Smileville

Healthy Snacks for a Healthy Smile

healthy snacks in the shape of a heartAs a parent, juggling life can be a little hectic sometimes. With work, kids, back to school nights, sleepovers, and much more, finding time to pack healthy snacks is difficult. It can be tempting to throw a packaged snack in your little one’s lunch box to save some time in the morning, but more often than not, those pre-packaged snacks contain high amounts of sugar. Here are a few healthy snack suggestions that your child will love and that also promote a healthy smile.

Nuts

Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, which help to build a strong body. Chewing nuts promotes the production of saliva, which naturally washes away leftover debris on and in between your teeth, as well as acid buildup, which can lead to cavities. Nuts can be a great alternative to salty snacks, such as potato chips, that your kids crave!

Cheese

As we know, cheese is rich in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. What you might not know, is that cheese is also rich in a protein called casein, which strengthens tooth enamel and ultimately prevents cavities. Try adding a string cheese to your child’s lunch, which will provide them with calcium and casein, and are also simply fun to eat!

Apples

Apples are one of the best snacks to give your children. They are a very high fiber food, which also naturally clean your teeth as you chew them! The skin of the apple especially helps to scrub your teeth, gums, and tongue as you eat them. This helps to fight plaque buildup, and also helps remove surface stains. Since apples help scrub away plaque and residue from the back of the tongue, they also help to eliminate bad breath. If your children are craving something sweet in their lunches, try apple slices. We suggest leaving the skin on so that they may reap all of the benefits.

For more information on tooth-healthy foods for kids, please call us at Alexandria Office Phone Number 703-417-9722.

Advantages of Invisalign

woman smiling with straight teethMany of us think that invisible braces, such as Invisalign, are only used to enhance the aesthetic value of a person’s smile. To a certain extent, that is true. Typically the goal of having braces is to straighten one’s teeth and improve his or her smile. However, did you know that there are actually health benefits to having a straighter smile as well?

Below are just a few of the ways in which invisible braces can benefit your health:

  • Overall Health: Since oral infections are thought to be related to other health issues in the body such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes, keeping your teeth straightened and properly spaced apart is an important and crucial step to having better overall health.
  • Diverse Diet: With traditional metal braces, there are many foods you are unable to eat which can severely hinder diversity in your diet. Since invisible braces are removable, they allow you to eat a wider variety of foods, helping to ensure that you get all of the vitamins and minerals that are necessary for a healthy body.
  • Periodontal Health: Overcrowded teeth can lead to red, swollen, and irritated gums. These symptoms are typically signs of periodontal disease. Getting braces can allow your teeth to not only straighten, but also make more space between your teeth, allowing your gums more room.
  • Better Cleaning Access: Traditional braces take up a large amount of surface area on your tooth. therefor there is a good amount of tooth you’re missing every time you brush. With invisible braces, however, you are able to remove them in order to clean the entire surface of your teeth and maintain that impeccable flossing and brushing routine!

If you’re looking for a straighter smile, as well as better overall and oral health, give us a call at Alexandria Office Phone Number 703-417-9722.

Halloween Treats and Your Child’s Teeth

a pumpkin and halloween candyHalloween is almost upon us! And while we know that there will never be a time when you can avoid Halloween candy completely, there is a way to make sure all that sugar doesn’t hurt your little one’s teeth! In addition to brushing, flossing and dental visits, here is a run down of some of the best (and worst) candies for your teeth:

Enjoy in Moderation:

Chewing Gum
One of the safest candies for your child to enjoy is gum. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva, which naturally rinses the mouth and teeth and keeps plaque-causing bacteria under control. Whenever possible, choose all natural, sugar-free gum that has been approved by the ADA. Limiting the sugar intake from gum will lessen the amount of sugar that is left on your child’s teeth, which will lessen their chance of tooth decay and cavities.

Chocolate
Chocolate is a better choice than many candies for your teeth as it melts in the warmth of your mouth and therefore can be washed away easier.

Try to Avoid:

Hard Candy
Hard candies and lollipops linger in your child’s mouth, which can expose your child to the most dental damage out of all of the sweet treats. Not only is there a higher chance of cracking a tooth, but there is also a risk of prolonged acid attacks, which could lead to tooth decay. Whenever possible, swap out sugar filled hard candies for sugar free hard candies. If you can’t swap out all of the sugar, try having your child take sips of water as they’re eating the hard candy. This way the water can help to prevent sugar and acid from sticking to the teeth and causing decay or cavities. Once they are done, make sure they follow up with a thorough teeth and tongue brushing to scrub away any remaining sugars!

