Braces-Friendly Recipe: Breakfast

Kids can be picky eaters. How many times have you seen your child try to hide the peas under a mound of mashed potatoes?

It can be hard to get your child to eat the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. The task of providing fun, nutritious meals becomes even more challenging if he or she wears braces. It’s an age-old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

  1. Scrambled eggs are soft and easy to eat if you have braces. If you drown them in ketchup (which many kids love to do), eggs become even mushier. Minimal chewing is required, and that’s the key to a braces-friendly recipe.
  2. A healthy breakfast provides energy and jump-starts metabolism. A smoothie is not only a good source of fruit, but it’s also gentle on braces. More importantly, smoothies are fun to create. You can toss anything in the blender (bananas, mangoes, strawberries, spinach) and create a drink that’s loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
  3. If you wear braces, eating crunchy cereals or granola for breakfast is out of the question: Bite down the wrong way and you might snap the wires or dislodge the brackets. However, you can get your grains and oats by substituting oatmeal for cereal. This mushy breakfast treat has a host of health benefits.
  4. Pancakes are not the healthiest breakfast choice. Still, this Sunday morning favorite is braces-friendly. The idea is to make it healthier by hiding blueberries in the pancake batter just like your child hides peas in the mashed potatoes.
  5. Toast with jam is ok, but adding peanut butter adds a boost of protein. Try it for yourself!

It’s Time to Be Friends With Your Braces

You and your braces will become good friends over the coming months or years, so it’s important to get your relationship off to a good start. Consider the following recommendations to prevent rocky times ahead:

  1. Floss, floss, floss. Yes, it’s a pain to floss around your braces, but it’s the best way to prevent gum disease and other oral health problems. Ask Dr. Ries and our staff for floss threaders to make the chore easier. Just a few minutes per day will ensure that you don’t face significant dental health issues when the braces come off.
  2. Avoid sticky or hard foods. It’s tough to forgo toffee, caramel, hard candies, and other favorite treats, but your braces will thank you. Sticky or hard foods can break a bracket or wire, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
  3. Chew with your back teeth. If you’re used to taking large bites with your front teeth, it might be time to switch your eating habits. Taking a large bite of food with your front teeth can leave your braces vulnerable to damage. Instead, cut large foods into pieces and use your back teeth to chew. This is especially important with corn on the cob, which should always be cut from the cob.
  4. Wear rubber bands. Rubber bands may seem annoying, but failing to comply with wearing them can increase the length of your treatment by months. Wear them now to avoid problems in the future.



Stay Sun Safe This Summer

sun safe

sun safe

There is no such thing as a healthy tan, according to dermatologists, who look at a tan and see a sign of injury. Tanned skin will forever contain cells whose genetic structures have been permanently damaged by the sun.

The sun gives off invisible rays of ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are short, high-energy wavelengths that are absorbed by the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. When you burn, the skin responds to UVB rays by producing chemicals called inflammatory mediators, some of which seep down into the dermis, the skin’s middle layer. These chemicals irritate the tiny blood vessels in the dermis, which swell and create the surface redness of the burn.

At the same time, the UVB rays affect the genetic material of the epidermis, which causes the damage that may lead to skin cancer. Other UVB rays can affect the immune system and interfere with the skin’s ability to repair itself. Finally, UVB radiation attacks the skin’s melanocytes (pigment cells). The melanocytes react by stepping up production of melanin and sending melanasomes to the skin’s surface to act as a filter against the sun’s rays actually damage the DNA of the pigment cells. This kind of genetic damage causes both freckling and the mottled brown of age spots. More seriously, it contributes to the development of melanoma and other skin cancers.

Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays – longer than UVB rays – can also do lasting damage. They penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB rays, affecting the DNA of the cells in the dermis, attacking cell membranes, and changing the proteins that make up collagen and elastin, which support the skin’s fibrous structure. By undermining these parts of the skin, UVA rays lead directly to wrinkles and sagging of the skin. They also contribute to the loss of support for the skin’s tiny blood vessels, which become permanently dilated. This shows up as a general ruddiness or visible spider veins on the nose, cheeks and chin. UVA rays also play a role in the development of skin cancer.

Despite these facts, a study by the American Academy of Dermatology revealed these attitudes toward tanning among teens:

  • 63% of teens believe they look better when they have a tan
  • 59% of teens believe that people in general look healthier with a tan
  • 43% of teens say they lie out in the sun
  • 28% of female teens and 14% of male tens say they never use sun block
  • Only three in ten teens who lie out in the sun say they always use sun block

In the past, the ozone layer in the atmosphere provided a blanket of protection from the sun’s damaging rays. The ozone layer in the atmosphere has been thinning over the past several years due to air pollution. As a result, the sun’s damaging rays can reach earth more easily and there has been an increase in the incidence of skin cancers.

