Braces are a reality for most teens and even some adults, whether for cosmetic or medical purposes. And any braces-wearer knows that there are a lot of rules you’re supposed to follow: foods you can’t eat and ways you have to floss and brush. Do you really have to follow them though?
YES. We can’t say it enough times: yes. Why?
- Eating hard or sticky foods or chewing gum can cause brackets to pop off. This can hinder your progress and require extra trips to the orthodontist to get the brackets reattached.
- Not brushing after every meal and snack can leave food particles trapped against your teeth. This can cause tooth decay or staining. When you get your braces off, the last thing you want to discover is that you have to get a cavity filled or that your tooth surface under the brackets is whiter than the rest of your teeth!
- Not flossing properly can have the same effects as not brushing enough: tooth decay or staining.
- Eating sticky foods and chewing gum can also cause sugar to stick to your teeth around the brackets, which can result in tooth decay.
- Eating hard or sticky foods that stress the brackets and wires can even inhibit the progress the braces make in moving your teeth and keeping them there, so you might need braces again.
- Not wearing your retainer after you get your braces off is a major reason that people’s teeth move back after they get braces so that they have to get braces again.
If you want the first time you have braces to be the only time you have braces, and you want the results to be as beautiful and painless as possible, you should listen to your orthodontists rules for braces-wearers, and avoid hard foods like popcorn and jawbreakers, sticky foods like hard candies and suckers, and regular chewing gum. You should also be sure to brush your teeth after eating and to use braces-friendly flossing tools.
Think you need braces? The dentists at Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry can help determine the best course of action for improving your smile. Set up an appointment today!
We’ve all seen the commercials: “4 out of 5 dentists recommend _______ toothpaste.” The problem is, just about every single toothpaste brand out there says that four out of five dentists recommend their toothpaste. That math doesn’t seem to add up. Are these four dentists going around recommending every toothpaste, willy-nilly? What’s the fine print? Here’s the truth about those toothpaste ads and the kinds of toothpaste that dentists really recommend.
Which four dentists?
When toothpaste advertisements, or advertisements for other products like mouthwashes or whitening strips for that matter, contain the statement “4 out of 5 dentists recommend,” there usually is a disclaimer after an asterisk with tiny print. It says something along the lines of “of dentists sampled.” What this means is that of the dentists that the company asked, four of the five said they would recommend the toothpaste. But this doesn’t tell you how many dentists they asked total, whether the number was an average they rounded up—perhaps from 3.5 dentists—whether the dentists surveyed work for the company, or if they were provided with free products in return for their review.
Companies can manipulate their sample size so that it provides them with the answer they want to advertise, throwing out the rest of the data, which makes it not statistically significant, and not definitive proof of the quality of their toothpaste. “4 out of 5 dentists” statements do not mean that 80 percent of dentists endorse this particular product, but that’s what this phrasing is intended to make customers believe. Also, companies provide dentists with products like toothpaste and toothbrushes—think about the free toothbrush you get every time you see the dentist—for their participation in the survey. Not to mention that the statement doesn’t indicate that dentists recommend this product over other similar products, or exclusively, or that in practice, the dentists mentioned actually recommend it to their patients.
Which toothpaste should I use?
In general, dentists are more likely to specify the type of toothpaste you should use, rather than the exact brand and formula. And these recommendations are, naturally, going to depend on your specific needs.
In general terms, dentists recommend fluoride toothpaste for adults, as fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay. For young children, who are prone to swallowing toothpaste, brushing haphazardly, and disliking strong, burning, mint flavors, there are specifically formulated children’s toothpastes. If you have sensitive teeth, you may require a toothpaste formulated to reduce sensitivity—though you should check with your dentist if you’re having sensitivity, as it might be a sign of a greater problem.
One type of toothpaste we don’t recommend: toothpaste containing clay or other “natural” abrasives. These products are often too abrasive and can strip teeth of enamel. If you’re interested in a green or natural toothpaste, definitely consult with your dentist to find one that won’t cause more harm than good.
Most other toothpaste on the market are going to meet that general requirement of containing fluoride, so from there, toothpaste choice can be a matter of personal preference. If you’re not sure though, ask us what toothpaste we recommend for your specific needs the next time you come in for a cleaning!
Time for a checkup? Set up an appointment today with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry!