New Year, New Smile! This Year’s Smile Goals

See how Your Chevy Chase Dentist Works with You to Reach Your Dental Goals

The start of a new year is the perfect time to commit to some new goals. This year, start to consider some dental health resolutions to add to your self-care routine. Whether it’s flossing daily or even whitening your smile, take this opportunity to examine your own dental health. Check out these suggestions below to get some ideas on how you can improve your oral health this year.

Consistent Dental Care is Key

When determining your dental health goals, let’s start with the basics: brushing and flossing. While this may seem like common sense, you should be consistently caring for your smile daily. Sometimes it may be easier to just go to bed without brushing your teeth, or to skip flossing if you feel like you don’t need it, but don’t underestimate the power of plaque! The difference between a healthy smile and a smile with gum disease is consistency. It’s recommended that you brush your teeth twice per day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Floss once per day before you go to bed to remove any food debris and bacteria from between your teeth. Plaque is always hiding in your smile, even if you don’t feel it. If plaque sits in place, it hardens and becomes tartar. Over time, tartar can be extremely damaging to your teeth and gums. Be consistent with your dental care to ensure that you have a healthy smile!

Choose the Right Snacks

Choose healthy foods and drinks to protect your smile from damage. Anything that is too acidic or contains too much sugar can break down your enamel. Weakening of the enamel can lead to cavities and dental disease, so it’s best to avoid harmful foods altogether. Instead, try chewing on some crunchy vegetables like carrots or cucumbers. These types of foods can help keep your teeth and gums clean and may wash away some plaque in between brushing. Of course, eating vegetables is helpful for your dental health, but it is no replacement for actual dental care. Still brush regularly and visit your dentist every six months.

Visit the Dentist Regularly

You should be visiting our office every six months for a professional dental cleaning and checkup. If you can’t remember the last time you visited, give us a call! No matter how well you care for your smile, you can’t remove tartar without the help of a dental health professional. Tartar must be removed through the process of scaling; which your dental hygienist does every time you visit them for a cleaning. Every smile is unique, so it’s important to understand the needs of your teeth and gums.

While gum disease is often common in people with poor oral hygiene, it can still occur due to genetics or even due to medications or pregnancy. While you’re here, ask us for some tips on how to care for your individual smile.

Improve Your Smile

If you’ve always been self-conscious of your smile for any reason, it’s possible that one of your goals could be to correct this issue! Whether you have crooked teeth, discoloration, or even gaps in your smile, we can guide you on treatments that can give you the smile of your dreams! Don’t keep pushing off your smile goals until next year, tackle your insecurities head on. Ask our team how we can help you improve the appearance of your smile. Whether you need braces or teeth whitening, the smile you’ve always wanted is within reach!

Dental Habits to Break in the New Year

Break Dental Habits in 2020 with Helpful Tips from Our Chevy Chase MD Dentist

As the year comes to an end, resolutions are on the front of everyone’s mind and what they can do to make personal improvements in 2020. Resolutions can range from exercise to diet to therapy, all of which have their own benefits for every individual. When you’re looking to make improvements to your overall health, don’t forget about your smile. Below, our Chevy Chase MD dentist dives into dangerous and harmful habits we encourage you to break to get your dental health back on track.

 

Nail Biting
A common nervous habit, people bite their nails when they’re anxious or dealing with something stressful. If you continue to bite your nails, you could easily chip a tooth or have a negative impact on your jaw. Don’t hesitate to ask us what some tips are to avoid biting your nails, like fidgeting toys or types of nail polishes.

 

Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
When you brush your teeth, remember to be gentle with your smile. Brushing aggressively doesn’t mean you’re getting a more efficient cleaning. In fact, you’re causing more damage to your smile than you realize! Instead of efficiently cleaning the surface of your teeth, you’re damaging the enamel. As it weakens, you’ll deal with dental sensitivity when drinking and enjoying hot and cold foods and drinks. Find a new toothbrush with soft bristles and, instead of “scrubbing” your teeth, “massage” them in gentle circles with the bristles to reach every area while providing a proper cleaning.

 

Grinding Your Teeth and Clenching Your Jaw
This stress-induced habit can easily crack and chip your teeth, as well as cause a lot of tension and discomfort in your jaw. It’s important to realize when it’s happening, since this action is seen as unconscious, and to react immediately to relax your jaw. Don’t be afraid to ask us about relaxation exercises, as well.

