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On occasion, we get contacted by parents who are concerned that their children have been grinding their teeth in their sleep. This is something that occurs in approximately 33% of children during their sleep, but 8% of adults also suffer from this condition. Known as bruxism, tooth grinding typically begins when a child first begins to get their teeth, and then again when their permanent teeth begin to arrive. In adults stress and anxiety tend to be major contributors. Bruxism tends to pass in time, but there are some things that should be considered.

 

Causes Of Bruxism

It’s not entirely clear what causes bruxism, but oral discomfort caused by shifting and realigning teeth are known causes of temporary bruxism, with allergies and other illnesses being known to play a role as well. Issues that cause inner ear pressure to change, such as during a flight, have also been indicated. Persistent bruxism can be a serious concern and can result from fear, anxiety, and stress. While it tends to pass in time, paying attention to your overall health as well as the severity of the condition will determine if intervention is required.

 

Should I Be Concerned About Bruxism?

As mentioned previously, bruxism is fairly common and generally not a major concern as your child will likely grow out of it, though adults may have ongoing issues. If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact the office of April J. Toyer, DDS, your dentist in Woodbridge or Prince William County, VA. Symptoms that indicate that your teeth may require further attention are as follows:

  • Sleep issues including frequent waking or difficulty falling asleep.
  • Sore jaws or jaw pain
  • Recurring headaches
  • Pain or sensitivity in the teeth not caused by other dental issues.
  • Flattening of the teeth or other indicators of wear
  • Soft tissue damage in the oral cavity
  • Audible, ongoing grinding that doesn’t pass with time.

 

What Can I Do To Ease Minor Bruxism?

If the above symptoms are absent, there are steps you can take to ease your bruxism. The following may help to reduce incidences of teeth grinding:

  • Identify your source of stress and work to reduce it.
  • Ensure you have a proper diet.
  • Dehydration is known to aggravate bruxism, ensure you’re getting enough water.

 

When Should I Contact My Dentist About Bruxism?

As with any dental concerns, it’s appropriate to contact your dentist as soon as you are aware its an issue. While initially there may not be a medical treatment attempted to aid in easing the bruxism, it helps to make sure your dental professional is aware of the condition and your concerns surrounding it. April Toyer has a long history of providing a comforting experience for her patients, with a focus on total dental care and a family touch. If you’re looking for a dentist in Woodbridge or Prince William County, VA, give our office a call today and set up a consultation for all of your dental concerns.

 

Pregnancy is an exciting time. You’ve got a new baby on the way, people tend to treat you extra special, and you can eat whatever you want (within reason)! While pregnancy is exciting, it changes your body and requires that you stay on top of its care and maintenance.

One of the most important aspects of having a healthy pregnancy is good dental care. While you might get caught up in prenatal visits and making sure you’re taking the best care of yourself possible, it is important that you make it a point to take care of your oral health.

When should I tell my dentist I am pregnant?

Never hide your pregnancy status from your dentist. Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or think you might be pregnant, it’s important that you tell your dentist this so that they can take the necessary precautions to protect both you and the baby.

Depending on whether you’re high risk or suffer from certain conditions, the dentist might decide to withhold certain procedures.

How can pregnancy affect a woman’s mouth?

There are several conditions that can occur during pregnancy. By monitoring your oral health and having a baseline of where you stand, Dr. Toyer will be able to determine what is related to pregnancy.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

Normal hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause the chemistry in your mouth to change. This is why some women develop pregnancy gingivitis. This is characterized by swelling and tenderness of the gums. You might also notice that your gums bleed after brushing or flossing. It is crucial that this condition is treated, as it can lead to extensive tooth decay and even tooth loss. Oftentimes the solution is to schedule cleanings more frequently.

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay

Pregnant women tend to be at an increased risk of tooth decay for a variety of reasons. Morning sickness, characterized by throwing up, increases the amount of stomach acid in a person’s mouth and can break down the enamel of a tooth. Most pregnant women tend to consume more carbohydrates, which break down into sugars. This can also lead to decay.

