Monday, November 3, 2008

Good Breath Gone Bad!

Bad breath can be a real downer, especially when you are out on a date with that girl or boy you’ve had a crush on all semester! However, bad breath can be prevented!

Bad breath, or as your doctor may call it “halitosis,” is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grows in your mouth. This bacteria gathers on bits of food in your mouth and between your teeth and release sulfur compounds making your breath smell. Some foods, like garlic and onions, may contribute more to bad breath because of oils the food the food releases, and smoking is also a major cause of bad breath.

There are several myths around bad breath. Here are some common myths and the truth behind it all:

Myth #1: Mouthwash will make my breath smell better

Mouthwash will make your breath smell better, but it is only a temporary fix. If you use mouthwash, just know that you will still need to brush and floss when you get the chance as mouthwash alone will not kill all of the bacteria producing germs in your mouth. When choosing a mouthwash, pick an antiseptic with plaque-reducing compounds. Also make sure any dental products you choose comes with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval!

Myth #2: I brush my teeth; I will never have bad breath

Brushing your teeth will save you from having bad breath, but the truth is most people only brush their teeth for about 30-45 seconds! You need to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day to give your teeth a thorough cleansing. It’s also important to brush your tongue, which is where a majority of odor causing bacteria like to hang out. Lastly, flossing to remove food and plaque between the teeth will also help reduce your chances of having bad breath!

Myth #3: If I don’t smell it, then my breath is fresh

This is a false assumption in every sense of the word! The truth is that the breath you breathe out is not the same breath coming out when you talk to someone. When you breathe you are not using your throat as you do when you are talking; and when you talk more breath moves over the back of your mouth where bacteria is causing bad breath.

#1 TRUTH: Brush your teeth twice a day (for at least 2 minutes), floss at least once and visit your dentist every six months…this way your breath will always be fresh! Not letting your nerves get the best of you on your date? That’s up to you!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chewing Gum - What's the story?

We know the rumors going around – that once you swallow a piece of chewing gum it will stake a claim and take up residency in your stomach for at least seven years! We really hate to take all the fun out of the mystery, but the truth is that chewing gum, when swallowed, will enter the stomach and move through the digestive system just like any other piece of food and leave the body long before seven years! So, if you ever have accidentally swallowed a piece of gum, there is no need to worry!

This being said, gum does not have any dietary benefits, so while it’s not harmful to swallow, you still want to avoid swallowing it. If you are a gum-chewer, make sure you chew sugarless gum, because gum with sugar can lead to cavities. Sugarless gum still has the same amount of flavor, but with less cavity causing ingredients. You see, when the bacterium in your mouth breaks down sugar, what’s left behind is acid. This acid eats away at the enamel coating of your teeth, causing holes that we call cavities. Cavities can lead to other long term mouth problems if they are not treated in time, so it is best to try and avoid overexposing your teeth to too many harmful substances!

Happy (sugar-free) gum chewing!

Monday, October 20, 2008

When Are Two Phases of Treatment Necessary?

Usually patients in orthodontic treatment already have their permanent teeth – they are pre-teens, teens and adults. But in some cases we have to start treatment earlier, even before the patient’s permanent teeth come in. We call this “two-phase treatment.”

When we have patients with clear developmental problems at an early age, it’s best to start work when they are young, before the problems get bigger and more difficult to treat. Examples include an upper or lower jaw that is not growing correctly, or a mouth growing in a way that doesn’t leave enough room for all the permanent teeth to come in, or what we call a “severe malocclusion” (the orthodontic word for “bad bite” which means the jaws don’t fit together correctly).

In these cases we will start early and do one round of treatment – phase one – while the patient still has “baby teeth.” Phase one treatment may involve partial braces, or may use a different type of appliance that helps the jaw grow into place properly. We’ll follow up with phase two usually a few years later, when permanent teeth are in place. Generally phase two involves standard braces.

In order to catch any early problems, we recommend that children have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven (and so does the American Association of Orthodontics). However, if your dentist or pediatrician sees any sign that early treatment might be necessary, he or she may recommend your child visit our office even sooner. Give us a call at 914-253-0722 or email us at:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Your Friend: Fluoride

There are so many ways you protect your teeth throughout your orthodontic treatment. You brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and protect your mouth and appliances from being damaged. But did you know there is another, often forgotten about, way to keep your teeth clean and healthy during your treatment? Fluoride – a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay – can help keep your teeth strong! Fluoride comes in two varieties, topical and systemic. Topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth. Topical fluoride includes toothpastes and mouth rinses. Systemic fluorides are swallowed in the form of a dietary supplement. Orthodontists and other dentists use in-office fluoride treatments to help protect the oral health of adults and children undergoing dental/orthodontic procedures.

