Nutrition and Oral Health

Most of us are aware of the many ways a balanced diet is important to our overall health. But did you know that what you choose to eat and drink can also play a role in your oral health? At Team Demas Orthodontics, we’ve been straightening smiles for over 20 years, but that’s only one part of what we do. We’re here to help you improve the health of your teeth and gums, too!

Orthodontic treatment is one way to achieve this, but a nutritious diet is also an important part of the process. To give you a better understanding of how nutrition and oral health are linked, we’re going to take a look at how good foods can protect your teeth, how a poor diet can negatively affect them, and what you should aim to eat in order to maintain a healthy, happy mouth. Keep reading below to learn more!

Nutrition as a building block of oral health

Nutrition can affect our oral health before we’re ever even born. When an expectant mother consumes food and drink containing nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and protein, it helps a baby’s teeth begin to form and mineralize properly. It doesn’t stop there, though. Throughout the teen years, our teeth continue to develop and mineralize, and over the course of our life, the oral tissues are constantly recycling. To support this process successfully, we need to consume a variety of vitamins and minerals. One of the easiest ways to do this is by eating a healthy diet!

When you get right down to it, good nutrition is not only a building block of oral health, it could also be considered a preventative measure. Nutritional deficiencies have the potential to reduce your resistance to dental disease, and also inhibit your body’s ability to fight certain types of infection. Your overall diet can help prevent tooth decay and enamel erosion….or it can contribute to it! That’s because human mouths are naturally hospitable to all different kinds of bacteria. While many of these are helpful, there are also some that can be harmful.

Many of these more harmful microorganisms thrive on the sugar in your diet. As they process this ingested sugar, the bacteria begin to produce acids that can eat into the enamel of your teeth. This can set the stage for small holes forming, better known as cavities. If left untreated over an extended period of time, tooth decay can worsen. It may become painful, and it can cause teeth to loosen or even fall out eventually. This is one of the biggest reasons for avoiding too much added sugar in your food and drinks.

Demas assistant with patient

Adopt a healthier diet for a healthier mouth

Fortunately, concerns about sugars in certain foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are unfounded. There is no evidence that these naturally occurring sugars are harmful to the teeth, even in starch-rich staples like bread, rice, and potatoes. This is good news for your smile since these items can be excellent sources of healthy vitamins and minerals! Foods like this can benefit your overall health in a number of ways, but more specifically, they strengthen your teeth and help protect enamel. Even better: they’re also safe for braces, if you wear them!

Here’s a brief rundown on how healthier choices in your diet can give you a brighter, stronger smile, and improved oral health.

Milk and other dairy products

This is hardly a chore, because who doesn’t love cheese? But besides being delicious, dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt make excellent snacks, and pack a punch of calcium that will help to keep your bones and teeth strong and healthy.

Whole grain bread and pastas

Complex carbohydrates contained in certain whole grains give bacteria less digestible food to grow on. They also possess a bunch of different nutrients to help your mouth stay healthy.

Chicken, red meat, and fatty fish

Though we usually hear about these foods in terms of the protein they offer, they also contain phosphorus, which is a vital component in strengthening your teeth and protecting the tooth enamel.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies is one of the best things you can do for yourself! Leafy greens are particularly good for your oral health since they contain high amounts of magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and magnesium. These minerals are instrumental in improving and maintaining oral health.

Water

We may drink a ton of sodas, juices, and sports drinks in this country, but they are notorious for leaving behind sugars that are a banquet for bad bacteria. As the bacteria devours this sugar, it produces acid that can eat away at the enamel of your teeth. Sodas and juices can also have phosphoric, citric, or malic acids added to them, which can exacerbate any enamel erosion you’re already experiencing.

On the other hand, water is wonderful for your oral health. It protects your mouth by washing away any leftover food and debris that bacteria typically flock to, and it also  dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. Suffer from dry mouth or bad breath? Drink more water! Although drinking water throughout the day is no substitute for a regular oral hygiene routine, it can go a long way towards keeping your mouth clean, healthy, and free from cavities.

Demas patient

What’s the best diet for your smile?

This is a tough question to answer, because the best diet will vary from person to person, and depends mainly on age, gender, height, weight, and fitness. That said, most people will benefit from the following concepts.

Variety

Don’t fall for any diets or advertisements that tell you any single food, drink, or shake can meet all your daily requirements. Eating a variety of foods and washing them down with water is the only way to hit nutritional milestones. It also makes mealtimes much more interesting!