Oftentimes women who lose their normal oral care routine because they don’t feel well, have tender gums, or have a more sensitive gag reflex. It is important that despite these issues you continue your routine as poor oral health can lead to premature birth, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.

Pregnancy Tumors

Most often seen during the second trimester, pregnancy tumors are small growths that often appeal on the gums. They tend to bleed and look like little raspberries. These often disappear after birth, however, can be removed by the dentist if they are something you are concerned about.

If you’re trying to become pregnant or recently became pregnant, contact us. Dr. Toyer is here to help ensure your mouth is as healthy as possible. Schedule an appointment to make sure you’re on the right track and learn more about how you can keep your mouth and overall health in the best condition.

With summer heat at its peak, it’s important that you stay hydrated throughout any activity. Dehydration can lead to fainting, heat stroke, and even death. Every year someone dies because they haven’t hydrated well while performing activities in the summer heat.

Unfortunately, many of the common options available to people wanting to stay hydrated are not healthy. And while staying hydrated should be your goal, you should also try to avoid excess sugar and other additives that could affect your health.

Soda

Soda is one of the most common drinks reached for by kids and adults alike. Unfortunately, soda is loaded with sugar and caffeine, both of which can dehydrate you. This is because caffeine is a diuretic. As a result, you might drink a soda and have to urinate more quickly. Over time, you lose more fluid.

Soda doesn’t replace any of the fluids you lose while you sweat. There’s also 39 grams of sugar in a Coke. When you’re drinking soda all day while playing sports you’re ingesting a ton of sugar and essentially bathing your teeth in sugar. Your teeth are more prone to decay when they’re constantly exposed to sugar, along with the carbonation in soda.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks like Gatorade have a lot of sugar, but they also offer you many electrolytes that are lost while you are sweating. These drinks are a good choice if you’re doing more than an hour of work outside. It helps to replace sodium, potassium, and magnesium. It’s important that you pace yourself with these drinks and either water them down or look for a diet version. This is because the sugar these drinks contain is still detrimental to the overall health of your mouth and your waistline.

Water

The best thing you can do for your body when you’re outside working in the heat is to regularly drink water. It’s crucial that you hydrate before, during, and after activities. In fact, it’s recommended that you drink 4-6 ounces every 15 or 20 minutes.

Water straight from the tap will help your body regulate its temperature, help your muscles recover, and reduce fatigue. Additionally, water helps to reduce dry mouth, which is a common cause for bad breath.

When it comes to choosing a drink to hydrate during the summer, we recommend you reach for water or a watered down sports drink. Soda does nothing to help your body recover and is horrible for your oral health.

If you’re curious about how your diet might affect your oral health, contact us. Dr. Toyer is committed to helping her patients enjoy a healthy life through proper oral hygiene, as well as proper nutrition and exercise.

Recent studies claiming that flossing isn’t as important as dentists say it is have been on the news. However, this small bit of studies complete contradicts solid scientific evidence and thousands of studies that say otherwise.

The truth is, flossing is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health – oral and systemic.

Flossing Supports Brushing

Your toothbrush plays an important part in ensuring plaque and odor causing bacteria is kept to a minimum, however, it can’t do everything. That’s why flossing is so important. Flossing complements the efforts of your brushing because it gets into areas where your brush can’t – specifically, between your teeth and at the back of your mouth.

Flossing Protects Your Gums

Excessive plaque buildup around your gums causes gingivitis – the earliest stage of periodontitis. If it isn’t corrected through brushing and flossing this can morph into an ugly disease that causes your bone to disintegrate and teeth to fall out. Flossing helps to remove the plaque around your gums so that you do not develop gingivitis.

Additionally, it removes the tough, stuck food from those areas that mouthwash and brushing cannot.

