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Impact of Smoking on Oral Health

Southern Maine Orthodontics in Scarborough ME discusses the effects of smoking on mouth teeth and gumsWhen it comes to smoking, we’ve all been reminded constantly of the effects it can have on our overall health. In most cases, lung cancer is often the disease of choice that is a result of smoking. However, the damaging effects of smoking don’t stop there. Do you know the negative effects smoking can have on your oral health as well? Stained teeth and bad breath are just the beginning. At Southern Maine Orthodontics, we’ll help you understand the true cost of smoking as it relates to your teeth, gums and oral health.

Gum Disease

It starts with inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, the inflammation can lead to serious damage of the gum tissue, tooth loss and even bone loss in the jaw. Serious infections can also happen if the bacteria from any of the above mentioned gets into the bloodstream.

It is important to note that gum disease in those who smoke can be harder to treat. Smoking doubles the risk of developing gum disease due to the overwhelming number of toxins it introduces into the mouth.

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Are You Over-Brushing Your Braces?

Dr Chris Murphy at Southern Maine Orthodontics discusses the proper way to brush teeth during orthodontic treatmentHave you ever had that awkward experience when you drink a cold beverage and immediately feel a sharp pain in your teeth? You’re not alone. In fact, one in eight people has this same problem with tooth sensitivity. So what’s the cause? Believe it or not, tooth sensitivity such as this doesn’t have anything to do with cavities or even braces, the most common cause is brushing with too much force.

The Effects of Brushing Too Hard

Before, during and after undergoing orthodontic treatment, the concept of brushing your teeth regularly was drilled into your brain as the best way to maintain good oral health and hygiene. While some take this advice and brush as recommended (every morning, every night and shortly after each meal), some people translate this to mean that they should be brushing more aggressively. This is NOT the case.

Over-brushing or brushing too aggressively can wear down the protective layers that make up the tooth enamel. Additionally, it can push the gums back further – exposing the dentin layer under the enamel even more. This dentin layer leaves the teeth vulnerable to the nerves underneath that cause pain and discomfort when exposed to hot, cold and acidic foods.

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How to Survive Thanksgiving with Braces

Orthodontist Dr. Chris Murphy offers tips for Thanksgiving Dinner with braces in Scarborough, ME

If you’re a fan of food like we are (and really, who isn’t?), then Thanksgiving just might be one of your favorite holidays. Not only do you get to spend time with the ones you love, but you can also eat all the foods you might not get to eat as often.

So how do you enjoy the same joys of Thanksgiving while wearing your braces? To help you navigate the serving tables at your Thanksgiving gatherings this year, we at Southern Maine Orthodontics have a few tips for getting through all three courses.

Starters & Appetizers

Typically, while you’re waiting for guests to arrive or dinner to start, appetizers are brought out to keep you satisfied until the entrees were ready. While many common appetizers may not be good to consume with braces on, there are still quite a few options still open to you. To make it even easier, we’ve created two short lists to follow:

  • Appetizer Do’s: cheese chunks or slices, salami or pepperoni slices, soft dips with bread, meatballs or cocktail weenies in sauce.
  • Appetizer Don’ts: crunchy raw vegetables, chips, popcorn and nuts.

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What Happens When We Swallow Gum?

Orthodontist Dr Chris Murphy at Southern Maine Orthodontics explains the health risks associated with chewing and swallowing gum in Scarborough MEDr. Chris Murphy and the team at Southern Maine Orthodontics want to dispel an urban legend about chewing gum: if you swallow a wad of gum, it does not sit in your stomach for seven years. In most cases, actually, not even seven days. Chewing gum, although not meant to be swallowed, passes harmlessly through the digestive system and is excreted in the same manner as everything else we eat.

There is some truth to the myth, however: chewing gum is not digested. It contains resins, sometimes natural and sometimes synthetic, which our bodies cannot break down. Gum is simply passed along our digestive tract.

In rare cases, excessive amounts of swallowed gum can lead to constipation and intestinal blockage in young children. But parents need not be alarmed. Young children are not more susceptible to complications involving swallowed gum; young children are simply the only people who might swallow enough gum to cause digestive problems. Kids often forget or may not understand that gum is for chewing and not swallowing.

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Fun Halloween Costume Ideas for Braces

Southern Maine Orthodontics in Scarborough offers Halloween costume ideas for patients in bracesIt’s that time of year again! Halloween is just around the corner and we at Southern Maine Orthodontics are here to get you ready. For those of you currently in braces, you may be wondering how you can stand out with your costume while disguising your orthodontic treatment. Fear not! Here are six fun costume ideas you can try that make the most of your braces.

Darla from Finding Nemo

This character from the classic kid’s movie, Finding Nemo, is often what comes to mind when people think of costumes featuring braces. Darla’s enthusiasm for animals (often times too intense) and full face of metal made her one of the most memorable characters in the movie.

To achieve this look, find a purple sweater, white button down shirt, plaid skirt, plastic bag filled with water and fish and, most importantly, add freckles and something that resembles headgear to your face.

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Spread the Word – October is National Orthodontic Health Month

October means something a little different to our team at october is orthodontic health monthSouthern Maine Orthodontics because this is National Orthodontic Health Month. During October, orthodontic offices all over the country work together to promote their services and inform the community about the important work we do. Our goal is to draw attention to the fact that everyone needs to be evaluated for orthodontic treatment. You are never too young or too old if your bite or smile needs correction.

American Association of Orthodontics recommends that parents start early and all kids be evaluated 7 – 8 years of age. During the growing years of 7 – 10, kids undergo a major growth spurt that goes hand in hand with the eruptive pattern of their teeth and development of jaws.Read More