Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas: a miserable time for teeth

According to the British Dental Health Foundation, constant eating of sugary foods over Christmas can make the holiday period a miserable time for teeth. (DTI/Photo courtesy of ER_09/shutterstock)
Dec 23, 2011 | News Europe

Christmas: a miserable time for teeth

by Dental Tribune Interational
RUGBY, UK: Constant snacking, drinking and eating sugary foods and liquids over Christmas can make the holiday period a miserable time for teeth, the British Dental Health Foundation warns. The consumption of tempting treats means that teeth are likely to be under a constant risk of attack from tooth decay and tooth erosion over the festive period.
The Foundation stated that sugar-filled mince pies, chocolate selection boxes, fizzy drinks and acidic alcoholic drinks like red wine that make up a traditional festive diet are all likely to pose a hazard to teeth during the holidays. 

“It is important to be extra vigilant with your oral health over the Christmas period,” said Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter. “Your teeth are under attack for up to one hour after eating or drinking, and if you think about how much is consumed, and how often, particularly over Christmas and Boxing Day, your teeth don't really get the chance to recover.”

According to Carter, brushing teeth just before going to bed will ensure that you have removed acid-forming plaque before sleep – as your saliva flow slows down overnight – while brushing first thing in the morning is a simple way to limit damage caused to your teeth. 

To ensure you fully enjoy this time of year without having to compromise on what you eat and drink, the Foundation recommends that everyone bear in mind it is not how much sugary food and drink one has, but rather how often one has these that causes a perilous situation for oral health.

The Foundation reports that traditional foods like cranberries – the perfect accompaniment to one’s turkey – are scientifically proven to benefit overall health, and scientists have also shown they may have the capacity to help prevent both gum disease and tooth decay. However, moderation is important, as cranberries are acidic and it is a good idea not to have them too often throughout the day to avoid erosion of teeth enamel.

Other things, like passing a tin of sweets around throughout the day, selection boxes and even Bucks Fizz, have the potential to damage teeth if consumed too often. For this reason, it is best to try and restrict such food and drink to mealtimes. Mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding are all laden with dried fruit, which is high in sugar and sticks to the teeth where it can cause the most damage.

To accommodate these treats, it is a good idea to offer a cheese board after mealtimes, as a small piece of cheese will help to return the mouth to its natural acid balance and thereby help to reduce the chances of tooth decay. Chewing on sugar-free gum for around ten minutes can also have the same effect.

To accommodate children’s sweet tooth without damaging their teeth, Carter suggested some novel yet practical ways of getting the balance right between having a sweet tooth and healthy teeth. “Children will inevitably get sweets, so try and get them to eat them straight after mealtimes rather than grazing on them all day. New research even suggests ice cream containing probiotics could reduce levels of tooth decay so in the future this could become a healthier option. Any fruit juice they have should be diluted 10 parts water to one part juice as most are acidic and many contain added sugar.”

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Clean Braces

how to clean braces

Braces Do A Lot

Braces do a lot more than improve your smile. They also play an active role in correcting overcrowded and misaligned teeth. This is important because an abnormal bite (also known as “malocclusion”) may cause other problems, such as impaired plaque removal around misaligned teeth, which can lead to gum inflammation and cavities.
Taking good care of braces can help prevent damage to the braces themselves and the teeth underneath as well as make the braces more comfortable to wear. Learning the basics of orthodontic care will help you follow your dental professional's recommendations to keep your teeth and gums healthy during the time you’re wearing braces.

The Basics: Brushing And Flossing

Careful cleaning is required with braces, because plaque bacteria are easily trapped inside and around them. The following procedure will make daily brushing and flossing both simple and effective.
  1. Prepare to brush. Take off elastics and any other removable parts of your orthodontic appliance.
  2. Clean your braces. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to clean around the wires and pins of your braces. Brush from the top of each wire down to the bottom. Take your time to ensure that all plaque and debris are removed, and that you work all the way around upper and lower teeth.
  3. Brush your teeth. Clean each tooth individually. First, place your brush at a 45-degree angle the gum line, then apply gentle pressure as you move in a circular motion. Do this for about 10 seconds. Use the same brushing action on all outer and inner tooth surfaces, tilting the brush as needed to better reach the insides of smaller front teeth.
  4. Floss once a day. Have your dental professional show you the best way to floss, or follow the instructions on the product package. You may also want to use a flossing product designed for braces and orthodontic work, like a floss threader.
  5. Rinse and check your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with water or mouth rinse, and examine your teeth and braces in the mirror.

Professional Care: Dentist And Orthodontist Visits

During the time that you have braces on your teeth, you will need to visit the orthodontist regularly for adjustments to your appliance. After a routine orthodontic adjustment, you may experience some tightness or even a slight amount of pain. If this discomfort or pain does not quickly dissipate, or becomes extreme, you should consult your orthodontist. Concerns about your appliances, and any problems with broken parts, should also be brought to your orthodontist's attention immediately.
It’s also important that you continue with regular visits to your general dentist while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Routine checkups are necessary to spot cavities and signs of gum disease. Your dentist or hygienist may also perform frequent fluoride treatments to provide additional protection to tooth surfaces from decay while you’re wearing braces.
Your home oral care techniques will be monitored by your dental professional and changes will be recommended as necessary. As always, be sure to follow their instructions.