Swim Much? Your Smile May be Suffering

July1Swimming

Whether it’s for fun, exercise, or relaxation, there’s nothing better than a cool dip in a swimming pool to ease the summer heat. But everyone at our dental office in Potomac Falls knows about a smile-damaging secret that could be lurking in your favorite pool, and we’d like to share it with you.

Swimming Pools Hurt Teeth? Really?

Yes, really, swimming pools can cause tooth damage which may lead to extensive dental problems. The link between pool water and teeth isn’t a new discovery. Back in the 80s, researchers conducted a study examining competitive swimmers and oral health. Turns out, almost 40% of those studied had some degree of enamel erosion. The more it was researched, the more conclusive the results: swimming pools may cause tooth damage.

How?

Pool water should have a very specific pH level — typically between 7.2 and 7.8. If the pH drops too low, it becomes acidic. Acidic water can have effects on the whole body including burning eyes, skin irritation, and enamel erosion.

Knowing When There’s a Problem

There are two main signs you may be suffering from pool-induced tooth problems. First, new sensitivity could be an indicator of eroding enamel. Once enamel erodes, tooth roots are left exposed to heat and cold, which can be quite painful. Second is brown spotting on the teeth. This is called swimmer’s calculus, and it’s nearly impossible to remove at home. If you’re noticing signs of a dental problem, call your Potomac Falls dentist as soon as possible.

Acidic Water and Tooth Enamel.

Those who spend more time in the pool are more susceptible to enamel erosion. Enamel is the hard, outermost surface of teeth that protects them against bacteria and keeps the inner roots safe. If compromised, teeth are more likely to have decay, cavities, and additional oral health problems.

How to Avoid the Danger

Simply testing pool water before spending extended time in it can go a long way toward ensuring a healthy smile. Purchase some inexpensive pH testing strips and measure the pH prior to diving in.

Additionally, keeping up with regular appointments at our Potomac Falls dental office is the ultimate prevention. Often times, early detection means a faster treatment, which allows you to get back to health and back to enjoying summer.

Accepting patients from Potomac Falls and Herndon.

Surprising Things That Can Hurt Your Teeth

Things That Affect

You brush every day, floss at least once a day, and keep up with regular visits to my dental office in Potomac Falls. You’re doing all the right things to keep your mouth healthy. But are you also doing some things that can be hurting your teeth?

There are a bunch of surprising, everyday habits that seem completely normal, and sometimes even good for you, that can actually be harmful to your oral health. The first step in avoiding these dangerous activities and getting a stronger, healthier smile is knowing what’s bad for your grin.

Brushing Side to Side

Yes, brushing your teeth can actually be harmful if you do it incorrectly. The ideal way to brush is in gentle circles to avoid damage to the enamel. If you brush side to side, you place a lot of pressure on the teeth. This type of brushing may scratch enamel and leave you at increased risk for decay.

Lemonade

While this summer favorite is refreshing, its combination of acid and sugar is particularly bad for teeth. Cavities are most responsive to foods high in sugar and acidity. Sugar feeds the bacteria, acid eats away at enamel, and the chance for decay increases. If you still want the refreshing boost of lemons, try lemon slices in water. It’s still acidic, but without sugar, the danger is decreased.

Cardio Exercise

Workouts that incorporate some kind of cardiovascular exercise are great for your heart and your body. But prolonged periods of cardio-intense workouts may actually put your mouth at risk. A recent German study linked endurance exercise with increased erosion, mainly due to decreased saliva production. Saliva naturally helps neutralize acids in the mouth and wash away bacteria. Without it, your teeth are exposed to these damaging elements. Chewing sugar-free gum during exercise can help keep saliva production active, thus reducing acid and bacteria.

We strive to make every appointment at my Potomac Falls dental office problem free, and your everyday choices go a long way in helping us achieve that goal. If you find yourself partaking in any of these potentially smile-damaging habits, make a conscious effort to stop or take action to counteract any damage. If you’d like help, give us a call. That’s what we’re here for.

Welcoming patients from Potomac Falls, Herndon, and nearby communities.

Top 4 Ways to Relax at Your Next Dental Visit

relax at dentist

When you visit the dentist, are you less than relaxed? Perhaps you’re a bit nervous, or maybe even scared. You’re not alone. An estimated 80 million Americans avoid getting the dental care they need due to fear. At our dental office in Potomac Falls, we understand. We also know how important regular dental care is for overall health, so we’d like provide top tips to help you relax at your next dental visit.

Dental problems not only affect the mouth, they can also affect your body. And when you avoid the dentist out of fear, you’re putting your health at risk. Take gum disease, for example. Approximately 64.7 million Americans have gum disease and, as a result, are at increased risk for heart disease, strokes, and even cancer. One of the best ways to avoid dental problems like gum disease that can lead to whole-body issues? Visiting your dentist in Potomac Falls regularly.