 

Constant Snacking
A common habit, due to either nerves or just to kill time, is snacking. There are countless delicious snacks available and we understand how hard it is to avoid them! But if you’re constantly putting your teeth to work, especially with harmful snacks like chips, candies, and cookies, your smile will quickly weaken. You’re at a higher risk for cavities and decay, so be sure to seriously cut back on the snacking and try to eat more balanced meals to keep you fuller for longer.

 

Do you have any other harmful dental habits you’re looking to break in 2020? Give our Chevy Chase MD dentist a call at (301) 654-7760 and we’ll happily set you up for a bright and shiny new year!

Dental Ups and Downs on Thanksgiving Meals

Thanksgiving is here! This holiday is filled with loved ones, both family and friends, as you enjoy and cherish the quality time this time of year. As you sit around the table full of delicious foods and drinks, we only ask you to keep your dental health in mind. Some of your favorite Thanksgiving meals are also the most harmful to your teeth, gums, and overall dental health, so our dentist in Chevy Chase, MD wants to ensure your smile is the best it can be during this busy season.

 

Below, we’ll dive into the Thanksgiving items that are best to avoid, as well as some of the other tasty options that are beneficial for your smile! If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask us.

 

Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid

Stuffing
A common, delicious staple in a Thanksgiving meal, stuffing is made in all kinds of varieties. Unfortunately, the main ingredient is starch, which is full of sugary carbohydrates that can cling to your teeth. This is more difficult to get away from your teeth, so if it hangs around for too long, you’ll have built-up bacteria in your mouth that leads to cavities. It’s important to drink water after enjoying stuffing as to not allow the bacteria to linger.

 

Alcohol
Sometimes, nothing is better than catching up with friends and family you haven’t seen in a long time! Enjoying a glass of wine or a beer during this time is perfectly fine but be sure to keep an eye on the amount of consumption. Alcohol dehydrates you, which reduces saliva production, and breaks down the enamel on your teeth that is protecting the nerves in the dentin. In between a glass of beer or wine, enjoy refreshing water!

 

Desserts
This time of year may be the only time you’ll get to enjoy your favorite dessert, but moderation is important! Sweets like apple pie, ice cream, brownies, and cookies are all dangerous for your dental health, and could easily give you a few cavities if you’ve been in indulging far more than usual during the holidays. Be sure to wash your desserts down with water and enjoy them sparingly.

 

Thanksgiving Food to Enjoy

Turkey
Thank goodness! The main course of your Thanksgiving meal can be enjoyed without worrying about your smile! There’s no starch or sugar, and turkey also contains a significant amount of vitamin D, which encourages strength for your enamel. Just be sure to watch the additional gravy added on top!

 

Vegetables
While this is no surprise, there are numerous enjoyable sides to enjoy during your Thanksgiving dinner. Vegetables like carrots, celery, corn, green beans are all beneficial in their own way and simply tasty!

 

Pumpkin Pie
Don’t worry – desserts aren’t completely banned from your Thanksgiving meal! Pumpkin pie has a lot of beneficial calcium, as well as some vitamin C. Be careful of the amount of ice cream and whipped cream you put on top, though!

 

If you’re overdue for a dental cleaning, be sure to schedule an appointment with our dentist in Chevy Chase, MD before the rest of your year’s schedule is full. Give us a call today and our front desk staff will assist you in picking the best date and time for your cleaning, exam, and x-ray.

Tips for a Healthy Smile This Halloween

Protect Your Smile from Becoming Too Spooky with Our Chevy Chase MD Dentist

 

With Halloween quickly approaching, it is important to remember your dental care routine so that your smile stays healthy this spooky season! Sugar can be bad for your teeth, so maintaining a healthy routine is essential to combat all that Halloween candy. Read below for some helpful tips to keep your smile healthy and bright all Halloween long!

 

Be Mindful of Types of Candy

One of the first ways to protect your dental and oral health is to know which types of candies would be more harmful to your teeth. This can give you the opportunity to choose between candy and find the least harmful option for your teeth and gums.

 

The Most Harmful Candy:

 

  • Hard candy – candy that is hard and difficult to chew can lead to tooth breakage. Sucking on hard candy also requires people to keep sugar in their mouth for a longer duration of time. It is best to avoid hard candies as much as possible.

