Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, General Dentistry.

eating disorder

Affecting nearly 10 million Americans, eating disorders are dangerous diseases that can also lead to some serious health concerns. Whether anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating, every eating disorder increases the chance of heart failure, decreases bone density, and causes muscle loss. At my Nokesville dental office, we want to inform our neighbors of some of the oral health problems also associated with eating disorders.

Teeth and Eating Disorders

When someone has an eating disorder, they’re not getting all of the necessary nutrients the body needs to function properly. This includes your mouth. Oftentimes an eating disorder can cause salivary glands to produce less saliva, leading to dry mouth. Dry mouth is linked to bad breath, decay, and gum disease. A lack of crucial nutrients can also cause sores to develop. These often bleed easily and can be quite painful.

If vomiting is a symptom, a whole host of other concerns arise. The constant exposure to stomach acid can erode enamel and even cause teeth to change color or become translucent. In fact, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, 89% of bulimics experience enamel erosion caused by overexposure to stomach acid.  

Signs & Symptoms

Many times a dentist in Nokesville may the first to suspect an eating disorder. This is because many signs first show in the mouth, including:

  • Enlarged salivary glands
  • Chronic dry mouth
  • Tooth decay
  • Sensitivity

What You Can Do to Protect Your Teeth

When battling a disease like an eating disorder, proper medical attention is always the first step. Trusted professionals can help both diagnose the problem and fix it. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to keep your smile protected.

  • Continue to brush and floss like normal, brushing twice a day and flossing once.
  • If vomit is a factor, do not brush immediately after it happens. Instead, rinse with water.
  • Continue to visit your dentist as often as recommended.

If you have an eating disorder, please seek medical attention as soon as possible. And while you’re working on beating the disease, give my Nokesville dental office a call and schedule an appointment. We can help protect your mouth from the damaging effects of eating disorders and work with you throughout the healing process.

Serving new patients from Nokesville, Bristow, and Manassas.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, General Dentistry.

smile healthy

We all smile when we hear something funny, when we’re happy, and sometimes we even fake it when we meet someone new. But a smile is much more than an expression. It can actually help keep you healthy. At my dental office in Nokesville, we want to talk about the powerful benefits of smiling and why you should do it more.

It’s All About the Endorphins

Endorphins are chemicals in your brain that, when released, create a feeling of happiness. This release is caused by movements in the facial muscles, like smiling. Not only do these powerful neurotransmitters cause us to feel happy, they’re also our bodies’ natural pain killer. This may be where the expression “laugh off the pain” comes from, because it really can work.

Smiling Kills Stress

Endorphins not only help the happy come out, they also squash stress and anxiety. When we’re stressed, our bodies produce more of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol makes us feel all the unpleasant emotions we experience when stress levels are high. Endorphins actually help lower cortisol levels, killing stress.

Boost Your Immune System

One of the biggest ways smiling works in keeping you healthy is by boosting your white blood cell count. Smiling helps our bodies create more white blood cells which then fight off germs and bacteria.

Go Ahead, Get Smiling

As we’ve learned, smiling is a pretty magical thing that can help in so many ways. If you’re not smiling enough throughout the day, try some of these tips to help you get all of the benefits a smile brings.

  • Watch a funny movie. Laughing brings a simple smile to a whole other level and boosts the health benefits. Pop in your favorite chuckle-inducing classic and cackle away.
  • Fake it till you make it. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a fake smile and real one. And guess what? A fake one still provides health benefits. So turn the frown upside down and feel the happy.
  • Be around people who make you happy. Spending time with those who make us laugh or bring us joy is bound to be smiling-inducing.

If you’re not smiling more because you’re embarrassed by your teeth, give my Nokesville dental office a call. We can help get you a smile you’re confident about through several cosmetic dentistry options. We’ll talk about your ideal smile and how we can make it a reality so you can smile wide and enjoy the health benefits.

Welcoming new patients from Nokesville, Bristow, and Manassas.

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snow white smileThere’s nothing more pristine and white than fresh winter snow. But it doesn’t take much, and before you know it, the snow looks dingy and dirty. The same can be said for your teeth! But don’t worry, the friendly team at my Nokesville dental office is ready to help take your smile from drab to dazzling quicker than you can say blizzard. In the meantime, try these tips to help keep your smile bright!

Rethink Your Food and Drink

Now’s the time of year when we tend to enjoy delicious drinks and foods that can lead to not-so-pearly whites. Red wine, soda, berry juices, coffee, and black tea are all common beverage offenders. Sauces, gravies, and sweet treats will also leave a little something behind. To help your smile stay snowy white, try drinking through a straw. Swallow quick without allowing your beverages and foods to linger too long.