What to do if You’re Scared

  • I wear my sunglasses at… the dentist! It may sound silly, but adding some sort of distraction while in the dental chair can make a big difference. Sunglasses can help ease the harsh, bright light, music can create a welcome distraction, and earplugs can block out any unpleasant noise.
  • Get by With a Little Help From Your Friends. If you don’t currently have a dentist, a great place to start your search is with friends and family members. Talk to several people you trust. Get to know about their dental experiences and their individual dentists. You might find out someone close to you also fears the dentist! Then hit the World Wide Web.
  • Research. Take some of the dental offices your friends and family use and check them out online. Read reviews, visit their websites, research their credentials. The internet is full of great information that can help find the right dentist for you.
  • Be an Open Book. When you’ve narrowed down your choice of potential dentists, give them a call. Be open and honest about your fear and listen to how the team answers your questions. Once you’ve scheduled an appointment, have a talk with your dental team. Make sure they understand your concerns. It’s ok to ask them to describe each treatment and to discuss a signal you can use if you need a break.

If you’ve been avoiding the dentist because of fear, give our Potomac Falls dental office a call. We’ll never make you feel embarrassed about your anxieties or lecture you, and we promise to respect your concerns and work with you to ease your nervousness. More importantly, we’ll make sure to get your smile healthy so your body can stay healthy, too.

Accepting patients from Potomac Falls, Herndon, and surrounding areas.

Do Different Areas of the Tongue Taste Different Things?

May1 Tastebuds

If you think back to perhaps fourth grade science, you may remember learning about the tongue map. The tongue map described which areas of the tongue tasted different flavors — bitter on the back, sour and salty on the sides, and sweet on the front. At our dental office in Potomac Falls, we’d like to correct this early-taught lesson of mouth anatomy (sorry, fourth grade teachers!).

Where Are You, Bud?

Taste buds are often mistaken for another crucial piece of tongue anatomy — the papillae. When you stick out your tongue (go ahead, stick it out), you’ll see a bunch of tiny bumps on all areas of the tongue. These are not your taste buds, these are your papillae. Papillae come in several forms and actually house your taste buds which are much smaller. So if you have papillae all over your tongue, does that mean your taste buds are all over your tongue and you taste every flavor everywhere? Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Where’s Your Flavor?

Papillae comes in four main forms — the filiform, the fungiform, the foliate, and the circumvallate. Let’s start with the least exciting one, the filiform.

    • Filiform – The filiform papillae are found in the middle of the tongue and almost look like fur. Don’t worry, it’s not really fur and you’re not turning into a werewolf, it’s just the shape of this papillae. This is the least exciting papillae because it doesn’t contain any taste buds. This means you don’t taste tastes in the middle of your tongue.
    • Fungiform – These papillae are found on the sides and front of the tongue and look like tiny dots. These are a bit more exciting but only slightly. Each fungiform papillae contains about 3-5 taste buds so you can technically experience taste in this area of the tongue, but there’s a better place.
    • Foliate & Circumvallate Most of your taste buds are found in these two papillae. In fact, each one usually has more than 100 taste buds! Both of these types of papillae are found at the back of the mouth. The circumvallate are on the top of the tongue in the way, way back and basically form a line from one side of the tongue to the other. The foliate papillae are also way in the back on either side of the tongue and look more like ridges than small bumps.

So you can see, using the tongue map is a great way to roughly explain how taste buds work, but we wanted to make sure all of the patients at our Potomac Falls dental office knew the real source of the blissful taste of their favorite foods. So take a bite, let it linger on the back of your tongue, and enjoy!

Accepting patients from Potomac Falls, Herndon, and surrounding communities.

 

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

oral cancer awareness

Whenever we hear the word cancer, it’s always scary. For everyone at our Potomac Falls dental office, we place emphasis on educating our patients on one type of cancer specifically. That type of cancer would be oral cancer.

When you think of oral cancer, you may automatically assume it’s due to tobacco use. While that’s absolutely a risk factor that goes hand in hand with oral cancer, there’re other potential causes.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • Age
  • Lots of exposure to UV light
  • HPV
  • Poor nutrition

Obviously, the best way to totally avoid tobacco and alcohol risk of oral cancer is to avoid using alcohol and tobacco. But age is a factor, too. Most cases of oral cancer occur in people above the age of 45. If you have a job you do outdoors and have not always been careful about using sunscreen on your lips and face, you, too, may be at a higher risk.

And maybe it’s not surprising to you that a wonderful way to stave off oral cancers is to make sure you’re getting adequate nutrition from fruits and vegetables. We recommend 5 servings of each a day!

Ask your general practitioner or family doctor about HPV risks and vaccines. HPV is present in 80% of adults in this country, so don’t be afraid because early detection is key.

