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Your Friend - Fluoride

October 27th, 2008

There are so many ways you protect your teeth throughout your orthodontic treatment. You brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and protect your mouth and appliances from being damaged. But did you know there is another, often forgotten about, way to keep your teeth clean and healthy during your treatment? Fluoride – a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay – can help keep your teeth strong! Fluoride comes in two varieties, topical and systemic. Topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth. Topical fluoride includes toothpastes and mouth rinses. Systemic fluorides are swallowed in the form of a dietary supplement. Dentists and orthodontists use in-office fluoride treatments to help protect the oral health of adults and children undergoing dental/orthodontic procedures.

Fluoride used in the dentist/orthodontists office is often times a stronger concentration than in toothpaste or mouthwash, but is available at some drug stores or a pharmacy (ask your doctor how to purchase professional strength fluoride). A fluoride treatment typically takes just a few minutes. After the treatment patients may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe a fluoride product such as mouthwashes, gels or antibacterial rinses for at-home treatment.

When choosing your own fluoride product be sure to check for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined and have met the criteria of the ADA for safety and effectiveness. Take care of your teeth, and smile bright!

Good Breath Gone Bad!

October 20th, 2008

Bad breath can be a real downer, especially when you are out on a date with that girl or boy you’ve had a crush on all semester! However, bad breath can be prevented!

Bad breath, or as your doctor may call it “halitosis,” is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grows in your mouth. This bacteria gathers on bits of food in your mouth and between your teeth and release sulfur compounds making your breath smell. Some foods, like garlic and onions, may contribute more to bad breath because of oils the food releases, and smoking is also a major cause of bad breath.

There are several myths around bad breath. Here are some common myths and the truth behind it all:

Myth #1: Mouthwash will make my breath smell better

Mouthwash will make your breath smell better, but it is only a temporary fix. If you use mouthwash, just know that you will still need to brush and floss when you get the chance as mouthwash alone will not kill all of the bacteria producing germs in your mouth. When choosing a mouthwash, pick an antiseptic with plaque-reducing compounds. Also make sure any dental products you choose comes with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval!

Myth #2: I brush my teeth; I will never have bad breath

Brushing your teeth will save you from having breath, but the truth is most people only brush their teeth for about 30-45 seconds! You need to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day to give your teeth a thorough cleansing. It’s also important to brush your tongue, which is where a majority of odor causing bacteria like to hang out. Lastly, flossing to remove food and plaque between the teeth will also help reduce your chances of having bad breath!

Myth #3: If I don’t smell it, then my breath is fresh

This is a false assumption in every sense of the word! The truth is that the breath you breathe out is not the same breath coming out when you talk to someone. When you breathe you are not using your throat as you do when you are talking; and when you talk more breath moves over the back of your mouth where bacteria is causing bad breath.

#1 TRUTH: Brush your teeth twice a day (for at least 2 minutes), floss at least once and visit your dentist every six months…this way your breath will always be fresh! Not letting your nerves get the best of you on your date? That’s up to you!

Understanding Cavities

October 13th, 2008

One word nobody wants to hear when they visit the dentist is Cavity! That’s right, the dreaded cavity; but what exactly is a cavity and how do they happen? A cavity is a hole that develops in a tooth when the tooth begins to decay. It’s important to get a cavity filled as soon as it’s detected so that it does not grow bigger.

So, what causes a cavity? A cavity is caused by plaque, a sticky substance that forms on the tooth as a result of germ and bacteria build-up. Plaque is acidic and as it clings to your teeth the acids eat away the outside of the tooth (also called the enamel) and a hole is formed.

Yes, cavities can be repaired by your dentist, but here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent cavities:

• Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily
• Gently brush your gums to keep them healthy (when choosing a toothbrush it is recommended to use soft bristles)
• Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque and food that may be caught between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach
• Limit the amount of soda and sugary treats you eat/drink
• Be sure to visit your dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning and check-up

$1.50 for a Cavity

October 6th, 2008

Vending machines are a quick way to satisfy hunger. You put in $1.50 and you get back a candy bar, bag of chips or even a soda…but that’s not all! Vending machines not only dispense sweet treats and caffeine bursts, but they also dispense cavities!

Every time you chow down on that chocolate bar the bacteria in your mouth have a party feasting on the sugar. The sugar quickly turns into acid; that’s right, ACID!!! The acid sits on your teeth and eats away at the tooth’s natural enamel (the stuff that protects your tooth from decay). When this enamel is eaten away by the acid on your tooth, you get a cavity! Brushing your teeth after eating a sugary treat can help prevent cavities; but before you indulge remind yourself: “can’t brush? Hold the sugar!”

When choosing a snack, consider these nutritional options that will not only satisfy your hunger and that “sweet tooth”, but won’t cause acid build up resulting in cavities:

• Fresh Fruits (berries, oranges, melon, pears, etc)
• Raw Vegetables (broccoli, celery, carrots, etc)
• Bread
• Pretzels (low salt)
• Milk (low or non-fat)
• Cheese (low or non-fat)
• Nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc)
• Sliced meat

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