What You Need to Know About Bruxism

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If you are one of those folks who regularly grind your teeth, then your condition is called bruxism. It can lead to damage to your teeth and other oral health issues.

So why do people grind their teeth? Generally, teeth grinding or clenching is from stress or anxiety and it usually occurs at night when you’re sleeping. You’re more apt to suffer from bruxism if you have an abnormal bite or if you are missing teeth or have crooked teeth.

You probably suffer from bruxism if you have a constant, dull headache or your jaw is regularly sore. Also, your loved one may hear you at night when you are sleeping and grinding your teeth. If you do think that you may have bruxism, consult with your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs. He will examine your jaw and mouth for signs of grinding and look for abnormalities and/or tenderness in your jaw and teeth.

We see some patients at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs who come in with teeth that have been fractured, loosened or are even missing because of a long-term history of grinding their teeth. Sometimes their teeth have been ground down to mere stumps. The solution? Crowns, bridges, implants, root canals, and partial or full dentures.

Additionally, health issues stemming from bruxism’s impact on your jaw can include hearing loss, worsening of TMD and TMJ, and changes in your face’s appearance.

So what can you do to stop grinding your teeth or reduce its impact?

Have your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs fit you with a night mouth guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

Find ways to reduce your stress if that is a contributing factor to your bruxism. Depending on your personal situation, counseling for stress, regular exercise, physical therapy, and prescription muscle relaxants are some of the options you may consider.

Cut back from your diet– or cut out – foods and drinks that have caffeine. These include colas, coffee and coffee.

Skip the alcohol because you grind your teeth more intensely after consuming alcohol.

Avoid chewing anything that isn’t food – thinks like pencils or pen caps. Chewing gum can also be a problem since it makes your jaw muscles more used to clenching and increases the likelihood that you will grind your teeth.

Teach yourself not to grind or clench your teeth. If you position the tip of your tongue between your teeth while you’re awake, you’ll train your jaw muscles to relax. At night, hold a warm washcloth against your check in front of your earlobe to relax your jaw muscles.

SOURCE: WebMD

8 Tips to Help Your Kids Stop Sucking Their Thumbs and Avoid Oral Health Issues

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Sucking their thumb, fingers or a pacifier is a natural reflex for most children. It helps them fall asleep, calm down, or to just feel good. When they are babies, it is considered harmless in terms of a child's growth and speech development.

But how long should it go on? Should a child still be sucking their thumb or a pacifier when they are ready for preschool?

Generally, a child who is in the 2- to 4-year range will start to develop other coping skills beyond thumb or finger sucking, such as language development. These coping skills replace the need for a child to suck on a thumb or finger. But for some kids, thumb sucking or finger sucking is harder to kick, which could lead to problems for their growing mouths. Recent research shows that thumb or finger sucking can have an impact even at a younger age - as young as 2 to 4 years old – on the mouth and the jaw.

Remember, sucking their thumbs or fingers is a soothing activity that can help reduce their anxiety. For most children, growing up is filled with anxiety and change.

So if your child is approaching preschool and still sucking away, here's 8 tips on how to handle it correctly:

Try to limit the time that your child sucks their thumb to their bedroom or in the house, not in public. Explain to them that this is a bed activity during nap time and at night.

Don’t turn it into a confrontation. Try to recognize your child and praise them when they are not sucking their thumb instead of criticizing them when they are.

If your child is hurt or injured, don’t prohibit them from sucking their thumb or fingers. They need that comfort zone to cope.

Help your child practice self-awareness by pointing out to them when they are sucking their thumb or fingers. Offer them an option to soothe them, like a blanket or stuffed animal.

Avoid the gross-tasting stuff that is sold to stop thumb and finger sucking. It’s just creates more anxiety, which is the initial reason why your child is sucking their thumb.

Use creative methods to help your child understand that they are growing up and one day won't suck their thumb anymore. Ask your child if their favorite cartoon character sucks their thumb.

Don’t try a glove or a mitten on the hand as a quick-fix to thumb or finger sucking. This will just frustrate the child and cause more anxiety. Plus, they are old enough to just remove the glove or mitten themselves.

Be sure to remember that a child will grow out of the need for thumb sucking or finger sucking when they are good and ready.

SOURCE: WebMD