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If you snore excessively during the night, you might try everything in your power to stop it, including wearing nasal strips and sleeping on your sides. But if these methods don’t work, see a dentist for help. You may have a palatal snoring problem, a condition that may lead to dry mouth, halitosis, and tooth decay.
Dry mouth, halitosis, and tooth decay can become big problems unless you find treatment for your snoring. Learn how palatal snoring develops, how it affects your dental health, and what you can do to overcome it.
Taking good care of your teeth and gums is important for your overall health. Good oral hygiene can lead to a healthy smile and a greater sense of confidence. However, no matter how carefully you may brush, floss, and swish with mouthwash each day, you may still be harming your teeth and gums. Beware if you make a habit of the following actions that may damage your dental health.
Fluoride was introduced to the water sources of many towns and cities over 70 years ago, and since then, there have been several myths about the potential dangers of this naturally-occurring mineral. But do not let any of the common misconceptions that you’ve heard about fluoride keep you from enjoying its many dental benefits. Here is the truth about some of the common myths associated with fluoride.
Sugar is an ingredient in beloved holiday foods from gingerbread houses to spiced punch. It’s easy to eat more sugar than one should when sampling all of the treats and delights you’ve come to associate with the holiday season. According to the World Health Organization, if you’re an adult eating more than 12 teaspoons of sugar per day during the holidays, you’re putting your teeth and body at risk.
Is sugar really so bad? How can holidays be the same without cookies, candy, and other sweets? Here’s what you should know.
Advanced dental treatments like root canals strike fear in many adults. For teens, they can be especially frightening. So many myths about root canals continue to be spread, but the truth is that root canal treatments are often mild and gentle. Preparing your teens can empower them to have a positive experience. Follow these dos and don’ts to best prepare your teens.
Do Talk About What Happens in Treatment
With the internet, teens have all the information they need at their fingertips at any given moment. However, they may not be motivated to learn about root canal treatments prior to their appointment. Make sure they’re prepared for what will happen by discussing the details of treatment and encouraging them to also talk to their dentist about it.
Sharing your own experiences with root canals can be helpful as well. Your teens will be more likely to listen to what you have to say on the topic if you first hear their thoughts and feelings about it. Help your teens let their guard down and open up about it by asking some of the following open-ended questions.
Modern dentistry has allowed more people to achieve their dream smiles than ever before. When you imagine changing your smile, you may picture orthodontia, whitening or another cosmetic dentistry service.
You may be able to foresee how these cosmetic alterations would make your smile look, but you may not realize that working toward a healthier, more beautiful smile is also good for you. In this blog, we list four of the ways individuals benefit from optimizing their smiles.
The commitment to a weight loss plan should be applauded on multiple levels. Since being overweight can increase your chances of facing a variety of health problems, many physicians will recommend a weight loss plan to patients on an individual basis. That can provide an opportunity to increase one’s overall health.
If you decide to shed some extra pounds, it’s important to keep your dental health in mind during this time of your life. Eating less and moving more can make a big difference in how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. Lifestyle changes can alter every aspect of your health, including your dental health. Follow these tips to protect your oral health while you lose weight.
Just like fashion trends and music styles, popular diets and foods come and go. If you’re into following trendy new foods, you should be aware of how these foods can affect your whole body. However, some people forget to think about how a new diet or special food can impact their dental health.
There are some “healthy” foods that actually do more harm than good when it comes to your teeth. You can make informed choices about the foods you eat each day, deciding to regularly eat only those foods that will promote excellent oral health now and in the future. Here are some foods to be aware of.
During the summer, many people turn to ice cubes instead of cooling treats like popsicles and ice cream. In a lot of ways, ice is a much better option. It’s sugar free, cold, and has no calories, so it’s a great idea for cooling off when you’re trying to make healthier choices.
Sucking on ice is typically fine, but an issue comes into play when people decide to chew on ice. Chewing on ice can actually cause damage to your enamel, and if you’ve had dental work like a large filling or crown, the ice can break these tooth repairs, necessitating an emergency trip to the dentist for a replacement.
Many people turn to dried fruit as an alternative to sugary fruit snacks or candies like gumdrops. From a nutrition perspective, this is a better option. Dried fruit has fiber and vitamins that many sugary candies do not have.
However, dried fruit has the same effect on teeth as sticky candies. Fruit is very high in sugar, and some fruit types, like dried pineapple, are still highly acidic. Many types of dried fruits, especially mangos and cranberries, are sweetened with sugar, making them more like candy than like fruit.
Dried fruit fibers are more likely to get stuck between the teeth, and the sticky texture allows a sugary residue to linger on your teeth after you’ve swallowed. If you enjoy dried fruit, you should brush and floss after indulging in this sweet natural treat.
Many people have the admirable goal of increasing their water intake. After years of drinking juice, alcohol, soda, and milk, focusing on water can be a challenge for many people. To make water more interesting and palatable in comparison to more exciting beverages, many people add flavorings from fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
The most popular additives are lemons, limes, and oranges. Citrus brightens up water without the need for any sweetening, and some people find citrus water more refreshing than water itself.
