Category Archives: Oral Health

stuffed pepper jackolanterns

Our Favorite Healthy Alternatives to Halloween Candy

You’ve nailed it this year when it comes to your kids’ dental hygiene, but then Halloween rolls around. We know the feeling! Don’t let all your hard work go to waste with one sugar-laden holiday. Save your kids’ teeth and do your part for the neighborhood kids as well by handing out something different this year.


Here are some of our favorite healthy alternatives here at Peralta Orthodontics, your first choice for a Burien or West Seattle orthodontist.


Jack-O-Lantern Oranges


Grab yourself a bag of mandarin oranges and a black permanent marker to create creepy or cute Jack-o-lantern oranges. They’re healthy, they’re safe and they’re fun for the little ones.


Honey Sticks


If you know a local beekeeper, check to see if he or she makes honey sticks. If not, you can find these online and sometimes in local markets. They’ll still give the kids a sweet treat, but without all the processed sugars and dyes.


Fruit Leather


Whether you make it yourself from your own fruit trees and berry bushes or know where to purchase some that are natural and sugar-free, fruit leather is a budget-friendly, healthy treat for your trick-or-treaters.


Water Bottles


You can find little 8 oz. water bottles at most grocery stores. As a bonus, sometimes they have festive, decorative labels around the holidays that will make it more fun for your visitors to receive. If not, you could make a label yourself and call the water “unicorn blood” or something that will give your little friends an extra thrill.




Look for mini microwave popcorn the next time you’re shopping, as they are a great alternative to Halloween candy. If you really want to add to the kids’ creepy fun, purchase clear, disposable polyethylene gloves, drop a raisin “fingernail” in each fingertip, fill the rest of the fingers and hand with already-popped popcorn, and tie it shut at the wrist!


Keeping Up on Oral Hygiene


Whether you’re due for your six-month visit or simply need to get something checked out, contact Peralta Orthodontics today to request an appointment at 206-938-3100. As your first choice for an orthodontist in Burien and West Seattle, we look forward to helping you keep up on oral hygiene at any time of the year.

man in jaw pain

Can Braces Help with TMJ?

Jaw pain, stiffness, headaches and popping noises all characterize disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the jaw joint just in front of the ears. While our West Seattle and Burien orthodontist is best known for helping people achieve beautiful healthy smiles, we also help with other issues such as TMJ disorders. Orthodontics is one of the best ways to treat this issue.


What Is a TMJ Disorder?


The TMJ is a surprisingly complex joint and connects to many muscles and nerves in your face. Problems can be caused by misalignment of the upper and lower teeth. An improper bite can cause strain on the TMJ, resulting in pain that radiates throughout the face. This disorder can increase the likelihood of teeth grinding, jaw injuries and arthritis.


Using Braces as Treatment


In many cases, TMJ disorders can be effectively treated by using braces or other orthodontic treatments to realign the bite. The braces move the teeth back into their proper position. If necessary, additional hardware can be used to improve the jaw’s alignment. As the teeth and bite line up more properly, the TMJ disorder will gradually diminish.


Some other treatments include stress reduction and muscle stimulation to reduce tension on the joint, another common cause of the issue. In serious cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the joint.


Learn More at Peralta Orthodontics


Visit our premier orthodontic practice in West Seattle or Burien for a free consultation if you’re in pain from TMJ. Our experienced team is ready to help you with your smile, TMJ pain, or any other orthodontic problem you may be struggling with. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about your treatment options!

Floss Like a Boss: Tips for Beating Plaque with Braces

As your Burien and West Seattle orthodontist, Peralta Orthodontics wants you to be prepared for the adjustments to your diet and oral hygiene that come with braces. Due to their construction, traditional braces can make flossing and brushing with standard tools difficult. The key to navigating oral hygiene with orthodontics is knowing which alternative tools are going to work best with your braces.


Types of Braces and Impact on Hygiene

The first thing to remember is that the type of braces or aligners you have will affect the choices you have for oral hygiene. If you’re using a system like Invisalign, you will have removable trays and you can simply take them out, clean them separately, and then brush and floss like usual. It’s traditional bracket braces with the metal wire that require the most special care.


Flossing Tools for Wire Braces

Try out these alternatives to traditional floss and reach between your teeth like you did prior to getting braces.


