When it comes to smoking, we’ve all been reminded constantly of the effects it can have on our overall health. In most cases, lung cancer is often the disease of choice that is a result of smoking. However, the damaging effects of smoking don’t stop there. Do you know the negative effects smoking can have on your oral health as well? Stained teeth and bad breath are just the beginning. At Vinson Orthodontics, we’ll help you understand the true cost of smoking as it relates to your teeth, gums and oral health.
It starts with inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, the inflammation can lead to serious damage of the gum tissue, tooth loss and even bone loss in the jaw. Serious infections can also happen if the bacteria from any of the above mentioned gets into the bloodstream.
It is important to note that gum disease in those who smoke can be harder to treat. Smoking doubles the risk of developing gum disease due to the overwhelming number of toxins it introduces into the mouth.
Have you ever had that awkward experience when you drink a cold beverage and immediately feel a sharp pain in your teeth? You’re not alone. In fact, one in eight people has this same problem with tooth sensitivity. So what’s the cause? Believe it or not, tooth sensitivity such as this doesn’t have anything to do with cavities or even braces, the most common cause is brushing with too much force.
The Effects of Brushing Too Hard
Before, during and after undergoing orthodontic treatment, the concept of brushing your teeth regularly was drilled into your brain as the best way to maintain good oral health and hygiene. While some take this advice and brush as recommended (every morning, every night and shortly after each meal), some people translate this to mean that they should be brushing more aggressively. This is NOT the case.
Over-brushing or brushing too aggressively can wear down the protective layers that make up the tooth enamel. Additionally, it can push the gums back further – exposing the dentin layer under the enamel even more. This dentin layer leaves the teeth vulnerable to the nerves underneath that cause pain and discomfort when exposed to hot, cold and acidic foods.
If you’re a fan of food like we are (and really, who isn’t?), then Thanksgiving just might be one of your favorite holidays. Not only do you get to spend time with the ones you love, but you can also eat all the foods you might not get to eat as often.
So how do you enjoy the same joys of Thanksgiving while wearing your braces? To help you navigate the serving tables at your Thanksgiving gatherings this year, we at Vinson Orthodontics have a few tips for getting through all three courses.
Starters & Appetizers
Typically, while you’re waiting for guests to arrive or dinner to start, appetizers are brought out to keep you satisfied until the entrees were ready. While many common appetizers may not be good to consume with braces on, there are still quite a few options still open to you. To make it even easier, we’ve created two short lists to follow:
- Appetizer Do’s: cheese chunks or slices, salami or pepperoni slices, soft dips with bread, meatballs or cocktail weenies in sauce.
- Appetizer Don’ts: crunchy raw vegetables, chips, popcorn and nuts.
Dr. Britt Vinson and the team at Vinson Orthodontics want to dispel an urban legend about chewing gum: if you swallow a wad of gum, it does not sit in your stomach for seven years. In most cases, actually, not even seven days. Chewing gum, although not meant to be swallowed, passes harmlessly through the digestive system and is excreted in the same manner as everything else we eat.
There is some truth to the myth, however: chewing gum is not digested. It contains resins, sometimes natural and sometimes synthetic, which our bodies cannot break down. Gum is simply passed along our digestive tract.
In rare cases, excessive amounts of swallowed gum can lead to constipation and intestinal blockage in young children. But parents need not be alarmed. Young children are not more susceptible to complications involving swallowed gum; young children are simply the only people who might swallow enough gum to cause digestive problems. Kids often forget or may not understand that gum is for chewing and not swallowing.