Dental Tips Blog

Oct
22

Straight Teeth Are Naturally Cleaner Than Crooked Ones

Posted in Braces

Crooked teeth are not a sign of low intelligence…or poor hygiene…or unattractiveness.

Many people are perfectly content with their less-than-perfectly-aligned teeth, and that’s perfectly okay.

But what everyone needs to know is that crooked teeth can potentially pose a health risk to gums and the teeth, themselves. This comes down to the fact that crooked teeth can’t keep themselves clean the way straight teeth do.

How Teeth Clean Themselves

Your teeth don’t groom themselves like animals do. They don’t even have a self-cleaning mechanism. However, your tongue, cheeks, lips, and saliva do the job for them.

But it’s when teeth are all in proper alignment, that they shed food debris more easily in response to your mouth’s natural movements.

Overlapping teeth trap food, gaps pack it in, and twisted teeth may collect debris at the gum line where it can’t be washed away. So it’s true that straight teeth kept in alignment will be naturally “cleaner” than crooked ones.

Clean Teeth = Healthy Teeth

Cleanliness isn’t just a matter of looks. When teeth are clean, they are less prone to disease. Dental plaque is made up of sticky biofilm and waste products from food. When plaque levels build on teeth, they cause all sorts of trouble: like gingivitis and cavities.

Crooked teeth, then, are more at risk for such problems because they hold onto more of that harmful bacterial plaque.

If you have a few crooked teeth, you may want to ask your dentist about your options for straightening your teeth such as invisible braces or other orthodontic treatments. At the very least, you will need to learn new ways to keep them extra clean and free of unwanted disease.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050

Oct
21

How Braces Can Improve Your Kid’s Oral Health

Posted in Braces

Straight teeth don’t just make your child’s smile look nicer, but they are also important to having a healthy mouth.

Here are just a few ways braces can improve your child’s oral health.

Fresher Breath

Crooked teeth trap bacteria and leftover food resulting in some pretty smelly breath. When teeth are straightened out, they’re easier to keep clean and free from debris that causes malodor.

Reduced Risk of Tooth Decay

Cavity-causing germs are hard to remove from teeth that are tightly overlapping. Sandwiched between teeth, these decay-triggers start cavities that may grow unnoticed for months.

Healthier Gums

Braces open up healthy spaces between teeth. When there’s a normal alignment of the teeth, it’s easier for brushing and flossing to do their job of preventing gingivitis and gum disease.

Brighter Smile

Properly spaced out teeth are less prone to developing stain. Your child will thank you for braces years down the road when they have a sparkling white smile!

Comfortable Bite

Your child may still need braces even though it doesn’t look like there are any crooked teeth. If his or her bite is off, this can eventually cause chewing and speech issues and even TMJ pain. Sometimes, braces are necessary to correct jaw positioning for a functionally aligned bite.

Wearing braces can make oral hygiene difficult for kids in the meantime. But with patience and diligent care, orthodontic treatment will result in a healthier smile for your son or daughter.

Your child may not appreciate the need for wearing braces, at this time. But orthodontic treatment now while they’re young could be the best thing you do for their adult oral health.

Ask your child’s dentist about scheduling an orthodontic evaluation.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224

Sep
9

4 Ways to Get Your Braces Super Clean

Posted in Braces

Oral hygiene is extra important when it comes to orthodontia. Braces do your teeth a lot of good. But ironically, they make your teeth more apt to collect plaque bacteria. As if that weren’t enough, ortho itself makes normal tasks like brushing and flossing a lot harder.

Here are a few ways to keep your braces clean and your teeth healthy.

Use Orthodontic Floss

Orthodontic floss is designed to use without contorting your hands into uncomfortable positions. You can slide the stiff end of the floss in below the wire and floss with the fluffy or thin thread, whatever works best for that space.

If your flossing routine is easier, you’ll be more likely to do on the regular.

