Tag Archives: oral hygiene

Misconceptions About Gum Disease | Oak Lawn Dentist

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, an estimate of approximately three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease, from gingivitis to periodontitis. This bacterial gum infection destroys the attachment fibers and supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Though this disease has be highly publicized, many people still don’t take gum disease seriously because of certain myths and misconceptions that surround it. Let’s delve into these misconceptions a bit deeper…

Flossing my teeth isn’t important. On top of brushing your teeth twice a day, you should be flossing at least once a day as to prevent gum disease. Flossing your teeth is one of the best ways to prevent gingivitis, the beginning form of gum disease.

Bleeding gums is no big deal. Imagine your gum tissue is the same as your hands. If your hands bled every time you washed them, wouldn’t you worry? Red, swollen, or bleeding gums need to be looked at by a dentist. They will be able to suggest the best periodontal treatment.

Poor oral hygiene is the only way to develop gum disease. While poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of periodontal disease, there are other certain factors that can increase one’s risk. The use of tobacco products, poor diet, stress, pregnancy and genetics are all causes that can lead to gum disease.

Having gum disease means I’m going to lose my teeth. Developing gum disease doesn’t mean tooth loss. But the sooner it is caught, the better the odds you won’t lose them.

If you would like to find out more about gum disease prevention, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn and all surrounding areas.

Do You Have Dragon Breath? | Oak Lawn Dentist

There is very little more off-putting than having to speak to someone that has bad breath. While you may think it is bad manners to tell them, it is difficult for someone to know they have bad breath without someone mentioning it. But why do we have bad breath in the first place? There are actually many factors and causes for bad breath, and it can occur on occasion, or it can be a chronic condition.

Certain foods, health conditions and habits are among the causes of bad breath, but can be reduced or prevented if you follow these simple tips:

Oral hygiene. Brush and floss twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque, including the tongue. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or after an illness. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth the next morning.

Regular dental visits. See your dentist at least twice a year. This will be able to detect and treat any periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor.

Quit tobacco. Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.

Hydrate. Drink lots of water. Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria by keeping your mouth moist. Chewing gum or candy containing xylitol also stimulates the production of saliva.

Healthy diets. Keep a log of the foods you eat and bring the log to your dentist to review. Similarly, make a list of the medications you take. Some drugs may play a role in creating mouth odors.

If you would like to find out more about bad breath, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn and all surrounding areas.

What Is a Tooth? | Oak Lawn Dentist

They help us stay fed and make our photos look great. We may not always treat them the nicest, but all 32 of them love us nonetheless. Yes, our teeth are not only giving us a pretty smile, but they also are the first line of defense with our overall health. But have you ever stopped to think – what is a tooth anyway? Let’s take a look…

The visible surface of the tooth is known as enamel. A hard, mineral surface, the enamel is typically light yellow to white in color, but is semi translucent, so the actual color of your tooth is determined by both the enamel and the underlying dentin.

While enamel covers to outside of the tooth above the gum line, below the gum line the surface of the tooth is covered in a substance known as cementum. The primary purpose of cementum is to provide a surface to allow the periodontal ligaments in the gums to hold onto the tooth.

Below the enamel and cementum lies the dentin. Dentin is what is prone to decay, and severe cavities can cause significant dental problems if not treated rapidly.

Finally, within the dentin lies the tooth pulp. The pulp is soft tissue, filled with blood vessels and nerves that provide the tooth with oxygen, nutrients, and also the ability to transmit ‘senses’ such as temperature, pain, and pressure. The pulp also helps to form and repair dentin from within the tooth.

As you can see teeth are awesome little structures that deserve proper upkeep, regular cleanings and check-ups. You don’t have to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.

If you would like to find out more about your teeth, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn and all surrounding areas.

Do You Brush Your Night Guard Before Bed? | Oak Lawn Dentist

We all strive to get a good night’s sleep. And when we have an issue with grinding our teeth as we sleep, we are not only preventing a good night’s sleep, but also can cause harm to your teeth. This is where a night guard comes in. And although night guards are there to help, night guards need proper care and attention to make sure that you don’t just end up trading one dental problem for another. After all, bacteria can find a hiding place in our mouths very easily, and bacteria is what is causing all of our dental issues. Here are some essential night guard care tips that should come in handy:

Brush your night guard. Whenever you take out your night guard in the morning, brush it as you would your teeth. Use a different, soft toothbrush and clean with a liquid antibacterial soap.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. Same as the night guard itself, you should always clean its storage case. Use liquid antibacterial soap with some hot water this time around, as it won’t ruin the case.

