Toothpaste and Orthodontics

May 29, 2020

Toothpaste and OrthodonticsBetween the thousands of brands, different flavors, and claims it is no surprise that people can have a difficult time when choosing a toothpaste. Even some dental professionals admit that it can take time to differentiate between brands and types. If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, it can make the decision even more daunting. To help you we’ve compiled the ultimate toothpaste buying guide to keep your smile healthy and happy.

Common Ingredients

Though there are many forms and types of toothpaste on the market, there are some common ingredients shared by most varieties.

  • Abrasive Agents – These are scratchy particles that work to remove food, bacteria, and minimal stains from the surface of your teeth while you brush. Calcium carbonate is the most common abrasive substance used in toothpaste.
  • Flavoring – Artificial sweeteners are added to make toothpaste taste better. Though many of us associate the flavor of toothpaste with mint, there are many other flavor options on the market such as cinnamon, lemon-lime, and bubblegum.
  • Humectants – Moisturizing agents are used to keep pastes and gels from drying out. The most commonly used humectant for toothpaste is glycerol.
  • Thickening Agents – These agents help to give toothpaste that distinctive consistency and texture that we are used to in our toothpaste.
  • Detergent – Detergents are used to create suds or foams while you brush your teeth. The most commonly used agent for detergents in toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate.

Types of Toothpaste

Toothpaste comes in gel, paste, and powdered forms. When it comes to selecting the form of your toothpaste, it is a matter of preference. There are many types of toothpaste on the market and while some may target specific oral concerns, others may cover a variety. Some of the common types of toothpaste include:

  • Fluoride- Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has proven instrumental in reducing tooth decay and preventing cavities dramatically over the last 50 years. Toothpaste that contains fluoride works to strengthen your enamel to prevent acidic damage and also reverses early signs of decay by remineralizing the surface of your teeth. Anti-cavity toothpaste contains higher levels of fluoride than standard options.
  • Tartar-Control- Everyone has bacteria on their teeth known as plaque which can be removed with good oral hygiene habits such as daily brushing and flossing. However, when plaque is left alone, it can harden and form into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional during a cleaning. Tartar-control toothpaste is formulated to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth using chemical compounds such as zinc citrate, thus preventing the buildup of plaque and decreasing the formation of tartar more effectively than other toothpaste.
  • Tooth Sensitivity- Tooth sensitivity occurs when your enamel is damaged and the second layer of your teeth, dentin, is exposed. Specific compounds, such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, desensitize nerve endings in your teeth to offer relief and add a protective layer to the exposed areas.
  • Whitening – Having a whiter smile is a common goal for many people. Whitening toothpaste does not typically use bleach but may contain more abrasive particles or chemicals to polish or remove stains from the surface of your teeth. It is important to discuss whitening toothpaste with your dentist as some can do more harm than good as the use of whitening toothpaste can increase your risk for developing tooth sensitivity. Depending on your goals, you may need professional treatment to achieve your desired results.

 

Brushing with Orthodontics

Toothpaste that contains fluoride is recommended for all patients as fluoride works to reduce tooth decay and protect your enamel from erosion.

If you are straightening your teeth with Invisalign, then your oral hygiene routine can stay the same and your options are endless. For patients who have other forms of orthodontic appliances such as braces, you may need to work a little harder to maintain a clean, cavity-free smile. As always, we suggest a fluoride option, but using tartar-control toothpaste can also help to reduce plaque buildup in those hard to reach areas.

We advise our patients to avoid using whitening toothpaste or products while receiving orthodontic treatment, as these products will only whiten visible areas and may leave patients with uneven colored teeth once your braces are removed.

For more information on which toothpaste to select or how your toothpaste can affect your smile with orthodontic treatment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

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Sensitive Teeth and Orthodontics

Sensitive Teeth and OrthodonticsOn a hot summer day, it is common to find yourself seeking a cool refreshment to make you more comfortable in the heat. What is not as common is feeling a sharp pain through your teeth once you take a bite or sip of a cool treat. We aren’t talking about brain freezes–we are talking about sensitive teeth!

Tooth sensitivity is triggered by hot or cold temperatures, sweet or sour foods, and drinks, or deep cavities and fillings. When the protective layer of enamel on your teeth wears away and exposes the dentin layer of your teeth, sensitivity occurs due to the porous nature of dentin.

