A healthy smile isn’t just good for your self esteem. It’s also vital to your overall health. Together with maintaining a healthy diet and good dental hygiene, regular dental checkups are one of the best ways to keep your smile looking and feeling great.  

Here’s why booking a routine dental checkup should be at the top of your to-do list. 

1. It helps prevent dental decay.

Regular brushing and flossing are key to keeping your teeth and gums in good shape. But the clean and polish you get during a routine checkup will help remove any plaque or tartar on teeth and along the gum line – and help you identify problem areas to focus on when brushing.

2. It helps prevent periodontal disease.

Periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive disease that can result in bone loss – and even tooth loss. A routine check-up is a great opportunity to identity periodontitis in its early stages and help take measures to reverse or prevent it. 

3. It can identify other health issues.

Oral health goes beyond your teeth and gums. Your dentist can help spot the signs of other oral health issues such as tongue or mouth cancer – or even day-to-day issues such as stress, which may show up through teeth grinding (bruxism.) Early detection is vital for effective treatment.

4. It can prevent future issues.

A routine checkup is the ideal opportunity to flag possible issues you may experience in future – and help identify a plan to minimize the risk of issues in future. This may involve changing your diet, quitting smoking or drinking, adjusting how you brush and floss, switching up your toothpaste, or even discussing procedures such as wisdom teeth removal or cosmetic dentistry options.

5. It can help save a tooth!

Early intervention can help save your teeth. For example, very minor demineralization can be reversed, avoiding the need for a filling. A small filling can help reduce the risk of a root canal or extraction down the line. By attending your regular dental checkups, you can get the treatment you need when you need it – and prevent future issues from arising. 

6. It keeps your teeth looking great.

A brush and a polish can remove staining, restoring your teeth to their natural color. You can also ask about simple cosmetic procedures such as fluoride treatments or whitening – and give those pearly whites a boost.   

7. It sets a good example.

If you have children in the home, attending your routine checkups is a great way to model good dental hygiene behaviors. They’ll learn that there’s nothing to fear about going to the dentist – and that regular checkups are something to aspire to in order to keep their smiles healthy.

Ready to book your routine dental checkup? There’s no better time than now. Talk to the friendly team at Optimal Dental – and feel confident in your brighter, healthier smile. 

The 5 Facts and Myths about Knocked Out Teeth

Having your teeth knocked out is a dental emergency no one wants to experience. Fortunately, whether you’ve taken a fall or had an unfortunate accident playing sports, there are ways to save a knocked-out tooth. Here’s what to know if you’ve lost a tooth.

Fact: You can save that tooth!

Having a tooth knocked out doesn’t mean a gap-toothed smile forever. If you move quickly, you can actually save the lost tooth. Gently pick up the tooth by its crown (top) and rinse it in water. Avoid touching the root, and don’t wrap your tooth in anything that could dry it out. Then get to an emergency dentist as quickly as you can. 

Myth: Don’t put that tooth back in.

Putting your tooth back into its natural socket is the safest way to store your tooth while you’re waiting for treatment. If you can pop it back in, do so – if the socket is too damaged, you can hold it inside your mouth to keep it moist while you seek emergency dental care. 

Fact: Milk can help!

You might have heard that putting a knocked-out tooth in a glass of milk can help save it. That’s actually true. While the best place to put your tooth is back in its socket, that isn’t always possible. Pop your tooth in a small container of milk (not water) to help preserve it. But remember that time is of the essence when it comes to seeking care.  

Myth: Clean that tooth well.

Rinsing your tooth in water or milk is fine, but avoid using chemicals on your tooth, especially on the sensitive root. You also don’t want to scrub your knocked-out tooth, as this can cause further damage. Similarly, don’t wrap your tooth in tissue or a cloth – this can dry out your tooth.  

Fact: Seek help quickly!

The faster you seek help for your knocked-out tooth, the more likely it is that your tooth can be saved. If you can get to an emergency dentist within half an hour, your tooth’s chances are good – providing you keep the tooth moist in the meantime. If you are experiencing other injuries such as severe bleeding or a concussion, go to the ER first. 

No one wants to experience a knocked-out tooth, but accidents do happen. When playing sports or participating in high-impact activities, wear protective headwear or a mouthguard to help prevent damage to your teeth, jaw or head – but if the worst happens, follow the above tips and immediately contact your emergency dentist for treatment.  

