Why Do We Need to Brush and Floss?

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Andra Mahoney, BS RDH

Why Do We Need to Brush and Floss?

Many of you know two questions that your Dental Hygienist will inevitably asked you when you go in for your regular check-up visit:  “Are you brushing two times a day?” and “How is your flossing going?”

As an Hygienist, we do not asked these questions to get after you.  We promise we do not love nagging you to floss.  We do it because we genuinely care for your health and helping our patients understand how brushing and flossing can keep you healthy is one of our professional goals.

Most of you know the guidelines. For optimum dental health, you should brushing two times a day for two minutes, and floss one time a day.  We know that is what we are supposed to do.  But do we know why?

Plaque (that soft, filmy, white stuff that grows on our teeth) accumulates constantly.  24/7.  It never stops growing.  Even if you do not eat food, it grows (common misconception that plaque only grows when you eat).  Inside plaque lives bacteria.  This is the bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease.  It is recommended that we brush two times a day to remove the plaque and disrupt the bacteria’s harm on our mouth.  If we do not remove the plaque, then we are allowing the bacteria to start creating cavities and cause inflammation and infection in our gums.

If the plaque is left in an area for a while then it will harden and calcify.  This is what we can tartar build-up, or you may even hear us refer to it as calculus.  While plaque is soft and can be removed with a toothbrush and floss, tartar is like a rock cemented onto your tooth.  You can brush and floss all day long, once it’s turned into calculus, it’s not going any where.  The biggest down side of that is that it still has the bacteria inside of it.  Now it’s stuck on your tooth, not going anywhere, with all this bacteria.  Even better for gum infections and things to occur.

Don’t worry, your awesome Hygienist will save you.  We have the tools and know-how to remove that calculus and get your mouth back to health!  But, so do you!  You can brush and floss every day, remove that plaque, and prevent that calculus from even forming!

Now many of you do brush your teeth.  Which is fantastic!  We love when you do that!  However, not as many of you floss.  I’m not sure why.  It’s just as important, and doesn’t really take that long.  Here’s something to remember when you want to skip flossing tonight… You can be THE most amazing brusher in the whole world, but you will never be able to clean between your teeth with just a toothbrush.  It’s a fact.  The best technique will not maneuver those toothbrush bristle to places they cannot physically reach.  Floss is the only way to clean the remaining 35% of your tooth that the brush did not get.  Floss is a toothbrush’s best friend.  They go hand in hand.  One just as important as the other.

I hope this helped you understand a bit more why we always ask these two simple questions.  If you have any other questions, we are here for you!  Just ask!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing

http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/teeth.html

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/Teethcleaningguide.aspx

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-happens-if-you-dont-brush-and-floss-your-teeth-2014-2

Electric Toothbrushes, Are They Worth it?

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Wendy Parker, RDH

Electric Toothbrushes, Are They Worth it?

            I was never a believer of electric toothbrushes until I graduated hygiene school and I was given one for free.  Yes, I know, but I figured that since I was given one, I would at least give it a try and see what all the fuss was about.  For years I would go between my manual toothbrush and my electric one, leaving the electric one home when I traveled.  However, now, I have realized that I don’t leave home without it!  At first, I thought I am a pretty good at brushing and don’t really need it, but found that mid-afternoon, my teeth would get the fuzzy feeling on them.  When I totally committed and threw away my manual toothbrush, I found that no longer did I get the fuzzies on my teeth!  Oh man, I was so excited!

So, the question remains…is it worth it?  YES!  And here’s the great thing about it….there is a 30 day money back guarantee from Oral-B and Sonicare that if you don’t like the product, you take it back and get your money back!  These are the top two selling brands for electric toothbrushes and they are awesome!  Both companies will tell you that their product is superior but when it comes down to it, it is a personal preference.  So next time you’re in the dental isle, take a minute and compare them side by side and see which one looks more appealing to you.  The average price is about $90-$120 dollars. (Please also asked us, when you come in to the office, we sell electric toothbrushes here for a great price!)  Yes, it seems a lot for a toothbrush, but you will be amazed (and so will we) with the change in your oral health!   So try one out and let’s keep on smiling!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

What is Calculus?

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Lora Cook, RDH

What is calculus and what dangers does it cause to the health of your mouth.

