When you think of taking care of your teeth, do you think of acupuncture?
You probably don’t and that’s not unusual. Most people believe that brushing, flossing and a trip to the dentist for a cleaning twice a year is a good dental routine. And for most, it is.
But for some people, that routine doesn’t keep their teeth in good shape. Despite good dental hygiene, they continue to have dental issues.
And for others, just going to the dentist is stressful and difficult. It’s hard to get good dental care when you dread your trip to the dentist.
Fortunately, acupuncture can support dental health and make your trip to the dentist easier.
5 Ways to Use Acupuncture for Dental Health
Build kidney Qi for strong teeth and gums
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the teeth are governed by your kidney Qi. If you have any dental issues, your first step is to see if your kidneys need support. Balancing and supporting your kidneys and making sure your entire organ system is in balance will keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Relieve temporomandibular disorders (TMD)
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint between your jaw and your skull. It is directly in front of your ears and is the joint that allows chewing. When there is a problem with this joint, like pain, inability to chew, clicking or popping sounds, it is called TMD. Sometimes people incorrectly refer to TMD (the disorder) as TMJ (the name of the joint).
At the Ribeiro Preto Dental School, So Paulo University in Brazil, researchers found that TMD patients improved after 3 months of acupuncture. If you suffer from TMD, give acupuncture a try.
Reduce anxiety before a dental appointment
If you get very nervous before a dental exam, acupuncture may be your answer.
In a study by Dr. Palle Rosted in Sweden, researchers found that acupuncture may help patients with moderate to severe anxiety. In his study, patients were given acupuncture five minutes prior to their appointment. They experienced significant relief with the treatment.
Most people find acupuncture sessions relaxing. If you have a stressful dental procedure, consider scheduling a session beforehand to reduce your stress.
Reduce your gag reflex
Some patients have a strong gag reflex and this can make dental appointments very stressful, especially if you are getting impressions.
Researchers Giuseppa Bilello and Antonella Fregapane studied whether acupuncture could help. In a small study at the University of Palermo in Sicily, Italy, researchers found that acupuncture reduced the gag reflex during impressions.
If your gag reflex makes your dental procedure uncomfortable, talk to me about how I can help.
Relieve your dry mouth
Patients who have had head or neck cancer sometimes suffer from dry mouth, or xerostomia, because their salivary glands have been damaged by radiation therapy. This condition is more than just uncomfortable; it can interfere with taste, chewing, sleeping—even talking.
But a study by Dr Valerie Jenkins offers hope. Patients at SHORE-C (Sussex Health Outcomes Research and Education in Cancer) at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School reported improvement with their xerostomia after receiving eight weeks of acupuncture.
No matter what your dental health issues are—from cavities to gum disease, from TMD to anxiety—acupuncture can offer relief for you. It can support your dental health and address symptoms of specific conditions.
If you have a dental appointment coming up, why not schedule an acupuncture one as well? Working together, your dentist and I will help keep your teeth strong and your smile bright.