Casthely Orthodontics

Get Checked, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

Being that we are entering April, now is the time to be proactive and get yourself checked for oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 48,330 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer, and an estimated 9,570 people will die from oral cancer in 2016. In the spirit of April’s Oral Cancer Awareness, we urge you to receive regular oral cancer examinations. Remember—early detection saves lives!

Get CheckedAre you at risk?
The sad truth is that oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women, and the fastest growing group of oral cancer patients are young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals. It is more important than ever for young adults, as well as older men and women, to get regular screenings whether they think they’re at risk or not.

Knowing the risks can help you make educated decisions about your health. There are several risks that increase your chances of developing oral cancer:
• Smoking and using tobacco products have been a known long-term historic causes of oral cancer.
• Heavy alcohol usage also makes you more susceptible to develop oral cancer.
• The HPV virus, a sexually-transmitted disease, is the leading cause of oropharyngeal (the back part of the mouth) cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms?
The mouth is one of the body’s most crucial early warning signs in the fight against oral cancer. In between regular dental visits, it’s important to be aware of the mouth’s signs and symptoms. Remember, if you see any of these signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment at the office if you don’t see improvement within two-three weeks:
• Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice.
• The development of white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth.
• Lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas.
• Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.
• A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together when you close your mouth.
• Dramatic weight loss.
• Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck.
• Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.

Don’t wait any longer. In the spirit of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, be proactive about your oral health, and get checked today!

Natural Teeth Whitening

How many different ways have you tried to get white, sparkly teeth? The Internet has all kinds of options, from teeth whitening strips to natural remedies like baking soda and lemon juice, or gargling apple cider vinegar. But have you heard of whitening your teeth with oil? Learn about the oil pulling method that has some people raving about this natural remedy for stained teeth!

Natural Teeth WhiteningWhat is oil pulling?
Oil pulling is the ancient Ayurvedic ritual where oils are used to detoxify the body, kill bacteria in the mouth, and whiten teeth naturally. Coconut, sesame, and olive oil are just a few popular oils used for whitening.

How to oil pull:

  1. Take a teaspoon of your preferred oil.
  2. Gently swish the oil around in your mouth for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, swishing and pulling the oil through your teeth.
  3. Spit the oil out in a tissue and throw in the garbage (don’t spit down the sink, it will clog the drain!)
  4. Brush and floss your teeth regularly.

Oils and oral health
Oil pulling isn’t just a teeth whitening technique – it does amazing things for your overall oral health. Coconut oil and other edible oils have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that work to prevent cavities and bad breath. By removing bacteria, the oil prevents plaque buildup, which in turn strengthens gums and helps prevent gingivitis and more serious forms of gum disease (periodontitis).

Tips

  1. Don’t swallow the oil! You don’t want that bacteria from your mouth to stay in your body.
  2. Oil pulling is most effective in the morning before you eat or brush your teeth. This is because your mouth has the most bacteria when you first wake up. Plus, it can be easy to forget before bed with a busy schedule.
  3. The longer you oil pull, the more bacteria will be drawn from the mouth.
  4. Do something productive while you oil pull! It’s easy to multitask while whitening naturally: clean your room, play an instrument or kick back with a good book and let the oil work its magic!
  5. Natural teeth whitening doesn’t happen overnight: the best results occur approximately four months into your oil-pulling regimen. Keep at it!

Rubber Tipping: A Guide to Gum Health

Brushing and flossing are important aspects of our daily dental routine, but they’re only two parts of the oral health equation. Good oral hygiene goes beyond a simple teeth cleaning. While gum health is often overlooked, a quick trip to the drugstore is all it takes to find the right tools for keeping gums healthy! If you want to avoid the risk of gum disease, it’s time to introduce rubber tipping to your routine.

Rubber Tipping A Guide to Gum HealthWhat is rubber tipping?

Rubber tipping is a technique that strengthens the gums with the use of a handheld dental instrument called a rubber tip gum stimulator. You simply apply pressure to the gums to help prevent gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, and periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.

How do you use a gum stimulator?

  1. Brush and floss your teeth first to remove as much food debris as possible.
  2. Run the rubber tip of the gum stimulator under hot water to soften it for gentler use.
  3. Gently massage the gum line with the rubber tip. You can also run the stimulator between your teeth to remove any remaining food debris.

Why should I use a gum stimulator?

Gum stimulators are time-efficient, multipurpose instruments that improve overall oral health. They primarily stimulate the gum tissue to strengthen it against infection, but they also help with cavity prevention by assisting food and plaque removal.

How does rubber tipping affect jawbone health?

Jawbone loss is a serious concern that is linked to poor gum tissue health. Tooth loss is a primary symptom of gum disease, and it has a devastating impact on the jaw. With missing teeth, the jawbone no longer has something to support, and it begins to deteriorate from underuse. Jawbone loss drastically worsens jaw function and facial structure overtime.

Because gum stimulators are crucial in preventing gum disease, they also eliminate the need for procedures such as bone grafting, which promotes bone regeneration after the jaw has atrophied.