 

  • Gummy Candy – caramel, taffy, and gummies are bad for your teeth because they are sticky and can stay stuck to teeth for hours. Anything chewy that can attach to the crevices of your teeth can lead to the deterioration of the enamel.

 

  • Sour Candy – Sour candies are typically chewy and can get stuck between teeth. This type of candy is also highly acidic and contains a lot of sugar, so they often do twice as much damage as other candies.

 

The Least Harmful Candy:

 

  • Chocolate – Not only is chocolate the least harmful candy, but some types of chocolate actually contain extra benefits for your smile! Chocolate melts away instead of sticking to the surface of your teeth. That means there is less of a chance that dental decay will occur and the chocolate can easily be washed away by saliva.

 

  • Sugar-free gum – Some low-calorie sweeteners in sugar-free gum can help rid your mouth of harmful bacteria. This can also help promote saliva which will help keep your teeth clean until you can brush them later on. It should be noted that sugar-free gum is not a suitable replacement for quality dental care. Be sure that teeth are still properly brushed and flossed at the end of the day before going to bed.

 

End Your Day With Dental Care

It is so important not to skip your regular dental care routine, especially on Halloween after eating all those treats! Before going to bed, be sure to brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash to rid your mouth of any harmful bacteria. Don’t forget to scrub your tongue as well, which can be coated with a film of plaque after a day of snacking. Don’t sacrifice your healthy smile this Halloween season!

 

Of course, everything can be enjoyed in moderation, but it is important to keep your dental health in check. Always brush your teeth after consuming Halloween candy and floss to avoid any lingering food debris. Use fluoride toothpaste to help shield your enamel from future bacteria and always try to balance your diet with healthy fruits and veggies. Ask our Chevy Chase MD dentist for more information on how you can maintain your oral health this Halloween!

Identify and Prevent Cavities

Learn how Dangerous Cavities can Really Be with Our Dentist in Chevy Chase, MD

When you’re told that you have a cavity, all dental professionals will recommend that you have it taken care of as soon as possible. Unfortunately, due to busy schedules between work, friends, and family, patients can find it difficult to find the best time to visit our office again to take care of the cavity. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), 92% of American adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have had cavities in their permanent teeth. Even worse, around 26% of them have untreated dental decay!

 

Below, your dentist in Chevy Chase, MD dives into the different classes of cavities, how they damage your teeth, and how our professionals can improve your smile.

 

  • Class I: This class of tooth decay is visible to our dentist. They’re noticeable on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth, like your molars and premolars, as well as decay noted on the front or back surfaces of your front teeth.
  • Class II: These cavities, while they appear on your molars and premolars, are typically between your teeth and aren’t visible to the human eye.
  • Class III: This class of decay occurs between your front teeth and are also not visible without the help of x-rays.
  • Class IV: This type also occurs between your front teeth, but it involves the cutting edges of your teeth.
  • Class V: These cavities appear on the surface, or behind, either your front or back teeth, near the gum line.
  • Class VI: This decay is found on the top surfaces of your teeth, either on the edges of your front teeth or on the cusp of your back teeth.

 

Now that you know where these cavities can lie, and how they’re identified, it’s time for you to know the levels of severity and what tooth decay can do to your smile. To further understand, the outer layer of your tooth is made up of calcified enamel, which protects the softer, inner portion that holds the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When this area of your tooth is damaged, you’re at risk for regular toothaches, dental sensitivity, and other issues.

 

The levels of severity for your tooth decay gives our dentist in Chevy Chase, MD a better idea of how to properly treat the cavity. Incipient, moderate, advanced, and severe cavities are all necessary to take care of, but the longer you wait, the more you’re at risk of completely losing the tooth. By maintaining routine visits to our office, you’ll be able to prevent serious complications to your smile and have our professionals assist you.

 

Following these simple steps will help you avoid a lifetime of dental issues! While cavities are common, they’re also the easiest preventable dental disease and should be taken seriously. Use these helpful tips to avoid dental decay:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day – once in the morning, once at night – with fluoride toothpaste, or another recommended toothpaste from our dentist
  • Floss at least once a day, preferably after a meal to get rid of any lingering, stubborn food particles
  • Change up your diet to include more nutritional foods and drinks, removing sugary and sweet things to lessen the damage done to your enamel

 

Looking for more helpful tips, or are you overdue for your routine dental cleaning? Give our dentist in Chevy Chase, MD a call today at (301) 654-7760 and we’ll help pick the best date and time for your appointment.

