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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.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | The Truth About How We Hydrate

Prior to the 1960s, professional athletes, marathon runners, high school jocks, and little league ballplayers all reached for the same thing when they grew thirsty: water. But in 1965, sports drinks took the hydration game by storm.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | The Truth About How We Hydrate

Nowadays, people have all but replaced water with these sugary drinks. While popular among star athletes and weekend warriors alike, are these drinks any more effective in keeping us hydrated than water? What kinds of effects do they have on our teeth? Here we take a look at the most important factors to consider when deciding whether to reach for water or your favorite sports drink.

 

Sports Drinks Have Significantly More Electrolytes and Carbohydrates

Electrolytes. Almost all of us have heard the word, but what exactly are they? Electrolytes are minerals that create an electrical charge when absorbed by the body. These elements help aid the brain in sending nerve signals to the rest of the body, ensure proper muscle contraction, and regulate acidity in the blood (also known as pH levels). The electrolytes and extra carbohydrates contained in drinks like Gatorade and Powerade can be beneficial for individuals participating in intense, continuous exercise for several hours at a time.

 

However, the truth is, most of us don’t need either.

 

Some studies have found that because of the carbohydrates and electrolytes they contain, sports drinks can improve the performance of endurance athletes like runners, cyclists, and soccer players. But for regular individuals who aren’t planning on running a marathon or cycling for several hours in sweltering heat, water performs just as well. Several scientific studies have shown no difference in the hydrating power of the two drinks with mild to moderate activity. .

 

Sweeter Isn’t Always Better

While the sugars found in many sports drinks may help them taste great, they also produce acids that dissolve and damage your teeth. By contrast, water can actually help wash away the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, keeping your teeth and gums healthier.

 

As with every sweet treat, sports drinks can be enjoyed in moderation in order to protect your oral and overall health. For now though, good old fashioned water is still king of the beverages for us and our oral health.

 

If you haven’t done so already, book your next appointment today to keep your teeth and gums in optimal health. We look forward to seeing you.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | How Optimal Oral Health Can Protect You from Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex autoimmune condition that affects sufferers in a variety of challenging ways. While many of us are relatively familiar with how rheumatoid arthritis impacts our joints and energy levels, fewer are aware of the condition’s relationship to our oral health. RA is correlated with gum disease, gum inflammation, and tooth loss. This connection between rheumatoid arthritis and oral health has been firmly established by scientific research. While scientists have not definitively sussed out all the particulars of this relationship, what’s clear is that the fewer teeth we have and the worse our oral health is, the more susceptible we are to RA.

How Optimal Oral Health Can Protect You from Arthritis

Teeth, Gums, and Joints

A growing body of evidence over the past several decades has shown that there is a strong relationship between the health of our teeth and gums and whether or not we develop rheumatoid arthritis over the course of our lifetimes. A study conducted between 1987 and 1998 illustrates this connection. Researchers looked at over 6,000 men and women and found that individuals with serious gum disease were twice as likely to meet criteria for RA compared with people who had healthy gums and teeth.

 

A paper presented at the European Congress of Rheumatology in 2012 further solidified the connection. It showed that the fewer teeth a person has, the more likely they are to develop RA. Researchers also found that those with the fewest teeth had the most severe—and least treatable—rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Treating Our Mouths Can Alleviate RA Symptoms

This connection has a positive flip side, though. Individuals with RA or experiencing the early stages of RA symptoms may actually be able to protect themselves from the condition by treating their teeth. A 2009 study determined that by engaging in good periodontal care, rheumatoid arthritis patients were able to reduce the severity of their symptoms. The highly encouraging study suggests that by seeking out a dentist and rigorously treating periodontitis and gum disease, individuals can actually ease the joint pain and fatigue that can become a daily struggle for RA sufferers.

 

Recent research indicates that we can take even greater initiative, though. We don’t have to wait until rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are severe for us to seek periodontal care. It’s clear that the healthier our gums and teeth are, the more protected we are from RA. Keep on top of your oral health—fighting gum disease, gum recession, and tooth decay—and you’ll give yourself a much better chance of leading a completely RA-free life. Do so by scheduling your next appointment with our office today.

 

 

 

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Three Brushing Habits Causing More Harm Than Good

We’ve been hearing it for probably just about as long as we’ve had teeth. Brushing twice a day, every day is the best thing you can do for your oral health. But there’s far more to it than that. Brushing your teeth may have become a habit, but don’t let it be a bad one. You could be performing bad habits regularly- some of which you consider beneficial. But don’t fear, you can fix these bad habits easily if you know what they are.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Three Brushing Habits Causing More Harm Than Good

You brush too hard

We didn’t think it was possible either. But too much pressure can actually damage your teeth and irritate your gums. If you regularly bully your mouth it may even lead to scratches and infections.

