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February Is Children’s Dental Health Month

February 8th, 2017

If you've seen the updates on our facebook page recently, you may have noticed that February is Children's Dental Health Month. At Westwalk, we want to spread awareness for children's health, and that's why you'll see us in some of the local schools talking with the kids this month.  :)

Enjoy this week's blog post!

THE CDC REPORTS THAT 1 in 5 children (between ages 5 and 11) in the US have untreated tooth decay. Not only should tooth decay be treated in regular dental appointments, it should be prevented! Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable with effective personal care and regular dental cleanings.

In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re spreading the word about children’s dental health.

YOU Can Help Little Ones Have Healthier Smiles!

  1. Encourage them to brush for two full minutes: Pick a song about two minutes long and sing it to them during brushing time.
  2. Set reminders to brush twice a day: Brushing after breakfast and just before bed are the best times for preventing bacteria growth from food.
  3. Show them flossing is fun, not harmful: Be gentle at first when doing it for them. A bad experience can stop them from flossing on their own.
  4. Be persistent: Don’t let fussy children off the hook. Be motivating! Kids may gladly brush for a sticker or star if you make it an activity.
  5. Set their first dental appointment before age 1: Having positive dental experiences early will make dental visits easier and less frightening when older.

Help Us Spread The Word!

Share this message with your friends and family, and especially with the children in your life. If you have any questions about children’s dental health, don’t hesitate to ask us!

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.

Simple Steps To Keep Your Orthodontic Treatment On Track

February 2nd, 2017

THE SUCCESS OF YOUR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT is dependent on a number factors, like your orthodontist or how your teeth respond to braces. It’s important to remember however that a lot of it actually depends on YOU! So, what can you do to make sure you finish your treatment on time and finally get those braces off?

#1. Keep Your Appointments

We know it can be hard to have such frequent appointments when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. But the better you are at keeping your appointments, the faster your treatment time will be! Postponing or cancelling appointments can significantly prolong treatment time. We also ask that you come on time to your appointments. Having enough time to perform planned procedures is essential to your smile’s progress.

#2. Avoid Damage To Your Braces

Damage to your braces will also delay the completion of treatment. To prevent breaking off a bracket or bending any wires, be sure to wear a mouthguard when playing sports. In addition, avoid these foods while wearing braces:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Sticky candy, such as taffy and caramel
  • Ice
  • Hard candy, cookies, or crackers

Remember to cut up other foods that can damage braces such as raw fruits and vegetables, pizza crust and other hard breads and corn on the cob.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJQOjr6s6pM

#3. Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions

If your unique case calls for orthodontic appliances other than braces, it’s crucial to wear them as prescribed. We most often see patients neglecting to wear their elastics, or rubber bands. In general, you’ll only need to take them off when eating a meal, brushing your teeth or wearing a mouthguard. Failure to wear your elastics consistently can extend your treatment time by a lot! So be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

#4. Be Diligent About Your Oral Hygiene

Healthy teeth are an essential prerequisite for orthodontic treatment. And having healthy teeth during treatment is just as important! Braces can make it harder to keep your teeth clean, so you need to be extra diligent about your oral hygiene when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. Cavities and gum disease can complicate and prolong your treatment. So if you want to get those braces off as quickly as possible, brush, floss and visit your dentist every six months!

It Will All Be Worth It!

Going through orthodontic treatment isn’t an easy process, but it is well worth it. By following these simple steps, you can stay on track and get the smile you’ve always wanted! If you have any more questions, call us today. We’re always here for our amazing patients.

Thank you for letting us be a part of your smile journey!

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 by Flickr user Kamilla Oliveira used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The link between Oral and Systemic Health

January 17th, 2017

Here's another "did you know" in our series of blog posts. Enjoy!

Taking care of your teeth and mouth is about more than just cosmetics, it’s about your health! When you think of being healthy, your mouth probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But your oral and overall health are more intertwined than you think.

Your Mouth Is The Gateway To The Rest Of Your Body

According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2000 report, “Oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities. … As the gateway of the body, the mouth senses and responds to the external world and at the same time reflects what is happening deep inside the body. … You cannot be healthy without oral health.”

Periodontal Disease And Its Connection To Chronic Diseases

Not only can many illnesses and medications have a direct effect on your mouth, your oral health can also affect your body. This is especially true of periodontal or “gum” disease.

Diabetes

Did you know that gum disease affects 22 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes? People with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight off harmful bacteria and are thus more susceptible to gum disease. In like manner, bacteria from the mouth can cause blood sugar to spike and fluctuate, making diabetes harder to manage.

Heart Disease

While health care professionals aren’t completely sure as to why, heart and gum disease often go hand in hand. In fact, up to 91 percent of patients with heart disease have gum disease. It is believed that the link between these two conditions is inflammation.

Cancer

These statistics may surprise you, but researchers have found that men with gum disease were 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer and 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers.

What’s more, cancer treatments often have oral manifestations. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause sores in the mouth, sensitive gums, jaw and facial pain and dry mouth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdMIfEHArWs

Other Complications

Gum disease has also been linked with stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, certain lung conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to have preterm births and low birth-weight babies.

The Health Of Your Mouth Is In Your Hands

As you can see, there is a strong connection between oral and overall health. That’s why it’s important to make your dentist a part of your health care team by going to your regular dental appointments and updating them on your medical history. We care about your whole body health!

The good news is that, for the most part, dental disease is entirely preventable. With orthodontic appliances, we recommend brushing two to three times per day and flossing daily to help keep gum disease at bay and protect you from cavities. Flossing in particular may be more difficult while undergoing orthodontics, and we recommend many of our patients use a water flosser to aid in removing harmful bacteria between their teeth.  Your oral health is in your hands, so choose to be mouth-healthy!

Thank you for supporting our 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.
Top image by Flickr user Björn Söderqvist used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Why Do Teeth Move Even After Braces?

January 13th, 2017

EVERYONE KNOWS THAT the most exciting day for someone with braces is the day they get them off! The final result of a beautiful, straight smile is what makes orthodontic treatment worth it. Now, it’s just a matter of keeping those teeth straight!

Guess What… Your Teeth Can Move, even after braces!

Teeth are dynamic and always moving as pressure and force is applied to them, even after you’ve had braces.

Teeth move naturally as we grow older and our facial structures change. Teeth may also shift in response to things such teeth grinding and clenching, numerous dental restorations, tongue thrusting and certain lifestyle habits such as smoking or nail biting.

Keeping Your Smile Straight Is A Lifelong Commitment

So, what can you do to make sure that your new smile lasts a lifetime? Wear your retainer! After you’ve finished orthodontic treatment, we will tell you how often you need to wear your retainer and for how long. The first 6 to 9 months after the completion of your active treatment is the most critical, and we ask many of our patients to wear their retainers 22 hours per day for this period of time. Over time, patients will only need to wear their retainer at night.

When it comes down to it, every orthodontic patient needs to be aware that the alignment of their teeth will likely change if they do not wear their retainers.  Therefore the patient should ask themselves, “How long do I want my teeth to be straight?” Whatever the answer is, that’s how long you’ll need to wear your retainer.

Check out this video from the AAO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdmfP0oHZ3g

Keep Smiling

We love our patients! Thank you for trusting us with your orthodontic treatment.

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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