Girl with braces takes selfie in field

The Best Time for Braces

Are you wondering what’s the best time for braces? It might be earlier than you think! For adults and kids alike, there are plenty of reasons people might want braces – and it’s not just cosmetic. Having straighter teeth can have some health benefits too.

For Kids: No Later than Age 7

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a checkup with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7.

  • Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.
  • While your child’s teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect.
  • Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.
  • In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Additionally, early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to guide jaw growth, lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth, correct harmful oral habits, improve appearance, guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position and improve the way lips meet.

For Adults: Anytime!

Teeth can shift at any age – maybe due to an injury, a health condition or just natural growth. Some people who had braces as a child might even need them a second time when they get older, especially if they neglected to wear their retainer after their braces were removed. If you have any of the following issues, you might want to consider braces:

  • If you have a crossbite or misaligned teeth
  • If you are experience headaches, ear pain or stomach issues related to your oral health
  • If you’re not confident about your smile

Orthodontics have come a long way in just the last decade. If you’re concerned about the appearance of braces, be sure to take a look at Invisalign® clear aligners. These “invisible” braces can discreetly straighten your teeth and be removed for eating and cleaning at anytime. If you’re unhappy or concerned about your teeth, we’d love to schedule a free consultation with you to discuss your options.

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

Schedule your free consultation at one of our BracesBracesBraces locations in Texas:

Big Spring

307 W. 16th Street
Suite D
Big Spring, TX 79720
Phone: (432) 267-3657

Lubbock

3801 50Th Street
Suite 15
Lubbock, TX 79413
Phone: (806) 833-5437

Midland

3401 Greenbriar
Suite 300
Midland, TX 79707
Phone: (432) 682-1614

Odessa

2631 Faudree Road
Suite B
Odessa, TX 79765
Phone: (432) 339-4444

 

group of women of different ages and ethnicity stand smiling

Women’s Oral Health at Every Life Stage

Studies show that not only are women more proactive about their oral health, but also have a better understanding about what good oral health entails along with a more positive attitude toward visiting the dentist. However, due mostly to hormonal fluctuations at different life stages, women generally have more oral health concerns to worry about. But what’s new, right?

If you’re curious about how puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause affect your oral health, we’ve prepared a quick summary of how to prepare for and how to maintain great oral health throughout every stage of your life.

Puberty

Puberty occurs in girls between ages 8 to 14. In addition to developmental changes, hormones such as estrogen progesterone increase blood flow to the gums and can cause them to become red and swollen. Along with hormonal fluctuations,  microbial changes in the mouth result in in “destructive” bacteria that can lead to more plaque, cavities, gingivitis and bad breath. If your daughter is going through puberty, it’s normal for her to experience light bleeding during brushing and flossing.

Encourage her to keep a good brushing and flossing routine, in order to cut down on plaque.

Menstruation

A woman’s menstrual cycle also impacts her oral health. Hormonal fluctuations can cause swollen gums and possible bleeding while you brush or floss, especially the week before your period. During their period, many women experience dry mouth and bad breath due to a loss of saliva. Finally, thanks to increases in the mucosal lining of your oral cavity, some women are susceptible to canker sores in the days leading up to their periods.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, try rinsing at least once a day with a nonalcoholic mouthwash.

The best time for women to schedule a dental cleaning is the week after your period. High estrogen levels before and during your period can cause gum inflammation, which can throw off the results when your dentist measures pocket depth — a measurement of gum health. Your cleaning could also be more painful around this time.

Wait to schedule your checkup for a more comfortable experience and better results.

Pregnancy

By now, you’ve figured out that you are more at risk than men for gum disease. And we’re sorry to say it doesn’t get any better when you’re pregnant. Although women were once discouraged from seeing the dentist while pregnant, it is now suggested that women schedule a checkup between four to six months. This is because the first three months of pregnancy are thought to be of greatest importance in your child’s development. During the last trimester, stresses associated with dental visits can increase the incidence of prenatal complications. Pregnant women who already have gum problems need to be extra diligent about their oral hygiene as it can worsen and turn to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.

If you get a sweet tooth while pregnant, we encourage you to reach for cheese, fresh fruits or vegetables instead of soda or ice cream.

Menopause

In menopause, estrogen levels decline rapidly, which can lead to bone loss and periodontitis. Postmenopausal women are at risk for osteoporosis,  a disease that causes brittle bones and has a major impact on the jawbone supporting the teeth. Many women begin hormone therapy and taking supplements to combat estrogen, calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies as a result of menopause, but you can still lose teeth even if you are doing everything right. If you’ve lost teeth as a result of osteoporosis or menopause, dental implants have been shown to improve quality of life more than dentures.

If you are experiencing any oral health concerns during menopause, make a dental appointment as soon as possible.

Women’s Oral Health Tips

So despite taking better care of your teeth and gums than men do, your hormones are working against you and steering you toward gum disease and bone loss. But you can still do something about it! If you believe you have gum disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss your gum health and how you can improve your oral hygiene. Otherwise, be sure to follow these general tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy:

  • Brush twice each day
  • Floss at least once per day
  • Rinse with a nonalcoholic mouthwash every day
  • Chew gum after meals
  • Change your toothbrush 3 or 4 times per year
  • Avoid artificially sweetened foods and drinks
  • If you play sports, wear a mouth guard
  • Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco

 

Outlay of multiracial faces printed

How to Prevent Oral Cancer

Oral cancer kills someone in the U.S. every hour.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is cancer of the mouth or throat, sometimes connected to head and neck cancer. It is more prevalent in men than in women and can develop in lips, cheek lining, salivary glands, hard palate, soft palate, uvula, the area under your tongue, gums, tongue and tonsils. Despite being mostly preventable, an estimated 49,670 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year and more than 9,700 will die of the disease.
 

