My 12-year-old likes to chew ice. Is this harmful?
Tooth enamel is very hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break it. Try to avoid eating “hard foods” such as popcorn. Don’t crack nut shells with your teeth or chew on ice. Opening packages with your teeth can also damage the enamel.
Why are soft drinks bad for your teeth?
Sugar and acids are your teeth’s worst enemies. What are we talking about? Soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, and candy. These soften the tooth enamel, making it highly susceptible to decay. Parents, watch your kid’s consumption of these, because young children’s enamel hasn’t developed fully. This makes these drinks even more damaging for kids. As well as eliminating the above (or at least reducing their consumption), use a sugar-free xylitol chewing gum after meals. Also, rinse your mouth with a high-quality dental mouthwash.
Tongue piercings seem to be a very bad idea. How bad?
Yes, they can look cool, but they can also fracture your teeth as well as make it much easier to get a nasty infection of the tongue and lips. Dentists have estimated that up to 40% of people who have metal rings or other oral piercings have had big problems from tooth fractures and infection.
Is fluoride bad for you?
Fluoride is fine…in small amounts. Excessive fluoride can cause tooth enamel irregularities. Young children, especially, often swallow too much toothpaste while brushing. So parents, supervise your young kids while they brush. Kids (and even adults) often use way too much toothpaste (a pea-size drop is plenty). A little goes a long way.
Why is it important to have regular teeth cleaning?
Did you know “teeth cleaning” does more than just clean your teeth? Removing plaque is absolutely essential if you want to preserve your teeth. It builds up on the tooth surfaces and between the teeth. Brushing and flossing are, of course, vital, but everyone needs their teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Remember – only a dental hygienist can completely clean your teeth.
I think I grind my teeth at night. What can I do about this?
Do you wake up with pain in your jaws or a persistent headache? If so, you may be grinding (called bruxing) while you sleep. Persistent bruxing can damage teeth and cause them to get shorter and shorter. It can also damage your temporomandibular (jaw) joints and even affect your hearing. If you suspect that you are a bruxer, tell Dr. Babin. She may recommend a night guard or other oral appliance.
Does the doctor check for oral cancer?
Yes, we do. Dentists and hygienists are your first line of defense in detecting and treating oral cancer. Each year in the US, approximately 30,000 people are newly diagnosed with oral cancer. Worldwide, the problem is far greater, with new cases annually approaching 300,000. In the US alone, a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. If you add the sub category of laryngeal cancers, the rates of occurrence (about 10,000 additional new cases per year) and death are significantly higher. However, the good news is, when found early, oral cancers have an 80 to 90% cure rate.
What is a TMJ disorder?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, your jaw joints. The pain, discomfort, or tenderness in or around the jaw joints is called TMD, temporomandibular dysfunction or disorder.
Signs that you might have TMD are:
- Facial pain or tenderness
- Jaw pain
- Pain in or around the ears
- Neck pain
- Jaw stiffness
- Discomfort while chewing
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Jaw “locking up”
- Jaw makes a clicking sound
- Teeth that don’t come together properly when eating or chewing
There are a variety of treatment options for TMD. Be sure to ask your dentist about these.