Woodbridge, VA

How Does COVID-19 Affect Oral Health?

Masked Mona Lisa

By now, we’ve all heard of the term “COVID long-hauler,” which is used to describe patients who have recovered from COVID-19 but still experience some long-term side effects. However, did you know that your dentist in Woodbridge is also seeing a slew of oral health complications in both adults and children who have contracted and recovered from COVID-19?

Taste & Smell

Perhaps the most well-known symptom of a COVID-19 infection is the loss of taste or smell. While this doesn’t happen to everyone, it is a fairly common side effect. There is still some debate about why this happens. One of the potential explanations is that since COVID is a respiratory virus, and the respiratory system includes the nose and the mouth, the cells included in these areas can be infected and cause inflammation. In turn, this inflammation can change a person’s ability to smell and taste. More research is needed to conclusively determine the cause, but this is a current working theory. 

Ulcers

Medical researchers who continue to study COVID-19 suggest that the infection damages blood vessels in the body, including in the mouth. According to The Angiogenesis Foundation, when blood vessels are damaged, it prevents oxygen from being delivered throughout the body and can basically starve the tissue. If this happens in the gums, the result can be ulcers. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Dental Research found that over 80% of patients that were hospitalized with COVID-19 noticed lesions or ulcers in their mouths. While most ulcers should go away and heal on their own as you get better, if an ulcer lasts longer than two weeks (and you’re feeling better and testing negative), you should see your dentist in Woodbridge.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is one of those things that doesn’t just affect COVID-19 patients. In fact, dry mouth can be caused by numerous things such as medication, smoking, dehydration, and some diseases. However, COVID-19 patients and “long-haulers” tend to experience new or worsening dry mouths. The virus that causes COVID-19 can affect the salivary glands and reduce their ability to produce enough saliva. Without saliva, we’re left with the feeling of a dry, desert-like mouth as well as an increased risk for developing cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Your dentist in Woodbridge can often help relieve the symptoms of dry mouth, so make sure to mention this at your next appointment. 

Gum Inflammation

We previously mentioned how infection can cause inflammation in the blood vessels but inflammation can also occur in other areas throughout the body. Brought on by a surge of white-blood-cell-rich blood to the infected areas, inflammation in the mouth, particularly the gums, can result in red, painful, swollen, and oftentimes bleeding gums. These symptoms may resolve on their own, but you should monitor recovery at home and schedule an appointment with your dentist in Woodbridge if you notice changes or if it’s not getting better. Red, swollen gums that tend to bleed can also be a sign of gum disease, which can be serious. So it’s better to get checked out sooner rather than later. 

The prevalence of COVID-19 continues to be challenging. During these times, and all times, we encourage our patients to do everything they can to keep themselves and their teeth healthy, including brushing and flossing daily and maintaining routine dental checkups.

toothbrush with toothpaste

How Do I Choose a Toothbrush?

Buying a toothbrush can be a confusing process. Just consider how many rows and rows of brightly colored toothbrushes are at your local supermarket, each one claiming to give you the best clean or other promises of great oral health. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, choosing a toothbrush can quickly become overwhelming. However, before you simply pick up the first one you see, take some time to read this guide from your dentist in Woodbridge on how to choose the right toothbrush for you.

The 3 S’s

Choosing the right toothbrush can be as easy as considering the three S’s – size, shape, and softness. However, this is just the first step. There are other things to consider when buying your next toothbrush, and your dentist in Woodbridge is always here to help.

Size

Both the size of the toothbrush handle and the toothbrush head are important factors to consider. The handle should be sturdy and comfortable enough to hold for a two-minute brushing cycle and manipulate to cover all areas of your mouth. The toothbrush head should be an appropriate size to comfortably fit in your mouth. You should be able to reach your molars without discomfort. A brush head that’s too large can actually keep you from getting a thorough clean.

Shape

Bristles come in two different shapes – straight and rounded. Straight bristles are usually not recommended as they can cause gum damage and even enamel damage. Instead, most dentists recommend choosing rounded bristles. Round bristles are more gentle than straight bristles and still provide an excellent clean.

