Give Gum a Go!

Chewing sugarless gum after meals has been proven to be a most healthy habit. Gum chewing improves oral hygiene. When you chew gum, your mouth increases saliva production up to 10 times the normal rate. The excess saliva helps prevent cavities. It washes away food particles, such as acidic residue from teeth; residue which might otherwise have remained on your teeth, decaying the enamel all the while. Also, saliva contains anti-bacterial properties which inhibit bad breath and gum disease. Another benefit of chewing gum is that it alleviates discomfort that accompanies the movement of teeth during orthodontic treatment. Not only does chewing gum improve oral hygiene, but it stimulates brain activity and reduces stress.

chewing gum

The act of chewing engages the hippocampus, a part of the brain that helps with memory. So, if you find yourself struggling to recall information, the solution might be a stick of gum! Chewing gum can also be a coping mechanism for stress. The repetitive motion of the jaw soothes the mind and relieves anxiety. Dr. Fowler recommends Trident sugar free gum because it contains the ingredient, Xylitol, which fights cavities. So, help your oral hygiene, give your brain a boost, and soothe your stressed self by giving gum a go!

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Treat Yourself Right

I enjoy baking for my friends. Not only is baking a sweet way to thank friends for being wonderful (even when I’m being cantankerous), but in some inexplicable way, it is a relaxing method. Perhaps the process of blending a bowl of chaotic ingredients into this placid, saccharine mixture that I find soothing, because it resembles my juggling act of work and graduate studies that eventually transforms into the peacefulness of a Saturday. So, this love for baking recently sent me on the hunt for a new cookie recipe. I scoured the internet and came across a vanilla cake cookie recipe.

These delightful cakey cookies proved to be the perfect snack for an outing I planned with some of my friends to see the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Not only did I share them with my friends that evening, but I also offered some to the fairies flitting through the audience during the performance in search food. All who partook beamed with approval!

Considering their soft texture, Dr. Fowler and I agree that this might be a nice recipe for our beloved braces patients to try. This recipe is super easy and delicious! The vanilla cake cookies recipe is courtesy of Chef in Training. Be sure to check out other delicious recipes on her website:

http://www.chef-in-training.com/2011/10/cake-batter-pudding-cookies/

 

 

sugar cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 sticks (or 3/4 cup) butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix, dry
3/4 cup yellow cake mix, dry
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2-1/4 cups flour”
1/2 tsp salt
sprinkles

Baking Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Stir together flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together.
Add in pudding package and cake mix and beat until well blended.
Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Add flour mixture slowly until well incorporated.
Mix in sprinkles sprinkles.
Roll into 1″ balls and place on greased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes.

Mouth Myths

There are several myths concerning orthodontics that have developed over the years. I have accepted the challenge to disprove them so that the truth about orthodontics may be revealed. So, without further ado, let’s bust some myths!!

Myth 1- Orthodontists and dentists perform the same jobs.

Quite the contrary. Dentists treat diseases of the teeth and gums as well as conduct teeth cleanings. On the other hand, orthodontists align teeth so that they function more effectively.

Myth 2- If two people wearing braces kiss, the two sets of braces will interlock causing one embarrassing trip to the principal’s office.

This embarrassing situation is highly unlikely if not impossible. Today’s braces, especially Damon braces (Dr. Fowler is the sole provider of the Damon System in Franklin, TN) have smooth, sleek tops which make it improbable for them to catch on another set of braces. So, pucker up without panic!

kids

Myth 3- Braces are only for teenagers.

Braces are effective at any age. As a matter of fact, twenty percent of orthodontic patients are adults. Everyone deserves a beautiful smile they can be proud of; so, don’t let age stand in the way of the road to straight teeth!

Myth 4-Braces set off metal detectors.

Most metal braces are made of austenitic stainless steel, nickel titanium, and tiny traces of other metals. The metals listed are not magnetic and will not cause a metal detector to alarm. In other words, braces-wearers, you are clear for take-off and feel free to shop ‘til you drop!

Myth 5- Braces are painful.

I know one young lady who believed that getting braces meant the brackets were actually screwed into the teeth. I can assure you this most certainly is NOT the case. Getting braces is not a painful process. It does take a couple of days for the mouth to get accustomed to the metal brackets, but after that it is pretty much smooth sailing (with the occasional bout with soreness from tightenings).

Brushing up on Proper Teeth Brushing Techniques

tooth brushes

As we age, brushing becomes just another thoughtless activity performed in the half-asleep haze of the morning routine. Unfortunately, monotony can cause poor execution. When any important habit (such as brushing) becomes monotonous, it is time to evaluate our efforts in that habit. We must identify where our labors are lacking and double our efforts to implement optimal dental care. Oral health is dependent on good brushing habits.

            The first order of business is finding the proper cleaning instrument for your teeth. Your toothbrush must fit your mouth comfortably. The head of the toothbrush must fit in between the lips and teeth without excessive stretching. Also, the American Dental Association recommends using soft bristles as opposed to the medium to hard classification of bristles. Soft bristles are less likely to cause ware and tear on the enamel and gums. As to the electric vs. manual brush, dentists agree that both work equally well. The quality of brushing relies not on the brush, but the hand holding the brush.

brushing

            The next step in the process is brushing technique. Brush the front and inner (the side your tongue rests against) surfaces of the teeth two at a time in a circular or an elliptical motion. The tops of the teeth should be brushed with a back and forth motion. Additionally, be sure to gently brush the gum line at a 45 degree angle to avoid irritation. The American Dental Association strongly suggests dividing the mouth into quadrants and brushing each quadrant for 30 seconds for a total brushing time of two minutes.

In an ideal world, one should brush his/her teeth after every meal or snack; however, life is busy, so Dr. Fowler recommends brushing should take place every morning after breakfast, every afternoon after lunch, and every evening after dinner, but if time allows, by all means brush as frequently as you eat in order to prevent tooth decay.

Ortho… What’s it Good For??

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry focused on diagnosing, treating, and preventing malocclusions (irregular bites). Malocclusions occur when the teeth and jaw do not line up properly. This can cause difficulty in biting, chewing, talking, and even smiling. Malocclusions can be classified as one or more of the following: overbites, underbites, crossbites, openbites, crooked teeth, buck teeth, and crowded teeth. The most common correction methods are braces and dental appliances such as expanders, space maintainers, or headgear. Dental irregularities can be amended by means of such appliances with the help of an orthodontist.

braces

Just as you entrust your heart to a cardiologist and your eyes to an ophthalmologist, you entrust your teeth and jaw to an orthodontist. Orthodontists specialize in correcting malocclusions to maximize oral hygiene and functionality. An orthodontist first attends dental school, then spends two or more years taking advanced orthodontic courses. This specialization ensures that orthodontists gain a thorough understanding of the mouth’s biologic systems so that they may offer optimal treatment.

In a nutshell, orthodontics provides methods for aligning the teeth and jaw. Straight teeth along with a properly positioned jaw allow for most advantageous dental care, effortless chewing, and a smile that compliments the face. Dr. Fowler believes that orthodontic care is vital to anyone who desires to prolong their dental health.