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Braces-Wearers: Follow These Daily Tips!

September 22nd, 2022

 

Considering how important our oral health is, we should all be happy to spend just four total minutes a day brushing and a few more flossing. For braces-wearers, it can take a little extra work thanks to all those added nooks and crannies where bacteria, plaque, and food particles can hide. Nobody wants to have the thrill of "Braces Removal Day" tainted by tooth decay and stained teeth. That’s why we’re here to offer our orthodontic patients a few dental hygiene tips!

1. Increase Brushing to After Every Meal and Before Bed

It is extremely easy for food to get stuck in braces brackets, and not only is that very distracting as you fruitlessly try to clean it out with your tongue, it can also contribute to tooth decay. A simple solution for both problems is to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste along to lunch, and maybe even pack a few interdental brushes for those extra tight spots. Don’t let bits of stuck food ruin your afternoon!

One tricky part about brushing at lunchtime is toothbrush storage. Avoid the temptation of sticking it in a baggie for the rest of the day, as that will lead to funky smells and lots of bacteria growing on the bristles. If you can, find a place to store your toothbrush where it can dry out after using it. You could install a toothbrush holder in your locker or make room for a toothbrush cup on your desk. At the very least, try to dry it out after using it.

2. Don’t Neglect Flossing, Even if It’s Tricky

There’s no doubt that braces make it harder to floss, but we urge our patients to persevere. Maybe you’ve figured out how to make regular floss work, but there are also floss threaders or water flossers to make the process easier so that you can keep your teeth and braces clean. Daily flossing is absolutely worth the effort. It’s essential if you want to avoid post-braces stains.

3. Avoid Whitening Products Until the Braces Come Off

Whitening products are often an excellent way to get the pearly white smiles we want — but not at the same time as orthodontic treatment. Using bleaching agents while the braces are on can result in discolored patches where the brackets were, and that is a tricky problem to fix later. Skip the whitening toothpaste and mouthwash and avoid whitening strips until "Braces Removal Day". We’re happy to offer recommendations for good whitening products after that!

You’re Not Alone in the Fight for Dental Health!

We want all of our patients to feel comfortable coming to us with questions about braces care and maintenance, especially questions about their dental health during treatment. You may give us a call or bring your questions with you to the next adjustment appointment. Meeting your smile goals is about more than just the position of your teeth, but also their overall health.

Together we can achieve the smile of your dreams!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Dave Parker used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Daily Dental Hygiene Tips for Braces Wearers

September 21st, 2021

Every orthodontic patient dreams of Braces Off Day, but tooth decay and unsightly stains can make that dream smile harder to achieve if we aren’t careful about daily dental hygiene while the braces are on. Here are a few crucial tips to follow to get the best results:

#1: Brush after each meal.

Yes, including lunch. Food particles can remain stuck in the braces for hours after lunch, so bring a toothbrush and toothpaste to work or school. A few interdental brushes for extra security wouldn’t hurt either. Just be careful to store the toothbrush somewhere it can dry out between uses because it won’t take long for it to develop some funky smells if it stays damp.

#2: Floss daily.

This may be even more important than brushing, whether it involves traditional floss and floss threaders, floss picks, or a water flosser. Trust us, flossing is worth the effort, even if braces can make it a little trickier to do.

#3: Avoid sugary/acidic foods and drinks.

Did you know that every liquid (other than water) contains some sort of sugar or acid that can damage your teeth? Be sure to limit your sugar and acid intake to keep those teeth nice and healthy.

We’re looking forward to a great Braces Off Day for you!

Top image by Flickr user Ian Hughes used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Preventing Stains During Orthodontic Treatment

June 16th, 2021

Unless you're changing the color of your wooden furniture, stains typically aren’t good news, and they’re especially unwelcome on our teeth. Not much will ruin the excitement of Braces Off Day like stains around where the brackets used to be. What causes stains on our teeth and how can we avoid it during orthodontic treatment?

How Do Teeth Become Stained?

It’s important to know that post-braces stains are not inevitable, and that it isn’t the braces themselves that stain the teeth. The reason braces stains are fairly common is that they make it harder to brush away plaque. There are so many little extra nooks and crannies where food particles and bacteria can hide that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush.

