Homewood Dentist | Optimal Gum Health for Seniors

Dentist in Homewood, IL

Dentist in 60430For seniors, it is imperative that gum health is a top priority. As you age, your risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease increases. Periodontal disease is both preventable, and in many cases, reversible. When left untreated, it can lead to more serious complications such as bloody or swollen gums, and even tooth loss. Even more alarming are the numerous studies connecting periodontal disease to other serious illnesses. Here’s what you need to know about gum health as you age.

Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health

Periodontal disease has been linked to serious health issues. In fact, a recent study conducted by the University of Southampton and King’s College London uncovered a link between periodontal disease and an increase in the rate of cognitive decline in those who suffer from early Alzheimer’s disease. In patients with periodontal disease, the study found cognitive decline underwent a rapid change, occurring six times as fast on average. Periodontal disease has also been found to increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Risk factors for these serious issues increase with age, among other causes, and it is especially important to limit potential risk factors where possible. This can be as easy as improving your gum health with a visit to our office.

The Numbers You Need to Know

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, moderate or severe periodontal disease was found in over 14% of seniors aged 65 to 74. The number increases to more than 20% for those over 75 years of age. Men were found to be more likely than women to have moderate to severe periodontal disease. Smoking was also found to have a significant impact. The same study showed 32% of current smokers had periodontal disease, compared to 14% for those who never smoked.

Steps You Can Take

As you age, it is essential to keep up with your gum health. Doing so is an important link in lowering your risk factors for other serious ailments such as heart disease, stroke, and the impacts of Alzheimer’s disease. You can keep your gums healthy by brushing twice each day for a full two minutes. Be sure to regularly floss your teeth as well. Flossing is an effective way to clean the hard-to-reach cracks and gaps where plaque builds up. Schedule a visit with our team for a complete gum evaluation. We can work with you to devise a course of action to ensure healthy gums.

Homewood Dentist | One Tool for Better Gum Health

Dentist in Homewood, IL

Dentist in 60430Loose teeth, bad breath, and painful, bloody gums – these are among the signs and symptoms of periodontal, or gum, disease. Unfortunately, periodontal disease can also begin without any obvious symptoms. If left undiagnosed or untreated, you could be at risk for irreparable damage to your teeth and gums. The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable. In fact, one of the most effective tools for preventing the disease only takes a minute of your time each day.

Floss to the Rescue

Dental floss is an effective and easy to use tool that can be among your best defenses for preventing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Even if your daily oral hygiene routine already includes a thorough brushing that lasts for two minutes, at least twice each day, you should be flossing daily as well. Dental floss is highly effective at cleaning areas where your toothbrush cannot reach. Small gaps and tight spaces between teeth catch food debris and sugars and acids from drinks all day long. Flossing helps to clean out these tough to reach spaces.

Facts Behind Flossing

According to a survey referenced by the American Dental Association, only 40% of Americans are flossing each day. The same study showed a clear link between regular flossing and better oral health. Unfortunately, many people also lie about their flossing frequency. A study from the American Academy of Periodontology found that 27% of adults lie to their dentist about their flossing habits.

Tips for Flossing Correctly

It can be confusing to figure out the best way to use floss. Try working with roughly 18 inches of floss, while wrapping most of it around your middle finger. Use roughly one inch to work with for each tooth. Using your thumb and index finger, carefully slide the floss between your teeth. Floss to your gumline, but be gentle. Avoid cutting your gums. Work your way through your 18 inches of floss by using a new, clean section between each pair of adjacent teeth.

It only takes about a minute to floss your teeth each day, but minutes contribute to a lifetime of optimal oral health. Floss is among the most effective tools at your disposal to keep your gums clean and healthy. Get into the habit of flossing your teeth regularly – your gums will thank you.
For more information about gum health, or to schedule a visit to our office, please contact our team.

Homewood Dentist | Dental Care Tips While Traveling

Dentist in Homewood

Dentist in HomewoodWhen you are traveling, it can be challenging to keep up with your usual daily routine. For many people, this can include having difficulty finding the time to properly brush and floss. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, we have gathered a few helpful tips to help you stay on track with your oral health while you are away from home.

Pack Wisely

Be sure you are traveling with enough toothpaste and floss to last your entire trip, if possible. If space is tight, travel sized products can be a great option. You may also wish to purchase a disposable toothbrush for use during your travels. These often require less space and will not cause distress if accidentally left behind. Some disposable toothbrushes even come with toothpaste on already applied. These can be ideal for a one-day trip.

Cover Your Toothbrush

When you travel, you are likely to encounter new and varied germs along the way. Whether you are at a hotel or visiting family, you may be required to share surfaces used by many other people. Consider using a toothbrush cover that slips over the head of your toothbrush to protect it from contact with sinks or nightstands.

