Tips To Avoid Bad Breath While Wearing Braces

A beautiful, healthy smile is often the end result of wearing braces. The time you spend in orthodontic treatment is an investment in the good health and appearance of your smile. In Sioux Falls, SD, Dr. Kevin Horner, Dr. Keri Barrow and the Horner Barrow Orthodontics team also know that having braces can pose some challenges. Many of these challenges are commonly faced by anyone who has braces, such as flossing, getting food stuck in your braces or orthodontic appliance, and bad breath.


Today, let’s talk about bad breath and what you can do to avoid it. You shouldn’t have to avoid a conversation with someone because you are afraid you have bad breath.

Fresh Breath Tips for Braces Wearers
• Choose to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Unhealthy, overly-processed foods that are full of sugar can contribute to bad breath. Choose to eat fresh produce, healthy proteins and grains, and dairy products.

• Drink healthy beverages. Stay away from sugary sodas, energy drinks and juices for the same reason – they also contribute to bad breath.

• Keep your body properly hydrated. A constantly dry mouth inhibits the production of saliva, which can lead to bad breath. Regular production of saliva removes bad bacteria and excess food from the mouth, which, in turn, will lead to fresher breath.

• Brush regularly and brush often. Brush your teeth (and your tongue) first thing each morning, after every meal and snack, and before you go to bed, to remove those food particles and bacteria that lead to bad breath.

• Remember to floss. Flossing with braces might seem a bit tricky, but it is an absolute must. The team at Horner Barrow Orthodontics can demonstrate the most effective way to floss while wearing braces.

• Use a mouthwash. Use a mouthwash recommended by Dr. Horner or Dr. Barrow. To achieve optimal results, swish the mouthwash around in your mouth for 30 seconds.

• Continue to have regular dental checkups and cleanings. Regular dental exams and cleanings are even more important when you are wearing braces. Having cavities can delay your orthodontic treatment progress, so be sure to visit your family dentist every six months.

Practice Good Hygiene Every Day
Good oral hygiene practices are important every day, whether or not you wear braces. However, they are even more important during the time you wear braces. In addition to your regular orthodontic checkups, see your general dentist for cleanings and exams.

Together, you and the Horner Barrow Orthodontics team can help keep your mouth healthy and fresh during and after your orthodontic treatment.

Celebrate Earth Day! April 22, 2016

Earth-Day-Images-1Earth Day is a globally recognized event held annually on April 22. On that date, events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. The city of Sioux Falls, SD has partnered with certified green businesses and eco-minded individuals to offer several exciting events to help businesses and residents celebrate Earth Day 2016.

Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin, came up with the idea for Earth Day. He envisioned Earth Day as an environmental teaching moment. The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, with a surprising 20 million people participating. Ultimately, it became the largest organized celebration in United States history.

Earth Day Through the Years
Over the course of many years, the recognition of the day, and the number of people celebrating it world-wide, turned Earth Day into a global celebration. Because it is celebrated throughout the world, it is the largest international environmental observation, and is also more widely celebrated than any other environmental event in today’s world. Presently, Earth Day is celebrated in 175 countries with over 500 million people participating in celebrations around the globe.

The Earth Day Movement
The Earth Day movement is credited with fostering the idea that people should “think green”. It spurred Congress to enact laws, including one that resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. The passage of the Endangered Species Act also came about as a result of the Earth Day movement.

