Effects of Osteoporosis on your Oral Health

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Osteoporosis isn’t a new discovery, or a disease unheard of by many. That being said, many people don’t realize how closely tied to your oral health it can actually be.
In short, osteoporosis is caused by an insufficient consumption of calcium and vitamin D. It affects the bones, making them less dense and thus more likely to break. Osteoporosis is directly tied to your long-term dental health as this weakening of the bones may heavily compromise the jaw bone. A weakened jawbone can have a host of detrimental consequences for your teeth, including increased tooth mobility, or complete tooth loss.
The best cure for the degradation of the jawbone is avoiding it all together with a balanced diet high in vitamin D and calcium, and getting a sufficient amount of exercise. Barring that, be sure to attend your dental appointments regularly so that way the structure and health of your mouth can be monitored, and any problems that may develop are addressed immediately and not permitted to deteriorate.
As it is, due to hormone imbalances and changes over life, women are most at risk to developing osteoporosis, but it can absolutely develop in either gender depending on a host of lifestyle variables, not limited to diet and exercise.
Symptoms to pay attention to that may be indicative of osteoporosis affecting the jaw include: pain and/or swelling in the gums or jaw, as well as infection; injured gums not healing in a timely fashion; teeth that become loose for no reason or after only minor strain; numbness or discomfort in the jaw; or at worst, exposed bone. If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate contacting your dentist to prevent exacerbating the issue.

Fast Food During The Holidays

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During the hectic holiday season, fast food is an easy go-to. We already know that sweets and sugary desserts are not good for our teeth or our waistlines. However, even the savory fast foods can wreak havoc on our teeth!
Some problems that may arise are:
– Acid erosion
– Staining
– Decay
Refined carbohydrates such as in white based pizza sauces and pastas, contain simple sugars that are able to quickly dissolve, causing acid that attacks tooth enamel.
Heavily pigmented foods such as certain spices and sauces within Chinese and Indian foods, as well as tomato based sauces, contain properties that can easily stain your teeth. It has been suggested that if you are going to be eating any of these foods, that you begin your meal with a green vegetable such as spinach or broccoli. Green veggies form a protective film on the surface of your teeth that creates a less porous surface for staining foods to be able to adhere to. Therefore, your teeth have a slight barrier to stop those yummy sauces and spices from staining your teeth!
Starchy and fried foods (probably the worst items to consume health-wise) also stick to your teeth very easily. These foods are highly processed with lots of preservatives, none of which are good for your teeth.
Even when you think you are reaching for a healthy pre-made sandwich; take a look at the ingredients contained within it. Some contain hidden sugars and calories, as well as an overload of salt. High amounts of salt, sugar and calories not only cause harm to your tooth surfaces and enamel, they can also contribute to high blood pressure or even a stroke! So the next time you reach for what you think may be the “smart option” take a little peak at the ingredients, especially those contained in the spreads or sauces. If there are high amounts of sugar or salt, you may want to consider a different option.
Large amounts of meat or tough-to-chew foods also need to be consumed in moderation. Even though the protein is good for you, when you over-indulge in chewy and tough meats, you can negatively impact your jaw joints or even cause misalignment of your jaw as well as headaches, and tooth aches. While you eat these types of foods, try to distribute them equally on the chewing surfaces within your mouth, alternating which side you are chewing on.
The convenience of fast foods is great! It’s always nice to be able to quickly grab something to satisfy your appetite. Perhaps after reading this, we can all be a little bit more mindful when we go to grab a quick bite. Take a couple extra minutes to choose what you are going to eat. A well balanced diet is a healthy diet. If you are going to consume fatty and sugar-filled foods, do so in moderation. Consider more healthful choices like fresh veggies and lean meats with a side of water! Then when you get to your sweet treat, it won’t be so detrimental to your teeth! So remember; always, always brush your teeth twice a day, be sure to regularly floss and schedule regular dental check-ups! Bon appétit!

A Time To Give Thanks

A Time to give thanks

As Thanksgiving swiftly approaches, here is a little insight as to how to not over indulge when turkey day hits!  We all know the famous expression “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!” or “You eat with your eyes first!”  This is usually the case with most of us when it comes to sitting down to eat Thanksgiving dinner.  Let’s just put this out there…  Gorging yourself on snacks, cakes, pies, and starches just means a really big stomach-ache and a miserable rest of the night, not to mention the potential for damage that it can have on your teeth and gums!

This year, why not give your smile the attention that it deserves?

-Instead of the incessant snacking on all of the empty calories, head over to the veggie tray!  A variety of veggies can do wonders for you!  Not only for your oral health, but also for your health in general.  Reaching for a nice healthy snack is a great decision!

-When you are loading up your plate with all those delicious foods, try and plan out your plate.  Be mindful of the items you are scooping on as well as how much of what, you are dishing.  Instead of piling on mashed potatoes, rolls, stuffing and marshmallow covered yams, try this combination instead; A bigger scoop of green beans, some turkey, yams (minus the marshmallow), a smaller portion of the potatoes (minus that extra butter) and a little fruit salad on the side without the whipped topping.  Your plate will be well balanced with more appropriate portions and without all of the sticky, bad-for-your-teeth toppings.

