Homewood, IL Dentist | Healthy is the New Beautiful

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Cosmetic dentistry has been around for ages. We’ve noticed that now, more than ever, people are concerned with overall wellness in addition to a beautiful smile. In past years, we had many patients come to us seeking whitening and seeming unconcerned with ridding their smile of infection and decay.

More recently, however, mainstream news has joined our efforts to educate the public on the oral & overall health connection. This has led to patients seeking care that will contribute to overall wellness. We’ve experienced a surge in questions such as:

  • Does periodontal disease really increase my odds of heart disease?
  • Does untreated decay lead to root canal therapy and risk eventual loss of the tooth?
  • Do oral lesions signify potential oral cancer? How is that screened and treated?

This increase in “Dental IQ” is leading to more comprehensive care for our community. It’s allowing us to provide dentistry which we know is in the best interest of our patients. Dentistry is not only about the aesthetic appeal of your smile. As many of our patients have been learning, valuable overall health benefits go hand-in-hand with preventive and restorative dental care.

If you’re seeking a dentist that contributes to your overall health and wellness, contact us today.

18040 Park Ave
Homewood, IL 60430
(708) 798-6868

 

Dentist in Homewood IL | Coffee and Your Teeth

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homewood dentistCoffee is well-known as hazardous to teeth, but there are things you can do besides cut it out completely. Here are some things to know about coffee’s effects on your oral health and diet, as well as how to mitigate them.

 

Contrary to popular belief, the pigments that give coffee its color can stain your teeth regardless of whether you take your coffee black or with cream. These pigments embed themselves in microscopic crevices and pits in your tooth enamel and are difficult to remove. To counteract this, don’t give the pigments time to set. When drinking coffee, drink quickly instead of sipping over a long period. Enjoy, then rinse your mouth with water to help neutralize the acid. In addition, following your recommended schedule of dental cleanings can help prevent stains. Whitening can improve the color of your teeth if mild staining has started. Ask our doctor how best to keep your smile bright.

 

Coffee can have minor benefits for your nutrition, but there are also things to beware. Drinks that are high in dairy fat or sugar can add substantial calories, as well as contributing to the chance of tooth decay. Try making your own coffee at home, where you can control the ingredients used. Minimize your use of creamer and sugar, or try using non-fat or sugar-free substitutes.

 

Coffee can still be a healthy party of your life if you take some care to protect your teeth. For more tips or to schedule a professional cleaning, contact our office.

James J Kreuz DDS & Gregory J Duffner DDS, Ltd 18040 Park Ave, Homewood, IL 60430 (708) 798-6868

 

60430 Dentist | Can You Inherit Oral Health Issues?

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Most serious oral health issues can be prevented by maintaining an effective routine of dental hygiene and in-office care. However, you could be at higher risk for some oral illnesses due to hereditary factors. Awareness and proper treatment can help minimize these risks. Here are a few of the most common oral health concerns that are affected by genetics.

Tooth decay – One of the most common oral issues, some tooth decay has been linked to a genetic deficiency of a protein called DEFB1. If your parents experienced an unusually high rate of tooth decay, then you may want to be more vigilant regarding your own dental care.

Oral cancer – Certain genetic factors can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Our doctor recommends annual oral cancer screening for early identification and treatment. In addition, certain lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption, can help reduce your risk of oral cancer.

Periodontal disease – Recent research has found that some forms of gum disease may be linked to mutations in genes that affect immunity and inflammatory response.

Misaligned or supernumerary (extra) teeth – Genetics can play a role in having misaligned or even extra teeth. The size of your jaw is determined mostly through heredity, and is the most common reason for an overbite, underbite, or dental crowding.

Canker sores – In most cases, canker sores are an isolated reaction to fatigue, stress, or menstrual cycles. However, there are certain inherited diseases that count canker sores among their symptoms. Crohn’s disease and Celiac sprue are two such conditions.

While you may not be able to avoid hereditary oral health issues entirely, we can help minimize or even reverse their effects with proper treatment and care. If you suffer from any of these inherited conditions, contact our office for an oral health evaluation. We can help.

18040 Park Ave
Homewood, IL 60430
(708) 798-6868

Homewood Dentist | Don’t Miss Your Screening

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Oral cancer does not discriminate. It affects those of all ages, genders and races. Smokers do develop oral cancers at higher rates than non-smokers. However, this does not absolve the rest of the population from being at risk, as well.

It’s incredibly important to keep to your recommended schedule of oral health examinations. By visiting your general dentist at least twice per year, it is much more likely that our dental team will be able to identify potentially cancerous lesions in early stages. As you may know, the key to survival of most forms of cancer is early detection. Oral cancers are treatable, especially if caught before displaying obvious signs. The best results occur when oral cancer is identified and treated during early stages.

If your general dentist identifies a lesion that appears to be irregular, he or she may refer you to our team. We’ll recommend the next steps. Once pathology has been identified, we can proceed with treatment if necessary.

