Getting Your Teeth Through Another Halloween

Knowing what candies are ok to try and what you should avoid this Halloween will keep your teeth happy.  We know that there are plenty of alternative treats you can pass out instead of candy, but if candy can’t be completely avoided altogether you should at least pick and choose what you eat.  The article below walks you through what’s good and not-so-good.  And, as always, be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss!

Halloween Candy: Your Dental Health Survival Guide

With Halloween comes ghosts, goblins and goodies—and the sugar in those treats can play some unwanted tricks on your teeth if you’re not careful.

Here’s why: The bacteria in your mouth are probably more excited to eat Halloween candy than you are. When the bacteria eat the sugar and leftover food in your mouth, a weak acid is produced. That acid is what can contribute to cavities.

But don’t hang up your costume just yet. “Halloween is about candy, dressing up and having fun,” says ADA dentist Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty. “It’s OK to eat that candy on Halloween as a splurge as long as you’re brushing twice a day and flossing once a day all year long.”

To help you sort through the trick-or-treat bag loot, we have a rundown of some common candies and their impact on your teeth:


Chocolate is probably your best bet, which is good because it’s also one of the most popular kinds of candy handed out on Halloween. “Chocolate is one of the better candies because it washes off your teeth easier than other types of candy,” Dr. Ferraz- Dougherty says. “Dark chocolate also has less sugar than milk chocolate.”

Sticky and Gummy Candies

Be picky if it’s sticky. These are some of the worst candies for your teeth. “This candy is harder to remove and may stay longer on your teeth, which gives that cavity-causing bacteria more time to work,” Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty says.

Hard Candy

Hard candies are also ones to watch on Halloween. “They can actually break your teeth if you’re not careful,” Dr. Ferraz- Dougherty says. “You also tend to keep these kinds of candies in your mouth for longer periods of time so the sugar is getting in your saliva and washing over your teeth.”

Sour Candy

You might want to pass on things that make you pucker – especially if they are sticky and coated in sugar. “Sour candy can be very acidic,” says Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty. “And that acidity can weaken and damage the hard outer shell of your teeth, making your teeth more vulnerable to cavities.”

Popcorn Balls

Have some floss handy if you’re enjoying one of these fall favorites. “Kernels can get stuck in-between your teeth,” Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty says. “They are also sticky, sugary and can be hard.”



Fears of The Orthodontist

Many children and adults are afraid of going to the dentist or orthodontist.  Although we don’t really understand where this fear stems from, we do understand how to attempt to fight it and be more comfortable at appointments.  The blog post below makes some suggestions for overcoming fears and shows why it is important to visit a dentist and orthodontist regularly to keep your teeth healthy.

How to Relax Before Seeing The Orthodontist and Get Rid of Ortho Fear; Overcoming Dental Anxiety and Phobia

Ortho Anxiety: Nervous to Get Braces? Try These Simple Steps

For some of us, the thought of going to the dentist sounds about as fun as sitting at the DMV all day, and a dental appointment is not an event looked forward to. Some adults and kids alike struggle with dental anxiety. And this anxiety can heighten for kids when their appointment with the orthodontist involves getting braces put on their teeth. To a kid, this is a huge deal and is often accompanied by thoughts and feelings of fear, pain and the unknown. If your child is preparing to get braces on their teeth, there are a few steps you can take to ease their worries.

How to Get Rid of Fear and Anxiety You Are Feeling About Getting Braces

It is important to know you are not the only one who is afraid of going to the dentist or orthodontist. This is a common fear among many people, and when you realize that you are not the only one who struggles with these anxious feelings, the situation can become much easier to take on. It is perfectly normal to admit you are a little bit afraid to get braces on your teeth. Most kids are afraid because they are not sure of the process. Sitting down, speaking to your orthodontist and getting a step by step play of the appointment is a great way to overcome any anxiety and know how the appointment will proceed. Knowledge is definitely power and will help you feel more comfortable about getting braces on your teeth.

Overcoming Dental Phobia & Anxiety Will Improve Your Oral Health

People who struggle with dental anxiety or phobia actually have a much higher risk of gum disease and tooth loss. The anxiety prevents people from even making an appointment with their oral care provider for a simple check up or cleaning. When these appointments are avoided, the oral health of that person suffers severely and can lead to a variety of serious health issues. These issues include cavities, gum disease, heart disease, stroke and even diabetes. In regards to orthodontics, dental anxiety could keep you from having the straight teeth and beautiful smile you deserve! Know that overcoming your dental anxiety and making an appointment with (your preferred orthodontist) can transform your smile.