“save a tooth, teeth knocked out”

5 Common Dental Problems and Tooth Diseases

A healthy smile helps us move through the world with confidence. Maintaining good dental hygiene and attending regular check-ups with your dentist can help prevent common dental diseases. The earlier you build those good oral hygiene habits, the less likely it is that you’ll experience tooth disease. 

Here are some of the most common dental problems and tooth diseases – and how you can help prevent them. 

  1. Cavities and tooth decay. More than half of school-aged children and almost all adults have experienced a dental cavity. Cavities occur when bacteria form a plaque on your teeth, eating away at your dental enamel until the tooth is compromised. A healthy diet, fluoridated water, and regular brushing and flossing can help reduce the risk of cavities. 
  2. Cracked or damaged teeth. A fall, contact sports, chewing on something hard, or even grinding your teeth at night can cause teeth to crack or break. A cracked or broken tooth can count as a dental emergency – always contact your dentist if you suspect a cracked tooth. You can also prevent teeth conditions such as these by wearing a mouthguard when playing sports, being mindful when eating popcorn or nuts, or wearing a preventive mouthguard at night to prevent tooth grinding.
  3. Periodontitis. Also known as gum disease, periodontitis is a common dental disease. This disease is caused by the accumulation of bacteria on your teeth and gums. Over time, the bacteria damage the soft tissue of your gums, and even the bone supporting your teeth, potentially resulting in tooth loss. Factors such as smoking, diabetes, certain illnesses and poor oral hygiene can increase your risk for periodontal disease. Brushing, flossing, and attending regular dental checkups will help reduce the risk of periodontitis – or catch it in its early stages when it can be managed. 
  4. Tooth sensitivity. If your teeth hurt when you eat cold or hot food, you are experiencing tooth sensitivity. Sensitivity can happen after dental work, but can also indicate other teeth conditions such as gum disease or compromised fillings. Additionally, some people simply have naturally sensitive teeth. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, talk to your dentist. They will check for underlying issues and may suggest products such as toothpaste and mouthwash designed for sensitive teeth. 
  5. Oral cancer. Oral cancer is less common than other tooth diseases, but still affects millions of people every year. Symptoms include sores and lumps, changes to your bite, and difficulty chewing or eating. Smoking, drinking and HPV are key risk factors for oral cancer. If you are experiencing oral cancer symptoms, talk to your dentist. Many dentists will also screen for oral cancer as part of a routine checkup.

Whether you’re experiencing the signs of dental disease or simply want to prevent them, talk to the team at Optimal today. Our friendly dentists will help you manage existing conditions and help you develop a plan to keep your teeth and gums healthy well into the future. Contact us today to make your appointment!  

Early pediatric care is critical to creating a lifetime of good dental health. Visiting your pediatric dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning can help avoid tooth decay and cavities – and identify any issues early.

Even children as young as one can benefit from a visit to a pediatric dentist – especially if their first teeth have erupted. This first visit, known as a “well baby” visit, is designed to help young children familiarize themselves with a pediatric dentistry setting, and create positive associations with the dentist. During this visit your pediatric dentist will generally provide information about how to keep a child’s teeth healthy and strong.

These recommendations might include:

What to expect from a pediatric dental cleaning

For older children, you can expect more of a traditional dental checkup, although modified in accordance with your child’s comfort level. These visits might include:

It’s vital that your child feels comfortable in the dentist’s chair so that they learn to feel confident while at the dentist, so your visit might be adjusted depending on your child’s needs and behavior. We recommend beginning pediatric dental visits as soon as possible so that your child creates those positive associations – and is able to sit through a full dental check-up. Regular check-ups combined with good at-home dental hygiene habits are the best way to maintain a high level of dental health.  

Book your pediatric dental care appointment today

Oral health issues are some of the most common – and avoidable – health issues faced by young children in the US. Attending regular pediatric dental cleanings and maintaining good dental hygiene and healthy eating habits can help prevent issues now, and later in life. 

If your child is aged 1+, now is the time to book your first pediatric dentistry appointment, or a regular pediatrics dental cleaning for older children. Our expert team will ensure your child feels safe and confident during their consultation and will provide the information and guidance you need to keep your child’s smile healthy and bright!

 

Dentist Near Me

It is not uncommon for many of us to grab a bite to eat in a hurry. Americans have grown accustomed to bigger food portions at restaurants, but our mouths have not. Trying to fit that oversized sandwich or apple in your mouth might be worse for you than you have ever imagined. Below are some reasons why this could be detrimental for your oral health and what you can do about it.

