Why Do I Grind My Teeth at Night?

Have you been waking up for years with a sore jaw and you write it off as getting older or simply deal with it? Are there consistent headaches plaguing your mornings, making it difficult to start your day without pain? These issues (and many others) could be caused by bruxism or grinding and clenching your teeth while you sleep. Your dentist in Boerne can reassure you that teeth grinding is more common than you might think. While it’s normal to occasionally clench and grind your teeth, chronic sleep bruxism can negatively affect your oral and overall health if left untreated. 

Why Do People Grind Their Teeth While Sleeping?

According to the Sleep Foundation, nocturnal teeth grinding still isn’t entirely understood, even with the advanced technology and treatments available in dental and regular medicine today. However, many contributing factors can lead to nighttime grinding that can include:

  • Increased daytime stress
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Frustration and anger
  • Caffeine or alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco use

You’ll want to discuss what medications you’re taking with your dentist in Boerne. Certain pills, such as antidepressants, can lead to teeth grinding.

How Does Teeth Grinding Impact My Health?

Forget about the constant disruptions to your sleep cycle that are keeping you from getting the rest you need; bruxism can be bad for your teeth and cause severe pain. When you chronically grind your teeth, it wears down your enamel. When you lose your precious tooth enamel this can result in: 

What’s worse, your grinding and clenching can also cause issues with your temporomandibular joint or TMJ joining resulting in pain and loss of functionality.

How to Treat Nighttime Teeth Grinding

Your dentist in Boerne will take the first step in helping you find relief from your bruxism by trying to determine the underlying cause of it. Is it stress or anxiety that’s causing your grinding? Is it another condition called sleep apnea contributing to your issue? If you or someone in your family has constant or persistent pain in your mouth, neck, and jaw from grinding, it’s time to talk with us. You’re experiencing this discomfort because you probably don’t even realize you’re grinding your teeth while you’re sleeping. This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your teeth, with up to 250 pounds of force, leading to headaches and so much more. 

Grinding your teeth is not 100 percent curable, but there are ways to:

  • Reduce how often it’s happening
  • Decrease the amount of impact it has
  • Relieve your stress and symptoms

It’s important to speak with a professional about sleep bruxism and teeth grinding because we can also identify if it’s connected to other conditions like sleep apnea or acid reflux. We’ll find answers to your questions and figure out what solution will be best for you. You might benefit from a custom-fitted nightguard that will help to protect your smile from further damage while you work on a treatment plan. 

Are you ready to get help? Contact us today to schedule a consultation so we can address your questions and help you heal. 

Have Fun in the Sun This Summer: 3 Tips for a Healthy Mouth

Things are heating up, and we know how exciting it can be to get out and travel to experience all that the gorgeous summer season has to offer us. Your Boerne dentist is excited too, and we thought you might want some helpful tips on how to take care of your teeth when the temperatures heat up.

Tip #1 – Remember: Your Teeth Aren’t Tools

Whether you’re hopping on a flight to your exciting vacation destination or if you’re going to be in the area for more of a ‘staycation’ with your family, it’s important to remember to take care of your smile — no matter where you are in the country or the world. We always want to remind our patients that their teeth are strong, but they’re not strong enough to be used as tools. You can easily end up with a tooth that’s chipped or broken because you tried to use it to open a bottle, wrapper, chip bag, etc.

Sometimes it is too easy not to use your teeth to rip open that annoying plastic bag to get the job done more quickly, but instantly, your smile could be at risk for unwanted and unnecessary damage. Use your beautiful smile to enjoy your favorite summer treats (and don’t forget to brush).

Tip #2 – Watch Out for the Sun

Your Boerne dentist knows how important it is for everyone of all ages to protect themselves from harmful UV rays from the sun. Don’t forget to wear plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated with water when outside this summer. Here’s another tip that some people forget: Don’t forget about your lips. Remember to always apply a lip balm with a sun protection factor or SPF of at least 15.

Why? Because your lips are very sensitive and susceptible to getting sunburn, just like the rest of your body. Over time, this can lead to other health issues, including skin or oral cancer. In short, don’t forget to pack your lip balm and protect your lips while you’re enjoying the outdoors.

Tip #3 – Keep Up With Your Hygiene Routine

Schedules can change in the summer thanks to kids being out of school and vacations being planned across Boerne. Sometimes it’s easy to fall out of our regular routines, including brushing our teeth. Things tend to fall to the wayside, and that’s OK. Summer is all about having fun, and that’s what we want you to do.

Just don’t forget about taking care of your smile. Your at-home oral hygiene routine is essential to keeping your teeth in good shape in between your visits with us. This helps keep your teeth free from cavities or decay. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing them once is the perfect way to ensure they stay in top shape and protect your overall well-being.

