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Female patient with braces that is drinking a drink through a straw and experiencing tooth pain.

Did you know that what you’re drinking might be hurting your oral health? Many patients experience problems like tooth erosion and thinning without realizing that the problem is what they’re eating. Use this guide to know the effects of foods and drinks on the teeth and what to watch out for!

 

Wear and Tear on Your Teeth

Your teeth are made of tightly-packed minerals that keep them strong and healthy. Those include calcium, phosphate, magnesium and more. Your saliva helps break down your food and helps to remineralize your teeth each day. Eating certain foods and drinks can strip minerals from your teeth slowly over time, making them weak, sensitive and thinner. These are common oral health problems with age. However, thinning (or enamel erosion) and sensitivity usually come from a lack of oral hygiene. If you enjoy a daily soda or you love your sweet treats throughout the day, you may be weakening your teeth at a rapid pace.

 

A dark soda in a glass that is surrounded by sugary treats.

Foods that Cause Damage

Some foods build up your tooth enamel and help it, like dairy products helping to remineralize calcium. Others—like sugar—tear it down. Avoid these foods to keep your smile healthy:

  • Anything Citrus: This includes both foods and drinks. Citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange, etc.) and drinks contain citric acid. This is there naturally or as an additive to maintain flavor. Any type of acid on a label will erode your teeth if you ingest it.
  • Sugar: Sugar mixes directly with mouth bacteria to form a sticky film called plaque. That plaque sticks to teeth and causes decay. Because it’s acidic, it will work on your teeth to erode and decay them. The more sugar you eat, the more plaque your mouth makes, and the more erosion and decay you get. This is especially true while wearing braces.
  • Hard Candies/Mints: Any candy or mint you suck on (like a sucker) exposes your teeth to sugar constantly, which leads to decay from plaque acid.
  • Chewy/Sticky Candy: Any chewy/sticky consistency is destined to get stuck in brackets and wires. It also sticks like glue to the teeth if they’re not brushed properly.
  • Starchy Foods: Breads, cookies, crackers, pasta and anything starchy will get stuck in your teeth. All of these quickly break down into sugar, which can affect your teeth and your overall health.
  • Popcorn: Popcorn and hard foods like nuts, hard veggies and fruits and non-food items can be bad for your teeth with braces, as they can break your orthodontic appliance. Limit them to avoid orthodontic emergencies.

 

A soda, sparkling water and juice in three separate glass cups all lined up in a row on a white background.

Drinks to Avoid

Drinks can be even more damaging than food in many cases. That’s because you can drink all day long, and if your drink is acidic, those acids stay on your teeth up to 30 minutes. Soft drinks (soda/sports drinks) are notorious for high sugar content. That sugar can create tons of plaque in your mouth that causes decay. As we mentioned, that combination is acidic. Every time you drink, your are making plaque that can weaken your teeth.

 

Avoid these drinks that are acidic, sugary or can stain:

  • Soda: This contains carbonic acid, which comes from a chemical reaction between carbon dioxide and water. It stays acidic on your teeth for up to 30 minutes. Most sodas are incredibly high in sugar, which means they are doubly bad for you.
  • Energy drinks, etc.: Energy drinks, sparkling water, and any drink of the sort that contains carbonic acid. Avoid drinks with fizzy bubbles or limit their contact with the teeth by drinking through a straw.
  • Sports Drinks: These drinks are often full of sugar, plus citric acid to maintain flavor. Avoid them and stick to water.
  • Water Enhancers: Water-flavoring liquids or powders generally contain citric acid to maintain flavor. Even if the substance is clear, the acid will still erode teeth even if the drink isn’t staining them.
  • Alcohol: Many contain carbonation (carbonic acid) and all will kill nerves in your mouth, leading to loss of feeling over time.
  • Coffee: This drink, tea, wine and anything with blue, purple or red pigments will stain the teeth. If you teeth are eroding over time, the dyes get into small cracks in the teeth, changing tooth color rapidly.

 

Damaging Habits that Harm Your Teeth

If you want to have your teeth for life, you have to take care of them. You have to try even harder to care for them when you have braces. More than 4 million Americans are wearing braces each year. Some opt for Invisalign aligners, which are removable and which make cleaning the teeth fairly easy. However, many patients—especially children and teens—wear lingual, traditional metal or ceramic braces. All of these types of braces have brackets bonded to the tooth surface and wires that hold them in place.

 

If you don’t brush and floss like normal, your teeth can decay, erode and you can have problems with both gingivitis or severe gum disease. Your teeth can weaken and break easy and they can fall out. That’s why you want to have meticulous oral hygiene all throughout life. Proper brushing, flossing, visiting the dentist or orthodontist, and using oral health products like mouthwash and fluoride can all help you keep your natural teeth healthy.

 

With braces, you can have your teeth become thin and weak based on what you eat, or they can decay and change colors based on how you care for them. You can definitely harm your teeth if you’re not cleaning your brackets, wires and teeth several times a day. Good oral hygiene care is vital to having a healthy and beautiful smile at the end of your treatment. An easy step to avoid problems is to avoid the foods and drinks we listed above. Be even more careful about those foods and drinks with braces. For specific questions about certain foods or drinks, or help for proper braces care, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Young woman with braces on her teeth that is sitting in a dental chair getting dental services.

Getting braces through an orthodontist does not mean you should stop seeing a dentist for dental services. In fact, you may even need to get dental services more often with braces. This is because brackets and wires inevitably raise your risk for getting food and plaque stuck in your teeth. Those substances can then lead to quicker tooth decay, gum problems and tooth erosion. Find out what you can expect from your orthodontic visits and why you should keep scheduling in dental services during your treatment.

