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By Peter 28 Jun, 2017


Traditional Metal Braces and Invisible Braces: the Pros and Cons

Orthodontic braces have been around for decades, but the days of headgear and heavy-duty metal braces have passed as technology has improved. If you are seeking braces or orthodontic care of any sort in the La Jolla, CA or Carmel Valley, CA area, you likely have many questions about traditional braces and the newer options that are available to you and your child.

Advancements in orthodontics and general dentistry have provided both children and adults with many new and improved options. Now young people and their parents have several options to choose from, some so advanced that they may not look like you're wearing braces at all.

Traditional Braces

When you think of braces, the first thing that comes to mind is likely a mouth full of metal brackets with wires attached to these brackets. While these types of metal braces are still a good option for many orthodontic patients, today's traditional braces are far less obvious, invasive or uncomfortable as traditional braces were in the past.

Many traditional braces now feature smaller brackets and use heat-activated arch wires. These wires rely on the body's natural heat to reduce the pain associated with wearing braces and the repositioning of one's teeth.

What Are the Pros of Traditional Braces?

Traditional braces are generally the most cost-effective option for most patients. This is probably the biggest selling point. With traditional metal braces, colored bands are usually an option. This can be fun for younger patients, or at least a way to make the experience a bit more tolerable.

What are the Cons of Traditional Braces?

The biggest con that most people cite is simply that traditional metal braces are the most noticeable form of braces.

Ceramic or Clear Braces

Ceramic braces are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional metal braces. Once called clear braces, ceramic braces use brackets in the same size and shape as traditional metal braces but that are made of ceramic, rather than metal, that mimic the color of natural teeth, making them much less noticeable. Sometimes, they are even clear. Some orthodontists even offer clear wires, which further reduce appearance of braces.

What Are the Pros of Ceramic or Clear Braces?

The biggest benefit of ceramic braces is that they are much less obvious than traditional metal braces. Many consider this to improve their smile and general appearance. Ceramic or clear braces have also been demonstrated to produce results faster than invisible aligners, such as Invisalign.

What Are the Cons of Ceramic or Clear Braces?

Ceramic or clear braces generally cost more than traditional metal braces. For many patients—and especially their parents—this is the biggest drawback. Ceramic braces require specific care to maintain their "invisible" appearance. The brackets may stain easily, which, of course, means they no longer appear to be clear. In short, to maintain the "clear" appearance of ceramic or clear braces requires more attention and effort than the care of traditional metal braces.

While there are certainly other options like Invisalign invisible aligners and lingual braces, traditional and ceramic or clear braces remain the more popular options for a variety of reasons.

The type of braces you choose for yourself or your child is ultimately a personal decision but one that is best made in consultation with an appropriate professional, especially your La Jolla, CA or Carmel Valley, CA orthodontic specialist.

By Peter 29 May, 2017


Your face, your smile, your teeth. . .these are often the first things that others notice about you. These are also important pieces of your appearance that you are likely aware of. And right or wrong, how you feel about your appearance is tied to your overall self-confidence. This means, quite honestly, that having a beautiful smile with straight, sparkling teeth matters. It's not just a question of how others perceive you, but it's also a question of how you feel about yourself. Ultimately, it's a question of how happy you are with yourself and your life. The appearance of your teeth and your smile matters.

If you are less than thrilled with your smile and your teeth, you may want to consider Invisalign, a retainer or even braces to straighten your teeth and improve your smile. If your teeth are not as white as you'd like, you may want to consider professional teeth whitening. And really, it's not just about your teeth or about making a good impression—it's how you feel about yourself that counts.

Whether you're looking in San Diego, La Jolla or Carmel Valley, California, you can find a dental professional to answer your questions and give you the smile you've always deserved. California is the land of the beautiful people, but most Californians were not born beautiful. You, too, deserve a professional to help you enhance your natural beauty and give you the smile that you should have been born with.

