South Loop Chicago Dentist | To Floss or Not to Floss?
South Loop Chicago Dentist | Fruit Juice and Your Teeth
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.
Dentist in South Loop | 9 Things You (Probably) Didn’t 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 cancer.
- 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 vitamin B-12.
- 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 contagious.
- 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.
1440 S. Wabash Ave., Ste 101, Chicago, IL 60605
South Loop Dentist | Optimal Gum Health for Seniors
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For 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.
1440 S. Wabash Ave., Ste 101, Chicago, IL 60605
60605 Dentist | How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier
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The food children eat affects their long term oral health. Some foods have nutrients teeth need. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a stand. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your kids to make.
Offer healthy snack choices. Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.
Have fun with snacks. Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best solution! Eating a well-balanced lunch and dinner is important as well. Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.
Be a good role model. Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.
Follow up. Don’t forget it is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us for more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long term dental health!
1440 S. Wabash Ave., Ste 101, Chicago, IL 60605
Dentist in South Loop Chicago | Health Link: Oral Hygiene and Heart Disease
The 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.
1440 S. Wabash Ave., Ste 101, Chicago, IL 60605
Cosmetic Dentist South Loop | Risk Factors: Childhood Tooth Decay
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According to the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, childhood tooth decay is the number one chronic illness impacting children in America. More than 40 percent of children have decay by the time they reach kindergarten. Tooth decay can have a lasting impact on the health of a child, especially if dental care is not provided to them at a young age. The following are some of the risk factors that can lead to tooth decay during childhood.
One of the leading causes for childhood tooth decay comes from long-term exposure to sugary liquids. Our team recommends that a child drinks unsweetened fruit juices or water. If a child does drink a sugary liquid, using a straw allows the beverage to pass by the teeth.
Drinking from spill-proof cups throughout the day can lead to decay. Spill-proof cups allow children to consistently expose their teeth to drinks containing sugars and acids. We suggest that a child only use spill-proof cups during times of increased salivary activity, such as mealtimes or when the child has a snack, so that the saliva can help clean their teeth.
Not Visiting Us Sooner
Another cause of early childhood tooth decay is not knowing when a child should first visit the dentist. The Academy of General Dentistry found that by kindergarten, 25 percent of children have never seen a dentist. Children should have their first dental exam following the eruption of their first tooth.
Lack of Dental Care
Regular dental examinations allow our team to monitor your child’s mouth for signs of decay. The National Children’s Oral Health Foundation says that 1 in 5 U.S. children go without dental care. Neglecting regular visits puts children at risk for decay that can spread and manifest into more severe oral health issues.
Leaving a child’s teeth untreated and without dental care can have a lasting impact on their long-term health. Our team can help make sure that your child’s smile is healthy. Together, we can work to minimize your child’s risk of developing significant oral health complications.
To schedule your child’s next visit to our office, please contact us.
Dentist in South Loop | 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.
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.
Cosmetic Dentist 60605 | 3 Reasons You Need to Visit the Dentist
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With a busy schedule, it may be a challenge to schedule your routine dental visit or you may just forget about it altogether. Remember that prevention is protection. For most patients, we recommend you visit us at least every six months. More frequent visits may be necessary if you are at a higher risk for oral health complications. Here is why regular professional cleanings and exams are important.
Keeping your teeth clean is a constant battle. Visiting our office regularly will provide your teeth a thorough cleaning and examination that you cannot get from brushing alone. While you may be keeping up with a proper oral hygiene routine, brushing and flossing alone do not provide the level of cleaning your teeth require. Regular visits to our team allow us to utilize the most effective instruments and latest technology to precisely clean your teeth, preventing potential oral health complications.
Ignoring oral health issues allows them time to spread and become more serious. For example, an untreated tooth infection can spread to other teeth. Not only will this create more pain for you, but this will require additional work, and additional money. Talk to our team and tell us if you have been experiencing any discomfort, pain, or bleeding in your mouth.
Diagnosis of Severe Diseases
Regular visits allow our team to look for signs of diseases such as oral cancer. Our team can examine your mouth, gums, and teeth more thoroughly than if examined at home. Many oral health issues are treatable, particularly if they are detected early. By taking additional measures to ensure your oral hygiene, you will be helping yourself out in the long run.
Don’t wait for your problems to become more time consuming and costly. Invest in regular visits to our office where our team is able to provide you with the highest standard of care. We’d love to see you. Contact our practice to schedule your visit.
South Loop Cosmetic Dentist | How Chocolate Affects the Health of Your Teeth
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Did you know that chocolate might not be as bad for your teeth as people may have thought? You can now eat your favorite treat without feeling guilty. Studies have shown that there are benefits to eating chocolate, however, not all chocolate is created equal. It is important to note that these benefits apply to dark chocolate, not milk chocolate or white chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.
A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:
- 11 grams of fiber
- 67% Iron
- 58% Magnesium
- 89% Copper
- 98% Manganese
- It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium
Here are more advantages to eating dark chocolate and how to maintain good oral health while doing so.
Chocolate and Your Teeth
Chocolate is a candy that dissolves quickly in your mouth, resulting in less time on your teeth. It does less damage than a chewy or sticky candy because the sugar doesn’t cling to your teeth as long.
Chocolate and Your Health
Cocoa and dark chocolate are also a powerful source of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease, cancer, and other conditions. The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.
Eating chocolate can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. A study also showed that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.
Remember to eat responsibly as too much sugary food can be harmful, regardless of the benefits. Eating dark chocolate and brushing your teeth after will reduce the negative effects of chocolate.
While you can indulge on your favorite chocolate treat occasionally, be sure to keep up with your oral hygiene routine. Brush at least twice each day for two minutes, and floss regularly. To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team.