 

How Do Braces Change Your Teeth?

Not everyone will get braces during their lifetime. However, for those that do, they can change a smile in incredible ways. You may see children wearing braces from time to time. This is just so they can get a great smile, but that is part of it. Children should see the orthodontist around age 7 or 8 to determine if bite or alignment issues are present. If so, a child could grow up with speech impediments, problems with tooth decay and gum disease, and difficulty chewing, eating and biting. With interceptive orthodontics—or child orthodontics—we can correct those problems so a child develops properly.

 

With adults and teens, straightening treatment generally starts around age 11 or 12 and older. This is when most (if not all) of the adult teeth have come into the mouth. However, it’s common for the adult teeth to come in crooked, which can make people self-conscious about their smiles. When patients decide to get braces to straighten their teeth, studies show that confidence grows and people show their smiles more. That confidence can lead to more success in the future, motivation to do more and be more, and better oral health.

 

Straightening the teeth makes the teeth easier to clean. This is because crooked teeth can create areas in the mouth where the teeth are incredibly hard to clean. If you can’t brush nooks and crannies well or if you can’t pass floss through the teeth, those areas are likely to decay. Teeth that are crooked or at different angles also have different amounts of pressure placed on them, which can cause the teeth to crack or break under pressure. That is why straightening the teeth can help prevent not only dental emergencies, but also problems like tooth decay and gum disease.

 

Young adult woman that is holding a toothbrush and has braces on her teeth.

Changes You Want to Avoid

With your dental health, you always want to invest in dental services like dental cleanings, comprehensive exams and your own at-home cleaning. If not, you can start to develop problems with cavities and gum disease. Both of these conditions (as well as bad breath, oral sores and more) stem from poor oral hygiene. When you eat, bacteria in the mouth mix with sugars in your food to create a sticky film called plaque. That film is acidic and it sticks to your teeth instead of being swallowed. The acid erodes the layers of your teeth, decaying them to create cavities. This is how they form, and they can happen much easier with braces.

 

Three types of braces you can choose (traditional, lingual, ceramic) will require brackets and wires attached to your teeth. The brackets are bonded to the center of your teeth, with a wire that runs through them. Your brackets are areas where plaque and food can easily get stuck. If they become stuck or particles build up around your brackets, this can create areas of decay rather quickly. Many people also don’t floss like they should with braces because it takes just a bit longer. However, when food sticks around and you skip flossing, you are leaving about 40% of your tooth surfaces open to decay. That means, when you get your braces off, you’ll be left with areas of tooth erosion (or craters) and cavities.

 

You also want to avoid foods with dyes in them, including drinks. When you drink or eat something with dyes (like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and drinks died those colors), then your tooth color can change over time. This could mean that you have small squares on all of your teeth at the end of treatment that are a different color than the rest of your teeth. Soda, juices and carbonated drinks can all do this as well, except that they will also wear away parts of your teeth.

 

Dental professional looking at a patient's teeth that has braces on their teeth.

Continue Dental Services During Braces

All of those changes to your teeth can be avoided if you keep up on your personal hygiene at home and dental services in-office. This means, you should:

  • Brush your teeth every single day, after every single meal, for two minutes each time you brush. Practice brushing at 45-degree angles to dislodge food from brackets and cover all the tooth surfaces. Use a proxabrush to dislodge stuck food even easier.
  • Floss each day, at least 1-2 times. Use a floss threader or threadable floss to make this easy for you.
  • Use a waterpik tool if you tend to get food stuck in specific places.
  • Keep up on your braces adjustments and your orthodontic appointments.
  • For dental services, make sure you visit the dentist at least twice a year for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings.

 

We want to focus on that last one. Dental cleanings and comprehensive exams are so important for the health of your mouth. With dental cleanings, the hygienists can do thorough cleanings on your teeth and brackets and spot the signs of erosion, decay and color changes. Those professionals can spot the signs of decay and gum issues. If needed, we can work with them to remove certain brackets where dental work is needed. Orthodontists and dentists are not the same even though they have had the same schooling. Make sure you are visiting both during your time with braces. If you want to avoid problems with cleaning brackets and wires, ask us about our Invisalign treatment option. You can do this by calling Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!

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Woman with clear braces that is smiling at the camera.

If you are an adult with crooked teeth, you may think that you already missed your opportunity to get braces. However, adult braces are very popular. In fact, at least 1/4th of all braces wearers are adults. You simply might not see braces on many of your peers because adults have a couple orthodontic options that stay hidden in the mouth. Find out if you should choose to have adult braces, what the benefits are, and what options you have to straighten your teeth discreetly!

 

Do Adults Wear Braces?

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that every person have an orthodontic evaluation between the ages of 7 and 8. This is prime time for orthodontists to correct bite and alignment issues that can become severe as a child ages. However, not everyone knows that they need to see an orthodontist, nor do many people have the means to receive orthodontic care due to cost. That opportunity may come when you are an adult. Have you missed the mark if you’re already an adult instead of a child? Certainly not!

 

Orthodontic treatment is a bit harder when you are an adult, but it is not too tricky for us to manage. Orthodontists recommend that children and teens get braces for bite, alignment and issues with crooked tooth when young. This is because the jaws are still growing and the teeth and jaws are more moldable until a teen grows older. As an adult, the jaws have hardened into place, so shifting the teeth and jaws is much more difficult.

