Winchester VA Pediatric Dentist | How Chocolate Affects the Health of Your Teeth

Winchester VA Pediatric Dentist | How Chocolate Affects the Health of Your Teeth

Did you know that chocolate might not be as bad for your teeth as people may have thought? You can now eat your favorite treat without feeling guilty. Studies have shown that there are benefits to eating chocolate, however, not all chocolate is created equal. It is important to note that these benefits apply to dark chocolate, not milk chocolate or white chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.

A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 67% Iron
  • 58% Magnesium
  • 89% Copper
  • 98% Manganese
  • It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium

Here are more advantages to eating dark chocolate and how to maintain good oral health while doing so.

Chocolate and Your Teeth

Chocolate is a candy that dissolves quickly in your mouth, resulting in less time on your teeth. It does less damage than a chewy or sticky candy because the sugar doesn’t cling to your teeth as long.

Chocolate and Your Health

Cocoa and dark chocolate are also a powerful source of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease, cancer, and other conditions. The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.

Chocolate Benefits

Eating chocolate can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. A study also showed that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.

Remember to eat responsibly as too much sugary food can be harmful, regardless of the benefits. Eating dark chocolate and brushing your teeth after will reduce the negative effects of chocolate.

While you can indulge on your favorite chocolate treat occasionally, be sure to keep up with your oral hygiene routine. Brush at least twice each day for two minutes, and floss regularly. To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team.

Winchester VA Pediatric Dentist | Can You Inherit Oral Health Issues?

Winchester VA Pediatric Dentist | Can You Inherit Oral Health Issues?

Most serious oral health issues can be prevented by maintaining an effective routine of dental hygiene and in-office care. However, you could be at higher risk for some oral illnesses due to hereditary factors. Awareness and proper treatment can help minimize these risks. Here are a few of the most common oral health concerns that are affected by genetics.

Tooth decay – One of the most common oral issues, some tooth decay has been linked to a genetic deficiency of a protein called DEFB1. If your parents experienced an unusually high rate of tooth decay, then you may want to be more vigilant regarding your own dental care.

Oral cancer – Certain genetic factors can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Our doctor recommends annual oral cancer screening for early identification and treatment. In addition, certain lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption, can help reduce your risk of oral cancer.

Periodontal disease – Recent research has found that some forms of gum disease may be linked to mutations in genes that affect immunity and inflammatory response.

Misaligned or supernumerary (extra) teeth – Genetics can play a role in having misaligned or even extra teeth. The size of your jaw is determined mostly through heredity, and is the most common reason for an overbite, underbite, or dental crowding.

Canker sores – In most cases, canker sores are an isolated reaction to fatigue, stress, or menstrual cycles. However, there are certain inherited diseases that count canker sores among their symptoms. Crohn’s disease and Celiac sprue are two such conditions.

While you may not be able to avoid hereditary oral health issues entirely, we can help minimize or even reverse their effects with proper treatment and care. If you suffer from any of these inherited conditions, contact our office for an oral health evaluation. We can help.

Winchester VA Pediatric Dentist | Can Teething Affect More Than My Child’s Mouth?

It is a common belief that teething causes secondary symptoms such as a runny nose, irritability, high fever, or problems with sleeping. However, studies have shown that these types of concerns are caused by health issues unrelated to teething. Here are some of the things to expect during teething, and some that are often attributed to teething, but are better discussed with your child’s doctor.

Winchester VA Pediatric Dentist | Can Teething Affect More Than My Child’s Mouth?

A Teething Breakdown

Teething generally begins around 6-12 months of age, and can 24 months or more to complete. Each tooth eruption lasts about a week – 4 days before the tooth breaks through, followed by 3 days of healing. During these episodes, it is common to see some minor symptoms. Your child may experience a low-grade fever (around 99.0°F), excessive drooling, chewing obsession, gum irritation and discomfort, and/or a slight facial rash during tooth eruption. These symptoms are all normal and should pass within a few days.

