The Importance of Dental Health

The importance of dental health is immeasurable! Maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups can have a long-lasting impact on your quality of life.

After all, Our teeth do a lot for us every day. They’re crucial for chewing and digestion, speaking, supporting the structure of our faces, and letting us flash a winsome smile. But if we don’t take care of our teeth, the consequences can be dire – and cavities are just the tip of the iceberg. Poor dental health can damage your overall health and wellness, and compromise other important parts of the body. 

At Old Town Smiles, we want to make taking care of your dental health is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Dr. Seema Ahmed takes a gentle, caring, and professional approach to all the services our practice offers. Our highly sophisticated practice is located in picturesque Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. We’re looking forward to meeting you and helping you be proactive about this important part of your health. Reach out to our friendly team by calling (703) 836-7000 to ask questions or schedule an appointment.

Before and After Photos

Keeping It Clean

Brushing, flossing, and mouthwash are key in maintaining your dental health at home.

Good habits with these tools are your first step against what poses the greatest threat to your mouth: plaque! It’s the primary cause of cavities and periodontal diseases, and there’s nothing nice about it. The more you know about it, the more you’ll want to brush and floss!

Dental plaque isn’t just a residue on your teeth at the end of the day: it’s a sophisticated microscopic community of bacteria (and their by-products). The biofilm that they create is like a walled city with support systems and chemical messengers that protect them from your body’s immune system. In fact, the bacteria in plaque are 1000-1500 times more resistant to antibiotics than they are when they’re just floating around your mouth. (1) That’s where your toothbrush comes in! Regular and thorough brushing keeps this foul film from forming and avoids the complication that it causes. Dental floss keeps plaque from building up between your teeth, one of its favorite spots. Once you’ve broken up the party, your mouthwash can get to work and eliminate these unwelcome guests. 

However, it’s still important to see a dentist regularly to make sure that everything in your mouth is healthy.  Professional dental attention can help ensure that you avoid tooth decay and gum disease, or periodontitis.

Tooth Decay

As plaque builds up, it damages the surface of the teeth, causing tooth decay, and eventually cavities. Cavities, or “caries” are in fact considered a disease by the World Health Organization. 

 In 2017, 2.3 billion people globally had cavities in their permanent teeth. That’s a lot of plaque.

So, when was the last time you went to the dentist? You may have the beginnings of a cavity caused by tooth decay. A recent study found that about 26% of adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay. (2) Decaying teeth do not have a bright future. Tooth loss, infections, and damage to the jaw can all result from tooth decay that goes untreated. 

Gum Disease

As the bacteria in plaque makes its way beneath the surface of the gums, it poses another threat to your dental health: gingivitis or periodontitis. This can result in tooth loss and even damage to your jawbone. There is also evidence that the bacteria can spread throughout the body and cause other serious health concerns, including heart problems. (3)

Smile! It’s All Preventable

Neglecting your dental health can have dramatic consequences. But, it doesn’t have to!

Practicing good dental hygiene is a sure-fire way to stay healthy. And, regular trips to the dentist can give you some important advantages when it comes to keeping your pearly whites pristine. At Old Town Smiles, we offer preventative dentistry that is designed to make even the most nervous patient feel at ease. Taking early action when it comes to dental health will help avoid much scarier (and pricier) procedures later on. Dr. Ahmed has made it her mission to create a relaxing, welcoming environment with a gentle and caring staff. 

Preventative Dental Services in Alexandria

Professional Teeth Cleaning 

Even the best brushing and flossing can still miss a few spots. That’s when it’s time to call in the professionals! Regular professional teeth cleanings will keep decay at bay. An examination and X-rays will ensure that there aren’t any problems lurking in your mouth. We’ll check your gums for inflammation, and remove buildup that would otherwise be impossible to clean at home. Our hygienists are attentive and gentle, and once you’ve had a thorough cleaning, you’ll be able to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’re in control of your health. It’s never a bad time to get a cleaning, so call OldTown Smiles at (703) 836-7000 to schedule an appointment!


