Tid Bits

“How much calcium does my child really need?”

August 19th, 2016

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.

If you have any questions about the role calcium plays in your child’s diet, please give us a call or ask us during your child’s next appointment!

Avoiding delays during your orthodontic treatment

June 19th, 2016

Our patients hate the thought of delaying their treatment time and often ask us what they can do in-between their adjustment visits to avoid having a setback. Today, we thought we would provide some tips on how you can stay on track in regards to your treatment plan time.

The first thing we want you to do is keep your adjustment appointments. Each of your visits while you are undergoing treatment is carefully planned to move your teeth a specific way in a certain time frame. It is critical to note that missing an appointment can add weeks, if not months, to your overall treatment time.

Next, we want you to let us know right away if your experience any problems with your braces or appliances. A missing wire, rubber band, or broken bracket can delay treatment time, so we ask that you please give us a call right away to report any issues rather than waiting until your next visit. We are committed to get you into the practice to address and resolve any issues as soon as feasible.

Make sure you wear your rubber bands as prescribed. Most, if not all, of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatment. Like missing your adjustment appointments, not wearing the bands or elastics, or not wearing them enough, can slow down the treatment process and cost you valuable treatment time. Rubber bands play a key role in aligning your bite and are essential for the bite-fixing phase of your treatment.

Finally, we want you to maintain good oral hygiene, just as you did before your treatment began. In addition to flossing regularly, we encourage you to brush your teeth several times a day. Not brushing will allow sugar to wear away the cement on the braces, rendering them inadequate in moving your teeth, as well as elevate your risk of developing cavities or tooth decay, which will inevitably delay valuable treatment time. The goal is to end up with a beautiful and healthy smile, and home care is essential to achieving this on schedule.

If you have any questions about any of these tips, or if you have any general questions about your treatment, please give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment visit!

Are Braces Right for Me?

April 19th, 2016

Are Braces Right for Me?

According to Preferred Consumer, it's estimated that 50 percent of people have teeth that are crooked, not aligned properly, or irregular. Fortunately, modern orthodontics has advanced to the point where corrective devices, such as braces and retainers, are less obvious, more comfortable, and can be worn for shorter periods of time.

So, with that being said, how do you know if braces are right for you? Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not braces could be in your future:

Crooked Teeth
As children grow, so do their teeth. And more often than not, certain teeth will grow in crooked. This isn't uncommon, as the majority of children will require some sort of teeth correction, whether that’s braces or retainers. Retainers are custom-made devices that either work to hold teeth in place or correct tooth alignment. They're often worn all day, aside from meals, at the start of the treatment period and then eventually are rolled back so they're just worn at night. Braces on the other hand are worn for at least a year and work to help straighten or position teeth.

Overbite or Underbite
The other main oral issue that orthodontics helps correct is uneven alignment, such as an underbite or an overbite. You might hear us refer to this as a "malocclusion," which means "bad bite." Braces can help rearrange your alignment so an overbite or underbite is less of a problem. Typically after the braces come off for this sort of treatment, patients need to wear a retainer to finish the treatment.

While braces are typically associated with dental issues in children, more adults are wearing the devices as well. According to USA Today, about one in every five braces wearers are adults; a sign that it's never too late to correct any oral issues. Part of this trend is due to significant technological advancements in orthodontics. For instance, new braces feel much better and come in a variety of styles — including clear — so they're far less obvious. Plus, the wires on braces are now made from advanced metals, which are stronger and lighter, so they get the job done much more efficiently. With so many people wearing braces these days (according to thePennsylvania Dental Association, about four million people in the US wear braces at any given time and many more have worn them at some time in their lives), nicknames like "metal mouth" and "brace face" are almost a thing of the past. Technology has also advanced to the point some orthodontic treatment will not require braces at all. The entire treatment can be successfully achieved by wearing clear aligners over your teeth, removing them for meals. This prevents any discomfort that may be associated with traditional braces. What's more, insurance plans are increasingly covering orthodontic treatment, making braces a much more feasible option for families on a budget.

When weighing whether or not braces or aligners are in your future, it's important to study all of your options about the categories of braces and other treatments. Also be sure to contact your insurance provider to see what is covered and what will have to be paid out of pocket. It might take a few years of treatment, but braces can give you that winning smile for the rest of your life. Call our office with any questions you might have!

A Guide to Preventing Tooth Decay While Wearing Braces

February 19th, 2016

Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. It is essential that you put some extra attention into preventing tooth decay while wearing your braces. When your braces are finally removed, you want a beautiful, white smile, not decayed or stained teeth. Here are a few tips to help you keep your teeth healthy while wearing your braces:

Learn Proper Brushing Techniques

Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste for best results. Using an oral rinse every day will help, too. Rinsing with mouthwash is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces, as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can’t always reach.

Brush after Every Meal

Since braces block food from naturally escaping your teeth after eating, it’s important that you take the time to brush and floss after every meal. The less time food has to sit on your teeth, the less likely it is to cause decay. This may seem like an inconvenience, but when you get your braces off, you will be very glad you brushed after every meal.

Eat Braces-Safe Foods

When you have braces, there are certain foods that you must avoid. For starters, sticky foods such as caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and are difficult to remove during brushing. Avoid hard foods, too, such as nuts and candy. Those goodies can bend wires or even break a bracket. And while you may love apples, carrots, or corn on the cob, they’re too firm or hard to bite into and can damage your braces. Crunchy treats can also harm your orthodontic appliances. It’s best to stay away from chips and popcorn, which can damage your braces. So just what can you eat? We recommend soft foods that are low in enamel-busting acids, such as bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta.

Get Regular Checkups

It’s important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist, as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.

As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth healthy while you wear braces.

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