Risk Factors For Your Oral Hygiene – At Any Age

risk factors for oral hygiene - at any age

As you grow and evolve in life, so do the potential risks for causing harm to your teeth. Find out what the main risks are to avoid dental decay at every stage of life.

Negative Impacts On Baby’s Teeth

From the moment your child was born, you have done everything in your power to ensure they are living a healthy and happy life. Make yourself aware of the common threats to your child’s teeth and give your toddler a chance to stay cavity-free while developing strong teeth.

Baby Bottle Decay.

Your baby’s bottle may be a symbol of comfort and nurturing, but after a certain age the bottle may be doing more harm than good. While it’s perfectly safe for your tot to use their bottle during the day, falling asleep while sucking on the bottle is harmful to their developing teeth. Remaining milk in the mouth causes tooth decay throughout the night.

Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking.

Crooked teeth can happen from some unavoidable causes such as genetics, but others can be easily prevented. If your toddler continues to use a pacifier after the age of four, or sucks their thumb as a way of comfort, they’re at risk for changing the alignment of their front teeth. Help them quit these habits early on to avoid braces down the line.

Sippy Cups.

Transitioning to a sippy cup and away from the bottle is a milestone all parents are happy to see. Selecting the right type of sippy cup is just as important as filling the cup with nutritious liquids that don’t cause early tooth decay. Offer your child water over sugary juices, and if they do drink juice, have them rinse their mouth with water afterwards.

Proper Care For Young Children

Even though your child’s baby teeth do eventually fall out, baby teeth play an important role in helping your child eat, speak correctly, and also save space for the important permanent teeth helping guide them into the correct placement.

Properly care for your child’s teeth from the very beginning by:

  1. Scheduling a dental checkup for your baby by their first birthday
  2. Wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp washcloth as an infant
  3. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and water
  4. Introduce a fluoride-free toothpaste to your child if under the age of two
  5. Once your child learns to properly spit, begin using a fluoride toothpaste as part of your brushing routine
  6. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks in your child’s diet

Adolescents and Negative Impacts On Their Oral Health

Transitioning into the teenage years comes with many new body changes and your child’s oral health is one of them. Teens often place a low priority on maintaining good daily oral hygiene and contributing factors are:

Dietary Habits.

Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease among youth 6 to 19 years old. Poor eating habits that contribute to tooth decay include frequent snacking on refined carbohydrates, sugary snacks and sweetened beverages. Help your teen’s teeth fight back by ensuring your child has proper brushing habits that include using a fluoride toothpaste and dental floss.

Oral Piercings.

You may not be a big fan of your teen’s tongue ring or lip ring, and neither are their teeth. Oral health problems associated with oral jewelry include swallowed jewelry, speech impairment, fractured or chipped teeth, and gingival recession.

Smoking and Alcohol Consumption.

Along with other major health risks, there is an increased chance of developing cancer of the mouth with tobacco usage, and excessive consumption of alcohol. Negative dental outcomes are also linked to smokeless tobacco, such as gingival recession, periodontal disease and bone loss.

Dental Risks For Adults

The longest period of your life is the time you are an adult. You’re at a higher risk of developing oral health problems if you:

Use of Tobacco Products.

Adults who use tobacco products, either smoking or chewing tobacco, have a higher risk of severe gum disease and tooth loss. Tobacco users are also at high risk of developing cancers of the throat, mouth, tongue or lips.

Have Poor Oral Hygiene.

Not properly brushing for a full two minutes, twice a day and flossing can cause tooth decay which left untreated can lead to tooth loss.

Poor Genes.

Unfortunately, some oral health problems may be genetic. If you have a close family member that experiences more tooth decay or gum issues, that same problem may run in your family.

Diet and Nutrition Habits.

Not eating a balanced diet full of nutrients can have a negative impact on your oral health. If your diet consists of processed foods with refined sugars and carbohydrates, you are directly impacting your teeth in a negative way.

Perfect Your Oral Hygiene

Establishing good oral hygiene starts at the very beginning stages of life and never fades. Ask us how you can improve on your child’s oral health, or maybe even your own, at your next appointment.


Getting Your Kids Excited About Healthy Eating (without Too Many Tears)

Child's hand and healthy vegetable lunch

The holiday season is full of many sweet moments, but it’s important to remember the sugary sweet treats your kids consume during the holidays can lead to entering 2018 with cavities. We’re not saying you have to eliminate them completely; for many kids, sugary treats can feel like the reason for the season.

So how do you navigate the road of moderation for your family without temper tantrums every time your child spots a Christmas cookie?

The secret to mastering this skill is to have patience and the right approach, and we’re going to show you how.

