• What Exactly is in Toothpaste?

    People have been finding ways to clean their teeth for as long as they’ve had teeth, but toothpaste as we know it is a relatively new innovation. If you’re like most people, you probably have a favorite brand of toothpaste, but it’s also probable that you’ve never given too much thought as to what’s in it. Even if you have taken time to read the ingredients on the label, you may not know what those ingredients are. Watch this video, and you’ll get an overview of what’s in the toothpaste you use.

    The video does a great job at explaining what’s in toothpaste, and even offers a recipe for homemade toothpaste, but there are a few things it doesn’t address. One important note about toothpaste is that it is possible to be allergic to it. Toothpaste includes many ingredients that can cause allergic reactions, including flavorings, preservatives, and even fluoride. If you’re allergic, you might experience mouth swelling, canker sores, cracking at the corners of the mouth, dry, chapped lips, gum irritation, or an upset stomach. You may also experience a rash or peeling skin around the mouth, or lips that are scaly and itchy. A toothpaste allergy can be confirmed by a patch test, so if you think you may be allergic, talk to your doctor.

    If you are allergic to something found in toothpaste, it’s good to identify the exact allergen so that you can seek out a toothpaste that doesn’t contain that particular ingredient. You might have better luck with a different flavor of toothpaste, or a toothpaste from a brand that specializes in natural products. Of course you can also make your own toothpaste, using ingredients such as coconut oil and baking soda.

    The right toothpaste can help keep your mouth healthy, and so can regular dental checkups. At your appointment at University Associates in Dentistry, ask your dentist about the best type of toothpaste for you.  You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation.

     

  • What are some Causes of Oral Cancer?

     

    How much do you know about oral cancer? Oral cancers make up about 85 percent of a group of cancers referred to as head and neck cancer and affect about 53,000 Americans annually. Oral or oropharyngeal cancer is very serious, causing over 9.7050 deaths each year. How can you protect yourself against oral cancer? It helps to understand the causes of oral cancer so that you can learn how to reduce your risk.

    Oral cancer begins in the mouth, or oral cavity, which includes the lips, the inside lining of the lips and cheeks, the teeth, the gums, most of the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and the bottom of the mouth. It can also develop in the oropharynx, the part of the throat that’s just behind the moth. When this is the location where cancer occurs, it’s called oropharyngeal cancer, and can affect the back of the tongue, the back of the roof of the mouth, the tonsils, and the upper throat.

    There are several risk factors that come into play with oral cancer. Two-thirds of people with oral cancer are over age 55, and men are twice as likely to get it as women are. Some genetic mutations cause different syndromes in the body and raise the risk of oral cancer. These mutations include Fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenital, a genetically linked syndrome that also causes aplastic anemia. Graft vs host disease increases your risk of oral cancer, as does taking immune-suppressing medications. These factors may be beyond your control, but there are steps you can take to reduce other risk factors.

    • Ultraviolet light: People who work outdoors, visit tanning beds, or have prolonged exposure to the sun are more likely to develop cancers of the lip. Using lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher can help protect you, but it’s also smart to limit your sun exposure and avoid spending time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.
    • Nutrition: Research has shown a link between a diet that’s low in fruits and vegetables and an increase in the risk of oral cancer. Eating a diet full of nutrient-dense foods can help reduce your risk.
    • Tobacco: Around 80 percent of people who have oral cancers are tobacco users. The level of risk depends on the frequency and duration of tobacco use, and different types of tobacco affect different parts of the mouth. Smoking can cause cancer of the mouth or throat, while oral tobacco products like chewing tobacco and snuff can lead to cancer in the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. If you don’t smoke or chew tobacco, don’t start. If you do smoke, ask your doctor if you need help quitting.
    • Alcohol: Heavy drinkers make up about 70 percent of people who are diagnosed with oral cancer. For people who smoke and drink heavily, the risk of oral cancer can be as high as 100 percent more than the risk for people who don’t drink or smoke. To reduce your risk, limit your alcohol consumption to no more than one or two drinks per day.