Be smart and be careful this summer, but most importantly, enjoy every minute. If you’re looking for a dentist in Boerne to help keep your teeth healthy, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us.

How Often Should You Use Mouthwash?

It’s a well-known fact that your dentist in Boerne recommends that everyone brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day. But what about mouthwash? Should mouthwash be a part of your everyday oral hygiene routine? If so, how often should you use it?

Benefits of Mouthwash

Mouthwash can be an effective way to remove hard-to-reach bacteria in the mouth. The benefit of this is that these bacteria can no longer stick around and create cavities. Mouthwash can also be effective at freshening breath. Additionally, there are specialty mouthwashes available by prescription from your dentist in Boerne and may be useful after dental surgery, if you have sensitivity, or suffer from dry mouth.

How Often Should You Use Mouthwash?

While it can depend on the specific mouthwash you use and the advice of your dentist, most mouthwashes should be used no more than twice a day. Make sure to read the label and follow the instructions.

Can You Use Too Much Mouthwash?

Using mouthwash several times a day for a long period of time may cause more harm than good, especially if you’re using an alcohol-based brand. Alcohol can irritate the soft tissues of the mouth and may also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth may exacerbate some problems that you’re trying to avoid in the first place, such as bad breath and cavity development. Even mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol may cause unwanted side effects such as tooth staining if used too often. Make sure you talk with your dentist in Boerne about any mouthwash you use and how often you use it.

Side Effects of Mouthwash

Negative side effects of using mouthwash are rare, but they can happen. Some common side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Teeth staining
  • Sensitivity after using the mouthwash
  • Canker sores or mouth sores

If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using the mouthwash and contact your dentist.

How to Choose the Best Mouthwash

Choosing the best mouthwash for you will depend on your wants and needs. You can select either an alcohol-based option or a non-alcohol-based product. There are even options available that don’t include any artificial coloring. Either way, make sure you choose an option that contains an antibacterial and includes the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

If you’re concerned about whether or not your mouthwash may be doing more harm than good, or you have questions about the best mouthwash for you, never hesitate to schedule an appointment at our Boerne dental office. We’re always happy to help!

Why Do I Have Cavities If I Don’t Eat Sugar?

Cutting back on sugar can be difficult because it’s in so many foods and drinks, and sometimes in surprising amounts. But reducing your sugar intake or eliminating it from your diet altogether can certainly help your overall health as well as your dental health. After all, there’s a reason your dentist in Boerne isn’t a huge fan of the stuff. Sugar is often considered the leading cause of cavities. But the truth is, even if you don’t eat sugar, you can still get cavities.

What Is a Cavity?

Cavities are so common in the United States that the CDC says 90% of Americans over the age of 20 have had at least one cavity in their lifetime. These tiny areas of tooth decay, if left untreated, will only become bigger and deeper and also become more difficult to treat. Cavities begin as a small hole or pit in a tooth where acid or bacteria has attacked the enamel. During this stage, cavities can easily be fixed with a filling from your dentist in Boerne. However, cavities that continue to progress can sometimes require more complex treatment such as a root canal or even tooth extraction.

Surprising Things The Cause Cavities

We’ve already shared that many people think cavities are a problem of eating too much sugar, and while that may be the case, there are other reasons why a cavity develops.

  • Dry Mouth

If a patient’s mouth is dry it’s more likely that they will have cavities. Usually, saliva will help neutralize acids and rinse away bacteria that can cause cavities. But when saliva production is too low and the mouth feels too dry, bacteria and acids are left lingering around to cause damage to the enamel and, you guessed it, cause cavities.

  • Carbohydrates & Acids

Besides sugar, there are other foods that can increase the risk of cavities. The two most concerning are acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and foods with a lot of carbohydrates. Acidic foods and drinks further aid in the mouth acid’s ability to weaken enamel while carbs fuel the bacteria, allowing them to thrive.

  • Bad Brushing or Flossing

There are many reasons why it’s important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day, but one of the main reasons is to prevent cavities. Brushing your teeth in the morning and at night will remove plaque and plaque acids that have built up throughout the day. Flossing reaches those tricky areas that a toothbrush can’t reach and where cavities are more likely to develop.

Cavity Symptoms

Patients may experience different symptoms, but some of the most common signs of a cavity include:

  • Pain when you bite
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Brown, black, or white spots
  • Toothache
  • Pits or holes in a tooth

If you think that you may have a cavity, call your dentist in Boerne to schedule an appointment.

