Our Blog

Rethink Your Drink For Better Dental Health

April 15th, 2021

We've all heard the old saying, "You are what you eat", but did you know that it's just as important for your teeth as it is your body? Your choice of drink has a big impact on your waistline as well as your dental health.  A study from the University of Maryland Dental School  found that soft drinks (diet or regular soda), fruit drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks weaken tooth enamel. They are even harder on your teeth if your are wearing orthodontic appliances such as braces, retainers or aligners.

According to the study, it's the acid in these drinks that dissolves tooth enamel. Once enamel dissolves, it does not come back. Having a sugary beverage every now and then isn't the problem. It's when you sip it continuously that you get the constant breakdown of enamel.  To keep your teeth healthy and strong, Dr. Godwin recommends that you avoid soda and sports drinks and reach for water to keep you hydrated.  If you do occasionally indulge in a soda or sports drinks, drink it quickly rather than taking a swig every few minutes. It's also a good idea to use a straw to reduce exposure to your teeth. Brushing your teeth afterwards, or at least swishing with water, can help remove the sugar from your teeth.

To learn more about the dangerous pH levels of soft drinks and what you can do to avoid damage to your teeth, download this flyer courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Soft Drinks + Orthodontic Treatment = A Recipe For Disaster

It's National Facial Protection Month - Here's How You Can Play It Safe

April 7th, 2021

April is National Facial Protection Month, and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics want to remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe as they prepare to suit up for both recreational and organized sports. Whether at practice, at a game, or simply enjoying some fun in the neighborhood, a sports-related injury can happen in an instant. That's why it's important to take precautions to protect your face and teeth from injury. Dr. Godwin suggests you take these simple steps to prevent injuries so you can stay in the game:

  • Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports; if you have braces, make sure you use a mouth guard designed specially for orthodontic patients;
  • Wear a helmet. Helmets reduce of risk of head injury by absorbing the energy of an impact.
  • Wear protective eye wear. According to the Coalition to Prevent Sports Eye Injuries, protective eye wear designed specifically for the sport can prevent more than 90 percent of all eye injuries;
  • Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin;
  • Be alert - as a player or spectator!

Did You Know? . . .

  • Athletes who don't wear mouth guards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth. Mouth guards are particularly important if you are in orthodontic treatment.  A minor blow to the face can be uncomfortable if you don't have braces; but add metal to the mix and a minor blow to the face can leave you with abrasions and cuts inside your mouth from your soft tissue being pressed against the brackets and wires on your teeth;
  • Sports-related injuries are the leading cause of emergency room visits in children ages 12 to 17 according to the Center for Disease Control;
  • Whatever your sport, the right protective gear can save your teeth, your face, and even your life. If you or your child suffers dental trauma such as a knocked-out or broken tooth, Dr. Godwin suggests that you contact your dentist for immediate attention. For those in braces, it's also important to contact our office to schedule an appointment for repair since damage to braces can lengthen treatment time and affect treatment results.

About National Facial Protection Month: Every April, the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Dental Society, the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry team up to remind parents, coaches and athletes about the importance of taking precautions to preserve their teeth and protect them from facial injuries.

Easter Do's and Don'ts If You Have Braces

March 26th, 2021

With Easter just around the corner, you  may be daydreaming about all those delicious treats hidden in baskets and colorful plastic eggs. Unfortunately some of the most popular Easter candies are ooey, gooey, caramel-filled, and sticky sweet. They can get trapped in braces and possibly lead to tooth decay.

If you're worried that you won't be able to enjoy your favorite candies and treats this Easter, fear not! There are several traditional holiday options that are safe as long as you do some major brushing and flossing afterwards. Here are some helpful tips for a fun, braces-friendly Easter holiday.

What You Should Avoid

Anything that is hard, chewy and/or sticky may cause damage to orthodontic brackets and wires. Here are some specific examples of Easter candy that should steer clear of if you have braces:

  • Sticky Candy: Jellybeans, Starbursts, Tootsie Rolls, Taffy, Nerds
  • Caramels: Milky Ways, Snickers, Pay Day, Twix, caramel eggs
  • Gummy candy: Gummy Bears, chewing gum
  • Hard candy: Hard-shelled Easter eggs, Jolly Ranchers
  • Chocolate with nuts: Almond Joy Bars, Jordan Almonds

By keeping these candies away from kids, parents can avoid bent wires, broken brackets and extra trips to see Dr. Stephen Godwin and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics for repair. Damaged braces can increase treatment time, and no one wants that! Make sure to always keep your braces and your smile in tip-top shape.

