Oral health and aging, Woodbridge, VA

Oral Health And Aging

Woodbridge, VA Dentist Dr. Joseph P. Cavallo emphasizes the importance of striving to keep your natural teeth healthy for as long as possible to enjoy the best quality of life. Modern advances in both materials and technology in the dental field have made it possible to retain our natural teeth and a functional smile longer than ever before.

This means that maintaining consistent oral hygiene and routine dental checkups throughout our lifetime play a key role in our overall health and well-being. Keeping your smile healthy by taking advantage of all that modern dentistry can offer will provide you your best quality of life.

There are important considerations for your oral health as you age and Dr. Cavallo offers comprehensive care to address your concerns and help you maintain optimal oral health and meet your cosmetic goals for a natural looking smile.

Later in life, our gums may recede, exposing the root surfaces of our teeth. Gum recession can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma, periodontal disease, vigorous brushing, and genetic predisposition. Root exposure is problematic mainly be-cause root surfaces are covered by a material called cementum, which is much softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay. In addition, certain medications can limit the flow of saliva, which is protective against cavities.

For this reason, older patients must take special care to brush and floss daily and visit the dentist regularly to discuss your medical history and ensure that root cavities do not occur. For patients with dentures, regular dental visits are also important, as a dentist can ensure they are fitting well and enabling you to eat and speak properly. We also ex-amine your mouth for signs of periodontal disease and oral cancer, both highly treatable when caught early.

Cosmetic Dentistry for A Lasting Smile

We understand that aesthetics are also important to our older adult patients and offer cosmetic dental procedures that can keep your smile looking beautiful at any age.

Throughout our lives, our teeth may begin to darken due to staining or may abrade due to certain habits, such as teeth grinding. Teeth whitening and porcelain veneers are both great options for adult and senior patients who desire to improve the look of their smile.

If you have any questions about specific oral health concerns or would like to enhance your smile with cosmetic dentistry, contact Dr. Cavallo in our Woodbridge, VA dentist office.

Toothache pain, Woodbridge, VA

Causes Of Toothaches

Toothache pain, Woodbridge, VA
No matter how careful and thorough you are with maintaining your daily oral care, at some point in your life you will probably experience the pain and discomfort of a toothache. Although a cavity is normally the cause, tooth decay is only one of the several triggering factors of tooth pain or discomfort.

Tooth Sensitivity
If you experience pain when you eat or drink hot or cold food and beverages, it could signal a cavity. It could also be a sign that you have sensitive teeth, either from thinning tooth enamel or receding gums. These are common side effects of aging, lifestyle habits or can be caused by other health concerns. In addition to discussing your concerns with Dr. Joseph P. Cavallo during your next routine preventive care visit, try using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth as this may help ease the symptoms.

Severe Toothaches
If the pain of your toothache is sudden, sharp and stabbing, the cause may be related to a cavity or cracked tooth. However, if you experience a throbbing, constant pain when you bite down on your food, you may have an abscessed tooth or an infection that should be taken care right away. Contact our Woodbridge, VA dentist office as soon as possible to schedule a visit.

Might Not Even Be Your Teeth
A less common cause of a toothache is a sinus infection. If you have pain in the upper teeth on both sides of the jaw, a sinus infection could be the cause. This type of toothache is usually combined with nasal congestion and tenderness around the eyes, forehead and sinuses.

If your ache is more identifiable as jaw pain, it may be caused by a Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Bite problems like TMJ can be triggered by malocclusion, a jaw injury, arthritis, or tooth grinding. Wisdom teeth that have not been removed could also cause jaw pain and toothaches.

Prevent Tooth Pain

Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent a toothache and other common oral health concerns. To reduce your risk for developing decay, gum disease or other common causes of a toothache be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and visit Dr. Cavallo regularly for oral examinations and a professional dental cleaning.

Been away from the dentist? Contact our Woodbridge, VA dentist office to schedule a visit and restore a healthy smile.

Aging and oral health with Dr. Cavallo in Woodbridge VA

Aging And Oral Health

Modern dentistry recommends that we strive to keep our natural teeth healthy for as long as possible for the best quality of life. With the advent of new technology in the dental field and improved standards of oral health in recent years, we are retaining our natural teeth longer than ever before.

This means that we must maintain consistent oral hygiene and schedule regular dental check ups throughout our lifetime. Dr. Joseph Cavallo understands that our oral health needs change as we age and would like to discuss some special concerns for adult and senior patients.