Rinse Well

You dentist may recommend a fluoride rinse to help strengthen tooth enamel around brackets and wires. If your gums are prone to inflammation, an antibacterial mouth rinse can prevent the buildup of irritating bacteria.

Try a Water Flosser

The powerful spray from a water flosser can get your braces extremely clean while having a therapeutic effect on the gums. These devices come in handy especially when flossing is impossible.

Take a New Angle on Brushing

As you brush, remember to tip your toothbrush bristles at angles to reach all surfaces. You’ll need to do this to access the top and bottom of brackets in addition to tooth chewing surfaces.

You’ll agree that the effort is worth it to keep your smile healthy during orthodontic treatment. The braces will come off sooner the healthier your teeth are, and your smile will look great!

Consult your dentist or orthodontist for more tips on cleaning your braces as thoroughly as possible.

Posted on behalf of:
Broad Street Braces
2010 South Juniper Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
213-234-3030

Apr
22

Top Five Foods to Avoid When You Have Braces

Posted in Braces

The better you take care of your braces, the less time you’ll have to wear them. That’s why you want to avoid foods that are likely to damage orthodontic appliances.

Here are five of the worst foods for braces:

  1. Tortilla Chips

Crunchy tacos and corn chips fall into this category, as well. Those crispy bits are like little daggers that wedge themselves between teeth and wires.

  1. Taffy & Gummy Candy

Any chewy or sticky candy is off-limits. Not only can they “pull off” brackets, but they can encourage tooth decay by sticking around a long time.

  1. Crunchy Grains

Cooked oatmeal is a great breakfast for anyone, braces or no. But watch out for crunchy dried sweets like cookies or granola, which are studded with firm grains.

  1. Popcorn

Shells, hulls, husks, whatever you want to call them, those annoying little pieces are a thousand times harder to deal with when you have braces.

  1. Pretzels & Nuts

These delightfully salty snacks have to be kept off the table if you want to keep your braces safely on your teeth.

Taking a look at the above list, it’s clear these are all foods that cause problems because of their texture. Hard foods can damage braces and chewy ones can get stuck in them.

But you’ll also notice that there are ways to enjoy your favorite foods without endangering your braces. A few substitutions and are all it takes. Choose soft tacos over hard ones. Have chocolate pudding instead of a chocolate bar. Cut up pizza and bagels into chewable pieces. French fries are still on the menu even when chips are out!

Get more tips on making the most of your braces by talking with your local dentist or orthodontist.

Posted on behalf of:
Broad Street Braces
2010 South Juniper Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
213-234-3030

Mar
27

Swallowing Braces – Could It Happen to You?

Posted in Orthodontics

A 30-year-old Australian woman wore braces to correct her smile. The braces were removed. Ten years later, she visited a hospital with severe abdominal pain and doctors extracted a 7-centimeter piece of orthodontic wire in her small intestine.

She doesn’t remember how it ended up there.

Doctors are still unsure of how orthodontic wire – especially of that length – could wind up being ingested. One theory is that a piece of wire is lost in the mouth of a sedated patient.

What does this mean for braces-wearers today?

Most orthodontic patients never have to be sedated, so this is little to no risk to the average person.

Loose bands could get lost in your mouth, however. But you’re not likely to swallow many, if any at all. If you did accidentally ingest a band, it wouldn’t do any serious damage.

The possibility of swallowing a dangerous piece of orthodontic wire is ridiculously small. A bizarre story like that of the Australian woman shouldn’t stop you from wearing braces any more than it should stop you from using screws or nails on home projects (those are commonly swallowed on accident).

An entire bracket can come loose off a tooth. If that happens, you would probably notice. Even if you were to swallow it, there’s no need to panic. It would probably pass through your system with no issue, but you may still want to see a doctor for an x-ray.

Parts of braces tend to come loose when they are not properly maintained. Wearing a mouthguard during sports and staying away from crunchy sticky foods will help keep your orthodontia in-tact.

Talk with your local dentist or orthodontist if you have any other concerns about braces.

Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 398-9690

Feb
16

Should You Get a Filling Before or After Getting Braces?

