Westmont IL Dentist | Dry Mouth – Not Just a Nuisance

Westmont IL Dentist | Dry Mouth – Not Just a Nuisance

Normal flow of saliva provides lubrication for swallowing and begins the process of digestion while you chew. Saliva also protects your teeth by neutralizing and washing away acids, sugars, and other particles left behind after eating. From time to time, we all experience some amount of dry mouth. Hot weather, exercise, and dehydration can all cause a temporary decrease in saliva production. However, if you have chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia, you could be at risk of serious oral health complications. 

Some of the oral health issues commonly associated with dry mouth include: 

  • Much higher rates of tooth decay 
  • Oral yeast infection 
  • Bad breath (halitosis) 
  • Periodontal (gum) disease 
  • Constant sore throat 
  • Soft tissue infections 
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Denture discomfort 

The most common cause of chronic dry mouth is medication. More than 400 over-the-counter and prescription medications include dry mouth as a frequent side effect. Dry mouth is also associated with stress, autoimmune and other systemic diseases, hormonal changes, radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancers, and salivary gland disease. 

You may find relief from dry mouth through a variety of methods. Some easy options to help alleviate your dry mouth include: 

  • Increased water intake 
  • Sugar-free candies or gum 
  • Artificial saliva, as recommended by doctor or dentist 
  • Alcohol-free mouthwash 
  • Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated soft drinks 
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home 
  • Change in medication, only as directed by doctor 

Brush and floss regularly to help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other complications. 

If you are experiencing dry mouth, make an appointment and be sure to tell our team. We will review your medications and perform a thorough dental exam to check for any potential underlying oral health issues. 

For more information about dry mouth, contact our office. 

Westmont IL Dentist | Filling in the Gaps: Your Options for Missing Teeth

Are you embarrassed to show your smile because of missing teeth? For many people, missing teeth can create a feeling of diminished self-confidence. Modern dentistry can not only replace the gaps in your smile, our team can also create long-term replacements that look and feel just like your natural teeth. You have options. Here are a few of the most common tooth replacement solutions. 

Westmont IL Dentist | Filling in the Gaps: Your Options for Missing Teeth

Dentures 

Dentures are a solution for those who have lost many or all their teeth. They create a realistic, aesthetically pleasing smile. They are ideal for patients that are missing multiple teeth on either the top or bottom. Our team will start by taking an impression of your mouth. We will then send the impression to a lab for a customized set of dentures to be created. Once your dentures are ready, we will ensure a proper fit and make any necessary adjustments. Dentures should be cleaned regularly with a non-abrasive cleanser. Our team will provide you with all the information you need to take care of your dentures. 

Bridges 

You may have heard of dental bridges referred to as partial dentures. Dental bridges are a replacement solution for one or more missing teeth. They help prevent your existing teeth from shifting into the empty gaps of your missing teeth. Bridges utilize your surrounding teeth as an anchor for your replacements. Our team can match the bridge to look like your natural teeth; no one will even notice the difference. 

Dental Implants 

Dental implants are a long-lasting tooth replacement option. Unlike dentures, which may require replacement, dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care. Our team will ensure your gum tissue is healthy enough with adequate bone support to anchor the implant. For some patients, additional preparations may be necessary such as a bone graft to guarantee your implant has a strong, stable foundation. 

The gaps in your smile can be filled. Our team can help you decide on a tooth replacement solution based on your individual needs. It is important to fill the gaps of missing teeth to prevent deterioration to your gums and the shifting of teeth into these empty spaces. Additionally, tooth replacement solutions such as dentures, bridges, or implants can help improve your speech and comfort. 

If you are missing teeth, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team. 

Westmont IL Dentist | 4 Tips for Healthy, White Teeth

Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you. One way to make a lasting impression is to have a healthy-looking smile. Over the years, teeth whitening has become immensely popular. People turn to in-office whitening, over-the-counter whitening, and home-made whitening techniques. Did you know that there are ways to keep your smile white with just small changes to your daily routine? Read the tips below to keep your smile looking pearly white. 

