Waldorf Periodontist | Don’t Rush to Brush

22302 Periodontist

Are you a diligent brusher who grabs the toothbrush as soon as you finish each snack or meal? While there are significant benefits to regular brushing, hurrying your hygiene might be doing more harm than good. The key lies in understanding the effects different types of food and drinks have on your teeth.

The Dangers of Acidic Foods

Food and drinks that contain acids are particularly harmful to your teeth. Acid can wear away at the enamel on your teeth. As your enamel weakens, your risk for developing decay increases.

What Foods Should I Look Out For?

Fruits such as oranges, pineapples, and grapefruit contain problematic acids that can cause damage to your enamel. Diet sodas and wines can be just as damaging, as can fruit juices such as orange juice. Tomato products and foods such as pizza, salsa, soups, and sauces also contain acids.

But Brushing My Teeth Helps, Right?

Not necessarily. The acids in these foods weaken the enamel on your teeth. After eating or drinking a highly acidic product, your teeth are in a particularly vulnerable state. Enamel protects your teeth, and it is the strongest mineral in your entire body. However, the layers of your teeth beneath the enamel are not as strong and resilient. If you brush your teeth immediately after consuming something acidic, you can drive the acid further into your teeth. This speeds up the process of breaking down your enamel.

When Should I Brush?

Wait about 20 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks before brushing your teeth. While waiting, your mouth will produce saliva which helps to neutralize acids and wash away bacteria. Drinking water, rinsing your mouth, or chewing sugarless gum can help neutralize acids more quickly.

Should I Always Wait to Brush My Teeth?

While you should not rush to brush after eating acidic foods, you should not wait long after eating foods that are extremely sticky and sugary. If you are eating candy, taffy, or another sticky treat, waiting is not the best option. The sooner you can clean these sugary substances off your teeth, the better.

Should I Just Stop Eating Acidic Foods?

Acidic foods such as fruits contain vitamins and nutrients that are an essential component to your diet. While you don’t have to avoid these foods altogether, you should be mindful of how they impact your teeth. Maintain a daily oral hygiene schedule that includes regular flossing and at least two rounds of brushing for two minutes.

For more dental health tips, or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.

2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128, Alexandria, VA 22302

Periodontist in Alexandria | 5 Diseases Linked to Poor Gum Health

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Poor oral health is usually linked with bad breath, and rightfully so.  But as it turns out, keeping your gums healthy helps lower your risk for many diseases, including the following:

Arthritis:

Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammatory disorder where the gums become inflamed and the immune system starts to attack its own tissues.  This is precisely what causes the pain that many people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). There have been several studies done that show there is a link between RA and periodontal disease, but now there is some evidence that there may be a direct causation.

The European Congress of Rheumatology did a study on 636 patients with varying levels of teeth lost from gum disease.  They found that the participants with 10 or fewer teeth were 8 times more likely to have arthritis than those who retained all of their original teeth (32, including wisdom teeth).

Cardiovascular:

While more circumstantial, there is evidence to show that there is a strong link between good oral and heart health.  Because periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, patients may be at a higher risk of developing atherosclerosis, which is hardening of arteries due to inflammation.  Having healthy gums reduces your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Respiratory Infections

Your mouth and lungs are both a part of respiratory system, so it is possible for the bacteria in the mouth to travel to the lungs.

Most types of bacteria in your mouth are benign and do nothing more than aid in digesting food particles in the mouth.  However pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria can enter the mouth and, with poor oral care, may find a prime environment to thrive before spreading from the mouth into the lungs where they can cause health problems.  The good news is that keeping your mouth clean with regular brushing and flossing lessens their impact, and helps keep the rest of you healthier, too!

Pregnancy Complications

Up to 70% of women develop gingivitis during their pregnancy, creatively referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis.”  Hormone levels change during the pregnancy which cause an inflammatory response that then can increase the risk of developing periodontal diseases.

Studies have shown a strong link of periodontal disease with preterm labor.  In a normal pregnancy, a balance of inflammatory proteins is counterbalanced by anti-inflammatory proteins.  However, when a pregnant woman has gum disease, the high levels of inflammation protein can induce preterm labor or other complications, putting the health of both the mother and the developing baby at risk.

