“4 out of 5 dentists”…

Do you notice those ads for certain products that tell you “4 out of 5 dentists recommend this”? The article below explores why that statement is even made in the first place and why the fifth dentist that does not recommend or agree with whatever product is being pushed doesn’t matter. Continue reading and tell us what you think!

Have you ever wondered about the “fifth” dentist? Maybe she works for Coca Cola. Maybe he works for Kraft, maker of Kool-Aid.

We all know the ads: “four out of five dentists surveyed agree that…” So, again, what’s up with the fifth dentist?

We don’t know, but the important thing is: we don’t care! The whole point of those ads is to impress upon us the massive consensus among experts. Four out of five sounds like a lot. It’s 80%. It’s a landslide. In fact, it’s a lot better than a landslide- conventionally defined as 58% or more.

We don’t care about the fifth dentist, and Madison Avenue knows it. They know that four out of five is enough of a consensus to use in their efforts to sell us stuff, such as particular gum, or toothpaste.

So consider the inconsistency, and arguably the hypocrisy, when we allow some isolated, rogue voice or lone dissenting study to cast all we know about climate change, immunization, or diet, into doubt. The consensus among experts about climate change, our complicity in it, and the general theme of what we should be doing about it is vastly greater than four out of five. The consensus among legitimate experts about the net benefit of vaccination, and its decisive non-contributions to autism, is very near to unanimity. The consensus among leading experts around the world about the fundamentals of good nutrition is in the same ballpark. 

But the very culture that sells us our toothpaste, whitening strips, and sugar-free gum with the iron-clad argument that four out of five dentists are in favor, pretends that one iconoclast a controversy makes whenever there’s profit in it. And we- in a recurring display of collective, gullible, nincompoopery- seem inclined to buy both arguments. As in: “yes, we’ll take the gum, because- duh!- but no measles vaccine because you know what they say…”

Wow. We get it wrong in both directions, again and again. Duped by statistical gibberish (which four, out of which five?), but impervious to genuine consensus and the relentless tilt of the weight of evidence. Talk about meeting the enemy and finding out it’s us. 

And that fifth dentist, who is telling us we can keep debating climate change; we can forgo immunizing our children; and we are utterly befuddled about the basic care and feeding of Homo sapiens, so we may as well enjoy the pepperoni pizza, doughnuts, and multicolored marshmallows as part of a complete breakfast.

And the Kool-Aid he is selling to wash it down. Good luck with those teeth.


David L. Katz

Director, Yale University Prevention Research Center; Griffin Hospital

Immediate Past-President, American College of Lifestyle Medicine

Senior Medical Advisor, Verywell.com

Founder, The True Health Initiative

Follow at: LinkedIN; Twitter; Facebook

Read at: INfluencer Blog; Huffington Post; US News & World Report; Verywell; Forbes

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-fifth-dentist-has-the-measles_us_5918558ee4b00ccaae9ea3f5?utm_hp_ref=dental-health

Cleaning A Retainer

Just like teeth need brushing, retainers need cleaning. If your retainer were to go uncleaned for a long time bacteria, plaque or tartar could build up causing further problems. If you have questions about how to clean your retainer then look no further! The tips below tell how how often and how to correctly clean the retainer.

Most people would never consider going days without brushing their teeth. However, many retainer wearers go for long stretches of time without cleaning these devices.

The same bacteria that build up on teeth can grow on a retainer. As a result, putting an unclean retainer in your mouth is like applying a bacteria and plaque-laden solution to the teeth and gums.

If people do not know how to clean retainers, there are a few simple solutions described here that can help. However, an individual should always speak to their dentist or orthodontist first, if they have concerns about the cleanliness of their retainer.

When to clean a retainer

People should clean their retainer, by gently brushing with a soft-bristled brush, every time they brush their teeth. A more extensive cleaning should be done once a week.

Here are some signs that a person needs to clean their retainer:

  • the retainer smells or tastes bad
  • there is a film on the retainer
  • the retainer looks cloudy
  • it has been more than a week since it was cleaned
  • there are white spots on the retainer.

White spots could be mineral buildup (tartar), plaque that causes cavities in teeth, or a combination of the two.

Another sign that a retainer needs cleaning is it keeps breaking or cracking. Just as bacteria can damage the teeth, they can also damage a retainer.

If someone suddenly begins getting cavities, tooth sensitivity, or other oral health problems, there may be a problem with their retainer. If this occurs, they should review proper retainer care with their dentist or orthodontist, and ask them to check the retainer fits properly.

Eight tips for cleaning a retainer

Here are eight tips for people to make sure their retainers are clean and free from bacteria.

1. Water for cleaning on the go

Water will not clean a retainer on its own, but drinking plenty of water during the day can prevent bacteria overgrowth. Keeping a retainer moist will help prevent damage. Water also combats a dry mouth, which is linked to tooth decay.

If a retainer feels dirty, a person can try swishing some water in their mouth a few times.

Soda and other sugary drinks can affect a retainer, just as they affect the teeth. People should take their retainer out before enjoying a sugary drink and before eating anything.