Balance

In order to maintain a balanced diet, you should aim to eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups daily. This includes:

  • whole grains
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish, dry beans, peas, and other legumes
  • dairy foods

Additionally, you may want to look at limiting the number of snacks you eat in between meals. When you do feel hunger strike, try to choose something healthy instead of packaged or processed foods, such as a fruit, vegetable, or a piece of cheese.

Moderation

Your teeth aren’t the only reason to pay attention to any excess snacking! It’s not just what you eat that affects the level of acidity in your mouth; when you’re eating matters, too. Foods that are eaten as part of a meal actually cause less harm to the teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day, because more saliva tends to be released during a meal. That extra saliva helps to wash foods from your mouth, and also neutralizes any harmful acids being produced.

In general, foods and beverages should be consumed in the appropriate serving sizes whenever possible. This is especially important when it comes to anything that’s heavy on added sugar for all the reasons we’ve outlined above!

Let Team Demas Orthodontics help you find your healthiest smile

It’s undeniable that what you choose to eat and drink can have a powerful impact on your oral health, for better or worse. While we can provide the orthodontic treatment to give you a straighter smile, you can improve your own oral health by adopting a healthier diet. This has the benefit of improving your overall health, too! If you’re in Southington or any of the surrounding communities, and want to learn more about how good nutrition can improve your oral health, get in touch with us today! We’re always happy to educate patients on ways to improve their oral hygiene at home for a bright, sparkling smile!

Back to School Braces Survival Guide

Dr. Demas with a patient

Summer is one of the most popular times of the year to begin orthodontic treatment, with many parents opting to have braces put on their kids before school starts back. If you’re a new braces patient, you might be wondering what the next few months will bring as you head back to homeroom and try to adjust to student life with an orthodontic appliance. You may even be feeling a little nervous about navigating braces at school for the very first time. This is a common worry among our younger patients, but fortunately, it doesn’t take long to get used to life with braces. Before you know it, they’ll be just another part of your daily routine!

Here at Team Demas Orthodontics, we know that the beginning of a new school year is a pretty big deal. There are new friendships to explore, new teachers, to meet, new subjects to learn, and new memories to make. Wearing braces at school is just one more new thing to experience!  We want to help make this one of your best years yet by giving you the tools you need to keep your orthodontic treatment on track and your smile shining brightly in the coming months. Let’s explore a few of our top tips for surviving back-to-school season when you’re new to braces!

Keep a basic braces care kit in your backpack or locker

Braces do require a little extra care and attention. You might have a minor issue or two crop up from time to time during the school day, like food getting stuck in your brackets or a stray wire poking into your cheek. Stay prepared for any braces-related dilemmas by keeping a handful of helpful items close by! One of the easiest ways to keep up with these is to find a small pouch or bag to keep them in, then put it in your locker or backpack permanently. Some of the items we recommend our patients include are:

  • a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • fluoride toothpaste
  • floss or ortho picks
  • orthodontic wax (to cover any areas causing irritation)
  • extra rubber bands (these should be changed out frequently throughout the day)
  • a small mirror (to check you don’t miss any rogue food particles in your braces)
  • lip balm
  • a small cup for rinsing
  • an unsharpened pencil (the eraser end can be used to push stray wires back into place)

Take advantage of any short breaks you get as well as your lunch period to indulge in a bit of dental care. We recommend brushing your teeth after you eat, as well as flossing if you have the time and space to do so. If you find your braces are causing minor soreness or irritation occasionally, a pea-sized amount of orthodontic wax over the problem area can provide relief, and stray wires can be pushed back into place using the eraser end of a pencil. Having items like these on hand in a pinch will save you a lot of time, trouble, and discomfort throughout your orthodontic journey, and we think anything that makes the treatment process easier belongs on the honor roll!

Demas Staff with a patient

Bring a water bottle to school with you

There’s a reason eight glasses of water daily is the gold standard. Staying hydrated is important, and drinking water is excellent for your overall health, but did you know it’s a great way to flush out any food that’s stuck to your teeth or braces? It’s also really helpful for that dry mouth feeling that can sometimes come with newer braces. Bring a full water bottle to school with you in the morning and drink it throughout the day for the full benefits. We recommend sticking to plain water over sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice, or sports drinks, as these can cause staining and increase the risk of cavities developing. If you do indulge in these sweet drinks from time to time, use a straw to keep the sugars away from your teeth.

