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Alexandria VA Periodontist | Easy Flossing Alternatives to Preserve Your Healthy Smile

If there is one recommended dental habit that many people struggle to embrace, it’s flossing. Whether you find traditional thread flossing challenging to maneuver, messy, or just time consuming, you are not alone. However, The American Dental Association (ADA) and our office want you to be able to floss regularly and thoroughly. Consider these effective alternatives to remove unwanted plaque from the places your toothbrush simply can’t reach.

1.) Disposable Floss Pick

These convenient little tools have plastic handles and Y-shaped prongs that come pre-threaded with floss. No measuring, snipping or finger threading required. Ideal for travel and on-the-go use, simply grab the handle, insert the floss between your teeth, and when done, toss the tool away.

 

2.) Non-Disposable Floss Picks

Fashioned with a longer handle than their disposable counterparts, these picks may be an excellent option for patients with small mouths and/or crowded teeth. They also help to make reaching back teeth a breeze.

 

3.) Water Flossers

Electronic flossers use streams of pressurized water to clean between your teeth. There are many different models to accommodate price preferences, and most offer adjustable pressure settings to ensure your comfort during use.

 

4.) Interdental Brushes

Designed to look like tiny toothbrushes, interdental brushes are especially effective for those who wear braces. They are also a nice option for patients with mobility issues who struggle with traditional flossing. Another plus? Like toothbrushes they can be used repeatedly – simply ask our office when we recommend replacement.

 

5.) Air Flossers

These high-tech tools use air pressure combined with a small amount of water to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy. Considered to be less messy than their water-based cousins, air flossers offer easy point and click instructions – just aim the flosser between your teeth and a blast of air does the rest.

 

Keeping the spaces between your teeth and gums free from plaque and tartar is essential to your oral health. Finding tools and techniques that work for you is the first step towards establishing lifelong habits that lead to a lasting, healthy smile. Consider any of these flossing alternatives or call our Alexandria periodontist for a recommendation. Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS will be happy to evaluate your unique needs to help you find the solution that is right for you.

 

 

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Facts You May Not Have Known About Oral Cancer

According to The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, oral cancer claims one American life every hour of every day. Unfortunately, most cases go undetected until it is too late, making the need for regular examinations of even greater importance. Those who are proactive and seek treatment early have the best chance of beating the disease and living a long, healthy life. Below are some facts you may not have known about oral cancer, including warning signs, trends, and more.

1.) Oral Cancer Affects More Men Than Women

No matter your gender, you should be aware of the very real dangers of oral cancer. While studies conducted by the Oral Cancer Foundation have shown that oral cancer is one the rise among women too, a 2:1 incidence ratio between men and women still remains. This correlation may be due to the fact that, statistically speaking, men smoke and drink more than women. Regardless of your own habits, remain aware of the signs and symptoms and ask your doctor to perform a regular oral exam if they do not already.

 

2.) Each Year, 450,000 New Cases Are Discovered

As such, it is likely that oral cancer has affected someone in your life. Whether you know someone who has had, or is currently dealing with their own struggle against oral cancer, you should know that they are not alone.

 

3.) Alcohol and Tobacco Increase Your Risk

Among the many risk factors, your lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on the likelihood of you developing this cancer. It is estimated by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America that roughly 80% of people with oral cancer are heavy smokers, while 70% are heavy drinkers. Add this unfortunate statistic to the list of reasons why you should leave the cigarettes behind.

 

4.) When Detected Early Enough, Oral Cancer has a Cure Rate of 90%

According to many experts, part of the reason why oral cancer can be so destructive is because it often goes undetected for long periods of time. Don’t overlook or ignore any suspicious new developments in your mouth and call your doctor or Alexandria periodontist as soon as you notice anything amiss.

 

The best way to overcome oral cancer is to stay informed and catch it early. As something that is important to all dental professionals, we hope you will take this disease just as seriously as we do. We look forward to helping you stay healthy and protecting your oral health throughout your life. If you have any questions call or contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS today and our Alexandria periodontist will assist you however we can.

 

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Halitosis Help Line

No one wants to be the person with bad smelling breath, or halitosis as it is called professionally. However, some breath issues can be persistent. This is not your fault, and we understand just how difficult a situation this can be. Luckily, Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS is here to help you overcome this issue and regain confidence in the scent of your breath again for good.

Alexandria VA Periodontist

Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can keep your breath as fresh as you want it to be.