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

  1. Tobacco: The greatest risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco, accounting for about 60% of oral cancer diagnoses. Smokers are 3 times more likely to lose teeth than non-smokers and people who use chewing tobacco are still at risk for cancers of the cheek, gums, and inner surface of the lips. If you are using other smoking alternatives like vaporizers, be warned – no smoking alternative has been proven to be more healthy than cigarettes.
  2. Alcohol: Oral cancers are about six times more common in drinkers than in nondrinkers. When tobacco and alcohol use are combined, the risk of oral cancer increases 15 times more than non-users of tobacco and alcohol products.
  3. Diet: Refined sugars, oils and carbohydrates and dairy products have been shown to increase inflammation in the body as well as risk for oral cancer. The main culprits are bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, muffins, cakes, boxed cereals, frozen treats, pretzels, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages and candy.
  4. Age: 86% of the people diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 50, but lifestyle and environmental factors are generally the greatest risk factors.
  5. Excessive Exposure to Sunlight: Excessive and unprotected exposure to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet radiation (UV) like tanning beds is linked with cancer in the lip area. The skin on lips is actually much thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of the face. Men who work outside are 5 times more likely to develop oral cancer than those with jobs inside.
  6. Human Papilloma virus (HPV): Human papilloma virus is a common sexually transmitted infection. For many people, HPV causes no harm and goes away without treatment. Only a very small percentage of people with HPV develop mouth or oropharyngeal cancer, but the risks are very real – especially for current smokers and people who are frequently subjected to secondhand smoke.

 

How to Prevent Oral Cancer

  1. Brush, Floss, Rinse & Chew Every Day: Are you doing your Daily 4? Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, flossing once, rinsing and chewing gum after meals is recommended.
  2. Don’t Smoke or Chew Tobacco: Research has shown that ex-smokers reduce their risk of mouth cancer by more than a third.
  3. Drink Alcohol in Moderation: If you are going to drink, try to limit yourself to your one serving per day. For men on average, this means 24 ounces of beer or 10 ounces of wine. For women on average, this means only 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine. Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to many health problems, not just oral cancer.
  4. Eat More Cancer-Fighting Foods: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of cancer, as well as a healthy intake of Vitamin C and calcium. Try incorporating as many “cancer-fighting” foods into your diet as you can – kale, broccoli, blueberries, sweet potatoes, turmeric, yogurt, sunflower seeds, coconut oil, mushrooms and green tea are pretty easy to find at your local grocery.
  5. Don’t Fry Foods. Bake, Boil or Steam Instead: Frying your food increases the formation of acrylamide, a cancer-causing chemical also found in cigarettes. It is most commonly found in fried potatoes. If you are eating frozen foods, it is very important to follow the cooking instructions – or replace your frozen veggies with fresh ingredients from the produce section!
  6. Use Lip Balm with SPF: If you work outside, protecting your lips should be a priority. This means you too, men! Invest in a fragrance-free lip balm with SPF 15 or higher and apply throughout the day. This also goes for people who like to spend their afternoons gardening, swimming, skiing or sunbathing – protecting your lips is one of the easiest ways to prevent oral cancer.
  7.  Practice Safe Sex: If you are sexually active, you know it’s important for you to be safe. Contraceptives do not provide 100% protection against HPV, which is why vaccines are recommended. If you have any symptoms of HPV or think you might’ve been exposed, be sure to talk with your doctor about your health.
  8. Check Your Mouth Regularly for Symptoms: Purchase a small mirror and take a look around your mouth. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment with your dentist or doctor soon.
  9. Schedule an Oral Cancer Screening: At your next regular checkup, remember to ask your dentist about oral cancer. If you feel you have symptoms of oral cancer, make an appointment with your regular dentist for an oral cancer screening.
marathon runner legs

Support Running2Rescue on May 6th

It’s not an easy topic to discuss, but human trafficking is a major problem affecting the world today. Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery—a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 20.9 million people around the world. And no matter where you live, chances are it’s happening nearby. Texas is among the most susceptible states in the US, with approximately 300,000 victims.

R2R - MAY 6 - MACKENZIE PARK - RUNNING2RESCUE.COM

How You Can Help

In an effort to help stop this terrible violation of human rights, Abbeville Dentistry would like to ask your support for OneVoiceHome – an organization that provides housing, support and care for victims of human trafficking. Our teams have committed to raising $20,000 for OneVoiceHome and to participate in their fundraising event, Running2Rescue. Last year’s event hosted 1,500 runners and raised over $121,000!

SAVE THE DATE - R2R 2017 - May 6TH

Free on May 6th? Register for Running2Rescue at running2rescue.com

Help Hotline

If you believe you’re a victim of sex trafficking or know someone who is and need immediate help please dial 1-888-373-7888 and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center will connect you with local assistance. Or victims and survivors may send amessage to BeFree (233733) to get help or to connect with local services.

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