Merrillville Dentist | Tobacco & Your Teeth

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Chewing and smoking tobacco are known to cause severe health problems, particularly in the lungs. But the risks to your mouth and teeth can be just as extensive and alarming. If you use tobacco, stop. Here’s what tobacco can do to your oral health.

Chewing Tobacco

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), tobacco chewers increase their risk of developing gum and cheek cancers by 50 times. Tobacco dissolves the gums which leads to sensitivity from exposed roots. This also makes for an ideal location for bacteria to grow, leading to decay. If you are chewing tobacco, stop, and ask our experienced oral health team about what you can do to keep your mouth healthy.

Smoking

According to a report by the AGD, smoking one pack a day can lead to the loss of two teeth each decade of your life. Smoking increases your odds of losing teeth. Cigarettes and cigars are both damaging to your oral health. Smoking can cause staining as well, leading to an unattractive smile.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can develop in several places in your mouth including on your tongue, lips, mouth floor, and gums. Those over 50, are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer, as are men. However, Oral cancer has been on the rise, especially for people under 30 according to the AGD.  Schedule an appointment with us to receive a thorough oral health examination, and ask us about an oral cancer screening, particularly if you are a tobacco user. Oral cancer screenings are often very quick as our dentist checks your mouth, teeth, and cheeks for signs of irregularities. If caught early, oral cancer can be treated.

If you are a tobacco user, we strongly advise you to quit. You can work with our professional dental team as well as your doctor to overcome tobacco use. Everyone should be receiving regular oral health examinations, but if you are a tobacco user, you need to be especially vigilant in doing so. Schedule a visit to our office so that we can work with you to identify any potential issues.

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

303 W 89th Ave., Suite E-2
Merrillville, IN 46410

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Phone: (219) 755-0045

46410 Dentist | How Candy Threatens Your Child’s Smile

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How often does your child eat candy? According to a study conducted by the USDA Economic Research Service, children under 12 consume an average of 49 pounds of sugar in one year. While candy is not the sole source of sugar in a child’s diet, the impacts of sugary candy treats are particularly harmful to teeth. Here’s what you need to know about candy and how it might be damaging your child’s smile.

The Impact of Sugar on Teeth

The real culprit in candy is the high sugar content. Certain types of bacteria that are present in your mouth can feed on sugar. These destructive bacteria then create acid that wears away tooth enamel. When enamel is weakened, your risk of developing decay increases. Your mouth is effective at neutralizing acids and aiding minerals that strengthen enamel if the amount of sugars and acids is not excessive. Your mouth can only do so much, which makes it essential to limit your sugar intake and maintain a regular and thorough oral hygiene routine.

Watch Out for Sticky, Sugary Candies

Not all candies are made equal. For a general rule of thumb, the sticker the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. Sticky candies leave sugary residue on your teeth long after you are done eating. This gives the bacteria in your mouth more time to start demineralizing enamel. Watch out for sticky candies like gum drops and taffy.

Suckers, lollipops, and hard sucking candies are troublesome because they are in your mouth for an extended period of time. Like sticky candies, this allows for more time for harmful bacteria to get to work by weakening your teeth. You can also chip or crack a tooth if you bite too hard.

Other problematic candies include those that are gummy and coated in sugar. Think of gummy worms or another sour covered, chewy critter. Not only are they high in sugar content, but they also typically contain harmful acids that contribute to a loss of enamel.

Steps for Preventing Decay

You can help your child by limiting their candy and sugar intake. In some instances, this can be tricky and even out of your control when your child is at school or a friend’s house. What you can do is instill good oral hygiene habits in your child. Make sure they are brushing for two minutes twice each day. You can make brushing fun. Sing a song together for the two minutes, and allow them to choose a fun toothbrush and toothpaste flavor.

Candy is a fun treat. You don’t have to take it away from your child altogether, but limit their exposure to such treats and educate them about the impacts candy can have on their teeth. When left untreated, decay can spread leading to pain and infection. Maintaining a schedule of regular visits to our office is essential. More than just a cleaning, we will provide a thorough examination to check for decay.

If you haven’t already scheduled your child’s next appointment, please contact our office.

303 W 89th Ave., Suite E-2
Merrillville, IN 46410

Phone: (219) 755-0045

Dentist in Merrillville | Can Kissing Be Hazardous to Your Health?

