Articles, information and frequently asked questions about Preventive dentistry

Tips to Avoid Dental Emergencies During the Holidays

Tips to Avoid Dental Emergencies During the Holidays

If there’s one time of any year that practically everyone looks forward to, it would have to be the holidays.

After all, for most people, the holidays are synonymous with family get-togethers, gift-giving, and of course, lots of food and drinks.

Indeed, the holidays are the best time for merry-making. However, one dental emergency could put a damper on all that.

A cracked tooth, the sudden onset of a toothache, or an accident that knocks out several teeth are things you don’t want happening to you or anyone you care about during the most wonderful time of the year.

The problem is that, unlike us, dental emergencies don’t take a break during the holidays. They can happen to anyone at any time. A dental emergency can even hit you in the middle of Christmas dinner or a summer holiday.

No one wants to be on the receiving end of holiday emergency dental care. If you want to steer clear of any dental emergency during the holidays, here are some tips to help you do just that.

Bite Into Food With Care

With all the delectable dishes laid out in front of you it’s easy to get carried away.

Before you know it, you’d be wolfing down plate after plate, which shouldn’t really be a problem. After all, it’s the holidays, and you’re just eating stuff that you don’t eat all the time.

However, it would be best to be mindful of the hardness of the food you’re eating. You wouldn’t want to end up with a chipped or broken tooth or a bleeding mouth because you bit into a piece of meat with a bone shard you didn’t realize was there. The same goes for eating hard candy, nuts, or even popcorn.

Keep The Horseplay To A Minimum

Missing brothers or cousins so much you’d instinctively wrestle them to the ground like you used to when you were kids is perfectly normal, but you need to dial it back a little.

Any sort of horseplay could easily lead to a dental emergency like a cracked, or worse, a knocked-out tooth.

And if you’re the type of family that considers playing in Christmas Day football or basketball matches as tradition, make sure all of you are wearing mouth guards to protect your teeth.

Then again, with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, it’s best not to engage in any close-contact horseplay at all. The rough and rowdy greetings could wait for the next holiday season when we all hope the coronavirus has gone away.

Remember That Your Teeth Are Not Bottle Openers

Not all bottled beverages have screw-on caps. If your family bought bottled beer or soda with crown cork bottle caps for the gathering, resist the temptation to show off and open the bottles with your teeth.

Tooth enamel may be the hardest substance in your body, but it is no match for the metal used in bottle caps. If you’re in the habit of removing bottle caps with your teeth, it would only be a matter of time before you crack or chip a tooth.

In the same vein, you should also refrain from using your teeth to open packages or crack open a nut. There are scissors and nutcrackers for that.

Don’t Take A Break From Proper Oral Hygiene

You may be taking a break from work for the holidays, but you should never give practicing proper oral hygiene a rest.

With all the food and drinks available to you over the holidays, you’d be consuming high amounts of sugar. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and eventually convert it into acid, which will eat away at tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.

Before bacteria feasts on the sugar in your mouth, make sure you brush and floss after every meal. You could also use a mouthwash for good measure if you so choose.

Don’t Get Too Drunk

Without a doubt, the holiday parties and family gatherings you’ll be attending will ply everyone with alcohol, which is fine as long as you limit your consumption.

If you get carried away and end up having too much to drink, your risk of tripping, slipping, and falling will multiply, and so will your risk of suffering a dental emergency.

Most importantly, whatever you do, don’t even think about getting behind the wheel after a night of binging. When you drink and drive, you’re not just in danger of a dental emergency. You could also seriously hurt yourself, your passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists on the road by driving drunk.

Don’t let a dental emergency spoil your holidays. By following the tips above, your chances of coming out of the holiday season with all your teeth intact and your oral health in excellent condition will be pretty good.

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How Can I Protect My Teeth During Pregnancy?

How to Protect Teeth with Dentistry Treatment in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is more or less a time of happiness for the woman conceiving and their partners. The body undergoes specific changes after a woman becomes pregnant; for example, some hormones start to overexpress, and some physiological changes are also seen. Like the rest of the body, the teeth also get affected. Let us discuss a little about the different aspects of dentistry treatment during the pregnancy stage.

Problems of Teeth related to Pregnancy

Several studies have been conducted to find a relation between pregnancy and teeth problems. The consensus of these studies depicts that hormonal imbalance and changes in diet are the two most typical causes of dental problems during this condition. The treatment for the diverse issues differs and is administered according to the extent of the symptoms. The usual problems are discussed below:

·    As mentioned earlier, pregnancy induces the overexpression of several hormones in the body. The dental hospital in Coimbatore states that this apparent hormonal imbalance can negatively affect the health and conditions of the teeth. As a preliminary measure, using the ongoing dental practices and visiting the doctor will suffice.