Softness

The last S to consider is how soft the bristles are. Toothbrush packaging will usually depict the density of the bristles by listing them as soft, medium, or hard. While it may make sense that the harder the bristles the better the clean will be, the opposite is true. Your dentist in Woodbridge will most likely recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush for most patients. The medium and hard bristles are more likely to harm gums or tooth enamel.

Manual or Electric? 

There’s some debate about whether a manual toothbrush is better than an electric toothbrush, and truth is, it depends on a variety of factors. For example, if you travel a lot, a manual toothbrush may be better for you since it’s convenient. However, if you have trouble brushing your teeth with a manual toothbrush, an electric option may be more appropriate to make sure you’re brushing properly. Always consider your budget and lifestyle before choosing a manual or electric toothbrush.

The most important thing to remember when choosing a toothbrush is to make sure you select one that you will use regularly. You should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, and it’s important that your toothbrush is able to reach all areas of your mouth comfortably. Of course, your dentist in Woodbridge will be able to help you pick out the best toothbrush for you. Just ask!

woman brushing in mirror

Do Dentists Recommend Using An Electric Toothbrush?

Do you use an electric toothbrush or do you stick with the manual kind? If you haven’t tried an electric toothbrush, you may be wondering whether the extra expense is worth it in the long run. Truthfully, there can be some pros and cons to each type of toothbrush, and the experts agree. So what does your dentist in Woodbridge recommend? Let’s find out.

Examining the Experts’ Opinions

Truth be told, it appears that the official word on whether an electric toothbrush is better than a manual toothbrush is still in debate. There have been numerous studies on the matter, and the results can vary. The American Dental Association (ADA) has stated that both electric and manual toothbrushes remove plaque and bacteria from teeth, as long as you use a proper brushing technique. In fact, they’ve said that the technique is more important than the tool. Now, another survey published by the Journal of the American Dental Association found that 13,000 out 16,000 patients who used an electric toothbrush for the duration of the study reported better oral health.

Electric May Be Better For Some

Since we mentioned that technique is more important than the tool, we want to talk about those who may benefit from an electric toothbrush over a manual toothbrush. Those who have trouble holding onto a toothbrush and manipulating it to scrub all parts of the mouth and teeth can absolutely see improvement in oral health by switching to an electric toothbrush. Some of these patients can include kids, those with arthritis, or people who have braces.

A Look at The Pros & Cons

As with most things, there are some pros and cons to using an electric toothbrush over a manual brush.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Most have timers to make sure you brush long enough
  • Some may feel that their teeth are cleaner

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Requires charging
  • Difficult to travel with

So, after all of that, does your dentist in Woodbridge recommend an electric toothbrush? Truthfully, your dental team will recommend any toothbrush that you will use every day and use properly. If you find that you’re in more control with a manual toothbrush and your lifestyle isn’t conducive to an electric toothbrush, make sure you select a manual toothbrush with soft bristles, hold it at a 45-degree angle, gently scrub each tooth in circles, and brush for two minutes. If you prefer an electric toothbrush, the same guidance applies.

Your dentist in Woodbridge and your dental hygienist can help you pick the best toothbrush for you. Ask them about it at your next appointment.

When do you need deep dental cleanings?

Joseph P. Cavallo DDS, MAGDDentists often agree that deep dental cleanings performed at the dental office is one of the best ways to not only treat patients who have chronic gum disease issues, but to act as a preventive to ensure the smile is protected against damage from both disease and decay. However, this cleaning, referred to as scaling and root planing, is often recommended for patients who have been diagnosed with conditions such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. This particular treatment allows the dentist to remove the plaque and bacteria from below the gumline to prevent bone loss, treat disease, and protect the smile overall.

What are the signs that I may require a deep dental cleaning?

Traditional cleanings help in removing plaque, tartar, and bacteria from the visible surfaces of the teeth and gums, but scaling and root planing is much more thorough. Because of this, it is often recommended to patients who have:

  • Pockets between the gums and teeth that are deeper than 4 millimeters
  • X-rays show proof of bone loss
  • Patients have inflammation of the gums that have continued for long periods of time

In situations such as this, Dr. Joseph Cavallo of Woodbridge, VA may recommend patients consider the added benefits of a more thorough, deeper dental cleaning for their smile.

