Posts for category: Oral Health
Preventive dentistry focuses on keeping your smile as healthy as possible. Dr. Mary Gregory, your dentist in Arlington, VA, emphasizes this important oral care by ensuring that your at-home hygiene works and that your in-office services are timely and thorough. She likes to see most patients every six months for cleanings and check-ups. You see, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
Maintaining your best smile
It starts at home as you and your loved ones brush twice daily and floss every day to remove soft plaque and avoid the formation of hard tartar. Both substances contain harmful oral bacteria which lead to tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, your healthy diet, low in carbs and high in fiber and calcium, reduces the chances of serious dental problems.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research says that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among people ages 20 to 64 but that it can be controlled or prevented altogether. That's where good dental care from your Arlington dentist comes in.
Preventive care in the office complements your at-home routine. When Dr. Gregory examines your teeth and gums, she looks:
- For signs of tooth decay
- At the depth of your gum pockets (a painless process called periodontal probing which checks for gum disease)
- At your existing crowns and fillings and how your teeth bite together
- For signs of oral cancer
Your Arlington dentist assesses every patient for oral cancer because it is one of today's most deadly malignancies. However, says the Oral Cancer Foundation, cure rates improve significantly when oral cancer is detected early. As such, Dr. Gregory uses the innovative Velscope VX detection system. Handheld and wireless, this small probe assesses possible cancer lesions and other pathologies of the mouth in just minutes.
Keeping it clean
At your six-month appointment, your friendly hygienist carefully scales your teeth, including interdental spaces and the gum line to remove the tartar and plaque you miss at home. Also, she takes digital X-rays as needed. Finally, she'll suggest ways to improve your daily routine.
Other preventive services
Plastic sealants coat the deeply grooved chewing surfaces of selected teeth--usually molars. Painted on and cured with a special light, sealants ward off decay. Appropriate for children, teens, and adults, sealants are simple dental insurance which lasts about ten years.
So be diligent about your personal dental hygiene, and come to see Dr. Gregory every six months. Your smile and your overall health will benefit. Call the office today to arrange your routine exam and cleaning: (703) 527-6495.
Don’t let gum disease surprise you. Be on the lookout for these signs.
Finding out you have gum disease can be extremely disappointing, not to mention stressful. Our Arlington, VA, family dentist Dr. Mary Gregory can help you if you are dealing with this condition. Fortunately, this condition is something that you can prevent just by providing your teeth and gums with the proper care. Of course, it’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for these dental signs that could be trying to tell you that you have gum disease:
- Swollen, red gums
- Gums that are tender to the touch
- Gums that bleed (you may notice that this happens most often when flossing)
- Gums that pull away from the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
In the very beginning stages of gum disease (known as gingivitis), it is very common for symptoms to be milder. In fact, many people don’t even notice that there is anything to be concerned about. Fortunately, coming in to see our Arlington, VA, dentist for regular checkups could mean the difference between reversing gingivitis and needing treatment to treat more advanced forms of gum disease. Keep up with your regular dental cleanings to ensure that your smile stays healthy.
Also, do not ignore these symptoms if they do arise. Having red, bleeding and swollen gums is not normal. Take this as a warning that it’s time to pick up the phone and give us a call. A simple physical exam can help us determine whether gum disease is the culprit.
How can I prevent gum disease?
Prevention is key when it comes to your health. Putting in the effort now to keep your smile healthy will bode well for you in the future. Here are the simple ways you can prevent gum disease:
- Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day for about 2-3 minutes. Brushing your teeth after breakfast and again before bed are the standard times to brush your teeth.
- You should be flossing your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque buildup from between teeth. Plaque can very quickly turn to tartar if you don’t floss and we all know that tartar can irritate gums and lead to gum disease. Flossing is a major component to a healthy smile.
- Eat foods that provide the vital nutrients your teeth and gums need to stay healthy and avoid foods that are processed or contain added sugar.
Whether you have questions about managing your preexisting gum disease or you need to schedule your routine checkup, call our Arlington, VA, dentist Dr. Gregory whenever you need her. She is happy to provide you with the care your smile needs.
Find out why you shouldn’t skip out on flossing your teeth.
How often do you floss? If the answer is not “everyday” then you are missing a crucial component to your oral care routine. But what is it about flossing that brushing can’t handle? From the office of your Arlington, VA dentist Dr. Mary Gregory, find out why you should be flossing everyday.
When you brush and floss you remove the bacteria in your mouth. While it’s completely normal to have bacteria in your mouth these bacteria feed off the food that is left behind in your teeth, turning the sugars from it into acid. This acid will attack your teeth and wear away the enamel, which can cause cavities. As if cavities weren’t bad enough the bacteria also churns out sulfur, which can cause some pretty offensive breath.
Why isn’t brushing effective enough on its own?
When you brush you are only getting to certain areas of your smile but missing others. This isn’t giving your mouth the thorough clean that your general dentist in Arlington would hope for.
If plaque lingers and you don’t floss this buildup can harden into tartar. Unlike plaque, which can very easily be removed through regular brushing and flossing, your Arlington, VA family dentist is the only one who can remove tartar. If tartar doesn’t get removed it can cause gum irritation and eventually gum disease. Instead of having to go through the invasiveness of gum disease treatments just be good to your mouth from the very beginning and floss everyday.