Kids Can Change Their Eating Attitudes – Even Toward Vegetables

A healthy diet is a key component in building your child’s development . The problem with getting your kids on a healthy diet is, many of the nutrients your child needs to thrive are hidden in those “yucky” vegetables that get shoved off the plate during meal times.

What’s the big secret in getting kids to eat a healthy and balanced diet?

Studies have shown that exposing your children to try a small amount of a vegetable each day can lead to big changes in their attitude towards that specific food. Even as little as 1-2 bites can make a big difference in how your child views that food!

Working Toward Happy Children with Healthy Diets

If your child is still challenging you on eating certain vegetables, try one of these tips:

  • Make food more fun – Turn your child’s plate into a piece of artwork full of colors and shapes that visually appeal to them.
  • Think on their level – Children typically prefer flavors to remain separate on a plate, so make small piles of sliced or steamed vegetables that were prepared separately. Let them explore each flavor one by one.
  • Use flavor enhancers – Adding flavors your child likes to plain vegetables makes them tastier and more likely to become a hit. Try cooking their vegetables in butter or garlic, or add in some cheese or bacon for fun flavor additions.
  • Provide rewards – Offer a simple sticker or stamp on their hand as a reward for positive food experiences and avoid sugary treats as a reward system.
  • Don’t preach all or nothing – It’s all about exposure and introducing vegetables in new, fun ways to create positive experiences. Forcing kids to finish a plate can lead to negative experiences and can intensify picky eating.
  • Trying at least one bite – Sometimes a bite is just as big of an accomplishment as eating an entire plate. Research shows children who initially rejected a food change their mind after 8-10 tries, so keep consistent and offer the same foods often so your child can get comfortable.
  • Be persistent – Don’t give up on a food if your child rejects it initially. If you’re consistent, habits will eventually change and good eating habits lead to healthy eating habits.

Moving Away From Sweets as Rewards

Move away from offering rewards such as a tasty dessert for finishing a meal, and aim for experiences instead of edibles as a treat. This advice is by no means exclusive to children – adults are just as guilty of using sweet treats as rewards for themselves too.

Showing your child you’re invested in your own healthy eating is the first step in leading by example. Your eating patterns impact your children, so make a healthy lifestyle a family affair.

Want more information? Cherrywood Dental Associates is dedicated to helping your family create healthy eating habits!

Chewing Gum & Other Surprising Recommendations for Better Oral Health

young girl making a bubble from a chewing gum

Reaching for a piece of minty-fresh chewing gum after a meal out may already be part of your routine when you’re out with friends, but did you know that chewing sugar free gum does more for you than just freshening your breath?

Thanks to the role it plays in helping prevent tooth decay, chewing a piece of sugar free gum after eating or drinking may save you thousands on potential dental treatments, and here’s why.

Why Gum Could Boost Cavity Prevention

Studies are always showing that tooth decay is preventable, but could it really be as simple as chewing one additional piece of sugar free gum per day?

New health economic research published in the British Dental Journal has demonstrated that adding sugar free gum into families oral health routines could easily and effectively reduce tooth decay.

Their research was based solely on 12 year olds, and showed that collectively, chewing one additional piece of sugar free gum per day could save over 3 million dollars on dental treatments a year, almost 4 million dollars a year with two pieces, and over 9.5 million dollars by chewing up to 3 pieces per day.

Their research also showed that if this model was to be applied to the whole population, anyone over 7 years of age could benefit from chewing sugar free gum and reap the benefits of substantial savings.

How chewing gum can give you healthier teeth

Chewing gum works by creating additional saliva in the mouth that helps in washing away any residual foods or sugars that may be left behind after a meal. It can also promote the remineralisation of tooth enamel.

While dental foundations still recommend that the best and most effective way to keep teeth clean is by brushing for two minutes, twice a day, this new information on chewing gum may be a simple and exciting way to help in keeping your families mouths clean when brushing your teeth may not be available. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal, and throughout the day can be simple and effective in breaking down lingering foods and neutralizing harmful plaque acids that cause tooth decay.

Xylitol gum may have additional benefits

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is found in many fruits and vegetables. Originally used as a natural alternative to sugar, it is used as a sugar substitute in many brands of sugar-free chewing gums. Xylitol can have many health benefits including the most well-documented, in oral health. Because of Xylitol’s anti-adhesive quality, it helps to promote oral health and prevents harmful bacteria from adhering to teeth.

Other Lesser-Known Ways to Get Healthy Teeth

There are other ways to get healthier teeth, some of which are less known, but just as simple and effective. Try a few of these tips and tricks to achieve a healthy and bright smile.

