Share the Dangers on No Tobacco Day

Stand Beside Your Chevy Chase MD Dentist on No Tobacco Day to Save Your Smile

 

On May 31, health professionals around the world will be celebrating No Tobacco Day. It’s no secret that there are countless negative side effects to tobacco usage, but it’s still one of the most common oral health issues that people face. Your teeth and gums aren’t the only parts of your body that are harmed by excessive tobacco usage, but they’re first in line when you smoke a cigarette or use dipping tobacco. Dive into the five major health complications that are tobacco related and how your Chevy Chase MD dentist can help save your smile.

 

Bad Breath
Bad breath is one of the more inconvenient and embarrassing instances you can run into but can typically be solved by some chewing gum or by brushing your teeth. If you’re constantly smoking, you could suffer from bad breath constantly. Smoker’s breath, clinically known as “halitosis,” combines the tobacco with the bacteria in your mouth and clings to your gums and tongue, leaving the lingering smell of tobacco itself.

 

The only way to get rid of this consistent bad breath is to simply stop using tobacco! We know it’s far more difficult than it sounds, but if you continue this bad habit, your smile will continue to suffer.

 

Stained, Yellow Teeth
Nicotine and tar in tobacco products like cigarettes are so strong, they can stain more than your teeth. Your fingers can start showing a yellowish tint, your walls can become stained, so your teeth will be suffering the same way. The outer layer of your teeth, also known as your “enamel,” will quickly turn a dimmer, darker color as they continuously encounter nicotine and tar.

 

While there are multiple at-home options to brighten your smile – a whitening toothpaste, a take-home whitening kit, or a whitening treatment at our office – the shade of your smile will continue to suffer if you keep up the bad habit of tobacco use.

 

Gum Disease
This bacterial infection causes your gums to become red, swollen, and can cause bleeding as the soft tissue and bone fall apart around your teeth that support them in place. Without maintaining top oral hygiene, like brushing, flossing and keeping up with your professional dental cleanings, you’re susceptible to gum disease. Smoking cigarettes and abusing tobacco products exacerbates the bacterial infection and can quickly bring your smile to a scenario that cannot be reversed.

 

Oral Cancer
Tobacco use is a major cause of oral cancer due to the carcinogenic chemicals that are extremely harmful to the oral tissues in your mouth. By chewing or smoking tobacco products, genetic changes may occur within the cells of your oral tissues, which will lead to this extremely harmful form of cancer.

 

Your risks for developing oral cancer decreases significantly when you stop using tobacco products, so why wait?

 

Maintain the healthiest, strongest smile you possibly can and quit tobacco products. By keeping up with your visits to your Chevy Chase MD dentist, we’ll be able to protect your teeth and gums while we work together to fight against tobacco. Celebrate No Tobacco Day with us by scheduling your cleaning today! Call (301) 654-7760 and our staff will work together to pick the best date and time for you.

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Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

What is Oral Cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancer and oropharyngeal cancers affect about 53,000 people every year, with 10,000 of those being deadly cases. Oral cancer can appear as a sore or bump in the mouth that does not heal over time. This can mean that oral cancer could form on the lips, tongue, throat, or anywhere in your mouth. It can cause severe damage to all surrounding tissue, and if left untreated, it can be life-threatening. Studies show that men are at twice as much risk as women to get oral cancer. If you start showing symptoms of oral cancer, be sure to consult with your general oral health practitioner right away.

Symptoms can include:
● Persistent sores in the mouth
● Bleeding that does not go away after two weeks
● White patches in the mouth
● Numbness in the mouth, face, or neck
● Difficulty swallowing or chewing
● Ear soreness
● Substantial weight loss
● Dentures don’t seem to fit anymore

What are the risks of oral cancer?
Smoking is the leading risk factor in patients who develop oral cancer. Tobacco users who indulge in chewing tobacco products are also 50 times more likely to have cancer of the cheeks, gums, and lips. Drinking alcohol excessively will also put you at risk of developing oral cancer. People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol are six times more likely to develop oral cancer over people who don’t drink. Lastly, exposure to the Human Papillomavirus, specifically strain 16, is a leading risk factor in developing oral cancer. Consult with your doctor on how to protect yourself from HPV. Just like most cancers, family history and increased exposure to the sun will dramatically affect the likelihood of developing oral cancer.