Unfortunately, citrus juices are highly acidic, and if you sip on lemon water all day long, you are constantly lowering the pH in your mouth. Your enamel will weaken more quickly, leading to decay.
Plain water is the safest choice, but if you must flavor your water, do so with fruit oils diffused from the peels of citrus, like lemon oil. You can also choose less acidic fruits and vegetables for flavoring, such as blueberries and cucumbers.
Many parents turn to crackers as a “healthy” snack over cookies, candy, or brownies. However, saltine crackers (and other crackers like fish crackers, thin wheat crackers, and flaky round crackers) are just as bad.
Your saliva has an amazing ability to begin the digestive process in the mouth with the help of specific enzymes that begin to turn simple starches to sugar as you chew. The reason these crackers are so bad is that they are basically all starch, and so they turn into a paste that coats the teeth as you chew.
The paste quickly becomes simple sugar, and any residue left behind feeds the bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria start to break down the enamel, and the starch residue stays until you brush your teeth, giving the bacteria a long-lasting food source if you snack on crackers throughout the day.
If you want to give your child a healthful snack, consider a complex carbohydrate like oatmeal, lentils, or a slice of whole-grain toast.
Diet soda is one of those tools that people can use to wean themselves off of calorie-dense and sugar-loaded regular soda. Diet soda has low or no calories but still offers a sweet taste and the pleasure of carbonation.
Unfortunately, diet sodas are still bad for your teeth. Any soda, including diet soda, is acidic and will contribute to enamel erosion. It’s best to enjoy soda only on special occasions. Never sip soda slowly over the course of several hours.
As you can see, some “healthier” foods are still not healthy for your teeth. You can enjoy treats occasionally, but if you know the dangers, you can remember to swish with water, brush, and floss to keep your teeth as healthy as you can when enjoying these foods. Contact us at Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates for more information about your dental health.
Participating in sports is a great way to engage in the community and stay healthy, no matter what your age. If you and your family make staying active through team or individual sports a priority, you need to make sure you do what you can to prevent injury. While many people stretch, tape, and massage sore muscles to avoid harm, dental health is often completely overlooked.
While the active lifestyle will do wonders for your body, without the right protection and prevention techniques, your teeth will suffer. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your teeth safe when practicing and playing the game.
Hydration and Sports Drinks
For best performance, it’s essential to stay hydrated. However, during serious training where you work out for hours, you need more than just water. You need to replenish electrolytes that are lost through sweat. Most people, especially teens, use sports drinks as a quick way to recover lost nutrients from serious training for team sports like soccer, wrestling, or track events.
Unfortunately, most of these drinks are high in sugar and expose your teeth to an acidic environment. It’s best to choose water for moderate exercise; most people don’t need sports drinks for regular workouts. For high-energy games and long-distance events, the story is different. Look for sugar-free electrolyte supplements, or make your own using coconut water and salt additives.
Staying hydrated is also an important part of dental health. When your mouth dries out, your saliva is not able to consistently wash over the teeth, disturbing the bacteria that settle there. Without ample saliva, bacterial acid affects your teeth at an accelerated rate, which could explain the correlation one study found between physical training and cavities. This study was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.
Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your workout combats this problem, especially getting plenty to drink before getting started. Properly hydrated athletes will have clear or light-yellow urine and will sweat amply during periods of heavy exertion. Lack of sweat is a sign you need fluids. Never be without water, especially during games or training sessions that last a long time.
As the exertion of exercise increases, your body compensates by breathing more deeply and more quickly. Many people start breathing through their mouth instead of their nose, taking in as much air as they can, especially if they are getting tired during exercise. Mouth breathing can have the same drying effect on the teeth as dehydration.
It’s important to train yourself to breathe more slowly and with more control in order to protect your teeth from drying out through excessive mouth breathing. If you need to breathe quickly, focus on breathing in through the nose and exhaling quickly through the mouth. The air you release is moister than the dry air of your environment, so it will have less of a drying effect.
The best way to breathe is through the nose as much as possible. As your fitness level increases, you should attempt to breathe through your nose as best as you can.
Try increasing your ability to breathe through your nose by gradually increasing your breathing count using your diaphragm. Start by breathing in for two counts, and out for two counts. Then increase the duration to three and three, four and four, etc. This pattern will not only keep your teeth safe, but it will help you improve your performance, especially if you practice before a workout.
Finally, it’s important to reduce your exposure to damaging environmental factors or injury. For contact sports like wrestling, football, and rugby, wearing a mouthguard is essential. For sports that are aggressive or competitive even though they have less physical contact (like soccer or baseball), mouthguards are still a wise investment.
Many lost or broken teeth can be prevented by wearing a properly-fitted mouthguard. For solo sports, you might still consider speaking to your dentist about a mouthguard if the sport has a high incidence of accidents or combat, like judo, mountain biking, or snowboarding.