Braces Will Improve Your Smile As Well As Boost Your Confidence and Self Esteem

While the thought of braces may frighten even the bravest, consider the many positives that will happen from getting braces on your teeth. Braces may look and feel funny for a while, but in reality, most people rarely even notice you have braces, or quickly get used to them after a very short time. Braces are short term and worth the time it takes to get your smile looking like a million dollars. You will never regret getting braces after seeing the impact they leave on your teeth. A beautiful straight smile will leave you feeling confident and maybe even a little bit silly for ever feeling nervous about getting braces.


What You Really Need to Know About Invisalign

For adults considering all possible ways to correct their smiles, Invisalign may have come across the table as an option.  After all, Invisalign is almost invisible on your teeth; hence the name.  Since traditional metal braces are still the top method for aligning teeth, a lot of you might have questions about what it’s really like to have Invisalign.  The article below gives all the details and might put your mind at ease. Contact Dr. Grob with any other questions you have and schedule your consultation to find out if you are a candidate!

10 Invisalign Truths to Know Before You Try

Crooked teeth, overbite, or whatever your oral insecurity may be, clear braces are a great choice — but there are a few things to get straight first.

Kelsey Castañon for Shape Magazine | Jun 03, 2015

Real talk: I’ve never loved my teeth. OK, they were never awful, but Invisalign has long been in the back of my mind. Despite wearing my retainer every single night since getting my braces off in high school, my teeth still moved, and I had what’s called an overjet bite, which means my lower teeth were too far behind my upper front teeth. In other words: not cute.

In a lot of ways, Invisalign was the best thing I could do for my smile. But there are a few things I wish I knew before my first appointment. If you’re also wondering if you should try it out, read this first.

1. Yes, you actually have to wear them.
It’s an all-too-true reality, but there’s no dancing it around it: You have to keep the aligners on for at least 20 hours a day or you won’t get the best results (22 hours is the rec, but you can boot two hours if it’s more realistic for your lifestyle, says Marc Lemchen, an orthodontist in New York City). That means breakfast, lunch, and dinner become power meals. Make sure you’re ready for that commitment.

2. You can’t see them, but you can hear them.
There’s a reason they are called invisible braces — no one could tell I was wearing them. Until I started talking, that is. (I dare anyone with Invisalign to try asking, “What’s your skincare secret?” without lisping.) Luckily, it got better with time — going from cringe-worthy mumbles to coherent ssssentences—and by the end, no one noticed my lisp, either.

3. It’s not the right treatment for everyone.
Invisalign can treat most orthodontic issues, like crooked teeth, minor over/under bites, or gaps. But for severe cases, it’s a question of how long you are willing to do the treatment. Patients with more complex problems (say, if you have too big of a bite) may get quicker results with metal braces surgery, or says Lemchen.

4. Your travel toothbrush will become your best friend.
You’ll need to use one (with its companion, the mini tube of toothpaste) in between meals, so your cereal/salad/chicken doesn’t linger in your mouth longer than it needs to. Assuming you eat the typical three times a day, that means you’ll need it for 21 instances in a single week. That’s a whole lot of brushing; invest in a few.

5. You’ll have to limit your morning coffees.
In general, drinking anything that can stain your teeth—coffee, red wine, tea—will stain your Invisalign. So if you rely on a cup (or three) of java to fuel your mornings, be warned: You won’t get to enjoy it quite like you used to. You’ll have to factor it in to your allotted time to eat breakfast, or take it out before your second cup (and always brush before you put the trays back in). The same goes for post-work glasses of wine — something I wish I knew before signing up for the treatment.

6. You might (accidentally) lose weight.
Midday snacks will never be the same, and mindless eating becomes obsolete. It’s the biggest blessing in disguise: After every meal, you have to brush your teeth. So when you get that 2 p.m. craving, you’re forced to stop and ask yourself “Is it really worth it?” Most of the time, it’s not, and you quickly become aware of your senseless snacking. Just remember: When everyone else is eating cake for a colleague’s birthday, you may curse your Invisalign…until you notice your clothes start fitting better. You have more energy. There are no more sugar crashes!

7. It’s virtually painless.
I remember shrieking — loudly — every time I got my braces tightened in high school (I blame my child-like pain tolerance), so trust me when I say Invisalign does not hurt. No, you won’t be able to eat raw carrots on your first day, but it’s like a walk in the park compared to its metal counterpart. FYI, kissing isn’t as much of a pain either. (You’ll never have to worry about that dreaded stuck-while-kissing fear you got with braces because you can easily take them out.)

8. Cleaning them with toothpaste is a no-no.
The only thing more noticeable than spinach wedged between your teeth is a murky, yellow Invisalign tray. This can happen if you don’t brush post-meal, but also because you’re washing it with toothpaste — as surprising as that may be. “Most people think that’s how they are supposed to clean trays,” says Lemchen, “but toothpaste contains abrasive ingredients that can cause build up and odor.” Stick to a mild detergent or soap instead.