What Teething Doesn’t Cause

While teething may cause the mild reactions listed above, more serious symptoms like those below, are not related to teething:

·         Runny Nose

·         High Fever

·         Vomiting

·         Digestive issues (Diarrhea, cramping)

·         Coughing

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms for an extended time, consult your child’s doctor.

Your child should have a dental visit within the first 6 months of tooth eruption. It is important to have examinations done early, so you can start them on a path of life-long oral health. If your child is teething, our team is more than happy to help. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Winchester VA Pediatric Dentist | How to Make your Child Comfortable While Visiting the Dentist

Our patients love visiting our office. We make it a priority to make sure every child feels safe and comfortable when visiting us. We focus on keeping your children educated and happy with their oral health. Below are a few tips on how to make your child comfortable while visiting the dentist.

Winchester VA Pediatric Dentist | How to Make your Child Comfortable While Visiting the Dentist

Be open about it at home

Sometimes children are uncomfortable with the dentist simply because it is unfamiliar territory. We encourage you to openly talk with your children about the dentist and the benefits of visiting us. We have also seen that educating your children on their teeth can spark their curiosity. You can even “play dentist” with your children at home where you take turns examining each other’s mouths.

Visit the dentist regularly

With unfamiliarity of something there almost always comes fear. You can ease these fears with regular visits to the dentist, so it becomes part of your children’s routines. We recommend regular visits to our office every six months to one year for you and your children. This will not only ensure your child will become more familiar and comfortable with the dentist, but also that they are receiving the best oral care possible.

Make oral health fun

Brushing together as a family can encourage your children to take care of their teeth and make it a regular part of their daily routines. This will encourage them to want to visit the dentist to show off the hard work they put in to their oral health. You can also implement other fun activities such as brushing to music, letting them pick out a toothbrush, or using fun flavors of toothpaste.

We hope these ideas will help your children become more familiar with the dentist. We are excited to meet you and your children and know that any visit you make to our office will be fun, safe, and comfortable for everyone involved. If you have any more questions, please contact our office or schedule a visit today.

Pediatric Dentist 22601 | Plaque: Your Teeth’s Number One Enemy

When buying a toothbrush, toothpaste, or coming in to our office, you often hear the word “plaque” associated with the health of your teeth. Plaque is one of the main reasons why it is so important to keep up with a daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing two times each day for at least two minutes, and flossing regularly as well. Here’s what you need to know about plaque and what it can do to your smile. 

What is Plaque? 

If you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while, you might feel a film-like, sticky buildup on your teeth. This is plaque, a bacteria layer that grips onto your teeth. There isn’t anything you can do to stop plaque from forming, but brushing and flossing as well as keeping up with regular dental visits are your best defenses for cleaning plaque off your teeth. 

What Plaque Does to Your Teeth & Mouth 

Without regular brushing and cleaning, plaque builds up and multiplies. As plaque is left untreated, it hardens to form tartar (also known as calculus). Plaque also leads to decay, as it produces an acid that damages your teeth. When you come into our office for a dental examination, we thoroughly clean your teeth to ensure that any buildup is taken care of. Tartar can cause staining on your teeth if left untreated. Plaque is the leading cause of gingivitis, causing your gums to swell and become red or bloody. 

What You Can Do 

The most important steps of keeping plaque in check is to stick to a daily brushing routine. This means brushing twice each day, for two minutes each time, and flossing at least once daily. Plaque occurs naturally, and when you come into our office for a complete examination, we work with you to clean off any buildup. Maintaining regular visits to our office is one way to ensure tartar buildup is minimized and managed. It is particularly important that you are brushing your teeth all the way to the gum, because the gum line is an area that is prone to plaque buildup. Brush gently, as vigorous brushing will only do more damage than good, especially to your gums. 

