Newport News Dentist | National Dental Hygiene Month

23608 Dentist

National Dental Hygiene Month

October is a month of many celebrations, Halloween and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but most importantly National Dental Hygiene Month! This October, Peninsula Dental Care is dedicating this month to our amazing dental hygienists, Jessie and Torey.  Our dental hygienists are your first line of defense for good oral health.  They understand the importance of keeping a regular dental health regimen and can help you perfect your technique.

This year’s message is “The Daily 4”.  These are the most important steps in proper oral hygiene habits:

1) Brush your teeth twice daily for at least 2 minutes each time. This reduces the amount of plaque which help prevent tooth cavities & gum disease.

2) Floss in between your teeth and gums once daily. This will remove food debris & plaque in those places where the toothbrush can’t reach.

3) Rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash once daily helps to reach bacteria where brushing and flossing cannot.

4) Chew sugarless gum. This helps to stimulate salivary glands in your mouth that neutralize acid and clean out food.

The staff at Peninsula Dental Care can help you prevent tooth decay and gum disease with regular cleanings, fluoride treatments and education about maintaining a healthy smile. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a dental checkup and cleaning, please call our office at 757-874-7155.

12821 Jefferson Ave.
Newport News, VA 23608

Dentist in Newport News, VA | The Dangers of Grinding

23608 Dentist

Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.

What Grinding Does Your Teeth

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.

What We Can Do

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our office. We look forward to assisting you!

12821 Jefferson Ave.
Newport News, VA 23608
(757) 874-7155

Dentist Newport News VA | Gum Health Month

Newport News Dentist

Family Dentist Near MeAt Peninsula Dental Care, we know that gingivitis, which is the early stage of periodontal disease, can be difficult to recognize. Most patients do not recognize bleeding and swollen gums as precursors to gum disease. This month, September 2017, a national campaign is under way to raise awareness about gum health and periodontal disease.  Peninsula Dental Care wants to help spread the word.

Per Dr. Pham and Dr. Becker, early recognition and action are the most important steps to health gums and ultimately a health body. Dental studies are published every year, linking oral health, including the gum health, to other areas of the body such as your heart and blood vessels.  One of the most important steps to improving the care of your gums is recognizing the warning signs for gum disease.

Here are the signs that you can watch for:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Gums that feel tender
  • Gums that bleed easily, especially during brushing or flossing
  • Gums that recede or pull away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or halitosis
  • Loose teeth
  • Any change in the way teeth come together in the biting position

If you happen to notice any of these signs with you, your child or family members, please schedule an appointment at our convenient Newport News office.  Dr. Pham, Dr. Becker and our team can take proactive steps to prevent gingivitis and gum disease, while showing you how to improve gum care in your daily oral hygiene habits.

12821 Jefferson Avenue
Newport NewsVA 23608

23608 Dentist | Diabetes and Oral Health

Dentist Newport News

Newport News, VA DentistDid you know that 1 in 5 cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes? Diabetes affects your entire body including your mouth and teeth. Here are a few ways diabetes can impact your oral health:

Gum Disease

An early warning sign of potential gum disease is bleeding while you brush or floss. At this stage, gum disease may still be avoided by maintaining proper oral hygiene and a balanced diet. Research suggests that if your blood sugar isn’t under control, it can worsen gum disease. When gum disease becomes severe, it can break down the bone that supports your teeth and lead to tooth loss.

Dry Mouth

According to studies, people with diabetes have less saliva. Symptoms may include a dry tongue, cracked lips, and constantly feeling thirsty. Medications and higher blood sugar levels can also contribute to dry mouth. You can manage your blood sugar levels to help improve these symptoms. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy, crunchy foods to get the saliva flowing.

Change in Taste

Diabetes can alter your sense of taste and certain flavors may not feel as rich to you as they once did. Try considering this as an opportunity to explore new tastes, spices, and textures to your food. Be cautious of adding sugar to your foods, as this could negatively affect your diet. Make sure to see our dentist if you have persistent issues with taste.


