The Crux of Bruxism: Don’t Grit Your Teeth and Bare it!

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You’re sitting in your car in yet another traffic jam when your head and neck start to ache. You felt fine when you left the office, but now you question when it all started. If this sounds familiar, you might have Bruxism.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition that affects about one in three adults and even many children. It’s when you clench or grind your teeth on a regular basis, whether you realize it or not. Occasionally clenching or grinding is normal, but if done on a consistent basis can cause serious issues.


What are the signs Bruxism?

There are many signs of Bruxism, though you may only exhibit a few. These include:

  • Constant sore jaw, especially upon waking
  • Headache
  • Tooth sensitivity to temperature and sweetness
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Earache
  • Tooth wear

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Why do I have Bruxism?

There are many reasons you can have Bruxism. Some use it as is a coping mechanism, while others don’t know they have Bruxism, as it manifests as they sleep. Some reasons include:

  • Misalignment of teeth
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Eating habits
  • Sleeping habits

How do I fix it?

If clenching and grinding is brought on by stress, a few lifestyle changes will help. Deep breaths and counting to five can have a calming effect. To find the method that works best for you, research stress release techniques.

Other solutions are wearing a mouth guard or splint when sleeping. These should be discussed with your dentist to determine which is the right fit for you.

What if I don’t fix it?

If grinding and clenching continues, your teeth can become loose, fractured, or even lost. This can lead to root canals, crowns, or bridges.

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In more severe cases of grinding, teeth can be worn down to stumps and would require all teeth to be pulled for a full set of dentures. Your jaw can also be affected by causing temporormandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) and can even change your facial structure.

Bruxism can be managed or even eliminated if caught in the early stages. The longer it takes to address, the greater the risk of having serious health problems arises. Make an appointment with your dentist today to see if you or a loved one have Bruxism and what options are right for you so it can be fixed before it gets worse.

If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area, call now to make an appointment with us at Georgetown Smile. We would love to help!  202-333-0333.


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What is dry mouth?

Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, happens when saliva is not being produced properly by the glands in your mouth, resulting in your mouth being dry on a continual basis.

What causes dry mouth?

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Dry mouth can be caused by a number of factors, including tobacco use. Many prescription and over the counter medications have dry mouth as a side effect, as well as medical procedures like chemotherapy, radiation, and gland removal. Even some injuries can result in dry mouth. In many cases, dry mouth is caused simply from dehydration. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if a medication or treatment may be causing this.

How to tell if you have dry mouth?

If you have some of these symptoms, you may be suffering from dry mouth:

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  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty speaking, swallowing, chewing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Burning or tingling on tongue
  • Sores or cracked lips
  • Tooth decay

What if dry mouth goes untreated?

Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, but can cause some serious health issues if left untreated. It can lead to tooth loss, gum disease, and cavities. Dry mouth can also make it harder to wear dentures and can cause severe mouth infections or even thrush.

How to prevent or treat dry mouth.

If you suffer from dry mouth, don’t worry, here is a list of possible solutions you can try on your own or discuss with your doctor or dentist on your next visit.

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  • Medication to increase saliva
  • Drinking water
  • Use sugar-free gum or candy
  • Breathe through your nose instead of mouth
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste and rinse
  • Use a room humidifier



7 Ways to Stop Spreading the Flu

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We have all uttered the feared words, “winter’s coming,” but now that it is almost upon us it’s time to act.  Life is too busy for achy muscles, congestion, or a runny nose, so we must stay vigilant in our pursuit of good health and not just worry about ourselves, but others too. These simple tips will keep you and those around you healthy.


1. If you’re already sick, stay home.

No one wants to spend the day in bed when they have things to do, but that is exactly what you should be doing. Your body needs sleep and rest so it can fight off the infection. The more you resist, the longer your recovery time will be. So just give in and stay curled up in bed. It’s a great time to watch a marathon of your favorite shows!

2. Don’t touch your face.

It is amazing how often we unknowingly touch our face. From pushing our hair back to striking a “thinking man” pose, we are ever touching our faces. Being conscious of how much you touch your face will help eliminate spreading a virus you might have picked up when you touched another surface.

3. Clean your cell phone and other electronic devices.

Our phones and tablets are on our journey with us all day in everything we do, making them big germ magnets. Try to wipe them down a few times a day, especially if you are already sick, and before handing them to others to use, whether for business or fun.

4. Thoroughly wash and sanitize your hands often.

Our hands help us explore and interact with the world around us, and in the process, they pick up a variety of different elements. Always use antibacterial soap and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds using warm to hot water. Make sure to include your wrists, back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. When soap is not available, use hand sanitizer.

5. Sanitize your door handles.

You must touch them to get in and out of pretty much everywhere, so until all doors automatically open, you need to sanitize them every few days and more often if your household is already infected. A thorough wiping of handles with an antibacterial cloth will help prevent the spread of illness both at home and work.

6. Use a tissue and throw it away.

If you need to sneeze or cough, make sure you use a tissue and throw it away, but if one isn’t handy, pull a Dracula and use your elbow and not your hand. Your elbow will contain more of the germs but if you accidentally use your hands, wash or sanitize them before touching anything else.

7. Have healthy habits.

Being physically active and getting enough sleep go a long way to helping you stay healthy. When your body is strong, it can fight off an infection more easily. Staying hydrated is important when helping your body defend against viruses and drinking water is the best way to do this. Avoid sugary drinks that make your body work harder to process.




Sugary Candy: Trick or Treat?

It’s that time of year again! Goblins and witches, with an ever expanding group of super heroes, Halloween is here! Remember safety is first, but this applies to more than just crossing the street. Your teeth and mouth are about to be bombarded with the joyous taste of sugary treats. Don’t let these wonderful delights turn to tricks by not taking steps to maintain proper oral care.

How much sugar is it really?

These days manufacturers make it easy to hand out candy by providing “fun size” candy in mixed bags. While convenient to the masses, this contributes to excess consumption of calories and sugar. But it’s a fun size, so how can that be anything but awesome, you ask?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consuming no more than 200 calories, about 50 grams, of sugar each day.  What does this mean to a 2000 calorie per day diet?  One Snicker’s serving is two “fun size” bars, containing 160 calories and 17 grams of sugar. That means by eating six of these adorable little candies, you have met your daily limit.

The ever beloved candy corn contains 140 calories and 32 grams of sugar per serving of 19 pieces. So you can have about one and a half servings per day and that’s it. Keep in mind this isn’t including any other food sources that contain sugar. These amounts alone consume your entire recommended allotment per day.

Does sugar affect your teeth?

Sugar creates acid by interacting with the bacteria produced by plaque, which causes tooth decay over time by dissolving the tooth enamel. This creates holes in your teeth called cavities, which can be found easily during your regular dental checkup.  If gone untreated, it has the potential to become so severe that the tooth may have to be extracted.

Ways to prevent the worst.

No one is safe from the damage sugar can inflict, and during the holidays of continual exposure to massive amounts of easily spotted and hidden sugar can be overwhelming. But fear not! By following a few easy tips you can help keep these possibilities at bay.

Brush and floss your teeth both in the morning and evening, preferably within 15 minutes of eating. If you aren’t able to brush, be sure to thoroughly rinse out your mouth with water after meals and sugary drinks. Reduce the amount of sugary items consumed or try to eat them with a meal to decrease the amount of acid produced through the day.

Now that you know some simple ways to control acid production from sugar, go enjoy a hand full of candy corn or a few Snickers!



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