Later in life, our gums may recede, exposing the root surfaces of our teeth. Gum recession can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma, periodontal disease, vigorous brushing, and genetic predisposition. Root exposure is problematic mainly because root surfaces are covered by a material called cementum, which is much softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay. In addition, certain antibiotics can limit the flow of saliva, which is protective against cavities.

For this reason, older patients must take special care to brush and floss daily and visit the dentist regularly to ensure that root cavities do not occur. For elderly patients with dentures, regular dental visits are also important, as a dentist can ensure a properly fitting denture and can also examine your mouth for signs of periodontal disease and oral cancer, with of which are highly treatable when caught early.

Cosmetic Dentistry for A Lasting Smile

We understand that aesthetics are also important to our older adult patients and we would like to address certain cosmetic procedures that may benefit us as we age.

Throughout our lives, our teeth may begin to darken due to staining or may abrade due to para-functional habits. Teeth whitening and porcelain veneers are both options for older patients who desire to improve the look of their smiles!

In addition to brushing and flossing, a healthy diet and exercise is important for older adults in maintaining the healthiest mouth possible. Certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are connected to oral health; living a healthier lifestyle can lessen our risks for these diseases.

If you have any questions about specific oral health concerns for older patients, please don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Cavallo during your next visit!

Sugar Free Gum and Tooth Decay, Woodbridge, VA

Sugar Free Gum And Reducing Tooth Decay..

Contrary to everything you learned as a child, chewing gum (the right kind) can actually reduce tooth decay! Woodbridge, VA Dentist Dr. Joseph P. Cavallo recommends only sugar free gum that has the ADA seal of approval on the label.

Studies have shown that chewing sugar free gum for up to 20 minutes after meals can help prevent tooth decay. Increasing the flow of saliva, washing away food, and neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, sugar free gum is a great way to increase your oral hygiene. These acids destroy tooth enamel over time, which is why it’s important to brush at least twice a day.

In addition to preventing cavities, sugar free gum also helps strengthen enamel and reduce tooth sensitivity. Look for gum with the first active ingredient xylitol – the xylitol in sugar free gum stays behind on teeth and reduces acids from foods and drinks. This promotes healthy teeth by supplying minerals to the teeth, ultimately preventing enamel erosion. The increase in saliva from chewing gum also reduces tooth sensitivity, particularly sensitivity caused by teeth whitening. In addition, some people experience improved concentration and cognitive performance, and less daytime sleepiness from chewing gum.

Those with TMD (temporomandibular disorder) symptoms such as jaw pain, loose dental work, metal braces, or gastrointestinal issues should stick to brushing after meals instead of chewing gum to avoid aggravating symptoms or damaging dental appliances.

Of course, chewing gum with sugar has the opposite effect – leaving sugar and bacteria on your teeth, which leads to tooth decay- so choose your gum wisely.

It is important to note that chewing sugar free gum should never replace daily tooth brushing and flossing, but be considered an added layer of protection for your teeth.

Don’t forget to visit our Woodbridge, VA dentist office at least twice a year for preventive dental care, including a professional dental cleaning and exam to look for developing problems. Keeping your mouth healthy plays an important role in maintaining good physical health and well being.

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Prevent Gum Disease for Better Overall Health

Many American adults have some form of gum disease, ranging from minor gum inflammation known as gingivitis to full-blown periodontal disease that can result in major oral damage -and even tooth loss. Fortunately, gum disease can be slowed and reversed with early intervention. Dr. Cavallo performs a thorough periodontal screening during your routine dental care visits in his Woodbridge dentist office, looking for early warning signs of gum disease.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is caused by bacteria and plaque forming tartar on the teeth. The first stage of gum disease is inflammation of the gums, called gingivitis. Gingivitis causes gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Daily brushing and flossing along with regular dental cleanings can reverse gingivitis. However, if gingivitis isn’t treated, it advances to periodontitis. Gums pull away from the teeth, forming “pockets” and become infected. If left untreated, bones, gums, and tissue supporting the teeth are destroyed and teeth will have to be removed. Risk factors for gum disease include smoking, hormonal changes, diabetes, certain illnesses and treatments, and genetics.

Signs of gum disease include
:

  • Constant bad breath
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or teeth appearing longer

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Cavallo as soon as possible. The sooner treatment begins, the better the odds of healing.

Gum disease treatment may involve a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing is the removal of tartar and bacteria from above and below the gum line, and around the tooth roots. Prescription medications may be recommended with treatment and in extreme cases, gum surgery may be necessary to completely restore dental health.