9. It could take longer than you think.
The average treatment of Invisalign is one year, so I was ecstatic to learn I only needed six months. But then…on my last day of supposed treatment, BAM! I was told I need a new set of “finishing” aligners to get them as close to perfect as possible. Turns out, most patients need the extra trays, says Lemchen.

10. It’s 100 percent worth it.
Through all the missed birthday cakes and wine nights, I would do it again in a heartbeat. My teeth no longer bother me, I’ve become a devoted flosser and a mindful eater, and that, to me, makes it completely, totally, wholeheartedly worth it. (While two straight rows of pearly whites is certainly ideal, it’s not all we should be shooting for when it comes to oral hygiene. Your teeth hold some surprising secrets about the rest of your overall health.)


Adults and Retainers

Whether you had braces last year or when you were 15, the question of how long you should keep wearing your retainer as an adult boggles many.  Some believe that they need to wear their retainer that is 10+ years old while some get braces later in life and do not think they need a retainer at all.  The article below settles this debate so continue reading to learn what you should do.

Do You Have To Wear A Retainer As An Adult?

Cory Stieg

April 13, 2017, 12:40 PM

Who among us still actually wears their retainer?
Wearing a retainer as an adult is sort of like the dental version of
doing a face mask: Set it, forget it, and wake up feeling fresh.

some people, it’s a bragging right that their retainer from middle
school still fits, but we can’t all be such orthodontic overachievers.
For the rest of us, retainers go from a watermelon-printed acrylic accessory that won you lunch table credit to a relic that sits in your childhood bathroom. But is it bad for your teeth if you just stop wearing a retainer?

It can be, says Christine Hong, DMD, MS, assistant professor of orthodontics at UCLA School of Dentistry. The whole point of wearing a retainer is to, ahem,
retain the new position of the ligaments and bone around your teeth
that your braces worked hard to set. “It takes about a year for our body
to finish remodeling,” Dr. Hong says. That’s why your orthodontist
makes you wear a retainer full time for a year after you get your braces
off, she says. Then, after that year, it’s up to you to make sure you
wear it “part time,” she says. This is true even if you got your braces
off over a decade ago.

the worst that could happen? If you don’t wear your retainer, your
teeth will shift and crowd, Dr. Hong says. Your teeth will “relapse” and
move toward the middle of your mouth, particularly your bottom teeth,
she says, adding, “Retainers will stop further teeth movement into

you’re a grown adult, it doesn’t mean that your mouth just stops
shifting. “Teeth constantly move from aging and function,” Dr. Hong
says. The only real way to make sure your teeth stay straight, and all
that money from orthodontics goes to good use, is to wear your retainer
at least sometimes. If your one from childhood just straight up doesn’t
fit, don’t force it. You can ask your orthodontist about getting a new
one, or you could consider getting a permanent retainer that an
orthodontist installs in the back of your teeth (which means it’s
totally invisible), Dr. Hong says.

of this being said, it’s important to be clear that having straight
teeth isn’t all about cosmetics. Dr. Hong says having crooked teeth can
be a health risk, because it makes it harder to floss and clean your
teeth. Crooked teeth can also lead to gum disease, bleeding, and
recession (when your gums get low), she says. “Every case is different,
but there are definitely health risks to having crooked teeth, gum
problems and cavities being the most common.”

there’s absolutely no reason to be ashamed if you have
less-than-straight teeth. And whether or not you wear your retainer,
it’s still a good idea to go to the dentist at least once a year, just
so your doctor can make sure your mouth actually is healthy — and
possibly scold you for not flossing, or whatever.

Achieve a Younger-Looking Smile

A lot of people put a lot of effort into making their smile look great by regular brushing, flossing and dental visits, aligning their teeth with orthodontic treatment, and even whitening their teeth. However, adults might work harder so their smiles not only look great, but also look younger. If you are an adult who wants a younger-looking smile consider trying the tips in the article below.

A smile is often the first thing you notice about a person. It lights up your face and, if you have a nice one, can make you more attractive. Some even think a nice smile can turn back the clock. 

One 2011 study determined that people found smiling faces to be more attractive and youthful — with some faces deemed up to three years younger when they had a smile on!

But what if you don’t have a Hollywood megawatt grin? Decades of chewing, grinding and sipping through your teeth can leave your smile a little lackluster. And receding gum lines, yellowing and shifting can make for an aging smile. 

Luckily, there are plenty of little steps you can take to preserve and protect your smile. 

1. Go sugarless. 

Dry mouth is a common complaint as we get older. There are hundreds of medications on the market that list dry mouth as a side effect — including those used for incontinence and blood pressure. These drugs cause our mouths to produce less saliva, causing discomfort and making swallowing more difficult. But less saliva is also bad news for your oral health as saliva is what helps prevent decay and infections in the mouth. 

