Dentist in Wicker Park | To Floss or Not To Floss

Dentist in Wicker Park Chicago, IL

Wicker Park Chicago DentistBy now, you have likely seen news reports questioning whether flossing is necessary for your oral health.

We want to answer your question right away with an absolute YES. Cleaning between your teeth is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums.

Whether you use traditional string dental floss, a water flosser, an interdental (between teeth) brush, or other form of interdental cleaning, it is important that you clean between your teeth correctly and on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, in the quest for catchy headlines, many news agencies have been providing a great deal of incomplete and inaccurate information.

Here’s the truth: Plaque and bacteria can be prevented from building up between teeth when flossing is done correctly on a daily basis.

Why does that matter? Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other systemic health issues.

The next time you visit our office, ask your hygienist to show you the most effective way to clean between your teeth. For more information on flossing and interdental cleaning or to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Dentist Wicker Park | What to Expect at Your Child’s Dental Appointment

Dentist in Wicker Park Chicago, IL

Dentist in Wicker Park Chicago ILThe American Dental Association recommends all patients to schedule routine six-month check-up exams. This is particularly important for growing children.

At your visit, we will screen your child’s mouth for tooth decay and gum disease. Regular professional dental cleanings are essential for a healthy mouth. During your child’s dental cleaning, we will gently remove any buildup of plaque or tartar to help prevent tooth decay.

During this visit, our team will spend time discussing proper brushing technique and oral hygiene with your child. Depending on your child’s age, we may also teach them about the correct use of floss and mouthwash. Our team members are friendly, patient, and great with kids, and will answer every question.

We may recommend fluoride be applied to the teeth as part of your child’s treatment. Topical fluoride is used to strengthen enamel and make teeth more resistant to tooth decay.

Sealants are highly effective in preventing tooth decay and cavities on your molars and premolars. These areas are the most susceptible to cavities due to the anatomized grooves.

Typically, children get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. These sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.

The process of applying sealants is easy and fast. The application steps are as follows:

  • Your child’s teeth are thoroughly cleaned
  • The teeth are dried
  • A liquid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth
  • The solution is cured using a special curing light

Sealants act as a barrier and protect the enamel from plaque and acids. They may last for several years before a reapplication is needed. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.

Sealants are not a substitute for brushing your teeth. It is important to maintain proper oral hygiene and keep up with professional dental cleanings. Also, sealants do not protect between the teeth, so it is essential to continue to floss daily.

Without proper dental care, children are susceptible to oral decay. Healthy smiles should not stop at our dental office. Our experienced and caring team will educate you and your child on how to make good food choices and how to properly brush and floss at home.

Our expert dentist and knowledgeable team have the experience and qualifications to care for your child’s teeth, gums and mouth throughout various stages of childhood. For more information or to request an appointment, contact our office today.

Wicker Park Dentist | 7 Ways to Get Your Calcium Dairy-Free

Wicker Park Chicago, IL Dentist

Wicker Park Chicago DentistCalcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth, but not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. About 65% of people have reduced ability to process lactose past infancy.

If you have difficulty with lactose but want to ensure you are getting the calcium you need, consider one of these non-dairy sources of natural calcium.

  1. Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be a good source of calcium. These inexpensive options actually contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood contains small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or other dish.
  2. Calcium-fortified juices are available in both orange and cranberry varieties. These juices taste the same as non-fortified options, but contain a substantial amount of calcium. Check the label to ensure it is a calcium-fortified juice.
  3. Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute for many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish in place of regular milk. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.
  4. Beans are a calcium-rich food. Black-eyed peas and baked beans are particularly high in calcium.
  5. Green vegetables are a good source of natural calcium. Collard, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.
  6. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or Brazil nuts are strong sources of calcium. Flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are a great snack or salad additive with calcium. Almond butter, cashew butter, and pumpkin seed butter are a fun and calcium-rich alternative to peanut butter.
  7. Breakfast cereals are highly fortified with several vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Old-fashioned rolled oatmeal adds calcium to your breakfast as well.

Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble with dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.

For more information, contact us.

Dentist Wicker Park | The Periodontal Disease – Diabetes Connection

Dentist Wicker Park Chicago

Wicker Park Chicago DentistNearly 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Almost 65 million Americans have periodontal disease. Recent studies have suggested that there is a two-way connection between diabetes and periodontal (gum) disease. Patients with gum disease have increased risk of other diabetic complications and patients with diabetes are more prone to developing gum disease.

Gum disease causes inflammation in the body, which can make controlling blood sugar more difficult for diabetic patients. Severe periodontal disease has even been shown to increase blood sugar, making it more difficult to maintain or regain good blood sugar control. In addition, when blood sugar is elevated, patients experience increased risks of additional diabetic complications.

Patients with diabetes are more prone to infections in general. This is especially true for patients whose diabetes is not well controlled. Diabetic patients with poor blood sugar control are more likely to develop gum disease than patients whose diabetes is well controlled. Less controlled diabetic patients will generally have a more severe case of gum disease and are likely to lose more teeth from gum disease, as well.

Besides blood sugar control, diabetes includes a number of other health complications. Diabetic patients are more prone to other oral health issues, such as dry mouth or thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth). Reduced saliva production or infection in the mouth can increase risks of developing periodontal disease as well.

Smoking can escalate these risks even further. Studies have shown that smokers are 5 times more likely than non-smokers to develop gum disease, overall. Diabetic smokers age 45 or older have been found to be 20 times more likely to develop severe gum disease.

Fortunately, when diabetes and blood sugar are well-controlled, the risks of periodontal disease and other oral health complications are no different than for patients without diabetes. If you are diabetic, it is important to work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar under control as much as possible to avoid these added health complications.

Be sure to let us know if you have diabetes and how well-controlled it is. We may need to discuss your medication schedule when planning treatments or to postpone a treatment if your blood sugar is not controlled. Keep in mind that healing from treatment can take longer for diabetic patients, even when blood sugar is well-controlled.

If you have questions or concerns about your risk of periodontal disease with diabetes, contact our office for more information.