Westmont IL Dentist | 4 Tips for Healthy, White Teeth
  1. Brush and Floss  

To keep your mouth clean, healthy, and stain-free, brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Brush your teeth after drinking coffee, tea, soda, or red wine to help fight discoloration.  

  1. Diet 

Some of the food and drinks you are consuming may cause your teeth to look dull or stained. Wine, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and berries all contain substances that stain teeth. Chromogens are molecules found in all of these items that stick to the enamel of your teeth causing a dull look. 

  1. Quit Smoking 

Smoking is not only bad for your heart and lungs, it is also bad for your mouth and teeth. Smoking causes tooth discoloration, increased plaque buildup, gum disease and more. 

  1. Visit Your Dentist 

Dental cleanings and exams are an important part in keeping your teeth healthy and bright. You may need frequently follow up visits based on your oral health care. Don’t forget to schedule an appointment twice a year. 

Even if you do use in-office whitening or over-the-counter products, your teeth need extra care to keep up with the initial results. By flossing, lifestyle changes, and regular dental visits your teeth will be looking bright. 

Contact our office to schedule your dental cleaning today. 

Westmont IL Dentist | 3 Simple Ways to Reduce Tooth Decay

A happy smile is a healthy smile! There are a number of steps you can take to keep your smile healthy by reducing your risk of developing tooth decay. Here are a few suggestions from our team. 

Westmont IL Dentist | 3 Simple Ways to Reduce Tooth Decay

Eat a Tooth Friendly Diet  

Reduce the amount of sugars and carbohydrates in your diet. Decay-causing bacteria in the mouth feed on these substances.  

We suggest you reduce grains, beans, seeds, and nuts in your diet when possible. These foods can lead to demineralization of your teeth and bones due to their acidic content. Consider adding foods high in minerals and vitamins to your diet such as apples, leafy greens, celery, or carrots. 

Brush, Floss, Rinse, Repeat 

Routine brushing at least twice a day followed by flossing and a mouth rinse is the optimal at home dental care routine. Brush for at least two minutes in the morning and at night. Use a soft bristle toothbrush that is small enough to reach every tooth.  

Dental Sealants 

Children often get dental sealants to protect the hard-to-reach teeth in the back of their mouths. However, dental sealants can benefit adults and those who have a higher risk of decay. Dental sealants are a layer of plastic-like material that coats the top surface of the tooth. Sealants protect the crevices in the tooth where bacteria reside and minimizes exposure of the tooth to harmful acids and sugars that wear down enamel.  

When left untreated, tooth decay can cause discomfort and spread to other healthy teeth. You can combat tooth decay by reducing sugars and acids in your diet and brushing and flossing regularly. For some patients, dental sealants might be a solution.  

Don’t forget to schedule your next visit to our office. Our team can provide a professional cleaning and check for signs of tooth decay. 

Westmont IL Dentist | Oral Health and Cancer

There are over 12 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year. There are a large variety of different kinds of cancer, some of which are more preventable than others. It might seem obvious that brushing and flossing each day as well as avoiding tobacco can help protect you from oral cancer. However, there are types of oral cancer and other cancers that can be prevented through optimal oral care as well. 

Dental Care and Oral Cancer 

While it’s long been known that tobacco and heavy alcohol use are the main causes of oral, head, and neck cancer, poor oral health has recently been added to the list. A 2007 study published in American Journal of Epidemiology found that poor mouth health and missing teeth were strongly linked to the development of oral cancer. Likewise, patients with healthy smiles were found to be far less likely to develop oral cancer. If you have been diagnosed with oral cancer, know that common oral health problems such as gum disease and tooth decay could be making the condition worse. Visiting our dental office regularly for professional cleanings, examinations, and oral cancer screenings to help catch signs of oral cancer early and make treatment easier and more effective. 

Oral Health and Other Cancers 

Poor oral health has been shown to be tied to other types of cancers outside of the mouth. For example, a recent study conducted by NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center found that certain types of bacteria in patients with gum disease was tied to a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. While esophageal cancer only accounts for 1% of new cancer cases diagnosed annually, over 90% of patients will die of the disease. Untreated gum disease opens up the tissues around the teeth to bacterial infection, allowing these harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream and infect other parts of the patient’s body. Maintaining optimal oral health can help protect you from this threat. 

