Temperomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, is a painful problem with the joint that connects your jawbone and skull. It can cause symptoms like headaches, earaches, and clicking noises. This condition affects more than ten million Americans, and has been linked to stress. Teeth grinding is another known risk factor for TMJ. A dentist can help you with diagnosis and treatment, and there are also some exercises that have been shown to help TMJ patients. Here are some you can try after getting approval from your dentist.
Resistance training is one simple exercise to begin with. Put your thumb under the bottom of your chin, and open your mouth slowly while providing light pressure with your thumb. Your jaw will be pushing against your thumb, providing resistance. Hold your mouth open about five seconds while applying pressure with your thumb, and then slowly close your mouth. Doing this exercise several times each day will help strengthen your jaw.
When you are stressed, it’s likely that you are clenching your jaw. Jaw stretches can help you relax that tension and strengthen your jaw. Slowly open your mouth wide, and then slowly close it. Next move your jaw from side to side. Move your jaw to the left as far as you can without using your hands, and then gently push your jaw even farther to the left with your hand. Hold it there for thirty seconds. Repeat this stretch several times, and then do the same on the right side. These stretches can loosen your muscles and alleviate jaw muscle pain.
A great way to reduce your stress level is by breathing deeply. You can perform this exercise while sitting or laying on your back. Close your eyes, put one hand on your stomach and one on your chest, and breathe in and out through your nose. The hand on your stomach should move up and down with each breath, indicating deep breathing. Continue this exercise until you feel more relaxed.
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Take a drink of your refreshing cold beverage, delve into your favorite flavor of ice cream, or have a sip of the perfect coffee concoction. But then, a hundred miniature daggers stab your teeth!! If this is your experience when eating foods that you used to enjoy, you are suffering with overly sensitive teeth.
Your dentist will be able to determine the reasons behind your tooth sensitivity. Often your enamel is worn, exposing the nerves on your teeth and increasing the sensation of anything that comes into contact with them. There are treatments that should help reduce your discomfort and allow you to eat the foods you like. While waiting to see your dentist, here are some things you can try at home to relieve your sensitivity.
Visit the oral products section of your drugstore, and you will find numerous choices of toothpaste to help reduce sensitivity. Try switching to one of the toothpaste options designed for that purpose, or ask your dentist for further toothpaste recommendations.
Watch what you eat
Certain foods trigger discomfort more than others. For example, acidic foods and spicy items tend to hit the tooth nerves. Extreme temperatures of icy cold or piping hot foods and drinks can also cause pain. Dentists advise that you keep a food diary to notice patterns of foods that cause sensitivity so that you’ll be able to cut down on those items until your teeth have improved.
Brushing your teeth can be painful if your teeth are overly sensitive, but it’s not advisable to discontinue brushing. Instead, look for a toothbrush designed for sensitive teeth and brush as gently as possible. Also, remember to floss even though it can sometimes be uncomfortable.
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Advancing age brings with it unique considerations for oral health. Seniors are at higher risk for a variety of dental problems mostly related to the aging process, medication side effects, and inability to properly care for their teeth and gums. Therefore, it’s vital that seniors regularly visit their dentist and learn how to combat oral health problems so that they can keep their mouth healthy as long as possible.
Some of the risks that seniors face include:
• Gum disease—this is caused by plaque buildup, and worsened by poor hygiene, tobacco use, ill-fitting dentures, poor nutrition, and some diseases.
• Tooth loss – gum disease is a primary cause of tooth loss.
• Uneven jawbone – this can result from tooth loss.
• Dry mouth – reduced saliva production is related to medication side effects, cancer treatments, and certain diseases.
• Thrush – immune system issues can lead to the overgrowth of fungus in the mouth.
• Tooth sensitivity – tooth decay can cause exposure of the tooth’s root, which leads to increased sensitivity.
• Darkened teeth – changes in the dentin from age can darken teeth, as well as a lifetime of stain-causing foods and drinks.
• Stomatitis – dentures can cause this inflammation of the tissues under a denture.
Another common problem that seniors experience is trouble performing their dental care routine. Some medical conditions like arthritis can make brushing and flossing difficult. Products are available to assist seniors with these tasks, such as special toothbrushes and oral irrigators. It’s also important to be able to recognize the warning signs of problems, and to see the dentist if any of those occur like pain, mouth sores, swelling, loose teeth, and difficulty chewing or swallowing. Additionally, seniors should see their dentist for checkups every six months just to make sure problems aren’t arising that haven’t been noticed before.
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Your teeth and gums are physical assets that you want to keep healthy your whole life, and the best way to do that is to take care of them. Proper dental care needs to begin at a young age so that good habits are established for life. It is a parent’s role to teach children proper hygiene, and to ensure they get professional treatment. Here are some ways that you can help your child learn good dental habits.
Parents should watch children brush their teeth, especially for ages seven and under, to ensure the appropriate amount of toothpaste is used and that none is swallowed. Have your child brush for about two minutes, and make sure all areas of the teeth and gums are cleaned. Provide tips and help as needed.
Establish good eating habits
Teach your child that diet impacts oral health. Some foods worsen plaque buildup and introduce damaging acid into the mouth, leading to increased tooth decay and higher risk for cavities and gum disease. Certain foods and drinks are also known to stain teeth, or cause bad breath.
Promote water consumption
Drinking water not only is good for your overall health, it’s also helpful to your mouth. Encourage your child to drink water after eating, especially if it’s not possible to brush teeth right away. Also, fluoridated water is proven to help fight cavities.
Visit the dentist
Begin taking your child to the dentist around age one, so that the child gets good dental care and learns that dental visits aren’t scary. Have a positive attitude about checkups, and consider taking your child to a pediatric dentist who specializes in children’s oral health.
Be a role model
As the saying goes, practice what you preach. Set a good example of brushing at least twice daily, flossing every day, limiting your intake of staining foods and drinks, and visiting your dentist regularly.
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