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The Causes of TMD

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A disorder of the temporomandibular joint, or TMD, can come in many forms. In general, TMD’s represent a problem with the joint of the jawbone or the muscles that are used to move your jaw. In many cases, the root cause is unclear. However, some of the most common causes include the following:

  • An impact or similar injury sustained around the area of the jaw, head, or neck may result in a TMD.
  • Excessive clenching or grinding puts unnecessary stress on your jaw muscles and causes TMD.
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the jaw can manifest itself as a TMD.
  • Some diseases, like oral cancer or gingivitis, can affect the way your jaw fits into your skull and cause TMD.
  • Women, particularly those between the age of twenty and forty, appear to be most likely to develop TMD. The reasons for this are unknown.

Should you find yourself suffering from TMD, Bella Dental can help. Talk to our Federal Way dentistry clinic to find the cause behind your disorder and explore your treatment options.

Dry Mouth vs. Your Face

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There are many good reasons to treat your dry mouth, most of the having to do with your oral health. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. When your mouth dries out, the surrounding skin on your face is similarly going to be deprived of the moisture it needs to stay healthy and look youthful. If you are suffering from dry mouth, you may notice extra wrinkles and cracks around your lips, as well as a fair amount of chapping.

Further, if you were hoping to mask these wrinkles with a little extra lipstick, you’re out of luck. People struggling with dry mouth have a reduced ability to flush away stains on their teeth. This means that, when your lipstick gets on your teeth, you may be stuck with red marks on your grin until you get a chance to brush again. So, for the sake of both your health and your appearance, be sure to consult our Federal Way dentistry clinic to deal with your dry mouth.

How Healthy is Xylitol?

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As refined sugars are one of the bigger enemies to your dental health, many people are interested in finding alternative sweeteners that can give candy the taste we love without harming our teeth as much. This is the purpose behind a substance known as xylitol, which has shown some potential toward this end. Researchers have observed that this substance causes less damage to your teeth than conventional sugar, and some are even going as far as to claim that xylitol can actually kill off the harmful bacteria in your mouth. But is this claim too good to be true?

A team of researchers explored this question with a series of ten studies involving about six thousand participants. Some were instructed to use a xylitol-based toothpaste, while a control group used normal fluoride paste. The team found “low-quality evidence” that the xylitol toothpaste resulted in 13% less tooth decay. This is considered insufficient to draw any conclusions. Meanwhile, the studies did not explore the potential side effects of the substance.

You can learn more about healthy dental care from our Federal Way dentistry clinic.

When Should Children Begin Brushing On Their Own?

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If you have children, you’re eventually going to have to transition them to brushing on their own. So, how do you know when a child is ready?

Properly brushing your teeth requires fine motor skills and understanding that is probably beyond children under the age of about six. Such children may assume that their teeth are clean simply because the look or feel clean. They may not grasp that they need to brush all of their teeth, and not simply the exposed part of their front teeth. With the minty taste of their toothpaste, they may not know to not swallow it when they’re done brushing.

In their early years, it is a good idea to let children watch you brush your own teeth and do some practice brushing under your supervision. Put a pea-sized drop of paste on their brushes, then guide their hand in front of a mirror. Assure that they cover the top, front, and back of each tooth, scrubbing in a circular motion and gently massaging their gums. If you require any further help, bring your child to our Federal Way dentistry clinic.

Is Gum Disease Linked to Pancreatic Cancer?

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There are many reasons to maintain good oral hygiene that go far beyond avoiding cavities and gum disease. After all, the mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. Bad oral health is linked to a slew of other bodily diseases, which certain research indicates may include pancreatic cancer.

According to a research team from the Harvard School of Public Health, there is strong evidence that pancreatic cancer may have a significant link to gum disease. Specifically, it appears to be related to a form of gum disease known as periodontitis, which affects the gum tissues that support your teeth and can lead to a loss of bone around your jaw. One study showed that men with a history of such gum disease had a 64% greater risk of pancreatic cancer, when compared to men who never had gum disease. Whether this points to gum disease increasing your risk of pancreatic cancer, or a risk factor of pancreatic cancer making you more likely to suffer from gum disease, is unclear at this time.