Common Causes

Diet- Acidic foods and beverages can also eat away at your enamel and make your teeth more prone to erosion. Rinse your mouth with water afterward and wait at least one hour after eating or drinking before brushing your teeth.

Hygiene Habits- Poor oral health habits such as not brushing properly or flossing may also cause plaque and bacteria to build up and break down your tooth’s enamel, weakening them and making them more susceptible to sensitivity. Over brushing is a common cause for tooth sensitivity as a hard bristle brush or firm hand can wear down on your enamel and expose porous surfaces that lead to your tooth’s nerves increasing sensitivity.

Grinding Your Teeth- Patients who grind their teeth may create small fractures in their teeth that may irritate nerves and increase sensitivity as well.

Oral Health Conditions- Receding gums can also expose those that are normally protected by your enamel and increase nerve sensitivity in your teeth. Tooth decay, cavities, or deep fillings that penetrate deeply close to the nerve may also cause irritation and the development of tooth sensitivity. Certain dental conditions may also increase your risk of tooth sensitivity such as overcrowding, crooked teeth, and misaligned bites.

Whitening Products- You may also increase your tooth sensitivity by using certain teeth whitening products or chemicals. The main ingredient in many whitening solutions is peroxide which can irritate your teeth’s nerves and lead to sensitivity.

Treating Tooth Sensitivity

Your treatment will depend on the cause and severity. If your pain is due to an orthodontic adjustment, an over-the-counter pain reliever will help to reduce pain until the discomfort subsides.

For those whose sensitivity is caused by poor hygiene habits, then switching toothbrushes and brushing patterns can provide a great deal of relief–a soft-bristle brush will help to keep your teeth clean without damaging the enamel or gums. Using toothpaste designed for those with sensitive teeth can also help offer relief. Patients should notice a difference after several weeks of normal usage. If your sensitivity is severe and persists for several days, we may recommend scheduling an appointment to rule out cavities or other dental conditions that may be creating tooth sensitivity.

Orthodontics and Sensitive Teeth

When undergoing orthodontic treatment, you may also experience sensitive teeth. During treatment, your teeth are slowly shifted into alignment by using braces, and after an adjustment, you may notice minor sensitivity and discomfort. Fortunately, this is temporary and should not last more than a day or two following your appointment. If you experience sensitive teeth longer or chronically, consult your orthodontist. We will be able to recommend further care or may suggest scheduling an appointment with your dentist to discuss additional treatment options.

Remember to keep your teeth clean by brushing around the brackets, bands, and wires as best as possible, and flossing as proper hygiene will help to reduce plaque buildup that can wear down enamel and lead to sensitive teeth. For some, Invisalign may be an option depending on your case for those with extremely sensitive teeth. This clear aligner provides a lower risk of irritation and allows for easier cleaning.

Having sensitive teeth shouldn’t stop you from enjoying life to the fullest or prevent you from receiving orthodontic treatment. For more information on orthodontics and how we can help with sensitive teeth or to schedule an appointment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

Braces, Mouthguards, and Sports

Braces, Mouthguards, and SportsWe understand that orthodontic treatment can result in many changes to your everyday life such as your diet and oral hygiene habits. However, one thing that shouldn’t change is your participation in sports. Braces don’t always mean a spot on the bench for the season! You can continue to play sports while straightening your smile if you take some safety precautions. One way to protect your smile as you play is by using a mouthguard–especially if you have braces!

What is a mouthguard?

A mouthguard is a cushioning oral appliance made of flexible material that fits snugly over your teeth to help protect against injuries to the teeth and mouth. Mouthguards also prevent your jaws from coming together fully, reducing the risk of jaw joint injuries and concussion.

Why should you wear a mouthguard while playing sports?

Any sport can run the risk of mouth, teeth, and jaw injuries however some sports are a greater risk than others such as hockey, rugby, and football. These sports have a long record of causing tooth loss, chipped teeth, and broken jaws, and not all incidents occur at a professional level. Incidents can occur at any age, so we strongly encourage and advise our patients to wear mouthguards when they play or train.

Mouthguards are designed to absorb the impact and shock to prevent severe injury to your teeth, cheeks, tongue, and gums. Though you may think your braces are enough to prevent tooth loss, wearing a mouthguard in addition to braces will also protect your lips, cheeks, and tongues from lacerations if an injury does occur.

While traditional braces are a common and effective method to straightening teeth, there are other orthodontic options such as clear aligners and removable plates. If your child has a removable appliance, it may need to be removed for their safety during contact sports. However, you still need to wear a mouthguard while being active. Ask your orthodontist what treatment option is best for your oral health.

