Doctor's Blog

Tips and tricks for a cleaner toothbrush

Most people wouldn’t dream of sharing a toothbrush. Even the most vigilant person can’t keep all of the bacteria at bay. The following tips are to help give you a fighting chance at keeping your toothbrush as clean as possible.
• Use an antibacterial mouth rinse before brushing. This helps reduce the amount of bacteria that will end up on the brush
• Soak your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouth rinse for about a minute after brushing. It kills bacteria and prevents more from growing. You can also soak new toothbrushes before using them.
• Protect your brush. Close the toilet lid before flushing.
• Skip the cover. Plastic covers trap moisture and promote bacterial growth.It is best to store your toothbrush in open air, in an upright position.
• Replace it often; at least every three months or if you’ve been sick with an illness spread through saliva.

 Are you kept up all night by snoring?

We recently attended a meeting on orthodontic treatment for OSA.  What is OSA?  OSA stands for obstructive sleep apnea.  It occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep.  The ability to breathe is temporarily lost causing the person suffering from OSA to wake from sleep multiple times during the night.  To be properly diagnosed with OSA, one must see a sleep doctor.  The orthodontist comes into play NOT in the diagnosising, but helping treat the OSA with an oral appliance or through orthodontic treatment.

 

The primary cause of OSA is the tongue blocking the airway during sleep.  Anything that can be done to prevent the tongue from blocking the airway reduces the effects of OSA.  The orthodontist has the unique ability through orthodontic treatment to create more room for the tongue to rest in a more forward position.  The orthodontist can also have an appliance custom made that holds the lower jaw in a forward position during sleep to help reduce apnea events.

 

What is even more scary is kids can also suffer from OSA.  Does your kid snore?  Kids shouldn't snore, and if they do they could be suffering from OSA.  OSA can affect their growth, IQ level, mood, and behavior.  Most kids suffering from OSA don't act lethargic but typically are hyperactive as a defense mechanism to being drowsy.  Kids with OSA often suffer from GERD, ADHD, and sometimes enlarged tonsils and adenoids.  Your ability to breathe and get proper rest is so important for your health that signs of OSA should not be ignored.

 

Will I need Rubber Bands with my Braces?
During the course of orthodontic treatment, a patient with braces may have to wear elastic rubber bands to help with the correction of their malocclusion.
Rubber bands come in different lengths and colors, and they place forces on the teeth and jaws to move teeth, and therefore, help correct many different orthodontic problems.
Certain brackets have hooks where the elastics are stretched in various ways. Sometimes we even place the hooks right on the wires!
Some orthodontists will have hooks on every posterior bracket which makes it a little more difficult to keep clean.  Most orthodontists have hooks on the cuspid and molar brackets only.  These hooks can be used for various attachments like springs and rubber bands to help move the teeth.  The majority of the time, these hooks are used for elastic rubber bands.
Rubber bands can be used in many different configurations.  Normally, they are used inter arch which can be from top to bottom, side to side or front to back.
A typical example is a patient that has an excessive overjet (overbite).   An overjet is measured by the distance from upper incisors to lower incisors when the teeth are occluding (biting down).
A patient who has a Class II malocclusion has a large overjet.  In a growing child, rubber bands can slow the growth of the upper jaw and enhance the forward growth of the lower jaw.  The picture below shows an excessive overjet and correction with orthodontic rubber bands.
How often are rubber bands worn?
There are exceptions, but usually when a patient is asked to wear rubber bands, it is usually for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The only time rubber bands are taken out of the mouth is when the patient eats or brushes their teeth.  You wear them while you sleep and you should change them three to five times a day. The length of time you wear elastics varies from patient to patient.
Once the correction has occured, the rubber bands are not worn as much and slowly you are weaned off of them.  So when your orthodontist asks you wear rubber bands, wear them.  They are very important in creating a proper occlusion.
Moral of the story? Wear your Elastics…Get your braces off sooner!

 

  •  Did you know that teeth could shift back to their original positions after braces have been removed? To avoid losing all of the hard work you have put into orthodontic treatment, we provide clear retainers to help hold your teeth in position.  Before removal of the braces, we will place a wire on the tongue side of your upper and lower front teeth.  This wire is a safety net during the first six months post orthodontic treatment.  It is NOT a replacement for the regular clear retainer and will NOT hold the teeth straight, long term.  The clear retainer is removable and should be worn as instructed.

 In a recent study done at the University of Maryland Dental School, Anthony von Frauhofer, PhD, the chief researcher, found some eye opening evidence that suggests some precaution when it comes to the popular sport and energy drinks. 

The researchers immersed pieces of human enamel (outside covering of the tooth and the hardest substance in the body) in 13 popular beverages.  The study found that non-cola drinks, energy and sports drinks, and commercial lemonade "showed the most aggressive dissolution effect on dental enamel," and in fact, were up to 11 times more erosive than cola.  High levels of some additives, such as citric acid, caused the disintegration of the teeth.  Frauhofer advised that people do not sit and sip these drinks for a long period of time and that you should follow up the energy drink with some water to help rinse away the potentially damaging acids.  Our suggestion is- Skip the energy drink and stick with the water! 

 

 

 

Did you know that exposure to Acidic Foods, Like Lemons, Causes Tooth Decay?

Fact. Acidic foods such as lemons, citrus juices, or soft drinks don’t cause cavities, but they may be putting your enamel in danger.  Also, don't forget about carbs!  They turn to sugar and that turns to...you guessed it...ACID!

"Acids can tear down your enamel and weaken your tooth," says the doctors at the American Dental Association. “If you lose the enamel's protection and expose the underlying dentin, your tooth is now more prone to decay.” 

Once the acid eats into your tooth, the bacteria have a nice little hole to live in where your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. The bacteria continue to metabolize carbs and produce acids -- and your cavity just keeps getting bigger.

Here’s an important fact. It’s not the amount of carbs you eat that causes tooth decay, but the length of time your teeth are exposed. If you eat a lot of carbs for lunch, that’s one big exposure. But if you spend the day sipping sugary drinks, that’s continuous exposure -- and much more unhealthy for your teeth.

“We have a saying in the field of dentistry, “Sip all day and get decay.”