Why This Is a Problem

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), taking bites that are too big for you to chew can not only cause jaw and teeth issues, it can also cause digestive problems. Discomfort, swelling and difficulty eating may result from opening your jaw too wide. Taking large bites may also result in food not being chewed thoroughly, which can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Constantly opening your jaw too wide becomes an even larger problem for people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull bones enabling movement during chewing. People with TMD, usually have a restriction with how wide they can open their jaws. Taking large bites of food, especially hard foods like apples, can aggravate this condition making pain and jaw clicking worse.

What You Can Do

If you have food that is too large to chew or starts to cause jaw discomfort, try cutting your food into smaller portions. This makes food easier to eat with less hassle. Also consider eating softer foods that won’t harm your teeth or irritate your jaw.

Tip: Avoid chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies, and opening nuts with your teeth. This can lead to a chipped tooth!

Contact our team today to schedule an exam and cleaning.

1801 Robert Fulton Dr., Suite 250
Reston, VA 20191

Phone: (703) 391-2222

Dentist Near Me

If carbonated soft drinks are part of your normal daily routine, you may be causing serious damage to your teeth. Recent studies have found soft drinks to be among the most potent dietary causes of tooth decay. Soft drinks have also been implicated in increases of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other serious health conditions. Before you shop for beverages this week, consider a few things you should know about soft drinks.

Most soft drinks contain substantial amounts of sugars, which interact with the bacteria in your mouth. This interaction produces a form of acid that can damage your teeth for about 20 minutes. Each time you take a drink, you reset that time window. If you consume throughout the day, you are essentially bathing your teeth in that beverage for hours.

Most soft drinks contain acids, as well. Even sugar-free varieties contain acids that can weaken the enamel on your teeth. Colas and citrus-flavored soft drinks tend to have the highest levels of acid. Over time, this weakening of tooth enamel has a cumulative effect. This can lead to decay and even tooth loss if not addressed in early stages.

Obviously, the best solution is to stop consuming carbonated soft drinks. However, it can be a difficult habit to break. Here are some tips to help reduce your risks of tooth damage from these beverages:

Carbonated soft drinks can be harmful to your oral and overall health. Be mindful of how often you consume them and consider reducing or stopping your use of these dangerous beverages.

For more oral health tips or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

1801 Robert Fulton Dr., Suite 250
Reston, VA 20191

Phone: (703) 391-2222

Dentist Near Me

When you are close to someone you can often be overly comfortable in sharing. This is especially true with kissing. In one kiss, more than 500 germs can be shared between two people. Sharing a kiss can have an impact on your oral health. Here are some of the dangers of kissing.

Colds & Flus

When you feel like you might be coming down with a cold or flu, it is best to avoid kissing. You certainly don’t want to transmit any diseases. Colds and flus are easily passed on through saliva and nasal fluids.

Cold Sores

If you see a cold sore near your mouth and lips, you should avoid kissing someone. Cold sores will look like small, clear blisters usually close to your lips. Cold sores are a viral infection, but are extremely contagious. Cold sores that are leaking fluids are especially contagious, however even a sore without any fluid can spread to others in contact. Avoid contact if you see cold sores!

Mono – The Kissing Disease

Mononucleosis, or mono, is spread very rapidly through kissing. The disease can also be spread by sharing behaviors such as sharing a cup, food, or straw. We recommend avoiding sharing your food and drink with others. Someone carrying mono might appear healthy, so always play it is safe by avoiding sharing your food and your germs.

Tips for Fresh Breath

It makes sense to want to have a clean, fresh breath when kissing. It is best to avoid foods that contain strong spices and flavors, such as garlic or onion. Long after they have been consumed, it is still possible to smell these foods on someone’s breath. Make sure you follow a regular daily oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily, as well as brushing your tongue, roof of the mouth, and inside of your cheeks. We suggest using a mouthwash or sugar-free gum after eating to help diffuse strong odors. Sometimes bad breath can be caused by other factors, so if you feel these solutions are not working, make an appointment with us.

Hundreds of germs can be shared when kissing. Watch out for cold sores as well as cold or flu symptoms. Don’t forget to keep up with your daily brushing and flossing routine.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy, or to schedule your next visit, contact our office.

1801 Robert Fulton Dr., Suite 250
Reston, VA 20191

Phone: (703) 391-2222