The Truth About Bad Posture and Tooth Fractures

It’s officially March 2021, and one of the lesser-known impacts brought on by the pandemic is the rise of tooth fractures. Our dental practice would normally see a small number of fractures from ice chewing or biting into a rogue popcorn kernel; however, that is no longer the case. As more people than ever before working from their sofas and hastily thrown together home offices, ergonomics has gone out the window. A large part of ergonomics in the workplace revolves around posture, which plays heavily into stress induced tooth fractures and other jaw-related issues such as TMJ.

While broken bones can heal, it is important to note that a tooth fracture never will. The cure, rather treatment, will depend on the severity of the crack and location. This is why an early diagnosis can be essential to saving your tooth. Treatment can be as simple as a crown or require a root canal if the fracture is below the gum line. As with all dental issues, avoiding treatment as things progressively worsen and can lead to tooth loss.

Now, let us revisit posture. The average person tends to not consider their posture and how it deeply affects their bodies and overall long-term health. Having poor posture places stress on your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Practicing good posture is one of the simplest and easiest ways to keep the spine healthy and improve blood flow. Most people sit slumped, curve their spine, lean forward on the edge of their seat, or sit leaning more to the left or right. All these positions can affect our spine, neck, nerves, and shoulder muscles which can all translate into possible TMJ problems!

Ever wonder the kind of effect stress can have on the body and everyday life? It is another factor that negatively impacts our bodies. Chronic stress is also linked to the six leading causes of death (heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide). Of course, stress is probably on the top of everyone’s lists, along with poor sleeping habits. These two things combined, cause us to clench our jaw and grind our teeth at night while sleeping. Clenching and grinding of the teeth and jaws contribute greatly to tooth fractures, chipped teeth, and wearing down the surfaces of your teeth (short teeth). All of which is an obvious reason to schedule a dental visit.

It is important to be mindful of these things, at least as much as we can. Let us all try to make sure that we check-in with ourselves by asking daily:

  • How have I been feeling?
  • Am I anxious about anything particular?
  • What am I stressing about?
  • Have I been sleeping well?

The first step is at least being aware. If we can catch ourselves when we are stressing, we can prevent those long-term issues that creep up on us down the road. For example, sometimes we notice our fists are clenched. Maybe not because we are angry, but because that is where our stress accumulates. Our stress can also accumulate while we are sleeping. You see, stress comes out in different ways and often unconsciously. After thinking about all these factors, realization hits and we start thinking about all the things that we can do to improve ourselves and our health. We do find ourselves in a constant state of stress, even if nothing major is going on, there is constantly something on our mind. Our health is finite and requires regular attention and maintenance. Be mindful of what your body is saying to you and take action.

Taking action is as easy as catching ourselves slumped in front of our computers rather than sitting upright with our feet on the floor. There are loads of options on Amazon designed to help reinforce healthy posture. For your workspace, be sure your computer monitors are at eye level, and your keyboard and mouse accessible while your arms are at a 90-degree angle. This should allow your elbows and forearms to rest on the arms of your chair.

Try and get relaxed before going to bed. Stop thinking about work. Stop thinking about what we did and did not get accomplished. Try taking a bath or hot shower. Unwind. Drink some chamomile tea. Anything to put you in a calm state-of-mind before dozing off. And, if you have trouble falling asleep, focus on clearing your mind and concentrate on breathing deeply.

If you are a teeth grinder or a jaw clencher, ask us about a mouthguard or sleep options to help prevent grinding and ease those achy jaws from clenching.

We know this will not solve a pandemic, but it will help to avoid a nasty dental visit, TMJ problems, or having to repair fractured or chipped teeth!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524

New Year, New Beginnings

Happy New Year everyone! We FINALLY made it out of 2020 and coming into 2021 full steam ahead!

Now, we all realize that just because we are starting a fresh new year, doesn’t mean all the COVID craziness will magically disappear (we all wish, right?). However, this is the perfect time to reminisce and start the new year off in a positive and optimistic direction.

As 2021 begins, we all feel like at least a bit compelled to start making changes in our lives. Whether it’s starting new things, letting go of old habits, or setting new goals to achieve. A new year feels like someone hit a reset button and we can all restart. So, take some time to reflect on all joy and struggle you experienced in 2020, and think about what you’ll do differently over the next few months ahead. Even with the uncertainty, we will all continue to do our part by limiting our bubble interactions, BUT that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve great things this year. If you’re still playing with the idea of creating new habits or (gasp!) even calling them resolutions, here are four simple ideas to commit to.

