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Do you ever wake up from a night's sleep with a sore jaw? Or do you suffer from chronic headaches or earaches? Are you noticing a few broken or cracked teeth in your smile? If you answered “yes’ to any of these questions, you might be grinding your teeth.

Teeth grinding is exactly what it sounds like: you either clench, grate, or grind your teeth together—often at night without being aware that you’re doing it. The medical term for teeth grinding is bruxism, and over time it can lead to an array of dental and medical issues including premature loss of enamel, fractured teeth, receding gums, jaw pain, and migraine headaches.

Because most people are unaware they’re grinding their teeth and clenching their jaw at night, the safest and most effective way to ensure teeth are protected is to wear a night guard while you sleep. If you’re wondering if a night guard might be right for you, let’s talk about the reasons for using them, the different types, and their benefits.

Who Needs Night Guards

Because you could be unaware of bruxism until obvious complications develop, it's important to know the signs and symptoms and to seek regular dental care. Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:

Dental X-rays are a common diagnostic procedure that’s considered extremely safe. Producing just a fraction of the radiation you are exposed to in other imaging procedures and roughly the same amount you’d experience on a two-hour flight, digital dental X-rays produce very low doses of radiation. To better understand why dental X-rays are performed, when to use special precautions, and how they’re best handled, let’s take a deeper look into the process.

Who Needs Dental X-Rays

If you have a history of cavities or excessive decay or other dental problems, you’ll likely need more X-rays than other people. But if you have a healthy mouth and aren’t at high risk for dental decay, you do not necessarily need X-rays every year. However, keep in mind it’s important to discuss your specific needs with your dentist.

A long-term happy and healthy smile takes more than regular brushing, flossing, and trips to the dentist. It also requires limiting foods that can be damaging to your teeth. Here are 5 bad foods for your teeth you should consider consuming in small quantities.


Sorry to break it to you, pickle lovers: The vinegar in your favorite crunchy snack can pose a serious risk to your teeth. Without proper hygiene, the acid in pickles can cause enamel erosion.

Carbonated Drinks

Both sugary and diet versions of carbonated drinks can be tough on your teeth. That’s because carbonated sodas enable plaque to produce more acid, which attacks tooth enamel—with carbonated drinks, you’re essentially coating your teeth in acid.

With upwards of 40 million Americans having issues with grinding their teeth, it’s no wonder teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) is such a big issue…and most people don’t even realize they have it. If you wake up with headaches or a sore jaw, chances are you’ve been grinding your teeth in your sleep, wearing away at your enamel. Here are 3 ways to stop grinding your teeth and save your natural smile.

Get Moving

Bruxism and stress go hand in hand. Exercise offers a stress relief, giving you the chance to deplete your stress at the gym instead of taking it out on your teeth.

Relax Before Bed

Giving yourself the time to relax before heading to sleep is a great way to decrease teeth grinding. A few ways to relax:

  • Avoid screen time at least 60 minutes before bed
  • Take a warm bath, which helps relax your jaw muscle
  • Apply a heating pad to your jaw while you read
  • Sip on an herbal tea (caffeine-free) to warm up your mouth and your jaw muscles

Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are issues for countless people and can lead to bone loss (among other issues). While the warning signs may be obvious in certain cases, some people don’t experience any symptoms at all until the issue has become severe. The best way to be certain is to visit the dentist regularly. Your dentist may recommend a night guard, a simple and straightforward solution to the complications caused by teeth grinding.

A mouth guard not only prevents your teeth from grinding together, it also keeps your jaw from clenching completely. This gives your jaw muscles some relief and can also prevent headaches. In addition, a night guard takes pressure off the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and surrounding muscles and gives you an even bite.

Teeth grinding isn’t just tough on your muscles, it scrapes away at your tooth structure, making your teeth more susceptible to fractures. Telltale signs your dentist will recognize are flattening, divots, chipping and small fractures.

If you find yourself grinding your teeth during the day, chances are you do it in your sleep as well. However, just because you don’t grind your teeth during the day doesn’t mean you don’t grind them at night. Over 40 million Americans suffer from teeth grinding, otherwise known as bruxism. Are you one of them?

If you want to know more about saving your teeth from the harms of grinding, we’re happy to help talk with you about solutions, including a custom-fit night guard. Call us today to book an appointment and we can get you on the way to a brighter, healthier smile.

If you’re up on your oral hygiene, then you’re flossing, using a mouthwash, and putting your toothbrush to work twice a day for two minutes. All of that use can build up bacteria, begging the question: How often should you change your toothbrush? We’ve got the answer and more for you!

Why Should I Change My Toothbrush?

Over time, your toothbrush bristles fray, losing their ability to properly clean. If you’re like most people, you only change out your toothbrush when you visit the dentist twice a year. But the truth is you should be swapping out your toothbrush much more often.

How Often is Often Enough?

The most common recommendation for changing out your toothbrush is every two to four months. If you’re uncertain of whether it’s time to change, keep this phrase in mind: When in doubt, change it out.

If you have a travel-only toothbrush, you don’t have to swipe it out as often. But you should still change it out! And be sure to completely dry it out before storing it. Moisture left on the bristles combined with a dark storage area creates an environment ripe for bacteria growth.

Pregnancy brings about major changes to your body, including your oral health. Shifts in hormone levels can increase the risk of gum diseases and can cause “pregnancy tumors” (small, raised areas on the gums) among other problems. Here are three dental health issues to be aware of during your pregnancy.

