Archive for Archived Posts

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!

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 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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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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Smile To Improve Your Day — And Your Health!

“IT TAKES MORE MUSCLES to frown than to smile,” the old cliché goes, so you should smile more to conserve energy. Well, it turns out the cliché is false. Smiling takes at least ten muscles, while as few as six are required for a frown. A better expression would be “smile to burn more calories,” but that isn’t the only benefit you’ll get from flashing those pearly whites more often.

The Feedback Loop Between Smiling And Happiness

When we smile, it sets off a chemical reaction in our bodies and brains. We release endorphins, the feel-good hormones. The amazing thing is that we can release these endorphins simply by the act of smiling, even if it’s fake!Smiling and happiness are so closely tied together in our brains that it doesn’t matter which one comes first. If you’re having a rough day and want to feel better, smiling is a great, simple first step to take.

Smile Your Pain And Stress Away

That rush of endorphins has a lot of benefits, and two of the most immediate ones are reducing pain and relieving stress. Endorphins are natural painkillers with no side effects, and they help us recover more quickly from stressful situations. A 2012 experiment demonstrated this by testing how long it took for subjects’ heart rates to return to normal after performing a stressful task. The smiling subjects were the fastest to recover!

Smile To Give Your Immune System A Boost

Over time, those short-term benefits from the endorphins released by smiling can compound into something much bigger. By smiling freely and often, we can make ourselves more resilient against all kinds of illnesses — even lowering our chances of getting cancer by reducing the number of stress-induced mutations our cells go through.

Smile To Live Longer!

When we think of the benefits of smiling, we usually don’t think much farther than how it makes us look younger and more attractive to the people around us, but in the end, smiling can actually add years to our lives. Smile as often as you can so that you can take full advantage of what it can do for you, and make sure you’re taking good care of your smile so that you feel more like sharing it. Click here to learn more!

Let’s See Those Gorgeous Smiles!

Did you know that children smile an average of twenty times as often as adults over the course of a day? Just imagine the health benefits we could enjoy as adults if we smiled as often as we did when we were little. We encourage all of our patients to find every reason you can to smile, and come see us twice a year so that we can help you keep your smile as healthy as it can be!

Our patients are our biggest reason to smile!

Top image by Flickr user David Long 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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How Braces Work

WE ALL KNOW THAT braces shift misaligned teeth into their proper position over time, but have you ever wondered exactly how that process works? Today, we’re going to walk you through it, because it’s actually really neat.

The Pieces Of The Braces Puzzle

The different parts of your braces all contribute to the orthodontic treatment process in specific ways. You might have additional appliances tailored to your specific treatment plan, but everyone with traditional braces has brackets and archwires, tied together with o-rings (also called bands or ligatures).

Brackets

If you look carefully at braces brackets, you may notice that they aren’t all placed in a straight line. At first, the braces may even seem to emphasize the crookedness of the teeth. The way the orthodontist positions the brackets is what allows braces to shift teeth into their proper place. By the end of the treatment, the brackets — and, more importantly, the teeth — will be straight!

Archwire

The archwires run through the brackets on each row of teeth. The orthodontist chooses the thickness and material of the archwire carefully based on your treatment plan. As they try to straighten back into their original shape, archwires provide steady, gradual pressure in the right direction so that your teeth will shift towards their proper position. The colorful o-rings are what keep the archwires in place in the brackets.

Elastics

The most common addition to braces beyond the basics of brackets, archwires, and o-rings are elastics. If you have a malocclusion (bad bite) or misaligned jaw, elastics apply pressure to bring your jaws into proper alignment. In order for them to do their job, however, it is essential to exactly follow the orthodontist’s instructions. Wearing too many or too few rubber bands will interfere with your treatment and make it take longer. Click Here to learn more about parts of braces.

The Biology Of Shifting Dental Alignment

So what’s actually happening on the cellular level during orthodontic treatment? Specialized cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts respond to the pressure around the periodontal membrane (the pocket of gum tissue connecting the tooth’s root to the jaw bone). Osteoclasts break down the bone tissue so that the tooth can move, while osteoblasts gradually form new bone tissue behind it. So it’s not just your teeth moving into position; your jaw bones are reshaping themselves too! Click Here to watch an educational video.

What About Retainers?

Your teeth still remember where they used to be for a while after the braces come off, which is why it’s so important for you to remember to wear your retainers as directed. Retainers will help your teeth get used to their new position, and they’ll prevent unrelated shifting that happens to most people naturally over the course of time.

Want To Learn More About Your Orthodontic Treatment?

If you have any questions about how your braces are working to give you that properly aligned, more functional smile you’ve always wanted, click here,  give us a call, or ask us about it at your next appointment. We want all of our patients to have the information they need to feel confident in their treatment!

We love seeing our patients’ smiles!

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 Clean Is Your Tongue?

“BRUSH YOUR TEETH for two full minutes twice a day and floss your teeth once a day.” You’ve probably lost count of how many times you’ve heard that, but how often have you heard that you should be cleaning your tongue every day too?

The Difference A Clean Tongue Makes

More bacteria likes to live on our tongues than just about anywhere else on our bodies. That’s because all those tiny crevices in the tongue’s surface are prime real estate for all kinds of pathogens. If we don’t actively keep our tongues clean, the harmful bacteria will stay put and multiply, causing bad breath and contributing to tooth decay on the inner surfaces of our teeth.

Another reason to regularly get rid of all that tongue bacteria is that it can dramatically improve your sense of taste. When the tongue is covered in bacteria, the tastebuds have a hard time doing their job, but with the bacteria gone, they’re free to absorb all those delicious flavors at their full capacity. Yum!

Chemical digestion begins in our mouths, and a clean tongue makes this process more effective too. So, if you want to enjoy your favorite foods as much as possible, keep your breath clean and fresh, and improve your digestive health, clean your tongue!

Finding The Best Tools For Cleaning Your Tongue

Keeping your tongue clean takes more than swishing mouthwash or rinsing with water. The bacteria hiding in all those tiny grooves is very stubborn, and washing with liquid won’t be enough do dislodge them. To really clear off the biofilm of bacteria, you need to scrape it with a tongue-scraper.

If you don’t find these in the grocery store near the toothbrushes, you can order one online, and some toothbrushes have tongue scrapers built in on the reverse side. Between brushing and rinsing your teeth is the best time to scrape your tongue. Start at the back and work forward, and try to get as much of the surface area as you can.

For the first few days, you might be surprised by how much biofilm comes away with the tongue scraper, but the longer you stick with it, the cleaner your tongue will become, until it seems like you’re scraping away nothing but clean spit. See if you notice the difference in your breath and your sense of taste when you get to this point! Learn More!

Tongue-Scraping Is Older Than You Think

If you’ve never heard of tongue-scraping before, you might think it’s a new idea, but it’s actually been around since ancient times in some cultures. It’s part of the daily hygiene routine in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. Tongue-scraping tools have been made of many different materials across the centuries, including copper, silver, gold, ivory, whalebone, and tortoiseshell. Today, they’re typically plastic or stainless steel.

Have Any Questions About Tongue Cleaning?

If you have questions about tongue cleaning or would like our recommendations on the best tools for the job, just give us a call! We’re always happy to help our patients improve their daily dental hygiene regimens, and we look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

Thank you for being such wonderful patients!

Top image by Flickr user Jon Russell 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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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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Recent Advances in Orthodontic Care

 

All of our efforts as parents and grandparents are undertaken in order to raise healthy, happy and confident children who will excel and contribute to our community and nation in very positive ways.  Orthodontics has always been a key piece to this puzzle. A bright and attractive smile always facilitates a significant social edge and translates to more joy and success in life.

For children and adults who need braces or aligners, orthodontic treatment can make a huge difference in their outlook on life. When a person who does not feel good about his or her smile can become comfortable and confident, it is a life-changing experience!

Being able to give a person confidence and self-esteem is the most fulfilling part of our job. We love what we do! We want everyone to experience the satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from having a great smile and the confidence to show the world. Nothing warms a room, a relationship or changes attitudes like a great smile!

The days of having to see the orthodontist every month, painful bands and separators, headgear and high down payments are in the past! Modern technology, modern convenience and modern financing make braces more attractive and affordable now than ever before.

Orthodontics and the process of getting braces has changed tremendously over the last few years. Forget all the things you had to endure as a child, the lack of affordability and the painful process. Things are different now! Change is good.

Call and make an appointment to see an orthodontist today. It will change you or your child’s life!

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The Difference Between An Orthodontist and a Dentist

Have you ever found yourself wondering what the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist is? Though the lines may seem blurred at times, there are some important distinctions to consider when thinking of the two!

How Much Schooling Did They Do?

The first thing to consider is education. All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists! The journey to becoming an orthodontist begins with completing dental school and becoming a licensed dentist. Once completed, orthodontists continue in their education with three more years of residency in order to become a specialist.  

The next thing to consider is specialization. The hours of specialized training that orthodontists receive is invaluable and makes them the clear choice when deciding who to trust with your orthodontic issues. Orthodontists solely focus on enhancing facial beauty by aligning teeth and jaws, that’s it! 

If you had to have your knee replaced, you most likely wouldn’t go to your family doctor to have the procedure done. You would likely find a doctor who specializes in this type of procedure. You should do the same for your smile. When it comes to the alignment of your smile, it is best to trust an orthodontist.

Finally, one must consider experience. During an orthodontist’s education and training, they are exposed to many different orthodontic issues that they must learn how to address. When visiting an orthodontist, you can be sure that they have the necessary experience to understand and address your needs. 

You don’t want to trust just anyone with your smile.  At Kineret Orthodontics we are passionate about creating exceptional smiles and memorable experiences. We remain committed to caring for you with expertise, professionalism, all in the most heart centered-way. We would love to help you feel confident in your smile! To schedule your consult, please give our office a call at (916) 772-5832. 

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