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Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

Many of us have bad habits that may seem harmless. One of those habits is chewing on ice cubes. You may believe this habit is relatively harmless since ice is just water. However,  the impact of chewing that ice can be devastating to your dental health.  Below are a few of the top reasons why.

Reasons Why Chewing Ice Cubes Harms Your Dental Health

-Increased Pressure On Your Teeth. Our teeth are made up of an outer layer called enamel. This layer is extremely hard and not very flexible. Chewing on an ice cube can wear down the enamel over time or chip and fracture your teeth.

-Chewing Ice Causes A Constant Hot and Cold Change. These sudden and extreme changes in temperature can cause micro cracks in your enamel. Also, your tooth’s enamel expands at a different rate than fillings.  If you have a composite (white) filling, it will expand and contract much faster than the tooth when exposed to hot and cold temperatures.  This could possibly lead to a breakdown of the seal between the tooth and the dental restoration and may shorten the life of the restoration possibly leading to tooth decay, root canal therapy, or even tooth loss.

-Beware Of Chewing Ice With Orthodontic Braces. Chewing ice cubes might break off an orthodontic bracket or move a wire. This can set back your orthodontic treatment until the issue is resolved by your orthodontist. It can also lead to oral trauma.

-Oral Tissue Trauma. Ice chunks are hard and some can be pretty sharp.

Why Does An Ice Chewing Habit Develop?

Any habit can be caused by a variety of reasons. For ice chewing, it could be a sign of stress or a more serious medical condition. Research has shown chewing ice ( also called pagophagia) is often associated with iron deficiency anemia, although the exact reason is unclear. At least one study indicates that ice chewing might increase alertness in people with iron deficiency anemia.

Odds are you are just chewing on ice cubes because you are bored and still sitting at the table after you have finished your food.  There are also some people who just like chewing ice.

Healthier Options To Beat Ice Chewing Habit

Once you find out why you are chewing ice cubes or chips, you can try to do something to treat the cause of your ice chewing habit.  For example, if stress or social anxiety causes you to chew ice, learn some new techniques to handle these stressful feelings differently.

If you just like chewing ice because of the crunchy noise or the satisfying feeling of chewing through something hard, you can try eating something crunchy, like carrots or apples.

Conclusion

A better option instead of chewing ice cubes is to simply suck on them instead. This can still cause extreme temperature changes in your mouth which could shorten the life of your dental restorations, it is much better to suck on ice than it is to chew on it. If you develop any abnormal sensitivity and are an ice chewer consult your dentist to ensure there is no permanent damage to your teeth.

Thumb sucking begins before birth and is a natural habit for many babies. Unfortunately, if allowed to continue it can have serious developmental effects on your baby. These effects can include misalignment of teeth and facial features, speech issues, and eating issues. Once the habit gets past a certain age it can be very difficult to break without hard work and diligence by both parent and child. It is important to note that thumb sucking is quite normal and a natural reflex for many children.

Top Tips For Thumb Sucking

-Do Not Encourage thumb sucking or pacifiers. Most parents do not like hearing their babies cry so if the thumg sucking or pacifier is able to soothe them it might be a good choice to calm the baby. However, it is important to remember the long term issues that can arise from this behavior. Choose a different option like holding the baby close to stop them from crying or sing a song to them.

-Pacifiers Are Better Than Thumbs For Sucking. A baby who sucks on a pacifier will exert less force against the teeth. This can limit long term effects but still not eliminate them. Another advantage of pacifier use is that they can be taken away and limit the time the baby has them. This is especially effective for babies learning to speak. If they are walking around with a pacifier all day they will learn to talk with it in their mouth. This will cause speech issues going forward.

-Do Not Dip Pacifier In Honey Or Something Sweet. This may soothe the baby but it will cause tooth decay and create havoc for a babies dental health.

-Try To Stop Thumb Sucking By Age 2. Once a child reaches the age of 2 the thunmb sucking habit becomes more emotional than a natural reflex. If the habit continues past age 2 it becomes very difficult to break.

