Archive for November, 2010

Big Burgers in Taiwan cause Jaw Injuries

Apparently there’s another reason not to bite off more than you can chew: an increase in jaw injuries from noshing on supersized hamburgers.

According to the British Broadcasting Company, a Taiwanese university professor has determined that large hamburgers are the cause of the rising number of jaw injuries. Hsu Ming-lung, of the National Yang-Ming University, has found that patients are having trouble opening their mouths after eating giant hamburgers in some Taiwan eateries. Difficulties arise when diners try to eat burgers taller than 3 inches.

Hsu said a human mouth is designing to gape over objects measuring up to 1 1/2 inches and overextension, such as in an effort to bite into a giant burger, can injure the joint between the jawbone and the temporal bone in front of the ears.

He called on fast-food restaurants in Taiwan to limit the size of their hamburgers to prevent the public from quite literally biting off more than they can chew, according to a news release via the Journal of the California Dental Association.

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November 30, 2010 at 2:32 PM Leave a comment

What Not To Do To Your Teeth

So you think your teeth are strong. They can handle anything right? Wrong. While you may be tempted to use your teeth as a household tool or stress relief aid, think again. You could be damaging your teeth beyond repair.

DO NOT TRY THESE AT HOME!

1) Cleaning teeth with Comet, bleach, or other household cleaners. Household cleaners are abrasive and will wear down the enamel on your teeth.  Some are also toxic.

2) Chewing toenails. Your teeth are for chewing food and speaking only.  Use a nail file or nail clippers to keep your mouth and your feet safe from bacteria.

3) Using “crazy glue” for loose dental work. Super-strong glue will still wear away over time.  See your dentist for a long-term solution instead of living with loose dental work.

4) Opening beer bottles with teeth. This can break the tooth; dig the bottle opener out of a drawer.

5) Sucking on lemons. This is sometimes down with the misguided goal to whiten teeth or freshen breath.  But the acid in a lemon will break down the enamel on your teeth and cause decay.

6) Filing teeth with a nail file. Patients risk taking off too much of the tooth and damaging the tooth structure.  See your dentist if the shape of your tooth doesn’t feel right.

7) Flossing with household items. Dentists have seen patients floss with random objects, including hair, needles, credit cards, paper, and rubber bands. Those things can break in your mouth and put you at risk for injury and infection.  Hard items like paperclips will wear away enamel when used repeatedly and may even break your tooth.  Use only dental floss to clean between those teeth!

8) Rinsing with acidic liquids. Just like sucking on lemons, sloshing liquids such as vinegar, apple juice, and orange juice in your mouth will wear away your teeth and cause decay.  Your best bet is mouthwash or fluoride rinse.

9) Extracting teeth with pliers/power tools. Leave extraction for the professionals.  Doing it yourself risks infection, broken teeth and roots, and bone damage to your jaw.

10) Chewing pens. Such an oral fixation can fracture teeth, leading to otherwise unnecessary dental repairs.  It can also put you at risk for ingesting ink.  There are safer ways to relieve stress and fight boredom.  Preserve your teeth for their real jobs: talking and chewing food.

November 25, 2010 at 12:53 PM Leave a comment

Stress Sometimes Means Poor Dental Health for Students

The stress caused by studying too hard can cause gum inflammation, bruxism, and the possibility of TMJ disorder symptoms. Emotional and physical factors involved in studying for exams or writing papers often force students to abandon good dental health regimens.

During exam weeks, or when term papers are due, many students pull all-nighters. Some get less sleep all the time, while others increase caffeine and nicotine or don’t eat as healthy as they should. The result is that saliva flow decreases and leaves teeth less protected.

Students may not make regular trips to the dentists because they have gone away to school and have not developed a relationship with dentists at their schools. Plus, many students think they are impervious to health issues and believe they can deal with anything on their own terms. They also don’t believe they are susceptible to stress.

Academic stress can also take its toll on the gums. Gums can become red, swollen, tender, and bleed easily. Some students will develop severe gingivitis, and frequently it will subside with regular dental care.
However, stress reduction, exercise, a balanced diet, and plenty of rest can alleviate the effects of stress on the gums.

Some students may even grind their teeth in times of stress. Often, a student’s roommate detects it because he or she can be kept up at night by someone who is grinding their teeth. Dentists can make appliances to lessen the damage caused by bruxism, or the strategies mentioned above can work as well.

TMJ disorder can cause earaches without infection, sore jaw muscles (especially in the morning), a clicking sound, difficulty when opening or closing the mouth, or locked or stiff jaw when talking, eating, or yawning.

Fortunately, cramming for exams and papers while ignoring oral hygiene is generally not a long-term behavior. After exams, students should try to return to a normal oral hygiene regimen and schedule a dental cleaning.

November 10, 2010 at 2:26 PM Leave a comment


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