Diabetes affects your immune system and can cause you to be more prone to infections in the mouth. Oral thrush is one common infection among many who have diabetes. It will look like a white layered coating on your tongue and on the inside of your cheeks. This is a reaction to the yeast thriving on high levels of sugar that can be found in your saliva. Oral thrush may leave a bad taste in your mouth, but it can be treated.

Slow Healing

Diabetes can slow down the process of healing any injuries, cuts, or sores in your mouth. Poor blood sugar control can prevent sores from healing quickly and properly. Be sure to see our dentist if something in your mouth hasn’t healed properly.

If you have diabetes and want more information on its impact on your oral health, schedule your next visit and talk to our doctor.

12821 Jefferson Avenue
Newport NewsVA 23608

Newport News Dentist | Dental Anatomy

Family Dentist in Newport News, VA

newport news dentistDental development starts from approximately the 6th week in pregnancy through late adolescence. It involves the formation, eruption, and shedding of the 20 primary deciduous teeth, as well as the formation and eruption of the 32 permanent teeth. Throughout this development, the teeth are subject to both genetic and environmental influence.

In addition to their role in speech and facial aesthetics, the teeth provide a system of mastication with incising, tearing, and grinding capabilities. The structure of teeth allows them to survive the forces and wear of mastication.  Therefore, changing in the composition or structure of the teeth affects their durability and resistance to fracture.

Each tooth has a visible crown that projects above the gum, with one or more roots extending into the alveolar bone of the maxilla or mandible. The crown and root meet at the neck of the tooth. The tooth forms a peg and socket joint with the alveolar bone and is held in place by a membrane that allows slight movement of the tooth.

Four components of teeth are:

  • Enamel
  • Dentin
  • Pulp
  • Cementum


Dental enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body.  It protects the tooth crown from fracture and wear. The enamel is produced by cells called ameloblasts.  Because the ameloblasts are no longer present once the tooth is fully formed and erupted, dental enamel has no regenerative capacity.

By weight, normal dental enamel is 96 percent mineral, 2 percent water, 1 percent protein, and 1 percent other components.  The structure of enamel provides its strength and resistance while making it less brittle.  Changes in the mineral, water, or protein content of enamel alter its appearance, strength, and resistance to wear and caries.


Dentin is the most abundant dental tissue. It functions as the substructure for the enamel and largely determines the size and shape of teeth. Dentin is produced by the dental pulp. The production of dentin is increased in response to environmental stimuli such as trauma, tooth wear, or caries.

By weight, dentin contains about 60 percent mineral and 20 percent organic components, including protein.  The structure and composition of dentin give teeth the ability to flex and absorb tremendous functional loads without fracturing.


The dental pulp is a specialized tissue made of odontoblasts, which are dentin-producing cells, fibroblasts, blood vessels, nerves, and a complex matrix. It provides the neurosensory function.  The pulp continues to produce small amounts of dentin throughout the life of a tooth.  Maintaining a healthy dental pulp until the root of the tooth is fully formed and has walls thick enough to sustain the forces transmitted from the crown during mastication is important.  Prompt and appropriate treatment of dental trauma and caries in children is critical to the sustenance of oral health.


Cementum is made of type I and other collagens, proteins, and a mineralized matrix. It covers the root surface and helps to prevent the tooth from becoming fused to the adjacent alveolar bone. It is structurally similar to bone. In addition, cementum provides the tissues by which the tooth is anchored to the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone. These structures form a flexible sling that holds the tooth in place while allowing the movement necessary under the forces required for chewing.

Contact our office today.

12821 Jefferson Avenue
Newport News, VA 23608

Dentist in Newport News VA | 6 Harmful Habits That Affect Your Teeth

Family Dentist in Newport News, VA

Newport News DentistNearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.

  1. Nail Biting

Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.

The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.

  1. Brushing Too Hard

Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.

The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.

  1. Grinding and Clenching

Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your mouth wide.

The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.

  1. Chewing Ice Cubes

Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.

The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.

  1. Constant Snacking

Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.

  1. Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.

