Keeping your mouth healthy requires more than flossing, brushing and eating nutrient dense foods. While those habits are the foundation and essential to maintaining your oral health, other habits we may have picked up through out the years could be causing damage without you even realizing it. Do you have any harmful habits that could be dimming your smile? Hopefully not, but most likely you unknowing have at least one. Don't worry,we are going to give you a few simple tips to help you break these habits with little effort.
1. Using your teeth as tools
Your teeth were made for eating, and that's a big job! They do not like moonlighting as a pair of scissors or bottle opener when you don't feel like searching for one (they are tired from all the chewing). Using your teeth in ways they were not designed puts you at a higher risk of fracturing or chipping teeth, injuring your jaw or accidentally swallowing something you shouldn't have; which could cause many other issues in different areas of your body.
Solution: Forks, knifes, and, towels are all items readily available in most places that can also open that tricky packaging or bottle cap when there is no bottle opener in sight.
2. Nail Biting
This often mindless habit can fracture or chip your teeth and hurt your jaw. Putting your jaw in a protruding position while placing pressure on it can cause your jaw muscles to become tight, making it painful to move your jaw to chew or even speak.
Solution: Bitter tasting nail coverings can work for those who chew nails as a mindless or stress relieving habit. If you chew your nails out of boredom then a stick of sugar free gum could be a good substitute for that long meeting you need to sit through. If these do not help then ask a trusted friend or family member to help you break the habit by having them tell to stop biting your nails every time they see you doing so.
3. Brushing your teeth too hard
Brushing twice a day is one of the best habits you make. Some of us mistakenly think that if you brush with more force or harder then you will clean your teeth better and faster, which is a myth. In fact, brushing too hard, or with a stiff bristled brush can cause damage to your teeth and gums. If your gums are normally not red before brushing and you notice they are after, that could be a sign that you are brushing to hard.
Solution: Use a soft toothbrush and a light touch or pressure. When brushing try brushing in a circular motion instead of back an forth; and don't death grip your toothbrush handle, hold it with the pads of your fingers. Lastly, a good electric tooth brush will take all the guess work out of the pressure and motion, because it does it for you, with a bonus of timing you so you always brush for the recommended two minutes.
October marks the start of the celebration season filled with sweet treatsand delicious hot drinks. It also means that our mouths and teeth will have to fend off constants attacks from sugar. If we are being honest with ourselves, there is absolutely NO WAY we won't be consuming any of the delicious treats and drinks offered up this season. Fortunately, there is a better way we can consume sugary treats that will keep our mouths and teeth safe from harm. Read on for our 3 tips to help you safely enjoy your treats this fall and holiday season.
1. Length of time it takes you to eat or drink your treat
For your teeth it is less about the amount of cavity-causing foods and drinks you are consuming and more about how long it takes you do so. The duration our teeth are exposed to sugar the better. Bacteria in our mouth convert sugar to acid, it's the length of time your teeth are exposed to this acid that can cause the most damage. For example, sucking on a hard candy or slowly sipping on hot chocolate can cause more damage than eating a piece of chocolate or cookie monster-ing a cookie.
2. Wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth
It may be tempting to brush immediately after eating but it is best to wait for at least 30 minutes after consumption. The acid created by the sugar consumed can make your tooth enamel (top layer of the teeth) weak making it easier to be scrubbed away by a toothbrush. Waiting 30 minutes will allow the enamel to re-strengthen and become safe to brush. If you can't wait the 30 minutes then our third tip- drinking water- is your best option!
3. Rinse with or drink water
There is a good reason why water is the champion of beverages! Among its many benefits, water will also dilute the acid and help to wash it from your mouth, reducing its potential to cause harm. Eat your treats with water instead of hot chocolate or alternate drinking water with a sugary beverage. If you can remember to swish it around yourmouth before you swallow (or spit) it that will help to remove most ofthe acid from your mouth and teeth.
We all know the feeling. A sharp unexpected pain when you bite into your sandwich, take a sip of water or a breath on a cool day. It does not feel good and can even make you wince. So, the question is- what happened? Why are my teeth suddenly sensitive?
While tooth sensitivity can happen for many reasons the root cause generally can be explained by one of a handful of common issues, which your dentist can expertly help identify by using a method called differential diagnosis. Differential diagnosis is a process that medical professionals use to correctly identify the cause of tooth pain in an instance where multiple alternatives are possible.
First, your dentist will need to know if the pain is associated with multiple teeth or one tooth. There are specific reasons for one or a few teeth to suddenly become sensitive such as a cavity, crack, fracture, receding gums, or an abscess. If one or more of your teeth have any of these issues then your dentist will help you identify the next steps to take and treatment options to help you get back on track with the goal of a pain free healthy mouth.
If none of your teeth have any of those described issues then your dentist will know that your teeth/tooth has become sensitive as a result of an outside factor such as:
Are you stressed? Even when we think we are dealing with our stress levels very well on the outside our bodies can still show signs of wear and tear as a result, and one of the first places to experience any discomfort is our mouths. We clench and grind our teeth when stressed, most of the time without even realize that we are doing it. Which is why when your jaw is tired and your teeth hurt it can feel like it came out of nowhere, when in reality it has slowly been building overtime. Have you ever woken up with a sore or tired feeling jaw and sensitive teeth? It’s because often times we do the most clenching and grinding in our sleep, and if we are not aware of it during the day it is almost impossible to be aware of it while asleep.
Have you been sick? Sinus colds will make all of your teeth feel very sensitive to any type of vibration from even the softest steps, orfrom the constant coughing and nose blowing. Also, the cough drops that we all have the best intention of only sucking on but sometimes crunch and chew after a while may have caused a crack or fracture.
Did you whiten your teeth? Using any type of teeth whitening products, whether over the counter or in your dentist’s office can result in a temporary sensitivity of your teeth.
Have you had any recent dental work? Sometimes, the slight change in your bite from a new filling or simply holding your mouth open for a longer period of time can cause you to begin to clench and grind your teeth causing tooth sensitivity and pain. This is why your dentist asks you to bite down on a colored piece of paper after a filling or crown. The colored paper leaves marks on your tooth surfaces recording your bite so that your dentist can see if all your teeth are hitting in the right spots. They also rely on you to tell them if it feels comfortable since sometimes our mouths can look fine but feel slightly off. It is also normal to feel like your bite is fine in the office but within a few days realize that it actually feels slightly off. Simply call us and we will get you right in for a bite adjustment.
Do I have to live with tooth sensitivity forever? Absolutely not! Luckily there are many ways that we can help you defeat tooth sensitivity! Occlusal guards can help relieve the clenching and grinding. Fluoride toothpastes and treatments, which are available inour office, will help protect and strengthen your enamel against sensitivity resulting from acidic foods and whitening. In office sealants and fluoride treatments will also help to prevent the development of cavities and reduce the likelihood of sensitivity due to tooth decay or compromised tooth structure. Most importantly if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity that you feel is negatively impacting your life and has not resolved with a bit of time and attention on your own, call