The NIH recommends chewing on sugarless gum or sucking (not biting) on sugarless candy to help keep the saliva flow going in your mouth. These are also a great alternative to sugary candy and drinks — such as juices and sodas– that create acids in the mouth which eat away at your precious tooth enamel. But just be careful, as sugar-free products can sometimes cause stomach upset. 

2. Avoid stains. 

Discolored teeth are instantly aging. “As we get older, our teeth do get darker,”American Dental Association spokesman Richard Price told The Huffington Post. Price says that as we age, the internal part of the tooth begins to shrink, while the amount of dentin — which is yellowish — increases. As the enamel wears down, we see more and more of the dentin showing through. 

To blame are our diets and lifestyle choices. Red wine, some carbonated drinks, coffee and teas can all cause surface stains. “Anything that will stain a carpet will stain your teeth,” Price said. 

But if you just can’t resist your morning cuppa, try switching from black tea to green or herbal teas which are less likely to stain. And while you may be tempted to brush your teeth immediately afterwards, it’s best to swish with water and then wait at least 30 minutes before you brush, so you don’t damage your enamel. 

3. Cut back on snacking. 

We know snacking can be bad for our waistline, but it’s also not great for our oral health. Frequent snacking, like munching on those potato chips at your desk or sipping a can of cola, can keep the acid levels high in your mouth for an extended time as you snack throughout the day. Sugar is obviously found in junk foods, but also in things like bread and cereal. They produce acids which, in turn, contribute to a breakdown of your tooth enamel. Price also says to avoid hard candies, which are akin to “bathing your teeth in sugar,” while you suck on them all day. 

If you must snack, Price recommends snacking on things like celery sticks or cucumber slices, that won’t linger on your teeth. 

4. Whiten and brighten. 

As we age and our enamel thins out, we’re bound to lose some of the pearliness of our teeth. Depending on which route you want to go and how much you want to spend, there are a variety of whitening products on the market which can help you get your teeth several shades whiter. Over-the-counter strips are a more economical option which you can do from the comfort of your home. You can also get custom-made whitening trays to fit your teeth with a trip to the dentist that usually have more potent whitening power. If you don’t want to fuss with whitening at home, your dentist can do an in-office session as well, with options like laser whitening and bleaching. It’s best to talk to your dentist before using any of these options, to discuss what’s best for you. Treatments can sometimes cause sensitivity and gum irritation, so Price says you should always start a bleaching regimen under your dentist’s supervision. 

5. Fight inflammation. 

Food or bacteria around the tooth that enter your bloodstream can lead to inflammation. And that inflammation can contribute to chronic diseases in the body, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

According to Price, anything that’s good for your body is also good for your oral health. “Skin does two things: it keeps blood in and germs out. Gums are skin,” he explains. “If you’re brushing and your gums are inflamed, they’re more apt to bleed. When they bleed, there’s a hole in the skin for blood to get out and germs to get in.”

Brushing and flossing properly — for at least two minutes — twice a day can help keep inflammation at bay. There are other foods that you can include in your diet that are also thought to keep inflammation at bay. Foods like fatty fish, which are rich in Omega-3s, beets, kale, tomatoes, blueberries and garlic are also known to help fight inflammation.  Many spices, including turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, have also been known to help. 

Also on HuffPost:

8 Guidelines For Stress-Free Aging


TMJ Pain

If you have TMJ pain that cannot seem to be relieved then this article might help. Your TMJ is your temporomandibular joint or the joint between your temporal bone (skull) and mandible (lower jaw) in simpler terms. There can be several reasons for pain, but luckily there are exercises you can try to relieve it. Learn what they are below!

The temporomandibular joints open, close, and move the jaw. These joints are under pressure from chewing, talking, and other motions. That means they are also a common source of pain, and muscle and joint problems.

Chronic temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain warrants a trip to the doctor or dentist to assess the cause. Teeth grinding often plays a role, as does a habit of tensing the joint without realizing.

No matter the cause of the pain, exercise can help relieve tension and offer relief.

Exercises for pain relief

A few simple exercises can help relieve TMJ pain. People should begin by gently massaging the painful area. This can help reduce tension and pain. It also makes it easier to exercise the joint and the muscles that surround it.

Strengthening exercises

Strengthening exercises are best to perform between TMJ flare-ups. During times of intense pain, they can make the pain worse.

Here are two strengthening exercises:

  1. Place a thumb under your chin and push your chin downward against it. Continue opening the mouth against moderate force from your thumb, and then hold it open for 5-10 seconds.
  2. Open your mouth as wide as you comfortably can. Put your index finger between your chin and lower lip. Push inward while closing your mouth against the resistance.

Relaxation exercises

TMJ pain is often the product of tension-producing stress. Simple relaxation exercises can help.