·        Scientific evidence suggests that a link exists between periodontal disease in the mother and premature birth of the fetus with the low-birth-weight at a rate of 18%. Prematurely born babies are known to exhibit problems with vision and hearing. In addition, reports of an increase in the risk of brain injury in premature babies are also present. So, treatment of gum disease during this period is advisable.

Causes of the Common Dental Problems

Apart from the evident biochemical change, some other factors may need pregnant females to undergo dentistry treatment. Some of the usual causes behind these issues are listed below:

1.    Gum infection/gingivitis: This is generally observed during the second trimester. Symptoms include the swelling of gums, occasional bleeding, and pain in the gums, mostly during brushing and flossing.

2.    Periodontal disease: This condition is often the result of untreated gingivitis. The issues are caused by the infection of the supportive structures of the tooth. If not treated, it could lead to tooth loss for the patient.

3.    Pregnancy epulis / pyogenic granuloma: It is an outgrowth usually seen in the outer surface of the gums. It is characterized by red color, swelling, and periodic bleeding.

Although the gum problems subside after pregnancy, in some cases, the gum diseases have been observed to progress even after the pregnancy term ends. Such developments may require further specialist treatment.

·         Morning sickness: The abundance of hormones during pregnancy soften the intestinal muscles that inhibit the regurgitation event. Dental experts say that the teeth can get covered by intestinal acids due to pregnancy-associated morning sickness or gastric reflux (throwing up the ingested food and drink). Recurring vomiting or reflux can damage the surface of the enamel and intensify the risk of tooth decay.

Pregnant women can utilize the following practices to minimize the damages occurring in the teeth due to the intestinal backflow:

  1. Do not brush immediately after a round of vomiting. The teeth become coated with stomach acid, and the action of brushing could damage them further.
  2. After a round of vomiting, rinse your mouth with plain tap water.
  3. After that, wash your mouth with a fluoride-containing mouthwash. If you don’t have mouthwash, smear any fluoride-containing toothpaste over the teeth and rinse thoroughly.

·       Gagging while brushing

In some cases, women have experienced a gagging sensation or retching when brushing, especially in the back teeth. Therefore, it is important to brush all the teeth during pregnancy. In addition, the would-be-mothers may apply the following practices to minimize this event:

  1. Take your time during brushing and do it slowly.
  2. Use a toothbrush with a small soft head. If you cannot find it for adults, use the ones available in the market for children.
  3. Be calm at all times. Closing your ice and concentrating on breathing may help in some cases.
  4. You can also listen to music or pursue a hobby of your liking, provided it is not stressful or puts undue pressure on your health.
  5. Switch to a different brand if the flavor of the toothpaste is causing the retching. Alternatively, you can use water while brushing and then use a fluorinated mouthwash. Revert to using fluoride-containing toothpaste as soon as possible.

·       Craving during pregnancy

During pregnancy, it is normal to have a craving for specific foods as per the best dental hospital in Coimbatore. Although, a pregnant woman should avoid sugary snacks as much as possible as it increases the chance of tooth decay. They can eat low sugar-containing snacks during the craving. Otherwise, you can avail of some healthier options like fresh fruits and berries. Always wash your mouth with fluoride-containing toothpaste after having snacks with added sugar in high amounts.

·       Maintaining calcium levels

During pregnancy, ingesting of calcium should be increased to assist the bone development of the fetus along with the dental requirement of the mother. The following practices can be a source of naturally available calcium:

  1. Milk, cheese, fruit yogurt (plain or sugar-free)
  2. Calcium-rich drinks like milk, low-sugar flavored milk like almond or soy milk.
  3. Cheese and yogurt are recommended for individuals with lactose intolerance.
  4. Certain nuts like cashew or almond.
  5. Foods that contain Vitamin-D like fatty fish, eggs, margarine, Vitamin D-added milk, bread, cereals, or vitamin D supplements.

During pregnancy, the teeth also get affected adversely due to many reasons. So, for expecting mothers, taking care of the teeth as per the dentists’ advice is also a prime concern. Apart from consuming the required food and maintaining usual dental hygiene practices, a regular checkup with your dentist is recommended during the pregnancy.


Author Bio: 

Lesli is a Content Writer and loves to blog about health-related articles. She enjoys learning and specializes in guest blogging, blog publishing, and social media. She is an avid reader and loves writing impeccable content pertaining to health care. 

I Grind My Teeth In My Sleep, What Can I Do?

If you wake up every day with sore and fatigued jaw muscles and aching teeth, it may be because you have a habit of tooth grinding during sleep. Scientifically known as bruxism, this condition is not only dangerous for your teeth but also indicates an underlying problem with your dental or physical health. 

Why Do I Grind My Teeth In My Sleep? 

According to the Bruxism Association, there are various causes of tooth grinding. 

