Have you ever heard of teeth grinding? It’s more common than you think. Bruxism is the more technical term, referring to the habit of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. Surprisingly enough, bruxism affects millions of Americans, both adults and children, whether they know it or not. Many people with this condition do not find out they have it until the dental damage is already done, since they are usually grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw as they sleep. Thus, bruxism is often an act that is entirely subconscious.
Studies have established a link between arthritis and some oral health problems. A study published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases links rheumatoid arthritis with higher risks of gum disease. In fact, researchers suggest those with the arthritic condition are four times more likely to have periodontal disease. An earlier study, conducted in Germany and published in the Journal of Periodontology, estimates an even higher risk of periodontal disease in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis.
Gum Disease and Knee Pain
Caused by a bacterial infection that inflames the gums, gingivitis, an early form of gum disease, can develop into periodontitis, which may cause tooth and bone loss, if left unchecked. Studies have suggested a relationship between the presence of oral bacteria that leads to gum disease, and arthritis in some areas of the body. A third study, published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, suggests the passage of bacteria from the mouth to the fluid surrounding the kneecap may contribute to knee pain in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Researchers concluded that the presence of oral bacteria transferred from the gums might worsen symptoms for those who experience arthritic knee pain.Read More
Pennsylvania dentist Dr. Thomas DeFinnis treats patients with a variety of dental needs, including TMJ problems. As one of the most widespread health conditions among American adults—as many as 75 percent of people experience at least one symptom associated with TMJ dysfunction—Dr. DeFinnis educates his patients about the severity of this condition.
What is TMD?
Today, Dr. DeFinnis wants to focus on the nature and causes of TMJ dysfunction, and that starts with explaining what it is. TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint, and TMD is short for temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
At some point, most people will experience a cavity. Nearly 70% of people between 35-44 years of age have lost a tooth, and 25% of folks 76 and older have no natural teeth left. Gum disease (from gingivitis to periodontitis) afflicts about 80% of the US population.
What causes cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease? Can you take preventive measures now to reduce your risk of becoming part of statistics like these? Yes!
Bacteria: Your mouth has about 600 different types of bacteria. Plaque has 10,000,000,000 bacteria per milligram. These bacteria lead to many problems, in the mouth and body. They contribute to gum disease, cavities, halitosis (bad breath), and other problems. To have bacteria in your mouth is natural – but to maintain good oral health, you must control the bacteria. Brushing, flossing, using a tongue scraper, and rinsing with anti-bacterial mouthwash can help. Limiting snacks, particularly sugars and starches, also helps. In addition, stay hydrated. Drink water (not soda, tea, or coffee) throughout the day. It will reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and contribute to good overall health.
The small joints that connect your jaw to your skull could be causing your chronic headaches, migraines, earaches, and other painful symptoms. The joints are called temporomandibular joints because they hold the mandible to the temporal bones of the skull. A complex network of nerves and muscles surround the joints and allow motion of the mouth. Stress, certain habits, injuries, and heredity are factors that contribute to misalignment of the joints. Clenching and grinding teeth, as well as malocclusion, may also cause the TMJ joints to be misaligned.
When jaw joints don’t sit in proper position, associated muscles work overtime to make the jaw work properly. Nerves react and send confused pain signals to the brain. That’s why TMJ disorder can cause symptoms ranging from migraines to tingling fingers and pain in the neck, shoulders, and back. Some believe that carpel tunnel syndrome can be associated with TMJ disorder, as well.Read More