A lot of oral cancer cases go unnoticed, so if you experience any of the following, give us a call at our Potomac Falls Dental Office immediately.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Sore throat that won’t go away
  • Hoarse voice
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Lump in the neck
  • Mouth sores that won’t heal

Prevention is key to ensuring a healthy, cancer-free mouth. That’s why we place so much importance on maintaining regular visits to our dental office in Potomac Falls. Not only does routine care ensure your teeth are strong and your mouth is healthy, it also allows us to catch any potential signs of oral cancer early, increasing the chance for a successful treatment.

Been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist? Give us a call today!


Welcoming patients from Potomac Falls, Herndon, and nearby communities.

Tooth Truth: Debunking Cavity Myths

cavity myths

Cavities. They’re one of the most common dental problems, yet there’s still so much confusion about what exactly causes these pesky pockets of decay. At our dental office in Potomac Falls, we’d like to debunk some cavity myths and talk about the truth behind the tooth.

 

Cavity Myth: Sensitivity means you have a cavity.

Tooth Truth: Sensitivity doesn’t automatically equate to a cavity and could actually mean a variety of different things. If you have pain in your teeth when you drink something hot or cold, chances are your roots have become exposed, probably due to gum recession. Sensitivity could simply mean you have extremely sensitive teeth. You could also have a cracked or broken tooth.

 

Cavity Myth: If you have a cavity, you’ll know it.

Tooth Truth: A lot of times, a cavity has no symptoms if the decay is moderate. However, if left untreated, a cavity will continue to grow. This is when we start to experience pain. Once the decay becomes much more severe and causes damage to the nerves, you may need more than a filling to fix the cavity. In short, if you wait to have symptoms of a cavity, you’ve waited too long.

 

Cavity Myth: Kids are more likely to get cavities than adults.

Tooth Truth: In the past 20 years, the prevalence of cavities in children has been cut in half. However, there continues to be a rise in the amount of cavities in the senior citizen population. Many times senior citizens require daily medications, and these medicines can result in dry mouth and lack of saliva. Without saliva, decay causing bacteria isn’t rinsed away and is left to eat away at enamel, resulting in cavities.

 

Now that you know the truth behind cavities, there’s one other really important thing you should know. Regular appointments at our Potomac Falls dental office is the most effective way to keep your mouth healthy and cavity free. If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help!

 

Accepting patients from Potomac Falls, Herndon, and surrounding communities.

Why Do All Dental Offices Smell The Same?

what is that smell

When you walk into a dental office and breathe deeply, you’ll immediately recognize that dental office smell. There’s nothing quite like it. But why do all dental offices have that certain super-clean stench? At our dental office in Potomac Falls, we become immune to the everyday smells that go along with working here. We also realize our patients are the complete opposite, and the odor can be odd. But we can explain.

 

Procedures

There are unique smells that come from dental procedures themselves. A common term associated with the aroma of a dental procedure is tooth dust, which can be experienced during a filling, root canal, and numerous other procedures. The scent of tooth dust can be limited by using a vacuum and a lot of water during treatment. Since a dental office is packed doing treatments all day long, tooth dust permeates the air and can linger around, contributing to overall dental office smell. However, tooth dust is not the only thing that makes dental offices smell like, well, dental offices.

 

Materials

The materials used in dental procedures can also have pretty strong scents. Acrylic, which is used for crown and denture construction, is one of the most common materials that contribute to the dental office smell. Additionally, clove oil that’s often used in fillings, has a powerful aroma.

 

Sanitation

One of the most important things to your dentist in Potomac Falls is sanitation and infection control. Everything used to keep our patients safe, healthy, and away from germs can have potent odors. The gloves, antibacterial soaps, disinfectant wipes, super-hot sanitation ovens, and the mixture used to sanitize tools that can’t be heat-sterilized are all standards in our practice, and all help create the unique dental office smell. However, pungent smells often go hand in hand with high levels of sanitation. Personally, we’d rather have the smell than an unsanitary dental office.

 

While we don’t think anyone will be making a dental-office-scented candle anytime soon, we do encourage you to think of the aroma as a good one. It means your teeth are being well taken care of in a clean and sanitized practice, both of which are key at our Potomac Falls  dental office.

 

Serving patients from Potomac Falls, Herndon, and surrounding areas.

 

Kick Butts for Your Smile’s Sake

cigarettes bad for your teeth

The legal age to purchase tobacco products of any kind in the United States is 18. If a smoker picks up the habit on their 18th birthday, and smokes a pack a day until they’re 35, they will lose an average of four or five teeth. Smoking can also cause additional, serious oral health problems. At our dental office in Potomac Falls, we want to explain just how harmful a smoking habit can be to your health.

