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By the time your child hits the age of 12 or 13 years old, his or her adult teeth will have all settled in for a permanent stay. This means that as a parent, you only have a few years to instill your kids with solid oral hygiene practices. The habits that they start to develop at a young age will stick with them throughout their entire lives, so it’s extremely important that you take steps to start early. So how can you work to protect your child’s teeth — both before and after the adult set grows in? The following five tips are the simplest, yet most effective means of doing so.

Eat and Drink Right

Good oral hygiene starts with the food and beverages that your little ones put into their mouths. Even adults struggle to cut back on sugary snacks and beverages, so imagine how difficult it is for kids to moderate! As a parent, it’s your job to regulate your child’s diet. Take the time to explain to your children how too much of a good thing can be very bad for their teeth. Set rules limiting your child’s consumption of candy and sweets, and make sure that they brush their teeth directly after eating. And don’t forget about juice! Many parents mistakenly believe that juice is healthy. In reality, the majority of juices are packed with so much sugar that it’s not much different from drinking soda. Treat juices like a special dessert or treat.

Use Fluoride

Children who are over the age of two should be using toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that is able to make the outer surface of teeth much more resistant to acid attacks that can lead to tooth decay and cavities. It’s also wise to check to see if your tap water contains fluoride and talk to your dentist about fluoride supplements.

Remember the 2×2 Rule

Many parents wonder how frequently and how long their children should be brushing their teeth. As a general rule of thumb, kids should brush their teeth a minimum of two times per day (morning and evening) and should do so for two full minutes each time. It’s a good idea to set a timer or play a song that lasts two minutes so that your kids know when they can stop. Setting this standard early in your child’s life will increase the likelihood that he or she continues to follow these tooth-saving practices for a lifetime. For even better results, urge your child to incorporate flossing into his or her routine.
Consider Dental Sealant
A growing number of parents are making the decision to talk with their child’s dentist concerning dental sealant. This involves a thin, plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth. The coating acts as a barrier against cavities and can help prevent tooth decay.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Last, but certainly not least, always remember to stay current with your child’s dental checkups. In order to ensure that your kid’s teeth and gums are in tip-top shape and to spot any potential problem spots quickly, we recommend that you schedule a checkup every six months.
While poor dental hygiene has become somewhat of an epidemic throughout the past several years, there’s no reason for your child to join the ranks of many who have developed cavities and other issues early in life. Starting with these simple tips will help your child to develop smart oral hygiene habits that will keep them healthy and happy. And don’t forget that you can contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, anytime for more tips and ideas.
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Few things can be as annoying or interruptive as a toothache. When the pain is severe, it’s often difficult to go about your daily routine. It’s been known to bring even the toughest men and women to their knees, and that’s exactly why you should be aware of what might cause a toothache so you can take steps to avoid one.

Last week, we told you about the five most common causes of toothaches — tooth decay, tooth abscess, gum disease, a chipped or cracked tooth, and temperature sensitivity. This week, we’ll continue with our list and give you the remaining five reasons as to why you may be experiencing a toothache.

6. Damaged Fillings

If you have any fillings or sealants, there’s a good chance that they’re covering up vulnerable parts of a tooth. Damage to fillings can expose these vulnerable areas, causing sensitivity that can bring you a great deal of pain. A damaged filling or sealant should be considered an emergency situation, so give your dentist a call right away in order to get it fixed. Trust us — your mouth will thank you!

7. Grinding Your Teeth

This is actually a very common reason for not only tooth pain, but for pain in your jaw and neck, in addition to related muscle pain. Many people grind their teeth while sleeping or under stress and getting to stop can be a real chore. Unfortunately, when left untreated, this situation can cause cracked or chipped teeth, sore jaw bones and joints, and headaches. The use of a custom mouthguard, which you’ll wear while sleeping, is your best bet to alleviate the problem.

8. Improper Flossing or Brushing

Proper daily dental care is the cornerstone of dental and oral health. We always suggest that you go by the 2-2-2 rule, which means you floss and brush twice a day for two minutes and visit your dentist two times a year. This can ensure proper dental health, but believe it or not, but there is such a thing as being too vigorous when it comes to flossing and brushing your teeth. If you use too much pressure, your gums may recede, which can cause a considerable amount of pain. We suggest that you use a soft-bristled brush and to be mindful of the pressure you’re using. If in doubt, your dentist can help you formulate a dental care plan.

