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Why is flossing so important when I have braces?

February 24th, 2021

You've made an investment on spending money on getting braces, so why not keep your teeth in good health while undergoing orthodontic treatment?  Dr. Kathleen Chan and Dr. Ivy Chen and our team at Chan & Chen Orthodontics will tell you it is just as important to develop a regular hygiene routine while you're wearing braces as you did before proceeding with treatment.

Flossing is essential to the health of your teeth and gums when you're wearing braces. Because braces may hold food, sugars and liquids upon eating, it is very important to keep on top of your brushing and flossing, as well as visiting our office for regular adjustments.

While we know it's tough enough to get kids to floss daily without braces, that battle becomes even tougher when braces are involved. Remember that by not flossing, you will become more prone to cavities and gum disease during your treatment.

When flossing, remember to gently massage your gums in between the teeth. You will find that flossing with braces takes extra time, as you will have to weave the floss through each bracket. When flossing, there should be no signs of blood. If you see blood, you are not flossing enough or properly.

Using an electric toothbrush is also a good idea to massage your gums before or after flossing as electric toothbrushes can help remove any harmful bacteria that are lingering in your mouth. And don't forget to add a mouthwash to your routine to break up any bacteria that has formed. A good mouthwash will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape during your treatment.

If you have any questions about flossing or your orthodontic treatment at Chan & Chen Orthodontics please don't hesitate to give us a call or during your next adjustment appointment!

Not-So-Sweet Sweets: The five worst candies to eat during orthodontic treatment

February 17th, 2021

Sticky, hard, and gooey: these candies fill your dopamine receptors with spasms of sugar-filled joy, but if you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment at Chan & Chen Orthodontics to straighten your teeth, then these sweets are not so sweet. While you may have a Willy-Wonka-sized sweet tooth, there are some candies you’re going to have to avoid while wearing braces.

Here are five bracket- and wire-destroying culprits that Dr. Kathleen Chan and Dr. Ivy Chen and our team recommend leaving on the candy aisle and not put in your mouth, no matter how tempting they may be.

  1. Gum is sticky and stringy. It can get tangled like fishing net in your braces. You don’t want to be that boy or girl trying to pull knots of Wrigley’s out of your braces without being seen.
  2. All chewy, gooey candies need to be avoided. When you’re wearing braces, don’t even think about putting a caramel candy in your mouth. Caramel will not only stick to your braces, making it look as if you haven’t brushed your teeth in a week, but the gooey texture can pull apart the wires, and trigger an emergency visit to Chan & Chen Orthodontics.
  3. Hard candy may seem like a safe choice, but it’s not. What’s the problem? Nobody ever just sucks on hard candy; sooner or later, we bite down on it. Biting a hard candy may cause part of your braces to snap. Furthermore, once the candy is broken into a bunch of little pieces, it’s not uncommon for one of those sugary shards to get wedged between your braces and teeth … and that’s a cavity waiting to happen.
  4. The taffy you enjoy getting at a seaside boardwalk is going to have to go on the back burner. Like caramel, taffy can pull apart and damage your braces. You don’t want to have your expensive orthodontic gear replaced.
  5. Please, just one lollipop? Nope. A lollipop is nothing more than hard candy on a stick. If you can’t have hard candy during orthodontic treatment, then you shouldn't have hard candy on a stick either.

Have any more questions about what you can and can’t eat when you have braces? Please give us a call at our convenient Andover office to learn more, or ask Dr. Kathleen Chan and Dr. Ivy Chen during your next adjustment visit!

National Child's Dental Health Month

February 17th, 2021

Happy February from Chan & Chen Orthodontics. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month Dental which makes it the perfect time for us to review some of the important steps in keeping your child’s smile happy and healthy. Keep reading to discover how you can help your child maintain a smile that will last a lifetime.

Oral hygiene is important at every stage of your child’s development. As soon as a tooth appears in the mouth, it's time to start keeping it clean. For older children in orthodontic treatment, keeping the teeth clean around their appliances can be challenging and requires diligent attention. Sometimes an electric toothbrush can help because it can have a timer so your child knows that they’ve brushed their teeth an appropriate length of time. As for the amount of toothpaste to use when brushing, a pea-sized amount is all that is required. For everyone, including adults, always use a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Ensuring your child has a balanced diet is another key step to maintaining a healthy smile. Any diet low in sugar is desirable for balancing good oral health. We recommend avoiding beverages such as soda and sports drinks, that are high in sugar and acid. Low sugar intake aids in reducing the risk of cavities.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first check-up with an orthodontist by age 7. By this age, a child will have a mix of baby and permanent teeth, and we will be able to recognize orthodontic problems (“malocclusions”) even in their earliest stages. Some situations will benefit from early treatment to prevent more significant issues later. We offer a warm, inviting, safe environment for your child’s orthodontic visits.

If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more, our team at Chan & Chen Orthodontics are always happy to discuss them with you—any time of year! We look forward to seeing you and your family in our office soon.

 

How to Floss with Braces

February 3rd, 2021

The Chan & Chen Orthodontics team knows that oral hygiene is important, whether you have braces on your teeth or not. But if you are a person who wears braces, caring for your teeth and gums can become somewhat challenging. Without daily oral hygiene practices, you may become prone to cavities and tooth decay during your time in braces.

Naturally, you know that brushing your teeth each morning and night, as well as after you eat, will help keep your mouth healthy and clean during the months you wear braces. But flossing is also an important part of your hygiene routine. Flossing with braces can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Dr. Kathleen Chan and Dr. Ivy Chen, your general dentist, or your dental hygienist can help you become more comfortable and adept at flossing your teeth during the months you wear braces.

Flossing Tips for Those with Braces

  • Use Tools Provided by Our Office. A floss threader is a small, plastic needle that will help you floss between the wires and your teeth. Thread a 12-to-18-inch piece of floss onto the needle, and use the needle to get the floss easily behind the wires.
  • Flossing Under the Wires. Once the floss is behind the wires, use your hands to manipulate the floss. Move it up and down along the wires to remove food particles.
  • Flossing Between Your Teeth. Floss between your teeth as you normally would without braces. Move the floss up and down between your teeth, using a clean section of floss for each tooth.
  • After You Finish Flossing. Your orthodontist may have suggested that you use a water pik or proxy brush after you finish brushing. Either of these tools will help remove any loosened food particles to ensure that your teeth and braces are clean.

Continue Good Oral Hygiene Habits

Good oral hygiene habits you use while wearing braces will help you achieve the beautiful smile you and the Chan & Chen Orthodontics team have been working toward. Once your braces are off, it may be tempting to slack off on the brushing and flossing. Don’t let yourself fall into any habits that will have a negative impact on your oral health or the attractive smile you waited for throughout the months you wore braces. See your general dentist for regular cleanings, and continue to brush and floss your teeth each day.

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