Oral Health

What Are The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatments?

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Orthodontic treatments are really important no matter how old you are. Also called as interceptive orthodontics they can begin as early as age 6 or 7. At such a young age the teeth are still developing. All of that could mean less treatments later if everything is well taken care of. The goals of early orthodontic treatment are: correct bite problems such as an under bite, guide the jaw growth pattern, help to make room in the mouth to make sure the permanent teeth are properly placed, … all of this can prevent or keep the risk of needing extraction due to teeth crowded.

Before permanent teeth have come in, it may be possible to help teeth to erupt (emerge through the gums) into better positions. It’s common, for example, for the dental arch to be too small to fit all of the teeth.

Here are several ways you can determine if early treatments are needed:

  • Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
  • Late loss of baby teeth (after age six or seven)
  • The child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
  • The child is a mouth breather
  • Front teeth are crowded (you won’t see this until the child is about seven or eight)
  • Protruding teeth, typically in the front
  • Biting or chewing difficulties
  • A speech impediment
  • The child’s jaw shifts when he or she opens or closes the mouth
  • The child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb

Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb sucking habits.

Most children have lost all their baby teeth by age 13 and by the end of their teen years the jaw bones will harden and no longer continue to grow. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction and the possibility of oral surgery. As a child, receiving early orthodontic treatment can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult, leaving little to no chance of extraction or surgery in the future.

Early orthodontic treatments at our Ottawa office are very beneficial for children. The main reason why it’s so important to start at an early age: the child’s jaw bones are still soft. Because the bones are still pliable, corrective procedures such as braces work faster than they do for adults. Treatments are also an effective preventive measure for a healthy and stable oral health.


National Orthodontic Health Month

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It’s October, a special month that brings us candies, ghosts and witches. October also is the National Orthodontic Health Month. Let’s take advantage of this month to remember how it’s important to take care of our orthodontic health and how taking care of your braces ensures you a healthy smile and healthy teeth.

Taking care of your teeth can get more difficult once you get braces. Food and plaque can get trapped in the tiny spaces between braces and wires, causing decay and enamel stains. This is produced by the bacteria that react with the food in your mouth to produce an acid, which can cause small, permanent light spots on the teeth. This is why it’s important to keep your braces and your mouth clean. Here are some tips to help you keep your teeth and orthodontic appliances clean:
• To remove plaque, you should brush around all parts of your dental braces and all of the surfaces of your teeth. Ideally, you should brush after every meal or snack. If you can’t brush right away, rinse your mouth well with water.
• Using fluoridated toothpaste or adding a fluoride rinse to your routine can help prevent white spots (decalcification) and decay. It’s also important to continue your regular dental check-ups during orthodontic treatment.
• Whether manual or electric, a toothbrush with soft bristles and a compact head is best for cleaning teeth with braces. Always remember to remove elastics before brushing so hooks and wires are not disturbed.
• Avoid sweets, soda and other sugary and starchy foods because they can promote tooth decay and gum disease. Sticky and chewy foods like caramel, taffy, chewing gum, dried fruits can stick to braces and be difficult to remove. Biting and chewing hard foods, such as some candies and nuts, ice, beef jerky and popcorn, can break wires and loosen brackets. Avoid damaging wires on the front teeth by cutting carrots, apples and other crunchy, healthy foods into bite-sized chunks before eating them.

Generally speaking, soft foods are best for brace wearers. Candies that melt in your mouth tend to be gentlest on braces. Orthodontic patients can enjoy chocolates (such as chocolate kisses and M&Ms), gelatin, ice cream, peanut butter cups, powdered candy and more.

In honor of ‪National Orthodontic Health Month‬‬‬, we will be buying your‪ Halloween‬‬‬ candy back from you! Come to our office on November 2nd from 7:00am to 5:00pm and we will buy your candy! For every pound, we will give you 1$ and also donate 1$ to the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa. Also, for every pound you will receive 1 ballot to be entered into a draw to win a new iPad mini!

Beware of those nasty cavities that sugar can cause during the ‎Halloween‬ season. It is important to brush and floss every day! ‪‬‬


When to See an Orthodontist

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You’ve been thinking about orthodontic treatment for yourself or someone else in your family? You are probably wondering: When is the right time to see an orthodontist? It’s an excellent question, and we have the answer to it. 

