potomac Falls. Regular exams and professional cleanings are some of the most important parts of getting and maintaining a healthy mouth. They also allow us to find any problems early. And early detection means you get the care you need faster. Your mouth, and your body, will thank you.

Want to be more active in World Oral Health Day? Learn more and access great information right here.

Welcoming patients from Potomac Falls and Herndon.

Is Kissing Good for Your Oral Health?

Kissing can be beneficial for your oral health, and even your overall health. Endorphins are released when we kiss and and that is good for every single part of our bodies. It burns calories, exercises our facial muscles, and releases tension. Kissing can even boost your immune system.

As far as your oral health goes, kissing can allow us to exchange healthy bacteria that are good for our mouths. It also leads to an increase in saliva flow, nature’s oral protectant. Saliva washes your mouth, rinses away food particles, and contains mineral ions that can repair your teeth! But kissing can also be hazardous.

The Concerns

The saliva that protects your teeth also acts as a superhighway for all kinds of bacteria and viruses, including the bacteria that lead to tooth decay and gum disease.  Because some saliva is usually exchanged during kissing, these bacteria travel back and forth from mouth to mouth setting up new colonies and releasing acids that eat away at your tooth enamel.

The Precautions

We don’t mean to scare you out of smooching your loved one, because kissing does have benefits. However, there are some precautions you can take to protect your health.

  • Practice safe kissing

Know at least a little something about your kissing partner’s oral health. If he or she has bad breath, it could be a sign of gum disease – and remember, gum disease is contagious.

  • Keep up on your oral hygiene

Make sure bacteria doesn’t have a chance to colonize by brushing frequently – at least twice a day for at least two minutes. Brushing after meals is good too, just don’t over brush or brush too hard. It can damage your gums and erode your enamel. Keeping your regularly scheduled cleanings and checkups at our Potomac Falls dental office is very important too.

  • Eat, drink, and be merry

Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth rinsed,moist, and to increase saliva production. Also try chewing Xylitol gum and sucking Xylitol mints. Xylitol prevents bacteria from sticking to your teeth and creates a neutral pH level in your mouth.

If you have someone you have been thinking of smooching, call us and schedule a cleaning at our dental office in Potomac Falls. I’m always accepting new patients from Potomac Falls, and Herndon.

Protect Your Heart, Talk to Your Dentist in Potomac Falls

By now, I’m fairly certain that most of the patients at our Potomac Falls dental office have heard about the connection between the health of your gums and the health of your heart. So what’s new? One of the most recent – also one of the largest – studies so far in this field indicates that poor oral health could be an even more important predictor of a cardiovascular episode than traditional risk factors.

What does that mean to you?

It means that it is even more important than ever to keep up with your check ups and cleanings with your dentist in Potomac Falls. Preventing oral infection is so much better than treating it. Once the infection starts, the health risks begin as well.

Does Gum Disease Affect More Than My Heart?

The truth is that gum disease can affect much more than your heart. Because the bacteria that causes gum disease goes from your gums directly into your bloodstream, your body will react with inflammation and this inflammation can cause huge problems in the rest of your body. For example:

  • Periodontal disease wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels, resulting in a significant role in our country’s diabetic crisis.  If you have diabetes and your gums bleed, your chances of dying early can increase 400 to 700 percent.  
  • Pregnancy complications are an astounding three times more likely for women with gum disease.   
  • More than 30,000 Americans are expected to lose their lives to pancreatic cancer this year, and, according to a Harvard study, periodontal disease has been strongly linked to this deadly and fast spreading cancer.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, and just a few of the many reasons we take your check-ups and cleanings so seriously.

How Can You Minimize Your Risk?

Besides maintaining regular visits to our dental office in Potomac Falls, there are other ways you can decrease your chance of gum disease and the overall health concerns associated with it.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, everyday, for a minimum of two minutes each time.
  • Floss once daily.
  • Avoid tobacco products.
  • If you do notice any signs of possible gum disease like bleeding or swollen gums, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Accepting new patients from Potomac Falls and Herndon.