Retainers that dry out are more prone to damage. As a result, people should not allow this to happen, especially overnight. Instead, soak a retainer in distilled water, any time it is removed.

If there is nothing available to store the retainer in, or if the retainer is dirty and cannot be cleaned right away, a person can soak it in a damp paper towel, until they can clean it.

2. Toothpaste

When brushing teeth, people should brush their retainer as well. It is best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-whitening toothpaste. Afterward, remove the retainer and rinse it thoroughly.

People should brush their teeth again after removing the retainer, to clean any areas covered by it.

3. Denture cleaner

It is safe to clean a retainer with denture cleaner, from time to time, particularly if no other option is available. Over time, however, denture cleaner can turn a retainer yellow.

To clean with denture cleaner, people should rinse the retainer and then allow it to soak in the denture cleaner for about 20 minutes. After taking it out, they should then gently scrub it with a soft toothbrush.

If the retainer tastes like denture cleaner afterward, rinsing should continue until it no longer does.

4. Baking soda

Baking soda is a safe, all-purpose disinfectant. It may also help whiten retainers that have yellowed. Baking soda controls bacteria without harsh chemicals and can prevent a retainer from developing pH imbalances that harm the mouth.

To use baking soda, people should create a paste that is half water and half baking soda. The mixture should be thick enough to stick to the retainer.

They can then scrub the retainer gently with the mixture and a soft toothbrush, just as they would with toothpaste. Residue should be removed by rinsing the retainer, thoroughly.

5. Vinegar

White vinegar is a gentle disinfectant that can remove odors and residues.

To clean a retainer with vinegar, people should create a mixture in a small dish that is half white vinegar and half warm water. The retainer should then be soaked in the mixture for 20 minutes.

If the retainer is covered in a film or in mineral deposits, a soft toothbrush can be used to scrub the retainer clean. After being rinsed with cold water, it should be soaked for another 20 minutes.

Vinegar has a strong smell, so people may want to clean their retainer outside if following this tip. Using a disposable dish can also reduce the lingering odor of vinegar.

6. Castile soap

Castile soap is less toxic than many other cleaning products. People can make their own with a solution of olive oil and coconut soap, but castile soap is readily available at most stores.

To clean a retainer with castile soap, people should add a small amount to warm water. They can then dip the retainer into the mixture and scrub it with a toothbrush.

The retainer should be left to soak for 2-3 minutes before being scrubbed again, as necessary. Afterward, it should be rinsed with cool water and then put back in the mouth or put in distilled water.

7. Mouthwash

Mouthwash is designed to combat plaque, bacteria, and other deposits in the mouth. It can also clean a retainer if other options are not available.

Using mouthwash to clean a retainer every time is not ideal and may not clean it thoroughly enough. Mouthwash, containing alcohol, can also dry out both a retainer and the mouth.

If no other options are available, people can try dipping a retainer in non-alcoholic mouthwash for 2-3 minutes, rinsing with cold water, then gently brushing with a soft toothbrush.

8. Retainer cleaner

Some manufacturers offer retainer cleaners. For people who do not have the time or desire to make their own solution, these products are an affordable option.

It is important to follow the directions on the packaging. A few types require the use of a sonic cleaning machine or overnight soaking. Others should not be used on certain types of retainers, or for people with sensitive teeth or gum disease.

An orthodontist may be able to recommend a retainer cleaner that meets individual needs.

Retainer cleaning myths

Myths about oral health and retainer care have appeared online.

People should not believe the following claims:

  • Retainers are clean, as long as you regularly brush your teeth and do not eat when wearing a retainer.
  • Retainer-cleaning solutions are bad for your retainer or teeth.
  • Probiotics or other supplements will keep your mouth and retainer healthy, without cleaning.
  • You need to allow good bacteria to develop on your retainer, and cleaning disrupts these bacteria.

Some people also believe that brushing a retainer will scratch it. It is true that some retainers should not be brushed, but if someone has permission from their dentist, brushing is fine.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317894.php

Foods Affecting Oral Health

You probably know by now that food is a huge factor in your overall oral health as different substances can be harsh on teeth and gums. One ingredient that immediately comes to mind is sugar. However, have you ever thought about other things in your diet that could be contributing to poor oral health? Continue reading for more on this and tips on what you can do to promote better oral health.

You may be able to prevent two of the most common diseases of modern civilization, tooth decay (caries) and periodontal (gum) disease, simply by improving your diet. Decay results when the teeth and other hard tissues of the mouth are destroyed by acid products from oral bacteria. Certain foods and food combinations are linked to higher levels of cavity-causing bacteria. Although poor nutrition does not directly cause periodontal disease, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is more severe in patients whose diet does not supply the necessary nutrients.

Poor nutrition affects the entire immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to many disorders. People with lowered immune systems have been shown to be at higher risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, research shows a link between oral health and systemic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So eating a variety of foods as part of a well-balanced diet may not only improve your dental health, but increasing fiber and vitamin intake may also reduce the risk of other diseases.

How can I plan my meals and snacks to promote better oral health?