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When you are close to someone you can often be overly comfortable in sharing.  This is especially true with kissing. In one kiss, more than 500 germs can be shared between two people. Sharing a kiss can have an impact on your oral health. Here are some of the dangers of kissing.

Colds & Flus

When you feel like you might be coming down with a cold or flu, it is best to avoid kissing. You certainly don’t want to transmit any diseases. Colds and flus are easily passed on through saliva and nasal fluids.

Cold Sores

If you see a cold sore near your mouth and lips, you should avoid kissing someone. Cold sores will look like small, clear blisters usually close to your lips. Cold sores are a viral infection, but are extremely contagious. Cold sores that are leaking fluids are especially contagious, however even a sore without any fluid can spread to others in contact. Avoid contact if you see cold sores!

Mono – The Kissing Disease

Mononucleosis, or mono, is spread very rapidly through kissing. The disease can also be spread by sharing behaviors such as sharing a cup, food, or straw. We recommend avoiding sharing your food and drink with others. Someone carrying mono might appear healthy, so always play it is safe by avoiding sharing your food and your germs.

Tips for Fresh Breath

It makes sense to want to have a clean, fresh breath when kissing. It is best to avoid foods that contain strong spices and flavors, such as garlic or onion. Long after they have been consumed, it is still possible to smell these foods on someone’s breath. Make sure you follow a regular daily oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily, as well as brushing your tongue, roof of the mouth, and inside of your cheeks. We suggest using a mouthwash or sugar-free gum after eating to help diffuse strong odors. Sometimes bad breath can be caused by other factors, so if you feel these solutions are not working, make an appointment with us.

Hundreds of germs can be shared when kissing. Watch out for cold sores as well as cold or flu symptoms. Don’t forget to keep up with your daily brushing and flossing routine.

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

303 W 89th Ave., Suite E-2
Merrillville, IN 46410

Phone: (219) 755-0045

Merrillville Dentist | Are Drinks Attacking Your Teeth?

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If carbonated soft drinks are part of your normal daily routine, you may be causing serious damage to your teeth. Recent studies have found soft drinks to be among the most potent dietary causes of tooth decay. Soft drinks have also been implicated in increases of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other serious health conditions. Before you shop for beverages this week, consider a few things you should know about soft drinks.

Most soft drinks contain substantial amounts of sugars, which interact with the bacteria in your mouth. This interaction produces a form of acid that can damage your teeth for about 20 minutes. Each time you take a drink, you reset that time window. If you consume throughout the day, you are essentially bathing your teeth in that beverage for hours.

Most soft drinks contain acids, as well. Even sugar-free varieties contain acids that can weaken the enamel on your teeth. Colas and citrus-flavored soft drinks tend to have the highest levels of acid. Over time, this weakening of tooth enamel has a cumulative effect. This can lead to decay and even tooth loss if not addressed in early stages.

Obviously, the best solution is to stop consuming carbonated soft drinks. However, it can be a difficult habit to break. Here are some tips to help reduce your risks of tooth damage from these beverages:

  • Drink in moderation. Too much sugar and acid will eventually cause damage.
  • Try sparkling water. This provides the fizzy sensation without all the sugar and acid.
  • Drink more water. You will crave soft drinks less when you are fully hydrated.
  • Don’t sip. The longer you spend drinking, the more time sugars and acids are reacting with your teeth.
  • Use a straw. This can help keep the sugars and acids away from your teeth.
  • Rinse with water after drinking to dilute acids and sugars.
  • Don’t brush immediately. Wait at least 30 minutes for acids to be neutralized by saliva before brushing.
  • Practice good dental hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings and exams.

Carbonated soft drinks can be harmful to your oral and overall health. Be mindful of how often you consume them and consider reducing or stopping your use of these dangerous beverages.

For more oral health tips or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

46140 Dentist | Did You Forget to Pack Something?

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The year is closing and holidays are on the horizon. Are you planning year-end travel or a last-minute getaway? Before heading out on your next adventure, make sure you are prepared with these 3 quick tips for maintaining optimal dental health during travel.

  1. Properly transport your toothbrush. Instead of throwing your toothbrush into a bag with the rest of your toiletries, use a resealable plastic bag. This can reduce the amount of bacteria that gets passed on to your toothbrush.
  2. Pack sugarless gum. Gum can help relieve ear pressure during a flight and prevent dry mouth that can occur during travel. Research shows that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can also help prevent tooth decay.
  3. Brush with bottled water. If you are in another country or on a camping trip in the wilds, use bottled water to brush your teeth. This can reduce your risk of getting sick due to unfamiliar bacteria or other contaminants in the local water.

