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Four Clues That You've Been Neglecting Your Retainer

March 16th, 2020

Congratulations—you’re out of your braces! Now, all you need to do to protect that beautiful smile is to wear your retainer as recommended and keep up with your regular dental routine. And, please, don’t forget to make taking care of your retainer a daily part of that regular dental routine.

Why? Because retainers need love, too! If you don’t look after your retainer, you can experience some less-than-agreeable consequences. Here are a few clues that you might be failing to give yours the care it needs:

It Smells

Just as a buildup of bacteria and food particles in your mouth can lead to bad breath, a buildup of bacteria and food particles on your retainer can lead to unpleasant odors and taste. A clean, fresh retainer is not only more appealing, it’s healthier as well! We will be happy to give you instructions on the best ways to keep your type of retainer clean. Whether you use a daily brushing, a water rinse, or a special cleaning solution, it’s
important to follow our recommendations to extend the life of your retainer.

It’s Discolored

Plaque and tartar aren’t just problems for your teeth! If your retainer is cloudy or has white spots on the surface, it’s probably accumulating the same plaque and tartar that stick to your enamel. Again, we’ll let you know the best and safest way to keep your retainer plaque-free.

It’s Looking a Little the Worse for Wear

Retainers are strong, but they’re not indestructible! Washing machines, hot dashboards, creative dogs looking for new chew toys—the world is full of retainer dangers. If your retainer does suffer misfortune, give our office a call right way. Sometimes minor damage can be repaired, but if it can’t, you might need a new one. How to avoid this trouble and expense? Prevention. Always use your protective case whenever you remove your retainer, and keep it in a safe place.

It’s . . . Wait, Where Is It?

If you’ve lost your retainer for even a short period of time, you might notice it doesn’t fit comfortably anymore once you’ve found it. The ligaments and bone tissue that hold your teeth remodel as your braces move the teeth into their new positions. The retainer helps keep your teeth in place while these ligaments and bone strengthen around them. If you haven’t been wearing your retainer, there is a chance that your teeth will start shifting back to their original positions. And if they get too far out of alignment, more time in braces might be needed.

Don’t worry—the team at Bel Air Orthodontics is happy to help you avoid all of these unpleasant scenarios. We’ll give you easy instructions for cleaning and taking care of your retainer. If you ever damage it or lose it, be sure to give us a call right away, so we can get you back on track as quickly as possible. You’ve worked hard for your beautiful smile—now you just need to help your retainer work to keep it that way!

Wearing braces? Healthy dental habits are more important than ever!

March 2nd, 2020

Clean teeth and healthy dental routines are always an excellent idea, but even more so when you’re wearing braces. Let’s look at the specific advantages good oral hygiene provides for orthodontic patients.

Reducing the Chance of Cavities

You already know that careful brushing and flossing prevent cavities, removing the sticky plaque, which erodes our enamel. And, even though brushing can be more difficult when you’re cleaning around your wires and brackets, it’s especially important now. While no one ever wants a cavity, it could become even more of a nuisance when you have braces. Depending on the cavity’s location, you might need to have wires and brackets removed to clean and fill it. This could require additional appointments and interrupt your orthodontic progress.

Protecting Your Enamel from Demineralization

Bacteria uses food particles left on teeth and around braces to produce the acids that cause decay. Even before a cavity develops, these acids attack minerals in our enamel, leaving enamel weakened, or demineralized. This process can also lead to white spots on teeth (decalcification), which can be permanent. These spots are often quite sensitive, and may lead to cavities. Careful brushing and flossing around brackets will help eliminate the plaque that can cause demineralization.

Keeping Your Gums Healthy

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and can affect even young people when their gums aren’t properly cared for. What does gingivitis look like? If your gums are red, swollen, bleed easily, or are painful or receding, you could have gingivitis. Why does this occur? Because your gums become irritated by the buildup of plaque and tartar when you aren’t brushing effectively. Gums can become more sensitive when you wear braces, so, if you have symptoms of gingivitis, check with your dentist to make sure your gums stay their healthiest.