The Importance of Brushing and Flossing

If you have bad breath, it is possible that it comes from leftover plaque, debris, and bacteria stuck in your teeth or gums. Plaque is a sticky substance that acts almost like a bacteria magnet. That bacteria and the natural processes they undertake as a part of their life results in bad breath for you. By brushing and flossing, you can remove the plaque and therefore remove the bacteria that cause those stinky odors. Brush thoroughly every day, but make sure you don’t overdo things. Brushing too hard can cause damage too.

 

Take Care of Your Gums

Many cases of persistent bad breath are caused by periodontal disease.

 

To avoid becoming a victim of both periodontal disease and the halitosis it causes do everything in your power to keep your gums healthy. When you suffer from unhealthy gums, bacteria can get trapped in your gum pockets. This trapped bacteria causes your gums to suffer from disease, leading to poor breath, bleeding gums, and even tooth loss if not treated properly. If you do suffer from gum disease, your dentist may suggest you see a periodontist. Our Alexandria periodontist specializes in treating gum disease and can help you overcome your persistent bad breath issues as a result

 

If you are unsure if you have gum disease, but want to get your persistent bad breath checked, you should contact our periodontal team today and schedule an appointment. If it is gum disease that’s causing your bad breath, Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS is here to provide any help you require.

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Understanding the Gene-Factor in Gum Disease

Many chronic diseases have genetic factors, and gum disease is no exception. While research is ongoing, scientists have identified 38 genes associated with the increased risk of developing periodontitis. One in particular known as the FAM5C gene is not only linked to aggressive periodontal disease, but also cardiovascular disease and other conditions associated with chronic inflammation. The good news is, knowledge really is power when it comes to genetics; once you and our Alexandria periodontist identify your particular risk factors, there are healthy habits and lifestyle changes you can make to keep your teeth and gums healthy and disease-free.

Alexandria VA Periodontist

  1. Take extra care with brushing and flossing.

Everyone should prioritize these essential oral health habits, but those with elevated risk factors for gum disease need to be especially vigilant. If your gums already show signs of recession or infection, you may also want to ask our periodontal office about more frequent exams.

 

  1. Quit smoking.

The American Academy of Periodontology has identified smoking as one of the most significant risk factors for the development and progression of gum disease. If you make no other lifestyle changes, eliminating this one bad habit could dramatically improve your health and possibly lengthen your life.

 

  1. Eat a healthier diet.

Your immune system is tasked with fighting off infection in your body, including periodontal disease. A diet low in fat and high in lean meats, fish, fruits and vegetables is a simple change that can have a notably positive impact on your dental health.

 

  1. See a specialist.

Our Alexandria periodontist is a dental professional who specializes in the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. If you are genetically at risk for gum disease, schedule an appointment with our office to assess the current health of your teeth, gums and bone structure so you can create a customized plan of action to preserve your smile.

 

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is important to your overall health. For most of us, regular dental visits and good oral hygiene habits are enough. But, for those who are genetically predisposed to tooth decay and gum disease, taking extra precautions and partnering with a dental specialist can provide you with the information, tools and resources you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy now, and prevent existing conditions from progressing. Contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS to schedule an appointment today.

 

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | The Importance Of Dental Specialists Working Together

If you’ve spent any amount of time with missing teeth, you know just how detrimental it can be to your quality of life. You may be ready to finally do something about it and restore your smile with a dental implant. However, if you’ve spent too much time with those teeth missing, you may have a problem.

Alexandria VA Periodontist |

Teeth have a natural ability to move due to periodontal ligaments and a thin layer of bony-like material called cementum. When you have a full smile, this ability for teeth to shift is not all that noticeable as the pressure from surrounding teeth tend to help everything stay in place.

However, when there is a gap from a missing tooth, the surrounding teeth suddenly have a lot more room to move, and will take up the space quickly. As a result, if you’ve gone a long time with missing teeth, your remaining teeth may have moved into the vacant area, blocking the place where your dental implant restoration needs to go.

In order to remedy this situation and get your mouth ready for your implants, it may be necessary to correct your alignment with orthodontics.

Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, is used to incrementally change the position of your teeth to get them back in place. When your teeth are back in place, your doctor will be able to place the implant. While orthodontics are an extremely effective method of correction, traditional metal braces can be quite noticeable in the mouth.

For those adults who may need orthodontic treatment, there are multiple options to choose from that can fit your lifestyle and your needs. If this is the case, one possible option may be found in the form of clear aligners.

While there are many aligner systems on the market today, many know about Invisalign or have seen a commercial for the system. Changed roughly every two weeks, these plastic trays are worn consistently to achieve the same effect as braces, but with a lower profile.