Save Money

By protecting your mouth from infection and decay you’re making a huge impact on your oral health and wallet. The cost of treating disease and decay is far more than that of a spool of floss or regular dental cleanings. Moreover, the pain, time, and discomfort that goes into more advanced dental procedures call all be avoided if you simply follow a healthy oral hygiene routine that includes flossing.

Prevent Tartar Buildup

One of the most uncomfortable parts of any dental visit is having tartar scraped from your teeth. The sound of the scraping is enough to drive you nuts. But it’s an important part of ensuring your teeth are healthy and that bacterial colonies don’t embed into your dentin. This is another factor of periodontitis.

By regularly flossing your removing bacteria and tartar so that when you go to the dentist you don’t have to go through a longer session of scraping.

Prevent Diseases

Flossing plays a major role in preventing periodontal disease. Because it prevents periodontal disease it also helps to prevent a slew of other diseases linked to periodontal disease. This includes heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes (which is worsened by periodontal disease).

The crucial thing to understand is that flossing isn’t a waste of time. When performed properly it actually saves time and trouble down the road. Additionally, flossing is something that only needs to be done once a day. So you can integrate it into your morning or evening routine, whichever is most convenient.

If you’re looking for a dentist who focuses on preventative care like flossing, brushing, and cleanings, contact our office. Dr. Toyer is committed to teaching patients the best ways to care for their oral hygiene needs, so that they live happy, healthy lives for years to come. From proper brushing techniques to restorations, she is here to guide you through the education and decision-making process.

Impacted wisdom teeth are one of the most common things Dr. Toyer sees in the office. Wisdom teeth don’t always need to be removed, but if they’re malpositioned, cause pain, or are causing other problems, then chances are you need your wisdom teeth removed.

Wisdom tooth removal is a simple outpatient surgical procedure that can be done in less than an hour. You will need someone to drive you to and from the surgery, however, recovery is quick and the benefits far outweigh not getting the teeth removed.

What are impacted wisdom teeth?

Impacted wisdom teeth occur when the teeth at the back of your mouth (wisdom teeth), are inhibited from growing properly. When teeth grow in properly they can erupt and move smoothly into the space that was available for them. Teeth that become impacted can grow sideways, crooked, and oftentimes remain under the bone.

Sometimes a tooth can partially erupt, but this is far from ideal because the small bit of exposed tooth is prone to plaque and bacteria build up. And, an infection or decay in even a small bit of exposed tooth can eventually spread below the surface of your jaw to the rest of the tooth.

Even if your impacted wisdom teeth aren’t causing problems, over time they can intercept other tooth roots, which leads to intense pain and discomfort.

When should I get my wisdom teeth removed?

There isn’t a set age when doctors believe removal is ideal, however, the earlier impacted teeth are discovered, the sooner you can get them removed. This can save issues down the line and, younger bodies tend to heal better than older individuals.

Ultimately, if you’ve reached a more mature age and ever experienced issues, the doctor might not recommend removal.

What is wisdom tooth removal like?

Don’t let the horror stories you’ve heard scare you. When done by an experienced dentist like Dr. Toyer, wisdom tooth removal is nearly painless. You’re under anesthesia and the surgery is usually complete within 45 minutes.

During the surgery, the doctor will open your gums and dig out the impacted tooth. They will then clean the area and suture it closed. Once the surgery is successfully completed the doctor will then wake you up and reverse the anesthesia.

After the surgery, the doctor will pack your mouth and recommend an icing schedule to reduce swelling. The most important thing to remember when recovering from wisdom tooth removal surgery is to avoid chewing hard, crunchy, or tough. Stick to liquids and soft foods like milkshakes, ice cream, and mashed potatoes. Tough foods can cut your stitches, resulting in swelling, and cause infection.

If you’ve been experiencing discomfort and believe wisdom teeth are to blame, give Dr. Toyer a call. Our compassionate team will help diagnose any dental issues you might be facing and create a treatment plan that will work for your needs.