 

It’s easier to remove plaque than you may think. Surprisingly loose, its only when it hardens to tartar that it becomes difficult to remove. Instead of trying to powerwash your teeth, gently massage, think soft strokes and a gentle massage. Be nice to your mouth and it will be nice to you.

 

You share your toothbrush

SURELY, this goes without saying, but just in case: Do NOT share a toothbrush. Even if you sometimes share food and drinks with your partner. Even if you regularly kiss each other. It’s gross and you should feel bad.

When you share a toothbrush you open your body up to all kinds of germs that it isn’t prepared to handle. Toothbrushes can harbor the flu, pneumonia, HPV, and not to mention that bacteria that causes tooth decay – streptococcus mutans- a scary name for a scary thing. Maybe you can’t bear to be separated from your partner, but trust us, this is the one exception you should make.

 

You’re brushing too quickly

The average American brushes spends 45 seconds brushing their teeth. That’s less than half the recommended time. If you’re one of the jokesters that’s rushin’ the brushin’, you should know that when you do so you’re leaving behind countless germs and bacteria that are damaging to your oral health. Additionally, some of the ingredients in your toothpaste, like fluoride, need time to do their job. Fluoride isn’t going to help protect your enamel in only 45 seconds.

 

To continue learning about the brushing habits that could be causing damage to your oral health, make sure that you check back in with our blog regularly. In the meantime, if you want to keep your best oral health schedule your next appointment with our office today.

 

Alexandria VA Periodontist | A Glass of Red Wine Keeps the Dentist Away

If you read the title of this article and began to immediately pour yourself a glass of cabernet, there’s good news and bad news.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | A Glass of Red Wine Keeps the Dentist Away

The good news is that red wine offers a host of potential health benefits, including keeping the brain young, promoting hormonal health and preventing heart disease. Recently, scientists from the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid found that exposure to compounds found in red wine can also help prevent bacteria from sticking to your gums. This bacteria, if left in your mouth, is directly responsible for plaque and tooth decay.

 

The compounds the researchers studied are called polyphenols and they can also be found in things like coffee, cranberry juice and other kinds of berries.

 

Despite the promising findings, you shouldn’t start looking for wine flavored toothpaste just yet. The chemicals used in the study were much more concentrated than they would be in wine and the exposure times lasted up to 47 hours. You may have more pressing concerns if you are able to drink for that amount of time.

 

Instead, the research done is a preliminary look into how these compounds might be used in the future as preventative medicines that would fight against oral diseases. For now, make sure you stick to regularly scheduled appointments with our team to keep your oral health in great shape. Contact our office today to schedule your next appointment.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Reap the Total Health Benefits of Brushing and Flossing

Brushing and flossing are not only good for a fresh breath and a beautiful smile. As it turns out, there are advantages for your entire body as well. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the ways brushing your teeth can help you keep you healthy from teeth to toes.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Reap the Total Health Benefits of Brushing and Flossing

Brushing and flossing can help with your overall body weight in some pretty unique ways. For example, good oral health decreases your risk of diabetes and also increases your chances of maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet. It’s hard to eat well when your mouth is in constant pain from poor health. Also, brushing acts as a natural signal for your brain that you are finished eating. Brushing can also burn up to 3,500 calories per year. Every little bit counts.

 

For mothers, oral health is important not only for yourself, but also for that of your baby. Women with chronic gum disease can have an increased chance of premature births and low birth weights for their children. When pregnant, not only are you eating for two, but remember that you’re also brushing and flossing for two.

 

Brushing and flossing are also great ways to keep your gums healthy. Recent studies have linked gum disease to cognitive dysfunction and even Alzheimer’s disease. Gingivitis was found to be connected to poor cognitive function and health throughout a patient’s lifetime.

 

While it certainly won’t replace regular exercise and a healthy diet any time soon, brushing your teeth can have a real impact on your wellness. To see the best results, be diligent in your brushing regimen and remember to contact our office and schedule your next appointment today.

Periodontist in Alexandria | Flossing or Waterpik? Which is Better for Your Oral Health

In 1962 the waterpik was first invented. Since then, people have been curious to know which is better for your oral health, regular flossing or water picking? Which one do dentists recommend? Before we skip directly to the answer, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each of the techniques.

Flossing
It may just seem like a boring piece of string, but it’s so much more. Flossing is a great way of removing food that is in between the teeth or below the gum line. It’s a very efficient method of doing so and it’s probably one of the cheapest things you’ll ever buy. Flossing is quick, easy, and you can get it done just about anywhere.

Unfortunately, in unpracticed hands, normal flossing can make it hard to reach some areas of the mouth. It can also cause minor bleeding, worsening or causing gum sensitivity.

Water Picking
Today, we’re more dependent upon our technology than ever before. The waterpik is a special machine that shoots a stream of water into the mouth, using pressure to massage the gums and push food away from your teeth. It’s incredibly easy to use, making it a great choice for people with braces or other types of dental work. The massaging effect can be a great benefit to gum health. Water picking is also easier to maneuver, getting to those hard to reach places that regular floss just can’t seem to reach.