Fluoride used in the dentist/orthodontists office is often times a stronger concentration than in toothpaste or mouthwash, but is available at some drug stores or a pharmacy (ask your doctor how to purchase professional strength fluoride). A fluoride treatment typically takes just a few minutes. After the treatment patients may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe a fluoride product such as mouthwashes, gels or antibacterial rinses for at-home treatment.

When choosing your own fluoride product be sure to check for the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined and have met the criteria of the ADA for safety and effectiveness. Take care of your teeth, and smile bright!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Why Is It So Important To Have Straight Teeth?

Some people wonder why we work so hard to give our patients straight teeth. Of course it’s nice to have a smile full of evenly aligned teeth, but did you know that straightening your teeth can keep them healthier? Straight teeth lead to better oral hygiene, increasing your chances of keeping your own natural teeth for a lifetime.

Straight teeth are less prone to decay, because they collect less plaque – the sticky colorless substance that forms on our teeth and leads to decay – and because they are easier to keep clean. Plaque can lead to cavities and can increase the risk of gum disease.

If you’re wondering whether your teeth might cause problems because they are out of alignment, give us a call at Dr. Judith A. Okun's to set up a consultation. Dr. Judith A. Okun can help you decide whether you could benefit from orthodontic treatment. Give us a call at 914-253-0722 or email us at:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Everybody Benefits from Braces!

Braces aren’t just for pre-adolescents and teenagers anymore! Anyone, at any age, can benefit from orthodontic care; whether it is correcting a problem not treated in your younger years, or catching a problem early.

To ensure the best overall treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an orthodontic consultation as early as age seven. If a problem is evident, taking action early can spare a lot of treatment and expense down the road.

If you never received orthodontic treatment when you were young, don’t worry! You’re never too old for a beautiful smile. Set up an appointment for a consultation and find out how adult orthodontics will transform your smile, and your life! Give us a call at 914-908-5480 or email us at:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Caring for Orthodontic Patients in Rye Brook, NY

As orthodontists in Rye Brook, NY, we work hard to make our patients smile. To better understand how we treat our patients, please take a look at the following excerpt from our orthodontic web site:

We provide comprehensive, individualized orthodontic care to all of our patients. Our comfortable, family environment helps provide a positive experience.

We offer the following patient care services:

Emergency Care

We recognize that emergency situations do arise and will do our best to respond promptly. If no one is available to take your call please leave a message on the answering machine. We usually respond in less than 24 hours. Emergency Care is provided on a same day basis.

Friday, May 2, 2008

We offer Hope for TMJ pain, as well as Braces

Having TMJ whether it is an acute case or chronic inflammation is a painful experience, but there are some things you can do for yourself at home. When you are experiencing jaw joint or facial pain eat a softer diet. Extra chewing only makes the pain worse. Also try using hot compresses or ice paks on the sides of your face and head to relax the muscles associated with your jaw joint. In our office TMJ Therapy includes helpful home tips like these, as well as the use of custom fabricated night guards and electric stimulation treatment with the electro-accuscope and myopulse system (by Advanced Biomedical Technologies). This microcurrent modality is FDA approved for pain management, and has also been shown to decrease inflammation and muscle spasm, and increase rates of healing. At Okun Orthodontics we treat both TMJ/facial pain as well as crooked teeth and facial imbalances. Braces may include:
  • Interceptive treatment: Early treatment to normalize the face and dental arches so that future growth and development can continue in a healthy and normal manner. This may be done with a combination of fixed or removable appliances.
  • Fixed Appliances (braces): Includes orthodontic (tooth) and orthopedic (bone) movement in growing children, and just orthodontic (dental movement) in adults. The purpose of treatment is to align the teeth and jaws to improve dental health, occlusion (the way the teeth bite) and appearance. Variations may include:
    • Non-extraction, extraction, and minimal extraction treatment options.
    • Clear or metal brackets which are both available.
    • Non surgical correction of skeletal discrepancies is often possible.
    • Correction of "overbites" and "underbites" is a routine part of treatment.
    • Palatal expansion: Changing the width of the upper arch to increase arch circumference (alleviate crowding) or to bring the top teeth outside the bottom teeth (crossbite correction).
    • Orthopedic movement is used to direct growth in a favorable direction.
    • Correction of crossbites, teeth that stick in or out too far compared to the opposing dental arch. Sometimes these teeth are in traumatic occlusion.
    • Correction of traumatic occlusions - bites where some teeth are banged too hard when the patient chews.
    • Correction of crowded or rotated teeth, using available space or making space (by increasing arch circumference or by removing teeth).
    • Space closure - closing spaces in either or both arches that exist either because of development, habits, or missing teeth.
    • Headgear - to redirect growth of the upper jaw, or to move the molars backwards.
    • Lip bumpers - to maintain or increase arch length, to make enough space for incoming teeth.
    • Lingual arch - to maintain or increase arch length, or to change arch form.
    • Habit appliances - to help the patient stop harmful habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting. These habits can alter the position of the teeth and change the dental arch form.