 

However, modern technology definitely allows adults to change their smiles as they please. In fact, 1/4th of all people wearing braces are adults! Adult braces are becoming more and more popular as jobs become more competitive. Adult braces can really give people the edge they need to succeed because it creates a more beautiful, straight smile.

 

Close-up view of a woman's mouth that has Invisalign transparent aligners on the teeth.

Benefits of Choosing Adult Braces

There is more than just the aesthetics of receiving adult braces. Getting braces can not only improve your appearance, but they can radically change your oral health. Did you know that your risk for tooth decay and gum disease is significantly less with braces? This is because the teeth become straighter, getting rid of all the nooks and crannies plaque and bacteria cluster in with crooked teeth. The teeth are easier to clean, and your smile looks much better, so you’ll actually want to clean your teeth more often.

 

Many people do love what adult braces can offer their smile. The main advantage is confidence. Many studies have been conducted on the confidence that a smile can bring not only to a person but to others. When you feel self-conscious of how your teeth look, you’re less likely to show your smile to others. This can happen even with children, who may become more introverted because they are self-conscious. However, when smiles are healthy and straight, people tend to show them off more. The more smiling, the more confidence a person feels and the more likely they are to be perceived as such.

 

The company that invented Invisalign actually conducted studies about this very thing. They found that people who had better, straighter smiles appeared much more confident than those with crooked smiles. The patients themselves felt 60% happier, more attractive and more successful, and others saw them as such. Those with straight smiles were more likely to land a job over their competition and were more likely to be successful with home, school and social life. They were also perceived as 72% more trustworthy just based on first impressions. The benefits of adult braces are endless and all benefit you!

 

What Options Do You Have?

Adults have all the orthodontic options available to them for straightening:

  • Traditional Metal Braces: Consists of a metal bracket and wire design.
  • Ceramic Braces: These are very similar to traditional braces, except they are made from white, ceramic material that helps hide them in the mouth. Ceramic material helps prevent tooth demineralization.
  • Lingual Adult Braces: These are metal braces that fit behind the teeth and are bonded to the backs of your teeth. Molds are made of the teeth so that the metal can be custom-made to cover your teeth. This option is a preferred one among adults seeking adult braces.
  • Invisalign: This orthodontic treatment consists of transparent aligners that are customized to your mouth with a digital machine. You will get a new aligner each week, which you place in your mouth like a retainer. They stay hidden in your mouth, can be removed for regular oral hygiene cleaning and eating, and you get a better smile!

 

Woman looking towards the camera and smiling while she is about to put transparent orthodontic aligners in her mouth.

What Can You Expect?

Many people aren’t quite sure what to expect from their first orthodontic visit, as orthodontists don’t do the same work that dentists do. Dr. Hardy will meet with you for an oral evaluation and orthodontics consultation. He will examine your bite and alignment and will determine your candidacy for specific procedures if they are needed. Oral health issues—such as periodontal (gum) disease—will have to be resolved before the teeth can be straightened.

 

If bite and alignment issues are not present, you can move forward with regular straightening treatment. Dr. Hardy will take impressions of your teeth and will plan out a trajectory of your orthodontic plan. This is where you can know how long you will wear braces and how your mouth should look by the end of your treatment. You will also choose which orthodontic option you would like (traditional, lingual, ceramic or Invisalign) so that appliances can be made to fit your mouth.

 

After your consultation, your next appointment will be your braces fitting. After that, it’s easy to care for your mouth between quick adjustment appointments. Always brush and floss your teeth, and do these two habits more often than you used to. If you are wanting adult braces, consider Invisalign or lingual braces, as these options keep your orthodontics concealed if you need them to be. For all your questions about adult braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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Girl with braces having a dental exam

Did you know that an orthodontist and a dentist are not the same? Only a dentist can help with cavities, gum disease and more, while only an orthodontist can straighten your teeth in a certain way. A patient’s time with braces is a time when cavities happen very quickly, because the teeth are harder to clean. To prevent cavities during your time with braces, it is vital that you continue to see a dentist. If you do happen to get a cavity, find out what that cavity treatment will look like!

 

Proper Oral Hygiene

The American Dental Association recommends that every patient brush their teeth at least twice a day to avoid tooth decay. Brushing after every meal is even better for avoiding plaque buildup that leads to decay. Every patient should also floss their teeth at least once a day. Using fluoride toothpaste is best, because fluoride helps coat the teeth in a protective layer that prevents decay and keeps tooth enamel stronger. Patients can also benefit from mouthwash, as it can kill bacteria that would otherwise create plaque.

 

However, these recommendations are for people that don’t have braces. Every single person—children, teens and adults—should follow these recommendations. Infants should not use fluoride or mouthwash, but their child toothpastes generally have safe amounts of fluoride in them. If you are a patient that is receiving orthodontic care via braces, you have to go the extra mile with your oral hygiene. That means more frequent brushing, more flossing and watching what you eat.

 

Close-up view of braces that are being brushed with a toothbrush

Taking Care of Braces

Braces can be tricky to clean. However, their design provides the best and quickest way for you to straighten your teeth, which is why traditional metal braces have been around for so many decades. Metal braces, ceramic braces and lingual braces all have a brackets-and-wires design.

 

However, with braces, you must be meticulous with cleaning them or you will have food and plaque get stuck places. If you don’t unstick those substances, they will quickly erode your tooth enamel and cause decay around your appliances. This can happen on every tooth as well.