While you may opt for a retainer or braces to straighten your teeth, these are not your only options. Many opt for Invisalign aligners. One of the many benefits of Invisalign aligners is that they are clear, plastic trays that you wear. In this case "clear, plastic" means mostly invisible. Nobody will even need to know that you are wearing an orthodontic device to improve your teeth, your smile and your overall appearance.

If whiter teeth is what you desire, your dental professional in Carmel Valley, La Jolla or San Diego can make this happen for you too. Teeth tend to yellow as you age, although many common substances, such as coffee, tea, tobacco and red wine are also culprits in dulling and yellowing those pearly whites. The good news is you don't have to settle for yellow-looking teeth. And certainly, you can use at-home products to try to improve the appearance of your teeth, but these products cannot give you what a professional teeth whitening can.

Typically, in-office teeth whitening, also called chairside bleaching, can be done in just one visit. Your La Jolla, San Diego or Carmel Valley, CA dental professional will apply a protective shield or gel to your gums, then bleach your teeth using hydrogen peroxide. It's a simple, painless procedure that can do wonders for your appearance.

They say that when you smile the world smiles with you. Don't be afraid to smile. Give yourself the smile, the teeth that you've always wanted and that, quite honestly, you deserve. Take back your life by reclaiming your self-confidence. Give yourself the gift of a perfect and perfectly beautiful smile.

By Peter 29 May, 2017


Can your smile stop you from finding love? The sad answer is yes. Yes, your smile can stop you from finding love in a number of ways. The sad truth is that if women find your smile or your teeth to be unattractive, you may have a hard time finding the relationship you want. Is this superficial of them? Probably so. But in a world of online dating and snap judgments, it's simply the truth. The good news is that a smile is a relatively easy fix. If your teeth need to be straightened, a dental professional can assist you. And if all you require is a bright, white smile, that's even easier. Find a dental professional in San Diego, CA; La Jolla, CA or Carmel Valley, CA, and you will be good to go! Go on a first date, that is. Then a second, a third, and you'll be well on your way to the relationship you've always wanted.

We inhabit a dating culture where online apps force us to make snap judgments about people, mostly based on their appearance. You swipe right if you like someone's looks. Don't let your smile be the reason that someone swipes left. If your teeth aren't as straight as you'd like, if they are yellowed due to age, genetics or even lifestyle choices, you have alternatives. But the sad truth is that if you don't love your smile, then potential dates probably won't like your smile either. Many women prefer the look of straight, white teeth. Sparkling white, even teeth convey a sense of health and sexiness. You want this—you deserve it. Give yourself a smile that says, "Swipe right!"

Often, when we don't feel confident about our teeth, then we simply don't smile, especially in photos. Whether you are on OKCupid, Match, Tinder, eHarmony or any of the other dating sites where women make choices about you that are, at least to some degree, informed by your pictures, you should smile. A smile makes you look approachable. It makes you seem like you have a pleasant personality and a good sense of humor. But it's hard to smile when you think your teeth are unattractive. Again, don't settle for unattractive teeth—give yourself a handsome smile. Consult a dental professional in San Diego, Carmel Valley or La Jolla, California. Find out what can be done to improve your smile and, thus, your dating life.

Finally, if you already know that women don't find your smile to be attractive, you probably don't feel very confident. There's very little that's less attractive than a lack of confidence. If a woman swipes right, you communicate and you make it to a first date, if she senses a general lack of confidence, you probably won't have a second date. And this all could be simply because you don't feel good about your teeth. Don't let your teeth—whether they are crooked, yellowed, uneven or otherwise unattractive—be the thing that keeps you from finding the love that you want.

We all deserve to be loved. We also all deserve nice, healthy-looking, straight, sparkling white teeth. In one way, these do go hand in hand. Don't let your smile continue to be a hindrance. Give yourself the smile that will create the love you've always wanted.

By Peter 28 Sep, 2016


Cavities. No one likes to talk about them — and most people count getting them filled among the most unpleasant experiences in life — but they happen to just about everyone, especially once you reach adulthood. The fact is, even the most diligent brusher may experience tooth decay. This is because brushing isn’t the whole story when it comes to avoiding cavities.

