Monday, September 1, 2014

Do You Grind Your Teeth? Ways to Address Bruxism

Are you a grinder? Many people have the issue of grinding their teeth, some are not even aware of it, because they grind in their sleep. This habit is called bruxism, and it can really wear down enamel and cause issues with the tooth structure over a long period of time. It can also cause jaw and neck pain, and lead to TMJ, or Temporomandibular joint dysfunction.  

The main causes of a grinding disorder are due to stress, and this becomes a side effect or habit, like nail biting, only we are not conscious of it. Here are some of the main signs you grind your teeth:
  • Soreness in jaw
  • A dull-aching headache that is consistent
  • Grinding at night becomes audible
  • You may notice cuts inside your cheeks
If you notice jaw pain, wear on your molars, or catch yourself grinding, here are some tips to help:
  • Knowing about bruxism is the first step, now you can seek the help of a professional for a diagnosis and recommendations for treatment.
  • Find ways to cope and eliminate stress, such as breathing, meditation, yoga, taking a walk, going to the gym, and being aware of stressors. 
  • Once you are diagnosed, a combination of options may be recommended, such as muscle relaxant medication, a mouth guard to wear while you sleep, or sometime surgery is necessary in severe cases.
The best next-step is to visit your dentist, so you can take care of the issue sooner than later.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cavities Contagious? Say It Isn’t So!

Is it possible that cavities can be contagious? Yes, according to recent research studies conducted by the University of Louisville school of Dentistry. Tooth decay or “dental caries” is the one, common most chronic disease to impact children, and now, new research indicates cavities may be infectious. 

Research findings showed mothers with cavities can transmit caries-producing oral bacteria to their infants if they clean their pacifiers by sticking them in their own mouths first, or share utensils with their babies before feeding them. 

Findings of the study were posted on Science Daily® in February. 

As stated by Liliana Rozo D.D.S, an AAPD board certified pediatric dentist and assistant professor, University of Louisville School of Dentistry, “decay can have a detrimental effect on a child's quality of life, performance in school and success in life. According to Ruzo, it is a common mistake for parents to make because they do not make the connection between oral health and overall health, but they are related. “The mouth is an open door for many microbial infections to enter the bloodstream. Poor oral health may be a risk factor for systemic disease.”

Parents are now encouraged to make appointments for their babies with a pediatric dentist as soon as their first teeth erupt through the gums by the The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). This helps parents establish a relationship with their children’s dentist, and help familiarize and inform them about proper hygiene, teething, normal tooth development, and trauma prevention.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Your Mouth: The Gateway to Health

Perhaps you have heard the saying that our eyes are the windows to our souls, but it is also said that our mouths are the openings to our overall health.

The health of our teeth and gums are big indicators of our general health. The problems that begin in our mouths may provide clues that connect to other health issues.

American Dental Plan has blogged about this topic before, because of the significant connection between your oral health and how it affects the rest of your body. 
Think of your mouth as the gateway, and it is a breeding ground for bacteria and plaque to grow and become more harmful if the care-taker (you) does not brush, floss and see the dentist regularly to keep it under control. Hygiene is the key to neutralize acids, ward off inflammation, cavities, infections, and gum disease and to prevent larger health issues, such as:

  • Heart disease and Endocarditis: A build-up of plaque can lead to inflammation, infection, clogged arteries and a stroke. In addition high levels of bacteria and germs can spread through your blood stream causing infection in the lining of your heart (endocardium) and can lead to Endocarditis, damaging heart tissue.
  • Premature birth: Severe gum disease can lead to premature birth and/or low birth weight.
  • Blood sugar and diabetes: There is an increased chance of gum disease for those who have diabetes and issues controlling their blood sugar levels.
  • Osteoporosis: When people experience issues with their tooth and periodontal bone loss, this may also be an indicator that other bones in the body are becoming weak and brittle.

These and other health issues are all potential risks when there is an absence of consistent oral care and hygiene. What can be the best preventative approach to protect you? Follow these practices:
  1. Brush your teeth twice a day
  2. Floss ever day 
  3. Maintain a healthy diet 
  4. Minimize high-fructose corn syrup, starches and sugars from your diet 
  5. Replace your toothbrush every 90 days 
  6. Visit your dentist and dental hygienist every six months for cleanings and exams 
You are the gate-keeper to your oral health. If you are over-due for a cleaning or check up, make sure to get back on a routine to ensure better health.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Milk and Cheese, Good Diet Choices for Oral and Bone Health

Two recent studies show the benefits of milk and cheese, and how these dairy products can aid against the development in tooth decay, and promote healthier teeth and bones. 

According to an article published by, a study conducted by the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Illinois indicated that a small glass of milk with breakfast in the morning can help reduce plaque acids by more than 50 percent.  Each of the 20 adults in the study group were provided a bowl of cereal, followed by either: milk, fruit juice or a glass of water, producing pH levels of “6.48 for milk drinkers, 6.02 for water and 5.83 for apple juice,” concluding that milk was the best choice for teeth. 

                                    Milk and Cheese Help pH Balance and Oral Health

Additionally, revealed the results of a new study published in the May/June 2013 issue of General Dentistry, which claimed the consumption of dairy products and cheese helps protect teeth against cavities, and promote better bone health.  
This study used a sample of 68 teens, ages 12 – 15, and again, after consuming cheese, sugar-free yogurt or milk, their pH levels were measured 10, 20, and 30 minutes after consumption, and found that of the three products, cheese produced the highest pH levels. "The higher the pH level, the lower the chance of developing cavities," explains Vipul Yadav, MDS, lead author of the study.

So go ahead, wear a milk mustache and be cheesy, it’s good for your smile!

"It looks like dairy does the mouth good," proclaimed Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Seung-Hee Rhee, DDS, FAGD.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Are Silver Filings A Health Hazard? Find Out

Amalgam, a popular dental filling, is the product of combining silver and mercury. With concerns about Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis being caused by mercury poisoning, some believe that the mercury in amalgam leaking from fillings could be a culprit. 

Medical experts and health organizations are not seeing links between the diseases and amalgam. The American Dental Association is maintaining their stance on amalgam being safe for dental filling material. Those statements are backed up by the Public Health Service and the World Health Organization. 

 Silver Fillings: Not Harmful to Health (Photo Courtesy eHow)

Several medical studies examining the effects of inorganic dental filling mercury on humans have ruled out any connection between amalgam and effects on the body. Experts cite the elemental, inorganic nature of the mercury in amalgam as a product that cannot be detrimental to human health. They add that one form of absorbable mercury, methyl mercury, can be absorbed into the digestive system and might cause cardiovascular disease and autoimmune disease.

And many people are easily influenced by rumors and hearsay regarding amalgam—even when confronted by scientific facts claiming their health will not be affected. These falsities come in the form of articles that claim that chewing gum causes poisoning from mercury dental filling leaks as well as videos of supposed mercury vapor emitting from a person’s mouth. The latter is easily dismissed, as mercury cannot vaporize in one’s mouth unless the human body is at 673 degrees Fahrenheit.

For those seeking alternatives to amalgam fillings, there are several. Porcelain has the distinction of looking like tooth enamel and bending well to the shape of the teeth, though it is more expensive than the silver-and-mercury material and does not last as long. Resin is less resilient compared to porcelain and is primarily for minor cavities. 

If you have silver fillings and you are considering replacement for cosmetic reasons, American Dental Plan can help you save on dental care. Check out our list of benefits and providers in Arizona.