If plaque isn’t cleaned away, it can leave decalcified patches around the brackets. That means when the braces come off, the tooth surface where the brackets were is still the same color as before but it’s now surrounded by tooth surface with a bleached appearance. Plaque buildup also increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay during orthodontic treatment.

Keeping Your Teeth Free of Stains

A good oral hygiene routine is the best defense against white spots and other stains. That means brushing thoroughly after every meal, flossing at least once a day, rinsing or brushing after drinking sugary or acidic drinks, and keeping up with regular dental appointments. The hygienist will be able to clean away plaque and tartar that you couldn’t reach.

It also helps to avoid foods and drinks notorious for leaving stains, such as highly acidic drinks (like soda), coffee, dark teas, sugary treats like cookies and candy, and starchy snacks like chips. Each of these can either stain the teeth directly with the compounds they contain or they can stick to the teeth and contribute to the buildup of plaque.

Tobacco and alcohol are also big stain culprits that are worse for braces-wearers because the areas with brackets won’t be affected. We recommend steering clear, especially while the braces are on.

What Can Be Done About Stains?

It’s better to avoid post-braces stains if possible, but in case there is some discoloration, there are ways of treating it. We may not recommend immediate whitening treatments simply because some stains grow less prominent over time on their own. If they are still visible after a few months, over-the-counter whitening products or professional whitening sessions with a cosmetic dentist can produce a more uniform smile. In some cases, though, when the stains are very pronounced, the dentist needs to get involved by placing small fillings in the areas of the stains. Save yourself a dental bill and be sure to maintain great hygiene during orthodontic treatment!

Bring Us Your Stain Concerns!

If you still have any questions about preventing stains during or removing stains after orthodontic treatment, we’d be happy to answer them. We want all of our patients to have the stain-free straight-smile outcome they’re hoping for!

We love our patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Gordon used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Teeth and Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats

October 29th, 2019

HALLOWEEN IS A TON OF fun every year, and it’s right around the corner! We love the costumes, the decorations, and the local events, but we’re a little wary of all that candy. Sugar isn’t just tasty to us; the harmful bacteria in our mouths love it. If you want to make Halloween a little healthier for your teeth (and safer for your braces), here’s a handy breakdown of how different types of treats and candies rank in terms of promoting good dental health.

Types of Halloween Candy to Avoid

Anything hard, sticky, or sour is going to be bad for your teeth. Hard candy takes a while to dissolve, which means your teeth are exposed to sugar for a long time, and it can easily break a bracket loose. Even the nuts in soft candy bars pose a risk.

Sticky candy is a problem because it adheres to the teeth and braces, pushing the sugar right up against the enamel and gum tissue. That’s like breakfast in bed for bacteria! Sour candy might not pose the same dangers to your brackets, but it contains acid as well as sugar, so it’s doubly bad for teeth.

Candy That’s Good for Teeth?

Not all candy is awful for oral health or dangerous for braces-wearers. Chocolate is on the good end of the oral health spectrum, and the darker, the better. Chocolate contains flavanoids and polyphenols — compounds that limit oral bacteria, fight bad breath, and slow tooth decay. Dark chocolate has more of these compounds and their benefits are less offset by sugar than in sweeter milk chocolate.

Other candies that are safe to eat with braces and not terrible for your teeth include mint patties, peanut butter cups, and nut-free chocolate bars. These are soft and not too sticky, so you can safely bite into them without risking a bracket.

Fight Back Against the Effects of Sugar

Aside from avoiding the more harmful candies in favor of chocolate, there are other ways we can combat the effects sugar has on our teeth:

  • Don’t give harmful oral bacteria an all-day buffet! If you’re planning on eating a lot of candy, it’s better to eat it all in one sitting than spreading it out across an entire day. This way, your saliva will have a chance to neutralize the acids and wash away leftover sugar.
  • Drink water after enjoying some candy. It will help rinse out the sugar sticking to your teeth.
  • Wait half an hour after eating candy, then brush your teeth! Good brushing and flossing habits are essential to protecting your teeth from the effects of sugary candy.

Another Great Resource Is the Orthodontist!