9. Misaligned Teeth or Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If you have a tooth that is misaligned, it will press against the teeth surrounding it, which can cause those teeth to become misaligned as well. This situation is related to impacted wisdom teeth, where they haven’t broken through the gum line. Sometimes, these impacted wisdom teeth can press against other teeth as well. To fix these problems, you’re looking at either braces for the misaligned teeth or surgery for the impacted wisdom teeth.

10. Orthodontic Alignment

Pain caused by braces, retainers, and other alignment systems is common, but should dissipate within a few days. If the pain continues, then you need to contact your dentist right away and get the device you’re using realigned. This will fix the problem and alleviate the pain.

A toothache can be a harrowing experience, one that will quickly worsen if it’s not tackled by a professional. If you’re suffering from any of the problems above, it’s important to contact your dentist and get treatment as soon as possible. Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS can help you with any toothache issues you have, and will also get you started on a future of dental and oral health. Give us a call today and we’ll get you in!

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Anyone who has ever had a toothache can tell you that it’s not pleasant. In fact, the pain of a toothache can get so intense that it’s difficult to even think straight at times. When you experience a toothache, it means that you have an underlying problem and need to see your dentist right away before the situation gets any worse.

The question is… what is this underlying problem you’re experiencing? What we’d like to do in this two-part series is explore the top ten reasons for toothaches. We’ll start with the five most common and continue with the second set of five next week.

1. Tooth Decay

The first reason for a toothache on our list is also the most obvious. If your tooth has significant decay, then the inner layer — called the dentin — is affected. When this happens, the tooth becomes extremely sensitive to outside stimuli. The pain will often be dull, but if the decay reaches the center of the tooth, the pain will become sharp and nearly unbearable. In fact, the pain can be so bad that you’ll barely be able to function, opting instead to roll into a ball and try to ignore it. Our advice? Call your dentist!

2. Tooth Abscess

Once tooth decay has advanced to the root beneath your tooth, the pain will be widespread. This makes it difficult to determine which tooth is the source of the pain. If this happens, you must get to a dentist immediately in order to prevent the loss of bone or tissue. This is a serious issue that you can’t afford to put off any longer than you have to. You need to have a professional ascertain the problem and get it fixed right away.

3. Gum Disease

Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer from gum disease and those numbers aren’t expected to go down anytime soon. When you experience gum disease, you may feel a dull pain in your mouth and possibly even your teeth. You need to head to your dentist right away before the damage worsens. If not, you could be looking at the loss of your teeth… and that’s obviously the last thing you want to happen.

4. Chipped or Cracked Tooth

There are several ways that a tooth can become fractured — biting down on something hard, falling down, a sports injury, etc. The pain may not happen right away, but when it does happen, you’ll know. If the damage to a fractured tooth has reached the middle of the tooth, which is where the nerves endings are located, you may be dealing with excruciating pain. We probably don’t need to tell you to head to your dentist in this situation — you’ll be screaming all the way there!

5. Temperature Sensitivity

If your tooth enamel has been worn down, your tooth may become especially sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages because the nerves have been exposed. The first thing you can do is use a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth, which will provide protection against extreme temperatures. Then check with your dentist for further treatment before it gets any worse.

Toothaches can become unbearable if they’re not treated right away, and in some situations, are likely to cause more extensive damage the longer you wait to take care of the issue. Pay attention to the above issues and and if you’re experiencing a toothache or simply want to improve your dental health, be sure to contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS. We’ll take care of all your dental needs and prepare you a future of good dental and oral health!

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We all want to think that our breath smells just wonderfully, but the truth is that millions of people experience bad breath every day. The problem is that it’s difficult to know when you have bad breath until someone points it out, which can be extremely embarrassing.

The good news is that preventing bad breath isn’t a difficult thing to do. In fact, once you become conscious of it, you could very well never have bad breath again. Here are some tips that we recommend you start following right now:

Brush and Floss Regularly

This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people skip flossing or brushing their teeth. Both of these are very important for proper dental and oral health. Some people will brush and skip flossing, but that can spell danger, too — the food particles left between your teeth by your brush can decay over the course of your day and cause an odor.

Rinse Your Mouth

In addition to brushing and flossing, you should also consider the use of a mouthwash on a daily basis. Mouthwash is formulated to kill the germs that cause bad breath. Plus, a fresh minty taste can give you the confidence of good smelling breath. If bad breath is a concern, add this to your dental health routine.