Sticky Candies
While sticky candies, such as gummy worms or caramels, are one of our personal favorites, they have a tendency to stick to your child’s teeth. To reduce the risk of dental damage, enjoy just one piece at a time. If you can, work these soft, sticky candies into meal time so that between each piece, your child can have a piece of hard food to help dislodge sticky bits from your child’s teeth!

Do your best to combine these sweet treats with food and water to help reduce the risk of tooth decay and to keep your little one’s oral health in tip top shape! And please, always reach out to us at Alexandria Office Phone Number 703-417-9722 with any questions you may have!

Better Breakfast for a Better Smile

fruit and grainsBreakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. It kick starts your body and provides you with enough energy to make it through your hectic morning as well as keep your mind focused on the task at hand. Eating a balanced breakfast is not only good for you body, but also good for your teeth. Being mindful of the acidity and sugar levels in your food is key to keeping your teeth in tip-top shape!

When it comes to breakfast foods, there are a few foods we recommend eating in moderation! These include, but are not limited to, orange juice and sugary cereals. Orange juice has a very high acidity and by drinking too much, the acid can wear down your tooth enamel. Cereals that are high in sugar have a similar effect on your teeth, but the sugar can also cause cavities.

Eating a balanced breakfast that is low in sugar and acid, but high in protein will make your body and teeth feel great! Protein rich foods will help to build up your enamel and keep your teeth stronger than ever.

Here are a few recipe ideas for a healthy and balanced breakfast:

Overnight Oats:

o 1/3 cup of oats
o 1/3 cup of milk (or substitute almond, soy, coconut, etc.)
o 1/3 cup of plain Greek Yogurt
o 1 tbsp chia or flax seeds OR ¼ cup chopped nuts
o Fresh fruit/ berries of your choice!

Mix all of the ingredients together in a sealed container, or mason jar, and place in fridge the night before. Open and enjoy the next morning for a healthy and balanced breakfast!

Avocado Toast:

o 1-2 slices of whole grain toast
o 1 ripe avocado
o 1 egg (cooked to your preference)
o 1 ripe tomato
o Seasonings of your choice (salt & pepper, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, etc.)

5 Reasons Why Your Teeth Are Changing Color

woman brushing her teeth

Brushing and flossing your teeth every day can keep your smile bright and white. However, you might have noticed that even though you take great care of your teeth, they look a little yellow and have lost their sparkle. This is completely normal. Here are 5 reasons why this could be happening to you.

  1. Food and Drinks:

    Coffee, tea and red wine play a major role in staining your teeth. They all have Chromogens, which are intense color pigments that attach to the white outer part of your tooth known as enamel.
    Tip: Drink with a straw, keeping those stain-causing dyes in the drink away from your teeth

  2. Tobacco Use:

    The two chemicals found in tobacco, tar and nicotine, create a tough stain. Tar is naturally dark. Nicotine is colorless, but when it’s mixed with oxygen, it creates a yellowish color. Both together create the stain.

  3. Age:

    Below the white shell of enamel on our teeth is a softer area called Dentin. Over the years, our outer enamel gets thinner from brushing and the yellowish dentin shows through.

  4. Trauma:

    If you have experienced an injury to the mouth, your tooth may change color. This is because your tooth reacts to the trauma by putting down more dentin, which is darker than the outer enamel on your teeth.

  5. Medications:

    Many different kind of medications come with the side effect of darkening your teeth. Also, children who are exposed to medication when their teeth are forming, either in the womb or as a baby, can experience discoloration of their adult teeth later in life.

Some of these reasons are preventable and some of these happen over the course of life. Try to avoid some of these things and continue to brush and floss your teeth every day. If you would like to discuss your teeth whitening options with us, please call our office at 703-417-9722 to schedule an appointment.

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A Healthy Diet for Healthy Teeth

young girl surrounded by fruits and vegetablesWhile your child is young, it is important for them to establish healthy eating habits that will have a positive impact on them for the rest of their lives. One of the easiest ways to keep their teeth healthy strong is with a healthy diet. To make it easy for you, we’ve compiled a few of the best foods to include in your child’s diet in this post.

