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MAINTAINING GOOD DENTAL health isn’t just about the quantity of your brushing — it’s also about the quality. There are several mistakes many of us make when brushing our teeth, whether because we’re using the wrong tools or because we’re using the right tools the wrong way.
1. Keeping A Toothbrush Too Long
How long has it been since you got a new toothbrush? The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush at least three times a year, because broken, frayed bristles can’t do as good of a job of keeping your teeth clean.
2. Racing Through Your Brushing
The average time people spend brushing their teeth is 45 seconds, which obviously falls far short of the full two minutes recommended. If you’re having trouble making it through two whole minutes, try setting a timer or playing a song.
3. Brushing Too Hard
You might assume that the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will get, but you really only need gentle pressure to scrub the leftover food and bacteria away. If you brush much harder than that, you risk damaging your gum tissue.
4. Using A Hard-Bristled Brush
Like brushing too hard, using a toothbrush with hard bristles can do more harm than good, especially to gum tissue. Talk to us if you’re not sure which type of bristles your toothbrush should have.
5. Brushing Immediately After Eating
A common mistake people make when they’re trying to take good care of their teeth is to immediately brush them after a meal. Acidic foods and drinks temporarily weaken our tooth enamel, and brushing right away can cause damage. This is why we should wait at least half an hour to brush so that our saliva has time to neutralize things.
6. Poor Toothbrush Storage
Is your toothbrush smelly? Do you store it somewhere it can get plenty of air, or do you put it in a case where it never really dries out? Bacteria love moist environments, so the best thing we can do to keep our toothbrushes clean is to store them upright somewhere they can air dry between uses.
7. Bad Brushing Technique
Even brushing for two full minutes twice a day with the best toothbrush with the perfect bristle firmness won’t do much for your teeth if your technique is off. Remember that you’re brushing to get plaque and food particles out of the gumline, so hold your brush at a 45° angle to the gums and gently sweep the bristles in small circular motions. Do this at least 15 times in each area of the mouth, on the tongue side and outside of the teeth, and don’t forget the chewing surfaces!
Come To Us With Your Tooth Brushing Questions
If you want to learn more about good brushing technique, toothbrush storage, or how to pick the perfect toothbrush for you, just give us a call! We want to make sure that all of our patients have the right tools and knowledge to keep their teeth healthy for life!
We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!
What’s In That Drink?
You probably already know that soda is chock full of sugar, but did you know that it’s also highly acidic? For reference, stomach acid, one of the strongest acids, has a pH of 1.5, whereas water is neutral at a pH of 7. Soda ranges in acidity from RC Cola with a pH of 2.387 to Mug root beer with a pH of 4.038. The strong acidity from citric and phosphoric acids is actually the reason for all the sugar—without it, soda would be too sour to drink!
Effects On Teeth
The sugar and acid in soda launch a two-pronged attack on your oral health. Sugar is bacteria’s favorite food, so you’re giving the bacteria in your mouth a feast when you drink anything full of sugar, which allows them to reproduce faster. You’ll end up with bad breath and a higher risk of cavities as a result.
As for the acid, the protective enamel coating your teeth is vulnerable from the first swig. Even the least acidic sodas like root beer aren’t safe, because enamel begins to dissolve at a pH of 5.5.
Without braces, it’s not too difficult to clean away most of the residue from soda by sticking to the standard oral hygiene regimen of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. With braces, there are countless additional tiny, hard-to-reach caverns where bacteria can flourish, feasting on the sugar left behind by soda and destroying your tooth enamel.
You may not even be aware of the damage until your braces come off and you find yourself with obvious white stains around where your brackets used to be. For the sake of your teeth (not to mention your overall health), it might be time to cut soda out of your diet.
If You Must…
Giving up soda can be hard, but there are a couple of ways to reduce its effects on your teeth if you can’t quit drinking it entirely.
- Drink through a straw. When you use a straw, the soda has minimal contact with your teeth. It’s the same reason that drinking through a straw makes it easier to enjoy a cold drink if your teeth are sensitive to low temperatures.
- Don’t just take little sips! The longer you take to drink something sugary and acidic, the longer your teeth are exposed to enamel-destroying substances.
- Don’t have a soda by itself; drink it with a meal instead, and follow it up with a drink of water to rinse the soda off your teeth.
Take Care Of Those Smiles!
We love our patients, and we want all of you to love your smiles when those braces come off. Don’t let fizzy drinks be your downfall! If you have any questions about the effects of soda on your teeth, please contact us.
Thank you for being a part of our practice family!
YOUR SMILE IS AN expression of who you are. It is that special thing that greets a friend, celebrates all of life’s joyful moments, and makes someone’s day that much brighter. We know how important your smile is to you and those around you. That’s why Dr. Chris Wermerson is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), so we can always provide the best and most up-to-date care to our patients!
What Is The AAO?
All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists. Orthodontists go to four years of dental school, and beyond that, two to three more years of school to specialize in orthodontics. We are experts in straightening and aligning teeth to create healthy, beautiful smiles for all of our patients.