Back-to-School Dental Visits

Protect Your Family’s Smiles This School Year with Our Chevy Chase Family Dentist

 

School is back in session! While you’re helping your children get the best accessories and outfits, there’s something else that’s just as important – their smile! Your family dentist in Chevy Chase wants to ensure that your entire family is getting the dental care you deserve, which is why it’s important for everyone to visit our office around this time. Take a look at some common questions we know parents have for your children’s visit.

 

How is your child’s oral health?

During your child’s exam, we’ll be able to take a look at the big picture (meaning your child’s teeth and gums). We want to ensure that you’re taking care of their baby teeth since they’re just as important as their permanent ones. We’ll take a look at their alignment, making sure their teeth are lining up correctly, as well as their bite and the possibility of orthodontic treatment.

 

Why does my child need a cleaning?

These cleanings are a must! During our exam, we’ll be able to see the state of your child’s teeth, whether they need fillings or other dental treatments, and provide a top-of-the-line cleaning when all is said and done. This cleaning will take care of the build-up of bacteria and plaque that are around their teeth and gums, which can quickly turn into decay if not properly cleaned. Without these cleanings, your child could suffer from premature tooth loss, tooth decay, gum disease, and much more!

 

Does my child need an x-ray?

While we complete a thorough dental examination, x-rays are extremely important so we can see the root of a problem – literally! Sometimes, we’re not able to see any problems below the surface, but that’s what x-rays are for. With the help of x-rays, we’re able to see how your children’s teeth are developing and if there are any problems underneath the surface.

 

We want both kids and adults to know the necessary steps to taking care of their smile, no matter what time of year it is. Call our Chevy Chase family dentist today at (301) 654-7760 to schedule your family’s appointment and start your Fall journey towards a healthier and happier smile!

Popular Foods that Stain Your Teeth

Your Dentist in Chevy Chase Shares Popular, but Harmful Foods and Drinks that Dim Your Smile

 

Everyone has a favorite meal, their go-to dish that brings them the comfort and warmth of their favorite day, a memory tied to the food, or something particularly fond that always cheers them up. While there could be one meal or countless meals, your dentist in Chevy Chase wants to ensure that you’re still taking proper care of your smile if your favorite dish has a specific eliminate – or ingredient – that can damage or dim the surface of your teeth.

 

Dive deeper into common culprits that are popular for their flavor, but can do a decent amount of harm to your smile if you’re not careful:

 

Marinara (Pasta) Sauce
This sauce compliments countless types of foods, whether it’s your favorite pasta dish or a dipping side to some mozzarella sticks. Unfortunately, there are some negative aspects to this kind of sauce. Because of their acidity, bright red color, and clingy tendencies, the tomatoes used to create the sauce can easily cling to the surface of your teeth, staining them faster than others.

 

With the help of a fresh spring, green salad as an appetizer, these vegetables (including others within the same green tint) create a protective film over your smile and can fight back against the deep red sauce.

 

Berries
There are numerous health benefits to some of our favorite berries, but your smile may not always be on the receiving end of those benefits. Because of their dark colors, similar to pasta sauce, they can easily cause staining and even the potential of getting stuck in between your teeth, showing the same sort of qualities as tomatoes. Whether berries like cranberries, raspberries, or blueberries are consumed whole, enjoyed as juice, or spread as jam, these staining qualities are still strong!

 

Once you’re finished enjoying these delectable fruits, be sure to wash it down with a glass of water to rinse away the acidity or pair it with some cheese to neutralize the acidity while it strengthens your teeth.

 

Beverages
Whether it’s coffee in the morning or wine at night, there are negative dental side effects that your favorite drink may cause.  Due to the qualities of excessive carbonation, high amounts of sugar, and high acidic levels, your teeth are coming in direct contact with these drinks and suffering. We encourage you to limit the number of harmful beverages you consume throughout the day or always try to pair it with a glass of water to help wash away the harmful build-up the drinks have caused.

 

Looking for other ways to protect your smile and enjoy some delicious foods and drinks? Don’t hesitate to ask our dentist in Chevy Chase for suggestions on foods and drinks that strengthen your smile AND taste good, too! Give our office a call at (301) 654-7760 to schedule your appointment today.