Attention Coffee Lovers: How to Minimize Staining from Your Morning Joe While in Braces

Check Out These Easy Steps You Can Take to Prevent Coffee from Staining Your Teeth!

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Do you love coffee, but worry about your beloved morning habit staining your teeth while in braces? As most patients know, whitening kits are a no-go while in braces, but thankfully there are a few ways to minimize the staining that can come from coffee.

  1. Drink your coffee through a straw. While most people save straws for cold drinks, straws serve as an excellent tool to minimize coffee’s contact with teeth. Less contact with your teeth = less staining. Pretty simple, right? Many coffee stirrers can work as straws and are made to resist high temperatures. Consider ordering some from your favorite office retailer to keep around the house until your braces come off.
  2. Drink water or rinse with water immediately after drinking coffee. When you drink coffee and do nothing, the coffee is allowed to sit on the surface of your teeth, and the longer the contact, the more likely you are to develop stains. Water will help to rinse away the lingering coffee and lessen the risk of staining.
  3. Brush your teeth afterwards. Do you make a habit of drinking coffee after you complete your morning oral hygiene routine? Consider switching it up and brush your teeth right before you head out the door. Not only will brushing your teeth immediately after your morning coffee help to minimize staining, it will eliminate the dreaded coffee breath too.
  4. Visit your dentist regularly. Dental cleanings help polish unsightly coffee staining away. To ensure you do not forget about scheduling your cleanings, try scheduling your next visit after each dental cleaning to stay on schedule, and check with your dentist to see if they offer text, email or phone call reminders so you do not miss an appointment.

See? You can still enjoy coffee while in braces without worrying too much about staining if you continue using an excellent oral hygiene routine and following the steps above. So, feel free to lounge with that latte or grab that macchiato to go!

Back-to-School Braces Basics

Read on to see what extras you should include in your child’s backpack this school year.

It is time for school to begin! Patients in braces should have a few extra things to bring in their backpacks on the first day.

1. Toothbrush and toothpaste: While the school day might be hectic, it is essential that patients take the time after lunch to brush their teeth. Allowing food particles to sit on teeth and on the gum line all afternoon can result in gum swelling and tooth decay not to mention some seriously bad breath!
2. Floss threaders and floss: Flossing is an important part of oral hygiene while in braces, and it helps get to tricky bits of food that brushing might miss.
3. Orthodontic Wax: Nothing is worse than having a wire start to poke or a bracket rubbing all day. Packing some extra orthodontic wax on the first day is a wise move, and you will be so grateful to have it if something on your braces starts causing discomfort. Remember to get the area you plan to apply the wax super dry prior to applying it to ensure it sticks!
4. Mouth sore rinse: While not mandatory, having a small supply of mouth sore rinse such as Peroxyl can come in handy in case something starts rubbing or feels irritated during the school day.
5. Pain reliever: For patients returning to school after an orthodontic appointment, having access to Tylenol, Advil or Aleve is a relief. Check with your school to ensure students are allowed to bring their preferred pain reliever with them. Some schools might require students keep it in the nurse’s office.
6. School excuse: Patients will miss a class or two due to orthodontic appointments during the school year. When this happens, make sure that they get a school excuse from the front desk prior to leaving the office. That way, their absence will be excused. For patients that forget to pick up a school excuse on their way out, don’t worry! Call the office to have one emailed.

While this might seem like a lot to bring on a patient’s first day to school, most of these items can fit into a gallon-sized baggie with plenty of room to spare! If you have questions regarding back-to-school orthodontic care, call our office. For our Fishers office: 317-570-0011 or for our Indianapolis office: 317-849-0110.

Is Your Child’s Brushing Making the Grade?

Oral hygiene is incredibly important while in braces. Braces and other orthodontic appliances create additional hiding spots for food and plaque. If allowed to sit on teeth for an extended period of time, this food and plaque can result in swollen gums and even cavities. We at Walker Dixon Orthodontics believe so strongly in our patients maintaining great oral hygiene practices that we grade our patients’ oral hygiene at each visit, and always inform both the parent and the patient when oral hygiene is excellent and when it needs a little extra work.