First reason why you should see an orthodontist: If you have any question about the alignment of your teeth, or the quality of your bite. Sometimes, a problem in this area is painfully obvious. If you have trouble biting, chewing or speaking, or some of your teeth are clearly protruding, crowded or misplaced, an orthodontist can surely treat the problem to help you regain a healthy smile.

Mouth breathing, clenching or grinding your teeth, and the inability to comfortably close your lips may also be signs that an orthodontic treatment is needed. If your jaws seem to frequently shift in position or make sounds as they move, you may need an appointment with an orthodontist.

Did you know that teeth that meet abnormally can even cause a facial imbalance (asymmetry)? No worries, this is a problem that can often be corrected by orthodontic treatment.

ORTHODONTICS FOR CHILDREN

We recommend a first orthodontic examination by the age of 7 for two very good reasons. At that age, not everyone has the same facial and teeth development so it takes an expert to tell if a child may actually have an orthodontic problem, or if it’s just a normal developmental variation. At that time, an orthodontist can also predict whether or not there will be adequate room in the mouth to accommodate the permanent teeth.

An early exam can help to prevent serious problems. Many conditions are far easier to treat if they’re caught at an early stage. However, if left untreated, oral surgery could later be required to correct a serious condition.

If you notice any of the symptoms below, it may be time to visit an orthodontist:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sucking the thumb or fingers, or other oral habits
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or are recessed
  • Speech difficulty
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry (features out of
proportion to the rest of the face)
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Inability to comfortably close lips

Even if most patients may not require treatment at 7 years old, an orthodontist will normally monitor a child growth and development from that point on to ensure that he or she is on the right track. Sometimes, it is only the matter of removing a baby tooth at the right time that can make the whole difference and allow the permanent teeth to come in the proper position.

ORTHODONTICS FOR ADULTS

You know when your child needs an orthodontic exam. Now, how about you? Are you afraid of smiling because your smile isn’t as perfect as you want it to be? Know that orthodontic exams are not only for kids. We can help you get the smile you always dreamed of.

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Plus, it’s now possible to have “Hidden” braces. Different type and brands exist and they all have their strength. From Incognito, Harmony to Forestadent 2D, there are so many options! You don’t want braces even if they are inside? There is always Invisalign as another solution. This is a series of aligners that you wear and change every 2 weeks to align your teeth.

So if you worry that metal braces might clash with your professional image, be sure that there are solutions and options so no one will know that you are “secretly” improving your smile unless you tell them!

Remember that a nice smile isn’t just about the look. Well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and maintain, and less subject to abnormal wear. A healthy smile keeps you from having trouble eating and speaking.

It is time for you to “Discover your smile!


Caring For Your Teeth – Things To Avoid

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You might not realize it but some of your everyday activities could be ruining your teeth. Teeth are more fragile than you’d think so it’s important to take good care of them while you still can.

Start ‘em off young

Let’s start at the beginning, do your children a favour and start them off on the right foot. Never send your child to bed with a bottle whether it be milk or juice. The sugar will sit on your child’s teeth all night and will eat away at the enamel. Also, avoid thumb sucking at all costs. It’s normal for small children to want to suck on their thumbs but once their adult teeth start coming in, help your child to break this habit as thumb sucking can cause misalignment in teeth.

Chipping away at your teeth

Next, here are some habits that can chip your teeth: chewing on ice, using your teeth to open things, grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, nail biting, and biting on pens. Even tongue and lip piercings can damage your teeth if you bite down on them hard enough.

Foods that are ruining your smile

It’s common knowledge that sugary foods can eat away at your enamel, cut down your consumption of candy, soda, sports drinks, fruit juice, and even cough drops, which are full of sugar and are often overlooked. If you do indulge in these sugary items make sure to brush your teeth after.

You may have never considered that snacking on food in general is damaging your teeth. When you snack on foods frequently rather than having larger meals your mouth is actually producing less saliva, which is leaving more food residue between your teeth, this of course is bad for them. Similarly, alcohol consumption dehydrates your mouth and if you drink frequently you’ll begin producing less saliva, which could cause tooth decay.

