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Teeth Grinding Causes & Treatments for Bruxism

Have you recently become aware that you grind your teeth? Or perhaps you’ve noticed that your partner or child grinds their teeth while they sleep? Regular teeth grinding is a condition called bruxism.

Bruxism is a fairly common condition that’s thought to affect around 1 in every 12.5 adults and a little less than 1 in every 3 children. Grinding your teeth is not always a serious condition but it can sometimes lead to severe symptoms and dental problems.

Understanding what causes bruxism and being able to identify the symptoms are the first steps towards getting the correct treatment. Whether you’re concerned that you may have bruxism, or you’re looking for more information for a loved one, then keep reading to learn more about the condition & how it’s treated.

Understanding Bruxism

One of the most important things to know about bruxism is that there are two types: awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. Both types of bruxism are essentially the same, but they’re normally brought on by different causes.

Awake bruxism is when you subconsciously grind or gnash your teeth while you’re awake. Sleep bruxism, or nocturnal tooth grinding, is grinding or clenching that occurs while you’re asleep.

Like many conditions, bruxism can vary in severity. Mild cases of bruxism are unlikely to require much in the way of treatment, whilst severe cases need effective treatment to prevent serious dental problems from occurring.

Bruxism is not a life-threatening condition, but it can be very difficult to live with. If not treated quickly and effectively, bruxism can lead to complications that can have a greater impact on your health.

Bruxism Symptoms to Look Out For

A clear sign that you have bruxism is a frequent grinding, clenching, or gnashing of your teeth. However, as bruxism is very common during sleep, this may not be immediately noticeable unless someone alerts you to the sound.

There are a number of symptoms of bruxism that can help you to identify whether you or a loved one has the condition, these include:

  • Tooth sensitivity or pain
  • Soreness in the cheek from chewing
  • Headaches or earaches
  • Stiffness and pain around the jaw
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Pain in the neck and face
  • Worn or flattened teeth
  • Fractured or chipped teeth/fillings

The symptoms of bruxism may not become apparent until the condition worsens, and even then, you may not experience all/any of them. In the worst cases, the wear on teeth can be so severe that patients need extensive dental work to restore function.

The Main Causes of Bruxism

It’s not always easy to determine the reason why an individual has bruxism, as there are a large number of possible causes. One of the first steps during a diagnosis is to determine whether you have sleep bruxism or awake bruxism, as often, the causes are very different.

Awake bruxism is often rooted in your emotions at the time, which may cause you to unconsciously grind your teeth. Emotions that can cause awake bruxism include anger, stress, frustration, and anxiety. Deep concentration can also cause bruxism.

Emotions can cause sleep bruxism, but it can also be the result of:

  • An abnormal bite
  • Crooked teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • A sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea or sleep paralysis
  • Talking or violent behavior during sleep
  • Semi-conscious hallucinations

Further causes of bruxism and factors that can increase risk include:

  • Lifestyle choices, such as smoking, recreational drug use, high caffeine intake, and alcohol
  • Taking certain medications, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
  • A family history of bruxism
  • Medical and mental health disorders, including dementia, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease

Visiting a local gurnee dentist is one of the best ways to get an accurate diagnosis of the cause of bruxism.

Teeth Grinding Treatment Options  for Bruxism– Everything You Need to Know

Bruxism can become very damaging to your teeth, potentially leading to fractures or tooth loss. The condition can also damage your jaw and alter your facial appearance, so getting treatment early on is important.

The options available to treat bruxism are almost as varied as the causes of the condition. If bruxism is rooted in another condition, such as a sleep disorder, then treating the disorder will likely reduce teeth grinding.

If stress or anxiety is the cause of bruxism, then cognitive behavioral therapy may be advised, along with relaxation activities like yoga or massage before sleep. It’s also possible to reduce teeth grinding by learning how to correctly position the jaw and mouth, and by changing habits, such as by stopping the clenching or grinding of teeth as soon as it’s noticed.