  • Stress and Anxiety – perhaps, the most common reason for bruxism is stress and anxiety. People often find themselves grinding their teeth during exam days due to increased stress
  • Sleep Disorders – according to the American Sleep Association, bruxism can also be caused due to various sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnoea. In this condition, breathing during sleep is interrupted frequently, which  affects the quality of sleep and leads to tooth grinding. 
  • Lifestyle Habits – people who smoke or drink alcohol often grind their teeth, either during the day or while sleeping. Excessive caffeine intake has also been linked with bruxism. 
  • Medications – brxusim can also results as side effect of certain medications, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
  • Genetic Predisposition – research has shown that bruxism also runs in families. It is commonly seen that people with bruxism often have close relatives or family members that are also suffering from the same condition. 

What Problems Can Result From Grinding Teeth? 

The habit of excessive tooth grinding can lead to various problems. 

  • Tooth Wear – one of the most common complications of bruxism is tooth wear. As you grind your teeth, a thin layer of the outer protective enamel is removed; ultimately, the entire enamel layer is lost, leaving the tooth vulnerable to teeth cavities. Not only this, the loss of enamel makes the teeth sensitive to hot or cold foods and drinks. 
  • Temporomandibular Joints Problems – tooth grinding puts excessive pressure on your jaw joints, leading to various complications like clicking or popping sounds while opening or closing the mouth, and even jaw joint dislocation. 
  • Headaches – constant tooth grinding puts a lot of pressure on the face and jaw muscles, leading to spasms and headaches. 
  • Tooth sensitivity – excessive grinding damages the outer protective layer of the teeth, which can cause sensitivity to hot or cold foods. 

Jaw Clenching While Awake, What Can I Do? 

Management of bruxism involves treating the underlying cause. If you feel that you or a loved one grinds their teeth, take them to a dentist immediately. Your dentist will identify the underlying cause and then recommend the appropriate treatment. Sometimes, treating bruxism involves a team effort by your dentist, healthcare specialist or psychiatrist. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Bruxism? 

Bruxism can cause a variety of problems. The sleep foundation highlights the following symptoms of daytime or sleep bruxism:

  • Jaw soreness
  • Loose or painful teeth 
  • Flattened teeth 
  • Headaches 
  • Jaw pain
  • Difficulty in opening or closing mouth
  • Frequent jaw dislocation 
  • Sensitive teeth 

Perhaps, the most harmful consequence of tooth grinding is the flattening of teeth. When the teeth are flattened, they cannot effectively cut the food we eat into smaller pieces so that it can be digested properly. This can lead to various medical condition like indigestion, heartburn, and other gastric issues. 

What Is The Treatment For Teeth Grinding? 

According to the Sleep Foundation, there is no treatment currently available that can completely cure bruxism. However, there are several approaches available that can reduce its frequency and damage to one’s oral health. 

The first step in the management of bruxism is identifying the underlying cause. If it is because of stress, it will be managed through psychological treatment. Your dentist may also inject a botox injection for facial muscle relaxation. Similarly, if the underlying cause is a sleep disorder, your dentist will refer you to a sleep medicine specialist for further treatment.

For other medical-related reasons, your dentist will refer you to your physician. Your dentist will give you a mouthguard to protect your teeth and jaw joints from damage while your treatment is being done. A mouthguard is an appliance that prevents the teeth from excessive wear while grinding. 

Mouthguard For Teeth Grinding?

Your dentist may give you a mouthguards, also called night guards, if you grind your teeth. According to the Bruxism Association, a mouthguard is a removable appliance, just like a retainer, worn to prevent the teeth from damage due to excessive grinding. In some cases, dentists also prescribe mandibular advancement devices (MAD). These devices work by keeping the lower jaw in a slightly forward position – thereby preventing jaw clenchign and tooth grinding. After a thorough examination, your dentist will recommend an mouthguard or a mandibular splint, depending on the severity of your condition and individual dental needs. 

Teething grinding is a severe problem that can lead to many dental and medical complications. However, timely diagnosis and dental care can go a long way in minimising the damages associated with this problem. If you, or a loved suffers from night or daytime bruxism, you should take them to a dentist right away.

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Cooking For A Happy, Healthy Sweet Tooth

Sweet treats and a healthy smile—can they go hand in hand? Rising awareness of the dangers of sugar has many parents wondering how to please their children’s taste buds without contributing to the formation of plaque and cavities. Here are some simple ways to protect your children’s teeth while pleasing their taste buds with sweet, healthy treats.

The Foundations of a Tooth-Friendly Diet

Before launching into some tooth-friendly replacements for sugar, let’s cover some healthy eating habits that provide the nutrients for teeth that are strong and cavity-free.

Wholefood Vitamins and Minerals

The two most important minerals for strengthening tooth enamel according to the American Dental Association are calcium and phosphorus. Calcium is abundant in foods such as cheese, milk, almonds, and dark leafy green vegetables. Phosphorus is present in meat, eggs, and fish.

To maximize these key minerals and their uptake in the body, it’s best to go for grass-fed, organic animal products (and to ingest milk in its probiotic-rich fermented forms). Nuts and seeds should be soaked overnight in the fridge to reduce anti-nutrients like oxalic acid.

