October 26th, 2016
Halloween is a favorite holiday among children due to the festive games, imaginative costumes, and candy. Modern celebrations stem from a combination of traditions from Pagan and Christian traditions throughout the centuries. The original holiday was called Samhain and derived from the ancient Druids of Ireland. In their belief system, November 1st marked the beginning of winter, and Pagans began their Samhain celebrations at sunset on October 31st.
Modern Celebrations of Halloween
Children and adults love dressing up for Halloween, and this tradition comes from the ancient belief in spirits. From sunset on October 31st until sunrise on November 1st, the souls of the dead entered the physical world. Some spirits were benevolent and wanted only to cross over to the afterlife while others harbored malicious intents of revenge and trickery. Pagans wore masks and disguised themselves so that the malevolent souls would mistake them as fellow spirits.
Families left food and ale outside of their doors to appease the spirits. With the rise of Christianity in Europe, the church encouraged its members to offer food and money to beggars. In exchange, the beggars would agree to pray for the family's deceased loved ones. Eventually these traditions led to the development of today's customs where children dressed up and received candy from their neighbors while circling the community.
With all of the excitement and free candy on Halloween, it is easy to get carried away on a sugar high. Parents warn their children not to eat too many pieces in one night to avoid tummy aches and cavities. Our team at the orthodontic practice of Dr. Howard Steiman especially wants to remind children with braces to be extra cautious about the treats they eat because some varieties can get stuck in between the brackets and damage the devices. Sticky candy, such as caramels, fruit chews, and gum should be avoided when wearing braces. Children can trade with their friends and siblings to get only safe candies. The following list offers some alternative treats that children with braces can safely enjoy.
- Solid chocolate, including milk, white, or dark
- Nougat-filled candy bars, such as Three Musketeers
- Candy-coated chocolates like M&Ms
- Powdery candy, such as Sweet Tarts or Pixie Stix
- Mint-flavored candy
- Malted milk balls
- Peanut butter crackers or cookies
When in doubt, children should ask their parents or Dr. Steiman if a specific candy is safe. Halloween is a fun holiday for children, and having braces does not have to take away any of the excitement from tasty treats.
October 19th, 2016
It's a habit many people have and not only can it be annoying to the people around you, it can be detrimental to your dental health. Chewing ice is so common that it even has its own name, pagophagia. We're not talking about a slushy or shaved ice (although those artificially sugary treats should be avoided too!) but more like the hunks of ice rattling around in the bottom of your glass.
Ice chewing can be a sign of emotional problems like stress or obsessive-compulsive disorder, but it can also be a marker for iron deficiency anemia and other physical problems. Then again, some people just like to have something to chew on. For whatever reason you find yourself chewing on it, it's a habit you need to break.
Chewing on ice can cause:
- Chipped and cracked teeth
- Damaged enamel
- Sore jaw muscles
- Damage to dental work such as crowns, fillings, or other appliances
If chewing on ice is becoming a problem in your life, don’t hesitate to speak with Dr. Steiman about it. But if you find yourself still wanting to chew on something, here are a few alternatives to ice:
- Baby carrots
- Celery sticks
- Sugar-free (xylitol) gum
We know you need to chill sometimes, but chomping down your entire glass of ice is not the way to do it. If you have any other questions on the topic, feel free to talk with a member of our Ajax, ON team. It may be beneficial in solving the issue and helping to remediate any damage to your teeth.
October 12th, 2016
These days it's becoming more and more common to see adults at our Ajax, ON office getting their teeth straightened with Invisalign clear aligners — that is, if you can see them! Treatment with Invisalign is effective and aesthetically pleasing for all ages, but adults have certainly taken to them.
For some it may be to overcome the stigma that "braces are just for kids," but for others it may be the displeasing appearance and discomfort of traditional braces. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, from 1994 to 2010 the number of adults 18 and older getting braces increased by 58 percent, from 680,000 to 1.1 million annually. Many of these adults opt for Invisalign because of how discreet they are and since they don't need to avoid any foods or make dietary changes like you do with traditional braces.
The benefits of getting your teeth into proper alignment are many, and so are the advantages of Invisalign. By following your individual course of Invisalign treatment, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits over traditional braces:
- The total treatment time is more precise with Invisalign since your treatment is modeled by a computer, as compared to traditional braces where it is really just an estimate.
- You'll need to make fewer trips to our Ajax, ON office since you can change your trays on your own every few weeks or as prescribed.
- There's less risk to the health of your tooth enamel since there is no need to place brackets on your teeth.
- Invisalign aligners are clear and practically invisible, so most people won't even know you're wearing them!
If you're interested in Invisalign treatment, please let Dr. Steiman know. We'd be happy to help you on your journey to a straighter, healthier smile!
October 5th, 2016
By now, everyone knows that smoking is bad for you. But the truth is its broad-reaching health effects are not all known by everyone. This is especially true of oral health. Smoking can have serious repercussions in this regard. To give you a better idea of how smoking can affect your oral health, Dr. Steiman and our team have listed some issues that can arise.
Oral cancer can have steep ramifications for anyone that gets it. Surgery can be required to eliminate the cancer before it spreads to more vital parts of your body. Any type of cancer is about the worst health effect you can get, and this especially holds true to the affects that smoking has on your mouth. The type of mouth surgery required with oral cancer can leave your face deconstructed in certain areas, and it is all due to smoking or use of other tobacco products.
Tooth Discoloration and Bad Breath
At the very least, it is fair to say that as a smoker you will often have bad breath, and while you may try to cover it up with gum or mints, tooth discoloration is a whole other story. The chemicals and substances in cigarettes stick to your teeth staining them brown and yellow colors that are increasingly difficult to disguise.
Gum Disease and Loss of Bone
Another effect of smoking is the increased risk of gum disease. Your gums may start to recede, which can eventually lead to the loss of teeth. Smoking can also increase bone loss and density in your jaw which is vital to the health of your mouth. Gum disease and bone loss are two signs that smoking is definitely bad for your mouth.
When it comes to the health of your mouth, the question is not whether smoking affects your health, it's how does it affect your health and to what degree. If for no other reason than because smoking involves your mouth as its entry point, it is safe to say that it can have long-lasting and detrimental consequences on your oral health.
To learn more about smoking and your oral health, contact our Ajax, ON office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Steiman.