  • Floss threaders
  • Soft-picks
  • Water or air-picks (flossers)

Each of these alternatives has one thing in common with the others: they avoid the loop that makes it impossible for traditional flossing methods to be effective when you have braces.


Toothbrush Options for People With Braces

There are two options for toothbrushes that will allow you to enjoy the same thorough clean after orthodontics are installed that you enjoyed before. One is the interproximal brush, which has a triangular head and is better designed to reach difficult spots. The other option that works very well for many patients is an electric toothbrush with an ortho head that makes it easier to reach around and through the braces. Luckily, both options are widely available.


Get Help With All Your Orthodontic Needs

If you’re looking for an orthodontist in West Seattle, schedule a consultation today to learn more about your options. All you need to do is contact us.

Halloween Candy: The Spooky Consequences of Too Much Sugar on a Developing Mouth

Soon, the neighborhoods will be filled with young ghosts and goblins who’ll be out and about collecting all types of sweet and sugary Halloween treats. While our Burien and West Seattle orthodontist enjoys all the fun that Halloween brings, he’d like to remind all of our parents that consuming too much sugar is not good for your kids’ teeth.


How Sugar Harms Teeth


Sugar is a major cause of tooth decay and cavities. The naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar in candy and other foods and turns it into harmful acid. This acid attacks the protective enamel on teeth to raise the risk for decay. When kids eat lots of sticky or chewy candies like caramels and taffy, the sugar is in contact with the teeth for longer periods of time. This allows the bacteria more time to feed on the sugar to produce acid that leads to cavities.


Once a cavity develops, it’s very important to seek dental treatment before the decay does any more damage. Teeth that are badly decayed may need to be removed, which is something nobody wants! So what are parents supposed to do? Cancel their kids’ Halloween plans so they can’t collect lots of sweet treats that are harmful to eat? Of course not! Here are a few tips that can help protect your kids’ mouths this Halloween.


Ways to Limit the Effect of Sugar on Teeth


  • Fill your kids up with a good meal prior to trick-or-tricking so they’re less tempted to fill up on candy.
  • Encourage your kids to eat a small amount of candy in one sitting, followed by a glass of water or a thorough tooth brushing.
  • Pass out candy at parties that can be eaten quickly and easily to limit the amount of time sugar is in contact with the teeth.
  • Remind your kids to brush and floss well before bedtime to remove tiny pieces of Halloween candy that’s trapped between teeth. It’s especially important for kids wearing braces to brush and floss well as there are lots of places candy and bacteria can hide in and around all those brackets and wires on teeth!

Happy Halloween from Your Burien & West Seattle Orthodontist!


Dr. Peralta and his team would like to wish everyone a happy Halloween! For those of you who’ll be going trick-or-treating, be safe out there and don’t let all that candy play ghastly tricks on your teeth! Be sure to do a great job with your toothbrush and floss!

Tongue Thrust Habits: Causes, Effects and How to Fix Them

Tongue thrusting is the habit of putting the tongue in the incorrect position during swallowing, by placing the tongue too far forward or to the sides. As an infantile swallowing pattern, tongue thrusting is exhibited by children from birth, making it acceptable to have this swallowing pattern up to the age of four. While most children will outgrow the infantile swallowing pattern, some children continue to place their tongue too far forward or to the sides, due to many factors.


What Causes Tongue Thrusting?


Tongue thrusting can be caused by several things including:


  • A prolonged thumb or finger sucking habit
  • Mouth breathing that causes the tongue’s posture to be very low in the mouth. Often times, people who breathe through their mouths have on-going nasal congestion, allergies, or physical obstructions that cause this behavior.
  • Swallowing difficulties resulting from enlarged adenoids, tonsillitis or frequent sore throats
  • Some artificial nipples used to feed infants
  • Hereditary factors
  • Neurological problems
  • Physiological abnormalities
  • A large tongue


Tongue Thrusting Effects


The continuous pressure exerted from thrusting the tongue can push the teeth forward to cause them to become misaligned. When the teeth are not in proper alignment, it can adversely affect the bite and jaw. Most people with a tongue thrust habit tend to have an open bite wherein the upper and lower front teeth do not come together or meet as they should.


Treatment for Tongue Thrusting


Dr. Peralta can treat tongue thrusting by fitting the patient with a special fixed appliance. This appliance is called a tongue crib and it helps break the tongue thrusting habit, while assisting in re-establishing a more proper biting pattern. This appliance works very well and is cemented in semi-permanently. Braces can also be used to bring the teeth into proper alignment. If the tongue thrusting has affected the speech, a consultation with a speech therapist may be recommended.