Being careful about which candy you eat and when, rinsing with water, and maintaining good daily brushing and flossing habits are all great, but don’t forget about the best resource you have: the orthodontist! If you’d like to learn more about which treats are healthiest for your teeth and safest for your braces, all you have to do is ask!

Have a happy, healthy Halloween!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Vacation Tips To Care For Your Braces!

June 27th, 2017

SUMMER IS FINALLY HERE and you know what that means–family vacations, impromptu getaways and fun trips! Just like you, we couldn’t be more excited. As orthodontic professionals, however, we want to make sure that when you leave on vacation, you don’t leave your oral hygiene behind, especially if you have braces. Follow these tips to protect your braces and keep your teeth healthy and bright, even when you’re traveling!

Have A Checkup Before Leaving Town

You should definitely see your orthodontist before you head out on your fun adventure. At your appointment, we will make any necessary adjustments and ensure that your orthodontic treatment is going forward as planned. If you wear traditional braces, we will check your brackets and wires to make sure they are firmly in place.

Watch What You Eat

One of the reasons that we go on vacation is for the amazing food! But remember, with braces, there are some foods you should stay away from. Nothing will put a damper on your trip like popping off a bracket or bending a wire. Here are the kind of foods you should watch out for:

  • Nuts
  • Hard cookies, candies, or bread
  • Pretzels and bagels
  • Corn on the cob
  • Chewy, sticky, or gummy candy
  • Raw fruit and vegetables that aren’t cut into pieces

Keep Up Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Vacating your normal life and responsibilities for a short time is what vacations are all about! It’s important that you don’t leave your oral hygiene at home, however. Keeping your teeth healthy is something that requires daily care, so make sure your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss are at the top of your packing list!

Quick tip: When packing your toothbrush, make sure to store it in a case or bag that is ventilated. If you use a brush head cover or need to pack it in a bag without any ventilation, make sure it’s completely dry before storing it. This will help reduce the amount of bacteria on your toothbrush.

You’ll also want to pack an orthodontic travel kit. This will include some over-the-counter painkillers, in case you experience any discomfort, any interdental cleaners that you use besides floss and orthodontic wax. If you use clear aligners and happen to lose your current one, just pop in the previous or next tray and call us when you get home!

Bon Voyage!

We hope these tips will help you protect your teeth, even when you’re on vacation. You’ll have a lot more fun knowing that your teeth and braces are taken care of and your smile is summer-ready. Wishing a safe trip and a wonderful summer to all of our amazing patients!

Thank you for the trust you place in our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user tiarescott used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.


Can Pregnancy Affect Orthodontic Treatment?

March 14th, 2017

PREGNANCY AFFECTS NEARLY every aspect of your life–your lifestyle, your diet, your health, and much more! Your mouth is no exception to the changes your body may experience during pregnancy. But will pregnancy affect your orthodontic treatment?

Be Aware Of These Things During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, make sure to notify your orthodontist so we can plan your care accordingly. The good news is that having or getting braces usually won’t affect your pregnancy in any way, or vice versa. With that being said, you should be aware of certain dental issues that do have the potential to impact your orthodontic treatment while pregnant.

One of these conditions is pregnancy gingivitis. Around 40 percent of pregnant women have some form of gum disease–gingivitis being the first stage. Because of raised hormone levels during pregnancy, you may be more sensitive to dental plaque than before, causing your gums to swell and bleed.

Good oral hygiene can prevent or minimize the effects of pregnancy gingivitis. As traditional braces can make it even harder to keep your teeth clean, you’ll need to be extra diligent about your oral hygiene when you are pregnant and undergoing orthodontic treatment. You’ll also want to get frequent cleanings at your general dentist’s office.

As you know, orthodontic treatment can cause some pain after an adjustment. During pregnancy, increased blood flow may make your gums sensitive, swollen and tender to the touch, adding to the discomfort. Since you can’t rely on over-the-counter pain medications while you’re pregnant, an ice pack and eating soft foods should help with post-adjustment soreness.

We are also very aware of how strong those pregnancy cravings are! We know you’re eating for two, but don’t forget to stay away from foods that can damage your braces like popcorn, nuts, ice, and sticky candies such as taffy or bubblegum. Choose nutritious snacks to keep your teeth healthy, as well as your growing baby’s!

Mothers, We Are Here For You!