Cancer

A U.S. study found that people with severe gum disease are not only at risk of losing teeth, but also at a greater risk for cancer.  The study found that those with healthy gums had a 24% less chance of having any kind of cancer, and a 50% less likelihood of developing lung cancer.

Good News

Fortunately, gum disease is highly preventable!  For more information on how a healthy mouth makes for a healthy body or to make an appointment, call our office today!

Sources:

https://www.absolutedental.com/blog/10-health-issues-caused-by-bad-oral-health/

https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/comorbidities/gum-disease/ra-and-gum-disease.php

https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/periodontal-disease-heart-health#1

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/gum-disease/how-periodontal-disease-affects-your-lungs-0815

http://theconversation.com/how-gum-disease-in-pregnant-women-poses-a-risk-to-their-newborns-55484

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-periodontitis-cancer/cancer-risk-elevated-with-severe-gum-disease-idUSKBN1FJ2CA

2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128, Alexandria, VA 22302

Periodontist in Waldorf | Health Link: Oral Hygiene and Gum Disease

The human body is a network of interconnected systems and organs. Unfortunately, issues that impact one particular area of your body can also effect the health and function of other areas. Recently, studies have highlighted evidence for links between gum disease and heart disease.

While the exact nature of the connection is still being researched, heart disease is almost twice as likely to occur in people who have gum disease. Nearly half of all Americans have undiagnosed gum disease. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death, making it pertinent that you maintain a healthy heart. The first key to doing so might lie in keeping your gums healthy.

While gum disease may be a contributing factor to heart disease, it is not the only cause. It is essential that you maintain regular visits to your primary care physician as well to measure your overall health. Other factors and lifestyle choices can impact your heart health.

Diet and exercise. Maintain an active lifestyle with activities you enjoy, such as taking walks, riding bikes, playing sports, or doing yoga. Avoid foods high in starches and sugars, including carbonated soft drinks, as they can also damage your teeth.

Don’t smoke. Whether you’re smoking or vaping, nicotine has a detrimental effect on your cardiovascular system and can damage teeth, gums, and lungs. Recent studies have connected vaping to a rapid loss in healthy cells that line the top layer of your mouth. These cells play an essential role in keeping your mouth healthy.

Brush your teeth. The most basic part of oral hygiene is also the most effective. Make sure you brush and floss at least twice a day.

By keeping a balanced, exercising regularly, and taking care of your teeth, you’re taking a holistic approach to your well-being and minimizing your risk of developing heart disease.

As with other diseases, preventing gum disease alone will not completely remove the risk of developing heart disease. However, you can take a proactive approach to keeping your body healthy, starting with your oral health.

To schedule a cleaning and examination, please contact our office.

601 Post Office Rd. Suite 1-B,
Waldorf, MD 20602
Phone: (301) 638-4867

Alexandria Periodontist | 3 Ways to Make Brushing Fun For Your Child

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Little teeth will grow into a big smile. To ensure your child is on track for a lifetime of optimal oral health, it is important to instill good oral hygiene habits early in life. We understand that this can sometimes be a challenge. It’s hard to keep the interest of young children, which can make brushing twice a day for two minutes each time difficult to do. We’ve gathered a few pointers to help you and your child make brushing time a fun experience.

Choose a Cool Toothbrush and Great Tasting Toothpaste

Make your child part of the process by allowing them to select a cool toothbrush. By choosing one with a favorite color or neat character on it, selecting a toothbrush can be fun. When it comes time to choose a toothpaste, pick one that is palatable to your child. Not all children find the mint flavors often used in adult toothpastes to be appealing. Instead, go for one with a taste your child loves.

Timing is Everything

It is essential that your child brushes for a full two minutes, twice each day. Two minutes can feel like a long time. Allow your child to control a timer to better engage them in their brushing. Use a sand timer, egg timer, or even a timing app on your phone. Many children also find it helpful to visually see how long they have been brushing.

Brush Together

Children learn by example. You can set a great example for your child by being a brushing role model. Brush together with your child. This also gives you the opportunity to correct any improper brushing habits they may otherwise do on their own. By brushing together, you are also emphasizing the importance of regular brushing each day. Show your child that proper oral hygiene is important.

For most adults, brushing your teeth is second nature. For young children still learning, it can be challenging or boring. You can help your child prepare for a lifetime of optimal oral health by helping them feel comfortable brushing their teeth properly. Stick to cool toothbrush designs and fun flavors. Also try using a timer, and brushing together to further build good habits. Don’t forget that your child should visit us for regular examinations and professional cleanings.

