Woodbridge VA Dentist | The Truth Behind “Natural Whitening” Fads

It seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles showcase the idea that whitening can be cheap and easy, if in some cases unpleasant. It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without investing time and money on in-office or at-home whitening under a dentist’s care. However, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, take a look at the truth behind some of the recent fads.

Fad 1: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been cropping up in headlines for months with claims of a wide variety of potential health benefits. It is a very old folk remedy in which a person swishes a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, olive, etc., in their mouth and between teeth for up to 20 minutes daily.

Despite the number of years this practice has existed and the number of health issues it purports to treat, there is no evidence that oil pulling whitens teeth or improves health.

Fad 2: Fruits

Due to celebrity endorsement, some people have begun to try rubbing mashed strawberries on their teeth to try to achieve a whiter smile. Others are using lemon or orange peels, and still others tout the virtues of eating pineapple or swishing apple cider vinegar.

However, there is no science to support any of these claims. In fact, one recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (which is known to have whitening effects on teeth) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all of these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.

Fad 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

While it is true that many forms of in-office and over-the-counter teeth whitening make use of hydrogen peroxide, there is more to consider before opening a bottle. The hydrogen peroxide used in professional teeth whitening, whether in-office or at-home, is mixed with other substances and provided in a form designed for use in teeth whitening.

Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will have little or no effect on the whiteness of your teeth, but may cause irritation to your gums and mouth and can be dangerous if accidentally ingested.

If you want whiter, brighter teeth, there are safe and effective ways to achieve your goal. Talk with our doctor for a recommendation for what kind of whitening will be best for your needs. For more information about whitening, contact our office.

Woodbridge VA Dentist | Silence Isn’t Always Golden

Periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive inflammation of the gum tissue. It is most frequently caused by bacterial infection. Left untreated, gum disease can have serious consequences for your oral and overall health.  However, one of the biggest challenges for early detection and treatment of gum disease is its silence. Gum disease can often begin and progress with few or no symptoms until reaching an advanced stage.

Gum disease is caused when the bacteria found in plaque builds up between the teeth and gums. As the bacteria grow, the gums can become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. When gum disease is not treated promptly, it can worsen, leading to increased gum recession, infection, and bone loss. In addition, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Gum disease also impacts other aspects of your overall health. Research has found links between gum disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious inflammatory illnesses. To help prevent gum disease, ensure you are practicing strong oral hygiene habits, including brushing, flossing, use of mouthwash, and regular dental examinations. Be aware of your risk factors for developing gum disease, such as age, tobacco use, genetics, stress, medications, grinding, obesity, or other inflammatory diseases, among others. Consider having an annual periodontal evaluation.

While symptoms may not appear until later stages of the disease, it is important to watch for the warning signs of gum disease. Some of these include:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Mouth pain
  • Bleeding gums caused by brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between gums or teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Gums receding or pulling away from teeth
  • Changes in your bite or the fit of dentures

Gum disease can start silently, but may cause great damage if left untreated. Once gum disease has started, it can be effectively treated, but not fully cured. Protect your oral and overall health with preventive care and regular periodontal screenings. For more information about gum disease or to schedule your periodontal screening, contact our office.

Woodbridge VA Dentist | The Truth Behind 5 Popular Dental Misconceptions

Clearing up misconceptions about oral health can help improve personal oral hygiene efforts for a beautiful and healthier smile.  If you keep up with your oral hygiene regimen, dental visits are significantly easier and dental care is more manageable.

Misconception #1 – My teeth are fine if I have no pain

Tooth decay (cavities) usually doesn’t cause pain until they become very severe.  Once it gets to this stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments.  Some of the most dangerous oral disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all.  It is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments.  Our dentist can diagnose problems even at its earliest stages when there is no pain.