We will complete a biopsy to confirm whether a lesion is cancerous. It is not possible to confirm an oral cancer diagnosis without a biopsy. For this reason, try to refrain from making assumptions until we have confirmed your diagnosis. If it’s been more than 6 months since your last appointment or if you have noticed a lesion, bump or irregular patch of skin that doesn’t heal within a few days, consider an oral cancer screening by your general dentist. Know that your dentist will provide you with advice and may refer you to our team for a closer look.

If you have considered skipping the recommended dental visits that provide your first line of defense against oral cancers, please reconsider. It could save your life.

18040 Park Ave
Homewood, IL 60430
(708) 798-6868

Dentist in Homewood | Preventing Enamel Erosion

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Do you have white spots on your teeth? Are your teeth quite sensitive? Do your teeth have cracks, chips, or indentations? If yes, then you may be experiencing enamel erosion.

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is the clear coating that protects your teeth. However, being the strongest substance in the body does not mean it should be neglected. Enamel can erode. Without the protection of enamel, you not only risk developing decay, but also abscesses, tooth pain, and even tooth loss.

What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion?

There are several factors that cause tooth enamel to erode, some of which are the result of everyday actions. Sugars and acids can wear down enamel. If you regularly drink soft drinks or sugary fruit drinks, you may be damaging your teeth. To protect your teeth, limit your consumption of such drinks. Alcohol can also erode enamel, as well as a diet that is high in sugary or starchy foods. The bacteria in the mouth can transforms starches and sugars in foods such as bread into damaging acid.

Other factors include acid reflux, recurrent vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, genetically inherited conditions, grinding your teeth, even brushing too hard or not flossing properly. All of these impact the health of your enamel, and, ultimately, your teeth. Once the enamel is worn or chipped away, it cannot be replaced.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats, replace white breads with whole grains, and try eating more cheese and yogurt to bolster the calcium in your saliva to keep the acids in check.

How Can Enamel Erosion Be Prevented?

In addition to exercising moderation with soft drinks, alcohol, sugars and starches, and, of course, taking extra care with regard to medical conditions and your tooth care regimen, there are a few extra things you can do to protect your smile. Saliva can neutralize harmful acids in your mouth. By drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum, you can boost saliva production.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats and replace white breads with whole grains. Add more cheese and yogurt to your diet. Not only are both foods high in calcium, but they also help neutralize harmful acids in your mouth.

Tooth enamel is essential for maintaining a healthy smile. Be mindful of what you eat and drink. Enamel erosion may also be the consequence of other complications such as excessive teeth grinding or acid reflux. Regular visits to our office allow our team to provide a full examination. If we detect that your enamel is eroding, we will discuss potential causes and solutions.

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

18040 Park Ave
Homewood, IL 60430
(708) 798-6868

Dentist 60430 | Oral Hygiene at Work

Dentist Homewood, IL

Do you brush your teeth after lunch? If you’re one of the millions of people who work outside the home, chances are you don’t have the time or resources to brush during the day. However, not being able to brush doesn’t mean you can’t protect your teeth at work.

Grab a drink of water. When you finish eating, get a drink of water. Swish the water around in your mouth, then spit or swallow it. Water helps to remove small particles of food that can remain on your teeth after your meal or snack.

Chew sugarless gum. There are certain types of sugarless gum that are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) as good for your oral health. The reason for this is that chewing stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth. That saliva washes away food particles and helps to neutralize acids on your teeth.

Limit time drinking coffee or soda. Coffee, soda, tea, and many other beverages contain high levels of sugars and acids. The more time you spend sipping your drink, the longer your teeth are exposed to these sources of decay. Instead of spending an hour taking small swallows, drink quickly to limit exposure, then rinse your mouth or switch to water to help counteract the effects.

Brush and floss when you can. Try to keep to a regular routine of good oral hygiene practices when you are at home. Brush at least twice daily, for two full minutes each time. Floss or use an interdental cleaner of your choice once a day. Keep your recommended appointments to have your teeth cleaned and evaluated by our team.

Taking care of your teeth doesn’t have to interrupt your workday. Keeping these simple tips in mind can help protect your mouth from tooth decay, periodontal disease, and other oral health issues.

To learn more ways to preserve your oral health, talk to our team during your visit. Contact our office to schedule your next appointment today.

James J Kreuz DDS & Gregory J Duffner DDS, Ltd
18040 Park Ave, Homewood, IL 60430
(708) 798-6868

Dentist 60430 | One Tool for Better Gum Health

Dentist Homewood, IL

 

Loose 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 floss each day. The same study showed a clear link between regular intra-oral care and better oral health. Unfortunately, many people also lie about how frequently they clean between their teeth. 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 dental floss. Try cutting off about 18 inches of floss and wrapping most of it carefully around your middle finger. Use roughly one inch to clean between each pair of teeth. 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 these 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.