There are many factors that can contribute to tooth decay, and even the erosion of tooth enamel. Here are a handful of things that can make you more likely to get a cavity.

What You Eat

You probably already know that sugary drinks, such as fruit juices and sodas, are bad for your teeth. But did you know that other, healthier foods can also cause tooth decay? Certain foods are naturally high in sugar. Although natural sugars are better for you than processed sugar, they can still hurt your teeth if you consume them too often. For example, cherries have 18 grams of sugar per cup. Grapes also pack a high sugar punch, with 15 grams per cup. You can enjoy these fruits in moderation, but make sure to rinse your mouth with water (or brush) immediately after you eat them. You can also satisfy your sweet craving with fruits naturally low in sugar, such as cranberries (seven grams of sugar per cup) and avocados (just one gram of sugar in a whole avocado).

Bacteria in Your Mouth

Your mouth is a mini ecosystem, with up to 200 species of different bacteria living inside it at any given time. People who brush regularly and practice good oral hygiene typically have anywhere between 1,000 and 100,000 bacteria in their mouths. If this activates your “yuck” factor, consider that individuals who aren’t great brushers can have up 1 billion bacteria on every single tooth in their mouth! Certain people simply have more bacteria in their system, regardless of how often they brush. These bacteria can attack the teeth, causing cavities.

The Shape of Your Teeth

Some people have teeth that feature deep grooves — something that is especially common in the molars. There is not much you can do to change this, as the shape of your teeth is determined by genetics (so thank mom and dad if your teeth are particularly deep). However, you can take steps to reduce your chances of getting a cavity. Your dentist may even suggest a dental sealant on these teeth, which will place a protective coating over the grooves. This prevents food and bacteria from settling deep in the tooth, where it can more easily cause decay.

Receding Gums

As we age, our gums tend to recede. This is the origin of the phrase, “long in the tooth” to describe someone who is older or aging. Other people brush too hard, which literally brushes away the gums. You can combat this by brushing as softly as possible, or purchasing a soft-bristle toothbrush. Some people even find that using a sonic toothbrush (which uses vibration rather than your own wrist motion to clean the teeth) helps them avoid pressing too hard.

Call to Schedule an Appointment Today

You only get one set of adult teeth, so it’s important to take care of them! You can start by aligning your teeth and correcting your bite with orthodontic treatment.

We serve adults and children in the greater San Diego region, including La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and Del Mar. Call our office today to schedule a consultation and to learn more about a treatment plan that will have your smile sparkling in no time!

 

By Peter 28 Sep, 2016

15 Fun Facts about Teeth!

Teeth are pretty amazing. They allow you to communicate your thoughts and emotions with a smile (or a grimace), and they help you enjoy various types of food. They also make it easier to annunciate words during speech.

However, there are many other interesting — and even downright surprising — facts about teeth. Here are just a few fun facts about your smile.

1.    Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the entire body.

2.    35 to 40 percent of the tooth’s surface is located in between the teeth — so make sure you floss regularly!

3.    Although it’s best to brush your teeth for at least two minutes, the majority of adults brush for 48 seconds.

4.    If you lose an adult tooth (whether due to an accident or some other incident), put it in a glass of milk or keep it inside your mouth, if possible. Teeth begin to die after just 15 minutes outside the mouth, so get to the dentist right away to increase your chances of saving it.

5.    Over a lifetime, the average person spends 38 days brushing his or her teeth.

6.    Restorations, such as fillings, date all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. Archeologists have discovered mummies with filings. The Romans also used gold to restore diseased teeth.

7.    If you have ever heard that George Washington had wooden dentures, this is incorrect. Although President Washington did, indeed, wear dentures, they were a mix of animal and human teeth, as well as ivory, and bits of metal. They were also reportedly ill-fitting and quite uncomfortable. Historians believe he had just one natural tooth remaining in his mouth at the time of his inauguration. He also complained of mouth and tooth pain in his journals and letters throughout his life.

