healthy teeth

Healthy Teeth and Holiday Treats

December 4th, 2020

Dr. Douglas Barden and his team love this time of year! Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s there are so many delicious, holiday treats!

In order to keep teeth healthy while also enjoying the many delicious holiday treats we suggest the following things:

Everything in moderation – some treats and sweets are fine but be cautious about the amount of sugary foods that you eat.
Don’t snack on sweets all day – that just extends the amount of time for the sugar to be on your teeth. Pick your time to eat the sweets and then brush your teeth clean!
Pick sweets that are not sticky. Chocolate is a better choice as it is easier to rinse from your teeth.
Use a travel toothbrush - after eating the sweets be sure to give your teeth a brush to remove the sugar
Drink some water to rinse your teeth and dilute the sugar.

Remember, if you have braces you should avoid sticky candy (such as caramel), nuts, and hard candies that could break your orthodontic appliances or bend the wires. If you have Invisalign or clear aligners you can eat whatever you want because you remove your aligners while you eat. Just remember to brush before putting the aligners back on!

The holidays are a great time to schedule your 6 month check up and cleaning with your dentist. They can also work with you to whiten your teeth if you want to have an extra bright smile for those holiday photos.

Happy Holidays to everyone from Barden Orthodontics. We wish you all a season filled with love, good cheer, and beautiful smiles. 

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A Beautiful Smile Requires a Great Partnership

November 6th, 2020

A Healthy Smile requires a Partnership between You, your Orthodontist, and your Dentist

Dr. Douglas Barden is an orthodontist who specializes in the movement of teeth and dentofacial development. Orthodontists complete an additional 2 to 3 years of training after having completed dental school (DDS). As an Orthodontist, Dr. Barden provides the expertise to straighten your teeth and align your jaws.

While in Dr. Barden’s care he will work in close cooperation with you and your family dentist to ensure the development of a healthy, beautiful smile.  Your dentist will continue to monitor that your teeth and gums stay clean and healthy. Dental hygiene is especially important during orthodontic treatment as it can be more difficult to keep teeth clean while in braces.

What is the patient’s role?

  • It is essential that patients (you!) follow your dentist’s instructions on how to keep your teeth clean and visit every six months for a dental cleaning (or more often as instructed).
  • You must also follow Dr. Barden’s instructions and wear your appliances and bands as instructed so that your teeth and jaws move in the way desired and on schedule.
  • It is important that you avoid hard and sticky foods that can damage your orthodontic appliances. Broken brackets and bent wires will slow down treatment progress.

If you have questions be sure to ask Dr. Douglas Barden or his staff in their Whitefish Bay, WI office.

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Top Tips for a Healthy Smile

October 16th, 2020

You have chosen to get orthodontic treatment because you value having a beautiful, healthy smile. Dr. Douglas Barden and his team are working with you to improve your teeth positioning and jaw alignment. It is also important that you have excellent dental hygiene to keep your teeth clean and cavity free.

Dr. Barden's Top Tips for a Healthy Smile!

  • Follow all instructions about wearing your appliances and rubber bands.
  • Follow the 2-2 rule. Brush your teeth 2 times a day, for 2 minutes each time. Use a timer to make sure you don’t cut the time short.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss everyday.
  • Rinse with a mouthwash designed to show missed food particles. This way you are sure to get everything clean and improve your brushing skills!
  • Visit your dentist for an exam and cleaning every 6 months (or as directed by your dentist).
  • Limit sugary foods and snacks to special treats.

Remember to ask Dr. Barden and his orthodontic team if you have any questions about what you can do to keep your teeth healthy to ensure a smile that you will love for a lifetime!

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Brushing Children's Teeth

September 18th, 2020

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. Douglas 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 sure the reward is not 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 Instagram or Facebook

Beverages and your Teeth

August 14th, 2020

Before you grab something to drink-- stop and think about your teeth! Coffee and tea can stain your teeth. Soft drinks, sports drinks, juice, and vitamin waters often contain a lot of sugar and acid. Diet or “sugar free” sodas contain acid that also harms your enamel. Sugar and acid  weaken the enamel and can result in  tooth decay and cavities.

What can you do to reduce tooth decay? Drink soda, sport drinks, juice, and flavored waters in moderation. After drinking sweet beverages, be sure to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water to dilute the sugar.

Water is an even better choice. It has no sugar, no acid, and no calories. In many communities the tap water has fluoride to help strengthen your teeth. Plus, if you use a refillable water bottle you are helping to protect the environment.

Remember: healthy teeth require healthy food and beverage choices, regular brushing and flossing, and regular checkups with your dentist. The reward is a beautiful, cavity free smile!

Be sure to ask Dr. Douglas Barden and his team if you have any questions. Follow Barden Orthodontics on Instagram Facebook or Twitter to get more tips and helpful orthodontic information.

Considerations When Picking the Right Mouthwash

August 8th, 2017

A solid oral health routine begins with daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Without a consistent oral health regimen, you may begin to experience tooth decay and bacterial infections. Few patients ask Dr. Douglas Barden about different mouthwash options, so we’ve put together a list of the conditions that mouthwashes can treat. This should help you decide which oral rinse would be best for you.