How do you treat it?
If you experience any persistent symptoms, consult with a health professional immediately. Different types of oral cancers have different treatments, so it is important to consult a medical professional to determine what would be the right option for you. Only about 10% of people who develop oral cancer have no correlation to high-risk factors, which means that there are steps you can take to try to prevent from developing oral cancer. Don’t smoke or drink excessively, and protect yourself from HPV. Call us today at (301) 654-7760 and consult with your Chevy Chase MD dentist on how you can help fight oral cancer.

Why Nutrition is Important for Your Smile

Your Dentist in Chevy Chase Shares Why Proper Nutrition Goes Hand in Hand with Your Smile

 

When you brush your teeth every morning and night, you know that this is an integral part of your oral and dental health. Skipping this step can be dangerous and can allow bacteria to form, causing cavities, decay, and other potential issues. As you’re ensuring that your dental routine is up to par, your dentist in Chevy Chase urges you to do the same with your daily diet!

 

The nutrition you consume plays a huge part in your dental health and can start to show negative side effects if your diet doesn’t include enough healthy and beneficial foods. A balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, protein-rich foods, calcium-rich foods, and other beneficial factors will give you the right nutrients that can only make your teeth stronger, your smile wider, and your overall health simply better!

 

Calcium-Rich Foods
With the help of these calcium rich-foods, you’ll be able to both strengthen your teeth and bones:

  • Low-fat/fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Almonds
  • Salmon
  • Soy drinks/tofu

 

Vitamin C Foods and Drinks
To better your gum health, integrate some of these naturally sweet and tasty items:

  • Citrus fruits and natural citrus beverages
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes

 

Remember, too much of a good thing can also be dangerous, so don’t hesitate to ask us how to enjoy these things moderately to get the most out of their helpful ingredients and resources. For example, while citrus fruits have plenty of natural Vitamin C, they’re also extremely abrasive and can weaken and erode your enamel. Without the protective surface of your tooth, you’re exposing the root of the tooth, which holds the nerves and can cause sharp pains when in contact with foods and drinks of varying temperatures and ingredients.

 

What to Know about Snacking
We know that there are countless snacks out there that promote healthy living, but not all these snacks apply to the healthiness of your teeth and gums. The act of snacking in between meals can be extremely harmful by itself – the more often you eat, especially in between your major meals like breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the more likely you are to expose your teeth to acidic, damaging ingredients that weaken your smile.

 

If you do choose to snack, be careful about what you pick! Fresh produce is some of the best options, like celery, carrots, peppers, and cucumbers. Dried fruit, while convenient, is packed with sugary ingredients for longevity and sucked of their natural, truly beneficial aspects. Many naturally grown fruits already contain water, a beneficial factor for your smile, and dried fruit removes this to preserve the snack for longer periods of time. Trust us – still to the natural stuff!

 

Looking for more ways to maintain a healthy smile? Give your dentist in Chevy Chase a call at (301) 654-7760 and schedule a consultation with our office. Every smile is unique, and our goal is to give you the best treatment that’s right for your teeth!

Your Child’s Smile

Learn the Stages of Your Child’s Smile and How to Take Care of Their Teeth and Gums

 

As National Children’s Dental Health Month ends, we always want to share helpful tips and tricks for parents (and parents-to-be) as they watch their children grow. A child’s smile, while shiny and brand new, it’s extremely sensitive and vulnerable, so it’s important that their teeth (both baby and permanent) are being taken care of as they get older. Break down how your children’s smiles grow with the help of your Chevy Chase dentist.

 

Baby Teeth
Your child’s baby teeth, a full set of 20 primary teeth, start appearing between six months and a year. The reason you see so many wide smiles with only one or two teeth on display is because their front teeth, on both the top and bottom, are usually the ones to come in first.

