Category Archives: Preventive Care

The Link Between Oral Health and Overall Health

Taking care of your teeth isn’t just about having a white smile, fresh breath and no cavities. Good dental habits are critical to the overall health of your body. Brushing, flossing and keeping up with regular dental appointments not only keep your mouth in good shape but help prevent various diseases and conditions that affect your entire body.

Cardiovascular Disease 
Periodontal disease—or gum disease—is associated with a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Poor brushing and flossing habits allow bacterial infections to form in the gums. The infection then passes into the bloodstream. From there, it affects the heart’s arteries, leading to stroke, hypertension and other heart-related conditions. 

Respiratory Illnesses
Unwanted bacteria in the mouth can contribute to multiple respiratory problems, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. These are caused when bacteria from the mouth are inhaled into the lungs, allowing infection to spread throughout the respiratory system. This is of particular concern for those with lungs already damaged by disease, worsening their conditions.

Diabetes
Gum disease and diabetes have an intertwined relationship. For people with gum disease, germs leak from infected gums into the bloodstream during chewing and tooth brushing. This activates the body’s defense system causing blood sugar levels to rise and increases the likelihood of developing diabetes. For those who have diabetes, gum disease is very common. If left untreated, their symptoms will worsen. Either way, proactive treatment of gum disease is critical for those with and without diabetes for the prevention of future problems. 

Pregnancy Complications
During pregnancy, hormone levels increase, making women more likely to develop oral infections. Left untreated, these infections lead to complications during pregnancy. What’s more, expectant mothers who have gum disease are also at an increased risk of premature birth and low birth weight for their child.


At Vacendak Dentistry we believe in a holistic approach to oral care. We look at more than just your teeth and gums; we look at your overall health. Be proactive in taking care of your health and call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

New Year, New Mouth

With the new year here, you’ve probably already decided your New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like us, you may focus on improving your health in the new year. Just don’t forget the importance of improving oral health habits at the same time! Caring for your mouth goes a long way toward overall wellness and is an important element of daily self-care. 

Practicing a consistent and proper routine is not only a worthwhile goal to transform your smile, it’s also easier than many people think! Take advantage of the new year to clean your slate! Here are five easy ways to begin a successful oral health routine, today: 

  1. Conquer Your Fear of the Dentist
    Just like you should consult your doctor before trying a new diet, visiting your dentist is the first step to transforming your oral health. This is your chance to start the year fresh and with personal guidance from a professional! We want to help all our patients succeed, so bring an example of your new daily routine or a list of goals for the year and our office will be your new cheerleaders!
  2. Get the Right Tools
    It’s time to stock up on the right tools to make sure you’re set up for success. Even investing in a new electric toothbrush will encourage you to brush more often! If it’s hard to get to the store for replacements, look at subscription services that ship necessities straight to your door, at exactly the right time. 
  3. Invest in Yourself.
    Is there a certain cosmetic dentistry treatment you keep putting off? 2020 is the year to invest in yourself! Getting the smile you deserve not only transforms your oral health, but your self-esteem and confidence.
  4. Set Reminders
    It only takes around 30 days to form a new habit. So, start treating your daily hygiene like it’s a habit! Make a chart or use a tracking system to countdown the days until your new routine becomes second nature. Setting reminders on your phone or computer is a helpful trick, too.
  5. Drink More Tap Water
    Water is our favorite beverage!  By increasing your daily intake of water, you’ll fast track those new year’s wellness goals. Not only does water help maintain a healthy body, it helps your teeth too. Tap water, specifically, contains optimal amounts of fluoride, which are proven to strengthen teeth and reduce tooth decay in children and adults. Fluoride helps reinforce enamel affected by bacteria and acid. For all those reasons, adding more water to your diet is a win-win!

Drs. Sheila and Daniel Vacendak and the team at Vacendak Dentistry are here to make your dental health care in 2020 a positive experience! Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

Choosing Mouth-Friendly Candy for Halloween

With Halloween fast approaching many of us are already thinking about candy! If you’ve been brushing twice a day and flossing once a day – you shouldn’t have to worry about the occasional splurge. Nevertheless, minimize possible harm from any sweets, by following a few tips on how to eat candy:

Chocolate
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate is probably your best option. Dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate, thereby offering fewer carbohydrates to the bacteria that turn sugar into harmful cavity producing acids. Chocolate also washes off your teeth easier than stickier types of candy.

Sticky and Gummy Candies
These are the worst types of candy to eat. They’re hard to remove and stay on your teeth longer. That gives harmful bacteria more time to stick around and produce acids that breakdown your enamel.

Hard Candies
Hard candies are also problematic. Not only do they stay in your mouth for a long period of time as you suck it down, but they also cause physical damage. Even though it’s just candy, they can fracture teeth if bitten into too early. 

Sour Candies
Sour and sweet is a double whammy. The presence of sugar combined with the acids of a sour treat creates an extra harmful oral environment, accelerating the tooth decay process. 

Popcorn Balls
Popcorn Balls are sticky, sugary and can be hard. They get stuck between your teeth as well. A better version of this snack is just popcorn by itself!

Minimize exposure to sweets, play it smart and have a great Halloween! If you want to learn more about healthy snacks to hand out for Halloween, visit this article on 7 Tooth-Friendly Halloween Treats. 

Make sure to brush your teeth after snacking on any leftover candy, too! Brushing, swishing with water and flossing are the best ways to remove the sugar as quickly as possible. If you want an extra cleaning after the eventful Halloween night, call Vacendak Dentistry and schedule an appointment!

Soothing Sensitive Teeth

Are you one of the forty million adults who suffer the symptoms of sensitive teeth? Don’t be shy about it! It’s a common dental issue that creates mild to harsh flashes of pain. Cold, hot, sweet and acidic foods are all triggers for discomfort, making sufferers live in fear of eating or drinking the wrong things.

The enamel in healthy teeth protects another layer called dentin, which connects directly to internal nerves. If tooth enamel wears down or the gum line recedes, then dentin becomes exposed. When it’s exposed, the elements reach the nerves inside the tooth and cause pain. Fortunately, the pain doesn’t have to be permanent. Simple changes to diet, oral care or dental habits are all that’s needed for relief and possible reversal of the pain in many cases.

Follow these tips to fortify your enamel and ease sensitivity tooth pain.

1. Brush With Softer Bristles
The harder you brush, the more you wear away enamel. A good sign of brushing too hard is throbbing or bleeding gums directly afterward. Let your gums heal and invest in a quality toothbrush with softer bristles. Additionally, slow down when brushing and be gentle.

2. Guard Your Teeth Overnight
If you live with chronic stress, your teeth feel it. Many people involuntarily grind their teeth while sleeping due to stress in the waking hours. Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, erodes enamel and exposes dentin. Waking up with a sore jaw is a tell-tale sign of the condition. Consult your dentist to recommend a custom-fitted dental mouth guard for nighttime protection.

3. Take Care When Whitening Your Teeth
Everyone wants a pearly white smile, but overuse of whiteners creates worse problems than having off-white teeth.  Even over-the-counter methods contain chemicals harsh enough to remove too much enamel. Take a break from the whitening and consult your dentist to prevent bleaching-related damage.

4. Find the Right Toothpaste and Mouthwash
One way to treat sensitive teeth is by using desensitizing toothpaste and mouthwash. These products contain compounds that block the nerve from painful sensations at the tooth’s surface. It usually requires several applications before the sensitivity reduces, but over time, sufferers reclaim their normal eating habits.

If you experience lasting pain, immediately consult a dentist for proper sensitive teeth treatment options. Vacendak Dentistry can diagnose the issue and advise you on the best treatments to combat the pain. If you’d like to schedule a visit, contact us today by calling (757) 609-3510 or by using our online form.