Colorful Snacking

Fresh fruits and vegetables can be some of the best foods to include in your child’s diet. Oranges, melons, broccoli, celery, and carrots are all great choices to include in your child’s lunchbox for a healthy, colorful snack during the day. Fruits are a great alternative to sugary, processed snacks and they can still satisfy a sweet tooth. Raw vegetables like celery and carrots can be great to munch on as well. Carrots are full of Vitamin A, fiber, and other important nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are a good alternative to sweet, salty or processed snacks and will your kids to develop a good taste for healthy foods for life!

Dairy for Healthy Teeth

Yogurt and cheese are two foods that contain calcium and protein, which are both very good for your teeth. Eating a bowl of yogurt with chopped fresh fruit can be a great alternative to sugary cereal, and the good bacteria found in yogurt does a good job of fighting against the bad bacteria that reside in your mouth. Cheese may also prevent cavities, a discovery that was highlighted in this (and other) studies: (https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-06/aogd-nrs060513.php?_ga=2.129590924.1487849862.1496155311-1924124176.1488556314).

H2O is Best

Our final and most important tip is to stick with water when choosing beverages. Alternatives to water, such as juice, sports beverages and sodas, can be terrible for your teeth and cause unnecessary decay. Drinking water is the best option because it is calorie free and does no harm to your teeth or body.

Keeping your child’s teeth clean and healthy doesn’t have to involve a lot of work. Keep it simple by making sure they stick to a good diet with food that will strengthen and be good for their teeth and their whole body. Don’t forget to brush with them twice a day and floss once! And remember, if you have any questions about your child’s diet or brushing habits, feel free to call [PRACTICE] at Alexandria Office Phone Number 703-417-9722 today.

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New Trends in Dental Implants

dental implant structureA trending topic right now seems to be the decision to opt for “mini-dental implants” instead of more traditional ones. Below we are going to take a look inside the trend, and lay out some of the benefits and drawbacks so that you can get a better understanding of this exciting trend in dentistry.

Benefits

  • Mini dental implants are usually less expensive than traditional ones, sometimes costing only 1/3 that of regular implants. They take less time to place and are smaller and less invasive, and can be used in small spaces or for those with inadequate bone mass.
  • With mini dentures, smaller dentures can be used, leading to a better tasting experience for the palate than a traditional denture would provide.
  • Mini implants can be placed with minimal recovery time, and usually require very little to no bone grafting.

Drawbacks

Because this is still a fairly new procedure, there are a few downsides. For one, there aren’t enough studies out there on the longevity of these implants, so we don’t know how they hold up over time. A study published in the International Journal of Implant Dentistry in 2016 revealed that traditional dental implant placement has a proven survival rate of 95% or greater. The analysis collected data from over 10,000 implants from 3,095 patients, across three separate private practices over the course of 20 years. For mini dental implants, there isn’t yet enough data to conclude a proper survival rate.

Another concern is that because this is such a new trend there is not as much information or regulation out there. Some practices with claims such as “Dentures-in-a-day” might not do a proper consultation, skipping important steps such as a 3D scan to make sure that you are a good candidate for the procedure.

While it may be some time before this method is perfected and adopted, it is also exciting to see the advancements changing people’s lives in the dental industry every day. Check in with Smileville Family Dental to find out what tooth replacement options may be right for you!

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Healthy Alternatives for Summer Snacks

child eating watermelonWith the heat of Summer coming upon us, it is time to prepare with some healthy tips for your child’s snacks. Swapping out unhealthy snack choices for healthier ones can make a world of difference in protecting your child’s teeth from tooth decay and cavities!

Swap out those juice boxes for some fresh fruit

While juice boxes are yummy and easy, the best way to eat fruit is to eat fruit! Juice boxes contain unnecessary added sugars, which feed tooth-decaying bacteria and preservatives, whereas fruit contains natural sugars and essential vitamins.

Why drinks sports drinks when you can have water?

Sports drinks can cause cavities in between your little one’s teeth due to the added sugar. Water, which has no added sugar, is a much better option, and helps clean teeth! Electrolyte replacement is only needed if your child has been exercising in excessive heat. Otherwise, if you want to replenish your child’s energy levels, try giving them just water and fruit, which contains natural sugars and electrolytes.