Indoor Tanning

Perhaps resulting from the commonly-held myths about tanning, there has been an increased in the use of indoor tanning beds. This is a very dangerous practice.

According to American Academy of Dermatology, indoor tanning before the age of 35 has been associated with a significant increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Yet, over a million Americans, 70% of whom are girls and women, ages 16 to 29 years old, visit a tanning salon daily.

Preventing your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the best way to diminish your chance of getting all skin cancers, including melanoma. Be sun smart. Don’t use tanning beds. Reduce your risk by protecting your skin.

For more information on sun safety and the dangers of indoor tanning, please visit American Academy of Dermatology at

For more information about the major types of skin cancer- basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma – please visit our Skin Resource Center.

Ultraviolet Index

UV Index Number Exposure Level
0 to 2 Minimal
3 to 4 Low
5 to 6 Moderate
7 to 9 High
10+ Very high

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) have developed an Ultraviolet (UV) Index to describe the day’s likely levels of exposure to UV rays. You may be able to find the UV Index on television, in the newspaper, and online. The Index predicts UV level using a 0-10+ scale as follows:

While you should always protect your skin, take special care to adopt safe-guards when the UV Index predicts exposure levels of moderate or higher.

Protecting the Skin

To protect against damage from the sun’s rays, it is important to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest; to wear protective clothing; and to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.

The time when UV exposure is likely to be greatest is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during daylight savings time and during the late spring and early summer in North America. Nonetheless, protection from UV rays is important all year round. UV rays can be as strong on cloudy, hazy days as well as on bright, sunny ones.

The Shadow Rule

Another way to determine when to stay out of the sun is by following the shadow rule: “Short Shadow- Seek Shade.” The intensity of UV rays is directly related to the angle of the sun or altitude above the horizon. The shadow rule indirectly determines the sun’s altitude by observing the length of a person’s shadow during the course of the day. When a person’s shadow is shorter than the person is tall, the intensity of the UV rays from the sun is more likely to cause sunburn.

Protective Clothing

The best protective clothes are loose fitting garments made from fabric that is tightly woven. Darker colors may offer more protection than light-colored clothing, and dry clothes provide better protection than wet ones. A wide-brimmed hat that offers a lot of shade is the best choice for protecting head, face and neck. If long pants and a long sleeved shirt can’t be worn because of the temperature, it is important to wear a dry T-shirt, stay in the shade as much as possible, and always wear sunscreen.


Sunscreens provide protection by absorbing, reflecting or scattering the sun’s rays. They may also contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. Sunscreens are rated according to their effectiveness by the sun protection factor (SPF). A product’s SPF number helps determine how long the product will protect you before you need to re-apply it – how long you can stay in the sun without burning. For example, you may normally burn in 20 minutes. If you apply an SPF 15 sunscreen, you’ll be protected for about 300 minutes, or five hours (SPF 15 x 20 minutes = 300 minutes). A person with lightly pigmented skin who burns in 10 minutes would be protected for only about two-and-a-half-hours with SPF 15 (SPF 15 x 10 minutes = 150 minutes).

Sunscreens with SPF numbers higher than 15 may work well for people who have lightly pigmented skin, live at high altitudes, or work or play outdoors much of the day. To get the most protection from your sunscreen, apply it liberally at least 30 minutes before going outside and remember to re-apply it after swimming or perspiring heavily. If you’re taking medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it will make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Certain antibiotics, birth control pills, diuretics, antihistamines, and anti-depressants can increase one’s sensitivity to the sun’s rays.

Some people may have an allergic reaction to sunscreen. They may need to try a different brand of sunscreen or see a dermatologist.

You should always wear a sunscreen with at least SPF 15, no matter what your skin color. Even people with very dark skin can burn and develop skin cancer.


This article is from the American Skin Association

Soft Drinks + Orthodontic Treatment = A Recipe for Disaster

Soft drinks, including regular and diet soda pop, fruit drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks, weaken tooth enamel.  They are even harder on teeth with orthodontic “appliances,” such as braces or aligners. It is recommended that you avoid soft drinks during your orthodontic treatment so that your teeth stay healthy and strong, and you finish your treatment with a good bite and a healthy, beautiful smile.

Acid is the Culprit


Soft drinks contain acids. Acid pulls calcium out of the enamel, making the tooth soft to the touch. Acid dissolves tooth enamel, a process called “decalcification,” and can lead to cavities. Once enamel dissolves, it does not come back. The loss is permanent.