The Five “R”s of Earth Day
1. Reduce. Reduce by avoiding unnecessary purchases. Reduce your use of materials that just end up in landfills. Reduce the use of harmful chemicals in and around your home. Reduce your use of disposable plastic bags, plates, cups, eating utensils, and batteries. Choose toothbrushes made with eco-friendly bamboo to reduce the number of used plastic handled-toothbrushes that end up in our landfills.
2. Reuse. Instead of using those environmentally unfriendly plastic bags for your groceries or purchases, bring your own reusable bags. When you purchase coffee at your favorite coffee house, take a travel mug so you don’t have to get your coffee in a disposable paper cup. When storing leftover food in the refrigerator, use containers that can be washed and reused instead of using disposable containers. Don’t use regular batteries. Whenever possible, choose rechargeable batteries that you can reuse time and again.
3. Recycle. Most municipalities offer a recycling program to collect used bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard and newspapers. Recycling includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste; sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers, and manufacturing raw materials into new products such as plastic water jugs turned into park benches.
4. Re-buy. Make an effort to purchase things that are made through recycling. When buying furniture, look for items that are made from reclaimed wood. When purchasing paper for kids’ school work, computer printer paper, holiday cards, or any other paper products, make a point of choosing recycled paper products. Instead of buying clothing at full retail price, shop for clothing at your local consignment shop. You can also save a lot of money by doing this!
5. Rethink. Rethink the way you do things so that you do them in an eco-friendly way whenever possible. Instead of commuting to work alone, consider taking the bus or going in a carpool. Walk or ride your bike when you’re only traveling a short distance. Plan your shopping trips and errands so that you can do everything in one trip, in a way that you can save time and gas.

Other ways to “think green” include gardening to grow your own food, composting food scraps and yard waste, or by participating in local recycling programs. Join an online group like Freecycle so you can share your unneeded and unwanted possessions with people who can use them. In return, you’ll be able to get things you need or want for free.

Earth Day reminds us that the planet belongs to everyone, so everyone is equally responsible for protecting it. Although Earth Day is a one-day annual environmental celebration, we at Horner Barrow Orthodontics would like to recommend you make changes that will allow you and your family to live a greener life each and every day.

Happy Earth Day from all of us at Horner Barrow Orthodontics!

Do you bite your nails? Here are 5 good reasons to stop.

girl-biting-nailsYou know you should brush and floss twice a day, and visit your dentist twice a year, for optimal oral health.
Do you also know you should stop bad habits such as nail biting? Nail biting, also known as onychophagia, is a so-called nervous habit that can be triggered by boredom, stress, or excitement. Nail biting might seem like a harmless habit, but it can do more damage than you may think to your teeth.
It’s estimated that nearly half of all children between the ages of 10 and 18 have been nail biters at one time or another in their lives. Sixty percent of children and 45 percent of teenagers bite their nails, while 30 percent of adults do; however, most people stop chewing their nails by the time they reach the age of 30.
The main problem with nail biting is that it concentrates tremendous force in one particular location. This impact can cause damage, such as tooth fractures, chipped teeth and broken restorations. This force can also damage the jawbone, so it’s important for parents to help their children to stop their nail biting habit.
Here are 5 very good reasons to stop biting your nails (from an orthodontic and hygiene standpoint):
1. Nail biting wears down teeth. Over time, it can also erode enamel and cause uneven biting surfaces. Biting your nails, and chewing on thing like pens and pencils, means your teeth are constantly at work. These habits put added stress on them because they are being used all day.
2. Nail biting can lead to, or aggravate, temporomandibular disorder, causing jaw pain, headaches and locking of the jaw. Additionally, people who bite their nails are more likely to suffer from bruxism, or grinding of the teeth.
3. Nail biting can damage the roots of your teeth, making them weaker. This is especially true during orthodontic treatment, as nail biting while wearing braces can lead to root resorption. This is when the roots of the teeth get dissolved by the bone around it, causing the teeth to also weaken. That can significantly delay the progress of your orthodontic treatment.
4. Nail biting is unsanitary. No matter how often you wash your hands, your fingernails are still harboring germs. Biting your nails introduces new germs to your mouth, and can cause illness.
5. Nail biting can be an expensive habit. It can, literally, cost you money. The Academy of General Dentistry in the United States estimates that up to $4,000 in extra dental bills can build up over a lifetime of nail biting.
Dr. Horner and Dr. Barrow and the team at Horner Barrow Orthodontics recommend the following tips to help you kick your nail biting habit:
• Trim your fingernails. Keep the nails short by filing them, and trim the cuticles as well. If your nails are short, there will be less nail to bite. If you do find yourself biting a nail, stop right away and file the nail to not only shorten it, but to also file away any ragged edges.
• If stress causes you to bite, try breathing exercises or another calming exercise to relieve stress.
• Paint your fingernails with a bitter-tasting nail polish to help you keep your fingers out of your mouth.
• Treat yourself to a manicure on a regular basis. The monetary investment in having a beautiful set of nails might discourage you from damaging them, making you less inclined to bite your nails.
• Ask us about getting fitted for a mouthguard, which can help prevent nail biting.
• Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it whenever you get the urge to chew on your fingernails.
• Think about when and why you bite your fingernails. Whether you are nervous, anxious or just bored, understanding your triggers can help you find a solution to finally stop the habit once and for all.
• If all else fails, do an online search for photos of the bacteria that live under your fingernails. Thinking about the dirt and grime that you ingest when you bite your nails might be enough to make you quit.
It’s important for parents to find a way to help their child break the habit before real damage is done. For adults who bite their nails, it’s important to quit and be sure to visit a dentist regularly to catch and repair any damage before it becomes too serious.
Just remember that nail biting isn’t the only bad habit that can damage the teeth. If you stop nail biting, be sure not to replace it with something else, like chewing on the end of a pen or pencil, which still creates the same effect as biting your nails.
For strong, healthy teeth, avoiding chewing on ice, don’t brush your teeth too aggressively, and don’t consciously grind your teeth. Teeth should never be used as a tool; if you’re having problems opening a package, use a pair of scissors instead of ripping it open with your teeth.
During the course of a day, your teeth can take a beating. It’s important to remember that your teeth should be used only for chewing food, and during the rest of the day, they need to rest. If you are concerned about damage that may have been caused by nail biting, or another bad habit, call our Sioux Falls, SD office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Horner or Dr. Barrow.
So, are you ready to kick that nail biting habit? You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll be doing your teeth and your overall health a big favor!

