• How Your Dental Health Affects You

    You know that your dental health is important, because your teeth are vital, and your smile impacts the impression you make on others. What you may not know, though, is that the health of your mouth affects your overall wellbeing, as well. Additionally, just as an unhealthy mouth can lead to an unhealthy body, certain illnesses can also cause problems for your dental health.

    • Gum disease is connected to several illnesses. For instance, people with gum disease are twice as likely as other people to die from a heart attack. What’s more, they’re three times as likely to have a stroke. Connections to gum disease have been found not only with heart disease, but also diabetes, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Your mouth is a hotbed of bacteria. There are typically more than 500 species of bacteria thriving in your mouth. They form dental plaque, a sticky, colorless film that builds up along your gumline. When this happens, it provides a welcoming environment for even more bacteria to flourish, which leads to the gum infection known as gingivitis. Gingivitis, when left untreated, can lead to periodontitis, or even to acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, commonly known as trench mouth. Saliva naturally defends your mouth against disease-causing organisms, but it can’t do the job alone.
    • Bacteria from your mouth is bad news for the rest of your body. Normally, the bacteria in your mouth stays there and doesn’t enter the bloodstream. If you’ve got gum disease, though, even routine brushing and flossing can cause breaks in your gums that give those microbes access to the rest of your body. Other things that compromise your mouth’s natural defenses are medications that disrupt your saliva flow or the natural balance of your mouth. Still, a healthy immune system can usually fight off oral bacteria with no problem. If your immunity is weakened, though, you can develop an infection in another part of your body because of the oral bacteria in your bloodstream.
    • When your body is unhealthy, your dental health suffers. Even as poor oral health can cause health issues for the rest of your body, some systemic illnesses can cause trouble for your mouth. There’s significant evidence that diabetes, for instance, has a reciprocal relationship with gum disease. Keeping blood sugar under control improves oral health, and treating periodontal disease reduces the need for insulin. For patients with AIDs, the first evidence of disease is often mouth lesions or other oral issues.

    One of the best ways to keep your teeth healthy is scheduling regular dental appointments. If you’re looking for dentistry services in Chicago, you can trust the team at University Associates in Dentistry. We offer complete dental care at our all-in-one practice, from regular cleanings and routine treatment to complex specialty care and cosmetic dentistry. You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation.

  • Ways to Keep Your Gums Healthy

    You know it’s important to keep your smile bright and your mouth cavity-free, but do you give much thought to your gums? You should! Many people who have gum disease don’t even realize it, yet when it’s left untreated, gum disease can be detrimental to the health of your whole body.

    • How much do you know about gum disease? Gum disease begins when plaque builds up along and under the gum line. Plaque is filled with bacteria, and it’s sticky, so it clings to teeth and gums. When it’s not removed, it can cause infections that lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
    • The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. It can cause your gums to become inflamed, red, and tender, as well as swollen and prone to bleeding. Fortunately, at this stage, you still have time to reverse the damage before it impacts the bone and tissue holding the teeth in place.
    • Periodontitis is a more advanced type of gum disease. This is much more serious because it affects the bones holding your teeth in place. When it’s not treated, it can ruin not just your gums, but also the bones and tissues connected to your teeth. Advanced periodontitis can damage your bite and lead to the necessity of tooth removal.
    • Do you know the signs of gum disease? In the early stages, you might not even have symptoms. However, after a while, you might notice consistently bad breath, separating or loose teeth, gums that bleed easily or are swollen, red or tender, or gums that have pulled away from your teeth.
    • Gum disease has an impact on the health of other systems in your body. There’s evidence to support a link between gum disease and conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

    This all may seem frightening, but in truth, it’s not hard to protect the health of your gums.

    • Don’t smoke. Smoking is terrible for your whole body and is strongly associated with gum disease. It weakens your immune system, making it harder to fight off gum infections and harder for your gums to heal from damage.
    • Brush, floss, and rinse. The order in which you do this does not matter, as long as you’re brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing at least once a day, and rinsing with a therapeutic mouthwash. When you brush, make sure you brush your tongue as well as your teeth
    • Get regular dental cleanings. This gets rid of tartar, as well as plaque left behind, but it also allows your dentist to catch gum disease early, before it causes any major problems.

    If you’re looking for dentistry services in Chicago, you can trust the team at University Associates in Dentistry. We offer complete dental care, from regular cleanings and routine treatment to complex specialty care. Schedule a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or a complimentary consultation.

