Wellness Blog

Posts for: July, 2018

GOING TO THE DENTIST is something we should all be doing twice a year every year.  If you are already in the habit of coming in for regular cleanings, that is wonderful!  If not, here is what you can expect from a typical cleaning appointment.
 

Your Check-Up

When visiting the dentist for a check-up, there are a few things that will typically happen.  If you do not have any existing dental concerns or conditions, the first step is usually dental X-rays.  Your medical and dental history, your age, and your current oral health will determine how often you need these.  Dental X-rays help dentists to find and diagnose tooth decay hiding between the teeth and other places hard to see with the naked eye.  They also identify dental and orthodontic issues beneath the gums.

Next, the hygienist will begin cleaning the teeth.  They use a small metal tool called a scaler to scrape away any tartar in between the teeth and around the gumline.  Then they will polish the teeth using a paste and a polishing tool.  This gives your teeth a nice, deep clean and removes any remaining plaque or stain.  They finish the cleaning with flossing.

Once the hygienist is done, it is the dentist’s turn.  They will review your X-rays, check your teeth and gums for signs of decay and gum disease, measure the depth of your gingival pockets (your hygienist may do this as well), check for swelling and redness, test how well your teeth come together when you bite down, and examine your neck, lymph glands, and mouth for signs of oral cancer.  When they finish, they will discuss treatment for any dental work you need and give you tips on improving your daily dental care routine.

Why Visiting The Dentist Is Important

Even for people with great oral health habits like brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily, visiting the dentist every six months is crucial to maintaining good oral health.  The reason for this is that dental problems do not go away on their own and tend to get worse over time, which also makes them more difficult (and expensive) to fix.  Regular dental checkups catch problems early so that more intense treatment does not become necessary.

We Cannot Wait To See You!

Whether it has been six months or longer since the last time we saw you, we are looking forward to seeing you again!  Schedule your next appointment right away, and we can make sure everything in your mouth is healthy and clean!

We have the world’s best patients!

 

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


YOU HEAR ALL THE TIME about the importance of brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, and you hear almost as often about the importance of daily flossing.  What you probably do not hear a lot is that, if we want to maintain good oral health and hygiene, it is also important for us to clean our tongues.
 

Why Should We Clean Our Tongues?

The tongue is one of the most bacteria-covered spots in our bodies.  A tongue does not just have taste buds on it, it also has crevices, elevations, and all sorts of tiny structures that bacteria will hide between unless physically removed.  Letting all this bacteria sit and multiply can cause bad breath or halitosis, as well as tooth decay on the inner surfaces of the teeth.  That is why it is so important to regularly clean our tongues — so we can get rid of all the unwanted bacterial buildup!

Another benefit to removing the bacteria from our tongues is that it clears the way for our tastebuds to do their jobs.  A bacteria-free tongue can taste food much more effectively, and it makes the first stage of the digestive process more effective too, which means improving our digestive health!

The Right Tools For Tongue-Cleaning

You might think mouthwash or rinsing with water is enough to clean your tongue, but that bacteria is stubborn, and simply swishing liquid in your mouth will not clean out all those crevices on the tongue’s surface.  If you really want to clean out that biofilm of bacteria, the key is to scrape it, preferably with a tongue-scraper.  You can find these at the store near the toothbrushes, and you should use one every time you brush your teeth.

A toothbrush can do a decent job of cleaning your tongue if you do not have a special tongue-scraper, and some toothbrushes even have bumps for tongue-scrubbing built in.  After you brush your teeth but before you rinse and spit, take that brush or scraper to your tongue.  Start at the back and work your way forward, making sure to get as much of the surface as you can.  It is quick, easy and will make a major difference!

Tongue Scrapers Go Way Back

How long do you think tongue scrapers have been around?  A few decades?  Try since ancient times!  Tongue-scraping is part of the daily hygiene regimen recommended by Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India.  Over the centuries, tongue scrapers in different cultures have been made of many different materials, including metals like copper, silver, gold, tin, or brass, as well as ivory, mother-of-pearl, whalebone, and tortoiseshell.  These days, they are most often made of plastic or stainless steel.
 

Need More Tips On Tongue-Cleaning?

If you have questions about cleaning your tongue or finding the right tongue-scraper, just ask!  We are more than happy to help you add this important step to your dental hygiene routine.  And do not forget to keep brushing and flossing and scheduling those regular dental appointments!

Way to be the best patients!

 

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


GRINDING OR CLENCHING YOUR teeth is a normal thing to do when you are annoyed or stressed, and that is nothing to worry about.  However, if you grind your teeth on a more regular basis, whether asleep or awake, it can become a serious problem.  This kind of chronic teeth-grinding is known as bruxism.
 

Why Does Bruxism Happen?

Sleep bruxism, also called nocturnal bruxism, is sometimes the side-effect of sleep apnea or snoring, while awake bruxism (diurnal bruxism) can be a side-effect of stress.  However, not everyone with bruxism is dealing with a sleep disorder or stress, and everyone with a sleep disorder or a lot of stress in their lives will not have bruxism.  Improperly aligned teeth can also cause bruxism.

Bruxism Symptoms

Treatment for bruxism can sometimes be tricky because there is not a single clear cause, so the focus tends to be on reducing symptoms and minimizing the damage.  You might not be consciously aware of a teeth-grinding habit, but if you experience at least some of the following symptoms, it could be because of bruxism:

  • Sore jaw (with sleep bruxism, your jaw will be most sore in the morning, whereas with awake bruxism, it will be most sore in the evening)
  • Frequent headaches from the constant strain
  • Overdeveloped or swollen jaw muscles (because you are giving them a major workout!)
  • Shifting teeth
  • Flattened chewing surfaces of teeth
  • Exposed dentin and increased tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped, cracked, or split teeth
  • Tooth loss

Bruxism Treatment

There are a variety of treatments or approaches to either reduce the grinding or the damage it causes, depending on the type of bruxism you have.

Behavioral Therapy

You can become more aware of your clenching/grinding habits with behavioral therapy or habit-reversal techniques and consciously work to stop.  Because it is much harder to control what your jaw muscles do in your sleep, this option tends to work better for awake bruxism.

Relaxation

Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, massages, warm baths, calming music, and a full night’s sleep can help you de-stress and stop grinding if your bruxism is stress-related.

Prescribed Medication

Medicine is rarely used to treat bruxism, especially if other treatments are helping, but muscle relaxant medication prescribed by your doctor might help you unclench while you sleep.

We Can Help You Stop The Grind!

Schedule an appointment with us if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.  It may be due to bruxism, and we can make a plan for how to address it.  You do not want to leave it untreated until it reaches the point of damaging your teeth.

Help us help you keep your teeth healthy!

 

Top image by Flickr user Chad Miller used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.