Get familiar with your school’s lunch menu

Do you prefer buying lunch at school over bringing it from home? If so, just remember to stick to the same basic rules of braces care, including the food restrictions. To protect your braces, avoid anything too hard, sticky, or crunchy. Check out the menu ahead of time and make sure you’ll have braces-friendly options available, like pasta, mac and cheese, soups, cooked vegetables, and lean meats. You should also stick to healthier snacks such as bananas, applesauce, and yogurt. These are easier on your orthodontic appliance as well as being good for you! Keep treats like gum, candy, popcorn, chips, etc. on the back burner until your braces come off. This will help prevent any potential mishaps with your braces, like breaking a bracket or wire, which is something you don’t want happening anywhere, let alone in the middle of the school day!

Invest in the right gear for gym class

If you’re a student-athlete or have regular gym or P.E. classes, we recommend an orthodontic mouthguard to protect both your braces and your mouth. Designed specifically to be worn with braces, these are the easiest way to save your braces from damage and your mouth from injury during physical activities. Orthodontic and non-orthodontic models are affordable, and widely available at most sporting goods stores. Dr. Demas is also happy to recommend and order one for you as well, if you prefer! Though we strongly encourage orthodontic mouthguards for our braces-wearing patients, any mouthguard is better than none at all.

Demas staff talking with a patient

Head back to school with a beautiful smile from Team Demas Orthodontics

Like any new adventure, going back to school with braces for the first time will have its own set of challenges. But if you use our tips to help you settle in, you’ll find your way to a straight-A smile in no time! Dr. Demas and the rest of our skilled staff are committed to making your transition from summer vacation into the school year as a braces patient as stress-free as possible. If you or your parents have any questions or concerns about how to best navigate having braces at school, get in touch with us. We’ll do everything we can to set your mind at ease and get you off to a great start!

What Are The Benefits Of Braces Beyond Straight Teeth?

We all want to have an attractive smile, but did you know all the ways it can positively impact your life? Your smile is not only the first thing people notice about you, it’s also the feature they’re most likely to remember. Aesthetics are important, and according to multiple studies, a straight, healthy smile can make you appear more approachable, trustworthy, and even more successful! Here at Team Demas Orthodontics, we love creating beautiful smiles for patients of all ages. One way we achieve that is through orthodontic treatment with braces. While braces are incredibly effective at straightening teeth, they also have a number of benefits that go beyond the cosmetic. When you correct tooth and jaw misalignment, it can improve your appearance and boost your overall oral health as well. To take a look at what braces have to offer you besides a straighter smile, keep reading below!

Understanding the basics of treatment with braces

To gain a better understanding of all the benefits braces offer, it helps to have some understanding of how they work. Traditional braces are generally made up of metal or ceramic brackets, wires, and tiny rubber bands or elastics. The brackets are attached to your teeth, and the wires and elastics are used to tie them together. These components work together to exert gentle pressure in specific directions, and this is what will move your teeth into the desired positions over time.

Braces are also able to help reshape the jawline by dissolving bone that is replaced with the new bone growth that is better able to support the teeth in their straightened positions. In addition to being cost-efficient, braces are incredibly effective at correcting several dental issues, including:

  • difficulties with chewing or biting
  • misaligned teeth or jaws
  • excessive wear and tear of teeth
  • teeth with excessive spacing
  • overlapping or crowded teeth

When you schedule your first visit with Dr. Demas, he will listen to any concerns you have, and thoroughly examine your teeth and jaws to help him determine if orthodontic treatment is needed, and if braces could be the right fit for you.

Benefits of braces beyond straightening the teeth

Misaligned teeth and jaws can have an impact on everything from your appearance to your health to everyday activities like eating and speaking. Your regular oral hygiene routine may also be more difficult to maintain or be less effective than it once was. Braces are able to address and correct many of these issues, as well as improve lesser-known issues such as:

Chewing

When your teeth or jaws are out of alignment, it can lead to difficulties with biting and chewing your food properly. Over time, this can lead to excessive wear and tear on your teeth, and may also lead to a weakening of the jaw, which can cause painful chewing.

Digestion

Chewing your food is the first step of the digestive process, and also the most crucial one. If you have misaligned teeth that prevent you from chewing properly, it can have a detrimental effect on digestive system, as food will pass through much more slowly.