Other common treatments for bruxism include:

  • Mouth Guards and Splints – Splints and mouth guards are a common dental approach to treating bruxism. These are used to keep teeth separate and reduce the damage that grinding causes.
  • Restorative Dental Procedures – When dental problems are the cause of bruxism, restorative treatments are often used to help stop the grinding. If the condition has caused serious damage to teeth, then corrective dental work may be required. Crowns, bridges, implants, and dentures can help to restore function and appearance.
  • Medication – Over-the-counter pain relief can be used to reduce some symptoms. Medication to treat anxiety or stress can help if these problems are the root cause of an individual’s bruxism. In some instances, a doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to be used before sleep in the short term.

There are also ways to treat bruxism at home, such as reducing alcohol and caffeinated food and drink intake, giving up smoking and recreational drugs, and avoiding chewing gum.

What to Do If You Suspect You Have Bruxism

If you suspect that you or a loved one has Bruxism and you’ve noticed one or more of the symptoms, then the best thing that you can do is visit your local doctor or book an appointment at the Beautiful Smiles Dental Center in Gurnee, Illinois.

Only by properly diagnosing bruxism and the cause of the condition, can your dentist create the right treatment plan to help you stop grinding your teeth and repair any damage already caused.

 


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Customized Dental Plants - Beautiful Smiles Dental Center in Gurnee IL

Customized Dental Plans – Beautiful Smiles Dental Center in Gurnee, IL

Could you imagine visiting the dentist and having no say in the treatment that you receive? You certainly wouldn’t be very happy about the experience if you went in for a routine check-up, only to come out with a new set of dentures or were fitted for a brace that you didn’t want!

When you visit a Dentist in Gurnee, IL, you expect a personalized service with treatments that you actually need … but what if you could go one step further to customize your experience?

Customized dental plans give you the power to tailor your dental experience to your exact requirements, and not just in the treatments that you choose or need. With dental plans you can completely transform your experience with the dentist, save yourself time, and get the treatment that you require without having to wait or pay the full price.

If it sounds too good to be true, then it may surprise you just how many people experience the benefits of a dental plan first-hand, every single day. If you’ve never heard of a customized dental plan before, or you’ve been stuck on the fence debating whether it’s the right choice for your family, then keep on reading to learn how customized dental plans can save you time and money…

How Does a Dental Plan Work?

Almost a quarter of the US population – about 74 million people – are living without dental insurance. Visiting the dentist without insurance can leave you with a large bill, unless you have another plan in place.

Dental plans are an affordable alternative to classic dental insurance; they’re incredibly flexible and you can easily customize your coverage. A dental plan works very simply: you sign up to a plan, pay an annual membership fee, and enjoy large discounts on your dental treatment at a number of participating dental practices.

It couldn’t be easier to sign up to a dental plan, and there are a lot to choose from! You can pick a plan based on participating dental practices in Gurnee, IL you can search based on the procedures that you know you’ll need, or you could go solely on the amount of money that you’ll save, and pick a plan that drastically reduces your dental costs.

If you live in Gurnee, IL, then there are plenty of different dental plans that you can choose from to customize coverage to your needs. Different plans offer different levels of coverage for an array of dental services, so you could tailor your dental plan for savings on treatments like:

Preventive Treatments

  • Dental Check-ups
  • Oral Exams
  • X-Rays
  • Teeth Cleaning
  • Sealants
  • Fluoride Treatments

Restorative & Specialist Treatments

Cosmetic Treatments

Can a Customized Dental Plan Really Save You Money?

The simple answer is yes! You can enjoy some incredible savings when you choose a dental plan at your local Gurnee dental practice, and here are just some of the ways how:

  • Less Expensive– Dental plans are typically much more affordable than insurance premiums – you can expect to pay out a lot less on an annual basis to be part of a dental plan!
  • Reduced Rates– The amount that you’ll save on procedures varies from plan to plan, but you can normally expect most plans to reduce the cost of dental treatments by between 10% and 60%.
  • Get the Treatment You Need– With a custom dental plan, you’re saving money on the treatments that you’re most likely to need, not paying more for treatments you may never require!
  • No Annual Limits– Unlike insurance premiums, there’s normally no limit on the amount of money that you can save each year with a dental plan. You can keep saving money on each treatment throughout the year, no matter when you need it or how extensive the work is. There are also no lifetime limits to worry about with dental plans.
  • No Deductibles– Dental plans don’t have deductibles, so you won’t have to meet a deductible before you can start saving money on treatments.