Not used to flossing? Then it may take some time at first to get accustomed to the technique. That’s okay; we are happy to show you the best way to properly floss your teeth if you are feeling a bit clueless. After all, our goal is to make sure you have a healthy, cavity-free and gum disease-free smile. By flossing every day you can eliminate the bacteria that can cause these common issues and create a healthy smile that lasts.
Have questions about flossing? Need to schedule your six-month dental cleaning? Then it’s time you turned to Mary E. Gregory, DDS Family Dentistry for all of your family’s smile needs.
Find out if it’s really necessary to use mouthwash every day.
Wondering if mouthwash should become part of your oral care routine? While it might seem obvious to brush your teeth twice a day or see your Arlington, VA dentist Dr. Mary Gregory every six months for routine care, it might seem less obvious to use mouthwash. Find out more about mouthwash and whether it can improve your oral health.
What Mouthwash Should I Choose?
If you wander through your local drugstore you may find that there are a myriad of different kinds of mouthwashes. So, which do you choose? To put it simply, there are three different categories that mouthwash can fall under:
Antiseptic: These mouthwashes are formulated to prevent tooth decay by removing plaque, a thin film of bacteria that forms on the teeth.
Fluoridated: Mouthwash that contains fluoride helps to make tooth enamel more resistant to acid attacks, which helps to prevent tooth decay.
Cosmetic: These mouthwashes aren’t designed to prevent decay or other issues and are truly meant to hide bad breath.
What are the pros and cons of mouthwash?
There are benefits to using mouthwash, but it’s still important to remember that even though it can temporarily mask that pesky bad breath. it’s not a permanent solution. If you have severe or chronic bad breath, there could be an underlying problem that is causing it. That’s why it’s always important to see your Arlington, VA dentist if you notice any changes or problems with your oral health. Bad breath is nothing to ignore. You may need a special therapeutic mouthwash to truly combat your dental issues.
The major pro to using mouthwash each day is that it can keep your mouth cleaner. By rinsing with mouthwash you can dislodge debris that you may have missed through flossing or brushing. Furthermore, using antibacterial or fluoridated rinses could even strengthen tooth enamel and your gums and prevent periodontal disease and possibly even cavities.
So, how vitally important is mouthwash?
While mouthwash can be an added bonus to your oral care regime it certainly doesn’t take the place of other measures. It’s significantly more important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily then it is to use mouthwash.
However, there may be a time when your Arlington dentist will advise you to use a special rinse to treat an infection or inflammation. In this case it’s important to use this mouthwash every day as directed by your dentist.
If you are unsure about whether mouthwash could benefit your smile, then you should talk to Dr. Gregory, your Arlington, VA dentist, today. We can help you determine which mouthwash is right for you.
Find out what foods to add to your diet if you want to maintain a clean, beautiful smile.
Besides seeing your Arlington, VA dentist Dr. Mary Gregory twice a year for proper cleanings and exams, there are some simple measures you can take to promote good oral health. In fact, the best dental habits start with a proper diet. Find out what foods you should start incorporating into your diet for better teeth and gum health:
Milk, yogurt, and cheese: We all need the proper amount of calcium in our diets to keep bones and teeth strong and functioning properly. Since bone is always remodeling—the resorption of old bone tissue to form new—it’s constantly absorbing calcium. While the recommended intake will be different for everyone, it’s especially important that both children and aging adults continue to get the proper levels of calcium to keep their teeth and jawbone strong. Your Arlington, VA dentist Dr. Gregory loves seeing patients maintain strong, healthy smiles!
Furthermore, cheese is high in phosphate, which helps to promote an ideal pH within the mouth to protect tooth enamel and kill bacteria. Over time, this can help reduce your chances of decay and gum disease. It’s important to note though that cheese is high in fat, so eat in moderation.
Crisp fruits and veggies: Apples, celery, and carrots are only some of the fruits and veggies that are nature’s little toothbrushes. These crunchy treats can help remove food and bacteria from between teeth to prevent the formation of decay. Also, biting into these foods helps to stimulate the production of saliva, which washes away cavity producing bacteria.
Kiwi: We all need a healthy dose of Vitamin C to keep our gum tissue healthy and kiwis boast the highest amount of Vitamin C. If you don’t have enough Vitamin C in your diet the collagen within your gums will start to deplete, leaving your gums more susceptible to bacteria buildup and gum disease. To protect your gums start adding more kiwis to mealtimes.
Onions: While onions might not be the most ideal food for keeping fresh breath you may be surprised to hear that these little potent vegetables are full of healthy sulfur compounds, which are great for your dental health. If you really want to pack an antibacterial punch on teeth and gums then eat uncooked onions.
Sweet Potatoes: These Thanksgiving favorites should be enjoyed more often as they contain a high dose of Vitamin A, which promotes the formation of healthy enamel and also helps speed up healing.
While what you eat can certainly have a major impact on the health of your smile, the best way to keep your smile clean besides proper at-home care is to see your Arlington VA dentist Dr. Gregory every six months. Call Mary E. Gregory, DDS Family Dentistry today to schedule your next dental cleaning.