Scrape Your Tongue

This is one of those activities that many people never consider. The unfortunate truth is that bacteria collects on your tongue as a kind of coating that is typically visible (and disgusting, if we’re being completely honest). You need to use your toothbrush to scrape the entire tongue, including the back. If your brush is too big to do this comfortably, don’t fret — just pick up a pack of tongue scrapers to get the job done.

Drink Plenty of Water

Saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against bacteria and bad breath. If your mouth isn’t moist enough, though, you won’t make enough saliva to help keep it clean. We suggest that you drink plenty of water during the day to keep your mouth moist. And if it’s a chronic problem, you might want to use a humidifier at night to moisten the air in your home.

Quit Smoking

Tobacco products cause extensive damage to your overall health, and will certainly cause you to have bad breath. Just ask a non-smoker what they think of your breath, and if they’re being honest, you won’t like the answer. As a bonus, giving up smoking will also lower your chances of lung cancer and various other maladies. And for God’s sake — if you’re using a chewing tobacco, cut that out, too, before you develop mouth cancer.

Keep Your Gums Healthy

Millions of people suffer from gum disease in any given year, and that’s a big reason why bad breath is such a problem these days. If you suffer from gum disease, speak to your dentist about ways to fix it before the condition worsens. If you let things get too bad, bad breath won’t be your only concern — you could also be looking at tooth loss.

Avoid Certain Foods

Some foods, like garlic and onions, will make your breath smell something fierce. The best way to stop this from happening is to avoid these types of foods altogether. If you love those things and don’t want to avoid them, though, then make sure you have toothpaste or mouthwash around to help defeat the odor.

Would you like to learn more about how you and your family can avoid bad breath and improve your overall dental and oral health? Contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS today, and we’ll get you started on a path to better teeth, better gums… and better breath.

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Like acne and school dances, getting braces is typically viewed as something a child or young teen may be forced to endure. If a child’s teeth aren’t coming in straight, it’s almost always the best remedy available. In fact, getting braces at an early age can prevent serious dental problems later on — both cosmetically and from an oral health perspective.

Adults, on the other hand, have been known to ignore the need for braces. Perhaps they had them as a child and don’t want to relive that time in their lives or they believe it isn’t something that is available to an adult. The truth, however, is that more adults than ever are now opting for braces in order to correct problems with their teeth.

Because of this, here are a few facts that you should know about when it comes to adults and braces:

No More Metal

As a child or teen, having a mouthful of metal braces typically isn’t a huge deal, because there’s a good chance that several other people at the same school will have braces as well. As we get older, though, wearing metal for office presentations and such things isn’t exactly appealing. The good news is that technology has come a long way. These days, you can opt for non-metal braces such as those made of ceramic material or for Invisalign, both of which are much less noticeable. Another option is lingual braces, which are metal, but placed on the inside of your teeth to hide them.

Adult Braces Are More Common Than You Think 

Thanks to advances in technology and more conscientious practitioners of good oral hygiene, the use of adults braces has been on the rise for years. To give you an idea, the number of adults with braces rose 39 percent from 1996 to 2012. And in the past few years, the increases continue to be exponential, especially as dental technology continues to make strides.

Orthodontics Can Be Beneficial at Anytime

The common thought around braces being used primarily on children is the fact that, at a younger age, the jaw is still growing. But even so, it has been proven than adults with bite and alignment issues can still greatly benefit from wearing braces as well. So if you’re in need, you have no excuse to put it off any longer.

Braces Are More Affordable Than Ever

A big reason why certain children in need of braces were unable to get them was due to one simple reason — money. Truth is, only a couple decades ago, the prospect of getting braces for a child was scary due to the cost involved. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. There are options to fit every budget, whether you’re getting them for a child or for yourself. Plus, as an adult, the typical train of thought is that you’re more likely to be able to afford braces for yourself at an older age.

A Greater Lifespan Makes Braces More Important

In the past forty years, the average life expectancy of a person living in the U.S. has increased by more than a decade. This is primarily due to a mix of better health alternatives and medical advances. This means that getting braces as an adult makes even more sense now because there’s a good chance that you’ll have your teeth for an even longer period than you may have many years ago.

Whether you need braces for your child or yourself, or have any other dental concerns, the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, can help. Contact us today and we’ll get your entire family started on a lifetime of dental and oral health by enlisting the greatest techniques available.

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As everyone should know by know, flossing your teeth is an important part of your dental and oral health. If you’re not flossing, you’re doing your teeth a disservice.

Floss has been around for a while, but not a lot of people know its original. Conversely, even the most ardent of users can be unaware of the sheer magnitude of its effectiveness in improving a person’s dental and oral health.