If you have any concerns about your gum health, consider adding rubber tipping to your dental care repertoire!

Invisalign®: Finally, a Straighter Smile for Anyone!

Ten years ago, it was rare to see braces on the teeth of an adult. Options for straightening teeth simply did not exist widely for the adult population. It wasn’t that adults couldn’t have braces, it was just that they didn’t want to be seen in public with them. After all, it’s one thing to see a teenager with metal brackets and wires in his or her mouth, but it’s an entirely different matter to see an adult that way.

Invisalign Finally for Everyone

Not everyone has been presented the opportunity to have braces. For many people who did not have the option as a teen, they simply had to continue their life with crooked, crowded, or over-spaced teeth.

 

Enter Invisalign®. The invention of clear braces has opened up the door to an improved smile for adults no matter what their age. In fact, we have Invisalign® patients that span the entire range of ages, from teens to seniors in the later stages of life.

 

Why? Invisalign® knows no age. Because it is nearly invisible, it is a much more realistic choice for adults than traditional braces were in the past. Invisalign® is also removable, allowing you to live a more “normal” life in terms of diet, exercise and oral hygiene.

 

If you are interested in an enhanced smile, Invisalign® might be the right first step for you. Give us a call for more information!

Order of Your Oral Hygiene Routine

You’re awake, congratulations! Now, you are standing in front of the bathroom mirror, you’ve been wanting to upgrade your oral hygiene routine but you’ve heard a lot of conflicting information. There are so many tools and what order should you do them in? We’re here to help! If you’ve ever wondered, “What comes first brushing or flossing?” Read on!OralHygiene

  • You’ve probably heard us stress the importance of flossing at your appointments. Flossing is an incredibly important part of your mouth’s health. Flossing your teeth should take place one time per day. We recommend at night so that food does not rest in between your teeth while you sleep. Flossing before brushing is a lot like dusting before you vacuum. The particles will loosen with flossing and the brushing will sweep them away.
  • You may have guessed it: the second part of your oral hygiene regimen should be a 2-minute brushing. Dentists look at your mouth in terms of quadrants. Therefore, your mouth consists on four separate quadrants and to ensure proper use of your two minute brushing session, we recommend spending 30 seconds in each quadrant. This brushing routine should take place two times a day!
  • Brushing your teeth alone will not eliminate the majority of the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Cleaning your tongue is an easy addition to your routine and will benefit your mouth greatly. Take your toothbrush, apply a very small amount of toothpaste and brush your tongue in gentle, circular motions. You may opt for a tongue scraper instead, they can be purchased at most grocery stores.
  • The finishing touch for optimum oral health is mouthwash. Sip a small amount and swish for 30-40 seconds. Spit it out and you are done!

It may seem like a lengthy routine but it actually only totals about 4 minutes. If you value your oral health and want to spend less time in a dental chair, it will be worth your time, we promise!

 

Fun Snacking with Braces: Recipes Included!

You have probably heard that when you have braces, you have to change some of your eating habits. There are two reasons for this: First, to avoid unnecessary pain, and second, to protect the brackets and wires from breakage.

In general, when you have braces, you want to avoid anything that is TOO hard, chewy, sticky, crunchy, or BIG! We know that this can be a difficult transition, just remember that it is only temporary! Before you know it, you will be back to eating your favorite foods!

 

Fun-Snacking-BracesIn the meantime, enjoy these brace-friendly snack and lunch ideas:

  • Sliced Wraps: Spread sour cream, hummus, or salad dressing on a tortilla. Fill with shredded cheese, ground beef or grated vegetables. Roll it up and slice into soft, easily chewed pieces!
  • Grilled Cheese and Avocado Bites: Make a grilled cheese sandwich on seedless bread (with avocado spread on the bread), then slice into small bite-sized pieces or fun shapes for a healthy snack.
  • Couscous Salad: Cook couscous according to package directions, then add cheese or shredded vegetables, cubed tofu and top off with your favorite salad dressing.
  • Soft Fruit Kebabs: Cube semi-soft fruits (peaches, bananas, citrus) into ½” pieces, then stack/skewer them with toothpicks.
  • Smoothies: Start with Yogurt, ice or frozen seedless fruit and blend with a banana and a squirt of honey for a healthy, yummy snack or breakfast!
  • Potato Salad: Combine cooked cubed potatoes with hardboiled eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, onions and a dash of pickle juice and dill for a hearty snack. Leave out anything hard such as celery.

 

Eating with braces may feel like a challenge, but it can also be a lot of fun!

What Type of Floss Should I Use?

We know we don’t have to tell you this—but flossing at least once a day is key to healthy gums and teeth! And while studies have shown it doesn’t really matter what kind of floss you use (as long as you do it!), people are more likely to use floss that’s easy for them to use. We’ve broken down the different types of floss, so you can decide which is best for you!

Waxed and UnwaxedWhat Type of Floss Should I Use

Waxed floss will glide easier, but there isn’t really any other difference between waxed and unwaxed floss. If your teeth are close together, try one of these.