5 Ways To Transform Your Oral Health For The New Year

The new year is here, and if you have resolutions to transform your health this year, it’s time to include your teeth and gums. Did you know that your oral health also contributes to your overall health, and is often reflective of it? Having a healthy mouth can also affect the way you present yourself – showing a big smile when meeting new people or giving a presentation can boost your confidence! Ready to transform your oral health in 2019? Here are 5 ways to get started:

  1. Visit your dentist. Just like you should consult your doctor before trying a new fitness plan or diet, visiting your dentist is the first step to transforming your oral health. This is your chance to start the year fresh and build from a clean slate, and also your chance to ask any questions about your routine or products!
  2. Get the right tools. Are you still using a fraying, old toothbrush? Only flossing when you visit a friend’s house? It’s time to stock up on the right tools to make sure you’re set up for success.
  3. Invest in yourself. If there is cosmetic dentistry you’ve been meaning to get, but keep putting off, 2019 is the year to finally invest in yourself. Getting the smile you deserve can not only transform your oral health, but possibly your entire year!
  4. Set reminders. It takes around 60 days to form a new habit like flossing or brushing your teeth after lunch. Until then, setting reminders on your phone or computer can help!
  5. Eat the right foods. If you already have a resolution to eat more healthy foods, this one should come easy! Some foods can help with your oral health journey, and others can hurt it. Avoid too much sugar, and fill your diet with foods high in calcium, like leafy greens and yogurt.

    Drs Sheila and Daniel Vacendak and the team at Vacendak Dentistry are here to make your dental health care a positive experience! We are conveniently located in the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake and serve patients all across Hampton Roads. Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

Gifts Your Teeth Will Thank

Is tough to stuff a stocking with toothbrushes and toothpaste…your family might think you are trying to tell them something. However, dental products are often something we forget to replace as frequently as we need to, or something we don’t really want to spend much money on. That’s why they make such good gifts for the holidays!

If you have family members who never seem to spend money on themselves, or are finally ready to give yourself a gift for your health, here are a few exciting tools to try:

  1. An electric toothbrush. Some of the best electric toothbrushes can be awfully pricey, and the replacement heads drive up the cost. However, this item is a great investment that can help improve oral health by reaching places that standard toothbrushes cant.
  2. A water pick. Water picks aren’t just for braces! This item is great for making flossing fun and exciting, by using a stream of water to dislodge food debris and remove plague around your gums.
  3. A travel kit. Do you have a family member or friend who always seems to be traveling? Build or buy them a travel kit with all of the essentials they will need to keep their teeth clean and their breath fresh after a long flight or drive. This way, they will never forget to pack their toothbrush when visiting for the holidays…

Remember, 2019 is almost here. While you may be gifting your friends and family with useful items, it’s also time to start thinking about your own resolutions. If you’re reading to take control of your oral health, Vacendak is here to help! Call our Chesapeake office today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule a dental visit or to learn more about our practice.

Updating Your Dental Routine for Fall

This month, summer is officially over. While the first month back to school can often be a bummer for your kids, the sad feelings quickly pass as Halloween and the holiday season approach. What is more exciting than extra sweets and days off of school?! However, this also means that if you or your family’s dental routine has been slacking, it’s time to update it and provide extra protection against sugar and plaque. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Identify the weaknesses in your routine. The best way to improve your routine is by figuring out your weak areas first. Do you often have bad breath because you aren’t flossing? Do you stop brushing before your two minutes are up? Work on your problem areas before thinking about adding new tasks to your routine.
  2. Have a conversation with your dentist. Do you have questions about your teeth for your dentist that you’ve been too afraid to ask? Questions about services that you might want, like whitening or other cosmetic dentistry? Are you wondering just how much candy your kids can eat on Halloween? It’s time to have a conversation with your dentist about all of your questions and concerns to become more familiar with you and your children’s oral health.
  3. Schedule your routine checkup. If you keep postponing or cancelling your routine six month cleaning, it’s time to make an appointment and stick to it. Starting Fall with a clean slate is the best way to keep track of how well you are sticking to your dental routine throughout the holiday season.

If you’re ready to take control of your oral health and update your dental routine for fall, call or contact Vacendak Dentistry today to learn more the dental services we offer and to schedule a consultation.

Forming Good Habits

They say it takes nearly a month of completing a task to form a habit. Want to wake up at 6 am every day? Want to start running four times a week? Want to read for twenty minutes every day? Stay dedicated and do it every day for a month and it will start to feel normal. The same is true for good dental hygiene habits.

If you find yourself with sore, red gums or receiving a lecture about brushing and flossing at every six-month checkup, it may be time to think about your habits (and forming some new ones). But where do you start?

