• 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.

  • What Causes Sleep Apnea?


    When you sleep, the muscles in your throat relax. With sleep apnea, however, they relax too much, allowing them to collapse on your airway and prevent you from breathing. Although sleep apnea can happen to anyone, being overweight or having a large neck can increase your risk of developing it.

     

    Watch this video to learn more about sleep apnea. When the airway is restricted, you will wake up to gasp for air. This cycle can happen hundreds of times per night.

     

    If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, your dentist can help. Make an appointment with University Associates in Dentistry to discuss your symptoms and learn about your treatment options. Contact our dentist office in Chicago at (312) 704-5511 to schedule a visit.

  • A Look at the Pros and Cons of Porcelain Veneers

    Porcelain veneers are a popular cosmetic dentistry treatment, thanks to the dramatic way they can change the appearance of your smile. However, like most treatments, there are pros and cons to consider before you decide if veneers are the right solution for you. Your dentist can help you weigh up the advantages and disadvantages as you choose the right cosmetic dentistry treatment to get the smile you want. Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of porcelain veneers.

     

    Pro: Natural Appearance

    Your dentist can make your veneers match the color, size, and shape of your natural teeth, so that once they are in place, they blend into your smile seamlessly. No one will know you have veneers unless you tell them, which is appealing to people who want to fix something about the appearance of their smile but who don’t want the change to be so dramatic that everyone can tell that they had work done.

     

    Con: Tooth Reduction

    To make space in your mouth for your veneers, your dentist will have to remove some of the surfaces of the teeth being treated. Although the reduction is minimal, it is permanent, so you will need veneers for the rest of your life. You may also experience some tooth sensitivity after getting veneers for this reason.

     

    Pros: Durable

    Porcelain veneers are extremely strong and long-lasting. They are resistant to stains, which means that they won’t become dull and yellowed over time. As long as you brush and floss twice a day and see your dentist for checkups regularly, your veneers should last at least 10 or 15 years, and in many cases, much longer. If you grind your teeth, your dentist may recommend that you wear a mouth guard when you sleep to prevent damage to your veneers.

     

    The best way to know if porcelain veneers are right for you is to schedule a consultation at University Associates in Dentistry. Our dentists in Chicago offer a range of cosmetic treatments and can help you find the right solution for your needs. Make your appointment today by calling (312) 704-5511.

  • How Your Dentist Can Fix Cracked Teeth

    Cracked teeth can happen for many reasons, from being hit by a ball while playing your favorite sport to biting down on a hard piece of food a little too aggressively. Fortunately, your dentist can fix cracks in your teeth so that they look and feel their best.

     

    There are several ways your dentist can fix cracked teeth. One popular method is veneers. Veneers are thin, wafer-like pieces of porcelain put on the surface of your teeth. Once your veneers are in place, the surfaces of your teeth will look and feel smooth. Bonding is another treatment option. Bonding uses a plastic material designed to match the appearance of your natural teeth to hide imperfections, like cracks. If the crack is at the base of your tooth, your dentist may recommend contouring to smooth it away.

     

    Don’t let a cracked tooth affect your smile. Talk to your dentist at University Associates in Dentistry today about your treatment options. You can learn more about cosmetic dentistry in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511.

  • Examining the History of Dental Floss

    When you reach for your dental floss—which should be at least once a day, as recommended by your dentist—you probably don’t spend much time thinking about the history of the product. However, food has been getting caught in teeth since people started eating, and humans have been looking for ways to clean between their teeth since then. Here is a quick look at the history of dental floss and how it has changed over the years.

     

    Ancient Dental Floss

    There is evidence that ancient people made rudimentary toothbrushes and dental floss, and that dental floss may have been around for longer than brushes. The first way that people performed interdental cleaning appears to have been similar to modern toothpicks. Sharpened sticks were used to dig in between teeth and clean those areas. Eventually, sticks gave way to horsehair. Horsehair is believed to have been used both as dental floss and as bristles for toothbrushes.

     

    Silk Dental Floss

    The first introduction of dental floss in its more familiar modern form came in 1815, when a dentist in New Orleans suggested that patients use a waxed thread of silk to floss. This thread could be easily obtained, since it was available on the market for sewing. Dr. Levi Parmly wrote a book on tooth care which suggested that people floss once per day. In 1882, unwaxed silk threads for dental use hit the market, and in 1898, Johnson & Johnson applied for a patent to mass-produce and market floss.

     

    Modern Dental Floss

    During World War II, silk because too expensive to use for floss. Dr. Charles Bass suggested nylon be used instead. Today, you can find floss made of a wide range of different materials, in both waxed and non-waxed varieties.

     

    At University Associates in Dentistry, you’ll find only the latest advances in dental technologies, but our dentists still recommend that patients follow Dr. Parlmy’s advice to floss at least once a day. Make an appointment with a general dentist in Chicago by calling (312) 704-5511.

  • Unusual Causes of Bad Breath


    Most people have experienced bad breath after a garlic or onion-laden meal, but what if your bad breath lingers, no matter what steps you take to fix it? Chances are that you have an undiagnosed oral health problem that needs to be treated by your dentist.

     

    Watch this video to learn more about some oral health issues that can cause bad breath. As seen in the video, a salivary stone can be a surprising trigger for bad breath. If you have one, it needs to be removed by your dentist.

     

    At University Associates in Dentistry, we offer preventive care as well as dental implants, teeth bonding, and other important services. To make an appointment with a general dentist in Chicago, call (312) 704-5511.

  • Forget These Outdated Myths About Dentistry

    Your dentist is an important member of your healthcare team, but sometimes, misconceptions about dentistry keep people from getting the care that they need. Maybe the idea that a procedure is painful has left you fearful of making an appointment, or perhaps a myth about an oral health problem has led you to dismiss your symptoms. Could myths and misconceptions be standing in the way of you seeing your dentist when you need to? Here are some myths about dentistry that definitely need to be dismissed.

     

    Myth: You should brush your teeth as much as possible.

    You may assume that if brushing your teeth twice a day is good, then brushing them more often is even better. However, brushing your teeth too often can actually do damage. Over-brushing can damage the enamel on your teeth, which triggers sensitivity and leaves your teeth more vulnerable to decay. Brushing twice a day is sufficient for most people.

     

    Myth: Fluoride is toxic.

    Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can help to strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce the risk of cavities. However, some people have the idea that it is dangerous and can increase the risk of cancer, arthritis, and kidney disease. In reality, fluoride is safe when used in appropriate amounts. It would be difficult for most people to get too much fluoride, but if you’re concerned, talk to your dentist about what is right for you.

     

    Myth: Fillings and root canals hurt.

    For any treatment that could potentially cause discomfort, your dentist will use local anesthesia to make sure that you don’t feel a thing. Most people are surprised after getting a filling or root canal that their procedure didn’t hurt and that they experienced only mild discomfort, if any, after the procedure.

     

    At University Associates in Dentistry, we use the very latest technologies to deliver quality general and cosmetic dentistry treatments, including veneers, teeth implants, and teeth whitening in Chicago. Schedule your appointment today by calling (312) 704-5511.