Cod Liver Oil and High-Vitamin Butter Oil

Dr. Weston A. Price—a renowned dentist who studied primitive cultures in the early 1900s—observed that communities that still ate a traditional diet ingested ten times more vitamin A and D than people in the modern world. He also noted that these fat-soluble vitamins, when paired with Vitamin K2, significantly improved the body’s retention and utilization of dietary minerals for strong teeth and bones.

To increase these key vitamins in your family’s diet, Dr. Price and the Weston A. Price Foundation recommend consuming quality fermented cod liver oil and grass-fed butter oil daily (including before and during pregnancy) to prevent many of the most common dental issues in children and adults.

Sweets that Please Your Teeth as Much as Your Taste Buds

In addition to the dietary guidelines set out above, your family can enjoy a number of healthy sweets that won’t harm your teeth or contribute to the development of diabetes later in life.

1. Apples

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And as it turns out, an apple a day may keep the dentist away, too. Raw, crunchy foods like apples, carrots, celery, and cucumbers can help to dislodge plaque and cleanse your mouth so that bacteria are cleared away instead of settling down and causing cavities. For a tooth-friendly treat that is low in natural sugars, try green apples rather than red. Your body will thank you!

2. Chewing Honey

As one of the most intense natural sweeteners, honey may seem like a surprising ingredient to include in a “tooth-friendly” ingredient list. However, a 2014 study demonstrated that chewing honey can reduce oral bacteria more effectively than antibiotics. It also helps acid levels in the mouth to drop off much more quickly after a meal than either sucrose or sorbitol did under the same conditions.

3. Stevia

Stevia is a naturally sweet leaf from South America that is typically ground into a powder and sold in its powdered or crystallized form. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), stevia does not produce lactic acid when ingested, which is one of the main by-products of refined sugar that eats away at your teeth.

4. Xylitol

A sweetener that is derived from the natural sugar alcohol present in birch fibers, xylitol may be the star of the show when it comes to tooth-happy sweeteners. This powdered substance prevents the acid attack that typically occurs for up to 30 minutes after eating and can reduce acid-forming bacteria by up to 90%.

As if that weren’t enough, this sweetener raises the concentration of amino acids and ammonia in the saliva, increasing the pH of the oral cavity. When the pH of the mouth is above 7, calcium and phosphate salts in your saliva move to the weak areas of tooth enamel and actually begin to repair it!

5. Cranberries

Cranberries can be eaten fresh or dried and contain polyphenols (just like black tea). A study from the Dentistry Journal indicates that polyphenols may prevent plaque from attaching itself to teeth, lowering the chance of cavities. Be sure to buy cranberries with no added sugar as this tart fruit is often sweetened.

6. Raisins

Raisins contain phytochemicals, which may help to kill bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities. These delicious little treats can also help to control some of the bacteria associated with gum disease and are easy to send with your children for a healthy school lunch. As with any dried fruit, consume raisins in moderation as a complement to fresh, raw, and whole foods.

Tooth-Friendly Habits to Develop in Your Family

Complete your family’s tooth-friendly program by rinsing your mouth with water after each meal, brushing everyone’s teeth twice daily, and flossing once a day—preferably after meals containing stringy fibers or red meat.

Visiting the dentist every six months is a great way to check that you and your children are using effective brushing techniques and to catch demineralization in its tracks for a lifetime of strong, happy, and healthy teeth.

Image sources

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https://pixabay.com/photos/stevia-leaf-sugar-plant-sweetness-74187/
https://pixabay.com/photos/trees-birch-white-trunk-forest-690727/
https://pixabay.com/photos/backdrop-background-berry-cranberry-22024/
https://pixabay.com/photos/raisins-dried-vine-useful-617416/

Written by Aaron Smith

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Teens and Dental Opioids: A Guide for Parents

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Drug abuse is one of the priority concerns among parents in many regions of the world. Over the last few years, the number of teens using various drugs for non-drug purposes has increased tremendously. Although there is adequate drug education in schools, experts believe parents have an essential role to play in helping their children stay away from drugs.

Most doctors associate drug abuse with hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine and crystal meth. While these drugs still result in the worst cases of abuse, addiction, and overdose, other new dimensions continue to emerge. According to studies, prescription drugs are currently the leading cause of drug abuse and overdoses in the US. This is particularly common among high school teenagers with reports indicating that as many as 20% of high school seniors take prescription drugs with no underlying medical condition. 

Prescription drugs and abuse 

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Prescription drugs are a group of FDA-approved medicines. While prescriptions exist in almost all drug doses, most abuse cases stem from pain relievers. Opioids, in particular, are very effective in relieving pain. Opioid prescriptions come in various names including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. Popular brand equivalents are oxycontin (oxy), Percocet and Vicodin. There are several other opioid painkillers on the market, some offering instant pain-relief while others promise to reduce the overall distress. 

