Homewood IL Dentist | Coffee and Your Teeth

CCoffee 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. 

Homewood IL Dentist | Coffee and Your Teeth

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. 

Homewood IL Dentist | Can You Inherit Oral Health Issues?

CMost 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. 

Homewood IL Dentist | Can You Inherit Oral Health Issues?

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. 

Homewood IL Dentist | 3 Ways to Fix a Chipped Tooth

3Chipping a tooth could be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to fix a chipped tooth. We will recommend a solution based on your particular needs. Here are three options we may provide you:

Homewood IL Dentist | 3 Ways to Fix a Chipped Tooth

1.      Dental Bonding 

Bonding is a quick and easy solution for most small, cosmetic chips. In the bonding process, the remaining enamel on the tooth is first roughened in order for composite to better adhere to the tooth’s surface. Composite is then shaped to replace the chip and hardened with a dental curing light, instantly solidifying the material. Typically, bonding can last up to ten years with proper care. 

2.     Porcelain Veneers 

If the tooth was fully cracked or there was significant damage to the tooth, veneers may be recommended. Also, if you have chipped a tooth several times or wish to repair the tooth’s color, getting veneers may be the best option. 

A veneer uses porcelain material that covers the front surface of your teeth, giving them a natural look while also providing strength comparable to natural tooth enamel. In order to apply a veneer, a small amount of existing tooth structure is removed to make room around the affected area. Then, we will take an impression of the tooth to use in making the permanent veneer and place a temporary veneer. 

Once the permanent, porcelain veneer arrives, the temporary veneer is removed and the area around the tooth is cleaned. We will then place the adhesive and set in the new veneer for exact fit. Finally, the veneer is light cured and you will have a natural, beautiful smile. 

3.     Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are a “cap” that covers your tooth. A crown restores a tooth back to its normal shape, size, and function. Crowns are best-suited when a large portion of the original tooth is missing, or when the tooth is significantly damaged, causing pain when chewing or drinking. They are an effective solution to repair the shape and look of your tooth quickly, preventing further damage from tooth decay or exposed nerves. 

If you have a chipped tooth, contact us as soon as possible. We have a number of solutions to fix any oral health issues that arise from chipping or cracking a tooth. We will provide a customized plan for you based on your needs.  

Homewood IL Dentist | Don’t Miss Your Screening

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. 

Homewood IL Dentist | Don't Miss Your Screening

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. Contact our team to schedule your next visit today.

Homewood IL Dentist | Preventing Enamel Erosion

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. 

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

Homewood Dentist | The One Piece of Gear Every Athlete Needs

The One Piece of Gear Every Athlete Needs

An injury to your mouth can be a painful, expensive experience. For athletes, mouth and tooth injuries are a very real risk. Mouthguards are an excellent tool for protecting your mouth from injury and harm. Our team can help you find a solution that protects your teeth while you play. 

Why Wear a Mouthguard? 

Mouthguards protect your teeth. For athletes, injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even worse, missing teeth. Additionally, your mouth is mostly made up of soft tissues, such as your tongue, inside cheeks, and lips. These areas can become injured or pierced when playing sports. Mouthguards help defend your mouth and teeth against such injuries.  

Do All Athletes Need a Mouthguard? 

Yes. High-contact sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing pose the greatest risk for mouth injuries. However, all athletes can benefit from being cautious. Gymnasts should consider wearing one to protect their mouth in the event of a fall. Baseball and basketball players should protect themselves from being injured by a ball or collision with another player. Mouthguards should be treated as a necessary piece of your athletic gear, no matter which sport you play. 

Which Mouthguard Is the Most Effective? 

Our team can help you during your next visit to our office. There are many options available, ranging from store-bought to custom-fitted mouthguards. We will work with you to determine which type of mouthguard is best for you. It is important that any guard fits properly.  

If you are currently receiving orthodontic treatment, we may recommend a special type of  mouthguard. Braces can puncture your mouth if impacted, particularly during sports. Our team will help you find a solution that works. 

Prevention is the best solution to oral sports injuries. Contact our office and ask about finding a mouthguard that is right for you. 

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

Homewood Dentist | The Downsides of Crooked Teeth

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If you have crooked teeth, you may already be looking into orthodontic solutions to improve your smile. However, did you know straightening your teeth can have benefits beyond increased confidence?

Many people may not realize it, but your oral health plays a large role in your body’s overall health. Poor oral health can put you at a much higher risk of stroke, heart disease, illness, miscarriages, and more. Crooked teeth can impede your ability to take proper care of your mouth, putting you at an increased risk of any number of ailments. Below are some of the most common issues exacerbated by crooked teeth. If you are experiencing any of these issues, contact our office today to see how orthodontic care can offer relief.

Gum Disease

Crooked teeth can often be much harder to properly clean than straight teeth. Without regular brushing and flossing, your chance of developing gum disease increases significantly. An untreated buildup of plaque can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease, the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Swollen and irritated gums can open the door for bacteria to enter your blood stream and trigger inflammation elsewhere in your body and increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and more.