Acid + Sugar = Double Trouble!

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film made up of bacteria, food debris and saliva that constantly forms on your teeth. Plaque uses sugar and starches as food, and expels acid as a by-product, creating a stain on the surface of the tooth. If plaque is not removed regularly by brushing and flossing, the build-up can lead to decalcification, cavities, gum disease, and loss of the bone that holds teeth in place. Coupled with acid that is present in soft drinks, drinking liquids containing sugar doubles the risk to tooth enamel.

How Soft Drinks Affect Teeth with Braces


White marks like these on teeth are the result of decalcification, and are permanent. If you don’t remove the plaque that collects around brackets, between teeth and under the gums, decalcification can be evident within four months.

How Soft Drinks Affect Teeth While Wearing Aligners


Liquids seep into aligners when you take a drink, and the liquid is held against the teeth until the aligner is removed. If the liquid contains acid, the prolonged exposure accelerates damage to teeth. This can lead to extensive decay (pictured above, right) and the need for expensive restorations that may need to be repeated periodically over a lifetime.

Be Smart

  • Avoid soft drinks, especially during orthodontic treatment
  • Drink water and milk
  • Brush and floss as recommended
  • Fluoride strengthens teeth – use fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse
  • See your dentist at least every six months for a professional cleaning and check-up, or more often if recommended

If You Must Drink a Soft Drink

  • Drink soft drinks through a straw
  • Have soft drinks with a meal
  • Brush right away after drinking a soft drink; if you can’t brush right away, at least rinse with water
  • Drink the soft drink quickly; avoid sipping over a long period of time – each sip renews the acid attack on teeth

Adapted from a recent article by the American Association of Orthodontics

R+R Flat Stanley Contest

We’re excited to announce our big contest of the summer, R+R Flat Doctors!
 Dr. Robinson and Dr. Ries have been working hard all year and want to go on some adventures this summer. Cut out the picture of flat Dr. Robinson and/or Dr. Ries and take him with you wherever you go this summer…on vacation, to a party, or just having fun around the house.

The pictures with the most likes will win $300, so get your family and friends to like yours between now and Labor Day!

How to enter: email your picture to and say who you are and where you took the photo! We will post the photo on our Facebook page and respond via email with the link to your photo so you can start sharing and getting “likes.”

Click here for flat Dr. Robinson

Click here for flat Dr. Ries

More details…

  1. You can print the photos from home or stop by our office to pick them up. To print them yourself, go to our R+R Flat Doctors photo album and download the templates to your computer.
  2. Color, decorate, add a silly hat or beach ball… whatever you want! Be creative
  3. Take an awesome photo of Flat Dr. Robinson and/or Flat Dr. Ries to show off where you took them.
  4. Send the photo to, and we will post the picture in our R+R Flat Doctors photo album on facebook. You will receive an email with the direct link to your photo.
  5. Do everything you can to get the most views on your picture. (We suggest copying the link AND uploading your photo to your own Facebook page and encourage friends/family to click the link and “like” the photo on our page.)
  6. To remind your friends throughout the summer to “Like” the photo, feel free to “Share” the post on your own wall, linking our Facebook page!



Dr. Ries Flat Stanley FINAL.pngDr. Robinson Flat Stanley FINAL.png

Be Social and Win $100

12717313_10153195970971504_2497077625150053686_nWe are trying to grow our online presence and we need your help! We would like our patients to share their experiences (or post a picture at the office) and in return, they will be entered in to a raffle for a $100 or (2) $50 American Express cards. Here’s how it works:

1 Entry: When you “check in” on social media next time you are at our office on Facebook

*2 Entries: Post a picture at the office using our location (or simply post a picture to our Facebook page)

3 Entries: Leave us a review on Google +, Yelp, and/or Facebook

You may have an unlimited number of entries!  Winners will be drawn randomly on June 1st.Our office will be monitoring these sites and entering people in the raffle. If you want to make sure we saw your post, you are welcome to email us at to make sure we saw it.  We truly appreciate the feedback and participation!

*This may be a little confusing so we would like to clarify… You can post a picture on Instagram and use Robinson – Ries as your location. On Twitter, tweet a picture and add @RobinsonRies. For Facebook, you can either post a picture to our page or post a picture and use our location.

Staff Spotlight: Melonie

Melonie-220x280Today we are featuring Melonie – our lab technician who does the “behind the scenes” work. Although patients may not see her often, she is a very important part of everyone’s treatment because of the appliances she makes.