If you are taking a vacation before the year ends, don’t forget to take steps to maintain optimal oral health while you are away. Don’t forget to pack our office number in case you have questions about your oral health during your trip, then schedule an exam and cleaning for after your return.

303 W 89th Ave., Suite E-2
Merrillville, IN 46410

Phone: (219) 755-0045

Dentist in Merrillville | The Scary Link Between Childhood Obesity and Gum Disease

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More than half of all adults over 30 have gum disease. These findings were from a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults are not the only group impacted by gum disease. In fact, new research has uncovered a startling link between childhood who are obesity and gum disease.

Understanding the Numbers

A study published in Diabetes Care found that just under 99% of children who were classified as obese had some degree of gum disease or inflammation. A separate group of children classified as overweight were also studied. In this group, 85% of children had some degree of gum disease. This study is among the first of its kind examining the link between childhood obesity and gum disease. However these results are similar to a range of findings in past studies covering adults.

Combating Gum Disease

Gum disease can be challenging to identify at first because you might not even know your child has it. Mild types of gum disease, such as gingivitis, can sometimes go unnoticed. Without proper treatment, gum disease and inflammation can become more severe and more difficult to treat. Early detection and prevention are the keys to a healthy mouth. Gum disease can lead to bad breath and swollen or bloody gums. In its most advanced stages, gum disease can lead to tooth loss as the infected gums recede.

Keeping Your Child Healthy

The most important step you can take is to maintain an active role in ensuring your child practices proper oral hygiene. Make sure they are brushing their teeth for two minutes twice each day. Flossing is essential to keeping gums healthy. Anti-bacterial mouthwashes are also an option for extra protection against plaque buildup. If your child is overweight, consult your pediatrician. Keep up with regular visits to our office. Our team is trained in identifying gum inflammation. We can help your child stay on track for maintaining optimal oral health.

While this particular study is one of the first of its kind, it does mimic the extensive research correlating obesity and gum disease in adults. These alarming findings underscore the importance of maintaining healthy habits and keeping up with oral hygiene.

For more information on keeping your child’s mouth healthy or to schedule a visit, please contact us.

303 W 89th Ave., Suite E-2
Merrillville, IN 46410

Phone: (219) 755-0045

Dentist in Merrillville | Biting Off More than You Can Chew?

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It is not uncommon for many of us to grab a bite to eat in a hurry. Americans have grown accustomed to bigger food portions at restaurants, but our mouths have not. Trying to fit that oversized sandwich or apple in your mouth might be worse for you than you have ever imagined. Below are some reasons why this could be detrimental for your oral health and what you can do about it.

Why This Is a Problem

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), taking bites that are too big for you to chew can not only cause jaw and teeth issues, it can also cause digestive problems. Discomfort, swelling and difficulty eating may result from opening your jaw too wide. Taking large bites may also result in food not being chewed thoroughly, which can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Constantly opening your jaw too wide becomes an even larger problem for people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull bones enabling movement during chewing. People with TMD, usually have a restriction with how wide they can open their jaws. Taking large bites of food, especially hard foods like apples, can aggravate this condition making pain and jaw clicking worse.

What You Can Do

If you have food that is too large to chew or starts to cause jaw discomfort, try cutting your food into smaller portions. This makes food easier to eat with less hassle. Also consider eating softer foods that won’t harm your teeth or irritate your jaw.

Tip: Avoid chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies, and opening nuts with your teeth. This can lead to a chipped tooth!

Contact our team today to schedule an exam and cleaning.

303 W 89th Ave., Suite E-2
Merrillville, IN 46410

Phone: (219) 755-0045

Merrillville, IN Dentist | What to Expect from Dental Bridges

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If you are missing one or more teeth, our dentist may recommend a dental bridge. To help you understand what to expect, we’ve assembled a short guide to bridges.

The Purpose of a Bridge

Tooth loss can occur due to periodontal disease, injury, extraction, and other causes. When a space is left, your remaining teeth can begin to shift, leading to changes in your bite. This may also leave your gums more susceptible to damage and disease. A dental bridge may be recommended to fill the gap left by one or more missing teeth. This device may be removable or fixed, and includes one or more replacement teeth, which are anchored to neighboring teeth for stability. A dental bridge can help keep your teeth and gums healthy, covered, and functioning properly.