Follow these tips for cleaning your braces:

  • Brush after every single meal. This reduces staining and bacteria buildup. Use a regular soft-bristled brush and brush down from the top, then up from the bottom. Brush in all different directions to dislodge food.
  • Use a threadable floss or a floss threader. Both will require that you thread the floss through each space between your teeth. You will have to go under the wire to do this, and it will take slightly longer than normal flossing. This is one of the most important oral hygiene recommendations to follow!
  • Use helpful tools. A proxabrush is a small braces brush that can help unstick foods. It looks like a tiny Christmas Tree brush. A waterpik is also helpful. This is a tool that helps blast away food particles with a stream of water.

 

Tooth Decay with Braces

Many children and teens skip flossing or brushing here and there. Every time you skip on an oral hygiene habit, it increases your risk for tooth decay—or cavities—with braces. Your time with braces is one where you have to be super careful about your oral health. Most people picture their beautiful smile after getting their braces off, but they don’t think about cavities and tooth erosion. You can end up with tooth decay and parts of your teeth that have eroded due to your oral hygiene habits with braces.

 

Nobody wants to spend 18-24 months perfecting their teeth only to be disappointed in their smile. That’s why oral hygiene is so important. Tooth decay happens rapidly, and it can happen where the brackets are bonded to your teeth and in-between your teeth because it is harder to floss. Normally, you would simply visit the dentist and have your cavity removed and filled. However, cavity treatment is a bit different with braces.

 

Young boy with braces getting a cavity treatment at a dental office

 

Cavity Treatment with Braces

Cavity treatment is slightly harder if you have braces, but not impossible. Generally, decay happens between teeth cracks and around brackets and wires. If you have tooth decay that is in a tricky spot, we can remove your wire so that a dentist can provide you with a proper cavity treatment. You will have to have your appointments scheduled close together (dentist and orthodontist) so that you can get your cavity filled and your wire replaced.

 

In severe cases of tooth decay, we may have to remove a bracket from the tooth if it interferes with the dental work that needs to be done. We only do this in certain cases, and we replace the missing part as soon as possible so your teeth don’t move. Cavity treatment—with taking out the tooth decay and filling it—is the same with braces as it is without, only you have to work around orthodontic appliances if you have braces. Always let us know if you have tooth sensitivity, sharp (and even mild) pain when chewing and if you have sensitivity to hot or cold foods. This signals that there may be a more severe cavity.

 

Prevent Cavity Treatment

The goal of every patient—old and young—is to avoid tooth decay altogether. If you do, you’ll never have to worry about cavity treatment with braces. If your decay is small and in a tricky spot, you may have to wait until your braces are off to receive your cavity treatment. That might make your cavity grow larger, which is something you don’t want. Always see the dentist to check your mouth for tooth decay before you receive orthodontic treatment. This can avoid many problems in the future.

 

If you are prone to getting cavities or you have weak enamel, consider receiving Invisalign treatment instead of getting brackets and wires. This will help you avoid problems with cavities and needing to get cavity treatment. If you have tooth pain or want to learn more about cavity treatment with braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Child sitting in a chair talking to a good orthodontist

There are many orthodontists out there, but not all are created equal, and not all have the same training or experience as others. Just like dentists, only some are award-winning orthodontists (for good reason), while others are not. A good orthodontist needs to have specific training and credentials to work on your or your child. Their office needs to have specific equipment to perform the necessary work, and a good orthodontist will provide a wide range of services for their patients. Find out what a good orthodontist looks like and how to choose a good one from one you want to avoid!

 

Choosing to Receive Braces

If you have made the choice to get braces, we commend you! Braces is an amazing way to change your life for the better. Studies show that straightening your smile is directly related to increased confidence. The better a person’s smile looks, the more they smile and the more confident they appear to others as well. Studies by Invisalign and countless others have found that a straighter, more beautiful smile makes you appear happier, healthier, wealthier, and more attractive to others. 73% of people are also more likely to find you trustworthy.

 

Now that you have chosen to embark on this new journey of getting braces, you have to decide who you should get your orthodontic care from. All too often, dental practices have started offering orthodontics via transparent aligner systems or Invisalign. Even though we offer Invisalign at our center (and it is effective), the majority of dentists are not trained to perform orthodontics. It’s similar to a spa offering botox injections instead of a medical doctor that provides botox injections. They may have some training in oral health and dentistry, but dentistry is not the same as orthodontics.

 

You always want to choose a trained orthodontist to provide you orthodontic work, and not just a dentist (or even someone without a degree) to perform any work on your mouth. If you do, you take a serious health risk that your teeth will be messed up permanently or that you will have oral health complications. Always go to a certified and trained orthodontist for your orthodontic work.

 

Example of what an orthodontic office looks like

Training to Become a Good Orthodontist

Becoming a good orthodontist takes many hard years. A good orthodontist will receive an undergraduate degree and then will go on to be accepted into dental school. A good orthodontist will receive high marks in their dental school, and will have to be accepted into an orthodontic school afterwards. Some even go beyond their 10 years of base training to do fellowships and additional study. It takes an entire decade to learn how to straighten the teeth properly, even if orthodontic care may seem simple and straightforward.

 

Orthodontists deal with the health of a person’s mouth, which can affect their overall health, their confidence, and even if they are at risk for tooth decay, gum disease and more. Working with children in orthodontics can be even trickier, as many children require specific work to make space in the jaws for incoming teeth.

 

What Is Their Experience with Children?

The majority of good orthodontists work with children on a regular basis. However, there are some that have better training than others. You always want to look for a good orthodontist that has training to work with a child on their intellectual level. Children sometimes fear dental or orthodontic office or having work done on their mouth. We strive to provide a child-friendly atmosphere to our young patients to make them comfortable during their treatment.

