Getting braces is a big change, and on top of the wires, brackets, or Invisalign trays, there’s a whole new set of habits you must get used to. Luckily, we’re here to help and answer any questions you may have during treatment! One of our most common questions from patients is “What can I eat with my braces?” or “What foods do I have to give up?” and we have a few simple guidelines to share. If you keep these in mind, your smile and diet will be happy and healthy!
Often the first step of orthodontic treatment is an expander. Expanders, or palatal expanders, are orthodontic appliances that increase the space between the halves of the upper jaw. While that sounds scary and painful, expanders are very common! Many young and growing orthodontic patients have expanders, and they can help make sure you don’t have to undergo surgery later!
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. The culprit for this disease is usually poor brushing and flossing habits. These poor habits allow plaque – a sticky film of bacteria – to build up on the teeth and harden. If the disease worsens, it can lead to sore, bleeding gums, painful chewing problems, and even tooth loss.
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria help to form plaque on our teeth. Brushing and flossing help to get rid of plaque. The plaque that is not removed by these practices hardens and forms “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. This tartar can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.
There are risk factors for gum disease, but smoking is the most significant. Other risk factors include hormonal changes in women, diabetes, and medications that lessen the flow of saliva.
Parents are usually well-versed in getting their child to the dentist early on. Establishing oral health routines for your toddlers is standard – but what about their first visit to the orthodontist? When should they go? Is my child too young for the orthodontist? Is my child too young for braces? Luckily, all these questions have simple answers. The best age for a first visit to the orthodontist is seven. And, once your orthodontist has performed an initial exam of your child’s mouth, they can accurately and expertly advise a treatment timeline.
Seven: The Lucky Number
Age seven is the magic number for a first orthodontist visit. This is because, at seven, your child’s first set of molars should have come in. This first set of molars erupts between ages six and seven and is the first set of permanent teeth your child will get. These teeth are in the lower jaw and do not replace any baby teeth.
The seven-year molars are a good indicator of future dental issues once they have fully grown in. This allows your orthodontist to get a more accurate picture of your child’s mouth and treatment plan than if they were seen before the molars grew in but give them enough time to address possible issues before it’s too late.
Canker sores are flat white sores that appear in your mouth and can last for a week or more. What causes these small mouth ulcers is unknown. Fortunately, canker sores are not often a serious issue, but they sure can be annoying! However, they are quite easy to prevent, especially once you understand what triggers them.
Braces are a source of low self-confidence in many teens. This makes the dating scene seem daunting and heightens nerves all around. Never fear! There’s no reason your orthodontic treatment should hamper your romantic life. Whether you’re a teen or an adult, dating with braces is possible and still just as fun. Here are a few of our tips and suggestions for a painless date with your braces and your beau.
Can You Drink with Braces?
For adults tackling the dating scene with braces, whether enjoying a glass of wine is allowed is a question many ask. Alcohol isn’t something you think of as being full of sugar, but many drinks have deceptively high sugar content. This excess sugar is attractive to bacteria, and those bacteria leave behind enamel-eating acids. Alcohol has a high acid content as well. Mixed drinks made of soda or fruit juices typically have the most acid. If left on the teeth too long, acid can erode the enamel on your teeth, making you prone to disease-causing bacteria.
So how can you safely drink alcohol with braces? First and foremost, drink water as well throughout the night. While this is good practice when drinking in general, consuming water along with your alcoholic drink of choice washes the sugar and acid off the surface of your teeth as you drink. Secondly, slowly sipping your drink isn’t the way to go. Frequent small drinks allow more contact between the acidic alcohol and your enamel.
And when you return home, don’t forget to keep up your oral health routine. Flossing and brushing after alcohol are essential for your dental health.