Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.
Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?
Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.
The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.
What Grinding Does Your Teeth
Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.
What We Can Do
If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.
If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.
Periodontal disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) share a complex relationship with one another. Both of these chronic conditions cause increased inflammation in the body. Both can lead to serious damage, especially if a patient does not seek prompt, effective treatment. However, the connection between these potentially destructive illnesses does not end with similarity of symptoms. If you have either periodontal disease or RA, you may benefit from learning more about the links between the two.
Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gum tissue in the mouth. Patients with periodontal disease most often experience swelling, redness, sensitivity, and/or painful, bleeding gums. They will develop pockets where the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. These pockets are more difficult to properly clean, so are more prone to infection and bacteria that cause tooth decay. If not treated regularly, periodontal disease will worsen over time and can lead to tooth and bone loss.
RA is a chronic autoimmune disease where the protective immune response is triggered when no harmful viruses or bacteria are present. With no pathogens to attack, the white blood cells instead attack the joints, leading to pain, swelling, stiffness, and eventually deterioration of the joints. Since RA often affects the small joints of the hands and wrists, many patients have difficulty maintaining proper brushing and flossing habits. With less effective dental hygiene, patients with RA are at increased risk of developing, or worsening, periodontal disease.
Moreover, in a recent study, scientists looked at the effects of the bacterium porphyromonas gingivalis, which causes periodontal disease. They found that this bacterium can lead to earlier onset, more rapid progression of symptoms, and increased severity of RA. Fortunately, it was also discovered that successful treatment for periodontal disease can reduce RA pain and other symptoms.
If you have RA and are having difficulty maintaining your oral hygiene due to stiff, painful joints, consider these simple ideas:
Add a tennis ball or bicycle handlebar grip to make your toothbrush easier to hold.
Try replacing ordinary string floss with a water flosser that may be easier to hold and manipulate.
Use a pump-style toothpaste dispenser to avoid the need to squeeze and roll a small tube.
Have professional cleanings at least 2-3 times each year.
Schedule a periodontal screening annually.
Ask your dental hygienist for more ideas on making your daily regimen work for you.
Nearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.
Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.
The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.
Brushing Too Hard
Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.
The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.
Grinding and Clenching
Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your mouth wide.
The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.
Chewing Ice Cubes
Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.
The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.
Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.
The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.
Using Your Teeth as a Tool
Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.
The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.
Do you ever think about your toothbrush? You use it twice a day, but how much do you know about it? We’ve compiled a list of interesting toothbrush facts. The next time you brush, consider these bits of trivia.
Toothbrushes may be less common than mobile devices
It is believed that more people own and use a mobile device than those who own and use a toothbrush. With nearly 8 billion mobile devices, the world has more mobile phones, tablets, and other gear than people. However, only 3.5 billion people are estimated to use a toothbrush.
It is believed that the first modern toothbrush was invented by a prisoner in England. Sometime around 1780, William Addis created a toothbrush from bone and used swine bristle for the brush.
A long history
Long before Mr. Addis invented what we know as the toothbrush, ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Chinese crafted tools for cleaning their teeth. The ancient Chinese used “chewing sticks” to freshen breath as early as 1600 BCE.
What are the bristles?
Originally, toothbrush bristles were primarily made from cow hairs or boar hair. Today, nylon is the material of choice, and has been since the 1930s.
What color is your toothbrush?
Blue is the most common toothbrush color. The second most common color is red.
A home for bacteria
More than 100 million bacteria call your toothbrush home. You don’t get sick regularly because, like your toothbrush, your mouth is home to hundreds of millions of bacteria. Your body is quite effective at fighting off these germs, but if you don’t change your toothbrush regularly or share with someone else, you might catch an illness.
Now that you are a toothbrush expert, spread the word about the importance of regular brushing. Be sure to brush for two minutes twice each day. The American Dental Association recommends that you change your toothbrush every three to four months. If you have a weakened immune system or have been sick recently, you should replace your toothbrush.
For more dental care tips, or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.
Probiotics are typically advertised as being helpful for digestion. However, studies have shown that they can also improve oral health. Probiotics are beneficial for fighting infections that lead to oral disease.
A study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry has found that probiotics can reduce gum bleeding in patients with moderate to severe gingivitis. In the trial, children were given either a placebo or two different combinations of probiotics. At the three-week mark, it was discovered that children who took probiotics had significant improvements in their gingival status.
Periodontitis is another oral disease that probiotics have been shown to fight. Periodontitis is caused by harmful bacteria that separate teeth from the gums creating pockets that can become infected. Probiotics can fight harmful bacteria and lessen the inflammation to help heal the mouth.
Another finding from the trial of the Contemporary Clinical Dentistry showed that children who took probiotics also saw a significant decrease in plaque. The reduction of plaque leads to less decay. Probiotics fight the plaque and occupy the spaces on the teeth where bad bacteria thrive.
Minimizing Bad Breath
Another benefit of probiotics is the effect they have on bad breath. Bad breath is usually caused by volatile sulfur compound bacteria releasing odor-causing gases. Because probiotics are healthy bacteria, it is believed that they can eliminate the bad bacteria and maintain a healthy bacteria balance in your mouth.
