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Flossing and Heart Disease: Is There a Connection?

August 20th, 2019

Sure; you know that regular flossing helps to keep your gums healthy. But, did you know that researchers now believe proper oral hygiene can improve your heart health? Here’s why understanding the connection between flossing and heart disease is vital for your well-being.

Growing Evidence of a Connection

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if scientific research revealed a no-question relationship between something that we do and our health? Sometimes, as with cigarette smoking, the evidence is pretty overwhelming. Other times, as with flossing and heart disease, the evidence reveals tantalizing clues that point toward a connection.

We’re learning more about the possible link between a healthy mouth and heart health all the time. One of the reasons that researchers are so interested in finding a possible connection is the sheer number of people who die from heart disease each year. More than one-quarter of all deaths in the United States each year are the result of heart disease.

Current Research Findings

Scientists now understand that people who have gum disease have a higher than average chance of having heart disease. Studies show that people with infected gums have as much as a twenty percent higher risk of developing heart disease. While that information alone isn’t evidence of an absolute connection, there is a growing belief that poor oral health does contribute to a sick cardiovascular system.

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School, for instance, theorize that periodontal disease increases inflammation in the body. Your immune system fights inflammation and, over the long run, the immune response damages arteries and leads to heart disease.

Gum disease also increases blood pressure. Some of the downsides of living with high blood pressure include (1) heart disease, (2) strokes, (3) heart attacks, and even (4) dementia.

Flossing and Heart Disease

The exciting news about a possible connection between periodontal disease and heart disease is that you have the power to improve your oral health. A regular dental maintenance program is a sure way to improve the state of your gums. Some things that you can do to ensure a healthy mouth include:

  • Brush and floss daily
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • See your dentist regularly
  • Eat a low sugar diet
  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Limit your daily alcohol intake

Interestingly, too many of us neglect daily flossing even though nearly everyone knows that it’s a vital part of a complete oral hygiene program. Read here for tips on an effective flossing routine.

It’s undoubtedly challenging, although extremely vital, to maintain tip-top oral health when undergoing orthodontic treatment. Don’t neglect to floss while you’re wearing braces as it’s even more essential that keep the areas between your teeth clean at this time. Consider using a water flosser to keep your smile clean. Ask Smiles for Life Orthodontics for terrific advice on braces and oral hygiene.

Lastly, with evidence mounting of a connection between oral health and heart fitness, it makes sense to opt for a healthy oral hygiene routine. Indeed, brushing, flossing, and heart disease come together for overall health. It’s time to make taking care of your smile a priority.

Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for a friendly and comprehensive approach to your orthodontic needs.

What To Eat After Getting Braces (and What To Avoid)

August 10th, 2019

You did it. You committed to fixing your bite. Here's what to eat after getting braces to make sure that the orthodontic work pays off in a terrific smile.

What To Eat After Getting Braces

If you're investing the time and financial resources into a new smile, it makes sense to do everything possible to promote healthy teeth and gums. Along with a routine of brushing and flossing, a healthy diet is a terrific way to make sure that you'll end up with a beautiful smile.

Some of the best things to eat while you're wearing braces include:

  • Dairy products
  • Lean meats
  • Soft fruits (say yes to bananas!)
  • Peanut butter
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Grits
  • Soft-textured bread

Treat yourself to things like (1) smoothies, (2) ice cream, and (3) chocolate for a sweet indulgence that's braces-friendly.

Foods To Avoid After Getting Braces

Unfortunately, you'll need to eliminate, or at least restrict, some foods from your diet while you're wearing braces. The common factors in foods to avoid are that it might damage the various parts of your braces, or stick around long after you've eaten. Food remnants that you can't remove while brushing and flossing can cause tooth decay and gum problems.

Oral-B gives a great rule of thumb by suggesting you avoid foods that are "sugary/ hard/ sticky or chewy." Examples of no-no foods include:

  • Sticky candy
  • Gum
  • Hard candy
  • Sugary soda
  • Hard fruit (ex. Whole apples)
  • Meat from the bone (avoid tearing with your teeth)
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Corn-on-the-cob
  • Extra thick pizza crust
  • Chewy bagels
  • Tortilla chips

Don't lose heart if you see some of your favorite foods and treats on the list. You won't be wearing braces for long, and you'll soon have a beautiful smile as a reward for your restraint.

Lastly, when you're deciding what to eat after getting braces, concentrate on safety. Focus on choosing foods that won't stress your oral appliance and get stuck between your teeth. Fortunately, with a little bit of imagination, you'll discover that it's easy to indulge in delicious meals while you're wearing braces.

Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics to discover how close you are to a fantastic smile.

How Do Braces Work To Fix Your Smile?