Here are two relaxation exercises:

  1. Slowly inhale, allowing your stomach rather than your chest to expand. Exhale slowly while making your exhalation last about as long as your inhalation. Repeat 5-10 times.
  2. While sitting or lying in a comfortably supported position, tense and release tension from each muscle in your body. Begin with the feet and work upwards to the head.

This second exercise is a progressive relaxation exercise to help people become more aware of areas of tension. It may also equip them with the skills to consciously release that tension.

Stretching exercises

Stretching exercises can help with TMJ pain during a flare-up. They reduce muscle and joint tension, offering longer-term relief:

  1. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Open your mouth as wide as you comfortably can, and hold for 5-10 seconds.
  2. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Glide your lower jaw out as far as it will go and then back in as far as it will go. Hold for 5-10 seconds in each position.
  3. Slowly and steadily open your mouth as wide as it will comfortably open, with your tongue in a neutral position. Hold for 5-10 seconds then close your mouth. Next, open your mouth slightly and glide your lower jaw back and forth 5-10 times.
  4. Close your mouth. With your head facing straight ahead, glance to the right with your eyes only. Extend your lower jaw to the left and hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
  5. Place a thin object, such as a pencil or paintbrush, in between your front teeth. Slide your lower jaw forward so that the object rests in between your back teeth and front teeth. Hold for 20 seconds.

As the fifth exercise becomes easier, people can use wider objects to separate their front and back teeth.

Other ways to manage TMJ pain

If TMJ pain is caused by teeth grinding or clenching, a nighttime bite guard can help. Although these are available over the counter, a fitted one designed by a dentist offers greater protection and more durability.

Other strategies that can reduce TMJ pain include:

  • Applying an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes. Some people find that alternating heat and ice, 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off, offers even greater relief.
  • Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, to offer temporary relief.
  • Massaging the neck and head muscles to control tension radiating from the TMJ.
  • Controlling stress and anxiety. Psychological distress can cause people to tense their muscles without thinking, making the pain worse. It may also cause teeth grinding.

Meditation and therapy can help with controlling stress and anxiety. If lifestyle strategies do not work, anti-anxiety medications may be appropriate.

In people whose TMJ pain is not well-controlled by home remedies, a stabilization splint can reduce pain and stabilize the joint.

In some cases, surgery to correct jaw imbalances is another option. These procedures cannot be reversed and can be painful, so people with TMJ pain should try other remedies first.

For people whose TMJ pain is due to missing or broken jaws, jaw implants may offer relief.

Botox is not currently approved for use in the treatment of TMJ pain. Research is currently underway with the aim of shedding light on whether or not Botox is a viable treatment option.

Boxtox is a clinical version of botulinum toxin type A, which paralyzes muscles. It has shown promise in treating other conditions, and some doctors believe it may work in treating TMJ pain.

Causes of TMJ pain

The temporomandibular joint is a hinge action and sliding motion joint. A disc cushions the joint, enabling the jaw to rotate, glide, close, and open. Problems with the muscles surrounding the joints, with the disc that cushions it, or with the joint itself can cause pain.

TMJ pain is often temporary. In other cases, it comes in the form of flare-ups that disappear and then return. TMJ pain can also be chronic and progressive.

The most common causes of pain include:

  • a dislocated joint
  • issues with tooth and jaw alignment
  • arthritis
  • muscle tension
  • teeth grinding or clenching

People with TMJ pain often hear a clicking sound as the joint moves. Diagnosing the source of any clicks properly, as well as the cause of the pain, is key to creating a treatment plan.


Proper dental care can help prevent TMJ pain by maintaining tooth alignment. Cavities, broken or missing teeth, and gum inflammation may make the pain worse.

People should brush and floss their teeth, and aim to see a dentist every 6 months unless recommended otherwise. People should always tell their dentist if they have TMJ pain.

Some other methods for preventing TMJ pain include:

  • avoiding chewing gum, taffy, and other very chewy or hard foods
  • eating soft food, particularly if prone to TMJ pain
  • not chewing on the mouth or tongue

It is also important to chew using both sides of the mouth. Some people with TMJ pain avoid chewing on one side because of pain. Over time, this makes the pain worse.


Foods Affecting Oral Health

You probably know by now that food is a huge factor in your overall oral health as different substances can be harsh on teeth and gums. One ingredient that immediately comes to mind is sugar. However, have you ever thought about other things in your diet that could be contributing to poor oral health? Continue reading for more on this and tips on what you can do to promote better oral health.

You may be able to prevent two of the most common diseases of modern civilization, tooth decay (caries) and periodontal (gum) disease, simply by improving your diet. Decay results when the teeth and other hard tissues of the mouth are destroyed by acid products from oral bacteria. Certain foods and food combinations are linked to higher levels of cavity-causing bacteria. Although poor nutrition does not directly cause periodontal disease, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is more severe in patients whose diet does not supply the necessary nutrients.

