6 Harmful Habits That Affect Your Teeth

Dentist in Bucktown

Bucktown DentistNearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.

  1. Nail Biting

Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.

The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.

  1. Brushing Too Hard

Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.

The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.

  1. Grinding and Clenching

Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your mouth wide.

The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.

  1. Chewing Ice Cubes

Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.

The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.

  1. Constant Snacking

Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.

  1. Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.

The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.

Contact our office to schedule your next dental appointment.

5 Interesting Dental Facts

Dentist in Wicker Park

Dentist in 60647Did you know your oral health can impact your overall health? We’ve compiled a list of 5 tidbits about your teeth and oral health.

Say Cheese

Cheese has been found to promote dental health by helping prevent tooth decay. The calcium and phosphorus found in cheese help neutralizes acid in the mouth. Acid can create dental erosion, which can cause decay that may require filling. Cheese creates a protective film around teeth and helps remineralize the enamel.

Keep Smiling

Your smile can make a difference. Studies have found that 50% of people consider a smile the first facial feature they notice. One study found that 88% of us remember people with beautiful smiles whenever we meet new people. This means attractive smiles are key to being more noticeable and remembered.

Toothbrush Time

Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush at least once every three months. You should get a new toothbrush after recovering from any sort of viral infection, flu, or cold. You are more likely to be re-infected if these bacteria implant themselves on the bristles.

You’re Unique

In your lifetime, you only get two sets of teeth— baby teeth and permanent teeth. It is important to take proper care of your permanent teeth. Did you know that no two people have precisely the same set of teeth? Your teeth are as unique as a fingerprint. This is the reason teeth are used by investigators for identification. Your tongue also has a unique print, though it is not commonly recorded.

F.Y.I on Floss

Floss is a lot more useful than you may think. If you skip out on your daily flossing, you can miss cleaning up to 40% of your tooth surfaces. Flossing can also help prevent gum disease by removing plaque near the gum line. Floss has other alternative creative uses. The next time you are looking for a fun holiday project, grab some dental floss and a handful of cereal to string for the tree. Floss works well for repairing a bead necklace too!

To schedule your next visit, please contact our dental office.

1835 N Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647

Chewing Gum for Your Oral Health

Dentist in Wicker Park

Dentist in 60647Sugary, sticky, and sweet candies can damage your teeth by increasing your risk of decay. Though gum can be considered a type of candy, chewing sugarless gum approved by the ADA can actually help protect teeth and prevent tooth decay. Here’s what you need to know about gum and your teeth.

How it Works

Chewing gum helps increase the production of saliva. Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay because the saliva helps wash away food and other debris from the surface of your teeth. Increased salivary flow can also neutralize acids that bacteria produce inside your mouth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, leading to decay. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which aid in strengthening tooth enamel.

Look for the ADA Seal

The ADA Seal assures you that the gum is sugarless and has met the ADA’s criteria for safety and effectiveness. ADA-labeled products are tested to ensure they provide the benefits guaranteed by the seal. Companies must verify all relevant data with the ADA to become certified. If you are unable to brush for a short period of time, chewing gum with the ADA seal is a great option to help clean your teeth after a meal or snack.

Can I Stop Brushing if I Chew Gum?

No. Chewing gum for twenty minutes after a meal helps but is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You should brush at least twice each day, for two full minutes. Chewing gum also does not eliminate your need for regular dental examinations. Our dentist recommends scheduling two visits each year, with additional visits necessary for high-risk patients with oral health conditions.

Chewing sugarless gum has noticeable benefits for your oral health, such as increasing the production of saliva. While this can help prevent the build up of decay-causing bacteria, chewing gum should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing. Our dentist recommends that if you are chewing gum, be sure to choose an ADA approved brand of sugarless gum.

To schedule your next visit, please contact our dental office.

Is Your Morning Routine Affecting Your Smile?

Dentist in Wicker Park

Dentist in 60647If you are like most Americans, you probably consider a nice hot cup of coffee an essential part of starting each day. In the U.S. alone, we consume about 400 million cups daily. While coffee can be an effective way to help you feel more alert and ready for the challenges that await you, not everything about coffee is so positive. Did you know that your habitual morning beverage may impacting your smile?

Coffee can cause wear.

Though coffee is a liquid, it does cause tooth enamel to wear over time. Coffee is full of acids that cling to the miniscule pits and grooves in the surface of your teeth, eating away at tooth structure. If you are using sugar or cream in your coffee, you may be adding to the effects by attracting more harmful bacteria that can cause decay.

Coffee causes staining.

Particles from coffee adhere to the surface of teeth and cause the teeth to become discolored over time. The enamel wear caused by coffee can make teeth appear less white, as well. This can make your teeth look and feel older than they are, as we tend to associate dull or discolored teeth with age.

There are actions that can help.

Your first and best option should be prevention. Obviously, if you stop drinking coffee it will not have the ability to further damage or stain your teeth. However, this may not be an option you are willing to consider. Teeth whitening can help restore the brighter, whiter appearance that you want your smile to show. Contact our office for a consultation to discuss what whitening option is best for your teeth.

Once you have completed your whitening treatment, there is another bit of good news. You can continue to enjoy your morning coffee and preserve your bright white smile. Consider using a straw so your coffee will bypass your teeth when you drink. Drink your coffee quickly, rather than lingering over it. This will limit the time the acids from coffee can sit on your teeth and cause damage. When you finish your cup, brush your teeth, if possible. Rinse your mouth with water to help prevent any coffee from remaining on your teeth.

With some care, you can restore and maintain a bright white smile without giving up the morning coffee you love. For more information on whitening your smile, contact our office.

Cosmetic Dentistry: Common Questions Answered

Dentist in Wicker Park

Dentist in 60647To help patients and visitors gain a better understanding of cosmetic dentistry, we decided to share some of the most common questions we are asked.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry includes treatments that are designed to improve the appearance of your smile, in addition to improving your oral health and function.

What treatments will be offered to me?

Your cosmetic dental solution will be tailored to your unique smile, but may include cosmetic bonding, porcelain dental veneers, whitening, dental crowns, or other treatment options.

How do I know what treatment I should have?

Our expert doctor is trained and experienced in many cosmetic dental treatments. Before you make any decisions regarding your treatment plan, we will take time with you to discuss your goals and priorities, our recommendations, and your options.

How do I know if you are right the cosmetic dentist for me?

Our cosmetic dentist is highly skilled and experienced. We invite you to look at the before and after photos and patient reviews on our website to see the beautiful results our patients have achieved. If you have any questions or concerns, we are happy to take time to talk with you.

Does cosmetic dentistry have any benefit besides appearance?

Great cosmetic dentistry provides a wide range of benefits to you. Some of these include:

    • Improving confidence
    • Boosting self-esteem
    • Creating a healthier appearance
    • Making hygiene habits more effective
    • Increasing function (in some cases)
    • Providing a younger appearance
  • Giving you a beautiful smile

For more information or to schedule your cosmetic dentistry consultation, contact our office.