Ultra Floss

Ultra floss is a thicker floss that can be stretched to fit between tight spaces between your teeth; this is a good option if the closeness of your teeth varies.

Tape

Dental tape is a relatively new addition to the floss family. This fatter floss option is made from plastic and has a bit more stretch. If you have wide spaces between your teeth or have sensitive gums, try this ribbon-like floss.

Flossing picks

If you find yourself on the go—or if you hate the feeling of floss wrapped around your fingers—try disposable picks that have handles to make flossing a little easier!

Oral Irrigators

Recent trials are inconclusive on whether using a water flosser is as effective as traditional floss, but studies agree that using an oral irrigator is better than not flossing at all!

So which one is the best? Any one you’ll actually use! Don’t hesitate to ask us for different types of floss at your next cleaning to see what works best for you!

Mouthwash the Multitasker

If you thought that the only benefit of mouthwash was minty smelling breath, you may be pleasantly surprised to know that there are far more benefits that come along with the use of mouthwash. When mouthwash is used as part of your oral hygiene routine you are able to reap the benefits all day long!

 

Periodontal Disease

  • MouthwashIt might be obvious but, mouthwash reduces your risk of periodontal disease by cutting down on the quality and quantity of dental plaque.

 

Cavities

  • Mouthwash can also lessen your risk of developing cavities if it has fluoride as an active ingredient. When fluoride is present in your mouthwash, be sure to use it as the final step in your oral care routine. Fluoride needs time to absorb without getting washed away by a drink or water with brushing. Let approximately 30 minutes pass before enjoying food or beverage.

 

Pregnancy

  • Perhaps the most surprising benefit of mouthwash is that it can aid in preventing pregnant women from going into early labor! Pregnant women who have periodontal disease run the risk of going into early labor because bacteria at the gum line is able to get into her bloodstream. This increases the body’s inflammatory markers which in turn can stimulate contractions.

 

Providing Comfort 

  • Mouthwash can soothe canker sores by detoxing the area. The reduced amount of bacteria at the site results in a soothed feeling.

 

If you haven’t already adopted mouthwash into your oral hygiene routine, we suggest you do! Not only will your mouth feel and smell fresher, the added benefits are worth the small amount of effort. Ask us what kind we recommend for you at your next visit.

Does My Child Need Early Phase Braces?

Have you noticed that some 7 and 8 year olds are sporting braces these days? We’re not surprised, however this is not simply a trend. As a matter of fact, some children benefit greatly from early orthodontic intervention, reducing painful and costly complications down the road. And you will be happy to know that we, as orthodontists, are getting better at spotting those kids early on that are good candidates for this treatment!

 

Does-My--Child-Need-EarlyThe fact is that most children don’t need early intervention. So how do you know if your child needs early phase braces?

 

As early as age six, we are able to identify children that have serious alignment issues in their jaws. These children are often good candidates for early phase (also called “two-phase”) braces.   If we determine that your child needs two-phase orthodontic treatment, it is because we believe that it will reduce their need for extractions, surgeries and other costly and dramatic treatments down the road.

 

First Phase

The first (early) phase of treatment takes place while your child still has both permanent and baby teeth (usually around age 7 or 8). This first set of braces is typically worn for 12-18 months and corrects functional and skeletal problems such as overcrowding.

 

Next, there is a resting period, during which we wait for all of the permanent teeth to come in.

 

Second Phase

Once your child has all of his or her permanent teeth, the second phase of treatment begins. During this phase, usually we place a full set of upper and lower braces. However, because the jaws are in better position and each adult tooth has its own space, we can usually focus on the aesthetics of your child/teen’s smile!


If you have questions or concerns about early phase braces, please give us a call!

Winter Oral Health Tips

If you get a runny nose this winter, you may be tempted to breathe through your mouth. While we know cold weather wreaks havoc on our lips (let’s just call it “Chapped-Lip Season” instead of winter), breathing through your mouth also triggers sensitivities and other oral health issues! Itchy skin and dry mouth are just two things that can irritate you this season however, here are some of tried-and-true methods to keep your mouth healthy all winter long.Winter-Oral-Health-Tips

Brush Up

Brush gently with a soft toothbrush. Aggressive brushing can cause more sensitivity! If you find that your teeth are feeling extra sensitive, use a desensitizing toothpaste. Rinsing with mouthwash daily and flossing your teeth will stimulate your gums so that they are less likely to recede in the cold months.

Drink Up

We know our bodies need at least eight glasses of water for optimal health, but did you know it’s important for oral health too? Drinking water rinses out your mouth and keeps it moist—keeping bacteria at bay. Moisture depletion can be maintained with proper hydration reducing the feeling of a dry mouth.

Bundle Up

Our teeth may be hard, but they are not immune to extreme cold! In fact, fluctuating in temperature too drastically can cause your teeth to expand and contract, this may cause hairline fractures in the surface. Limit your time in cold weather, and when that isn’t an option, trap heat near your face by wearing a scarf or mask when you have to brave the cold!