One gets to learn a great lot sometimes when a particular health challenge befalls them, in today's internet world it usually starts with the affected person googling up information about their symptoms and ailments then other conventional methods like trying different medications and treatments, experiencing different symptoms and getting information from their doctors, etc.
At the end of it all one can come out of it with a lot of knowledge and feeling like they've just got a bachelor's degree in handling their previous ailments, they start giving advice and always spewing information and chipping in whenever their previous ailments are being mentioned.
Well, right now I'm like one of those people, I've just defeated some ailment, I've come out very knowledgeable and unluckily for you you've ran into me and now I'm going to load you up with all these info. Don't ignore because I'm careful not to give medical advice as I'm not a doctor, but I'm sharing my experience and it would help you know the right questions to ask your doctor.
What Aspect of Health?
The aspect of health this is all about is oral health, the gums in particular. Don't ignore because you think your oral health isn't threatened or likely to be threatened anytime soon, the case I'm going to talk about can happen to anyone quite easily.
What Happened, How It Happened
Sometime in July last year (2021) or thereabouts, I bought some snacks to eat, it was some sort of fried flour. Unluckily for me, they were old ones and they had become really hard. I ate them anyways. As hard as they were I kept grinding into it with my teeth until I ate the whole thing. The next day my gums started feeling really sore, I didn't hurry to the dentist because I was sure I knew what the problem was, it had to be those hard stuffs that I ate. I knew I had injured my gums and had to simply let it heal.
And after some days it was healed, I no longer felt any pains there, but as the months rolled by I found out anytime I ate something hard like bones, meat, etc, around my right molars area I would develop pains for days. I should have sought the advice of a doctor but I didn't, I went and got over the counter painkillers for everytime this happened and started avoiding that area of my mouth everytime I was chewing something hard.
But just last month, I ate a lot of dates:
Without remembering to avoid that area and the pains returned, really strong this time. My painkillers weren't working as well as they used to, so the pains lasted for more days than it used to last; and because of this longer stay I started to realize I had something called bruxism.
Bruxism is excessive teeth grinding or clenching of the jaw. Usually one does this unconsciously especially when they sleep or are focused on something. I only realized I had bruxism because I now had strong pains on my teeth anytime I clenched my jaw. Luckily for me, though, my type of bruxism only involves clenching, there is no grinding.
I now realized this is something I've always hard, right from my childhood, I just never knew because I never felt any pains or effects from all the clenching until now that I'd injured my gum from chewing that hard stuff.
What I did
Since it was an injury in my gums due to what I chewed and since my bruxism kept the pains and injury evergreen, I knew all I had to do was heal the pains/injuries and make sure not to disturb the area with my bruxism or with chewing any other thing until the injury was healed.
So I got good over the counter painkillers, I probably needed to get some prescription that would focus on healing my gums' injury, but I'm more of a fan of letting injuries heal on their own except it's taking too long. With the pain killers I got rid of the pains in days and I used a sort of mouth guard to sleep every night so that my clenching wouldn't keep the pains fresh.
What You Can Learn
Find out if you have Bruxism: Bruxism is very common and a great majority of people with it don't even know they have bruxism. Its quite hard to find out if you have bruxism because you do it involuntarily and unconsciously, but pay careful attention to the pressure you use in keeping your mouth shut when you're sleeping or concentrating and you would find out. For those who grind their teeth, it's a lot easier to find out.
If you have Bruxism: See your dentist for advice if you have pains. See your dentist if you just want to talk about it.
But if you don't have Pains: You should be careful how you chew hard stuff, too much of it especially at once can injure your gum and cause you untold pains that increases because of your bruxism. If you ever get painful gums, though, having a mouth guard is extremely helpful to prevent further damage until you see your dentist. So having a mouth guard at home is really important.
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