Your teeth are also protected by wearing a helmet. In case you have a head injury or impact to the side of the head, your jaw is protected. Breaking your jaw permanently affects your tooth health and alignment. Helmets are essential for biking, boarding, skiing, and horse-back riding, but they also a good idea to wearing during training sessions in skating.
Furthermore, if you are a swimmer, take care to brush your teeth carefully after your swim, because chlorinated water can stain your teeth and increase your risk of decay.
If you swim in a private facility, be sure that either you or the caretaker for the pool monitors the pH, as swimming water can easily become too acidic for your safety. You can purchase water testing kits to help you determine is the water is safe for swimming. The ideal pH is 7.4—just slightly basic from neutral.
All of the above precautions should not discourage you from committing to an active lifestyle. Those who exercise are more likely to have better gum health, with a significantly decreased risk of periodontitis.
For more information on protecting your teeth during sports, contact us at Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates.
Teeth grinding is the repetitive clenching of teeth, a movement that looks as if the person is chewing vigorously without any food in the mouth. The medical term for this condition is “bruxism.”
Bruxism is well known and well documented by doctors and dentists; however, no one is absolutely sure what triggers the condition. There are many recognized risk factors for bruxism, though. There are also several effective ways to cope with and treat bruxism through behavioral modification and the use of mouth guards.
Millions of People Do the Daily Grind
The number of children and adults who grind their teeth on a daily (or nightly) basis is estimated to be around 30 to 40 million. Occasional teeth grinding doesn’t normally cause problems. But chronic bruxism often creates trouble for those who have the condition.
Some people clench their jaws ferociously at work or in other stressful daytime situations. Other people do their teeth grinding in their sleep. Many people have no clue they’re grinding their teeth until symptoms begin to show up.
Symptoms Vary Among Teeth Grinders
Parents and spouses often observe sleeping family members rhythmically clenching their teeth. There may be associated grinding noises. Jaw pain and headaches upon awakening are often signs that nighttime bruxism is taking a toll on teeth. Occasionally, teeth grinding is so bad that a tooth will chip or crack from the pressure of the jaws being forced together.
Other symptoms include earaches, loose teeth, sore teeth, and discomfort in the face that won’t go away. Teeth grinding can lead to a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD), which is a painful condition marked by swelling in the muscles and joints around the jaw.
Bruxism Can Be Caused by Stress
If you’re on edge and worried, your whole body, including your mouth, may tense up. You have to direct your nervous energy somewhere, and teeth grinding is often the unconscious way people focus their frustration, anger, or fear.
If you find yourself grinding your teeth as a response to stress at school, at home, at work, or out in public, now is the time to find some coping mechanisms to deal with the pressures that are negatively affecting you. Deep breathing, meditation, and exercise often help bruxism sufferers relax and unclench their teeth.
Using and Abusing Substances Can Cause Teeth Grinding
For some people, the consumption of alcohol causes them to grind their teeth. Cigarette smoking is also a cause of bruxism. In fact, smokers and drinkers have double the chance of becoming teeth grinders compared to non-smokers and teetotalers.
Overconsumption of caffeine is also a risk factor for developing bruxism. Taking certain anti-depressants can cause teeth grinding in patients, as can the use of amphetamines. If teeth grinding does result from prescribed medications, your doctor may be able to adjust or change your medications to reduce or eliminate the bruxism.
Physical Conditions May Lead to Bruxism
Sleep apnea is often associated with teeth grinding. If you suffer from sleep apnea, get it treated as soon as possible to avoid bruxism. If you already have bruxism due to sleep apnea, having your apnea treated should reduce or eliminate the condition.
Physical and mental exhaustion can lead to teeth grinding. Heavy snoring may also cause the condition. Misalignment of the teeth themselves may cause teeth scraping and grinding at night.
Mouth Guards Protect Teeth from Grinding
If you have chronic bruxism, your dentist can create a custom mouth guard that you wear during the times you typically experience bruxism. Mouth guards are made of soft, pliable material that conforms to the shape of your bite for comfort.
Mouth guards protect the teeth from chipping and fracturing. They provide a soft cushion to ease the pain and inflammation of TMJD and other jaw swelling. Mouth guards also keep the enamel of the teeth from wearing away due to vigorous teeth clenching.
Atmosphere and Positioning Help Nighttime Bruxism
If stress and aggression are the cause of nighttime teeth grinding, it’s important to create new, calming bedtime rituals to lower your stress levels as you fall asleep. Make your bedroom a sanctuary of solitude and peace by leaving your phone, laptops, and other devices outside of your sleep space. Since lack of sleep is often a cause of bruxism, choose an earlier bedtime when possible to get more good slumber.
Snoring and sleep apnea are sometimes worse in those who sleep on their backs. This means teeth grinding may also be worse when you are sleeping in this position. Sleep on your side or stomach instead. Also, be certain pillows aren’t compressing your airway, since interrupted breathing during sleep is associated with an increased likelihood of bruxism.
If you or your child is suffering from bruxism, contact Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates today to schedule a full evaluation and examination of the teeth. We create high-quality mouth guards to help treat bruxism, and we can also get any uneven teeth aligned so they’re less likely to grind.