Contact our office to schedule your child’s next visit.

2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128,
Alexandria VA 22302
Phone: (703) 894-4867

20602 Periodontist | Dentistry – Past, Present, and Future

Periodontist in Alexandria

“Tooth worms” are the cause of tooth decay. That was the headline of a Sumerian text from around 5,000 B.C.E. Fortunately, the dental industry has evolved since then and we know “tooth worms” don’t exist. Here’s how dentistry has evolved into the comfortable, safe, and beneficial science of today.

In the Beginning

Did you know that the ancient Egyptians had designated doctors for teeth? Evidence has been uncovered suggesting the Chinese used acupuncture to treat pain associated with tooth decay as early as 2700 B.C.E.

Additionally, in 500 B.C.E., Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote of treating teeth and oral diseases by using sterilization procedures and red-hot wires. They also spoke of using these red-hot wires to stabilize jaw fractures and bind loose teeth.

The Visionary Thoughts of the 1600s-1700s

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the 1600s and 1700s were a gold mine of innovation in the dental world. In 1695, Charles Allen published the first ever English dental textbook entitled The Operator of Teeth. In the book, he advises using a homemade toothpaste from powdered coal, rose-water, and “dragon’s blood” to keep teeth clean and white. Allen also suggests using dog’s teeth for transplants and even references wisdom teeth in his book.

In the 18th century, Pierre Fauchard was well ahead of his time in the medical practice when his master work The Surgeon Dentist was published. For the first time, dentistry was described as a modern profession. Some notable highlights in the book include sugar being the cause of dental caries (cavities), braces being used to correct teeth position, and the concept of a dentist’s chair light.

The Progressive 1800s

The discoveries and inventions of the 1800s were significant. In 1816, Auguste Taveau developed the first form of dental fillings made out of silver coins and mercury. In 1840, Horace Wells demonstrated the use of nitrous oxide to sedate patients and Thomas Morton employed the use of ether anesthesia for surgery.

That same year, Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris boosted modern dentistry by opening the first dental school, inventing the modern doctorate of dental surgery, and starting the first dental society. By the end of the 1800’s, porcelain inlays, the first mechanized dental drill, and the toothpaste tube had all been invented.

Scientific Advancement of the 1900s

The scientific development of the 1900s gave birth to some amazing advancements in the dental industry. Electric drills became available due to the invention of electricity. In 1907, precision case fillings made by a “lost wax” casting machine was invented to fill cavities, and Novocain was introduced into US dental offices.

In 1955, Michael Buonocore described the method of tooth bonding to repair cracked enamel on teeth. Years later, the first fully-reclining dental chair is introduced to put patients and dentists at ease.  By the 1990s, “invisible” braces were introduced, along with the first at-home tooth bleaching system.

What Will the Future of Dentistry Hold?

Today, dental professionals are investigating the links between oral health and overall health. The use of gene-mediated therapeutics to alter the genetic structure of teeth to increase resistance to tooth decay is receiving attention. Some researchers believe that there may be a way to grow a new tooth structure around weakened enamel. Only time will tell what the future of dentistry will bring, but our office is dedicated to seeking the most effective modern technologies as they arise.

Schedule your visit to our office and experience what modern dentistry can do for you.

601 Post Office Rd. Suite 1-B,
Waldorf, MD 20602
Phone: (301) 638-4867

Periodontist in Waldorf | How Periodontics Can Improve Your Life

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Periodontics is a branch of dentistry that involves the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the gums. Periodontal disease (gum disease) is an infection of the structures around the teeth, which mainly includes the gums but also affects the ligaments and bones. Gum disease can have a negative impact on your life, but treatments are available. 

Heart Disease  

Gum disease can exacerbate heart conditions. The bacteria found in gum disease travels through the bloodstream and can end up anywhere in your body, including your heart. Regular oral health examinations can detect gum disease before it significantly impacts your overall health. 

Respiratory Disease 

Research has found gum disease can worsen the effects of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other respiratory problems. Bacteria from the mouth and throat can be inhaled into the lungs. These respiratory infections can be life threatening. Brushing and flossing your teeth every day are important steps to prevent infections from happening.  