With customized dental plans, not only are you paying out less each month, but the discounts you receive can be used throughout the year with no limits on how much you can save!

What About Time? How Is it Faster to Use a Customized Dental Plan?

A customized dental plan is not only a good choice for your family because of the financial savings, it’s also an excellent option if you don’t want to wait for the dental treatment that you need!

  • No Paperwork– Hate the paperwork that comes attached to dental insurance? With a dental plan, you won’t have to deal with the hassle of paperwork!
  • No Wait Times– When you choose a dental plan, your coverage starts almost immediately, so you can start saving from day one in some cases – no more waiting for your insurance to kick in!
  • Get Treatment When You Want– Instead of being limited to a certain number of treatments every year and having to wait for those treatment times to roll around, you can save money on as many treatments of the same kind as you want.

Everything works a bit faster when you have a dental plan in place, which means that you don’t need to be worried about getting dental treatment when you need it, instead of just when your insurance covers it!

Discover More About Dental Plans in Gurnee, IL

If you’re intrigued by the idea of a customized dental plan, then there’s no better place to turn to for more information than your local dentist. You can call or visit the Beautiful Smiles Dental Center in Gurnee, IL at any time to talk to us about the dental plans that we participate in, and how you can start saving money on your dental treatment today!


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Best and Worst foods for your Teeth & Gums

 

Great oral health starts with taking care of your teeth and gums with a good cleaning routine, but it doesn’t just end there! What you eat on a daily basis can have a profound effect on your oral health.

The right foods keep your teeth strong and your gums healthy, helping to prevent bad breath, and serious dental problems like gum disease. The wrong foods could result in poor tooth strength and difficulties fighting oral bacteria which can lead to tooth decay.

So, what should you be eating for healthy teeth and gums, and what should you be limiting to the occasional treat? Here are four examples of excellent foods for great oral health, and four examples of foods that could be doing more harm than good to your teeth and gums…

The Best Four Foods for Your Teeth & Gums

The good news is that there’s an abundance of foods that have amazing oral health benefits. A good diet for your teeth and gums certainly doesn’t have to be a boring diet, here are four top foods that you should definitely try to include to improve your oral health:

Cheese

 

Cheddar, gorgonzola, parmesan, edam… if you love indulging in a spot of cheese, then you’re in luck! Cheese is one of the best foods that you can eat for great oral health. Not only is the calcium in cheese great for keeping your teeth and bone healthy, but cheese is actually thought to increase and balance the pH levels in your mouth.

With the protein in cheese helping to balance the pH level, there’s less risk of acid causing oral problems, which can help to prevent tooth decay in the long run.

Apples

Fruit is a brilliant alternative to processed sweet foods, and there are few fruits that are better for your teeth and gums than apples. Naturally sweet, apples shouldn’t be overindulged in, but an apple a day can at least contribute to keeping the dentist away! The chewing involved in eating an apple can help to cleanse your mouth of bacteria, which is certainly beneficial for avoiding tooth problems, like decay. The unique texture of an apple also provides stimulation to the gums, and the high vitamin content contributes to healthier gums.

If apples are not at the top of your list of favorite foods, then other hard foods, like carrots or celery can have a similar result. Apples, carrots, and celery can all act as a natural toothbrush, helping to keep the mouth clean of food debris and teeth free of plaque.

Onions

 

Onions may not be as delicious of a snack as apples or cheese, but your teeth and gums will thank you for including a little raw onion in your diet. One of the main benefits of a healthy dose of onion is better overall oral health; this is thanks to the sulfur compounds in onions which can kill harmful bacteria in the mouth.

By adding onions to your diet, you can better manage oral bacteria, which helps to keep your gums healthy. With the great microbial properties of onions, you can lower the risk of developing gum disease and prevent cavities.

Leafy Greens

 

There are few ‘top food’ lists that you won’t find leafy greens on, and for good reason. Leafy greens, like spinach, cabbage and broccoli are packed full of nutrients; this is particularly the case with dark green vegetables which often contain high quantities of calcium (excellent for strong teeth), iron (iron deficiency can increase the risk of gum disease), and fiber (reduces the risk of tooth loss and bone loss).