Brushing Up on the Basics

We can’t stress enough how important it is to remain vigilant about your daily brushing routine. Even if you still eat and drink stain-causing stuff, regular brushing and flossing will help keep your teeth white too. Do it twice a day, once in the morning and again at night, to keep stains to a minimum. If brushing isn’t enough and you’re still struggling with stains, stop by for a consultation.

Brighter is Always Better

When teeth whitening is what you’re after, there are a few alternatives to achieve perfection such as brushing with a whitening toothpaste or investing in porcelain veneers. Remember to

check with your Nokesville dentist before beginning any whitening procedures. In terms of your toothpaste, look for the American Dental Association seal of approval on the label to ensure they’re safe and effective. If teeth are truly stained, consider talking with us about the possibility of porcelain veneers. These thin sheets of ceramic bond directly to the front surfaces of teeth for a healthy, white smile. They’re also highly resistant to pesky stains!

We’re always happy to see your smiling face in the office, so don’t forget to ask about whitening options the next time you visit my dental office in Nokesville. Brighter is better when it comes to smiles!

Welcoming new patients from Nokesville, Bristow, and Manassas.

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Dec1‘Tis the season for festive festivities and reminiscing with family and friends. Whether you’re standing under the mistletoe or possibly planting a smooch on a loved one’s lips, my dental office in Nokesville wants to help ensure your kiss is fresh and clean this holiday season.

Brushing and Flossing

Be sure to spread holiday cheer not jeers this season by making sure to not skip your regular, daily brushing and flossing routine. Food and treats are usually pretty plentiful this time of year, so it’s important to make sure your teeth are consistently clean. Proper care helps wash away food debris while attacking plaque build-up head on to maintain fresh breath. Don’t forget to brush twice and floss once daily to keep bad breath at bay. If you do this correctly, your breath will be fresh and ready to share a kiss or a conversation.

Tongue Tied

While brushing and flossing help keep breath smelling great, don’t forget about your tongue.  This magnificent muscle helps us eat the foods we love and communicate with those we care about, so don’t forget to show it some TLC during your daily brushing routine. We always remind patients to do a thorough tongue brushing or scraping. This helps to remove dead cells and unwanted food particles causing bad breath. It’s a quick step to improve your breath and overall oral health. Questions or concerns? Contact my Nokesville dental team. We’re always happy to help and our tongues are never tied.

Stress Less

This time of year can wreak havoc on our calendars, our body and our oral health. Holiday parties, tons of travel, and an overall end-of-the-year burnout can lead to unwanted stress and bad breath. Remember to eat right, drink plenty of water, get adequate rest, and continue to exercise. A healthy body ensures your breath will be ready for every conversation and kiss that comes your way.

No matter what time of year – a healthy smile and fresh breath are always best. Give my Nokesville dental office a call anytime to discuss your oral health. Together we can resolve any issues and discuss possible treatment options. Happy holidays from our family to yours! We look forward to seeing you and your healthy smile in 2016.

Welcoming patients from Nokesville, Bristow, and Manassas

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alcohol and oral healthNearly a quarter of all U.S. adults 18 and older have engaged in one or more nights of excessive drinking this past year. Excessive drinking is defined as five or more drinks for men, and four or more drinks for women. While some may only see this as a concern for your overall health, at my Nokesville dental office, we’d like to explain how it can also be detrimental to your oral health.

Why Is Alcohol Dangerous?

Alcohol is naturally drying, and that’s bad news for your mouth. The mouth needs saliva to stay healthy. Without it, dangerous bacteria can linger around and cause problems. Alcohol is also acidic, and acid causes enamel to soften and makes them more susceptible to attacks.

What Could Happen

If someone abuses alcohol, it could result in several dental problems. While some are much more serious than others, they can all lead to extensive dental damage and even whole-body concerns. Some of these problems include:

  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum Disease
  • Chronic Bad Breath
  • Oral, Throat, and Oesophagus Cancer

Reduce Your Risk

There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of alcohol-induced oral health problems. Follow these tips to help protect your smile.

  • It’s All About Moderation. The best way to avoid oral health complications from excessive alcohol consumption is to limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Not only can drinking in moderation protect your mouth, it can protect your whole body.
  • Brush & Floss. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once will help fight off the damaging effects of alcohol. Additionally, brushing 20 minutes post-alcohol consumption may decrease the chance of alcohol-induced complications.
  • Keep Your Dental Appointments. Regular visits to your dentist in Nokesville aren’t just about getting a deep cleaning and checking for cavities. Appointments at least every six months can catch any problems early, and early detection is key. In fact, sometimes your dentist may be the first to suspect an alcohol addiction by what’s seen in your mouth.

