Posts for category: Oral Health

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
October 24, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: teeth grinding   bruxism  
TakeChargeofStressManagementtoReduceTeethGrindingHabits

It’s hard to avoid stress in the 21st Century. We’re all bombarded with stressors, from work to family — even our smart phones!

The problem really isn’t the stressors themselves but how we respond to them and try to relieve stress. This can often have a negative effect on our health. One example: bruxism, also known as teeth grinding or clenching.

These habits involve the rhythmic or spasmodic clenching, biting or grinding of the teeth, often involuntarily, beyond normal chewing function. It often occurs while we sleep — jaw soreness the next morning is a telltale sign. While there are other causes, stress is one of the most common for adults, bolstered by diet and lifestyle habits like tobacco or drug use, or excessive caffeine and alcohol.

Teeth grinding’s most serious consequence is the potential for dental problems. While teeth normally wear as we age, grinding or clenching habits can accelerate it. Wearing can become so extensive the enamel erodes, possibly leading to fractures or cracks in the tooth.

When dealing with this type of bruxism, we must address the root cause: your relationship to stress. For example, if you use tobacco, consider quitting the habit — not only for your overall health, but to remove it as a stress stimulant. The same goes for cutting back on your consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.

Adopt an “unwinding” pattern at night before you sleep to better relax: for example, take a warm bath or keep work items or digital media out of the bedroom.  Many people also report relaxation or stress-relief techniques like meditation, mindfulness or biofeedback helpful.

There’s another useful tool for easing the effects of nighttime teeth grinding: an occlusal guard. This custom-fitted appliance worn while you sleep prevents teeth from making solid contact with each other when you clench them. This can greatly reduce the adverse effects on your teeth while you’re working on other stress coping techniques.

Teeth grinding or clenching can prove harmful over time. The sooner you address this issue with your dentist or physician, the less likely you’ll experience these unwanted consequences.

If you would like more information on the causes and treatments for teeth grinding, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Grinding: Causes and Therapies for a Potentially Troubling Behavior.”

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
August 31, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

We all know that regular visits to the dentist are imperative for good dental health. But it's what you do in the meantime that can help makeoral hygiene those visits quicker and less expensive. It's a proven fact: good brushing and flossing habits equal fewer cavities. Below, your Westland, MI dentists - Dr. Dennis Aylward, Dr. Brent Carey, and Dr. Allison Carey - have detailed some information of the best ways you can keep your teeth healthy between appointments at Carey & Aylward.

Brushing

Brushing your teeth has likely become such an ingrained habit that you don't even think about it anymore. However, your Westland dentist suggests reevaluating the way you brush to make sure you're getting the most out of this important ritual. First, you should brush twice daily at minimum; between each meal is preferred. Two minutes may seem like a long time, but if you think about your mouth as being divided into quadrants - upper right, lower right, upper left, lower left - it'll only take you thirty seconds for each area. You should also make sure that your toothbrush has soft, but sturdy bristles; if they look frayed or out of shape, it's time to get a new toothbrush.

Flossing

Flossing between each tooth might seem negligible, but to avoid gum disease and hidden decay, your Westland dentist recommends working it into your daily habits. You only need to floss once a day, so choose a time that works best for you. Instead of the spooled floss, which can be messy and difficult, find the flossing picks, or "swords," at any supermarket or pharmacy. They make the process much easier and allow for convenience. For each day you floss, mark off your progress on a calendar to encourage you to keep going. Within a month or so, flossing will be a standard part of your dental hygiene routine!

At Carey & Aylward DDS in Westland, MI, we want to help you achieve your best dental health. Contact our office for an appointment or if you have any further questions about how to improve your oral hygiene routine at home.

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
July 18, 2017
Category: Oral Health
ExpertAdviceVivicaAFoxonKissingandOralhealth

Is having good oral hygiene important to kissing? Who's better to answer that question than Vivica A. Fox? Among her other achievements, the versatile actress won the “Best Kiss” honor at the MTV Movie Awards, for a memorable scene with Will Smith in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day. When Dear Doctor magazine asked her, Ms. Fox said that proper oral hygiene was indeed essential. Actually, she said:

"Ooooh, yes, yes, yes, Honey, 'cause Baby, if you kiss somebody with a dragon mouth, my God, it's the worst experience ever as an actor to try to act like you enjoy it!"