Calculus or tartar, same thing is calcified plaque.  Plaque is the soft sticky film that will start to form twenty minutes after you brush your teeth.  Another name for the soft sticky plaque is biofilm.  This is basically a bacteria that grows in your mouth, a “slime layer”.  Plaque is white or pale yellow soft, sticky, slimy stuff.  This is what makes your teeth feel “fuzzy” when you first wake up and at the end of a long day.  So do all these pleasant descriptions make you want to go brush your teeth yet?

So where does calculus come from?  Calculus is calcified plaque.  When plaque is allowed to stay hiding in your mouth for twenty-four hours or more is has the opportunity to harden and turn into tartar. Calculus/Tartar, same thing, this is calcified plaque. Once this soft sticky substance (biofilm) becomes hard it will attach itself to the tooth surface, then you will not be able to remove it yourself with your tooth brush or your floss. Calculus will form above and below your gum tissue.

The calculus will be a physical irritant to your gum tissue, causing inflammation.  The calculus also becomes a source that harbors bacteria that causes harm to the tissue and bone around the teeth.  This aggressive bacteria may lead to periodontal disease. What is periodontal disease?  In short, it is bone loss around the teeth.  This bone loss may range from slight to moderate, to severe.  Some people will build up tartar more quickly than others, and some people are more prone to the bacteria that causes periodontal disease (bone loss).

So this brings the questions; What can I do to prevent calculus build up?

USE AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH: electric tooth brushes have been proven to be more effective at cleaning than manual brushes. Use the rechargeable electric brushes, not the battery spin brushes.

CHANGE YOUR TOOTHBRUSH EVERY THREE MONTHS: Do not go longer than three months with the same tooth brush or tooth brush head.  Once the bristles start to wear out they cannot do a good job for you.

TIME YOUR BRUSHING ROUTINE: Brush for at least two minutes, preferably two to three minutes.  Sometimes just adding more time to your routine can make a big difference, most people will brush for only forty to sixty seconds. So try timing yourself, you will be surprised.  Two minutes feels like forever when you are brushing.

FLOSS DAILY: You don’t have to floss two times daily, once a day is sufficient. Make flossing part of your nightly routine.  Flossing techniques are important, because some techniques are more effective than others. It is important to floss under the gum tissue where everything likes to hide, not just in between the teeth.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/plaque-and-tartar

https://www.quora.com/Does-tartar-cause-gum-disease-purely-through-MECHANICAL-means/

Tips for Toddlers

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Tips for Toddlers

Have you ever tried to brush the little one’s teeth and been so frustrated you just give up?!?  I have!  With 4 children of my own, I can tell you first hand that it’s not the easiest task to accomplish and each child is so different and will respond just a little differently.  So if one of these techniques don’t work for you, just try, try again.

Tip #1: For the babies who are teething or whose teeth are just breaking through, chewing on a toothbrush is an excellent idea!  No toothpaste needed, just the brush and lots of saliva!  

Tip #2:For the little ones, just when they’re starting to get their teeth – You sit on the floor, criss-cross apple sauce, and lay their head in your lap with their legs facing away from you.  (It will look like they’re laying in a dental chair, without the chair.)  Then have them extend their chip up towards you as you lightly brush their teeth in circular motions, just doing the best you can.  At first, you may be only able to brush for a few seconds, but after a while, they’ll get more used to it (and you, too) and before you know it, you’re brushing morning and night!  There are finger brushes that you can try as well if they don’t like the toothbrush.

Tip #3: Use a timer.  Any timer will do, just make sure that it stays in the bathroom where they’ll see it on the counter and use it.  It can be a one minute timer, one minute for the top and then flip it and do it again for the bottom teeth.  That way they are counting down to when they’re finished.

Tip #4: SING!  Sometimes I sing so much that my children tell me to stop, however, it truly works.  Find a song they like to sing or a number they like to count up to, and do it while you are brushing their teeth!  Some songs that worked well for my littles were “Itsy Bisty Spider,” sung twice, The ABC song, Wheels on the Bus, or London Bridges.  Whatever the song, decide how to break it up into two sections, brush the bottom teeth first, pause for a second to let them swallow and then finish on the top.  They think it’s fun and brushing time will go quickly and end up being fun instead of a drag.

Most importantly…..BE PATIENT!  It will come and eventually they will brush their teeth on their own.  It just takes time and lots of patience.  Don’t let this little thing become a battle early in their little lives.  If you need extra tips or help, don’t be afraid to ask your hygienist on your next visit in to see us!  Happy Brushing!
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Wendy Parker, R.D.H. and also known as M.O.M.

Is Your Toothbrush Making you Sick?

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen RDH

Is Your Toothbrush Making you Sick?

Everyone’s focusing on the hand washing when they’re sick, with good reason. But how about washing your toothbrush? Washing your hands can reduce the risk of illness since we put our hands in our mouths, our eyes, our ears. So why is there no focus on cleaning the toothbrush during illness when we stick it directly into our mouths? What can we do to prevent the germs from passing on?

Reintroducing that toothbrush back into your mouth could be the worst thing you could be doing for your health on a daily basis.

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That doesn’t mean don’t brush.

Many studies clearly state that all of the presently available toothbrushes have the ability to be infected by a wide range of microorganisms, including viruses which can cause the common cold to even herpes. Pneumonia-causing bacteria also are found on a toothbrush.

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What can you do?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a simple regimen for toothbrush care is sufficient to remove most microorganisms from your toothbrush and limit the spread of disease. Here are some common-sense steps you can take:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after brushing or flossing.
  • After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with warm water and store it upright to air-dry.
  • Don’t cover your toothbrush or place it in a closed container until it is completely dry. A moist environment can foster bacterial growth.
  • Use a completely dry toothbrush. Everyone should have two toothbrushes to give ample time (24 hours) for it to dry out in between uses.
  • Don’t share a toothbrush with anyone. Also, don’t store toothbrushes in a way that might cause them to touch and spread germs.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months. Dentists recommend this practice not as prevention against contamination, but because toothbrushes wear out and become less effective at cleaning teeth.
  • Always replace your toothbrush after a cold or other illness to prevent contamination.
  • If you or someone else in your family is sick, that person should use a different tube of toothpaste (travel size, for example), to prevent spreading germs to other toothbrushes.
  • The toothbrush should be viewed as a necessary evil as well as a bio hazard. Make sure it is clean before using it!

In summary, do not reuse your floss, keep your toothbrush clean, and replace during and after illness. Store it outside the bathroom and use it several times per day. Brush twice a day for two minutes and floss daily and see your dentist every six months for check ups!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/toothbrush.html

http://guidetodentistry.com

http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol

How to Care For Your Infant’s Teeth

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Lora Cook RDH 

How to Care For Your Infant’s Teeth

When to start cleaning your baby’s teeth

          You can start before your baby even has teeth, it is best to incorporate mouth cleaning at bath time.  This routine will help your baby get used to you cleaning their mouth, which can allow a smoother transition when you do begin to brushing their teeth. This will also help you to know when your babies teeth first start to push through their gum tissue.

The bacteria that lives in the mouth is not harmful to the gum tissue, but can be harmful to the teeth.  The enamel on baby teeth are 50% thinner than adult teeth.  Therefore baby teeth are more susceptible to the bacteria that causes cavities.

How to clean your infants teeth

          To clean your babies mouth before tooth eruption use a clean wet wash cloth.  Wrap wash cloth around your finger then rub it gently around your babies gums.

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When to transition to a tooth brush.

            When the teeth have started to erupt, this will be time to transition from a wash cloth to a baby tooth brush.  Look for a tooth brush specifically made for infants. This will usually start around six months old.  This will also be the time to change from bath time mouth cleaning to brushing two times daily.

It is fine to just dry brush with just tap water, or a fluoridated tooth paste can be used. When using toothpaste, use the tiniest smear.  It is never too early to help create a good brushing routine for your child.

Baby TB

 

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.myhealthunit.ca/en/livehealthyandprotectyourhealth/Caring-for-Your-Child-s-Teeth.asp

http://m.oralb.com/products/oral-b-stage-1-disney-baby-pooh-toothbrush

www.babycenter.com

Toothbrush Care: Replacing, Cleaning, Storing

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Amanda Orvis RDH

Toothbrush Care: Replacing, Cleaning, Storing

In order to maintain a healthy mouth, one must use a clean toothbrush.  Toothbrushing plays a major role in your personal oral hygiene care. When brushing, it is important that you use a clean and functional toothbrush.  Toothbrush bristles can harbor harmful bacteria that can be damaging to our oral health.

REPLACING

The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 months. The same rules apply to both manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads. Many types of bacteria can be found on toothbrush bristles, these bacteria can continue to multiply over time potentially causing harm to our mouths. Toothbrush bristles also break down over time causing the bristles to fan out, fray or simply fall out.  When your toothbrush bristles break down the toothbrush becomes less effective, making it harder to clean your mouth properly. If you or any member of the family become sick or gets an infection in the mouth, it is important to replace yours or their toothbrush immediately to be prevent that harmful bacteria from spreading or re-infecting you or that person. In order to prevent cross contamination make sure you do not share toothbrushes for any reason.

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CLEANING

After brushing your teeth it is important to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush to remove any additional toothpaste, bacteria and saliva. Germs can hide in your toothbrush bristles and lead to oral infections of not properly cleaned.

STORING

After cleaning your toothbrush, it is very important to allow your toothbrush time to thoroughly dry between usages. Designate an area for your toothbrush to dry. Many toothbrush storage containers are available that prop your toothbrush upright and allow the toothbrush to not touch anything else while drying. When traveling, it is just as important to allow your toothbrush to dry between usages. Keeping the toothbrush bristles covered while storing it within your other items during travel is important as well. Small toothbrush storage cases are available at almost all pharmacies and grocery stores. Just make sure the toothbrush is fully dry before storing it in its case.

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5 Quick Rules: 

Do not share toothbrushes

Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each use

Leave your toothbrush in an open area to dry after each use

Discard your toothbrush if you become sick or get any dental infections

Replace your toothbrush at least every 3 months

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Source:

http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-toothbrush-care-cleaning-storage-and-

“They are just baby teeth. So what does it matter”?

Peggy

 

Peggy Storr BSRDH

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Many people think that dental care of baby (primary) teeth isn’t really necessary. They aren’t permanent teeth and they will be lost eventually. The truth is that as soon as those little teeth appear, they should be cleaned daily. A tiny smear of toothpaste should start about the age of 1, as should the first visit to the dentist. Many of the baby teeth will be in your child’s mouth until he or she is 13 years old.

Look in your child’s mouth. White spots or lesions are early signs of demineralization or decay of the teeth. These lesions can be reversed with proper homecare and administration of fluoride and or MI Paste.

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www.recaldent.com

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http://www.babyorganics.co.id/general/dental-caries-on-children/

Decay (cavities or caries) in baby teeth is a serious health concern that is now known to be contagious. Dental decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in children. While decay in permanent teeth has declined, decay in baby teeth is increasing. Left untreated, cavities can lead to dental pain that can affect a child’s eating, speaking, and learning. It can lead to expensive treatment, malnourishment, disruption of growth and development, and may even cause life threatening infections. If the dentist simply pulls the decayed tooth, it can affect how the permanent teeth grow in. The space from the baby tooth must be preserved or the permanent teeth may erupt in a crowded and incorrect position.

Most people are surprised to learn that cavities are contagious. But bacteria, particularly Mutans Streptococci, are responsible for tooth decay and bacteria can be transmitted from one person to another. If mom cleans the baby’s pacifier by putting it in her own mouth, or shares a spoon, she can transfer bacteria to the baby. Being mindful of diet is a first step in prevention of tooth decay. Dipping a pacifier in honey or sugar is a bad idea, as is letting a child go to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or anything other than water.

Chewy, sticky foods (such as dried fruit or candy) are best if eaten as part of a meal rather than as a snack. If possible, brush the teeth or rinse the mouth with water after eating these foods. Minimize snacking, which creates a constant supply of acid in the mouth. Avoid constant sipping of sugary drinks or frequent sucking on candy and mints. The sticky sour candies kids love so much are the worst as they stay in the mouth longer and cause significant increases in the acid that cause tooth decay.

Dental sealants can prevent some cavities. Sealants are thin plastic-like coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. This coating prevents the buildup of plaque in the deep grooves on these surfaces. Sealants are often applied on the teeth of children, shortly after the molars come in.

Fluoride is also recommended to protect against dental caries. People who get fluoride in their drinking water or by taking fluoride supplements have less tooth decay. Numerous studies report that products containing Xylitol decrease tooth decay. Gum or mints for children who are beyond the choking stage are recommended. Xylitol needs to be among the first three ingredients.

Dental disease can impact the total well-being of a child and is largely preventable.  So while they are “JUST BABY TEETH”, they are a vital consideration in the health of your child.  A healthy mouth contributes to the overall health every child.