8.    Your bite is like a fingerprint and is completely unique to you. Your “tongue print” is also one-of-a-kind.

9.    Smiles have a gender bias: Women smile about 62 times a day… men? Just eight times daily.

10.Americans love their toothpaste! We buy 14 million gallons of the stuff each year.

11.You produce enough saliva over a lifetime to fill two swimming pools.

12.A baby’s teeth form during pregnancy, but don’t make an appearance until around six months of age. In somewhat rare cases, however, a baby can be born with teeth — called “natal teeth.” In most instances, this is completely harmless, although it may come as a shock to the baby’s parents!

13.Researchers say about 50 percent of all people notice a person’s smile before anything else. So smile!

14.Toothbrushes aren’t anything new, however, the kind we use today (with nylon bristles) have only been around since 1938. Before that, most toothbrushes were made of boar’s bristles, with handles carved of bone or wood. Going back even farther in time, medieval people used to use “chew sticks” to clean their teeth. These were short, narrow branches with a frayed end. Archeologists have discovered chew sticks that date all the way back to 3,500 BCE.

15.The Victorians used “tooth powder” — a powder mixture made of salt and bicarbonate of soda. You can still buy tooth powder today.

Call Today to Schedule Your Appointment

Ready to learn more about how to make your smile as healthy as possible? We serve patients in the greater San Diego region, including La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and Del Mar. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.

 

By Peter 28 Sep, 2016


‘Tis the season for little ghouls and goblins to tour the neighborhood, filling up buckets and bags (and maybe even the odd pillowcase) with candy. This is a fun family tradition, but it can be frighteningly bad for your smile!

If you plan to trick-or-treat this Halloween, here are a few ways to protect your teeth.

Stop the Plaque Attack

When you eat sweet treats, such as suckers and chocolate, your teeth are exposed to an “acid attack” that can last up to 20 minutes. This acid deposits bacteria on the teeth, which can lead to a build-up of plaque — a sticky accumulation of bacteria that ultimately causes tooth decay and leads to cavities. Compared to other foods, sticky candies help bacteria stay on the teeth much longer.

You can avoid the plaque attack by brushing your teeth as soon as possible after consuming hard candies, chocolate, or sticky candies. If you can’t brush, at least rinse your mouth with water. You can also try washing your candy down with some milk, as the calcium in dairy helps promote the production of saliva, which serves to neutralize the acid in your mouth. However, milk has natural sugar in it, too, so it’s best to brush if you can. You should also floss after you brush, as up to 40 percent of your tooth’s surface is located between your teeth.

Consider Non-Candy Treats

We all love candy, right? A little bit of candy in moderation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but an overload of sweets can hurt your smile. Consider replacing your candy dish with non-candy alternatives. Instead of candy bars, hand out stickers, apple slices, bubbles, temporary tattoos, fake mustaches, or miniature cans of play-doh. If you can’t resist the allure of sweet treats, you can even opt for sugar free gum.

As always, you should completely skip sugary drinks, such as soda and processed juices, such as juice pouches and boxes. These drinks deposit high amounts of cavity-causing sugar on your teeth. Beyond that, they are leading contributors to childhood obesity, and they can cause headaches, poor concentration, and irritability when consumed too often.

Protect Your Braces

If you wear braces, just say “boo!” to certain candies. Specifically, you should avoid anything sticky that can get stuck in your brackets or wires. Off-limits candies include taffy, popcorn, chewing gum, caramel, toffee, chocolate bars with nuts, suckers, licorice, and hard candy. Gummy bears, fruit snacks, and fruit roll-ups are also bad news for people who wear braces. Instead, go for the softer candies, such as peanut butter cups and regular chocolate bars.

Pace Yourself!

In the days and weeks following Halloween, it’s easy to make frequent stops at the candy bowl. However, this can lead to bad habits that hurt your teeth. Too much candy not only hurts your diet and your overall health, it can lead to tooth decay and even slow down your orthodontic treatment. Avoid overindulging by parceling out candy once or twice a day. Many people find that it’s easier to avoid eating too much if they keep the candy out of sight.

Ready to Get Started? Schedule Your First Visit Today

We hope you have a spooktacular Halloween! Current patients: Make sure to schedule your next appointment as soon as possible. If you’re a new patient, give us a call to learn more about our office and the services we offer. We serve patients in the greater San Diego region, including La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and Del Mar. Get in touch today to find out what we can do for you.

 

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By Peter 28 Sep, 2016


If you had braces as a kid, you may remember frequent trips to the orthodontist’s office, where you would endure adjustments and maybe even the addition of orthodontic elastics to correct your bite.

Understandably, many parents want to spare their child the experience of braces. Although braces are often considered a rite of passage in our society, they can also sometimes expose a child to teasing or bullying. Braces also cost money, which can put a strain on the family budget.

The good news is that orthodontic treatment has come a long way over the past few decades, with big changes occurring in just the past 10 years. The braces you knew as a child are long gone, and today’s orthodontic treatment tends to be faster, with advanced technology that allows orthodontists to see exactly how treatment will progress right from the start.

However, families today have many options. Here are a few to consider:

Early Dental Visits

Most children begin getting their adult teeth around six years old (although some may start losing teeth earlier or later). You should begin taking your child for regular dental exams and cleanings as soon as he or she begins getting baby teeth. This helps your child get accustomed to the dentist from an early age. It also allows the dentist to spot potential problem areas, such as overcrowding or a palate that needs to be expanded. In some cases, orthodontic interventions, such as a palate expander, can obviate the need for braces down the road. We can also remove teeth or make placeholders in the mouth to allow the adult teeth to come in properly positioned for a good bite and a beautiful smile.

Invisalign

If your child is reluctant to wear traditional metal braces with brackets, he or she can opt for the Invisalign system, which moves the teeth with a series of custom-made clear aligners. These aligners are made to fit your child’s mouth, and apply subtle pressure to the teeth to make them move. Similar to mouth guards worn during sports activities, they are quite thin, so they are barely noticeable. They can also be removed for eating and brushing, which helps young people keep their teeth clean, even during orthodontic treatment.

Modern Braces Are Pretty Cool!

Because Invisalign does not work for all types of orthodontic treatment, your child may still need traditional braces. However, there are plenty of options here, too. For example, your child may choose clear brackets (and even clear wires!) that make the braces less noticeable. Modern braces are also much smaller than their predecessors, and their low-profile design makes them easy to wear and less likely to cause irritation in the mouth. Your child may also wish to explore the possibility of lingual braces, which are fitted to the back of the teeth, so they are not visible to others.

There is good news for parents, too! With many different types of payment options and payment plans, financing the cost of braces is easier than ever before. If you are concerned about affording orthodontic treatment, call us to learn more about the payment plans we offer. Chances are, braces are much more affordable than you thought.

Call to Schedule an Appointment Today

We serve adults and children in the greater San Diego region, including La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and Del Mar. Give us a call to learn more about our office. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

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By Peter 05 Sep, 2016


It’s hard to believe, but summer is winding down, which means another school year is upon us. For many kids, cooler temperatures and a return to the classroom means the start of fall sports.

But what if your child got braces over the summer? Should you be worried about your little all-star taking a blow to the mouth, leading to an expensive and painful trip to the orthodontist’s office?

The good news is there is no reason for your child to stop playing sports just because he or she is undergoing orthodontic treatment. Sports are a wonderful way for children to learn valuable life skills, such as teamwork, perseverance, good sportsmanship, and problem-solving skills. You don’t have to put these life lessons on hold for braces.

On the other hand, braces are an investment. You are spending money to ensure your child has a beautiful, healthy smile that looks great and, more importantly, functions properly. With this in mind, it’s important to take the proper steps to protect your child’s teeth – both now and in the future.