  1. Identify your goals and start simple. One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to improve their lifestyle and form good habits is taking on too many new goals at once. Rather than the “all or nothing” approach, start simple! Identify your goals, but take them one at a time. If you haven’t been brushing three times a day, start there. You can tackle flossing or timing once you’ve gotten used to the basics.
  2. Set reminders. New goals are the easiest to forget, especially when it’s a new addition to your overall routine. Whether it’s a phone alarm, sticky note by the sink, or placing your floss somewhere you’re guaranteed to see it, setting a reminder will help you with the habit-forming process.
  3. Tell someone. If you’re the only person (besides the dentist you see every six months) who knows you are trying to form a new dental hygiene habit, you’re also the only person holding you accountable. If a push from others is what you usually need to complete a task, it’s time to tell a friend or family member about your new brushing or flossing goals!

Remember, even the best dental habits can’t replace your regularly scheduled cleaning. Your dental checkup is important for your overall oral health! Call Vacendak Dentistry at (757) 609-3510 to schedule one.

Understanding Gingivitis

Gingivitis sounds scary, but it is actually one of the most common dental conditions among children and adults! Unless you’re actively looking for signs of gingivitis, most of the time gum disease will go unnoticed until seen by a dental professional, because the symptoms are so mild.

However, just because the symptoms aren’t painful doesn’t mean that gingivitis should go untreated. When ignored, gingivitis can worsen into later stages of gum disease, including Periodontitis and Advanced Periodontitis. Treating gingivitis early on will prevent these later stages that can often cause loose and damaged teeth.

So, how you do you know if you have gingivitis? The best method for determining if you have the early stages of gum disease is by scheduling and attending your regular 6-month checkups. During your visit, your dentist will be able to alert you at the first signs of gingivitis! You can also look for signs and symptoms on your own, including red, tender gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, consistent bad breath, and receding gum lines. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to schedule a visit.

If you are diagnosed with gingivitis, your dentist will want to clean any built-up plaque, and will have the best treatment recommendations based on how advanced it is. If you need a reminder, though, here is what we recommend for treating early signs and prevent future build-ups:

  • Review the proper brushing techniques and make sure you apply them – every single time! It is a good idea to invest in an electric toothbrush for a more detailed cleaning.
  • Don’t forget to floss! Flossing is essential for getting rid of plaque in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash for a complete, thorough routine.

If you are concerned you may have gingivitis or need to schedule your routine checkup, give us a call at (757) 609-3510 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment.

The Relationship Between Dental Phobia and Tooth Decay

Fear of the dentist, technically known as odontophobia or dentophobia, is one of the most common fears of people of all ages. Just the thought of walking in the door of the dental office is enough to make some quake in their boots. Whether they’ve had a bad experience in the past, apprehension about the “drill,” or another root cause, fear of the dentist can make taking good care of teeth much more difficult.

A new study from the Kings College of London Dental Institute found that people with dental anxiety are more likely to experience tooth decay, cavities, and tooth loss. This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, as dental phobia sometimes influences its sufferers to skip routine dental appointments or choose short-term solutions (tooth extraction) over more invasive long-term solutions (tooth restoration over several visits).

The study, published in the British Dental Journal,  noted that previous research has found that “individuals with dental phobia express negative feelings such as sadness, tiredness, discouragement and general anxiety, less vitality, and more exhaustion. Embarrassment (a combination of guilt and bad conscience) of their poor teeth will prevent them from smiling and showing their teeth because phobic people rate their oral and general health as poor and frequently perceive that they would require dental treatment upon a dental visit.”

If you are scared of the dentist, you’re not alone. There are plenty of ways to overcome the fear, whether through therapy, bringing a loved one to the office with you, or by coming in to talk to a new dentist before your first appointment. At Vacendak Dentistry, we make every effort to put our patients at ease. Our comfortable exam rooms, peaceful environment, and friendly, knowledgeable staff, can make the whole experience much more pleasant.  Routine dental appointments are generally painless and prevent more painful procedures in the future!

Call our Chesapeake office today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule a dental visit or to learn more about our practice.