Take care of your teeth. Before you even think about putting your night guard in your mouth, make sure that you have practiced proper dental hygiene first.

Have your night guard checked. Be sure that you have your night guard at your dental appointments, so the dentist can clean it and examine it for wear and tear. Although very durable, these oral appliances are not invincible and will need to be replaced from time to time.

If you would like to find out more about night guards, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn and all surrounding areas.

Do You Have Tooth Sensitivity? | Oak Lawn Dentist

There is nothing worse than going to enjoy your favorite bowl of soup or ice cream, only to find out that your teeth no longer want to be involved. Tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel that protects your teeth has gotten thinner, no longer providing the necessary protection to your tooth and root. Eating hot or cold foods will set it off, but the condition itself is caused by:

  • Gum disease
  • Brushing teeth too aggressively, or using a hard-bristled toothbrush
  • Wearing away of the enamel, which protects your teeth’s nerves
  • Exposure of the roots at the gum line, as well as tooth decay

If you feel that your tooth sensitivity is because of tooth decay, disease or infection, have it treated as soon as possible. If it’s caused by your habits or genetics, it is possible that you can treat sensitivity at home by doing the following:

Switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing too aggressively can aggravate sensitive teeth, so switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush. You may also want to change the way you brush your teeth and start doing it more gently from now on.

Avoiding certain types of food and beverages. Coffee, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, and even yogurt, can slowly wear away at your already worn-out tooth enamel. If you must partake, drink a glass of milk right after or wait fifteen minutes before brushing.

Start wearing a night guard. It is possible you’re grinding your teeth while sleeping. By wearing a night guard, your teeth and the enamel are protected from the constant grinding while you sleep.

If you would like to find out more about tooth sensitivity, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Take Care of Your Mouthguard | Oak Lawn Dentist

Believe it or not, bruxism, or nighttime teeth grinding is a common habit that will eventually wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. If this is the case, it is likely that a mouthguard will be recommended. These custom-made oral appliances can help teeth from getting damaged or chipped while you sleep. And like all things that you use on a daily, maintenance is required. Here are some essential night guard care tips:

Keep it clean. Whenever you take out your night guard in the morning, brush it as you would your teeth. Preferably, use a different, soft toothbrush and a liquid antibacterial soap. Also, use warm water and be sure to dry it thoroughly before storing it in its respective case. Using hot water is not advisable because it can ruin the appliance.

Don’t forget the case. Use liquid antibacterial soap and feel free to use hot water – it won’t ruin the case. Store it in a place far from dust and other contaminants.

Take care of your teeth. Before you even think about putting your night guard in your mouth, make sure that you have brushed and flossed beforehand. Otherwise, bacteria will transfer from your mouth to your night guard and allow them to grow through the night.

Bring It to Exams. Every time you visit your dentist, have your night guard with you so it can be examined for wear and tear, as well as give it a good cleaning. If you notice any damage, go to your dentist immediately and ask for proper advice.

If you would like to find out more about mouthguard maintenance, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Why You May Have Dragon Breath | Oak Lawn Dentist

Fresh BreathNo one wants to hear they have bad breath. In fact, we do anything we can to prevent it. Not only is it embarrassing, but if it is persistent, it could be an issue of greater magnitude. The good news is that bad breath, more of than not, is preventable and easy to cure. But what causes bad breath in the first place? Below are some of the most common causes of bad breath:

Certain types of food. Eating certain types of food like garlic, onions and other types of spices, they can affect the smell of your breath while they travel through your body.

Smoking and chewing tobacco. Anything that has to do with tobacco and your mouth can lead to bad breath. Tobacco products can increase your risk for a variety of health complications that can also lead to bad breath and other health issues.

Improper dental hygiene. If you skip brushing and flossing your teeth for just one day, your breath is bound to smell bad because of remaining food particles in your mouth and the bacterial breakdown of these remnants.

Dry mouth. If there’s not enough saliva to help clear away food particles, it can lead to the development of a foul odor in your mouth. Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking water frequently.

Certain medical conditions. Inflammation of the lungs, throat and sinuses can lead to bad breath, as well as certain respiratory infections. Diabetes, certain liver and kidney diseases and few other medical conditions have also been known to cause bad breath.