Even though cavities are incredibly common, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting one. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth regularly, limit your intake of sugary, acidic, or high-carbohydrate foods, and drink plenty of water daily. Of course, you should also see your dentist every six months for a checkup.

4 Early Warning Signs of Dental Trouble

Whether or not you see your dentist in Boerne every six months, the truth is, things in your mouth can change rapidly and you may experience a sudden onset of symptoms that may concern you. However, not every new thing that you notice in your teeth, gums, or mouth is necessarily something to worry about. So how do you know whether what you’re experiencing is an early warning sign of dental trouble or not? Let’s find out.

Signs It’s Time to See a Dentist

It’s important to pay attention to changes in your oral health, just as it’s important to pay attention to changes in the rest of your body. Oftentimes, if you catch a dental problem early, treatment is easier, quicker, less expensive, and can keep a small problem from becoming a big problem. Here are some of the most common early warning signs of dental trouble that you should look out for.

  • Bleeding Gums

Gums that bleed or are red and swollen can be an early sign of gum disease. This serious condition can lead to problems in the mouth as well as throughout the rest of the body. In fact, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, respiratory problems, and tooth loss. While gum disease can be treated successfully in its earliest stages, it can reach a point where it becomes impossible to reverse. Since early detection is key, it’s crucial to see your dentist in Boerne as soon as possible if your gums bleed when you eat or while brushing and flossing your teeth.

  • Bad Breath

Bad breath may seem like a silly thing to be concerned about, but in actuality, it can be a sign that something is wrong. Chronic bad breath can result from a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, whether due to not brushing your teeth enough or because of gum disease. Despite being embarrassing, bad breath may also indicate problems in other areas of your body such as GERD, kidney disease, or diabetic problems like ketoacidosis.

  • Tooth Sensitivity

Many people experience tooth sensitivity, and sometimes it’s not a sign of a problem that needs attention. However, if tooth sensitivity occurs suddenly or the zings of pain make it impossible to enjoy your favorite hot or cold foods, it’s best to visit your dentist. Tooth sensitivity can be a sign of gum recession, cavities, or a broken or cracked tooth.

  • Pain 

Pain in a tooth, your jaw, or the gums usually requires a dental visit to get relief. Pain is never normal and is your body’s way of letting you know that something isn’t right. A toothache may mean there’s a cavity. Jaw pain may be a sign of TMD, a disorder that affects the jaw joint. Gum pain may indicate gum disease or recession. The best way to get out of pain is to find out what’s causing it and allow your dentist to recommend the best treatment for you.

Some of the best ways to prevent these problems and avoid an unexpected dental appointment are to take good care of your oral health at home by brushing and flossing your teeth every day, drinking plenty of water, and eating a well-balanced diet. It’s also important to see your dentist in Boerne at least twice a year for regular checkups. These checkups can catch any potential problems before they interfere with your life and require an emergency visit.

How Can I Permanently Get Rid of Bad Breath?

Bad breath is, well, quite frankly, bad. This condition isn’t only embarrassing, it can also be a sign of other problems happening in your mouth or throughout your body. If you have bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away no matter how much you brush your teeth, how much minty gum you chew, or how much mouthwash you use, we recommend seeing your dentist in Boerne sooner rather than later. 

Types of Bad Breath

There are different types of bad breath, also called halitosis, and different smells can mean different things. 

  • Sweet & Fruity – Even though sweet and fruity doesn’t sound like a way to describe bad breath, it’s actually a sign of something very serious. Sweet or fruity breath can indicate ketoacidosis or kidney failure. 
  • Fishy – Breath that smells like fish can also be a sign of kidney trouble. 
  • Rotten Eggs – This smell can indicate that there’s something wrong with the digestive tract such as GERD. 
  • Moldy – Breath that smells a bit moldy is most common in those who have a sinus infection.

Other Causes of Bad Breath

While there are certainly several serious conditions that can cause bad breath, oftentimes bad breath is a symptom of something going in the mouth.

Poor Dental Hygiene 

The most common underlying cause of bad breath is a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. This can occur when someone has poor dental hygiene. Your Boerne dentist always recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day to remove bacteria. However, when this isn’t done regularly, bacteria can linger around and cause bad breath. Make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes and taking the time to floss in between each tooth. 

Gum Disease

Another top cause of bad breath is gum disease. Gum disease is a serious problem that can lead to tooth loss and other problems throughout the body such as the increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and respiratory complications. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused when bacteria find their way into the gum tissue and hide out. These bacteria can be tricky to remove. This buildup of bacteria can once again lead to foul breath. Gum disease needs to be treated quickly or it will be irreversible. This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to see your dentist in Boerne every six months. 

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can result in much more than that gross, annoyingly dry feeling. It can also cause bad breath and other dental problems. Dry mouth results from a lack of saliva production. Saliva is what typically helps wash away bacteria and neutralize acids in the mouth. Without enough of it, bacteria tend to linger around and can emit an unpleasant odor. There are several things that can cause dry mouth including certain medicines or dehydration. Your dentist in Boerne recommends drinking plenty of water throughout the day and reviewing your medications and side effects with your medical doctor.

Chronic bad breath should be taken seriously. So if you find yourself shying away from talking to people because you’re embarrassed by the way your breath smells, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can.

Why Do Some People Get White Spots On Their Teeth?

Everyone wants a bright, white smile. But not everyone wants teeth that have spotty areas of even whiter patches. However, this is incredibly common. But why do some people get white spots on their teeth? Can you remove them? Are they anything to worry about? Here’s the lowdown from your dentist in Boerne on what these spots are and what to do if you have this condition.

Causes of White Spots

There are many different things that can cause white spots to appear on teeth, and some of the causes can occur in childhood, but the spots still show in your adult smile. Some causes of white spots can include: 

  • Too much fluoride
  • Trauma to teeth
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Hypoplasia
  • Diet

While many causes of white spots aren’t serious, some can result in additional problems. This is why it’s important to talk to your dentist in Boerne about any changes to your teeth or if these spots bother you. 

A Closer Look

Let’s take a closer look at some of the main reasons behind white spots on teeth. 

Too Much Fluoride

One of the main causes of white spots is something called fluorosis. Fluorosis occurs during childhood when there’s too much exposure to fluoride. Fluoride is beneficial in strengthening tooth enamel and keeping cavities away. But too much of it can cause these little white spots to appear. These white spots can then stick around and continue to show up in adult teeth. 

Hypoplasia

Hypoplasia is another cause of white spots that typically occurs during childhood but can also happen as an adult. This condition weakens tooth enamel and can be brought on by some medications, dental trauma, diabetes, and other illnesses

Demineralization

Demineralization occurs when too much bacteria is left lingering on teeth, allowing it to wear down enamel and not only potentially cause white spots, but also an increased risk of cavities

Diet

Your dentist in Boerne recommends that everyone follow a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and limited amounts of sugar and acid. Not only will acidic and sugary snacks weaken enamel and increase the risk of decay, but they can also cause white spots to appear on teeth. 

How to Treat White Spots on Teeth

Treating white spots on teeth may depend on what caused them to begin with. Some ways to remove white spots may include forms of cosmetic dentistry such as porcelain veneers or whitening your teeth. You should always start by talking to your dentist about treatment options. 

Some of the best ways to prevent white spots from showing up on your teeth as an adult are to brush and floss your teeth every day, eat a well-balanced diet, and maintain regular dental checkups every six months. 

Can a Dentist Tell If You Have Heart Problems?

Many people don’t think that their oral health could impact their heart health, but the two are actually very strongly connected. In fact, a study published in the American Heart Association Journal found that there’s a connection between gum disease and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. If you have any of these symptoms below, it might be time to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Boerne to discuss this further.

Signs of Gum Disease

First and foremost, it’s important to know and recognize the signs of gum disease so that if you suspect a problem you can see your dentist in Boerne as soon as possible. Gum disease can be treated effectively, but treatment is more successful when the disease is in the early stages. Some of the most common signs of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Puffy, painful gums
  • Bright red or purplish gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Gum recession
  • Changes in your bite or spaces between teeth

What Causes Gum Disease?

Most cases of gum disease are related to poor oral hygiene habits. Gum disease develops when plaque hardens on teeth, called tartar. Tartar is packed with bacteria that can cause more damage the longer the tartar sticks around. Additionally, tartar can’t be removed at home. Once plaque hardens into tartar, it must be removed through a professional dental cleaning.

What Does Gum Disease Have to Do With Heart Health?

Even though gum disease sounds like a mouth problem, it can actually affect the rest of the body, too. A study released last year from researchers at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the Forsyth Institute showed that active gum disease was an early risk factor in the patients studied who went on to have a heart attack. But why? Luckily, the researchers explained this as well and tied the increased risk of a cardiovascular event to inflammation. Gum inflammation can cause inflammation elsewhere in the body, such as the arteries, which increases the risk of a heart attack.

How to Prevent Gum Disease and Lower Risk of a Heart Attack

There are things you can do to reduce the risk of developing gum disease and, in turn, lower the risk of a heart attack. First, make sure to brush your teeth every day, twice a day, for two minutes each time. Also, don’t forget to floss at least once a day. Next, see your dentist in Boerne at least every six months for checkups and cleanings. These regular checkups allow your dental team to remove any plaque that has accumulated since your last visit and monitor your oral health for any changes. After all, early intervention often means a better outcome.

