It’s 11 pm and, while you should be in bed, you’re standing in front of the fridge trying to decide a snack of choice before calling it a night. You know this isn’t the best life choice for your waistline, but did you know that it’s also bad for your oral health – especially your braces. Your orthodontic treatment increases the potential to leave food behind on the teeth after eating.
Late Night Snacking Can Lead to Tooth Loss
A 2010 study in Denmark discovered a relationship between midnight snacking and tooth loss. Over a six-year period, a group of over 2,000 adults (8% labeled “nocturnal eaters”) were found to have significantly increased their chances of tooth loss from repeated midnight snacking.
Nocturnal eaters were classified as those who eat a quarter or more of their daily calories after dinner several times per week. This also includes those who wake up in the middle of the night to eat a snack.
Did you know that orthodontic treatment is not just for teens and adults? In fact, the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that by the age of 7, children should have an initial orthodontic consultation. These comprehensive consultations determine whether or not a child’s teeth are developing properly or if early orthodontic treatment is or will be needed in the future.
Phase 1 vs Phase 2 Orthodontics
The typical process for Phase 1 orthodontic treatment involves a patient being fitted for their appliance (braces for example) which is worn until their teeth move into their proper positions. Some patients may require extractions or surgery prior to beginning treatment. Once the teeth are properly aligned, the patient wears a retainer to keep the teeth from shifting back.
Two-phase orthodontic treatment differs from Phase 1 in that the first part of treatment is done while the patient still has most of their baby teeth. The goal of two-phase orthodontic treatment is to minimize development problems early so that treatment in their teens will be faster.
Orthodontic consultations are often times a complimentary introduction for orthodontists, like Dr. Kevin Theroux and Dr. Brooks Barefoot at Total Orthodontics to get to know you and your oral health concerns. The best thing you can do to make the most of your consultation is to prepare a list of questions beforehand. To help you get started, we’ve come up with a list of common questions answered during our complimentary smile exams.
How Long Will My Treatment Take?
It is important to first note that orthodontic treatment is not a “one size fits all” approach to straightening teeth. At [Orthodontic Office], we develop orthodontic treatment plans based on the individual needs of each patient to ensure they get the best results. Be sure to ask the orthodontist for an estimate of how long your treatment will take as the length may vary depending on how complex your situation is.
In a previous post, we discussed some of the drinks that have a negative effect on the teeth. This included soda, fruit juices, and coffee. While it may seem like water is your only beverage option, fear not. There are a few drinks still available to quench your thirst without affecting your orthodontic treatment.
Not only can it help build strong bones, but milk is a great source of calcium. Calcium helps to repair and maintain tooth enamel to keep your teeth strong. Lactose intolerant? Don’t worry. Calcium-fortified soy milk is a great alternative to getting the same benefits as regular milk. However, it is important to keep in mind that milk also contains sugar which, if left on the teeth for too long, can cause tooth decay.
Green and Herbal Teas
Black tea is very similar to coffee and red wine and can leave stains on the teeth. Green and herbal teas, on the other hand, do not. In fact, they can actually be beneficial to your oral health. Tea can help fight the bacteria found on teeth due to the compounds called polyphenols they are made of. The best way to drink tea while wearing braces is to drink it as is – no sugar or honey added. For those who prefer a sweeter taste, use sugar-free sweeteners instead.
Although it may be the most obvious choice, water is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying hydrated. Water is an important part of oral health because it helps produce saliva, the mouth’s first defense against sugars, acids and bacteria left over from food we’ve eaten. Drinking water after every meal can be the best solution until you are able to brush your teeth.
Good Drinks are Just the Beginning
Consuming healthy drinks is only one part of maintaining good oral health while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Keep in mind to continue daily brushing, flossing and attending appointments as scheduled with Dr. Kevin Theroux and Dr. Brooks Barefoot at Total Orthodonticsas well. Your beautiful, straight smile at the end of treatment will thank you later.
It’s the start of a new day and you’re going through the motions of your morning routine. As you begin flossing, you notice your gums start to bleed in some areas. Is this normal?
While bleeding gums from flossing does not mean your mouth isn’t clean, it can be a sign that you aren’t flossing enough. According toColgate, “It’s fairly common for gums to bleed when you first begin flossing between teeth, and as long as the bleeding stops quickly, it’s not usually considered a problem.” In other words, continue to floss daily and the bleeding should stop over time.
Causes of Bleeding Gums Several factors can cause gums to bleed. To help narrow down why you may be experiencing bleeding gums, consider the following reasons:
Gingivitis Plaque buildup along the gumline and in between the teeth that is not removed by daily brushing and flossing can lead to gingivitis – which can cause gums to bleed. Symptoms of gingivitis include gums that are swollen, tender and sometimes bleed during brushing. Regular dental checkups and daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to combat this early stage of gum disease.
Medications According to The American Dental Association, blood thinning medications can cause bleeding gums. Blood thinners reduce the blood’s ability to clot, which can cause a patient to bleed very easily. Contact your dentist or doctor if you are currently prescribed blood thinners and experience bleeding gums when brushing or flossing.
New Flossing Routine Haven’t flossed in a few days? Going back to a regular routine of flossing after not having done so in a while can cause gums to bleed once you’re back into the swing of things. Flossing more frequently than usual to remove food and plaque from between your teeth can also cause bleeding gums. If it doesn’t clear up within a week, contact your dentist.
Vitamin Deficiency If your body is lacking enough vitamin C or K, you could be more prone to bleeding gums. Contact your doctor to have your vitamin C and K levels checked to see if you are getting the nutrients your body needs.
For more information on gum disease or if you’re experiencing bleeding gums for more than a week, contact our office to schedule an appointment. Your smile is our priority.
You’re getting your braces put on for the first time and you’re not sure what to expect. One thing is for sure; your oral hygiene practices will definitely change. To help prepare you for what’s in store and make the most of your orthodontic treatment, we at Total Orthodontics explain what you can expect from your first week in braces:
On the day your braces are put on, the process should be relatively painless. In the hours following placement, you may notice that it will take you longer than usual to finish meals as you get used to wearing and chewing with braces. Stick to softer foods (like soups, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, shakes, etc.) for the first few days while your teeth and mouth adjust. You may also experience slight discomfort or soreness as the teeth begin to move.
Three Days After Placement
The first few days after getting braces are the most uncomfortable due to the teeth beginning to align and the mouth adjusts to the pressure of the wires and elastic ties. We recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication (ibuprofen, for example) to relieve any discomfort. If your wires cause irritation inside your cheeks or lips, a member of our staff will show you how to apply wax or silicone over the braces to reduce soreness.
One Week After Placement
The discomfort you experienced in the first couple days should stop within five to seven days after placement. The teeth will have mostly adjusted and eating with braces will become much easier than before. Don’t rush into trying out harder foods just yet. Give your mouth more time to get used to the braces and stay away from sticky and sugary foods. Foods high in sugar can lead to tooth decay and sticky foods can get caught between wires and brackets.
It is important to schedule and attend regular appointments with orthodontist Orthodontists Dr. Kevin Theroux and Dr. Brooks Barefoot at Total Orthodonticsduring the course of your orthodontic treatment. During these appointments, the doctor may make adjustments to the braces, change the elastic ties, and monitor progress to ensure you are on schedule with your treatment plan. The first few days after an adjustment can cause aches in the mouth and on the teeth, but will not last long. Our staff can advise options for remedies to reduce pain.
For questions about orthodontic treatment or braces, contact our office. Your smile is our priority.