Woodbridge, VA
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Gum Disease Linked to Colon Cancer: Know Your Risk

An updated study conducted by the American Academy for Cancer Research of nearly 43,000 people over several years has shown a potential positive correlation between gum disease and an increased risk of colon cancer. While the whole-body complications associated with gum disease, such as heart disease, aren’t new, the link to colon cancer is a relatively recent topic of interest to researchers and your dentist in Woodbridge.

The Link Between Gum Disease & Colon Cancer

The study that examined the potential link between gum disease and colon cancer took several things into consideration – health, lifestyle, and pathology reports from routine colonoscopies. Those pathology results showed something interesting about those participants who had serrated polyps and conventional adenomas, the two types of intestinal lesions that can cause colon cancer, and who also had a history of gum disease.

Patients with a history of gum disease had:

  • A 17% increased risk of having a serrated polyp
  • An 11% increased risk of having a conventional adenoma

But that’s not all.

Patients who had lost four or more teeth, which is a very common side effect of gum disease, had a 20% increased risk of having a serrated polyp.

While this research does suggest a correlation between gum disease and colon cancer, the scientists did state that more research is needed to fully understand how oral health can affect gut health.

Signs of Gum Disease

If caught early, gum disease can be reversed and the risk of other oral health and overall health complications decreases. However, untreated gum disease will eventually reach a point where it can no longer be cured. This greatly increases the likelihood that gum disease will lead to tooth loss and cause other problems throughout the body. This is why your dentist in Woodbridge encourages all patients to know the early warning signs of gum disease so you can seek treatment sooner rather than later.

Some of the most common signs of gum disease include:

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Gum recession

4 Ways to Protect Against Gum Disease

Gum disease can be caused by any number of things, but there are some habits that can substantially increase someone’s chances of getting it. The best ways to protect yourself against gum disease are to:

Brush your teeth twice a day

Floss daily

Quit smoking or using tobacco products

See your dentist in Woodbridge at least every six months

If you suspect that you may have gum disease, we recommend scheduling a dental appointment as soon as you can. After all, early treatment is key to protecting your teeth and your body.

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. 


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.

Receding Gums

Receding gums is a common dental problem that happens gradually and oftentimes goes unnoticed. When bacteria in the mouth increases, pockets form between the teeth and the gums. This causes the gum line to wear away and expose more of the tooth. Receding gums can lead to tooth decay, bone, teeth and tissue loss.

Symptoms of Receding Gums

If you are exhibiting the following symptoms, you may have developed receding gums.

  • Visible gaps between the teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Longer teeth

Causes of Receding Gums

Here are some factors that can cause receding gums:

  • Poor dental hygiene: Not following good dental hygiene practices will cause the bacteria in your mouth to increase. When this happens, the plaque turns into tartar. To avoid this, brush and floss your teeth twice a day and use an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Diabetes: High diabetic levels can cause bacteria to increase in the mouth which can lead to receding gums.
  • Gum disease: Gum disease is the main cause of receding gums. Increased bacteria in the mouth causes inflammation and infections that destroy gum tissue and bone that hold teeth in place.
  • Brushing your teeth too hard: Brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear away causing your gums to recede.
  • Genes: If your family has a history of receding gums, you may be predisposed to gum disease.
  • Hormones: Fluctuating hormone levels such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can cause the gums to be more sensitive making you susceptible to gum recession.
  • Tobacco: Cigarettes and chewing tobacco can damage your gums and cause them to recede.


Early diagnosis can slow down and prevent gum loss before too much damage occurs. Dr. Cavallo can treat gum recession through deep cleaning and antibiotics. If there is significant tissue loss you will need gum surgery. If teeth are lost or become misaligned because of gum recession, Dr. Cavallo can offer several dental cosmetic options to replace lost or misaligned teeth.


Meet Dr. Cavallo profileDr. Joseph P. Cavallo and the team at Woodbridge VA Dentistry are available to help you choose the best gum recession treatment option that will improve your oral health and restore your smile. Contact us for a consultation.


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.


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.


Preventive Dental Care in Woodbridge, VA

Joseph P. Cavallo DDS, MAGD Practicing preventive dental care is an essential part of maintaining excellent oral health. Woodbridge dentist Dr. Joseph Cavallo encourages patients to maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine and schedule routine dental checkups to minimize their risk of developing complex dental problems. Patients would be surprised to learn that many common dental concerns can be avoided if patients practice preventive dental care. If you haven’t visited the dentist for your preventive care exam or you have any questions about your oral health, contact our Woodbridge, VA dental care team.

Why Practice Preventive Dental Care

Not only does practicing preventive dental care help keep your teeth healthy, but it may help keep your body healthy as well. Many patients have heard the expression the mouth is the gateway to the body; but what does that expression mean?

