Dentist in Chicago | 7 Ways to Combat Bad Breath

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Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is commonly associated with certain foods. Garlic, onion, and cabbage can all cause a foul odor and taste for several hours after you’ve eaten them. This type of temporary halitosis is easily solved by avoiding the foods that cause it. However, in some cases bad breath is a chronic problem that simply changing your diet won’t solve.

Long-term bad breath is caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are most often found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. There are a variety of ways you can help reduce or eliminate chronic bad breath. Some of these include:

Practice good oral hygiene.

Brush your teeth after you eat as often as possible and at least twice daily. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day. Food particles between teeth will break down slowly and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.

Brush your tongue.

Even if you brush and floss your teeth as recommended, the bacteria causing your bad breath may remain on your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently scrape away any particles of food or bacteria every time you brush. For best results, place the scraper or brush as far back as you can manage without gagging. This will generally become easier over time.

Keep well-hydrated.

Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent the bacteria growth and reduce or stop bad breath.

Avoid bad breath triggers.

Onions, garlic, cabbage, coffee, and tobacco products are all known to cause bad breath.

Chew sugarless gum.

By chewing sugarless gum, you increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. This helps slow or prevent bacteria growth, minimizing chances of bad breath.

Improve your diet.

Crunchy fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and foods rich in vitamins C and D all work to prevent the growth of bacteria, keep your mouth cleaner, and increase saliva flow.

See your dentist.

Follow your regular schedule of dental hygiene appointments and exams. If you have tried the tips above without improvement, make an appointment for an exam to see if there may be an underlying condition that requires treatment. Treat any oral illnesses, such as decayed teeth, periodontal (gum) disease, or infection.

For more information about the potential causes and treatments for halitosis, contact our office.

820 East 87th Street Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60619

Dr. Cornell McCullom
Dr. Yetta McCullom
Phone: 773.488.3738

Chicago Dentist | Managing TMD Discomfort

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Discomfort and pain in your jaw, clicking while you talk or chew, and swelling on the sides of your face can be caused by Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). TMD can make talking and eating both painful and uncomfortable. Our team understands how TMD can make your day a challenge. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips for managing TMD discomfort, but also encourage you to schedule a visit to see us for a full evaluation.

Finding Relief at Home

If your jaw is swollen, try applying a cold compress to your face. We recommend holding the compress in place for about 10 minutes. If you are able, try a few gentle jaw stretches. After the cold compress, apply warm, moist heat to the same area. You can keep this warm compress in place for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

If your discomfort is particularly noticeable, try over-the-counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or ibuprofen. If you find yourself taking pain relieving medications daily, please contact us immediately.

The “Don’ts” of TMD

Applying excess pressure to your jaw can make your TMD discomfort worse. Don’t use your hand as a rest for your chin, as doing so increases the amount of pressure and strain placed on your jaw. If you talk on the phone frequently, avoid holding the phone on your shoulder while bending your neck to keep it in place.

Clenching your jaw and keeping your teeth tightly closed can also lead to a build-up of pressure in the jaw. During the day, try to keep your teeth from touching. By create a little space between your teeth, you will be relieving pressure from your jaw.

Contact Us

Our team is here to help you. Schedule a consultation with our dentist to learn more about the solutions available for people just like you dealing with TMD discomfort. We will provide a thorough examination to determine the best course of treatment for your TMD.

820 East 87th Street Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60619

773.488.3738

60619 Dentist | Connected Health – Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s

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Your gum health may have an impact on your cognitive function. A recent study found a correlation between gum disease and increased cognitive decline for people living with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. While more studies are needed to make a definitive connection, the study is important in keeping the conversation going about oral health and its impact on your entire body.

Details of the Study

The study was administered by King’s College London and the University of Southampton. It observed 59 patients with early stages of Alzheimer’s. Blood tests were utilized to examine inflammatory markers present in the bloodstream, while patients’ dental health was examined by dental hygienists.

What it Found

The study found that patients with gum disease experienced cognitive decline at a rate 6 times faster than those without gum disease. The study suggested that the body’s reaction to inflammation may be responsible for causing the rapid decrease in brain function.

Importance of Healthy Gums

Previous studies have determined that gum disease can increase your risk of developing complications such as heart disease and stroke. Maintaining healthy gums is essential to staying healthy overall. You can keep your gums healthy by following good daily oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing twice each day for two minutes, as well as flossing regularly.

For those living with Alzheimer’s disease, it is imperative that they maintain their oral health. If you are a caregiver of someone with the disease, make sure they are keeping up with their daily oral hygiene routine, as well as visiting our office for regular examinations. Keeping your gums healthy may be one key to keeping your body and brain healthy too.

