Posts for: June, 2016
Once your dentist attaches metal braces to your mouth, your life changes for the next year or two. Those gleaming silver wires and brackets are obvious in every photograph, and if that's not bad enough, you have to give up your favorite treats. Luckily there's another way to straighten your teeth that doesn't have such a dramatic impact on your life. Dr. Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates; your Gaithersburg and Kensington, MD, dentists, explain how Invisalign changes your smile, not your life.
Invisalign offers the clear advantage
When you choose the Invisalign brace system, you'll receive removable aligner trays custom-made to fit over your upper and lower teeth. Since the trays are clear, they're practically invisible. The trays gently move your teeth into alignment without wires or brackets. Every two or three weeks, you'll replace the trays with a new set.
Invisalign is versatile
If you're only familiar with metal braces, it may be difficult to believe that removable aligner trays can produce the same results that metal braces do. Although Invisalign isn't a good choice for severe orthodontic issues, the aligner trays will straighten your teeth just as effectively as traditional braces if you have a mild to moderate alignment problem, such as:
- Open Bite
Invisalign is convenient
Although the Invisalign aligner trays are clear, there still may be times when you would rather not wear your braces. If you're competing in your favorite sport or attending a special event, you can remove your aligner trays for a few hours if you want. Since the trays don't have to be adjusted, unlike metal braces, you'll visit your dentist less often than your friends who wear traditional braces, which means you'll have more time to do the things you enjoy most.
People who wear metal braces must be very careful when eating. Foods that damage wires and brackets, such as popcorn, hard fruits and vegetables, or sticky candies must be avoided until the braces are removed. When you choose Invisalign, you can eat what you want, since you'll remove the trays to eat.
Contact your Gaithersburg and Kensington dentists
Invisalign offers the most convenient way to straighten your teeth. Dr. Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates; your Gaithersburg and Kensington, MD, dentists, to schedule an appointment to discuss Invisalign. Transform your smile with Invisalign!
Exchanging passionate kisses with big-screen star Jennifer Lawrence might sound like a dream come true. But according to Liam Hemsworth, her Hunger Games co-star, it could also be a nightmare… because J.Law’s breath wasn’t always fresh. “Anytime I had to kiss Jennifer was pretty uncomfortable,” Hemsworth said on The Tonight Show.
Lawrence said the problem resulted from her inadvertently consuming tuna or garlic before the lip-locking scenes; fortunately, the two stars were able to share a laugh about it later. But for many people, bad breath is no joke. It can lead to embarrassment and social difficulties — and it occasionally signifies a more serious problem. So what causes bad breath, and what can you do about it?
In 9 out of 10 cases, bad breath originates in the mouth. (In rare situations, it results from a medical issue in another part of the body, such as liver disease or a lung infection.) The foul odors associated with bad breath can be temporarily masked with mouthwash or breath mints — but in order to really control it, we need to find out exactly what’s causing the problem, and address its source.
As Lawrence and Hemsworth found out, some foods and beverages can indeed cause a malodorous mouth. Onions, garlic, alcohol and coffee are deservedly blamed for this. Tobacco products are also big contributors to bad breath — which is one more reason to quit. But fasting isn’t the answer either: stop eating for long enough and another set of foul-smelling substances will be released. Your best bet is to stay well hydrated and snack on crisp, fresh foods like celery, apples or parsley.
And speaking of hydration (or the lack of it): Mouth dryness and reduced salivary flow during the nighttime hours is what causes “morning breath.” Certain health issues and some medications can also cause “dry mouth,” or xerostomia. Drinking plenty of water can encourage the production of healthy saliva — but if that’s not enough, tell us about it: We may recommend switching medications (if possible), chewing xylitol gum or using a saliva substitute.
Finally, maintaining excellent oral hygiene is a great way to avoid bad breath. The goal of oral hygiene is to control the harmful bacteria that live in your mouth. These microorganisms can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath — so keeping them in check is good for your overall oral health. Remember to brush twice and floss once daily, stay away from sugary foods and beverages, and visit the dental office regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
So did J.Law apologize for the malodorous makeout session? Not exactly. “[For] Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, yeah, I’ll brush my teeth,” she laughed.
Hemsworth jokingly agreed: “If I was kissing Christian Bale I probably would have brushed my teeth too. With you, it’s like, ‘Eh. Whatever.’”
If you would like more information about bad breath and oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bad Breath: More than Just Embarrassing.”
Regular dental visits are an important part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. But it’s what goes on between those visits — daily hygiene and care — that are the real ounce of prevention.
Here are 4 things you should be doing every day to keep your mouth healthy.
Use the right toothbrush and technique. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste at least once every day is a must for removing plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles which is the main cause of dental disease. Your efforts are more effective if you use a soft-bristled, multi-tufted brush that’s replaced often, especially when bristles become splayed and worn. To remove the most plaque and avoid damaging your gums, brush with a gentle, circular motion for at least two minutes over all tooth surfaces.
Don’t forget to floss. Your toothbrush can get to most but not all the plaque on your teeth. Flossing — either with flossing string, pre-loaded flossers or a water irrigator — helps remove plaque from between teeth. Don’t rely on toothpicks either — they can’t do the job flossing can do to remove plaque.
Mind your habits. We all develop certain behavioral patterns — like snacking, for instance. Constant snacking on foods with added sugar (a major food source for bacteria) increases your disease risk. Consider healthier snacks with fresh fruits or dairy, and restrict sugary foods to mealtimes (and the same for sports and energy drinks, which have high acid levels). Stop habits like tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption or chewing on hard objects, all of which can damage your teeth and gums and create a hostile environment in your mouth.
Watch for abnormalities. If you pay attention, you may be able to notice early signs of problems. Bleeding, inflamed or painful gums could indicate you’re brushing too hard — or, more likely, the early stages of periodontal (gum) disease. Tooth pain could signal decay. And sores, lumps or other spots on your lips, tongue or inside of your mouth and throat could be a sign of serious disease. You should contact us if you see anything out of the ordinary.
If you would like more information on how to care for your teeth and gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “10 Tips for Daily Oral Care at Home.”