We think about beverages a lot during the summer when we’re hot and thirsty, but we should drink fluids all year round. In the summer, we’ll sometimes guzzle anything that’s handy, just to quench our thirst. Other times of the year, we can be a little more thoughtful about our choice of beverages, so maybe January is an ideal time to discuss beverages and their effect on teeth. That way, when summer arrives, we’ll all be in the habit of drinking fluids that can benefit us, but not harm our teeth.
Congratulations! Your baby is about to celebrate its first birthday, and your little bundle of joy is developing right on schedule according to all the best baby books.
Your baby is still on the bottle, but that’s okay; the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests weaning a baby off the bottle by the time they’re 18-months old, so you’ve got some time. And your baby got their first teeth about six months ago with the teeth on either side of the front ones coming in just a couple months ago.
Are your back teeth hurting you? If you don’t take care of your back teeth, you could wake up with major dental problems.
Because wisdom teeth often have no place to go, they can get stuck, or impacted, growing beneath a second molar. If they are unable to push up through the gums, they’ll push sideways, growing horizontally or at an angle and emerging from the side of the gums. Wisdom teeth can also strong-arm their way into the mouth, pushing aside or damaging second molars, which can cause a chain reaction and move all the teeth.
The human body is mostly a closed system. Bacteria or viruses that want to get in have only a couple of avenues of entry—nose, mouth, eyes—or through a cut or puncture in the skin. Our bodies are pretty successful at keeping danger at bay and, while we have developed the means to fight off most bacteria and viruses, that hardly means that we’re immune to everything. Here in Arizona, scorpions and rattlesnakes are incredibly efficient at making holes in our skin, into which they inject venom that spreads quickly, wreaking havoc on the central nervous system.
The most common musculoskeletal condition is chronic lower back pain. Everyone knows what chronic lower back pain is. The second most common musculoskeletal condition is temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder. Unless you suffer from it, you may not know exactly what temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder is, although you’ve probably heard its abbreviated name, TMJ or—more accurately—TMD.
THE EXPRESSION “getting long in the tooth” refers to gum recession, but this oral health problem isn’t necessarily connected to age. Gum recession is when the edge of the gingival tissue moves away from the crown of the tooth, exposing the root. The reason we tend to think of it as an age-related problem is that it tends to be so gradual that it takes many years to become noticeable, but it can begin at any age — even in childhood! — for a variety of reasons.
Many times, we don’t connect two things that aren’t directly related. For example, it took decades to discover the relationship between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease. The connection certainly wasn’t even obvious to researchers searching for Alzheimer’s cause. But it’s important to remember that, when it comes to the human body, everything is connected.
In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that nearly 115 million Americans had either diabetes or prediabetes: 23.1 million diagnosed, 7.2 million undiagnosed, and 84.1 million with prediabetes. That’s over 34 percent of the population. The American Diabetes Association estimates that the number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes will increase by 165 percent by 2050.
If you drive, the manufacturer of your car probably suggests you get the oil changed every 3,000 miles. There are even warning lights on the dashboard that turn on every 3,000 miles to remind you. Do you follow your car manufacturer’s suggestion, or do you change the oil every 5,000 or 10,000 miles? So what’s the big deal? The car runs just as good with 3,000-mile oil changes as it does with 10,000-mile oil changes. Maybe! Except you’ll never know if your car would have lasted an extra 5-10 years had you followed the manufacturer’s guidelines. Damage to the engine can be slow and cumulative and may not be evident for several years.
How do you sleep? More importantly, how do you wake up? When you awake after what may seem like a good night’s sleep, do you have a dull headache? Do you have neck pain, facial pain, or jaw pain? Do you get earaches, or do you have a generalized pain in the area below the ears? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it’s possible you suffer from sleep bruxism.
Sleep bruxism is more commonly known as teeth grinding, and it’s fairly common, especially in children. The problem is, it’s often difficult to know if you’re a teeth grinder unless someone tells you. Sometimes, the only way to know is by symptoms experienced while you’re awake.