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On Thanksgiving, like any day, brush your teeth, avoid foods filled with sugars as best you can, and don't snack often - and if you do, brush your teeth again.
Did you know that in France the "tooth fairy" is a mouse?
It's Daylight Savings Time again. Did you know the additional amount of daylight provides vitamin D, also known as the "sunshine vitamin," that could extend the life and health of your teeth and bones?
Have a Happy and SAFE Halloween!
You’ve probably read about “gnashing of the teeth.” Authors from Mark Twain to Charles Dickens to the scribes of biblical times have referenced this popular idiom for an expression of extreme anger. But if you find yourself or a family member gnashing or grinding teeth, the more likely culprit is not anger, but stress.
The medical term for teeth grinding or clenching is “bruxism,” a word that comes from the Greek “brychein” which means “to gnash the teeth.” Although there’s not a firm consensus in the medical community regarding the exact causes of bruxism, it is widely thought that stress is a contributing factor in many cases.
Because bruxism frequently takes place during sleep, it can be tricky to identify the problem. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms. If you suspect that you or a family member is experiencing bruxism, schedule an appointment with us immediately. Because continuous teeth grinding can cause long-term damage, the sooner it’s addressed, the better.
Signs of bruxism include:
- Sensitivity in the teeth
- Tightness or pain in the jaw
- Dull headaches, earaches, or facial pain
- Chipped, worn down, or loose teeth
- Night grinding that is loud enough to disturb the sleep of those nearby
Adults and children alike are prone to teeth grinding, although in young children the habit tends to be age-related – bruxism can coincide with the arrival of new teeth – and in most cases is simply outgrown.
For children and adults suffering from bruxism, seek out signs of stress and take steps to alleviate anxiety, especially just before bedtime. Stretching exercises and massage, especially in the jaw area, can help. You can also try holding a warm washcloth or heated rice sack against the jaw to relieve tension.
Other ways to manage bruxism include:
- Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
- Relax right before bedtime with a warm bath or shower
- Help your jaw learn to relax by quitting any chewing habits (pens, pencils, gum)
- When clenching or grinding happens during the day, place your tongue between your teeth to serve as a reminder to avoid the habit
Although slight cases of bruxism don’t cause permanent damage, severe or long-term moderate cases can result in chipped teeth, worn enamel, and chronic pain. Bruxism can also lead to or worsen temporomandibular jaw disorder (TMJ). If someone in your family is experiencing bruxism, schedule a visit to our office right away. We can check for damage, determine the severity of the situation, and recommend methods of managing the problem – before long-term damage occurs. 360-779-3958360360
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