Drink Water

One fun part of travel is being able to eat and experiment with new and unusual foods. However, eating and drinking sugary or acidic drinks can be damaging to your teeth. Drinking water is an excellent way to wash away bacteria, as well as helping neutralize the acids that damage tooth enamel. Water also stimulates the flow of saliva, which helps to keep your teeth strong and healthy.

Don’t Break Your Good Habits

Be sure to continue your daily oral hygiene routine while you travel. This should include brushing for two minutes, twice each day, as well as regular flossing. Traveling can make this difficult to fit in, but doing so will keep your mouth healthy.

Travel can be both fun and stressful. Don’t lose track of time and forget to brush and floss. Your teeth depend on regular, thorough care. After your return, schedule a visit with us. We will provide a comprehensive cleaning and examination while you tell us about your trip.

To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team.

Are You Brushing Properly?

Dentist Homewood

Many people may be surprised to learn that they have been brushing their teeth incorrectly for years. Improper brushing may cause oral health complications, including tooth enamel erosion and periodontal disease. Learn how to brush your teeth correctly and you can protect them for years to come.

The most common way for people brush their teeth is by using a back and forth motion. This resembles sawing the toothbrush back and forth across the surface of the teeth until they feel clean and slippery. However, this is not an effective to brush your teeth. First, this method also does not clean effectively. Since the bristles are moving back and forth, they are essentially bouncing from one tooth to the next, which causes you to miss the spaces in between the teeth to remove plaque and other tiny particles of food.

In addition, brushing with a sawing motion is very abrasive to your teeth and gums. This can cause you to scrub away tooth enamel, along with food debris. Overbrushing in this fashion can increase your risk of sensitivity, tooth decay, and receding gums.

For a safer, more effective brushing method, start by placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to where your teeth meet the gums. Then gently move your toothbrush back and forth and making sure the bristles cover each tooth and work their way around the sides of the tooth. This method allows you to find all the food particles and plaque in the spaces between your teeth.

Note: if you use an electric toothbrush, you may still be overbrushing your teeth. Despite your instincts to scrub manually, an electric toothbrush yields best results when used to cover each tooth individually for a few seconds, then moved to the next. The brush itself provides all the motion needed to thoroughly clean the surfaces of your teeth.

The value of proper brushing is often overlooked, but it is a vital part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Using the right method to brush your teeth will prevent build-up of harmful plaque that can lead to many oral health issues. Brushing properly can help prevent tooth decay, gingivitis, oral infections, and more.

It can be challenging to retrain yourself after you have been brushing the same way for years. Switching methods may take some adjustment, but you will love the results. If you have any questions regarding the most effective methods of brushing your teeth, please contact our office.

Tobacco & Your Teeth: The Risks of Chewing and Smoking

Dentist Homewood

Chewing and smoking tobacco are known to cause severe health problems, particularly in the lungs. But the risks to your mouth and teeth can be just as extensive and alarming. If you use tobacco, stop. Here’s what tobacco can do to your oral health.

Chewing Tobacco

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), tobacco chewers increase their risk of developing gum and cheek cancers by 50 times. Tobacco dissolves the gums which leads to sensitivity from exposed roots. This also makes for an ideal location for bacteria to grow, leading to decay. If you are chewing tobacco, stop, and ask our experienced oral health team about what you can do to keep your mouth healthy.

Smoking

According to a report by the AGD, smoking one pack a day can lead to the loss of two teeth each decade of your life. Smoking increases your odds of losing teeth. Cigarettes and cigars are both damaging to your oral health. Smoking can cause staining as well, leading to an unattractive smile.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can develop in several places in your mouth including on your tongue, lips, mouth floor, and gums. Those over 50, are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer, as are men. However, Oral cancer has been on the rise, especially for people under 30 according to the AGD.  Schedule an appointment with us to receive a thorough oral health examination, and ask us about an oral cancer screening, particularly if you are a tobacco user. Oral cancer screenings are often very quick as our dentist checks your mouth, teeth, and cheeks for signs of irregularities. If caught early, oral cancer can be treated.

If you are a tobacco user, we strongly advise you to quit. You can work with our professional dental team as well as your doctor to overcome tobacco use. Everyone should be receiving regular oral health examinations, but if you are a tobacco user, you need to be especially vigilant in doing so. Schedule a visit to our office so that we can work with you to identify any potential issues.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.

Dentist in Homewood | One Simple Treatment Can Save Your Child’s Smile

Dentist in Homewood

Our dentist might suggest dental sealants for your child during a visit to our office. Sealants are a way to protect your teeth against decay. With any dental treatment, it helps to understand the procedure and how it can impact your child’s oral health.