Pregnancy can bring with it a lot of change and responsibility, but we want our patients to know that we are here for you. We want to make sure that your smile is taken care of so you can focus on preparing for your little one to come into the world. If you have any more questions, call us or leave us a message on our Facebook page!

Our patients mean the world to us!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user M Sundstrom used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Simple Steps To Keep Your Orthodontic Treatment On Track

January 31st, 2017

THE SUCCESS OF YOUR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT is dependent on a number factors, like your orthodontist or how your teeth respond to braces. It’s important to remember however that a lot of it actually depends on YOU! So, what can you do to make sure you finish your treatment on time and finally get those braces off?

#1. Keep Your Appointments

We know it can be hard to have such frequent appointments when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. But the better you are at keeping your appointments, the faster your treatment time will be! Postponing or cancelling appointments can significantly prolong treatment time. We also ask that you come on time to your appointments. Having enough time to perform planned procedures is essential to your smile’s progress.

#2. Avoid Damage To Your Braces

Damage to your braces will also delay the completion of treatment. To prevent breaking off a bracket or bending any wires, be sure to wear a mouthguard when playing sports. In addition, avoid these foods while wearing braces:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Sticky candy, such as taffy and caramel
  • Ice
  • Hard candy, cookies, or crackers

Remember to cut up other foods that can damage braces such as raw fruits and vegetables, pizza crust and other hard breads and corn on the cob.

#3. Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions

If your unique case calls for orthodontic appliances other than braces, it’s crucial to wear them as prescribed. We most often see patients neglecting to wear their elastics, or rubber bands. In general, you’ll only need to take them off when eating a meal, brushing your teeth or wearing a mouthguard. Failure to wear your elastics consistently can extend your treatment time by a lot! So be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

#4. Be Diligent About Your Oral Hygiene

Healthy teeth are an essential prerequisite for orthodontic treatment. And having healthy teeth during treatment is just as important! Braces can make it harder to keep your teeth clean, so you need to be extra diligent about your oral hygiene when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. Cavities and gum disease can complicate and prolong your treatment. So if you want to get those braces off as quickly as possible, brush, floss and visit your dentist every six months!

It Will All Be Worth It!

Going through orthodontic treatment isn’t an easy process, but it is well worth it. By following these simple steps, you can stay on track and get the smile you’ve always wanted! If you have any more questions, call us today. We’re always here for our amazing patients!

Thank you for letting us be a part of your smile journey!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Kamilla Oliveira used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Baby Teeth Myths — Busted!

December 13th, 2016

YOU MIGHT THINK that baby teeth don’t matter because “they’re just going to fall out anyway,” but think again!

There are a lot of myths about baby teeth out there, so we’re going to set the record straight! here’s a list of the top four baby teeth myths, BUSTED!

Myth #1: Baby Teeth Aren’t Important

Although baby teeth eventually fall out, they are extremely important to a child’s developing oral health. Not only do they hold the space for permanent teeth to grow in straight (preventing crowding and crooked teeth), they also help the face structure develop properly and ensure that young children can eat and receive plenty of nutrition.

Myth #2: Cavities In Baby Teeth Don’t Matter

You might have heard that babies can’t get cavities at all, or that if they do have them, it’s not a big deal. Both rumors are untrue; not only are cavities painful, they can cause swelling and even infection. In addition, children who have cavities in their baby teeth are three times more likely to develop cavities in their adult teeth. If you think your child may be developing a cavity, marked by discoloration or a small crack, call us right away!

TIP: Don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle! Juice and milk are full of bacteria-feeding sugars which cause cavities.

Myth #3: You Don’t Need To Brush or Floss Baby Teeth

You should begin “brushing” your children’s teeth even before their first tooth grows in! Just use a soft, wet cloth or bit of gauze to rub their gums to help reduce bacteria and prevent future cavities. Once teeth come in, help get your children in the habit of brushing twice daily with a smear of toothpaste and flossing regularly.

Myth #4: Young Children Don’t Need To See A Dentist

There is a common misconception that children shouldn’t visit the dentist before the age of three, or before they have their full set of 20 primary teeth. The ADA states that children should visit the dentist by the time they get their first tooth, or at least by the age of one.Early check-ups can identify cavities and help prevent and assess other problems.