To help you get a better grasp of flossing, here are a few interesting facts about flossing that you may not know:

Brushing Won’t Do the Job Alone

If you’re a regular brusher, then great — but that’s not going to cut it, sad to say. The layout of your teeth creates a situation wherein 40 percent of each tooth’s service area is represented by the space between them. Unfortunately, no matter how good your toothbrush may be, there’s no way for it to effectively clear between these spaces. This means that food in the spaces will stay there to rot, increasing the likelihood of developing cavities and other problems. Flossing is the only way to make sure that the entire surface of each tooth is being cleaned.

Flossing Goes Back Further Than You Probably Realize

Many people believe that flossing is a modern technique that developed just a few decades ago. On the contrary, evidence has been found that suggests the use of makeshift floss and toothpicks by prehistoric humans. That being said, the technique didn’t become popular until the early 1800s when a dentist in New Orleans suggested to patients the use of a silk thread as a way to floss on a daily basis. Dental care was archaic back then, but can you imagine how much worse it would’ve been without that little tidbit of dental care?

Flossing Took a While to Catch On Commercially

You’d think that something that improved dental health so drastically would be the talk of the town and a company would immediately start selling it to the masses. Well, if that’s what you think, you’re totally wrong. Even though it had been around for the better part of a century, the first mass-produced dental floss didn’t show up until 1882. And it wasn’t until1898, after years of making their own floss, that Johnson & Johnson was awarded with the first dental floss patent. Since then, it’s evolved from its silk roots to nylon and other materials over the years. But while the material component has changed, its usefulness has not.

Flossing May Help You Live Longer

One of the biggest dangers of neglecting your teeth and gums is gum disease, also known as gingivitis. This condition is treatable with good oral hygiene, but if left untreated, will develop into periodontitis, which can cause your teeth to fall out. While this isn’t life-threatening, a link has been found between gum disease and an increase risk of coronary heart disease, caused by what they believe is bacteria inside your mouth finding its way into your bloodstream and affecting the arteries. Flossing decreases your chance of gum disease, which means that you also lower the likelihood of heart disease. So next time you reach for that floss, just remember that you could very well be adding years onto your life.

Do you want to know more about how brushing and flossing can benefit both your dental and oral health? Is it time for your routine check-up and cleaning? If you answered yes to either of these questions or want to inquire about any elective dental procedures, then contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur and we’ll get you started on a future of improved dental health!

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As we’ve covered in past posts, it is vitally important that you visit your dentist at regular intervals, for both a cleaning and check-up. Other than that, though, we understand you have other things to do, possibly even more fun than visiting the dentist!

Keeping that in mind, we’ve compiled some quick tips on how to avoid multiple dental visits whenever possible. Follow these and basic maintenance may be all you’ll ever need.

Learn to Brush Correctly 

You expect the wrong brushing technique to be utilized by kids, but you might be surprised at how many adults neglect to brush their teeth correctly. What you want to do is brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums, and make sure that you’re massaging along the gum line. This will help you optimize each brushing session. For a visual on how to do this correctly, go to YouTube and search for videos on “how to brush your teeth.”

Make Sure You Floss

If you’re only brushing your teeth, you’re missing a good amount of the food particles and bacteria that get trapped between them. This is a big reason that people get cavities even though they brush their teeth on a regular basis. If you find that normal dental floss gets stuck in your teeth or can’t go in between them at all, pick up a type (like Glide) that is specifically coated and designed for these situations. Flossing has been shown to greatly reduce the need for dental visits, so this is something you should never avoid.

Follow the 2-2-2 Rule

The 2-2-2 rule is made up of three parts: First, visit your dentist two times a year for a cleaning and check-up. Second, brush and floss your teeth two times a day, once in the morning and once at night before bed. And third, brush for two full minutes each time. If you follow this simple guideline, you won’t find yourself visiting your dentist too often.

Drink Plenty of Water

As we recently covered just a couple of weeks ago, drinking water has a bevy of advantages to a person’s health. In the case of dental health, drinking water helps wash away harmful bacteria that collects on your teeth throughout the day. This keeps bacteria from damaging your teeth, so make sure to grab a glass whenever you’re thirsty!

Wear a Mouth Guard

When playing sports, especially high-contact ones, injuries can happen at a moment’s notice. Chipped and cracked teeth can lead to a dental emergency that will cost you a pretty penny. We would never want you to avoid sports, so we suggest protecting your teeth by wearing a mouth guard. Your teeth will thank you!