-Keep Positive. The breaking of the thumb sucking habit will not happen overnight and will take time. Use positive reinforcement and make sure child is ready for the change. It is a part of the emotional and psychological development of a child. Whatever you do, do not turn it into a confrontation. You cannot force a child who is not ready to break the habit. Positive reinforcement can include the following:

1. Positive reward system. Keep a chart, use a favorite gift or treat to reward them.

2. Use a band aid or ribbon as a reminder.

3. Attach a sock with a few stitches to a pajama sleeve to help keep thumbs and fingers out of the mouth during sleep time.

4. If certain times of day are more prevalent make sure to keep them distracted during that time.

Thumb Sucking Conclusion

 Breaking the thumb sucking habit requires patience and discipline. It will not be an easy process for most. For the sake of your child’s development it is imperative you stop before it causes any damage. The long term benefits will outweigh the short term stress for you and your child.

Most of us have had the occasional headache or neck ache. It comes with the stresses of the world we live in. We often overlook our teeth as a possible cause of headaches, but it should not be ruled out. The forces we each use, all day long, day after day, when eating, chewing, and talking can wreak havoc on us for many reasons. The alignment of teeth, the anatomy of the TMJ, tooth decay, bad habits such as clenching and grinding, etc. can all be causes of dental related headaches. Millions of people suffer from head and neck pain, and migraines due to issues with their teeth.

Where Does The Dentist Come In?

Your teeth, joints, muscles, and nerves all work together in the proper alignment and functioning of your jaw. When any part of this delicate balance is abused or neglected, painful conditions such as TMD, occlusal problems, and other serious dental health issues can develop. When our muscles are overworked or overstretched due to bite issues the muscles become sore and irritated. Studies have shown that about 3/4′s of all headaches are due to our bite. The pain and discomfort will vary from person to person but in many it can be life changing. Not only do the teeth need to be properly aligned but so do the surrounding muscles of the head and neck.

Head and Neck pain (as well as migraine headaches) can lead to the following symptoms:

-Poor sleep.

-Depression.

-Fatigue.

-Pain and discomfort.

-Sleep Apnea and Snoring.

Many of these issues can be avoided with a proper diagnosis of dental issues. In many cases, your dentist can make simple adjustments to dramatically improve your situation. In others, more extensive treatment may be needed.

Common Dental Treatment For Headaches

-Adjustment Of Teeth. Changing the direction, size, and position of slopes in the teeth will help correct and balance the bite. This is the simplest way to relieve the pressure on our muscles and can be achieved in a short dental visit.

-Replacing Lost Teeth. Missing teeth may be one reason for causing imbalances in the muscles and teeth. If this happens, dental crowns, dental implants, and removable dentures will help maintain proper balance.

-Opening the Bite. Loss of vertical height due to grinding, can cause TMJ misalignment and painful headaches. Restoring teeth to their proper height with crowns can give the relief needed.

-Occlusal guards. These can be fabricated out of many combinations of materials to relieve many different dental issues. Grinding, clenching, TMJ decompression, etc. These can remove and dissipate painful forces which result in chronic headaches.

-Medication. While certain drugs can be prescribed to bring about temporary relief, it is necessary to discover and address the root cause of the headaches. Muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory medications can help break the cycle of pain, hormone replacement therapy also provides relief in some women. Unfortunately, use of pharmaceuticals is a temporary measure and will not be a long term cure.

-Alternative Therapy. This can include acupuncture, chiropractics, change in diet, meditation, and exercise. Putting less strain on the TMJ can help relieve joint pain, just like with any other joint. Adopting a soft diet for a short time may be helpful for some patients. Corrective exercises and applying external heat can also bring relief from the pain.

Headaches Conclusion

The dental component of headaches is often overlooked. Many people often ignore dental issues when having headache issues but it can be a big mistake. If your dental condition is assessed and treated early enough, it can prevent further issues from developing. TMJ disorders, tooth damage, and even bone and gum recession need to be addressed early to avoid pain and headaches. Be smart about your health and do not ignore the warning signs. A simple problem can develop into a far more complex one over time.

