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Loudoun Smile Center Answers Your Dental Hygiene Questions

Proud to Be Your Friendly General Dentist in Ashburn, VA

Loudoun Smile Center takes pride in being your friendly general dentist in Ashburn, VA. We use state-of-the-art equipment and provide all of the amenities you need to be comfortable in our dental chair. In addition to offering teeth cleaning and whitening services, we want to arm you with the knowledge to remain free of cavities and keep your pearly whites shining. It brings a smile to our faces when we see yours. Below are some of the dental hygiene questions we have heard frequently at our dental clinic.

What are the most common oral health problems?               

Oral health problems can affect your teeth, gums, and the oral-facial system that permits you to smile, speak and chew. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the three most prevalent oral health diseases are:

  • Tooth decay – Another way to describe cavities, tooth decay is characterized by a breakdown of tooth enamel, specifically along the gum line and on the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
  • Gum disease – Otherwise known as periodontal disease, this disorder results in swelling and infections of your gums and the bone that supports your teeth.
  • Oral cancer – The CDC noted that there were nearly 40,000 new cases of oral cancer in the U.S. in 2012.

What causes tooth decay and cavities?

Tooth decay, or cavities, involve damage to the structure of your tooth as a result of acids that are created in your mouth when plaque bacteria break down sugars. Cavities can also occur when carbohydrates become trapped between your teeth. However, the major causes of cavities are sweet, sticky foods and drinks. Increased sugar intake leads to increased acid, which promotes decay. Check out our blog about protecting your teeth from sugar if you have a constant sweet tooth. Factors leading to tooth decay include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Poor eating habits
  • Plaque formation
  • Dry mouth

How often should I see a general dentist?

If you are an adult with good oral hygiene and typically no issues during checkups, we suggest that you visit your general dentist at Loudoun Smile Center once every six months. Our friendly staff will make sure your teeth are free of cavities and perform a thorough dental cleaning. You may need to visit our dental clinic in Ashburn, VA more frequently if you smoke, have oral health issues, or have other medical problems that may affect your teeth and gums. Children should visit us as soon as their first tooth comes in and once every six months thereafter to protect against cavities and other problems.

How often should I change my toothbrush?

As a typical rule of thumb, we suggest that you change your toothbrush every three months. However, you should consider replacing it sooner if you have been ill or if it is stored close to family members’ toothbrushes. If your sense of time is skewed, use the eye test. Frayed bristles reduce your toothbrush’s ability to clean your teeth thoroughly, so swap it when wear is evident.

What type of toothbrush should I use?

There is a wide range of toothbrushes on the market, with varying handles, shapes, bristle styles, and colors. Be sure to use a toothbrush that has been approved by the American Dental Association. Beyond that, much of the decision should be based on comfort and your ability to reach all of your teeth effectively. Many dentists suggest a soft-bristled brush is ideal for removing plaque. Furthermore, a toothbrush with a small head may help you reach the teeth in the back of your mouth. If you have limited manual dexterity and it is difficult to brush your teeth, consider a powered toothbrush. You may also check out our blog on what toothpastes we recommend.

Is flossing essential to my oral hygiene?

It is important for you to floss once per day as part of a healthy oral healthcare routine. Dental floss will help disrupt the plaque and bacteria between your teeth and reach places in your mouth that your toothbrush may not. If left alone, bacteria are prone to causing cavities and gum disease.

Why do I need a dental exam?

A dental exam is necessary to uncover issues that a dentist may miss during a typical dental cleaning. Your general dentist at Ashburn’s Loudoun Smile Center will take x-rays to detect any cavities in hard-to-spot areas, such as between your teeth or around an old filling. We will also check for any signs of gum disease, oral cancer, or other health concerns related to your tongue and mouth. Early diagnosis of any issues will significantly aid the treatment process.

What is the best way to whiten my teeth?

Visit our dentist office in Ashburn, VA for your teeth whitening needs. Our professional staff of general dentists will treat you with care and restore the pearly tint to your teeth. We will use dental-safe bleach to remove stains and leave your teeth looking whiter. Your dentist will also be able to suggest some methods and products for teeth whitening that you can adopt on your own, such as do-it-yourself remedies, toothpaste, and strips. Check out our blog for A Dentist’s Take on Using Activated Charcoal for a Whiter Smile.

What should I do before a teeth cleaning appointment?

Before visiting our clinic for a dental cleaning in Ashburn, VA, be sure that you thoroughly brush and floss your teeth. That will help us do our job and provide effective teeth cleaning for any stubborn stains or plaque. Additionally, make an effort to arrive early so that you have plenty of time to complete any necessary paperwork and discuss any concerns with our office staff before seeing your dentist.

How do I know if I need an emergency dentist?

We are aware that not all dental issues occur during normal business hours, which is why Loudoun Smile Center is proud to offer emergency dental services in Ashburn, VA. Be aware of what constitutes a dental emergency and what kind of issues can wait. We will schedule appointments on short notice for many pains and ailments that may not be considered emergencies, such as minor toothaches, lost fillings, and small chips in your teeth that are not accompanied by pain. However, visit our dental clinic immediately for any of the following dental emergencies:

  • Avulsed tooth, or a tooth that has been knocked out of your mouth
  • Cracked or chipped tooth with severe pain and swelling
  • Abscessed tooth

For more information, call Loudoun Smile Center at (703) 297-4407 today!