Adopt a “Full Disclosure” Policy

When you visit the dentist for one problem — a cavity, for instance — your inclination might be to get out of there as quickly as possible and not inform him or her of a second or third problem. This is a mistake that could send you running back to the dentist’s chair very soon. It’s best to disclose everything during a visit, even if it means staying a little longer or making a follow-up appointment to deal with the new problem.

Although we can’t guarantee that you’ll avoid all dental mishaps, by following these tips, you’ll greatly improve your chances that you’ll be able to avoid multiple trips to the dentist. For your routine check-up or any dental concerns that crop up between cleanings, be sure to contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS. We’ll help keep you on track for superb dental health.
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As adults, there’s a lot of maintenance to be done throughout our lifetimes. Whether you’re referring to the maintenance of your home or maybe even an ongoing personal relationship, a lot of time is dedicated to making sure that things run smoothly.

A big part of this is the time devoted to our automobiles. Whether you drive strictly to and from work, or if you take long family trips, it’s almost guaranteed that you put a lot of time, energy, and money taking care of your car, truck, SUV, or what have you.
Caring for your teeth is more similar to caring for your vehicle than you might think. Luckily for you, we’re here to tell you exactly how it all fits together.
What Your Teeth Have in Common with Your Automobile
Let’s take a moment for a quick run-down of how your vehicle and teeth are similar:
 
Wear and Tear — For those of us who drive our vehicles almost every single day, there’s a great deal of wear and tear that occurs. Whether you’re talking about the engine, the tires, or even the seats, all that constant usage will eventually wear down the automobile’s components. Our teeth work the same way. We use our chompers on a daily basis to help grind up food, and many types of food can be damaging over time. This is just a fact of life, no matter how careful and meticulous you are about their care.
Basic Maintenance — Your vehicle’s maintenance is simply part of ownership. Even though this isn’t a daily thing most of the time, your automobile requires oil changes, tire rotation, etc. in order to keep running smoothly. Fall behind on basic maintenance and it won’t take long before you’re looking at costly repairs. The same is true with your teeth. The difference, of course, is that basic maintenance on your teeth needs to be done every day to help fight cavities, gum disease, and other problems that could result in a costly visit to the dentist for repair or damage control. And don’t forget that, like a regular tune-up on your vehicle, you should visit a dentist every six months for a cleaning and check-up.
Emergency Maintenance — No matter how well you take care of your automobile or teeth, you’re most likely going to need emergency maintenance on both. With a vehicle, your battery could inexplicably run out of juice or you could walk out to go to work only to discover that your alternator has gone out. Similarly, your teeth could be damaged by a facial injury, biting down on something really hard, or other actions. It may ruin your day, but it’s important that emergency maintenance on both vehicles and your teeth be conducted right away. Hence, the “emergency” part.
What Your Teeth Don’t Have in Common with Your Automobile
So what is the one big thing that your vehicle and teeth do not have in common with each other? Simple — you can’t trade your teeth in for new ones.
What we’re talking about is the fact that you only have one set of teeth. If you ruin them, they won’t grow back (as adults, of course). Now, some of you are going to say that certain apparatus like dentures and implants are available, but those should only be implemented as a last resort. Dentures are a pain to take care of and often don’t achieve the best of appearances, while implants are quite expensive. You’re much better off taking care of your original teeth instead.
When you’re ready to get some “maintenance” done on your teeth, give the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, a call. We’ll get you started on better dental and oral health today!
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Part of our schtick here is to tell you what foods and beverages you should avoid if you want your dental health — and very often your overall health itself — to improve. This is because many of us are guilty of ingesting substances that can severely damage our teeth, so it’s important to highlight those things that should be removed from your daily diet or be ingested only in moderation.

 

Today, we’re instead going to shift our focus to something that you should be getting plenty of — water.

 

We all know that experts say to drink eight glasses of water a day, but more often than not, this instruction doesn’t come with any kind of reasoning behind it. So what we’d like to do is provide you with a few benefits of drinking water on a daily basis, whether it’s for the health of your teeth or the health of your body.

 

Water Cleans Your Teeth

 

While certain beverages, such as soda and others high in sugar, can coat your teeth and cause a great deal of damage, water does exactly the opposite. When you drink water, it washes away remnants of food and liquids that harm your teeth. You still need to brush and floss, of course, but between those daily activities, drinking water is a great way to maintain dental health.

