Archive for Informative

Teeth and Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats

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. Click Here to learn more.

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!

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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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The Main Culprits Behind Child Tooth Decay

AT LEAST TWO OUT OF every five children will develop one or more cavity by the time they turn eleven. That statistic makes tooth decay the most common childhood disease. The good news is that parents can make a huge difference in their children’s dental health, and the first step is understanding the major culprits of childhood tooth decay.

Sugary Drinks in Sippy Cups and Bottles

Many of the drinks kids love are packed with sugar, and we’re not just talking about soda. Fruit juice, despite carrying the assumption of being healthier, contains nearly the same amount of sugar, and even milk is nowhere near sugar-free. The sugars in these drinks are a problem for oral health because harmful oral bacteria love to eat sugar as much as we do, increasing the risk of decay.

What makes sugary drinks even more dangerous is constant exposure. Drinking a cup of juice with a meal is one thing. Carrying a sippy cup or bottle of juice around for hours is another. So many children get tooth decay due to bottles and sippy cups that it actually has a name: bottle rot.

Don’t worry; we aren’t suggesting that parents should ban sugary drinks entirely. However, we do recommend cutting back and limiting them to mealtimes. For children who use a sippy cup or bottle to fall asleep, try filling it with water instead of something sweet.

Treats, Snacks, and Candy

Sugar in solid form is also a problem. Most of the popular snack foods our kids love are full of sugar too. It takes saliva about half an hour to neutralize leftover food particles and wash away sugary residue. Constant snacking interrupts this crucial cycle just as much as continuously sipping on juice does.

Again, we’re not saying you should ban sugary treats and snacks. Like with sugary drinks, these treats are best enjoyed at mealtimes instead of spread throughout the day. If your child relies on snacks between meals for energy, offer them healthier treats like sliced fruits and veggies rather than processed, high-sugar snack foods.

Tips for Parents

Parents play a major role in ensuring their children’s good oral health. The most important part is to teach kids good brushing and flossing habits and help them understand the power these habits have. Use encouragement and positive reinforcement to build good habits, try to make it fun, and help your child feel involved by letting them choose a toothbrush they like.

You can also be a good example of what proper brushing and flossing look like, and make sure to avoid bacteria-spreading practices like sharing spoons or cleaning a dropped pacifier with your mouth. Click here to learn more.

Your Best Ally: Your Child’s Pediatric Dentist

Different factors (like genetics) leave some children more susceptible to tooth decay than others, so a cavity may appear even if you’re doing everything right. That’s why it’s so important to keep up with your child’s regular dental cleanings and exams. We can catch problems early and recommend solutions to keep your child’s smile healthy and bright!

Keep encouraging your kids in their great dental health habits!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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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The Ways Medicine Affects Oral Health

MEDICATION COMES with a list of potential side effects. Sometimes those side effects include a negative impact on oral health.

The Chemistry Of Medicine And The Mouth

Certain medications and vitamins can be pretty hard on our teeth, even for the short time they’re in our mouths. As adults, we swallow most of our medicines in pill form, so we don’t have to worry about these problems, but it can be an issue for children. Medicine for kids often comes in the form of sweet syrup and multivitamins, and the sugars in them feeds oral bacteria and leads to tooth decay.

Another culprit is asthma inhalers, which can lead to oral thrush — white patches of fungus on the tongue, inside the cheeks, and other oral tissues. These can be irritating or painful. The best way to prevent this complication from inhaler use is for the patient to rinse with water after every use. Rinsing is a good idea for those sugary cough syrups and multivitamins too.

Oral Side Effects

Just because a pill can’t hurt your mouth directly while you’re swallowing it doesn’t mean it won’t have side effects that impact your mouth later on.

  • Medications containing blood thinning components can lead to bleeding gums after brushing.
  • Several medications have a side effect of causing inflammation in the gum tissue, which increases the risk of gum disease.
  • Heart medications, nervous system stimulants, and anti-inflammatory drugs can affect our sense of taste, leaving a bitter or metallic taste in the mouth or causing changes in general. As unpleasant as it can be, this isn’t usually a serious side effect.
  • In rare cases, osteoporosis treatment drugs can compromise the bone tissue in the jaw, increasing the risk of gum recession and tooth loss.

The most common oral side effect of both over-the-counter and prescribed medications is dry mouth. This is a dangerous one because we need saliva to protect our teeth and oral tissues from bacteria. Without saliva, we are much more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease. Click Here to learn more.

Make Sure We Know About Your Medications

It’s important to be aware of these side effects and to keep your doctor and your dentist in the loop if any of them occur. Prescriptions can sometimes be adjusted to minimize negative effects, but only if your health care professionals know what’s going on!