Need Any More Myths Debunked? We Can Help!

If you have any questions regarding your child’s oral health, give us a call! We love any opportunity to help you, our wonderful patients!

Thank you for being a part of our practice family.

Top image by Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Diabetes And Your Oral Health

December 6th, 2016

DIABETES IS ONE OF THE MOST prevalent chronic diseases today. In fact, 29.1 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and millions more living with the condition don’t even know they have it.

You may know that diabetes can result in other health complications such as vision loss, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. But many are surprised to learn of the impact diabetes can have on your mouth.

Diabetes Is Linked To Oral Infection And Disease

Periodontal, or gum, disease affects 22 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes. What’s more, one in five cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes. These statistics can be distressing, but a proper understanding of the association between these two diseases is the first step in preventing complications.

So, first and foremost, why does diabetes affect oral health?

We have billions of bacteria living in our mouths. If that bacteria is allowed to build up, it can lead to gum disease–swollen, bleeding gums as well as bone and tooth loss. Because people with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight off harmful bacteria, they are more susceptible to gum disease. Poor blood glucose control also increases the likelihood of gum problems.

The relationship between diabetes and gum disease, however, is two-way. Because infected gums are an easy access point for bacteria to enter the bloodstream, bacteria from the mouth can cause blood sugar to spike and fluctuate, making diabetes harder to manage.

Beyond gum disease, there are other oral infections and problems associated with diabetes including thrush, dry mouth, cavities and ulcers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to8uSqrDMMU

Keep Your Dental Team Involved

Keeping us involved is the most important thing you can do to prevent gum disease and other oral complications linked to diabetes. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or if there are changes in your condition, let us know. Keep us informed of your medications and your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Come in to see us regularly and be sure to regularly visit your dentist as well–every six months or more if deemed necessary.

Other things you can do to manage your oral health and diabetes include:

  • Develop good oral hygiene habits
  • Quit smoking
  • Control your blood sugar

Your Health Matters To Us

Every aspect of your health is important to us, not just your the health of your mouth. If you have questions about how your dentist can help you manage your diabetes, contact us. We are your partners in ensuring both your oral and overall health.

Thank you for being our valued patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user Brett Monroe used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

3 Orthodontic Tips For Cold And Flu Season

November 29th, 2016

WHEN THE COLD AND FLU SEASON STRIKES, your teeth and braces are probably the last things you’re thinking about as you reach for another tissue! But there ARE some things related to that cold or flu that can affect your oral health.

Since tooth decay and gum disease can be especially risky during orthodontic treatment, we want you to be conscious of these three things:

Tip 1: Avoid Dry Mouth By Staying Hydrated

Dry mouth increases cavity risk. Most colds come with a giant side order of stuffy nose. We respond by breathing through our mouths! Doing so, combined with decreased saliva production during sleep, makes our mouths more vulnerable to harmful bacteria.

Tip 2: Keep The Bad Stuff Off Your Teeth

  • Are you sucking on cough drops all day? Most are loaded with sugar. Opt for sugar-free cough drops if possible AND be sure not to bite down on those super-hard drops.
  • Cough syrup is loaded with sugar too. If you take cough syrup, rinse your mouth out before going back to bed.
  • Stomach acid is hard on teeth. Sorry to bring this up, but if you are throwing up, keep your teeth rinsed and clean.

Tip 3: No Matter How Tired…

We know it’s tough when you’re sick, but don’t skip your normal brushing/flossing routine just because you’re feeling really tired. Your oral health while you’re in braces is just too important to neglect.

A Few More Practical Tips For Staying Healthy

Stay healthy this flu season! Remember to sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands often to keep viruses from spreading. If you have any more questions about measures you should take for your orthodontic treatment during cold and flu season, let us know! We want to ensure your treatment stays on track, even if the flu pays a visit to your home this year.

If you’re sick, get feeling better soon! And thanks for your trust in our orthodontic practice.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Brush Up On Some Toothbrush History

June 14th, 2016

WITH ALL THE AMAZING technology we see today, it's easy to overlook the small wonders of the world—like the toothbrush! This small, but remarkable invention is the staple of our oral hygiene and health. Join us on a journey through time as we explore the way the toothbrush has changed across the ages!

