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Foods That Can Damage Tooth Enamel

August 8th, 2018

We've all heard the saying, You Are What You Eat, and that's particularly true for your teeth and gums. Several factors affect wear and tear on tooth enamel. Diet is a major factor, with certain foods increasing the likelihood that your enamel will become discolored or decayed. The team at Bel Air Orthodontics suggests that you pay close attention to the foods you eat to keep your pearly whites looking healthy and clean.

What causes enamel damage?

Tooth enamel is primarily composed of minerals that are strong but susceptible to highly acidic foods. When acid reacts with the minerals in enamel, it can result in tooth decay. Strongly pigmented foods can also damage enamel by discoloring the surface of the tooth. Acidic foods are the greatest source of enamel damage. To determine whether a food is acidic, look up its pH. Scientists use pH, on a one-to-seven scale, to define the relative acidity or alkalinity of a substance. Foods with low pH levels, between a one and three, are high in acidity and may damage your enamel. Foods with high pH levels, such as a six or seven, are far less likely to cause enamel harm.

So which foods should you avoid?

Watch Your Citrus Intake

Even though a squeeze of lemon or lime can turn a simple glass of water into a fun beverage, it's not always the best choice for your mouth.  Fruit juices, especially citrus, apple, and berry varieties, are loaded with the kinds of acids that wear down tooth enamel. Of course, juices also have some great-for-you qualities, too—like vitamins and antioxidants, so don't write them off completely. Just drink them in moderation. Frequent fruit juice consumption has been linked to an increased risk of enamel erosion. As an extra measure, try eating them with a meal — as opposed to on their own — so they're less likely to harm your teeth. Also remember to use a straw, rinse afterward, and choose calcium-fortified juices that may pose less of a hazard to tooth enamel.

Sugary Foods Are Scary For Your Teeth

We all know sugar is bad for our teeth, but it’s important to know why. The bad bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars to create acids and cavities are an infection caused by acids. The point here is that sugars in your mouth are often the first step in cavity formation. It’s virtually impossible to eliminate all sugars from your diet, but it’s important to try to minimize sugar intake (especially refined sugar) as much as possible. It’s also crucial to not let sugar linger in your mouth for a long time. So, brushing your teeth after meals or at least drinking lots of water is vital.

Ice Is For Chilling, Not Chewing

You’d be surprised at how many people think ice is good for their teeth. It’s made of water, after all, and doesn’t contain any sugar or other additives. Chewing on hard substances can leave your teeth vulnerable to a dental emergency and damage enamel.  Break the habit and enjoy water in its pure, liquid form. Your teeth and your braces will thank you.

Not All Coffee Is Good For You

In their natural form, coffee and tea can be healthy beverage choices. Unfortunately, many people can’t resist adding sugar. Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth. Frequent drinks of coffee and tea may also stain your teeth. If you do consume, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the add-ons to a minimum.

Sticky Foods Are Your Mouth's Worst Nightmare

Sticky foods are off-limits for those and braces since they can damage brackets and wires. Sticky foods can also damage your teeth since they tend to stay on the teeth longer than other types of food. If you find yourself eating dried fruits or trail mix often, make sure to rinse with water after and to brush and floss carefully.

Swap Out Soda With Water

Guess what? Sugar isn't the biggest culprit when it comes to a fizzy drink's impact on teeth. These beverages—diet or not—strip minerals from tooth enamel because of their high acid content. Caffeinated beverages, such as colas can also dry out your mouth. If you do occasionally consume soft drinks, don't sip them all day long and try to drink alongside a cup of water.

Watch out for sports drinks

They may sound healthy, but sugar is a top ingredient for many sports and energy drinks. The American Academy of Pediatrics says sports drinks are especially bad idea for adolescents and young adults whose tooth enamel is less mature and more porous. Before your next sip, check the label to make sure your drink of choice is low in sugar or drink water instead.

With some easy preventive measures, your teeth will stay strong, and healthy for years to come! Give us a call at Bel Air Orthodontics to learn more.

Help Us Stuff The Bus

July 23rd, 2018

Stuff the BusBel Air Orthodontics is a proud partner and official drop-off location for Harford County Education Foundation's 2018 Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive. The annual Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive helps stock HCEF’s Tools for Schools Resource Center, a store where Harford County teachers can shop for free school supplies for their classrooms and students in need throughout the school year.

Here’s How You Can Help Us Stuff the Bus

We’ve set a goal to raise $1000 in school supply donations, and we need your help. We want to make donating easy and fun, so we’re kicking off the supply drive with our Fill Our Pool For Back to School Raffle. For all the Raffle details, visit our Contest page. As an official drop-off location, donations will be accepted from both our patients and the community through September 14th, so please share this information with your family and friends.

