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Othodontist in Lafayette | The Truth Behind “Natural Whitening” Fads

Lafayette Orthodontist

It seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles showcase the idea that whitening can be cheap and easy, if in some cases unpleasant. It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without investing time and money on in-office or at-home whitening under a dentist’s care. However, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, take a look at the truth behind some of the recent fads.

Fad 1: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been cropping up in headlines for months with claims of a wide variety of potential health benefits. It is a very old folk remedy in which a person swishes a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, olive, etc., in their mouth and between teeth for up to 20 minutes daily.

Despite the number of years this practice has existed and the number of health issues it purports to treat, there is no evidence that oil pulling whitens teeth or improves health.

Fad 2: Fruits

Due to celebrity endorsement, some people have begun to try rubbing mashed strawberries on their teeth to try to achieve a whiter smile. Others are using lemon or orange peels, and still others tout the virtues of eating pineapple or swishing apple cider vinegar.

However, there is no science to support any of these claims. In fact, one recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (which is known to have whitening effects on teeth) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all of these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.

Fad 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

While it is true that many forms of in-office and over-the-counter teeth whitening make use of hydrogen peroxide, there is more to consider before opening a bottle. The hydrogen peroxide used in professional teeth whitening, whether in-office or at-home, is mixed with other substances and provided in a form designed for use in teeth whitening.

Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will have little or no effect on the whiteness of your teeth, but may cause irritation to your gums and mouth and can be dangerous if accidentally ingested.

If you want whiter, brighter teeth, there are safe and effective ways to achieve your goal. Talk with our doctor for a recommendation for what kind of whitening will be best for your needs. For more information about whitening, contact our office.

4906 Ambassador Caffery, Pkway., Building L, Suite 1200
Lafayette, LA 70508
(337) 233-3677

Abbeville Orthodontist | Sleep Could Be Harming Your Teeth

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Do you grind your teeth while you sleep? Occasional bruxing, or grinding, of the teeth is not a cause for concern. For some patients, however, clenching and grinding are an involuntary and frequent occurrence. In these cases, grinding may be happening almost every night or even while they are awake. This is a far more serious issue known as bruxism.

Bruxism occurs most often during sleep and can have a variety of causes. The most common issues that can lead to bruxism are stress and poor alignment of the teeth and/or jaws.

Because bruxism most frequently happens while the patient is sleeping, it can be challenging to diagnose. However, there are a number of symptoms that may indicate bruxism. Some of these include:

  • Sore teeth
  • Worn, flattened, fractured, or chipped teeth
  • Swollen gums
  • Headache, especially when waking
  • Grinding sounds during sleep
  • Biting/chewing damage to inside of cheek
  • Sensitivity to heat, cold, or brushing
  • Hairline cracks or worn enamel
  • Tense or sore jaw and/or facial muscles

Talk to our dentist about your symptoms. Let us know if a sleeping partner has told you they have heard you grinding your teeth while you are sleeping. We will examine your teeth and jaw for wear and sensitivity. If bruxism is diagnosed, there are multiple treatment options that may be recommended, depending on the probable cause.

Orthodontic treatment may be recommended to treat your bruxism in some cases. This may include the fabrication and use of a night guard or treatment for misalignment.


A night guard is a custom-fabricated oral appliance that is placed between the upper and lower teeth during sleep. This device provides a flexible barrier that prevents wear on your teeth and reduces the pressure caused by grinding, which can alleviate other symptoms.

Treatment for misalignment will generally involve some type of braces or plastic aligners that will gently move teeth into proper positioning within the mouth. This can help relieve symptoms and prevent their recurrence if the bruxism is caused by the misalignment.

Left untreated, bruxism can lead to more serious oral health issues. If you believe you may have bruxism, contact our office for a consultation today.

2639 North Dr.
Abbeville, LA 70510
(337) 893-2125

Breaux Bridge Orthodontist | What Vegetarians and Vegans Need to Know About Their Teeth

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If you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, it is important that you are aware of the impact these diets can have on your teeth and overall oral health. While there are numerous benefits of following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, your teeth depend on certain nutrients to remain strong and healthy. Vegetarians and vegans might be missing some key nutrients by avoiding certain foods. Here’s what you need to know.

A Higher Risk of Tooth Decay?

While there have not been enough studies to find any conclusive proof, German researches found an interesting correlation: vegetarians had far better periodontal health than meat-eaters, but the reverse was true for dental health. However, the study shouldn’t be taken as conclusive until more research in this area is done.