However, Waterpiks can be expensive and clunky to store in your bathroom. It also requires access to electricity and clean water too, meaning that you can’t travel with it as well as you can with a handy pocket sized floss container.

The truth is, there really is no right answer as to which is the better flossing option. Depending on your needs and your circumstances, both are great options to get your flossing done. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry found that water picking reduced plaque by 74.4 percent while flossing only reached 57.7 percent. Water picking can also reduce your chances of gingivitis or bleeding gums when compared to traditional floss. However, many dentists still recommend string flossing as the best way to clean the gaps between your teeth.

Whatever you decide, our experienced dental team is here to help you maintain your oral health for life. Call our office today to schedule your next appointment.

Alexandria VA Dentist | 3 Eco Friendly Oral Care Tips

Your oral health is important to you. But taking care of your smile is just as important as taking care of the planet. With these three easy to use tips, there’s a way you can do both at the same time.

Alexandria VA Dentist | 3 Eco Friendly Oral Care Tips

Keep an eye on your water usage

It may seem obvious, and even common knowledge. But reducing the amount of water you use while brushing can truly make a significant difference. If you turn the water off while your brushing, you could potentially save up to 8 gallons of water a day. That’s over 200 gallons a month per person in your home. If you have children, teaching them these habits early will set them up for a sustainable lifestyle.

 

Choose your toothbrush wisely

When it comes to eco friendly toothbrushes, you have a lot of options. There are brushes made out of recycled plastic or aluminum. There are also biodegradable toothbrushes made out of wood. There’s even an electric toothbrush out there that only requires a one hour charge every six months. With so many great options available to you, it should be easy to find one that works for you. Make sure you do your research.

 

Recycle

Your oral health care routine probably uses more than just a toothbrush and water. You can find green toothpaste options at every major store. If you have bottles of mouthwash, plastic containers to hold floss, or other plastic materials, make sure you recycle them properly. If you’re unsure of whether some of your containers are recyclable, you can ask your local recycling center and they’ll provide you with the information. This can go a long way in keeping your plastic out of places it shouldn’t be.

 

More dentists than ever are practicing eco-friendly dentistry. Surprisingly, some of them may not even be aware that they are doing so. These environmentally conscious dentists use digital x-rays and patient records. They could also use sustainable dental materials while avoiding adding hazardous substances to wastewater.

 

Keep yourself, and the planet smiling by thinking green. Schedule your next appointment by contacting our office today.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Protect Your Liver, Remember to Floss

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the incidence of liver cancer in the United States has more than tripled since 1980. The ASCO lists it as the fifth most common cause of cancer death for men. Now, evidence suggests that poor oral health may increase your risk of developing this cancer.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Can Extra Sun Boost Your Oral Health?

The exacerbating effects of unhealthy mouths on a large number of conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, is well documented. Reaffirming this fact, a large scale study done in the United Kingdom found that those who reported having poor oral health (sore and bleeding gums, loose teeth) had a 75% higher risk of developing liver cancer than those who did not.

 

Conducted by Haydee Jordao, the study analyzed the effects of oral health on several cancers of the digestive system including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, and of course, the liver. They found no link between oral health and overall risk of gastrointestinal cancer.

 

However, when they examined cancers of specific organs, they found a strong correlation in the liver. Why this may be the case, the researchers were still unsure. One possible explanation is that the liver is responsible for eliminating bacteria from the body. It could be that when diseases such as cancer strike the liver, they impair its function. Another reason could be that decreased oral health is usually accompanied by decreases in quality nutrition, leading to obesity and other health concerns that put stress on the body.

 

Your oral health is incredibly important to us, and it should be to you as well. Contact our office and schedule your next appointment today. It might just save your life.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Can Extra Sun Boost Your Oral Health?

A sunny day can make it seem like the whole world is smiling. But it turns out that all that extra sun could be doing wonders for your gum health too. How? We’re glad you asked.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Can Extra Sun Boost Your Oral Health?

Most of us get the majority of our vitamin D directly from the sun. Despite this, nearly one billion people around the world are vitamin D deficient. In addition to keeping bones and teeth healthy, vitamin D is critical to supporting a healthy immune system, making it extremely important to our overall health. When your immune system is weakened, it leaves you vulnerable to a wide array of health issues, including gum disease. Gum disease comes from a swelling or soreness of the gum tissue and can cause loose teeth, painful gums and even tooth loss.

 

Getting an extra helping of sunshine could help make a tangible difference in your immune health. While it can’t and shouldn’t replace your daily oral health routine, that extra bit of sun could help keep your gums happy and healthy. And the best part? It’s completely free.

 

So as you’re enjoying some outdoor fun, rest easy knowing that you are doing something great for your oral and overall health. Keep gum disease at bay and contact our office to schedule your next appointment.