We accept a wide variety of insurances and offer additional payment options to ensure your treatment is affordable for you.

As a parent, your goal is to keep your child healthy. For all children, good health starts with good oral health. Many of today’s most common adult diseases can be traced back to poor oral health. The plaque that causes heart disease is the very same plaque that is found in your teeth. Diabetes, stroke, and a slew of other life-threatening illnesses all have a connection to poor oral health.

But why is taking care of those baby teeth so important? Simply put baby teeth ensure your child’s adult teeth come in properly spaced and that he or she maintains a healthy bite and jaw alignment. Losing these teeth too early will inhibit his or her dental growth and development.

Before proper brushing and flossing come into play, what we eat plays the single largest role in how healthy your mouth is. By providing your child with healthy snack options you’re not only giving them a solid foundation for good oral health but also teaching them habits they will carry into adulthood.

Here are five healthy snack options you can easily provide to your child throughout the day or send with them to school.

Ham and Cheese Kabobs

This simple snack takes minutes to make and can be prepared ahead of time, so your kids can grab it as an after school snack or you can quickly put it in a storage container to take in the car with you while running errands.

Banana Bites with Peanut Butter

If your child loves peanut butter and banana sandwiches, try cutting out the extra carbs from the bread and simply putting the peanut butter directly on the banana. This treat is great in the summertime if the banana is frozen, as it has the texture of frozen yogurt.
Chicken Kabobs with Ranch Sauce
This classic is easy to make ahead and is fun to eat because it’s on skewers. Be sure to remove the chicken from the skewers for younger kids. To make simply marinate chicken in your favorite BBQ sauce, skewer, and grill. Then grab some ranch dressing for the side and you’ll get a tasty, savory snack that’s full of protein. Try to pick a BBQ sauce that is as low in sugar as possible or make your own, as sauces are where manufacturers tend to secretly pack a lot of extra sugars.

Sweet Potato Fries

Easy to make and easy to store, you can make large batches of sweet potato fries and freeze for future use. Sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index because they’re complex carbs. It’s still important to limit this treat, as it’s easy to go overboard. Portioning each serving individually is the best way to do so.

Hummus and Carrots

This tangy treat is a favorite of kids and offers protein from the hummus (ground chickpeas) and extra vitamins from the carrots. Hummus can be made from scratch or bought at your local grocer’s deli aisle. And no need to buy those tiny snack carrots. Buy a big bag of carrots and simply slice them up.
Homemade Trail Mix
Super easy to make ahead and send for lunch or take on road trips, homemade trail mix is likely to become a staple in your home. To make mix your favorite nuts (if you have a nut allergy try popcorn), along with some dried fruit and a bit of semi sweet chocolate morsels. Because you’re including the chocolate morsels don’t go overboard on the dried fruit, as that can drive the sugar content up.

Strengthen your Child’s Teeth Through a Healthy Diet

August 28, 2014

Children with healthy teeth are more likely to grow into adults with healthy smiles.  Your child’s diet not only affects their overall health, but their oral health as well. Foods and drinks that contain sugars of any type can contribute to tooth decay.  Most items found in your local grocery store will contain nutrition facts and sugar contents on the label. Many of your child’s favorite items may have a low sugar alternative.

diet1

Healthy Choices for your child

Introducing yogurt, cheese or other milk products with meals or as a snack can be a great alternative to carbohydrates.  Food and drink items containing dairy can help increase pH levels in the oral cavity, which can help decrease the acids produced by cavity causing bacteria. The Calcium and vitamin D available in dairy products can also aid in enamel protection. Fruits and vegetables such as, strawberries and apples, that contain vitamin C can strengthen gum tissue and can act as a natural plaque removing abrasive when extensive chewing is required.

Tips to Prevent Decay

If possible regulate the amount of sticky sugary foods and candies your child consumes such as taffies, caramels, raisins and gummies. These items get stuck in the grooves of your teeth and may sit there until brushed out. Sugary food items are better served with meals, than as a snack in between meals. This allows for the increased saliva needed for digestion to help rinse these sugars away. The action of chewing gum containing xylitol can also increase salivary flow and can be a natural abrasive to naturally rinse away food particles.

