Have you ever bitten your tongue and then thought to yourself, “How did that happen? Am I resting my tongue in the wrong place?” The truth is, about 50% of Americans have something called improper tongue posture or positioning. That’s right, there is, in fact, a correct place to rest your tongue. But where exactly should the tongue rest? Should it relax at the bottom of your mouth? Or the top? Maybe it’s between the teeth. Let’s check in with your dentist in Sparks to find out.
What is Tongue Positioning?
Tongue positioning and tongue posture are interchangeable terms used to describe the positioning of our tongues while at rest. Even though this may sound silly, there is such a thing as good tongue positioning and bad tongue positioning, and the truth is, bad tongue positioning can affect oral health as well as other parts of the body.
Why is Bad Tongue Positioning Bad?
Do you remember the song that goes, “the leg bone is connected to the knee bone?” Well, our tongues are kind of like that. You see, tongues are super strong muscles that impact several areas of our bodies, including our mouths, eyes, noses, heads, necks, and shoulders. Knowing this, it probably comes as no surprise that if we don’t have proper tongue positioning, it can cause trouble in these other areas of our bodies. Improper tongue posture can contribute or lead to:
- Sleep Apnea
- Problems with Vision
- Bad Body Posture
- Tooth Damage
What is Proper Tongue Positioning?
So, what exactly is proper tongue positioning? Simply put, proper tongue positioning occurs when someone gently rests their tongue on the roof of the mouth and away from the teeth. During rest, the lips should also be closed, and the teeth slightly parted. Practicing proper tongue positioning can help protect teeth from shifting and can improve sleep, decrease neck and jaw pain, and reduce the number or intensity of headaches.
What is Bad Tongue Positioning?
Your dentist in Sparks will tell you that if you rest your tongue on the bottom of your mouth or up against your teeth that you have bad tongue positioning. Besides the concerns listed above, putting repeated pressure on the back of teeth can cause them to shift, become crowded, or even result in tooth grinding and decay. Additionally, resting your tongue on the bottom of your mouth can cause increased neck pain, jaw pain, and even change the way someone looks. Go ahead and try something for us. Rest your tongue up on the roof of your mouth, then move it down to the bottom of the mouth. You should notice an obvious shift in your chin, neck, and head. Now, if the tongue is rested on the lower mouth over several years, it can create a longer, flatter face shape or cause the chin or forehead to jut forward permanently.
How to Fix Bad Tongue Positioning
The good news is you can work to improve your resting tongue positioning by first becoming more aware of where your tongue falls at rest. If you notice that your tongue is falling to the bottom of the mouth or is pushing up against your teeth, focus on consciously changing its position. Keep in mind, permanently changing your tongue positioning can take time and practice, so be patient.
Of course, if you have concerns about your tongue positioning and how it may be affecting your oral and overall health, talk with your dentist in Sparks.
Almost all of us have experienced the annoyance and pain associated with tooth sensitivity. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry estimates that 40 million American adults have sensitive teeth. That’s quite a lot of people who suffer from those unexpected zings of nerve pain every day. So many, in fact, that your dentist in Sparks wants to talk all about sensitive teeth in this week’s blog.
Top Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
What exactly is going on when our teeth feel sensitive? Tooth sensitivity is ultimately caused by enamel erosion, which can leave the inner workings of the teeth, including the nerves, exposed to the elements. However, there are a variety of things that can cause enamel erosion, which makes each situation of sensitive teeth unique to the individual. Let’s take a look at some of the top causes of enamel erosion and, therefore, sensitivity.
Brushing Too Hard – Even though it’s important to brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day, it’s equally important to do so properly. Many patients think that the harder they brush the cleaner their teeth will get. But that’s just not the case. Scrubbing too hard can damage that important protective layer of enamel and cause sensitivity.
Grinding Your Teeth – Similarly to brushing too hard, grinding your teeth puts a lot of pressure on the enamel and can easily wear it away. Tooth grinding can also cause chips or cracks to occur which can also increase the likelihood of someone experiencing sensitive teeth.
Gum Disease – A lot, if not most, tooth sensitivity starts and occurs at the gum line. When plaque buildup is not removed and good oral hygiene is not maintained, bacteria get up under the gums which, if not treated, will lead to gum disease. Gum disease can most definitely cause sensitivity and other problems.
How to Treat Tooth Sensitivity
It’s important to note that sensitive teeth aren’t something you should treat at home long term. You should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Sparks to find the best treatment for your sensitive teeth. However, there are things you can do to help reduce sensitivity or avoid it in the first place.
Easy on the Hot and Cold Foods
Many times tooth sensitivity is made worse when exposed to hot or cold foods or drinks. We encourage you to try to avoid foods or drinks at these extreme temperatures to help keep sensitivity at bay. Also, another surprising culprit is acidic foods and drinks. Enjoy these in moderation and avoid them if you find they make your sensitivity worse.
Brush With a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush
Everyone should be using a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush their teeth as they’re easier on tooth enamel. Stiffer bristles can easily damage enamel and contribute to sensitivity.
Pick Toothpaste for Sensitivity
Consider switching your toothpaste to one specially formulated for sensitive teeth. Be sure to look for one that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. This means the product has been tested and its advertising claims validated.
Tooth sensitivity is nothing to take lightly, and nobody should have to live with the surprising zaps of pain or avoid their favorite foods long-term. If you have sensitive teeth, call your dentist in Sparks to schedule an appointment today.
Re-posted with the permission of Perio Protect.
The connection between your brain and your mouth is not something we often think about, unless maybe you catch yourself saying something without thinking. But the health of our mouth is also important to our brain. Recent studies have shown the connection between the health of our gums and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is marked by a sticky compound that accumulates in the brain called “beta-amyloid.” Many scientists believe that build-up of this substance interferes with brain function, eventually killing neurons and brain cells permanently.
Researchers are studying the associations between oral bacteria, inflammation and the formation of beta amyloid. They are trying to determine if people with severe gum disease are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. And another study showed that people who already had AD experienced a six fold increase in cognitive decline when they had periodontal disease. The oral bacteria in unhealthy gums causes inflammation that may contribute to arterial and cognitive decline.
This isn’t to say that periodontal disease causes dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but that health gums contribute to healthy brains. For good mental health, you should also maintain a healthy weight, keep cholesterol, blood sugar and high blood pressure in check, avoid nicotine, stay active, treat depression, eat a healthy diet, and stay socially engaged.
But studies show that your oral health plays a significant role as well. That’s where we can help.
We prescribe Perio Protect to help treat periodontal disease, with results reducing infection and inflammation in as little as three weeks. The easy-to-use, at-home Perio Trays® comfortably deliver hydrogen peroxide deep below the gum line. It’s easy, effective, and can help keep you in better overall health. Both today and down the road.
In addition to regular trips to your dentist to keep your teeth and gums free of disease, you should always consult your primary care physician for matters of overall health and have regular physical exams. Especially if you have a family history of dementia.