We don’t often think about it, but eating involves coordinated jaw function to chew and shred food, so that salivary enzymes can effectively start the process of digestion.
The process is thwarted if you are unable to chew certain foods because you suffer from chronic jaw pain and dysfunction. Millions of people suffer from jaw joint problems - temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). It’s not just the chronic pain and discomfort TMD can cause that’s a real issue—it may also be preventing you from eating foods that are healthy for you.
Because TMD can make it difficult to open wide and bite down, you may decide to skip otherwise healthy foods because they are too difficult to eat. That however, could lead to lack of proper nutrition in the long run.
But with a few techniques and modifications, you can still include many of these foods in your diet even when TMD discomfort flares up. Be sure to cut all your food portions into small, bite-sized pieces. These should be small enough to limit the amount of jaw opening required to comfortably place the bite in your mouth. Peeling fruits and vegetables removes the skin which is often hard to chew.
You should also try cooking crisper fruits and vegetables to a soft texture. Choose meats, poultry or seafood that can be cooked to a tender consistency—you can also use gravies and sauces to further moisten them.
And don’t forget to chew slowly. Not only does slower eating aid digestion, but it will help you avoid overworking your jaw joints.
With a few adjustments you can have a normal, nutritious diet and minimize the discomfort of your TMD symptoms. Continual healthy eating is a must for overall health and quality of life.
If you would like more information on reducing the impact of TMD on your life and health, please contact us. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “What to Eat When TMJ Pain Flares Up.”
Daily personal care is essential for optimal oral health. Brushing and flossing in particular keep bacteria and acid, the main causes of dental disease, at manageable levels. But to gain the most benefit from your personal care, you need to perform these tasks effectively with the proper techniques and equipment.
Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste which helps strengthen enamel. You should hold the brush at a slight angle and brush with a gentle motion to remove plaque, the main cause of gum disease and tooth decay. Ideally you should brush three times a day for two minutes within twenty minutes of eating and be sure to angle your brush toward your gumline.
Although flossing is difficult with braces, it is very important. Flossing once a day removes plaque from between teeth where a brush can’t reach. If you need help with your technique using string floss, we’ll be glad to provide instruction at your next visit. The presence of braces requires extra time and makes flossing more difficult; you will need other aids such as floss threaders that we showed you how to use at your braces placement appointment, or a water flosser.
There are also important dietary choices you can make: limit sugary or acidic foods to mealtime and avoid between meal snacks to reduce bacteria and acid in the mouth. Drinking water to keep your mouth moist will inhibit plaque buildup. Also be sure to visit your general dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups, or when you notice abnormalities like bleeding gum tissue or sores. You can keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it requires a daily commitment. Not only will you have beautiful straight teeth when you are done with your treatment with us, but they will be healthy and free of unsightly white spots as well.
If you would like more information on effective oral care, please contact us.
As Halloween approaches, we wanted to share some ideas on how to make this one a braces success story instead of a Halloween nightmare. Halloween can still be a lot of fun with some braces-friendly Halloween treats.
We suggest looking for candies (and foods in general) that are soft, not sticky, chewy, hard or crunchy. Some examples are M&Ms which can “melt in your mouth, not in their hands”. Just be sure to avoid the ones with the nuts in the center. Plain chocolate candy and peanut butter cups are good choices as well. Please just be sure that you remember to brush and floss afterwards.
Bobbing for apples and biting into caramel apples are not recommended for orthodontic patients (unless you like the idea of broken brackets, extra repair time at the office, and jaw joint pain!). However, patients can enjoy thinly sliced apples, dipped in yogurt or creamy chocolate sauce.
‘Wishing everyone a Spook-tacular holiday!
Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates knows how important it is to present your best face to the world — and one of the most important features of that face is a beaming smile. But there came a point when she noticed something was a little off. “I've always had good teeth, but it seemed to me as I was getting older that they weren't looking as good,” Kathy explained in a recent interview with Dear Doctor magazine.
That's when she decided it was time to take action. Kathy had orthodontic treatment when she was in her fifties, and she keeps her smile bright with tooth whitening treatments. She uses a kit provided by her dentist with a safe, effective whitening solution.
Of course, a bright, healthy smile looks great anywhere — whether you're on the red carpet or “off the grid.” And you don't have to be a Hollywood star to have professional whitening treatments. In fact, teeth whitening is one of the most popular and affordable cosmetic treatments modern dentistry offers.
The basic options for professional teeth whitening include in-office bleaching or take-home kits. Both types of dentist-supervised treatments offer a safe and effective means of getting a brighter smile; the main difference is how long they take to produce results. A single one-hour treatment in the office can make your teeth up to ten shades lighter — a big difference! To get that same lightening with at-home trays, it would take several days. On the plus side, the take-home kit is less expensive, and can achieve the same results in a bit more time.
It's important to note that not all teeth can be whitened with these treatments. Some teeth have intrinsic (internal) stains that aren't affected by external agents like bleaches. Also, teeth that have been restored (with bonding or veneers, for example) generally won't change color. And you can't necessarily whiten your teeth to any degree: Every tooth has a maximum whiteness, and adding more bleach won't lighten it beyond that level. Most people, however, find that teeth whitening treatments produce noticeable and pleasing results.
What about those off-the-shelf kits or in-the-mall kiosks? They might work… or they might not. But one thing's for sure: Without a dentist's supervision, you're on your own. That's the main reason why you should go with a pro if you're considering teeth whitening. We not only ensure that your treatment is safe — we can also give you a realistic idea of what results to expect, and we will make sure that other dental problems aren't keeping you from having a great-looking smile.
How often does Kathy Bates see her dentist for a checkup and cleaning? “I go about every four months,” she noted. “I'm pretty careful about it.” And if you've seen her smile, you can tell that it pays off. If you would like more information about teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered” and “Teeth Whitening.”
Welcome to the Blog of Sappington Orthodontics
Whether you are an existing patient or searching for an orthodontist in the Gainesville, FL area, we’re excited you are here. With the dental and orthodontic industry advancing so rapidly, we recognize the importance of keeping our patients and visitors up to date with all of the new and exciting things taking place in our practice.
As we move forward with our blog, we hope to promote dental and orthodontic awareness as a vital part of your healthy lifestyle. Here you will find a variety of articles and topics on orthodontics and oral health, and updates from our practice.
We hope you find our blog to be helpful and engaging.
If you ever feel that you need information about a particular topic or concern, please let us know. We are always anxious to address your questions or concerns.
With best wishes,
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