Eat a well-balanced diet characterized by moderation and variety. Develop eating habits that follow the recommendations from reputable health organizations such as the American Dietetic Association and the National Institutes of Health. Choose foods from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products and meat, chicken, fish or beans. Avoid fad diets that limit or eliminate entire food groups, which usually result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Always keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water. Saliva protects both hard and soft oral tissues. If you have a dry mouth, supplement your diet with sugarless candy or gum to stimulate saliva.

Foods that cling to your teeth promote tooth decay. So when you snack, avoid soft, sweet, sticky foods such as cakes, candy and dried fruits. Instead, choose dentally healthy foods such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese and sugarless gum or candy.

When you eat fermentable carbohydrates, such as crackers, cookies and chips, eat them as part of your meal, instead of by themselves. Combinations of foods neutralize acids in the mouth and inhibit tooth decay. For example, enjoy cheese with your crackers. Your snack will be just as satisfying and better for your dental health. One caution: malnutrition (bad nutrition) can result from too much nourishment as easily as too little. Each time you eat, you create an environment for oral bacteria to develop. Additionally, studies are showing that dental disease is just as related to overeating as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and hypertension. So making a habit of eating too much of just about anything, too frequently, should be avoided.

When should I consult my dentist about my nutritional status?

Always ask your dentist if you’re not sure how your nutrition (diet) may affect your oral health. Conditions such as tooth loss, pain or joint dysfunction can impair chewing and are often found in elderly people, those on restrictive diets and those who are undergoing medical treatment. People experiencing these problems may be too isolated or weakened to eat nutritionally balanced meals at a time when it is particularly critical. Talk to your dental health professional about what you can do for yourself or someone you know in these circumstances.

Reviewed: January 2012

Source: http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=N&iid=315&aid=1274

Fun History About Braces

Did you know braces have been around since the 1700s?  That means humans have wanted to correct their smiles for going on 300 years! Learn more history and fun facts about braces in the article from Colgate below! You will learn something new!

Interesting Facts From The History Of Orthodontics

by Jenny Green

Orthodontics might seem like the most modern branch of dentistry, but the “perfect smile” has been a project since Ancient Egypt. Through varied devices and techniques, orthodontics gradually developed to become the sophisticated practice it is today.

Poorly aligned teeth and jaws have always affected our ability to chew and speak; it isn’t surprising that the history of orthodontics goes back thousands of years:

Ancient Orthodontics

Archaeologists have found crooked teeth in human remains dating back 50,000 years, according to Norman Wahl in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. Nowadays, orthodontists use braces to correct misaligned teeth, and something very similar has been found in Egyptian mummies. Many of the mummies had crude metal bands around their teeth, and archaeologists believed catgut may have been tied to these bands to provide pressure to move the teeth.

The Ancient Greeks, the Etruscans and the Romans also practiced orthodontia. David Evans, DDS describes a gold band that was used on Etruscan women to preserve the position of the teeth after death, and the Ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, wrote the first known description of tooth irregularities around 400 B.C. A Roman writer named Celsus, 400 years later, recommended bringing newly emerging teeth into their proper position by regularly pushing them with your fingers. To correct elongated teeth, another Roman named Pliny the Elder, who lived from 23 to 79 A.D., advised filing them to size.

17th and 18th Centuries

Dental Impressions began around the beginning of the 17th century with Matthaeus Gottfried Purmann, who reported using wax to take impressions. Then in 1756, Phillip Pfaff used plaster of Paris.

Ultimately, progress in orthodontics stalled after ancient times until the 18th century, which saw a surge in development. Pierre Fauchard, born in 1728, is considered the Father of Dentistry, having invented an appliance called bandeau. This horseshoe-shaped strip of metal contained regularly spaced holes that fit around the teeth to correct their alignment. Fauchard would also operate on patients with a set of forceps called a pelican, forcibly realigning teeth and tying them to the neighboring teeth to hold them in place while they healed.

Then, Christophe-François Delabarre (1787-1862) tried separating overcrowded teeth by inserting swelling threads or wooden wedges between each space.

Orthodontics in the United States

Significant contributions to the practice of orthodontics in the United States began in the 19th century, according to Wahl. In 1822, J.S. Gunnell invented the occipital anchorage, a form of headgear that fastens to the jaw from the outside of the mouth to exert gentle pressure on the teeth. Then in 1840, Chapin A. Harris published the first classic book on dentistry, “The Dental Art,” outlining practices such as soldering knobs on bands to assist with tooth rotation, and applying gold caps to molars to open the dental bite. When Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber in 1839, orthodontists realized the new material’s potential. In 1846, E.G. Tucker became the first American dentist to use rubber in orthodontic appliances.

Entering the 20th Century

No history of orthodontics is complete without a mention of Edward Hartley Angle, considered the Father of Modern Orthodontics. A man with a range of achievements listed in the Journal of Advanced Oral Research, he identified the true properties of a malocclusion, or misalignment, and addressed them with an increasingly effective set of orthodontic appliances beginning in 1880.