  • Drink more water. Try starting off small. Drink 2 cups of water every morning. Maybe even replace one of your many cups of coffee for water. If drinking water is just too bland, try add ins like fresh lemons, fruit, or cucumber or Propel flavored electrolyte water packets.

  • Cooking. Since it looks like we’re still staying indoors for who knows how long, try out a new weekly recipe. Pinterest offers a smorgasbord of inspiration for every picky eater imaginable!
  • Hobbies. Finding a new hobby can be greatly beneficial for your mental wellbeing. Hobbies give you something to look forward to. Find something that sounds fun and give it a go, because doing new things solo or with your immediate people is always an adventure!

  • Exercise. Exercising or any physical activity improves your muscle strength and works to create long-term health benefits. Exercise is good for your health, body, and mood so try out new exercises or activities to get you in a good mindset for 2021! YouTube offers a plethora of workouts for anything that takes your fancy, AND don’t undercut yourself! Even a daily stroll to the mailbox or around the block counts.

Now, resolutions tend to be easier said than done. So, start by simply trying out something new. Set small milestones, and once you have that habit built up, set a bigger one to accomplish something challenging. Now is the time, after everything we’ve been through this past year, GO FOR IT!

Happy New Year! Let us know how you’re doing. Take 2021 by the reins, you’re a boss!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524

There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays

Happy Holidays everyone!

As the year FINALLY draws to a close, we are looking hopefully to 2021. As COVID cases continue to rise, now is the perfect time to try and ENJOY the holidays. And even though we are in this crazy and uncertain world, it is something GOOD to look forward to. Don’t you love the feeling in the air when you can swap over your pumpkin spice candles, for fresh balsam? And hang up the lights outside. Along with all the other traditions that go along with it.

If you’re just not feeling festive, let’s start looking at the holiday season as an exciting challenge, and create new holiday traditions. There are so many fun things to do at home, here are a few of our favorites!

  • Setting up the Christmas tree! Here’s our secret to a well-balanced tree… start with the big stuff, you can also add holiday plushies to fill up some of those bigger gaps. Then lay out the rest of the ornaments and go to town! Be mindful if you have pets as many ornaments are easily breakable.

  • Light up the house with decorations! People usually wait the day after Thanksgiving to start decorating the outside of their homes. You can decorate the outside of your house with lights, candy canes, and snowflakes, snowman’s, and of course, Santa! We like to go all out. It’s so great when it starts getting dark out and all the lights come on. The inside of the house is decorated as well, and those lights pop on around the same time. Decorate and enjoy that holiday feeling when they are all on, shining and casting that warm glow.

  • Decorating cookies. Whether you pick up sugar cookies from the store or rollout gingerbread men, frosting and decorating cookies is a great activity no matter how many people are in your home. Take a spin on the traditional decorations by creating funky designs or use fun cookie cutter shapes. Using colorful frosting and a multitude of fun sprinkles, you can even turn it into a lighthearted contest!

  • Painting ornaments is great family fun. Create drawings and use pictures to personalize ornaments and make them extra special. Pick up a simple painting kit at your local store and get to work! Decorating your tree with your loved ones creates those lasting memories. And that’s something we can all use especially during this year.

  • Giving gifts to loved ones is always one of our favorites! This year, of course, is a little different for everyone. But it’s the thought that counts! Relish the moments that you get when you watch your family open gifts even if it is over Zoom. Share the cookies and ship the handmade ornaments.

  • While pets are the big winners of 2020 for anyone now working from home! Even though they have no idea what’s going on, it’s fun to include them in the Christmas spirit as well. You can buy them gifts, make them stockings and ornaments as well.

  • Spread some cheer with homemade Christmas or Happy New Year cards. Send them out to loved ones, friends, and neighbors. Paper, glue, pens, and a little glitter… you can create just about anything! Getting a card in the mail from someone special is always a treat! It’s really these small gestures that have the biggest impact.

No matter how you decide to do this holiday season, or who you choose to spend it who, safely enjoy. Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524