Unfortunately, prescription drugs offer both desirable and undesirable symptoms. Like cocaine and heroin, opioids can result in feelings of euphoria and temporary “high.” This euphoric feeling is what most drug users chase, and it can quickly develop into a habit or addiction. Due to the habit-forming nature of prescription pain relievers, their use should remain under careful monitoring and control by doctors and parents alike. 

Dental opioids in teenage drug abuse

Dental opioids are popular prescription drugs among teenagers. Although most dentists believe it is unnecessary, teenagers and some adults use dental opioids for pain relief following dental procedures such as root canal. Doctors can prescribe pain relievers following surgery or accident. Whenever this is the case, it is essential to find out about the duration your child will have to take prescriptions. This can help prevent drug abuse and unnecessary use. However, a significant number of teenagers resort to using opioids and other potent pain relievers to deal with oral pain. 

The euphoria one gets from using opioids, and pain prescriptions are short-lived. As such, most teenagers end up using higher doses to achieve the initial “high.” It is common for teenage parties, especially seniors, to feature prescription pills for entertainment. Using drugs for non-medical purposes is the primary cause of overdoses as there is no more control of the dosage one takes. 

Preventing and managing dental opioids in teenagers

It is recommendable to find alternative pain-relief therapies that can avoid over-dependence on the prescriptions. According to the American Dental Association, regular dental procedures like removal of wisdom teeth do not require strong pain relievers. Studies have shown generic NSAIDs like ibuprofen to be sufficient in offering relief for mild pain. Nonetheless, there are rare cases of severe oral pain that may require stronger painkillers and opioids. It is essential to know your options and requirements.

According to experts, parents and teenagers should choose the most reputable doctors and facilities close to their residence. A simple search string like the best dentist near me can begin your quest for a competent dentist in your region. However, drug abuse prevention goes beyond choosing a credible, trustworthy doctor. Two best practices include:

  1. Have an open discussion with the doctor and your child
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Parents must learn to talk openly with their children about drug use and abuse, including the adverse effects of over-indulging in various substances. More importantly, you should talk frankly with the doctor to enable them to determine the best care for your child’s unique needs. Understanding what your kid is going through and communicating any information regarding opioids use is the best way to plan their medication. Teenagers and kids require awareness education to help them understand the importance of proper drug use, avoiding sharing medication, and prospects of using drugs for recreational purposes.

  1. Control the use of painkillers

When your doctor prescribes painkillers or opioids for pain relief, make sure you only purchase the exact dosage. If there are any leftovers, dispose of them properly. Proper control is crucial in preventing abuse and addiction. It is also essential to know all the options available for pain relief and choose the best drugs for your kid. Opioid painkillers can be useful in reducing dental pain. It is possible to use these options safely. However, both the doctor and parent must ensure effective control of choices and dosage.

Conclusion

No parent wishes to see their kid turn into an addict. There are various things that parents can do to help their teenage children understand the prospects of drug use and abuse. By having the right discussions at home, kids can grow up well-aware of the risks and characteristics of opioids and drug abuse, as well as how to find help. It is also essential to choose reputable clinics and medical facilities that are licensed to offer dental services in the area. Before accepting any opioids or prescriptions, make sure you discuss its usage, dosage, prospect side effects, effectiveness, active ingredients, classification, and any other vital information.  

Diabetes and teeth – what’s the link?

Diabetes has become a rapidly growing disease in recent times partly due to our poor lifestyle choices. This disease has many consequences in the body including on oral health. 

Poorly controlled diabetes may cause:

  • Increased oral infections because blood supply to the gums may be reduced if the blood vessels are compromised. High blood sugar levels over time will accelerate any gum disease you may have, and also compromise your immune system. This means that your body will not be able to fight off the infection easily. 

Fungal infections are also more common, in part due to the compromised immune system but also by the dry mouth that is often associated with diabetes. 

  • A dry mouth is a common symptom of diabetes. This lack of saliva production encourages bacterial growth that will increase tartar build-up and encourage gum disease. Over time and without the proper treatment, gum disease can progress to more severe periodontitis. This type of infection takes a long time to treat. In severe cases, it can cause tooth loss.
  • Bad breath (halitosis) may also be a symptom due to the dry mouth and gum infections. 

What can you do?