Advances in the 1970s

Prior to the 1970s, orthodontists had anchored brackets to teeth by winding wires around each tooth. But according to Dr. Evans, the invention of dental adhesives meant that they could instead stick the brackets to teeth surfaces. Meanwhile, stainless steel replaced gold and silver as the most popular choice for wires due to its manipulability, reducing braces costs significantly. Lingual braces, which run along teeth’s inside surfaces, were also first introduced in the 1970s to address the aesthetic concerns we still have today.

Source: http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/early-orthodontics/article/interesting-facts-from-the-history-of-orthodontics-1014

Headaches Behind The Ears

If you get headaches behind your ears it could mean you are experiencing dental problems that you maybe otherwise would not know about. Headaches do not typically linger around the ears so if you experience them it might be time to see your dentist or orthodontist. Learn more about the causes and symptoms in the article from Medical News Today below.

There are several causes of headaches behind the ear. With proper medical treatment, these headaches can be relieved.

A headache behind the ear refers to any pain that originates from that specific area of the head. Though headaches themselves are very common, headaches that occur exclusively behind the ear are fairly unusual.

This type of headache pain can have several causes from nerve injury to dental problems. The cause of the headache behind the ear will determine symptoms and treatment.

This article explores the signs and symptoms of headaches behind the ear and details what causes them. It also discusses how they can be treated to relieve pain and the associated symptoms.


There are several possible causes of a headache behind the ear. These include the following:

Occipital neuralgia

One of the most common causes of a headache behind the ear is a condition called occipital neuralgia.

Occipital neuralgia occurs when the occipital nerves, or the nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord up through the scalp, are injured or inflamed.

People often mistake sharp pain behind the ear to be the result of a migraine or similar types of headaches, as symptoms can be similar.

People who suffer with occipital neuralgia describe the chronic pain as piercing and throbbing. They also describe it as similar to the feeling of receiving an electric shock in the following places:

  • upper neck
  • back of the head
  • behind the ears

Occipital neuralgia happens as a result of pressure or irritation to the occipital nerves. It typically only appears on one side of the head.

In some cases, the pressure or irritation maybe because of inflammation, overly tight muscles, or an injury. Often, doctors cannot find a cause for occipital neuralgia.


Mastoiditis is an infection of the mastoid bone, which is the bone directly behind the ear.

This infection is much more common in children than adults and generally responds to treatment with no complications.

Mastoiditis causes a headache behind the ear as well as fever, discharge from the ear, tiredness, and hearing loss in the affected ear.


The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the ball and socket joints of the jaw. These joints can become inflamed and painful.

While most people with TMJ inflammation feel the pain in the jaw and behind the ear, others may just experience a headache behind the ear.

TMJ can be caused by:


Symptoms of headaches behind the ear can vary based on the causes.

Occipital neuralgia may cause intense pain to the back of the head and/or upper neck. Often, it can start in the neck and work its way up to the back of the head. The episodic pain is like an electric shock to the back of the head and/or neck.

Signs of an infection, such as fever or tiredness, often accompany mastoiditis.

People experiencing TMJ may sense jaw tightness and pain in addition to a headache behind the ear.

Additional symptoms that people who suffer from headaches behind the ear may experience include:

  • pain on one or both sides of the head
  • sensitivity to light
  • aching, burning, and throbbing pain
  • pain behind the eyes
  • tender scalp
  • pain with neck movement


The main causes of headache behind the ear often overlap. It is crucial to get a proper diagnosis so the condition can be treated appropriately.

For diagnosis, a doctor will ask a person questions about medical history. Information about any recent head, neck, or spine injuries should be included.

After asking questions, a doctor will probably do a physical examination. For this, the doctor will press firmly around the back of the head and base of the skull in an attempt to reproduce the pain through touch. This examination checks for occipital neuralgia, as this condition is sensitive to the touch in most cases.

Some additional steps in diagnosis may include a shot to numb the nerve. If a person experiences relief then occipital neuralgia is likely to be the cause of the pain.

In more atypical cases, a doctor may order an MRI or blood test to further confirm or rule out other causes of the pain.

If occipital neuralgia is ruled out as a possible cause of pain in the initial visit, the doctor will probably check for signs of mastoiditis, including fever and discharge from the ear.

For further diagnosis, a doctor may examine the jaw or recommend a visit to a dentist to check for TMJ.

Home treatments

Treating the pain is the primary method of dealing with a headache behind the ear, unless a root cause can be determined.

There are some at home treatment options for people to try before or in addition to a doctor’s care.

Some at home treatments include:

  • rest in a quiet room
  • over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen
  • massage of neck muscles
  • apply heat to back of neck
  • reduce stress
  • stop teeth grinding

As with any treatment options, a doctor should be consulted before adding medications.

Treatment of headaches behind the ear

When under a doctor’s care, someone will have a treatment plan for headaches behind the ear that will include managing the pain and treating underlying causes of the pain.

Depending on the exact cause of headaches behind the ear, a doctor may prescribe medications, including:

Nerve blocks and steroid shots are often temporary and necessitate repeat visits to the doctor to be reinjected. Furthermore, it may be necessary to administer several shots before the pain is manageable.

In rare cases, an operation may be required. Typically, operations are used if pain does not get better with other treatments or keeps recurring.

Operations may include:

  • Microvascular decompression: This procedure involves the doctor finding and repositioning the blood vessels that are compressing the nerves.
  • Occipital nerve stimulation: A neurostimulator delivers several electrical pulses to the occipital nerves. In this case, the electric pulses may help block pain messages to the brain.

No matter the treatments decided upon, it is important to relay to a doctor whether or not they are effective.

In some cases, continued pain may indicate that it is the result of another condition, which needs to be treated differently.


Generally, headaches behind the ear are not the result of a life-threatening condition.

In many cases, people experience pain relief when resting and taking medication as prescribed or directed.

In most cases, people with a headache behind the ear should see full or nearly full symptom relief with proper diagnosis and treatment.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317448.php

Does Your Jaw Hurt?

If you suffer from frequent jaw pain but do not know the source or what to do for it, this article will be a good read! There are many sources of jaw pain that go untreated making the discomfort worse. The good news is that there are ways to treat jaw pain and prevent future sources of pain. Learn about all of this in the article below.

Jaw and facial pain is a common problem affecting millions of people worldwide. It causes many treatment challenges in the healthcare community when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.

As there are so many potential causes to jaw pain, correct diagnosis is vital. Doctors need to identify the exact cause in order to provide the best course of pain-relieving treatments.


There are several possible causes of jaw pain and these may be related to physical injury, nerve problems, or blood vessel problems.

The most commonly reported cause of jaw pain is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). The condition affects up to 12 percent of people. Nearly 5 percent seek medical treatment due to the severity of the problem. Women of childbearing age are most commonly affected by TMJ.

TMJ collectively describes disorders of the temporomandibular joints, and the muscles responsible for jaw movement. These muscles are known as the masticatory muscles.

Other known causes of jaw or facial pain include conditions, such as:

  • Teeth grinding, clenching, or opening the mouth too wide: Most often, teeth grinding and clenching is experienced during sleep and can lead to tooth damage and jaw pain. It can also occur during periods of increased emotional stress.
  • Osteomyelitis: This is a condition where an infection in the body affects the bones and associated tissues.
  • Arthritis: Arthritic conditions, such as osteoarthritis and osteoarthrosis, which lead to the surface of bones wearing away.
  • Synovitis or capsulitis: These are conditions in which the lining of the joint or a connecting ligament becomes inflamed.
  • Dental conditions: These can include gum disease, cavities, tooth gaps, damaged teeth, or abscesses.
  • Sinus problems: These affect the nasal cavities.
  • Tension type headaches: Tension headaches are typically caused by stress and may lead to facial pain.
  • Neuropathic pain: This type of long-term pain occurs when nerves become damaged and send pain signals to the brain. This pain can be continuous or occur from time to time.
  • Vascular pain: This type of pain occurs when the supply of blood to part of the body is disrupted. It is caused by conditions that include giant cell arteritis and carotid artery dissection.
  • Neurovascular pain: This type of pain is caused by conditions that affect both the nerves and the blood vessels, such as migraine and cluster headaches.

Pain can also be caused by lifestyle-related factors, including emotional stress, sleep disturbances, a lack of certain nutrients, or tiredness.

Other conditions that may cause jaw and facial pain include rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and some mental health conditions.


The presenting symptoms of jaw pain vary depending on the cause. They may include:

  • facial pain that worsens when the jaw is used
  • joint and muscle tenderness
  • limited range of motion
  • jaw alignment issues
  • clicking or popping sounds with opening or closing of the jaw
  • ringing in the ears
  • earaches
  • headaches with or without ear pain and pressure behind the eyes
  • dizziness
  • jaw locking
  • dull aching to sharp stabbing pain
  • becoming overly sensitive to pain
  • vertigo
  • toothache
  • tension headaches
  • nerve-type pain, such as burning
  • fever
  • facial swelling

Other symptoms may be present and these will depend on the root cause of the jaw pain.

It is important for people to seek prompt medical attention in order to work out the cause of their pain so that a treatment plan can be determined. Doing so swiftly can help prevent long-term complications from occurring. Dentists, oral surgeons, and doctors are able to evaluate jaw pain.


Complications vary based on the cause and other factors associated with your pain, including the treatments that are used. They may include:

  • dental complications
  • surgical complications
  • infection
  • chronic pain
  • emotional distress
  • changes in eating habits


In order for a doctor to diagnose and treat the cause of jaw pain, they will need to perform certain tests.

The following tests may help them to find out more about the cause of jaw pain, including:

  • physical exam, including assessment of the nerves, neck bones, jaw, mouth, and muscles
  • complete medical and pain history
  • certain laboratory tests, such as an erythrocyte sedimentation rate blood test, used in the diagnosis of conditions involving pain
  • certain radiology imaging procedures, such as X-ray or MRI
  • psychological and psychiatric screening

Other tests may be needed if a clinician suspects that the jaw pain is caused by a particular disease. They will discuss what they recommend for diagnosing the cause of any jaw pain as necessary.