Ancient Civilizations Used Sticks to Clean Their Teeth

Today, we understand the importance oral hygiene plays in our overall health. But even over 5,000 years ago people recognized the need for some type of oral care. Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations around 3500-3000 B.C. made “toothbrushes” by fraying the end of sticks and chewing on them!

Later, the Chinese made similar chewing sticks from aromatic tree twigs that were meant to freshen breath. People didn’t just use sticks, however. Bird feathers, animal bones and even porcupine quills were used to pick at food debris in the teeth.

The First Toothbrushes Were Made with Pig Hair

The first mention of an actual brush to clean teeth appears in Chinese writings around the 13th century. Bamboo or animal bone was used as the handle of the toothbrush and pig hair formed the bristles. Toothbrushes weren’t widely used or produced, however, until a couple hundred years later.

Around the year 1780, an Englishman named William Addis was sitting in his prison cell thinking of better ways to clean our teeth than rubbing them with a rag full of soot and salt (yuck!). He carved a handle out of animal bone, made some holes at the top and tied swine bristles to it. When he got out of prison, he turned toothbrush production into a business and made a fortune!

The Modern Toothbrush Continues to Evolve Today

As appetizing as pig hair sounds, aren’t you glad toothbrushes nowadays are made with nylon bristles? Nylon was invented in 1938 and by the 1950's, toothbrushes began to look and feel more like they do today. More technological advances made it possible to develop toothbrushes even further, and the electric toothbrush made its way to the United States in 1960.

People are still looking to drive toothbrush technology forward. New apps are being created all the time to make toothbrushing easier and more enjoyable. It even looks like built-in cameras may be in the future of toothbrushes!

The Toothbrush: One of Man's Greatest Inventions?

The idea of the toothbrush was simple, but there’s no doubt it has greatly contributed to our oral and overall health. In fact, when a group of people were asked which invention they could not live withoutthe toothbrush beat out the car, computer, cell phone and microwave!

So, don’t take your toothbrush for granted. Use it at least twice daily for a full two minutes! Your pearly whites will thank you.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Image by Flickr user William Warby used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Extra Floss? Try These Tricks!

May 25th, 2016

WE KNOW, WE KNOW… We ask you about flossing every time you come visit us! It is an integral part of your oral hygiene routine and essential for healthy gums and teeth. But did you know there’s more to floss than cleaning between your teeth? Dental floss can actually be used for a lot of other things!

Eight Useful Dental Floss Hacks

Have some extra floss lying around? Don’t have the right equipment and need to get a job done in a pinch? Try these cool dental floss hacks.

  1. Use floss for perfectly sliced cake. Ever slice a cake and the knife comes up with half of the cake on it? Use flavorless dental floss to make the perfect slice by stretching it taut and gently pressing through the cake. Pull it out when you reach the bottom and voila!
  2. Don’t have any kitchen twine? Floss will do. Some foods like meat and bacon need to be bound when cooked. Usually kitchen twine takes care of this but what if you run out? Floss (again, flavorless) has got you covered!
  3. Floss can help you start a campfire. Believe it or not, waxed dental floss burns well! Wrap dental floss around a match or a dry piece of wood to increase burn time.
  4. Floss can clean out those hard-to-reach spots in your furniture. You know those small cracks and crevices in your wooden furniture that you can never manage to clean? Well, dental floss is meant to get into nooks and crannies! Try it on your wooden furniture. You’ll thank us later.
  5. Floss is great for sewing. Whether you’re out of thread or in need of something more durable, floss works well for sewing on buttons and patching up holes on the fly.
  6. Are your freshly-baked cookies stuck to the baking sheet? Floss ‘em! Dental floss can unstick your cookies without leaving anything behind.
  7. Dental floss can even help in the garden. If you’re training a vine to grow a certain direction, floss can help! Use it to attach the vine loosely to the structure you want the vine to climb.
  8. Floss makes for an easy DIY clothesline. If you’re camping, in a hotel, or simply don’t have room in the dryer, floss can be used to create your own clothesline. Yes, it’s that strong!

Let’s Be Honest, Floss Is Awesome

Whether you’re using floss to patch something up or slice your birthday cake, always remember to use it for what it was made for, to clean in between your teeth! Daily flossing protects your beautiful smile from periodontal disease and tooth loss, so yeah, we’d say it’s pretty awesome!