Mouth Guards for Braces (and after Braces)

Sports – especially contact sports – can lead to a variety of injuries to the face and mouth. Furthermore, you don’t necessarily have to be involved in a heavy-hitting sport like football to get whacked in the mouth. An errant elbow during basketball, or a high hockey stick on the ice can cause a serious injury to the mouth. With braces on, even an otherwise harmless bump on the mouth can cause injury to the lips, cheeks, and gums. Once an adult tooth is knocked out of the mouth, it must usually be replaced with an implant.

Not all sports organizations make mouth guards mandatory, but it’s a good idea for your child to wear one, especially if he or she is involved in a contact sport. Basketball, football, soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse, rugby… the list goes on and on. You should also consider a mouth guard if your child is involved in martial arts or other lessons that involve sparring with an opponent.

Although many teams issue “boil and bite” mouth guards, these are not ideal for braces. With a boil and bite mouth guard, your child receives a one-size-fits-all plastic mouth guard that is designed to be dipped briefly in boiling water, then quickly inserted into the mouth and molded to the teeth. The problem with boil and bite mouth guards is they are difficult to properly size, even without braces. When you add brackets and wires to the mouth, it’s difficult to get a proper fit. This means the mouth guard is less effective, which exposes your child to the risk of injury.

Your orthodontist can make a mouth guard specifically designed to fit your child’s mouth. Depending on how long your child’s orthodontic treatment lasts, you may need to have a few mouth guards made as your child’s teeth move to their permanent position. Your orthodontist may also recommend a silicone orthodontic mouth guard made specifically for braces.  

Once your child has completed orthodontic treatment, it’s important to continue to protect his or her smile with a mouth guard. If your child is reluctant to wear one, you can point out how many professional athletes wear mouth guards. Players in the NFL, NBA, and NHL can be seen removing their mouth guards after a play or during breaks. They understand the importance of protecting their smiles!

Call Today to Get Started

We treat patients throughout San Diego and the surrounding communities. Call today to schedule your first appointment.

By Peter 05 Sep, 2016


Many people assume that tooth extractions go hand in hand with orthodontics. In some cases, a parent comes to the office with a child for a consultation and assumes the child will need teeth pulled because that’s how their own orthodontic treatment unfolded twenty or thirty years ago.

Although extractions are sometimes necessary, they are not a given for every patient. In fact, we try to avoid them when possible. At your first appointment and exam, we will be able to give you a good idea of whether you or your child is a candidate for extractions. Just because a parent, sibling, or other relative needed teeth removed prior to braces does not mean your treatment will progress the same way.

Reasons for Tooth Extractions during Orthodontic Treatment

There are several reasons why orthodontists remove teeth as part of orthodontic treatment. In some patients, early orthodontic intervention will achieve a much more satisfactory result. Many younger patients still retain some baby teeth. To get the best results, we sometimes opt to pull these teeth so the adult teeth can move to their permanent position.

In other patients, we must remove permanent teeth due to overcrowding. For example, some patients simply have a small jaw and no amount of maneuvering will create enough room for their teeth. Other patients have protruding teeth or a severe overbite or underbite. We can sometimes correct these problems through surgery and other methods, but removing the teeth – often the premolars – is frequently enough to give us the space we need to create a beautiful, functional smile.

Will a Palate Expander Help?

Beginning your orthodontic treatment sooner rather than later might help you avoid extractions. Palate expanders are a great way to eliminate overcrowding. To be effective, however, a palate expander must be placed before the growth plate in the roof of the mouth has fused. This fusion usually takes place somewhere between age 14 and 16.

The palate expander attaches to the upper arch of the teeth and can be fitted or removable. A fitted palate expander is actually bonded to the teeth. Once the palate expander is in place, the child or the parent uses a key-like device to turn a small screw in the expander once or twice each day. This is a relatively painless process, however, some children report feeling pressure and minor discomfort.

What about Wisdom Teeth?

Some patients wonder whether they should consider having their wisdom teeth extracted prior to getting braces. Wisdom teeth are actually a third set of molars that tend to erupt in the teen years or sometimes during a person’s twenties.