 

A good orthodontist is one that can help your child feel at ease and confident about the smile they are getting. When choosing an orthodontist, observe how they act with your child. If they are warm and inviting, this can help children have a positive orthodontic experience for early orthodontic treatment and when they receive braces for straightening later on.

 

Close-up of a child being fitted for a retainer

What Qualities Do We Have?

If you want a good orthodontist, give Belmar Orthodontics a try! Dr. Hardy is an award-winning orthodontist that treats patients at two different locations. He has extensive training in dentistry and orthodontics and actually runs a pediatric dentistry and orthodontics office alongside his wife. He treats pediatric patients and older at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics and he treats patients of all ages at Belmar Orthodontics. Dr. Hardy offers every option available in orthodontics to his patients. That includes traditional metal braces, lingual braces, ceramic braces, Invisalign and Invisalign Teen, as well as retainer devices, TADs, and surgical orthodontics. All of these services required countless hours of training, testing and performance to become certified.

 

As we mentioned, you want an orthodontist who has won awards and who others are talking about. Dr. Hardy is board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. He is also an active member of the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontics. He received the Everett Shapiro Award in Orthodontics as well as the Dr. Harold Berk Endowed prize Fund for Excellence in Research. He is also a member of many dental organizations that you can find here. He is extensively trained to work not only with teens and adults, but also children—even very young ones. Dr. Hardy also works alongside his wife often, who also has extensive training and psychology experience with young children.

 

We can talk about Dr. Hardy’s qualifications all day long, but the best way to know what a good orthodontist looks like is to come into the office and see for yourself. To schedule your free consultation or to learn more, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Family of four smiling

Did you know that what you eat makes a major difference in how healthy your mouth is? What you eat can determine your likelihood for tooth decay and other oral health diseases. Did you know that your teeth also aren’t bones like many people think? They are made of an entirely different substance even though they are hard like bones. Find out oral health myths and facts that exist, how to care for your teeth properly, and some facts about orthodontic care!

 

Are Your Teeth Bones?

Many people think the teeth are bones, but they aren’t. They are hard like bone, but are actually harder. Teeth are the hardest substance in your body, as they are made up of about 96% mineral. Bones have a more sponge-like interior and aren’t solid mineral. However, your teeth and bones are made of similar materials such as calcium and phosphate, which is why they are both so hard.

 

Facts About Your Teeth

Infant and adult teeth are not the same:

  • Infants are not born with their teeth. Most start to get teeth between 3 and 9 months of age.
  • Children can receive their teeth up until age 3. Some will get all their teeth within a few months, whereas others get them slowly one-by-one.
  • Children only have 20 baby teeth compared to an adult’s 32.
  • As soon as a child gets a first tooth, it needs to be brushed at least twice a day. Infants also need to see the dentist within 6 months of getting their first tooth.
  • Bite and alignment problems in children are best treated around ages 7 and 8. This is the recommended time for children to visit an orthodontist. If bite and alignment problems are present, child braces can correct the problems before they become severe later on.
  • Children get their teeth in a certain order: the bottom front 2 teeth, followed by the top 2 teeth. Then, the next tooth on either side on the bottom jaw, then the next two on either side on the top jaw, etc.
  • Children lose their teeth in the order that they came into the mouth. Losing the baby teeth makes way for the adult teeth to start coming in once a child has grown larger.
  • Adults will have 32 total teeth. Most will have the 4 wisdom teeth taken out, which drops that total number down to 28.

 

mother and child brushing their teeth together

Brushing and Flossing

Many people brush their teeth but don’t see the importance of flossing. Plaque doesn’t go away unless you physically remove it with brushing and flossing. Only brushing your teeth is like only cleaning the outside of a car and never the inside. The inside parts can fill up with gunk, just like the spaces between your teeth. Flossing is especially important during your time with braces. Not flossing could land you with cavities or cratered parts of your teeth when braces come off.

 

Avoiding the Dentist or Orthodontist

“The dentist/orthodontist is scary”. Although many think the dentist is scary, it’s not actually. Some people fear going to the dentist, even though the dentist is someone who is only interested in helping you be healthier. Going to the actual dental office can evoke negative feelings if you’ve had a bad experience. This is why sedation dentistry was created. This is a form of dentistry where you can receive sedation during your procedure to help make it a more positive experience. If you think the dentist (or the orthodontist) is scary, we can help it be less scary. That’s especially because an orthodontist won’t have needles and drills at your appointment. They either put your braces on or tighten them for you. Not so scary, right?

 

Myths About Orthodontic Care

There are many myths about orthodontic care that could hurt you if you’re not careful. You want to always seek out the best care for your teeth and receive that care from a trained professional.

  • Providers who offer orthodontic treatment are orthodontists: false. Now, more than ever, there are many dentists or oral health professionals that are starting to offer orthodontic treatment. Many offer this treatment in the form of Invisalign aligners. This is a great system for straightening the teeth, but only if you have the right training. Orthodontists are specifically trained to straighten your teeth correctly. Dentists are not unless they have specifically received schooling and training in orthodontics. Check credentials before you let someone touch your teeth.
  • Braces are too expensive: false. Braces aren’t the cheapest purchase in the world, but they can benefit you more than most other things you’ll ever invest in. Many insurance plans work with patients to make braces affordable, and we do the same. We want as many people as possible to receive orthodontic care. If you think they are too expensive, give our office a call and we will work with your budget. Any person can receive great orthodontic treatment if they work closely with an orthodontist.
  • Braces are only for children: false. Studies show that at least ¼ of people that wear braces (so about 1 million+ each year) are adults. Almost half of the people wearing braces are teens. So no, braces are not just for children. Adults also have several virtually-invisible options for orthodontic care such as transparent aligners and lingual braces. These options make braces a great choice for adults.