Posted in Orthodontics

Has it been years since you had a dental checkup? That first trip to the dental office can leave you with a to-do list of procedures. If you end up want both braces and needing a filling or two, which should come first?

It’s preferable (and usually more urgent) to treat decay before straightening teeth for a few reasons:

  • It’s easier to treat teeth without appliances in the way
  • Decay then won’t have the chance to spread to other teeth
  • Orthodontics can often be delayed, but treating tooth decay can’t

Braces are worn for around a year and a half. For some patients, even longer. There’s a good chance that you could develop a cavity or two during that time. 

What Then?

If necessary, most basic dental fillings can be done during orthodontic treatment. Although it’s not ideal, your orthodontist may be able to remove the wire and a bracket or two to let your dentist access teeth needing treatment.

Before Getting Braces

Get a complete professional tooth cleaning complete with x-rays and a gum exam. This will alert you to any underlying issues that could suddenly pop up while wearing braces. Ask your dentist about dental sealants, too. These can prevent cavities from forming on chewing surfaces.

While Wearing Braces

Your teeth will be more vulnerable to decay while in braces, since all of those extra surfaces can harbor bacteria. Reduce your risk of cavities by brushing several times a day. Use a flossing method that’s so easy for you that you’re willing to do it every day. Lastly, boost your fluoride use to strengthen all enamel surfaces.

To get an idea of your individual dental needs, schedule a checkup with your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Milton Dental Specialists
13075 Hwy 9, Suite 110
Milton, GA 30004
(770) 521-2100

Dec
12

Are Braces Uncomfortable?

Posted in Braces

Granted, having metal wires on your teeth is not going to be a natural sensation, in the beginning. But it is something you can get used to.

Getting Braces – Does It Hurt?

The process of getting braces put on your teeth is not as bad as you might imagine. Your orthodontist applies a little conditioner to your freshly-polished enamel. This process helps the cement attach a little better. Then, the brackets are secured in place. Lastly, a wire is laced through the brackets and fastened with rubber bands.

You may feel a little discomfort in the early days of wearing braces. As that wire is first set, your teeth will resent the pressure. Just be patient as you adjust. Most patients get used to their orthodontics within a week of having them placed.

What To Do When Braces Hurt

If you seem to be experiencing more discomfort than you can tolerate, it’s usually recommended to take a painkiller; whatever you usually take for a headache is enough. Check with your doctor and orthodontist first for recommendations.

What about if the brackets are chafing your cheeks and lips? That’s a very common problem and happily, it’s easy to fix. Your orthodontist or local drugstore can supply you with some dental wax that can be molded to fit over any sharp metal pieces. It can take a bit of time before your mouth becomes accustomed to having a few rough areas of orthodontic appliances inside.

Sometimes your gums can get a little sore from gingivitis if you’re not brushing well enough. Just be patient and take care to floss!

Visit your orthodontist and local dentist regularly throughout treatment to keep your braces feeling as comfortable as possible.

Posted on behalf of:
Red Oak Family Dentistry
5345 W University Dr #200
McKinney, TX 75071
(469) 209-4279

Nov
30

When Should My Child Stop Using a Pacifier?

Posted in Braces

Are you wondering when your toddler needs to give up their pacifier? Preferably by age 2 and definitely before 4. Extended use of a pacifier can create long-term problems.

What kind of problems?

A higher, narrower palate, which is now being linked to issues with the airway like snoring and sleep apnea.

Misaligned teeth: Before age 2, the teeth should self-correct. After age 4, the permanent teeth underneath have already been influenced and your child is more likely to need orthodontics as a teenager. 

“How can we make the pacifier go bye-bye?” 

Cold turkey

Your kiddo lost his? Just don’t replace it – especially if he doesn’t seem to miss it that much. Sounds mean, but isn’t, if done with a dose of kindness. 

Trading

Some parents will bargain with their children or have the “Pacifier Fairy” visit to make a trade. One pacifier = one prize (often something cuddly like a blanket or stuffed animal that can still provide comfort to the child in a way that the pacifier once did).  