Why Get Sealants?

Sealants help to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are applied on the back teeth, where decay is most likely to develop. Our dentist will often recommend sealants for children and teens, but adults may benefit from sealants, as well.

The further your teeth are in the back of your mouth, the more difficult it can be to maintain the proper hygiene needed to keep them healthy. Sealants can prevent up to 80% of decay within the first two years alone. After 4 years, sealants continue to prevent as much as 50% of decay. Children without sealants are more than three times as likely to develop tooth decay than those with sealants.

When Should You Get Them?

Your child’s first molars usually become visible around age 6, with the second set around age 12. You will want to talk to us about the best course of action for keeping molars healthy. Sealants are most effective when they are done as soon as the molars break through. Regular examinations with our dentist will determine the best time to have sealants applied.

What Should I Expect?

Sealants are one of the simplest treatments we perform in our office. There is generally no discomfort associated with this process. We will first thoroughly clean your child’s teeth, and then use a special gel. The gel is then cleaned off before the sealant is applied. A small blue light is used to harden the sealant in a matter of moments.

What Concerns Should I Have?

There are no side-effects from sealants, and allergic reactions are extremely rare. However, talk to our doctor about any allergies your child has so we can discuss the best possible course of action.

Next Steps

Sealants last for years before needing to be reapplied. It is important to schedule regular visits to our office so that our dentist can check the condition of the sealants and teeth on an ongoing basis. If your child had sealants several years ago and you are unsure if they should be reapplied, schedule an appointment with us.

For more tips on keeping teeth healthy and for questions about dental sealants, contact our office.

Homewood Dentist | Kissing Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Dentist in Homewood

Homewood IL DentistWhen you are close to someone you can often be overly comfortable in sharing.  This is especially true with kissing. In one kiss, more than 500 germs can be shared between two people. Sharing a kiss can have an impact on your oral health. Here are some of the dangers of kissing.

Colds & Flus

When you feel like you might be coming down with a cold or flu, it is best to avoid kissing. You certainly don’t want to transmit any diseases. Colds and flus are easily passed on through saliva and nasal fluids.

Cold Sores

If you see a cold sore near your mouth and lips, you should avoid kissing someone. Cold sores will look like small, clear blisters usually close to your lips. Cold sores are a viral infection, but are extremely contagious. Cold sores that are leaking fluids are especially contagious, however even a sore without any fluid can spread to others in contact. Avoid contact if you see cold sores!

Mono – The Kissing Disease

Mononucleosis, or mono, is spread very rapidly through kissing. The disease can also be spread by sharing behaviors such as sharing a cup, food, or straw. We recommend avoiding sharing your food and drink with others. Someone carrying mono might appear healthy, so always play it is safe by avoiding sharing your food and your germs.

Tips for Fresh Breath

It makes sense to want to have a clean, fresh breath when kissing. It is best to avoid foods that contain strong spices and flavors, such as garlic or onion. Long after they have been consumed, it is still possible to smell these foods on someone’s breath. Make sure you follow a regular daily oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily, as well as brushing your tongue, roof of the mouth, and inside of your cheeks. We suggest using a mouthwash or sugar-free gum after eating to help diffuse strong odors. Sometimes bad breath can be caused by other factors, so if you feel these solutions are not working, make an appointment with us.

Hundreds of germs can be shared when kissing. Watch out for cold sores as well as cold or flu symptoms. Don’t forget to keep up with your daily brushing and flossing routine.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy, or to schedule your next visit, contact our office.

Dentist Homewood | You Need to Know About Oral Thrush: Here’s Why

Dentist Homewood

Dentist in Homewood ILEven a healthy mouth is lined with bacteria. Normally, your daily oral hygiene routine helps prevent oral health complications. However, it is possible to develop an excess of bacteria and fungi, which can leading to additional problems. Here’s what you should know about oral thrush and what you can do to prevent it.

What is it?

Oral thrush is caused by a collection of the fungus Candida in your mouth. Bacteria and fungi occur naturally in your mouth, but it is important that they are not permitted to build up. Thrush can appear as white, thick scrapes on your tongue or inner cheek. It may also look like patchy, white sores.

Who Does It Affect?

Young children, infants, and the elderly are at a higher risk of developing oral thrush. If you have a weakened immune system or diabetes, it is even more important that you stay active to keep your mouth healthy and prevent issues like oral thrush. Smokers also tend to develop oral thrush more than other patients.

What can it Do?

Oral thrush can lead to trouble swallowing and tasting. As it develops, it can become painful. Oral thrush can make affected areas feel like they are burning, and slight bleeding can occur if you are scraping your tongue or cheeks. Some describe the feeling as having cotton in their mouth.

