April 11th 2014
When it comes to dental problems, you’re probably used to hearing all about the common ones that can negatively affect your teeth, such as cavities, gum disease, and even oral cancer. But did you know that one of the most painful oral conditions is actually caused by a part of the body that you may have never heard of before? We’re talking about the temporomandibular joints, also known as TMJs. These joints may be tiny, but they serve a crucial function, as they’re responsible for connecting your lower jaw to your skull. However, this means that when they’re even slightly misaligned, it can cause truly debilitating symptoms, negatively affecting both your dental health and your overall wellbeing. That’s why consulting with a local dentist is important if you suspect you may be suffering from this ailment.
Common signs of TMJ disorder include:
- Persistent pain in the face, neck, head, shoulders, or back
- Constant headaches
- Jaw joints that pop or click
- A jaw that feels unusually stiff
- Constant earaches
- Difficulty opening and closing your mouth when chewing
There are several therapy options for patients who are suffering from TMJ disorder, and no two cases are the same. Many patients whose symptoms are primarily caused by teeth grinding (bruxism) can often find relief by wearing a customized oral appliance during sleep. Other patients may require physical therapy or drug therapy to help alleviate the pain. When it comes to cases that are truly severe, surgery may be necessary. A dentist trained in TMJ treatment can offer the specialized help you need and recommend treatment options that fit your unique needs and concerns. With a professional touch, you can escape pain and get back to smiling bigger and brighter than ever before.
March 28th 2014
Though many people may not know this, fluoride is a key mineral in keeping your teeth nice and strong. Especially important in children’s dentistry, fluoride treatments can begin a healthy foundation for your smile to thrive and take life’s knocks. Attracting minerals like calcium, fluoride is a wonderful way to build and maintain strong smiles! If you are unaware of some of the benefits fluoride can deliver, let us inform you!
One of the benefits to fluoride is the fact that it naturally makes your teeth more cavity resistant. The mineral acts as a shield, not allowing harmful bacteria to taint your smile. Fluoride also strengthens teeth, making them resilient to the end! Fluoride treatments are common practice in children’s dentistry, as studies show that children who receive them are 40% less likely to get cavities.
Another great way to receive you fluoride intake is through tap water; certain toothpastes and mouthwashes also contain fluoride. Fluoride is also beneficial to those who suffer from constant dry mouth, people with crowns and bridges, people with braces, gum disease, and those who have a history of having continual cavities. Everyone young and old and benefit from fluoride use, and we encourage you to find a source!
March 14th 2014
St. Patrick’s Day presents a great opportunity to celebrate with friends and family in true Irish fashion – with amazing food, freely flowing beverages, and festive clothing in every shade of green imaginable. As you gear up to join in on the merrymaking, keep these handy oral health and hygiene tips in mind for a truly happy holiday.
Everything in moderation. It’s entirely expected that millions will enjoy a couple of pints at their nearest pub or a few beers at home to celebrate St. Patty’s Day, but now is as good a time as ever to remember what alcohol can do to your oral health. Too much to drink can contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Enjoy yourself, but not to excess!
Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water during the course of your holiday revelry to maintain your mouth’s healthy pH balance. This will also help your head and body feel better in the morning, so it’s worth remembering.
No matter how late you get home…Be sure to brush and floss as usual. The acid in beer, ale, and other alcoholic beverages can be severely damaging to tooth enamel. Just a few minutes of preventative maintenance to save your smile, and then you can climb into bed. Your teeth will thank you!
And of course, if you are lucky enough on St. Patty’s Day to receive a kiss (Irish or not), make sure to brush and/or use a good mouthwash after all of that delicious corned beef and cabbage! If you have any questions or concerns about your overall oral health, on St. Patrick’s Day or otherwise, contact your local dentist’s office today.
February 28th 2014
For some patients, bad breath is something that only happens occasionally, after a meal heavy on garlic, for instance. For others, though, it’s a daily struggle caused by the accumulation and breakdown of bacteria in the mouth. That’s why frequent bad breath–also known as halitosis–is also a sign of early-stage gum disease.
The good news for patients who struggle daily with bad breath is that managing the condition is possible. By following these five helpful steps, patients with halitosis can experience relief and live more confidently.
Brush and floss regularly
Brushing and flossing are the first steps for anyone struggling with bad breath. These simple actions will help you control the amount of bacteria in your mouth by clearing away leftover food particles that contribute to the production and buildup of bacteria. We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing at least once.
Rinse with a mouthwash
Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash is the second step for patients who struggle with bad breath. Antibacterial mouthwashes kill bacteria before they have a chance to accumulate and they simultaneously freshen breath.
Scrape or brush your tongue
In addition to accumulating around the gum line, bacteria can also hide on tongue. Using a tongue scraper–or even your toothbrush–to clean your tongue will do a lot to hold bad breath at bay.
Change your toothbrush
Your toothbrush is another place bacteria can hide. That’s why we recommend switching to a new one about every three months. With a new toothbrush, you can be sure that you’re cleaning your teeth with a bacteria-free brush.
What you drink can have a big impact on your oral health. Sugary or acidic drinks can be damaging, while drinking water throughout the day will help you control the buildup of bacteria and wash food particles away.
Do you have questions about what causes bad breath and how it can be treated? Call your local dental office with your questions or to schedule an appointment.
February 14th 2014
This February, it may be hard to resist the urge to snack on your favorite candy. You might not want to wreck your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, but there might be a compromise!
Did you know that chocolate is good for your teeth?
Recent studies by Tulane University have shown that antioxidants, which occur naturally in dark chocolate, promote dental health by fighting cavities in addition to combating plaque. This means that your “guilty pleasure” sweet is actually actively fighting gum disease while you snack. Dark chocolate substances work to harden the enamel of your teeth. It’s even more effective than fluoride! You can strengthen your teeth and oral health as you eat.
And that’s not all!
Whether you’re enjoying a sweet Valentine’s Day treat or indulging in your favorite candy, you’re even fighting heart disease. Because gum disease has been linked to the development of cardiovascular problems, consuming your daily allowance of chocolate can even protect your heart! Keep in mind that the recommended amount of dark chocolate averages one ounce a day, because everything is better in moderation.
Some experts recommend the raw form of dark chocolate for the most health benefits. This type is less processed, and therefore contains more of the beneficial antioxidants! As always, remember to brush and floss properly after you eat. That way, your smile can shine brightly.
Comfortable Care for the Whole Family
At Hawthorn Dental, our conservative and individualized care, combined with the latest technology, has made us a dependable practice since 1983. Call us today and schedule an appointment for you or your loved ones at our South St. Louis County or St. Charles office.