How to Choose a Mouthguard

There are two main types of mouthguards to choose from when making your decision: boil-and-bite mouthguards or custom-fitted mouthguards. As always, consult with your oral health team on which option is best for your needs. Make sure your mouthguard is designed to fit patients with braces for maximum protection and comfort. One factor to consider when deciding what mouthguard is right for you is how many mouthguards you may need throughout the season and whether a double mouthguard will be required for your sport. Some sports such as wrestling require mouthguards to cover both the top and bottom teeth.

Boil-and-Bite
Boil-and-bite mouthguards are made of medical-grade silicone and can be remolded several times if necessary. To use this type of mouthguard, the guard is heated to a boil and then after a brief cooling period, can be placed into your mouth to make an impression.

Some important notes to keep in mind when using this method with braces:

  • Do not form the mouthguard over the braces in a way that will pull on the brackets causing damage or potentially removing the braces off.
  • Before molding, be sure to cover your teeth and braces completely with a strip of orthodontic wax or foil. Without this barrier over the brackets, the mouthguard may seal around the brackets making it hard to get off and possibly damage your treatment or teeth. Once the mold is set, you can remove the barrier and wear the guard right over your braces.
  • Though this can be a great option for most, it is important to note that as your teeth move due to your orthodontic treatment, your mouthguard will become loose and need to be remolded.

If you select a boil-and-bite mouthguard, be sure that you select one that is designed for braces and has enough room to accommodate your teeth, braces, and gums.

Custom-Fitted
Your orthodontist or dentist can make you a customized mouthguard from an impression of your teeth. Though this option can be more expensive, it ensures a proper and comfortable fit. One of the major disadvantages of a customized mouthguard is that you will have to replace it regularly as your teeth shift with treatment.

Caring For Your Mouthguard

It is important to take care of your mouthguard as well. Bacteria will begin to accumulate in a used mouthguard, so be sure to clean them after each use. You can brush them with toothpaste or rinse them with an antimicrobial solution. With proper care, your mouthguard can last up to a year. Avoid chewing on them as this can damage the material and loosen the fit. We recommend patients with moldable mouthguards replace them every year to ensure optimal protection.

Dental injuries are very common in recreational and professional sports. That is why the best way to protect your smile while you play is to use a mouthguard. Mouthguards can absorb the energy of an impact to reduce the severity of injury to your mouth and jaw. For more information on mouthguards during orthodontic treatment or to schedule a consultation, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

Visiting The Orthodontist During COVID-19

Visiting The Orthodontist During COVID-19We want you to know that even now, we are still here for you and your orthodontic needs. We are committed to the health and safety of our patients, staff, families, and community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though your experience may look different now as we take necessary steps to best protect our patients, staff, and doctors, we remain dedicated to providing you with high-quality care while still following the CDC guidelines. Our staff has undergone training and education on the importance of hygiene, facemasks, protective gear, and etiquette. We routinely clean and sterilize all surfaces, supplies, equipment, and tools within our office because when you walk into any healthcare facility, you should feel confident that you are in a safe and clean environment.

Our additional safety measures help limit contact with others so that your visit can be a safe and healthy one.

Practices in Place

Before You Arrive
Prior to your appointment, you will be asked to fill out a pre-screening questionnaire. This enables us to conduct a rough check of your health status and includes questions about recent coughs, fever, or potential contact with people who have been infected with COVID-19. You may be asked to complete this before scheduling an appointment and upon your arrival, in case your answers may have changed.

We would also like to inform our patients that we are limiting the number of people allowed in our office at a time to reduce the number of interactions between staff and patients.

Upon Arrival
Once you arrive at our office, a nurse will likely take your temperature. Depending on our current restrictions, you may be asked to wait in your car or outside after check-in until your room is ready.

If allowed in our waiting room, please continue to wear your mask until you are seated in the dental office and told to remove your mask. You may notice that magazines and commonly touched surfaces have been removed and signs placed on chairs and tables for social distancing purposes. Sanitizer is also available for your use.

During Your Appointment
Once you’re in the dental chair, you may notice some changes. We are currently asking patients to do a pre-procedural rinse­, a mixture of diluted hydrogen peroxide or iodine, to reduce the level of oral microorganisms present in your mouth and upper throat. It is important to note that these oral rinses are specially formulated for dental use and should only be used in a medical setting.