July 20th, 2019

A sad fact of living with misaligned teeth is that it keeps you from sharing your smile with the world. Braces are a time-tested way to turn a mouth full of twisted teeth into a radiant smile. So, how do braces work to fix an imperfect bite?

Do you need braces?

The surest way to know if you could benefit from wearing braces is through a consultation with an orthodontist like Dr. Irelia Machado at Smiles for Life Orthodontics. Your orthodontist will thoroughly examine all aspects of your bite to develop a treatment plan that will result in a beautiful smile.

Our patients typically find us through their dentist. Some of the reasons that braces might be in order include (1) Overbite, (2) underbite, (3) missing teeth, (4) TMJ, and (5) having a hard time chewing food.

How do braces work?

Braces might look complicated, but the basic principle is simple. They create a correctly aligned smile by pushing the teeth into the proper position. It takes time for the teeth to move into the right spot, and patience during the orthodontic process is crucial. Read here for a description of the different parts that make up a set of braces.

Put aside any fear of braces being painful. You’ll probably feel a little bit of tenderness in the days following an adjustment, but you’ll most likely find wearing braces a tolerable experience. Try taking an over the counter pain reliever and eating soft foods like ice cream to reduce any pain associated with your braces.

Cleaning your teeth

It’s vital that you keep your teeth and gums clean while you’re wearing braces. There’s no denying that it’ll take more work to keep your mouth clean when you have braces but the downside of slacking include cavities and gum disease. 

Keep your mouth in tip-top condition by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and always remembering to floss. Consider switching out your manual toothbrush for an electric one. Make a mouthwash rinse part of your regular dental care routine.

Above all, don’t forget to check in with your regular dentist every six months. The dentist will deep clean your teeth and gums while also keeping a close eye on the overall health of your mouth. Bi-annual dental visits are a terrific way to ensure the health and beauty of your smile.

Lastly, how do braces work to create a beautiful smile? Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for a full description of how braces will push your teeth into the proper position and leave you with a smile that you’ll want to share.

 

Why Does My Jaw Hurt? 5 Reasons For An Aching Jaw

July 6th, 2019

You wake up to an aching jaw that grows more annoying throughout the day. If you recognize this painful scenario, it's time to find out the answer to "Why does my jaw hurt?". Let's look at five typical reasons for jaw pain.

Why does my jaw hurt

Nearly everyone suffers from an aching jaw at some point in their lives. The reasons for jaw pain vary from simple, easily treated situations to complex problems requiring an advanced treatment plan. Here are five causes of jaw pain.

Dental problem- Jaw pain can spring from things like a (1) cavity, (2) cracked tooth, (3) infection, and (4) gum disease. Don't neglect to make an appointment with your dentist if you suspect that a dental problem is at the root of your aching jaw.

Stress- Are you stressed with work and daily life? One of the sneaky ways that life's weight shows itself is through a tense jaw. Too much jaw clenching and teeth grinding will undoubtedly result in an unhappy mouth.

Sinus- If you struggle with your sinuses, you've probably experienced the unique way that sinus pain and pressure masquerades as jaw pain. You can suspect a sinus issue if your jaw pain comes along with things like (1) dizziness, (2) post-nasal drip, and (3) forehead pressure. Your doctor can help to determine if your jaw pain comes from a sinus issue.

Headache- Migraines and cluster headaches are notorious culprits behind an agonizing jaw. In the case of a migraine, blood vessels and nerves combine to create intense discomfort. If your jaw pain subsides as the problem eases, there is a decent chance that the migraine caused the jaw pain. Check with your doctor if severe headaches persist.

TMJ- One of the most common causes of jaw pain is TMJ. The temporomandibular joint works to connect the lower jaw to your skull. There are a host of reasons that TMJ can bring about a sharp pain whenever you open your mouth. Symptoms include:

  • Tender jaw
  • Painful chewing
  • Difficulty opening jaw
  • Clicking sound when opening jaw
  • Pain around ears

Successful TMJ treatment often includes orthodontic assistance. Misaligned teeth and bites often cause jaw joint problems, so it responds well to braces. Smiles for Life Orthodontics specializes in helping patients to overcome TMJ syndrome so that they can have a pain-free smile.

Treatment

When should you seek help for your aching jaw? In general, professionals say that home remedies like rest and ice are useful first steps. Avoid chewy foods and concentrate on relaxing your jaw. If home remedies fail to curb the pain, it is time to seek professional assistance. Schedule a time with your dentist for a complete evaluation.

Lastly, the next time that you ask yourself, "Why does my jaw hurt?" relax and remember that you don't need to endure long-lasting jaw pain. Dental professionals are experts at diagnosing and solving all types of jaw-related issues. When your treatment needs include orthodontic work, contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics, and we'll have you living a pain-free life in no time.

 

American Dental Association American Association of Orthodontists Texas Association of Orthodontists Southwestern Society of Orthodontists