Berwyn IL Dentist | 9 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Tongue

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We use our tongues every day to talk, taste, and swallow, yet we rarely take time to think about this flexible organ. Here are 9 things you may not know about the tongue:

1.      The longest recorded tongue was more than 3.8 inches from back to tip; the widest measured over 3” across.

2.      The human tongue contains 8 separate muscles intertwined.

3.      A blue whale tongue weighs about 5,400 pounds and is roughly the size of an adult elephant!

4.      Tongues come in many shapes and have varying numbers of taste buds. This makes a human tongue imprint as unique as a fingerprint.

5.      The average person has about 10,000 taste buds in their mouth.

6.      A single taste bud contains between 50 and 100 taste cells, which may have sensors for multiple tastes.

7.      No individual taste cell can identify both bitter and sweet flavors.

8.      1 milliliter of saliva contains about 1,000,000 bacteria.

9.      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.

Resource: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/

6735 Stanley Ave., Berwyn, IL 60402

Dentist in Berwyn | 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.

6735 Stanley Ave., Berwyn, IL 60402

Dentist in Berwyn | Don’t Rush to Brush

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Are you a diligent brusher who grabs the toothbrush as soon as you finish each snack or meal? While there are significant benefits to regular brushing, hurrying your hygiene might be doing more harm than good. The key lies in understanding the effects of different types of food and drinks have on your teeth.

The Dangers of Acidic Foods

Food and drinks that contain acids are particularly harmful to your teeth. Acid can wear away at the enamel on your teeth. As your enamel weakens, your risk for developing decay increases.

What Foods Should I Look Out For?

Fruits such as oranges, pineapples, and grapefruit contain problematic acids that can cause damage to your enamel. Diet sodas and wines can be just as damaging, as can fruit juices such as orange juice. Tomato products and foods such as pizza, salsa, soups, and sauces also contain acids.

But Brushing My Teeth Helps, Right?

Not necessarily. The acids in these foods weaken the enamel on your teeth. After eating or drinking a highly acidic product, your teeth are in a particularly vulnerable state. Enamel protects your teeth, and it is the strongest mineral in your entire body. However, the layers of your teeth beneath the enamel are not as strong and resilient. If you brush your teeth immediately after consuming something acidic, you can drive the acid further into your teeth. This speeds up the process of breaking down your enamel.

When Should I Brush?

Wait about 20 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks before brushing your teeth. While waiting, your mouth will produce saliva which helps to neutralize acids and wash away bacteria. Drinking water, rinsing your mouth, or chewing sugarless gum can help neutralize acids more quickly.

Should I Always Wait to Brush My Teeth?

While you should not rush to brush after eating acidic foods, you should not wait long after eating foods that are extremely sticky and sugary. If you are eating candy, taffy, or another sticky treat, waiting is not the best option. The sooner you can clean these sugary substances off your teeth, the better.

Should I Just Stop Eating Acidic Foods?

Acidic foods such as fruits contain vitamins and nutrients that are an essential component to your diet. While you don’t have to avoid these foods altogether, you should be mindful of how they impact your teeth. Maintain a daily oral hygiene schedule that includes regular flossing and at least two rounds of brushing for two minutes.

For more dental health tips, or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.

6735 Stanley Ave., Berwyn, IL 60402

5 Interesting Dental Facts

Did you know your oral health can impact your overall health? We’ve compiled a list of 5 tidbits about your teeth and oral health.

Say Cheese

Cheese has been found to promote dental health by helping prevent tooth decay. The calcium and phosphorus found in cheese help neutralize acid in the mouth. Acid can create dental erosion, which can cause decay that may require filling. Cheese creates a protective film around teeth and helps remineralize the enamel.

Keep Smiling

Your smile can make a difference. Studies have found that 50% of people consider a smile the first facial feature they notice. One study found that 88% of us remember people with beautiful smiles whenever we meet new people. This means attractive smiles are key to being more noticeable and remembered.

Toothbrush Time

Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush at least once every three months. You should get a new toothbrush after recovering from any sort of viral infection, flu, or cold. You are more likely to be re-infected if these bacteria implant themselves on the bristles.

You’re Unique

In your lifetime, you only get two sets of teeth— baby teeth and permanent teeth. It is important to take proper care of your permanent teeth. Did you know that no two people have precisely the same set of teeth? Your teeth are as unique as a fingerprint. This is the reason teeth are used by investigators for identification. Your tongue also has a unique print, though it is not commonly recorded.