     

  • 5 Tips for a Healthier Smile

    Did you know that the health of your mouth is important to your overall wellbeing? Keeping your mouth clean and healthy helps keep the rest of your body healthy as well. What’s more, a healthy smile makes a good impression on other people and makes you feel more confident. It’s not too hard to achieve, either! Here, we offer some helpful tips for a healthier smile.

    • Brush and floss every day. According to the American Dental Association, brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day are important steps in keeping your mouth healthy. You should use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste to brush for two minutes, remembering to brush your tongue as well. Floss between your teeth to remove particles and plaque left behind by your toothbrush.
    • Use a therapeutic mouthwash. Rinsing after you’ve brushed and flossed can do more than just freshen your breath. When you rinse for 30-60 seconds at least once a day, you’ll kill bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
    • Eat a nutrient-rich diet. Healthy fruits and vegetables should be the focus of your diet, because they’ll help promote healthy teeth and gums. When you do occasionally indulge in a sweet, sugary food or beverage, be sure to brush your teeth immediately to remove excess sugar from your teeth.
    • Don’t smoke! If you do smoke, quit. Smoking is detrimental to every system in your body, and it’s particularly bad for your oral health. The nicotine and tar in cigarettes erode your gums as well as turning your teeth yellow, and smoking creates a welcoming environment for bacteria and plaque. What’s more, it impairs your immune system, making it harder to fight gum disease and infections. It can even increase your risk of bone loss.
    • See your dentist regularly. When you’re trying to keep your mouth as healthy as possible, routine oral health exams are extremely important. A general dental appointment every six months is recommended by most dental professionals because this allows your dentist to examine your mouth and catch potential issues early, before they become major problems. At this twice-a-year appointment, the hygienist can professionally clean your teeth and gums, removing any plaque or tartar and polishing your teeth to brighten your smile.

    Scheduling regular dental appointments is at the heart of keeping your teeth and gums healthy, and if you’re looking for dentistry services in Chicago, you can have confidence in the team at University Associates in Dentistry. We offer complete dental care at our all-in-one practice, from regular cleanings and routine treatment to complex specialty care and cosmetic dentistry. 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.

  • April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

    April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and with good reason. While other types of cancer may be more high-profile, oral and oropharyngeal cancer are just as serious, killing nearly one person every hour, every day, all year. Because 40 percent of people diagnosed with these cancers won’t survive longer than five years, it’s vital to raise awareness, to encourage people to care for the health of their mouths and lower their risk factors.

    Why is the death rate so high with oral cancers? It’s primarily because these types of cancer are generally not discovered until late in their development. That’s why dental associations are trying to raise awareness: regular oral cancer examinations lead to early detection, which saves lives.

    So what’s the good news? When oral and oropharyngeal cancers are found early and appropriately treated, the mortality rate is reduced. So, too, are the long-term health problems that so often plague the survivors of these cancers, like facial disfigurement and difficulty eating and speaking.

    In addition to having regular screenings, it’s essential to be aware of the symptoms of oral cancer. If you notice any of the following, contact a dental professional if they don’t improve within two to three weeks. You might also choose to call a dental professional immediately to ease your own concerns.

    • A sore, ulceration, soreness, or irritation that doesn’t go away within 14 days.
    • Red, black, or white patches, pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth or lips
    • Lumps, hard spots, thickening tissues, rough spots, raised tissue, or crusty or eroded areas
    • Any abnormality that bleeds when you touch it
    • Difficulty with chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
    • A change in your bite that causes your teeth to fit together differently when you close your mouth
    • A lump on the outside of your neck that’s painless, firm, fixated, and doesn’t go away within two weeks
    • Persistent coughing
    • An earache on one side that lasts more than a few days

    Are you at risk for oral cancer? In the past, older people who drank or smoked heavily were considered at the highest risk. Today, there’s been an increase in the number of younger nonsmokers with these types of cancers. This is due, at least in part, to the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV16. This virus can be dormant for many years but then resurface and cause cancer. This typically happens among the non-smoking population, and to men four times as often as women.

    One of the best ways to keep your mouth healthy is by scheduling regular dental appointments. If you’re looking for dentistry services in Chicago, you can have confidence in the team at University Associates in Dentistry. We offer complete dental care at our all-in-one practice, from regular cleanings and routine treatment to complex specialty care. You can make a dentist appointment in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511, or visit our website for more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation.