Oral Health

Sealants

September 16th, 2021

Brushing and flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities, but it’s not always easy to clean every nook and cranny of your teeth – especially those back teeth you use to chew (called molars). Molars are rough, uneven and a favorite place for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria to hide.

Still, there’s another safety net to help keep those teeth clean. It’s called a sealant, and it is a thin, protective coating (made from plastic or other dental materials) that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. They’re no substitute for brushing and flossing, but they can keep cavities from forming and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity.

In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child's dental health. In October 2016, the Centers for Disease Control released a report on the importance of sealants for school-aged children, of which only 43% of children ages 6-11 have. According to the CDC, "school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants."

You may have many questions about sealants, and we have answers for you below. Read on to learn more about sealing out tooth decay.

How Do Sealants Work?

Think of them as raincoats for your teeth. When the cavity-causing bacteria that live in everyone’s mouth meet leftover food particles, they produce acids that can create holes in teeth. These holes are cavities. After sealant has been applied it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth—just like a raincoat keeps you clean and dry during a storm.

Who Can Get Sealants?

Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. Your first molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save time and money in the long run. Ask your dentist if sealants are a good option for you and your family.

How Are Sealants Applied?

It’s a quick and painless process. Your dentist will clean and dry your tooth before placing an acidic gel on your teeth. This gel roughs up your tooth surface so a strong bond will form between your tooth and the sealant. After a few seconds, your dentist will rinse off the gel and dry your tooth once again before applying the sealant onto the grooves of your tooth. Your dentist will then use a special blue light to harden the sealant.

Can Sealants Be Placed Over Cavities?

Sealants can be used over areas of early decay to prevent further damage to your tooth. Because some sealants are clear, your dentist can keep an eye on the tooth to make sure the sealant is doing its job.

Are There Any Side Effects?

With the exception of an allergy that may exist, there are no known side effects from sealants.

Is There BPA In Sealants?

Yes, there is a tiny amount of BPA in sealants but not enough to cause you or a loved one any harm. In fact, you get more exposure to BPA by simply touching a receipt, using cosmetics or coming in contact with dust.

BPA in sealants

How Long Do Sealants Last?

Sealants will often last for several years before they need to be reapplied. During your regular dental visit, your dentist will check the condition of the sealant and can reapply them as needed.

Are Sealants Covered By Dental Plans?

Some plans do cover sealants, so call your dental benefit company to find out what kind of coverage you have.

www.mouthhealthy.org

Two Thirds of What Goes on in your Mouth is Below the Surface

September 9th, 2021

Just like what’s under the bread in a sandwich, orthodontists use x-rays to check below the surface to look for extra teeth, missing teeth, impacted teeth or teeth coming into the wrong positions.

Speaking of extra teeth, did you know snails have over 14,000? A full set of adult human teeth has only 32.

Why is looking below the surface so important?
Well, some things may be hiding that can only be seen through x-rays. Impacted teeth may prevent adult teeth from erupting properly. Sometimes, an impacted tooth can even harm the roots of neighboring teeth, cause crowding and may cause already erupted teeth to move into unhealthy positions.

If you do have an “invisible” orthodontic problem, an early check-up and x-ray may help you avoid more costly, invasive treatments down the road.
It may be easier for Dr. Johnson to identify and correct a problem when it is forming rather than waiting for it to fully develop.

You wouldn’t skip a well-check at the pediatrician, and you shouldn’t skip an early trip to the orthodontist either. A visit to Dr. Johnson by age 7 will help keep your child’s oral health in check. Just because your general dentist has not referred you does not mean you cannot visit Dr. Johnson for an exam. Orthodontists are experts in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics – properly aligned teeth and jaws – and possess the skills and experience to give you your best smile.Our Low-Dose Kid Friendly X-Ray Machine | Fresh Orthodontics

https://www.aoinfo.org/

Why an Orthodontist is the Right Person for Orthodontic Treatment

August 19th, 2021

When your dog is overdue for a groom, you wouldn’t bring them to your appointment at the salon. To maintain a poodle's luscious locks or a husky's thick winter coat, you visit a groomer, the definite choice in caring for your dog’s specific needs. Well, the same is true for orthodontic treatment!

The uniqueness of each individual's tooth structure means that every case is going to be treated a little differently, whether it's an overbite, protrusion, cross-bite, etc. Orthodontists are specialized in properly aligning teeth and jaws and possess the dental training to give you your best smile, making them an easy choice for orthodontic treatment. To put it simply, it’s best to see an orthodontist for orthodontics!

Here’s why:

1. Orthodontists are specialists.

Orthodontists are specialists who focus on the bite and alignment of your teeth. Dr. Johnson prides herself in being a perfectionist when it comes to delivering the best, most comfortable smile to each and every patient.  Her job as an orthodontist is to not only make sure that your smile looks great, but your bite feels good and functions properly, too.

2. Orthodontists have 3,700 hours of orthodontic training.  YES! 3,700.

In addition to dental school, orthodontists are the only dental specialists who have additional education and training focused exclusively on the movement of teeth, jawbones, facial bones, and soft tissue–3,700 hours of specialized training to be exact. They understand growth and development and are also called dentofacial orthopedists.  Dr. Johnson also takes time outside of the office to continue her dental training by regularly attending seminars, group-study programs, and working together on complex cases to achieve the best treatment possible for her patients.

3. Because of their extensive training, they can provide you with a truly customized treatment plan.

Straightening teeth and aligning the bite are both complex biological processes, not quick fixes. With expertise in those complexities (like changes in jaw bones, facial bone and soft tissue as teeth are moved), Dr. Johnson and her staff are well-equipped to provide a truly custom treatment plan that is best for you. When it comes to your health you don’t want to miss any critical factors. When it’s time to make an appointment for yourself or your family, take comfort in knowing that, by selecting Dr. Pamela Johnson and her staff, you will be seeing the right person for the job.

https://aaoinfo.org

How Strong Are Your Teeth?

May 11th, 2021

strong tooth with arms

The right smile can leave you laughing, fill you with joy or make you melt with emotion. But, ultimately, the best smile is one that is healthy and strong. Here are some of the “tooth truths” about how tough your teeth really are – and how to keep them that way.

1. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body.

The shiny, white enamel that covers your teeth is even stronger than bone. This resilient surface is 96 percent mineral, the highest percentage of any tissue in your body – making it durable and damage-resistant.

2. Your bite is powerful!

Did you know your teeth can exert an average of 200 pounds of pressure when you bite down? That’s probably what tempts us to use our teeth as tools from time to time – but as your dentist will remind you, that’s one of the worst habits when it comes to preserving healthy teeth.

3. Teeth can last for hundreds of years.

Thanks to the durability of tooth enamel, our teeth actually outlast us. In fact, some of the most fascinating things we know about human history come from the study of our forebears’ dental remains. For example, we know that the first travelers to leave Africa for China set out as many as 80,000 years ago – and that early humans used a simple form of aspirin for pain relief – thanks to teeth!

4. Strong as they are, teeth can’t heal on their own.

All other tissues in our bodies have the power to repair themselves, but our teeth can’t. When damaged, they must be repaired by a skilled dentist using caps, crowns, fillings or veneers. When our teeth fall out, the only options are partial or full dentures or dental implants. (Just one more reason to take great care of your teeth every day!)

5. Healthy teeth have the power to resist decay, but they need our help.

Did you know there are more than 300 kinds of bacteria that can attack your teeth? The good news is that with healthy dental hygiene habits and regular checkups, you can protect your teeth from bacteria and other substances that can weaken teeth and cause decay.

In addition to cleaning and checking your teeth for signs of trouble, your general dentist and their team can help you learn what food and drink choices are good for your teeth and which ones to avoid. The professionals in your dental office are also ready to help you create a personalized plan to care for your teeth so you can enjoy good dental health for life.

source:mouthhealthy.org

Brushing Habits to Break in 2021

January 5th, 2021

Happy New Year everyone! With the new year, we tend to make resolutions and goals, including breaking bad habits. Here are some dental bad habits that are important to work on.

Keeping Your Toothbrush Too Long
The American Dental Association highly recommends changing your toothbrush every 3 months. Frayed and broken bristles won't keep your teeth clean. The best trick to remembering is to change your toothbrush at the start of the new season!

Not Brushing Long Enough
On average, a person brushes their teeth for 45 seconds. You should actually brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. Setting a timer or humming a song to yourself would be great for helping fight this bad habit.

Brushing Too Hard
You may think brushing harder will make your teeth cleaner, but it could actually damage your gums. So be gentle with you teeth.

Brushing Right After Eating
Try waiting at least 60 minutes before brushing your teeth after you eat, especially if you had anything acidic like lemons or soda. Drink water or chew sugarless gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance while you wait to brush.

Storing Your Toothbrush Improperly
After brushing, keep your toothbrush upright and in the open. Putting your toothbrush in a closed container gives germs more of a chance to grow.

Using a Brush with Hard Bristles
Soft bristles are a safe bet. And remember to be gentle while you're brushing! If you have any questions about which toothbrush is best for you, talk to your general dentist.

Improper Brushing Technique
Here's one technique to try for a thorough brush: First, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Then, gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes. Next, brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Finally, to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Using a Brush That's Not Best for You
There are many different toothbrushes that you can use, including manual and power brushes. Try different types until you find the best one that works for you.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Happy New Year!

December 31st, 2020

Johnson Orthodontics wants to wish you a Happy New Year!

We are open today but are closed tomorrow January 1, 2021. Have a fun but safe weekend and we'll see you in the new year!

Your Child's Teeth, Ages 6-12

December 17th, 2020

When a child's adult teeth are coming in, we know parents may be wondering when all of their teeth will be in and if they're on track with other children. However, it's good to know that not all children get the same teeth at the same time.

Around age 5 or 6 is when children start losing their bottom and top front teeth. From ages 6 to 12, they will continue to lose their baby teeth and gain their adult ones until they have usually lost the last of their 20 baby teeth by age 12. In general, once they are 12 to 14, they should have all of their adult teeth except their wisdom teeth.

Again, everyone doesn't follow this exactly, but we've included a handy chart of when permanent (adult) teeth start to come in for you to see and use for guidance.

Remember, it's highly recommended to see a general dentist starting with your child's first birthday and to see an orthodontist when they are 7 years old.

 

Brushing Your Teeth

December 15th, 2020

Toothbrushing Quick Facts Infographic

Dental care is very important not only for your teeth, but your overall health. The American Dental Association has a few recommendations to help you have and keep a healthy mouth:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth. A good way to remember is to change your toothbrush at the start of the new season.
  • Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.

Proper Brushing Technique

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Of course, brushing your teeth is only a part of a complete dental care routine. You should also make sure to:

  • Clean between teeth daily once a day. Tooth decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. This helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
  • Eat a balanced diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Foods That Benefit Dental Health

December 1st, 2020

Family eating a healthy meal

What you put in your mouth impacts not only your general health but also the health of your teeth and gums. In fact, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often appear in your mouth. So it's good to have a healthy diet. Here are some suggestions that are great for your teeth:

Water, particularly fluoridated water, is the most tooth-friendly beverage you can have.

Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are great sources of phosphorus which plays a critical role in dental health. You should also try eating cheese, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens, and almonds as they have high volumes of calcium and other nutrients that help protect and rebuild your enamel.

Fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber which balance the sugars they contain and help clean your teeth. These foods also stimulate saliva production which washes harmful acids and food particles away from your teeth to prevent decay. Vegetables and fruits also have vitamin A for building tooth enamel and vitamin C for healthy gums and quick healing of wounds. But, be careful with nutritious, acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits as they can have acidic effects on the enamel, so eat them as part of a meal and not by themselves.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Oral Health

November 18th, 2020

Your mouth is a window into the health of your entire body. Oral health is often taken for granted, however your mouth can show early signs of nutritional deficiencies, infections, and systemic diseases that affect your body. The health of your mouth and teeth are important, no matter the age.

While most Americans enjoy excellent oral health, cavities remain the most prevalent chronic disease for children. Around 100 million Americans do not see a dentist once a year. Many believe that you should only see a dentist when you are in pain, but in reality, seeing a general dentist on a yearly basis can help prevent oral health issues in the future. Still, it is important to see a dentist if you are in pain. Do not put off seeing anyone when you are feeling any form of discomfort.

Remember, you can practice good oral hygiene at home. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day. Change your toothbrush every three or fourth months and have a balanced diet. And make sure to see your general dentist for check-ups to keep your smile bright and healthy.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Fight the Fear of the Dental Office

November 4th, 2020

We know going into any dental office, whether it's the dentist or orthodontist, can cause some nervous butterflies. You could be scared that the treatment may hurt, you haven't been in for a while, or you're nervous to hear how your orthodontic treatment may go. Whatever your reason, Johnson Orthodontics will make sure your dental and emotional health are taken care of. Here are some strategies you can use at your next appointment to help ease any anxiety you may have:

1. Talk to Us

Sharing your thoughts and feelings makes a huge difference when you are anxious. If you have anxiety about your visit to Johnson Orthodontics, make sure to get your concerns off your chest by speaking with Dr. Johnson. Our team will be able to give you the best treatment if we know your needs.

  • Tell us about your anxiety. You can explain this to the receptionist when you make your appointment, and remind Dr. Johnson and the dental staff when you arrive.
  • Ask questions. We will answer all your questions and concerns, and sometimes knowing what's going to happen during your treatment could alleviate your fears.
  • Give us a signal. Talk to Dr. Johnson and the dental staff about creating a signal for when you are feeling overwhelmed and need a break during your appointment.
  • Feel any pain, tell us. Please don't feel embarrassed if you feel any pain or about your pain tolerance. Talk to our team so we make sure you feel comfortable.

2. Distract Yourself

Here are a few things you can do to try to take your mind off what's going on when the team is working on your teeth. You can do one or a combination of the strategies below.

  • Listen to music or an audiobook. Bring your headphones in and you can drown out the noise around you.
  • Keep your hands busy. Sometimes having something in your hands can help, so if you have a stress ball or even a fidget spinner, bring it in.
  • Daydream. Close your eyes and imagine being somewhere else that's relaxing to you.

3. Use Mindfulness Techniques

Another strategy is to try breathing techniques. This can also be combined with the suggestions for keeping your mind occupied.

  • Count your breaths. Inhale slowly and exhale for the same number of counts. Do this multiple times before you come in, in the lobby, or while you're in the dental chair.
  • Do a body scan. Relax your muscles by starting from your head and going through each body part until you get to your toes.

Dental visits of all kinds can seem scary, but we promise to be there for you every step of the way. We want to make your time getting your orthodontic treatments as easy and relaxing as possible. So try these strategies, and don't forget to let us know if you have any questions or concerns!

source: mouthhealthy.org

Can Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking Affect My Child's Teeth?

November 2nd, 2020

The short answer is yes. While thumb sucking and using a pacifier are natural reflexes, if these habits are prolonged it can exert force on the teeth and jaws.

Some common orthodontic problems due to prolonged thumb sucking and pacifier use include:
- Protruding front teeth, also known as "buck" teeth
- Open bite, which is when the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap and could cause swallowing or speech problems
- Crossbite, upper teeth that fit inside the lower teeth. If not corrected, the jaw can shift to one side causing lopsided jaw growth

If you notice prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use, please contact Dr. Johnson. As an orthodontist, she can identify any orthodontic related issues caused by these habits and can offer early treatments to help your child break the habit and correct any current problems. Seeing an orthodontist at a young age will help your child:
- correct harmful oral habits
- guide jaw growth
- lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- guide permanent teeth into better positions

source: aaoinfo.org

Why Mouth Guards are Essential

October 28th, 2020

With schools returning to in-person learning and sports coming back, it's important to know that wearing a mouth guard while playing sports is essential to protecting your children's teeth.

Most parents support the idea that mouth guards should be worn, but studies show a significant percentage of them do not wear their mouth guards while playing sports. In early 2017, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) collected data in an independent survey* that delivered a clear message: 99 percent of parents whose children play organized sports felt youth should be required to wear mouth guards in order to play. Yet 37 percent of parents said their child never wears a mouth guard while playing sports. This includes games, practices and recreational play.

There is also a misconception that repairing a knocked out or broken tooth is not very expensive. According to the study, parents estimate it would cost $1,142 to replace a damaged permanent tooth, but in reality, costs to treat one knocked-out tooth over a lifetime can range from $5,000 to $20,000**. Parents and patients may not realize that restorations may have to be repeated periodically, which amplifies repair or replacements costs.

Which Sports Should Require Mouth Guards?

In a nutshell, all of them. The AAO's study shows that while a majority of parents think mouth guards should be required for football and hockey, only half the parents said the same thing for basketball and even less than that agreed for baseball. A 2007 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association ranked basketball as the sport at the top of the list for the highest rate of dental injuries for both men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletes. And according to mouth guard manufacturer Shock Doctor, one in four injures on the basketball court occurs above the neck.

Wearing mouth guards should also be extended to sport practices. Forty percent of parents reported that their child’s sports practices are less structured than games, and generally have few or no medical personnel nearby.

Overall, when playing sports, whether it's an official game, practice, or a quick scrimmage in the park with friends, a mouth guard should be worn to protect the teeth from injury.

source: aaoinfo.org

*The American Association of Orthodontists commissioned Wakefield Research to conduct the 2017 AAO Sports Survey among 1,000 U.S. parents whose children play organized sports. The survey was conducted in January 2017 using an email invitation and an online survey. The overall sampling error rate for this survey is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

**Sports Health, “Common Dental Injury Management in Athletes,” vol. 7, no. 3, May-June 2015, p. 250.

 

Invisalign®, Does It Work?

October 26th, 2020

invisalign for adults

Many still believe that braces and orthodontic treatment is for children and teenagers. But that is not true. Orthodontic treatment is for patients of all ages. One type of treatment that adults can do is Invisalign® clear aligners.

How do they work?
Invisalign® clear aligners use the most advanced technology to give you your best smile. Using a series of aligners made with SmartTrack® material, Invisalign treatment can straighten your teeth with 75% more predictability.

First, Dr. Pamela Johnson scans your teeth and with a complete team of specialists, they'll craft a complete digital treatment plan. The aligners are trimmed along your gum line for optimal comfort and aesthetics and are designed to gradually and predictably adjust your teeth as you continue to live your life the way you want. With the combined help of Invisalign and Dr. Johnson, you'll gradually reveal your brand new smile.

And, it's more affordable than you think. Many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign treatments just as they would other orthodontic treatments. Ask Dr. Johnson and her team how to use your orthodontic insurance coverage to help pay for Invisalign treatments.

What Your Orthodontist Wants You to Know During This Time

October 13th, 2020

We know these are uncertain times, but we wanted to let you know our office is open and safe for you to come in. Our mission is to keep our patients and staff safe while providing excellent orthodontic care. We want to reassure you that we are taking all precautions to protect everyone. Here are a few things we want you to know:

1. We are taking many more precautions to protect our patients and staff.

  • Wearing the proper PPE
  • Practicing social distancing etiquette
  • Cleaning and disinfecting more than ever before
  • Asking screening questions and checking temperatures at the front door

2. We continue to stay on top of all safety protocols.

Here at Johnson Orthodontics we continue to educate ourselves on the safety protocols as well as update our infection control protocols to ensure we align with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and all other applicable guidelines.

3. Dentists and orthodontic specialists have always been leaders in infection control and preventing the spread of diseases.

As oral health professionals, we are leaders in safely practicing with blood borne pathogens and respiratory pathogens. We are taking all the CDC recommendations and implementing them in our offices.

4. Your oral health is representative of your overall health.

We use appliances such as springs, coils and memory wires that apply continuous pressure to your teeth and jaw in order to straighten your teeth. Because of this, it is important that adjustments are made to the appliances in a timely manner and that we monitor the movement of your teeth. Also, it's important to know that leaving misaligned teeth untreated could lead to other dental problems.

 

 

 

Why Filing Teeth Yourself is a Bad Idea

October 8th, 2020

If you, your friends, or family use TikTok you may have seen a new trend where people use a nail file to grind their teeth down to make them more even.

Don't do this!

Unlike fingernails which grow back, teeth are permanent. When you attempt to file your teeth at home, you're chipping away at the protective layer of enamel and damaging your teeth. Losing the enamel could lead to tooth sensitivity or even loss.

If you have uneven teeth, come to Johnson Orthodontics. An orthodontist is trained to know the best teeth practices. As an expert, they can determine why your teeth are uneven and can inform you if you are a good candidate for a professional filing, called enameloplasty, or if another type of orthodontic treatment would be more beneficial.

source: aaoinfo.org

Green Tea Extract Fights Tooth Sensitivity and Cavities

September 18th, 2017

Current approaches to treating tooth sensitivity don’t last very long. Now, a team of Chinese researchers has developed a material based on an extract from green tea that provides longer relief and may help prevent cavities as well.

Sensitivity occurs when teeth are worn down to the dentin and to the hollow microscopic tubes found there. When hot and cold liquids and food contact the underlying nerve endings in the teeth via these exposed tubes, pain follows. Unprotected dentin also is vulnerable to cavity formation.

Typically, these tubes are plugged with nanohydroxyapatite, which doesn’t stand up well to regular brushing, grinding, erosion, or acid produced by bacteria. The researchers, though, encapsuled nanohydroxyapatite and a green tea polyphenol known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in silica nanoparticles, which can stand up to acid and wear and tear.

Testing on extracted wisdom teeth showed that the material plugged the dentin tubules, released EGCG for at least 96 hours, stood up to tooth erosion and brushing, and prevented the growth of Streptococcus mutans and biofilm formation. It also showed low toxicity.

Based on these findings, the researchers say the material could be a good candidate for combating tooth sensitivity and cavities. The study, “Development of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate-Encapsulated Nanohydroxyapatite/Mesoporous Silica for Therapeutic Management of Dentin Surface,” was published by Applied Materials & Interfaces.
For more information please visit
www.dentistrytoday.com

Proper Toothbrush Storage “Really Matters.”

April 24th, 2017

USA Today notes that toothbrushes can harbor bacteria, including fecal coliform bacteria. Although it is unlikely these bacteria will cause adverse health effects, USA Today states that “how you store your toothbrush is often what really matters.” The article notes that the American Dental Association recommends people rinse their toothbrushes with tap water after brushing and allow toothbrushes to air dry, since covering toothbrushes can create an environment more conducive to bacteria growth. In addition, the article recommends people replace their toothbrushes every three to four months and never share a toothbrush.

MouthHealthy.org and the Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provide additional information on toothbrush care for patients and dental professionals. In addition, the ADA provides a list of toothbrushes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Natural Teeth Whitening: Fact vs. Fiction

April 12th, 2017

When it comes to teeth whitening, you may see many different methods featured online and in magazines—from oil pulling to charcoal, and even turmeric. It's no surprise that DIY whitening is top of mind, either. When the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked people what they’d most like to improve their smile, the most common response was whiter teeth.

Healthy smiles come in many shades, though it's tempting to think ingredients in our own kitchens could hold the key to a brighter smile. Still, just because a method is natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, DIY whitening can do more harm than good to your teeth. Here’s how:

Fruits

Fiction:
The approach maintains you can make your teeth whiter and brighter household staples that are naturally acidic (like lemons, oranges, apple cider vinegar), contain digestive enzymes (such as pineapple or mango) and something that is abrasive (like baking soda).

Fact:
When eaten as usual, fruit is a great choice. However, fruit and vinegar contain acid, and you put your pearly whites at risk when you prolong their contact with your teeth or use them to scrub your teeth because acid can wear away your enamel. Enamel is the thin outer coating of your teeth that protects you from tooth sensitivity and cavities.

Scrubs

Activated charcoal

Fiction:
These methods claim that scrubbing your teeth with ingredients like activated charcoal or a baking soda-hydrogen peroxide paste will bring a shine back to your smile.

Fact:
Using materials that are too abrasive on your teeth can actually make them look more yellow. Enamel is what you’re looking to whiten, but if you’re using a scrub that is too rough, you can actually wear it away. When that happens, the next layer of your tooth can become exposed – a softer, yellow tissue called dentin.

Instead, choose a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The Seal lets you know the toothpaste you choose is safe, effective and won’t damage your teeth.

Spices and Oils

Turmeric powder

Fiction:
Swishing oils like coconut oil in your mouth (oil pulling) or using spices like turmeric can help whiten your teeth.

Fact:
There is no reliable scientific evidence to show oil pulling or turmeric whitens teeth. Save the oil and spices for healthy meals instead.

Still Interested in Whitening?

Patient getting her teeth whitened at the dentist

The best natural ways to keep your teeth white are everyday healthy habits, including:

If you want to try a specific whitening product or service, just talk to your dentist before you begin. Whitening may not work on all teeth, and if you are a candidate, some methods—whether at-home or in the dental office—may be better for your teeth than others.

for more information please visit www.mouthhealthy.org

Gum Disease

February 1st, 2017

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:
•gums that bleed easily
•red, swollen, tender gums
•gums that have pulled away from the teeth
•persistent bad breath or bad taste
•permanent teeth that are loose or separating
•any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
•any change in the fit of partial dentures

Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:
•poor oral hygiene
•smoking or chewing tobacco
•genetics
•crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
•pregnancy
•diabetes
•medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives

See your dentist if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.

Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States. It can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. This is the most common form of periodontitis in adults but can occur at any age. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.

Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone and may occur in some areas of the mouth, or in the entire mouth.

Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. While a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.

It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. Remember: You don’t have to lose teeth to gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

for more information please visit: http://www.mouthhealthy.org

Taking Care Of Children’s Oral Health Is Necessary.

November 30th, 2016

In an article in U.S. News & World Report , Jonathan Fielding, MD, professor of public health and pediatrics at UCLA, states that “we are not taking care of our children’s teeth,” noting that “tooth decay is among the most common chronic conditions of childhood,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Poor oral health in children can cause pain and infections and adversely affect school attendance and learning. Dr. Fielding notes that according to the American Dental Association, there are “more than 125 health conditions that may affect or be affected by oral health, including cardiovascular disease, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, obesity, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.” In addition, the ADA states that children with tooth decay are more likely to have tooth decay as adults. Given this, Dr. Fielding recommends children practice good dental hygiene and make dietary changes, while also stressing the need for additional public health steps, such as expanding access to fluoridated water, applying fluoride varnish and sealants to teeth, increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates, and expanding the availability of dental coverage.

The ADA’s Action for Dental Health aims to prevent dental disease before it starts and reduce the proportion of adults and children with untreated dental disease. Learn more.

for more information please visit bulletinhealthcare.com

12 tips for a healthy halloween!

October 19th, 2016

Halloween is around the corner, which for most children means bags of free candy and a chance to build a stockpile of sweets for the winter. No surprise, Halloween can also present parents with a variety of health and safety challenges. “It’s OK to eat that candy on Halloween but it’s important to have a plan,” says ADA dentist Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty.

Here's how you can help your family stay MouthHealthy on Halloween and year-round.

Time It Right
Eat Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.

Stay Away from Sweet Snacks
Snacking can increase your risk of cavities, and it’s double the trouble if you keep grabbing sugary treats from the candy bowl. ”Snacking on candy throughout the day is not ideal for your dental health or diet,” Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty says.

Choose Candy Carefully
Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. Aside from how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.

Avoid Sticky Situations
Sticky candies cling to your teeth. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.

Have a Plan
It’s tempting to keep that candy around, but your teeth will thank you if you limit your stash. “Have your family pick their favorites and donate the rest,” Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty says. “Look for organizations that help you donate candy to troops overseas, like Operation Gratitude, or see if your dentist has a candy take-back program.”

Drink More Water
Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are fluoridated.

Maintain a Healthy Diet
Your body is like a complex machine. The foods you choose as fuel and how often you "fill up" affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums.

Stay Away from Sugary Beverages
This includes soda, sports drinks and flavored waters. When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased.

Chew Gum with the ADA Seal
Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by bacteria. “You might even want to think about giving sugarless gum out as a treat instead of candy,” says Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty. Find one with the ADA Seal.

Brush Twice a Day

Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Remember, replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won't do a good job of cleaning your teeth.

Clean Between Your Teeth

Floss your teeth once a day. Decay-causing bacteria get between teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.

Visit an ADA Dentist

Regular visits to your ADA-member dentist can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur early, when they are easy to "treat."

More from MouthHealthy
•Your Halloween candy survival guide
•Get pumpkin carving stencils, coloring sheets and more MouthHealthy Halloween activities for kids!
for more info visit www.mouthhealthy.org

Menopause

October 11th, 2016

Menopause is a huge change in a woman’s life and a woman’s mouth, including altered taste, burning sensations in your mouth and increased sensitivity. “They’re all related to hormones,” Dr. Boghosian says.

Still, there are two critical changes to be aware of: dry mouth and bone loss. “Saliva cleanses the teeth and rinses cavity-causing bacteria off your teeth,” Dr. Boghosian says. “When you have dry mouth, your saliva flow decreases and you’re more at risk for cavities.”

Talk to your dentist if your mouth is feeling dry. “If dry mouth is a problem, suck on ice chips or sugar-free candy, drink water or other caffeine-free drinks and use an over-the-counter dry mouth spray or rinse to help reduce the dryness,” Dr. Cram says. “Your dentist may also recommend prescription strength fluoride toothpaste that helps reduce the risk of tooth decay.”

What you eat can also make a difference when it comes to dry mouth. Avoid salty, spicy, sticky and sugary foods, as well as and dry foods that are hard to chew. Alcohol, tobacco and caffeine can also make dry mouth worse. At night, sleeping with a humidifier on in your room can also make a difference.

Losing bone in your jaw can lead to tooth loss. “The decreased estrogen that occurs with menopause also puts you at risk for a loss of bone density,” Dr. Boghosian says. “Signs of bone loss in your jaw can be something as simple as receding gums. When your gums recede, more of your tooth is exposed and that puts more of your tooth at risk for decay. And if your mouth is dry, that’s a double whammy.”

To help reduce your risk of bone loss, work with your dentist or physician to make sure you’re getting the right amount of calcium and vitamin D, don’t smoke and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

for more information please visit www.mouthhealthy.org

Popular Health Foods May Contribute To Teeth Discoloration, Dental Erosion.

May 3rd, 2016

The Daily Mail reports that “some of the most popular health foods” may negatively affect dental health. The acid content in green smoothies, for example, may damage enamel, while nutrient-rich beetroot may contribute to teeth staining. The article provides several “tooth-friendly” alternatives, recommending whole fruits and vegetables, nuts in moderation, and cheese.

Meanwhile, a second article in the Daily Mail states, “People make a number of simple mistakes” that can harm teeth, such as chewing ice cubes, eating dried fruits, using a toothbrush with hard bristles, using teeth as tools, and having tongue and lip piercings.
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on diet and dental health, foods that affect dental health, and habits that harm teeth.

Cigarette smoking alters the mouth microbiota

April 27th, 2016

Smoking significantly changes the mouth's microbiome, with potential implications for tooth decay and the ability to break down toxins, according to results published in the ISME (International Society for Microbial Ecology) Journal.
Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and mortality in the US, leading to 480,000 deaths annually, or 20% of all deaths.

Over 16 million people live with a smoking-related illness in the US, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In 2014, the CDC estimated that 16.8% of Americans aged 18 years and over were cigarette smokers, or around 40 million adults.

Much recent research has focused on imbalances in the gut microbiota and how they relate to immune disorders such as Crohn's disease and gastrointestinal cancers.

There are around 600 species of bacteria in the human mouth. Over 75% of oral cancers are thought to be linked to smoking, but it remains unclear whether microbial differences in the mouth affect the risk for cancer.
Written by Yvette Brazier

Reader’s Digest Identifies Seven Health Issues Dentists May Detect

April 21st, 2016

Reader’s Digest (4/19, Bender) states that “dentists are trained to spot more than just cavities,” listing seven dental problems that “may signal a health issue happening elsewhere in the body.” The article states, for example, that a dentist may be able to detect that a patient has diabetes. “Red, swollen gums that may bleed are the hallmarks of periodontal disease,” and people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. “If gums bleed a lot and are swollen or the patient is having frequent abscesses or infections, the dentist might start to question if you have a family history of diabetes,” says ADA spokesperson Dr. Sally Cram. Dentists may also be able to detect if a patient is stressed. “Grinding or clenching your teeth can be a sign that you’re under pressure,” the article states, adding that Dr. Cram also notes canker sores appear more often in people who are stressed. In addition, dentists may be able to identify patients with acid reflux, low bone mineral density, an autoimmune disease, an eating disorder, or celiac disease. By Rachel Grumman Bender
Reader's Digest provides additional information

Consulting With A Dentist Advised To Treat Bruxism, Sleep Apnea

April 18th, 2016

The Huffington Post“The Blog” states that there are several “links between your teeth and sleep,” noting, for example, that bruxism “commonly occurs during sleep and can cause pain and damage to teeth.” According to the article, bruxism is “very common” and may be “exacerbated or precipitated by stress and/or anxiety” or sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. Using oral appliances is one strategy for managing bruxism, and they also may be an option for treating sleep apnea, the article states, recommending people speak with their dentist if they think they may have sleep apnea or bruxism. MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on bruxism and sleep apnea.

TIME Considers Benefits Of Using Mouthwash.

March 29th, 2016

Citing ADA spokesperson Dr. Matt Messina extensively, TIME (3/23, Heid) considers whether using mouthwash is a safe and effective step in a person’s dental care routine. “I like to say mouthwash is an addition to proper oral hygiene, not a substitute,” said Dr. Messina. While mouthwash use does not replace daily brushing or a twice-yearly dentist visit, it may help freshen your breath, and in most cases is safe, he says. Dr. Messina said concerning antiseptic or antibacterial mouth rinses, for those with “periodontal disease or some harmful types of mouth bacteria, an antibacterial rinse could help kill the bacteria that cause the disease,” although he advises speaking with a dentist first. Dr. Messina adds, “You don’t need mouthwash, but if you enjoy it, or you have bad breath and feel it helps, then there’s no substantiated risks to rinsing once or twice a day.” MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on mouthwashes

Conventional Pacifiers Lead to Malocclusion

March 7th, 2016

New parents often are told to take away their baby’s pacifier once the first tooth erupts. Otherwise, those new teeth will come in crooked, according to the conventional wisdom. One recent study from Brazil suggests that this advice is correct, too. Subjects were divided into a control group without nonnutritive sucking habits, a group with orthodontic pacifiers, and a group with conventional pacifiers. Data was collected at birth, between the ages of 12 and 24 months, and between the ages of 24 and 36 months, followed by a clinical examination. The researchers compared the prevalence and severity of anterior open bite, accentuated overjet, anterior crossbite, and posterior crossbite. With the use of a questionnaire, they found that the frequency, intensity, and duration of pacifier use all were associated with the occurrence of malocclusion compared to the control group. Additionally, the researchers found a significant difference in the prevalence of malocclusion between the subjects using conventional pacifiers and orthodontic pacifiers for anterior overbite. Conventional pacifier use led to a greater risk of posterior crossbite, while orthodontic pacifier use did not.The study, “Effects of Conventional and Orthodontic Pacifiers on the Dental Occlusion of Children Aged 24-36 Months Old,” was published by the International Journal of Pediatric Dentisry
- See more at: Additionally, the researchers found a significant difference in the prevalence of malocclusion between the subjects using conventional pacifiers and orthodontic pacifiers for anterior overbite. Conventional pacifier use led to a greater risk of posterior crossbite, while orthodontic pacifier use did not. The study, “Effects of Conventional and Orthodontic Pacifiers on the Dental Occlusion of Children Aged 24-36 Months Old,” was published by the International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry. - See more at: http://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/industrynews/item/757-

"Another Good Reason To Straighten Your Teeth"

January 14th, 2016

Periodontal disease has been seen as a risk factor for a host of systemic issues, including heart disease, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. A study from Taiwan suggests that it may be linked with pancreatic cancer as well. Researchers identified 139,805 subjects with periodontal disease and 75,085 subjects without it in the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. Next, they performed Cox proportional hazards regression to compare the incidence of pancreatic cancer between the groups. The research showed a predominant positive association between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer risk among subjects age 65 and older, though it was not observed among those younger than 65. Periodontal disease also proved to be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer independent of diabetes, hyperlipidemia, allergies, viral hepatitis, peptic ulcer, pancreatitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (as a proxy for cigarette smoking), and alcoholic-related conditions (as a proxy for drinking alcohol). However, the underlying biological mechanisms behind the association require further investigation, researchers said.

How coffee can actually protect your teeth

January 4th, 2016

Your morning mugful might do more than just boost your energy — it could protect your teeth, too. In a recent study, Boston University researchers discovered that men who drank one or more cups of coffee per day showed significantly less bone loss in their teeth over 30 years than those who sipped less.

Along with having sturdier (and, yes, more stained) teeth, the daily coffee drinkers showed no signs of gum disease, like bleeding gums. This was even after the researchers controlled for factors that could increase their risk, like alcohol consumption, smoking, and brushing or flossing too hard. Coffee, it seems, was an X-factor in keeping these teeth healthy.

According to study author Raul Garcia, this could be thanks to the chemical components in brewed coffee, which have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds — including caffeine, caffeic acid, and chlorogenic acid — combat the oxidative damage and inflammation that cause gum disease. Oxidative damage can also lead to a whole host of diseases that affect your whole body, like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

RELATED: The Best Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

It's not surprising then, that the more coffee the men consumed, the more their teeth benefited. "Men who drank more than six cups per day had, on average, significantly fewer teeth with moderate to severe bone loss than those who drank less than six," Garcia says. "But of course, that much coffee per day may have other negative consequences, such as sleeping problems." More than four cups a day has also been linked to irritability, rapid heartbeat, and even an increased risk of early death.

So how much coffee is ideal for your teeth? "Although we didn't report data on this, we looked into it, and we found that an average of two or more cups a day had the most benefit," Garcia says. Other experts have suggested capping your consumption at three cups. But note that if you take your coffee with sugar, you up your risk of cavities.

Low-Carb diets can cause bad breath?

December 10th, 2015

Low-carb diets may be good for your waistline, but you might not be able to say the same for your breath.

Low-carb lifestyle junkies are more likely to suffer from a seldom discussed side effect of such diets -- halitosis, aka bad breath. And since more than 25 million people say they have tried the Atkins diet (not to mention other low-carb eating plans), according to the National Marketing Institute, bad breath may be an epidemic!

Bad breath in the low/no-carb sect is often caused by certain chemicals that are released in the breath as the body burns fat. They are called ketones, and entering into a fat-burning state of ketosis is the hallmark of the Atkins diet. So the good news is that if your breath stinks, you're probably doing a good job of sticking to that low-carb diet.

"Carbohydrates aren't readily available, so you start to use other fats and proteins as your source of energy, and as a result you are going to get a breath problem," explains Kenneth Burrell, DDS, the senior director of the council on scientific affairs of the American Dental Association.

Pass the Bread?
This is not an oral hygiene problem, Burrell says, so "all the brushing, flossing, and scraping of the tongue that you can do is not possibly enough to overcome this."

The bottom line is that you must "reconsider the diet and modify it so this doesn't happen," he says. Sure, "there may be some ways to mask it by using mouthwashes, but you can't overcome the fundamental problem other than by changing the diet -- or at least introducing some carbohydrates."

"It's a difficult problem to solve because if one uses any sucking candy or lozenge, one has to be careful that it has no sugar in it" as sugar is a big no-no on many low-carb eating plans, says S. Lawrence Simon, DDS, a New York City periodontist. Even so-called "sugar-free" products are often loaded with carbs.

"If you have a metabolic cause of bad breath, there is very little the dentist can do; you have to change your diet," he says.

In fact, "the South Beach diet permits more carbs than the traditional Atkins diet, so there is bound to be less bad breath on South Beach because you are not going into a state of ketosis," he says.

Got braces? Tips for successful holiday meals

November 25th, 2015

Eating can be quiet a challenge when you have braces on your teeth -- especially when you are faced with tempting holiday food for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah! Brackets often poke into your gums and cheeks, and you just can't seem to chew properly. It’s not just a problem for kids – a growing number of adults now wear orthodontic braces, too!

Lynn Schneider, owner of DentaKit.com and ArchWired.com, two websites that specialize in orthodontic products and information, offers her tips for successful holiday feasting, along with the help of Pamela Waterman, president of Metal Mouth Media and author of The Braces Cookbook and The Braces Cookbook 2. Schneider and Waterman both had braces on their teeth as adults, and had daughters in braces, as well.

“When you have braces, you may find that your teeth don't touch the way they did before, which changes the way you chew,” Schneider says. “As your treatment continues and your teeth shift, you may continually need to adapt to biting and chewing in a slightly different way. Patience is the key.”

But patience may be in short supply when you’re faced with delicious hard-to-resist holiday foods, which can be sticky, chewy, or contain nuts! Waterman adds, “Your holiday meals don’t have to be boring just because you are in braces. Our Braces Cookbooks offer a large variety of gourmet recipes, many which can be adapted for the holidays.”

Schneider and Waterman offer these tips to make it easier for you and your kids to cope this holiday season:

1. Slow down. Chew slowly and carefully, and cut your food into small pieces. Forget about taking big bites of anything, or wolfing down your food. The key word here is: SLOW!

2. Stick to soft food. But when faced with foods that might be a bit chewy, your knife and fork are your best friends. Cut that turkey and ham into small pieces, enjoy soups and soft foods like mashed potatoes, soften the stuffing with gravy, and stick to smooth jellied cranberry sauce.

3. Avoid stringy foods, especially if you have a palate expander. You may love to wind your pasta around your fork, but for now it would be better for you to cut it into small pieces, or it will get wound around your brackets. Also, be careful with foods that get stringy when cooked, like some soft cheeses and spaghetti squash.

4. You may love pecan pie, but for right now it won’t love you! Foods with nuts and seeds often get stuck in your brackets and will drive you crazy until you finally brush and get them out. Sticky foods will likely stick to your brackets and make a mess. Avoid biting into anything hard that may break or pop off a bracket, such as candy canes or hard cookies. For dessert, go for the pumpkin pie, mousse, pudding, soft truffles and cakes, or ice cream. Or chop the pecans extremely finely in a food processor and make a special small tart for yourself.

5. Bite with the side of your mouth. It may be virtually impossible to bite into anything with your front teeth, anyway! Get used to biting with your side teeth, instead.

6. Beware of anything containing large hidden chunks of meat or vegetables, such as burritos or sandwich wraps (including that leftover turkey sandwich!) Bite carefully into those types of foods so that you don't choke, or better yet, eat them with a fork and knife instead.

7. One-bite type appetizers and sushi can be very challenging and could gag you. You should probably cut these in half instead of trying to pop an entire piece of it into your mouth. Avoid appetizers that are hard; stick to the softer ones. Raw fruits and veggies are great, but take small bites or cut them into thin pieces.

8. Develop an arsenal of soft food recipes, and bring something to the holiday table that you know you can eat, and that others will enjoy. You don't need to sentence yourself to boring soups and shakes. There are several cookbooks that can help you prepare healthy, delicious meals, such as The Braces Cookbook, and The Braces Cookbook2.

9. If eating becomes too uncomfortable because of mouth sores or poking brackets, apply plenty of dental wax or dental silicone.

10. Holiday eating often involves parties or dinners away from home. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that orthodontic patients brush and floss shortly after eating, so a good dental kit is essential.

Celebrating the holidays with orthodontic braces may be challenging, but you can get through it successfully with a little forethought, adapted recipes, and the right dental products.

What you Need to know if your child snores,grinds, or is a mouth breather

November 12th, 2015

Snoring, mouth breathing, and grinding and clenching the teeth are all signs of sleep-disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnea in children.

How Does Mouth Breathing Hurt My Child?

While it may seem harmless, mouth breathing affects how your child develops, your child’s behavior and personality, as well as the adult that your child grows up to be.

Most healthcare professionals, including your doctor, might tell you not to worry about mouth breathing and insist that your child will “grow out of it.”

But the truth is, mouth breathing can have devastating effects on the development of the face and airway.

How Mouth Breathing Changes Facial and Oral Development

When nasal breathing is blocked, facial and dental development become abnormal.

In both human and animal studies, when nasal breathing is blocked, untreated mouth breathing leads to development of long, narrow faces with crooked teeth, receded jaw, and future TMD and headache issues.mouth breathing development

But it’s not just about looks. When the jaw and airway don’t fully develop, the airway can become easily obstructed during sleep.

During the complete muscle relaxation of deep stage sleep, the muscles around the airway also relax and collapse. The airway is a tight space, often made tighter by large tonsils and adenoids in both children and infants.

If the airway becomes obstructed, the brain must bounce out of deep sleep and into a lighter stage of sleep in order to grind and clench to push the jaw forward to allow for breathing again.

Grinding and clenching are the body’s way of reopening a collapsed airway during sleep to start breathing again. This is why grinding and clenching are the new red flag for catching sleep apnea early on.

How Mouth Breathing Impacts Behavior and Personality

Interrupting deep sleep like this impacts development.

development of mouth breathersDeep sleep is when Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released, which is essential to a child’s brain development and long bone growth. Once deep sleep is interrupted, HGH stops being secreted. Not having enough HGH stunts your growth and brain development.

Deep sleep is the body’s chance to restore, repair, and heal from the stress of the day. It’s a time of memory consolidation and cementing learning. Hormones that control appetite and other critical functions are regulated and stabilized during this stage.

In a child who is snoring, grinding and clenching, or breathing through the mouth, the brain is not able to rest and sleep is not restorative.

Children who are deprived of deep sleep are often hyperactive as a result of adrenaline used to compensate for sleepiness. They often aren’t able to achieve their academic potential because their brains and bodies aren’t at their best in this damaged, deep sleep-deprived state. They’re often diagnosed with ADHD and other behavioral issues. They have lowered immune systems, poor health, and can be overweight.

Strategies for Parents

Make sure your child can breathe through her nose with ease.
Make sure your child has seen a dentist by age one. Make sure that this dentist is concerned with recognizing mouth breathing and its implications.
Make sure your child is treated for allergies. Allergies can force children into mouth breathing.
Make sure that your child’s diet and environment aren’t contributing to allergies.
Ask your dentist if your child needs a referral to an orthodontist if he’s mouth breathing.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Gum Disease

November 4th, 2015

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. Anyone can get it, though it affects women more than men, and it’s most common among older people. The immune system attacks the body’s tissues, but its exact causes aren’t known. Yet research has found a connection between RA and periodontal disease.

One recent study included 44 patients diagnosed with RA according to American Rheumatism Association criteria attending the Morales Meseguer Hospital Rheumatology Service in Murcia, Spain, and 41 control subjects. Patients younger than 18 or suffering systemic diseases that could affect the immune system were excluded.

Each patient received a full periodontal examination. Bleeding on probing was significantly greater in the RA group (0.9 +/- 0.36) than the control (P < 0.001). The plaque index also was significantly higher in the RA group (0.76 +/- 0.34) than the control group (0.55 +/- 0.2, P < 0.001).

Overall, the researchers concluded that the RA patients showed a 0.13 increased risk of periodontal disease (95% confidence interval, 0.05 to 0.37). They also determined that these patients must be instructed to intensify their oral hygiene regimes.

Five ways to stop Bleeding Gums

October 26th, 2015

As you brush your teeth, you might notice a bit of redness around your gums. While you might be tempted to ignore the blood, bleeding gums is an early sign of gum disease, according to the National Library of Medicine. The bleeding is due to inflammation in the gums caused by build-up plaque or overly vigorous brushing. If you notice some blood when you brush or floss, it is essential that you see a dentist. There are also some things you can do on your own to stop bleeding gums.

Eat a Healthier Diet

Improving your diet can go a long way toward improving your oral health and stopping bleeding gums. A diet full of whole foods, such as vegetables and fruits, gives your gums the nutrients they need. If your diet is packed with nutritionally deficient, sugary foods, such as candy, soda and refined breads, your gums aren't getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy and intact.

Improve Your Dental Care Routine

Taking good care of your mouth at home can also help stop bleeding gums. Brushing and flossing regularly removes bacteria from the mouth that can inflame your gums, and using the right devices and brushing properly can also help improve the overall health of your mouth and reverse early gum disease. For example, a medium- or firm-bristled toothbrush can be damaging to the gums when pressure is applied during tooth brushing. Brush gently, using short strokes, to effective brush the teeth and gum line.

Relax

If you're always on the go or always up against a deadline, the amount of stress in your life could be causing your gums to bleed. High levels of stress can affect your oral health in a number of ways. First, stress increases inflammation in your body, which makes your gums more likely to bleed. Too much stress also reduces your immune system's functionality, making it more difficult for your body to fight infection and to heal. A 2006 study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, found that women with stress-related depression had higher levels of inflammation in the gums and increases levels of plaque buildup.

When you're stressed out, you're also less likely to take good care of yourself. That might mean you skip brushing or flossing or choose to eat fast food instead of a balanced meal. Reduce stress in your life by learning to say no to projects when you have too much on your plate and by taking a few minutes to breathe in and out when you start to feel overwhelmed.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is terrible for your health. Along with increasing your risk for certain cancers and heart disease, it plays a big role in the development of gum disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. The toxins in tobacco smoke keep your gums from getting the nutrition that they need, and can lead to inflammation. Quitting can be tough, but it's one of the most important things to do if you want to protect your oral and overall health.

Stop Sharing

Gum disease and bleeding gums are contagious. If your partner has a lot of bacteria in his or her mouth, then you're likely increasing your risk for gum problems. Avoid sharing anything that comes into contact with another person's mouth, from toothbrushes to water glasses.

Seeing your dentist for an examination and teeth cleaning on a regular basis is essential to putting an end to bleeding gums and to treating gum disease before it becomes a major issue. If it's been a while since you've seen your dentist and you've noticed a bit of blood when you brush, make an appointment today. Getting the issue diagnosed and making the necessary changes will help improve the health of your mouth considerably.

Early Orthodontics may mean less treatment later

September 28th, 2015

Orthodontic treatment in young children is known as interceptive orthodontics. Intervention may begin as early as age 6 or 7. At this age, teeth are still developing. The jaw is still growing. That means certain conditions, such as crowding, may be easier to address.

Before permanent teeth have come in, it may be possible to help teeth to erupt (emerge through the gums) into better positions. It's common, for example, for the dental arch to be too small to fit all of the teeth. A few decades ago, the solution for crowding was almost always to extract some of the permanent teeth to make space. Then fixed braces were used to position the teeth properly.

Early intervention takes advantage of the fact that a child's jaw is still growing. For example, a device called a palatal expander may be used to expand the child's upper dental arch. Once the arch is the proper size, there's a better chance that the adult teeth will emerge in better position. Sometimes teeth still may be crowded after all of them have erupted. In such cases, some permanent teeth may still have to be extracted to make room to align the teeth properly.

So-called early treatment also may be useful when the dental arches and jaws are not in the correct position. Functional appliances may fix or improve these problems. More treatment usually is needed later on, but it may be shorter and less involved.

"It is important to note that children who receive interceptive orthodontics generally still need braces or other orthodontic appliances later," Dr. Cangialosi says. "However, this early treatment may shorten and simplify future treatment in selected cases." This is commonly known as two-phase treatment.

It is important to note that early treatment does not apply to all orthodontic problems. However, it may help in certain cases.

How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all their permanent teeth in around age 13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Your child continues sucking their thumb after age five
  • Speech impediments
  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all
  • Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes their mouth (crossbites)
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

Perfect Bite, Pretty Face?

September 10th, 2015

The appearance of a person's bite affects how their attractiveness, personality and intelligence is rated by other adults, according to a study.

A study published in the November 2011 edition of the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics asked 889 people to evaluate photos that had been manipulated to show either a normal bite or one of six imperfect bites, called occlusion or malocclusion in the dental world.

“The ratings of attractiveness, intelligence, conscientiousness, agreeableness and extraversion differed significantly depending on the occlusion status depicted,” the report said.

Those with an underbite were rated least attractive, intelligent and extraverted. Females with an imperfect bite were rated more favorably than males. Younger and more educated respondents were more critical in their evaluations than older, less educated respondents.

Drs. Jase A. Olsen, a private practitioner in Southern Pines, N.C., and Marita Rohr Inglehart, associate professor in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry conducted the study.

"Judgments that are negatively influenced by the effects of malocclusion might leave those without a normal occlusion at a social disadvantage and professionally handicapped," the study notes.

The study also quotes earlier research showing that "attractive" people were perceived to be more intelligent and socially competent, to have a more positive personality, to have better social interactions and to receive more favorable professional ratings.

In addition, the study quotes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination III from 1988-91, which showed that 57 percent to 59 percent of adults had some degree of an imperfect bite.

Although that study is two decades old, it still provides the most current prevalence data for malocclusion among U.S. adults.

The American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics is the official publication of the American Association of Orthodontists.

© 2015 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

Braces can improve your smile and your Oral Health

August 20th, 2015

Orthodontic treatment is used to correct a "bad bite," a condition known as a malocclusion that involves teeth that are crowded or crooked. Correcting the problem can create a beautiful looking smile, but more importantly, orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth. Crooked and crowded teeth make cleaning the mouth difficult, which can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease and possibly tooth loss.

Orthodontics is a specialty area of dentistry. The purpose of orthodontics is to treat malocclusion through braces, corrective procedures and other appliances to straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment. An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed an additional three year period of full time post graduate schooling to specialize in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

Good oral hygiene is especially important when braces are present. Brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will keep your teeth healthy. Patients with braces should maintain a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. Dr Johnson will recommend avoiding certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires. These foods may include nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice and sticky foods like chewing gum, caramel or other chewy candy.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

July 30th, 2015

Bad breath facts

Bad breath, or halitosis, is characterized by an unpleasant odor of the mouth.

  • Causes of bad breath include food, tobacco products, poor dental hygiene, health problems, dry mouth, mouth infections, dental problems, or medications.
  • Symptoms of bad breath include unpleasant odor or taste in the mouth, dry mouth, or white coating on the tongue.
  • Treatments for bad breath include proper dental hygiene, mouthwash, sugar-free gum, quitting smoking, and changing bad habits.
  • Bad breath can usually be prevented by proper tooth brushing, quitting smoking, and avoiding foods that cause bad breath odors.

What is the definition of bad breath?

The definition of bad breath, or halitosis, is an unpleasant odor of the mouth. It can occur on occasion, or it can be a chronic condition. It may be caused by foods a person eats, poor oral hygiene, medical conditions, or other factors.

What are the causes and risk factors of bad breath?

There are many risk factors and causes for bad breath; some common causes are listed below.

  • Food: Food is a primary source of bad odors that come from the mouth. Some foods, such as garlic, onions, and spicy foods, exotic spices (such as curry), some cheeses, fish, and acidic beverages such as coffee can leave a lingering smell. Most of the time this is short term. Other foods may get stuck in the teeth, promoting the growth of bacteria, which causes bad breath odor. Low carbohydrate diets may also cause "ketone breath." These diets cause the body to burn fat as its energy source. The end-product of making this energy is ketones, which cause a fruity acetone-like odor on the breath when exhaled.
  • Tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco can leave chemicals that remain in the mouth. Smoking can also precipitate other bad-breath causes such as gum disease or oral cancers.
  • Poor dental hygiene: When a person does not brush or floss regularly, food particles remaining in the mouth can rot and cause bad odors. Poor dental care can lead to a buildup of plaque in the mouth, which causes an odor of its own. Plaque buildup can also lead to periodontal (gum) disease. The mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis; if gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis.
  • Health problems: Sinus infections, pneumonia, sore throat (pharyngitis) and other throat infections, tonsil stones (tonsilloliths), thrush, bronchitis, postnasal drip, diabetes, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, other stomach problems, and some liver diseases or kidney diseases may be associated with bad breath.
  • Dry mouth: Also called xerostomia, dry mouth can also cause bad breath. Saliva helps moisten and cleanse the mouth, and when the body does not product enough saliva, bad breath may result. Dry mouth may be caused by salivary gland problems, connective tissue disorders (Sjögren's syndrome), medications, or breathing through the mouth.
  • Mouth infections: Cavities, gum disease, or impacted teeth may cause bad breath.
  • Dentures or braces: Food particles not properly cleaned from appliances can rot or cause bacteria and odor. Loose-fitting dentures may cause sores or infections in the mouth, which can cause bad breath.
  • Medications: Many medications, including antihistamines and diuretics, can cause dry mouth (see above), which can cause bad breath. Other medications that may lead to bad breath may include triamterene (Dyrenium) and paraldehyde.
  • "Morning breath": Bad breath in the morning is very common. Saliva production nearly stops during sleep, which allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
  • Pregnancy: Being pregnant in itself does not cause bad breath, but the nausea and morning sickness common during pregnancy may cause bad breath. In addition, hormonal changes, dehydration, and eating different foods due to cravings may also contribute to bad breath during pregnancy.
  • Other causes of bad breath: Objects stuck in the nose (usually in children), alcoholism, and large doses of vitamin supplements may also cause bad breath.

How is bad breath treated? What can be done to prevent bad breath?

Treatment of bad breath depends on the cause.

  • Brush and floss teeth regularly. Remember to brush the tongue, too. This can help with bad breath caused by foods a person has eaten.
  • See a dentist regularly to ensure dentures or braces are properly fitted and cleaned.
  • Quit smoking or using chewing tobacco.

Keep the mouth moist by drinking water and chewing sugarless gum or sugar-free hard candy to stimulate the production of saliva. Mouthwash may temporarily mask bad breath odors, but it may not treat the underlying cause.

Natural remedies to treat bad breath include chewing on mint or parsley.

If bad breath is due to a health problem such as a sinus infection, diabetes, acid reflux, etc., then the underlying medical issue needs to be treated.

If bad breath is a side effect of taking a medication, discuss with a doctor whether there are other options for medication that can be taken. Never stop taking a medication without first consulting a doctor.

What is an Orthodontist?

July 16th, 2015

There are three steps in an orthodontist’s education: college, dental school and orthodontic residency program. It can take 10 or more years of education after high school to become an orthodontist. After completing college requirements, the prospective orthodontist attends dental school. Upon graduation, the future orthodontist must be accepted* as a student in an accredited orthodontic residency program, then successfully complete a minimum of two academic years of study. The orthodontic student learns the skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics). • Only those who have successfully completed this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists.” • Orthodontists limit their scope of work to orthodontics only.** • Orthodontists are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens and adults. Well-aligned teeth are more than attractive: they make it possible to bite, chew and speak effectively. Orthodontic care is often part of a comprehensive oral health plan. • Orthodontists use a variety of “appliances,” including braces, clear aligner trays and retainers, to move teeth or hold them in their new positions. Because of orthodontists’ advanced education and clinical experience, they have the knowledge and skills necessary to recommend the best kind of appliance to meet every individual patient’s treatment goals. • Only orthodontists are eligible for membership in the American Association of Orthodontists

Adapting Your Diet after an Orthodontic Adjustment

April 20th, 2015

If you have just gotten braces or had them tightened, it may take a few days for your teeth to adjust. During this time, you’ll want to take extra precautions to prevent unnecessary pain and potential damage to your teeth, gums, and appliances. Don’t worry: Any discomfort you experience will soon disappear. And it’ll all be worth it in the end. Your new, beautiful smile will be yours for a lifetime!

Change What You Eat

Eating inappropriate foods can cause unnecessary pain. Here are some easy ways you can adapt your diet and eating habits after an adjustment.

1.  Cut your food into small pieces. Any food that requires chewing can be cut up into bite-sized pieces. This includes sandwiches, pizza, meat, and bread.

2.  Eat softer foods. In the first couple of days, stick to soft foods such as yogurt, pudding, and soups. Mashed potatoes and applesauce are good options as well. It’s easy to cook fruits and vegetables to make them softer: just steam them in the microwave!

3.  Be gentle with your teeth. Braces give your teeth a workout, so to ease soreness, be gentle with your teeth. Avoid chewy foods that can further irritate already-sore teeth and gums.

Dealing with Discomfort

Even if you alter your diet and take extra precautions, your mouth may still be sore or irritated. Here are some ways to reduce any lingering discomfort.

1.  Eat slowly and carefully. If it hurts to chew something, stop! If chewing is needed, try to use your back teeth as much as possible.

2.  Put pain on ice. Try sucking on some small pieces of ice. Don’t chew on the ice; this will make your discomfort worse. You can also use an ice pack or put frozen peas in a bag and apply pressure to the sore areas.

3.  Use wax. Put wax on any metal part that irritates your mouth. If you need some, please let us know!

4.  Do a salt rinse. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes. Just don’t swallow the salt water.

Following these simple tips will get you back to smiling in no time! If you have any questions about your treatment, or how to eat with braces, please give us a call or ask us during your next appointment!

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 6th, 2015

Five of the nation’s top dental associations want to remind young athletes to play it safe by wearing a mouth guard during recreational and organized sports this spring. Research estimates that about 2 percent of all children or adolescents who participate in sports eventually will suffer a facial injury severe enough to require medical attention.

"A properly fitted mouth guard is an essential piece of any athlete's protective equ...ipment,” says Dr. Paul Nativi, DMD, FASD, and past president of the Academy for Sports Dentistry. “Mouth guards protect the teeth from being knocked out, broken and displaced. Mouth guards prevent injuries to the bone and tissues around the teeth. They also help prevent injuries to the mandible (lower jaw) and temporomandibular joint in the jaw. Tooth loss incurs a tremendous financial, emotional, and psychological expense. Protect what you have - wear a properly fitted mouth guard.”

Dental Superheros To The Rescue!

March 31st, 2015

As an orthodontic patient, you are probably more aware than most that the dental world involves a variety of specialties – orthodontics being one of nine dental specialties identified by the American Dental Association (ADA).

Because there are myriad factors involved in taking care of your mouth, teeth, gums, and jaw, we sometimes call on our partners who specialize in different areas of dentistry. You can think of us and our partners as a team of dental superheroes, each with a different special power – although we usually work alone, we rely on each other for backup in tricky situations.

You were most likely referred to us by your general dentist, who diagnosed your need for orthodontic treatment. In turn, we may need to refer you to a different type of specialist, should we spot any indication of a different type of problem.

Below you'll find a handy reference guide to each of the nine dental specialties recognized by the ADA. Of course, should we ever refer you to another doctor, we will explain in detail exactly why your individual oral health requires a closer look by a particular specialist.

Endodontics

Dentists specializing in Endodontics are focused on the dental pulp, or soft tissue inside your teeth. As such, they are authorities on root canal treatment (extraction of the pulp from an infected tooth). With expertise in both root canal treatment and avulsion (salvaging teeth that have been knocked out), endodontists are the tooth-saviors of the dental world.

Probably the best-known of the dental specialties, Orthodontics sets its sights on tooth and jaw alignment and bite problems such as overbites and underbites. (These problems are known in the field as malocclusion, or "bad bite.") Orthodontists straighten and align teeth and jaws, most often using appliances such as braces and retainers.Orthodontics

Experts in the tissues that support the teeth (gums and other areas), periodontists are most often associated with the treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontists also treat complications arising from gum disease, such as lost bone and gum tissue.Periodontics

In this specialty, dentists are concerned with diseases that affect the oral, jaw, and facial areas. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology includes diagnosis as well as research into the causes and effects of these diseases.Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology

Specialists in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology are trained to produce and interpret radiologic (x-ray) images and data, which are used to diagnose and manage conditions of the oral, jaw, and facial regions.Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology

Surgery involving the bones and tissues of the face, mouth, and neck is the task of the oral surgeon. Operations include wisdom teeth removal, orthognathic (jaw) surgery, dental implants, and surgery to remove cancer. This specialty also includes cosmetic facial surgery, which can address birth defects and ease the effects of trauma, accidents, and aging.Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Commonly known as Pediatric Dentistry, Pedodontics is the branch of dentistry dedicated to the oral care of infants and children. Trained in child development and psychology as well as dentistry, experts in this field are especially attuned to children's needs, and focus heavily on preventative care.Pedodontics

Prosthodontics is the dental specialty pertaining to tooth restoration and replacement, providing a variety of options to either fix or replace problem teeth. From crowns and veneers, which work with the teeth in your mouth, to bridges and dentures, which replace them outright, prosthodontists identify the best solution for damaged or missing teeth.Prosthodontics

For those specializing in Dental Public Health, the community itself is the focus, rather than individual patients. Dentists practicing in this field concentrate on educating the public about dental health, as well as researching, preventing, and controlling dental diseases throughout a community.Dental Public Health

Sports and Energy Drinks and Your Smile

March 19th, 2015

While they may sound refreshing after a long jog or pick-up game of basketball, energy and sports drinks may do more harm than good. The high level of sugar and acid found in many of these drinks can cause damage to tooth enamel, thus elevating your risk for tooth decay.

Yes, there are health benefits to consuming orange juice, fruit juices, sports drinks, and flavored waters, which can contain valuable ingredients such as vitamin C, minerals, and other antioxidants. These drinks can also replenish nutrients lost during a sporting event and lower the chance of heart disease and cancer. That stated, if not consumed carefully, these beverages can harm your teeth. They are full of sugar, which converts to acid and wears away at your teeth, causing cavities, sensitivity, and eventually tooth loss.

Even one drink a day is potentially harmful, but if you are absolutely unable to give up that sports- or energy-drink habit, we encourage you to minimize your consumption, use a drinking straw or rinse with water after drinking. As odd as it may sound coming from us, do not brush immediately after drinking sports and energy drinks; softened enamel due to acid is easier to damage, even when brushing. Remember, it takes your mouth approximately 30 minutes to bring its pH level back to normal. The best thing to do is to wait an hour, then brush to remove sugar that lingers on your teeth and gums.

There are many sports drinks, energy drinks, and flavored waters out there today, so take the time to read the labels. Check for sugar content and citric acid in the ingredients. If you have any questions, or would like suggestions on the best sports drink options, please give us a call or ask us during your next visit!

Study: Fluoridated Water Associated With Better Oral Health In Older People.

March 10th, 2015

The Irish Times reports that according to a study by researchers at Trinity College Dublin of nearly 5,000 adults and census data from 2006 "older people have better oral health if they live in areas where the drinking water is fluoridated." Additionally, the study "found that those living in areas where the water included low levels of fluoride were more likely to have all their own teeth." The researchers also measured the bone density of those included in the study and "found no association between the use of fluoridated water and bone density."

Electric or Manual Toothbrush: What’s the Difference?

March 4th, 2015

You live in the golden age of toothbrushes. Until a few decades ago, people used twigs or brushes made from animal hair to clean their teeth: not very soft and none too effective. Now you have a choice of manual brushes with soft, medium, or hard bristles. Or you might choose to go with an electric toothbrush instead.
Have you ever wondered whether manual or electric brushes provide better cleaning? Actually, they both do the job. The key is to brush and floss every day, regardless of the kind of brush you prefer. At our office, we like to say the best brush is the one you’ll use. So if you prefer manual, go for it. If you prefer electric, turn it on. Both types have their advantages but both types will get the job done as far as removing plaque, if used properly.

Electric Toothbrushes

  • Provide power rotation that helps loosen plaque
  • Are great for people with limited dexterity due to arthritis or other physical limitations
  • Are popular with kids who think the electric brushes are more fun to use
  • Can come with variable speeds to help reduce pressure on sensitive teeth and gums
  • Uses timers to ensure you brush evenly across the four quadrants of your mouth and for the optimal two minutes each session

Manual Toothbrushes

  • Can help brushers feel they have more control over the brushing process
  • Allow brushers to respond to twinges and reduce the pressure applied to sensitive teeth and gums
  • Are more convenient for packing when traveling
  • Are cheaper and easier to replace than the electric versions

In many ways, the golden age is just beginning. There are already phone apps available to remind you to brush and floss. New apps can play two minutes worth of music while you brush, help you compare the brightness of your smile, or remind you to brush and floss throughout the day. Maybe someday, there will be an app that examines your teeth after brushing to identify spots you might have missed.

After braces always wear your retainers!

February 25th, 2015

Why retainers?
After your orthondontic treatment is finished, and your braces are removed, you will need retainers to hold your teeth in their new positions.

For how long do I need to wear retainers?
It takes time for the bone and all the tissues around your teeth to reorganise and therefore it is necessary to use retainers until your bite stabilises. In the first month after the braces are removed, the risk of relapse is very high.

Relapse means that the teeth can take up to one year or more to stabilize after treatment. If you had gaps between your teeth before treatment, the retention period will be longer.
Usually, retainers are worn for as long a time as you have had your braces. If your teeth move back to their original positions, you may need fixed braces again to correct them.

Nearly 25% of orthodontic patients have to wear braces again because they didn’t wear their retainers!

What Will My Retainers Look Like?
At one time, all retainers were made of pink plastic and silvery wire, and were removable. That kind is still available, but now you may have a choice of different colors or patterns — you might even be able to customize yours! Another alternative that may be appropriate is a clear retainer that fits over your teeth, making it nearly invisible. In some cases, you can have a thin wire bonded to the inside of the teeth instead of a removable retainer. It doesn't show, and you don't have to worry about taking it out.

Do I have to Wear Them All the Time?
Your orthodontist will prescribe the retention plan that is best for you. Some retainers are used full-time for the first 6 months; after that, the retainers are worn only at night, for a few years. Other retainers are worn full-time for about a week, and solely at night thereafter. Fixed retainers are normally kept in place for 5 years.

Is it Important to Use Your Retainers as Instructed?
Removable retainers should be taken out during eating, contact sports and  when you brush your teeth. To clean the retainers, remove them first and brush them in tap water using a toothbrush and some toothpaste. Brush your teeth after this.

The safest place for your retainers is in your mouth. If you are not using the retainers they should always be kept in a box. There is a great risk of losing retainers if they are wrapped in tissue paper after you remove them from your mouth.

How Will Retainers Affect My Daily Life?
A removable retainer has a wire holding the front teeth. It will be visible but much less than the fixed braces. If you have a removable retainer in your upper jaw, it will take you one to two days to get accustomed to them and speak properly. It is normal to experience a lot of saliva in your mouth with a new retainer.

Always bring the box to store your retainer should you need to remove them. If you have a fixed retainer, you should spend more time to brush the back of your teeth. You have to brush all around the wire so that calculus will not form. You will be instructed on how to use dental floss with a floss-threader. Remember not to use your front teeth for biting hard foods or objects. Fixed retainers do not affect speech.

Will my teeth never change when the period of retention is over?
Bone has the capacity to change and remodel for as long as we live; that is why a broken bone can heal.

From 20 to 50 years of age, faces mature and teeth continue to push forward, causing crowding of the lower front teeth. This happens regardless of whether you have had wisdom teeth removed, extractions of teeth or previous orthodontic treatment for crowded teeth.

To avoid the risk of late crowding, removable retainers can be worn at night for a longer period and fixed retainers kept in for more than 5 years.
Adult patients usually sleep with their retainers on for the rest of their lives, if they want their teeth in perfect alignment.

“How much calcium does my child really need?”

February 17th, 2015

Everyone remembers their parents reminding them to drink milk on a daily basis to build strong bones in order to grow tall and strong. Getting enough dairy is critical for kids whose teeth are still growing. A child who consumes the recommended daily serving of dairy will develop healthy, strong teeth for the rest of his or her life.

Milk and other dairy products are excellent sources of calcium to help your child build bone tissue and maintain optimal dental health. Milk contains vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and proteins. Magnesium works to promote calcium deposits in your child’s enamel, while phosphorus forms a small but important barrier against acidic foods that are known to cause caries, or cavities.

Experts at the Academy of General Dentistry warn that kids don’t receive enough calcium, stating only one in five children meets the minimum standards for calcium consumption. That is, two and a half cups of dairy per day. Children who are nine years old need almost twice as much calcium as younger kids and about the same amount as adult men and women. In addition to milk, eating yogurt or cheese is a great way your child can increase his or her dairy consumption.

If your child is lactose intolerant or is allergic to milk, there are many products which contain the same amount of calcium that your child would receive from drinking a glass of milk. These include:

  • Calcium-fortified soy milk
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified breads and cereals
  • Plant-based problem foods such as beans, broccoli or spinach
  • Tofu

If your child does not get enough dairy–rich products, they run the risk of improper tooth development and other dental health problems. We strongly encourage you to monitor your child’s dairy consumption to ensure he or she grows healthy bones and teeth to last a lifetime.

Study: 58% Of People More Likely To Be Hired After Tooth Whitening.

February 9th, 2015

On its website, Valet Magazine (12/17) reports that according to a recent study commissioned by Match.com, good teeth are what women “judge men on most” when first considering a romantic relationship, while independent research firm Kelton Research “found that 58% of a study’s participants were more likely to be hired and 53% received larger salary offers after their teeth had been whitened.” Citing the advice of dentists, the article goes on to advise on methods to whiten teeth, including visiting the dentist for a professional whitening treatment.

February is National Children's Dental Health Month!

February 3rd, 2015

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Teach your kids the importance of good oral hygiene. Tooth decay is the number one chronic illness in children. In the past year 51 million school hours were lost due to dental problems. ...Research has shown that if a child’s tooth decay goes untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, speech problems and even loss of self- esteem.
Parents and caregivers can help encourage good oral health by:
* Encouraging a well-balanced diet that limits sugar and starchy foods. If these foods are included in the daily diet, eating them with a meal and not as a snack produces extra saliva to help rinse the food out of the mouth.
* Using fluoride toothpaste protects children’s teeth (for children less than seven years old, use only a pea-sized amount on their toothbrush).
* Asking a dentist or doctor about how to protect child's teeth with dental sealants and fluoridated drinking water.
* Brushing teeth twice daily. Parents may need to help younger children with this.
* Flossing teeth daily. You'll need to floss for your children until they are around four years old.
* Scheduling regular dental checkups every six months.

Dreaming of a beautiful smile? We can help!

January 29th, 2015

The fact is, most of us aren’t born with a red carpet smile. And that’s where we can help. Of course, orthodontic treatment helps make your teeth stay strong, healthy and become perfectly-aligned. But did you know you can get the beautiful straight teeth you’ve always wanted—without traditional braces, wires and brackets?

We are proud to offer an alternative option for straightening teeth called Invisalign. This state-of-the-art proven technology uses a series of invisible, removable and comfortable aligners to gradually straighten your teeth. The aligners are discrete and no one can tell you’re wearing them. So, you can smile more during treatment as well as after. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment. Another benefit is that brushing and flossing during the Invisalign treatment process are no problem. Invisalign aligners are also comfortable, with no metal to cause mouth abrasions and sores during treatment. And, with no metal and wires involved, you often spend less time at our office getting adjustments.

Finally, you may view your own virtual treatment plan when you begin treatment, so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete. If you’ve been thinking about getting that perfect smile, we would love to have you visit us for a consultation. Please give us a call to set one up! A consultation at our office can determine if Invisalign is right for you. See you soon!

5 Remedies for Sensitive Teeth

January 20th, 2015

Tooth sensitivity is common in many of our patients, and can usually be identified by pain or discomfort when consuming foods or beverages that are hot, cold, sweet, or sour. Sensitivity can be felt when brushing or flossing, and can also be experienced after routine dental procedures such as the placement of a filling or crown, tooth restoration, or even teeth cleaning. Such sensitivity is usually temporary; if it does not cease after four to six weeks please consult us.
Tooth sensitivity is often due to the breakdown of tooth enamel or a receding gum line, which can occur from:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum disease
  • Vigorous brushing
  • Cracked or chipped teeth

In most instances, tooth sensitivity is treatable. Here are a few remedies you can take advantage of at home:

  1. Try a desensitizing toothpaste which contains chemicals that block sensations like hot and cold from reaching the nerves in your teeth.
  2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that will be gentler on both your teeth and gums.
  3. Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice every day and flossing once daily.
  4. Switch to a fluoride mouthwash.
  5. When possible, avoid acidic foods such as tea, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.

Depending on the cause and severity of your sensitivity, you may benefit from professional treatment. If you suffer from sensitive teeth, please be sure to contact us. We can set up an appointment to discuss your unique situation and determine the best way to address the problem.

Too old for braces? You Might be Surprised

January 13th, 2015

Although adolescence is a common time to get braces, there’s no reason for adults of any age to have to deal with crooked teeth, overbite, underbite, or other dental issues. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists notes that demand for orthodontic treatment in adults continues to grow, with adults representing 20% of new patients.

You’re never too old for braces or other orthodontic appliances, but it’s important to consider the following:

  1. Braces don’t have to be as noticeable as the metal brackets of the past. Many adults opt for ceramic or plastic braces, which are bone-colored or clear, respectively. Another option is a lingual appliance, which attaches to the back side of your teeth. These so-called “invisible” braces are much less noticeable than traditional options.
  2. By adulthood, bone growth has stopped. This means that certain structural changes can only be achieved by surgery. Although this typically affects people with significant crowding, bite, or jaw problems, Drs. Neil Warshawsky and Ketti Boller can provide an individualized treatment plan that addresses your unique issues.
  3. Treatment may take a bit longer. The length of orthodontic treatment tends to be slightly longer for adults than adolescents. Exact estimates vary by individual, but the average length of time for adult braces wearers is two years, according to the Harvard Medical School.
  4. Outcomes are just as good for adults! Many adults worry that it’s too late to treat their orthodontic problems. However, treatment satisfaction tends to be very high, which is a testament to how effective braces can be in middle-aged and older adults.

It’s a Wrap: Ending the year with a smile!

December 31st, 2014

People have been ushering in the New Year for centuries but it became an official holiday in 1582 when Pope George XIII declared January 1st to be the day on which everyone would celebrate the New Year. At midnight people would yell, holler, and blow horns to scare away the evil spirits of the previous year so the New Year would be joyous and filled with opportunity. Nearly 500 years later, we still greet the New Year by whooping and hollering, but in a celebratory manner instead. Whether you intend to ring in the New Year quietly at home or have plans to join the countdown at a gala extravaganza, these tips can help you ring out the old and usher in the new with a smile.

Tips for a Happy New Year’s Eve Celebration from Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions:

•Be Safe. There’s no way to predict the behavior of others on New Year’s Eve, but you can be responsible for your own behavior to keep yourself safe. If adult beverages will be part of your celebration, plan on spending the night wherever you are or line up a designated driver to bring you home after the party is over.

•Enjoy Family and Friends. Spending time with the important people in your life is what makes the holidays enjoyable. Coordinate your schedules and choose New Year’s Eve activities that everyone in the group will enjoy. You don’t have to go to a party to ring in the New Year; some people like to go bowling, see a movie, or have a great meal at home.

•Accessorize with a Smile. Whether you dress up or have a quiet dinner with family and friends, one of the best accessories you can add to your attire is a beautiful smile.

New Year’s Eve is a time to gather with friends and family, reflect on the year that’s coming to an end, and look forward to the new one with anticipation. Enjoy this transitional holiday in a way that’s safe, healthy, and fun. After all, counting down until the clock strikes 12 marks the beginning of a full year of opportunity ahead of you. From Dr. Pamela Johnson, have a great new year!

We Offer Invisalign Teen!

October 21st, 2014

Dr. Pamela Johnson and our team are excited to offer Invisalign Teen, a clear alternative to braces that's just for teens! With Invisalign Teen, we are able to straighten your teen's teeth without the hassle, discomfort, and embarrassment of traditional braces.

Invisalign Teen's clear aligners are virtually invisible. What's more, they are removable, which means your child is free to eat anything they choose, as well as brush and floss with ease! And best of all, Invisalign Teen uses no wires or metal to straighten your teen's teeth.

Invisalign Teen aligners are made from a ligthweight plastic material and fit precisely on the teeth. Invisalign Teen has become a popular treatment here because it helps our younger patients achieve a straight, beautiful smile without their friends noticing.

Our team is aware that most teens today have a busy lifestyle, and sometimes, they tend to lose things, including their retainers or aligners. But with Invisalign Teen, if your child happens to lose an aligner, let our office know as soon as possible and we will have the aligner replaced.

For more information on Invisalign Teen, please give us a call at our Willowbrook office today!

October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

October 2nd, 2014

What does the month of October mean to you? For people in the northern hemisphere, October is when the weather starts to get a little chilly: heavy jackets might come out of storage and the summer clothing gets packed away. You might start making plans for the upcoming holidays or looking at the beautiful and changing autumn scenery. October means something a little different to our team because this is National Orthodontic Health Month. During October, orthodontic clinics all over the country work together to promote their services and inform the community about the important work we do.

National Orthodontic Health Month is an awareness campaign created cooperatively by orthodontists and other dental health professionals. During this month, we make a special effort to promote dental health and orthodontic health in particular. This is a great time to get your questions answered by dental professionals in your community and to learn more about exactly what an orthodontist can do for you and your family. Events held in connection with National Orthodontic Health Month are also an opportunity for us orthodontists to come out and meet community members. If you have never been to an orthodontist before, you might not know what to expect. Meeting one of us in person before your checkup is a great way to find out what kind of person you’ll be seeing during your appointment.

Meeting Dr. Pamela Johnson in a relaxed “meet and greet” atmosphere can be especially helpful for any young orthodontic patients in your family. Kids of all ages–and their parents!–can feel anxiety about going to the dentist. Getting to know the person you have an appointment with can make the experience a lot less stressful for everyone. We don't want anyone to avoid seeing a dental professional for regular checkups just because they don't know who we are. Just meeting and talking with the orthodontist you'll be seeing may be enough to make you feel more comfortable about your upcoming appointment.

Dental health is something that affects everyone; healthy teeth and gums contribute to a healthy smile and a lifetime of comfort and well-being. Orthodontists are just one of the various dental practitioners you could visit at some point in your life, so taking a little time to learn who we are and what we do is certain to be a helpful experience. We look forward to seeing you and your family this October at our Willowbrook, IL location!

Make your oral health a priority

September 3rd, 2014

At Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions, we know good dental health requires only a few minutes a day. We thought we’d provide some practical advice on how to improve your or your child’s smile between your adjustment visits with Dr. Johnson. Start by brushing your teeth twice a day. Proper brushing techniques are an essential part of maintaining good oral health during your orthodontic treatment, as well as preventing gum disease. More care and time are needed to adequately brush your teeth when you are wearing braces. Brushing daily helps remove decay-causing plaque from tooth surfaces. Please consult Dr. Johnson if you would like us to review brushing techniques with you or your child. The use of a mechanical toothbrush such as a Sonicare or Oral B can aid in removing plaque around braces. Flossing daily will also prevent plaque to build up between the teeth and prevent stains between your teeth. Research has shown the bacteria of gum disease has been linked to coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes and memory loss. Lastly, we encourage you to throw away old toothbrushes and replace them every 2 or 3 months, or after an illness.

We hope this helps! If you have any further questions about any of these tips, please contact our office or ask your general dentist during your next scheduled visit! Or, ask us on Facebook!

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