Thursday, July 30, 2015

Importance of Retainers After Braces

three retainers

The Benefits Of Using A Retainer

Once your braces are removed, your dentist will likely prescribe a retainer for you to wear to allow the teeth and gums to further stabilize around your new tooth alignment.
Retainers are custom-made appliances that consist of a plastic base and metal wires that cover the outside of the teeth to help retain the new alignment. Most people are advised to wear their retainers day and night (except when eating or cleaning teeth) for the first six months after their braces come off. After that, most people can switch to nighttime wear, but follow your orthodontist’s recommendations. If your orthodontic needs are minor, your orthodontist may decide that a retainer alone is enough to solve the problem and you won’t even need braces. You can have a retainer without braces, but you can’t have braces without a retainer. Teeth do continue to shift after the braces come off, as the bones, muscles, and gums adjust to the changes. Retain your smile and wear that retainer.
It’s important to clean your retainer regularly to remove plaque, which can promote gum disease just like plaque on your teeth. The best time to do it is when you take it out to brush your teeth. There are commercial retainer cleaners available, but toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush will do the job in most cases.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

two women smiling

The Bad Side of Chemotherapy

For a number of medically important reasons, it’s important that cancer patients not neglect their dental health.
Chemotherapy, which involves drug treatment to kill cancer cells, can promote a range of oral health problems. The medications used in chemotherapy can promote dry mouth, which can be part of the overall picture of tooth decay.
In addition, chemotherapy drugs can affect the blood’s ability to clot, and patients may experience bleeding gums or be more prone to oral ulcers. Most patients can continue to brush and floss their teeth safely. Your dentist or dental hygienist may suggest a soft toothbrush or soft floss, such as Oral-B’s Satin Floss, to make tooth care more comfortable during chemotherapy.
It’s important to see your dentist before starting a course of chemotherapy so you can start off with your teeth and gums as healthy as possible before subjecting your body to the rigors of cancer treatment. Your dentist can identify any potential problems, such as the need for fillings or other dental care, before you begin a course of chemotherapy.
Your dentist or dental hygienist may also recommend special oral rinses or fluoride treatments to reduce the increased risk of tooth decay from chemotherapy. It is important to follow a consistent dental care routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing to keep plaque at bay and maintain oral health.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Daily Tips for Good Oral Hygiene

Bacteria can live in your mouth in the form of plaque, causing cavities and gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal (gum) disease. In order to keep your mouth clean, you must practice good  oral hygiene every day.

What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky layer of material containing bacteria that accumulates on teeth, including where toothbrushes can't reach. Many of the foods you eat cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids. Sugary foods are obvious sources of plaque, but there are others that you might not realize can cause harm. Starches—such as bread, crackers, and cereal—also cause acids to form. Plaque also produces substances that irritate the gums, making them red, sensitive, and susceptible to bleeding. This can lead to gum disease, in which gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that fill with bacteria and pus. If the gums are not treated, the bone around the teeth can be destroyed and teeth may become loose or have to be removed.

How can I get rid of plaque?
The best way to remove plaque is by brushing and cleaning between your teeth every day.  Brushing removes plaque from the tooth surfaces. Brush your teeth twice per day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your toothbrush should fit your mouth and allow you to reach all areas easily. Use an antimicrobial toothpaste containing fluoride, which helps protect your teeth from decay. Clean between the teeth once a day with floss or interdental cleaners to remove plaque from between the teeth, where the toothbrush can't reach. Flossing is essential to prevent gum disease.

How do I brush and floss my teeth?
The American Dental Association recommends the following techniques for brushing and flossing your teeth:

• Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
• Move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
• Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
• Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
• Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

• Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
• Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
• When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
• Bring the floss back toward the contact point between the teeth and move the floss up or down the other side, conforming the floss to the shape of the tooth.
• Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up-and-down motions.
• Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.

Is there anything else I can use to clean my mouth?
A mouth rinse, in addition to daily brushing and flossing, can increase the cleanliness of your mouth. Antimicrobial mouth rinses reduce bacteria and plaque activity, which cause gingivitis and gum disease. Fluoride mouth rinses also help reduce and prevent tooth decay. Always talk to your dentist about any new products you are interested in trying. Not everyone should use a fluoride mouth rinse. For instance, fluoride rinses are not recommended for children ages 6 or younger because they may swallow them. Always check the manufacturer's label for precautions and age recommendations  and talk with your dentist about the use of fluoride mouth rinse.