    A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of oral cancer, and so can regular dental checkups. At your appointment at University Associates in Dentistry, ask your dentist to check your mouth for signs of dental cancer, and to discuss your risk.  You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation.

  • Examining the Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

    When you think of cosmetic dentistry, what comes to mind? Teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic procedure, but there are several other popular procedures, including dental implants, porcelain veneers and crowns, shaping, and bonding, that can improve your smile and your overall look. Cosmetic dentistry is versatile and can correct various flaws such as stains, misshapen or small teeth, chips, cracks, gapped teeth, and even ragged gum looks. Beyond making you look better, though, cosmetic dentistry offers many benefits.

    • Cosmetic dentistry can boost your confidence. You’ll look younger and more attractive after your cosmetic dental procedure, and that can help you to feel more confident when interacting with others. This can make it easier to succeed in both social and business situations.
    • Your career prospects may improve after cosmetic dentistry. A beautiful smile makes a strong first impression, allowing you to put your best foot forward in every situation. You may not rely on your looks to advance in your career, but when you look better and feel more confident, you’re more likely to take on greater responsibility and show leadership skills. No matter what your field may be, a confident demeanor can help you in all aspects as you move forward.
    • Some cosmetic dentistry procedures can strengthen your teeth. Cosmetic dentistry is performed in a way that doesn’t just improve the appearance of your teeth, but can actually make them stronger, by reinforcing weak spots or hairline fractures. Stronger teeth make it easier to eat your favorite foods and are less likely to be vulnerable to sensitivity and decay.
    • Caring for your teeth can boost your overall health. Fixing a broken, cracked, or chipped tooth doesn’t just restore your smile, it also protects against further dental damage. A healthy mouth reduces your risk of health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, and pancreatic and oral cancer. Poor oral health can cause headaches and joint pain, but having your smile perfected through cosmetic dentistry gives you added incentive to care for that smile and improve your health.

    If you’re ready to improve your life with cosmetic dentistry, it’s time to make an appointment at University Associates in Dentistry. Under the direction of Dr. Martin Marcus and Dr. Russell Baer, Dr Stuart Schelkopf and Dr Lauren Zalay, the UAD dental team provides outstanding restorative aesthetic dentistry that can make a big difference in the way you look and feel. You can call (312) 704-5511 to make a dental appointment in Chicago, or visit our website for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation.

     

  • A Look at Oral Health Care in Kenya


    When you think of oral health care, you probably think of toothbrushes and floss, but in rural Kenya, they take a different approach to oral hygiene. This video offers some insight into this different outlook on taking care of your teeth.

    In this village in Kenya, people chew sticks to brush the surfaces of their teeth and keep their teeth and gums clean. They believe that toothbrushes are less effective than their sticks and toothpaste burns too much to use.

    At University Associates in Dentistry, we can help you find the right oral health care plan to keep your teeth and gums in top condition. Make an appointment with a dentist in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511.

     

  • Choosing the Right Sleep Apnea Treatment for You

    Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can have life-threatening consequences. Unfortunately, many people avoid seeking treatment, because they think that they will need to use a CPAP machine, which can be uncomfortable and hard to get used to. While it may sound strange, you can receive alternative relief from sleep apnea by calling your dentist. Your dentist can help with CPAP therapy, but they can also offer other treatment options. This information will help you make the right decisions about treating your sleep apnea.

     

    There are treatments beyond CPAP therapy.

    Most people associate sleep apnea treatment with CPAP machines, which require users to wear a mask while they sleep that dispenses forced air to keep the airway open. This is an effective treatment that works well for many people. However, some people can’t adjust to wearing a CPAP mask or simply prefer not to, and those people may be good candidates for oral appliance therapy. This treatment involves the use of a custom-made appliance that sits in your mouth and gently repositions your lower jaw and your tongue to make sure your airway stays open.