Although wisdom teeth can cause the teeth to shift after orthodontic treatment is complete, the majority of patients will notice when their wisdom teeth start to erupt. Because wisdom teeth don’t always cause problems, many patients choose a wait-and-see approach rather than having their wisdom teeth removed before a problem develops.

Interestingly, about 35 percent of the population does not have wisdom teeth. There are several theories that attempt to explain the reason behind this. Some researchers point to a change in ancient humans’ diet, while others say a random genetic mutation caused our ancestors to pass down a no-wisdom teeth gene to a lucky percentage of the population.

Whether you need an extraction, or alternative treatment options suit your smile, extractions don’t have to be scary or intimidating. If your tooth is infected or severely impacted, you may need to visit an oral surgeon who specializes in removing teeth as quickly and painlessly as possible.  

Call to Schedule Your First Appointment

We serve patients in the greater San Diego region, including La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and Del Mar. Get in touch today to find out what we can do for you.

 

By Peter 10 Aug, 2016

What Is Halitosis?

Halitosis is the clinical, technical term for bad breath. When you wear braces, it may seem like you’re constantly waging a war against bad breath. Rest assured, you are not alone. Over 80 million people in the U.S. suffer with halitosis. The good news is that halitosis can be treated.

What Causes Halitosis?

Bad breath is usually caused by infrequent brushing and flossing, but it can happen for a variety of other reasons, including reasons unrelated to oral hygiene.

For example, certain medical conditions can increase a person’s risk of developing chronic halitosis. People with diabetes, sinus problems, dry mouth (a condition called xerostomia), liver issues, and other ailments often struggle with halitosis. Smoking and other types of tobacco use also increase your chances of having bad breath.

When bad breath is the result of poor brushing habits, it occurs because food particles get trapped between the teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. As food decays, it emits a foul odor.

It’s especially important to brush and floss regularly when you wear braces, as food can easily build up around brackets and wires, leading to bad breath and tooth decay. Poor oral hygiene can also slow down your orthodontic treatment, keeping you in braces longer. Isn’t that a good enough reason to brush more often?

If you have bad breath, you may notice it tends to be worse in the morning – the infamous “morning breath” you’ve probably heard about. This is because the body produces less saliva during sleep. Normal saliva production washes food particles out of the mouth, so bad smells don’t have a chance to develop.

Is Your Brushing Routine Making the Grade?

If you wear braces, it’s important to be an A+ brusher (and flosser). Brush at least twice a day and preferably after every meal. If you can’t brush because you’re at school or work, at least rinse your mouth with water after you consume a meal or any beverage other than water. A good rinse will stop bacteria from clinging to your teeth and around the gum line. It also prevents acid from attacking your enamel.

It’s also important not to neglect the other areas of your mouth. You should brush your tongue each time you brush your teeth. Your brushing routine should also include cleaning the area where your teeth meet your gums. However, it’s equally important to avoid aggressive brushing, which can hurt enamel and cause the gums to recede. Many orthodontic patients benefit from using a sonic or electric toothbrush. These devices help many overzealous brushers avoid pressing too hard or scrubbing the teeth and gums too vigorously. You don’t necessarily need an expensive sonic toothbrush to get great results. Many electric toothbrushes available in drug stores do a good job of keeping the teeth healthy and bacteria-free.

Other Treatments for Halitosis

If adjusting your brushing routine doesn’t take care of your bad breath problem, you may have a health condition that requires treatment from a dentist or orthodontist. In some cases, halitosis is caused by an infection. Your orthodontist can prescribe antibiotics that take care of the infection. A dentist or orthodontist can also give you a prescription-strength mouthwash that reduces odor-causing bacteria.

Get on the Path to a Healthy Smile

Your smile is the first thing many people notice about you. If you’re self-conscious about your smile, it can hurt your self-esteem and your social life. Orthodontic treatment can give you the beautiful, glowing smile you’ve always dreamed about.

In our practice, we treat adults and children in the greater San Diego region, including La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and Del Mar. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.

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