Leafy greens can also help to stimulate saliva production which keeps your mouth free of food debris and plaque. By broadening your diet with these top four oral-friendly foods, you’ll soon be on your way to enjoying healthier teeth and gums!

The Worst Four Foods for Your Teeth & Gums

Not all foods are going to do your teeth and gums as much good as apples or cheese. A few select foods could contribute to serious oral health problems if they’re not consumed in moderation. Here are the four foods to avoid for healthy teeth and gums:

Bread

The first things that you associate bread with might not be tooth decay, gum disease or tooth loss, but they’re a very real risk if you consume bread too often without brushing your teeth immediately after. Bread is very high in starch, which once in the mouth and exposed to saliva, slowly breaks down to form sugar. The sugar will then start to feed bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to acid production; this in turn will start to break down tooth enamel. As bread easily gets stuck between your teeth, the impact it has on your dental health can cause major problems in the long term, like gum disease.

Potato Chips

Potato chips are another carbohydrate that can contribute to dental problems. The processed snack isn’t overly healthy to begin with, but the tendency of small pieces of chips to get stuck between your teeth make them particularly unhealthy for your mouth. Having food stuck between your teeth can cause bad breath, but more worryingly, it also attacks your teeth. The longer the chips spend in your mouth, the more damage they’ll do to your teeth and gums. Like bread, there’s also the risk of the starch in potato chips feeding the plaque on your teeth!

Ice

Adding ice to a cool beverage on a hot day isn’t going to do much damage to your oral health, but if you start biting down on the ice, then your teeth could be at risk. Very hard foods, like ice, can do serious damage to the enamel on your teeth. The short-term issue of enamel loss is increased susceptibility to tooth damage; the long-term result of chewing ice can be cracked and chipped teeth which will require an emergency trip to a dentist in Gurnee IL.

Citrus Fruits

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise that citrus fruits have made the top worst foods list. The high acid content of fruits like lemons, grapefruits, and limes can cause serious damage to your teeth. In the short term, citrus fruits can aggravate mouth sores and in the long term they can slowly erode away the enamel on your teeth, which can lead to severe tooth decay.

However, these fruits can also do a lot of good for your oral health. The high vitamin C content of fruits like oranges and pineapples mean that they come with a burst of anti-inflammatory properties. To manage the benefits of citrus fruits with the potential problems, it’s important to maintain other great oral health habits, like attending regular oral examinations & dental checkups.

Stay on Top of Your Dental Health with Dental Exams in Gurnee IL

If you’re worried about the impact of your diet on the health of your teeth, then attending regular dental exams in Gurnee IL, is the answer. The Beautiful Smiles Dental Center provides a range of preventative and restorative treatments that can help you to keep your teeth and gums healthy and looking and feeling great.

When you visit a Beautiful Smiles dentist in Gurnee, you can arrange for oral examinations & dental checkups with one of our resident dental experts or speak to a cosmetic dentist in Park City, IL. We can diagnose any problems that you may be having with your oral health, spot potential problems early to prevent serious issues, and advise you on the best ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy and problem-free.

By filling your diet with great oral-friendly foods, avoiding the worst foods and staying on top of your oral health with regular trips to your local dentist in Gurnee IL, you can keep your teeth and gums looking great on the outside and healthy on the inside!



New Year, new you! It’s time to finally take control of exactly what you want to achieve and make those positive changes that will turn 2019 into the best year yet – and why not, you’re worth it!From boosting your confidence to helping you to take the next step up in your career, a routine visit to Beautiful Smiles Dental Center in Gurnee is THE New Year’s resolution that’s going to give you the confidence to live your life exactly how you want to.


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August 1, 2018 Chris RDental Care

As we age, we often interpret our body’s aches and pains as unavoidable consequences of getting older — however, if you detect cavity symptoms, there is still plenty you can do for your health. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, cavities are the second-most prevalent health problem in the United States with over 3 million cases each year, being beaten out only by the common cold. They are often painful, worsen over time, and also quite preventable and treatable if you catch these cavity symptoms early in their development. 

We may lose some things over time, but your oral health is not something you need to sacrifice. 

How Cavities Form

Cavities, also called tooth decay or caries, are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that develop over time into tiny openings or holes. As your tooth enamel softens due to decay from the acids that are created when plaque bacteria break down sugars in your mouth, your tooth is left susceptible to further damage, which is when cavities form. 