Speech

The alignment of our teeth and jaws can affect numerous parts of the body, some of which may surprise you. For instance, misaligned teeth can influence the placement of the tip of the tongue. This placement is essential to properly form certain sounds, such as ‘t’, ‘n’, and ‘d.’ Braces are often able correct speech issues such as this by aligning the teeth, making way for proper placement of the tongue. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Demas can identify any  speech issues you may have that are related to misalignment, and devise the most effective solution for you based on your specific needs.

Oral health

When you have teeth that are crooked, crowded, or overlapping, brushing and flossing regularly and effectively can be a challenge. If you’re unable to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, it can create favorable conditions for a buildup of plaque and bacteria, increasing your risk for dental issues such as:

  • tooth decay
  • gum disease
  • cavities
  • gingivitis

As common as these ailments are, they are also preventable. Orthodontic treatment like braces can move the teeth into more optimal positions, making it easier to keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean.

Jaw alignment

If you’re dealing with misaligned teeth, you may notice it affecting your jaw muscles and joints. While joints will adapt to bad positioning, they will often compensate in a way that can cause damage, which is why we see so many jaw issues and misaligned teeth together. Some of the symptoms you may experience with improper jaw alignment are:

  • headaches
  • jaw that pop or “creak”
  • pain in the jaw, neck, or shoulders
  • sleep disorders

Team Demas Orthodontics provides customized braces treatment that can minimize or eliminate issues like these by properly aligning your teeth and jaws, resulting in a smile that looks good and feels great!

Bone erosion

If tartar and plaque are allowed to build up between the teeth and along the gum line for any reason, it may lead to the damage or destruction of the bone underneath the teeth. This can cause a number of symptoms, including loose teeth. If one of these fall out, the gums around it can erode. When you have noticeable gaps or spaces between your teeth, it can create a similar type of bone erosion due to the misalignment putting too much pressure on the jawbone. Braces can bring the teeth back together, relieving any unnecessary pressure and reducing or eliminating any symptoms that go along with it.

Explore what braces can do for your smile with Team Demas Orthodontics

Straight teeth are just the beginning at Team Demas Orthodontics. We’re proud to create beautifully aligned smiles that function to their full potential for all of our patients! Our team knows the difference a healthy smile can make, and works hard every day to give you a rewarding orthodontic experience, from start to finish. You’ll receive clear communication, compassionate care, and a warm welcome from us every time you walk through our door, because we are passionate about building relationships with our patients that last as long as your smile will!

If you’re in Southington or the surrounding areas, and want to learn more about how braces can benefit you far beyond a straighter smile, get in touch with our office today. Team Demas Orthodontics is an accomplished practice that creates top-quality smiles every day, and we would love to give you the smile you deserve!

Your Child’s First Orthodontic Visit

As a parent, you often find yourself waiting for your child to tackle, and then master, a whole list of firsts. First smile, first steps, first time they ride a bike, their first day of school. As exciting as it can be to watch our babies grow up and do learn new things, it can also be a little overwhelming! That is especially true of the times when you are not sure what to expect. Planning your child’s first orthodontic visit can be one of those times, but Team Demas Orthodontics wants to take the worry out of this experience. We feel that a child’s initial visit with us is also the most important one. If you only get one chance to make a good impression, we want to take full advantage of this opportunity to wow you!

The first orthodontic visit is a chance for us to meet and get to know families that are new to our practice. It also gives us the chance to familiarize parents and children alike with our Southington office, and the treatments and services we are proud to offer. At first glance, things may seem similar to an appointment with a general dentist. However, we do things differently, something that begins with the first time you walk through our doors. To help you feel more confident and less anxious about this particular parenting unknown, let us walk you through what you can expect from your child’s very first orthodontic appointment with Dr. Demas!

Taking the first steps towards your child’s best smile

When you enter our Southington office, you will receive a warm welcome from one of our patient coordinators. Once they take some information from you, you will be given a tour of the office. This gives us a chance to show you all the care and attention we have put into creating an environment that every patient will feel comfortable and relaxed in. Our lounge area is great for both adults and kids, and for our patients who are young (or just young at heart), our game room is a fun place to chill out before or after an appointment!

Once you have been shown around the inner workings of the office, we will generally want to photograph your child’s teeth and take an x-ray. This will give us a look at what is happening beneath the surface of the gums, such as the position and growth of the bones and joints, as well as any unerupted teeth.