Morning Sickness

Stomach acids churned up from morning sickness (and heartburn or acid reflux later in pregnancy) can cause erosion to your teeth. After a bout of morning sickness, reach for baking soda and water before you brush your teeth. Mix a teaspoon of the baking soda into a glass of water and rinse the solution around in your mouth. Because baking soda is a basic, it will help neutralize the acids in your stomach, and in turn help protect your enamel.

“Pregnancy Tumors”

Don’t let the nickname scare you.“Pregnancy tumors” are a natural reaction from your body during pregnancy. Typically occurring during the second trimester, they look like little raspberries between your teeth. They should go away after your baby is born. If they’re causing you discomfort, a dentist can remove them. But again, don’t be worried—“pregnancy tumors” are not malignant.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

If you notice more gum bleeding during your pregnancy, consider visiting your dentist more frequently. Hormones can make your gums swell, causing a common condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. Use a soft toothbrush at home for extra gentle care and to reduce irritation.

If you’re pregnant and have any oral health questions, we’re happy to help. Call us today to book an appointment and we can get you on the way to a brighter, healthier smile.

For many people, chewing gum is a classic past time. From blowing bubbles to keeping your breath minty fresh, gum can be both fun and socially helpful. But does chewing gum really clean your mouth?

The answer: it depends.

If you choose sugary gum, you can actually be harming your teeth. The sugar also increases your likelihood of cavities, which come with a whole new level of damage and treatment plans. If you want to chew gum that really cleans your mouth, you’ll want to start by avoiding sugary gum.

Sugar-Free Gum Helps Clean Teeth

If you love chewing gum, we’ve got great news: Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can help rinse off and neutralize the acids released by the bacteria in plaque. Chewing gum creates additional saliva, which can help strengthen your tooth enamel and in turn reduce your risk of cavities. In fact, chewing gum helps generate 10x the normal rate of saliva through both the act of chewing and the flavor of the artificial sweeteners in the gum. Not only does the increased saliva flow neutralize the acids in your mouth, it also washes away food particles, helping keep your teeth clean.

Verify that your gum choice is good for your mouth by buying gum with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal. It’s your assurance that you sugar-free chewing gum meets or exceeds the ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.

Get Your Mouth Truly Clean

Sugar-free chewing gum can help clean your mouth, but there’s only one way to get that just-from-the-dentist clean feeling. Make an appointment today with Dr. Michael Fernandez Family Dentistry and experience what a truly clean mouth feels like.

Your smile is important. But all the brushing and flossing in the world won’t help if other acts are reversing the hard work you’ve done for a pearly white smile. Are you damaging yours with any of these three habits?

Overdoing It With Toothpicks

Ah, the toothpick. It’s a great way to the pass time and clean up your smile after a delicious meal. However, if your poking and prodding become too aggressive, you could be causing bleeding and tissue damage.

Rise-and-Shine Energy Drink

You wake up, ready to take on the day. But first, you pop open an energy drink. That sweet, fizzy kickstart to your morning can be a real downer for your teeth. The acidic nature of the drink can damage your gum line and tooth enamel. And let’s not forget the sugar. In addition to causing cavities, the quick boost it provides can leave you in a slump once it’s worn off.

Using Tobacco Products

We all know the dangers of tobacco, but they’re worth repeating. Tobacco use causes teeth staining, issues with healing after procedures, and cancer. In fact, smoking causes over 480,000 deaths in America every year and today more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.

If you want to reclaim your oral health, we’re happy to help. Call us today to book an appointment and we can get you on the way to a brighter, healthier smile.

For those of us nearing retirement age, there’s a lot to think about. What new hobbies will you pick up? Where do you want to travel? And how do you make the most of your employer’s dental insurance before you retire?

Systemic Health

The link between oral health and general health is a scientific fact not to be ignored. In fact, poor oral health has been linked to stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and slumps in nutrition. As you get older, your body has a more difficult time recovery from ailments. It’s best to focus on your systematic health today so you give yourself a leg up tomorrow.

Insurance Benefits

Your insurance is there for you to use. Now that you’re on the path to retirement, there’s never been a better time to use it! Take advantage of your insurance benefits before they’re gone. 

Treatment Today Means Less Treatment Later

Be proactive with your oral health by getting preventative work done while you’re still under your employer’s insurance policy. Completing simple procedures now can prevent the need for more complicated procedures later. At Dr. Michael Fernandez Family Dentistry, we pride ourselves on conservative care, which means choosing the best options for care while preserving the most of your natural teeth as possible.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you ready to make the most of your insurance before you retire? If so, make an appointment with us today. We’re glad to send you on your way to retirement with a happy, healthy smile.

GERD, more commonly known as acid reflux, causes acid to back up in the stomach and sometimes into the mouth. If not kept under control, such acids can cause major problems for your oral health.

Trigger foods such as tomatoes, citrus, spicy foods, coffee, chocolate, onions, and a host of others can cause acid reflux to flare up. For certain cases, changing your diet can be enough to keep acid reflux under control. But for many, prescription medication is needed to avoid symptoms such as heartburn, coughs, difficulty swallowing, sinus infections, bad breath, and more. Acid reflux is especially harmful when you’re sleeping because you swallow less often and your mouth produces less saliva. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of acid reflux medications. Either way, a dry mouth can be harmful; it’s a breeding ground for bacteria and infections.

Acid reflux isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. Untreated cases of acid reflux can lead to serious damage to the esophagus and can lead to esophageal cancer. The acids can also erode your teeth and cause periodontal problems.

Do you think you might be experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, but aren’t certain? Oftentimes, the first indication of acid reflux is the wearing away of enamel on your molars—a symptom you likely wouldn’t notice. But a trained dentist would.

Make an appointment with us today. We’ll check for symptoms of acid reflux and offer a plan to keep your oral health in tip-top shape.