Everyone is busy gearing up for a new year. Here at my Douglasville dental office, we’ve been working on our New Year’s resolution lists too. What’s on yours? More exercise? More time to relax? A new hobby? Whatever is on your list already, I’d like to suggest that you add more regular dental hygiene visits. Even if you don’t have a lot of plaque buildup between cleanings and you take great care of your teeth, you still have a certain amount of biofilm on your teeth. And that biofilm needs to be disrupted with regularity to prevent gum disease and other health problems. Now more than ever, science is discovering clear and direct links between oral health and whole body health.
Here are a few more ways to make your dental health part of your New Year’s’ resolution and get serious about smiling:
- Eat only at meal times. Why? For about 20 minutes after you drink or eat anything, especially sugary foods and candies, your mouth is under attack. If you tend to eat and snack throughout the day, your teeth will be exposed to harm for much longer than they should be! Try to do all your eating at once and try to choose treats that aren’t sticky or chewy.
- Remember that sweets affect more than your middle. Sugar can have devastating effects on your diet, but it isn’t good for your mouth either. Instead of sugary foods and drinks, or foods high in carbohydrates (which turn into sugar and feed bacteria too), try foods high in protein, calcium, and phosphorous like nuts, chicken, and cheese. Include crunchy fruits and vegetables for their water content and tooth-cleaning properties as well.
- If you are going to drink a lot of red wine and coffee over the holiday season, keep in mind that these are very staining. Consider scheduling a post-holiday whitening and cleaning to get your teeth back in shape after all the indulgence.
- Keep up on your regular cleanings and checkups. The more we see your teeth, the more likely we are to catch problems like gum disease, oral cancer, cavities, and other wear and tear. That means more saved teeth and more saved money as well!
- Don’t get lazy about your home hygiene routine either. Be sure to brush and floss twice a day and more often if you are snacking a lot. remember that your oral health affects your whole-body health.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call my Douglasville dental practice today. We are here to help our Douglasville, Lithia Springs, and Villa Rica friends and neighbors find better health and stronger smiles in the new year.
You wake up with a headache most mornings. Your tongue looks weirdly scalloped. Your teeth have hairline fractures and look shorter than they used to. What is happening while you sleep? It could be bruxism, otherwise known as unconscious clenching and grinding. If it is, you really need a nightguard.
What Exactly is a Nightguard?
A nightguard works almost exactly like a sports mouthguard – it protects your teeth and prevents painful damage. It is small and portable and most patients find them very easy and comfortable to wear. In fact, most of our patients love them because of the relief and peace of mind they offer.
The Symptoms of Tooth Grinding and Clenching
While all of these do not necessarily indicate that you are bruxing or grinding at night, they are a pretty good clue! If you experience any of the following symptoms, please give my Douglasville dental office a call:
- Worn, chipped, broken teeth
- Flattened tooth surfaces
- Exposure of tooth layers and loss of enamel
- Tooth sensitivity
- Jaw pain
- Headache and facial pain
- Earache from jaw muscle tension and contraction
- A scalloped tongue or irregular tongue edges
- Damaged mouth tissue
Bruxism can also cause micro fracturing and sensitivity at the gum line, and it can even lead to chronic headaches and TMJ disorder. Not something we want our patients to deal with – ever!
Why am I Grinding my Teeth?
It can be hard to pinpoint the cause: It might be a result of a car accident or other injury. Sometimes chronic stress or medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, can trigger bruxism. Other times it is caused by poorly balanced dental work or missing teeth. Whatever the cause, if you clench or grind your teeth, you could be facing a long list of dental problems, including the painful effects of TMJ disorder or arthritis of the temporomandibular joints.
Let Us Help
I’d love to help you protect your teeth and let you get a truly relaxing night’s sleep. At my Douglasville dental office, my team and I can fit you with a custom-made nightguard appliance that will reduce the damage to your teeth and protect your dental investments! If you think you might grind your teeth at night, call us today!
We welcome patients from Douglasville, Lithia Springs, and Villa Rica.