How often should my teeth be cleaned?

All patients who visit their dentist every six months for a cleaning and evaluation will benefit from having their teeth cleaned by our dental hygienists. Once this is done, the patients can have a thorough examination done by Dr. Joseph Cavallo, which gives him the chance to look for signs of symptoms of decay or disease. Deep dental cleanings, such as scaling and root planing, may be done instead during recall visits, especially if the patient has been dealing with disease for an extended period of time.

Ready to learn more about dental cleanings?

Contact Dr. Joseph Cavallo and his team in Woodbridge, VA to discuss the need for cleanings and other preventive care solutions for the smile. His practice is located at 12502-A Lake Ridge Drive and is accepting new patients. Call (703) 490-5888 today to request an appointment and get started taking charge of your oral health with cleanings and routine examinations!

dental hygiene woodbridge va

Choosing the Best Dental Products for You

dental hygiene woodbridge va

With all the products on the market these days, choosing the right dental hygiene products for you can be overwhelming. With every brand making the same claims, what’s the best choice? A lot of choosing dental products comes down to personal preference – choose the brand that feels the most effective to you. However, there are a few things you can be sure to look out for in each part of your hygiene routine.

Toothbrush

The backbone of any home hygiene regimen is the toothbrush. Look for a soft-bristled brush; soft bristles are enough to clean the teeth without damaging the enamel or gums. A stuff-bristled brush can even cause your gums to recede. Any other features are up to personal preference. There isn’t much evidence that either regular or electronic brushes do a better job of cleaning your teeth. Electric brushes can, however, be easier to use. This can make then a good fit for patients with mobility or motor control issues. Whatever you choose, be sure to replace your brush or brush head about every three months.

Toothpaste

The most important thing to look for in your toothpaste is fluoride. Choose one with at least 1000 parts per million of fluoride, and a seal of approval from the American Dental Association. Anything else is really up to your preference. Use whatever toothpaste feels the best to you.

Floss

The major deciding factor when choosing a floss is the spacing of your teeth. If you have widely spaced teeth choose a thicker floss. Dental tape may even be a good option for people with gaps between their teeth. If your teeth are very tightly packed, a thinner floss is going to be more comfortable to use. Any other features – waxed or monofilament, flavored, disposable flossers – is just up to what you like and is familiar.

Mouthwash

When choosing a mouthwash, again look for fluoride. For most people, an alcohol mouthwash with fluoride is the best choice. The alcohol will kill the bacteria in your mouth, and the fluoride reduces tooth decay.

Questions? Schedule a Consultation

If you have questions about the best products for your mouth, we are happy to help. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Joseph Cavallo to discuss your specific needs. Contact our office online or over the phone at (703) 493-1203 and schedule your consultations today.

Are Electric Toothbrushes Worth It?

Are Electric Toothbrushes Worth It?

It is often a heavily debated subject when it comes to choosing an electric toothbrush versus a traditional manual toothbrush. It is one of those topics where you need to see all the facts and make the decision based on your personality and lifestyle.

Benefits Of The Electric Tooth

  • More Thorough Cleaning: Most of the time, electric toothbrushes will vibrate and rotate. These combined motions will provide superior cleaning to each tooth versus a traditional toothbrush.
  • Prevent You From Brushing Too Hard: Patients will often brush too hard with a traditional toothbrush potentially damaging your gums and tooth enamel. Electric toothbrushes do most of the work for you, simply apply toothpaste, turn it on, and let the toothbrush do the work for you over each tooth.
  • Help For Patients With Disabilities: Patients who suffer from carpal tunnel, arthritis or other limited mobility issues in their hands, arms or manual dexterity problems can find it very difficult when using a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes often have large handles, which provide a better grip, and again, they do most of the work for you.
  • Timing: Most electric toothbrushes today come with a built-in timer to ensure that you brush your teeth for the proper amount of time. Most patients who use a manual toothbrush do not brush their teeth long enough.