If you would like to find out more about bad breath prevention, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Getting to Know You: Toothbrush Edition | Oak Lawn Dentist

Woman brushing her teethWhile we’ve all heard about how important brushing and taking care of our teeth is, most of us know so little about the little instrument we use to do so – the toothbrush. I know it sounds silly, but how much do you know about it? For example, did you know that the toothbrush wasn’t invented by a dentist, but an entrepreneur who was also an inmate who came up with it out of boredom. It’s true! So, in honor of this little tool that brings us our pretty smiles, let’s take a look at some other interesting facts about your little ol’ toothbrush:

It’s been shown that the average American will have spent more than a thousand hours, or a day or two north of 38 days brushing their teeth by the time they die. While a surprising number, dentists believe that the average number is a couple of days short as it should be around 122 days.

Back in the 1800s, toothbrush bristles were made from the hair of cows. That’s a far cry from the nylon bristles used in toothbrush bristles today.

On average, the typical toothbrush will contain around 2,500 bristles.

In America alone, Americans are believed to throw away 25,000 tons of toothbrushes every year.

A survey back in 2003 showed that the toothbrush was the #1 thing people couldn’t live without. Though, with the advent of smartphones and the fact that more people these days own or use a smartphone than they do a toothbrush, the 2003 survey could use a little updating.

If you would like to find out more about toothbrushes, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Your New Year’s Resolution May Backfire | Oak Lawn Dentist

Fresh BreathNow that we are in full-swing with our new year’s resolutions, we are in hyper-sensitive mode about our health & what we are putting into our mouths. When it comes to getting in shape, we all have a tough time finding the right combination of foods and exercise to keep us on pace. But what if your diet is giving you side effects? What if it was something as simple as bad breath?

By eliminating all sugar and most carbs, and eating foods high in fat and protein, your body becomes a fat-burning machine. However, by getting your energy from fat and protein rather than carbs, one of the common byproducts is intolerable breath. But why?

Atkins, the ketogenic diet, and most other low-carb eating plans all rely on getting your daily calories mostly from fat and protein, and very little from carbohydrates. If you keep your carb intake to less than 30 grams per day, your body eventually enters a metabolic state of ketosis. Instead of breaking down carbohydrates to create glucose for energy, your body instead breaks down stored fat, which release ketones in the body. They are also released in your breath, creating a distinct odor that some keto enthusiasts describe as rotten fruit, or even metallic.

Unfortunately, that also means ketosis breath can’t be extinguished with the typical handful of mints and swig of mouthwash. Natural remedies to try are drinking extra water, or chewing on fresh mint leaves, cloves, or fennel seeds, or grab a sugar-free gum made with xylitol.

If you would like to find out more about bad breath remedies, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.

Why Is My Mouth So Dry? | Oak Lawn Dentist

Sleeping soundly is not so easy – and if you wake up frequently at night with a dry mouth, or xerostomia, it makes things even worse. The exact causes of xerostomia vary, but if it happens at night, you may snore. Sleeping with your mouth open allows air to freely enter and depart, leaving your mouth especially dry.

Because saliva not only washes away bacteria and food to keep your mouth clean, but it can cause your mouth to become red and irritated, putting you at a higher risk for developing bacterial infections, affecting the quality of your sleep even further. If you think you have this issue, seek medical advice from your dentist and try these:

Cut back on bad habits. Studies have shown that avoiding sugary or acidic foods can help decrease one’s risk for tooth decay, especially if one suffers from dry mouth. If you insist on munching on something sweet, you can chew on sugarless gum or hard candy to help satisfy your cravings and stimulate saliva flow.

Drink your water. It seems like more of a chore but drinking lots of water to maintain, or increase the production of saliva.

Keep your nightly dental routine. Before sleeping, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse can help keep your mouth from drying at night. Keep a glass of water next to your bed to sip on if you wake up with a dry mouth in the middle of the night.

Maintain enough air moisture. The air in your room may also be too dry. Use a humidifier.

If you would like to find out more about xerostomia, contact Dr. Bartz in Oak Lawn, IL at 708-430-4440 to schedule a consultation. Or visit www.bartzandbartzdental.com for additional information.

Dr. Bartz proudly serves Oak Lawn, Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank, Palos Hills and all surrounding areas.