Your oral health effects much more than just your mouth. If you’re not taking care of your teeth, tongue, and gums, you could significantly increase your risk of developing cancer without even realizing it. If you’d like to learn more about the connection between oral health and cancer, contact our dental team to schedule an examination and cleaning today!  

Kathryn Kennedy, DDS of Westmont 331 W. 63rd St. Westmont, IL 60559 Phone: (630) 810-9940 URL of Map

Westmont Dentist | The One Piece of Gear Every Athlete Needs

An injury to your mouth can be a painful, expensive experience. For athletes, mouth and tooth injuries are a very real risk. Mouthguards are an excellent tool for protecting your mouth from injury and harm. Our team can help you find a solution that protects your teeth while you play. 

Why Wear a Mouthguard? 

Mouthguards protect your teeth. For athletes, injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even worse, missing teeth. Additionally, your mouth is mostly made up of soft tissues, such as your tongue, inside cheeks, and lips. These areas can become injured or pierced when playing sports. Mouthguards help defend your mouth and teeth against such injuries.  

Do All Athletes Need a Mouthguard? 

Yes. High-contact sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing pose the greatest risk for mouth injuries. However, all athletes can benefit from being cautious. Gymnasts should consider wearing one to protect their mouth in the event of a fall. Baseball and basketball players should protect themselves from being injured by a ball or collision with another player. Mouthguards should be treated as a necessary piece of your athletic gear, no matter which sport you play. 

Which Mouthguard Is the Most Effective? 

Our team can help you during your next visit to our office. There are many options available, ranging from store-bought to custom-fitted mouthguards. We will work with you to determine which type of mouthguard is best for you. It is important that any guard fits properly.  

If you are currently receiving orthodontic treatment, we may recommend a special type of  mouthguard. Braces can puncture your mouth if impacted, particularly during sports. Our team will help you find a solution that works. 

Prevention is the best solution to oral sports injuries. Contact our office and ask about finding a mouthguard that is right for you. 

Kathryn Kennedy, DDS of Westmont 331 W. 63rd St. Westmont, IL 60559 Phone: (630) 810-9940 URL of Map

Westmont Dentist | Men: Here’s What You Need to Know About Keeping Your Mouth Healthy

Dentist in 60559

Men, you’re not too tough for a visit to the dentist. Did you know according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), by age 72 men lose an average of 5 teeth? That number jumps to 12 if you are also a smoker. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your mouth healthy. Follow these tips and you can beat the odds stacked against men and their oral health.

The Basics

Men are more likely than women to suffer from periodontal, or gum, disease. Men also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer and throat cancer, and men tend to lose more teeth than women. A poll conducted by the AGD found that 45% of men who responded felt there was no need for them to visit the dentist. This is a troubling statistic for a group more prone to oral health issues. A visit to our office can help us identify problems early.

Risk Factors

Certain medications can directly impact your teeth. Others can cause side effects such as dry mouth, which decreases saliva. Saliva is important in keeping your teeth’s enamel strong. Smoking or chewing tobacco, as well as smoking with an electronic cigarette are also linked to increasing your risk of developing oral cancer or other oral health issues. If you play sports, especially football or hockey, get fitted with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from extensive damage. You should avoid or limit energy drinks and sports drinks as these contain acids and sugars that can lead to decay.

Periodontal Disease

Men are at a higher risk for developing periodontal, or gum, disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of hardened plaque, usually the result of not brushing or not brushing thoroughly enough. This buildup, known as tartar, can inflame your gums. Studies have even linked periodontal disease to increasing your risk for strokes or heart attacks. If your gums are red, bloodied, or sore, you should make an appointment to see us. Our experienced, professional dental team will assess your gum health and work to find a treatment for you.

Take These Steps at Home

A visit to our office will provide you with a complete dental examination and cleaning, but you should also practice good oral hygiene each day at home. This starts by brushing your teeth twice each day, for two minutes each time. When you brush, use a fluoride based toothpaste. Make sure you are also using dental floss. Taking care of your teeth at home will make your next visit to see us easier.

