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Oral pH: A Delicate Balance

March 26th, 2019

YOU MIGHT REMEMBER a little bit about pH from a science class you took years ago in middle school or high school. Even if you don’t, that’s okay; it’s time for a refresher course because pH plays a major role in our oral health.

The Basics (And Acidics) Of pH

We could go into some really complicated things about hydrogen ions, but the important thing to know is that a pH of 7 is neutral — neither acidic nor basic. For example, water has a pH of 7. As the numbers get smaller than 7, the substance becomes more acidic, and as they get larger than 7 (up to 14), it becomes more alkaline or basic. Make sense? Good. Now let’s look at what this has to do with our mouths.

Acid Versus Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, so it’s pretty tough. It is, however, highly susceptible to acid erosion. All it takes is an environment of pH 5.5 or lower for the enamel to begin dissolving.

There are many ways our teeth can be exposed to acid. The most obvious is when we eat or drink something sour or tart because we can actually taste the acid. When we consume something sugary or starchy, oral bacteria eats the leftovers stuck between our teeth and produces acid as a waste product. Acid reflux and vomiting also expose our teeth to stomach acid, which is very strong.

Saliva: The First Line Of Defense

The best natural defense our teeth have against acids is saliva, which has a pH slightly above 7. Saliva washes food particles away and helps keep oral bacteria populations in check. This is why dry mouth is such a dangerous problem for oral health. The less saliva we have, the more vulnerable our teeth are.

Sipping soda or snacking throughout the day is also a problem for our teeth, because saliva needs time to neutralize our mouths afterward, and constantly introducing more acid makes that much harder.

A More Alkaline Diet Will Help Your Teeth

A great way we can help out our saliva in the fight to protect our teeth, aside from the usual methods of daily brushing and flossing and regular dental appointments, is to eat fewer acidic foods and trade them for alkaline ones. That means adding in more fruits and veggies and leaving off some of the breads, dairy, and meats — and we should definitely cut back on soda and other sugary treats.

We Can Fight Enamel Erosion Together!

If you’d like more tips for how to protect your tooth enamel, just ask us! We want you to have all the tools you need to keep your teeth healthy and strong so that they will last a lifetime.

Our top priority is our patients’ healthy smiles!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Straight Teeth: Not Just About Looks

February 26th, 2019

THE MOST OBVIOUS impact of orthodontic treatment is a straighter, more attractive smile. While it is true that we tend to perceive people with properly aligned teeth as happier and more successful, the benefits aren’t just superficial.

Clearer Speech

Do you remember the lisp you had between losing your two front teeth and the adult ones growing in? Based on that, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that our teeth are a crucial component to our ability to speak and enunciate clearly.

In order to make the right sounds, our lips and tongues have to maneuver around our teeth. When teeth are properly aligned, this is simple, but crooked teeth can result in a lisp, slurring, or difficulty making certain sounds that require tongue-to-tooth contact, such as the “t,” “s,” and “ch” sounds. Orthodontic treatment can solve these problems by moving the teeth into their proper positions.

Healthier Digestion

We don’t give our teeth enough credit for the role they play in good digestion. Chewing is a very important part of the process. It doesn’t just chop the food into small enough pieces to fit down the esophagus, it mixes the food with saliva, which begins the chemical digestion process.

When we wolf down our food without much chewing — or when we chew with misaligned teeth that don’t do the job effectively — it forces our stomachs to work harder than they should. If you already have straight teeth, put them to good use by chewing each mouthful for longer. If you don’t, your digestive system will thank you for getting orthodontic treatment.

Better Breathing

Having poorly aligned teeth can make it difficult or even impossible to comfortably close your jaws when you aren’t moving them, which can lead to habitual mouth breathing. Mouth breathing has a number of negative effects, including dry mouth, bad breath, snoring, chronic fatigue, and brain fog. The effects are an even bigger problem for kids, sometimes going as far as changing the development of their facial bone structure.

Straight Teeth For A Better Life

Not only do straight teeth make it easier to speak, eat, and breathe properly, they’re also easier to clean! Maybe you’ve been avoiding orthodontic treatment because you’re happy with the way your smile looks, but the many benefits of straight teeth are worth considering.

Straight teeth lead to better oral health and better overall health!