 

Family with one child at the dental office talking to a dental hygienist

Great Oral Health

No matter the myths or facts you’ve heard about your oral health, the bottom line is that it’s important! How well you take care of your teeth will determine how good your health is and how much confidence you have in yourself. Studies show that people with straighter, more beautiful smiles are happier, healthier and more confident. You can have that confidence to no matter if you are young or old. To learn more about braces and proper oral hygiene while having them, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 223-9016!

 

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mother brushing her teeth with her daughter

If you teach a child good oral hygiene habits early on, odds are that they will have better oral hygiene habits when they are teens and adults. As soon as a toddler gets their first tooth, it’s essential to start brushing and flossing their teeth. Afterwards, you will need to teach them the basics of good oral hygiene practices, especially when it comes to wearing braces. Find out what those basics are and what you should be thinking about for your child’s oral health!

 

Teaching Good Oral Hygiene Early

Good oral hygiene habits are essential for a healthy mouth and especially during orthodontic care. Many children need early orthodontics, which is also known as “child orthodontics”. This is when bite and alignment issues are corrected around age 7 or 8 to avoid serious problems later on. However, we hope that every child has good oral hygiene habits established well before this visit. Otherwise, not only will a child be dealing with bite and alignment issues, but they will also be dealing with tooth decay.

 

As soon as your child gets their first tooth as a baby, you need to start brushing that tooth. Brush it morning and night with a rice-size amount of fluoride toothpaste. Also make sure to clean your baby’s gums with a wet cloth after feedings. Once they start to grow, begin teaching them how to brush their teeth properly. You will have to help brush your child’s teeth for the first couple of years until they have the dexterity in their hands to do it themselves. Flossing will come later as more teeth come in.

 

two small boys brushing their teeth

Learning to Brush

Brushing the teeth is one of the most important habits a child can have. Brushing long enough is key for a healthy mouth. Make sure you get a toothbrush that fits the size of your child’s mouth. There are brushes for infants, toddlers, children, teens and adults. All will be different sizes and some children brushes will come in fun shapes and colors to help children brush.

 

Children can’t always tell how long they have been brushing. Having them brush their teeth for a duration of a song or brushing your teeth alongside them to make sure they brush long enough. When they are old enough to have braces, brushing is even more important than before to avoid tooth decay. Food that gets stuck in brackets can cause rapid decay. Make sure they brush longer and at different angles to dislodge food. When children are first learning, brush with them as many days as it takes when first learning to brush their teeth. Do the same when they learn to brush with braces.

 

Flossing 101

Children won’t have to floss until they are toddlers. The baby teeth are spaced out until they all come in. Kids will have a total of 20 baby teeth that will start to come closer together as a baby ages. Until a child has the dexterity to use floss like an adult, it’s smart to invest in flossers. These are secure, hand-held flossing tools that children can put in between their teeth to easily dislodge food. Ask us about mouthwash and fluoride products to see if they should be part of your child’s oral hygiene routine as well.

 

See a Dentist and Orthodontist

Starting from an early age, children need to start visiting the dentist. By age 7, they should see us for an orthodontic exam as well. Dental visits themselves are so important that most dental insurances cover those twice-a-year visits. These biannual visits generally consist of comprehensive exams and dental cleanings. At first, children may be nervous about visiting a dentist. Offices can be large with busy equipment that children aren’t familiar with. Dental tools can also be loud, which can make children nervous. However, these visits are nothing to worry about whether it is a dentist or orthodontist.

 

To help your child get used to being in an office, make sure you go to a pediatric dentist instead of a general dentist while they are young. Pediatric offices (such as our orthodontic one) has staff that is trained to work well with children. Dr. Hardyl has experience with children on a daily basis. He was trained in both dentistry and orthodontics and can spot the signs of dental issues early-on. His staff knows what kids worry about and they know how to explain dental and orthodontic terms so a child can understand. An exam sounds serious, but it’s really just Dr. Hardy looking inside your child’s mouth for any bite, alignment or dental problems. If a child hasn’t seen Dr. Hardy by age 7, make sure to get them in for an examination!

 

A hygienist teaching a small girl how to brush teeth correctly

Good Habits for Life

Start children out young when teaching them good oral hygiene. If you make a habit of brushing and flossing, children will see that example and will follow it. When you help them learn good oral hygiene habits as soon as they can talk and understand, they can start keeping their mouth clean themselves. There are many resources online to help teach children specifics of brushing, flossing, and for learning about dental hygiene. We help children every day with brushing, flossing, caring for braces and establishing good oral hygiene. Call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 with any and all questions you have about your child’s oral health. Let us help you as you and your child learn to establish good oral hygiene habits together!

 

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assortment of unhealthy foods and desserts

Braces is an amazing time to get a straighter, more beautiful smile. However, wearing braces on your teeth make them much harder to clean than they were before. This is especially true when it comes to certain foods and drinks. We have a list of foods that you should avoid during your orthodontic treatment because those foods stick to the teeth. You never want food to stay stuck in your braces, as this leads to tooth decay and demineralization. We can help you to know what foods and drinks to stay away from during your orthodontic treatment. We can also help you to know how to properly clean your teeth so you don’t have to worry about tooth decay as your teeth get straighter. Avoid foods and drinks that hurt your teeth so you can have a beautiful smile once those braces come off!