Misconception #2 – Cavities are only caused by sweets

When you eat sweets, the bacteria in your mouth start consuming it and produce acid.  This acid dissolves the enamel of the tooth, which results in tooth decay or cavities.  However, this process happens when you eat anything that is a starch or carbohydrate.  Food and snacks, such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta, have the same effect on your teeth.

Misconception #3 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing

Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease.  This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to a lack of efficient cleaning.  With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed.  However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits.  In such instances, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continuing to brush and floss.

Misconception #4 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth

Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades.  Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or cavity between the teeth.  Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side.

Misconception #5 – Children are more prone to tooth decay

Tooth decay (cavities) can develop at any age.  People assume children have poor brushing habits and are more prone to tooth decay.  Cavities form when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth.  This is usually seen in people with poor brushing and flossing habits, regardless of age. 

Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception.  It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits.  If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact our dentist.

Woodbridge Dentist | The Dangers of Grinding

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Dentist Woodbridge Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.

What Grinding Does Your Teeth

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.

What We Can Do

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our office. We look forward to assisting you!

Woodbridge Dental Care
4315 Ridgewood Center Dr, Woodbridge, VA 22192
(703) 670-4994

Dentist Woodbridge | How to Deal with Sensitive Teeth

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Tooth sensitivity is a condition that can make everyday activities such as eating, drinking, and even walking outside in colder weather painful and unpleasant. If you frequently experience a sharp burst of pain in your teeth when drinking coffee, eating ice cream or being hit by a gust of cold air, sensitive teeth may be the cause. Sensitive teeth are a common, though frustrating issue. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) estimates that up to 40 million adults in the United States suffer from this condition.

The primary cause of sensitive teeth is thinning of the enamel, the hard covering that protects teeth from damage. Thinning of the enamel exposes the dentin within teeth, which is full of nerve endings. Exposed nerve endings are the reason you can feel a sudden flash of pain when enjoying your favorite ice cream.

Fortunately, sensitive teeth are a treatable condition. Here are some of your options for managing sensitive teeth.

Adjust your brushing habits

Tooth sensitivity may be reduced by a simple change in your daily brushing habits. Switching to a softer toothbrush should be one of your first steps. Brushes with hard bristles can aggravate your teeth, increasing sensitivity and discomfort. Likewise, scrubbing teeth aggressively can hasten damage to the tissue covering the roots of your teeth and increase sensitivity. Be sure to brush gently for a full two minutes at least twice daily.

Try a special toothpaste

Toothpastes made to treat sensitive teeth can be a helpful remedy. These toothpastes can be purchased over the counter and contain ingredients designed to help protect your teeth. It is important to use the toothpaste regularly to see improvement.

Avoid acidic foods and drinks

Soda, citrus and red wine are some of the acidic biggest offenders. If you cannot fully avoid acidic foods and beverages, be sure to brush twenty minutes after consumption. Be aware that brushing immediately after can actually increase sensitivity, so it is better to rinse your mouth and allow sufficient time for the acids to be neutralized by your saliva before brushing.

Surgical solutions

In some cases, surgical solutions may be recommended to treat the underlying cause of your teeth sensitivity. If you have receding gums, tissue grafts can help protect your teeth roots and reduce sensitivity. Inlays, crowns and bonding may also be options if there is damage to your teeth that is causing or exacerbating your sensitivity.

Speak with our dentist to determine what type of treatment is best for your sensitivity. Contact our office for your consultation.

Woodbridge Dental Care
4315 Ridgewood Center Dr, Woodbridge, VA 22192
(703) 670-4994

Teeth Whitening: An Effective Way to Improve Your Smile

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Teeth whitening may be a great option if you who have stained, dull or discolored teeth. The main causes of stained teeth are genetics, antibiotics, tobacco and certain foods. As we age, our teeth darken as well.

Our dental team is devoted to helping you achieve and maintain a beautiful and healthy smile. If you are considering teeth whitening, contact Woodbridge Dental Care for a consultation.

Wesley Creamer DMD