Disadvantages Of The Electric Toothbrush

  • Price: The price of an electric toothbrush may be a setback at first, but they are designed to last a very long time. Also, when it is time to replace your toothbrush, you only need to replace the head of the electric toothbrush. This may be an advantage to some patients as electric toothbrush heads are often sold in packs that can supply you with a fresh toothbrush for several months, maybe even longer if you purchase them from a store like Costco.
  • Charging: Electric toothbrushes need to be charged in order to function properly. That means if you forget to charge it, or even forget to pack your charger on vacation or on business travel, it could mean that you are looking for a store to either purchase a charger or a traditional toothbrush.

Schedule A Consultation

To request a personal consultation with Dr. Joseph Cavallo contact our Woodbridge, VA dentist office, and learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of adding an electric toothbrush to your oral hygiene routine. Schedule a consultation online today.

Do You Suffer From Bad Breath?

Joseph P. Cavallo DDS, MAGD

 

What Is Bad Breath?

Bad breath, medically called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.

 

Why Does What I Eat Affect My Breath?

Basically, all the food eaten begins to be broken down in your mouth.  If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing — even mouthwash — merely covers up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.

What Health Problems Are Associated With Bad Breath?

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins to form, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone. Patients with gum disease are at an increased risk of tooth loss.

Dr. Cavallo can help restore missing teeth with dental implants. Implants are one of the most natural looking, long-lasting tooth replacement options available.

What Can I Do To Help Prevent Bad Breath?

  • Brush & Floss Twice Daily
    • Brush your teeth two to three minutes at least twice a day to remove plaque and food debris. It’s very important to brush your teeth before going to bed.
  • Floss Daily
    • Flossing will remove food debris from in between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. If the food debris is not removed, the bacteria will begin to feed on it, causing bad breath.
  • Use A Mouth Rinse
    • Using a fluoride mouthwash will help remove the leftover debris that you miss with brushing and flossing.
  • Do Not Smoke Or Use Tobacco Products
    • If you ever needed another reason to quit, here’s an easy one: smoking contributes to bad breath. Tobacco tends to dry out your mouth and can leave an unpleasant smell that lingers even after brushing your teeth.
  • Visit Dr. Jospeh Cavallo
    • The best way to make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene is to visit your dentist regularly. If you have chronic bad breath, you should visit your dentist first, to rule out any dental problems.

Schedule A Consultation

Click here to contact our Woodbridge, VA dentist office to request a personal consultation with Dr. Joseph Cavallo and learn more about how bad breath is linked to your oral and physical health.

National Dental Hygiene Month

October is National Dental Hygiene Month! 

Dr. Cavallo; Amanda; Baneza; ReneeDr. Cavallo and his team at Woodbridge VA Dentistry work hard to make sure that our patients practice good dental hygiene on a regular basis.

By developing a daily oral care routine, you can prevent other issues that may affect your overall health. Many people are not aware that poor oral hygiene can lead to a number of medical issues such as gum disease, infections, bone loss, heart disease, strokes, and oral cancer. In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, you should see a dentist every six months. Routine check-ups are key to maintaining good oral health.

Dr. Cavallo wants to make your visits comfortable and pleasant. He will advise you every step of the way.

What Happens at a Routine Check-up?

Before the first appointment, Dr. Cavallo will need your complete medical history. He will also need to know of any prescribed medications you are taking. He needs to be aware of any health concerns in order to avoid the incident and make sure you are receiving the best care possible.

Teeth Cleaning

At your appointment, you will receive a thorough tooth cleaning. This is usually done by the dental hygienist and involves:

  • Scraping off built-up plaque and tartar above and below the gum line.
  • Flossing between and around every tooth to remove any plaque or food articles.
  • Teeth polishing to get rid of any additional residue that may have been missed.

Examination

Next, Dr. Cavallo will examine your teeth to see if there are any problem areas in your mouth such as swelling of gums, mouth sores, and redness. He will also measure your mouth’s periodontal pockets to make sure there are no signs of gum disease.