Contact Your Orthodontist in West Seattle


If you have any questions about tongue thrusting or how it’s treated, please feel free to contact us as we’re always here to help! If you suspect that your child has a tongue thrusting habit, we encourage you to request an appointment with Dr. Peralta today for a thorough examination and proper diagnosis.


Boy brushing teeth in bathroom

Regular vs. Electric Toothbrushes: Which is Better for Your Teeth?

We hear this question time and again from our patients: should I get a manual or electric toothbrush? Is there really a difference? Which one is better for my teeth if I’m wearing braces? To try to find an answer, let’s explore the difference between manual and electric toothbrushes a little more.


Powered vs. Unpowered Toothbrushes


Manual toothbrushes have the advantage of familiarity and simplicity, and make no mistake: with proper brushing technique, you can take great care of your teeth with a regular toothbrush. So long as you brush properly with a fresh manual toothbrush for a full 2 minutes, twice a day, your teeth will be in great shape. Not to mention, manual toothbrushes are easier to transport, require no batteries or charging, and are very difficult to break. That said, they do require more work when brushing, and without proper brushing technique they can be far less effective. Additionally, there’s no way to time how long you brush with them unless you set a timer – without that, you’re just guessing.


Electric toothbrushes, on the other hand, often come with all the bells and whistles. They deliver more results with less work, often include 2 minute timers so you know how long to brush, and have been shown to remove more plaque and debris than manuals. However, electric toothbrushes need to be charged, are more fragile and difficult to transport, and carry a hefty price tag.


So which is best? Ultimately, it’s up to you. Both have pros and cons and both can keep your teeth clean and healthy – it’s just a matter of whether you value simplicity or convenience more.


Contact Your West Seattle Orthodontist


Have more questions about taking care of your teeth? We’re always happy to talk. Feel free to call us at 206.244.7800 for our Burien office or 206.932.4577 for our West Seattle office, reach out to us at our contact page, or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment at either of our offices. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we hope to see you back at this blog for more tips and info on keeping your teeth healthy and clean!

woman smiling with mint leaves on tongue

How To Keep Your Breath Fresh

Tips & Tricks From Your Local Seattle Orthodontist

Dr. Peralta, your local Burien and West Seattle, WA orthodontist recognizes that many of his patients are concerned about bad breath while wearing braces. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common problem that can cause embarrassment and concern. Keeping your mouth fresh while wearing braces, however, is not difficult to do. The main reason people wearing braces suffer from halitosis is due primarily to bacteria in the mouth having more surfaces to cling to and multiply from more easily.


Be Extra Diligent With Your Oral Hygiene


It is always important to practice good oral hygiene, but it is even more important when you are wearing braces. Follow these guidelines for best results:


  1. You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day.
  2. While brushing your teeth, make sure to also brush the gums, the roof of your mouth, and your tongue. These are all areas where bacteria can linger and cause your breath to begin to smell.
  3. You should be using a soft toothbrush and a dab of toothpaste when brushing and do not forget to switch to a new toothbrush every three months or whenever the bristles wear down.

Mouthwashes, Water Picks, & Breath Mints


There are many types of anti-bacterial mouthwashes on the market that can help eliminate much of the bacteria that leads to bad breath. Using an anti-bacterial mouthwash once per day can help keep halitosis at bay. Additionally, water picks, which are dental hygiene devices that safely and powerfully blast areas of your mouth with a thin jet of water, can help flush away trapped food debris that may be left behind after brushing and flossing. Finally, while people wearing braces should not chew gum or eat sticky candies and snacks, sucking on breath mints is completely allowed and a good way to keep your mouth fresh when you are unable to brush your teeth during a certain period.


Have A Question? Give Us A Call!


The key to keeping your breath fresh is keeping your mouth clean by battling foul-smelling halitosis at its source, which are the bacteria in your mouth. If you have any additional questions or concerns about keeping fresh breath with braces, or if you would like to request an appointment, please feel free to contact us at 206.244.7800 for our Burien office or 206.938.3100 for our West Seattle office. We are happy to assist you in any way we can, and thank you for trusting us as your orthodontic care provider. We look forward to seeing your smile in our offices soon!