The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.

Contact our office today.

12821 Jefferson Avenue
Newport News, VA 23608

Dentist Newport News VA | How To Prevent Dental Caries

Family Dentist in Newport News, VA

Newport News DentistThe single most cost-effective measure for reducing dental caries is fluoridation of public water supplies.  Fluoride forms a complex with the apatite crystals in dentin and thus lending strength to the entire structure. Fluoride also promotes re-mineralization of carious lesions.

Brushing 2-3 times daily with a fluoridated toothpaste is very important.  In high-risk individuals, additional fluoride therapy in the form of fluoride varnishes has been effective.

The key for the prevention and control of dental caries and advanced gum disease is the active promotion of oral hygiene. The components of a good regimen should include:

  •  Regular brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste 
  •  Dental flossing after each meal
  •  Dietary counseling to reduce the ingestion of sugar-rich foods
  •  Use of topical fluorides and oral anti-microbial rinses
  •  Consider smoking cessation
  •  Regular visits to dental professionals

Vaccines based upon various immunogens from Streptococcus mutans have been explored.  However, the prospect for an effective and safe vaccine remains remote and unlikely to be available for clinical use in the near future. Contact our office today.

12821 Jefferson Avenue
Newport News, VA 23608

Newport News Dentist | Chewing Gum for Your Oral Health

Family Dentist in Newport News, VA


Dentist in 23608Sugary, sticky, and sweet candies can damage your teeth by increasing your risk of decay. Though gum can be considered a type of candy, chewing sugarless gum approved by the ADA can actually help protect teeth and prevent tooth decay. Here’s what you need to know about gum and your teeth.

How it Works

Chewing gum helps increase the production of saliva. Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay because the saliva helps wash away food and other debris from the surface of your teeth. Increased salivary flow can also neutralize acids that bacteria produce inside your mouth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, leading to decay. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which aid in strengthening tooth enamel.

Look for the ADA Seal

The ADA Seal assures you that the gum is sugarless and has met the ADA’s criteria for safety and effectiveness. ADA-labeled products are tested to ensure they provide the benefits guaranteed by the seal. Companies must verify all relevant data with the ADA to become certified. If you are unable to brush for a short period of time, chewing gum with the ADA seal is a great option to help clean your teeth after a meal or snack.

Can I Stop Brushing if I Chew Gum?

No. Chewing gum for twenty minutes after a meal helps but is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You should brush at least twice each day, for two full minutes. Chewing gum also does not eliminate your need for regular dental examinations. Our dentist recommends scheduling two visits each year, with additional visits necessary for high-risk patients with oral health conditions.

Chewing sugarless gum has noticeable benefits for your oral health, such as increasing the production of saliva. While this can help prevent the build up of decay-causing bacteria, chewing gum should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing. Our dentist recommends that if you are chewing gum, be sure to choose an ADA approved brand of sugarless gum.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment with our dentist, contact our office today.

Newport News Dentist | Diabetes and Dental Health

Family Dentist in Newport News, VA

Dentist in 23608Diabetes is one of the major health concern in the world today. It is up to 10% of our US population has diabetes. As much as 9 million people are currently living with diabetes that they are not even aware of. There are 2 types of Diabetes Mellitus. In Type I diabetes, our body does not make enough insulin, therefore our blood sugar cannot get into the cells to be used. In Type II diabetes, our cells do not respond to insulin appropriately. The high blood sugar levels in both types, in long term, can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and blood vessels.

The Symptoms of Untreated Diabetes
Having ongoing diabetes, you may feel excessively thirsty and may have notice more urination. Weight loss and fatigue are also common symptoms. Diabetes can also cause you to lose consciousness if your blood sugar falls too low.  For your oral health, diabetes can cause a variety of problems. You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry. Because saliva protects your teeth, you are also at a higher risk of cavities. Your gums may become inflamed and bleed often due to gingivitis. You may have problems tasting food and experience delayed wound healing. You may be susceptible to more oral infections as well. In diabetes, the chronic inflammatory progress can destroy your gums, all the tissues holding your teeth and sometimes your underlying bones. Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease in diabetes. With increasing age, poor blood sugar control increases the risk for gum problems. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum problems because of poor blood sugar control.