Dental X-Rays

X-Rays of your mouth will be taken to determine if there are any issues below the mouth’s surface. X-rays show what the natural eye cannot see. Dr. Cavallo will be able to see the roots below the gum line, and your jawbone. This will help to determine if there are any other issues.

Once the exam is completed, Dr. Cavallo will advise you of any issues and the next steps to take to improve or maintain good dental hygiene and oral health.

Joseph P. Cavallo DDS, MAGD

Tips for Practicing Good Dental Hygiene:

  • Brush and floss your teeth twice a day.
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Limit alcohol use.
  • Avoid tobacco products.
  • Monitor your diet and sugar intake.
  • Get routine check-ups every month.

 

Teeth Whitening Treatment

Joseph P. Cavallo DDS, MAGDTeeth whitening is a quick, easy, and painless treatment that can bring back the sparkle in your teeth. Whether you want whiter teeth for a specific event or to boost your own confidence, there is never a wrong time to get a whiter smile.

Woodbridge cosmetic dentist Dr. Joseph Cavallo will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan to ensure the best results.

Teeth Whitening in Woodbridge, VA

One option to brighten your teeth is our in-office teeth whitening treatment. If you are looking for a quick transformation, Dr. Cavallo can create a solution based on your needs. Using bleaching technology, Dr. Cavallo will fill the trays and gently place them over the teeth. In office teeth whitening allows patients to whiten their teeth with comfort and ease.

For a gradual teeth whitening solution, try our take-home teeth whitening kits. Get whiter teeth during your commute to work or just relaxing at home. Over the course of a couple of weeks, your teeth can get up to eight shades lighter.

Results will vary between patients depending on the amount of effort you put into wearing the trays. If done properly, the whitening should last from six months to a year. If you start to notice your teeth yellowing again, you can easily come in for a touch-up. This will help keep your teeth whiter longer. Avoiding smoking, dark foods, and having overall good oral hygiene will also increase the likelihood of keeping your white teeth.

Having a white smile has the power to improve your self-confidence. Your smile is one of the first things people see when you met them, so greet everyone with a sparkling, confident smile. Exuding confidence can help you in your career, social, and personal life. It is an investment that goes further than being aesthetically pleasing.

Call today and start your journey to whiter teeth. To schedule an appointment, call 703.493.1203 or request an appointment online.

ada gum disease and diabetes

Diabetes: Examining the Oral Body Connection

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

Our Woodbridge, VA dental care team wants to bring light to the impact diabetes can have on oral health. Many patients are unaware of the negative toll diabetes can take on the gums and teeth. While most conditions correlated between diabetes and oral health can be managed with diligent oral hygiene, it is also important to visit the dentist at least twice a year. Dr. Joseph Cavallo may recommend patients with diabetes visit more frequently to help prevent the spread of diabetes-related oral health concerns.

How does diabetes impact my oral health?

Diabetes can compromise the immune system, leaving the body more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. How does this impact the health of your teeth and gums? The oral cavity is full of bacteria, some are good, while others cause harmful oral diseases like gum disease and thrush. When the bodies immune system is not fighting at full force, the patient becomes more likely to develop gum disease, the number one cause of tooth loss.
ada gum disease and diabetesGum disease is a progressive bacterial infection of the gums. As the bacteria multiply and spread they form deep pockets in the gum and cause inflammation. Over time the gums swell and begin to pull away from the teeth. Teeth can shift, become loose, and even fall out.

According to the ADA (American Dental Associations), patients who have diabetes and keep their blood sugar balanced are less likely to develop gum disease.

Patients with diabetes can typically control the effects of gum disease through proactive oral health care. Brushing and flossing are any patient’s first defense against bacterial infections of the oral cavity. Dr. Cavallo provides comprehensive and personalized dental exams that can help patients catch the spread of disease-causing bacteria or fungus early on in development, allowing for more conservative treatment. Dr. Cavallo and our Woodbridge, VA dental care team can make personal recommendations for patients with diabetes so that they can keep their teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

Contact our Woodbridge, VA dentist office to request a personal consultation with Dr. Jospeh Cavallo and learn more about how diabetes links your oral and physical health.

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