Friday, April 17, 2015

What I Didn’t Know about Dental Health

What I Didn’t Know about Dental Health

Poor dental health can be a great contributor to an individual’s poor, overall health – at least that’s what I know. So when I saw a post on Facebook about dental health, I straightly went to the link and fed my brain with new dental knowledge.

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when a certain post from Ask the Dentist page caught my attention.

I clicked it and read on. Few minutes later I was surprised that I just opened more than 15 tabs of internet browser by clicking all the links found in their website.

A sudden overload of information overwhelmed me and my brain told me to stop reading.

In my mind, I was like I got to know all of the information because I can relate to it and I just need to know more on how to boost my oral health since I was encountering dental problems. I stopped reading and immediately opened a notepad thinking I will make a blog post by collecting the information I need, so I didn’t have to open hundreds of browsers again.

Now, let's start the dental lecture from the dentist, Dr. Mark Burhenne.

Does sugar cause cavities?

Nope. Acid causes cavities. When we eat something with sugar, bacteria that naturally reside in our mouth eats the sugar as well. After they consume it, the bacteria excrete acid. Tooth enamel is not strong enough to resist acid that decalcifies or demineralizes by taking away its structure, creating decay.

It’s like after a meal, the bacteria poops acid in the mouth. Sounds gross but Dr. Burhenne made it that way to make it more understandable, especially for kids.

How can we prevent tooth decay?

  • Optimizing remineralization by having a good pH in our mouth and plenty of saliva (no dry mouth). Flouride, vitamin D and dark chocolate can optimize this process as well.
  • Crooked teeth have nooks and crannies where foods can get stuck. Get orthodontic treatment.
  • Neutralize acid (low pH) with water, cheese and vegetables which has a neutral to basic pH.
  • After eating a meal, swish vigorously with water to remove the sticky foods that stuck in our teeth.
  • Wait 30 minutes to 1 hour before flossing and brushing to avoid etching the tooth enamel away.

Why I Grind My Teeth at Night?

I grind my teeth sometimes. I believe it’s because of stress (well, stress is part of it, but not the major cause). But based on latest research, grinding is an instinctual response that helps us survive.

At night, when the brain approaches to deep sleep, all the muscles in the body will relax. This complete relaxation causes the tongue to expand twice its size and the jaw is heavy enough to slightly fall downward, both tongue and jaw blocking the airway.

If the airway becomes blocked, the brain will bounce out of deep sleep into a lighter stage of sleep in order to grind and clench to push the jaw forward to allow breathing again.

Grinding is the new indicator for obstructive sleep apnea.

Disadvantages of Teeth Grinding and Clenching

We are not sleeping well if we grind our teeth. If the muscles tensed up to grind and clench, our body goes out of the deep stage of sleeping and get deprived of the healthy benefits of deep sleep. Human growth hormone (HGH) is released during deep sleep which promotes tissue repair, healing and repair of the brain. 8 hours of sleep is nothing if we don’t get quality, deep sleep.

Grinding can lead to excessive wear and tear on teeth, cause tooth sensitivity, and lead to permanent jaw pain and damage to the jaw point.

Deep Sleep and its Health Benefits

We miss out deep sleep if we grind our teeth, and just because we are asleep for the recommended 8 hours doesn’t mean that we are getting into the deep stage sleep.

If we notice that we toss and turn, grind our teeth, or snore, these all mean that our sleep is in lighter stage and our body cannot fully relax and naturally heal itself not matter how long we sleep.

All health benefits that we know about sleep come from the deep stage sleep. It improves mental health, cardiac function, immune system, promotes anti-aging process like skin tightening and wrinkle reversal, and fat burning among others.

Photo from Unsplash

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♥ dandiely ♥

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