 

Gum Disease

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that smokers are seven times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers, and of all diagnosed cases of adult gum disease, 75% can be linked to cigarettes. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that grow and thrive in plaque. And it’s not just a mouth’s problem. Gum disease has been link to heart disease, stroke, and difficulty controlling blood sugar, all things that smoking already does without the help of gum disease. Once gum disease is active, it can destroy the tissue around your teeth, causing pain, bleeding while brushing or flossing, and even tooth loss.

 

Tooth Loss

Research conducted by The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) concluded that smokers are definitely at increased risk for tooth loss than non-smokers. One of the reasons for that is the higher chance for gum disease. On average, for every 10 years of smoking, men will lose 2.9 teeth and women will lose 1.5.

 

Oral Cancer

Since cigarette smoke first touches your lips and the inside of your mouth, that area becomes at increased risk for being affected by the vast amount of dangerous chemicals found in each and every cigarette. Among those 4000 chemicals? 43 are known to cause cancer. Take some of these stats about oral cancer:

  • 90% of those with oral cancer have used tobacco
  • Smokers are six time more likely to develop some type of oral cancer
  • Smoke from tobacco products can cause cancer in the mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus

 

Whole Body Concerns

As we all know, smoking can lead to really scary whole-body concerns like lung cancer, heart disease, and premature death. On a more superficial level, smoking leads to tooth discoloration, bad breath, and premature aging.

 

If you’re a smoker, it’s even more important to keep up with regular visits to our Potomac Falls dental office, and it’s just as important for us to know if you smoke. We won’t judge you but we will encourage you to quit, both for the health of your smile and for your body.


Serving patients from Potomac Falls, Herndon, and surrounding areas.

Professional Teeth Cleanings: Yes, They’re That Important

Dental CleaningAt our dental office in Potomac Falls, we stress the importance of regular visits and professional cleanings at least twice a year. Do you know why these biannual visits are so important? This blog will help explain the importance behind regular professional cleanings.

 

  1. Keep Gum Disease Away. Gum disease isn’t only bad for your smile, it can lead to other whole body problems like heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss, which brings along a whole other set of oral and whole-body problems.

 

  1. Get a Brighter Smile. Professional teeth cleanings are much more involved than your at-home oral health care routine. During cleanings with your Potomac Falls dentist, surface stains caused by coffee or tea can be removed. End your visit with a quick polish, and your grin will be beautifully shiny too.

 

  1. Detect Early. Regular cleanings and visits can also help detect oral cancer early, which is extremely important for successful treatment. Your dental team will look for any abnormal cells in your mouth at each and every visit.

 

  1. Save Money. Avoiding the dentist for long periods of time could mean more out-of-pocket expenses down the road. Preventive appointments and regular cleanings help catch problems before they turn into big, expensive issues.

 

  1. Freshen Breath. Yes, your at-home routine of brushing and flossing does help keep your breath fresh, but professional cleanings go deeper and are more thorough at removing bad breath germs and bacteria. The best way to make sure your breath is kissably fresh is to see your dentist regularly.

 

If you’ve been slacking on your professional cleanings, call our Potomac Falls dental office. We’ll not only get your pearly whites sparkling clean, we’ll also make sure your mouth is in tip-top shape.

 

Accepting patients from Potomac Falls, Herndon, and nearby towns.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Heart

Heart health monthYou know that regular brushing and flossing can help keep your mouth healthy, but did you know that a healthy mouth could also mean a healthy heart? Each February, Americans observe American Heart Month, a time to educate ourselves about the risks associated with heart disease and analyze our own habits. At our dental office in Potomac Falls, we’d like to do our part and talk about the connection between mouth and heart.

The Connection Between Mouth and Heart

When we talk about the connection between mouth and heart, the first thing that comes to mind is gum disease. Gum disease is a dangerous disease that, if left untreated, can lead to heart concerns. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), gum disease has a direct correlation to an increased risk for heart attacks. What’s more, many whole-body problems tend to show the very first warning signs in the mouth, which makes regular appointments with your dentist in Potomac Falls even more important.

Know the Signs

Keeping your mouth healthy and gum disease free is important for not only the life of your smile, but for your heart, too. Some of the symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Consistently bad breath
  • Chronic bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth

Putting Your Heart at Risk

Besides maintaining a healthy mouth, there are additional ways you can decrease your risk of heart disease by changing a few lifestyle factors. Although making any considerable life changes is daunting, it’s important to keep trying. Some habits that put the heart at risk include:

  • Smoking
  • Poor Diet
  • Lack of Exercise

If your lifestyle factors put you at risk for heart disease, or if any of the signs of gum disease sound familiar to you, call our Potomac Falls dental office right away. Early detection of gum disease not only means a quicker treatment plan, but can also help keep your heart healthy. Don’t put your heart at risk.

Accepting patients from Potomac Falls, Herndon, and nearby towns.