If left untreated, these plaque acids can continue to eat away at the next layer of the tooth, the dentin, and cause a root cavity that is both more painful and more complicated to fix. 

As the Mayo Clinic observes, cavities may be caused by a number of factors, but the development of tooth decay follows the same process regardless of the cause. First, the consumption of excess sugars and starches, which, if not cleaned from the teeth, permit bacteria to feed on them to create dental plaque. This plaque then hardens on the teeth and begins to remove minerals from the tooth’s enamel, eating away into little holes, which is the first stage of cavities. Once the enamel is worn away, the bacteria and acid can continue to the dentin, which is connected to the nerve of the tooth, and even the inner tooth material, or the pulp, that contains nerves and blood vessels. 

As the cavity develops, its damage multiplies, causing greater pain and longer-term damage with each day it goes untreated, making it especially important to catch cavity symptoms as early as possible. 

 

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Cavity Symptoms

Cavity Symptom #1: A Persistent Toothache 

As a general rule, pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is going right; however, a lot of times we push through and ignore them. In the case of your teeth, to leave these persistent pains unaddressed is to ignore the most obvious cavity symptom, which will only lead to more problems — and greater pain. 

“Pain is often a [cavity symptom], and pain can be in the gums below the tooth or the tooth itself,” explains Dr. Eric Klein. “Sometimes you have a sharp, acute pain or it may be a dull, throbbing pain, and both are signs of a cavity.”  

Cavity Symptom #2: Pain While Chewing

To continue the emphasis on responding to pain, even if a toothache only occurs while chewing and doesn’t persist between meals, that is still a major cavity symptom to acknowledge and a sign that your teeth are in trouble. 

Usually felt in a sharp, sudden jolt, pain while chewing is usually an indication that the tooth has a crack in it or because the tooth has a cavity, according to Dr. Klein, and may signal that the nerve in the tooth is even infected. 

Cavity Symptoms #3: Discoloration

Thankfully, you don’t have to wait for your teeth to start hurting to catch a cavity symptom early. While cavities eventually appear as small holes in the enamel, some may begin by resembling stains on the surface of your tooth. Natural stains may blemish your smile from time to time, but black, brown, or white spots are usually the early signs of tooth decay. 

If these stains feel soft or sticky to the touch, they are a likely cavity symptom and may soon cause the rest of the tooth to darken and eventually chip the enamel, as Colgate’s health professionals explain. 

Cavity Symptoms #4: Holes In Teeth

Sometimes the obvious signs are the most overlooked, as is the case with cavity symptoms. As cavities are holes that develop in the enamel from mouth bacteria’s breakdown of plaque into acid, the most obvious cavity symptom to spot would be visible in your teeth. 

Nonetheless, few people take the time to inspect their teeth, even while brushing or flossing, and therefore may not see the hole developing in the infected tooth. Always check your teeth for evident holes to catch the cavity symptom as soon as possible. 

Cavity Symptom #5: Swelling Around The Tooth

As the Mayo Clinic notes, swelling may occur in the gums around the infected tooth as a cavity develops, especially if it has dug deep into the dentin or the pulp. Often, this swelling is barely perceptible to the eye and hardly painful to the touch, but a bit of discomfort may reveal that the gums are indeed swollen due to a cavity. 

“If you have a really deep cavity, it makes the nerve sick or die, and that causes an infection in a nerve that causes swelling,” says Dr. Klein. “Some people feel swelling and it doesn’t even hurt, but that’s caused from the infection.” 

Cavity Symptom #6: Sensitivity To Temperature 

According to the American Dental Association, one in four adults has an untreated cavity, and virtually every adult will experience tooth decay at some point in their lives. One of the most common cavity symptoms to watch is sensitivity to temperatures, such as hot foods or cold drinks, that may trigger sudden pain or discomfort in the affected tooth. 

“Every tooth has a nerve inside of it, and it also has a blood supply to help the tooth grow and function,” says Dr. Klein. “When a cavity gets larger and closer to that nerve, it can sense the change in temperature easier.” 

Cavity Symptom #7: Bad Breath 

Though a myriad of factors may cause bad breath, it may be more than a sign you’ve indulged in too much garlic during dinner — bad breath is one of the often overlooked cavity symptoms. As cavities are fundamentally small holes in the tooth, food particles and bacteria may easily sneak their way in there and be hard to evict with simple brushing techniques alone. 

“A cavity is caused by acid and sugar breaking a hole in the enamel, and then bacteria can get in that hole,” says Dr. Klein. “Bacteria can cause odor and a bad taste in the mouth.” 

Cavity Treatment 

There is a range of treatments the professionals at Chicago Beautiful Smiles can provide to address your cavity symptoms, depending on the severity of the problem. 

Sometimes, periodic fluoride treatments may be necessary to battle ongoing cavity symptoms, as you may not be receiving enough fluoride through sources such as fluoridated drinking water. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic recognizes antibacterial treatments as especially helpful for those whose medical history may make their teeth more susceptible to tooth decay. 

If you’re experiencing more than one of these cavity symptoms, the best treatment will likely be a filling, which is when the decayed portion of the tooth is drilled away and replace with a strong filling of composite resins. Crowns and fillings may be required for more advanced cavities, but overall, fillings stop cavities from growing any larger. 

At Chicago Beautiful Smiles, your smile is our priority, which often begins with addressing that first cavity symptom as soon as you notice it. 


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January 4, 2018 Chris RDental Care

Could Some Chewing Gums Actually Prevent Cavities?

For years it has long been believed and drilled (no pun intended) into our heads that gum chewing was bad for our teeth. Gum had been blamed for causing cavities, tooth decay and a myriad of other dental issues. Gum chewing can be, in fact, quite detrimental to dental care. Recent studies, however, have shed new light unto the effects of gum chewing. While it is true that gum usage can cause dental issues, not all types of gum are harmful. In fact, studies have shown that some types of gum can actually work to prevent cavities and tooth decay. What type of gum is that? Sugar-free.

It is no secret that gum with added sugar can be one of the worse things for your teeth. The sugar contained in the gum dramatically increases your chances of developing cavities. This is not the case of sugar-free gum however, which actually helps in preventing tooth decay and cavities. If you are someone who balks at the idea of sugar-free gum, there is good news. Xylitol is a plant-based sweetener added to sugar-free gum that has not only makes the gum taste better, but it has many added benefits as well.

 

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Chew Away Tooth Decay

Sugar-free gum is sweetened with xylitol, and will effectively prevent the growth of Streptococcus mutant, a bacterium responsible for causing cavities. Xylitol prevents the bacteria from clinging to the tooth, thus preventing the development of cavities. Chewing frequently reduces the bacteria present in the mouth, thus resulting in fewer harmful bacteria resulting in damaging the tooth surface. It is also responsible for repairing teeth through a process called remineralization. When this occurs, specific cells in the center of the tooth produce dentin, the part of tooth beneath the enamel. The enamel can then remineralize from the outer layer. Remineralization is a vital part of maintaining proper dental hygiene.

Additionally, chewing sugarless helps produce saliva, which helps in washing away and cleaning out food particles and bacteria. The saliva which occurs due to gum chewing will help in neutralizing the acids and act as a barrier against cavities and tooth decay. Saliva also keeps plaque, a known cause of tooth decay, from sticking to the teeth. Although the inclination may be to brush your teeth after a meal, doing so is not recommended, as acids in food will break down the protective enamel. Instead, experts recommend chewing gum for about after each meal.

Chewing sugarless gum is also effective in removing food particles embedded in teeth, which can cause plaque buildup. Keeping plaque away is a sure-fire way to keep your teeth from protected against tooth decay. Chewing gum can also help in reducing tooth sensitivity, a common issue affecting many Americans. Studies have shown that those who chew sugarless gum post teeth whitening procedures had significantly less tooth sensitivity than those had not.

Chewing sugarless gums also useful in other ways as well. For example, it aids in digestion, which can help keep acid reflux under control. Studies have also shown that chewing sugarless gum actually can save you a great deal of money. A healthy mouth keeps the dentist at bay, which is good news for your checkbook. Additionally, chewing sugarless gum can help boost memory function. Many studies, in fact, have noted that chewing sugar free gum with xylitol is a just as effective as using fluoride- toothpaste and mouthwash. Now that something to smile about!

Not All Gums Are Created Equal

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the only approved gums that can help prevent tooth decay are those which are sugar-free. You will also want to be sure they have the ADA approved seal on the packaging. Not all sugar-free gums approved by the ADA. For example, there is gum which is also sugar-free, but contains a different sugar substitute, known as sorbitol. Sorbitol does not have the same protective effect that xylitol has. What is a good way to see if your sugar-free gum has xylitol? By reading the label, of course. If listed as a first ingredient, then chew away! Additionally, to reap the benefits of this sweetener, most experts recommended chewing a minimum two or three pieces after each meal.

It should also be noted that in no way should gum chewing be a used a replacement for tooth brushing, which is a necessity for excellent hygiene. Chewing gum after meals or in tandem with brushing and flossing is what many experts recommend. The best time to chew gum? Studies from the ADA concluded twenty minutes after every meal is sufficient.

Before You Grab That Gum

There are a few things to consider before you begin running to the nearest drugstore and stocking up on your favorite sugar-free gum. For example, the constant chewing motion can cause strain and tiredness in your jaw muscles. No different than other muscles, when they are overused it can cause soreness. Additionally, chewing gum for an extended length of time has been known to cause headaches as well as neck pain. There is no concrete evidence that gum chewing is a culprit of TMJ disorders, however, it is understood that it will not ease the discomfort of TMJ symptoms.

Although the stickiness of sugar-free gum can prove to be useful, such as its ability to remove food particles and bacteria present in teeth, it also has its disadvantages. If you have dental hardware such as crowns or fillings, chewing gum may loosen them and cause them to even fall out. Although highly unlikely, it is still important to take into consideration.

Additionally, recommendations vary on how old one should be when choosing sugar-free gum. The consensus is that children should not chew gum until they have learned not to swallow it. There are positives and negatives to children chewing gum as well. On the one hand, we have seen how effective gum chewing can be in helpful in maintaining healthy hygiene. Preventive measures are usually the most effective, so there is a strong argument for starting patients young.

The earlier children practice proper tooth care, the fewer problems in the future there will be. However, it is important that the sugarless gum has the ADA seal, as chewing gum with added sugar is especially detrimental to children’s teeth. Chewing gum with xylitol is most effective when it is chewed right before a child’s adult teeth come in, which is roughly between the ages of 5 and 6.

Knowing how effective chewing sugarless gum can be cause for celebration. However, nothing can take the place of consistent brushing and flossing.


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Back Off the Grind: Stop Nocturnal Bruxism

We know only too well how bad teeth grinding can be and if you currently suffer from this nightmare of a problem, we sympathize with you. However, the great news is that just by clicking and reading this article you are already closer to discovering some of the best ways to stop the discomfort and pain caused by grinding your teeth.

 

Teeth grinding, or nocturnal bruxism as it is also known, is a condition where you unintentionally and in a lot of cases, unconsciously grind your teeth together. It affects well in excess of a million adults and children across the world and if you suffer from this condition, you will understand just how badly it can play havoc with your life and health.

 

In the following article, you will get to know some really powerful and helpful tips and advice to stop you grinding your teeth. Before we bite into those though, it is best to help you understand better why you actually grind your teeth.

 

What Causes Teeth Grinding – Particularly At Night?

 

There are two main types of teeth grinding –

Daytime/Awake bruxism: Daytime bruxism is typically connected to tension, stress and anxiety

Night-time/Asleep bruxism: Night-time bruxism on the other hand is more likely connected to a chewing action related to sleep.

 

Although there is a wide array of different views and opinions in the medical world as to what causes teeth grinding, most suggest that it is mainly associated with anxiety and stress. Further to this though, teeth grinding has also been associated with sleeping position or style changes, problems with teeth alignment, heredity-related factors and other problems with biting.

 

Headaches, Migraines, Anxiety And Teeth Grinding

 

As well as causing the obvious issues such as the filing down of your teeth, muscular tension in your jaw, tooth sensitivity and toothache; teeth grinding can also be responsible for causing excruciatingly painful migraines and headaches. While you are grinding your teeth, your jaw is unlikely to be positioned correctly, which will make the muscles in your jaw suffer fatigue and become more susceptible to it.