The Effects of Eating Disorders on Teeth

Eating disorders are an epidemic that plague over 10 million Americans. While they’re typically more common in teenagers and adult women, eating disorders can affect anyone despite age or gender. They’re particularly dangerous for the body and for mental health, but they can also negatively affect your mouth.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are several different types of eating disorders, and each one has its own set of symptoms and characteristics. Some disorders include:

  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Binge Eating

How Teeth Are Affected

One of the main concerns associated with all types of eating disorder is the lack of necessary nutrients typically received from a balanced diet. Without proper nutrition, gums bleed more easily, salivary glands decrease production, resulting in dry mouth, and if vomiting occurs often, enamel weakens.

Signs and Symptoms

Many times a dentist in Potomac Falls may be the first person on a healthcare team to suspect an eating disorder. This is because there are many telltale signs that show in the mouth including:

  • Sensitivity
  • Brittle, translucent teeth
  • Enlarged salivary glands
  • Tooth decay

How to Limit Damage

Those with an eating disorder should seek help from a trusted medical professional as soon as possible to help begin the healing process. In terms of dental health, our Potomac Falls dental office has some advice.

  • Do not brush teeth immediately after vomiting. Rinse with water instead to limit damage.
  • Continue to brush twice a day and floss once a day, every day.
  • Maintain regular visits.

If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, we encourage you to find a treatment that works. Not only is your oral health affected, but an eating disorder can cause major whole-body concerns. At our dental office in Potomac Falls, we’re here to help keep your mouth healthy during recovery, and for a lifetime. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Accepting patients from Potomac Falls and Herndon.

Top 3 Benefits of Smiling

A smile can do more for you than simply express emotion. There are also a multitude of health benefits associated with the act of smiling. All of us at our Potomac Falls dental office want to share the top benefits behind turning your frown upside down, showing off your pearly whites, and grinning from ear to ear.

  • Build a Super-Strong Immune System. Smiling is so powerful, it can actually protect your body from dangerous bacteria and germs. Smiling actually makes our bodies produce more white blood cells, this means a stronger immune system and a tougher defense against illness.
  • Feel Happy. When we smile, our brains release endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that allow us to experience the feeling of happiness. They can be triggered by intense workouts, running (what’s known as a runner’s high), and smiling.
  • Squash Stress. Those powerful endorphins do even more than make us feel happy. They also help ease stress and lower anxiety. When stressed, our bodies produce more cortisol. It’s this pesky hormone that makes feel unpleasant. Endorphins lower the amount of cortisol which removes the unpleasant feelings and replaces them with feelings of happiness.
  • Spread the Feeling. Smiling is contagious. Research proves that just seeing another person smile triggers the spot in your brain that controls facial movement. The result? A smile. So by simply shooting a smile at someone else, you can share the benefits.

If you’re feeling a bit down, try smiling more. It really can help. Need a few motivators? Here are some smiling-inducing tricks:

  • Fake a Smile, Still Feel Happy. Believe it or not, our brains can’t tell the difference between a real smile and a forced one. So even if you make yourself grin, your brain still releases endorphins and you still get all the benefits.
  • Call Some Friends. Sometimes all it takes to increase the number of smiles in a day is to hang out with people who make you happy and may even cause a chuckle or two. Spend some time around those people and start smiling more.
  • Chuckle with a Comedy. Not feeling up for a night out with friends? Curl up on the couch, pop in a comedy movie or show, and laugh and smile until your belly hurts.

Not smiling often or hiding it behind closed lips? It may be because you’re embarrassed by your teeth. Don’t let yourself miss out on the benefits of smiling. We can help get you a confident smile with our cosmetic dentistry options. No matter your smile goals, we’ll work with you so you can get back to smiling. Call our Potomac Falls dental office and schedule an appointment today.

Serving patients from Potomac Falls and Herndon.

