Oral Health

Proper Braces Hygiene

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Can you believe it? 2014 is almost over already! We hope all of you in Ottawa had wonderful holiday celebrations with your friends and families, and wish nothing but the best for 2015. With the new year right around the corner, people all over the capital city are learning from their experiences this year and looking forward to more success in the upcoming year by creating New Year’s resolutions. You’ve may have heard a friend resolving to be more frugal or take up a new hobby. Maybe your sister has vowed to go to the gym everyday, or perhaps you’ve even thought of a resolution for yourself, to further your career or live a more healthy lifestyle. Although it takes a lot of determination to change your routine for the whole year, a resolution to live healthier is actually a great way to start the year off on the right foot.

girl with braces cleaning teeth

For those Ottawans with braces, if your New Year’s resolution involves healthier living, why not try an easy change to your routine, like an upgrade to your teeth-cleaning regimen? Don’t worry, we’re not here to give you a lecture, but if you’re planning to get your braces off next year, it is important to understand that if proper brushing techniques are not executed, you can be left with undesired discoloring, cavities on your teeth, or even swollen and infected gum tissue. You don’t have to panic, though, because we are here to help!

Following these steps while brushing your teeth will help you achieve proper braces hygiene and that perfect smile at the end of your orthodontic treatment:

  1. Rinse your mouth with water to remove any loose food particles.

  2. Using a regular bristle toothbrush and your favourite toothpaste, brush back and forth at about a 45 degree angle from your teeth on top of and below the wires.

  3. Make sure to brush not only the brackets, wires and front of your teeth, but also the chewing surface, sides and back of the teeth, as well as the roof of your mouth, the insides of your cheeks, your tongue and  your gums!

  4. Some tooth brushes are labeled “orthodontic” but really any tooth brush work just fine.  The orthodontic ones makes it a little easier to brush since they are smaller, double-ended brush with a cone shape on one end, and a tuft on the other designed to clean hard-to-reach areas. Each of these ends can also be found as individual brushes.  They can de used to clean between brackets and behind the wires with the cone brush, upwards from the bottom of the tooth, and from the gum line downward. Use the smaller end for tight, over-crowded areas.

  5. Rinse your mouth once again, this time swish mouthwash around and try to be as thorough as possible, swishing around each tooth.

For a demonstration of brushing and cleaning techniques with braces, check out this video, or ask us at your next appointment – we would be happy to show you. All it takes to achieve your goal of well-being is just a little more commitment to your own oral hygiene, not only for a New Year’s resolution, but for your overall health.

Teen girl with braces and doctor with patient in background.

We wish you luck with your new routine and your 2015 New Year’s resolution! Happy New Year, Ottawa!


Braces-Friendly Stocking Stuffers

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Christmas stockings on fireplace mantel

The holidays are approaching quickly and people all around Ottawa are preparing for various family celebrations. Every family has their own traditions, and one of the most well-known Christmas conventions is the filling of stockings with treats and goodies. In fact, it can be just as fun to fill a stocking as it is to open one! There are, however, some family and friends who require a little extra thought and care when purchasing Christmas gifts.

While you’re picking out items to fill the stockings of your loved ones, it’s important to remember those family members with orthodontic appliances. As we all know, there are many sugary holiday treats that can be detrimental for braces, not to mention unhealthy. Last year, we gave a few tips for maintaining oral health during the holidays – always great to remind ourselves! – but this year, we are focusing on all the goodies and gifts found in a Christmas stocking.

Kid's toothbrush

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

The best gift an Ottawa orthodontist can recommend is, not surprisingly, a toothbrush! Add a fun toothbrush or new kind of toothpaste to get children excited about brushing their teeth. The novelty of a special toothbrush may not last forever, but it will help to encourage them to keep brushing their teeth throughout the busy, treat-filled days until the New Year. There are several options for kids’ toothbrushes with cartoon characters, glow-in-the-dark abilities, and some even play music. Plus, children’s toothpaste comes in different flavours like watermelon and strawberry, which can also help make brushing a more exciting activity. For adults, it’s always nice to get a new toothbrush – how many of us think about routinely replacing our old one? – in fact, it’s recommended to change your toothbrush every 3 months for proper oral hygiene and care. Some adult toothbrushes even come with special capabilities like pulsing vibrations and special bristles. Check out our Toothbrush Buying Guide for the pros and cons of manual and powered toothbrushes, and tips for brushing with braces.