It’s important for everyone to maintain a proper oral care routine and visit their dentist at least twice annually for cleanings and examinations. However, even that may not be enough if your teeth are too crooked to properly clean. We offer a variety of orthodontic solutions to help correct misaligned teeth and make it easier for you to take care of your smile. Visit our office today to learn more!

TMD/TMJ Pain

Crooked teeth or an improper bite may increase your risk of developing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). While the most common cause of TMD is the clenching and grinding of teeth, a misaligned bite may be a contributing factor. TMD can cause soreness and discomfort in the jaw, clicking sounds while chewing, headaches, and other facial pain.

If you have been experiencing jaw pain, an evaluation may help you determine if treatment for TMD is necessary. Correcting a misaligned bite can go a long way in alleviating some of the discomfort caused by TMD.

Enamel Erosion

Enamel is the thin, tough shell coating the outside of your teeth that protects them from damage and wear. Though a variety of environmental factors can lead to enamel loss, teeth grinding is another common cause. When your teeth are crooked and your bite does not properly align, the simple acts of speaking and chewing can cause your teeth to grind against each other. When left untreated, this can contribute a degradation in your enamel.

A loss in enamel can lead to tooth discoloration, increased pain and sensitivity, and cracks and chips forming in your teeth. There is a lot you can do at home to protect your enamel, including drinking plenty of water, avoiding excessively acidic or sugary foods, and brushing and flossing regularly. However, your crooked teeth may limit your ability to prevent enamel erosion on your own. Contact our office today to see if orthodontic treatment could be the solution you need.

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

60430 Dentist | The Truth Behind “Natural Whitening” Fads

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It seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles showcase the idea that whitening can be cheap and easy, if in some cases unpleasant. It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without investing time and money on in-office or at-home whitening under a dentist’s care. However, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, take a look at the truth behind some of the recent fads.

Fad 1: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been cropping up in headlines for months with claims of a wide variety of potential health benefits. It is a very old folk remedy in which a person swishes a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, olive, etc., in their mouth and between teeth for up to 20 minutes daily.

Despite the number of years this practice has existed and the number of health issues it purports to treat, there is no evidence that oil pulling whitens teeth or improves health.

Fad 2: Fruits

Due to celebrity endorsement, some people have begun to try rubbing mashed strawberries on their teeth to try to achieve a whiter smile. Others are using lemon or orange peels, and still others tout the virtues of eating pineapple or swishing apple cider vinegar.

However, there is no science to support any of these claims. In fact, one recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (which is known to have whitening effects on teeth) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all of these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.

Fad 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

While it is true that many forms of in-office and over-the-counter teeth whitening make use of hydrogen peroxide, there is more to consider before opening a bottle. The hydrogen peroxide used in professional teeth whitening, whether in-office or at-home, is mixed with other substances and provided in a form designed for use in teeth whitening.

Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will have little or no effect on the whiteness of your teeth, but may cause irritation to your gums and mouth and can be dangerous if accidentally ingested.

If you want whiter, brighter teeth, there are safe and effective ways to achieve your goal. Talk with our doctor for a recommendation for what kind of whitening will be best for your needs. For more information about whitening, contact our office.

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

Dentist in Homewood | Tobacco & Your Teeth

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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.

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

60430 Dentist | Healthy Snack Choices for Kids

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Do your children constantly ask for sugary snacks that you know are not good for their health? There are healthy alternatives to the junk food your child loves that taste just as great. Here are a few options to get you started.

Low-Fat Yogurt with Berries

Premade parfaits can be high in sugar with added fat and artificial flavors. Make your own parfaits at home with plain low-fat yogurt to cut down fat and calories. This combination of food gives you a balanced meal consisting of protein, calcium, and fiber. These are all important nutrients to keep bones and teeth growing strong. The berries also provide antioxidants which are very important for overall health.

Celery Sticks with Cream Cheese and Sunflower Seeds

Usually kids will do anything they can to get away with not eating vegetables. Have you ever thought of pairing vegetables with a snack they love? Cream cheese will make the celery more appealing to your children. The celery is fibrous and will gently scrub their teeth as they chew. The sunflower seeds are an added bonus containing magnesium and Vitamin B.

Hummus with Toasted Whole Grain Pita

This is a snack that has become popular over the years. It is delicious and also great for your child’s teeth. Hummus can prevent sugars from sticking to your teeth, decreasing the risk of cavities. Whole grains are nutritionally better than white bread, which has more sugar.

Cheddar Cheese and Apples

Placing cheddar cheese and apples on a whole grain cracker is a tasty treat for your child. The apples are high in fiber and water, which will help wash away bacteria and food particles. The cheddar cheese gives your child an extra dose of calcium to keep their teeth durable.

Tip: Do not forget to throw in a bottle of water with your kid’s snack. It will wash away any sugar, bacteria, and plaque left on their teeth from eating.

Remember to schedule regular dental appointments for your children’s constantly evolving teeth. For more healthy options, call and visit our office today.

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