For more information about gum health, or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.

820 East 87th Street Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60619

Phone: 773.488.3738

Dentist in Chicago | How Candy Threatens Your Child’s Smile

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How often does your child eat candy? According to a study conducted by the USDA Economic Research Service, children under 12 consume an average of 49 pounds of sugar in one year. While candy is not the sole source of sugar in a child’s diet, the impacts of sugary candy treats are particularly harmful to teeth. Here’s what you need to know about candy and how it might be damaging your child’s smile.

The Impact of Sugar on Teeth

The real culprit in candy is the high sugar content. Certain types of bacteria that are present in your mouth can feed on sugar. These destructive bacteria then create acid that wears away tooth enamel. When enamel is weakened, your risk of developing decay increases. Your mouth is effective at neutralizing acids and aiding minerals that strengthen enamel if the amount of sugars and acids is not excessive. Your mouth can only do so much, which makes it essential to limit your sugar intake and maintain a regular and thorough oral hygiene routine.

Watch Out for Sticky, Sugary Candies

Not all candies are made equal. For a general rule of thumb, the sticker the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. Sticky candies leave sugary residue on your teeth long after you are done eating. This gives the bacteria in your mouth more time to start demineralizing enamel. Watch out for sticky candies like gum drops and taffy.

Suckers, lollipops, and hard sucking candies are troublesome because they are in your mouth for an extended period of time. Like sticky candies, this allows for more time for harmful bacteria to get to work by weakening your teeth. You can also chip or crack a tooth if you bite too hard.

Other problematic candies include those that are gummy and coated in sugar. Think of gummy worms or another sour covered, chewy critter. Not only are they high in sugar content, but they also typically contain harmful acids that contribute to a loss of enamel.

Steps for Preventing Decay

You can help your child by limiting their candy and sugar intake. In some instances, this can be tricky and even out of your control when your child is at school or a friend’s house. What you can do is instill good oral hygiene habits in your child. Make sure they are brushing for two minutes twice each day. You can make brushing fun. Sing a song together for the two minutes, and allow them to choose a fun toothbrush and toothpaste flavor.

Candy is a fun treat. You don’t have to take it away from your child altogether, but limit their exposure to such treats and educate them about the impacts candy can have on their teeth. When left untreated, decay can spread leading to pain and infection. Maintaining a schedule of regular visits to our office is essential. More than just a cleaning, we will provide a thorough examination to check for decay.

If you haven’t already scheduled your child’s next appointment, please contact our office.

820 East 87th Street Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60619

Phone: 773.488.3738

Chicago Dentist | New Year’s Resolution: A Healthier Smile

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The new year is a time when many consider making positive changes in their lives.  Common goals include wanting to lose weight, exercise more, or quit a bad habit. What about vowing to improve your oral health this year? Here’s a few easy changes you can make that will lead to a happier, healthier smile in 2019.

Timing is Everything

Are you a fast brusher? A couple of passes over your teeth is not going to cut it in terms of keeping your teeth strong and clean. Here’s our suggestion for a new year’s resolution: brush for two minutes, twice a day. Start off the new year by trying to brush for the full time. Don’t brush hard because vigorous, fast brushing can lead to lasting gum damage.

Drink Water, Lots of Water

Replace sugary drinks with water this year. Your teeth will benefit from water, as it helps to clean off some of the excess sugar and acids left from food and drinks. Water also assists in saliva production, which is essential for maintaining your teeth’s enamel. Drinking water can also fit into a resolution to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle. Make sure it’s part of your resolution too!

Come See Us

The new year is a good time to schedule your next visit to our office. Keeping up with regular visits helps us to give your teeth a thorough cleaning and examination. Never wait until you think something is wrong with your teeth. Make 2019 the year you keep up with your dental work.

Floss

According to a study by the American Dental Association, only 40% of Americans are flossing daily. Flossing should be a part of your daily oral hygiene routine. We recommend changing your ways in the new year if you are one of the 60% of Americans avoiding dental floss. Flossing is essential for helping limit your decay and for maintaining healthy gums.

With the start of the new year, make a vow to look after your teeth. A few simple changes in your old habits will do a world of good for your teeth in 2019. Allow your good habits to rub off on others this year.

For more advice on keeping your teeth health or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

820 East 87th Street Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60619

Phone: 773.488.3738

Chicago, IL Dentist | Look 10 Years Younger

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Your smile is one of the first things a person will notice when you meet.  If you would like to improve your smile with a simple procedure, teeth whitening may be a great option for you, especially if you have stained, dull or discolored teeth. Our dental office is providing teeth whitening services to new and existing patients.

