All Posts in Kirkland Orthodontist

June 3, 2018

Yes, Soda Really Is Bad For Your Teeth

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HERE’S ONE REALLY SIMPLE THING that you can do to make your mouth healthier: reduce the number of sugary, acidic drinks in your diet!

When we say sugary, acidic drinks we mean more than just soda. We’re including sports drinks, energy drinks, and even fruit juice. Read on!

Sugar + Acid Create The Worst Possible Cocktail For Your Smile

Oral bacteria in our mouths metabolize sugars in our drinks. This reaction creates an acid byproduct that erodes our teeth. If you have a healthy balance of bacteria in your mouth, you suffer less decay, but no one is completely free of harmful oral bacteria, even with great genes and perfect brushing habits.

Acidic Drinks Erode Teeth

In addition to the sugar, these drinks are loaded with acid! Acidity in soft drinks takes a more direct route than sugar, eroding your teeth without the help of oral bacteria. Each attack on the teeth lasts about 20 minutes and when you take another sip, it starts over again. This is why diet and “sugar-free” sodas do just as much damage as regular soda.

Many Of Us Drink At Least One A Day

As many as half of us drink at least one soda per day! Many people drink more. How much do YOU drink each day? Imagine how much better your enamel would feel if you replaced that soda with milk or water.

Be Kind To Your Smile

It’s not just about cavities. Enamel erosion can also lead to tooth sensitivity, and excess sugar leads to gum disease, the biggest cause of tooth loss in adults.

Have YOU kicked the soda habit? Do you have any tips that you can share with us? We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for your trust in our practice! Let us know if you ever have questions for us.

Image by Flickr user Aidan used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

May 3, 2018

The Benefits Of Fixed Retainers

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TOO MANY PEOPLE know what it’s like to accidentally throw a retainer away after lunch. Retainers can be expensive, so losing one is never fun. Fortunately, removable retainers aren’t the only option for keeping your teeth aligned after the braces come off!

What Are Fixed Retainers?

fixed retainer, also known as a permanent or bonded retainer, is a wire that is glued to the lingual (tongue side) of the teeth. These retainers are typically made of stainless steel. The orthodontist fits it to the patient’s teeth, placing it just right so it’s not visible when smiling or talking, and attaches it with a form of cement. Some are cemented to each tooth, while others are only cemented to the teeth at the ends of the retainer.

Most often, fixed retainers are only placed on the backs of the front six lower teeth, though sometimes they go on the backs of the upper teeth, and some people even have them just for the two front teeth to keep a gap from reappearing. Fixed retainers are intended to stay in place indefinitely. If they break or come loose, it’s important to go back to the orthodontist to get them repaired.

How Fixed Retainers Compare

Now that you know what fixed retainers are, let’s look at some of the things that set them apart from removable retainers. The most obvious benefit to fixed retainers is that they stay in your mouth 24/7, which means you can’t lose them during lunch! It also means they’re continuously keeping your teeth in perfect position. Because they are so small, they tend to be much more comfortable than removable retainers. The best part is that nobody will see that you have one!

Cleaning And Maintenance

For all their advantages, fixed retainers can be tricky to keep clean. Food can get stuck in them and plaque can build up around them very easily and calcify into tartar, but they’re not so easy to clean out because the wire gets in the way of flossing. You can solve this problem with floss threaders or a water flosser. Make sure to get all those crevices!

Check out this video for tips on flossing around a fixed retainer:

You also might want to be careful when eating hard, crunchy foods, because they could break the wire or pop the cement loose from your teeth. If this happens, make sure to come see us!

Bring Us Your Questions!

If you have any questions about fixed retainers, don’t hesitate to ask us! Whether you’re in braces now and thinking ahead to retainers or you already have a fixed retainer, we can fill in any blanks you might have. In the meantime, keep up your brushing and flossing!

We love our patients!

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.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original

February 22, 2018

Why Straight Teeth?

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TO SOME, IT MIGHT seem like the benefits of having straight teeth are purely cosmetic. And those benefits certainly do exist. Studies have shown that people tend to perceive someone with straight teeth as wealthier, happier, and more dateable than someone with crooked teeth. But there are plenty of other important benefits as well.

Consequences Of Crooked Teeth

There are many different ways crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth can negatively impact a person’s health and quality of life. Let’s take a look at a few of the big ones.

Difficult To Clean

When teeth overlap each other in ways they aren’t meant to, they can be much harder to clean with brushing and flossing than straight teeth. If teeth aren’t getting cleaned as effectively, then they become more vulnerable to tooth decay.

Impede Clear Speech

Underbites, severe overbites, and other teeth alignment problems can interfere with a person’s ability to speak clearly, leading to lisps and other distortions in articulation.

Interfere With Healthy Digestion

Chewing is a critical part of the digestion process. Our saliva begins to break food down on a chemical level while our teeth break it apart into more manageable pieces. Crooked teeth can make it difficult or even impossible to chew food enough, which forces the rest of the digestive system to pick up the slack. This can lead to a number of unpleasant GI consequences, and it can even make it harder to lose weight!

Can Interfere With Healthy Breathing

If your teeth don’t fit comfortably together, you might keep them apart instead of closing your jaws when resting. This can lead to mouth breathing, which has many negative health effects. The two most connected to oral health concerns are chronic bad breath and dry mouth.

Can Cause Jaw Problems

If there’s something wrong with your bite, that can result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndromeSymptoms include a clicking jaw joint, jaw pain, and frequent headaches.

Do Your Teeth Need Straightening?

Having straight teeth eliminates or greatly reduces all of these problems. This, paired with the cosmetic advantages and the boost in confidence, makes orthodontic treatment a very worthwhile investment. If you think you could benefit from orthodontic treatment, our practice can recommend a great orthodontist for you. In the meantime, keep brushing, flossing, and scheduling your regular dental appointments!

You deserve the best for your teeth!

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.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.