Sources:

1. Ezer, Michelle, S, DDS, Swoboda, Natalie A DDS and Farkouh, David DMD, MS; Early Childhood Caries: The Dental Disease of Infants

2. Chow AW. Infections of the oral cavity, neck, and head. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 60.

3. Sleeper, Laura J, RDH, MA and Gronski Ashley; The Benefits of Xylitol; http://Dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/June 2014

4. http://www.thedentalleif.net

5. http:// twoothtimer.com

Pregnancy and Oral Health

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Amanda Orvis RDH

Being pregnant comes with various responsibilities, your oral hygiene being one of them. It is important that you continue to maintain your normal brushing and flossing routine. It is also a great idea to rinse daily with a fluoridated mouth rinse. There are several brands to choose from, just make sure you look for the ADA seal which guarantees safety and effectiveness.

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     For most women your routine dental visits are safe throughout your pregnancy. Make sure when calling to make your dental appointments you let your dental office know what stage of your pregnancy you are in. Let your dentist know if you have had any changes in your medications or if you have received any special instructions from your physician. Depending on your specific situation and your treatment needs, some of your dental appointments and procedures may need to be postponed until after your pregnancy.

Dental X-rays are sometimes necessary if you suffer a dental emergency or need a dental problem diagnosed. It may be wise to contact your physician prior to your dental appointment to get their approval to have x-rays if necessary.

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     During pregnancy some women may develop a temporary condition known as pregnancy gingivitis, which is typically caused by hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy. This is a mild form of periodontal disease that can cause the gums to be red, tender and/or sore. It may be recommended that you be seen for more frequent cleanings to help control the gingivitis. If you notice any changes in your mouth during pregnancy, please contact your dentist.

During your pregnancy you may have the desire to eat more frequently. When you feel the need to snack try to choose foods that are low in sugar and nutritious for you and your baby. Frequent snacking can cause tooth decay.

Feeling nauseous? If you experience morning sickness you can try rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water. This mixture lowers the acidity in your mouth. The acidity can cause erosion of the enamel. Your gag reflex may be extra sensitive during your pregnancy, so switching to a smaller toothbrush head may be beneficial.

Sources:

http://www.ada.org/sealprogramproducts.aspx

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDgQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.idph.state.ia.us%2FIDPHChannelsService%2Ffile.ashx%3Ffile%3DA6FAA346-C53D-49A5-AB8D-6198A087A02A&ei=gJO3UsDwH8bbyQG8sYHYAw&usg=AFQjCNFlpM4U5Hwp3J00K0jdNoM5DHzOXw&bvm=bv.58187178,d.aWc

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Spheno Palatine Gangleonerualgia

Kim McCrady

Kim McCrady RDH BA

Spheno Palatine Gangleonerualgia

Spheno Palatine Gangleoneuralgia!  Now that’s a mouthful.  But believe it or not, most everyone has experienced spheno patlatine gangleoneuralgia at one time or another.  In fact, as scary as the condition sounds, its uncomfortable but harmless.

So, what causes spheno palatine gangleoneuralgia?  It is the rapid release of blood back to the brain back from the palate after something very cold has been present in the mouth and contacted the roof of the mouth.  This results in a sharp uncomfortable headache.  Fortunately, the headache does not last long.  Have you figured it out yet?  What is spheno palatine gangleoneuralgia?  If you guessed a good old fashioned brain freeze, you are correct.

The roof of our mouths are made up of a hard area, referred to as the hard palate.  Your hard palate is located toward the front of the mouth and extends to the about the middle of the second molars.  It is hard because there are three bones that fused together as you grew to create the hard palate.  The soft palate is located just behind the hard palate and continues down into the throat area.  It is soft because there are no bones present.  The brain freeze according to recent studies is caused by an intense and sudden increase in blood flow through the brain’s anterior cerebral artery due to dilation of the artery.  When the artery constricted, the brain-freeze pain sensation wears off.

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Of course, allowing your cold treat a moment to warm up before it contacts your palate is a start to preventing brain freeze.  But, if your brain freeze is underway the quicker you can warm your palate the quicker the headache will recede.  Cupping you hand like a mask around your mouth and breathing in and out into your cupped hand helps to warm the palate.  As well has pressing your tongue or thumb on the roof of the mouth can shorten that headache. The goal is to prevent the blood vessels in your palate from constricting and dilating due to extreme changes in temperature.

Next time you are in need of a conversation starter, consider asking your friends if they have ever experienced spheno palatine gangleoneuralgia.

Medical News Today:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/244458.php

Discovery Fit and Health: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/244458.php

Photo: http://robjundt.hubpages.com/hub/Brain-Freeze-Adventures