Your Oral Health

Healthy Hygiene, Healthy Heart?

Although scientists are not certain of the precise relationship between the heart and oral hygiene, studies consistently demonstrate a link between the two. It’s possible that a mouth filled with bacteria and their toxins allows a continuous stream of poisons to enter the system. If the bacteria reaches your arteries, it may easily irritate them, just as it irritated your gums in the first place. And, such arterial wall irritations typically result in a buildup of protective plaque, which in turn can harden, thus blocking blood flow. Of course, without sufficient blood flow your heart can easily have a heart attack. Further, loosened arterial plaque may itself travel through the bloodstream, reach your brain, and form a stroke-producing blockage.

Prevention and Detection

One way we can fight this situation is to use a special ‘bacterial neutralizing’ rinse immediately after dental procedures to reduce the possibility of bacteria entering your bloodstream. However, your best defense against any of these possible scenarios is to maintain a consistently healthy mouth. You do this not only through meticulous daily brushing and flossing habits, but by visiting our office for your regular check-ups at least twice a year. Remember, gum disease is a silent but serious problem that may go unnoticed without those professional exams. And it’s relatively easy to take care of a little stubborn tooth plaque now, but far more difficult to take care of the kind that builds up in your arteries.

Self Evaluation

Small problems with your dental health today can become big problems tomorrow.

No matter how often you brush and floss, you cannot remove the hardened plaque or calculus that build up along the gum line and can lead to Gingivitis (swollen gums), and Periodontitis (gum disease) that causes tooth loss.

For a self-dental evaluation, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you experience any pain before chewing?
  • Is there pain with hot and cold food or drink?
  • Do you chew only on one side?
  • Do you catch food in-between your teeth?
  • Are you happy with your smile?
  • Is there discoloration or spots on your teeth?
  • Do you have bad breath?
  • Are you self-conscious about your smile?
  • Are your teeth chipped or crooked?
  • Are you aware of the latest technology and dental skills that have greatly
    reduced discomfort in dental care?
  • Do you have information on the new materials and methods that have
    revolutionized cosmetic dentistry?

If you answered yes to any, but the last two, questions you may want to make an appointment with us for a dental evaluation. A good relationship with your Dentist is one of the very best investments you can make for your future oral health—one that can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Remember, dentistry is not expensive, neglect is.

Bruxism

The Crux of Bruxism

Some patients react to stress by grinding their teeth unconsciously during the day or, more commonly, while sleeping. The constant pressure and motion can harm teeth, as well as muscles and tissues in and around the jaw. The condition, known as bruxism, can be remedied with a biteguard.

The Facts About Clenching and Grinding

Common symptoms of bruxism include a sore jaw, headaches, or earaches. Causes vary, but may include stress, anxiety, tension, misaligned teeth, posture, diet, sleeping habits, and other factors. Bruxism is most prevalent in women and generally found in about one-third of the population. However, men can suffer from bruxism also. In men, the symptoms are more likely to be broken and worn teeth. Men’s jaw muscles may become extremely overdeveloped, but their teeth suffer the damage!

Individuals who react to stress with anger, pain, frustration, aggression, or competition are most commonly affected. People with bruxism may have other biting habits, such as biting fingernails, pencils, lips, or the insides of their cheeks.

Constant clenching and grinding of the teeth cannot only cause the aforementioned symptoms, but it may also contribute to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction, which has a long list of side effects associated with pain in the head and neck. Teeth rubbing together consistently will result in extreme wear over time, which will cause dental problems such as cracked teeth. Teeth may crack so severely that they may need root canal treatment or even extraction! Insomnia, eating disorders, and depression can result from bruxism left untreated.

A Solid Solution

How can you stop an unconscious habit? A thorough evaluation will allow Dr. Glerum to check your teeth, tissues, and muscles. Dr. Glerum has done extensive post-graduate studies in bite function and associated bite abnormalities. If she determines that you suffer from bruxism, she’ll create an orthotic appliance, also called a biteguard or splint, to prevent grinding and clenching. Many types of biteguards exist, and patients react differently to the various styles. If one appliance does not work, another may. In many cases, simply wearing a biteguard will eliminate the problem. However, if the condition persists, we can prescribe alternative therapies to correct the issue.

Relaxation, massage and stretching of face and neck muscles, applying ice or wet heat, proper rest, eating soft foods, and hydrating the body. If your teeth were damaged because of bruxism, or if we find TMJ to be a factor, our team will repair and treat you to provide complete relief.