The American Association of Orthodontists is the world’s oldest and largest dental specialty organization. Only the orthodontists that have received a rigorous education at an accredited orthodontics specialty program can be granted membership in the AAO. Because Dr. Wermerson is an AAO member, you can trust that all orthodontic treatment performed at our practice meets the highest standards of quality, ethics and aesthetics.
We Go The Extra Mile For Our Patients
Our number one priority is our patients’ safety and satisfaction. We’re always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that we are providing the best care to every single person who comes into our office!
As an AAO member, Dr. Chris Wermerson is constantly improving his skills and learning how to better serve you. Why? Because you deserve the smile of your dreams, and we’re here to make that dream a reality!
Thank you for choosing our practice!
DO YOU GET a painful jolt through your teeth every time you try to enjoy a bite of ice cream or a sip of fresh coffee? If you do, then you’re familiar with the woes of tooth sensitivity, and you’re not alone. More than half of adults between the ages of 20 and 50 experience some degree of sensitivity in their teeth, and children can have sensitive teeth too.
So why does this happen? Well, to understand tooth sensitivity, it helps to know about the structure of a tooth and how the different layers function.
The Anatomy Of A Tooth
The crown of each tooth is covered in a thin layer of hard enamel. Beneath the enamel is dentin, a bony substance with thousands of microscopic tubules running through it. These tubules are how the nerves in the pulp at the core of each tooth can detect what’s going on at the surface.
Causes Of Sensitivity
Most often, tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel wears away, which could be the result of teeth grinding, erosion from acid, or even improper brushing. Without enamel, the tubules in the dentin become exposed. Once that happens, eating or drinking anything hot or cold — sometimes even sweet or sour — will give the tooth a nasty shock.
Another major cause of sensitivity is root exposure. Teeth roots don’t have that layer of enamel; their main defense is the gums. Gum recession, which can also be caused by teeth grinding or improper brushing, leaves the roots vulnerable. Other causes of sensitivity include cavities and having a chipped or fractured tooth.
When you have braces, your teeth are at a higher risk of enamel erosion because of how difficult it can be to keep them clean with the brackets in the way. Make sure to maintain the crucial dental hygiene habits of twice-daily brushing and daily flossing so that your braces won’t leave you with sensitive teeth.
How You Can Protect Your Teeth
If you do have sensitive teeth, there are several ways to fight back. First, start using a soft-bristled brush if you aren’t already, because hard bristles may further damage the enamel and gum tissue. You can also switch to a toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. Finally, avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks, particularly soft drinks.
Let Your Dentist Know
Make sure to go to your dentist if you begin experiencing tooth sensitivity, even if your next regular appointment is months away. They can strengthen your teeth with a fluoride varnish, perform dental restoration work on areas with enamel loss, recommend a gum graft to cover exposed roots, or prescribe a desensitizing toothpaste. They’ll also make sure there aren’t any other problems with your teeth!
Let’s make sure that smile stays healthy and strong!
WE ALL KNOW THAT braces shift misaligned teeth into their proper position over time, but have you ever wondered exactly how that process works? Today, we’re going to walk you through it, because it’s actually really neat.
The Pieces Of The Braces Puzzle
The different parts of your braces all contribute to the orthodontic treatment process in specific ways. You might have additional appliances tailored to your specific treatment plan, but everyone with traditional braces has brackets and archwires, tied together with o-rings (also called bands or ligatures).
If you look carefully at braces brackets, you may notice that they aren’t all placed in a straight line. At first, the braces may even seem to emphasize the crookedness of the teeth. The way the orthodontist positions the brackets is what allows braces to shift teeth into their proper place. By the end of the treatment, the brackets — and, more importantly, the teeth — will be straight!
The archwires run through the brackets on each row of teeth. The orthodontist chooses the thickness and material of the archwire carefully based on your treatment plan. As they try to straighten back into their original shape, archwires provide steady, gradual pressure in the right direction so that your teeth will shift towards their proper position. The colorful o-rings are what keep the archwires in place in the brackets.
The most common addition to braces beyond the basics of brackets, archwires, and o-rings are elastics. If you have a malocclusion (bad bite) or misaligned jaw, elastics apply pressure to bring your jaws into proper alignment. In order for them to do their job, however, it is essential to exactly follow the orthodontist’s instructions. Wearing too many or too few rubber bands will interfere with your treatment and make it take longer.
The Biology Of Shifting Dental Alignment
So what’s actually happening on the cellular level during orthodontic treatment? Specialized cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts respond to the pressure around the periodontal membrane (the pocket of gum tissue connecting the tooth’s root to the jaw bone). Osteoclasts break down the bone tissue so that the tooth can move, while osteoblasts gradually form new bone tissue behind it. So it’s not just your teeth moving into position; your jaw bones are reshaping themselves too!
What About Retainers?
Your teeth still remember where they used to be for a while after the braces come off, which is why it’s so important for you to remember to wear your retainers as directed. Retainers will help your teeth get used to their new position, and they’ll prevent unrelated shifting that happens to most people naturally over the course of time.
Want To Learn More About Your Orthodontic Treatment?
If you have any questions about how your braces are working to give you that properly aligned, more functional smile you’ve always wanted, just give us a call, or ask us about it at your next appointment. We want all of our patients to have the information they need to feel confident in their treatment!