     

    It can take time to adjust to your chosen treatment method.

    Sleeping with any kind of device in your mouth or on your face can be a challenge. For most people, it takes a few weeks to completely adjust to their treatment. Your dentist can help you create a plan to gradually increase your usage, until you can sleep as normal. Don’t give up on a treatment because it initially feels uncomfortable. Instead, talk to your doctor or dentist about possible adjustments to improve your comfort.

     

    Some people benefit from multiple treatments.

    Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, your dentist may recommend that you try both a CPAP machine and an oral appliance. These two treatments working together may provide a better level of relief for some people.

     

    If you’re been diagnosed with sleep apnea in Chicago, make an appointment at University Associates in Dentistry to find a treatment that works for you. For more information, call (312) 704-5511.

     

  • What to Expect During the Extraction Process

    Sometimes, saving a tooth through restoration is not efficient, and instead, your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. This is usually done if a tooth has damage or decay that is too extensive to be fixed by a filling or root canal. If your dentist has recommended that you have a tooth extraction, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect. Fortunately, the process is usually faster and easier than many patients expect. Here is what you need to know.

    During an extraction, you will receive anesthesia to ensure the procedure is as painless as possible. In some cases, this may be with the use of a local anesthetic, and in other cases, you may receive a sedative with anesthesia or even general anesthesia. The tooth will be removed and the space will be closed with stitches. As you recover, your dentist will recommend avoiding smoking, using straws, and anything else that causes suction, which could otherwise loosen the blood clot and cause infection.

    After your tooth extraction, your dentist at University Associates in Dentistry in Chicago can discuss restoration options, like a dental implant. To make an appointment, call our office today at (312) 704-5511.

  • What Do People with Diabetes Need to Know About Oral Health Care?

    Diabetes affects all parts of the body, including the mouth. If you have diabetes, it is important to let your dentist know. He or she may recommend that you have more frequent cleanings so you can avoid some of the complications that can occur with diabetes. If you have diabetes, here is what you need to know about how it can affect your oral health.

     

    People with diabetes are more prone to gum disease.

    When you have diabetes, you are more vulnerable to infections. This is true even if your blood sugar levels are well regulated. However, if your blood sugar levels are uncontrolled, your risk of infections is even greater. Because your mouth is filled with bacteria, infections are prone to starting there, and if you have diabetes, this bacteria can build up and cause gum disease faster than in people without diabetes. High blood sugar levels feed this infection, causing gum disease to progress and become severe faster.

     

    Gum disease can make it more difficult to control your diabetes.

    If you have diabetes, then you know how infections can impact your blood sugar levels. It’s difficult to keep your levels under control when you have an infection in the body, since the inflammation causes blood sugar levels to rise. When you have gum disease, it causes blood sugar levels to increase, and in turn, these high levels exacerbate your gum disease, creating a cycle that is difficult to break.

     

    You may need more frequent teeth cleanings.

    People with diabetes often need to see the dentist every three months instead of every six months. This allows your dentist to spot gum disease in early stages, so that it can be treated and reversed before it becomes severe and leads to complications like tooth loss.

     

    At your appointment at University Associates in Dentistry, be sure to tell your dentist about diabetes or any other chronic health problem you have. You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511.

  • When Did Flossing Become a Standard Practice?

    Oral hygiene and health care. Smiling women use dental floss white healthy teeth.

    When you see your dentist for preventive care, there is a good chance that he or she will spend part of your appointment talking to you about your flossing habits. Dentists recommend that people floss at least once per day in order to remove food and bacteria from the areas in between teeth that are hard to reach by brushing alone. If you don’t floss, this material can turn into plaque and then tartar, increasing your chances of tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing is an ingrained part of modern oral health care, but when did people first start to floss? Here’s a brief look at this progression of floss from new invention to standard practice.

