CAFFEINE AND THE DENTAL PATIENT

 

Caffeine is a natural and legal psychoactive drug that stimulates your brain and behavior. The effects depend on the personality of the user, on the immediate environment, and even the time of day.

Caffeine comes in many forms but the effects are all the same. When you consume caffeine, the drug begins its effects by initiating uncontrolled neuron firing in your brain. This excess neuron firing triggers your pituitary gland to release adrenaline. Adrenaline is responsible for our “Fight or Flight” response. This response is primarily used to escape immediate dangers and is thus useless while you’re just sitting at your desk. When this adrenal high wears off later, you feel the drop in terms of fatigue, irritability, headache and confusion.

At this point you may reach for another “hit” of caffeine, constantly keeping your body in a “Fight or Flight” mode. By constantly keeping your body on alert you become depleted of adrenaline. This is characterized by fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, sleep disturbance, irritability, decreased tolerance to stress and depression.

Caffeine acts as a temporary stimulant that offers a physical and mental energy boost. Too much, however, can have ever lasting effects on your teeth and jaw.

Caffeine is a muscle contracture drug and can make your muscles tighter. It also causes you to subconsciously clench your jaw, leading to TMJ pain, temporal headaches and masseter muscle soreness. This clenching can also lead to fractures of the teeth, nerve damage, hot and cold sensitivity, gum recession and bone loss around the tooth. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your dentist. He/she can help you manage your symptoms and help educate you on the cause and effects of caffeine and your teeth.

Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee in the morning, you can do your body a big favor by eating a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. A healthy diet will keep you energetic all day.

 

SLEEPING WITH BRUXISM…

Teeth grinding is clinically referred to as Bruxism. This is the act of consciously or unconsciously clenching/grinding your teeth, especially at night while you are sleeping. Bruxism could disrupt your sleep as well as your companions.

For all intensive purposes, almost everybody clenches his or her teeth. The problem lies in the intensity at which you clench. Severe bruxism can generate an incredible amount of force, causing damage to the teeth and surrounding muscles.

The cause of bruxism is not completely understood, however, it typically is related to stress and/or mal-alignment of the teeth. In any case, it is important that this health condition not be ignored.

The forces of bruxism have been known to cause:
• A wearing down of the teeth, making the teeth appear shorter and more flat. The teeth are also at a greater risk of being broken.
• Small fractures occur in the teeth and eventually cause the teeth to break. These teeth may require a root canal.
• Sensitivity is a common result of bruxism usually resulting in a soreness and/or cold sensitivity.
• Receding gums are the result of the tooth flexing, causing the gum to pull away from the tooth and exposing the root surface. This can cause sensitivity as well as, wearing away of the exposed root surface from brushing and continued bruxism.
• Sore Muscles can occur especially in the cheek and temple area when these two muscles are overused, as with grinding the teeth.
• TMJ problems are related to jaw joint pain and sore jaw muscles. In severe cases, the jaw joint may become overloaded and the resulting problem may lead to surgical intervention.

If you feel you suffer from bruxism early diagnosis of the problem will minimize long-term damage to the teeth and jaws. Currently, the most common treatment against bruxism is a custom-made mouth-guard that is worn during your sleep to prevent unconscious teeth grinding. Call Park City Dental Spa today 435-615-8500!