At my dental office in Nokesville, we care about our patients’ overall health, not just their oral health. If you suspect you may have an addiction to alcohol, we encourage you to seek counseling. And if it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, we’d love to see you.

Accepting patients from Nokesville, Bristow, and Manassas.

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holiday stressAs the hustle and bustle of the holiday season approaches, we’re faced with the stress of going here and there, buying presents, cooking food, visiting family, and the seemingly never-ending whirlwind that happens every year around this time. While we all know stress isn’t good for overall health, my dental practice in Nokesville, wants to let you know how it can also affect your mouth.

Clenching & Grinding

Whenever stress is a factor in someone’s life, they’re at increased risk for clenching and grinding. Both habits can cause some serious tooth problems including chipped, cracked, or fractured teeth. They have also been linked to TMJ disorder, which brings its own host of problems. If you notice any signs of clenching or grinding like worn-down teeth or jaw pain, give your Nokesville dentist a call.

Gum Disease

Research shows a link between stress and the development of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects your mouth, but your whole body as well. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, heart disease, and pregnancy complications, along with a host of other health problems.

Keep Calm for a Healthy Life

If you find your blood pressure rising during talks of Aunt Millie coming in for the holidays, or stressing about how in the world you’re going to make it to all those parties, you owe it to yourself, and your smile, to try to relax. These tricks can help:

  • Take a deep breath… or several. Practicing deep breathing techniques has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce overall anxiety levels. When you find yourself spinning in stress, find a quiet place, close your eyes, and just breathe.
  • Sweat it out. Physical exercise releases endorphins — those magical chemicals in your brain that give you the feeling of happiness. Set aside some time for a walk, join a gym, or break out that yoga mat and strike a warrior pose. Namaste.
  • Catch some Zzzz’s. With a crazy schedule it can be hard to get enough sleep. You deserve some you time — with nothing but your pillow and a comfy blanket. When your mind is in a constant state of stress, getting enough sleep is crucial to keeping you healthy so you can actually enjoy the holidays.

Don’t forget, it’s also important to never neglect your oral health routine. When you’re rushing around to parties and stores, it’s easy to forget to brush and floss everyday. Take the advice from the team at my Nokesville dental office and keep up with your oral health. Your smile will thank you.

Welcoming patients from Nokesville, Bristow, and Manassas.

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Oct2 gumBy now, you have probably heard about Xylitol gum, but you aren’t sure why it is such a big deal. Isn’t it just another artificial sweetener? Not at all!

While Xylitol looks and tastes much like sugar, it will not raise blood sugar levels the way sugar does. And since it’s found in many fruits and vegetables, Xylitol is considered natural. You even produce a little of it in your metabolism process!

But here is where the team at my dental office in Nokesville gets really excited about Xylitol: Xylitol has powerful benefits for your oral health!

Chewing a piece of Xylitol gum instead of choosing sugary snacks can:

  • Prevent tooth decay
  • Starve bacteria
  • Prevent oral inflammation
  • Reduce your risk for gum disease

It’s true! How does it work? Well, one of the most common causes of oral health problems is a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans — the bacteria mostly responsible for plaque. Sugar and other carbohydrates feed this bacteria. Or, in other words, this bacteria ingests the sugar we eat. It also ingests the Xylitol, but instead of being nourished by it, they are starved and die. Yep, you got it — oral bacteria levels drop, sometimes by up to 75%!

And that’s not all.

  • Chewing Xylitol gum increases saliva production which protects your teeth and remineralizes them with naturally occurring calcium and phosphate.
  • Acidity in your mouth can lead to enamel erosion. Xylitol in gum or mints can reduce the acidity of your saliva.
  • Xylitol can help your body better absorb calcium which we all know can strengthen your teeth.

To learn more about how chewing Xylitol can benefit your oral health, or for suggestions about which Xylitol products to choose give my Nokesville dental office a call.

Accepting patients from Nokesville, Bristow, and Manassas.

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Oct - floss hacksDental floss. If you’re a patient at my Nokesville dental practice, we know for sure that you have it in your medicine cabinet for use during routine, at-home dental hygiene. But did you know that it might be a good idea to keep some rolls in other rooms of the house as well? You might even want to keep it in your glove compartment!

Why? Because floss has to be strong and flexible enough to fit in between your teeth without breaking, and it’s strong and flexible enough to perform all kinds of other tasks that string or thread might not be capable of handling.