You can see why keeping up with your dental hygiene is so important while you’re in braces. Luckily, we have many suggestions to help you keep your teeth their cleanest!

  • Brush after every meal. This is especially important for making sure no food particles stick to your enamel or your orthodontic work.
  • Make sure to clean around braces and between teeth and gums. Using regular dental floss or floss products designed just for braces wearers is more important than ever. If you have trouble working around your braces, try an interproximal brush or a water flosser.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps protect teeth from cavities and also works to remineralize enamel.
  • Talk to us about over-the-counter or prescription mouth rinses for protecting your teeth from cavities and soothing your gums and mouth.
  • Drink water. Water helps remove food particles and bacteria after you eat. If you have a snack and can’t brush right away, rinsing with water is a good way to reduce any lingering particles, but brushing is always best.
  • Remember to keep up with your regular professional cleanings. Your dentist’s office will know how to get your teeth their cleanest even while you’re wearing braces.

If you have any questions about dental supplies and habits while you’re wearing braces, talk to us. The team at Bel Air Orthodontics will provide you with the very best information to help you make sure your beautiful smile is a healthy smile!

President's Day Trivia

February 17th, 2020

Did you know three U.S. presidents died on the 4th of July? Who knew that President Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States but only the 44th man to hold the position? Presidents Day is the perfect time to test your knowledge on America’s presidents. Find out how much you know about our fearless leaders with our Presidents Day trivia.

Which U.S. president was the first to bring a pet to the White House?

Thomas Jefferson’s beloved mockingbird, Dick, is thought to be the first pet to live in the White House. Birds were said to be Jefferson’s favorite animal and Dick often had free range of the president’s study. Dick often sang the president to sleep, liked to sit on his shoulder and would even take food from Jefferson’s mouth.

Which former U.S. presidents died just hours apart on July 4?

Three of the first five U.S. presidents died on July 4. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died in 1826, just hours apart from one another. James Monroe, the fifth president, died five years later in 1831.

Which president could’ve been the next Mozart?

Maybe Harry S. Truman. He had the work ethic. Truman used to get up as early as 5 a.m. to practice the piano for two hours.

Which president installed a putting green in the White House?

Many American presidents have golfed while in office, beginning with William McKinley in 1897. Only Teddy Roosevelt, Hoover, Truman and Carter avoided the game. Dwight D. Eisenhower, though, was the first to bring the game to the White House itself. Less than a month after taking office in 1953, Eisenhower began practicing chip shots on the South Lawn and eventually commissioned a 3,000-square-foot putting green just outside the Oval Office. Supposedly, he played over 800 games of golf while in office.  It's no secret that President Donald Trump also has a love for the game. After all, he owns 17 golf courses around the world.

Who was the first to run against a woman for the presidency?

No, that wasn’t Donald Trump. Ulysses S. Grant ran against Virginia Woodhull, the nominee of the “Equal Rights Party,” in 1872.

Which president had 15 children?

John Tyler holds the record for the most children sired by a president. John Tyler’s first wife had been Letitia Christian, with whom he had eight children. She died of a stroke in 1842. He married his second wife, Julia Gardiner in 1844, and they had seven children together bringing his total to 15.  He was a devoted husband and doting father to his rather large brood of children from both marriages.

Which President was shot in the middle of a speech but kept speaking?

On October 14, 1912, Roosevelt was campaigning in Milwaukee. He finished his dinner and stepped out of the Pfister Hotel to enter a waiting car. An assassin stepped out of the crowd. Raising a gun, the man fired one bullet at President Roosevelt. It passed through Roosevelt's overcoat, a fifty-page manuscript, a steel eyeglass case, and lodged in his chest. He coughed into his hand, and seeing no blood, determined that the bullet had not entered his lung. Refusing medical attention, Theodore Roosevelt went on to deliver the ninety-minute speech. Doctors later examined him and decided it was safer to leave the bullet in his chest. It remained there for the remainder of his life.