Most people tend to focus on teeth and not the big picture. They see flaws in their smile and want them corrected but many often overlook the lips which frame our smiles. Our lips take a lot of abuse every day. From the wind, the sun, and our own bad habits. Did you know that our lips have no natural protections from the elements like other parts of our body? Our lips have no sweat or oil glands and to make matters worse we often neglect their care. Most of us are not careful enough to protect our lips from exposure to the Herpes virus, which affects the lips with painful blistering sores. By age 50, almost 90% of Americans have been exposed to herpes simplex 1 or 2, the viruses that cause cold sores

Harmful habits

We are often our own worst enemy when it comes to our body. Some habits that are harmful to our lips include:

-Constantly licking or biting our lips – Licking our lips cools and moisturizes them for a short period. Once they dry out, they become even drier than before. On top of that the enzymes in your mouth are also too harsh for your lips. Biting is usually a nervous habit which can cause a large fibrous nodule to form in the lip, or expose us to more bacteria by leaving a chronic open wound on the mouth.

-Kissing, and sharing lip products.- Herpes of the lips is usually transferred via kissing an infected person or using their lip product on your lips. Never kiss anyone with sores on their lips, even if it is almost gone! Never borrow lipstick or chapstick from anyone! Children can have a terrible outbreak from being exposed to herpes the first time. Many people don’t realize they are still contagious when their sore is almost gone and will kiss you or your child without thinking twice, you need to keep your eyes open!

-Smoking- smoking chronically irritates lip tissue, and can even stain the lips with nicotine.

-Open Mouth Breathing – Breathing through our mouths dries our lips out even more as the air travels in and out of our mouths. Whereas nose breathing will stop that dry air from drying our lips.

-Picking- Peeling or picking the chapping skin on your lips can lead to more damage and bleeding. Moisturize your peeling, chapped lips well with vaseline. You will be surprised at how fast they heal when kept moist.

-Piercings- lip piercings tend to cause increased saliva, lip licking, and lip biting. This leads to chronically irritated lips.

 Tips To Care For Lips

Choose A Nutritious Diet – Our skin as well as our lips are very dependent on what we eat. Our skin reacts differently to greasy foods vs healthy nutritious ones. Your lips need a continuous intake of vitamins and minerals to stay soft and supple. Vitamins that are important for healthy lips and skin include Vitamin B and Vitamin E. Drinking plenty of water is also very important, because when we are dry we tend to lick our lips more.

-Use The Right Lip Moisturizer – Products containing petroleum jelly, beeswax, paraffin, and some sun protection are the most effective. These ingredients do the best job sealing our lips keeping moisture in. In extreme irritations, aloe vera is a great ingredient to look for as well. This is an effective product since it is also has the ability to heal sensitive sunburns. Many people overlook their lips when putting sunscreen on. The lips can burn just like any other part of our skin. Be on the lookout for ingredients like salicylic acid or menthol. They can end up drying your lips out even more.

Lip Enhancements

-Lipstick - Beauty experts say the trick is to select a cool toned lipstick with blue undertones that will counteract the yellowing of our teeth. This will make your teeth appear instantly whiter in contrast against the lipstick. Seemingly, instant teeth whitening. Lipstick tips include:

Choose a contrasting lip color.

Choose lipsticks with blue undertone shades, such as bright pinks and reds.

Experiment with bronzing.

Save the gold tones for your eyelids and avoid gold tones near your lips or teeth.

-Surgical – This type of enhancement includes the use of implants to make the lips fuller. Another is lip shortening, when the lip appears to be too long.

-Injections – The use of dermal fillers (like collagen, Restylen, or Juvederm) give the ability to change lip fullness on a temporary basis. Beware this technique is very dependent on the skill of the injector. These injections normally last from between 4 months and a year. Botox is also used to deaden the lip and help with a gummy smile.

Conclusion

Our lips are an important part of our smiles and should be treated and cared for properly too. A set of healthy, full lips will make our teeth stand out even more. Follow proper care and you will have something to smile about!.