Curing the Nail-Biting Habit

August 20th, 2019

Do you ever find yourself gnawing at your nails? Nail-biting is a very common and difficult to break habit which usually has its beginnings in childhood. It can leave your fingers and nail beds red and swollen. But if you think that your nails are the only ones getting roughed up by nail-biting you'd be mistaken—so are your teeth!

According to a study by the Academy of General Dentistry, those who bite their nails, clench their teeth, or chew on pencils are at much higher risk to develop bruxism (unintentional grinding of the teeth). Bruxism can lead to tooth sensitivity, tooth loss, receding gums, headaches, and general facial pain.

Those are some nasty sounding side effects from chewing on your nails. Most nail-biting is a sign of stress or anxiety and its something you should deal with. So what steps can you take if you have a nail-biting habit?

There are several things you can do to ease up on nail-biting:

  • Trim your nails shorter and/or get regular manicures – Trimming your nails shorter is an effective remedy. In so doing, they'll be less tempting and more difficult to bite on. If you also get regular manicures, you’ll be less likely to ruin the investment you’ve made in your hands and fingernails!
  • Find a different kind of stress reduction – Try meditation, deep breathing, practicing qigong or yoga, or doing something that will keep your hands occupied like squeezing a stress ball or playing with a yo-yo.
  • Wear a bitter-tasting nail polish – When your nails taste awful, you won't bite them! Clear or colored, it doesn't matter. This is also a helpful technique for helping children get over the habit.
  • Figure out what triggers your nail-biting – Sometimes it's triggered by stress or anxiety and other times it can be a physical stressor, like having hang nails. Knowing what situations cause you to bite your nails will help you to avoid them and break the habit.
  • Wear gloves or bandages on your fingers – If you've tried the steps above and they aren't working, this technique can prove effective since your fingernails won't be accessible to bite.

If you're still having trouble with nail-biting after trying these self-help steps, it's best to consult your doctor, dermatologist, or Dr. David Bright. For some, it may also be the sign of a deeper psychological or emotional problem.

Whatever the cause, nail-biting is a habit you need to break for your physical and emotional well-being. If you have any questions about the effects it can have on your oral health, please don't hesitate to ask Dr. David Bright during your next visit to our Katy, Texas office.

The Dog Ate My Retainer!

August 19th, 2019

Be Careful with Retainers!

There are two places for removable retainers: in the mouth or in their case. When taken out of the mouth, retainers should be placed in their case. When taken out of their case, the retainers should be placed in the mouth.

Do not wrap retainers in a napkin – they can easily be thrown away with the trash. Do not place retainers in your pocket unless they are in their protective case. Without the case, retainers that are loose in your pocket can be broken.

Contact Dr Bright immediately if your retainer is lost or broken, if it is not fitting properly, or if eaten by your dog. Remember – you need to wear your retainers, not your dog.

Your Five-Step Guide to Preventing Tooth Decay While Wearing Braces

August 13th, 2019

If you’re wearing braces, then you know they are working hard to straighten your teeth. However, those hard-working braces are also preventing you from easily cleaning your teeth. It is essential that you put some extra attention into preventing tooth decay while wearing your braces. When your braces are finally removed by Dr. David Bright, you want a beautiful, white smile, not decayed or stained teeth. Here, we’ve listed the five best ways to ensure you have the smile you’ve always dreamed of once your braces are gone.

Use a Special Toothbrush

A regular toothbrush just doesn’t cut it when you are wearing braces. You also need to use an interdental toothbrush so that you can effectively clean behind the braces. This type of brush has bristles that are shaped like a Christmas tree that can remove food residue in the braces and on the teeth. We also recommend using a WaterPik, with its highly pressurized pulsating water, to help get all of those hard-to-reach places.

Brush after Every Meal

Since braces block food from naturally escaping your teeth after eating, it’s important that you take the time to brush and floss after every meal. The less time food has to sit on your teeth, the less likely it is to cause decay. This may seem like an inconvenience, but trust us, when you get your braces off, you will be very glad you brushed after every meal.

Don't Forget the Mouth Rinse

Even after properly brushing and flossing, there are probably some food particles in your braces. A fluoride mouth rinse is the best way to ensure that every bit of food is removed after meals. If you do not have a mouth rinse available, we suggest using water — it’s better than nothing.

Avoid Sweets

Prevention is definitely the best medicine when it comes to avoiding tooth decay. If you can nix decay-causing sugary foods from the outset, we promise you’ll spend less time trying to treat problems in the future.

Get Regular Checkups

Visit your dentist regularly while you are wearing braces. Our office recommends a thorough cleaning every three to six months. Let our Katy, Texas office know if you have questions about your oral health while in braces - our entire team at Bright Orthdontics is here to make sure your teeth are as beautifully straight as they are healthy!

Six Must-Haves for Cleaning Teeth with Braces or Aligners When You’re on the Go

August 12th, 2019

Patients with any type of orthodontic appliance should be cleaning their teeth multiple times a day. Most kids and young adults cannot brush after every meal, especially when they are in school. So here are a few tips to carry with you daily:

Water: It is something readily available, even in schools. If you cannot brush after eating at school or are out to eat in a restaurant you can get some water and swish it around in your mouth to get rid of food particles and some of the sugars in beverages. It by no means replaces brushing two-three times a day.

Toothbrush: Even without toothpaste you can brush and get all the food particles that are sitting under the brackets or wires removed so it is not constantly bothering you feeling the food under there or people seeing what you had eaten throughout the day.

Toothpaste: Travel size toothpastes are easy to carry in a purse or wallet.

Floss: Floss is always a good thing to carry as it can help remove the foods and sweets from between the teeth so you do not get cavities in between the teeth as easily.

A Pocket Mirror: A pocket mirror is also a good little thing to have handy that way if you are in the backseat of the car or in the mall you can see in between your teeth if you use a inter-proximal brush.

Another good thing to carry while you may not always need it, is some wax for sore spots from brackets or wires rubbing and poking.

When you start orthodontic treatment here at Bright Orthodontics, we give you all these little tools to keep braces clean the very first day we put your braces on! Schedule your complementary consultation to get braces or Invisalign TODAY!

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