Search This Blog

Monday, September 26, 2011

Braces: Looking Good and Feeling Great

It's been proven that people are captivated by beautiful smiles, so it's understandable why you'd want to get dental braces for cosmetic reasons. But straight teeth don't just look better; they're healthier, too.
When teeth are properly aligned, they're easier to clean ... and when your teeth are clean and dental plaque-free, you're less likely to need a tooth filling or gum disease treatment. Wearing braces can also help prevent excessive wear of your teeth and help you chew better.
Today's braces have come a long way from the stereotypical "tin grins" of TV and movies. In addition to traditional metal braces for straightening teeth, there are now a variety of braces designed with your comfort and appearance in mind:
Clear Braces -- Porcelain dental braces feature tooth-colored brackets made from a glass-like composite material that appears translucent.
Gold Braces -- Gold braces are actually stainless steel braces overlaid in gold.
Lingual Braces -- Similar to traditional metal braces, lingual braces are placed behind the teeth so that they're virtually unnoticeable.
Mini Braces -- Mini braces are 30 percent smaller than their traditional metal counterparts but just as strong.
Removable Braces -- Removable braces are mouthguard-like devices made of clear plastic. Invisalign® dental aligners are the most common type of removable braces.
No matter which type of dental braces you choose, orthodontic treatment can bring about a major improvement in your appearance and your quality of life. In approximately 24 months — the typical active treatment time for traditional braces — most people are able to achieve the smile of their dreams.
Are dental braces right for you? Ask your dentist during your next dental checkup.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Aromatherapy Eases Dental Anxiety

When you think of aromatherapy, you probably don't picture a candle warmer in your dentist's office. But a study conducted by King's College London researchers explored that very possibility. Half of the 340 people studied were exposed to the scent given off by a candle warmer activating five drops of lavender oil in water while waiting for a dental appointment. The other half were not exposed to the lavender aromatherapy.
The results? The anxiety level of those not exposed to lavender was significantly higher than those who smelled the scent. The results applied no matter what type of dental treatment people were awaiting -- whether it was for a routine dental cleaning or a visit involving something more anxiety-provoking such as a tooth filling.
Exposure to lavender had no effect on people's anxiety about future dental appointments. These findings suggest that lavender acts as an effective "on-the-spot" remedy to reduce anxiety while you wait for your dentist appointment, but it might not be enough to ward off the fear of future visits.
Use of lavender as aromatherapy is generally considered safe for most adults. (Lavender should not be used by pregnant or breast-feeding women.) Although side effects are rare, some people may develop an allergic reaction to lavender. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, headache and chills.
Because of the relaxing effects of lavender, the herb could potentially enhance the effects of central nervous system depressants. To be on the safe side, talk to your dentist about all the medications you take, including any vitamins, herbal supplements or conventional medications.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Diet and Exercise Prevents Gum Disease

Can working out improve your dental health? Yes, according to one study. Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine have discovered that people of a normal weight who exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet are less likely to have gum disease. The study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, suggests that a healthy lifestyle may help prevent periodontal disease.
Researchers took the same factors that lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease into account when analyzing data from 12,110 participants. They found that those who exercised regularly, had healthy eating habits and maintained their weight were 40 percent less likely to develop periodontal disease than their counterparts. Those who met two of the criteria lowered their risk by 29 percent, while participants with just one healthy virtue had a 16 percent less chance of developing gum disease.
Overall, only 7 percent of those who met all three of the criteria had some form of gum disease. The participants who had a poor diet, limited physical activity and were considered overweight totaled 18 percent, suggesting that obesity can more than double your chances of developing periodontal disease.
Scientists aren't exactly sure why these factors may decrease your chances of developing gum disease. It's already known that healthy eating can help build up your immune system. Scientists now theorize that eating healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, may also help remove dental plaque from teeth. It's also believed that obesity promotes gum inflammation, while physical activity may decrease it.
While a healthy lifestyle may help improve your dental health, it's not a substitute for maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist twice a year are essential.