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Ballston Dental Arts
900 N Taylor Street, Suite 150, Arlington, VA 22203

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Dental Care Basics

Your mouth is the gateway to your oral health and your physical health. Everything that you put in your mouth, whether liquid or solid, becomes part of your bloodstream, your tissues, and your major organs. If you can maintain or improve your overall oral health, then your physical health may improve also. Good oral health can reduce the risk of developing some cancers, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary diseases, and infections. It will also ensure that you can keep your teeth throughout your lifetime rather than needing to rely on artificial alternatives.

How Does Plaque Get Started?

Plaque is a sticky film that coats your teeth after you’ve eaten and it’s responsible for that fuzzy feeling you get after eating foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. It also releases acid that starts to erode your tooth enamel. Even though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, constant exposure to the acid from plaque can cause it to deteriorate.

When plaque isn’t removed through daily brushing and flossing, it starts to accumulate on the back of the teeth and along the gum line. This is the beginning of gingivitis, which is gum disease. Removing plaque every day will help to keep your teeth and gums healthy and you shouldn’t need artificial replacements.

How Does Gingivitis Get Started?

Gingivitis affects more than 75 percent of Americans at some point in their lives. When caught in its early stages, it doesn’t inflict permanent damage. Even if you develop gingivitis, if it’s treated before it advances to periodontal disease, then you should suffer no permanent damage to your teeth and gums. However, when it’s not removed, then your periodontal disease can become periodontitis, which can cause you to lose your teeth, bone in your jaw, and facial structure.

If you notice any of the following, then you should make an appointment with your dentist:

  • Gums that bleed when you floss or brush
  • Changes in your bite
  • Gums that are purplish or dark red
  • Loosened teeth
  • Very bad breath that you can’t eliminate
  • Hot or cold or sugar sensitivity to foods or beverages
  • Inflamed or swollen gums

The best method for eliminating gingivitis is to prevent it from starting, so if you need to schedule an appointment for an exam or cleaning, then call our Arlington office and we’ll help you.

How Do Cavities Get Started?

Plaque is the primary cause of cavities, also called dental caries. If you maintain good oral hygiene habits, you’re less likely to develop cavities at any age. The American Dental Association says that tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, but it’s completely preventable. Even though many parents feel that cavities are okay as long as they’re not in the child’s permanent teeth, this isn’t correct. Instilling good oral hygiene habits in a child will help them maintain their overall health, as well as establish a lifelong habit of dental health. Toothbrushes should be introduced to children early, so if a child can hold a toothbrush after they eat, then it will instill the concept of brushing after meals.

You may have a cavity but be unaware of it. If you notice any of the following symptoms, call your dentist for an appointment:

  • Pain when biting down or chewing
  • Sensitivity to the temperature or sugar content of foods or drinks
  • Small pits or holes in your teeth
  • Sudden toothaches

When cavities are left untreated, they can become abscessed, which can be life-threatening, so don’t ignore them. If you have a cavity or you think you may have one, then call your dentist for an appointment.

Which At-home Habits Will Ensure the Best Oral Hygiene?

According to the American Dental Association, you should brush twice a day at a minimum and use a soft-bristled brush or an electric toothbrush.


Brushing too hard can damage your tooth enamel, so use gentle pressure. They also suggest that you:

  • Brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes, especially before bedtime
  • Brush your tongue to remove any residual bacteria that can contribute to bad breath
  • Replace your toothbrush at least every three months or immediately after you’ve recuperated from being sick

Floss Your Teeth

Proper flossing will remove any food particles that your toothbrush didn’t reach. It will also help prevent bad breath, dental caries, and tartar build-up. Flossing only takes a few moments, but it provides long-lasting benefits.

Antibacterial Mouthwash

The final step in your oral hygiene regimen should be using an antibacterial mouthwash. Swish it in your mouth for 30 seconds to remove any residual bacteria or food particles that your other procedures missed. There may be none, but this is the best way to ensure good oral health for your lifetime. Make sure your mouthwash has the American Dental Association seal of approval.

Healthy Eating Habits

When you put good quality food into your body, you’re more likely to have good physical health as well as good oral health. Fast food and junk foods are high in empty calories and void of nutritional benefits. The high-sugar, high-carbohydrate fast-food diet is an excellent method for destroying both your physical and your oral health, so opt instead for dairy, fruits, nuts, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. You’ll be healthier, you’ll feel better and you may lose weight. Be sure to maintain adequate hydration by drinking several tall glasses of tap water containing fluoride daily. If you have questions on how to plan a healthy diet for your teeth, call our Arlington office and we’ll be glad to help you.

What Are the Advantages of Developing a Lasting Partnership with One Dentist?

When you have a personal dentist who knows both your dental history and your medical history. Then, they’re more likely to spot anomalies that can signal a problem, such as an abscess, bruxism, a cyst, a fracture, jawbone loss or a tumor. Aside from the health benefits, catching an issue before it escalates can save you money.

What Are The Advantages Of Consistent, Regular Dental Care?

Since oral cancer now accounts for 3 percent of all new cancers annually, most dentists now perform oral cancer screenings. Males are more likely to develop oral cancer than females, and drinking and smoking can elevate the risk.

If you haven’t had an oral cancer screening or if you haven’t seen a dentist in a while, then call our Arlington office at (703) 291-3111 and schedule an appointment. You don’t have to lose your teeth as you age, we can help you keep your natural teeth for the rest of your life. We provide compassionate and affordable care to our patients, so call us today. We look forward to working with you.

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Ballston Dental Arts

900 N Taylor Street, Suite 150, Arlington, VA 22203

(703) 291-3111