One way or another, it remains clear that regular visits to your dentist are a vital part of keeping up good health. Contact our Federal Way dentistry to schedule an appointment.

Bruxism and Social Anxiety

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It has long been understood that stress can be a contributing factor to bruxism. Thanks to a study from Tel Aviv University, we now know more about the relationship between bruxism and social anxiety. According to this study, if you suffer from social anxiety, interaction with other people is likely to trigger tooth grinding.

This study looked at a group of seventy-five men and women in their early thirties. Forty of the participants had social phobia, about half of which were on medication to treat their problem. The remaining thirty-five participants had no social phobia. All participants had their oral health and psychiatry examined. The results were that moderate-to-severe wear was found on the teeth of 42.1% of those with social phobia, as opposed to 28.6% of the control group. The occurrence of jaw play was present in 32.5% of the socially anxious, and only 12.1% of the controls. Finally, symptoms of waking bruxism were found in 42.5% of the socially anxious, against a scant 3% of the controls.

If you suffer from social anxiety, there are measures you can take to protect your teeth. Talk to our Federal Way dentistry clinic for more.

What is Fluorosis?

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When a child receives too much fluoride in his or her first eight years, his or her permanent teeth can come in with a condition known as fluorosis. This is a largely cosmetic problem, but it can adversely affect the self-esteem of a child. Symptoms include the following:

  • Discoloration in the teeth, ranging from faint white stains to dark brown.
  • Irregularities on the tooth’s surface.
  • Severe and highly noticeable pitting.

Fluorosis affects roughly a quarter of Americans. Fortunately, it can be easy to prevent the condition, and there are many options available for people with serious symptoms. Consult our Federal Way dentistry clinic to learn more.

A Cleaner Tongue Means Stronger Tastes!

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You probably already know that tongue-scraping is an important part of your daily dental hygiene. Failing to clear away the plaque and detritus that gathers on your tongue is a good way to invite tooth decay and gum disease upon yourself. And, in case this is not enough to motivate you to get a proper tongue scraper, also consider the additional benefits that tongue scraping has for your dining experience.

When you neglect to scrape your tongue, your taste buds aren’t able to do their job. You’re tasting your food through a thick layer of plaque. Blocked taste buds also bring about false cravings and a reduced ability to enjoy your food. It is only by regularly cleaning your tongue that you can properly enjoy all of your favorite dishes.

Consult our Federal Way dentistry clinic to learn more about proper tongue scraping.

Are Pickles Rotting Your Teeth?

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Everybody knows that sugary foods like soda and candy will rot your teeth. However, this is not the end of the story. There are some foods that most people wouldn’t expect to be harsh on their tooth enamel, one of the more surprising of these being pickled foods.

This is according to a study conducted in 2004, wherein British researchers examined the eating habits of a cross section of teenagers. The results showed that it was the pickles eaten by many British youths that were responsible for their excessive tooth wear. The vinegar and other highly acidic substances used in the pickling process is apparently hard on your enamel, leaving it vulnerable to decay in the same way that the acids of your oral bacteria do.

Fortunately, this is only going to be a problem if you are in the habit of eating a significant number of pickles more than once a day. So long as you are mindful of your dining habits and get your regular cleanings at our Federal Way dentistry clinic, you should be able to enjoy your favorite pickled foods while maintaining good oral health.

Heat and Cold vs. Your Mouth

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If you’re like many people, a lot of your favorite foods are served either piping hot or ice cold. A fresh pizza, a bowl of ice cream, a bucket of fried food, or an icy pitcher of beer, these are high on the list of many of the patients at our Federal Way dentistry office. Though these are delicious, the extreme temperatures of such foods are not doing much good for your mouth.

Particularly hot or very cold foods and beverages are hard on the fragile tissues of your gums. They can damage these tissues and prevent them from repairing themselves. This is all the more true if you are in the habit of consuming hot and cold items in quick succession. Take care in planning your meals, and you can avoid damaging your gums and developing sensitivity to temperature extremes.

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