F.Y.I on Floss

Floss is a lot more useful than you may think. If you skip out on your daily flossing, you can miss cleaning up to 40% of your tooth surfaces. Flossing can also help prevent gum disease by removing plaque near the gum line. Floss has other alternative creative uses. The next time you are looking for a fun holiday project, grab some dental floss and a handful of cereal to string for the tree. Floss works well for repairing a bead necklace too!

Bonus Fact: Health professionals are rated among the most trusted people in the U.S so make sure to call our dentist and make an appointment today!

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.

Berwyn, IL Dentist | Daily Flossing

We’ve all been told at least once in our life that flossing daily is crucial. Here are four reasons why flossing may be beneficial for your oral health routine:

  • Preventative care. Food and bacteria buildup between your teeth is unavoidable. Over time, these bacterial colonies lead to tooth decay and the destruction of your dental health. Flossing helps remove food and bacteria from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Helps prevent gingivitis and gum disease. Your teeth aren’t the only part of your mouth that needs attention. Many people take care of their teeth but ignore their gums. Researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry explain that people who floss regularly experience much lower instances of periodontal pathogens, gum bleeding, and decay-causing bacteria in contrast with people who do not floss.
  • Protects your smile. Flossing does more than just prevent cavities—it also preserves the bones that support your teeth. By preserving the height of that bony structure as well as a healthy smile, you’re maintaining a healthy and youthful appearance that will benefit you for years to come.
  • Gives you better overall health. Gum disease doesn’t just affect your mouth and jaw. It has also been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even respiratory diseases. Flossing daily is more than just an optimal habit—it can help keep you healthy as you age.

We are pleased to offer a variety of oral health solutions to keep your smile healthy. We are also able to customize a health plan tailored to your specific needs. Book your appointment with our dental team today.

Berwyn, IL Dentist | One Tool for Better Gum Health

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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.

Dentist in Berwyn | Tobacco and Oral Health

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Whether you use smokeless tobacco or smoke cigars, cigarettes, or a pipe, tobacco use poses a serious threat to both your oral health and your overall health. In addition to the effects smoking has on your respiratory health, pregnancy, and heart health, a recent study has found profound connections between smoking and periodontal (gum) disease.

Most people are aware that tobacco use commonly causes a wide range of unpleasant side effects. Some of these include the following:

  • Bad breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Stained teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Loss of taste and smell

While these may seem like minor issues, they can lead to serious oral health complications. For example, chronic dry mouth will increase your risk of developing tooth decay. Additionally, the presence of frequent mouth sores raises your chances of developing an infection that can lead to periodontal (gum) disease.

Even more seriously, tobacco use greatly increases your risks of dangerous oral health complications. Dental implant failure is significantly more common among patients who smoke. Oral cancers are 6 times as likely to develop in smokers than non-smokers. Immune system suppression from smoking can lead to slowed healing and worsening gum disease, and even limit the benefits you receive from periodontal treatments.

Gum disease is 3-6 times more likely in smokers than non-smokers, depending on the daily intake. Gum disease in smokers can be more challenging to recognize in early stages because smokers are less likely to have bleeding gums. This is due to the blood vessel constriction common to smokers, and not an indication of healthy gums.

By breaking the tobacco habit you can significantly reduce your risks of damage to your gums and teeth. Former smokers who stop for at least 11 years have no higher risk of periodontal disease than non-smokers. Even reducing your tobacco intake can help reduce your risks of the serious health complications that smoking and tobacco use can cause.

For information on ways to quit smoking or smokeless tobacco use, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a number of resources that can help. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/quitting-resources.html.

For more information about periodontal disease or to schedule a periodontal examination, contact our office.

Dentist in Berwyn, IL | One Tool for Better Gum Health

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Loose teeth, bad breath, and painful, bloody gums. These are among the signs and symptoms of periodontal, or gum, disease. In many people, periodontal disease can start without showing obvious symptoms. If left untreated, you risk 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. Your daily oral hygiene routine should include a thorough brushing that lasts for two minutes, at least twice each day. You should also be incorporating floss into your routine as well. Dental floss is effective at cleaning areas where your toothbrush cannot reach. Small gaps and tight spaces between teeth catch food debris as well as 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 those who floss having better oral health compared to those who don’t. Unfortunately, many people lie about the frequency they floss. A study from the American Academy of Periodontology found that 27% of adults lie to their dentist about their flossing habits.

Tips to Floss 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 for each new section between your teeth.

It only takes a few minutes to floss your teeth each day, but those few minutes can 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.

Dentist in Berwyn | The Dangers of Grinding

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Berwyn DentistTeeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.

What Grinding Does Your Teeth

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.

What We Can Do

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our office. We look forward to assisting you!