Sticking to your daily brushing and flossing routine will help keep your teeth free of plaque buildup. Make sure you are brushing in the morning and before bed. If you don’t brush before bed, bacteria and plaque will build up throughout the night. Schedule a visit to our office so our experienced, professional dental team can clean your teeth, giving you a smile you can be proud of. 

For more tips on keeping your teeth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office. 

Orthodontist in Winchester | 4 Ways to Achieve Optimal Oral Health

Keeping up optimal oral health takes more than brushing and flossing. Maintaining oral hygiene demands a bit of work, but it is worth it in the long run. Here are four ways you can improve your dental health right now. 

  1. Replace your toothbrush more often. When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? A month ago? Six months? Most people don’t swap out a new brush often enough, which can lead to reduced brush effectiveness. Change your brush at least every three months. Be sure to switch after having an infection like the cold or flu to prevent reinfection. 
  2. Lay off the fizzy drinks. The acids present in soda wear away enamel, weakening your teeth and leaving them vulnerable to decay. In fact, people who drink three or more glasses of soda per day experience about 62% more tooth decay than those who choose another beverage like water. 
  3. Opt for chocolate. Everyone loves a sweet treat now and then, but did you know that certain candies are better for your teeth than others? The American Dental Association reports dark chocolate is the healthiest option, as it is soft and washes off your teeth easier than other candies. Hard, sticky, and sour goodies should be avoided, because they can stick to your teeth and even cause chips or cracks if you bite down too hard. 
  4. Visit your dentist. Trips to our office should occur at least twice a year—not just when you have a toothache. We offer preventative care, vital education, and important cleanings, which are all part of maintaining excellent oral health.  

We are pleased to offer a variety of solutions to keep your smile healthy. We are also able to customize a health plan tailored to your specific needs. Book your appointment today. 

Dentist in Winchester | 7 Ways to Get Your Calcium Dairy-Free

Dentist in Winchester

Calcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth, but not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. About 65% of people have reduced ability to process lactose past infancy.

If you have difficulty with lactose but want to ensure you are getting the calcium you need, consider one of these non-dairy sources of natural calcium.

  1. Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be a good source of calcium. These inexpensive options actually contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood contains small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or other dish.
  2. Calcium-fortified juices are available in both orange and cranberry varieties. These juices taste the same as non-fortified options, but contain a substantial amount of calcium. Check the label to ensure it is a calcium-fortified juice.
  3. Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute for many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish in place of regular milk. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.
  4. Beans are a calcium-rich food. Black-eyed peas and baked beans are particularly high in calcium.
  5. Green vegetables are a good source of natural calcium. Collard, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.
  6. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or Brazil nuts are strong sources of calcium. Flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are a great snack or salad additive with calcium. Almond butter, cashew butter, and pumpkin seed butter are a fun and calcium-rich alternative to peanut butter.
  7. Breakfast cereals are highly fortified with several vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Old-fashioned rolled oatmeal adds calcium to your breakfast as well.

Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble with dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.

For more information that can improve your oral health, contact our office.

Pediatric Dentist 22601 | Pacifiers and Teeth Development

Pediatric Dentist 22601

One of the best ways to calm fussy babies is by giving them a pacifier. However, as babies grow this can be a difficult habit to break. The use of pacifiers can cause improper mouth development which leads to abnormal tooth growth and additional complications later in life. Here’s what you need to know about the impact pacifiers have on your baby’s smile.  

Negative Effects of Pacifiers 

Physical development is crucial for children’s overall health in the first few years of their life. What you do now can affect them for their entire life. Pacifiers can influence the shape and alignment of your child’s teeth and jaw. It can move the front teeth forward and you may notice your child developing crooked teeth or bite problems. The front teeth may also not meet when their mouth is closed and there can be changes in the shape of the roof of their mouth. 

Positive Effects of Pacifiers 

While they may contribute to oral health complications, pacifiers do offer several benefits for parents and children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) babies up to one year of age who are offered a pacifier at night have a reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  

What You Should Do 

Since pacifiers can be beneficial for other health reasons, you should speak with us about how to wean your baby off of pacifiers. We also recommend that you visit our office for an examination as soon as your child’s first tooth develops.   