Drink Water – All Day

Water is better for your teeth – and your entire body – than nearly all your other beverage options. Drinking water helps to wash away left behind food debris, and also keeps your saliva levels high so your mouth is always in clean mode. Keeping your body hydrated is your best defense against tooth decay because of the proteins and minerals contained in your own saliva that fights against enamel-eating acids. Can your daily can of soda do that? We’re afraid not.

Set a Flossing Reminder

Struggling to get into a flossing habit? Set nightly reminder on your phone, and leave containers of floss in your lounge areas for convenience so there are no excuses. Research suggests that it takes a full 21 days to form a habit, so stick with it!

Avoid These Secretly Dangerous Snacks

What’s good for your body might not be the best choice for your teeth. Before you begin a new diet, make sure it’s not going to result in damaging your smile. Some of these food options may be secretly causing you dental decay without you even knowing:

  • Juicing – The sugar and citrus in fruit juices can wreak havoc on your enamel and these drinks are filled with acidic compounds that wear away your tooth surface and welcome cavities.
  • Dried Fruits – This snack sticks right to the surface of your teeth, kickstarting decay. What you thought was a healthy snack, just turned into candy.
  • Dark Beverages – dark-colored drinks have a staining compound that washes over your enamel and stays there. These drinks can cause discoloration and the weakening of your tooth enamel.

Need help in picking out the perfect chewing gum to combat cavities? Ask us which brands we recommend at your next dental exam.

Why Did My Dentist Recommend a Full Mouth Reconstruction?

Smiling young woman receiving dental checkup

When your dentist recommends a new treatment, you’re usually a little nervous about what’s ahead. And when that treatment plan includes a collection of restorative measures aimed at rebuilding your entire smile and restoring its health, you’re even more anxious.

Rest assured: if you’re facing a full mouth reconstruction, there’s nothing to stress about. And learning more about what’s likely to be involved in your own treatment plan will help quiet any fears.

The first step? Asking your dentist any lingering questions – before you start treatment. Plan ahead so that you know exactly what to expect, and there are no unwelcome surprises.

Step two? Read on for a quick primer on full mouth reconstruction – and what might be involved in your own treatment plan. If we don’t answer your questions, get in touch with our front desk for assistance. You deserve to feel completely comfortable with your treatment before you begin.

What exactly is full mouth reconstruction?

A full mouth reconstruction is a treatment plan that provides comprehensive rehabilitation for damaged teeth. Technically, the plan can be referred to as full mouth reconstruction if it affects most or all teeth in the mouth. This plan takes both aesthetics and function into account, so the new smile looks natural and functions as well as (if not better than) the patient’s natural teeth.

You may be a candidate for FMR if you have

  • Several missing teeth
  • Many teeth with large fillings
  • Many cracked, broken or chipped teeth caused by years of bruxism or other bad habits
  • A condition that leads to worn or damaged teeth or causes poorly developed teeth
  • Chronic pain related to jaw dysfunction
  • Oral cancer – Some treatment options for oral cancer involve replacing missing teeth and also missing structures of the oral cavity.

Full mouth reconstruction candidates should be in good health so that they can receive local or even general anesthesia. Younger patients typically recover from surgery more quickly, but there is not an age restriction.

Talk to your dentist before moving forward with oral surgery (to place implants, extract teeth or perform root canals) if you have heart problems or an autoimmune disease.

You may also be required to make significant changes to your regular habits to ensure that your restorations last. After all, following significant dental work, the last thing you want is for the work to fail. But if you’re a tobacco user, a heavy drinker, or do not typically perform good oral hygiene, you will need to make big changes so that you can make sure that your restorative treatment stays with you.

What types of treatments are involved in full mouth reconstruction?

Your full mouth reconstruction will be unique – and you can’t know what will be involved until you have a consultation with a qualified dentist. The treatment plan they might recommend could involve one or several of the following treatments:

  1. Restorative treatments – Crowns, bridges, fillings, inlays, onlays
  2. Dental implants – Titanium tooth root replacements that integrate with the jaw bone
  3. Cosmetic treatments – Veneers, teeth whitening, dental bonding, contouring for teeth or gums
  4. TMJ/TMD treatment – Resolving issues with the jaw joint to improve function and reduce pain
  5. Bruxism treatment – TMJ therapy and/or a night guard to protect teeth from clenching and grinding
  6. Orthodontic treatment – Metal braces, Invisalign, expanders, retainers
  7. Oral surgery – Root canal therapy, gum grafts, bone grafts, tooth extractions
  8. Periodontal treatment – Periodontal surgery or scaling and root planing to heal your gums and recover from periodontal disease

How long with my treatment plan take?

There are multiple approaches to full mouth reconstruction. Your dentist will choose the one that best fits your needs and your preferences; some treatments also require longer healing periods (like dental implants).