The dentist is your best resource for any oral health concerns you have!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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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Daily Habits That Harm Our Teeth

OUR TOOTH ENAMEL holds the distinction of being the hardest substance in our bodies — even harder than bone! But don’t take that to mean our teeth are invincible. As hard as enamel is, it’s also somewhat brittle, so we should be careful to avoid daily habits that attack that weak point. Two of the most dangerous ones are mouth breathing and nail biting.

Nail Biting: Bad For Nails, Bad For Teeth

The most obvious evidence that nail biting is a harmful habit is the shredded, torn nails, but it’s just as bad for oral health, if not worse. Nail biting can erode, chip, and crack teeth. It can shift them, creating gaps, and can even affect the bite, increasing the risk of developing a chronic teeth-grinding habit.

It also introduces all the dirt and germs under the fingernails to the gum tissue, where it can cause gum disease. Possibly the worst thing nail biting can do to the teeth is trigger root resorption, which is when the roots of teeth begin to break down, leaving the teeth in danger of falling out. This risk is even greater for orthodontic patients with wire braces. Click Here to learn more.

Mouth Breathing: Use As Emergency Backup Only

One of the amazing things about the human body is the many redundancies built in so that we don’t lose all function if one thing breaks down. We have two kidneys, two lungs, two eyes, two ears, and two ways to breathe: through our noses and through our mouths. However, we should really try to avoid breathing through our mouths unless breathing through our noses isn’t an option.

Mouth breathing leads to a number of problems, both short and long term:

  • Lethargy. Nose breathing produces nitric oxide, which helps our lungs absorb oxygen. Mouth breathing leads to reduced oxygen levels, leaving you with less energy. For kids, this can make it harder to pay attention at school, while adults may struggle to be as productive at work.
  • Dry mouth. Mouth breathing dries out the mouth, leaving it without saliva, its first line of defense against harmful bacteria. This can lead to issues like chronic bad breath and tooth decay.
  • Sleep apnea. Mouth breathing increases the risk of sleep apnea, which makes it hard to get a full, restful night’s sleep, leading to lower energy and many other problems.
  • Altered facial structure. A mouth-breathing habit in a child can actually affect the way their facial bones develop, leading to flat features, drooping eyes, a small chin, and a narrow jaw and dental arch.
  • Orthodontic problems. Narrowed dental arches will typically not have room for the full set of adult teeth, and this will need orthodontic treatment to fix.

We Can Help You Break These Habits

If you or your child has one or both of these harmful habits and you aren’t sure what you can do to fix it, we’re here to help! Give us a call or schedule an appointment with us, and we can discuss ways to discourage mouth breathing and nail biting so that they won’t continue to endanger your oral health. Meanwhile, keep up with the good habits like twice-daily brushing and daily flossing!

We look forward to seeing you at our practice!

Top image by Flickr user David Merrett 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.

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What Causes Crooked Teeth?

WHY DO ADULT TEETH come in crooked so often even though baby teeth always seem to be straight? It turns out that a number of different factors can contribute to bad bites and poor alignment in adult teeth, from age to genetics to the daily habits we don’t even think about.

The Soft Foods Theory And Dental Alignment

Experts are still debating the causes of crooked teeth, but archeologists have supplied one of the leading theories: the Soft Foods Theory. Essentially, the idea here is that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate foods that were much tougher than what we eat now, which stimulated bone growth in their jaws, giving their teeth a solid foundation to come in straight.

This theory suggests that modern people have crooked teeth more often because our soft, processed food doesn’t encourage as much jaw bone growth and because we’re missing some of the vitamins and minerals that help bones and teeth grow. (Don’t feel too jealous of those strong jaws, though, because the tradeoff was that their teeth wore out much faster.)

Genetic Ties That Bind

Aside from the theorized effects of soft foods on dental alignment, our teeth are also affected by our genes. A child who inherits a small jaw from Mom and big teeth from Dad is going to have a problem with crowding, and children whose parents wore braces will likely also need them.

Daily Habits Versus Dental Alignment

It would be pretty hard to stick to a hunter-gatherer diet these days and we have no control over our own genes, but there is one factor we can control when it comes to how straight or crooked our teeth are, and that’s daily habits. Thumb sucking, mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, and even the simple action of resting your chin on your hand all contribute to shifting teeth.

Tongue thrusting, if you aren’t familiar, is the way babies swallow — pressing the tongue against the front teeth instead of the roof of the mouth. It’s perfectly normal for them, but we’re supposed to grow out of it. People who continue to tongue thrust after babyhood put a lot of pressure on their front teeth, causing them to shift. Special orthodontic appliances can help break the habit. Click Here to Learn More

Mesial Drift: Dental Alignment Changing As We Age

Our teeth come into contact with each other countless times over decades of chewing and talking, and this can wear away at the sides of each tooth where it touches its neighbors. Teeth end up taking up less space from side to side, and then they scoot closer together, gradually pushing towards the front. This is mesial drift, which happens to most of us as we age, whether or not we’ve had braces in the past!

A Job For The Orthodontist

No matter what’s causing problems with bite or crowding, orthodontic treatment is the solution. If you’re worried about your dental alignment or that of a family member, contact us to set up a consultation so that we can take a look. Having straight teeth isn’t just about appearances; it’s about having healthier teeth that can do their job properly!

We love giving our patients the perfectly aligned smiles they deserve!

Top image by Flickr user aaron.bihari 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.

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Don’t Take A Vacation From Oral Hygiene!

WITH THE ARRIVAL OF SUMMER comes the season of family vacations and exciting trips to new places. We’re as excited for it as our patients, but before everyone leaves to explore parts unknown, we want to give you a few tips and reminders about taking care of your teeth while you’re away from home.

Before You Go, See The Dentist

The last thing anyone wants while relaxing on a beach or enjoying the rides at a theme park is for their fun to be interrupted by a toothache or dental emergency. Depending where you go on your vacation, it might be hard to get proper dental treatment. You’ll save yourself a major potential hassle by simply scheduling a dental appointment before you leave!

A simple dental checkup will ensure that your teeth are clean and cavity-free when you start your trip. It’s especially important to get any restorations (e.g. crowns and fillings) checked in case they’re becoming loose, and untreated cavities and weakened dental work can become painful due to the pressure changes on flights.

Don’t Get Too Carried Away With Vacation Food

We can probably all agree that the food is often one of the best parts of any vacation, but that can make it easy to overdo it. Try to avoid eating too many sweet treats and snacks, and maybe keep a pack of sugar free gum handy to help prevent cavities.

Don’t Slack On Brushing And Flossing

When we’re at home, it’s easy to go through daily routines like brushing in the morning and brushing and flossing in the evening. Make sure to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss when you go, and quickly establish these routines in your new location.

One important thing to remember is that bacteria grows fast on a toothbrush that is damp and in an enclosed space, such as in luggage. Give your brush time to dry before you pack it, and store it somewhere it can get plenty of ventilation between uses.

Instead of leaving your toothbrush out on a hotel counter, try a simple solution like this: Watch Video

Have A Great Vacation!

Following these tips will help you keep your teeth strong and healthy while you’re away from home. That should make it easier to flash a big, bright smile for the camera during your adventures! Have a wonderful time, and we look forward to seeing you again soon!

Thank you for trusting us with your dental health!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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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How To Finish Your Orthodontic Treatment Early

Successful orthodontic treatment is dependent on a number of factors, like your orthodontist or how your teeth respond to braces.

However a lot of it actually depends on you! Patients who follow instructions often finish 6 months or more early.  While those who do not, commonly add an extra 6 to 12 months to their treatment time. Wow, that’s a big difference!

So, what can you do to make sure you finish your treatment on time (or maybe even early!) and get a fantastic smile? Here are 4 simple steps to keep your treatment on track for a great result. Make sure to watch the videos on this page of our website for clear and easy to follow instructions: Orthodontic Care Guide.

Keep Your Smile Amazing At Kineret Orthodontics! - With 4 Easy Steps:

1. Keep Your Appointments

The better you are at keeping your appointments, the faster your treatment time will be!  Also very important for an early finish is 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 can really put the brakes on your progress. To prevent breaking off a bracket or bending your wires, be sure to wear a mouth guard when playing sports or a night guard if you grind your teeth. Also follow closely the advice on the Foods and Habits Checklist in your new patient folder.

Specifically, avoid these foods while wearing braces: Popcorn, Nuts, Sticky candy like taffy & caramel, and Ice. Some other examples of foods to avoid are jerky, hard candies, cookies, crunchy cereals, hard (like pita) chips and snacks.

Remember to cut up other foods that can damage braces such as raw fruits and vegetables, remove the crust from pizza and hard or chewy crusted breads. Also, it is best to slice corn off the cob and meat off the bones prior to consumption.

Avoid habits like chewing on pens, fingernails, clothing, etc.

3. Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions--Wear Your Rubber Bands Consistently

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 mouth guard and then replace them ASAP.  Failure to wear your elastics consistently can extend your treatment time by a lot, harm your roots, and limit the degree of improvement! So be sure to follow your instructions.

4. Be Diligent About Your Oral Hygiene

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums during treatment is very 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 treatment.

Cavities and gum disease can complicate and prolong your treatment and no one wants spotty teeth from not brushing. So if you want to get those braces off as quickly as possible and have a stellar smile, brush, floss, proxy-brush, and hydro-floss (water-pik) and don’t forget to visit your dentist regularly!

Keep Your Orthodontic Treatment on Track in 4 Simple Steps and Get Done Early

If you follow these guideline, I promise you… It Will All Be Worth It!
Going through orthodontic treatment takes a little extra effort and focus, but it can be life changing. By following these simple steps, you can stay on track and get the smile you’ve always wanted and deserve!

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 journey to a fantastic smile! 

The content on this website reflect the experience, training, and opinion of this provider and is not intended to be a substitute for individual 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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Does It Hurt When You Get Your Braces Put On?

The Big Questions People Have

Does getting braces hurt? Absolutely not!  So you can take your worry wart hat off right now because the process is super easy, completely painless, and only takes about an hour!  

In our practice, patients actually watch their favorite movie on Netflix while we “glue” them on with a special adhesive (no shots or drills).  So the time passes very quickly and our patients tell us the process is so much easier than they ever expected! Aw, the joys of modern orthodontics!

The Next Few Steps

Once the braces are in place, they are connected to the wires with tiny colored o-rings of your choice.  These initial wires and o-rings are super elastic. In fact the wires are so small and flexible that you can literally tie them in a knot so you will not feel them at first.  

Also good to know is that we use tiny micro brackets these days to make sure your braces are gentle and cleanable.

At Kineret Orthodontics you will enjoy the fact that we only use brackets and do not use bands (the silver rings that go on molars)— so there are no painful separators as in days past-yey for that!

Your teeth will be sore for about 3 to 4 days afterwards but the application of braces itself will not hurt.  And the really good news is that like a small bruise, the soreness usually fades away quickly!

Here is our Braces Quick Start Checklist that has some great tips to help you adjust to your new braces smoothly and quickly.

Braces Quick
Start Guide

If you would like to watch a short video clip giving a quick tour of our office and a peak at how we will put your braces on, watch the video. The video shows one of our young rock star patients getting her braces placed—as you can see the process is really quite painless, quick, and easy.

And don’t worry, on the day we put your braces on, we will share with you tips to make your treatment go faster and better. However if you want to get a jump on it and sneak preview the next steps go here to our Orthodontic Care Guide.

We are excited to have you join the Kineret Orthodontics family and are very much looking forward to helping you realize the best smile possible-See you soon!

The Kineret Orthodontics Team

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Considering a D2C orthodontic company?

Many online orthodontic companies make their treatment sound so easy and convenient-you take some selfies, an impression or maybe a scan—and voila, in no time you have a great new smile.

Based on my decades of professional training and experience, straightening your teeth and improving your bite is rarely that simple.  If it were, licensed orthodontic specialists would not be required by the state to go to school for the mandated 11 to 12 years and another 2-4 years beyond dental school in order to render expert specialist care.

Easier Isn't Always Better

The main risk you should consider is that with direct to consumer orthodontic companies, the critical in person initial pretreatment evaluation, the diagnostic process, and ongoing supervision is usually removed from the process.   So a lot of important biological factors are skipped and that could potentially lead to irreversible and costly damage like gum loss, changed bites, and root and bone deterioration.

Really, the main question to ask yourself is what other medical procedure would you pursue without an in person evaluation and the continued direct supervision of a professional?

What You Need to Ask Yourself

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) lists 14 important questions you should ask when researching direct to consumer ortho aligner companies.  You can go to the AAO consumer alert to read them all. However, for the sake of brevity, I have condensed the AAO list into 6 key questions that should be answered before starting any treatment.

  • As part of your treatment, is a clinical examination of your jaw alignment, teeth, bite and supporting structures performed and are comprehensive diagnostic records like x-rays taken before your treatment?
  • Does your treatment fee include the cost of any in person visits to an orthodontist to make sure teeth are moving as planned?
  • Is only one type of treatment offered; how do you know that is the best option for your individual case?
  • If a general dentist or orthodontic specialist is involved with your treatment, do you know his/her name and can you communicate directly with the doctor in a timely manner?
  • Who can you speak with at the online orthodontic company about your treatment and if an issue arises how will it be handled and who will be responsible for handling it?
  • Does the treatment model comply with the dental laws in your state?

Remember that orthodontic treatment is not a product or device-it is a professional medical service-you want your treatment to be directly supervised by a highly trained specialist. Before making any decision about orthodontic treatment, consider doing some research and having an in person consultation with a post-doctorate residency trained orthodontist.

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