Juices with high sugar contents should also be limited for 4-6 oz. per day. Try diluting your child’s juice to decrease the sugar content.  Although sodas and juices that are high in sugar should be limited, introducing water in the oral cavity can help to neutralize the pH and decrease the harmful effects.   Water is also the liquid of choice for babies at bedtime instead milk, formula, juice, or soda. It is important for infants and children to start an oral care routine twice a day, as well as attend their regular six month dental checkups.  These habits along with a healthy diet can help lead your child to a lifetime of good oral health.

What is With this Bad Breath?

July 26, 2014

For those of you who have felt the embarrassment of halitosis (bad breath), you know that it is something that it can alter the way you speak, affect your self-confidence and even affect your relationships.  While every individual is different,  there are several major causes of halitosis that affect most people.  Gums and mints may temporally mask the issue, however if these underlying conditions still remain your breath will soon return to it’s original state.What is With this Bad Breath?

  • Remove bacteria off of your tongue:  If you stick out your tongue and look in the mirror you may find a whitish film that contains plaque and bacteria that is stuck in the grooves of your tongue.  Scraping your tongue with a professional tongue scraper twice a day can drastically decrease the levels of these odor-causing bacteria.
  • Watch what you eat: Foods such as onions and garlic can also contribute to bad breath.  Even after brushing these foods get into your digestive track and can release odors all over your body.  A natural remedy is integrating parsley into your meal, every time you consume one of these items.
  • Improve Oral hygiene:  Bacteria can also grow all over your teeth and other oral tissues.  Food stuck in between your teeth can remain throughout the day and rot overnight if not flossed out.   Make sure to brush at least twice a day for two minutes and floss at night.  An oral rinse may also help decrease the bacterial load in your mouth. Those containing Chlorine Dioxide can help eliminating bad breath by attacking the sulfur compounds that exacerbate bad breath.
  • Drink plenty of water:  A medical condition known as “xerostomia” or dry mouth can cause plaque and food particles to further stick to your oral surfaces.  The saliva is a natural cleanser of the mouth. Decreased saliva can alter your ability to fight cavities and may contribute to your bad breath.
  • Avoid Crash Dieting: There are chemicals in our bodies called “ketones” which are made by the breakdown of fat that release an odor with each breath.  Crash dieting increases the amount of ketones your body produces.
  • Treat Medical conditions: Diabetes, Ketosis, and acid reflux are common causes of bad breath. Please be sure to visit your physician if you have any of these conditions and persistent malodor. Some medications such as antidepressants, asthma medications, blood pressure treatments, diuretics and antihistamines may cause dry mouth, decreasing natural cleansability.
  • Stop Smoking: Stoping the smoking habit is the only cure.  Smoking can also cause gum disease which can further lead to bad breath.
  • Treat Tooth Decay: Untreated decay not only cause an order from the rotting or dying tooth, but also these holes can be food traps as well.  Once food gets stuck in a cavity normal brushing may not remove the debris.  Visit our office today to find out if your cavities are contributing to your bad breath.

Preventing Dental Injuries During your Child’s Active Summer

June 19, 2014

If you have an extremely active child you may have seen one or two falls in their day. Although it is true that active kids and teens are more prone to dental and other injuries, there are several precautions that can be taken to prevent or manage these occurrences.

Kids riding bikes

How To Prevent Dental Injuries?

Infants should not run with a bottle, sippy cup or other objects in their mouth.  Children should be discouraged from climbing or jumping from high surfaces such as a tabletop or bed in the home and definitely not left unattended. Getting your baby or toddler to eat can sometimes be a challenge.  If food is forced into the mouth with a bottle or spoon it is possible to cause damage to the soft developing oral tissues in the mouth.  Foods with pointy surfaces such as chips can also cause injury to these tissues if not chewed carefully.