Gum Health

Antiseptic mouthwashes reduce large amounts of bacteria on and near the gum line and generally help to decrease your chances of developing gingivitis. The key ingredients of antiseptic mouthwashes are antibacterial and antimicrobial items. Antiseptic mouthwash is a preferable option if you are concerned about the general gum health of your mouth.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a great tool for preventive tooth decay treatment. It prevents tooth decay and is great for oral health in general because it kills germs that can live in your mouth. Fluoride also builds stronger teeth. If you’re a bottled water drinker, Dr. Douglas Barden may recommend that you purchase a simple fluoride rinse to use after brushing.

Bad Breath

Fluoride mouthwash can be used to fight any bad breath issues you may be facing. It’s designed to combat any bacteria that might be building up in your mouth. Most mouthwashes will help eliminate bad breath, but some are specifically designed to address this difficult problem. If you feel as though this might be turning into a chronic problem, please contact Dr. Douglas Barden to discuss other options that would be effective for treating your symptoms.

American Dental Association (ADA Approval)

The ADA reviews all mouth rinses for safety measures and to prove effectiveness. Any mouthwash approved by the ADA has met strict guidelines according to whether the manufacturer’s claims are supported with scientific evidence. If you’re looking for a quality mouthwash, look for one that has the ADA seal of approval to ensure you have a great rinse for your mouth.

Considerations

When you’re trying to decide which mouthwash to pick, contact our Milwaukee, WI or ask Dr. Douglas Barden during your next appointment. If you experience a burning sensation in the soft tissues of your mouth, be sure to discontinue use immediately. Avoid letting children under age six use a mouth rinse, and be sure to keep all mouthwashes out of the reach of children, because they contain alcohol and other substances that could be harmful.

Eat Well, Feel Good, Smile Better

July 11th, 2017

Did you know that the most common oral health diseases are tooth decay and gum disease? Not so coincidentally, they are also the easiest to prevent. As much as we would like for the brushing and flossing to do all the work for us, in reality, we really are what we eat — and a healthy diet is just as important for dental health as it is for the rest of the body.

Eating well boosts your immune system, and makes you less susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay. When you maintain a balanced diet, you provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to succeed. So what does a healthy, balanced diet entail? It’s really quite simple. Here are some tips:

  1. Focus on lean meats, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats. Healthy food = Healthy teeth!
  2. Limit your intake of sugary drinks like energy drinks and soda. Healthy beverages are important!
  3. Keep your sweet tooth in check.
  4. Beware of acidic meals and snacks that are high in salt and sodium.
  5. Drink lots of water.

Unfortunately, there’s no “one size fits all,” magic diet that will automatically improve your oral health, but following the five guidelines above as best you can is a great way to start. Food and drinks that are high in sugar or acidity weaken your enamel, stain your teeth, and make you more likely to develop a cavity or gum disease.

At Barden Orthodontics, we like to encourage our patients to drink a lot of water during the day. Doing so not only keeps you hydrated, but also helps rinse out the sugar and acid from various things you’ve consumed during the day.

If you think your diet might be affecting your smile, come pay Dr. Douglas Barden a visit or give our Milwaukee, WI office a call! We’re always happy to answer your questions.

Foods can Wreak Havoc on Your Enamel

April 4th, 2017

It’s possible to develop tooth decay even when you take great care of your teeth. Brushing and flossing may not be enough to keep your teeth healthy, depending on your diet. Cavities, discoloration, and decay are still possible when certain foods feature in your daily intake. Keep an eye out for foods that will damage your enamel and cause the very issues you’ve been trying to avoid.

What causes enamel damage?

Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth that is made of various minerals. Tooth decay results when the acids in your food react with the minerals in your enamel. Strongly pigmented foods may also cause unsightly discoloration on the surface of your teeth. Avoid wreaking havoc on your beautiful smile by identifying the foods that can harm your enamel.

Acid

Acidic food is your teeth’s worst nightmare! This is the greatest cause of enamel damage, even if you brush and floss regularly. To avoid damaging your teeth, make sure you can determine whether a food is acidic or not.

The pH levels are a way to determine acidity on a one-to-seven scale. This defines the relative acidity or alkalinity of a food or substance. Foods with high pH levels are not as likely to harm your enamel.

It’s wise to avoid or minimize foods that are high in acids. Highly acidic food can include fruits such as lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, grapes, and apples. Moderately acid foods may surprise you; they include tomatoes, maple syrup, pickles, and honey.

Not surprisingly, eggs and dairy products such as milk and cheese contain the least amount of acid. Red wine and coffee can also discolor your enamel if they’re drunk in excessive amounts.

What can I do to prevent enamel damage?

There are plenty of ways to avoid discoloration and decay of your enamel. The best thing to do is limit the amount of high-acid foods, including sugary juices and soda, in your diet.

Another way is to brush and floss regularly, an hour after each meal. If you can’t make time to brush, an easy solution is to swish your mouth with water or mouthwash to rinse away any leftover acidic particles.