Treatment of jaw pain depends on what the cause is. Treatment methods are varied and may include the following:

  • antibiotics if the jaw pain is caused by an infection
  • surgery to remove damaged bone, treat an affected nerve, or to diagnose the problem
  • use of a mouth protector, such as a mouth guard
  • physical therapy
  • muscle relaxants or tranquilizers to aid in relaxing the affected muscles
  • antidepressants, which can sometimes help treat painful conditions
  • topical capsaicin, which is helpful in treating some nerve-related conditions
  • steroid injections to decrease inflammation or swelling
  • antiviral therapy to treat viral infections, such as herpes zoster
  • pain medication
  • oxygen therapy and some prescription medications to treat cluster headaches
  • certain blood pressure medications when migraines are being treated
  • root canal treatment, a procedure to treat infections within teeth
  • tooth extraction if the cause is from an abnormal or infected tooth
  • vapo-coolant spray to relieve painful areas of muscle, called trigger points
  • injections with local anesthetics
  • stretching to stretch and sooth the affected muscles
  • relaxation therapy
  • soft diet to avoid excessive jaw movement and crunching
  • moist heat application or cold therapy
  • massage or acupuncture
  • use of correct posture to avoid neck and back strain

Other treatments are available to treat jaw pain, and their use is determined by the cause of the pain. Doctors can discuss the best method for treating pain with each person, based on their unique situation.


Knowing the trigger of any jaw pain is important to prevent the pain from returning.

Some basic preventive measures may be useful, and these include:

  • avoiding crunchy foods, gum, chewing fingernails, or other hard objects
  • eating soft or liquid foods, such as soup or pasta
  • taking smaller bites of food
  • avoiding caffeine
  • trying massage, meditation, and aerobic exercise
  • taking calcium and magnesium supplements, if appropriate
  • avoiding yawning
  • sleeping on the back or side, avoiding stomach sleeping
  • avoiding grinding teeth
  • avoiding carrying bags on the shoulders for too long, switching shoulders frequently
  • using correct posture
  • seeking regular dental care

People should always speak to their doctor to determine the safety of any preventive measure to ensure it is appropriate for their unique situation.

When to see the doctor

It may be necessary for people to seek medical care for jaw pain if they are experiencing symptoms, such as:

  • failure of home remedies to treat jaw pain
  • jaw pain that interferes with a daily routine
  • irregular jaw motion
  • jaw joints making sounds when moving
  • neck or upper back pain
  • eye pain
  • headaches
  • ringing in the ear
  • dental problems, such as broken or worn teeth

People should speak with a dentist or doctor about jaw pain in order for diagnosis and treatment of the underlying condition.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317184.php

Mouth Breathing Over Time

If your child frequently breathes through their mouth while sleeping due to a blocked nose or another reason, they could be susceptible to other dental/health impairments later on. The article below from Know Your Teeth dives into this topic and explains what effects mouth breathing can cause. Continue reading below to learn more about this:

For some, the phrase “spring is in the air” is quite literal. When the winter snow melts and flowers bloom, pollen and other materials can wreak havoc on those suffering from seasonal allergies, usually causing a habit called “mouth breathing.” The physical, medical and social problems associated with mouth breathing are not recognized by most health care professionals, according to a study published in the January/February 2010 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Dentists typically request that their patients return every six months, which means that some people see their dentist more frequently than they see their physician. As a result, dentists may be the first to identify the symptoms of mouth breathing. And, because dentists understand the problems associated with mouth breathing, they can help prevent the adverse effects.

“Allergies can cause upper airway obstruction, or mouth breathing, in patients,” said Yosh Jefferson, DMD, author of the study. “Almost every family has someone with mouth breathing problems.”

Over time, children whose mouth breathing goes untreated may suffer from abnormal facial and dental development, such as long, narrow faces and mouths, gummy smiles, gingivitis and crooked teeth. The poor sleeping habits that result from mouth breathing can adversely affect growth and academic performance. As Dr. Jefferson notes in his article, “Many of these children are misdiagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and hyperactivity.” In addition, mouth breathing can cause poor oxygen concentration in the bloodstream, which can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, sleep apnea and other medical issues.

“Children who mouth breathe typically do not sleep well, causing them to be tired during the day and possibly unable to concentrate on academics,” Dr. Jefferson said. “If the child becomes frustrated in school, he or she may exhibit behavioral problems.”

Treatment for mouth breathing is available and can be beneficial for children if the condition is caught early. A dentist can check for mouth breathing symptoms and swollen tonsils. If tonsils and/or adenoids are swollen, they can be surgically removed by an ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist. If the face and mouth are narrow, dentists can use expansion appliances to help widen the sinuses and open nasal airway passages.

“After surgery and/or orthodontic intervention, many patients show improvement in behavior, energy level, academic performance, peer acceptance and growth,” says Leslie Grant, DDS, spokesperson for the AGD. “Seeking treatment for mouth breathing can significantly improve quality of life.”