What to Expect

Bridges usually require two visits. During your first visit, we will prepare the surrounding teeth and take an impression that will be used to accurately fabricate the dental bridge to fit your mouth. We may provide a temporary bridge to protect your teeth and gums from damage during the fabrication process.

During your second visit, we will fit your custom-made bridge into place. At this time, we will make any needed adjustments to ensure a proper fit and full comfort. We will also discuss a plan for future visits to ensure your bridge continues to fit properly.

Caring for Your Bridge

Keep your bridge clean and in good repair by brushing twice each day and flossing daily. If you remove your bridge for sleep, keep it in water or use a denture cleaning solution. For more information on proper bridge care, ask our team.

Bridges restore your mouth and your teeth to their normal function. If you are missing teeth, schedule an appointment with us. We will provide an examination and determine if you are a candidate for a dental bridge.

303 W 89th Ave., Suite E-2
Merrillville, IN 46410

Phone: (219) 755-0045

46410 Dentist | How Probiotics Improve Oral Health

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Probiotics are typically advertised as being helpful for digestion. However, studies have shown that they can also improve oral health. Probiotics are beneficial for fighting infections that lead to oral disease.

Reducing Gingivitis

A study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry has found that probiotics can reduce gum bleeding in patients with moderate to severe gingivitis. In the trial, children were given either a placebo or two different combinations of probiotics. At the three-week mark, it was discovered that children who took probiotics had significant improvements in their gingival status.

Combating Periodontitis

Periodontitis is another oral disease that probiotics have been shown to fight. Periodontitis is caused by harmful bacteria that separate teeth from the gums creating pockets that can become infected. Probiotics can fight harmful bacteria and lessen the inflammation to help heal the mouth.

Fighting Cavities

Another finding from the trial of the Contemporary Clinical Dentistry showed that children who took probiotics also saw a significant decrease in plaque. The reduction of plaque leads to less decay. Probiotics fight the plaque and occupy the spaces on the teeth where bad bacteria thrive.

Minimizing Bad Breath

Another benefit of probiotics is the effect they have on bad breath. Bad breath is usually caused by volatile sulfur compound bacteria releasing odor-causing gases. Because probiotics are healthy bacteria, it is believed that they can eliminate the bad bacteria and maintain a healthy bacteria balance in your mouth.

The benefits of probiotics are not just limited to the digestive health. Researchers continue to conduct studies to discover new ways probiotics contribute to a healthy mouth and body.

Contact our team for more information on oral health or to schedule a visit today.

303 W 89th Ave., Suite E-2
Merrillville, IN 46410

Phone: (219) 755-0045

Dentist in Merrillville | Teething Tips for Toddlers

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Your baby’s first teeth developing can be a difficult experience for both you and your child. Most teeth begin to appear as early as 3 moths to 1 year old. This process can be uncomfortable and cause sleepless nights. However, there are things you can do to keep your toddler less irritable while they are teething.

What to Expect

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when your baby starts teething. Below are a few symptoms to look for:

  • Fussiness
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling more than usual

It has been thought that teething may cause fever and diarrhea, but research shows that this is not true. If your baby is experiencing any of these symptoms or they worsen, call us for an appointment.

What You Can Do

View the many different ways to safely soothe your teething baby below:

  • Rub your baby’s gums. Use a clean finger or moistened gauze pad to rub your baby’s gums. The pressure can decrease any discomfort your baby might be feeling.
  • Keep their mouth cool. A cold washcloth, spoon, or teething ring can sooth your baby’s gums. However, make sure the object is not frozen because extreme cold can be harmful. Also monitor your baby so they do not swallow any small objects.
  • Introduce hard food. If your baby is already eating solid food, you might want to give them a chilled carrot or apple slice. This can ease their pain and make them less irritable.

Tip: Contact us before using any teething medications or numbing gels that may pose a risk to your baby.

Teething is a difficult process for not only your baby, but also you. You can relax knowing your baby is more comfortable by using the tips above.

Also, don’t forget to schedule your baby’s first dental appointment as soon as their first tooth has fully emerged. Call us for an appointment today.

303 W 89th Ave., Suite E-2
Merrillville, IN 46410

Phone: (219) 755-0045