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Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Dec 11, 2013

Admit it.  You hate being cold.  And I am not even talking about three feet of snow on the ground, minus ten degrees, lake effect wind shear cold…that’s just cruel and unbearable.  It could be simply getting out of the pool on a breezy summer day that makes you freezing cold.  And to go along with the goose bumps is the lovely chattering of your pearly whites.

Oromandibular Dystonia

Teeth chatter is generally related to shivering which is the body’s natural response to cold, but there are other possible reasons your teeth chatter.  A few weeks ago, Dean wrote about troublesome bruxism which is when you grind your teeth.  Bruxism can lead to more severe conditions such as temporomandibular disorder or TMD.

Sometimes when we are sick and have the chills, your teeth will chatter too.  Of course while this is a temporary problem, it can still be harmful to your teeth.  Our suggestion is to get to the doctor and get well again!  And you might schedule that dental appointment you keep forgetting about too.

A more serious cause of teeth chatter is called Oromandibular Dystonia.  This disorder occurs when the jaw muscles contract and relax spontaneously, producing constant jaw movement.  It can be caused by different medical conditions and reaction to certain medications. 

There are many types of Dystonia which causes the jaw to not function properly and interferes with chewing and swallowing.  Treatments for Oromandibular Dystonia include speech and swallowing therapy, oral medications and injections, or botulinum toxin to help with the disorder.

Teeth chattering can also be a side effect of other neurological diseases, not just Oromandibular Dystonia.   People with Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Essential Tremor and Benign Fasciculation Syndrome have exhibited teeth chattering as well. 

Just being anxious, nervous or afraid can cause your teeth to chatter.  There are several ways this can manifest itself.  People who are especially anxious can have their teeth chatter for as long as the fear or panic lasts.  Think haunted house, chainsaw wielding maniac coming after you kind of panic.  For others who are anxious all of the time, the chattering can be constant.   In those instances, partnering with your dentist to help protect your teeth is key.  The chattering can eventually break down tooth enamel, exposing the teeth to cavities and the mouth to infection.

So how can you stop?  We suggest tying a bow around your head like a holiday package.  Ok, really now…  We have already mentioned visiting your doctor if the chattering is constant – they will be able to help diagnose any neurological issues.  And go see your dentist.  After all, they are in the teeth business.

You can also use a bit of self-help to cure your chattering pearlies!  If you find your teeth are busy, find something to busy your mind.  Music, deep breathing, reading, walking or talking to someone will shift your focus away from your teeth.  You may also want to chew gum or just massage your jaw bone to help relieve the tension.

This gives a whole new meaning to “chatterbox!” Join us again next week when we dive head first into more dental dilemmas and solutions here at Until next time America…

Sources: nytimes, no sleepless nights

Copyright 2013 Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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