Maintaining your gum health is vital to your overall health. When you visit our office for an examination, our trained hygienists perform a periodontal exam. In fact, during your examination, our team is quietly assessing your oral health by performing a number of checks. Here’s what you need to know about periodontal disease.
Many Names, One Illness
You may have heard periodontal disease referred to as gum disease or gingivitis. Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of your gums. These names are frequently used interchangeably.
Signs & Symptoms
Periodontal disease may be marked by swollen and red gums. Bleeding, especially while brushing and flossing, may also occur. Another symptom of periodontal disease is persistent bad breath. If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, please contact our office.
Periodontal Disease Can Impact Your Overall Health
Your gum health is linked to your overall health. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bleeding gums, gum recession, and tooth loss. The effects of periodontal disease extend well beyond your mouth. In fact, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, the disease can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
While you may think of your teeth as the primary reason to visit our office for a regular examination, understand that our team is looking beyond your teeth to assess your oral health and potential impacts on your overall health. Talk to our experienced team if you experience any signs or symptoms of periodontal disease. Dental Dream Team is trained to identify signs of periodontal disease. When detected early and managed properly, periodontal disease is treatable.
During a comprehensive dental examination, our team will look for signs of oral cancer. Early detection is key with oral cancer. If caught early, most forms of oral cancer are treatable. Our dental team is trained and educated to identify oral cancer.
Everyone is susceptible to the disease, but some groups of people are at a higher risk level than others. Here are the top seven risk factors for oral cancer.
Are you in your mid 40s? Your risk of developing oral cancer increases with age. A noticeable increase is evident in people in their 40s and older. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the majority of diagnosed cases occur around the age of 62, but the average age is declining. The recent increase in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) related cases is causing more people to be diagnosed for oral cancers between the ages of 52 and 56. As the average age for oral cancer cases decreases, it is vital that you receive regular oral cancer screenings at any age.
Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer compared to women. Part of this difference may be related to regular intake of alcohol and tobacco. According to the American Cancer Society, the gender difference is decreasing since more women are drinking and using tobacco today than in previous generations. There has also been a trend in recent years of younger men being diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer. Both men and women should schedule regular oral health examinations to detect oral cancer early.
Smoking or chewing tobacco can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco can lead to cancer of the mouth or throat. Additionally, oral tobacco products cause cancers associated with the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. Development of these cancers depend on the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Non-smokers are not immune to oral cancer, so be sure to schedule an appointment with our team for an examination.
Among those that are diagnosed with oral cancer, about 70% of people are characterized as heavy drinkers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking is defined as having an average of two or more drinks per day for men, and one or more drinks per day for women. People who drink heavily can be more than twice as likely to develop oral cancers than people who do not drink. Oral cancer can still occur in people who have never had an alcoholic drink. Contact our team to schedule an examination.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
This sexually transmitted disease is associated with at least 10,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed each year in the United States. People who have HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger and are unlikely to smoke or drink. Typically, those diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancers are at a much lower risk of death or reoccurrence. We suggest a proactive approach by maintaining regular visits to our dental office.
People who work outside or with prolonged exposure to sunlight have a higher risk of developing lip cancer. It is vital to use UV protection when under the sun. Many lip balms offer UV protection. If you work outdoors frequently, schedule an additional examination with our team.
Poor nutrition can increase your risk for developing oral cancer. According to the American Dental Association, reports have shown that a link exists between diets low in fruits and vegetables and a higher risk for oral cancers. However, oral cancer can develop in healthy individuals. No matter your diet, schedule a visit with our team for a comprehensive oral examination.
We all know the importance of making a great first impression. Whether you’re going into a job interview or about to go on your first date with someone new, you want to have the confidence that comes with a great smile. After years of wear and tear however, a lot of people end up with teeth that they’re not completely proud to show off. If you feel unhappy with the way your smile looks, don’t worry; there are plenty of options that can help.
Figuring out the best ways to improve your smile
can be a daunting task, but our dental team is here to help, offering a range
of services dedicated to helping you look and feel your best.
8 Ways to Improve Your Smile
There are a myriad of ways you can improve your smile. Whether you decide to pursue a more in-depth treatment at our clinic or simply want advice on how to improve your oral health routine at home, our South Side Chicago dentists are happy to help. Our highly trained team offers all the state of the art services necessary to help keep your mouth healthy and your smile shining bright.
It’s clear that there are a lot of treatments available for anyone looking to improve their smile. With options for any budget, there’s no reason to wait to begin your journey towards a better smile. To schedule a professional cleaning or to speak with someone about a personalized treatment plan, contact Dental Dream Team today!
Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.
Why Do We Grind Our
Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can
occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and
sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned
properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people
grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.