Tooth Loss 

If left untreated, gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss. The body’s natural response to infections causes bone and tissue to break down over time. Deep cleanings and surgical procedures can help save your smile.  

Periodontal disease is characterized by bleeding, painful, and swollen gums. Other symptoms include receding gum lines and sensitive teeth. If you suspect you might have periodontal disease, we recommend you schedule a visit with our team. Routine oral health examinations, twice-daily brushing, and regular flossing are your best defenses against periodontal disease. 

To schedule a consultation with our team, please contact our office.  

601 Post Office Rd. Suite 1-B,
Waldorf, MD 20602
Phone: (301) 638-4867

20602 Periodontist | New Year’s Resolution: A Healthier Smile

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The new year is a time when many consider making positive changes in their lives.  Common goals include wanting to lose weight, exercise more, or quit a bad habit. What about vowing to improve your oral health this year? Here’s a few easy changes you can make that will lead to a happier, healthier smile in 2019.

Timing is Everything

Are you a fast brusher? A couple of passes over your teeth is not going to cut it in terms of keeping your teeth strong and clean. Here’s our suggestion for a new year’s resolution: brush for two minutes, twice a day. Start off the new year by trying to brush for the full time. Don’t brush hard because vigorous, fast brushing can lead to lasting gum damage.

Drink Water, Lots of Water

Replace sugary drinks with water this year. Your teeth will benefit from water, as it helps to clean off some of the excess sugar and acids left from food and drinks. Water also assists in saliva production, which is essential for maintaining your teeth’s enamel. Drinking water can also fit into a resolution to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle. Make sure it’s part of your resolution too!

Come See Us

The new year is a good time to schedule your next visit to our office. Keeping up with regular visits helps us to give your teeth a thorough cleaning and examination. Never wait until you think something is wrong with your teeth. Make 2019 the year you keep up with your dental work.

Floss

According to a study by the American Dental Association, only 40% of Americans are flossing daily. Flossing should be a part of your daily oral hygiene routine. We recommend changing your ways in the new year if you are one of the 60% of Americans avoiding dental floss. Flossing is essential for helping limit your decay and for maintaining healthy gums.

With the start of the new year, make a vow to look after your teeth. A few simple changes in your old habits will do a world of good for your teeth in 2019. Allow your good habits to rub off on others this year.

For more advice on keeping your teeth health or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

601 Post Office Rd. Suite 1-B,
Waldorf, MD 20602
Phone: (301) 638-4867

Alexandria Periodontist | Seniors and Oral Health

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Your teeth age with you. It’s important to keep them strong and healthy even as you grow older. Seniors are at a higher risk for developing periodontal disease. In addition to getting a regular dental examination, here are some other tips to keep your teeth healthy.

Keep a Routine

Regardless of age, we cannot stress the importance of keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine. Make sure you are brushing twice-daily and flossing at least once per day. For seniors with dentures, it is important that you remove them for at least four hours each day. We recommend removing them at night. Dentures need to be cleaned daily so make it part of your routine as well. We also suggest staying hydrated by drinking water. Not only does water help keep you producing enamel building saliva, but if it contains fluoride, it can help keep your teeth strong. Make a regular visit to our office part of your routine as well.

Tips for Caregivers

If you are the primary caregiver of someone elderly, working with them to keep their teeth healthy can be a challenge. It is up to you to remind them to brush and floss regularly. Help them by establishing a routine and set times for brushing their teeth. We ask that you assist them in making an appointment to visit our dental office. If keeping up with daily dental health seems to be too difficult, please contact our office. We can work with you to offer some advice and solutions.

Financial Assistance

For seniors in a nursing home that are enrolled in state or national financial programs, the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests considering the Incurred Medical Expense regulation. This works to assist in paying for care that is deemed a necessity. If our dentist finds that treatment must be done, consider this as an option to lessen the financial burden. Talk to your nursing home or care facility’s caseworker for more information.

Don’t Forget About Gums

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, can be brought on by certain medications. When you visit our office, be sure to update us on any changes to your medications. At times, early periodontal disease is painless which makes it even more important that you keep a regular routine of visiting our office for a thorough exam and evaluation. According to the ADA, more than 47% of adults over the age of 30 have chronic periodontitis.