And even if you're not on stage, it's no fun to kiss someone whose oral hygiene isn't what it should be. So what's the best way to step up your game? Here's how Vivica does it:

“I visit my dentist every three months and get my teeth cleaned, I floss, I brush, I just spent two hundred bucks on an electronic toothbrush — I'm into dental hygiene for sure.”

Well, we might add that you don't need to spend tons of money on a toothbrush — after all, it's not the brush that keeps your mouth healthy, but the hand that holds it. And not everyone needs to come in as often every three months. But her tips are generally right on.

For proper at-home oral care, nothing beats brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing once a day. Brushing removes the sticky, bacteria-laden plaque that clings to your teeth and causes tooth decay and gum disease — not to mention malodorous breath. Don't forget to brush your tongue as well — it can also harbor those bad-breath bacteria.

While brushing is effective, it can't reach the tiny spaces in between teeth and under gums where plaque bacteria can hide. But floss can: That's what makes it so important to getting your mouth really clean.

Finally, regular professional checkups and cleanings are an essential part of good oral hygiene. Why? Because even the most dutiful brushing and flossing can't remove the hardened coating called tartar that eventually forms on tooth surfaces. Only a trained health care provider with the right dental tools can! And when you come in for a routine office visit, you'll also get a thorough checkup that can detect tooth decay, gum disease, and other threats to your oral health.

Bad breath isn't just a turn-off for kissing — It can indicate a possible problem in your mouth. So listen to what award-winning kisser Vivica Fox says: Paying attention to your oral hygiene can really pay off! For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can read the entire interview with Vivica A. Fox in Dear Doctor's latest issue.

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
May 23, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Are you curious to know whether mouthwash could up your oral health game?oral hygiene

Do you currently use mouthwash every day? Are you contemplating whether or not you should start using mouthwash? The mouthwashes that you find in your oral care aisle may be a great way to temporarily give you fresher breath before that big date, but our Westland, MI, dentists, Dr. Dennis Aylward and Drs. Brent and Allison Carey, weigh in on whether or not using mouthwash is a necessity.

To Use Mouthwash or Not to Use Mouthwash…

The simple answer is that mouthwash is not crucial for maintaining a healthy smile. If you are turning to mouthwash to clean your teeth and you aren’t brushing and flossing regularly or properly, this will lead to issues with your oral health. Of course, this doesn’t mean that if you use mouthwash as part of your routine that you should stop. In fact, mouthwash is a lovely way to enhance your everyday dental routine.

Mouthwash can help to dislodge plaque and food particles from between teeth, which makes it a great product to use prior to flossing and brushing your teeth. Of course, if you don’t have mouthwash handy, swishing water around in your mouth will do the trick, too. Mouthwash can certainly provide you with fresh, minty breath and the feeling of a cleaner smile, but many times mouthwash only masks that unpleasant breath. If you find that you are dealing with chronic bad breath then you may want to talk to our Westland general dentists, as this could be a sign of decay or other issues.

Cosmetic vs. Therapeutic Mouthwashes

Didn’t think there were different kinds of mouthwashes, did you? Cosmetic mouthwashes are the products you can find at your local drugstore or grocery store. They boast fresh breath and they pretty much act like perfume for your smile. Therapeutic mouthwash, on the other hand, can help tackle issues such as canker sores and gingivitis (the early stages of gum disease) or even control plaque buildup.

If you want to learn more about therapeutic mouthwash and whether it’s right for you then call Carey & Aylward in Westland, MI, today. We would be happy to help you figure out the best ways to keep your smile feeling and looking its best.

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
April 26, 2017
Category: Oral Health
LifeIsSometimesaGrindforBrookeShields

Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.

In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.

Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.

What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.

Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.

A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”