Recent studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and serious health concerns, such as stroke, diabetes, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and teeth. If gum disease if left untreated, it may lead to complex health concerns that may require advanced treatment. Our goal is to avoid complex dental problems and equip patients with the tools and knowledge needed to maintain a healthy smile.

During your preventive dental care visits, patients will receive a professional dental cleaning which removes tartar and plaque buildup that regular brushing and flossing cannot reach. We use Cavitron® ultrasonic scaler to effectively clean teeth. We incorporate advanced methods and state of the art technology to help improve patient smiles and provide predictable results.  To ensure your teeth are healthy, Dr. Cavallo will perform a comprehensive exam to check for any signs of complex dental problems. If treatment is needed to restore health to your teeth, Dr. Cavallo will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses your dental needs. We offer a full range of cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry services in our Woodbridge dental office.

Dr. Cavallo is an experienced dentist in Woodbridge, VA committed to providing personalized solutions for patients who are in need of dental care. If you are searching for a trusted dentist in Woodbridge, or Northern VA area, visit Dr. Cavallo.

Get Screened in Woodbridge, VA

Joseph P. Cavallo DDS, MAGD Regular screenings for complex dental problems like oral cancer and gum disease can get you the early diagnosis needed to get you the right solution for your health. As an experienced dentist, Dr. Joseph Cavallo has seen numerous cases of dental issues that could have been avoided with preventive dental care. Dr. Cavallo recommends that patients should visit his Woodbridge dental office at least twice a year for routine screening, comprehensive exam, and professional dental cleanings. Each aspect of preventive dental care is set into place to help patients avoid the development of complex dental problems and to keep their smile healthy and functional.

Get Screened in Woodbridge, VA

Dr. Cavallo offers advanced treatment options for patients with complex dental problems. As a highly skilled restorative and cosmetic dentist, Dr. Cavallo uses his skill and expertise to get you the treatment you need to restore health back to your smile. Dr. Cavallo stresses the importance of regular screenings during you visit. At your biannual preventive care exam, Dr. Cavallo will screen for oral cancer and gum disease. Oral cancer remains one of the most under-diagnosed cancers. Sometimes patients don’t notice the signs until the advanced stage of oral cancer. By scheduling regular visits, Dr. Cavallo can thoroughly examine your oral cavities to look for signs of oral cancer like lumps, sores, bleeding and loose teeth. During this time, patients can also disclose other symptoms they may feel like a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, persistent bad breath, difficulty moving the jaw, and any pain or discomfort they may feel. Dr. Cavallo works with you get you the treatment you need. If necessary, Dr. Cavallo will work with your primary care physician to get you the treatment you need to restore your health.

Dr. Cavallo also screens for gum disease during your preventive care visit. Gum disease is preventable with regular visits to the dentist and a healthy oral hygiene routine. During your visit, Dr. Cavallo will check for signs of gum disease. If gum disease is caught in its earliest stage (gingivitis), Dr. Cavallo may be able to restore your gum health with an antibacterial rinse or a professional dental cleaning. If gum disease is left untreated, it may progress to a more advanced stage of gum disease (periodontitis), patients may need scaling and root planing and/or gum surgery. Dr. Cavallo will work with you to find the right solution for your smile.

If you haven’t set up a preventive care exam, visit our Woodbridge, VA dental office. Patients can call our office to schedule an appointment or schedule an appointment online.

dr cavallo donating holy family dentistry woodbridge va

Those in Need Receive Healthy Smiles

It is the season of giving but Woodbridge, VA cosmetic and general dentist Dr. Joseph Cavallo extends this sentiment throughout the entire year. In a recent article published by The Arlington Catholic Herald,  writer Mary Stachyra Lopez highlights Dr. Cavallo’s charitable contributions to those in need made over the last decade. Working closely with Holy Family Church in Dale City, Dr. Cavallo gives what he knows best- healthy smiles.

Click here to read the full article on Dr. Cavallo published in
The Arlington Catholic Herald.

dr cavallo donating holy family dentistry woodbridge va

Dental Health Care For Those In Need

To date, Dr. Cavallo has donated between 25-30,00 dollars in dental care services to the parishioners of Holy Family just this year. Dr. Cavallo tries to see on average 10 patients a month, but worries about the patients he has to turn away due to time restraints. Dr. Cavallo encourages all medical professional to give the gift of their talent and time to enrich the lives of others.


“I think my contribution is just one little grain of sand along the beach. I would encourage anybody — a dentist, nurse, physician, to help me out and contribute some more little grains of sand. If we all contribute, I think we can make this world a better place.” Dr. Cavallo from Struggling to find health care, people sometimes look to their parishes by Mary Stachyra Lopez.

