“Why Do I Bite My Lip All The Time?”

biting

Whether it’s your lip, your cheeks, or your tongue, biting the tissues in and around your mouth is a troublesome habit for many. Mostly brought on by stress or as a nervous habit, cheek or lip biting can be hard to break. At our dental office in Austin, we’d like our patients to know just how harmful this habit can actually be and provide them tips on how to stop.

Explanations to Why We Bite

If you’re a chronic nibbler, the cause may be nerve related and should be resolved through actively recognizing when you do it and working consciously to stop it. Sometimes, a bite to the oral tissues is accidental, typically occurring when trying to multitask eating and talking. Although we all know how painful it can be, the occasional bite usually isn’t a big deal and should heal on its own.

However, there are times when lip or cheek biting can be unavoidable. An abundance of accidental bites could be a sign of something more serious like a misaligned bite (malocclusion) or even TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). When teeth don’t align properly, the likelihood of your cheek, lip, or tongue getting in between them increases.

Why is Chronic Biting Bad?

No matter what the underlying cause is, biting any part of the mouth hurts! And the discomfort sometimes lasts much longer than the initial zing of pain upon contact. What’s more, after a bite, a mouth sore usually develops. These sores can become infected if proper oral hygiene isn’t maintained, and infection in the mouth is never a good thing. If malocclusion is the main cause behind your accidental bites, a whole host of other potential problems can arise including headaches, tooth shifting, and jaw pain.

How Can You Stop?

Like we’ve discussed, if you’ve identified your biting as a nervous habit, try to consciously work at stopping it. Also chew more deliberately and pay attention while eating to reduce the chance of sustaining an injury. If this is an ongoing problem, talk with your dentist in Austin to determine if your bite may be misaligned.

At our Austin dental office, we’re always here to help current and new patients with any concerns they may have. If you’re experiencing the pain of chronically biting your cheeks, lips, or tongue, give us a call to schedule an appointment today. We’ll determine the cause of your biting and work with you to help correct the problem.

Welcoming patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond. 

All you need is love….But a little bit of chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!

All you need is love….But a little bit of chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!

For as long as we can remember, people have associated a box of chocolates with Valentine’s Day.

But did you know that eating dark chocolate is actually good for you?  Here at 12 Oaks Dental, we strive not only to keep you smiling, but to increase your overall health awareness.heart

Dark Chocolates have many health benefits you may not be aware of.

 Here are just a few:

Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure, per a study that appears in the Aug 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, dark chocolate can actually lower your blood pressure.

Antioxidants are Found in Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolates, but not milk chocolate is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants eat up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments. Heart disease is proven associated to periodontal disease.

Improve Cardiovascular Function- known to raise HLD levels, in the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries.

Protect Your Skin Against Sun Damage -the flavanols found in dark chocolate can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.

Improve Brain Function – is known to improve cognitive function in the elderly with mental impairment. It also contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may improve short term brain function.

So, go ahead and treat yourself and your Valentine to a box of dark chocolates this year, you may have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things, but the benefits of chocolate may just be what the doctor ordered! Of course, great brushing habits and regular dental visits with our hygienists are a must!

So, have some chocolate today! We are! Happy Valentine’s day!!

Simple Ways to Limit Your Exposure to Sugar

reduce sugar

There’s nothing wrong with a little sugar indulgence every now and then. We get it, sometimes you just need a little fix with a sweet treat. But as most people know, sugar is something every dentist really doesn’t like. And with good reason (more on that in a bit). At our dental office in Austin, we want to help our patients limit how much sugar they consume with these simple tips.

What’s The Big Deal About Sugar Anyway?

Sugar is needed in order to have our bodies function properly. But too much of it can lead to some pretty serious issues. An abundance of sugar ingestion contributes to tooth decay and enamel erosion. When this happens, patients tend to need dental treatment like cavity fillings and perhaps even root canals to protect teeth from more damage. But that’s not all. A diet high in sugar also negatively affects the whole body. Too much sugar can cause headaches, lead to overeating, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and contribute to cardiovascular disease.

How Much Sugar Do You Need?

The amount of sugar someone should consume varies as we get older and even depends on our gender. Recommendations from the American Heart Association start at 12 teaspoons per day for anyone 3 and under, 21 teaspoons from 4 to 8, and increases to 29-34 grams in boys 9 to 19, and 23 to 25 grams in girls in the same age range. Once we reach adulthood, maximum daily sugar intake for men is 37.5 grams and 25 grams for women.

What Are The Best Ways to Limit Sugar in Your Diet?

  • Eliminate sweets, or enjoy them in moderation. This tip seems obvious, but we do understand how difficult this may be. When you crave something sweet, opt for a piece of fruit.
  • Know what you’re eating. Sugar can hide in some surprising places, and you may be unaware of just how much you’re actually eating. Get in the habit of reading the nutritional facts on your groceries.
  • Enjoy home cooked meals. Making your own meals at home allows you to control what ingredients you use and can help you not only limit sugar, but eat healthier overall.

Taking these steps to decrease your sugar intake can help keep your teeth and body healthy. But that doesn’t mean other parts of your oral health care routine can take a backseat. It’s still, and always will be, important to brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist in Austin two times a year.

If you’re experiencing a dental problem, or if you’re looking for a new dentist, we welcome you to call our Austin dental office to schedule an appointment. We’re always happy to help.

Welcoming patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond. 

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