Why Treat Gum Disease?

Patients with persistent or advanced gum disease are at a greater risk of experiencing heart disease or difficulty controlling blood sugar if diabetic. Women with gum disease are more likely to deliver low weight babies than those with healthy gums.

The key to avoiding gum disease is prevention through good oral hygiene: brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, and visit the dentist twice a year for check-ups and professional cleaning. Contact Dr. Cavallo in Woodbridge, VA if you are experiencing signs of gum disease or have not seen a dentist in more than 6 months. Healthy gums are the foundation for healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.

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Resolve To Have Better Dental Health In 2016

The New Year often begins with health oriented resolutions as we all look to improve our quality of life through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. This year, consider adding better dental health to your list of New Year Resolutions!

Woodbridge, VA dentist Dr. Cavallo offers personalized dentistry with a focus on long term oral health and a comfortable, functional bite. There are many dental treatments and procedures available today to help you address the aesthetics of your smile and provide the look you desire, but Dr. Cavallo ensures that your dentistry also supports lasting dental health and quality of life. If underlying dental problems are not addressed, many patients find themselves seeking re-treatment, with results that are less than expected.

Dr. Cavallo takes time to educate patients on the importance of dental health for both overall physical well being and a good quality of life each day. Your dental health can impact your ability to eat a healthy diet, speak clearly and also affect the risk for and/or severity of various diseases. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums offers many rewards, especially as we age. Many studies have consistently shown the “mouth-body” connection: poor oral health can affect cardiovascular disease, systemic diseases and even prenatal health.

As your dentist, Dr. Cavallo takes time to understand your oral health, medical history and personal goals and concerns in order to provide individualized care for the best possible results. He believes that effective dentistry is a dentist-patient collaborative process over time, helping patients to achieve not only optimal oral health, but a smile they are proud to share with others every day.

Looking for a new dentist this year? Contact Dr. Cavallo in Woodbridge, VA and schedule an appointment. Get back the smile you need to enjoy a healthy lifestyle in 2016!

diabetes and oral health

Diabetes and Your Dental Health

diabetes and oral healthDiabetes has been a major health concern for a growing percentage of the population, affecting both children and adults. Along with possible complications for eye, kidney and nerve damage, diabetes can detrimentally affect oral health.

Changes in blood sugar can affect your saliva production, often causing dry mouth. This can lead to a greater risk of tooth decay, ulcers and infections in the mouth as a result of increased bacteria. Woodbridge dentist Dr. Cavallo emphasizes the importance of routine preventive dental care to ALL patients, but especially those with diabetes and other systemic disease or cardiovascular disease- both of which are affected by dental health. At routine dental visits, Dr. Cavallo and his staff can spot potential problems in the early stages, when conservative dental treatment is most effective- and before permanent damage is done to the teeth and/or gum tissue.

Healthy Gums for Better Overall Health

Your periodontal health is important for many reasons, and for those with diabetes healthy gums can be a part of managing their disease better. The increase in bacteria that occurs with poor oral health can affect blood sugar and make it more difficult to manage the symptoms of diabetes, as well as increase the chances of experiencing other complications. Dr. Cavallo will make personalized recommendations for more effective oral hygiene for patients struggling with gum disease and monitor their oral health during routine exams.

Periodontal disease, made worse by diabetes, is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults. This can often be avoided by visiting the dentist regularly and maintaining your gum health.

A healthy lifestyle includes a healthy mouth! Dr. Cavallo is committed to helping his patients enjoy a great quality of life with a comfortable, functional smile. If you have diabetes and are concerned about your dental health- even if you have been away from the dentist for some time- call our Woodbridge VA dentist office and schedule an appointment. We welcome new patients and can help you restore a healthy smile.

holiday oral hygiene tips woodbridge va

Maintain Your Dental Health Through the Holidays

holiday oral hygiene tips woodbridge vaThe holiday season is full of festive get togethers, family parties, gift exchanges, traditional activities- and lots of sugary snacks and beverages!

While we hope that your holiday season leads to more great memories, we also hope that you don’t have to call us due to a dental emergency, or that your next visit to our Woodbridge dentist office involves a dental filling.

