Dental Injuries

19149361_10155221287756147_3351052593754793154_n.jpg

While most traumatic dental injuries occur in children and teenagers, people of all ages can be affected, however, frequently in children traumatic dental injuries often occur as a result of a sports accident,  If you’ve experienced a traumatic dental injury  (whether during sports or any other mishap) it is important to visit your dentist in order to determine any necessary treatment. Any dental injury, even if apparently mild, requires examination by a dentist immediately. Sometimes, neighboring teeth suffer an additional, unnoticed injury that will only be detected by a thorough dental exam. Please remember, not to panic, in most cases, tooth and mouth injuries are not life threatening. Rarely, a child may develop serious complications. Injuries to the teeth and mouth can also have long-lasting effects on the child’s appearance and self-confidence.

Just a few statistics for you:

  • Sporting activities cause the greatest percentage of dental traumatic injuries in teens. Pre-teens and teens have the highest number of sports related dental injuries, with the top 3 sports being; Basketball, Biking and Hockey.
  • 50% of all children and teens will suffer at least one traumatic injury to a tooth by the time they graduate high school.
  • About 80% of all dental injuries affect at least one of the front teeth. Damage to the tongue or cheek is common, too.
  • Young men suffer traumatic tooth injuries 2-3 times more often than young women.
  • About 80% of all dental injuries affect at least one of the front teeth. Damage to the tongue or cheek is common, too.

With good oral hygiene and routine dental checkups; a nutritious diet low in sugar we can usually take good care of our teeth. When children (and adults) take part in sports however, it is perhaps a good measure to wear appropriate protective gear such as a custom-made mouthguard and helmet when playing sports. If your child does complain of toothache or suffers a dental injury, make sure he or she sees your family dentist or pediatric dentist (a specialist in children’s teeth) as soon as possible. This is usually preferable to seeking care at an emergency room, as hospitals often do not have trained personnel or equipment to handle dental emergencies — unless there is a dentist or oral surgeon on call. Of course, there are times when you have no choice but to rush your child to the nearest ER.

Advertisements

Soda Pop – How it affects your health.

Cool glass of iced soda

Cool glass of iced soda

OK!!! Who HASN’T downed a long, cool refreshing glass of soda?? Particularly when it’s lovely, warm and sunny outside. I know I have, on many occasions, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Whether you call it “Pop”, “Soda”, “Juice”, “Seltzer” or “Coke”, it’s a carbonated, artificially flavored fruit drink. Although this article is more concerned with the effects of carbonated beverages, please remember that most beverages otherwise known generically as a “Soft Drinks” have some of the same scarily bad for you contents too, just without the carbonation.

Soda Brands

Soda Brands

As I said in my first line above, I have enjoyed many a cool soft drink, as I am sure many of you have too. (Some reports estimate that each American consumes an average of 58 GALLONS of soda a year!!) But, how many of us have ever considered WHAT we are actually drinking, and the consequences of downing these types of liquids, in the quantities that we do?

Soft drinks, according to many recent medical and dental studies, have become one of the biggest sources of tooth decay as well as being linked to obesity, kidney damage, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers. Now, it’s not just the “full fat” or regular sodas that harm us. Diet sodas also have their own additional effects. Such as; boosting risk of strokes and heart attacks. Amazing that we still drink them huh???

SO!!!

What's REALLY in the can?

What’s REALLY in the can?

Water is, of course, the main ingredient. Hhhhhmmmm, now how can water be bad for us??? Well, in pretty much in the same way that salads, vegetables, fruits and plenty of other food stuffs are really good for us “au naturel”….it’s once we start adding the extras (i.e; salad dressings, sauces, butter and sugars) that the problems begin. Whilst in most natural foods, a little of what you fancy does you good, soda’s and most processed foods not only have excessive amounts of sugars (an average of 16 teaspoons per can of soda), fats and carbohydrates, they also have unnatural chemical ingredients added. Now while some of the chemicals in foods and beverages are there to prolong the shelf life and stabilize the mix (so ingredients don’t separate) in some cases the chemicals are, surprisingly,  there to make the food/drink taste better. So, getting back to the point – what is IN a soda drink and WHY are they bad for us?

What is in a soda?

What is in a soda?

Your long, cool, refreshing soda isn’t sounding quite so refreshing now is it?

Phosphoric acid – used to promote carbonation, give a sharper flavor, slow mold and bacteria growth (ever tried dropping a penny into a glass of Coke overnight? Comes out sparkling like new the next day!!!). This acid erodes tooth enamel, weakens bones.

Check the acid and sugar content of sodas!!

Check the acid and sugar content of sodas!!

Excessive Artificial Sweetener – a chemically manufactured substance used as a substitute for real sugar. Artificial sweeteners can inhibit rather than promote weight loss as they “trick” your body into thinking it is getting sugar so, upsetting the normal working process of the pancreas in producing insulin. They can also induce cravings for “more” sugar and sweet things, increase migraines and possibly lead to intestinal troubles and thymus gland damage. The chemicals used for artificial sweeteners can also convert to Formaldehyde at body temperature!.