Regardless of how well you care for your teeth, over time, discoloration will occur.  The main causes of stained teeth are genetics, antibiotics, tobacco and certain foods. As we age, our teeth darken as well. While preventing tooth discoloration is nearly impossible, our experienced team can help reverse the effects of discoloration by helping to create a whiter and brighter smile.

Whether it’s an in-office treatment or at-home treatment, the principles of teeth whitening are the same.  A special whitening agent is applied to the teeth in order to bleach the stains and brighten your smile. Our expert dentist will discuss your whitening needs and goals with you to determine which option is best for you.

In-office teeth whitening is the quickest method to a brighter, whiter smile.  With the supervision of an experienced dental professional, a stronger bleaching solution can be used than with at-home kits. Optimal results are achieved much faster with the professional whitening treatment, and in many ways the results are much better given the nature of the bleaching agents that are used. On average, patients find they appear up to ten years younger just by restoring the bright, white smile of their youth.

During a professional teeth whitening treatment, we will first clean the teeth.  They will apply a whitening agent to your teeth, carefully avoiding your gums and soft tissue.  Once applied, a laser light will be directed at the teeth to expedite the process.  For maximum results, the process may be repeated more than once.

If a visit to our office for professional whitening isn’t an option for you, at-home treatment may provide the whitening you need. While you will find a vast variety of at-home teeth whitening products on the market, including whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter gels, rinses, strips, trays and more, we can fit you with custom-made whitening trays that will more accurately fit to your teeth for a more even whitening result.

At-home teeth whitening results are less dramatic compared to those achieved at the dentist. While at-home teeth whitening is easy to use, it is not recommended if your teeth or gums are sensitive.

If you are looking to brighten your smile and look ten years younger, contact our office for more information or to schedule a consultation today.

820 East 87th Street Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60619

773.488.3738

Chicago, IL Dentist | Are You at Risk for Hairy Tongue?

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You may not realize it, but you could be at risk of developing an unsightly medical condition known as hairy tongue. While it is harmless in most cases, hairy tongue is still an unpleasant ailment. The causes are not always completely known, but practicing good oral hygiene at home and visiting our dental office for cleanings can help prevent the issue. Here’s what you need to know.

What is hairy tongue?

With hairy tongue, your tongue may look like its covered in fuzz or hair, but this condition is actually caused by an accumulation of bacteria. The surface of your tongue is covered in small, rough papillae which gives it its rough texture. Overtime, these papillae grow, shed, and are replaced. Occasionally, the older papillae may fail to shed properly. This causes a buildup on the tongue and can cause a hair-like appearance.

Who is at risk of hairy tongue?

According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, as much as 13% of the population may have hairy tongue. Anyone can develop the condition, but certain risk factors such as age and tobacco use increase your chances.

What causes hairy tongue?

While the exact causes of hairy tongue are not known, there are a variety of factors that can put you at a higher risk of developing the condition. Poor oral hygiene and a diet of soft foods can put you at an increased risk, as a lack of stimulation on the tongue can prevent the shedding of older papillae. Excessive consumption of certain substances, including tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea have been shown to contribute to this condition. Dehydration and dry mouth can slow down the tongue’s natural refresh cycle of replacing papillae.

The best defense against hairy tongue is a regular at-home oral hygiene routine that includes twice daily brushing, flossing, and mouthwash. Visiting our practice at least twice a year for cleanings can also give us an opportunity to regularly examine your mouth and catch any early signs of hairy tongue.

If you’re past due for your regular cleaning or are concerned that you might be developing hairy tongue, don’t hesitate to contact our practice for an appointment today.

820 East 87th Street Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60619

(773) 488-9075

Dentist in Chicago, IL | Health Link: Oral Hygiene and Heart Disease

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chicago dentistThe human body is a network of interconnected systems and organs. Unfortunately, issues that impact one particular area of your body can also effect the health and function of other areas. Recently, studies have highlighted evidence for links between gum disease and heart disease.

While the exact nature of the connection is still being researched, heart disease is almost twice as likely to occur in people who have gum disease. Nearly half of all Americans have undiagnosed gum disease. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death, making it pertinent that you maintain a healthy heart. The first key to doing so might lie in keeping your gums healthy.

While gum disease may be a contributing factor to heart disease, it is not the only cause. It is essential that you maintain regular visits to your primary care physician as well to measure your overall health. Other factors and lifestyle choices can impact your heart health.

Diet and exercise. Maintain an active lifestyle with activities you enjoy, such as taking walks, riding bikes, playing sports, or doing yoga. Avoid foods high in starches and sugars, including carbonated soft drinks, as they can also damage your teeth.