Show Your Snow-White Smile This Winter

snow white smile

Artist Antoinette van Kleeff once said, “When snow falls, nature listens.” Our  Potomac Falls dental practice is always ready to listen, especially when it comes to maintaining your pearly whites.  Give us a call with questions and don’t forget to follow these simple steps to help ward off unsightly stains.

Brushing Up on Stain Prevention

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times — regular brushing and flossing are two of the biggest cavity and stain fighting techniques you can do at home, everyday. No teeth are resistant to the many stain-causing food and drinks we encounter throughout the day, but you can better protect and prevent the damage by always brushing twice daily and flossing once. Brush when you wake up and before bed for best protection.

Food and Beverage Blues

We hate to say it but some of your favorite foods and delicious drinks are the biggest reasons your teeth aren’t so winter white. Dark, sugary drinks are most likely to leave their mark, just as are rich foods. If a food or drink is capable of staining your tablecloth, it’s most likely able to leave its mark on your teeth too. Some of the biggest offenders include: Red wine, soda, berry juice, coffee, sauce, and gravy. Fight back by using a straw to slurp down drinks, and swallow foods swiftly leaving less time to linger and stain.

Bright White, Day or Night

Different whitening procedures will work best on a variety of teeth stains. Lifting these pesky, colorful remnants to reveal your best smile is an achievable accomplishment. You can use a whitening toothpaste, but be sure to check the label for the American Dental Association seal of approval. Porcelain veneers are another long-term solution for whiter, brighter teeth.  Be sure to check with your  Potomac Falls dentist before starting any whitening procedures.

When the white stuff does start to come down this winter, our dental office in  Potomac Falls will be ready to assist you, making sure your teeth are pearly white, healthy, and happy. Ensuring your comfort with grace, elegance, and empathy is our highest priority!

Welcoming new patients from Potomac Falls and Herndon in any kind of weather.

Fresh Breath Tips For a Perfect Mistletoe Smooch

mistletoe

This time of year means more mistletoe and festive parties with friends, family, and colleagues. Whether you’re greeting someone with a smooch or simply engaging in a close conversation, make sure your breath is fresh by brushing up on these helpful dental hygiene tips. Our Potomac Falls dental office wants you to ring in the New Year right with a clean, bright smile.

Brushing, Flossing, and Lip-Locking

Brushing twice daily is one of the biggest defenses to stave off bad breath. Regular, once daily flossing will also ensure your smile and kiss are clean and debris-free. Sometimes this regular routine becomes a second thought this time of year due to the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  It’s important keep brushing and flossing for lip-locking free of foul breath. If your daily routine is still plagued by plaque or pain, contact your Potomac Falls dentist to schedule a visit.

We’re Talking Tongues

One of the most overlooked tricks to getting your breath fresh is to make sure your tongue is clean. When you’re brushing and flossing your teeth, don’t forget to scrape or brush your tongue. A frequent brushing helps to remove pesky food particles and dead cells, leaving breath even more fresh. It’s one small step, but it yields big rewards!

Stress-Free is the Way to Be

Whether you’re worried about holiday bills or coping with friends and family, this time of year can be crazy. Sometimes added stress means our daily routines get out of sync, leading to lack of hygiene and offensive breath. Don’t forget to eat as healthy as you can, stay hydrated with plenty of water, get plenty of sleep, and be sure to exercise regularly. If you’re still struggling with bad breath, be sure and give our dental office in Potomac Falls a call. You’ll feel relaxed in our stress-free environment, and together we’ll discuss your best oral health options.

We hope your holidays are happy, peaceful, and full of joy. Whether you find yourself kissing under the mistletoe or planting a familiar smooch on a loved one, your fresh breath and healthy smile are sure to make a great impression in 2016!

We look forward to welcoming patients from Potomac Falls and Herndon into next year and beyond!

