How Did Kissing Under the Mistletoe Begin?

If you’ve ever kissed someone under the mistletoe during the Christmas season, chances are you weren’t thinking about how the tradition began. However, tracing the origins of the mistletoe kiss is not simple. There are numerous myths surrounding the custom, some of which even predate the Christmas tradition. Lake Worth orthodontist Dr. Ciro Cabal discusses a couple of these myths to help shed light on the time-honored ritual.

Druids and the Winter Solstice

In first-century Britain, the Druids held the mistletoe in high regard. They believed the parasitic plant could perform miracles, from enhancing fertility to healing diseases. It was also rumored to ward off evil spirits and protect people from malicious witchcraft. Druids would pass sprigs of mistletoe out to the people while celebrating the new moon after the winter solstice, and the people would be safe from evil and enjoy good fortune. Today, couples who kiss under the mistletoe purportedly enjoy a year of happiness and good luck. (more…)

Moms—How Important are You to Your Child’s Oral Health?

Most parents would not be surprised to learn that their children are most impressionable in their early years. The first few years of a child’s life are a time of rapid development, and most of what they learn comes from home and family life. Therefore, teaching your child the tenets of proper oral hygiene during their early childhood can help them prepare for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Lake Worth orthodontist Dr. Ciro Cabal discusses how your instruction, and your influence, can impact your child’s dental health for years to come.

Teach Them the Basics of Oral Health Care

Repetition is a key to developing habits. Teach your child to brush every day, twice a day, and to floss at least once. Their teeth will be your responsibility until they are old enough to brush their teeth without swallowing the toothpaste, so diligently practice this routine every day to get them used to the ritual. Also, studies show that a majority of dental phobias begin in early childhood, as well. Show your child not to fear the dentist by bringing them in for regular dental checkups as often as recommended. (more…)

Lake Worth Orthodontist Discusses Mouth Lesions

People often confuse cold sores and canker sores, both of which affect your mouth and are similar in appearance. Below the surface, however, the two conditions are quite different, and determining what kind of sore you’ve developed is essential for treating it. To help you understand the difference and treat your sore properly, Lake Worth orthodontist Dr. Ciro Cabal lists some of the main differences between cold and canker sores.

How Did That Sore Get There?

  • Origin—One of the major differences between canker sores and cold sores is origin. Cold sores, or fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus (its cousin, the type 2 virus, is the one that causes genital warts). Canker sores, on the other hand, have no known cause, although experts believe they may be a form of localized inflammation problem.
  • Contagious—The herpes simplex type 1 virus is contagious, and your cold sores may be the result of contact with someone carrying the virus. Canker sores, though, do not appear to be contagious, but seem to show more frequently during times of excessive stress or as a symptom of a more serious illness. (more…)

How Do Turkeys Eat without Teeth? And Other Turkey Facts

A healthy human mouth contains 32 teeth, each with a specific purpose in the food-chewing process. Crocodiles have 60 teeth at any one time, but with all of its replacement teeth, it can grow up to 3,000 teeth in its lifetime. Sharks lose teeth every week and can grow up to 20,000 teeth throughout its life. Turkeys, on the other hand, like many other birds, do not have teeth. To honor the traditional Thanksgiving Day bird, Lake Worth orthodontist, Dr. Ciro Cabal explores how turkeys eat without the benefit of teeth, as well as other fun turkey facts you may not know, and will probably never need to.

All About Turkeys

  • Teeth or no teeth, turkeys have to eat. They do so by first picking their food up with their beaks. In lieu of teeth, the turkey secretes saliva onto the food that helps break the food down and begin the digestion process. Its tongue pushes the feed to the back of the mouth, where it is swallowed. The grain is stored in a pocket of the esophagus called the crop for safe consumption later.
  • Did you know there’s a National Turkey Federation? The Federation, which is not related to any diplomatic agencies from the Turkish nation, estimates that nearly 45 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving Day. Other popular turkey dinners include Christmas, where 22 million turkeys are devoured, and Easter, which enjoys about 19 million turkey dinners. (more…)

Lake Worth Orthodontist Extols the Benefits of a Tongue Scraper

In your quest for oral health excellence, you no doubt pay plenty of attention to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, but how important is your tongue in your oral hygiene endeavors? Your body’s strongest muscle does more than help you speak clearly and eat properly; it also houses much of the germs that cause tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and other oral health issues. To help you maximize your dental hygiene routine, Lake Worth orthodontist, Dr. Ciro Cabal, explains the need to keep your tongue clean.

Oral Health and Your Tongue

At any given moment, even while you read this, there are about 10-15 billion bacteria in your mouth. Since you probably don’t spend every waking moment locked in an intense battle with these germs, underestimating their importance is easy. However, the most destructive oral health issues, including advanced tooth decay and severe periodontitis (gum disease) begin with excessive bacteria accumulation. When enough germs are present, they band together to form a sticky extracellular substance (what we know as dental plaque). This biofilm protects the germs and helps them adhere to the surfaces of your teeth. Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day helps control the bacterial population, but half of those billions of oral bacteria reside on your tongue. (more…)

The Inconspicuous Gift of a Straight Smile

For some children, the need for braces is inevitable. Hopefully, your child is the sensible type that understands the need for braces and accepts his/her fate without a fuss. With the stigma associated with the metal brackets and wires of traditional braces, however, chances are slim that your child would exhibit such a stoic reaction. Those chances diminish as your child reaches the teen years and social status takes on a whole new meaning. In the spirit of the holiday season, Lake Worth orthodontist Dr. Ciro Cabal offers a solution that brings joy to all—Invisalign clear braces, which straighten your teen’s teeth without announcing the treatment to your teen’s friends and peers.