 

Foods to Avoid

Braces bring many changes for 18-24 months. One of those is avoiding foods that could hurt your teeth. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar should be avoided. Eating foods high in sugar increases your risk of cavities, which you want to avoid. Also avoid:

  • Hard candy
  • Chips
  • Ice
  • Apples
  • Crusty bread
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Corn on the cob
  • Carrots or other hard vegetables
  • Gum (this is a big one)
  • Caramel
  • Sugar Daddies and similar candies
  • Skittles
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Starburst
  • Licorice
  • All types of taffy

 

You will also want to avoid carbonated and sugary drinks. Sugary drinks also increase your risk for tooth decay, and the last thing you want with braces are cavities. Carbonated drinks contain carbonic acid, which erodes your tooth enamel and can lead to demineralization. If your teeth demineralize, they become weaker and could even have spots where they simply erode away. Limit your citric fruits (like oranges or lemons) as well as citric drinks, as these also contain acids that will hurt your teeth and erode them.

 

woman holding a model of a tooth

Why to Avoid These Foods

We can give you lists of foods to avoid, but it’s also best to explain why you should avoid these types of foods.

  • Hard Foods – Your teeth and even you braces appliances are very hard, however, they are not unbreakable. Even without braces, you want to be careful about eating hard foods, as you could break a tooth. With braces, you could break a bracket or wire or have it come right off the tooth, which is something you don’t want. The hard candies and foods we have listed on foods to avoid are ones that we have seen hurt your teeth time and again. If you must eat hard foods (or if you really want to), cut up foods such as apples into small, bite-sized pieces. However, you should avoid nuts and popcorn hulls at all costs, as there really is no good way around eating these without the chance that you could hurt your teeth or brackets. Without braces, you want to still avoid chewing on ice or hard candies, as you could break or crack a tooth. Suck on hard foods instead.

 

  • Sticky Foods – Sticky foods can sometimes be worse than hard ones and could even hurt your teeth more if you think about the tooth decay they can cause. Even though many sticky foods (such as gum or caramel) are soft, they are so hard to get out of your brackets. These types of foods get stuck and stay stuck long after you’ve finished eating them. Then, you have to spend a lot more time trying to brush and pick at your brackets to remove these foods. If you don’t, sticky candies and foods can sit in your brackets and wires, eroding your tooth enamel and causing tooth decay. If you eat these foods a lot, you could end up with parts of your teeth that are cratered or worn away when you get your braces off.

 

Cleaning Your Braces

Some tips to follow to avoid plaque buildup and tooth decay include:

  • Brushing after every meal. Your braces can easily attract and trap food particles. Instead of brushing just twice a day as the American Dental Association recommends, we suggest brushing after every meal. Brush your teeth with a regular, soft-bristled brush. Brush down from the top and then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket to fully dislodge all food.
  • Use a floss threader. You can either buy floss threaders or threadable floss. This is floss that you thread through the small spaces between teeth. You pull the floss through and then floss under your wires. The more you practice this, the quicker and easier it becomes. Don’t ever skip flossing just because it takes a bit longer, and floss at least twice a day.
  • Use a proxabrush and/or waterpik. A proxabrush is a small christmas-tree brush that you can use to dislodge and clean food easily from brackets. A waterpik is a tool that shoots water in your mouth and brackets to dislodge food.

 

female cleaning her braces with a proxabrush

Avoid Actions that Hurt Your Teeth

Follow our guidelines for foods to avoid and what to do if you want to eat those foods. Take meticulous care of your teeth during your time with braces and you will thank yourself for the beautiful smile you’ll have when you get those braces off. If you have questions about foods or other topics that we haven’t covered, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016  for all of your questions!

 

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Young girl with braces receiving dental care

An orthodontist has been to dental school and is skilled enough to spot gum and teeth problems. However, seeing an orthodontist is not enough to keep your teeth healthy. During your time receiving braces, it’s also important to keep seeing a dentist for cleanings, exams and dental treatments. Learn why dental care and oral hygiene is important during your time with braces and how it can help you have a better smile after your braces!

 

Caring for Metal Braces

Your dental care during braces will depend on the type of braces you receive. If you choose metal braces, brackets and wires in your mouth make it easier for food particles to get stuck. This quickly leads to dental issues if proper care is not taken. You have to be meticulous about cleaning away plaque and stuck food particles so that you avoid tooth decay and demineralization of your tooth enamel. You do this by:

  • Brushing after every meal. Your braces easily trap food particles every single time you eat. Brushing after each meal can prevent staining and reduce the potential for bacteria buildup. When brushing, make sure you have a regular, soft-bristle brush. Brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth that has a bracket.
  • Using a threadable floss or floss threader. You will quickly notice that you can’t floss the conventional way with metal braces because the archwire is in the way. If you use a floss threader, thread regular floss through the eye of the threader like you would a sewing needle and thread. Or, using threadable floss, insert the small or pointed end in between your teeth, pulling it through. Once in place between your teeth, you can floss the two teeth on either side of where you have inserted the floss, taking care not to apply force or pressure against the archwire. Repeat between all teeth.
  • Using a proxabrush. This is a small brush that looks like a Christmas tree. Place the proxabrush between two brackets, below the archwire, brushing up and down. After several strokes, repeat this motion by inserting the brush from the opposite side (either down from the top or up from the bottom).

 

young girl receiving dental care with braces

Dental Care with Other Braces

There are other types of braces besides metal braces. At our office, we also offer Invisalign, lingual braces and ceramic braces.