Men, your teeth are not invincible so take good care of them. Practice good brushing and flossing habits at home. Reduce your risk of developing decay and oral disease by cutting back on sugary or acidic drinks, avoiding tobacco and smoking, and keeping our office up to date on any medications you are using. Get into the habit of coming to our office regularly, your smile depends on it.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next dental examination, please contact our office.

Resources: The Academy of General Dentistry

http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=M&iid=312&aid=1266

331 W. 63rd St., Westmont, IL 60559

Dentist in Westmont IL | 6 Ways to Get Your Calcium

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Calcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth. Not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy, which is often a prime source for calcium. There are a wide variety of options available to get the calcium you need. Here are six options rich in calcium:

Canned Seafood

Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be an excellent source of calcium. These inexpensive options contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood has small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or another dish.

Alternative Milk Products

Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute in 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. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.

Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are a prime source of calcium. Collard greens, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.

Milk

Milk is one of the best sources of calcium. One cup of cow’s milk can potentially contain a quarter of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Cow’s milk is also a cheap option, as it is generally priced below alternative options like almond milk. Additional benefits provided are good source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin D.

Yogurt

Most yogurts are high in calcium. The highest source of calcium from yogurt comes from the low-fat variety, while Greek yogurt has a lower amount of calcium than regular yogurt.

Cheese

A lot of cheeses are excellent sources of calcium. Parmesan cheese has the highest amount of calcium among cheeses. Softer varieties of cheese generally have less calcium than others. Aged and hard cheeses typically contain less lactose, making them easier to eat for people with dairy restrictions.

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

Contact our office to schedule your visit today.

331 W. 63rd St., Westmont, IL 60559

Dentist in Westmont | How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier

60559 Dentist

The food children eat affects their long term oral health. Some foods have nutrients teeth need. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a stand. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your kids to make.

Offer healthy snack choices. Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.

Have fun with snacks. Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best solution! Eating a well-balanced lunch and dinner is important as well. Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

Be a good role model. Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.

Follow up. Don’t forget it is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us for more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long term dental health!

331 W. 63rd St., Westmont, IL 60559

Dentist Near Me | 9 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Tongue

We use our tongues every day to talk, taste, and swallow, yet we rarely take time to think about this flexible organ. Here are 9 things you may not know about the tongue:

  1. The longest recorded tongue was more than 3.8 inches from back to tip; the widest measured over 3” across.
  2. The human tongue contains 8 separate muscles intertwined.
  3. A blue whale tongue weighs about 5,400 pounds and is roughly the size of an adult elephant!
  4. Tongues come in many shapes and have varying numbers of taste buds. This makes a human tongue imprint as unique as a fingerprint.
  5. The average person has about 10,000 taste buds in their mouth.
  6. A single taste bud contains between 50 and 100 taste cells, which may have sensors for multiple tastes.
  7. No individual taste cell can identify both bitter and sweet flavors.
  8. 1 milliliter of saliva contains about 1,000,000 bacteria.
  9. Using a tongue scraper to clean your tongue is proven to help prevent osteoporosis, pneumonia, heart attacks, premature births, diabetes, and male infertility.

Health issues involving the tongue are most commonly caused by bacteria or tobacco use. Proper cleaning of the tongue can help prevent these conditions from developing. However, if you notice sores, discoloration, or other symptoms, contact our office.

Some tongue-affecting illnesses include:

  • Leukoplakia – excessive cell growth characterized by white patches in the mouth and on the tongue. It is not dangerous, but can be a precursor to oral cancer.
  • Oral thrush – an oral yeast infection common after antibiotic use, often characterized by cottage-cheese like white patches on the surface of the tongue and mouth.
  • Red tongue – may be caused by a deficiency of folic acid and/or vitamin B-12.
  • Hairy tongue – black and/or hairy-feeling tongue can be caused by build-up of bacteria.
  • Canker sores – small ulcerous sores on the tongue, often associated with stress. These sores are not the same as cold sores and are not contagious.
  • Oral cancer – most sore tongue issues are not serious. However, if you have a sore or lump on your tongue that does not heal within a week or two, schedule a screening.

For more information about the tongue or to schedule a screening with our doctor, contact our office.