Sticky foods are bad for your teeth because well, they stick to your teeth. It’s not good to let anything sit on your teeth for a long period of time so wash these foods down with water.

Brush carefully

While brushing your teeth is a crucial part of your dental health, brushing immediately after consuming acidic foods can actually harm your teeth. The acid
softens your teeth making them much more sensitive when you start brushing. Also, surely everyone’s heard of not brushing too hard, while it’s important to brush away all of the plaque you don’t want to harm your enamel, try a soft toothbrush instead that’s recommended by the Canadian Dental Association.


April is National Oral Health Month

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Spring is finally here. The snow is melting, the sun is shining, and the birds are singing. But this month we’re not only celebrating the return of spring, we’re celebrating national oral health month.

You may not have known it, but your oral hygiene is more than just white teeth and good breath, it affects the overall health of your body. If you’re not properly maintaining your teeth it could be affecting you both physically and mentally so read on for tips for great oral health.

      • Start your children off on the right foot; oral health should begin as soon as your child’s first tooth appears, usually around six months. You can wipe their teeth with a clean, damp cloth or a very soft brush. At around 3 years old, you can let your child start brushing their teeth themselves just make sure to supervise and complete the brushing if needed.
      • Brush twice a day and floss daily. Brush your teeth when you first wake up and right before you go to sleep. This is important because your saliva dries up while you’re sleeping so your teeth are more prone to plaque. You want to remove this plaque as soon as you get up and right before sleeping.
      • Don’t forget to also brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
      • Toothbrushes should be changed 3 to 4 times a year.
      • Always rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing. Store your toothbrush in an upright position and allow it to air-dry between uses. Don’t keep your toothbrush covered or store it in closed containers, this can cause the growth of bacteria.
      • Try to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial rinse after meals, this can help prevent decay and gum problems. Or you can chew sugar-free gum after a meal, which can also protect your teeth by increasing saliva flow, which naturally washes bacteria away.
      • Use enough but not too much fluoride. Fluoride prevents tooth decay, which is why it’s put into drinking water and many kinds of toothpaste. However, there can be too much of a good thing, especially for children.

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!


Packing a Healthy Lunch for Healthy Teeth

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Whether you’re brimming with excitement, or filled with dread, it’s that time of year again: Back to School. You’re probably right in the thick of back-to-school shopping and preparations, but we can’t forget school lunches! Whether you pack your children’s lunches or they do it themselves, it’s important to have healthy snacks on hand, not only for their overall health and energy, but also for maintaining good oral health. We all know that soda pops and fizzy drinks are linked to tooth decay, but even some fruits, cereals, and breads contain sugars and starches that can be harmful to our oral health.

No need to add any more stress to the back-to-school preparations, here is a quick reference guide for packing a healthy lunch for healthy teeth:

 

Keep the Sugary Snacks to a Minimum

We all know kids love candy, and it might be unrealistic to eliminate sweets altogether from your child’s daily routine. Try to pack only “healthy” treats per lunch; like a granola bar, dried fruits or yoghurt. Each time kids eat a sugary snack, bacteria from the mouth produce damaging acids which affect their teeth for almost a half an hour before they are neutralized and can’t do any more harm. So, the more sweets they consume during the day, the more often bacteria is fed the fuel they need to cause plaque and tooth decay.

Watch Out For Hidden Sugars

Candy isn’t the only culprit when it comes to sugar. Foods such as pizza, breads, and cereals may also contain sugars. To avoid these, simply check the Nutrition Facts panel on the package for information on the quantity of sugars and fats in the product.

 

Don’t Overdo Acidic Foods

Not only do sugary foods threaten tooth decay, but we often overlook the harm that acidic foods can cause to out oral health. Although oranges and grapefruit are considered a healthy treat, they are high in acid which erodes teeth over time. Limit these acidic foods just as you would limit sugary foods.

Snacks to Limit or Avoid

Citrus Juice (Grapefruit, Orange)

Contains high levels of acid, creating a high erosion potential. These juices are fine on occasion, but not for every day, due to the continual acid attack on teeth. “If you want to drink fruit juices or any other acidic foods, try to eat something alkaline such as cheese or milk afterwards which can neutralise the acid effects of sugar in your mouth.” Read more hereNot only that, but boxed juices generally also contain a lot of sugar (sucrose, glucose, fructose, etc.).