Sweet Alternatives You Can Eat In Moderation

Kids (with or without braces) don’t have to avoid candy or sweets altogether! There are some better options that, with proper brushing, can make for a more braces-friendly basket. With a little creativity, you can still splurge during Easter without eating anything that's damaging to your braces. Here are a few examples of what you can eat this Easter:

  • Marshmallows: Peeps are an Easter classic! They're on our "Safe" list because they're a soft melt-in-your- mouth treat; however, the gooey marshmallow can get stuck in your braces. If you indulge, make sure you brush thoroughly immediately afterwards.
  • Soft chocolates: Just make sure they don't have any caramels, nuts or a hard shells. Look for melt-in-your-mouth options like peanut butter eggs, M&M's and chocolate bunnies or foil eggs.
  • Ice cream: Enjoy them in classic Easter colors like pink or blue.
  • Baked Goods: Cupcakes, cookies and brownies are the perfect canvas for Easter-themed indulgences.
  • Hard-boiled Eggs: Decorate the outside, then enjoy the soft center!

Healthier Options For Easter Fun

Instead of candy, there are lots of other things to place in Easter baskets that can make Easter morning just as special and fun for kids of all ages. Try creating a themed basket based on a favorite hobby, like art or craft supplies, books, or gardening tools.  You can also balance the yummy sweets with non-edible treats like games, toys or gift cards.

Coming up with ideas for Easter basket treats while wearing braces can be half the fun, so use your imagination and have a great time.  Dr. Stephen Godwin and the Bel Air Orthodontics team wish you all a Happy Easter!

What Role Do Elastics Play In Orthodontics?

March 18th, 2021

It is not unusual for elastics (a.k.a. rubber bands) to be prescribed as part of your orthodontic treatment when you are wearing braces. Your braces, which consist of brackets and wires, work by gently applying pressure to the teeth, and that pressure causes them to move into the correct position. In some cases, elastics are placed on your  braces in strategic places in order to apply additional pressure.

How Elastics Work

Customized for each patient, the elastics typically stretch over tiny loops on the top and bottom brackets. When worn as prescribed, these tiny elastics will apply the gentle and steady pressure needed to guide your teeth into the desired position and align one arch to the other. Without the use of these elastics, you may not be able to achieve the results you want, or you may have to wear braces for a longer period of time.

The Do's and Don'ts

Elastics must be worn as prescribed, and patient cooperation is essential to a successful outcome. Here's how you can do your part:

  • DO - Change your elastics at least once a day. Remember to always wash your hands before removing and replacing the elastics;
  • DON'T - Double up on elastics as this will cause too much pressure on the tooth or teeth and can actually harm the root of the tooth;
  • DO - Get in the habit of carrying around an extra bag of elastics and replace them as soon as one breaks. By consistently wearing your elastics, you may shorten the overall time needed to wear braces;
  • DON'T - Guess how they should be worn. If you are unsure where to place the elastics, call our office immediately so that we can help you get your elastics placed correctly;
  • DO - Remove your elastics when eating and brushing your teeth, but remember to replace them when you are done.
  • DON'T - Overstretch or overuse the same elastics or they will lose their strength and will be ineffective. You can avoid this by changing your elastics daily.
  • DO - Call us immediately if you lose or run out of elastics. Please do not wait until your next regularly scheduled visit.
  • DON'T - Forget to wear them consistently, as directed. By wearing your elastics exactly as prescribed, you will get better, faster, and more comfortable results. Generally, any discomfort from the elastics will disappear within a day or two, so hang in there.
  • DO - Have fun with your braces and elastics. Elastics come in many different colors, so pick your favorite colors and show off your gorgeous smile!

Elastics are a key part of your orthodontic treatment, and learning how to remove and replace them correctly is an important part of your treatment. Before we send you on your journey to a happy, healthy smile, we'll make sure you understand all there is to know about taking care of your  braces. Of course, if you have any questions about your orthodontic treatment, be sure to give the team at Bel Air Orthodontics a call.