National Orthodontic Health Month serves to remind everyone that orthodontic treatment helps to create beautiful smiles. It not only makes you look younger, but it also improves your overall health and well-being.
What Is Orthodontic Treatment?
An orthodontist uses a variety of tools to move the teeth of children and adults into optimal positions. This treatment isn’t only for cosmetic reasons that improve how teeth appear in a person’s mouth. Orthodontic treatment can correct a bad over-bite or under-bite that makes it difficult for a person to chew properly or causes them to clench, crash or grind their teeth when they sleep. It helps to prevent bruxism-related craze lines, cracking and other types of tooth damage, surface decay and gum recession. It can also reduce the pain and emotional upset that comes from teeth crowding and crookedness. If someone has Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction from sub-optimal alignment of their teeth, orthodontic realignment can help to change pressure points in the mouth so that teeth and joints receive even pressure at all times. Orthodontic treatment can even make it easier for you to clean the surfaces of your teeth and between them.
What Tools Do Orthodontists Use?
Traditionally, orthodontists used metal braces, full bands and various headgear. Modern orthodontists such as Dr. Rick Herrmann have perfected their art with a wide range of less-intrusive or difficult-to-wear braces. Some manufacturers of metal braces offer brackets designed in different shapes and colors to make treatment fun for children and adults. There are even white-coated brackets and wires that can look nearly invisible. Additionally, clear appliances known as Invisalign are also available for patients who don’t want metal braces or only need slight adjustments to their teeth. Patients swap out their appliances at intervals over time to make incremental changes.
Why Celebrate in October?
In October, Halloween often starts the autumn and early winter holiday season. During the holidays, people are more prone to eat foods that can damage their teeth and jaw joints. Although many people commonly associate October with young children and teens trick-or-treating and eating large quantities of sugary, hard candies that can cause oral damage, adults are just as likely this time of year to succumb to eating snacks that can damage their teeth and gums. Millions of people receive orthodontic treatment each year. The American Association of Orthodontists wants everyone to enjoy the holiday season without pain or emergency dental treatment. An October celebration of orthodontic health helps draw attention to orthodontic treatment and safety practices that everyone should keep in mind during the holidays.
What Can You Do?
As always, it’s important to brush and floss your teeth twice daily. If you’ve eaten sugary or starchy snacks, rinse your mouth with water immediately afterward and then brush approximately a half hour after eating. Take care to not brush too soon since the residues from some acidic beverages and foods make the surface of your teeth softer after you eat. Water, in addition to the saliva in your mouth, neutralizes these residues faster than brushing. In fact, brushing too soon can also move acidic residues into hard-to-brush areas. If you currently have braces, it’s critical that you stay away from any foods or Halloween snacks that can stick to them, such as caramel, gum, gummy candies, jelly beans, licorice and taffy. Everyone should also avoid eating anything that’s crunchy or hard, such as chips, nuts and ice. Hard treats can damage braces. They can also make bruxism tooth and jaw pain worse and even permanently damage jaw joints.
At Rick Herrmann Orthodontics, our team is passionate about the oral health of our friends and neighbors in the region. We care about making certain that you have a happy and safe holiday season. Whether you’re currently receiving orthodontic treatment or have questions about it, we’re available to provide answers and assist in any other way possible. Contact our office today for more information.