 

As your jaw muscles use a lot of energy and strength moving your jaw, when fatigue sets in muscle contraction could occur which leads to the migraines and headaches noted above. If you grind or clench your teeth though, you are also putting yourself in danger of suffering from stiff neck muscles. This itself can trigger headaches and lead to feelings of anxiety and stress.

 

Sleep Apnea And Other Sleep Disorders And Teeth Grinding

 

overnight grinding, teeth grinding, dental health

 

Snoring and sleeping disorders like sleep apnea, where there are pauses in your breathing are other reported causes for teeth clenching and grinding. If you know your teeth grinding is related to a sleep disorder, there is a very simple 2 step plan you can follow:

 

Speak to a sleep disorder specialist – Arrange an appointment, or ask your general practitioner for a referral to a sleep disorder specialist so you can find out if you have sleep apnea or not and to what extent. Once you know for sure that you do suffer from sleep apnea and it is likely to be the cause of your teeth grinding, you need to make an appointment with your dentist.

 

Get treatment from a qualified dentist – If you want to stop suffering the painful effects of jaw clenching and teeth grinding, you need to have professional treatment from a qualified dental practitioner. It can be very helpful, because not only can you find out the best oral appliances to use such as splints and mouth guards, that can help you stop your night-time teeth grinding, you will also get great tips and advice for oral health care. Mouth guards are devices used in orthodontics that you attach to your teeth before you go to sleep at night and prevent you from grinding your teeth unconsciously. They also help to alleviate a lot of the discomfort and pain that comes from excessive clenching, tension and friction.

 

How To Stop Bruxism In Its Tracks

 

As noted earlier, it is not only sleep disorders that are considered a cause for teeth grinding; anxiety and stress are two other factors that are also thought to be responsible. The following are DIY home remedies and techniques that can help children and adults alike to stop grinding their teeth.

 

  1. Arrange For Stress And Anxiety Counseling

 

If you discover that stress and anxiety are the main reasons why you grind your teeth, you should look for ways to manage your stress levels. Ask your medical practitioner or even your dentist for any advice they can give. It is also a good idea to participate in physical therapy sessions and exercise groups that can help alleviate stress or at least manage it better. Massage and stretching can be used to relax your muscles, releasing a lot of the tension from your body and reducing your stress.

 

You could also arrange to have some one on one anxiety and stress counseling. Often, your stress builds up because you feel dragged down by various pressures and responsibilities in life. Talking with someone impartial, who is not a friend or relative with a vested interest in your life, can help you to make sense of your anxiety.

 

  1. Start Relaxing Your Jaw Muscles Every Night Before You Sleep

 

It may help to make it a habit of relaxing your muscles at night before you go to sleep. You can do this by placing a warmed piece of cloth on the side of your face. This particular method is more effective with people who grind their teeth as a result of an acute situation, such as a broken or otherwise injured jaw.

 

  1. Yoga And Meditation

 

Meditation and stretching exercises of yoga are other ways that people often use to reduce their stress and anxiety levels. They are actually very effective when it comes to tackling teeth grinding issues. This is because not only do they lessen tension throughout the body but they also reduce muscle activity too.

 

  1. Work Hard At It

 

To stop grinding your teeth, you need to put considerable amounts of personal effort into the process. You have to teach yourself to stop doing it – in a similar way to how muscle memory training works. Always try to make sure that the tip of your tongue sits between your teeth, as this will enable the muscles in your jaw to relax. It is also important to stop or at least reduce habits that involve you clenching your jaw, such as chewing gum.

 

  1. Reduce The Amount Of Caffeine And Alcoholic Drinks You Consume

 

As strange as it may seem at first, there are many who believe that there is a connection between consuming caffeinated and alcoholic drinks and teeth grinding. There is evidence that shows that teeth grinding and clenching becomes more intense after these kinds of drinks have been consumed.

 

While it is true that caffeine does not cause teeth grinding directly, it certainly is a contributory factor that makes it worse. This is mainly because caffeine increases your awareness and alertness levels. Thus, if you are experiencing bouts of stress and anxiety already and drinking large quantities of caffeine, coffee and other drinks like it, will only heighten those feelings, leading to teeth grinding.






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