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TMJ disorder is uncomfortable and inconvenient for the patient; more importantly, however, this condition can actually lead to very serious dental health issues down the road. Today our O’Fallon dentists are giving you additional information about how TMJ issues are related to common dental health problems. We hope that this information helps you keep moving forward toward optimal oral health.

Let’s quickly review what we mean by “TMJ disorder;” when your temporomandibular joints become damaged or beginning to deteriorate, you are suffering from a TMJ disorder. Your temporomandibular joints are the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. Your TMJs allow you to emote, chew, speak, and basically move your mouth freely!

So, as you would imagine, when your temporomandibular joints are not functioning well, you may notice a wide variety of problematic symptoms: pain near your TMJs, limited jaw mobility, popping and clicking sensations in your jaw, head/neck/jaw/should pain.

Additionally, TMJ disorder can cause very specific negative changes to your smile:

· TMJ sufferers may find it difficult to thoroughly clean their back molars. Consequently, patients may develop cavities and oral tissue infections in those hard-to-reach places in their mouths.

· Because TMJ disorder can change the way your top and bottom teeth come together, this disorder can lead to uneven bite alignment and premature dental enamel thinning. This weakens your teeth, and leaves them vulnerable to developing cracks, chips, stains, and cavities.

· TMJ problems may also cause your teeth to shift and your dental alignment to change, as your top and bottom teeth push against each other, and try to find a comfortable way to come together.

If you have any questions about how best to care for your smile, our O’Fallon dentists are happy to provide you with the information and guidance that you need. No matter what your oral health concern, we can help you get back on track!

Because your dental enamel is charged with protecting your smile from damage, it is vitally important that you care for it with at-home and professional dental care. Today our O’Fallon dentists are going to give you an overview of some of the most common threats to enamel. We hope this information will help you make good decisions for your own smile.

When harmful oral bacteria take root in your smile, they go to work feeding on sugars and multiplying. As these bacteria grow they release acid, which starts to de-mineralize and weaken your enamel. This is why it’s so important to keep bacterial plaque and tartar to a minimum every single day.

There are also many acidic foods and drinks that can wear down and thin enamel after repeated exposure. Coffee, wine, soft drinks, and fruit juices, for example all expose your smile to harmful acid. In order to protect your smile, it is a good idea to limit the amount of these substances that you consume. You can also rinse your mouth with water shortly after eating or drinking these things, to help refresh your smile. Just make sure to wait at least thirty minutes after consuming something acidic to brush your teeth, as your enamel may be slightly softer in that period.

Your dental enamel can also start to thin and weaken due to physical pressure and abrasion. If, for example, you chew on ice or hard candies, this can harm your teeth over time. Additionally, conditions like bruxism (chronic dental grinding) will thin enamel and cause an increase in cracks and chips. If you’re battling bruxism, you may benefit from wearing a protective mouth guard at night to serve as a buffer between your top and bottom teeth.

Our O’Fallon dentists have all of the information and treatments that you need to keep your natural enamel look great and feeling strong for years to come. Just reach out to our helpful dental team when you are ready to get started!

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