Of course we have our own favorite uses for dental floss, but we have also scoured the internet for creative and handy tips for even more uses. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Protect your walls: Use it instead of wire to hang pictures. Dental floss will not scratch or scrape paint the way wire does.
  • Support delicate plants: Floss is strong and slightly stretchy, making it the ideal way to tie your plants and vines to a supportive wooden dowel.
  • Use it as an emergency shoelace: Again because of its flexibility and strength, dental floss can handily replace a broken shoelace
  • Reattach a button: Another great emergency use of floss when no thread is available.
  • Make a camping clothesline: It’s actually strong enough to hold several bathing suits and t-shirts!
  • Lift cookies from a tray: Many spatulas are too thick to get under a stuck cookie without crumbing it. Dental floss is thin and flexible and easily slides under cookie to loosen them. Try lifting a whole row!

We’d love to hear other uses you might have for this amazing string. Tell us at your next appointment! Speaking of which: Is it time to schedule a hygiene appointment at my dental practice in Nokesville? You know we’ll supply you with a new roll of handy floss!

Welcoming patients from Nokesville, Bristow, and Manassas.

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Sept2MouthwashMost of us have done it — we’re running late, don’t have time to brush our teeth, and reach for the mouthwash instead of the toothbrush for a quick swish and spit. But can a habit of using mouthwash instead of brushing affect your oral health? My dental office in Nokesville has the answer.

Not Brushing is… Pretty Gross

Your mouth is exposed to a lot of food, acid, and bacteria throughout the day. If you bypass a brushing, all of it is left there to eat away at tooth enamel. And if it’s left to fester overnight, it can be even worse. Brushing twice and flossing once a day, every day, is the only recommended way to remove the dangerous debris and protect your mouth against decay, cavities, and even gum disease.

What Does Bad Breath Mean?

While there are times when it’s normal to experience bad breath, like following a garlic-packed dinner, eating a dish filled with onions, or after your morning coffee, you should not have bad breath all the time. Persistent bad breath is a clue that something in your mouth isn’t right. Quite often, bad breath indicates gum disease, which is serious and could lead to tooth loss and other whole-body problems including increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and complications with diabetes.  

Mouthwash Is a Short-Term Fix

When mouthwash is used as an attempt to temporarily freshen breath, there is no problem. But brush as soon after as you can. And if breath isn’t fresh after a good brushing, it typically means it’s packed full of bacteria.  Mouthwash doesn’t remove the sticky plaque and bacteria that only a good brushing and flossing can.

The More You Use It, The Worse It Is

Many mouthwashes contain at least some level of alcohol. Alcohol naturally dries your mouth and slows saliva production. Without saliva, bacteria isn’t rinsed away and the mouth becomes a place where it can thrive and eat away at enamel. If you need to use mouthwash as a replacement to brushing — even though we highly recommend you don’t — choose one that’s alcohol free and use it sparingly

If you notice chronically bad breath, don’t be embarrassed. My Nokesville dental office is here to help. We’ll never judge you or lecture you. We will work with you determine the cause of your problem and discuss the best way to resolve it. Don’t put the health of your teeth, or your body, at risk. Give us a call today.

Accepting patients from Nokesville, Bristow, and Manassas.

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Sept1VegetarianA lot of our patients don’t eat meat. There are dozens of completely noble and sound reasons to skip the animal-based proteins, and health benefits, too, like a reduced chance for high blood pressure and cancer! Some people eat vegetarian diets to control their weight.

But since vegetarians may be at a higher risk for gum disease, if you’re a vegetarian or you’re thinking about it, check in with your Nokesville dentist about how to protect your oral health next time you’re here.

For the vegetarian newbies, some definitions are in order.

  • There are the vegetarians who only eat fish. These are called pescetarians–people who avoid all meat-based proteins except for fish.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians are the most common sort, these vegetarians consume animal products like cheese, eggs, and yogurt.
  • Vegans are vegetarians who also avoid all animal-derived food sources including dairy and eggs, gelatin, etc. Some vegans even avoid honey!

For all types of vegetarians, but vegans especially, it can be difficult to get enough calcium and vitamin D in the diet.

That’s why we recommend taking a few of the following steps:

  1. If you or someone you care for is going vegetarian, it would be a good idea to consult with a professional dietician.
  2. Eat a diet rich in broccoli and dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collards to get enough calcium. Some products, like orange juice, tofu, soy milk, and cereal are calcium-enriched.
  3. Be sure to get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is especially tricky for vegetarians because it naturally occurs primarily in fish. However, many of the products listed above that are fortified with calcium are also fortified with vitamin D.
  4. Consider a vitamin D supplement if you don’t have access to fortified groceries like soy milk, certain cereals, and orange juice.

Still Have Questions?

No problem. Come see us next time you’re near by and talk to us about how to protect your oral health if you’re a vegetarian. And remember, while web research is an important starting place, it’s best to work in concert with your health professionals including your Nokesville dentist, your general practitioner, and any specialists you see to ensure a balanced vegetarian diet.

Welcoming patients from Nokesville, Bristow, and Manassas.