For older children, mouth guards should be worn while participating in sports.  These can be picked up at your local drug store or your dentist can make a custom fit mouth guard. Kids should wear a helmet during active sports such as football, or high-speed activities such as skateboarding or bike riding. Children and adults should be careful wearing socks without grips on hardwood floor as these surfaces can often be slippery and lack of traction can cause a possible injury.

What To Do If You Child Has A Dental Injury?

Dizziness, vomiting, bleeding from the nose or ears, lapse of memory, disorientation, or signs of fatigue may be an indication that a concussion has occurred.  Patients with significant head, neck or facial trauma should be immediately taken to the emergency room to be evaluated. If your child has extensive bleeding to the lip, gums or cheek area use gauze or a paper towel to apply pressure until the bleeding stops.   A cold compress or ice cubes can be placed on the affected area to reduce swelling and relieve pain in some cases. If a tooth is fractured, check to see if blood is coming from the inside of the tooth.  This may indicate nerve exposure and you will need to see your dentist as soon as possible.   If a permanent tooth is completely knocked out it should be reimplanted within one hour. If possible rinse off the tooth with clean water or milk and place it back into the socket. Make sure you only touch the crown (visible part) of the tooth and not the root. If you are unable to reimplant due to pain or blockage store the tooth in milk or cheeks and bring it to the dental office as soon as possible.  Your local dentist should evaluate dental injury without significant head or neck trauma.  Make sure your child has a dental home facilitate easy of evaluation during a potentially difficult and traumatic time for you and your child.

Bottled Water Vs. Tap Water

May 17, 2014

Staying well hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your oral and overall health. Although bottled water is commonly perceived as being the “cleaner” alternative to tap, it is missing one vital component, fluoride.   Many experts attribute the recent rise in cavities to be linked to the surge of bottle water consumption.   In an effort to decrease the risk for dental cavities the vast majority of public water systems have added a salt formed from the combination of fluorine, soil and rock minerals, otherwise known as fluoride.  Fluoridation does not affect the taste, smell or appearance of the drinking water.

Childdrinking

 


What are the Benefits of Tap Water? 

   Fluoride can slow the rate at which tooth enamel demineralizes and also encourage remineralization of an area that has the early stages (white spots) of a cavity.  According to the American Dental Association, “studies prove water fluoridation continues to be effective in reducing tooth decay by 20 – 40%, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste.” “Fluoridation is one public health program that actually saves money. An individual can have a lifetime of fluoridated water for less than the cost of one dental filling.”  Tap water also contains calcium and magnesium.  There have been studies that show that communities that have tap water containing higher levels of calcium and magnesium have lower death rates since they can help protect against heart disturbances.

Is Tap Water Safe?

   Although water fluoridation is safe and beneficial for our oral health, over exposure to fluoride can cause dental fluorosis. Fluorosis in most cases is generally mild, but may cause some whitish spots on the permanent teeth.  For infants who are on formula that already contains fluoride, parents should take caution when reconstituting with fluorinated water.  Talk to your pediatrician before altering the diet for your infant. Fluoride toothpaste and rinses should also not be consumed, since it contains a dangerous level of fluoride if ingested in large amounts.
    If you are on well water or are unsure of the fluoride levels in your community you may consider getting your water tested.  Every water supply is different and it is important to be informed about the water in your community.  If you have concerns about water quality and  live in the Prince William County, VA area please contact the Service Authority of Prince William County.  For those individuals concerned with impurities in their tap water, there are a variety of filtration systems on the market. Chlorine is a product that is added to water during the filtration process that helps get rid of bacteria.  Refrigerating your tap water overnight and using a water filtration system such as Brita, can help rid of that chlorinated taste and give your tap water the crisp clean taste you expect from bottled water.  You find that there is no fluoride in your community water please stop by our office and we will determine if your child may be in need of a fluoride supplement.


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