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Sleep apnea is a condition where your throat muscles relax during sleep, blocking your airway and interrupting your sleep. Almost 25% of the people who have sleep apnea also grind their teeth during the night. Teeth grinding can result in tooth decay, worn down teeth, and even broken teeth if left untreated.
Things you or someone close to you might notice if you have sleep apnea:
- Interrupted sleep
- Stopped breathing while sleeping
- Waking up with a headache
- Waking up with tired, tight jaw muscles
- Learning or memory difficulties
- Difficulty concentrating
- Falling asleep during the day
- Teeth grinding sounds
- Loud snoring
- Heartburn or GERD
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Sensitive teeth
Your children may have different signs and symptoms if they have sleep apnea:
- Developmental delays
- Nightmares or night tremors
- Grinding sounds
- Poor school performance
Your Dentist may notice or remark on:
- Specific wear patterns on your teeth, especially front teeth
- Scalloped edges on your tongue
- Large tonsils
- Extra bone growth (called tori)
- Signs of mouth breathing
Often managing your sleep apnea will also help with the teeth grinding. How can you manage sleep apnea? Losing weight and quitting smoking can help. Treating any nasal allergies also helps. Your dentist may recommend a splint or guard to help position your jaw and to help prevent grinding from damaging your teeth. If your sleep apnea is moderate or severe, you might need to see a physician for a CPAP machine which uses air pressure to keep your air passages open while you sleep.
Whether you have one or both conditions, working with your dentist and doctor can help keep your smile healthy.
You can learn more at these links!:
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053. Call 440-960-1940 to join our office.
Your upper and lower jaws come together at a joint called the TemproMandibular Joint or TMJ. Just like any other body joint, your TMJ may get sore muscles around it or be painful. Problems with your TMJ can also cause facial pain or a headache.
TMJ pain is often episodic—that is, it will come and go. There are many reasons why your TMJ may bother you: arthritis, over-use causing sore muscles, trauma to the face or TMJ are just a few. One reason that is not often recognized is traumatic injuries to your neck (such as whiplash), which appear to cause changes in your posture that change your spine/skull relationship. This posture change can lead to changes in how you hold your jaws or in how your teeth come together that eventually lead to TMJ problems. Many health care providers are unaware of this link. If caught early (before degenerative osteoarthritic changes occur), treatment comes with a high degree of success. Once degenerative changes have occurred, treatment is still possible, but some of your symptoms may remain for the rest of your life.
About 73% of TMJ sufferers also report ear pain. Ear pain can also include ringing in ears, vertigo, dizziness and hearing loss. In fact, TMJ is a risk factor for developing tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
If you think you have TMJ, ask your dentist about a splint that you can wear when you are having symptoms and while you sleep. In some cases, additional treatments such as medical massage therapy, physical therapy, or surgery may be needed.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who makes splints for TMJ. Call 440-960-1940 to schedule your appointment at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053. www.drjrobb.com www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb
You might not think that taking a pill (or pills) would affect your mouth, but it does!
Some medications (such as sedatives, tranquilizers, narcotic pain medications, antimetabolites, and high blood pressure medications) have a depressant effect and some cause drowsiness. Both of these effects can make it harder for you to motivate yourself to brush and floss your teeth. The bacteria left behind can cause cavities or gum problems.
Beta Blockers, used for heart conditions, can cause soft denture reline material to harden up.
Your plaque composition and pH of your mouth may be changed by liquid medications. Sugar is often added to the liquids to make them taste better. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth and leads to cavities. Liquid medications may also act to change the tooth so that more plaque sticks to your teeth. Plaque holds bacteria against your teeth and can cause cavities or gum disease.
Some medications (such as Dilantin and Calcium channel blockers) cause gums to overgrow. Some evidence suggests that good oral hygiene beginning when you start taking the medications reduces the chance of this happening. If your gum overgrowth gets large enough, you might need gum surgery to trim the extra off.
