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Patient Newsletter

Caring for Your Smile When You’re Expecting

Are you adding to your family in the near future? Congratulations! This will be an exciting—not to mention busy—time in your life. You’ll have a nursery to decorate, furniture to buy, and plenty of checkups with your doctor.

With everything that’s going on, though, it’s important not to lose sight of your oral health. In fact, regular brushing and flossing will never be as important as they are now. Besides causing symptoms like swollen or bleeding gums, gum disease has also been linked with certain pregnancy complications, like premature birth.

To ensure that your smile stays healthy during your pregnancy, and that your baby stays safe, we recommend the following:

  • Clean your smile regularly, paying special attention to your gumline. Gum disease is caused by the accumulation of bacteria and plaque along the gums.
  • Enjoy a balanced and nutritious diet. Foods that are processed or sugary will increase your chances of developing gum disease or cavities.
  • Talk to your dentists about when to schedule a checkup during your pregnancy. The best time is often during the second trimester.

Like any mom, you want to give your baby the best possible start. With preventive brushing and flossing, you’re already well on your way.

If you have questions about the connection between pregnancy and gum disease, don’t hesitate to talk to your regular family dentist.

Eat for Your Best Oral Health

Did you know that the month of March is National Nutrition Month as designated by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics?  Everyone knows that diet and nutrition are critical to general health. The fact of the matter is, however, your oral health is equally dependent on and affected by nutrition. Of course there are foods to limit for the sake of your oral health, like those that are loaded with sugar or highly acidic. But there are also foods, specifically certain fruits and vegetables, which are good for your teeth and gums.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, pineapples and tomatoes, are chock-full of vitamin C, which is critical for the health of your gums. Without enough vitamin C, gums might become unhealthy and even bleed, an early sign of gum disease. Eventually, unhealthy gums may lead to tooth loss, so be sure to include lots of fresh citrus fruits for healthy gums and stable teeth.

Fiber Rich Fruits

When you chew fruits that are high in fiber, salivation increases to help wash away food debris and bacteria that can be harmful to teeth and gums. Some of these fresh fruits are apples, oranges, pears, and watermelons. This increase in saliva reduces the acid level in your mouth and helps avert dry mouth, which makes teeth more vulnerable to decay. In addition, as you chew fiber-rich fruits, you’re also massaging your gums.

Hard Vegetables Build Strong Teeth

Eating hard and fibrous vegetables, such as carrots and celery, provide your body with a good source of beta carotene. Your body needs beta carotene to make vitamin A, which is a nutrient that is vital to building strong teeth. These and other hard vegetables also massage your gums as you chew. And the water content in these vegetables cleans your teeth and gums.

Onions

Onions are great for your oral health, because they contain antibacterial sulfur compounds. These antibacterial compounds help kill the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. And, of course, they are strongest when eaten fresh and uncooked, so be sure to brush your teeth or rinse with a refreshing mouthwash after boosting your oral health with onions!

So, here’s to your health… your oral health!

Understanding Bruxism & TMJ Disorder: Find Relief from Nighttime Teeth Grinding

Do you often awaken in the morning to find that your jaw is sore or that your neck and shoulders feel tense? Perhaps you suffer from frequent headaches that tend to begin in the area surrounding your temples. These symptoms are common in individuals with nighttime teeth grinding and daily jaw clenching, or bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Fortunately, treatment for these orofacial issues is typically non-invasive, affordable, and easily accessible at your dentist’s office.

What Causes Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding?

There are a variety of reasons that people with TMD and bruxism engage in the unconscious behavior of teeth grinding and clenching. Malocclusion, or an improper bite, is a major factor, as is daily stress. While you are sleeping, you are not able to stop the overworked muscles in the jaw and face from overtaking themselves further, leading to numerous symptoms that can affect you all day.

For many, the primary complaint related to TMJ disorder is headache pain that interferes with daily functioning. The delicate joints that connect your lower jaw to your cranium can become irritated and inflamed, causing nerve pain that can even spread to your upper back. This can lead to posture problems that further exacerbate the issue. In cases of teeth grinding, the patient is typically unaware that their jaws are placing inordinate amounts of pressure on their teeth all night. Bruxism can cause tooth fractures and enamel erosion, both of which can prove to be serious problems if not treated in a timely manner.

Bruxism & TMJ Treatment

In the majority of cases, a nighttime mouthguard is used to prevent damage to the teeth caused by clenching and grinding. This custom oral appliance fits comfortably in your mouth as you sleep, helping position the jaws properly so that the muscles aren’t unnecessarily strained. Patients who have been clenching their jaws for years are surprised to find that they experience relief from their discomfort in as few as one or two nights with their new appliance.

If you believe that you or someone in your family is suffering with the ill effects of TMJ disorder or bruxism, ask your dentist about a custom oral appliance. Relief could be a phone call away!