At this time, many health care professionals are not aware of the health problems associated with mouth breathing. If you or your child suffers from this condition, speak with a health care professional who is knowledgeable about mouth breathing.

Updated: March 2010

Source: http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=C&iid=296&aid=7327

Fun Teeth History from Ancient Neanderthals

Neanderthals, extinct human relatives, used to roam the earth tens of thousands of years ago. Scientists found remains in European caves and are now studying the plaque on the remains of their teeth. How’s that for fun science and history? Learn about what the scientists are discovering all from teeth in the article below.

Neanderthals once dined on woolly rhinoceroses and wild sheep, and even self-medicated with painkillers and antibiotics, according to a new analysis of their dental plaque.

But the diets of Neanderthals — the closest known extinct human relative, which co-existed and sometimes bred with humans before going extinct about 40,000 years ago — varied depending on where they lived.

Researchers sequenced the ancient DNA of dental plaque from five Neanderthal skeletons — two from Spain’s El Sidrón Cave, two from Belgium’s Spy Cave and one from Italy’s Breuil Cave. (However, the plaque sample from the Breuil Cave Neanderthal “failed to produce amplifiable [DNA] sequences,” and one of the Spy Cave individuals had DNA plaque contamination, so the researchers excluded both from the plaque analysis, they wrote in the study.) [In Photos: New Human Ancestor Possibly Unearthed in Spanish Cave]

Dating back between 42,000 and 50,000 years, the plaque is the oldest dental plaque on record to be genetically examined. The analysis revealed that some, but not all, Neanderthals were meat lovers.

The Neanderthal at Spy Cave dined heavily on meat, including the woolly rhinoceros and wild sheep — an unsurprising discovery, given that the bones of woolly rhinoceroses, reindeer, mammoths and horses were found within Spy Cave, and wild sheep lived throughout Europe during that time period, the researchers said. This Neanderthal also ate edible gray shag mushrooms, the analysis showed.

In contrast, the Neanderthals from the cave in El Sidrón were largely vegetarian. Their dental calculus (hardened plaque) indicated that they ate edible mushrooms, pine nuts, moss and poplar, likely foraged from the surrounding forest, the researchers said. Moreover, the calculus also showed evidence of fungal pathogens, suggesting that the El Sidrón Neanderthals might have munched on mold, the researchers said.

The findings show “quite different lifestyles” between the El Sidrón and Spy Cave groups, study senior researcher Alan Cooper, director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA at The University of Adelaide in Australia, said in a statement.


One of the Neanderthals at El Sidrón wasn’t in good health: The hominin had a dental abscess (a painful tooth infection) and a diarrhea-causing intestinal parasite. However, the individual was self-medicating, the dental plaque analysis indicated.

The individual’s plaque showed evidence of poplar — a tree that contains the natural painkiller salicylic acid, aspirin’s active ingredient — as well as DNA sequences of a natural antibiotic found in mold, the researchers found.

“Apparently, Neanderthals possessed a good knowledge of medicinal plants and their various anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, and seem to be self-medicating,” Cooper said. “The use of antibiotics would be very surprising, as this is more than 40,000 years before we developed penicillin. Certainly our findings contrast markedly with the rather simplistic view of our ancient relatives in popular imagination.”

The scientists also examined the Neanderthals’ mouth bacteria, known as the oral microbiome, and compared the results with oral bacteria from other groups. The oral microbiome of the El Sidrón Neanderthals was more similar to that of chimpanzees and foraging human ancestors from Africa, while the Spy Cave Neanderthals’ mouth bacteria looked more like those from early hunters and gatherers and modern humans, the researchers found.

“Not only can we now access direct evidence of what our ancestors were eating, but differences in diet and lifestyle also seem to be reflected in the commensal bacteria that lived in the mouths of both Neanderthals and modern humans,” study co-author Keith Dobney, a professor of human paleoecology at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom. [Microbiome: 5 Surprising Facts About the Microbes Within Us]

In addition, one of the El Sidrón individuals had the near-complete genome of Methanobrevibacter oralis, an oral bacterium that causes cavities and gum disease. At 48,000 years old, the specimen is the oldest draft microbial genome on record, the researchers said.

M. oralis also infects modern humans, and its presence in the Neanderthal suggests that the two hominins were swapping pathogens as recently as 180,000 years ago, long after Neanderthals and humans diverged as separate species, the researchers said.

The study was published online March 8 in the journal Nature.

Original article on Live Science.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/neanderthals-munched-on-aspirin-and-woolly-rhinos_us_58c98e0fe4b0cb7d28ce6703

A Child’s First Dentist Visit

There is always debate on when a child should first see a dentist. Some say as early as one while others say after all baby teeth are in. Either way, it is up to parents as to when they want to make the appointment. Learn some pointers for making your child’s first dentist appointment and what to expect in the article below.

When Should My Child First See a Dentist?

