TEETH GRINDING (BRUXISM)
Bruxism is the clinical term for grinding of the teeth. Grinding your teeth wears away the thickness of your enamel. Tooth enamel protects teeth from the daily wear and tear from eating and helps prevent temperature sensitivity. Bruxism can result in hypersensitive teeth, aching jaw muscles, headaches, damage to dental restorations, and shortening of teeth (attrition) which WILL age you because your teeth and jaws determine the height of your lower face. It also can cause cheek biting, tongue side indentations, loosening of teeth, restricted mouth opening (trismus), and thickening of the jaw muscle leading to the appearance of a wide or broad jaw.
Erosion is the enamel wear caused by acid from food, drink, or stomach contents. The acid dissolves the minerals in enamel that strengthen teeth which can result in pain and sensitivity. The main sources of acid erosion is from excessive soft drink consumption, fruit drinks, diet high in sugar/carbohydrates, and GI issues such as acid reflux.
If you can not avoid these main causes; please use a straw , rinse with plain water immediately after eating and drinking, and wait an hour before brushing after ingesting something acidic to give your saliva a chance to rebalance itself and remineralize your enamel.
It would be wise to avoid constant snacking, or grazing during the day because this habit is shown to increase cavities. Studies reveal that the mouth remains acidic for a few hours after eating foods high in sugar or starches.
It is beneficial for your skin, digestion, as well as your teeth to drink more water during the day and use a remineralizing toothpaste. Chewing gum with Xylitol in between meals is also helpful because it stimulates salivary flow.
PLAQUE ACCUMULATION AND IMPROPER ORAL HYGIENE
Plaque is a sticky film made of saliva, food particles, bacteria, and other substances. Because it is common, people have a tendency to think that it is harmless. Contrary to popular belief; plaque is VERY harmful and is source for bad bacteria that can contribute to significant health problems, particularly affecting ALL of your body's blood vessels. Calculus is hardened plaque and is also a source of harmful bacteria.
The bacteria in plaque uses the starches in the food that we eat to create acid which destroys healthy enamel if left untouched. Plaque sticks in between the teeth, on the chewing surfaces, and in between anatomical grooves and pits of teeth. It also accumulates around fillings and along the gum line. The daily removal of plaque by brushing and flossing is REQUIRED for good oral and systemic health.
STOP IT!!! YOU'RE MESSING UP YOUR SMILE!
Enamel is the hard, outer layer of the tooth that protects the tooth against decay and temperature sensitivity. Enamel is said to be the hardest mineral substance in the body, even stronger than bone. Unlike bone, tooth enamel cannot grow back. Once it is lost, it is usually gone forever. It can remineralize and strengthen in some cases, but not grow back. Enamel protects the dentin, whose purpose is to protect the pulp(nerve) and is responsible for transmitting impulses to the pulp. When the enamel wears, it causes the tooth to be more sensitive because of the exposure of dentin.
Enamel is translucent. The main color (yellow, grey, off white, brown) of the tooth depends on the dentin. Stained enamel (extrinsic) can be polished during routine cleaning; stained dentin (intrinsic) requires professional bleaching, bonding, or veneers.
GINGIVITIS is the infection and inflammation of gum tissue caused by plaque. Gingivitis is characteristically swollen gums that bleed when you brush or floss. Bleeding while brushing and flossing is very common; but should not be considered normal. Bleeding is a sign of tissue and bone destruction. Gingivitis is reversible; and can be corrected with a professional cleaning and proper home care.
PERIODONTITIS is the infection and inflammation of the bone surrounding the teeth that leads to bone loss and eventual loosening or loss of teeth. It is determined by measuring the space between the bone and gum tissue and verified by x-rays. Unlike gingivitis; periodontitis is not reversible. The cause of infection (hardened plaque-calculus- below the gum line) can be removed and the area can remain disease free by frequent periodontal maintenance cleanings.