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.

Choosing A Dentist That's Right For You

Choosing A Dentist That’s Right For You

Finding the right dentist can be a daunting task. There are so many dentists who offer similar services, so what should you look for when choosing a dentist? No matter which dental services you seek, you want to find a dentist who is qualified, highly trained, experienced, and compassionate. Someone who takes the time to listen to you, and works with you to ensure that you are able to make informed decisions about your personal oral health. Our dental care team in Woodbridge, VA would like to help make your search a little easier by providing you with some tips and tricks for finding the right dentist.
Nurse Making Phone Call At Nurses Station

Finding the Right Dentist

As with many services where quality matter, asking around is a great way to find out which local Woodbridge dentists are worth contacting. Ask friends and family what they enjoy about their dentist office, what kind of work have they had done there and are they satisfied with the long term results. This is a great way to start building a list of dentists to call so you can find one that fits your personal needs.

It can also help to build a list of what you are looking for in a dentist. Do you need a general dentist for preventive dental care? Do you have cosmetic concerns you want to address? Are you missing teeth and require advanced restorative dental procedures like dental implants? Or do you want a go to a dentist that has training and experience treating a wide range of dental concerns? Knowing what type of care you want or need can help find a dentist with the right skill set for you. Once you have a list of prospective dentists and your list of wants and needs, it is a good idea to call a few dentists. Be sure to ask questions like,

  • “What is the dentist’s experience?”
  • “Does your dentist office use state of the art dental technology?”
  • “Do you have before and after photos of cosmetic and restorative work the dentist has done?”

You can often tell a lot about the dental practice by the way the dental care team answers your questions and handles your call. You want open and honest communication with your dental care team. This helps ease dental anxiety and reassurance that you are only being offered dental care that will benefit you, not the practices financial bottom line.

Schedule Visit with a Woodbridge Dentist

To learn more about Dr. Joseph Cavallo and our highly trained and compassionate dental care team, contact our Woodbridge, VA dentist office, or schedule a consultation online. Our staff will be happy to answer your questions and help you to schedule your first dentist visit. Dr. Cavallo is a cosmetic, restorative and general dentist with years of advanced education and experience. He is committed to providing beautiful results that support long term oral health for his patients optimal oral health.

Why does my tooth hurt

Why does my tooth hurt?

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 3.54.54 PMTooth pain is your bodies way of telling you something is not right. When tooth pain persists, worsens, or is sharp and shooting, it is essential to contact Woodbridge, VA dentist Dr. Joseph Cavallo. Early treatment of any oral health concern is ideal for conservative and effective treatment. Dr. Cavallo will provide a personal and comprehensive oral health exam to determine the cause of your tooth pain.

What Causes Tooth Pain

There are several reasons your tooth could be causing you discomfort. The only way to know for sure is by visiting Dr. Cavallo for an oral health exam. While the reasons for tooth pain vary, they are all an indication of an oral health concern.

  • Sensitive Teeth
    If you have very sensitive teeth they can be the cause of tooth pain. If you switch between hot and cold food or beverages it may cause a sharp or shooting pain in your tooth. This type of pain will usually subside within a minute. There is most likely no need for alarm and this issue can usually be addressed at your next preventative oral health check up. Dr. Cavallo may suggest a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth to minimize or eliminate tooth pain symptoms. If you are experiencing persistent tooth sensitivity and pain it may be a sign that you grind your teeth or have tooth cavity. If the pain is persistent, contact our Woodbridge, VA dentist office.
  • Cavities or Tooth Decay
    Almost every adult will experience some level of tooth decay at some point in their lives. If you have pain in your tooth due to a tooth cavity, seek dental help as soon as possible. If caught early, a dental filling can be used to treat your cavity. More advanced decay could result in the need for a root canal or tooth extraction. If your tooth is already experiencing pain, a root canal will most likely be the best treatment option. A root canal is a procedure where Dr. Cavallo removes the diseased pulp of the tooth, seals the space, and caps the tooth with a crown. Root canals help preserve the structure of the jaw and stability of your natural bite.In rare cases, pain may be a sign you have an abscessed tooth. Abscessed teeth are often accompanied by swelling or fever. If you are experiencing this type of tooth pain, contact our Woodbridge dental office for an appointment with Dr. Cavallo.
  • Broken Dental Restoration
    If you experience tooth pain when bite down you may have damaged a dental restoration or your tooth. Tooth pain is often a result of a cracked tooth, broken crown, or loose filling.

Schedule A Consultation

If you have pain in your mouth that does not subside contact our Woodbridge dentist office to schedule a dental health exam. Dr. Cavallo will help you build a personalized dental treatment plan that will address your dental health and restore the function and beauty to your smile.

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