School Supply ListLooking for items to donate? You can download this list of school supplies requested by HCEF's Tools for Schools Resource Center. All Fill Our Pool Raffle donations will go to HCEF’s Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive. To learn more about the Stuff the Bus Campaign and The Harford County Education Foundation, visit www.harfordeducation.org.

Together, we can make a difference!

The Dog Days of Summer . . . Have You Ever Wondered Where The Phrase Came From?

July 16th, 2018

The dog days of summer are known for being among the hottest of the season. Such days conjure up listless floating in the pool, scrambling to find shade and, of course, dogs panting in the heat.

With the hottest, sultriest days of summer upon us, the team at Bel Air Orthodontics decided to do a little research to find out what this expression actually means.  Some say that summer’s “dog days” signify hot days “not fit for a dog”, while other’s suggest that it’s just another crazy old saying their grandmother made up. Despite the phrase's association with heat-struck canines, it has nothing to do with them. Well, it turns out that it has nothing to do with earthbound dogs anyway. Here are some fun facts that may just surprise you.

When Are the Dog Days of Summer?

The Dog Days aren’t just when your dog starts panting on a sweltering summer day. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, which coincide with the dawn rising of the Sirius, the Dog Star.

What Are the Dog Days of Summer?

Well, it turns out that the phrase dates back to ancient Rome. The Latin phrase, dies caniculares, or “days of the dog star” was what the Romans called the period from mid July to mid August. Some ancient stargazers concluded that during those months Sirius, aka the dog star, rose in conjunction with the sun. They believed the star’s brightness added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather.

Sirius is by far the brightest star in the nighttime sky, but the star has nothing to do with the heat. The sun gets all the credit for that. Sirius, part of the constellation Canis Major, is actually about half a million times farther away from the sun—something the Romans didn’t know. So when they blamed the “Dog Star” for boosting the heat during the summer, they were barking up the wrong tree.

The Meaning of the Dog Star Today

These days, the expression refers to the hot, lazy days of summer which typically run from July through early September. While the Dog Days of summer are sure to bring sweltering heat, they also bring fun times. We hope your Dog Days of summer are filled with family, friends, poolside fun, and vacation adventures!

Stay Cool With These Braces-Friendly Summer Treats!

July 9th, 2018

Summer's in full swing and it's hot! With temperatures in the 90's and humidity over 70 percent, it's no wonder that everyone is looking for some fun ways to cool off. Just because you are in braces doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious summer treats – it just means you have to make sure they are braces friendly. The team at Bel Air Orthodontics gathered three delicious and simple recipes that are easy on your braces and taste delicious too!

Energy Boost Fruit Smoothie

fruit smoothieThis delicious fruit smoothie is a great summer snack because it’s refreshing, full of fruit and is super easy to make. The blended texture will be easy on your braces and your taste buds will be sure to thank you. Switch up the ingredients and experiment with different fruits or even try adding yogurt. You can never go wrong with a fruit smoothie, especially when it’s summertime! Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 cup of pineapple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium orange, peeled
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 medium banana, peeled
  • 1 cup almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
  • 1 cup crushed ice

Place all ingredients into the blender and blend on medium/high until it reaches your desired consistency. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

Peach Frozen Yogurt

Want to eat something healthy and refreshing? This peach frozen yogurt is easy to make and is braces-friendly as well. You'll need these four simple ingredients:

  • 2-3 teaspoons of honey
  • Juice from 1/2 of a small lemon
  • 1 container of Vanilla Greek Yogurt (or Plain Yogurt)
  • 16 ounces of frozen peaches

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. THAT'S IT! You can serve it immediately like a soft serve right out of the blender or chill it in a container in the freezer and scoop it out later. You can also change it up a bit and make strawberry, pineapple, cherry or mango frozen yogurt. Combine a variety of frozen fruits and make mango-peach or strawberry peach yogurt for a refreshing summertime treat.

Key Lime Pie Bites

If smoothies or frozen treats aren't what you're looking for, these mini key lime pies are the perfect refreshing after dinner dessert on a hot day. Ingredients you will need are:

Crust:
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter
Filling:
2 eggs, separated
⅛ teaspoon salt
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two muffin tins with cupcake papers. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and place one tablespoon of the mixture in each cupcake paper, pressing the mixture down. In a medium bowl, beat together egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Then in a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar, lime juice and flour, and beat until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix until blended. Then, gently fold in the egg whites. Place a tablespoon of the mixture in each paper and bake for 25 minutes. Once baked, allow them to cool for 20 minutes, then refrigerate until served.

Whether you're making these refreshing treats for yourself or to take to a gathering with friends, they're sure to be a hit.  If you have a favorite braces-friendly treat you'd like to share, send us the recipe. Stay cool and have a great summer!

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