James J Kreuz DDS & Gregory J Duffner DDS, Ltd
18040 Park Ave, Homewood, IL 60430
(708) 798-6868

Homewood, IL Dentist | 4 Ways to Make Oral Hygiene Fun

Dentist 60430

It can be difficult to get your child to practice proper oral care unsupervised. However, the long-term benefits of an early start to optimal oral hygiene are worth the effort. Below are some tips to help you make oral health a fun part of your child’s daily routine.

  1. Brush with a Buddy.

Your child will be much more excited to floss and brush their teeth if it’s a family activity. Brush your teeth with your child, or if they have siblings, have the kids brush together. This will help make the time more fun and help your child to subconsciously accept oral hygiene as a normal part of a daily routine.

  1. Choose the Right Supplies.

Let you child pick out their own toothbrush. This will help them feel like they have a say in their oral care routine.

  1. Reward Good Behavior.

A little incentive can go a long way. When trying to get your child to floss and brush on their own, it might be helpful to implement a simple reward system. For example, your child could track their own brushing on a calendar and trade it in for a small gift or prize after a month of twice daily brushing.

  1. Educate to Empower.

It’s important that your child understands why practicing good oral hygiene is so important. Use this as an opportunity to teach them about the dangers associated with poor oral health.

There are a lot of strategies you can use to make brushing a fun part of your child’s day, rather than a chore. You know your child better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to come up with some additional techniques that will work better for them!

Regular professional dental cleanings are an essential part of any good oral hygiene routine, so contact our dental team to schedule your child’s next appointment today.

James J Kreuz DDS & Gregory J Duffner DDS, Ltd
18040 Park Ave, Homewood, IL 60430
(708) 798-6868

Dentist Homewood, IL | Dry Mouth – Not Just a Nuisance

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Normal flow of saliva provides lubrication for swallowing and begins the process of digestion while you chew. Saliva also protects your teeth by neutralizing and washing away acids, sugars, and other particles left behind after eating. From time to time, we all experience some amount of dry mouth. Hot weather, exercise, and dehydration can all cause a temporary decrease in saliva production. However, if you have chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia, you could be at risk of serious oral health complications.

 

Some of the oral health issues commonly associated with dry mouth include:

• Much higher rates of tooth decay
• Oral yeast infection
• Bad breath (halitosis)
• Periodontal (gum) disease
• Constant sore throat
• Soft tissue infections
• Difficulty swallowing
• Denture discomfort

The most common cause of chronic dry mouth is medication. More than 400 over-the-counter and prescription medications include dry mouth as a frequent side effect. Dry mouth is also associated with stress, autoimmune and other systemic diseases, hormonal changes, radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancers, and salivary gland disease.

You may find relief from dry mouth through a variety of methods. Some easy options to help alleviate your dry mouth include:

• Increased water intake
• Sugar-free candies or gum
• Artificial saliva, as recommended by doctor or dentist
• Alcohol-free mouthwash
• Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated soft drinks
• Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home
• Change in medication, only as directed by doctor

Brush and floss regularly to help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other complications.

If you are experiencing dry mouth, make an appointment and be sure to tell our team. We will review your medications and perform a thorough dental exam to check for any potential underlying oral health issues.

For more information about dry mouth, contact our office.

James J Kreuz DDS & Gregory J Duffner DDS, Ltd
18040 Park Ave.
Homewood, IL 60430
(708) 798-6868

Dentist in Homewood, IL | 4 Tips for Healthy, White Teeth

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Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you. One way to make a lasting impression is to have a healthy-looking smile. Over the years, teeth whitening has become immensely popular. People turn to in-office whitening, over-the-counter whitening, and home-made whitening techniques. Did you know that there are ways to keep your smile white with just small changes to your daily routine? Read the tips below to keep your smile looking pearly white.

  1. Brush and Floss

To keep your mouth clean, healthy, and stain-free, brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Brush your teeth after drinking coffee, tea, soda, or red wine to help fight discoloration.

  1. Diet

Some of the food and drinks you are consuming may cause your teeth to look dull or stained. Wine, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and berries all contain substances that stain teeth. Chromogens are molecules found in all of these items that stick to the enamel of your teeth causing a dull look.

  1. Quit Smoking

Smoking is not only bad for your heart and lungs, it is also bad for your mouth and teeth. Smoking causes tooth discoloration, increased plaque buildup, gum disease and more.

  1. Visit Your Dentist

Dental cleanings and exams are an important part in keeping your teeth healthy and bright. You may need frequently follow up visits based on your oral health care. Don’t forget to schedule an appointment twice a year.

Even if you do use in-office whitening or over-the-counter products, your teeth need extra care to keep up with the initial results. By flossing, lifestyle changes, and regular dental visits your teeth will be looking bright.

Call our office to schedule your dental cleaning today.

18040 Park Ave.
Homewood, IL 60430
(708) 798-6868