It’s in our drinking water, and in our toothpaste for a very good reason. Fluoride forms a protective barrier on the surface of our teeth, preventing plaque from doing its worst. Plus, it helps strengthen your teeth. Getting regular fluoride treatments is an easy and rewarding way to maintain your dental health. 

Feeling Dry?

Dry mouth can occur as the result of taking certain medications or medical conditions. It’s most common in menopausal women and patients over the age of 65. Patients with dry mouth, or xerostomia, have a higher risk of developing cavities, gingivitis, bad breath, ulcers in the mouth, infections, taste disorders, and difficulty swallowing. (4) All of these can have negative impacts on your dental health. Unfortunately, just drinking more liquids or chewing gum isn’t enough to treat dry mouth. Oldtown Smiles offers a comprehensive therapy for dry mouth that can alleviate this condition and keep your mouth healthy. 

Complete Dental Health 

When it comes to dental health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Part of maintaining your dental health is making sure that any dental work you’ve had previously is still in good shape. Poorly fitting veneers, faulty fillings, or loose crowns can allow bacteria to build, and lead to painful infections. If something is feeling a little off in your mouth, or you have cause to question a past procedure, it’s best to get a second opinion. When it comes to dental health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Oldtown Smiles offers full mouth  reconstruction services that can correct any problems that you may be experiencing, and identify risks before they become painful.  

Your Appointment at Oldtown Smiles

When you arrive for your first appointment at Oldtown Smiles, we’ll perform a comprehensive dental examination. We’ll discuss your dental health concerns and examine your mouth for signs or symptoms of oral cancer, dental decay, missing teeth, jaw dysfunction, and any defective fillings. You’ll also receive a full set of X-rays, thorough cleaning and polishing, oral hygiene instructions, a periodontal diagnosis, and a full treatment plan. 


Taking care of your dental health is an important part of maintaining your overall health. Good dental hygiene and regular trips to the dentist can prevent serious complications with your teeth, and decrease the risk of more serious health problems throughout the body. And at Old Town Smiles, that’s exactly our goal. Our patients are our priority. To learn more about the other dental services that we offer, take a look at the Old Town Smiles Blog. Or, follow us on social media: we’re on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

How Much Does a Dental Appointment Cost in Alexandria?

Being vigilant about your dental health can save a lot of money over the course of your life. We’re committed to making dental health affordable, and offer frequent specials, including a new patient specials that include services to keep your teeth in tip-top shape

We also offer CareCredit, patient payment programs offering a full range of no-interest and extended payment plans. Our patients receive a 5% discount when services are paid in full by cash or check for treatments over $1000. 


My mouth feels fine. Does that mean it’s healthy?

Hopefully! However, the only way to be sure is to see a dental professional. Many dental issues can go unnoticed until they become so severe that the damage is irreparable – and painful. During a professional teeth cleaning, your dental team will be able to perform a thorough cleaning, inspect your mouth for any potential problems, and counsel you as to how to maintain this essential part of your health. 


  1. Worthington HV, MacDonald L, Poklepovic Pericic T, et al. Home use of interdental cleaning devices, in addition to toothbrushing, for preventing and controlling periodontal diseases and dental caries. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;4(4):CD012018. Published 2019 Apr 10. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012018.pub2
  2. Center for Disease Control. “Adult Oral Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2019,
  3. Bartova J, Sommerova P, Lyuya-Mi Y, et al. Periodontitis as a risk factor of atherosclerosis. J Immunol Res. 2014;2014:636893. doi:10.1155/2014/636893
  4. Marín C, Díaz-de-Valdés L, Conejeros C, Martínez R, Niklander S. Interventions for the treatment of xerostomia: A randomized controlled clinical trial. J Clin Exp Dent. 2021;13(2):e104-e111. Published 2021 Feb 1. doi:10.4317/jced.57924
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