Getting the Right Nutrients

A vegetarian diet can be deficient in recommended amounts of key vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin D, calcium, and protein. When it comes to vitamin D, deficiencies can sometimes occur in those who don’t eat fish or drink milk. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends adding soy milk or vegetable margarine to your diet to boost vitamin D counts. 

Protein: Teeth Strengthener

Protein is an essential nutrient that your body uses to help keep your teeth strong. The phosphorous contained in protein is also helpful for strengthening your jaw. But if you are a vegan, you will need to consider finding alternative sources for protein since common sources such as meat and eggs are not part of your diet. Dried lentils and mixed nuts can provide you with plenty of protein.

The Benefits of Plant Based Diets

According to the National Institutes of Health, diets that primarily include plants, fruits, and vegetables are one way of reducing your risk of developing oral cancer. You can talk to our doctor for more information about oral cancer and your risk factors.

Steps You Can Take

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, we recommend finding a comprehensive multi-vitamin to help you get nutrients you might be lacking. Your doctor is a good resource to ask about the right multi-vitamin for you. Be sure to maintain regular visits to our office. We can help you assess potential problem areas in your mouth. By keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine, you can lower your risk of developing tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Your diet has a tremendous impact on your teeth and your overall oral health. Your mouth depends on a balanced diet, daily oral hygiene, and regular check-ups. But for vegetarians and vegans, it might be helpful in making extra effort to ensure you still receive the proper nutrients your teeth need.

For more information on keeping your teeth healthy, contact our office.

641 South Belle Circle
Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
(337) 332-5716

70517 Orthodontist | Understanding Your Jaw Pain

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Are you having trouble chewing or talking? If you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your jaw, we recommend coming into our office. There are numerous possible causes of facial and jaw pain and our doctor can work with you to determine the best course of treatment.

What Causes Jaw and Facial Pain?

Pain and discomfort in your jaw can be dental related, but it can also be caused by other medical conditions. Sinus infections and arthritis are potential culprits. However, your pain could be caused by a toothache, infection, excessive grinding of your teeth, tooth decay, periodontal disease, or TMJD.

I’ve Heard of TMJ – What is it?

The jaw is connected to your skull by the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It acts as a hinge and can be found in front of your ears. In temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD), the joint doesn’t move in the way it is supposed to. This can lead to pain or restricted jaw movements. Someone might complain about difficulty chewing, yawning, and talking. You might hear a clicking sound when your jaw moves. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that as many as 10 million Americans suffer from TMJD.

What We Can Do

If you come into our office with jaw and facial pain, we will provide you a thorough examination. Treatments can vary depending on what is determined to be the primary source of your discomfort. Periodontal treatment, root canal therapy, and tooth removal are sometimes solutions to consider. A filling may be suggested for pain caused by tooth decay. For problems resulting from arthritis or TMJD, exercises and anti-inflammatory medications may be a consideration. If you grind your teeth, a guard may be recommended to protect your teeth.

Solving Your Jaw and Facial Pain

Step one in determining a course of treatment is to determine the source of your jaw or facial pain. Talk to our doctor about the specifics surrounding your discomfort. Maintaining a schedule of regular visits to our office can help prevent future pain caused by decay or infection. Having our professional, experienced team regularly examine your mouth is one way you can stay healthy. Diagnosing jaw and facial pain can be difficult due to the number of potential causes. Our dental professionals are well prepared to effectively diagnose and treat your condition.

For more questions about jaw pain, or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

641 South Belle Circle
Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
(337) 332-5716

Lafayette Orthodontist | Are Drinks Attacking Your Teeth?

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If carbonated soft drinks are part of your normal daily routine, you may be causing serious damage to your teeth. Recent studies have found soft drinks to be among the most potent dietary causes of tooth decay. Soft drinks have also been implicated in increases of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other serious health conditions. Before you shop for beverages this week, consider a few things you should know about soft drinks.

Most soft drinks contain substantial amounts of sugars, which interact with the bacteria in your mouth. This interaction produces a form of acid that can damage your teeth for about 20 minutes. Each time you take a drink, you reset that time window. If you consume throughout the day, you are essentially bathing your teeth in that beverage for hours.

Most soft drinks contain acids, as well. Even sugar-free varieties contain acids that can weaken the enamel on your teeth. Colas and citrus-flavored soft drinks tend to have the highest levels of acid. Over time, this weakening of tooth enamel has a cumulative effect. This can lead to decay and even tooth loss if not addressed in early stages.