Know some more flossing hacks? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page! We’d love to hear from you!

We have the best patients in the world!

Image by Flickr user brett jordan used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Saliva: The Unsung Hero of Oral Health

May 17th, 2016

EVER THINK ABOUT HOW GREAT your saliva is? Probably not. We’d love to enlighten you! Saliva has an all-important role in your oral and digestive health.

Saliva Has Many Important Functions

Our bodies make two to four pints of saliva a day. That means that over a lifetime, a person will create enough saliva to fill two swimming pools! So, why is saliva important? Well, there’s more than one answer to that. Besides allowing us to give wet willies or make spit wads when we were kids, our saliva has many important functions.

First, saliva aids in digestion. It begins the process of breaking down food and helps us chew, taste and swallow. In fact, without our spit, we wouldn’t be able to taste at all!

Additionally, saliva is essential to maintaining our oral health. Our spit contains antimicrobial agents that protect teeth and defend against bacteria. It also contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate that remineralize our teeth, strengthening the enamel.

Your saliva plays an especially important role after eating and drinking. It washes away that extra food and debris left in your mouth that contributes to decay. It also helps neutralize the acids created by bacteria that break down enamel and cause cavities. Thank you, saliva!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYudf5iSJ_M?rel=0


Some People Do Not Create Enough Saliva

Some people have a condition called dry mouth, where they aren’t producing enough saliva. Certain illnesses and medications can cause dry mouth, and those who have it are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease as a result. For those with and without dry mouth, here are some tips to increase saliva production and protect your teeth:

  • Chew sugar-free gum, especially after meals
  • Suck on sugarless candy
  • Drink plenty of water

Saliva Works Around the Clock to Protect Our Smiles

Saliva may just be the unsung hero of our oral health. It is constantly strengthening and defending our teeth against bacteria, decay and dental disease. At the end of the day, all we can say is that our bodies are amazing and our spit is awesome!

Thank you to our wonderful patients and friends!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

May 3rd, 2016

DID YOU KNOW THAT STRESS can have an effect on your oral health? As if you needed any more on your plate! Knowing how stress and oral health are connected can help you combat any problems that might arise.

Stress May Contribute to Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is the technical term for habitual teeth grinding and jaw clenching. For some people, clenching and grinding are natural responses to stress and frustration. Teeth grinding, however, usually occurs during sleep, meaning that people are often unaware of the problem. Flatter tips of the teeth, headaches and a sore jaw are common signs of bruxism.

Stress Can Worsen Symptoms of TMD

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, affects the jaw joint and associated muscles used in moving the jaw and neck. Similar to bruxism, stress is thought to be a contributing factor in TMD, causing jaw clenching, joint pain, headaches and even popping and clicking of the jaw.

Your Immune System Is Weakened During Times of Stress

Stress can actually compromise your immune system, increasing your risk of oral infections. Some people experience dry mouth, putting them at a higher risk of developing cavities. Others contract canker sores when stressed. Stress can even increase your chances of experiencing gum disease.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene and Health, Even During Difficult Times

Keeping your oral health routine in tip-top shape, especially when you are stressed, is essential! Continue to practice good oral hygiene and you will protect your mouth from infection and decay.

For most people, it’s difficult to see the effects of stress on their bodies until something happens. That’s why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly, as he or she can detect the telltale signs of stress in your mouth and help you to remedy any problems.

We Want To Make Life Easier For You

When you’re under a lot of pressure or life gets tough, the last thing you think about is your oral health. We want to make things easier for you by helping you to avoid any oral health issues not only when you’re stressed out, but all the time!

Learning to deal with the inevitable stresses of life in a positive way will boost your oral and overall health. However, if you do feel you are experiencing any symptoms of bruxism, TMD or other oral health problems, call us and schedule an appointment. We have solutions for you!

Keeping our patients happy and healthy is our priority!

Image by Flickr user web4camguy used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Are Sports and Energy Drinks Damaging Your Teeth?

April 26th, 2016

DRINKING ENERGY AND SPORTS DRINKS on a regular basis is becoming increasingly popular, especially among young people. But did you know that these drinks can be extremely damaging to your teeth?

