Chewing Gum

Reasons And Risks of Chewing Gum Often

People chew gum for a variety of reasons. For some chewing gum is the alternative to a breath freshener, tooth-brushing or a mouthwash to rid our breath of that nasty food odor. Sometimes, we chew gum to avoid cravings, and sometimes we’re just feeling uncomfortable or stressed, so we reach for a piece of gum. This habit is doing more bad than good, and here’s what gum chewing can do to our health.

Gum chewing habitually may negatively impacts dental health. Chewing gum is usually loaded with sugar which harmful bacteria digest to turn to acid destroying enamel. The prolonged contact of these sugars with your teeth increases the amount of plaque buildup and cause tooth decay to occur over time.

Chewing gum during times of high stress can cause TMJ dysfunction. The temporomandibular joint, which joins your jaw and its muscles to the rest of the skull will hurt every time you try to move your jaw away from its typical closed alignment. It will be painful to chew, or even yawn, and everything else related to moving your mouth and jaw.

There is constant compression in your jaw from excessive chewing and, aside from causing TMJ disorders, it also increases the number of tension headaches you experience and their frequency. It’s worse if you already have frequent migraines and headaches caused by other situations.

Though chewing gum can relieve nausea or an upset stomach, it can make these unpleasant symptoms worse. People may not realize it but when you chew gum, you swallow a bunch of little sips of air over time, filling your stomach with gas. All the more will your stomach bloat and make your tummy feel even more distended than before. Your indigestion problems will get worse.

Sugarless gum might be better due to its low caloric content, but not for those who have sensitive stomach issues or digestive problems. The artificial sweeteners in gum are sugar alcohols that behave like laxatives, causing cramping, digestive distress and even diarrhea. Those with irritable bowel syndrome (or IBS) are advised not to take products that contain a significant amount of sugar alcohols, not just chewing gum.

Many chew gum to curb their weight or to avoid snacking, but unbeknownst to most, the brain is led to thinking that the body actually is hungry because of the constant chewing motion. This might lead you to crave more and eat more. Also, the mint gum flavor makes you crave for junk foods rather than healthy options. It’s not the best dieting plan.

Ask Dr. Jaime Lee

We’ve got better advice for you other than chewing gum for optimal gum health over here at our office in downtown Seattle. See us at Smile Art for a consultation and learn more.

Tooth Brushing Mistakes

7 Mistakes You Might Be Making

You’re not brushing long enough. The ADA recommends brushing for two minutes, but many fall short and don’t even realize it. Our perception of how long we’re brushing is not very accurate. Take out the guesswork and use an electric toothbrush that beeps at reaching two minutes, or use a timer.

You might be brushing too hard. When you press hard against your teeth and gums, you feel that you’re really getting the teeth clean, but it can do harm. The point of brushing is to remove plaque which is sticky but also soft. Pushing too hard can over-stress the gum tissue and cause it to recede, exposing part of the tooth’s root. It can become sensitive to hot and cold, and be more susceptible to cavities than the hard enamel part of the tooth.

You’re brushing at the wrong angle. Brushing straight across isn’t the best way to brush. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle—upward for your top teeth and downward for your bottom teeth—so the bristles can sweep and clean under the gum line. Gently brush your teeth in small circles. If you’re using an electric sonic toothbrush, you don’t need to angle the brush to 45 degrees or make circles. They’re designed to go straight on the tooth and you just hold it there for a few seconds.

Your toothbrush bristles are too firm. Drug store toothbrushes are often too harsh for your teeth and gums, so most dentists don’t recommend them. Instead, choose soft or ultra-soft bristles that can gently get down under the gum line. Hard and medium brushes don’t get under the gumline and can actually cause abrasions on the gum.

Your toothbrush head is too big. It should fit your mouth comfortably – and in most cases, smaller is better. Unless you have a large mouth, compact brush heads do a better job of helping you access hard-to-reach and hard-to-see molars.

You haven’t changed your toothbrush in a year. Bristles become splayed out, bent, and curved over time so when you angle your brush to 45 degrees, they no longer point in the right direction. The bristles turn softer and stop working as effectively. You must change your toothbrush every three months.

You don’t floss regularly. It is recommended to floss at least once daily, but most do not floss. Brushing alone is not enough, it reaches a little between teeth, and not removing all of the plaque. That’s where flossing come in.

Doing It Right in Downtown Seattle

Know more about the correct way of tooth-brushing, and flossing, as well, when you visit Smile Art in Seattle. Don’t put yourself at risk.

What Purpose Do Wisdom Teeth Have?

Smart Wisdom Tooth Facts

What is wisdom teeth for anyway? And why do most dentists recommend them for extraction? Find out here as we gather interesting information about these troublesome third molars.
Wisdom teeth haven’t served any purpose for hundreds of thousands of years. Unlike prehistoric man, today’s humans prefer softer foods, and besides our cooking and eating tools make it possible that we don’t anymore use our wisdom teeth.

The number of wisdom teeth varies from person to person. Genetic factors might determine the number of wisdom teeth that a person has, like jaw size. This variation can be attributed to a random genetic mutation, thereby preventing the formation of wisdom teeth. This mutation is more prevalent in certain populations.

In most cases, wisdom teeth erupt when in the late teens or early twenties, but there’s the phenomenon of isolated cases of wisdom tooth erupting later in age. The oldest known case of an impacted tooth was found in the skeleton of a 25-35 year-old woman who died some 15,000 years ago. This case cast doubt on the theory that impacted teeth are a modern ailment, caused by recent changes in our dietary habits.

Wisdom tooth, in English, conveys the idea that third molars come in later than other teeth, when one is older and supposedly wiser. In Korean, third molars translates to “love teeth,” because they erupt around the time when teens or those in their 20s typically experience their first love. In Japanese, wisdom tooth is creatively called oyashirazu, or “unknown to parents,” since most people have already moved away from home by the time their wisdom teeth come in.

Although still in the experimental phase, scientists are studying dental stem cells, discovered in 2003, to see if they can potentially be used to repair and regenerate tissue. There are studies with dental pulp cells being used to treat neurological disorders and problems in the eye and others.

Being Smart with Wisdom Teeth in Seattle

If your wisdom tooth is giving you problems or pain, make an appointment at Smile Art in downtown Seattle for consultation. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of of a problematic wisdom tooth.