Dr. Cavallo and our dedicated staff offer a few oral hygiene tips to keep your smile healthy throughout the season:

  • Enjoy those cakes, cookies and candies in moderation- good for the smile and the waistline!
  • Chew sugar free gum or rinse with water after a sweet snack or dark beverages such as red wine
  • Never use your teeth to crack a nut or open a package- keep the right tools handy for guests
  • Brush and floss daily, even when your routine is disrupted by fun and travel
  • Be sure to visit our office for routine dental care as needed to keep your teeth and gums healthy

Should a dental emergency arise, contact our Woodbridge dentist office as soon as possible for advice on how best to handle the situation and mitigate permanent damage.

If holiday stress is leading to tooth grinding or jaw clenching, contact Dr. Cavallo to schedule a visit and learn more about how a custom mouth guard could protect your teeth and improve dental health. Left untreated, these habits often lead to tooth damage and other dental problems.

tooth enamel erosion and gerd woodbridge va dentist

Tooth Enamel Erosion and Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, heartburn and GERD are common health concerns affecting many of our patients for a variety of reasons. Treatment with antacids, diet and lifestyle changes can often successfully address symptoms, but many patients don’t realize that in addition to affecting physical health, these conditions can also detrimentally affect oral health.

Woodbridge dentist Dr. Cavallo looks for the signs of tooth enamel erosion during routine dental care visits, a common side effect of acid reflux and related disorders. The acid that is being forced back up into the esophagus also makes its way onto the surfaces of the teeth and gums. This causes erosion of the tooth enamel which can compromise the strength of the tooth, leaving it vulnerable to decay and damage.

Tooth enamel erosion can also be caused by certain medications which lead to a condition called “dry mouth”. A reduced production of saliva can also allow harmful acids and bacteria to remain on surfaces in the mouth and affect oral health.

Treating Tooth Enamel Erosion

Although tooth enamel does not “grow back”, there are oral hygiene and treatment options that can prevent future damage and possible tooth loss. Dr. Cavallo will assess the health of your teeth before recommending any dentistry or additional at home care. In many cases, rinsing the mouth with water and chewing sugar free gum after a meal can reduce the presence of acids and harmful bacteria.

If you have teeth that have become damaged or decayed as a result of enamel erosion, Dr. Cavallo will recommend appropriate treatment to restore dental health: dental fillings, tooth bonding, and dental crowns are all options.

Comprehensive Dentistry in Woodbridge, VA

Understanding how overall health can affect your oral health is important for keeping your smile functional for as long as possible. At our Woodbridge dentist office, prevention is the foundation of our practice. Dr. Cavallo is a highly trained dentist who takes an individualized, comprehensive approach to each patient’s oral health. He takes the time to educate them on how best to address any concerns they may have and how to achieve their goals for a beautiful, lasting smile.

Caring For Your Toothbrush

Caring For Your Toothbrush

“Which is better, a manual toothbrush or a power toothbrush?” is a common question asked by patients when discussing good oral hygiene. Woodbridge dentist Dr. Cavallo understands that selecting a toothbrush can be challenging with all the products on the market today and would like to provide some insight into choosing and caring for your toothbrush.

To answer the question above, neither toothbrush is necessarily better than the other! Personal preference is the biggest factor in determining which brush you should choose, as the type of bristles and brushing technique is infinitely more important than the type of toothbrush. However, if you are a child who is disinterested in brushing or a patient with limited hand mobility, a power toothbrush may be better suited for you than a manual toothbrush, as the handle is larger and allows for more control during brushing. For patients with metal braces, a power toothbrush may be recommended for a more thorough cleaning of both teeth and metal wires and brackets. In all cases, it is important to use soft bristles unless directed otherwise by Dr. Cavallo- this reduces irritation of the gums and damage to tooth enamel.

ThinkstockPhotos-186251400You have heard this time and time again, but in order to maintain optimal oral health, it is critical that you brush twice daily with fluoride-containing toothpaste. In order to make sure your toothpaste and toothbrush are as effective as possible, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal on the packaging.

In addition to proper brushing technique, it is also important to care for your toothbrush diligently. Here are some tips for keeping your toothbrush clean:

  • Avoid sharing toothbrushes to prevent the spread of illness and oral bacteria
  • Store brush in an upright position and in isolation from other toothbrushes to avoid cross-contamination with family members
  • Store toothbrush in a dry place. Moisture provides a favorable environment for bacterial growth
  • Rinse your toothbrush after brushing
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months; as the bristles become frayed, the toothbrush becomes less effective in cleaning your mouth.

Watch this quick ADA video for additional information:

If you have any additional questions about toothbrushes, oral hygiene or if you would like to know whether or not a power toothbrush is best for you, please talk to Dr. Cavallo during your next preventive care dental visit.

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