Poor nutrition affects the entire immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to many disorders. People with lowered immune systems have been shown to be at higher risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, research shows a link between oral health and systemic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So eating a variety of foods as part of a well-balanced diet may not only improve your dental health, but increasing fiber and vitamin intake may also reduce the risk of other diseases.

How can I plan my meals and snacks to promote better oral health?

Eat a well-balanced diet characterized by moderation and variety. Develop eating habits that follow the recommendations from reputable health organizations such as the American Dietetic Association and the National Institutes of Health. Choose foods from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products and meat, chicken, fish or beans. Avoid fad diets that limit or eliminate entire food groups, which usually result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Always keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water. Saliva protects both hard and soft oral tissues. If you have a dry mouth, supplement your diet with sugarless candy or gum to stimulate saliva.

Foods that cling to your teeth promote tooth decay. So when you snack, avoid soft, sweet, sticky foods such as cakes, candy and dried fruits. Instead, choose dentally healthy foods such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese and sugarless gum or candy.

When you eat fermentable carbohydrates, such as crackers, cookies and chips, eat them as part of your meal, instead of by themselves. Combinations of foods neutralize acids in the mouth and inhibit tooth decay. For example, enjoy cheese with your crackers. Your snack will be just as satisfying and better for your dental health. One caution: malnutrition (bad nutrition) can result from too much nourishment as easily as too little. Each time you eat, you create an environment for oral bacteria to develop. Additionally, studies are showing that dental disease is just as related to overeating as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and hypertension. So making a habit of eating too much of just about anything, too frequently, should be avoided.

When should I consult my dentist about my nutritional status?

Always ask your dentist if you’re not sure how your nutrition (diet) may affect your oral health. Conditions such as tooth loss, pain or joint dysfunction can impair chewing and are often found in elderly people, those on restrictive diets and those who are undergoing medical treatment. People experiencing these problems may be too isolated or weakened to eat nutritionally balanced meals at a time when it is particularly critical. Talk to your dental health professional about what you can do for yourself or someone you know in these circumstances.

Reviewed: January 2012


Broken Bracket Solutions

A broken bracket can happen due to several various factors.  It is fairly common to have a broken bracket at least once while braces are on.  The first thing you should do is make an appointment with your orthodontist if a bracket breaks, but there are things you can do for it in the meantime waiting for your appointment time. Learn more in this article from Colgate.

Four Steps To Fixing A Broken Braces Bracket

by Tracey Sandilands

A broken braces bracket is the most common inconvenience orthodontic patients face when wearing traditional braces. The brackets and wires are fragile and can break for a number of reasons:

  • Eating the wrong foods.
  • Sustaining an injury to your mouth, according to Arizona-based Frost Orthodontics.
  • Brushing teeth incorrectly or too vigorously.
  • Using a toothpick or flossing roughly.

If you discover one of your brackets has broken, follow these steps to ensure it can get fixed with no complications.

What’s the Damage?

First, check to see if the wire is still attached to the bracket. If so, leave it in place. If it’s attached but sticking out, press it gently back into position using a cotton swab. Use orthodontic wax to hold the broken bracket in place in your mouth until you can arrange to see your orthodontist.

If the bracket has come loose, remove it if you can easily and bring it with you to the orthodontist for reattachment.

Take Control

Review the state of the wires from the broken braces bracket. According to Marlo Miller, DDS, you should clip overlong or protruding wires very carefully with a pair of nail clippers and as close as possible to your teeth. Press any extra length back into position against the tooth and cover with wax to prevent it from cutting the inside of your mouth or cheeks.

Book an Appointment

Make an appointment with your orthodontist to have the bracket repaired. The urgency for seeing your specialist depends on how much discomfort you’re experiencing and the degree of damage. Notify him or her as to whether you have the parts of the bracket with you. This will enable your orthodontist to be prepared to fix the bracket during your appointment.

Interim Measures

While you wait for the appointment, rinse your mouth regularly with salt water to promote healing, and eat soft foods such as boiled eggs, yogurt and fresh breads to avoid doing further damage to the bracket. Avoid hard, crunchy foods such as apples, raw carrots and even sticky candies.

If you have mouth sores resulting from the broken braces bracket or the archwires, use a product such as Colgate® Orabase® 20% Benzocaine to help soothe and heal your mouth. Take an over-the-counter painkiller to reduce the discomfort.

A broken braces bracket doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a dental emergency. Examine your mouth carefully and decide whether you need urgent attention or it can wait until your next scheduled appointment. Usually, if you’re not experiencing pain from a broken bracket or a loose wire, you can probably wait.


Interesting Facts About Braces

Curious about that metal that’s on your mouth?  Have five minutes to spare?  Check out the fun facts about braces in the article below!  You might be surprised at what you learn, and you can even impress your parents or orthodontist with some facts!