Obviously, the best solution is to stop consuming carbonated soft drinks. However, it can be a difficult habit to break. Here are some tips to help reduce your risks of tooth damage from these beverages:

  • Drink in moderation. Too much sugar and acid will eventually cause damage.
  • Try sparkling water. This provides the fizzy sensation without all the sugar and acid.
  • Drink more water. You will crave soft drinks less when you are fully hydrated.
  • Don’t sip. The longer you spend drinking, the more time sugars and acids are reacting with your teeth.
  • Use a straw. This can help keep the sugars and acids away from your teeth.
  • Rinse with water after drinking to dilute acids and sugars.
  • Don’t brush immediately. Wait at least 30 minutes for acids to be neutralized by saliva before brushing.
  • Practice good dental hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings and exams.

Carbonated soft drinks can be harmful to your oral and overall health. Be mindful of how often you consume them and consider reducing or stopping your use of these dangerous beverages.

For more oral health tips or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

4906 Ambassador Caffery, Pkway., Building L, Suite 1200
Lafayette, LA 70508
(337) 233-3677

Abbeville Orthodontist | Non-Cosmetic Benefits of Braces

Orthodontist in Abbeville

When most people consider the benefits of getting braces, they tend to focus on cosmetic improvements. A better smile is an obvious benefit to orthodontic treatment, but there are plenty more improvements than what you’ll see on the surface.

Whether you have an overbite, an underbite, or your teeth simply don’t meet properly when you close your mouth, braces can be an effective solution. The benefits of a proper bite are innumerable, and treating the problem can help minimize discomfort dramatically. Braces are an investment in the future of your oral health, as addressing potential issues early could help save you years of pain and oral complications. Common benefits of braces include:

  • Corrected Jaw Alignment
  • Reduced Teeth Grinding
  • Reduced Jaw Pain
  • Improved Bite Strength
  • Reduced Speech Impediments
  • And More!

Even if you don’t chronically grind and clench your teeth, having a bite that is not properly aligned will inevitably cause wear as your teeth will be rubbing against each other in ways they ought not. Another common side effect is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain that can develop in your jaw. If the joint connecting your jaw to your cheekbone is in pain or if you experience a clicking sensation when chewing, you might have a TMJ issue that braces can help correct.

Whether you’re simply looking for an improved smile, or you’re experiencing any of the above complications, you could greatly benefit from braces. For more information about treatment options, contact our office today!

2639 North Dr.
Abbeville, LA 70510
(337) 893-2125

Orthodontist in Breaux Bridge, LA | The One Piece of Gear Every Athlete Needs

Breaux Bridge Orthodontist

An injury to your mouth can be a painful, expensive experience. For athletes, mouth and tooth injuries are a very real risk. Mouthguards are an excellent tool for protecting your mouth from injury and harm. Our team can help you find a solution that protects your teeth while you play.

Why Wear a Mouthguard?

Mouthguards protect your teeth. For athletes, injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even worse, missing teeth. Additionally, your mouth is mostly made up of soft tissues, such as your tongue, inside cheeks, and lips. These areas can become injured or pierced when playing sports. Mouthguards help defend your mouth and teeth against such injuries.

Do All Athletes Need a Mouthguard?

Yes. High-contact sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing pose the greatest risk for mouth injuries. However, all athletes can benefit from being cautious. Gymnasts should consider wearing one to protect their mouth in the event of a fall. Baseball and basketball players should protect themselves from being injured by a ball or collision with another player. Mouthguards should be treated as a necessary piece of your athletic gear, no matter which sport you play.

Which Mouthguard Is the Most Effective?

Our team can help you during your next visit to our office. There are many options available, ranging from store-bought to custom-fitted mouthguards. We will work with you to determine which type of mouthguard is best for you. It is important that any guard fits properly.

If you are currently receiving orthodontic treatment, we may recommend a special type of  mouthguard. Braces can puncture your mouth if impacted, particularly during sports. Our team will help you find a solution that works.

Prevention is the best solution to oral sports injuries. Contact our office and ask about finding a mouthguard that is right for you.

641 SOUTH BELLE CIRCLE
BREAUX BRIDGE, LA 70517
(337) 332-5716

70510 Orthodontist | 5 Weird and Interesting Dental Facts

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Did you know your oral health can impact your overall health? We’ve compiled a list of 5 tidbits about your teeth and oral health.

Say Cheese

Cheese has been found to promote dental health by helping prevent tooth decay. The calcium and phosphorus found in cheese help neutralizes acid in the mouth. Acid can create dental erosion, which can cause decay that may require filling. Cheese creates a protective film around teeth and helps remineralize the enamel.

