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Tense jaw muscles occur for many reasons. Some people unconsciously clench their jaws during times of stress or tension, while others suffer from conditions known as TMJ disorders, disorders of the temporomandibular joint. TMJ disorders occur mainly because of teeth grinding, jaw clenching, jaw injury and arthritis. Certain exercises can help alleviate some of your symptoms by relaxing your jaw muscles.
The progressive relaxation exercise helps alleviate overcontraction of your jaw muscles. Clench your jaw as tightly as possible for a few seconds and then allow your jaw to fall open. Press your hand underneath your chin to provide gentle resistance as you open your jaw, then relax your jaw again. Next, move your jaw to the right, then relax. Move your jaw to the left, then relax. Finally, clench your jaw as tightly as possible, then relax your jaw muscles completely.
This exercise helps to fully stretch your masticatory muscles, the muscles in your jaw responsible for chewing and grinding. Massage your jaw muscles with your fingertips using small, circular motions. Next, open your mouth as wide as you can without pain or discomfort. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then release and relax your jaw. Perform 10 repetitions.
You can’t see them, feel them or taste them, but your mouth is home to entire colonies of microorganisms. While most of these tiny oral bacteria do us no harm, there are other species in the mix that are disease causing and can affect our health and need to be controlled with a healthy diet, good oral care practices and regular visits to your dentist.
Over 700 different strains of bacteria have been detected in the human mouth, though most people are only host to 34 to 72 different varieties. Most of these bacterial species appear to be harmless when it comes to our health. Others, known as probiotics, are beneficial bacteria that aid in the digestion of foods. Other bacteria actually protect our teeth and gums. There are some bacteria, however, that we’d rather do without, since they cause tooth decay and gum disease.
The Two Most Common Harmful Bacteria
Streptococcus mutans is the bacteria you’ve probably heard the most about. It lives in your mouth and feeds on the sugars and starches that you eat. That alone wouldn’t be so bad, but as a by-product of its ravenous appetite, it produces enamel-eroding acids, which make streptococcus mutans the main cause of tooth decay in humans.
Porphyromonas gingivalis is usually not present in a healthy mouth, but when it does appear, it has been strongly linked to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious and progressive disease that effects the tissues and the alveolar bone that support the teeth. It is not a disease to be taken lightly. It can cause significant dental pain, and can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Once you’ve got a strain of oral bacteria, you’re not likely to rid yourself of it. The good news is that you can manage and control the bacteria in your mouth with good oral care. Brushing after meals and flossing at least once per day can remove the source of food for harmful bacteria, which can keep them from reproducing in your mouth. Antibacterial mouthwash can also be used to keep your oral flora from taking over.
Your diet also plays a role in managing bacteria. Avoiding sugary and starchy foods, especially when you don’t have access to a toothbrush, helps constrain bacterial growth. Also, eating foods that are known to promote healthy bacteria will help you keep your teeth and mouth healthy for a lifetime.
What to Expect During Childhood
A wisdom tooth or third molar is one of the three molars per quadrant of the human dentition. It is the most posterior (most distal) of the three. Wisdom teeth generally erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. Most adults have four wisdom teeth (a third molar in each of the four quadrants), but it is possible to have fewer or more, in which case the extras are called supernumerary teeth. Wisdom teeth commonly affect other teeth as they develop, becoming impacted or “coming in sideways”. They are often extracted when this occurs.
Calcium is a key component for building strong bones, as you probably know, and milk products are loaded with it. In fact, just 1 cup of milk provides almost 300 milligrams of calcium. But that’s not all; dairy products keep your teeth as healthy as your bones throughout your life. So, is milk good for your teeth? The answer is a resounding yes, and here’s why.
Smiling slows the heart and relaxes the body. This lets the heart work without overworking. People who smile and laugh often are less likely to develop heart disease. Smiling also temporarily reduces blood pressure.
Stress is a common problem in the modern world that causes a myriad of health problems. Stress relief may be as simple as smiling a little more throughout the day. Smiling releases endorphins that counteract and diminish the stress hormones
Calcium helps protect your teeth against gum (periodontal) disease and keeps your jaw bone strong and healthy.
Since women are more likely to get gum disease if they don’t absorb enough calcium from their daily diet, it’s especially important for everyone to eat and drink plenty of calcium–rich foods.
Drinking 1% low–fat or nonfat (skim) milk will help you gain the most nutrients without the extra artery–clogging fat of 2% or whole milk.