Dry mouth is a side effect of too many medicatins to list all of them here. Dry mouth means less saliva (spit) and less rinsing action of food and plaque off your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that can cause cavities or gum problems. If you are a denture wearer, you may find that your dentures don’t stay in as well. A denture relies on a seal created by a thin layer of saliva (spit) between your tissues and the denture material.
There are some medicines that help your mouth too—and we’ll talk about those in other columns! But if you are on any of the medicines discussed above, keep a close watch on your mouth and ask your dentist to watch over things as well. If you do not have a dentist, please consider joining Dr. Robb’s practice—and check out our patient education section on www.drjrobb.com
*Note: This advice is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees adults and children at her office located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053. Call 440-960-1940!
Supporters of fluoride say that it helps prevent tooth decay by rebuilding your tooth enamel. The new enamel is harder and more resistant to tooth decay than your original tooth enamel. It also makes it more difficult for plaque to attach to your teeth. WebMD.com also says that fluoride promotes new bone formation so it is helpful for patients with osteoporosis. Studies are also being done to see if fluoride treatment helps with rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Many sources of good scientific evidence and reliable studies exist to show that fluoride helps in these ways.
Opponents of fluoride link it to many medical diseases though few reliable studies seem to exist to support this link. There are a few known problems resulting from fluoride. Fluorosis is one: when high amounts of fluoride are swallowed while teeth are forming, the teeth can become discolored. High doses of fluoride are known to cause weakened bones and ligaments, muscle weakness and nervous system problems. However, to get these high doses of fluoride and adult would have to drink 5,000 glasses of water or more at one sitting!
There are different types of fluoride. Calcium fluoride is the natural type of fluoride that is present in many natural foods. Other types of fluoride (such as hydrofluoric acid) result from manufacturing processes.
Fluoride is added to drinking water in very low concentrations in many communities. Bottled water usually does not contain fluoride, and many home water treatments remove fluoride from the water also. WebMD lists safe daily levels of fluoride as the following:
- 0.7 mg from birth to 6 months
- 0.9 mg from 6 months to 12 months
- 1.3 mg from 1 year to 3 years
- 2.2 mg from 4 years to 8 years
- 10 mg for 9 years and up (including adults and pregnant or breast-feeding women)
Fluoride is also added to many toothpastes and some mouthwashes. There are topical (surface) fluorides that you can apply to your teeth at home (either with a toothbrush or in a special tray) if you are at higher risk for cavities. Your dentist may also apply fluoride to your teeth at your dental visit if you are at higher risk for dental cavities.
Learn the facts about fluoride—find a non-biased source that presents both sides of the issue. Also learn how to evaluate scientific studies and evidence. Read the original studies and evaluate the results for yourself rather than reading someone else’s interpretation of them. Discuss the concerns you have about fluoride with your dentist or physician. Each person is unique and your dentist and physician can help determine what is best for your dental and medical health.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who is accepting new patients of all ages at her office located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH. Call 440-960-1940 to join our team! You can also find more information at www.drjrobb.com or www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb
Tobacco products include cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco, chaw, and pipe tobacco. Studies show that 80% of smokers start before their 18th birthday. Unfortunately, tobacco products can have many negative effects on your teeth and mouth that may make you spend more on your overall dental care than a non-smoker/non-tobacco-user.
Some of the obvious effects you may notice are stained teeth and bad breath. But your dentist often sees other problems.
Smoking decreases blood supply to your mouth and slows healing. Because of this you’re more likely to develop gum disease (periodontal disease). Smoking can also mask the signs of gum disease and make it harder to treat if you do have it.
Chemicals in the tobacco products also increase your risk of developing mouth cancer and other cancers. One example of this that you can see is the tissue changes in your mouth in the area where chewing tobacco is held. (Though not all changes are cancerous, most will become cancer if the habit continues.)
Studies show that smokers spend more on dental care. Wouldn’t you rather have the money from both buying the products and your dental care in your own wallet? Talk to your physician or dentist today about a smoking cessation program.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist with an office located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053. 440-960-1940. If you’re not a current patient, we invite you to call and become one!