Alcohol’s Effect on Oral Health

alcohol and oral health

A glass of wine at family dinner. A few beers at the bar while catching up with old friends. A mixed drink or two at the office holiday party. When it comes to alcohol, it’s a fairly standard beverage of choice for U.S. adults. While enjoying it in moderation is reasonable, problems with both overall health and oral health arise when we drink too much.

What’s so Bad About it?

About 25% of all U.S. adults 18 and older have had at least one night of excessive drinking this past year. Besides being potentially dangerous to your overall well being, over-consumption of alcohol can have detrimental affects on your oral health as well. Alcohol is naturally drying, which is a problem when talking about oral health. Your mouth is supposed to be moist and needs saliva to function properly. Without it, dangerous bacteria, sugars, and acids aren’t effectively rinsed away, leaving your teeth exposed to damage.

Know the Risks

At our dental office in Potomac Falls, part of our job is to educate and inform our patients as much as possible. And while we aren’t here to tell you to completely refrain from drinking alcohol, we do want to let you know the risks involved when drinking in excess. Some oral health problems that may arise from over-consumption of alcohol include:

  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum Disease
  • Chronic Bad Breath
  • Oral, Throat, and Esophagus Cancer

Protect Your Health

  • Limit Your Drinks. The best way to protect your smile from the damaging effects of alcohol is to limit the amount you drink. It’s also a good rule of thumb to rotate in a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages.
  • Consult a Counselor. If you suspect you have an alcohol problem, we encourage you to find a trusted professional to help.
  • Brush 20 Minutes Post-Drink. Waiting 20 minutes after drinking an alcoholic beverage to brush can reduce the negative effects of the alcohol.
  • Regular Checkups. Visiting your dentist in Potomac Falls at least twice a year is crucial to maintaining great oral health. These visits help catch any problems early, and the earlier a problem is caught, the easier and more effective treatment can be.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, we welcome you to call our Potomac Falls dental office. We’re here to keep your mouth, and your body, in the best shape possible.

Welcoming patients from Potomac Falls and Herndon.

Holidays Have You Stressed? Relax for Your Mouth’s Sake

holiday stress

The craziness of the holiday season is right around the corner, and we’re sure the planning has already begun. Sometimes this time of year causes stress levels to rise and health to suffer because of it. But it’s not only your overall health that’s affected by stress. The team at our dental office in Potomac Falls want to inform you about how stress can also cause problems in your mouth.

Jaw Pain

Your jaw joint, also known as the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), gets a lot of work throughout the day even when you’re not stressed. It can withstand a lot. But when you’re in stress overload, you may begin to clench or grind your teeth. Both clenching and grinding may lead to tooth damage and can also cause some serious jaw pain. If you’re experiencing any pain, clicking, locking, or popping, give your  Potomac Falls dentist a call.

Canker Sores

Usually caused by an accidental chomp of the cheek or other actual trauma, canker sores can also be triggered by stress. According to a study by the Academy of General Dentistry, people are more susceptible to canker sores during prolonged periods of stress. Canker sores, also known as mouth ulcers, are typically found inside the mouth and are not contagious, but can be painful and annoying.

Chill Out!

The best way to protect your smile and overall health from the dangers of stress is to work on calming down and keeping anxiety levels low. Need some pointers? Check out these tips.

  • Eat Well. We know it’s hard to pass on the constant snacking that typically comes with the holidays, but try your best to keep a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Work on Your Fitness. Get active by taking a daily walk, do some yoga, or hop on a treadmill. Whatever your exercise of choice, get your blood pumping and your sweat dripping.
  • Limit Alcohol. Between office parties, dinners out, get togethers with friends and family, alcohol is typically available in abundance. Try your best to limit your alcohol consumption not only for your oral health, but overall health too.

As always, take time to ensure you’re keeping a healthy at-home oral hygiene routine. And if you feel the stress of the holidays is affecting your mouth, don’t hesitate to call our Potomac Falls dental office. We’ll be happy to work with you to resolve any problems we may find. We’re also pretty great at keeping you relaxed, which may be just what you need.

Accepting patients from Potomac Falls and Herndon.