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.

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.

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.

Post-Filling Pain: What’s Normal, What’s Not

Cavities are one of the most common dental issues your dentist in Boerne treats every day, especially for patients with a bit of a sweet tooth. Fortunately, fillings today are more convenient, comfortable, and affordable than ever. However, sometimes there’s a little sensitivity post-filling treatment. While the discomfort is generally very mild, we understand that it may concern you. Let’s look at why jaw or teeth pain after a dental filling occurs, and what you can do about it.

Why Am I in Pain?

Post-filling pain can be tricky to predict because every patient and every smile is different. Some people are more prone to pain post-treatment because of the following reasons:

  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Suffering from gingivitis or gum disease
  • Having a tooth infection that is left untreated
  • Having teeth that are too crowded

Even if none of these apply to you and your oral health, there’s a chance that you might still feel pain after your filling is complete.

It’s All About Pressure

Most cavities are not painful, and patients don’t experience any discomfort during and following their filling procedure with their Boerne dentist. However, if any discomfort does occur, you’d probably wonder why. It turns out the answer to this question is simple — it’s pressure. After your filling is permanently in place, the piece of your tooth that was damaged by bacteria is now filled in, adding new pressure to the area. This can change how air and saliva move across your tooth, causing sensitivity. 

How to Address Pain and Discomfort

Post-filling pain is generally nonexistent or mild for most patients. However, if you experience pain, there are some things you can do to help you feel better after your dental treatment. You can try over-the-counter pain medications; just be sure to follow the recommended dosage directions and instructions. Try applying a cold compress on your cheek or jaw to minimize pain. You might also want to avoid certain hot and cold foods for a few days to give your mouth time to heal.

If you have questions about what you’ve read here or need to speak to someone about your dental health dilemmas, including cavities, please schedule a consultation today at our dental office in Boerne. We have the training, tools, and technology to help heal your smile and give you back the confidence to live life with a great grin.

Sugar-Fighting Tips for Your Holiday Season

Your dentist in Boerne is the perfect person to help you combat sugar this holiday season, as it tends to show up everywhere in the form of ooey, gooey treats. While we know it’s unrealistic to think you won’t have a hint of sugar during your holiday fun, there are ways you can keep track of how much you’re eating and take steps to make it more of a moderated approach to sweets. While candy canes, pies, and cookies are all staples this time of year, the sugar they leave behind can cause bad bacteria to produce decay due to excess acid. Let’s not let cavities stand a chance and ruin your new year. 

Here’s how:

  • Don’t Rush the Brush – Remember to floss once and brush twice a day for two minutes, no matter how hectic your holiday season might be. Take your time to keep your teeth clean and free from food debris, especially after you’ve eaten dessert or foods with high sugar content.
  • Sugar-Free for You and Me – Do you put out a candy bowl or two this time of year? Try swapping your current candies with something containing Xylitol or a reduced-sugar option to satisfy your sweet tooth. You, your party guest, and your smile will all benefit.
  • Make Sure to Not Miss Meals – Did you know that the key to keeping blood sugar balanced is eating foods rich in proteins and healthy fats? Your Boerne dentist can tell you that missing meals is not good, even if you’re traveling for the holidays this year. This causes your blood sugar to drop dramatically.
  • Give the Gift of a Healthy Smile – We know you might get a few eye rolls for this gift idea, but why not give your family members some new dental tools? A new toothbrush or toothpaste is undoubtedly a gift that will get used, whether they want to admit it or not!

There’s just one more thing you can do to help prevent sugar damage to your teeth, and that’s come to see us for a thorough cleaning and oral exam at our dental office in Boerne. If you need to schedule after the busy holidays, we understand. Start the new year off with a smile that’s fresh, clean, and confident. Schedule a consultation or cleaning today. We’re looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you again!

Do I Have Sensitive Teeth?

Any type of pain or discomfort in the mouth can be concerning, and it may leave you wondering if you have a serious dental problem or simply sensitive teeth. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two, and getting relief from the discomfort will depend on the cause. It’s important to see your dentist in Boerne as soon as possible if you’re experiencing any pain, especially if it’s new or comes on suddenly. If a problem is left alone, it can get worse. In the meantime, let’s take a look at how you can tell if you have sensitive teeth or perhaps a bigger problem. 

Signs of Sensitive Teeth

There are some telltale signs of tooth sensitivity, and most commonly they occur when eating or drinking something hot or cold. Think back to the last time you drank something hot or when you bit into a cold popsicle. Did you feel a zing of pain through your teeth? There’s a good chance you just experienced the most common sign of tooth sensitivity. However, there are other symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore, including: 

  • Quick bursts of pain when eating or drinking something sugary or acidic
  • Pain during brushing or flossing
  • Pain when biting down or applying pressure

Even though these symptoms are often common with tooth sensitivity, it’s important to remember that some of these symptoms can overlap with signs of other problems and you should always seek advice from your dentist in Boerne

What Causes Sensitive Teeth? 