 

Raisins & Dried Fruit

Not only are these treats sticky and chewy (not good for braces!), and more difficult to wash away with saliva, they are often consumed in high quantities. In it’s purest form, dried fruit is simply fruit with the water content removed, but the sugar and fat contents stay relatively the same. Unfortunately, we (and our kids) tend to eat with our eyes, consuming far more of these than we should. If you want to pack dried fruit, just watch the serving size: 1 cup of fresh fruit is close to about ¼ cup of dried fruit. It is also important to read the labels on dried fruits, as many contain added sugars or colours.

Snacks to Pack

 

Meat, fish, Tofu

Loaded with phosphorus, another important mineral that can protect tooth enamel.

 

Carrots, celery, raw pear

Sometimes teeth require a little work to stay strong. Crisp, crunchy, foods that contain a large quantity of water (and require more chewing) are great for maintaining oral health because they can help to gently “brush” teeth, and stimulate the flow of saliva. Saliva contains good enzymes that combat those acids present in food and help to clean bits of food between teeth.

 

For more snack do’s and don’ts check out:

http://dentistry.about.com/od/childrensdentistry/a/kidsnutrition.htm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-113900/The-snacks-harm-teeth.html

http://greatist.com/health/healthy-teeth-foods

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diet-and-dental-health


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!


Health Benefits of Smiling

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When you’re feeling down, people will sometimes say “just smile”, and “laugh it off”, but does that have any merit? Can smiling really make you feel better? Smiling does a lot more than simply tell the world that you’re happy, it really can boost your health! Here are the main benefits to flashing those pearly whites:

1. Smiling Through the Pain

Smiling and laughter have both been shown to lessen pain by releasing endorphins – which actually lift our moods! Not only that, these endorphins counteract and diminish stress hormones and many of them act as natural painkillers too. The more genuine the smile, the better for releasing these endorphins.

Smiling may also help to reduce symptoms associated with anxiety. When that smile signals to your brain that you’re feeling happy (even though you’re not really feeling happy…yet), your body will usually slow down your breathing and heart rate. Reducing stress is so important for health, too, as it can lower blood pressure, improve digestion and regulate blood sugar.

2. For the Love of Your Heart

In addition to providing evidence that genuine smiles are more effective for reducing stress than fake smiles, a study from the University of Kansas also suggests that “smiling during a taxing task—not just after—can help the body and mind recover more quickly.” After the heart rates of subjects spiked during the stressful tasks, the hearts of the smilers quickly dropped back down to more relaxed rates than those of the non-smilers. The genuine smilers showed the lowest heart rates of all.

What’s more, another study of nearly 2,000 people published in the European Heart Journal revealed that those with a more positive outlook were less likely to develop heart disease than their more pessimistic peers.

3. The Power of Positivity

According to a Cambridge University study, having a positive attitude can go a long way. Researchers asked subjects to estimate the weight of boxes before they lifted them. Subjects who felt “powerless” were more likely to estimate the boxes as being much heavier than they really were. Those who had a more positive attitude estimated that the boxes weighed less. Not only does this help in your workout, but it can also help you take on everyday tasks – just smile and feel empowered!

Research also shows that smiling is contagious. Ever been around someone who just  emanates positivity? Studies show that something as simple as seeing a friend smile can activate the muscles in your face to make that same expression, without you even being aware that you are doing it.

4. Landing the Job, or the Date

In a study published in the December 2009 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people looked at full-body photographs of people they had never met. The people in the photos had one of two expressions: neutral or a smile. When observers saw the photos of smiling people, they were more likely to think that the person in the photo was likeable, confident, conscientious and stable – all qualities that employers want to see in their future employees!

A more pragmatic benefit is that restaurant workers who serve customers with a smile are observed to receive larger tips and repeat business. Even if you work in an office, smiling can affect the way one person is received by another over the phone!

2011 findings by researchers at the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland showed that smiling actually makes you more attractive to others. Subjects were asked to rate smiling and attractiveness. They found that both men and women were more attracted to images of people who made eye contact and smiled than those who did not.