Sometimes, a patient is unsure how to practice great oral hygiene. This can be due to the patient’s age. Younger patients have had less practice than older patients, or they strive for independence, and thus, do not want to ask for their parents for assistance. In other instances, patients simply forget due to a busy schedule filled with academics and athletics.

So, you may be wondering, how do I explain what good brushing looks like to my child who is either in braces, or will be in braces at some point in the future? Below, we have provided some guidelines to make it easier for you:

  1. Time: Children should spend at least 2 minutes brushing. Tip: to help ensure your child is brushing for a long enough time, try using an egg timer or find a fun 2 minute-long song to brush to.
  2. Technique: It is common for patients to brush just the front, lower surface of their teeth. Instruct your child to brush gently, but thoroughly along the gum-line as this is where food collects often. Also, stress the importance of brushing the back of the teeth as well. This is a commonly forgotten zone.
  3. Frequency: Brushing should occur at least twice a day for everyone (once in the morning and once at night before bed), though an additional brush after lunch is required for patients in braces. After lunch brushing prevents food from being trapped against the teeth and gums all afternoon.
  4. Flossing: Flossing is important for everyone, but it becomes especially critical for those in braces. Instruct your child in braces to floss after every meal. They can use floss threaders, or for a speedier flossing solution, pick up some orthodontic flossers such as Plackers.
  5. Rinsing: While not required, we always recommend patients use a fluoride rinse daily. This extra boost of fluoride is a great preventative measure for those in braces. Using a rinse nightly before bed can help reduce the risk of cavities and white marks while in braces. We recommend Phos Flur by Colgate, and sell it in our office at cost to our patients, though other fluoride rinses will work as well.

Following the above guidelines should result in an “A” grade for your child at their next appointment, and we encourage any parent or patient who has questions regarding hygiene to call our office or to ask in person at their visit. We are so committed to creating enthusiasm for great oral health, we even offer points in our rewards system to patients who put in the effort to maintain a healthy smile.
For questions regarding oral hygiene, orthodontics in general or to set up an exam, please call our office. For our Fishers office: 317-570-0011, or for our Indianapolis location: 317-849-0110.

Tooth Sensitivity and You

Tooth sensitivity is common and treatable. Read on to learn more about this condition and what you can do to prevent it.

Does the thought of taking a bite of ice cream or taking a sip of ice cold water cause you to cringe? If so, you may have sensitive teeth! Luckily, tooth sensitivity can be treated.

Sensitivity in teeth can be caused by a variety of factors. Cavities, worn fillings, gum recession and worn tooth enamel are some of the most common causes. These problems affect your enamel and allow heat, cold and acidity to reach the nerves inside your teeth causing discomfort for you!

Consult your dentist if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, and he or she can analyze your sensitivity and come up with a treatment plan which may include fluoride treatments to strengthen enamel, fillings on teeth where cavities are causing sensitivity, or gum grafting for sensitivity caused by recession.

Prior to consulting your dentist at your regular appointment, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your tooth sensitivity at home. Try switching your toothpaste to a desensitizing variety such as Sensodyne and Pronamel which help to block sensation to the nerves in teeth and also can help with strengthening enamel. Also, avoid acidic foods and drinks such as soda, coffee, tomatoes and lemons. These can weaken and erode enamel making sensitivity worse over time.

Prevention of sensitivity is simple, and if you already experience tooth sensitivity, you will want to create a plan to avoid additional sensitivity in other teeth. You can prevent tooth sensitivity by avoiding acidic foods and beverages and maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine that includes regular brushing, flossing and the use of a fluoride rinse.

Does Your Child Suck Their Thumb? What You Need to Know.

All you need to know about the hazards thumb-sucking presents for your child, and what you can do to curb the habit.

Thumb sucking is a very common habit for children, but what can seem like an innocent enough habit can present a number of dangers to your child’s health. So, as a parent, you might wonder when should you intervene, and how do you help to curtail your child’s thumb-sucking habit? This great article by Surfside Dental outlines the risks associated with thumb-sucking and also presents possible paths you can take to help your child stop their habit.