The Journal of the American Dental Association found that
smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers
and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience
bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.
What Grinding Does
Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased
sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture,
and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be
flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only
damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications
in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and
headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this
could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.
What We Can Do
If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see
us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already
occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution
that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing
a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another.
Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top
priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more
common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in
children is improper alignment.
For most people, visiting the dentist isn’t exactly their idea of fun. Some people have a fear of going to the dentist and this keeps them from getting regular professional cleanings and essential oral health care. We understand how important it is that you enjoy your time with us. To help make your visit something to look forward to, we’ve considered the following.
When you relax in the comfortable, cushioned chairs in our office, take a deep breath and take comfort in knowing that you’re in a judgement free zone. Our dental team is here to improve your health and brighten your smile, not lecture or judge your current oral health status. Whether it’s been 6 months or 6 years since your last visit, know that you’ll be treated with respect and kindness.
Our team is well trained to care for you and your family. Knowing that you’re in good hands will put you at ease and allow you to relax. We encourage you to bring your own music or audio book to enjoy while your hygienist gently removes build up and stains, revealing your clean and beautiful smile.
Our dental team is here to help you. We want to give you something to smile about. Enjoying your dental visit, makes you more likely to set and keep your appointments. Utilizing provided comfort measures at your next dental visit will help you feel more relaxed and less anxious. The more comfortable you are, the more likely you will be to take the steps needed to prevent and treat unwanted oral health problems.
Calcium is an
important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth, but not everyone can
tolerate the lactose found in dairy. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other
dairy products. About 65% of people have reduced ability to process lactose
If you have
difficulty with lactose but want to ensure you are getting the calcium you
need, consider one of these non-dairy sources of natural calcium.
Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can
be a good source of calcium. These inexpensive options actually contain more
calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood contains small, soft,
edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add
calcium to a salad or other dish.
Calcium-fortified juices are available in both
orange and cranberry varieties. These juices taste the same as non-fortified
options, but contain a substantial amount of calcium. Check the label to ensure
it is a calcium-fortified juice.
Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium
and can be used as a milk substitute for many dishes. Experiment with different
varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of
these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish in place of regular
milk. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors,
including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.
Beans are a calcium-rich food. Black-eyed peas
and baked beans are particularly high in calcium.
Green vegetables are a good source of natural
calcium. Collard, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage,
spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to
Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or
Brazil nuts are strong sources of calcium. Flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are a
great snack or salad additive with calcium. Almond butter, cashew butter, and
pumpkin seed butter are a fun and calcium-rich alternative to peanut butter.
Breakfast cereals are highly fortified with
several vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Old-fashioned rolled oatmeal
adds calcium to your breakfast as well.
important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have
trouble with dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount
of daily calcium.
Have you ever wondered how often you should be
visiting our team? Being proactive rather than reactive with oral health could
help prevent long term tooth loss and other dental problems.
According to a study published in the Journal
of Dental Research titled “Patient Stratification for Preventive Care in
Dentistry,” the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends working closely
with your dentist to find a dental plan tailored to your needs. Researchers
from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry found that individuals need
different frequencies of visits to the dentist depending on three risk factors
for periodontal disease: smoking, diabetes and interleukin-1 genetic
variations. According to the research, high-risk patients would benefit from more
frequent dental visits, while low-risk patients may be fine visiting their
dentist once a year.
Many of our patients enjoy quarterly visits to
our office. We’ve found more frequent professional cleanings reduces the risk
of caries and periodontal disease. Our frequent visitors love having optimal
oral health and confidence. Many dental professionals also choose to visit 3-4
times per year as well.
If you’re interested in creating an oral health plan which includes more frequent professional cleanings, contact us. We’re here for you.
We use our tongues every day to talk, taste, and swallow, yet we
rarely take time to think about this flexible organ. Here are 9 things you may
not know about the tongue:
The longest recorded tongue was more than 3.8 inches from back to tip; the widest measured over 3” across.
The human tongue contains 8 separate muscles intertwined.
A blue whale tongue weighs about 5,400 pounds and is roughly the size of an adult elephant!
Tongues come in many shapes and have varying numbers of taste buds. This makes a human tongue imprint as unique as a fingerprint.
The average person has about 10,000 taste buds in their mouth.
A single taste bud contains between 50 and 100 taste cells, which may have sensors for multiple tastes.
No individual taste cell can identify both bitter and sweet flavors.
1 milliliter of saliva contains about 1,000,000 bacteria.
Using a tongue scraper to clean your tongue is proven to help prevent osteoporosis, pneumonia, heart attacks, premature births, diabetes, and male infertility.