At this time, you will meet Dr. Demas. He will perform a thorough examination of your child’s mouth and teeth.  You may be asked if you have noticed your child having any difficulty with chewing or swallowing, or if you have heard his or her jaw making any unusual noises. It is from this analysis that Dr. Demas will be able to make a proper diagnosis and create a customized treatment plan for your child.

Depending on your child’s developmental stage when it comes to their teeth and jaws, we may recommend starting some form of treatment right away, or we may encourage you to schedule periodic check-ups for them until we can determine the best time to start treatment.

This initial orthodontic evaluation typically lasts about an hour. It is important to us that parents feel like they have plenty of time to ask questions and discuss concerns without feeling rushed.

Walking you through the treatment options

Whether treatment is indicated now or later, this first appointment is the best time to talk about the treatment options available to your child. Dr. Demas will discuss all of these options with you, and explain to you what can be expected at different stages of the treatment process. He will also review several other topics, including:

  • how we expect orthodontic treatment will benefit your child’s oral health
  • what treatment options are available to help correct your child’s specific dental issues
  • how much treatment is likely to cost
  • available payment plans and financing options
  • how long we expect the treatment process to take

Once your questions have been answered, and Dr. Demas has mapped out a treatment plan, we will go over all the fees associated with the treatment process. Because every patient we see has their own specific needs and goals, treatment costs vary on a case-by-case basis. Dr. Demas and the rest of our team work hard to provide quality orthodontic care that is affordable!  We will check with your insurance company for you to determine your eligibility for orthodontic benefits, and we are happy to file the necessary paperwork on your behalf. We also accept cash, credit cards, health savings and flexible spending plans to help offer a variety of payment plans that will suit a wide range of budgets. You can rest assured we will always do our best to help you find the most comfortable financial option for you and your family!

A beautiful smiles starts with Team Demas Orthodontics

Orthodontic treatment can sometimes be a pretty long process. As we work to create a healthier smile for your child, you can expect to see us on a regular basis. We want your child to look forward to their appointments with us, and go out of our way to keep our office atmosphere warm and welcoming, as well as up to date on the latest orthodontic techniques and technology. And you know your child is in good hands here, as Dr. Demas is one of only two orthodontists in the state who is also an experienced pediatric dentist.

If your family is in the Southington area and it is time for your child’s initial orthodontic evaluation, get in touch with us today. There is no better time than now to take the first step towards a healthy, beautiful, and confident smile for your child!

How Much Can I Expect Braces to Help my [Overjet, Open-bite, and Cross-bite]?

If you’ve been dealing with a teeth alignment issue, you’re probably frustrated with the imperfection. You may have an overjet, crossbite, open bite, underbite, overbite, gap or something different that may be chipping away at your self-esteem. You may be asking yourself questions like, “How much can I expect in braces?” That’s a normal question that many people ask. However, it doesn’t have a quick answer. The following is some helpful information about all the factors that weigh in on the success that your alignment treatment has.

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There is a War and Women Have the Advantage

Smile Quote and Orthodontist

Smile Quote No. 8: There is no weapon in the feminine armory to which men are so vulnerable as they are to a smile – Dorothy Dix

Connecting with men can be very difficult for some women. Whether it is nerves or otherwise many women are unsure how to connect with men or break the ice. Strangely enough there is one tool that woman can use to connect with men, a tool that works universally well. A smile is one of the best ways that you can become instantly approachable and a way that you can connect with people almost instantly.

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Children’s Tooth Loss Timetable

At What Age Do Baby Teeth Normally Fall Out?

Team Demas Orthodontics
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When a child has reached 3 years old there are usually 20 baby teeth present. Up to the age of 6 years, these teeth remain firmly in place, but then tooth loss starts to take place.

Activity in the mouth changes rapidly between the ages of 6 and 8 years when eight of these teeth are lost – one after the other. The remaining 12 stay firmly in place from age 8 to age 10 and the next mass tooth loss occurs between the age of 10 and 13 years

This tooth loss follows a certain sequence as well as a time frame but is not always consistent. The front four teeth, both lower and upper, are normally lost first, starting at age 6 with the bottom central incisors and then the top central incisors. The top and bottom lateral incisors then emerge between the ages of 7 and 8. Your child should have 8 permanent teeth by the time he or she has reached 8 years.

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