5 Interesting Facts about Dental Braces

By Stella Brian

Are you wearing braces or plan to get braces in the future? Dental braces are especially designed to fix the alignment of your teeth. But these orthodontic treatments aren’t as simple as you think. Here are some not-so-commonly known facts about dental braces.

1. There are more than 10 different types of dental braces.

Orthodontists use a wide array of dental appliances, including what we commonly know as braces. While at first glance you may think that braces all look the same, they can vary in small ways. The differences are based on the purpose of the dental appliance. If you only need a small adjustment, your orthodontist may suggest wearing only retainers. If you don’t want your braces to be noticeable, you may choose Invisalign or ClearCorrect. You can get mini braces or porcelain braces if you don’t want the brackets to be too noticeable.

2. The main purpose of dental braces is to fix a bad bite.

Most people assume that braces are used to align the teeth. Although this is true, straightening the teeth is just a secondary purpose of these dental appliances. They are primarily designed to fix the patient’s occlusion or bite. A correct bite is when the upper front teeth cover the lower front teeth and the cusps of the molars don’t touch. Few achieve this perfect dental alignment. The negative effects of malaligned teeth are numerous, from difficulty in speaking to breathing issues. These are the reasons why orthodontists highly recommend braces, not just for the physical appearance.

3. Braces use two elements in orthodontic treatment: time and pressure.

Ever wonder why it takes years for braces to work? The small wires and brackets attached to the teeth adjust in miniscule measurements because speeding up the process will cut off the blood supply in the teeth. Each tooth has a nerve ending inside, called the pulp. When the tooth moves, the pulp also moves to continue supplying blood and nutrition to the rest of the tooth tissue. The archwires are designed to apply a specific amount of pressure on each tooth, just enough to move them into their ideal place within two years.

4. Dental braces are made of non-magnetic, strong and almost unbreakable metal.

Braces are made of stainless steel and titanium, both of which resist corrosion and have very high tensile strength. Other materials used for braces include porcelain, acrylic and even gold. Unlike what most people believe, braces are not magnetic. Stainless steel, gold, porcelain and acrylic are all non-magnetic materials, and although titanium is magnetic, it has very weak attraction to magnets and the small amount of titanium in braces make it impossible for a magnet to attach to it.

5. Your age is not a hindrance or a factor in getting braces.

Did you know that a child as young as seven years can get braces? A child may need to start orthodontic treatment even if some of his baby teeth haven’t fallen out yet. Some experts even consider early intervention as a factor for higher success and faster results in wearing braces. Likewise, old age doesn’t prevent an individual from getting orthodontic treatment. Technology has created a variety of solutions that reduce the awkwardness of braces, from clear dental aligners that are almost invisible to tooth-colored brackets. The treatment period is also the same for teens as it is for adults, around 18 months to two years, depending on the condition of the teeth.


Does Your Jaw Hurt?

If you suffer from frequent jaw pain but do not know the source or what to do for it, this article will be a good read! There are many sources of jaw pain that go untreated making the discomfort worse. The good news is that there are ways to treat jaw pain and prevent future sources of pain. Learn about all of this in the article below.

Jaw and facial pain is a common problem affecting millions of people worldwide. It causes many treatment challenges in the healthcare community when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.

As there are so many potential causes to jaw pain, correct diagnosis is vital. Doctors need to identify the exact cause in order to provide the best course of pain-relieving treatments.


There are several possible causes of jaw pain and these may be related to physical injury, nerve problems, or blood vessel problems.

The most commonly reported cause of jaw pain is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). The condition affects up to 12 percent of people. Nearly 5 percent seek medical treatment due to the severity of the problem. Women of childbearing age are most commonly affected by TMJ.

TMJ collectively describes disorders of the temporomandibular joints, and the muscles responsible for jaw movement. These muscles are known as the masticatory muscles.

Other known causes of jaw or facial pain include conditions, such as:

  • Teeth grinding, clenching, or opening the mouth too wide: Most often, teeth grinding and clenching is experienced during sleep and can lead to tooth damage and jaw pain. It can also occur during periods of increased emotional stress.
  • Osteomyelitis: This is a condition where an infection in the body affects the bones and associated tissues.
  • Arthritis: Arthritic conditions, such as osteoarthritis and osteoarthrosis, which lead to the surface of bones wearing away.
  • Synovitis or capsulitis: These are conditions in which the lining of the joint or a connecting ligament becomes inflamed.
  • Dental conditions: These can include gum disease, cavities, tooth gaps, damaged teeth, or abscesses.
  • Sinus problems: These affect the nasal cavities.
  • Tension type headaches: Tension headaches are typically caused by stress and may lead to facial pain.
  • Neuropathic pain: This type of long-term pain occurs when nerves become damaged and send pain signals to the brain. This pain can be continuous or occur from time to time.
  • Vascular pain: This type of pain occurs when the supply of blood to part of the body is disrupted. It is caused by conditions that include giant cell arteritis and carotid artery dissection.
  • Neurovascular pain: This type of pain is caused by conditions that affect both the nerves and the blood vessels, such as migraine and cluster headaches.

