Posts for category: Oral Health
We don’t often think about it, but eating involves coordinated jaw function to chew and shred food, so that salivary enzymes can effectively start the process of digestion.
The process is thwarted if you are unable to chew certain foods because you suffer from chronic jaw pain and dysfunction. Millions of people suffer from jaw joint problems - temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). It’s not just the chronic pain and discomfort TMD can cause that’s a real issue—it may also be preventing you from eating foods that are healthy for you.
Because TMD can make it difficult to open wide and bite down, you may decide to skip otherwise healthy foods because they are too difficult to eat. That however, could lead to lack of proper nutrition in the long run.
But with a few techniques and modifications, you can still include many of these foods in your diet even when TMD discomfort flares up. Be sure to cut all your food portions into small, bite-sized pieces. These should be small enough to limit the amount of jaw opening required to comfortably place the bite in your mouth. Peeling fruits and vegetables removes the skin which is often hard to chew.
You should also try cooking crisper fruits and vegetables to a soft texture. Choose meats, poultry or seafood that can be cooked to a tender consistency—you can also use gravies and sauces to further moisten them.
And don’t forget to chew slowly. Not only does slower eating aid digestion, but it will help you avoid overworking your jaw joints.
With a few adjustments you can have a normal, nutritious diet and minimize the discomfort of your TMD symptoms. Continual healthy eating is a must for overall health and quality of life.
If you would like more information on reducing the impact of TMD on your life and health, please contact us. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “What to Eat When TMJ Pain Flares Up.”
Daily personal care is essential for optimal oral health. Brushing and flossing in particular keep bacteria and acid, the main causes of dental disease, at manageable levels. But to gain the most benefit from your personal care, you need to perform these tasks effectively with the proper techniques and equipment.
Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste which helps strengthen enamel. You should hold the brush at a slight angle and brush with a gentle motion to remove plaque, the main cause of gum disease and tooth decay. Ideally you should brush three times a day for two minutes within twenty minutes of eating and be sure to angle your brush toward your gumline.
Although flossing is difficult with braces, it is very important. Flossing once a day removes plaque from between teeth where a brush can’t reach. If you need help with your technique using string floss, we’ll be glad to provide instruction at your next visit. The presence of braces requires extra time and makes flossing more difficult; you will need other aids such as floss threaders that we showed you how to use at your braces placement appointment, or a water flosser.
There are also important dietary choices you can make: limit sugary or acidic foods to mealtime and avoid between meal snacks to reduce bacteria and acid in the mouth. Drinking water to keep your mouth moist will inhibit plaque buildup. Also be sure to visit your general dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups, or when you notice abnormalities like bleeding gum tissue or sores. You can keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it requires a daily commitment. Not only will you have beautiful straight teeth when you are done with your treatment with us, but they will be healthy and free of unsightly white spots as well.
If you would like more information on effective oral care, please contact us.