Healthy, Braces and Orthodontics-Friendly Treats

Everyone loves to get sweets in their stocking. Chocolate, candy canes, and other sugary treats abound over the holiday season, so it’s always a good idea to know what to avoid when shopping for family and friends with orthodontic appliances. For a list of braces-friendly treats and a list of treats to avoid, check out our tips from National Orthodontic Month, Halloween and Valentine’s Day.

The highlights: stick to chocolates (without nuts or caramel) or soft candies, and chips are great as long as they’re eaten carefully so as to not break or damage the braces. You can also try unconventional goodies like bags of herbal tea or hot chocolate mix as a tasty stocking stuffer.

Braces at Christmas

Creative Alternatives

Who says stockings have to be filled exclusively with candy? This is an opportunity to be creative with your holiday gifting! Find fun, unique ways to wrap small gifts to place in their stockings; hide a gift card in a toilet paper tube, or stick a t-shirt into a small jar or tin. Not only will your sneaky gift-wrapping allow for a fun surprise, it also gives you more options for gifts to avoid putting too many sweets in the stockings.

Shopping for those who are undergoing an orthodontic treatment shouldn’t have to add stress to your holiday preparations. It’s actually a perfect opportunity for you to get creative and find fun alternatives to the usual stocking stuffers. It will also allow you to find more personal gifts that will have more of an impact, and carry a stronger sentiment for the one receiving them. After all, love and family are really what the holidays are all about. Have fun stuffing stockings, and have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season, Ottawa!


Tooth Trauma: What To Do In An Emergency

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We would all love if everything went as planned, and if we never got hurt. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen. Trauma to the face or teeth can be caused by any number of activities, from a baseball game to a car accident. Significant head trauma should be evaluated and treated in hospital emergency rooms, and when trauma occurs to your teeth, it’s important to know what to do to save your smile. Any dental injury will require an immediate examination by a dentist to diagnose the extent of trauma and provide treatment. It is possible for neighbouring teeth to suffer injuries that may go unnoticed, which will be detected by a thorough dental exam.

 

If you’re in an emergency situation, and your tooth comes out completely, don’t panic – we’ll help you through it!

 

1. Find your tooth and pick it up only by the crown (the white part), and be sure to avoid touching the root.

2. Clean the Area

No matter the degree of trauma to the tooth (a crack, chip, or loss of tooth), it’s important to clean both your face and the oral cavity with water or saline. This cleaning will make you feel more comfortable, help protect you from infection, and will facilitate the examination when you get to your dentist. If the tooth itself is dirty, wash it (for approximately 10 seconds) under cold running water.

 

3. Reposition the Tooth

One of the most important variables affecting the success of your tooth re-implantation, is the amount of time that the tooth is out of its socket. If you can, try to replant the tooth, then hold it in position by biting down on a cloth. If you are unable to replant the tooth, place it in a storage medium, such as a glass of milk or a special storage formula for avulsed teeth – Avoid storage in water! You can also transport your tooth in your mouth, just be careful to keep it between your molars and the inside of your cheek. Warning: For children, this method produces a risk of swallowing the tooth, so it is advisable to have them spit in a container and place the tooth inside.

 

4. Seek emergency dental treatment immediately.

 

Click here  for more detailed information on tooth trauma.

 

Braces can actually “strengthen” your teeth while in treatment!

We have had a few patients with braces that had accidents, but their teeth stayed in even if there was a big trauma! Thankfully, the braces kept them all attached together! The impact was distributed on several teeth instead of only one, and the roots all remained in place!

If your tooth has been knocked out, fractured, or displaced, it is best to contact your Ottawa family dentist first, as we may not have the materials or anesthesia required to treat these injuries. If your appliances get displaced or dislodged due to trauma, we will need to either adjust or replace the appliances as soon as possible, after you have seen your general dentist, depending on your comfort level. We always tell our patients, don’t worry about your appliances, we will fix them after, save your teeth first!


Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats

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Valentine’s Day is a holiday all about love, but it often involves being very unkind to our teeth. Chocolate and sweets have become the typical way to show people you care in February, but we believe you can make that special someone happy with treats that won’t damage their smile. Continue reading for creative ways to spoil your friends and family this Valentine’s Day.