 

During this time, your children may also be feeling discomfort due to their teeth coming in. This time can cause tender, sore gums, causing them to feel irritated and fussy. Try gently rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger or a wet gauze to reduce the discomfort. There are also teething products available for children, like rubbing rings, for them to chew on.

 

While these teeth aren’t permanent, they’re still extremely important to your child’s overall health and development. With these teeth, your child learns how to properly chew and speak, all while their body grows and makes room in their jaw for their permanent teeth that will come in next.

 

How to Take Care of Your Child’s Smile as They Grow
As your child grows older, the ways you take care of them will change over time. In the beginning, gently wipe down their gums with a clean, damp gauze or a soft washcloth. It’s important to keep this area as clean and healthy as possible for when their teeth begin to appear. Once they do, they’re at risk for decay, so be sure to be diligent in cleaning their teeth and gums properly.

 

As soon as teeth appear, start to brush them! Don’t hesitate to ask us the best kind of toothbrush to use for your child during these stages of their life. You’ll want a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste that helps clean and strengthen their smile. Use a very small amount of toothpaste since it can be extremely abrasive and can cause more harm than good if there’s too much. Be sure to brush their teeth twice a day, every morning and night, and help them learn how to brush and floss as they get older.

 

If you’re looking for more ways to protect your child’s smile, ranging from their diet to athletic involvement, don’t hesitate to call your Chevy Chase dentist at 301) 654-7760 and we’ll be happy to help your family’s healthy development in the best way possible!

How Exercise Affects Your Smile

Your Dentist in Chevy Chase Wants to Help Protect Your Smile During Your Workouts

 

How has your New Year been treating you? We hope that you’re continuously working towards your resolutions and accomplishing each and every one of them! Between dieting, exercising, and other lifestyle changes, you may not notice how one change can affect other aspects of your health. Below, your dentist in Chevy Chase delves into the ways that exercise can negatively affect your smile if you’re not aware of the potential problems you could run into.

 

Cavities and Tooth Decay
While everyone is at risk for cavities and tooth decay, athletes have a higher intake of sports drinks, energy bars, and other sugar-filled items that could be overwhelming for their teeth and gums. While not every athlete will be negatively affected this way, it’s always important to keep up with your daily dental routine of brushing and flossing twice a day, every day.

 

Dental Grinding/Bruxism
Clenching and grinding your teeth typically happens out of habit or due to your anxiety, but athletic activities like weightlifting can cause people to grit their teeth and brace themselves during this strenuous activity. Be careful! The more you clench your teeth, the more likely you are to suffer from severe jaw pain, which can potentially lead to TMJ. Don’t be afraid to ask us about utilizing a mouth guard to protect your smile.

 

Lack of Saliva
You don’t typically think about your saliva when you’re exercising, but as you’re sweating and panting, you may not be producing enough to protect your mouth, which is one of saliva’s most important jobs. Your mouth can become drier when you’re working out due to the lack of saliva being produced, which can negatively affect the strength of your teeth and cause them to become weaker.

 

Exercising is one of the best things you can do for your body, so we greatly encourage it, but your dentist in Chevy Chase wants to be sure your smile doesn’t miss out on the best care in 2019, either! Call our office at (301) 654-7760 to schedule your appointment today.

Working for a New Year’s Smile

Take the Encouragement from Your Chevy Chase MD Dentist to Care for Your Smile in the New Year

 

Another incredible year is coming to an end, allowing us to have a fresh start as 2019 approaches. You may be compiling your list of New Year’s resolutions and insisting that you’ll be sticking to them – which you should! Any positive work to improve yourself is always a great thing, so we want to make sure that you’ve added your dental care to that list, too. See some resolution suggestions from your Chevy Chase MD dentist to protect and strengthen your teeth and gums next year below.

