LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--October is Orthodontic Health Month, and since orthodontic care is an important contributor to good dental health and overall mouth function—as it helps to straighten teeth and align jaws—it’s important for both children and adults to visit an orthodontist for a checkup, just as they would a dentist.
In honor of Orthodontic Health Month, California Association of Orthodontists’ doctors have five tips for achieving a straighter and healthier smile:
- Orthodontics is more than just a pretty smile. When people think of braces they often think of a beautiful smile, but orthodontics goes beyond aesthetics and can help patients achieve a healthy smile as well. Teeth that are misaligned can cause problems with brushing and flossing that can lead to gum disease. When the jaw or teeth are severely misaligned, it can potentially interfere with eating, breathing, sleeping and speech—causing discomfort and pain—even when the jaw isn't moving.
- Trust your smile to a specialist. Your smile deserves the best possible care, which is why you should go in person to consult with a certified orthodontist. Orthodontists are dental specialists who have an additional 3,000+ hours of formal training at an accredited university or hospital after dental school. Some people choose to have their teeth straightened by a dentist practicing orthodontics or by using at-home kits, but that’s not the best choice. Dentists are excellent at covering a wide range of general issues, but only an orthodontist can provide the in-person technology, care and expertise necessary to correctly align teeth.
- It’s never too early or late for braces. Orthodontists recommend a child’s first visit to the orthodontist should be by age seven, since enough permanent teeth have arrived for an orthodontist to evaluate the “bite”—the way teeth and jaws meet and work, and how that relationship affects a child’s ability to bite, chew and speak effectively. While braces for children and teens are the most common perception, more adults than ever are recognizing that healthy teeth are important at any age. One in five orthodontic patients today is an adult—a record number. Age should not be a consideration in orthodontic treatment since healthy teeth can be moved at any age.
- Good oral hygiene is especially important when you have braces. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, flossing daily, and scheduling ongoing dental visits are all important to help keep the gums and teeth healthy during treatment. Patients with braces should maintain a balanced diet and limit sugary snacks between meals. Orthodontists recommend avoiding certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires, such as nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice and sticky foods, such as chewing gum, caramel or other chewy candy.
- There are a variety of orthodontic options to fit your needs. While metal braces tend to be the more traditional way to move and straighten your teeth, there are many options for patients that your orthodontist can recommend for you. There are many more inconspicuous options for braces available today, such as clear braces, lingual braces and clear aligners, that will allow you to straighten your teeth undercover. Ceramic or clear braces are made from a composite that blends with the color of your teeth, while lingual braces are completely hidden because they're attached behind the teeth. Choose the look and type of braces that will work best for you.
For more information about orthodontic care, visit the California Association of Orthodontists blog.
About the California Association of Orthodontists
The California Association of Orthodontists is a chapter of the American Association of Orthodontists, the world’s oldest and largest dental specialty organization. It represents more than 18,000 orthodontist members throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. The Association admits only orthodontists for membership. It encourages and sponsors key research to enable members to provide patients with the highest quality of care, and is committed to educating the public about the need for, and benefits of, orthodontic treatment. For more information go to www.caortho.org.