Melonie began working as an orthodontic assistant after working in Pedodontics (Children’s Dentistry.) Dr. Robinson hired her in 1988 as an orthodontic assistant and began to teach her the basics of retainers. Gradually, the office got busier and a full-time lab technician was needed. The transition wasn’t exactly easy for her because she loved working with the patients and children. However, she quickly found her niche in the lab and the rest is history!

As a lab technician, she creates active appliances that move and align a patient’s teeth as well as retainers that keep your teeth straight when your orthodontics is all done. Melonie is an expert at shaping wire, soldering and casting.Wally1

Modern orthodontic practices have evolved considerably over the last 20 years. Our office has adopted new technology to enhance the level of treatment and impressive results. That means Melonie is constantly learning new ways to improve patients’ treatment. “I like the challenge of new cases,” Melonie says. “When Dr. Robinson or Dr. Ries want to try new appliances, I am eager to do that. I just need to the know the function and design of it.”

When Melonie is not at the office, she is enjoying her free time with family and friends. She loves her adorable 14-year-old pug Wally. Just look at the picture of him and you can see why!

Ugh, Not Braces!

Getting your child excited about braces is a lot like: A) convincing a grumpy toddler that it’s time to take a nap? B) convincing a teenager to stop texting during dinner? C) convincing your husband to eat his peas? The answer, obviously, is all of the above.

And that’s why you may need a few thoughtful ways to get your child on board with braces.

  1. Throw a pre-braces party. It can’t be just any party, however, but a Willy Wonka celebration of candy, chips, gum, and all the sticky and sweet foods your child won’t be able to indulge in during the time he or she is wearing braces. Promise a post-braces celebration, too, and watch as your child’s eyes widen at the thought of an all-you-can-eat junk food buffet.
  2. Encouraging phrases like “braces aren’t eternal, but your straight smile will be” can go a long way.
  3. If your daughter is worried about getting picked on because of braces, then name-drop some A-list celebrities who have worn them. The list includes Cameron Diaz, Kelly Clarkson, Dakota Fanning, and Gwen Stefani.
  4. Emphasize that braces today aren’t the same as they were in the Stone Age. From clear ceramic braces to different-colored braces, more options are available. Braces can be cool accessories to express a personal style.
  5. To get your child to embrace braces, you need to sing the praises of beautiful teeth, even if that means pointing out how crooked your teeth are because you never got braces.

Springtime in Mid-MO

Look no further for the best Spring activities to shake off your cabin fever. So breathe in the fresh air and throw those bulky sweaters in storage. Spring has arrived in Mid-MO and there is plenty to do! Here are some ideas of how to enjoy this weather:

Trailside Café and Bike Shop in Rocheport: This establishment offers both bike rentals AND great food all in one place! Trailside Café – located next to Katy Trail State Park – has indoor and outdoor seating.


Columbia Farmer’s Market

Columbia Farmers Market: You can now experience the taste of Mid-Missouri at the Columbia Farmers Market outside again, which is in the parking lot behind the ARC and runs every Saturday from 8 am – 12 pm. And there’s live music too!

Bear Creek Trail: This may not be as popular as MKT Trail, but it is to not be underestimated! Bear Creek Trail in northern Columbia links two of the most popular parks (Cosmo and Albert-Oakland Park). The 4.8 mile limestone trail is a great way to enjoy the outdoors.

Hot Air Balloon Rides: See Columbia from high above in a hot air balloon ride offered by BalloonStomers, Inc. If you aren’t afraid of heights, this is something you’ll enjoy. Just be sure to make a reservation first!

Warm Spring Ranch near Booneville: This 300-acre Anheuser Busch Clydesdale breeding facility is home to more than 100 Clydesdales. Make a reservation for a tour and meet the beautiful horses with the whole family.

Restaurants with a patio: Grab a bite downtown on a patio and enjoy the beautiful weather. Some of our favorites are Shakespeare’s, The Heidelberg and Shiloh.

Have an hour to spare? Walk through the Mizzou campus, which is designated a botanic garden and the architecture of the buildings new and old makes it one of the most picturesque places in the state.sports_mizzou_softball_scoring.jpg

Local Sporting Events:
It is baseball and softball season and you have your fair share of team’s to watch! Whether you prefer to watch Mizzou, Columbia College or Stephen’s, a night at the ballpark can’t be beat!

Kite Flying Day: Fill the sky from 12-2 pm at Douglass Park Ball Field in Columbia on April 2nd . Contest categories are Largest Flying Kite, Smallest Flying Kite & the Highest Flyer.

We hope that this gives you some ideas of ways to spend your free time. As always, we love to see what our patients are up to so please share with us on Facebook how you like to spend the season of Spring!