Damaged tooth enamel may be common, but is avoidable when you know which foods to stay away from and the steps to take after you do eat highly acidic foods. Take our advice and you’ll be sure to slow down any future discoloration and decay that happens in your mouth.

Be sure to eat healthy foods for healthy teeth! For more advice on protecting your enamel, give our Milwaukee, WI a call to learn more!

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Diet Soda vs. Regular Soda: Which is better for teeth?

March 14th, 2017

When most patients ask Dr. Douglas Barden this question, they're thinking strictly about sugar content — cut out the bacteria-feeding sugar that's present in regular soda by opting for a diet soda and it will be better for your teeth. That seems logical, right? Well, there's a bit more to it than that. Let's take a closer look at how any kind of soda can affect your dental health.

Diet Soda – Why it can also lead to tooth decay

The main culprit in these drinks that leads to decay is the acid content. Diet sodas and other sugar-free drinks are usually highly acidic, which weakens the enamel on your teeth and makes them more susceptible to cavities and dental erosion. The level of phosphoric acid, citric acid, and/or tartaric acid is usually high in sugar-free drinks so it's best to avoid them.

Some patients also enjoy drinking orange juice or other citrus juices. These drinks are high in citric acid and have the same effect on the enamel of your teeth.

So what about regular soda?

We know the acidity of diet sodas and sugar-free drinks contributes to tooth decay, so what about regular soda? Like we alluded to earlier, regular soda is high in sugar — a 12 ounce can contains roughly ten teaspoons of sugar — and sugar feeds the decay-causing bacteria in the mouth. This also includes sports drinks and energy drinks, which are highly acidic and loaded with sugar too. So these drinks are a double-whammy of sugar and acidity your teeth and body simply don't need.

The problems caused by both diet and regular soda is exacerbated when you sip on them throughout the day. If you drink it all in one sitting, you won't be washing sugar and/or acids over your teeth all day long and your saliva will have a chance to neutralize the pH in your mouth.

The best beverages to drink and how to drink them

Drinking beverages that are lower in acid is a good step to take to keep your enamel strong. According to a study conducted by Matthew M. Rodgers and J. Anthony von Fraunhofer at the University of Michigan, your best bets are plain water, black tea or coffee, and if you opt for a soda, root beer. These drinks dissolved the least amount of enamel when measured 14 days after consumption of the beverage.

If you still choose to drink soda, diet soda, sugar-free drinks, or juices here are some other tips to lessen tooth decay:

  • Drink your soda or acidic beverages through a straw to minimize contact with teeth
  • Rinse with water immediately after consumption of the beverage
  • Avoid brushing your teeth between 30 minutes to an hour after drinking the beverage as this has been shown to spread the acids before your saliva can bring your mouth back to a neutral pH
  • Avoid drinks that have acids listed on the ingredients label

Still have questions about soda, sugar, and acid and healthy beverage choices? Give our Milwaukee, WI office a call and we’d be happy to help!

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Sports and Energy Drink Consumption Damages Tooth Enamel

September 13th, 2016

While they may sound refreshing, especially after participating in sports activities or after a jog, recent studies suggest that energy and sports drinks can damage tooth enamel, thus elevating your cavity risk. These drinks are especially popular among our younger patients.

In the study, researchers analyzed the fluoride content and pH levels of 13 sports and nine energy drinks by soaking tooth enamel samples in the aforementioned drinks. The samples were soaked for 15 minutes in each drink, and then were soaked for two hours in artificial saliva four times a day for five days.

As much as sports drinks are harmful to your teeth, researchers found that exposure to energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster®, and Red Bull® resulted in twice as much enamel loss as exposure to sports drinks such as Powerade®, Gatorade®, and Propel® (3.1 percent to 1.5 percent).

Yes, there are health benefits to consuming orange juice, fruit juices, sports drinks, and flavored waters, which can contain valuable ingredients such as vitamin C and other antioxidants; these drinks can also replenish nutrients lost during a sporting event and lower the chance of heart disease and cancer. But, if not consumed carefully, these beverages can harm your teeth. They are full of sugar, which converts to acid and wears away at your teeth, causing cavities, sensitivity, and eventually tooth loss.

Even one drink a day is potentially harmful, but if you are absolutely unable to give up that sports or energy drink habit, we encourage you to minimize their use and rinse with water afterward or chew a sugar-free piece of gum. Do not brush immediately after drinking them; softened enamel due to acid is easier to damage, even when brushing. Remember, it takes your mouth approximately 30 minutes to bring its pH level back to normal. The best thing to do is to wait an hour, then brush to remove sugar that lingers on your teeth and gums.

There are many sports drinks, energy drinks, and flavored waters out there today. Dr. Douglas Barden and our team recommend you take the time to read the labels and learn about the impact of beverages on your dental health. Check for sugar content and citric acid in the ingredients. If you have any questions, or would like suggestions on the best sports drink options, please give us a call at our Milwaukee, WI office or ask us during your next visit!

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