Thrush can spread. If you have a weakened immune system, it is possible that thrush moves into your lungs, digestive tract, and even your heart.

How can I Prevent It?

Our best recommendation for preventing oral thrush is a vigilant daily oral hygiene routine that includes a thorough brushing and flossing of your teeth, and includes your tongue. We sometimes recommend a patient use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue. Just like brushing your teeth, your tongue depends on daily cleaning to stay healthy and free of germs and bacteria.

he American Dental Association recommends that for some patients it might be helpful to consider an antimicrobial toothpaste or mouthwash. Check with our doctor to see which solutions might be best for you.

We cannot overstate the importance of regularly scheduled dental exams. If you are a diabetic, it is even more important that you schedule regular visits to our office. By having your mouth checked by our staff, we can work with you to prevent oral health issues like thrush.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Dentist in Homewood, IL | Are Dental Veneers Right for Me?

Dentist in Homewood

Homewood Dentist

We often have visitors to our office ask about solutions for fixing stained teeth or filling in gaps between teeth. We sometimes suggest veneers. Veneers are one cosmetic option available for correcting your smile. Here’s what you should know about veneers, and whether they are right for you and your smile.

What Are Veneers?

A Veneer is a thin cover placed over the front of the tooth. Typically, they are made of dental porcelain and designed to cover your existing tooth, not replace it.

What They Do

Veneers are used to fix a broken or chipped tooth, shrink the noticeable gaps in between teeth, or reduce the visible stains on teeth. Our office specially sizes them to fit your teeth. Generally, the structure of your teeth is not altered since the veneers are placed over your teeth.

What You Need to Know

Those who get veneers sometimes experience a minor increase in sensitivity, particularly to hot or cold food and drinks. Veneers are typically nonreversible, as they often require a small amount of tooth enamel to be removed. After getting them, it is advisable to avoid drinks such as wine, coffee, or tea that are often culprits of causing staining. Taking care of them still requires you to brush twice each day and floss regularly as well. Your teeth are not invincible to staining or decay so be sure to continue to take care of them.

It is important to know that veneers are a solution to minor tooth issues such as discoloration, gaps, or misaligned teeth. They are not a substitute for braces, bridges, or other dental work. Schedule a visit to our office to meet with our dentist. Together our team can work with you to develop a plan to reach the goals and look you are hoping to achieve.

For more information on how to achieve the smile you have dreamed of, contact our office. We look forward to seeing you during your next visit with us!

Dentist in Homewood | Root Canal Treatment: Common Myths Busted

Homewood, IL Dentist

Dentist HomewoodAccording to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), there are three major misconceptions many people have regarding root canal therapy. Unfortunately, these patients may make decisions about their health care based on this incomplete or inaccurate information. Take a look at these myths and truths behind this important treatment option.

Myth 1: Root canal treatment causes pain.

This commonly held perception predates modern dentistry. Patients who have actually experienced root canal therapy are 6 times more likely to describe the procedure as painless than those who have never had the treatment.

Truth 1: Root canal treatment relieves pain.

In reality, the only pain that is generally associated with root canal therapy is caused by the underlying reason for the treatment – tooth decay or infected or diseased tissue. The root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, relieving the pain in the process.

Myth 2: Root canal treatment causes further illness or infection in the body.

This unfortunate belief stems from a long-discredited report from nearly 100 years ago that still turns up during internet searches. This report by Dr. Weston Price was highly criticized in its own time for the sub-standard research methods he used, and his conclusions were being debunked as early as the 1930s. 

Truth 2: There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that suggests root canal treatment may cause other illness or infection in the body.

In fact, root canal therapy has been proven to have a much lower incidence of bacteria entering the blood stream than tooth extraction and causes much less trauma to the patient. Recent research has also found that patients who have had multiple root canal treatments have a 45% lower risk of cancer than patients who have not.

Myth 3: Tooth extraction is always a better option than root canal treatment.

Sometimes a tooth cannot be saved. When that happens, extraction is far better than leaving a diseased tooth in place. However, there is no perfect replacement for a natural tooth. Even the best tooth replacement options may leave you needing to avoid certain foods. Additionally, missing teeth can lead to jaw bone resorption over time.

Truth 3: Saving natural teeth, when possible, may be the best option for overall health.

By saving the natural tooth whenever possible, doctors and patients avoid the need for further, more costly restoration treatment. Root canal treatment has a very high success rate and can often allow the natural tooth to last a lifetime.

Our doctor makes every effort to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible. We will review your oral health needs carefully before recommending any treatment.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our office.