Which two presidents donated their salaries to charity?

Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy. If he follows through with donating his salary, President Donald Trump will be the third.

Who were the tallest and shortest presidents?

Abraham Lincoln was the tallest by far at 6 foot 4 inches. James Madison was the shortest president at 5-foot-4 inches.

Which president loved jelly beans?

Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans and placed a standing order of 720 bags per month to be delivered to the White House and various federal buildings.

Eat Healthy Food - Your Teeth Will Thank You!

February 10th, 2020

Having a consistent, healthy diet, is good for your body AND for your smile. Many people don’t realize how important their food is for their teeth. Just like unhealthy food can cause your enamel to wear away and stains to occur, healthy foods can keep your teeth strong and can even make them whiter.

Some of the best foods for healthy teeth may come as a surprise. These foods are easy to incorporate into your everyday diet and make the effects of your good oral hygiene that much more effective. Other than maintaining your teeth by brushing and flossing and visiting your dentist twice each year, adding these nutritious bites will make a huge difference in the health of your teeth.

Enjoy Calcium-Filled Dairy Products

Cheese - If you're one of the many people who profess a love of cheese, you now have another reason to enjoy this tasty food. For one, it is low in sugar and high in calcium and protein, but that’s not all. Cheese is also an essential part of a healthy diet because it contains casein, which is a protein that is particularly useful for fortifying the tooth enamel. An American Academy of General Dentistry study published in the May/June 2013 found that eating cheese raised the pH in the subjects' mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay.

Yogurt - Like cheese, yogurt is high in calcium and protein, which makes it a good pick for the strength and health of your teeth. The probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, found in yogurt also benefit your gums because the good bacteria crowd out bacteria that cause cavities. Yogurt is a tasty treat that also contains something called phosphates, which actually work to remineralize teeth. If you decide to add more yogurt to your diet, choose a plain variety with no added sugar and top it off with some fresh fruit.

Eat Your Leafy Greens

It turns out the Popeye was right – eating leafy greens, such as spinach and kale helps promote oral health. They're full of vitamins and minerals and are high in calcium, which builds your tooth's enamel. They also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits. In addition to vitamins, eating leafy greens gives you a boost of antioxidants. These substances remove damaging oxidizing agents from your body. The benefits of antioxidants extend to healthy teeth and gums too. If you have trouble getting leafy greens into your diet, add a handful of baby spinach to your next salad, throw some kale on a pizza, or try adding some greens to a smoothie.

Use Natural Scrubbers

While the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends steering clear of most sweet foods, there are some exceptions. Fruits, such as apples and pears, might be sweet, but they're also high in fiber and water. The action of eating an apple produces saliva in your mouth, which rinses away bacteria and food particles. The fibrous texture of these fruits also stimulates the gums. Eating an apple isn't the same as brushing your teeth, but it can tide you over until you have a chance to brush. Pack some apple slices in your lunch to give your mouth a good scrubbing at the end of the meal.

Crunchy vegetables, like carrots and celery might get a bad reputation for being bland, but they act a bit like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. They’re also a good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that give the health of your gums a boost. Having a hard time eating these crunchy fruits and vegetables with braces? Remember to cut them up into bite-size pieces to keep your braces safe.

Think Before You Drink

Along with adding more leafy greens, dairy products and fibrous vegetables to your diet, pay attention to what you're drinking. Soda and sports drinks are bad news for your teeth, and NOT recommended particularly while you’re in braces. Some all-natural fruit juices are also loaded with sugar and acid as well. Sugary drinks contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel. Eventually these acids can cause tooth enamel to break down, forming a cavity. Consider milk or water instead. Milk offers protein and almost half of your daily calcium.

Taking the time to think through what you’re eating every day is really important for both your oral and overall health. You may already eat some of these great foods for your teeth, but it doesn't hurt to add all of them to your diet and create the healthiest smile ever. If you're still not sure what to eat while you have braces, just ask. The team at Bel Air Orthodontics is here to help!

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