How To Fight Diabetes From Dental Standpoint
Regular dental visits are important. Research suggests that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in diabetic. Practicing good oral hygiene and having professional deep cleanings done by your dentist can help to lower your HbA1c. Teamwork involving self-care and professional care from your dentist will be beneficial in keeping your healthy smile as well as potentially slowing progression of diabetes. You can use your diabetic medications as directed by your primary care physician, along with a healthier diet and more exercise. Good blood sugar control will help your body fight any bacterial or fungal infections in your mouth and help relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes. If you wear any type of denture, make sure to clean it each day. Make sure to brush 2 times per day with a soft brush and floss correctly.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment with our dentist, contact our office today.

Newport News Dentist | Dentistry – Past, Present, and Future

Family Dentist in Newport News, VA

Dentist in 23608“Tooth worms” are the cause of tooth decay. That was the headline of a Sumerian text from around 5,000 B.C.E. Fortunately, the dental industry has evolved since then and we know “tooth worms” don’t exist. Here’s how dentistry has evolved into the comfortable, safe, and beneficial science of today.

In the Beginning

Did you know that the ancient Egyptians had designated doctors for teeth? Evidence has been uncovered suggesting the Chinese used acupuncture to treat pain associated with tooth decay as early as 2700 B.C.E.

Additionally, in 500 B.C.E., Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote of treating teeth and oral diseases by using sterilization procedures and red-hot wires. They also spoke of using these red-hot wires to stabilize jaw fractures and bind loose teeth.

The Visionary Thoughts of the 1600s-1700s

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the 1600s and 1700s were a gold mine of innovation in the dental world. In 1695, Charles Allen published the first ever English dental textbook entitled The Operator of Teeth. In the book, he advises using a homemade toothpaste from powdered coal, rose-water, and “dragon’s blood” to keep teeth clean and white. Allen also suggests using dog’s teeth for transplants and even references wisdom teeth in his book.

In the 18th century, Pierre Fauchard was well ahead of his time in the medical practice when his master work The Surgeon Dentist was published. For the first time, dentistry was described as a modern profession. Some notable highlights in the book include sugar being the cause of dental caries (cavities), braces being used to correct teeth position, and the concept of a dentist’s chair light.

The Progressive 1800s

The discoveries and inventions of the 1800s were significant. In 1816, Auguste Taveau developed the first form of dental fillings made out of silver coins and mercury. In 1840, Horace Wells demonstrated the use of nitrous oxide to sedate patients and Thomas Morton employed the use of ether anesthesia for surgery.

That same year, Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris boosted modern dentistry by opening the first dental school, inventing the modern doctorate of dental surgery, and starting the first dental society. By the end of the 1800’s, porcelain inlays, the first mechanized dental drill, and the toothpaste tube had all been invented.

Scientific Advancement of the 1900s

The scientific development of the 1900s gave birth to some amazing advancements in the dental industry. Electric drills became available due to the invention of electricity. In 1907, precision case fillings made by a “lost wax” casting machine was invented to fill cavities, and Novocain was introduced into US dental offices.

In 1955, Michael Buonocore described the method of tooth bonding to repair cracked enamel on teeth. Years later, the first fully-reclining dental chair is introduced to put patients and dentists at ease.  By the 1990s, “invisible” braces were introduced, along with the first at-home tooth bleaching system.

What Will the Future of Dentistry Hold?

Today, dental professionals are investigating the links between oral health and overall health. The use of gene-mediated therapeutics to alter the genetic structure of teeth to increase resistance to tooth decay is receiving attention. Some researchers believe that there may be a way to grow a new tooth structure around weakened enamel. Only time will tell what the future of dentistry will bring, but our office is dedicated to seeking the most effective modern technologies as they arise.

Schedule your visit to our office and experience what modern dentistry can do for you.