These are the typical FMR timelines –

  • Treatment completed over a longer period (a few months to a few years) – If a patient requires most of their existing dental work or teeth to be replaced, this will take some time. When treatment is completed, all teeth will have been improved individually.
  • Treatment completed in a few weeks – In this plan, your dentist will have all restorations ready at the same time and place them at once.
  • Other options – If you receive ongoing therapy for a jaw disorder, for grinding, or for other underlying problems, this can take time and effort. You may need to have bite or jaw repositioning to retrain your jaw to move in healthy ways.

Whether you’re preparing to begin full mouth reconstruction or you are looking for more information about your options, we’re here to help. We offer complimentary consultations so that new patients can gather information without having to make commitments. We also offer dental implant specials to make your tooth replacement more affordable. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like to learn more.

Woodbridge Full Mouth Reconstruction | Full Mouth Reconstruction Woodbridge | Restorative Dentist Woodbridge


How to Overcome Lifelong Dental Anxiety

nervous looking woman biting her fingernails

Stop biting your nails (seriously, it’s bad for your teeth!) and get more comfortable in the office

Dental anxiety: it’s easily the worst part of a patient’s dental care. Because what they fear might happen in the office is typically much worse than anything that will actually take place – it’s the old adage that we suffer more in imagination than we do in reality.

If you’ve had that anxiety for years, and stayed away from the dentist’s office due to fear, what you’ve conceived as possible painful or embarrassing situations that could take place in the office are dominating your approach to your dental care.

It’s time to disrupt this pattern and get you more comfortable with the office. Below, we’ve detailed the two important steps you need to take to improve your anxiety. First, consider what might be the cause of your dental phobia. This will help you identify what it is that you need to change. Then, take the recommended steps to start altering your dental mentality.

No matter where you are in your anxiety journey, we’re here to help. Just get in touch with our staff for assistance or answers to any questions.

What Are The Causes of Dental Anxiety?

While estimates vary, one thing is for sure – a whole lot of adults experience dental anxiety. Some studies say that 1 in 7 adults experience high levels of anxiety, and others say that 9-15% of Americans avoid even visiting the dentist due to their anxiety. That’s really the bigger problem, because when you skip routine exams you risk developing more serious dental problems that require more invasive care – which only triggers further anxiety.

The cause of your anxiety is personal and unique to your experience. But there are some more universal factors that tend to inform their nerves and build them up to a larger phobia. See if any of these sound familiar –

  • Past negative experiences with a dentist (often during childhood) – If you’ve had an uncomfortable dental exam or procedure in the past, then you will find it more difficult to pursue future dental care. These experiences often stem from childhood, as children are nervous about what their exams might be like. Unpleasant smells and sounds, unexpected pain, or uncertainty at what’s going to happen in the office can linger with a patient for years and prevent them from feeling good about future care.
  • Other fears that are related to the dental experience – You may have another phobia that is wrapped up in your dental care and impossible to distinguish. If you have a fear of needles or a sensitive gag reflex, these stressors can prevent you from receiving dental care comfortably. Addressing these problems at their source will help you feel better about dental care.
  • Feeling of helplessness / loss of control – Receiving dental care puts you in a unique position. Your face is incredibly close to your dentist’s and your hygienists, and they’re closer to your mouth than anyone typically is (unless you’re in a relationship with them). Combining that with being unable to speak clearly during an exam when dental instruments are in your mouth can lead to anxiety about not being in charge of your body and its closeness to those around you.
  • Embarrassment – Many patients with dental anxiety procrastinate with their exams, sometimes taking long breaks between appointments. They can be very self conscious about dental problems that they may have developed during this period, and not want to show their teeth and gums to a professional. Something that’s crucial to remember here is that a good dentist is never going to judge you or shame you. They care about you and your health and want to act as your ally in helping you regain happiness and a disease-free smile.
  • Fear of the unknown – This is the root of many other anxieties, and has been around since the dawn of human consciousness. The issue is, you just don’t know exactly what’s going to happen when you visit the dentist’s office. A part of you knows that it’s likely going to be okay. But another part of you worries about turning up a cavity that will require drilling, or gum disease, or something more serious like the need for a root canal. And the fear of unknown costs to fix these problems is tied up in those concerns as well.

How Can I Improve My Dental Anxiety?

Even if you’ve been anxious since your very first dental exam as a toddler, that can all change. There is going to need to be some work on your part, and some work on your dentist’s – but know that Dr. Pakpour and Dr. Barzgar love helping anxious patients get more comfortable, and value open communication. If you’re nervous about an upcoming procedure, let us know so that we can take steps to help put you at ease.