Sports and Energy Drinks Are Highly Acidic

It’s important to remember the purposes of each of these drinks so as not to consume them more often than you should. Energy drinks may provide a pick-me-up during a long day at work, but drinking one or more energy drinks everyday can damage your teeth in the long run.

Sports drinks were made to keep your body hydrated and energized during bouts of intense exercise. While they may be beneficial during a good workout, these drinks should never take the place of water and should not be consumed casually or on a daily basis.

The reason for this is that both energy and sports drinks are highly acidic. Regularly consuming food or drink with high acidity levels wears away your tooth enamel. This makes teeth more susceptible to cavities, tooth discoloration, and sensitivity.

The Combination of Sugar and Acid Packs a Mean Punch

Energy and sports drinks launch a twofold attack on your teeth: while acid weakens the enamel, sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria and contributes to decay. Not a good combo! While sugar-free options are available, the majority of these types of drinks are chock full of sugar. Unfortunately, even the sugar-free versions are still as acidic as their sweet counterparts.

Consume Acidic And Sugary Beverages Wisely

Here are some tips to protect your teeth if you are drinking energy and sports drinks:

  1. Don't make it a daily habit. Drink sports drinks only during high intensity workouts, not on a regular basis, and minimize the amount of energy drinks you consume.
  2. Drink it all at once instead of sipping throughout the day.
  3. Rinse out your mouth with water or chew sugarless gum afterward. This will help increase saliva production and counteract acidity.

Know The Facts, Protect Your Smile

Believe it or not, the adverse effects these drinks have on teeth isn’t widely known. With 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consuming energy drinks, and as many as 62 percent consuming at least one sports drink per day, it’s important that people understand how damaging they can be to teeth.

If you have more questions about sports or energy drinks, call us or send us a Facebook message!

We’re always happy to hear from our patients.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Image by Flickr user Keith Allison used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Why Is Fluoride So Good For Our Teeth?

April 5th, 2016

WE ORTHODONTISTS MAKE a pretty big deal about fluoride and how good it is for your teeth. Truly, fluoride is the best cavity fighter out there, helping our teeth stay healthy and strong! But how exactly does fluoride do such an awesome job at keeping our mouths cavity-free?

Fluoride Prevents And Repairs Tooth Decay

Bacteria that are in plaque produce acids that seep into tooth enamel and break it down. This process of breaking down enamel is what causes cavities over time.Where plaque breaks down the tooth, fluoride builds it up!

Fluoride, a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water, protects teeth from cavity-causing bacteria by making tooth enamel more resistant to bacteria’s acid attacks.

In our office, we utilize a fluoride varnish the day the braces are placed to help in preventing white spots from forming on the teeth. This extra fluoride, in combination with excellent oral hygiene will keep the teeth healthy during treatment.

Fluoride also helps repair tooth decay in its early stages by building up the tooth in a process called remineralization. This cavity-fighting mineral even reduces the ability of plaque bacteria to produce acid in the first place!

VIDEO: Why Is Fluoride Good For Teeth?

Fluoride Is Available In A Variety Of Forms

Fluoride can be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses. In fact, toothpaste with fluoride has been responsible for a significant drop in cavities since 1960.

Dental offices also offer fluoride application to teeth as a gel, foam or varnish. Getting a fluoride treatment periodically is important because it contains a higher concentration of fluoride.

Fluoride Intake Is Important At All Ages

Exposure to fluoride can be especially beneficial for infants and children. Between the ages of six months and 16 years, fluoride becomes incorporated into the developing permanent teeth, protecting them from cavity-causing bacteria.

However, adults and children alike need to get enough fluoride to protect their teeth. Just as important as strengthening developing teeth is fighting tooth decay, which fluoride will help you do even after your permanent teeth have come in.

Increased exposure to fluoride can be beneficial for people with certain health conditions. For example, if you have dry mouth, gum disease or a history of frequent cavities, your dentist may recommend additional fluoride treatments or supplements.Ask us if you could benefit from additional fluoride.

Tooth Decay Is Preventable

The take home message is this: fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. If you have any questions about fluoride, call us or come in! We would love to hear from you!

We love our patients and their smiles!

Image by Flickr user bradfordst219 used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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