  • Controlling your blood sugar levels is key to great oral health if you have diabetes. Ensure you’re taking the correct medications and dosages that your doctor has prescribed and make regular doctor’s appointments to ensure the medication dosages don’t need to be adjusted. This will help you prevent all the possible complications of diabetes on your dental health, like gum disease.
  • Develop great daily oral hygiene habits. This includes:
  1. Brushing your teeth at least two times daily. Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoridated toothpaste to gently brush your teeth in a circular motion. Fluoride will keep the teeth strong and protect against tooth decay. Prevent brushing too hard as this may cause irritated gums. If you have snacked on particularly sticky foods, clean your teeth immediately after, if possible. Some dentists advise using an electric toothbrush which does most of the brushing for you. Remember to change the brush head regularly to ensure your teeth are being cleaned properly.
  2. Use floss to clean food debris from the hard-to-reach areas. There are many commercially available products that can make flossing easy, like the waxed varieties and the various types of flossing devices.
  3.  Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and to clean your teeth professionally. Your dentist will be alerted to any dental problems before they become serious. 
  4. It is very important that your dentist knows you are a diabetic so that they can be on the lookout for any complications. Remind them at every visit of this. Be sure to mention any irregular symptoms that you may be experiencing like xerostomia (dry mouth), a tooth that may feel loose or any oral pain.  Your dentist needs to be aware of your diabetes because he may prescribe some medications that may interfere with your diabetic medications. 
  5. Examine your mouth regularly for signs of inflammation like redness, gums that are bleeding and swelling. Make a dental appointment if you notice any of this. 
  6. Eat a balanced and healthy diet as directed by your doctor or dietician. A good diet will help you to control your blood sugar levels together with your prescribed medicines. Cut out sugary snacks and carbonated drinks which will help control your blood sugar levels and prevent tooth decay. 

Ensure you adopt a healthy lifestyle which includes giving up smoking. Smoking increases the numerous problems of diabetes, like gingivitis. Seek advice on how to stop smoking if required.  

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I Can’t Stop Grinding My Teeth! What Should I Do?

Contrary to what we often see on TV, people don’t just grind their teeth when they’re feeling angry. In fact, regular teeth grinding is incredibly common. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is thought to affect as much as a third of the population. It usually occurs involuntarily and most often during sleep. Without treatment, it can cause ongoing health problems as well as lasting cosmetic damage to your teeth. 

What are the symptoms?

Many people who suffer from bruxism don’t realise it As it usually happens at night, sufferers might simply dismiss their symptoms as something else entirely. The symptoms of bruxism are numerous. Some range from relatively minor short term symptoms, to long term symptoms that can affect your everyday life. Common symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Gum inflammation
  • Muscle pain
  • Excessive teeth wear
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder)
  • Tooth fracture
  • Gum recession
  • Earache
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain

These symptoms are often found in other common disorders, making it easy to overlook teeth grinding as the potential root of the problem. Your dentist should be able to spot evidence of bruxism, such as changes in your teeth or excessive wear. During your next dental appointment, tell your dentist if you are having any symptoms and ask them to check whether bruxism could be the cause.  

What causes bruxism?

Bruxism can often be associated with stress or anxiety disorders. In fact, nearly 70 percent of cases are reported to be due to stress or anxiety. A study of shift workers found that those who reported suffering work related stress were more likely to suffer from nighttime teeth grinding. Ignoring stress therefore can have long term effects on your teeth. The National Sleep Foundation recommends regular exercise to help alleviate stress, taking a relaxing bath before sleep or other stress reducing activities. If feelings of stress or anxiety are severe or last longer than a few days, you should seek help from a professional. 

While bruxism can affect your sleep, conversely, sleep disorders can cause bruxism. Sleep disorders, particularly those that include periods of disturbed sleep, can cause teeth grinding or clenching to occur. An example of this is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, which involves short periods during sleep where the sufferer stops breathing temporarily. Sleep talking, sleep paralysis and sleep hallucinations also contribute to teeth grinding. Other physical conditions can exacerbate teeth grinding, such as Parkinson’s disease, which causes involuntary tremors. 

Finally, certain lifestyle elements can have an impact on teeth grinding. Smokers, for example, are more likely to suffer from bruxism. People who drink more than six cups of coffee a day or who regularly consume alcohol, too are susceptible. Regular drug users are also likely to suffer, particularly those who take methamphetamines, ecstasy or even certain antidepressant medications. 

What can I do to stop?

If teeth grinding has you concerned, the good news is there are things you can do. First, try actions that will alleviate stress such as exercise, deep breathing, engaging in relaxing hobbies and other self care activities If you think you are suffering from severe stress or anxiety, go to your doctor to discuss your options. 

The next step is to visit your dentist. While unfortunately there is no cure for bruxism, there is a wide variety of treatment options that can help. The most common treatment is occlusal splints. These splints act as mouthguards you can wear at night, keeping your teeth separate and protecting them against grinding. You can have splints made specially for your mouth, so that you don’t experience discomfort when wearing them. Mandibular advancement devices, which are often used to prevent snoring, can also help. 

Some people find hypnosis and other similar treatments such as meditation and psychoanalysis helpful. Studies have shown positive outcomes when bruxism sufferers underwent hypnosis treatments to stop teeth grinding. 

If crooked or misaligned teeth are causing your teeth grinding, your dentist might suggest braces to help correct the alignment of your teeth. Other treatments might include equilibration, which involves reshaping the surface of your teeth, or cosmetic treatments such as dental crowns, bridges or veneers

What can I do to fix teeth damaged by teeth grinding?