Before your next exam or procedure, consider trying the following –

  • First thing: schedule an exam ASAP – If you have bad dental anxiety, it’s probably been more than 6 months since you were last in the office. Getting back on a regular exam schedule will help improve your anxiety for a few reasons. One, you visit the office more often, so you get accustomed to the sights and sounds and develop good relationships with the office staff. Two, you’re more likely to avoid serious dental problems because you receive preventive care. That means fewer feelings and reduced risk of gum disease.
  • Talk to your dentist – Once we know that you’re feeling nervous, we can help talk you through your appointment. But we don’t always have noticeable signs that we can pick up on to take that approach, so please be direct – you won’t hurt our feelings.
  • Book an early morning appointment – Get your exam over with! Schedule the first appointment available and go to work just a little late.
  • Bring a friend or family member to your appointment – Having someone you are close with at the office with you can help you feel more relaxed.
  • Ask for nitrous oxide – Dental sedation helps prevent your body from triggering anxiety responses, and keeps you feeling calm. Nitrous is easy to receive – you inhale it through a small mask over your nose and there are no needles involved – and takes hold quickly. If you’ve never tried nitrous and have struggled with anxiety, we recommend trying it for your next procedure.
  • Listen to music – Ask your dentist if you can bring headphones and listen to something soothing during your appointment. As long as they can still communicate with you when necessary, this could help you relax.
  • Try relaxation methods during regular life – Your anxiety can spill over into other realms. If you tend to be anxious throughout daily life, trying yoga or meditation could help you in the dental chair as well.
  • Talk to a therapist – If you have more advanced anxiety, speaking with a professional is a good idea. They might recommended ongoing therapy to help you work through your fears.
  • Find a dentist that you love – Remember, if you’re just not comfortable with your dentist, you’re never going to feel at home in the office. Look for a provider that makes you feel listened to and clearly cares about your comfort. Reading patient reviews is a great way to get a feel for what the patient base experiences with that office.
Greenbelt General Dentistry | General Dentist Greenbelt | General Dentistry Greenbelt


What Every Diabetic Should Know About Oral Health

Diabetics know that they need to carefully monitor their diet and control their blood sugar. But less-discussed is the significant connection between diabetes and oral health. Poor blood sugar heightens the risk of developing periodontal disease. This leads to shockingly common gum problems for diabetics – in fact, 1 in 5 cases of total tooth loss is related to diabetes.

We’d like to start changing that statistic. The first step is helping diabetics and non-diabetics alike become more informed about the best ways to keep their gums healthy.

We’ve put together an infographic that discusses the diabetes’ impact on the mouth, as well as other conditions with oral symptoms. And the mouth-body connection goes in both directions, so there’s also information about how gum disease may heighten the risk of other health conditions.

Be sure to read to the end for some diabetes-specific oral health tips.

Oral Health and Whole Body Health – Understanding the Connection

infographic about how oral health impacts systemic health

Caring for Your Teeth and Gums as a Diabetic

Gum disease affects about 22% of diabetics. Infected gums can cause the blood sugar to rise, making it more difficult to control diabetes. If you have diabetes, it’s key that you stay vigilant and treat your gums with care. Be sure to do the following –

  • Schedule routine exams – Professional cleanings will help you avoid plaque buildup and prevent gum disease. Your dentist will also be able to tell how well your blood sugar has been controlled and help you stay on track.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions to control your blood sugar – Take any prescribed medications, get a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. Healthy blood sugar levels will help you fight bacterial infections in the mouth and will also improve dry mouth.
  • Do not use tobacco
  • If you wear a denture, clean it daily and thoroughly
  • Practice good oral hygiene – brush twice daily and floss once daily.

If you’re looking for help controlling your diabetes and improving your oral health, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Woodbridge General Dentist | General Dentistry Woodbridge | General Dentist Woodbridge


This Surprising Drink Might Be Secretly Damaging Your Teeth

pouring water into glass from a carafe, on white background
You know that you’re supposed to avoid soda and juice for the sake of your enamel. But there’s another popular drink that could be just as problematic.

Sparking water has become more widespread in recent years, with Americans drinking more and more of the sugar-free soda alternative. Between May 2016 and May 2017, we actually spent about $2.3 billion on seltzer. Some trend experts think that this surge has to do with seltzer’s popularity among millennials. But no matter the cause of the popularity, drinks should be aware of potential risks.

There are a few reasons why sparkling water shouldn’t be the majority of what you drink – and we dive into those below. It’s always important to remember that no beverage should be the only thing you imbibe (other than water, that is!) and diversifying your diet is beneficial for your health. If you’re ever looking for advice on tooth-healthy foods and drinks, just get in touch.