Praise

Tell your child how proud you are of him for each night that no pacifier is required for bedtime. 

Weening

Reduce the times that pacifier-use is allowed until it is only used at bedtime, then only on occasion to not at all. 

When should the dentist get involved? 

  • See a dentist when your child’s teeth start erupting or sooner, if there are issues that you are concerned about.
  • Get a full screening of your child’s mouth to make sure the teeth are developing properly as well as the palate, jaws, and airway space.
  • Hear ideas for how to best halt your child’s pacifier use.

Your dentist is your best resource for preparing your child for a lifetime of excellent oral health!

Posted on behalf of:
East Cobb Orthodontics
2810 Lassiter Rd
Marietta, GA 30062
(770) 993-7118

Aug
7

Are Your Braces Causing White Spots On Your Teeth?

Posted in Braces

Most orthodontic patients are concerned about getting white spots on their teeth. These lesions look like ghostly shadows of your braces after you get them removed.

White spots are very common and hard to avoid entirely. But on the plus side, you do have a lot of control over how badly you are affected.

These white patches are shallow areas of demineralized tooth enamel. The enamel dissolves, turns chalky white, and becomes prone to developing a cavity.

What dissolves enamel?

Acids produced by bacteria are primarily to blame. The demineralization process happens when four elements are in place:

  1. A tooth surface
  2. Acid-producing bacteria
  3. Carbohydrates for the bacteria to eat
  4. Time for the bacteria to multiply and do their dirty work

Actually, this process affects all teeth in all people – not just those with braces. 

So what part do braces play in all of this?

It’s simply the fact that brackets provide a little extra protection for those acidic germs hiding out in your plaque. Your tongue and lips do a great job at keeping your teeth clean. A toothbrush and floss take care of the rest.

But throw in some metal and ortho cement, and getting your teeth perfectly clean becomes a more tedious process.

It’s easy to miss spots above and around brackets when you brush. You know what a strain it can be to floss around braces, too! If you miss the same area often enough, the plaque will accumulate and wear away the enamel in that spot. When the braces come off – voila – a white spot.

To minimize or avoid white spots altogether, keep your toothbrushing game strong. It also helps to visit your dentist throughout your treatment for frequent professional cleanings.

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979

Jul
17

What’s So “Bad” About a Bad Bite?

Posted in Orthodontics

If you like how even your smile looks in the mirror, then it’s hard to imagine why else you could need braces. But a bad bite is about more than just looks, alone.

What Is A Bad Bite?

When people think braces, they’re usually imagining a bunch of crooked and overlapping teeth. Occlusion is often overlooked because many don’t realize it can be a problem.

Occlusion is the way your teeth fit together in relation to one another when you bite down. So it isn’t necessarily about side-to-side tooth alignment. If you have a problem with your occlusion, it probably isn’t visible when you smile. When that’s the case, it’s also likely that you’ve never thought about getting it checked out by an orthodontist or your family dentist.

Problems Caused By Bad Bite

Still not convinced of the benefits of having straighter teeth? Poor occlusion can result in:

  • Headaches
  • TMJ pain
  • Uneven wear on teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Tooth fracture
  • Gum recession
  • Bone loss
  • Tooth alignment problems
  • Difficulty biting or chewing

When teeth don’t close together properly for any reason, they and the structures around them (such as the jaw) can suffer the consequences.

How To Treat A Bad Bite

You may not think that those headaches you’ve been getting every day could be connected to your teeth. The solution could be as simple as a dental crown. Crowns and other restorations can bring balance back to your smile. Other solutions include splints, enamel adjustment, and orthodontic treatment.

A bad bite isn’t always a major fix, but left untreated it can become a major problem.

Talk with your dentist to find out your options. If the need arises, he or she can refer you to a qualified provider in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
The Grove Family Dentistry
6200 Center St Suite I
Clayton, CA 94517
(925) 350-8592

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