For teeth that have been worn down or damaged by incessant clenching or grinding, there are solutions to help restore their look, feel and function. Treatment can also work to prevent any more wear or damage, as well as helping to reduce sensitivity. 

If your teeth are severely damaged or worn down by grinding, you might consider crowns or veneers to help strengthen your teeth and improve their overall look and feel. Alternatively, composite bonding has become more advanced in recent years and is a popular method for restoring teeth. Composite is a tooth coloured material which is bonded to the tooth’s surface, protecting it and giving a natural appearance. These treatments can help patients who suffer from bruxism to regain confidence in their smiles.  

Teeth grinding doesn’t have to cause you pain. Speak to your dentist today about treatment options. 

Is It True That Women Are at More Risk of TMJ Pain Than Men?

More than 10 million people in the US suffer from temporomandibular joint or TMJ pain of varying intensities. 90% of those who see a TMJ specialist to seek treatment for extremely severe symptoms are women in their childbearing years. In this article, we will explore why women are more prone to TMJ pain as compared to men. 

Why Women Are at More Risk?

Men and women have different natural levels of hormones, which essentially function as chemical messengers within the body. They have different hormones or different levels of similar hormones. If there are any hormonal changes or if they fluctuate above or below their normal level, there will be some side effects. 

The hormone variations can be observed in people of different ages. However, the women who usually are at the highest risk of TMJ pain are those of childbearing age. This is because they have more pronounced fluctuations in their levels of estrogen and progesterone. 

Stress is another factor that leads to TMJ pain. Women experience stress more physically than men. They are most likely to clench the jaw or grind the teeth. Moreover, stress negatively impacts the hormones and cause an imbalance. This can lead to TMJ pain or worsen the existing TMJ condition.

Women who suffer from nutritional deficiencies can also be at risk of TMJ disorder. 

Do Hormones Affect TMJ?

The exact link between TMJ and hormones is unknown but there are studies done in this area. Researchers have found that women who take estrogen supplements or use certain forms of birth control are at increased risk of developing TMD disorder. 

However, if the level of natural estrogen is high, it lessens the pain associated with the disorder. 

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

These are some of the signs you must look out for:

  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Pain while chewing food
  • Radiating pain in the face
  • Stiff neck or neck pain
  • Earaches
  • Inability to open the jaw wide 
  • Popping of the jaw
  • Muscle spasms

How to Relieve TMJ Pain?

Perform a simple self-assessment to become aware of your jaw function. You should be able to fit in at least 3 fingers between your front teeth when opening widely, and chew and swallow without difficulty. You should also be able to move your lower jaw side to side, without any pain. If you hear any joint noise or any sudden changes to the bite, it may be a sign of some issue in the joint. These may lead to TMJ disorder if you do not seek any treatment.

If you experience any of the TMJ symptoms, apply moist heat to the jaw, eat a soft diet or take over-the-counter medication. 

TMJ treatment also includes orthodontic treatment which make changes to the jaw and teeth. The dentists may grind the teeth down, use splints that move the jaw to a different position or opt for surgery. 

Passive jaw stretching, yoga or special jaw and TMJ relaxation exercises can also help in relieving some pain. 

Do not wait until the pain becomes unbearable to visit your TMJ specialist.  

Author Bio: Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he’s gained first hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he’s not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends.

6 Top Foods To Avoid If You Have Sensitive Teeth

It is relatively common to have sensitive teeth. If you experience any kind of pain or discomfort when eating or drinking hot or cold liquids or foods that are acidic, sticky or sugary, then you have sensitive teeth.

While it is not unusual to experience some discomfort while drinking very hot or very cold beverages, there are a number of other foods you should avoid to reduce the amount of pain you experience. They include the following:

Foods To Avoid

  1. Ice Cream – Ice cream packs a double whammy of sorts as it is not only cold, but it contains sugar. So as tasty a treat as ice cream can be, it is not so much of a treat for your teeth.
  2. Tomatoes – Although tomatoes are a great source of vitamins they are also very acidic. If you have sensitive teeth you may have to find another way to source your vitamin C as the acidic properties in tomatoes extends to tomato sauce, raw tomatoes and even ketchup for some individuals.
  3. Citrus Fruit – Fruit like lemons, limes, grapefruit and pineapples are all acidic which can make your teeth more sensitive by eating away at the enamel that protects the outer surface of each tooth. Avoid not
    just the raw fruit but the juices made from them as well.
  4. Sticky Sweets – They may taste delicious but gummy bears, licorice, toffee and caramel are bad for your teeth. Not only because they contain high concentrations of sugar, either. When any sticky candy adheres to the surface of your teeth they can stimulate the nerves in the dentine – a softer compound than the enamel on your teeth – which has microscopic holes that can expose nerves. This can create pain in your teeth.
  5. Hot Coffee or Tea – Not only will hot beverages cause pain if you have sensitive teeth, but by adding sugar to your coffee or tea it will compound the problem. You can still enjoy your morning jolt by adding some milk. Milk will not only reduce the temperature, it also reduces the level of acidity making coffee or tea better for your teeth than drinking it black.
  6. Fizzy drinks (soda) – Soda pop is a refreshing drink on a hot day however, if you have sensitive teeth you are actually causing more harm than good. Soda is considered one of the worst beverages to consume if you have sensitive teeth because it contains both acidic and sugary ingredients. So, in a way, you are drinking something that has twice the power to create pain than most other items on this list