What To Ask At Your Orthodontic Consultation

January 15th, 2019

THE INITIAL ORTHODONTIC consultation is a critical step in your orthodontic treatment process. One of the best things you can do to prepare is to think about the kinds of questions you want to ask at your visit. We have expert treatment coordinators who guide each consultation for Dr. Sanders and will assist with all of your questions. Here are just a few to get you started.

How Long Will My Treatment Take?

Every patient has their own specific orthodontic needs, which means their treatment will be unique. Make sure to ask for an estimate on long your own treatment will take and what factors influence that timeline. The length and complexity of your treatment will also determine how much it costs.

How Do I Brush And Floss Around My Braces?

We sometimes take brushing and flossing our teeth for granted when we don’t have braces. It’s a fairly simple process to clean all of our teeth’s surfaces and get in between with a string of floss. With braces, it can be trickier, because there are many more places for pieces of food to get stuck, which also happen to be harder to reach with braces in the way. That’s why it’s important to ask for advice on how to keep your teeth clean with the braces on!

What Foods Should I Avoid?

You may have heard of the banned foods list orthodontic patients have to follow, and there’s a good reason for that. Having braces can make it difficult or impossible to eat certain types of food comfortably, and some foods can actually put the appliance in danger of breaking. Make sure you leave your consultation knowing which foods you should leave off your grocery list during your orthodontic treatment.

What Do I Do If Something Breaks?

Accidents happen to everyone, including orthodontic patients. A bracket may come loose or break, an archwire may snap, or any number of other complications could come up. It’s a good idea to get some early advice on what to do in those kinds of situations so that you’ll be ready for them.

What Options Do I Have For My Treatment?

Because everyone’s teeth and situations are different, there is no one-size-fits-all solution in orthodontic treatment. Ask Dr. Sanders if traditional braces are the most effective option for you, or if you might do better with a different approach, such as invisible aligners.

How Can I Help My Teeth Move Into Place On Schedule?

Many factors besides the starting position of the teeth can impact the speed of orthodontic treatment, including the actions of the patient! Depending on what you do, your treatment can either finish on time or become delayed, so make sure you have a clear idea of what you need to do to stay on track!

Having questions is no reason to postpone your orthodontic treatment!

Come See Us With These And All Your Other Questions!

Here at our practice, we can’t wait to start working with you on helping you reach your healthy, straight smile goals, and the first step is making sure all your questions are answered. If you haven’t already scheduled your initial consultation, give us a call today!

We love giving our patients more reasons to smile!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

3 Orthodontic Tips For Cold And Flu Season

December 28th, 2018

WHEN THE COLD AND FLU SEASON STRIKES, your teeth and braces are probably the last things you’re thinking about as you reach for another tissue! But there ARE some things related to that cold or flu that can affect your oral health.

Since tooth decay and gum disease can be especially risky during orthodontic treatment, we want you to be conscious of these three things:

Tip 1: Avoid Dry Mouth By Staying Hydrated

Dry mouth increases cavity risk. Most colds come with a giant side order of stuffy nose. We respond by breathing through our mouths! Doing so, combined with decreased saliva production during sleep, makes our mouths more vulnerable to harmful bacteria.

Tip 2: Keep The Bad Stuff Off Your Teeth

  • Are you sucking on cough drops all day? Most are loaded with sugar. Opt for sugar-free cough drops if possible. AND, be sure not to bite down on those super-hard drops.
  • Cough syrup is loaded with sugar too. If you take cough syrup, rinse your mouth out before going back to bed.
  • Stomach acid is hard on teeth. Sorry to bring this up, but if you’re throwing up, keep your teeth rinsed and clean.

Tip 3: No Matter How Tired…

We know it’s tough when you’re sick, but don’t skip your normal brushing/flossing routine just because you’re feeling really tired. Your oral health while you’re in braces is just too important to neglect.

A Few More Practical Tips For Staying Healthy

https://youtu.be/xfCTKlTMoD0

Stay healthy this flu season! Remember to sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands often to keep viruses from spreading. If you have any more questions about measures you should take for your orthodontic treatment during cold and flu season, let us know! We want to ensure your treatment stays on track, even if the flu pays a visit to your home this year.

If you’re sick, get feeling better soon! And thanks for your trust in our orthodontic practice.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
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