  • Ceramic braces – Care for ceramic braces is the same as for traditional metal braces. This is because the design of these braces are the exact same, except they are made out of white, ceramic material.
  • Lingual braces – These braces consist of brackets and wires that are placed on the tongue-side of your teeth (meaning behind the teeth). You will have to be more careful with brushing and flossing your teeth, as you won’t be able to see the brackets and wires as well. However, cleaning is very similar to how you would clean metal braces. With flossing, floss threaders will become your best friend, and you’ll want to be meticulous with this because food can get stuck more often with the braces being inside your mouth by your tongue.
  • Invisalign – This orthodontic appliance is completely different than the other options you have. Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that you switch out every week. The benefit of these aligners is that you can easily remove them, and brush and floss your teeth like normal. No brackets, wires or lengthy flossing session. When you take the aligners out, rinse them to get the saliva off of them. Then soak them in a retainer/braces cleaner. An example is Retainer Brite or denture cleaner.

 

Do You Need to See a Dentist?

Did you know that an orthodontist must complete dental school. In order to practice orthodontics, they need to complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree followed by 4 years of dental school. After that time, an orthodontist will continue 2-3 years of additional training and schooling to practice orthodontics. Therefore, an orthodontist knows what a dentist knows when it comes to your oral health. However, one point that we want to stress is that you need to continue seeing the dentist during your time with braces.

 

An orthodontist is skilled at treating issues with your oral health, however, an orthodontist is in charge of correcting bite and alignment. A dentist is the one that will need to correct problems with tooth decay and gum disease. Even though an orthodontist has received the same training, their profession is to not to fill cavities or do root canals unless their practice does both. During your time with braces, you must continue receiving dental care from a dentist. Braces raise your risk for tooth decay and gum disease

 

dentist cleaning a child's braces

Dental Care during Your Time with Braces

Your dental care during braces will depend on the type of braces you receive. Many patients choose traditional metal braces for straightening their teeth. No matter what orthodontic option you choose, it is particularly important to maintain great dental care through attention to proper oral hygiene. If you don’t know what that proper hygiene routine looks like, we can help you. As always, if you have any questions about braces care or maintenance, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to help you reach your goals and to keep your mouth healthy. For help caring for your braces, or if you are finding certain oral hygiene tasks difficult, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!

 

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cleaning habits

Braces can keep your teeth straighter, making them more beautiful and attractive. However, if your teeth cleaning habits are poor, your smile will take a hit. How well you take care of your teeth before and during braces will be an indication of how your smile will be after your orthodontic care has come to an end. If you don’t brush and floss the teeth enough, you might damage your smile and weaken your enamel. You must step up your cleaning routine during braces to make sure your smile isn’t full of cavities and oral health problems at the end of your care. We can give you the proper recommendations and guidelines to ensure you keep your smile healthy and strong during your time with braces and throughout life.

 

Brushing With and Without Braces

The American Dental Association recommends brushing and flossing the teeth at least twice a day to keep your mouth healthy and to lower your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. We go beyond that twice-a-day recommendation and suggest that you brush your teeth after every meal. Because your braces can easily attract and trap food particles, brushing after each meal can help prevent staining and reduce the potential for bacteria buildup.

 

You should use a soft-bristled brush and use one that’s size fits your mouth well. For teeth without braces, the ADA recommends brushing the teeth at a 45 degree angle. Brush each individual tooth, making sure to go all the way up to the gumline. You use a soft-bristled brush to avoid irritating the gums and eroding your tooth enamel. With braces, you want to brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket. This will help dislodge food particles that have become trapped inside the brackets, which is extremely easy to do. Brushing your teeth multiple times a day is one of the best cleaning habits for avoiding decay.

 

Flossing the Teeth

We recommend flossing your teeth at least once a day. However, that’s for patients that don’t have braces. When you have braces, it’s even more important to floss each and every tooth. It’s also much more time consuming, but the effort you put into your teeth cleaning habits will pay off in the long run. A toothbrush and mouthwash simply can’t get in between the teeth like floss can, so if you skip flossing, you could have food sit and decay your teeth.

 

You will have to use threadable floss or a floss threader to accomplish this feat with brackets. If you use a floss threader for your teeth, think of your cleaning habits like you’re sewing. You floss the eye of the threader through your teeth and below the archwire. Then you floss the space, pull it out and thread once more. Make sure you don’t apply force or pressure against the archwire as you do this. For some patients, it may take about 10 minutes to floss, but it’s worth taking the time to avoid tooth decay.

 

Caring for Braces

Caring for your teeth becomes trickier with braces. You will find that you have to devote some extra time to caring for your braces, as you know have about 32 teeth that all have brackets that can collect food. During your time with braces, it is particularly important to maintain good oral health through attention to proper oral hygiene and cleaning habits. If you don’t, you could have your braces removed only to find that many of your teeth have areas of tooth decay. You could also be left with demineralization that leaves marks on all your teeth where the brackets were.

 

When it comes to caring for your braces, it’s not only important to clear away food particles that are on the teeth, but to be careful of what foods you put into your mouth. To avoid damage to your braces and your teeth during orthodontic treatment, you want to avoid hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar. This means you should avoid eating foods such as hard candy, chips, ice, apples, nuts, popcorn, carrots, corn on the cob, gum, caramel, taffy, licorice, gummies, and similar foods. Prevention is always key for avoid oral health issues!

 

Proper Teeth Cleaning Habits

If you’re going to spend 18-24 months straightening your teeth, you might as well keep those teeth healthy so they look nice at the end of your treatment. Brush your teeth every single day, multiple times a day. Floss as well and be meticulous with your cleaning habits. The better care you take of your braces while they’re on, the more you’ll enjoy your smile when they come off. If you would like help with your cleaning habits or tips, call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016!

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