 

First Things First – Make an Appointment!
There’s no better way to start this resolution than taking that first step and scheduling an appointment with us! We know this can also be a difficult step, as well. If you haven’t visited our dentist in a while, you’re not the only one. According to the American Dental Association, about one-third of people in the United States don’t see a dentist yearly, despite it being highly suggested that you visit every six months.

 

There are dental conditions, like sensitivity, loose teeth, or bleeding gums that are important and urgent signs that you should visit our office as soon as possible. Remember, even if your teeth and gums look healthy, there could be hidden issues underneath that only our dentist can spot.

 

After you’ve successfully gone to your first appointment, always schedule your next one before leaving the office so it won’t be put on the back burner.

 

Commit to the Important Step of Flossing
Despite being one of the most commonly ignored steps in dental hygiene, flossing is an extremely beneficial and necessary part of taking care of your smile. When you floss, you’re getting into all the hard-to-reach places that your toothbrush just can’t clean. When you leave it there, you’re allowing the built-up bacteria to sit, linger, and cause damage to the surrounding teeth. This can make your smile weaker by creating cavities and tougher forms of decay.

 

A helpful tip is to simply bring floss with you wherever you go! Whether you have it in your car, in your bag or purse, in your desk at work, you’ll never have an excuse to skip this step. If you’re having trouble flossing properly, don’t hesitate to ask us for helpful tips – that’s what we’re here for.

 

Cut Back on Unhealthy Diets and Harmful Habits
These two resolutions are some of the most popular, the ones that we always hear our friends and family say. Reducing the amount of sugar intake and quitting habits like smoking cigarettes are great for your overall health, but especially your mouth. Your teeth, gums, and tongue are the first to encounter all your favorite sugary treats and the tobacco from your cigarettes, so they’re the first line of defense and usually take the most damage.

 

If you’re looking for ways to cut back and quit, please ask us for advice. We know that everyone is unique, and their cravings are all quite different, but we would be more than happy to point you in the right direction so you can start caring for your body that much more.

 

While making your New Year’s resolutions are simple enough, executing on them is the tough part, but your Chevy Chase MD dentist is ready to give you the push you need! Schedule an appointment with our office by calling (301) 654-7760 and we’ll help you start 2019 with a brighter, healthier smile.

Within the next month, we’ll be swamped with so many holiday plans, we won’t know which dinner to go to! Sometimes, the right answer is to go to all of them, and while your friends and family may appreciate seeing you during this wonderful time of the year, your smile may not be so grateful. This month, your dentist in Chevy Chase wants to share some helpful tips on how to keep your teeth and gums healthy during all these holiday meals.

 

Everything in Moderation

During at least one of these dinners, you may see your favorite holiday food, whether it’s mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie, but it’s important not to over-indulge on these things. Your teeth will not be used to this kind of treatment, so your smile is likely to get a little bit weaker with the addition of sugar and starch wearing down your enamel and building up bacteria in hard-to-reach places. Be sure to always floss once you’re finished with these meals and never skip out on brushing your teeth at the end of the day!

 

Pass on the Candies

While this may be difficult, your teeth will thank you. You’ll be having multiple hearty meals, certainly way more than usual, and adding candies on top of that, whether hard or chewy, will weaken your smile and put you at a higher risk for cavities. Don’t let your sweet tooth help encourage tooth decay!

 

Load Up on Veggies

We know these holiday meals are all about the major proteins and some delicious starches, but don’t forget about all the great vegetables that wonderfully compliment these plates. We highly encourage you to fill your plate with an assortment of your favorite vegetables that are packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals. Here’s another helpful tip: red and orange vegetables, like peppers, are high in vitamin C, which are good for your gums, while leafy green vegetables, like spinach and broccoli, are great sources of calcium, which helps strengthen your enamel.

 

Looking for more smile-friendly ways to make the most out of your holiday meals? Don’t hesitate to call your dentist in Chevy Chase today at (301) 654-7760 and we’ll be happy to give you the right tips for your smile. And don’t forget to schedule an appointment, too! We know how busy this time of year can be, so be sure to take care of your teeth and gums in between.