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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Teeth

In Elemental. More on Medium.

With many Americans taking precautions and avoiding indoor spaces, you might think that dentists would be taking a hit during the pandemic. But at least for one dentist writing in the New York Times, the opposite is true: New York-based Dr. Tammy Chen is busy tending to an “epidemic of cracked teeth,” as she wrote in an opinion piece. One major reason is stress, which can lead to teeth clenching and grinding during the day and night. The awkward positions that bodies assume while working from home and the lack of sleep don’t do our teeth any favors either.

Before…


More than 100 million Americans don’t go to their regular checkups. Here’s what to know if you’re one of them.

Illustration: George Wylesol

When was the last time you saw your dentist? While there’s no hard-and-fast rule about how often adults should go, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that we keep up with routine cleanings and dental examinations, with the frequency of these checkups usually depending on how well we keep up with our dental hygiene at home.

“The standard recommendation for most people is to go every six months for a checkup and cleaning,” says Sara Gordon, DDS, MS, professor of oral medicine at the University of Washington School of Dentistry. “If someone is in otherwise good oral and systemic health…


You won’t find these toothpastes in your local grocery store, because of the high amount of fluoride

Photo: Benne Ochs/Getty Images

I’ve never minded going to the dentist. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve never really had a dentist tell me anything other than “your teeth look great, see you next year.” Or, at least, I’d never had a dentist tell me anything other than that before this month.

After a lengthier-than-wise hiatus (we’re talking years), I made an appointment to see a new dentist in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. I sat in the exam chair for what felt like an eternity — probably about 30 minutes — waiting. I stepped out of the exam…


The research is weak and misleading, yet dentists are adamant. So where does that leave us?

Illustrations: George Wylesol

Three years ago, the Associated Press published an article that appeared to discredit something most of us are told twice a year by our dentists. The article looked at 25 studies on flossing and determined they pretty much all failed to find solid scientific evidence that flossing provides any benefits over brushing alone. In other words, flossing isn’t essential.

It was the shot heard round the dental hygiene world. About two-thirds of Americans claim to floss in general and a bit less than half of them do it daily, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control survey. …


The underlying causes behind this nighttime menace

Credit: Jamie Carroll/Getty Images

According to the American Sleep Association, about 10% of people suffer from teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, and researchers believe the number of patients suffering from it has increased in recent years. While there are a number of medical and lifestyle causes for bruxism, teeth grinding can also be a window into your psyche — and a sign that you may need to reduce stress.

There are several risk factors for unwanted jaw movement: Medications (like some antidepressants, antipsychotics, and amphetamines), along with tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, or recreational drug use can cause people to grind their teeth at night…

Elemental

Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

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