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There are many mysteries in life. Some of them remain unsolved, while others have clearly defined answers we just may not know about – especially when it comes to the body. One particularly mysterious area of the body is the mouth. Though your dentist probably knows all there is to know about the mouth, many people simply don’t and are left with burning questions about their oral health.

We spoke to Miami, Florida, dentist Dr. Raul Garcia about some of the biggest oral health mysteries, in an effort to close the case on some of the most fascinating dental questions you may have wondered about.

What are those vertical lines on my teeth?

Have you ever noticed vertical lines running up and down the teeth and wondered what on earth they are, or if you should be concerned?

“Those little lines are known as craze lines, and they are tiny little lines in your tooth enamel,” says Garcia.

Not to be confused with cracks in the enamel, craze lines are for the most part harmless, though, according to Colgate.com, they may cause tooth sensitivity during teeth bleaching.

So, what causes craze lines?

“Wear and tear on the teeth from a lifetime of chewing,” says Garcia.

Why do I bite my cheeks?

There are few things that can happen in your mouth that are more painful than biting your cheeks. But why do we do it? After all, our mouth should be one harmonious unit, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, says Garcia.

“When you find yourself frequently biting your cheek accidentally, that could be a sign that your jaw or teeth are out of alignment,” he says. “In this case I would recommend speaking to your dentist about possible treatment options.”

Those options can include braces or physiological dentistry to realign the jaw due to the presence of temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

Why does my jaw click and pop?

Another ailment some people experience is clicking and popping when they open their mouth. It may also be accompanied by jaw stiffness and pain. This can be a condition known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJ dysfunction. TMJ dysfunction occurs when the temporomandibular joint in your jaw is misaligned with the skull and pops in and out of the socket when you open your mouth. Thankfully, according to Garcia, this can be fixed via a process called physiologic dentistry, which aims to realign the jaw and stop the pain – and the popping and clicking.

Dental mysteries can be frustrating and even scary, but there’s no reason to be afraid. Your dentist likely knows the answer, so don’t hesitate to ask those deep, probing questions during your next exam!

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