Don’t smoke. Whether you’re smoking or vaping, nicotine has a detrimental effect on your cardiovascular system and can damage teeth, gums, and lungs. Recent studies have connected vaping to a rapid loss in healthy cells that line the top layer of your mouth. These cells play an essential role in keeping your mouth healthy.

Brush your teeth. The most basic part of oral hygiene is also the most effective. Make sure you brush and floss at least twice a day.

By keeping a balanced, exercising regularly, and taking care of your teeth, you’re taking a holistic approach to your well-being and minimizing your risk of developing heart disease.

As with other diseases, preventing gum disease alone will not completely remove the risk of developing heart disease. However, you can take a proactive approach to keeping your body healthy, starting with your oral health.

To schedule a cleaning and examination, please contact our office.

820 East 87th Street Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60619
(773) 488-3738

Chicago Dentist | Fruit Juice & Your Teeth: A Message From Your Dentist

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Don’t be fooled by the label “100 percent fruit juice.” Drinks advertised in this way might seem like a healthy choice, but these drinks may be doing more harm than good. In fact, fruit juices contain sugar that can lead to tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently reevaluated their recommendations for allowing small children to consume fruit juice. Here’s what you need to know about the new guidelines.

No Fruit Juice in First 12 Months

The AAP used to suggest that infants younger than 6 months old should not be given fruit juice to drink. This year, however, the AAP updated these recommendations to suggest refraining from fruit juice for any infant 12 months and younger.

A Good Source of Vitamins – And Sugar

Fruit juice can be an excellent source for vitamins and minerals. Many fruit juices contain vitamin C and potassium. However, fruit juices are often high in sugar content. According to a study summarized by Medical News Today, fruit juice may contain as much as 2 teaspoons of sugar for every 100-mililiters.

Fruit Juice May Be Harming Your Teeth

Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, especially in children. The AAP also advises that toddlers and young children should not be served fruit juice in a “sippy cup.” These cups provide greater exposure of decay-causing sugar to teeth, leading to an ideal environment for tooth decay.

According to the updated guidelines set by the AAP, moderation is key. While children under 12 months of age should not be provided fruit juice, small amounts may be permitted for older children. The AAP suggests a maximum of 4 ounces of fruit juice per day for children aged 1 to 3, 4 to 6 ounces per day for children aged 4 to 6, and 8 ounces per day for those between the ages of 7 and 18. You may also consider adding water to dilute the juice before giving it to your child, so they receive less sugar.

Children and adolescents aren’t the only group that can benefit from consuming fewer sugary drinks. Sugar still leads to decay in adults as well. Our team suggests trying to limit your own consumption of sugary drinks.

Maintaining regular visits to our office will allow our dental team to ensure your child’s teeth are healthy. We will provide a comprehensive screening to locate and treat decay. If your child drinks more than the suggested amount of sugary fruit drinks, consider scheduling an extra cleaning with our team. Together, we can work to promote a lifetime of optimal oral health.

To schedule a visit to our dental office, please contact our team.

820 East 87th Street Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60619
(773) 488-3738

Dentist in Chicago | Bad Breath Remedies

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According to the American Dental Association, 50 percent of adults experience bad breath at some point in their life. Although some causes are harmless, other causes may be signaling something more serious. Below are three common causes of bad breath, accompanied by the best remedy for each cause.

Cause of Bad Breath: Food
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You are what you eat”? Many foods and spices, such as onions, garlic, and coffee, leave a lingering odor on your breath.

Nothing rids your breath of odor like brushing and flossing. Brushing and flossing also keeps your mouth free from bacteria, preventing any infections. Mouthwash is a great backup solution. Although the use of mouthwash is only a temporary fix for bad breath, it too works to remove potentially harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Cause of Bad Breath: Dry Mouth
Does it feel like you just can’t quench your thirst? Dry mouth is due to your mouth not producing enough saliva. It is often a symptom of medications, salivary gland problems, or breathing through your mouth.

Foods that require more chewing can increase saliva production. Healthy foods such as carrots and apples are great choices. Another alternative is to chew sugar-free gum.

Cause of Bad Breath: Medical Conditions
Bacteria and infections in the mouth can cause bad breath. Bad breath may also be a sign of conditions affecting the sinuses, liver, or kidneys, as well as a sign of acid reflux or diabetes.

By visiting our office regularly, our team is able to detect any problems or infections, and stop them before they become serious.

Schedule your visit to our office today. Contact our team.

820 East 87th Street Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60619
(773) 488-3738