The benefits of probiotics are not just limited to the digestive health. Researchers continue to conduct studies to discover new ways probiotics contribute to a healthy mouth and body.
Coffee is well-known as hazardous to teeth, but there are things you can do besides cut it out completely. Here are some things to know about coffee’s effects on your oral health and diet, as well as how to mitigate them.
Contrary to popular belief, the pigments that give coffee its color can stain your teeth regardless of whether you take your coffee black or with cream. These pigments embed themselves in microscopic crevices and pits in your tooth enamel and are difficult to remove. To counteract this, don’t give the pigments time to set. When drinking coffee, drink quickly instead of sipping over a long period. Enjoy, then rinse your mouth with water to help neutralize the acid. In addition, following your recommended schedule of dental cleanings can help prevent stains. Whitening can improve the color of your teeth if mild staining has started. Ask our doctor how best to keep your smile bright.
Coffee can have minor benefits for your nutrition, but there are also things to beware. Drinks that are high in dairy fat or sugar can add substantial calories, as well as contributing to the chance of tooth decay. Try making your own coffee at home, where you can control the ingredients used. Minimize your use of creamer and sugar, or try using non-fat or sugar-free substitutes.
Coffee can still be a healthy party of your life if you take some care to protect your teeth. For more tips or to schedule a professional cleaning, contact our office.
You probably have some pre-conceived notions about oral surgery. You might think of it as a worst-case resort for people with particularly serious oral health issues. Maybe you assume that all oral surgery procedures are painful, invasive, and take a while to fully heal. However, there are plenty of reasons an individual could benefit from oral surgery, and not all procedures are going to require the same amount of healing. Below are some common issues that can be resolved by oral surgery. Contact our team today to learn more if you think you could benefit from one of these procedures.
Restoring Missing Teeth
Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth. An implant is fixed to your jawbone and a cosmetic crown that mimics the look and function of a natural tooth is fixed on top. Implants can help restore the function of missing teeth as well as keep the adjacent teeth from shifting in the mouth.
ResolvingTMJ and Bite Alignment Issues
A misaligned bite can cause any number of issues. From a clicking sensation and pain in the jaw to excess wear and tear on your teeth as they rub against each other, misalignment can easily spiral into a number of other oral health issues.
Removing Problem Teeth
The majority of people find that they need to have their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their lives. Additionally, other teeth may need to be extracted due to damage or infection. Removing problem teeth can help protect overall oral health and give the rest of your teeth room in your mouth.
Repairing Facial Trauma
After sustaining a traumatic facial injury, an individual might need to undergo oral surgery to help repair and rebuild the delicate structures found in the mouth. Whether damaged teeth need to be extracted and replaced with implants or the jaw needs to be reset, the extent of the surgery will depend on the injuries sustained.
Don’t let a limited understanding of oral surgery stop you from receiving the care you might need. To learn more about all the potential benefits of oral surgery, contact our dental team today!
Men, dental examinations and treatment are important for you, too. Did you know according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), by age 72 men lose an average of 5 teeth? That number jumps to 12 if you are also a smoker. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your mouth healthy. Follow these tips and you can beat the odds stacked against men and their oral health.
Men are more likely than women to suffer from periodontal, or gum, disease. Men also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer and throat cancer, and men tend to lose more teeth than women. A poll conducted by the AGD found that 45% of men who responded felt there was no need for them to visit the dentist. This is a troubling statistic for a group more prone to oral health issues. A visit to our office can help us identify problems early.
Certain medications can directly impact your teeth. Others can cause side effects such as dry mouth, which decreases saliva. Saliva is important in keeping your teeth’s enamel strong. Smoking or chewing tobacco, including smoking electronic cigarettes, have been linked to increasing your risk of developing oral cancer and other oral health issues. If you play sports, especially football or hockey, get fitted with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from extensive damage. You should avoid or limit energy drinks and sports drinks, as these contain acids and sugars that can lead to decay.
Men are at a higher risk for developing periodontal, or gum, disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of hardened plaque on teeth and gums. This buildup, known as tartar, can inflame your gums. Studies have linked periodontal disease to increasing your risk for strokes, heart attacks, diabetic complications, and more. If your gums are red, bloodied, or sore, you should make an appointment to see us. Our experienced, professional dental team will assess your gum health and work to find a treatment for you.
Take These Steps at Home
A visit to our office will provide you with a complete dental examination and cleaning, but you should also practice good oral hygiene each day at home. This starts by brushing your teeth twice each day, for two minutes each time. When you brush, use an appropriate toothpaste. Ask our team if you are not sure what kind of toothpaste is best for you. Make sure you are also using dental floss. Taking care of your teeth at home will make your next visit to see us easier.
Men, your teeth are important so take good care of them. Practice good brushing and flossing habits at home. Reduce your risk of developing decay and oral disease by cutting back on sugary or acidic drinks, avoiding tobacco and smoking, and keeping our office up to date on any medications you are using. Get into the habit of coming to our office regularly, your smile depends on it.