Many things can cause sensitive teeth. Usually, tooth sensitivity is a result of either enamel erosion or gum recession, both of which can cause the insides of teeth, including the nerves, to become exposed. When this happens, every time something hits those nerves, you will experience that shooting pain. The main causes of enamel erosion and gum recession include: 

  • Brushing or flossing too hard
  • Eating foods high in sugar or acidity 
  • Teeth grinding
  • Poor dental hygiene

When is Sensitivity a Sign of Something Serious?

It can be hard to tell when tooth sensitivity is a sign of something serious, but if it’s left untreated, the pain will increase and the problem will get worse. Sensitivity can also be a sign of: 

This is why it’s so important to see your dentist sooner rather than later. 

How to Reduce Sensitivity

The good news is that there are treatments available, but which one is appropriate for you depends on your individual situation. Some treatment options include: 

  • Dental Restorations

Dental restorations such as fillings, crowns, inlays, or onlays may be the best way to relieve tooth sensitivity if you have decay, a failing previous restoration, or a broken or cracked tooth. 

  • Root Canal

There are times when a root canal may be the best option to relieve tooth sensitivity. This treatment will remove the roots and the nerves of the affected tooth, giving you instant relief. 

  • Other Options

Your dentist in Boerne may also recommend some changes to your oral hygiene habits. This can include changing your toothpaste, adding a desensitizing rinse, using a different toothbrush, and applying fluoride treatment at your appointments.

7 Healthy Habits for Stronger Teeth

Our teeth are essential to our health and well-being, but unfortunately, they can also be one of the most fragile parts of our bodies. Cavities, broken or missing teeth, and gum disease all weaken your teeth and can cause you serious problems down the road if they’re not taken care of properly. Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to strengthen your teeth so that they last a lifetime and stay healthy. These seven methods from your dentist in Boerne will help you have strong teeth that will last you a lifetime!

  • Brush & Floss

One of the most important and easiest things you can do to keep your teeth strong is to brush and floss them regularly. Your dentist in Boerne recommends brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. This duo of brushing and flossing will help remove dangerous bacteria and plaque from not only the surfaces of the teeth but in between the teeth as well. If bacteria and plaque are allowed to build up on teeth, they will produce an acidic byproduct. This acid will wear down tooth enamel and can leave teeth at greater risk for decay

  • Don’t Forget Your Tongue

Our tongues have a ton of tiny nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide, and it’s important to remove these cavity-causing culprits. The best way to do that is to gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. This can remove even more bacteria and can also make you less likely to experience bad breath.  

  • Reduce Sugar & Carbs

We all know that dentists don’t like sugar, but what’s that have to do with carbs? Well, the truth is, our bodies break down carbs into glucose and they can act a lot like sugar. So when you’re looking for smile-smart foods to eat or snacks in between meals, try to limit your intake of sugary treats or those high in carbohydrates. Too much sugar or too many carbs can feed plaque bacteria and increase acid production, again increasing the risk of weakening teeth.  

  • Treat Grinding

Many people grind their teeth in either times of stress or when they’re sleeping. Most of the time, they may not even realize they’re doing it. But teeth grinding can lead to a whole host of dental problems, including wear and tear of enamel. If you think you grind your teeth, talk with your dentist in Boerne about the best ways to stop grinding in order to protect your teeth. 

  • Don’t Ignore Reflux

Although reflux, indigestion, and heartburn are digestive problems, they can still affect your oral health. These conditions can cause stomach acid to enter the mouth which can damage enamel. If you have reflux or other digestive concerns, we recommend talking with your doctor about treatment options. 

  • Stay Hydrated

Many Americans don’t drink enough water, but we should all do our best to drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day to stay hydrated. Not only can being hydrated help you feel better overall, but it’s also beneficial for both your overall health and oral health. Drinking water helps neutralize acids, keep bad breath away, and wash away bacteria. 

  • Schedule Bi-Annual Dental Visits

Besides taking good care of your teeth through a great oral hygiene routine, eating a well-balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water, there’s one more thing you should do in order to protect your teeth — see your dentist in Boerne at least twice a year. Professional dental cleanings will help remove plaque and tartar buildup that could wear down enamel and exams can help catch any problems before they turn into complex concerns. 

If you do have weakened enamel, don’t fear. Your dentist can help you control erosion and talk with you about treatments and any additional steps you can take at home to keep erosion at bay.