What Causes Sensitivity In Teeth

The layer of enamel on the outer surface of your teeth protects them from all kinds of threats.

Even though you should always brush at least twice a day and floss often, if your teeth didn’t have that enamel, plaque would be able to attack teeth directly. The same thing could be said about staining that takes place over time. It is the outer layer of enamel that discolours and protects the tooth from further damage.

For individuals who have sensitive teeth the main reason for this is that there is an issue with the tooth enamel on their teeth. Often they have a thinner layer or in some cases the enamel has been worn off or removed due to an accident or trauma to the tooth or mouth. When the enamel is thin or not present, temperature, acidic and sugary elements of food and drinks can be felt. The pain that comes from these food items is the nerves within the tooth reacting to exposure.

What To Do If You Have Sensitive Tooth Pain

Aside from avoiding the foods on this list, it would be wise to schedule a visit with your dentist to determine the extent of the issue. If your sensitivity is more serious in nature, you may require a procedure to correct the problem. Your dental professional will be able to determine what course of action is required following a thorough examination.

How To Avoid Tooth Pain

Practicing good oral hygiene is your best option. Not only will it keep your smile bright and healthy, you can avoid costly visits to the dentist by taking good care of your teeth between dental visits. It can also help to avoid costly and invasive procedures like false teeth options later in life.

This means using a soft bristle toothbrush, toothpaste that is formulated for sensitive teeth and by brushing at least twice a day and flossing on a regular basis. Try not to eat too much acidic or sweet foods and beverages which can aggravate sensitive teeth and damage them even further.

By avoiding certain foods, like those mentioned above, and by maintaining a thorough oral hygiene procedure, you will have the best chance of keeping your perfect smile for years to come.

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Tooth Enamel Erosion-Causes, Prevention And Treatment

Dental erosion or sometimes called acid erosion is the loss of the surface of teeth. It is identified as the irreversible loss of tooth structure due to chemical dissolution by acids without any involvement of bacteria Dental erosion is the most common oral disease of children ages 5-17. The critical pH of dental enamel is estimated at 5.5 and normally is kept in balance by saliva. The saliva contains buffers to neutralize acids and also contributes phosphate and calcium ions to aid in remineralization.

Causes of Dental Erosion

Dental erosion results from the introduction of gastric acids into the oral cavity. As the frequency of these acids increase and overcome the buffering ability of the saliva, the acids start damaging the surface of the teeth. Dental erosion can be caused by several things even by the things in your stomach. Some of the main reasons for dental erosion are given below.

Gastroesophageal reflux

The regurgitation of stomach acids after meals and especially after overeating is considered normal. The salivation and swallowing are reduced during the sleep time and that is when these gastric acids are most harmful.

Chronic Alcoholism

According to a study, 49.4% of the alcoholics were found to show signs of erosion. Alcoholism with a prevalence of around 10% can result in dental erosion due to frequent vomiting and increased regurgitation.

Bulimia

Bulimia is an eating disorder which results in intentional vomiting as a means to maintain the desired weight. It is more common in western industrialized nations with a prevalence of approximately 5% in 18-35 years old females. Dental erosion is reported in the 90% of the people suffering from bulimia disorder.

Pregnancy

The intra-abdominal pressure increases during the pregnancy which results in an increase in reflux. Dental erosion in pregnant women is rare unless the vomiting is chronic.

Beverages

Most of the soft drinks and fruit juices have low pH level and any beverage with a low pH volume is a risk for erosion. A number of latest studies indicate that dietary acids are a major contributor to dental erosion. Soft drinks double the risk of erosion.

Industrial and Occupational Risks

Airborne industrial acids and chemicals have been implicated in dental erosion among the factory workers, particularly in fertilizer or battery plants. Swimmers have also reported erosion due to low pH of swimming water.

Prevention and Reduction

Dental erosion is irreversible. Once it has ruined your teeth, they are ruined forever unless you get synthetic ones. The more focus here should be on preventing and reducing dental erosion. A lot of studies shows that milk and yoghurt help in the prevention of erosion. Flouride may contribute to demineralize the tooth enamel. Dental erosion can damage your teeth permanently and this damage is not reversible. So, be careful with all the low pH beverages and acids. If you see any sign on erosion please contact the author of this post at Thordent.