Why Might Sparkling Water Be Bad for Teeth?

It’s all about the carbonation. Sparking water contains carbonic acid. This is because carbon dioxide gas dissolves in the carbonation process. The pH level of seltzer is therefore lower than normal water.

Add the flavorings involved in some sparkling waters, and you end up with an acidity similar to that of fruit juice. A study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry found that many sparkling waters have the same effect on teeth as orange juice, softening tooth enamel. The study found that citrus-flavored waters were the most corrosive, since they contain citric acid as well as carbonic acid.

But in this case, the flavoring might be the primary cause of the problem. A different study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation found that plain mineral water and flavorless seltzer do minimal damage to teeth.

So what’s the real answer? Experts say that individuals would need to consume sparkling water regularly over a significant period of time in order to see significant changes to their enamel. Basically, labs can create unrealistic environments, and real-world seltzer consumption is unlikely to ever reach that level.

How to Avoid Enamel Erosion, No Matter What You Drink

Even though seltzer might not be as dangerous as soda because it skips the sugar, you should still take care. It’s always a good idea to be careful with even somewhat acidic drinks. When you sip an acidic beverage, you kick off acid attacks within your mouth. The acid strips the enamel of minerals for minutes at a time following each sip. This leads to enamel eroding and becoming sensitive.

There are a few ways to protect your teeth when you’re enjoying an acidic drink like sparkling water, wine, or orange juice –

  • Drink quickly – We don’t mean that you should chug a glass of wine, but you can absolutely reduce the number of sips you take. By taking fewer large sips as opposed to many tiny sips, you’re exposing your teeth to shorter and fewer acid attacks. If you’re drinking something especially acidic, try to follow this rule and your teeth will thank you.
  • Use a straw – A straw helps direct the harmful liquid toward the back of your mouth and keep it from washing over your teeth. We know that it’s not always possible to use a straw, especially in social settings, but you can have a reusable straw at home to use when you’re alone or with family.
  • Pair drinks with meals – Snacking is a big problem for your teeth. This is because you don’t eat enough food during a snack to stimulate enough saliva to wash away acids. By pairing sweets and acidic drinks with meals, you can ensure there’s enough saliva to protect your teeth.
  • Rinse with water or chew sugar-free gum – After you finish your beverage, quickly swish with water or chew on a piece of sugar-free gum. This will help reset your oral pH and remove acids and food particles.

You should also use fluoride toothpaste if you have a problem with sensitive or worn enamel. Fluoridated toothpaste remineralizes your enamel to help reduce erosion. It’s usually best to use this toothpaste at night because the fluoride has the strongest impact if you don’t rinse with water afterwards. For those who brush and then head out the door or eat breakfast on the go, this can be challenging.

No matter the state your teeth are in, we’re here to help. Get in touch with any questions about your diet or your oral health. The better informed you are, the better you’ll be able to build a strong and healthy smile!

Woodbridge General Dentist | Woodbridge General Dentistry | General Dentistry Woodbridge
What Daily Life with Invisalign is REALLY Like

Woman wearing orthodontic silicone trainer

So: you’re ready. You’re straightening your teeth, and you’re trying out this supposedly patient-friendly treatment method called Invisalign.

If you’re holding your aligners in your hand for the first time, you’re probably thinking: okay, I’ve got them, but what do I do next?

While your Invisalign provider will give you all the information you need to succeed, there are always going to be day-to-day bumps in the road that you might not feel prepared for.

That’s where this post comes in!

If you’re a new Invisalign patient, this article will tell you exactly what you can expect from the upcoming months in your aligners – plus, some advice on retaining your results post-treatment. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers – and if you don’t find what you’re looking for below, just get in touch with Cherrywood Dental for advice. Our staff loves helping Invisalign patients through their journeys, and unveiling their straight, confident smiles in the months ahead!

Invisalign Non-Negotiables: What You MUST Do Daily

While Invisalign definitely makes straightening simple for its patients, there are some guidelines that you absolutely must follow if you’re going to finish treatment on schedule – and avoid cavities along the way.