Your child’s first visit to the dentist should happen before his or her first birthday. The general rule is six months after eruption of the first tooth. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, and can help parents learn how to clean their child’s teeth and identify his or her fluoride needs. After all, decay can occur as soon as teeth appear. Bringing your child to the dentist early often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits and acclimates your child to the dental office, thereby reducing anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future.

How do I prepare my child and myself for the visit?

Before the visit, ask the dentist about the procedures of the first appointment so there are no surprises. Plan a course of action for either reaction your child may exhibit ? cooperative or non- cooperative. Very young children may be fussy and not sit still. Talk to your child about what to expect, and build excitement as well as understanding about the upcoming visit. Bring with you to the appointment any records of your child’s complete medical history.

What will happen on the first visit?

Many first visits are nothing more than introductory icebreakers to acquaint your child with the dentist and the practice. If your child is frightened, uncomfortable or non-cooperative, a rescheduling may be necessary. Patience and calm on the part of the parent and reassuring communication with your child are very important in these instances. Short, successive visits are meant to build the child’s trust in the dentist and the dental office, and can prove invaluable if your child needs to be treated later for any dental problem.

Child appointments should always be scheduled earlier in the day, when your child is alert and fresh. For children under 36 months, the parent may need to sit in the dental chair and hold the child during the examination. Or, parents may be asked to wait in the reception area so a relationship can be built between your child and the dentist.

If the child is compliant, the first session often lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and may include the following, depending on age:

  • A gentle but thorough examination of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissues to monitor growth and development and observe any problem areas
  • If indicated, a gentle cleaning, which includes polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar buildup or stains
  • X-rays
  • A demonstration on proper home cleaning
  • Assessment of the need for fluoride

The dentist should be able to answer any questions you have and try to make you and your child feel comfortable throughout the visit. The entire dental team should provide a relaxed, non-threatening environment for your child.

When should the next visit be?

Children, like adults, should see the dentist every six months. Some dentists may schedule interim visits for every three months when the child is very young to build up a comfort and confidence level or to treat a developing problem.

How do I find a good dentist for my child?

Many general dentists treat children. If yours does not, ask for a referral to a good dentist in your area. A word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend or family member can also yield the name of a quality dentist.

Parents typically provide oral hygiene care until the child is old enough to take personal responsibility for the daily dental health routine of brushing and flossing. A proper regimen of preventive home care is important from the day your child is born.

  • Clean your infant’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding.
  • As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush andwater.  If you are considering using toothpaste before your child’s second birthday, ask your dentist first.
  • To avoid baby bottle tooth decay and teeth misalignment due to sucking, try to wean your child off of the breast and bottle by one year of age, and monitor excessive sucking of pacifiers, fingers and thumbs. Never give your child a bottle of milk, juice or sweetened liquid as a pacifier at naptime or bedtime.
  • Help a young child brush at night, the most important time to brush, due to lower salivary flow and higher susceptibility to cavities. Perhaps let the child brush their teeth first to build self-confidence, then the parent can follow up to ensure that all plaque is removed. Usually by age 5 or so, the child can learn to brush his or her own teeth with proper parental instruction.
  • The best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene.

Updated: January 2007

Source: http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=C&iid=296&aid=1186

“Spinach Teeth” Is Real

Have you ever eaten spinach and felt like your teeth had a funny feeling to them? Well it turns out that there is actually a reason for that. The article below from The Huffington Post describes the science behind it. Spinach is a good source of nutrients and it easy to eat with braces so don’t be alarmed! Read more about this:

There’s one thing we don’t love about spinach, and that’s the strange, chalky feeling it leaves on your teeth after you eat a salad made with this leafy green. 

If you’ve ever wondered what that sensation is, know that it’s not just you. “Spinach teeth” is a real thing, and it is a result of the high quantities of oxalic acid found in this leafy green.

Oxalic acid is a naturally occurring chemical found in plants ? but spinach tends to have higher amounts of it. Oxalic acid is referred to as a antinutrient, because it can bond with minerals and block the body’s ability to absorb those nutrients. In the case of spinach, that nutrient is calcium. 

Jennifer Moltoni –– administrative coordinator at the Department of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine ? told Chowhound that when you chew spinach, the calcium in your saliva combines with the oxalic acid, and then calcium oxalate crystals are created. It is those crystals that stick to your teeth and make it feel gritty. 

“It’s almost like tiny crystals are floating around in your mouth, so that’s what gives it that unusual feeling and texture,” Jim Correll, professor of plant and pathology from Arkansas University, explained to Live Science. And that’s all that feeling is. 

There isn’t anything you can do to minimize that feeling, so just accept it and eat all the spinach you want. (Unless of course you have a tendency to form kidney stones. If that’s the case, talk to your doctor because it’s best to avoid a diet rich in oxalic acids.) 

Now that you know embrace the green with these recipes below:

  • Half Baked Harvest

  • How Sweet It Is

  • Half Baked Harvest

  • How Sweet It Is

  • Half Baked Harvest

  • How Sweet It Is

  • Naturally Ella

  • Naturally Ella

  • Naturally Ella

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/weird-spinach-teeth_us_58c74500e4b0598c66992f97