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Orthodontic Back-to-School Checklist

September 6th, 2019

Hooray the kids are headed back to school! The summer activities and trips are over and now everyone has their days filled with reading, math, science….and dental health!

Make sure your children are ready for any orthodontic situation that might occur during the school day! Dr. Douglas Barden recommends that your student pack a small travel orthodontic supply kit in their backpack.

  • Travel toothbrush and floss sticks. It’s important that food doesn’t get stuck in braces or orthodontic appliances and sit on teeth all day long! If your child isn’t able to brush during the school day, teach them to rinse their mouth with water after eating to remove the food particles and dilute the sugar on their teeth.
  • Wax to cover any poking wires.
  • Mouth guards are essential for students who are playing sports. Be sure to get a mouth guard that works with braces. We can custom make a mouth guard for maximum protection.
  • Storage Case. Bring along a retainer or clear aligner storage case. Teach your children put their retainers or clear trays in the storage case when they eat. Never store a retainer or clear aligner in a napkin –it’s too easy to toss it accidentally! Retainers that are put in a pocket or backpack without a case can become damaged.

 If your child has braces, or other orthodontic appliances, avoid packing gum, sticky candy or treats, or hard fruits and veggies in their lunch box. Fruits and veggies are a healthy lunch choice but cut apples and carrots into bite size pieces or else choose softer options (think bananas, oranges, tomatoes, cucumber slices etc). For some other lunch ideas, check out our blog on healthy snacks.

 Life gets busy during the school year, but it is important that you continue to monitor your child’s brushing and flossing. Remember to brush 2 times a day for two minutes each time. Don’t forget to floss daily! Great dental hygiene should become a normal part of your child’s routine and the reward is a beautiful, healthy smile.

Be sure to ask Dr. Barden and his team at their Whitefish Bay office if you have any questions about making sure your child is ready for any orthodontic situation during the school day. We hope all of our patients and their families have a great school year!

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What is Gum Disease?

August 2nd, 2019

What is gum disease? It’s also called Periodontal Disease and it is an infection of the tissues and bones around your teeth. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque. Infected gum tissue pulls away from your tooth and as the disease progresses the tissues and bones around your teeth are destroyed. This can result in teeth falling out or needing to be removed! Unfortunately, periodontal disease is common and can affect people regardless of age or gender.

Here are a few of the signs of possible periodontal disease:
- Red, swollen gums, or pus between teeth
- Bleeding after brushing or flossing
- Bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away even with brushing and rinsing
- Loose teeth

If you notice these signs, or have concerns about your teeth and gum health, make an appointment to see your dentist.

Things that may increase your risk of periodontal disease:
- Use of tobacco products
- Diseases that weaken the body’s immune system
- Pregnancy or changes in female hormone levels
- Certain medications
- Stress
- Genetics

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to practice excellent dental hygiene. Please ask Dr. Douglas Barden or any of his dental assistants if you have questions about flossing and brushing while receiving orthodontic care. Finally, remember that regular dental exams and cleanings are important and can find signs of periodontal disease before it becomes a serious problem!

Camping with Braces

July 5th, 2019

Kohler Andrae State Park, Wisconsin. Photo by D. Barden

Summertime in Wisconsin is wonderful. The weather is (finally!) warm and sunny. The beautiful nature, lakes, and State Parks are perfect for exploring. It’s a great time to go CAMPING! In addition to packing your tent, sleeping bags, and other camping gear-- don’t forget to pack for good oral hygiene!

Here are Dr. Barden’s suggestions for maintaining good dental hygiene while camping:

  • Get all in one tooth brushes. These come with toothpaste and a flosser built in!
  • Bring safe-to-swallow toothpaste.
  • Buy light, travel size toothbrush and toothpaste kits.
  • Consider using environmentally friendly substitutes like baking soda.
  • If all else fails, brush and rinse with water.

Dr. Barden also recommends packing the following if you are currently in treatment with braces, clear aligners, or retainers:

  • Bring an emergency kit in case of orthodontic situations such as poking wires. Having some wax can solve minor emergencies until you return from your trip.
  • Don’t forget your retainers and storage case. Be sure to put them in a safe place so you don’t lose them among your camping gear.
  • Bring a storage case for your clear aligners if you are being treated with Invisalign ®

We hope you enjoy your time camping and exploring the great outdoors in Wisconsin and other parts of the United States. Happy Camping!

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Teaching Kids to Brush Teeth

June 7th, 2019

Are you having trouble getting your kids to brush and floss their teeth regularly and thoroughly? We understand – little kids wiggle, don’t open wide, and it can be tough to get them to brush. Don’t stop trying: brushing and flossing are important for preventing cavities and maintaining good oral health.

Parents often ask why it’s important to brush “just baby teeth”. They might be baby teeth, but some of these teeth will be in your child’s mouth until they are 12 years old. Cavities in baby teeth will need to be taken care of which can be painful and expensive. Infections in teeth can also cause other health problems in your child.

Teaching your child good brushing and flossing skills takes time. But, if you start at a young age they will develop an important lifelong skill.

Dr. Barden’s advice on teaching kids to brush and floss:

  • Start when your child is a baby! Before the first tooth even erupts gently wipe your child’s gums with a soft, wet washcloth.
  • Once the first tooth erupts continue to wipe the tooth and consider getting a soft bristle baby brush. You don’t need to use any toothpaste yet.
  • As your child gets more teeth use a tiny bit of children’s fluoride toothpaste. Think the size of a piece of rice. Gently brush the child’s teeth using a rotation.
  • Around the age of 2 your child will likely want to brush their own teeth. Great! Let them brush their own teeth but the parent should do a second brush until the child is able to clean the teeth well on their own (around age 12!)
  • Use special children’s mouth wash that shows areas missed when brushing. This can help the child (and parent) learn how to brush more thoroughly.
  • Floss using floss sticks. They are easier to use than string. Children should floss daily.
  • Do you have a reluctant brusher? Use a sticker or reward chart. Every time your child brushes without a struggle—they earn a sticker on the chart. After a set number of stickers, they earn a desired prize. Just make the reward isn’t candy-related!

We recommend that children start to see a family dentist or pediatric dentist around their first birthday. This dentist will closely monitor your child’s teeth, check for cavities, and determine if treatments, such as sealants, would be beneficial for your child.

Dr. Barden and his team provide every patient with a chart that gives feedback on their brushing and flossing.  We are happy to work with you to teach your child good brushing and flossing skills.

Do you have any creative suggestions that helped your child learn to brush and floss? Share them with everyone on our Facebook page!

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