Keeping your teeth healthy as you age can be difficult. We suggest sticking to a daily routine in terms of brushing and flossing, and keeping up with regular visits to our office. If you are the caregiver of an elderly spouse, parent, or loved one, do not overlook their oral health. Make sure they are receiving the needed attention and are sticking to a daily oral healthy routine.

For more tips on keeping your teeth health or to set up your next appointment, please contact our office.

2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128,
Alexandria VA 22302
Phone: (703) 894-4867

Waldorf Periodontist | Scary Link Between Childhood Obesity and Gum Disease

Periodontist in Waldorf

More than half of all adults over 30 have gum disease. These findings were from a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults are not the only group impacted by gum disease. In fact, new research has uncovered a startling link between childhood who are obesity and gum disease.

Understanding the Numbers

A study published in Diabetes Care found that just under 99% of children who were classified as obese had some degree of gum disease or inflammation. A separate group of children classified as overweight were also studied. In this group, 85% of children had some degree of gum disease. This study is among the first of its kind examining the link between childhood obesity and gum disease. However these results are similar to a range of findings in past studies covering adults.

Combating Gum Disease

Gum disease can be challenging to identify at first because you might not even know your child has it. Mild types of gum disease, such as gingivitis, can sometimes go unnoticed. Without proper treatment, gum disease and inflammation can become more severe and more difficult to treat. Early detection and prevention are the keys to a healthy mouth. Gum disease can lead to bad breath and swollen or bloody gums. In its most advanced stages, gum disease can lead to tooth loss as the infected gums recede.

Keeping Your Child Healthy

The most important step you can take is to maintain an active role in ensuring your child practices proper oral hygiene. Make sure they are brushing their teeth for two minutes twice each day. Flossing is essential to keeping gums healthy. Anti-bacterial mouthwashes are also an option for extra protection against plaque buildup. If your child is overweight, consult your pediatrician. Keep up with regular visits to our office. Our team is trained in identifying gum inflammation. We can help your child stay on track for maintaining optimal oral health.

While this particular study is one of the first of its kind, it does mimic the extensive research correlating obesity and gum disease in adults. These alarming findings underscore the importance of maintaining healthy habits and keeping up with oral hygiene.

For more information on keeping your child’s mouth healthy or to schedule a visit, please contact us.

601 Post Office Rd. Suite 1-B,
Waldorf, MD 20602
Phone: (301) 638-4867

22302 Periodontist | 3 Health Issues Linked to Your Oral Health

Your mouth is a gateway. Whatever you eat or drink enters your body through your mouth, and what’s already there can have an impact on your body as well. Bacteria of all kinds are present in your mouth. While some are benign, others may pose a threat to your health.

Maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine and visiting our dental office for regular appointments can help keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria. Below are 3 common ailments that have been shown to be negatively impacted by poor oral health. If you suffer from any of these conditions and are worried that your oral health might be a contributing factor, contact our team for an examination and cleaning today!

Diabetes

Millions of Americans suffer from diabetes, and the disease can have many complications associated with it. A connection has been shown between diabetes and gum disease in many patients. Oral health problems often increase in frequency for patients with diabetes. Gingivitis and periodontitis are more common because these patents are at a higher risk of bacterial infection and are less able to combat harmful bacteria. Blood glucose levels can also be affected by gum disease, potentially putting a patient with diabetes at a higher risk for additional health problems.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

RA is an autoimmune disease that affects 1.5 million people in the US alone. This chronic inflammatory disorder affects joints and is caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues. Patients with RA are more likely to suffer from gum disease and periodontitis. Likewise, patients with periodontal issues have been shown to have nearly twice the risk of developing RA according to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Lung Conditions

Once bacteria enter your blood stream through your mouth, they can travel through your body and affect other locations. Conditions like bronchitis and pneumonia can be caused by malignant bacteria settling into a patient’s lungs. Other existing issues such as emphysema and pulmonary disease can be exacerbated by the invading bacteria.

If you suffer from any of these conditions or are concerned that poor oral health might be putting you at risk, please contact our office today. Our dedicated team will be happy to provide you with a treatment plan and prevention tips based on your current health.

2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128,
Alexandria VA 22302
Phone: (703) 894-4867

601 Post Office Rd. Suite 1-B,
Waldorf, MD 20602
Phone: (301) 638-4867