Chicago Dentist | What to Know About E-Cigarettes and Your Oral Health

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The hazards surrounding vaping are not entirely clear. More research is needed in this area, but a recent study indicates that e-cigarette vapors could be damaging to your mouth. Here’s what you need to know.

The Vapor Ingredients

Electronic cigarettes are not regulated in the same way tobacco cigarettes are, meaning that their contents can be inaccurately labeled without any oversight. Contents that e-juice usually contains include nicotine, glycerin, chemical flavoring, and propylene glycol. Some of these substances are safe in food, such as chemical flavors, but the effects of inhaling them is not well researched. Heating these chemicals can form dangerous carcinogens such as formaldehyde. E-cigarettes might also include tiny metals and particles that you inhale while smoking.

What This Means for Your Oral Health

A recent study from UCLA found that vapors from an e-cigarette can kill the cells in your oral cavity, or the area of your mouth beyond your teeth and gums. The study placed oral cells in an environment where electronic cigarette smoke was produced for 24 hours, in a machine simulating how a person would smoke. During the test, 85% of the cells died. According to the lead author of the study, they plan to move forward to test the impacts in humans.

These cells are your mouth’s defense by helping to release antioxidants. As the cells die off or become less effective, your mouth becomes more vulnerable to oral diseases.

Another study by the University of Rochester Medical Center concluded e-cigarettes are just as bad for your gums as tobacco cigarettes are. Nicotine, which both types of cigarettes contain, is a known factor in contributing to gum disease.

Steps You Can Take

Since the e-juice industry is largely unregulated, it is best to avoid smoking electronic cigarettes. The carcinogenic contents pose serious risks to your health, especially to your mouth. Your mouth relies on the functions of these important cells to defend itself against dangerous bacteria and other substances. Without your mouth’s natural defense system, you open yourself up to oral disease.

Make sure you are regularly visiting our office, especially if you are a smoker of either tobacco cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes. Our experienced dental team will perform a complete oral examination during your visit to check for signs of oral disease. Being proactive is your best defense against combating oral disease.

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

5470 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60644

Phone: (773) 287-2277

60644 Dentist | Understanding Periodontal Disease

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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. Our team is trained to identify signs of periodontal disease. When detected early and managed properly, periodontal disease is treatable.

For more information regarding your gum health, please contact our office, or schedule a visit to see us.

5470 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60644

Phone: (773) 287-2277

 

Dentist Chicago | 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.

Madison Pine Dental Clinic
5470 W. Madison St., Chicago, IL 60644
(773) 287-2277

Dentist Chicago IL | Did You Forget to Pack Something?

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Did You Forget to Pack SomethingThe year is closing and holidays are on the horizon. Are you planning year-end travel or a last-minute getaway? Before heading out on your next adventure, make sure you are prepared with these 3 quick tips for maintaining optimal dental health during travel.

1. Properly transport your toothbrush. Instead of throwing your toothbrush into a bag with the rest of your toiletries, use a resealable plastic bag. This can reduce the amount of bacteria that gets passed on to your toothbrush.

2. Pack sugarless gum. Gum can help relieve ear pressure during a flight and prevent dry mouth that can occur during travel. Research shows that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can also help prevent tooth decay.

3. Brush with bottled water. If you are in another country or on a camping trip in the wilds, use bottled water to brush your teeth. This can reduce your risk of getting sick due to unfamiliar bacteria or other contaminants in the local water.

If you are taking a vacation before the year ends, don’t forget to take steps to maintain optimal oral health while you are away. Don’t forget to pack our office number in case you have questions about your oral health during your trip, then schedule an exam and cleaning for after your return.

Madison Pine Dental Clinic
5470 W. Madison St., Chicago, IL 60644
(773) 287-2277

Chicago Dentist | Ow! Your Guide to Canker Sores

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A canker sore can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult and even painful. Maintaining your oral health by brushing and flossing may also be difficult with a sore in your mouth, but keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine is an important step in the healing process. We’ve put together a short guide to everything you need to know about canker sores.

What do they look like?

Canker sores are usually small, round reddish sores. You’ll find them on the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your tongue, the sides of your mouth, and at the base of your gums. Occasionally, a sore might have a yellow or white colored center.

What causes them?

Among the most common causes of canker sores are injuries. This can happen from biting your lip or cheek, an injury from sports, or even vigorous brushing. Certain people are sensitive to toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate, leading to sores. Foods may also cause canker sores in certain people. Chocolate, eggs, nuts, and spicy foods have been known to cause the sores. At times, a diet that is deficient in vitamin B-12 or zinc is the culprit.

What can I do?

Your best defense is to keep your mouth healthy. This means keeping up with your twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. With a mouth sore, it may be tempting to avoid the area when brushing your teeth. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Aid the healing process by keeping your mouth clean and healthy. You may also try a mouthwash formulated for mouth sores. When in doubt, or if pain persists, talk to our team.

Brush thoroughly but gently around sores. Most canker sores heal within a week. If you find you are regularly getting sores, or they are taking longer than one week to heal, schedule a visit to our office. We will assess your oral health and provide you with our expert advice.

For more information about oral health or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office. We look forward to seeing you.

5470 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60644

Phone: (773) 287-2277

60644 Dentist | How to Deal with Sensitive Teeth

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Tooth sensitivity is a condition that can make everyday activities such as eating, drinking, and even walking outside in colder weather painful and unpleasant. If you frequently experience a sharp burst of pain in your teeth when drinking coffee, eating ice cream or being hit by a gust of cold air, sensitive teeth may be the cause. Sensitive teeth are a common, though frustrating issue. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) estimates that up to 40 million adults in the United States suffer from this condition.

The primary cause of sensitive teeth is thinning of the enamel, the hard covering that protects teeth from damage. Thinning of the enamel exposes the dentin within teeth, which is full of nerve endings. Exposed nerve endings are the reason you can feel a sudden flash of pain when enjoying your favorite ice cream.

Fortunately, sensitive teeth are a treatable condition. Here are some of your options for managing sensitive teeth.

Adjust your brushing habits

Tooth sensitivity may be reduced by a simple change in your daily brushing habits. Switching to a softer toothbrush should be one of your first steps. Brushes with hard bristles can aggravate your teeth, increasing sensitivity and discomfort. Likewise, scrubbing teeth aggressively can hasten damage to the tissue covering the roots of your teeth and increase sensitivity. Be sure to brush gently for a full two minutes at least twice daily.

Try a special toothpaste

Toothpastes made to treat sensitive teeth can be a helpful remedy. These toothpastes can be purchased over the counter and contain ingredients designed to help protect your teeth. It is important to use the toothpaste regularly to see improvement.

Avoid acidic foods and drinks

Soda, citrus and red wine are some of the acidic biggest offenders. If you cannot fully avoid acidic foods and beverages, be sure to brush twenty minutes after consumption. Be aware that brushing immediately after can actually increase sensitivity, so it is better to rinse your mouth and allow sufficient time for the acids to be neutralized by your saliva before brushing.

Surgical solutions

In some cases, surgical solutions may be recommended to treat the underlying cause of your teeth sensitivity. If you have receding gums, tissue grafts can help protect your teeth roots and reduce sensitivity. Inlays, crowns and bonding may also be options if there is damage to your teeth that is causing or exacerbating your sensitivity.

Speak with our dentist to determine what type of treatment is best for your sensitivity. Contact our office for your consultation.

5470 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60644

Phone: (773) 287-2277

Dentist Chicago | An Important Reminder About Your Next Dental Appointment

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At times, life can seem to move quickly. Between work, school, sports, and social events, it can seem there is little time left for you and your health. It’s imperative for a healthy mouth and body to always have your next dental appointment scheduled and to prioritize this care. Our team will work with you to find the most convenient day and time for you. If you need to reschedule, we will do our best to accommodate you. Advanced notice of a change is greatly appreciated, whenever possible. Missed appointments without notice are harmful to our practice, as we’ve reserved your appointment time exclusively for you.

Missed dental appointments can lead to worsened oral and overall health. Whether receiving preventive or restorative care, if left without professional treatment, plaque and decay will progress and the state of your oral health will likely decline. Some of our patients are predisposed to more frequent oral health issues. Many times, these guests prefer more frequent office visits. Please know this is an option for you as well. Investing in one extra cleaning each year can often prevent more costly concerns.

We know it can be tempting to skip your dental appointment. Perhaps you’d rather be relaxing at home or you’ve had a last-minute obligation arise. Please make every effort to prioritize your healthy smile, as it significantly contributes to your overall health.

Please know we’re here for you. If you have any questions about our care or practice philosophy, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Madison Pine Dental Clinic
5470 W. Madison St., Chicago, IL 60644
(773) 287-2277

Chicago Dentist |6 Harmful habits that Affect Your Teeth

6 Harmful Habits That Affect Your Teeth

Nearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.

 

  • Nail Biting

 

Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.

The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.

 

  • Brushing Too Hard

 

Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.

The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.

 

  • Grinding and Clenching

 

Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your mouth wide.

The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.

 

  • Chewing Ice Cubes

 

Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.

The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.

 

  • Constant Snacking

 

Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.

 

  • Using Your Teeth as a Tool

 

Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.

The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.

Contact our office to schedule your next dental appointment.

5470 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60644

Chicago Dentist | To Floss or Not To Floss?

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By now, you have likely seen news reports questioning whether flossing is necessary for your oral health.

We want to answer your question right away with an absolute YES. Cleaning between your teeth is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums.

Whether you use traditional string dental floss, a water flosser, an interdental (between teeth) brush, or other form of interdental cleaning, it is important that you clean between your teeth correctly and on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, in the quest for catchy headlines, many news agencies have been providing a great deal of incomplete and inaccurate information.

Here’s the truth: Plaque and bacteria can be prevented from building up between teeth when flossing is done correctly on a daily basis. 

Why does that matter? Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other systemic health issues.

The next time you visit our office, ask your hygienist to show you the most effective way to clean between your teeth. For more information on flossing and interdental cleaning or to schedule an appointment, contact us.