Health issues involving the tongue are most commonly caused by
bacteria or tobacco use. Proper cleaning of the tongue can help prevent these
conditions from developing. However, if you notice sores, discoloration, or
other symptoms, contact our office.
Some tongue-affecting illnesses include:
Leukoplakia – excessive cell growth characterized by white patches
in the mouth and on the tongue. It is not dangerous, but can be a precursor to
Oral thrush – an oral yeast infection common after antibiotic use,
often characterized by cottage-cheese like white patches on the surface of the
tongue and mouth.
Red tongue – may be caused by a deficiency of folic acid and/or
Hairy tongue – black and/or hairy-feeling tongue can be caused by
build-up of bacteria.
Canker sores – small ulcerous sores on the tongue, often
associated with stress. These sores are not the same as cold sores and are not
Oral cancer – most sore tongue issues are not serious. However, if
you have a sore or lump on your tongue that does not heal within a week or two,
schedule a screening.
For more information about the tongue or to schedule a screening with our doctor, contact our office.
Your teeth age with you. It’s important to keep them strong
and healthy even as you grow older. Seniors are at a higher risk for developing
periodontal disease. In addition to getting a regular dental examination, here
are some other tips to keep your teeth healthy.
Keep a Routine
Regardless of age, we cannot stress the importance of
keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine. Make sure you are brushing
twice-daily and flossing at least once per day. For seniors with dentures, it
is important that you remove them for at least four hours each day. We
recommend removing them at night. Dentures need to be cleaned daily so make it
part of your routine as well. We also suggest staying hydrated by drinking
water. Not only does water help keep you producing enamel building saliva, but
if it contains fluoride, it can help keep your teeth strong. Make a regular
visit to our office part of your routine as well.
Tips for Caregivers
If you are the primary caregiver of someone elderly, working
with them to keep their teeth healthy can be a challenge. It is up to you to
remind them to brush and floss regularly. Help them by establishing a routine
and set times for brushing their teeth. We ask that you assist them in making
an appointment to visit our dental office. If keeping up with daily dental
health seems to be too difficult, please contact our office. We can work with
you to offer some advice and solutions.
For seniors in a nursing home that are enrolled in state or
national financial programs, the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests
considering the Incurred Medical Expense regulation. This works to assist in
paying for care that is deemed a necessity. If our dentist finds that treatment
must be done, consider this as an option to lessen the financial burden. Talk
to your nursing home or care facility’s caseworker for more information.
Don’t Forget About
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, can be brought on by certain
medications. When you visit our office, be sure to update us on any changes to
your medications. At times, early periodontal disease is painless which makes
it even more important that you keep a regular routine of visiting our office for
a thorough exam and evaluation. According to the ADA, more than 47% of adults
over the age of 30 have chronic periodontitis.
Keeping your teeth healthy as you age can be difficult. We
suggest sticking to a daily routine in terms of brushing and flossing, and
keeping up with regular visits to our office. If you are the caregiver of an
elderly spouse, parent, or loved one, do not overlook their oral health. Make
sure they are receiving the needed attention and are sticking to a daily oral
For more tips on keeping your teeth health or to set up your next appointment, please contact our office.
In addition to brushing your teeth twice each day and
flossing at least once, it is also important to take good care of your tongue.
Bacteria can build up on your tongue throughout the day. For some patients, using
a tongue scraper can be the best solution for a cleaner, healthier tongue.
Should You Be Using
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) found scraping your
tongue results in a noticeable decrease in the sulfur compounds which can lead
to bad breath. According to a study in the Journal
of Periodontology, tongue scrapers reduced these compounds by 75%, while
using a standard toothbrush only reduced 45% of sulfur compounds. Choose a
method that works best for your mouth, but make sure you are taking care of
What Do They Do?
While they may help alleviate bad breath, scraper’s main
function is to clean off debris and bacteria from your tongue. Your toothbrush
is designed to effectively clean teeth, but the surface of your tongue is very
different from that of your teeth. A tongue scraper may provide a more thorough
cleaning for your tongue.
How Do I Use One?
Start by washing out your mouth. When you are ready clean
your tongue, place the scraper in the back of your mouth, and gently pull it
forward. Make sure you are scraping all areas of your tongue, but do not push
so far back that you gag. You will want to rinse your mouth after you are done.
Be sure to clean the scraper when you are finished.
While you might not be used to cleaning your tongue, it can
be an effective solution for bad breath and bacteria caused by food. At your
next appointment, ask about other ways of keeping your tongue clean and your
mouth healthy. Keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine of brushing and
flossing is crucial to maintaining your oral health and preventing unhealthy
For more tips on a healthy mouth or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us. We look forward to seeing you.