– Thanksgiving desserts are a must for most! After you have yourself a small slice, if you are able to excuse yourself and go rinse your mouth and (if at all possible) brush and floss your teeth, you will be well on your way to a happier and healthier smile!  If you brush those teeth and gums after eating the sweets and dinner, they are not able to sit on your teeth allowing time for bacteria build-up and all that comes along with the damaging sugar ingredients that cause harm.

With proper oral health care and limited portion control when eating, you CAN quite literally “Have your cake, and eat it too!”

Aside from eating, here’s something fun to do.  Sit down with a friend or loved one and think about a couple of specific moments when someone’s smile impacted you, or when your smile meant something to someone else; even as little as holding a door open for a stranger and the exchange of smiles that was made at that point in time.  This will open up a conversation about smiles and positivity!  And really, what could be better than that?!

All-in-all, we hope you have a wonderful and love-filled Thanksgiving!

309 E. Riverside Blvd.
Loves Park, IL 61111
Phone: 815.633.181

All you need to know about WISDOM… Teeth!

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are considered to be a third set (upper and lower jaw) of molars.  They typically appear during your last few teen years and early twenties.  There are some people who are lucky enough to experience no problems what-so-ever with their wisdom teeth.  If they are developing in the proper position and not causing pain or problems, there is no need to pursue any sort of treatment or extraction.

There are three main reasons as to why your wisdom teeth would need to be surgically removed:

  1.  There is not enough room for them to fully erupt.
    When there is not enough space for your wisdom teeth to pop through the surface of your gums, you run a higher risk of them being impacted.  Most commonly, this means that your wisdom teeth have made it through the bone but cannot get through the gums.
    Sometimes symptoms come along with this type of impaction.  Other times, one may not experience a single symptom.  This is one of the reasons why frequent visits to our office are very important.  In order to look in to this, an x-ray is required.
  2. The wisdom teeth are not coming in at the proper vertical angle.
    A lot of times wisdom teeth develop in different positions.  They could even be developing facing towards your other teeth instead of growing upwards.   When this occurs, people face problems with their other fully developed teeth, crowding and can even cause poor bite and jaw alignment.  As stated above, in order to see how your wisdom teeth are growing, which direction or any other abnormality, x-rays will need to be taken.
  3. Partially erupted wisdom teeth.
    Sometimes the wisdom teeth are able to poke through the top of the gum but cannot fully erupt.  If this happens, there is an elevated chance that infection may occur.  This infection is called Pericoronitis.  This occurs when bacteria from plaque or food get trapped between the partially erupted tooth and the gum surrounding it.

Warning signs and symptom to look out for include:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Jaw pain
  • Pain while trying to eat
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please give our office a call to schedule an appointment and x-rays to see exactly what is going and what steps need to be taken in order to get the problem treated and relieve any discomfort you may be experiencing. Wisdom teeth extractions are typically done by an oral surgeon, however, in some cases a certified dentist can extract them.  Local anesthesia is most commonly administered.  Healing time is usually less than 1 week.

Post oral surgery instructions will be explained and given to you.  It is imperative that you continue to practice good oral health care during this time and to follow those instructions carefully.  Having your wisdom teeth removed will not hinder the functionality of your mouth.  (For example being able to eat, chew, speak or your bite position.)   When an extraction is required, the younger you are when it is discovered, the better.  Wisdom teeth extractions are considerably easier to extract while the teeth are still in development.  If you are interested in your wisdom teeth and their current stage or any other information you are curious about, give us a ring today!

309 E. Riverside Blvd.
Loves Park, IL 61111
Phone: 815.633.181

April: Oral Cancer Awareness Month

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Early Detection Saves Lives

Oral cancer is nothing to take lightly.  Causing one death every hour, there will be approximately 45,750 new cases diagnosed this year alone.  It also tends to strike men twice as likely as women.

Contributing factors of oral cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (3+ drinks per day)
  • Over exposure to UV light
  • HPV Virus (sexually transmitted)

7% of diagnosed oral cancer cases that have no identified cause

Smokers are 3 times more likely to develop oral cancer.  Cigars and pipes pose a higher risk than standard cigarettes.

This is how to reduce your risk of oral cancer:

  • Brush & floss regularly
  • Do not use tobacco products
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Limit sun exposure and always use SPF sunscreen
  • Regular exercise
  • Nutritional supplements ( Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Zinc, Fish oil)
  • Oral cancer screening at your bi-annual dentist exam and cleaning

Cancer Fighting

The way you prepare your meals can play a role as well.  Rather than frying food, give steaming or baking a try!  Bonus: these techniques are also more figure friendly

Cancer fighting foods:

  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Vegetables
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Green Teas
  • Tomatoes

84% of oral cancer cases can be detected early by your dentist

Dental check-ups are vital to oral cancer detection.  Yes, you should be going in for dental check-ups twice a year anyways; however, request you get regularly scheduled oral cancer screenings as well!

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Oral Cancer Signs to Check at Home

  • Check the entirety of your mouth:
  • All the way inside of your cheeks
  • Underside and top of your tongue
  • Roof of your mouth
  • Lymph nodes

You’re looking for discoloration, lumps, asymmetrical swelling or any other abnormalities that you happen to see.  Even if you aren’t too sure about it, it never hurts to give us a call, ask questions and come in to have it checked out.

Get involved.  Help raise awareness.  Spread the word.  Get tested!

309 E. Riverside Blvd.

Loves Park, IL 61111

Phone: 815.633.1815