If you enjoy the tradition of sharing yummy snacks on Valentine’s Day, try making heart fruit kebabs. These treats are quick to make but will surely put a smile on everyone’s face. Start by placing strawberries onto a wooden skewer; their deep red colour and natural heart shape are super festive. Next, choose your favourite pink and red fruits to slice up and cut into small hearts using a cookie cutter. Create a fun fruit pattern on your skewer, present your healthy treat and enjoy guilt-free! In fact, with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and a little imagination you can turn almost any healthy snack or meal into a Valentine’s-themed treat! 

In our post Three Things to Avoid for White Teeth we discussed red wine being a major culprit for staining teeth. To keep your pearly whites intact this Valentine’s Day, we have a few different drink suggestions. There are plenty of tasty, lightly coloured herbal teas that will warm your Valentine’s heart without staining their teeth. For a Valentine’s Day theme, we suggest picking a tea blend in a pink colour or one with floral flavours. If you’re feeling crafty, you can even create a heart-shaped tea bag! We also love the idea of putting a twist on the classic chocolate-covered strawberries by making a strawberry smoothie with a few chocolate chips or some cocoa powder. Not only will it take much less chocolate to satisfy that sweet tooth, but you can also skip having the sugar stick to your teeth by using a straw.

For those willing to create completely new Valentine’s Day traditions, we suggest avoiding chocolate and wine altogether and making the day about spending time with loved ones or treating them with small but thoughtful gifts. Spoil your friends and family with a fancy new hand soap or lotion. Make it fun by attaching a gift tag that says “I was soapin’ you’d be my Valentine!” To get kids interested in Valentine’s Day without teaching them to expect candy, try playing a special game each year. It is easy to turn your child’s favourite game into a Valentine’s activity. For example, play musical chairs using paper heart cutouts placed in a circle on the ground.

Show your teeth some love this Valentine’s Day! There are plenty of ways to treat yourself and your loved ones that don’t involve damaging your teeth. Unique, heartfelt and homemade Valentine’s treats will be memorable and appreciated. Bonus points for anyone who gifts their Valentine with a new toothbrush. 


Tips for Maintaining Oral Health During the Holidays

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The holidays are fun and exciting, but from sleeping habits to nutrition many people’s healthy routines are thrown out the window around this time. It’s important to treat yourself once in a while, but maintaining balance can be difficult. Here are our tips for how you can enjoy the holidays without negatively impacting your oral health.

 

The first thing we recommend is keeping a strict schedule when it comes to your oral cleaning regimens. Eating more sweets than usual makes it even more imperative that you properly care for your teeth. Unfortunately, a busy social calendar means oral hygiene is not always a top priority. Try to do your more intensive cleaning including flossing and any orthodontic maintenance in the morning. You’re more likely to forget, skip or rush through your brushing routine after getting home late from a party or staying up to wrap gifts, so don’t put it off!

 

Speaking of parties, junk food and celebrations always seem to go hand in hand but they don’t need to. If you’re attending a potluck, why not bring a healthier alternative like a veggie tray? Crunching on carrots and celery will not only help you to resist snacking on sweets, they also act as a natural cleaner while you chew. When hosting a holiday gathering, be sure to add water to your drink menu. Sipping water after a glass of red wine or dark soda may help to prevent your teeth from becoming stained.

 

For the younger set of party goers, include a fun toothbrush and a new flavour of toothpaste in stockings to get them excited about brushing their teeth. The novelty of a special toothbrush may not last forever, but it should be enough to encourage children to keep brushing their teeth throughout the busy, candy-filled days until the New Year. There are plenty of options for kids’ toothbrushes from ones featuring their favourite cartoon character to ones that play music.

 

Our final tip is to not skip any dental or orthodontic appointments during the holiday season. If you don’t think you or your family members will be able to attend appointments, be sure to reschedule. Checkups, cleanings and adjustments are an important part of overall oral health and missing them altogether or delaying them for long periods of time can have a negative impact on your smile.

 

We hope you find our tips for maintaining oral health during the holidays helpful! Remember to be kind to your teeth during this busy time. What are some of your favourite ways to stay healthy while enjoying the festive season?