 

Water Can Prevent Bad Breath

 

Whether you’ll be doing any talking or kissing soon, bad breath can keep people at bay. Bad breath is often caused by dehydration because when you don’t have ample saliva in your mouth, bacteria can thrive and lead to odors. Drinking water can solve such dehydration problems, so you can finally speak (and do other things) without being rebuffed by anyone.

 

Water Has No Calories

 

The fact that water has no calories makes it an excellent beverage of choice. You can drink water with every meal and not worry about calculating any added calories. If you want to get a little flavor every once in a while, you also have the option of adding zero-calorie additives or purchasing flavored, bottled water with no calories or sugar added to it. But, in our opinion, the original thing is the very best.

 

Water Can Help You Lose Weight

 

There are two specific ways that water can help you lose or maintain your weight. First, it’s an excellent alternative to sugary beverages like soda or any other beverage (yes, including coffee — sorry, coffee fans!) that add calories to your diet. Second, drinking water can help curb your appetite. So instead of reaching for a bag of chips, drink some water first and wait a few minutes. You’ll often find yourself no longer hungry or you’ll eat less of that sinful snack.

 

Water Makes Your Skin Look Better

 

Dehydration can cause your skin to become susceptible to wrinkling and cracking. If you want to maintain that youthful glow, water is not only a fantastic way to do that — it’s also typically the cheapest.

 

Water Keeps You Cool

 

While this time of the year may not be the best time to consider this particular benefit, once the hotter months of the year roll around, staying cool is just one more added benefit to drinking a lot of water. We suggest drinking it, but dousing yourself with water from a hose or one of those handheld misters is a great way to cool off, too.

 

Want to know more about what you should and should not be putting in your body to avoid bad dental health? Contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, today and we’ll help you get started on the road to better health.

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When you think of a teenager, what immediately comes to mind? High energy, reckless decision-making, and of course, braces. With a whopping 50-70% of American youths in braces at some point, it’s really no wonder that the corrective gear has become such a hallmark of the teenage experience. But despite being familiar with the concept of braces, many people have no idea how to care for them, or how important this actually is. When you consider the fact that the majority of teens are required to wear their braces for 1-3 years before they can be removed, it’s pretty obvious that braces demand TLC — and lots of it. So make sure that you and your teen are doing the following:

1. Clean, Clean, and Clean Some More!

It’s no secret that food has a way of finding its way into braces. The extra material inside of your teen’s mouth creates a place where it’s easy for food particles to get caught. While the wearer may check their reflection frequently to ensure that there’s nothing visible, this doesn’t mean that bits of food couldn’t be lurking beneath the surface. Left unnoticed, this can lead to the growth of bacteria, odors, and discomfort. Consequently, it’s imperative that your teen take the time to brush and floss after every meal or snack. You may even want to talk to your orthodontist about his or her recommendations for special flossing tools and techniques.

2. Know Which Foods to Avoid

Sugar may be delicious, but that doesn’t mean it’s doing your teen’s braces any good. Foods and drinks that are high in sugar content promote tooth decay for everyone, but even more so for those wearing braces as the residue has more opportunities to lurk in the dark and wreak havoc. In addition to this, those in braces should avoid sticky foods. Items such as caramel, taffy, dried fruit, etc. may seem tempting, but can create serious pain, discomfort, food buildup, and other issues since they may become trapped in the braces. In addition, teens should steer clear of hard (or hardish) foods such as hard candies, nuts, and jerky, all of which can break wires and loosen brackets.

3. When In Doubt, Give the Orthodontist a Shout

Let’s face it — accidents with braces do happen. There may come a time when your teen notices that a wire or a bracket has broken, but you should not attempt to correct the issue yourself as this could actually make the problem even worse. You may feel tempted to do so if the problem has created discomfort for your teen, but any sharp edges should simply be covered with wax or a wet cotton ball, and the actual correctional work should be left to the orthodontist. Be sure to make an appointment as soon as you notice that something is amiss. Most orthodontists will be able to squeeze you in for repair or correctional work right away.

4. Stay Close to Your Dentist, Too

Just because you’re visiting your orthodontist regularly doesn’t give you a hall pass on visiting the dentist. Those with braces should continue to come in for bi-annual checkups to ensure that maximum oral health is maintained at all times. The possibility of food and bacteria sticking to braces can increase the risk of cavities, so don’t be a stranger.

Braces have the ability to completely transform a teen’s teeth and appearance, but they can only do wonders when they’re treated properly. By sticking with these simple tips, you’re sure to have the most positive experience with braces as is possible. Give Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, a call for more tips on proper braces care.

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