Choosing The Right Toothbrush
Many patients may feel by now that brushing their teeth is like second nature. It’s something that (hopefully) everyone has been doing since they can remember. While the act of brushing may be an everyday task to you, are you sure that you are brushing with the best toothbrush for you? It can really make a huge difference in your dental health. With all of the differences in toothbrushes, including electric or manual, walking down the toothbrush aisle can be confusing. Take a look at some important aspects to pay attention to when picking out your new toothbrush!
Electric vs Manual
Probably the biggest difference between toothbrushes is that some are electric and some are manual, so we will talk about this difference first. Since electric toothbrushes have come about in the 1950s, there has been some debate about whether or not they do a better job at cleaning teeth than manual toothbrushes do. Well, the facts are in. Studies show that manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes can do the same job cleaning teeth. It really just depends on the effort that the brusher is putting in. Patients need to know the right way to brush and then it does not matter if the toothbrush is electric or manual. If you do not use the correct brushing techniques, an electric toothbrush cannot make up for the lack of care.
However, there is a case where the electric toothbrush may actually help patients get a better brushing. This is the case where a patient has difficulty using their hands, like if they have arthritis or limited motor skills. An electric toothbrush may make it easier to do a good job. This is because electric toothbrushes just need to be held in the correct positions and then they do all the scrubbing.
The next aspect of the toothbrush we will talk about is bristles. You want to choose bristles that are on the softer side. Bristles that are too stiff can lead to worn down enamel and irritated gums. If gums get irritated enough, they can even begin to recess. Worn down enamel can lead to sensitivity and cavities.
Size is another important part of building the perfect toothbrush. You want to choose a toothbrush with the right size head. A head that is too large will be too difficult to maneuver around your mouth. This can lead to frequently missed spots.
The last thing to pay attention to is grip. This is especially important for those who have trouble using their hands. A thick handle with a non-slip grip is perfect. You want to be able to move the toothbrush into every area of your mouth with ease. For patients who have arthritis or other conditions that make gripping their toothbrush difficult, there are toothbrushes specially made with you in mind. They are designed so that patients can hold onto them get proper use.br>
Next time you are looking for a new toothbrush (which should be every two or three months), make sure you keep these ideas in mind!
What Can Be Done About TMJ Pain?
The temporomandibular joints hold a very important purpose in our lives. They are what let us move our mouth! They let us talk, eat, smile, sing, laugh, yawn, and much more. When they are painful or stiff, they can give us difficulty with some or all of these things. TMJ dysfunction, or TMD, is what occurs when the temporomandibular joints do not function as they should. They can cause pain in your jaw, your face, your ears, your neck and even your shoulders. Your jaw may become stuck or “locked” in one place, you may hear clicking with movement, there may be swelling, or a tired feeling in your surrounding muscles. More severe cases can cause dizziness, headaches, and hearing problems.
Fortunately, many dental offices are equipped to help patients with TMJ troubles. In addition to lifestyle recommendations, many dental offices can create night guards which are mouthguards worn while the patient sleeps to prevent grinding and clenching at night.
Along with getting proper care and attention at a dental office, there are some tips to keep in mind at home to reduce pain and stiffness due to TMJ dysfunction.
To stretch your jaw: Place your thumb underneath your chin and gently press up while you gently open your mouth halfway. Repeat this movement ten times. The resistance should help give the area a stretch.
To improve range of motion: Gently open and close your mouth a few times each morning and each night. Open it as wide as you can so you feel a stretch, but no pain. Over time, you will notice you are able to open your mouth more and more.
To relax the jaw and the surrounding muscles: smile as big as you can while keeping your jaw open about two inches. Leave your smile there for a few breaths and then relax your face. Repeat this exercise a few times.
Foods to Avoid Eating
There are certain foods that take a lot of work for the jaw and these foods can cause a TMJ flare-up. To avoid this from happening, here are some foods you should stay clear of:
Chewy foods: these can include chewy candies like caramel and gummies. It can also include tough-to-chew meats. A way around this is to choose more tender meats. If you want seafood, choose more tender fish instead of chewy shellfish.
Hard and crunchy foods: hard foods include things like uncooked carrots or other raw veggies. Since veggies are still important to get in, try cooking them to make them softer. Crunchy foods to steer clear up may include chips and popcorn. If you need a salty snack, try a softer, salted cracker.
While TMD can cause major pain and annoyances, there are ways to avoid flare-ups. If TMD is affecting your life, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist to see what can be done to help you.