  • Wear your aligners as much as possible – While Invisalign’s removability makes it more appealing than braces, that removable nature adds responsibility onto the patient. You need to wear your aligners at least 20-22 hours per day (every 24 hours). This might sound easy, but it’s actually quite a big chunk of your day and night. If you eat three meals a day, plus snacks in between, plus brushing and flossing, that’s easily a few hours when you aligners will need to be out. A good practice is to brush immediately after eating, then pop your aligners back in. There’s another downside to leaving your aligners out after eating – it’s more likely that you’ll lose them. Something that you can try is setting a an alarm on your phone every time you take them out. The alarm will go off after you’ve given yourself a reasonable amount of time to eat, and then the aligners get back to work straightening your teeth!
  • Brush and floss every time you eat or drink – You know that brushing and flossing are important for everyone’s oral health because they prevent plaque buildup. But for Invisalign patients, oral hygiene is absolutely imperative – and you’re going to be brushing more often than usual. This is because it’s easy for acids and food particles to get trapped against teeth if you replace your aligners after eating but skip cleaning your teeth. The last thing you want is for your straight smile to be filled with cavities – make sure to clean your teeth every time you eat, and this won’t be an issue.
  • Adjust your eating schedule – This might not be necessary for every patient, as we all have different snacking habits. If you tend to eat 3 meals a day and forgo snacks, then Invisalign will fit into that schedule fairly easily. But if you tend to eat small amounts of food throughout the day and just have 1 larger meal at dinnertime (as many of us do in our nonstop-busy era), this is going to prove tricky. Since you need to clean your teeth every time you eat, snacks become frustrating and end up taking up a lot of time. It’s going to be important that you eat fewer, larger meals to get enough calories without having to constantly pop out your aligners and brush your teeth. For this reason, many Invisalign patients actually lose weight because they eat less than they typically would.
  • Put together a travel toothbrushing kit – Think about all the places that you eat every day – home, work, school, a friend’s home, restaurants. If you’re cleaning your teeth post-dining, you’ll need to have a small toothbrush, toothpaste & floss that can accompany you. Visit your local drugstore and put together a small kit that can live in your purse, backpack or briefcase and keep your teeth clean no matter where you eat.

Other Invisalign Patient Responsibilities

While these tasks won’t be necessary daily, they’re also crucial to your success.

  1. Change out your aligners as instructed – You’ll need to switch to new aligners at specific intervals. This keeps your straightening moving forward and your progress on schedule. Don’t delay the swap due to the initial discomfort. Soon enough, you’ll feel completely comfortable again and your teeth will continue to shift as planned.
  2. Don’t skip follow-up appointments – You’ll need to visit the office for routine checkups. This allows your Invisalign provider to ensure that everything is looking good and your teeth are shifting predictably. If you miss an appointment, it could take a little time to reschedule, so try to make these trips a priority.

After Invisalign Treatment: What Happens Next?

You’re not completely finished with your orthodontic treatment once you’ve completed your course of Invisalign aligners. It’s important that you wear retainers at night. This will help ensure that your straighter smile lasts for many years to come.

Considering Invisalign? Whether you’ve never discussed it with a provider or have already had a consultation, we’re happy to provide more information or a second opinion. Reach out today!

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The Quickest & Easiest Way to Help Your Kids Avoid Cavities

Your kids depend on you for help learning healthy habits – and their brushing, flossing and diet are no different.

Childhood is a unique period of time when they learn habits that can stay with them for life. If they grow accustomed to a wide range of vegetables and a balanced diet, they’ll be more likely to appreciate healthy foods as they age. So staying cavity-free during childhood actually helps lead to healthy teeth during adulthood.

Now is your chance to help your son or daughter become a healthy, happy and well-adjusted individual. If you’re unsure of where to start, we’ve put together a handy reference below. Check out some of the most important stages of tooth development, plus ways to encourage tooth-healthy habits once your kids are more independent.

Feeling uncertain as to what’s best for your children’s dental health? Just get in touch to learn more and schedule an exam.

What to Expect as Your Kids’ Teeth Develop

Greenbelt Kids Dental Health - Infographic

Top Causes of Tooth Decay for Kids

Kids do share many of the same causes of cavities as adults – but they depend on you to recognize problems and correct them before decay spreads. Make sure to do the following to keep your children from developing more significant cavities or other dental problems:

  • Visit the dentist regularly (every six months) – Your child should see a dentist by their first birthday. This allows the dentist to be sure that everything is developing properly and that the first erupting teeth are healthy. Then, kids should visit every six months.
  • Avoid sugary or acidic drinks throughout the day – It’s okay for your kids to have unhealthy drinks from time to time, but you should do everything possible to avoid allowing them to sip on soda, juice or sports drinks throughout the day. Each sip leads to a prolonged acid attack on enamel, and this is a common cause of kids’ tooth decay.
  • Make sure their toothpaste contains fluoride – Fluoride is crucial during tooth development, as it helps build strong enamel. Fluoridated products may have become controversial, but major organizations like the ADA remain firm that it is healthy for children’s teeth in appropriate amounts. Get in touch if you’re looking for guidance on this.


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How Patients Are Getting Straight Teeth without Orthodontic Treatment

straighten teeth Greenbelt

Let’s be honest – nobody really wants to deal with braces.

Maybe you’re comfortable with all that brackets and wires entail because you’re just excited for the results. That’s why patients go through orthodontics, after all – to get straighter teeth, a more comfortable bite and a healthier smile. But if you hate the process, it makes the whole experience unpleasant and can even affect how satisfied you are with the results.

For patients with only mildly crooked teeth, there’s a better way.

That’s right – if only your front teeth are crooked but you have a healthy overall bite, you might not need to go through orthodontic treatment at all. Instead, you can discover a gorgeous grin with a simple set of porcelain veneers. The veneers we offer stand out from the rest for quite a few reasons – and if you keep reading, you’ll see why.

Meet Lumineers, the Friendlier Veneers

While porcelain veneers can make a big difference to patients’ teeth, the procedure sometimes leaves something to be desired. Patients may require significant tooth reduction in order for the veneers to fit over their teeth. This means that the natural tooth structure is drilled down to make room for the porcelain restoration. Tooth structure is lost, anesthesia is required, and temporaries must be worn in between appointments.

Lumineers evolved as a way to leave this frustrating process behind. They’re made of cerinate porcelain and are exceptionally thin – actually, no thicker than a contact lens. See for yourself with this comparison photo:

Lumineer next to contact lens showing thickness

These veneers allow patients to transform their teeth without making big sacrifices. And if you have crooked front teeth, Lumineers could be appropriate for the straightening you’re seeking. That said, veneers aren’t appropriate for all crooked teeth – but there are a few ways you can figure out whether you’re a candidate at home.

Who Can Straighten Teeth with Lumineers?

Our upper and lower jaws work in harmony with one another. Our teeth should fit together comfortably when our jaws are at rest, and make chewing and biting comfortable. But that’s not how things always work out. Most of us aren’t born with a perfect smile – and even those that do can end up seeing their teeth shift as they age. Factors like gum disease, bruxism and other dental problems contribute to teeth moving and the bite changing.
Whether you had braces as a child and your bite has changed, or you’ve never undergone orthodontic treatment, you could be a candidate for Lumineers. Ask yourself the following questions to consider whether they might be the right option:

  • Are your front teeth the area that you’re hoping to straighten?
    • Lumineers are only appropriate for front teeth – back teeth require crowns to accommodate biting and chewing forces. Plus, since Lumineers make aesthetics a priority, they would be wasted on teeth that don’t show in your smile. But if your front teeth are crowded and overlap each other, or are spaced too far apart and have gaps between them, Lumineers could be perfect.
  • Do your back teeth fit together comfortably?
    • Using veneers to straighten your teeth isn’t going to resolve underlying issues with your bite. You will need to have a healthy occlusion before straightening your front teeth with Lumineers. But if you need additional straightening, metal braces aren’t the only way – Cherrywood Dental also provides Invisalign for teeth and adult patients seeking a less noticeable option. The clear plastic aligners allow for straightening without stress.
  • Do you tend to bite your tongue or cheeks when you chew, or can you chew comfortably?
    • If you have issues with chewing, this could be a signifier that you’re in need of orthodontic treatment. This may mean that your jaws are not in harmony or that your teeth fit together awkwardly. It’s not only uncomfortable when you accidentally chomp down on your flesh, but unhealthy in the long term. Crooked teeth can heighten your risk of dental problems and a jaw disorder, not to mention daily discomfort and self-consciousness. If you’ve been unhappy with your bite, just get in touch to learn more about your variety of treatment options.
  • Have you had orthodontic treatment before?
    • Countless adults with crooked teeth actually had braces as kids. But straighter teeth resulting from braces don’t always stick. If you stopped wearing your retainers over the years (as so many of us do), your teeth likely drifted back toward their former positions. Or if you had periodontal disease and lost gum tissue, the teeth may have shifted due to changing support. If you lost a tooth and didn’t replace it with a dental implant, your teeth likely moved toward the gap. No matter the cause of your changing teeth, you could be a good candidate for Lumineers. Since you already had braces, it’s likely that your bite is healthy overall – veneers will just put finishing touches on your smile.

Ready to meet with one of our dentist and learn more about your personal potential? It’s as simple as scheduling a free consultation. Just fill out your information in the form on this page and we’ll get in touch to set up your complimentary appointment.

It’s time to discover your straight smile!

Greenbelt Lumineers | Porcelain Veneers Greenbelt | Greenbelt Veneers
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Dr. Barzgar is an excellent dentist

Dr. Barzgar was very professional and gentle. When I first came to his office to see Dr. Barzgar I had a major trust issue between dentist and patient from my past experiences. Dr. Barzgar is an excellent dentist, whose priority is making sure his...

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