Pain can also be caused by lifestyle-related factors, including emotional stress, sleep disturbances, a lack of certain nutrients, or tiredness.

Other conditions that may cause jaw and facial pain include rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and some mental health conditions.


The presenting symptoms of jaw pain vary depending on the cause. They may include:

  • facial pain that worsens when the jaw is used
  • joint and muscle tenderness
  • limited range of motion
  • jaw alignment issues
  • clicking or popping sounds with opening or closing of the jaw
  • ringing in the ears
  • earaches
  • headaches with or without ear pain and pressure behind the eyes
  • dizziness
  • jaw locking
  • dull aching to sharp stabbing pain
  • becoming overly sensitive to pain
  • vertigo
  • toothache
  • tension headaches
  • nerve-type pain, such as burning
  • fever
  • facial swelling

Other symptoms may be present and these will depend on the root cause of the jaw pain.

It is important for people to seek prompt medical attention in order to work out the cause of their pain so that a treatment plan can be determined. Doing so swiftly can help prevent long-term complications from occurring. Dentists, oral surgeons, and doctors are able to evaluate jaw pain.


Complications vary based on the cause and other factors associated with your pain, including the treatments that are used. They may include:

  • dental complications
  • surgical complications
  • infection
  • chronic pain
  • emotional distress
  • changes in eating habits


In order for a doctor to diagnose and treat the cause of jaw pain, they will need to perform certain tests.

The following tests may help them to find out more about the cause of jaw pain, including:

  • physical exam, including assessment of the nerves, neck bones, jaw, mouth, and muscles
  • complete medical and pain history
  • certain laboratory tests, such as an erythrocyte sedimentation rate blood test, used in the diagnosis of conditions involving pain
  • certain radiology imaging procedures, such as X-ray or MRI
  • psychological and psychiatric screening

Other tests may be needed if a clinician suspects that the jaw pain is caused by a particular disease. They will discuss what they recommend for diagnosing the cause of any jaw pain as necessary.


Treatment of jaw pain depends on what the cause is. Treatment methods are varied and may include the following:

  • antibiotics if the jaw pain is caused by an infection
  • surgery to remove damaged bone, treat an affected nerve, or to diagnose the problem
  • use of a mouth protector, such as a mouth guard
  • physical therapy
  • muscle relaxants or tranquilizers to aid in relaxing the affected muscles
  • antidepressants, which can sometimes help treat painful conditions
  • topical capsaicin, which is helpful in treating some nerve-related conditions
  • steroid injections to decrease inflammation or swelling
  • antiviral therapy to treat viral infections, such as herpes zoster
  • pain medication
  • oxygen therapy and some prescription medications to treat cluster headaches
  • certain blood pressure medications when migraines are being treated
  • root canal treatment, a procedure to treat infections within teeth
  • tooth extraction if the cause is from an abnormal or infected tooth
  • vapo-coolant spray to relieve painful areas of muscle, called trigger points
  • injections with local anesthetics
  • stretching to stretch and sooth the affected muscles
  • relaxation therapy
  • soft diet to avoid excessive jaw movement and crunching
  • moist heat application or cold therapy
  • massage or acupuncture
  • use of correct posture to avoid neck and back strain

Other treatments are available to treat jaw pain, and their use is determined by the cause of the pain. Doctors can discuss the best method for treating pain with each person, based on their unique situation.


Knowing the trigger of any jaw pain is important to prevent the pain from returning.

Some basic preventive measures may be useful, and these include:

  • avoiding crunchy foods, gum, chewing fingernails, or other hard objects
  • eating soft or liquid foods, such as soup or pasta
  • taking smaller bites of food
  • avoiding caffeine
  • trying massage, meditation, and aerobic exercise
  • taking calcium and magnesium supplements, if appropriate
  • avoiding yawning
  • sleeping on the back or side, avoiding stomach sleeping
  • avoiding grinding teeth
  • avoiding carrying bags on the shoulders for too long, switching shoulders frequently
  • using correct posture
  • seeking regular dental care

People should always speak to their doctor to determine the safety of any preventive measure to ensure it is appropriate for their unique situation.

When to see the doctor

It may be necessary for people to seek medical care for jaw pain if they are experiencing symptoms, such as:

  • failure of home remedies to treat jaw pain
  • jaw pain that interferes with a daily routine
  • irregular jaw motion
  • jaw joints making sounds when moving
  • neck or upper back pain
  • eye pain
  • headaches
  • ringing in the ear
  • dental problems, such as broken or worn teeth

People should speak with a dentist or doctor about jaw pain in order for diagnosis and treatment of the underlying condition.