Playing it Safe this Spring Sports Season


It’s spring! That means the start of a new sports season. It also means it’s once again time to remind our patients at Horner Barrow Orthodontics to protect their faces, and their precious smiles while out on the field playing sports. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, young children, middle school and high-school athletes and adults have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events annually. That’s a LOT of displaced teeth.
If you are going to be participating in any spring sports, it’s very important to have a properly fitting mouthguard as part of your essential equipment. Mouthguards can prevent cracked, chipped or broken teeth, lip and cheek injuries, jawbone fractures, mouth lacerations, and sometimes, even concussions.
Just remember, the only way a mouthguard will work is if you actually wear it, during practice and during a game! Wearing a mouthguard can make the difference between losing your teeth or not. One thing for our patients who play high school sports to keep in mind is this: your mouthguard from last year may no longer fit as it should because your jawbone is still growing and changing. Dr. Kevin Horner, Dr. Keri Barrow, and our team at Horner Barrow Orthodontics would be happy to fit you for a new mouthguard.
To learn more about mouthguards, or for any other questions you may have about your orthodontic treatment, please give us a call at our Sioux Falls, SD office!

An apple a day for good oral health!

applesIf you want to maintain and/or improve your children’s oral and dental health, there are plenty of ways to do that with smart, healthy food selections, rather than the obvious avoidance of sugary foods and drinks like candy and soda. Did you know that apples are a healthy food for teeth?

An Apple A Day
Of course, we all know that apples are an all-around healthy food, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’re good for your teeth, too. Apples are slightly acidic, which means they act as a gentle cleaning agent for your teeth. Although they’re certainly not a replacement for regular brushing and flossing, apples can also help to whiten your smile when eaten, as long as you eat the skin, too.

Yes, even if your child is wearing braces or Invisalign®, they can still eat apples to help improve their smile, but will have to use more care in doing so. Don’t allow them to bite into the whole apple with braces on – instead, cut up (and if they’re old enough, teach them how to cut up) the apple into smaller, bite-sized slices or pieces. This will help to maintain the integrity of the brackets, and ensure they don’t have to have anything readjusted, and it saves you a trip to the orthodontist, as well!

Having braces or Invisalign® should not keep your child from eating healthy foods – in fact, choosing foods with an eye for good oral and dental health is even more important!

The staff at Horner Barrow Orthodontics will be happy to help you and your children figure out the best way to make their smiles be as bright and healthy as possible. Call us at our Sioux Falls, SD office today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Kevin Horner or Dr. Keri Barrow!