Regardless of which option works best for your needs, this process speaks to the interrelatedness all dental professionals must share in order to give you the smile of your dreams. Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS is happy to play its part in helping you smile with confidence again.

If you need to schedule an appointment, or want to ask us any questions about your current treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact our Alexandria Periodontist. We are here to help you smile and look forward to doing so.

 

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | What is The Color of Your Gums Saying About You?

More variable than you may think, the color of your gums can be an excellent indicator of the state of your oral and total body health. Keeping an eye on the color and texture of your gums can be a great way to catch changes in your health and get you the care you need sooner. Take a look at the list of potential gum colors below, and what they could mean for your health.

Pink
While there are a wide range of healthy gum colors, the most common is pink. Depending on your skin tone, the shade of pink may be darker or lighter, but as long as they are firm and a usualAlexandria VA Periodontist color for you, you should be proud that you keep your gums in excellent shape.

Brown
Brown gums do not necessarily mean that there is something off about your health. For many with a darker skin tone, brown gums are actually a good sign that you are healthy. Darker gums could also be the result of an increased exposure to sunlight. Causing the melanin in your gums to darken, an increase in the amount of time you spend in the sun is usually not a reason to see your dentist. If you are worried, check on the texture of your gums and the edges around your teeth. No matter their natural color, healthy gums should be smooth and firm.

Red
Red gums are one of the most common signs of unhealthy gums. Indicating inflammation or infection, red gums are often swollen and sensitive and could bleed during brushing and flossing. This is not normal for healthy gums and is a sign that you should seek professional help.

Yellow
As you may have guessed, a yellow tinge to your gums is also a sign of unhealthy gums. An indicator that you may have gingivitis, this condition is fairly common and can usually be remedied with a visit to your doctor. If you want to avoid yellow gums altogether, it’s important to maintain a strong oral health care routine.

Black
Black gums can be an alarming situation for anyone. Usually due to tobacco use or the taking of certain medications, talk to our Alexandria VA Periodontist about a plan of action based on your medical history.

White or Gray
Often the result of a weakened immune system, your gray gums will need the help of a doctor to return to a normal pink hue. Consult with your doctor right away.

Keeping your gums healthy through good oral hygiene can help you avoid any of these color changes. If you have any questions about your own gum health, feel free to contact our office or schedule an appointment.

 

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

Periodontist in Waldorf | Is It Time To See a Periodontist?

Periodontist in WaldorfAccording to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 50 percent of American adults have some form of periodontal disease. If you have concerns you may have gum disease, or have trouble keeping your gum disease under control, learning the symptoms of gum disease should be the next step in considering a visit to your Periodontist.

 

What is a Periodontist?

Periodontists are experts in gum disease. They receive extensive training that includes 3 extra years of specialized education in addition to dental school. They take this time to study the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal diseases. Periodontists handle a variety of treatments such as scaling and root planing or surface debridement. They can also treat severe gum problems with the use of  surgical procedures. With such a level of specialization related to gum disease, a periodontist can significantly better your dental health in many cases.

 

Should I see a Periodontist?

In some instances, your normal dentist is able to handle your periodontal needs. Your dentist can also help in determining if a periodontist is necessary. Some general signs to visit a periodontist can include painful, swollen, receding, or bleeding gums. Loose teeth or changes in your bite can be bigger signs of gum disease, and indicate that if you haven’t done so already, it is definitely time to give our office a call.

 

Scheduling an appointment with a periodontist preemptively can be very beneficial. Periodontal disease is usually painless and can remain undetected for some time without the proper assessment. Taking initiative when it comes to your oral health is very important.

 

Knowing the signs of gum disease is just as important as knowing when to visit a periodontist. Gum disease is very treatable and taking the steps quickly enough can make a big difference in your oral health. If you have any concerns or want to schedule an appointment, contact our periodontal office today for more information.

 

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

Waldorf Periodontist | Why Your Pants Can Have Pockets, But Your Gums Shouldn’t

Periodontist in WaldorfIf you’re one of the nearly 50% of American adults who suffer from periodontal disease, it’s likely that your gums have already begun to recede away from your teeth, creating what are known as gum pockets. Normal healthy gums should fit snugly around your teeth, keeping them in place and protected from bacteria. As such, gum pockets are the exact opposite of what you want for your oral health.

As these pockets deepen over time, they expose your teeth and their vulnerable roots to all kinds of bacteria that can wreak havoc on your oral health. In fact, these pockets actually serve as a space for this harmful bacteria to collect, where it will eventually permeate under the gum and infect your teeth, potentially leading to tooth loss.