Our staff members may also wear different face shields, gowns, and goggles than previous appointments to help protect against and prevent the spread of germs and contamination.

After You Leave
After each appointment, surfaces are disinfected with hospital-grade cleaners, and tools are sterilized after each use. Air filters are also placed throughout the office to increase ventilation and help to keep the air clean and safe for your visit.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our daily lives and this includes your visits to our office. Even with the pandemic, it is important to attend your scheduled appointments as delaying treatment or pushing back appointments can affect your orthodontic treatment plan or allow underlying conditions to progress and worsen. We take pride in our safety measures to ensure your health and safety. For more information on our safety precautions or to schedule an appointment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

The Oral Health Connection

The Oral Health ConnectionFrom a young age, we are taught the importance of taking care of our teeth with brushing and flossing to prevent cavities and other painful oral conditions, but poor oral hygiene can lead to more than a toothache. Did you know that your oral health and general health are connected?

Research shows that poor oral health can be associated with several major health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. This information is especially important for patients who are undergoing or considering orthodontic treatment, as appliances sometimes increase bacterial growth in your mouth which may lead to complications. Fortunately, our team is here to ensure your oral health is well managed so that your smile can remain happy and healthy.

How can my oral health affect my general health?

Your mouth can be a window into your body’s overall health and wellness as many signs of infection, nutritional deficiencies, and warning signs of serious health conditions often present themselves in your oral health. Your mouth is filled with countless bacteria, some good and some bad. The overgrowth of bad bacteria can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.

Gum disease is a condition where bacterial growth within the mouth results in an infection of the surrounding and supporting soft tissue of teeth. One of the most common causes of gum disease is the build-up of plaque that hardens into tartar which can only be removed by professionals. This buildup irritates the gums causing them to become swollen, red, and recede. As they recede higher, the infection continues to spread and can lead to eventual tooth and bone loss.

Braces and other orthodontic appliances provide extra surface areas in the mouth for harmful bacteria to grow. We understand brushing and flossing can become difficult with braces in the way, however, it is a vital part of maintaining your oral health and hygiene. Failing to brush and floss daily with braces can impact your treatment, oral health, and increase your risk for other conditions.

Conditions Associated with Gum Disease

Harmful bacteria and infection can easily spread from the mouth to the rest of the body through the bloodstream. For patients with gum disease, the added bacteria in your mouth can increase your risk for infections and certain health conditions including the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood sugar and pressure
  • Obesity
  • Respiratory conditions

Although gum disease may contribute to these conditions, it is important to note that just because these conditions may occur at the same time, does not mean that one directly caused the other. Studies show that conditions that lower your body’s resistance to infection are likely to increase your risk for other health complications including oral health conditions.

Signs

Common signs of gum disease may include the following:

  • Bad breath
  • Frequent mouth infections
  • Gums that bleed when you floss or brush
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Swollen, red, and tender gums
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth

If you notice any of these symptoms, bring them to our attention as these signs may be signs of gum disease or other serious health conditions.

Orthodontic Care and Good Oral Health Practices

If you have gum disease or a serious condition that can increase your risk of bacterial infections, orthodontic treatment may or not be possible. In moderate to severe cases, gum disease can cause your teeth to shift into undesirable positions during treatment. In other cases, the inflammation of gums may cause bleeding and sores due to friction against the appliances during treatment which can lead to infection. These complications may cause treatment to stop early to avoid increasing patient risk of infection. However, that doesn’t mean that if you are diabetic and have gum disease you are unable to receive orthodontic care. We will conduct a thorough evaluation of your teeth to determine the best course of treatment for your needs to ensure your oral health. Always tell your oral health care team about any changes in your health, especially if you have other health conditions such as lung disease, diabetes, or heart disease as well as any medications you are on as these may affect your treatment and oral health.

To best protect your mouth, it is important to practice good oral health practices regularly and attend routine professional cleanings throughout the year. You should brush at least twice a day for two minutes at a 45-degree angle with an ADA-approved toothbrush and toothpaste. Flossing helps to remove plaque and food particles that can’t be removed with brushing and we recommend patients floss at least once a day. You should replace your toothbrush every three months or once the bristles begin to break down.

Though brushing and floss can be your main defense against oral complications, routine exams and cleanings are also important as our staff is trained to identify and treat oral health conditions and look for signs that may cause concern. For more information about the importance of your oral health or to schedule an appointment, please contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

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