Monthly Archives: August 2013

Good Nutrition: Important for Your Mouth and Your Body

nutrition.

Your general and oral health go hand in hand — whatever is going on with the rest of your body can also affect your teeth, gums and other mouth tissues. That’s why it’s essential that you eat a diet with the right balance of healthy foods, while cutting back on unhealthy ones that contribute to tooth decay and other health issues.

When we refer to healthy foods, we mean foods with high nutritional value. These kinds of foods provide nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water) that build strong bodies (including teeth and gums), fight disease and help our bodies maintain good function on the cellular level.

A healthy diet has three components: variety, eating several different kinds of foods with a wide range of nutrients; balance, eating a proper portion from different food groups; and moderation, eating portions that are enough to meet energy needs and cellular health while not overindulging. It’s important to remember that excess carbohydrates, proteins and fats are stored as body fat, which has an impact on a healthy weight.

In addition, you should also bear in mind how certain foods can have a direct effect on your teeth and gums. Foods with added sugars (such as refined sugar or corn syrup) and starches are a rich food source for decay-causing bacteria; naturally occurring sugars found in fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products are not as great a threat. In this regard, the best approach is to decrease the amount of processed foods in your diet, while increasing your intake of whole foods.

You can also help deter tooth decay with certain foods. Eating cheese after a sweet snack helps prevent an increase in the mouth’s acidic level, a contributing factor in tooth decay. Eating plant foods that require chewing stimulates saliva, which also helps prevent a rise in the acidic level.

Proper nutrition is a key component in maintaining overall good health. It’s just as important for keeping your teeth and gums healthy and functioning.

If you would like more information on nutrition and the part it plays with your oral health, please contact us by calling (630) 352-0242. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Nutrition: Its Role in General and Oral Health.”


Updating Your Appearance? Don’t Forget Your Smile

smile.

The world is full of options to improve your appearance. But if you really want a dramatic change for the better, don’t overlook one of the more prominent features of your face — your smile. The field of cosmetic dentistry has developed a vast array of procedures, techniques and materials to work this transformation.

First, though, it’s important to undergo a smile analysis. During this review, we examine the major components of your current smile: the condition of your teeth and their alignment; their natural color and hue; your gum health; and the relationship between your upper and lower jaws. We then analyze these findings in context with the shape of your face, your eyes and your skin. Any changes we propose to make to your smile must fit with this bigger picture.

Of course, nothing is more foundational to a beautiful smile than good, basic hygiene. Besides a daily regimen, regular visits to our office for cleaning and polishing not only remove entrenched decay-causing plaque or tartar, but also staining that can spoil your appearance. Whitening procedures, at home or in our office, can also brighten up an otherwise drab smile.

But what if you have chipped or broken teeth, or some other abnormality? That’s where our artistry as a cosmetic dentist can truly make a difference. In some cases, using bonding materials, tooth-colored restorations or veneers may be the best option, if enough of the tooth structure is still intact. If not, porcelain crowns may be in order.

Nor are we limited to those options. Your particular situation may call for a more integrated approach to smile enhancement. Orthodontics to realign teeth and treat for malocclusion (where the teeth on the upper and lower jaws do not meet properly) could be part of that approach, as well as replacing missing teeth with dental implants that replicate the teeth they replace.

The key is to devise the best approach that couples reality with your expectations. It will change not only your smile, but also your life.

If you would like more information on cosmetic dentistry, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: A Time for Change..”

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Why Don’t Sharks Get Cavities?

In honor of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week…..

When it comes to fighting cavities, it seems that sharks don’t get cavities or have any other dental problems due to the fact that their teeth contain fluoride.  It would seem that along with having the perfectly designed mouth and teeth for tearing flesh from bone, they also have a built in protection system for keeping those deadly teeth  pearly white.  The ocean also contains a fluoride content of one part per million; therefore, sharks teeth are constantly soaking in a fluoride solution.

Along with the fluoride benefit, sharks also have several rows of teeth.  They are able to replace teeth that are lost many times throughout their life cycle.  Also, the shark’s diet consists of other fish, the sharks do not consume refined sugar.  Have you ever seen a shark eating cotton candy?

So how can you get more fluoride to your teeth?  Make sure that your drinking water has fluoride added to it.  If your water isn’t fluoridated, you can obtain a prescription from your dentist.  It is also a good idea to have regular fluoride treatments done after your dental cleanings.  Of course, always use a fluoride containing tooth paste!