Craving salt?

Salt cravings can be a real thing. So, when your kiddo is craving some salt (it can happen to you too!), try eating pretzels and crackers instead of more unhealthy snacks such as potato chips or French fries. You can still satisfy that salty craving, minus the grease and starch.

Got a sweet tooth? You don’t need to stop eating sweets altogether.

While everyone loves a good Baby Bottle Pop, sometimes loaded sugary candies aren’t the best for your child’s teeth. Instead, swap out that sugar for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains healthy antioxidants and is rich in nutrients such as Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and much more. All in all, dark chocolate is much better for your child’s health as well as their teeth!

Remember, you can always call on Smileville Family Dental for tips on caring for your child’s teeth. Simply give us a call at Alexandria Office Phone Number 703-417-9722.

Bad Breath Bad News

woman breathing in fresh airBad breath is bad news. Don’t let bad breath be a part of your day! In our office, we are asked on an almost daily basis “How can I get rid of my bad breath?”

Here are some quick and easy tips to help keep your breath fresh and clean:

1. Brush and Floss Regularly:

It’s basic advice, but foolproof. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing and tongue scraping once is the best way to combat bad breath. When the bacteria in your mouth have bits of food and debris to feed on, they create the odors that cause bad breath. Keeping your mouth clean will keep your breath clean at the same time!

2. Drink Water:

You don’t always have access to a toothbrush. As it turns out though, water can be an effective way to freshen your breath until you can get home and brush. Water helps clean out your mouth and prevents dryness, another major cause of bad breath.

3. Eat Good Foods:

A good way to prevent bad breath is to stay away from foods that make your breath smell bad, and eat foods those that will help your breath smell good! Melons and citrus fruit are high in Vitamin C, and help kill bacteria in your mouth. Fibrous foods like apples and celery can help remove food stuck in your teeth, reducing smells caused by bacteria feeding on them.

4. Choose gum and mints with Xylitol:

Sugary gum and breath mints are often used to tackle bad breath. However, the stinky bacteria in your mouth love sugar, and giving them more tends to produce acid that can make your breath smell worse AND lead to tooth decay. Xylitol is a sugar alternative that bacteria cannot break down, which makes it a perfect method for keeping your breath fresh and clean.

If you are troubled by your bad breath, ask us for more tips on staying fresh and clean!

Taking care of your veneers

woman smiling with veneers

Congratulations! You’ve just received your brand new veneers. Your smile has never looked this good, and you probably want to make sure it stays that way! Good veneers can last a long, long time, but only if you take good care of them along the way.

Here are some tips to make your veneers last a decade and even more:

Treat Them Like Teeth

You can ensure that your veneers last a long time if you brush them with the same care that you would your original teeth. Brush twice and floss once daily for best results!

Regular Cleanings

It’s important that we continue to schedule appointments with you so that we can make sure your veneers are looking their best, and that they stay that way. The week after the veneers are placed is the most important visit, followed by your regular dental hygiene visits, during which we can keep an eye out for potential problems.

Try Not to Grind

Many people grind their teeth, but it’s important that you let us know if you have a history of doing so. Measures can be taken to avoid damage to your new veneers over time, such as a nighttime mouth guard to protect your new smile.

Avoid Damage

Biting down on hard food is dangerous for any teeth, and even more so for veneers. Avoid using your veneers to bite down on hard materials and foods. The less stress you put on them the better.

Staining

Veneers keep their shade beautifully over the years, but they are not immune from staining. Avoid the same foods and beverages that you do for your natural teeth such as coffee, tea, wine (and smoking)!

What is involved in the procedure?

First we evaluate your teeth using various kinds of imaging and impressions to ensure that veneers are a good choice for you. Next we create a mock-up so that you can see what your teeth will look like after the procedure, before you make your final decision. If you decide to proceed the first step is to remove a thin layer of enamel from the teeth and then make an impression from which we can build the veneers. The veneers are bonded to the teeth with dental cement and hardened using a special light. That’s where the procedure ends and your new smile begins.

If you are ready for a smile upgrade with veneers, give us a call at Alexandria Office Phone Number 703-417-9722!