Keep Smiling

Your smile can make a difference. Studies have found that 50% of people consider a smile the first facial feature they notice. One study found that 88% of us remember people with beautiful smiles whenever we meet new people. This means attractive smiles are key to being more noticeable and remembered.

Toothbrush Time

Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush at least once every three months. You should get a new toothbrush after recovering from any sort of viral infection, flu, or cold. You are more likely to be re-infected if these bacteria implant themselves on the bristles.

You’re Unique

In your lifetime, you only get two sets of teeth— baby teeth and permanent teeth. It is important to take proper care of your permanent teeth. Did you know that no two people have precisely the same set of teeth? Your teeth are as unique as a fingerprint. This is the reason teeth are used by investigators for identification. Your tongue also has a unique print, though it is not commonly recorded.

F.Y.I on Floss

Floss is a lot more useful than you may think. If you skip out on your daily flossing, you can miss cleaning up to 40% of your tooth surfaces. Flossing can also help prevent gum disease by removing plaque near the gum line. Floss has other alternative creative uses. The next time you are looking for a fun holiday project, grab some dental floss and a handful of cereal to string for the tree. Floss works well for repairing a bead necklace too!

Bonus Fact: Health professionals are rated among the most trusted people in the U.S so make sure to call our dentist and make an appointment today!

2639 North Dr.
Abbeville, LA 70510
(337) 893-2125

Orthodontist in Lafayette | 3 Simple Ways to Reduce Tooth Decay

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orthodontist LafayetteA happy smile is a healthy smile! There are a number of steps you can take to keep your smile healthy by reducing your risk of developing tooth decay. Here are a few suggestions from our team.

Eat a Tooth Friendly Diet

Reduce the amount of sugars and carbohydrates in your diet. Decay-causing bacteria in the mouth feed on these substances.

We suggest you reduce grains, beans, seeds, and nuts in your diet when possible. These foods can lead to demineralization of your teeth and bones due to their acidic content. Consider adding foods high in minerals and vitamins to your diet such as apples, leafy greens, celery, or carrots.

Brush, Floss, Rinse, Repeat

Routine brushing at least twice a day followed by flossing and a mouth rinse is the optimal at home dental care routine. Brush for at least two minutes in the morning and at night. Use a soft bristle toothbrush that is small enough to reach every tooth.

Dental Sealants

Children often get dental sealants to protect the hard-to-reach teeth in the back of their mouths. However, dental sealants can benefit adults and those who have a higher risk of decay. Dental sealants are a layer of plastic-like material that coats the top surface of the tooth. Sealants protect the crevices in the tooth where bacteria reside and minimizes exposure of the tooth to harmful acids and sugars that wear down enamel.

When left untreated, tooth decay can cause discomfort and spread to other healthy teeth. You can combat tooth decay by reducing sugars and acids in your diet and brushing and flossing regularly. For some patients, dental sealants might be a solution.

Don’t forget to schedule your next visit to our office. Our team can provide a professional cleaning and check for signs of tooth decay.

S. Jay Waguespack, DDS
4906 Ambassador Caffery, Pkway., Building L, Suite 1200
Lafayette, LA 70508
(337) 233-3677

 

Lafayette Orthodontist | 6 Ways to Get Your Calcium

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orthodontist lafayetteCalcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth. Not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy, which is often a prime source for calcium. There are a wide variety of options available to get the calcium you need. Here are six options rich in calcium:

 

Canned Seafood

Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be an excellent source of calcium. These inexpensive options contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood has small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or another dish.

 

Alternative Milk Products

Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute in many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.

 

Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are a prime source of calcium. Collard greens, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.

 

Milk

Milk is one of the best sources of calcium. One cup of cow’s milk can potentially contain a quarter of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Cow’s milk is also a cheap option, as it is generally priced below alternative options like almond milk. Additional benefits provided are good source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin D.

 

Yogurt

Most yogurts are high in calcium. The highest source of calcium from yogurt comes from the low-fat variety, while Greek yogurt has a lower amount of calcium than regular yogurt.

 

Cheese

A lot of cheeses are excellent sources of calcium. Parmesan cheese has the highest amount of calcium among cheeses. Softer varieties of cheese generally have less calcium than others. Aged and hard cheeses typically contain less lactose, making them easier to eat for people with dairy restrictions.

 

Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble digesting dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.

 

Contact our office to schedule your visit today.

 

S. Jay Waguespack, DDS
4906 Ambassador Caffery, Pkway., Building L, Suite 1200
Lafayette, LA 70508
(337) 233-3677