October is National Orthodontic Health Month

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October brings visions of ghosts, ghouls, and goblins for children, but it is also National Orthodontic Health Month for adults. Orthodontists around the country (including us) like to celebrate this time by spreading awareness about the benefits of straight teeth and an aligned bite.

Orthodontic Fun Facts
Who knew there were so many exciting things to know? Check them out:

• About four million people are wearing an orthodontic appliance in the US and 25% of which are adults, often in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.
• NASA created the wires used for braces (nickel-titanium for the space program) that are thin, elastic, and flexible and use body heat to maintain their shape on the teeth.
• Braces have been around for almost 300 years since they were designed by Pierre Fauchard (the Father of Dentistry) in 1728 using flat metal material connected by a thread to the teeth. Later, the dentist Edward Angle developed more advanced and modern orthodontic hardware, including brackets to straighten teeth and correct misaligned bites.
• According to archaeologists who studied mummies, ancient Egyptians tried to straighten their teeth using cords from animal intestines to simulate wires (gross, right?).
• Orthodontic appliances like braces straighten teeth, but retainers keep them aligned after the appliance comes off. Not wearing the retainer post-treatment often means having to have orthodontic treatment again.

Today’s Treatment Options
Crooked teeth that don’t fit together as they should are harder to clean, making them more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease. People straighten their teeth for various reasons, mainly for aesthetics (who doesn’t appreciate an aligned smile?), but also for correcting a misaligned bite like an overbite.

This is important because an aligned bite makes it easier to bite, chew and speak. For decades this meant wearing traditional braces, but today’s orthodontic patients have more choices:

Traditional Metal Braces
These use wires, brackets, and rubber bands on the front of teeth to correct misalignment.

Clear Braces
These are like traditional braces, only using clear ceramic brackets to straighten teeth.

Lingual Braces
These braces have the hardware (brackets and wires) attached to the back of the teeth instead of the front.

Clear Aligners
Typically, plastic trays such as Invisalign are worn over teeth to gradually shift them into the desired position.

Not Just a Pretty Smile
Straight teeth have benefits beyond your oral health:

• When you have an attractive smile, you will feel good about it, boosting your self-esteem, which is good for your psychological health!
• Aligned teeth also allow you to bite and chew food properly, which helps prevent digestive issues. Other health benefits from aligned teeth include pain relief from headaches, bruxism (chronic teeth grinding), and jaw problems like TMJ.
• Chronic teeth grinding and jaw clenching also interrupt a good night’s sleep and can worsen sleep apnea symptoms. Even sinus problems can be alleviated using orthodontics to help open constricted airways. As you can see, orthodontics goes way beyond just a pretty smile!

Creating awareness for National Orthodontic Health Month is important because orthodontic treatment can give you a healthier mouth and body while preventing health problems. To learn more about how orthodontic treatment can help you, we invite you to give our team a call today!

Dr. Rana Barakat, a board-certified specialist in Orthodontics, has been proudly serving Northern Virginia for more than 20-years! She has built her practice on a personal touch and excellent treatment.

As a parent, she understands wanting the best for your children by giving them beautiful, confident smiles. She makes it a priority to ensure optimal results, but also believes that each patient’s experience during treatment is just as important as the clinical result. As the 2015-16 President of the Virginia Association of Orthodontists, Dr. Barakat’s dedication and expertise reflect why her peers continue to nominate her as a Top Dentist.

Barakat Orthodontics is located at 45745 Nokes Blvd., Ste. 175, Sterling, VA 20166. Connect by visiting them online, or get social with them on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. Barakat Orthodontics can also be reached at (703) 433-9330.