Should I Stop My Child From Thumb-Sucking? Thumb-sucking is a natural reflex for babies. This is a habit that can be seen even among infants in the womb. Babies suck their thumbs to feel happy and secure. This habit also helps induce sleep and as such, babies and toddlers often suck their thumbs before bedtime. […]

via Should I Stop My Child From Thumb-Sucking? — Surfside Kids Dental Blog | Sacramento Pediatric Dentist | Elk Grove Pediatric Dentist

Five Quick Braces-Friendly Breakfast Ideas — dentistryonpark

Need some brace-friendly breakfast ideas after your child’s orthodontic appointment? Read on for some great brace-safe breakfast ideas!

After an orthodontic appointment, patient might struggle to eat some of their favorite breakfast foods. Sore teeth do not mix well with chewy bacon and hard cereal. Luckily, there are plenty of softer breakfast options patients can try. For some braces-friendly and filling breakfast options, check out this blog post by dentistryonpark!

WHEN YOU HAVE BRACES, it can sometimes be tricky to find good food to eat that won’t put all those crucial brackets and wires at risk. Finding the right food is even trickier if you’ve just had your braces tightened and things are still a little tender. That’s why we’re dedicating an entire blog post to […]

via Five Quick Braces-Friendly Breakfast Ideas — dentistryonpark

Easing the Mind of the Nervous Patient

Is your child nervous about their first visit to the orthodontist? In this week’s article, we provide some tips and tricks to help reduce anxiety during orthodontic appointments.

For some patients new to orthodontic treatment, their first visits can be the source of anxiety and nervousness. This can be as a result of a negative past doctor’s visit, exaggerated stories told to them by their peers or simply from lack of personal experience which leads to fear of the unknown. Regardless of where it stems from, the anxiety a patient might experience can make a patient dread their orthodontic appointments. Luckily, there are steps that you as a parent can take to relieve your child’s anxiety about their orthodontic visits.

  1. Research: Educate yourself on what it is like to have braces. Pass this information on to your child, making them aware of what they can expect at their visits. Eliminating the mystery and being honest with your child often works wonders for settling nerves. Along a similar line, emphasize the positives that come with each visit to the office. For example, you might mention the fact that they will get to pick new colors, the fact that their teeth are going to be so beautiful once they are done or the fact that they can get a cookie in the office at the end of their visit.
  2. Listen: If you know your child is nervous about their visit, allow them to verbalize their concerns to you beforehand. Having an open discourse and discussion about what worries them will be a huge relief for your child, and from there you can understand the source of their anxiety.
  3. Calming Activity: Instructing your child to do a breathing exercise or meditative activity anytime they feel anxious can help them to alleviate some of the anxiety they experience. For example, taking a deep breath and releasing it for 5-10 seconds while closing their eyes or closing their eyes and picturing themselves somewhere else they enjoy can be quite effective. Young patients might also take comfort in having a stuffed animal or doll with them on their visits.
  4. Analyze Your Behavior: As a parent, are you nervous about the visits? While this might be unintentional, if you are visibly or verbally nervous or worried about your child’s visits, your child might also see a reason to be anxious or nervous as well. If you realize you are nervous about your child’s visits or orthodontics in general, follow the steps above for yourself, or even perform them with your child so you can overcome this shared anxiety together.
  5. Alert the Staff: Your orthodontist and his/her team want to know if your child is nervous about their appointment. By telling them about your child’s anxiety, they can take extra steps to make your child comfortable at their current and future visits.
  6. Encourage: Encouraging your child to be independent at the orthodontist’s office can also work wonders in lessening their anxiety. Have your child go on their own to the brushing station and back to the seating area. Assure them you will be waiting up front, right around the corner if they need you, but you know they can do it. Once they see that nothing bad will happen at their visits, they will no longer see the need for being nervous.

A little anxiety is normal for patients who are starting treatment, so do not worry if your child seems a bit apprehensive as it is an experience that is new to them. By following the suggestions above, you will eventually see a child who looks forward to their orthodontic appointments rather than one who is nervous about them.