5. Smiling Leads to Laughing

A myriad of studies have been done on the health benefits of laughing, including how it acts like a mini workout that burns calories and works the abs. Laughter also helps blood flow, lowers blood sugar levels, reduces stress and improves sleep. It may also raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body, which helps boost your immune system.

With so many benefits, it’s hard to think of reasons not to smile! So go ahead and grin Ottawa, it’s good for your health!


Common Dental Myths

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It’s no myth that going to the dentist can bring on some anxiety, and with so much stress and stigma surrounding dentists and orthodontists, it’s not surprising that myths about teeth abound. Perhaps you’ve considered whitening your teeth, but you’ve been warned of harmful effects of using bleaching agents; or you’ve avoided chewing gum because you heard it will rot your teeth. Maybe you never had a chance to ask your dentist or orthodontist—that can be a difficult thing to do when your mouth is full of instruments!

Fear not! Here are three of the most common dental myths, and the realities of dental health:

1. “Bleaching will weaken your teeth.”

We’d all like to have that bright, pearly white smile, and sometimes regular brushing and flossing just doesn’t cut it. Luckily there’s a myriad of whitening products available over the counter or from your dental professional to help make your teeth look whiter. Yet some people worry that using bleaching products on their teeth is harmful or destructive, weakening the teeth. The main thing to remember is that you’re not rinsing your mouth out with Javex — teeth-bleaching products are harmless if used according to the directions.

Clinical studies support the safety and effectiveness of home-use bleaching gels when used correctly and appropriately. Tooth sensitivity and irritation to soft tissues can occur during bleaching treatment, but these effects are transient, and there’s no need to fear that using bleaching products will weaken your teeth. Bleaching only affects the color of the teeth, not their strength or health. Bleaching works by removing some of the pigmentation in the tooth, and if you bleach too often, your teeth might begin to appear translucent if you’ve removed too much of the natural pigmentation. Don’t mistake this translucency for weakening of the enamel or damage to the teeth — it’s just a change of color.

2. “If you eat that, your teeth will fall out.”

Sound familiar? Many of us can recall being told that if we drink too much soda, snack on too much taffy, or eat too many cookies, they will destroy our teeth. While all these foods are bad for your teeth (and ultimately your general health), dried fruit, fruit juice and honey all contain natural sugars that can cause tooth decay. But did you know that the amount of sugar you eat is not the deciding factor in tooth decay?

The bacteria in your mouth feed on carbohydrates, like sugar, and produce an acid that eats away at the enamel of your teeth. The longer the sugar is in your mouth, the longer the bacteria can feed and produce acid, and the longer the acid can work on the enamel. In other words, it’s not about the amount of sugar you eat, it’s about how long the sugar is in contact with your teeth.

This means that eating a whole cake then immediately brushing your teeth is less harmful to your dental health than eating one slice without brushing. Sipping on sugary drinks all day, or snacking on slow-dissolving candies like lollipops, allows sugar to hang around your teeth for a long time — not a good idea.

So enjoy the sweets, but make sure you brush right after!

3. “Chewing gum is bad for your teeth.”

This one isn’t exactly a myth — more like a misconception. Chewing gum of any kind increases saliva production, which is a good thing for your oral health. Besides having enzymes that digest carbohydrates, it has antibodies that fight decay-causing bacteria, it contains buffers that neutralize the acids that eat at your teeth, and it contains minerals that help rebuild parts of your teeth that have been attacked by decay acid.

The problem arises when the sugar found in some gum feeds the bacteria in your mouth. So whether gum is good for you or not depends on whether it’s sugar-free or not. Of course, avoid chewing any type of gum if you have braces; gum chewing actually bends the wire (in extreme cases, it can actually break a bracket off completely) and the teeth will then move to the bent wire, instead of following the originally straight wire in your braces.

The key to debunking dental myths is to rely on the experts. There’s no need for stress when you head to your Ottawa orthodontist; we’re here to answer any questions or concerns you may have, and help demystify the topic of dental health. If you’re ever wondering about the realities of dental health, just give us a call at 613-722-8500 or e-mail us at info@bracesinottawa.com!