     

    Pre-Floss Flossing

    For as long as people have been eating, they’ve been getting food stuck in their teeth. As such, the need for floss is timeless. Anthropologists who study ancient civilizations believe that flossing was a part of most societies—if not specifically for oral health purposes, then at least for practical purposes of removing food from between the teeth. Pointed sticks and strings of animal hair or fabric are thought to have been used as prehistoric dental floss implements.

     

    Levi Spear Parmly

    A New Orleans-based dentist, Levi Spear Parmly, gets the credit for introducing the modern idea of flossing. Around 1815, he suggested that patients use silk thread to clean between their teeth, and shops in the area started selling thread to fulfill this roll. In 1898, Johnson & Johnson took this idea national when they introduced dental floss made of silk thread that was commonly used in stitches to the national market.

     

    Flossing Today

    Over the years, floss has transitioned from silk to nylon and now can be found in a variety of different materials, including Gore-Tex. You can also find many different styles of floss, including soft floss, waxed and unwaxed floss, and specialty floss for use with braces.

     

    Make sure your oral health is as good as it can be with a general dentistry appointment at University Associates in Dentistry. From cleanings to periodontics, we do it all. To schedule a dental consultation in Chicago, call (312) 704-5511.

  • Why Does Garlic Cause Bad Breath?


    Many different things can cause bad breath, but one common trigger that most people know about is garlic. Garlic-linked bad breath may not need treatment from your dentist, but it does have a tendency to be remarkably persistent, lingering long after you’ve brushed your teeth. Why does it cause such bad breath, and why is garlic breath so hard to treat?

     

    Bulbs of garlic on cutting board and garlic press on light background

     

    Watch this video to learn more about why garlic causes bad breath. The sulfates in garlic are primarily to blame, and since they enter your bloodstream, brushing isn’t enough to get rid of them.

     

    At University Associates in Dentistry, our dentists in Chicago can’t stop garlic breath, but they can help you keep your smile healthy and strong with general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry treatments. For more information, please call (312) 704-5511.

  • What Do Sports Drinks Do to Your Teeth?

    If you are active, or if your kids are involved in sports, there is a good chance that sports drinks are part of your life. People reach for sports drinks because of their ability to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes after periods of exertion. However, while sports drinks may be a favorite of professional and amateur athletes alike, they definitely don’t rank highly with dentists. In fact, many dentists consider sports drinks to be as harmful to teeth as sodas. Here is look at how sports drinks could be affecting your teeth or the teeth of your student-athletes.

     

    Sugars and Tooth Decay

    Many sports drinks contain a significant amount of sugar. Some popular sports drinks contain more sugar than a can of soda. When you drink a sugary sports drink, you are bathing your teeth in a sugary solution that will stick to the surfaces long after you’ve finished the drink. This sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn causes tooth decay to occur. Drinking something sugary tends to expose your teeth to greater amounts of sugar than eating a piece of sugary candy, both because you’re likely to consume the drink over a longer period of time and because the liquid will coat all of your teeth.

     

    Acids and Enamel Loss

    Choosing a sugar-free sports drink won’t save your teeth from negative effects. Sports drinks, even sugar-free ones, are extremely acidic. The acid weakens your tooth enamel, which can lead to serious consequences, including teeth sensitivity and greater vulnerability to decay. Enamel cannot be replaced, so any that is lost from drinking sports drinks is gone for good.

     

    Safer Alternatives

    Water is sufficient for most people who need to rehydrate after activity. Water with electrolytes is also a safe alternative. For people seeking the electrolyte restoration, bananas and coconut water are lower in sugars and acids and thus safer for your teeth. If you do drink sports drinks, consider using a straw to reduce the amount of tooth exposure and rinsing your mouth with water when you’re done.

     

    Do you have more questions about habits that could be impacting your oral health? At University Associates in Dentistry, we can help you make the right choices to reduce your risk of gum disease, missing teeth, and cavities. Call (312) 704-5511 to make an appointment with a dentist in Chicago.