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dentist appointment, we welcome you to call and schedule an appointment today.

Most Popular Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

Cosmetic dentistry involves fixing any of the imperfections that you don’t like about your smile, such as cracked or stained teeth, or crooked or missing teeth. There are many different types of cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help fix a variety of dental concerns. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments. If you’re interested in any of these, contact your dentist in Boerne to find out more about how each one works and whether it’s right for you.

Whitening

Smile whitening is used to brighten or whiten tooth color. It’s also perfect for fixing imperfections like stains or uneven discoloration. Because of its versatility and relative ease, smile whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures offered by your Boerne dentist. In fact, dentists perform more than 5 million sessions per year. There are a variety of smile whitening options available including professional in-office whitening, take-home whitening with custom trays, and over-the-counter products. We always recommend talking with your dentist prior to using any smile whitening products as some may increase sensitivity or cause other concerns. 

Veneers

There are times when smile whitening won’t work to brighten the color of teeth. If this is the case, dental veneers may be a better option. In a simple treatment, you can transform almost any smile. Veneers can quickly and easily change the size, shape, or color of teeth, making them a perfect option for people who have chipped teeth, teeth that are too short, or stained teeth. Veneers can also sometimes be used to create a straighter smile and cover gaps between teeth.  

Crowns

While dental crowns can also be considered a type of restorative dentistry, they can also fall under cosmetic dentistry. For example, if you’re self-conscious about the discoloration in your teeth, a dental crown can cover up those unsightly spots. Crowns may also help reshape a tooth to be more aesthetically pleasing and even with the rest of the smile and can even help fill in unwanted gaps. Your dentist in Boerne may also recommend a crown as a restorative dentistry option following a root canal to help strengthen and protect the tooth. 

Dental Implants

Another treatment that tends to toe the line between cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry is a dental implant. Implants are permanent solutions to tooth loss and can make a smile whole again. As one of the most complex cosmetic dentistry treatments, dental implants can take a few months to fully complete, but the end results are worth it. Dental implants are the best way to replace a missing tooth or a tooth that requires extraction since they’re permanently infused into the jaw bone.    

We believe that nobody should settle for a smile they’re unhappy with, especially when there are so many options available to help. Isn’t it time you got the smile you’ve always wanted? It’s easy! Start by calling your dentist in Boerne to schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation today!

What’s The Best Type of Floss?

Your dentist in Boerne understands that choosing the right type of floss to remove food particles and plaque from your teeth can be difficult. After all, there are tons of options out there, each one claiming to give you the ultimate clean. So, what exactly is the best floss? Well, it turns out that there is no one right answer. Different people have different needs, and different flosses can help in different ways. So let’s take a look at the various types of floss to help you decide which one is best for you.

Traditional Floss 

Traditional string dental floss is the most common and oldest form of flossing available. It’s been available since the 1800s and, even though there are various forms of string floss, it’s a tried and true method of cleaning in between your teeth. In fact, your dentist in Boerne probably uses this at your hygiene appointments

Benefits

Traditional string floss has several benefits, which is probably why it’s so popular. Most commonly, string floss is easy. It’s: 

  • Easy on your wallet
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to travel with
  • Easy to store

Potential Cons

Even though this type of floss has been around for centuries, there are some potential cons. Some people, such as those with braces or arthritis, may find string floss hard to use. Also, if people floss too hard with traditional floss they can damage their gum tissue and cause sensitivity or recession

Floss Picks 

Those who find traditional floss difficult to use might turn to floss picks. While these are better than not flossing at all, they may not provide the best clean. 

Potential Cons

Floss picks provide only a small amount of floss in the stretched, straight line. This keeps people from using a clean section of floss in between each tooth section. Additionally, string floss allows patients to curve the floss around the tooth, thoroughly cleaning it. Floss picks don’t curve as effectively, inhibiting how much of the tooth can be cleaned. 

Water Flossers

Now, there is another effective option on the market in the form of water flossers. There’s some debate in the dental world as to whether water flossers or traditional floss is the best form of floss. Your dentist in Boerne says the best floss is the floss that’s used. Water flossers are great at removing buildup between the teeth and may be appropriate for some patients. 

Potential Cons

While water flossers may be an excellent choice for those who find traditional string floss hard to use, there are some downsides. Water flossers are more expensive than other forms of floss. They’re also not exactly travel-friendly and can take up space on your bathroom counter. 

As you can see, there are pros and cons to each type of floss. To find the best floss for you, we recommend talking to your dentist in Boerne