What are Invisalign Clear Braces?

Misaligned or crooked teeth basically only have one solution; straighten them. How you approach this goal, however, can vary, and in this aspect, traditional braces leave much to be desired. Invisalign clear braces seek to eliminate the most troublesome aspects of orthodontic treatment while still providing you with a beautiful, straight smile. Invisalign accomplishes this through the use of clear acrylic aligners that gradually move your teeth into the desired position. Because the aligners are clear, they are virtually invisible. Because they are removable, your teen can continue to eat the same foods as before, and doesn’t have to risk anyone seeing braces at social events or gatherings. Removable aligners also allow your teen to maintain good oral hygiene practices without navigating the toothbrush and dental floss around a complicated network of metal. (more…)

Do You Wonder How Candy Came to Define Halloween?

Today, many dentists are pondering what abuse their patients are inflicting on their teeth with the abundance of candy that dominates the Halloween holiday. In fact, the day is so candy-centric that one may wonder which came first, candy or Halloween? The answer to that may be hard to find, but what is certain is that knocking on your neighbors’ doors dressed as monsters to demand candy is a fairly new American tradition. The holiday itself, however, has quite an illustrious history. So how did Halloween and candy become bosom buddies? Lake Worth orthodontist Dr. Ciro Cabal explores the historical relationship between the two.

The Origins of Halloween

The ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (“sah-win”) was a Gaelic tradition to celebrate the end of harvest and prepare for the upcoming winter. They believed that on the last day of October, the world of the living and the world of the dead overlapped, allowing the deceased to enter our world and wreak havoc through sickness, famine, and death. Bonfires were a typical setting for the festival, and partygoers wore masks and costumes to blend in with the spirits. Today, the tradition of dressing up carries on, with the additional aspect t of getting free candy. (more…)

Lake Worth Orthodontist Quizzes You on Cavities

Most of us have been told since childhood to brush our teeth twice a day and floss at least once to prevent cavities. Although 90% of adults in America under the age of 59 have had at least one cavity, many people do not know much about the malady, or have been led to believe a myth that is not true. To help clarify the truth about tooth decay, Dr. Ciro Cabal, an experienced orthodontist in Lake Worth, tests your knowledge about the silent epidemic with this short true or false quiz.

True or False: Cavities

Q: Cavities are formed from eating too much sugar.

A: This is a trick question, and is both true and false. Sugar contributes to the formation of cavities, but it is not the main cause. The true culprit is acid, which oral bacteria excrete after consuming the sugars and carbs in your meal.

Q: Cavities are more likely to affect kids than adults. (more…)

Lake Worth Orthodontist Explores the Germs That Hide in Your Mouth

The science of correcting misaligned teeth has helped countless people gain or regain their confidence by improving the look and function of their smiles. Straighter teeth are much more pleasant to look at, and can also help you avoid many of the dental maladies that can occur from crooked teeth, such as malocclusion (a misaligned bite) and TMJ disorder (distress in your jaw joints). One of the most significant benefits to straighter teeth, however, is the ability to effectively keep your mouth clean. When your teeth do not line up properly, the jagged edges and odd corners offer excellent hiding spots for oral bacteria to rest, often out of reach of your toothbrush. To highlight the significance of eliminating these hiding spots, Lake Worth orthodontist Dr. Ciro Cabal explains some of the malicious microbes that can be found in your mouth and the destruction they cause.

The Tooth Decay Microbe

Among the most talked about oral bacteria is the one that is largely responsible for tooth decay. Streptococcus mutans consumes the sugars and carbs in your diet, then converts them into lactic acid, which attacks and weakens your tooth enamel (your tooth’s first and most powerful line of defense). While enamel is the strongest substance in your body (and the second strongest substance in the world, only weaker than diamond), it is subject to acid erosion. (more…)

Invisalign Braces: The Clear Choice for Teens?

Invisalign braces are often the clear choice for adult orthodontic patients. Now Invisalign Teen is making clear braces an option for image-conscious teens.

How Invisalign is Different

Unlike the application of traditional metal braces, Invisalign treatment has the patient wear a series of custom-designed aligners, or smooth, comfortable, removable plastic trays. The patient switches aligners about every two weeks as the teeth move gradually into the desired position.

Dr. Cabal likes to see his Invisalign patients about every six weeks – less frequently than is necessary with traditional braces. These assessment visits allow the Lake Worth orthodontist to make sure treatment is on track. He’ll evaluate the shifting of teeth and modify treatment, if necessary.

Parents, don’t worry about the less-than-responsible habits of your teen. To accommodate teens, who are likely to lose removable dental devices such as retainers and aligners, Invisalign Teen offers free replacement of up to six aligners during the course of treatment. (more…)