Breaking the habit of pacifier use can be difficult, but there are various ways you can wean your child off a pacifier. By following our tips and recommendations, your child can experience the calming effect of pacifiers without developing pacifier teeth. 

Call and schedule your child’s next appointment with our team today.    

Winchester Pediatric Dentist | Is Your Child Using the Right Toothbrush?

Is Your Child Using the Right Toothbrush?


Nothing fills your heart more than seeing your child smile. But what toothbrush is best for your 3 month old? What about when they turn 3 years old? With so many different choices it can be overwhelming to decide which toothbrush is best for your child at different stages of their life. That’s why we put together a brief description with your child’s changing oral health needs and what type of toothbrush will suit them.

General Guideline 

Regardless of your child’s age, the toothbrush that they use should easily fit into their mouth and be easy to grip. Toothbrushes with soft bristles won’t irritate their gums and long handles will help them to move the brush in their mouth. 

Babies 

Many parents choose to use a damp cloth but you can begin to clean your child’s teeth with a toothbrush before their teeth come in! Using a toothbrush designed for babies allows you to clean their teeth while getting them used to brushing. These toothbrushes have a very small head, which allow you to comfortably brush baby’s gums.   

Toddlers 

Around the age of two, your toddler will begin to take an interest in brushing their teeth. This is an important age to teach how to brush teeth and to get your child into the routine of brushing twice a day. Toddler toothbrushes have a small head and a long handle, allowing easy gripping for the child. There are also powered toothbrushes that children can use at this age, which can make brushing a bit more fun! 

Ages Five to Eight 

At this age, your child is becoming more independent when it comes to dental health but will still need supervision while brushing. Many of the toothbrushes have fun characters on them and have a slimmer handle than a toddler brush. Choosing a favorite cartoon character may help your child maintain their interest in brushing 

Eight and Up 

No longer needing supervision while brushing, children eight and up have very similar toothbrushes to adults. The only difference in the toothbrush is a slightly smaller head and longer handle. Although manual toothbrushes clean just as effectively, powered toothbrushes can help those who may have issues using a manual toothbrush efficiently.  

Toothbrushes alone won’t guarantee your child’s oral health! Make sure to instill a regular brushing and flossing routine to keep your child smiling. Contact our office for any other questions regarding your child’s dental health.

Dentist in Winchester | Ow! Your Guide to Canker Sores

A canker sore can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult and even painful. Maintaining your oral health by brushing and flossing may also be difficult with a sore in your mouth, but keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine is an important step in the healing process. We’ve put together a short guide to everything you need to know about canker sores.

What do they look like?

Canker sores are usually small, round reddish sores. You’ll find them on the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your tongue, the sides of your mouth, and at the base of your gums. Occasionally, a sore might have a yellow or white colored center.

What causes them?

Among the most common causes of canker sores are injuries. This can happen from biting your lip or cheek, an injury from sports, or even vigorous brushing. Certain people are sensitive to toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate, leading to sores. Foods may also cause canker sores in certain people. Chocolate, eggs, nuts, and spicy foods have been known to cause the sores. At times, a diet that is deficient in vitamin B-12 or zinc is the culprit.

What can I do?

Your best defense is to keep your mouth healthy. This means keeping up with your twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. With a mouth sore, it may be tempting to avoid the area when brushing your teeth. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Aid the healing process by keeping your mouth clean and healthy. You may also try a mouthwash formulated for mouth sores. When in doubt, or if pain persists, talk to our team.

Brush thoroughly but gently around sores. Most canker sores heal within a week. If you find you are regularly getting sores, or they are taking longer than one week to heal, schedule a visit to our office. We will assess your oral health and provide you with our expert advice.

For more information about oral health or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office. We look forward to seeing you.