If you don’t have gum pockets, awesome. You should maintain your oral healthcare routine to make sure it stays that way. If you do have them, not all hope is lost.

If your gums are in a bad state, your Periodontist can provide you with the treatment you need to restore your health. During the procedure, your gum tissue will be folded back, and thoroughly cleansed of all disease-causing bacteria before being secured back in place. This also allows your gum tissue to reattach to healthy bone and limit your chances of reinfection.

It’s important to get your periodontal pockets taken care of as soon as possible, as deeper pockets are more difficult to treat. Reducing depth and cleaning the bacteria are both critical to maintaining a healthy smile.

Because of the nature of gum disease, you will need to work with your Periodontist to make sure your oral care routine is strong, even after the procedure, as the disease can easily return. Together, you and our periodontal team’s professional care will increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth and steering clear or periodontal disease in the future.

If you are in the middle of your periodontal care, make sure you schedule your next appointment with our office to maintain your healthy, pocket free gums.

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | How to Recognize the Symptoms of Gum Disease

According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 50 percent (47.2 to be exact) of American adults have some form of periodontal disease. Despite this high rate, gum disease is often overlooked and many may not even be aware that they have the disease. A main factor in the “silent” nature of gum disease is that the symptoms usually don’t appear until advanced stages. Here we’ll outline some of the symptoms you may be able to recognize in order to get the treatment you need before it’s too late.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | How to Recognize the Symptoms of Gum Disease

Red, swollen, or tender gums can be one of the first and most easily recognizable signs of periodontitis. However, it is just as common for gum disease to induce little to no recognizable pain.  If this is the case, you may still be able to identify your early stages of gum disease in another way. If you find that your gums bleed while brushing, flossing, or even eating hard foods, this is another indicator that your gums may be swollen and sensitive. Healthy gums don’t bleed from regular maintenance. If yours do, you most likely are suffering from some form of gum disease.

 

Some of the other, more dramatic symptoms of gum disease include:

 

  • receding gums
  • loose teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • stubborn bad breath
  • changes in the way your teeth fit together

 

As the foundation of your smile, unhealthy or damaged gums can have serious consequences on your oral health. If left unattended, gum disease can even lead to tooth loss.

 

However, the disease is also very treatable, and the earlier treatment begins, the easier the recovery. If you begin to see even the faintest traces of any of these symptoms, or need an expert in periodontal care for any other reason, contact our office today and get started on healthier gums for tomorrow.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | There Are Two Types of Gum Disease. Both Need Treatment.

Gingivitis and periodontitis: these diseases that affect the gums are both fairly common among Americans. But just because they are common does not mean that they should go untreated. If taken care of early, both can be stopped with effective care. Below, we’ll go over the signs and symptoms of each, and how you should go about beginning treatment.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | There Are Two Types of Gum Disease. Both Need Treatment.

Gingivitis:

The milder form of gum disease, gingivitis is characterized by red and irritated gums. While this may not seem like a serious issue, gingivitis leads to much worse problems if left untreated. It is estimated that roughly 50 percent of the U.S. population experiences some kind of gingivitis.

 

According to the Mayo Clinic, poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of gingivitis. Those at increased risk include minorities, substance abusers, older adults, and pregnant women, among others. The disease develops quickly as a build up of plaque causes gums to become infected.

 

Symptoms include tender and bleeding gums, swollen or shiny gums, mouth sores and bad breath. The best way to prevent the disease is to practice good oral hygiene. However, if treatment is required, a professional will remove all plaque and tartar in a process known as “scaling”. Your doctor will work with you to determine how many cleanings are needed, if other treatment is necessary, and how over-the-counter mouthwashes may help keep plaque levels minimized.

 

Periodontitis:

If left untreated, gingivitis may soon lead to a much more serious disease – Periodontitis. This nasty disease can destroy gums, mouth bones, tissue and teeth. It arises when plaque spreads below the gum line, creating toxins that cause tissues and bones to break down.

 

The American Academy of Periodontology characterizes several types of periodontitis, including chronic, aggressive, as a manifestation of systemic disease, and necrotizing.

 

Symptoms include many of the same signs as gingivitis, but more advanced. Patients with the disease can expect receding gums, new spaces between teeth, loose teeth, and pus around teeth and gums. There are both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options, all of which you can discuss with your doctor, should the need arise.

 

Periodontal disease in any of its forms should be of serious concern to you. If you suspect you may be suffering from the disease, it is important to schedule a visit with our office right away to get the care you need quickly.