Just looking at those two ingredients alone is enough to give me nightmares!!! An analysis of dental checkup data at the University of Michigan found that “Adults who drink three or more sodas a day have worse dental health. Soda drinkers had far greater decay, more missing teeth and more fillings”.

Just let it be said, SODA is BAD for you!!! Diet OR regular!! Try and drink alternatives such as milk, fruit juice (although in moderation, as these too contain citric acid) and best of all WATER!. If you CAN’T give up your soda habit at least try drinking it with a straw, to avoid as much direct contact with your teeth as possible. After all, which smile would YOU prefer?

This smile was caused by excessive drinking of Mountain Dew!

This smile was caused by excessive drinking of Mountain Dew!

smile

THINK before you DRINK!!!

 

 

 

 

 

OK – Got my braces – Now What??

In our last blog we discussed some of the reasons why people need braces. Today, we’ll discuss the ages they can be used,  what to expect and how to look after them.

When?? How old do I have to be? I don’t now about you, but usually when I think about braces I tend to immediately think about teenagers in high school. However, this is completely wrong!! Our teeth can be straightened at almost any age, because even as adults, as long as our teeth are healthy and we have the necessary supporting teeth, our teeth can be re-trained to ‘sit’ properly so that we have wonderful smiles. Of course, the majority of people still do have braces as children, particularly during the teenage years as this is when a lot of the growth in our faces occurs, so it makes sense to do any necessary orthodontic work then, as in the long term it saves time and expense at a later stage of our lives.

Adults wear braces too!!!

Adults wear braces too!!!

What to expect from your braces?

As well as the medical benefits of having braces such as; straightening teeth, correcting your bite, closing gaps, stopping your jaw hurting, relieving headaches and muscle aches you may also benefit from many other factors. As appearance has a lot to do with confidence you may find that you are more outgoing and confident as a result of your teeth and your smile being ‘fixed’. Many children and even adults can be bullied or picked on because of perceived problems with their appearance and braces can in some cases help with this. Just by having the braces in, they can help you feel more confident, even while wearing them because you now know that your smile and teeth are going to get better. So, your confidence and self-image can increase throughout the whole procedure.

Self Confidence

How to look after your braces?

Now the medical and psychological benefits of braces can only do so much. YOU have to do your part!! The most important part is keeping your teeth and braces clean! BUT remember although it might be  a bit more difficult to keep them clean, we all know that nothing worth while is easy, we all have to work at it!!!

Sometimes you may feel some soreness during treatment. More usually just after the braces are first placed and then sometimes after the periodic adjustments. This is only to be expected and should only last for a short while, everyone is different. Your lips and cheeks may also take some time to get used to the braces and need time to adjust to this ‘alien’ thing in your mouth. Don’t worry, this is quite normal, but if you have any issues about any discomfort or pain, please call your Orthodontist for reassurance and advice. Your Orthodontist does not want you be stressed about the braces and will give you advice to minimize any issues you might have. You might be given soft wax to place over the bands and brackets at night which helps your lips and cheeks to adapt to the braces. Another simple remedy is to rinse your mouth with a warm salt water mix (1/4 teaspoon in 1/2 cup of warm water) for the first week.

For ongoing maintenance you will need to check your braces daily to see if any are loose or broken as this can happen occasionally. Of course, if you do find anything loose or broken you will need to call you Orthodontist immediately to get it fixed.

Other maintenance issues are the very basic ones of brushing often and minimizing your intake of sugar, which, of course apply to ALL dental hygiene regimes. Those that specifically apply to braces are avoiding sticky foods such as caramels, Laffy Taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Gummies; avoiding hard foods such as nuts, popcorn (well – the kernels are hard !!!!), hard pretzels, suckers, ice, Jolly Ranchers, Jaw Breakers; cutting apples, carrots and corn on the cob into pieces and tearing bagels, pizza crusts and jerky with your fingers NOT your teeth!!  Now, just because these are the only items on this short list – don’t think that they are the only ones you should avoid…..use your common sense!! THINK before you eat if and how the food will affect your braces. It is up to you to be careful, after all, it will be YOU back at the dentist in pain if you don’t pay attention.

Ultimately, your braces will result in a wonderful new smile for you – but only if you follow your Orthodontist’s instructions and attend all your appointments.

I’d like to thank the staff at our colleague the Betsy Meade Orthodontics (DDS, MS) office for helping with the information for these last two blogs about braces.

National Children’sDental Health Month

National Children’s Dental Health Month

Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.

Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

Every hygienist will tell you to Floss, Floss, Floss!!! Why?!?!? Flossing is one way of caring for your teeth. It starts where brushing stops as it reaches the parts that your brush can’t. Over time, micro-organisms (bacteria, micro-parasties and viruses) can build up to form dental plaque. If left alone, it can cause inflammation and redness of the gums. This is the first step in gum disease, known as Gingivitis. So……that is one reason why you should floss daily. If you don’t take care of gingivitis, it may possibly develop into the more serious condition known as periodontitis.

So, be good to your teeth and floss….work for the Gold Medal Smile 🙂

Image