Kick the Habit: Tips to Help You Quit Smoking for Good

Everyone is most likely aware of the countless health problems that can result from a smoking habit. But quitting isn’t always easy. This month, as we help recognize the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, held every year on the third Thursday in November, the team at our Hyde Park dental office is here to help provide some of the most helpful tips to quit smoking for good.

6 Tips To Help You Quit

  • Have A Support System

Getting your friends and family on board to help you quit can go a long way in making sure you succeed. Let people know you’re trying to quit and instruct them on how they can help. There are also tons of online sources you can refer to for an added boost of support.

  • Know Your Triggers

Write down when you have the strongest urge to light up. Putting your triggers down on paper will assist you in recognizing small ways you can change your lifestyle to either avoid them or find alternative coping mechanisms.

  • Toss Out Smoking Accessories

Gather up your ashtrays and lighters and toss them in the garbage. Removing things associated with smoking can help keep your mind off of the habit. Take it one step farther and freshen up your car or your house to remove the smokey smell.

  • Utilize Healthy Alternatives

Some smokers who are trying to quit find that having snacks available to occupy both the mouth and hands can really make a difference. Keep sugar-free gum handy, nibble on some carrots, and drink lots of water. These healthier options will make your dentist in Hyde Park happy, too.

  • Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Going through nicotine withdrawal is one of the main reasons smokers find it so difficult to quit. Do some research on the various nicotine replacement therapy options available to you and give it a try.

  • Keep a List of Reasons to Quit

Knowing your motivations for quitting can also go a long way in keeping you on track. Whether it’s to save money, for health concerns, or for your family, remind yourself of the reasons you’re trying to quit as often as needed. If you or someone you know needs a little more motivation to stop smoking, or are concerned about oral health, we always welcome you to call our dental office in Hyde Park to schedule a visit with us. We’re happy to help our neighbors stay as healthy as possible.

Don’t Let Holiday Stress Affect Your Oral Health

Late November is when we gear up for a few weeks of feasts, family, fun, shopping, and all that the holiday season brings. Between arranging schedules to see everyone you need to see, fitting in all the parties you’ve been invited to, cooking large meals, and everything in between, it’s no wonder that stress levels tend to soar this time of year. As we all know, stress can affect our overall wellbeing. But at our dental office in Hyde Park, we also know stress can jeopardize oral health, too.

What’s With The Jaw Pain?

Our bodies react to stress differently, and we aren’t even aware of some of the things it does when stressed. Clenching and grinding our teeth tends to be one of those things. When we grind our teeth against each other, the forces put on the teeth can cause them to chip, crack, or break. Clenching can do the same thing, but it also affects the jaw. Habitually clenching our teeth may cause serious jaw pain and, if left untreated, long-term TMJ problems. If you’re experiencing clicking or popping in the jaw joint, jaw pain, or occasional jaw locking give your Hyde Park dentist a call.

Gum Disease

The main causes of gum disease usually include improper oral hygiene, dry mouth, or smoking. But one of the lesser known risk factors to developing this serious oral health problem is stress. Research has shown a strong link between prolonged stress and a higher risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a health problem that originates in the mouth but also can affect the entire body. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, and other serious health problems.

Stay Calm, Stay Healthy

At our Hyde Park dental office, we know that life can be super stressful, especially during the holidays. If you find your blood pressure increasing and your anxiety levels rising, try a few of these tips to relax and keep yourself healthy.

  • Eat Well. Fueling your body with the nutrients it needs can keep energy levels high and ready to tackle anything that comes your way.
  • Sleep Often. During the holidays we try to shove so many things into our schedules that sleep is usually the first thing we sacrifice. However, getting enough sleep every night can help ensure your body will stay healthy enough to enjoy all the holiday festivities you have planned.
  • Exercise Regularly. Hit the treadmill, go for a walk, attend a class — whatever you choose to do, make sure you exercise regularly. Exercise is naturally stress reducing, so don’t skip your workouts

The team at our Hyde Park dental office wish you and your family a happy, healthy holiday season!

How Your Oral Health Can Affect Your Heart

February is nationally recognized as Heart Health Month. Every year the American Heart Association and medical professionals across the country join together to publicize the seriousness of heart disease and educate the population on how to reduce your risk. At our dental office in Hyde Park, we want to help do our part and bring awareness to how your oral health is directly linked to your heart health.

The Oral Health, Heart Health Connection

It’s been said that your eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, another phrase we should be promoting is that your mouth is the window to your overall health. Throughout the years, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between oral health and overall health, including its link to heart disease.

It’s All About the Gums

When you come to see your dentist in Hyde Park, your dental team is looking at more than just your teeth. We’re also taking an incredibly close look at the health of your gums. Your gums play an important role not only in your oral health and keeping your teeth in place, but also in the health of your heart. If gum disease is present and left untreated, the infection can transfer into the bloodstream. When this happens, your body responds by producing more C-reactive protein (CRP). Higher than normal levels of CRP can cause some serious health issues including:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

Signs of Gum Disease

Since gum disease can develop quickly, it’s important to be aware of the most common signs so that you can get it treated immediately. Early intervention is the key to a easier and more successful treatment. If you notice any of the signs below, contact your Hyde Park dentist as soon as possible.

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Puffy, tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth

Protect Your Gums, Protect Your Heart

Prevention of gum disease is one way you can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Make sure you brush your teeth, floss every day, and maintain visits to our Hyde Park dental office at least twice a year. These bi-annual appointments help remove buildup on teeth that, if left alone, could develop into gum disease or other oral health problems. Don’t put yourself at risk to the seriousness of heart disease. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Gingivitis vs Periodontitis: What’s The Difference?

Gum disease is often one term used to describe what are actually three different things. While each level of infection is recognized by a medical term all its own, they are all in fact an infection of the gums. At our dental office in Hyde Park, we want to help our neighbors identify each level of gum disease, educate them on the risk factors, and talk about the complications that may result if gum disease is left untreated.

Different Stages of Gum Disease

Gingivitis

Let’s start with the mildest form of gum disease — gingivitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is classified by gum inflammation, redness, or maybe some bleeding while brushing and flossing. It’s caused when too much plaque builds up under the gum line. When caught before it has a chance to progress gingivitis can be treated and reversed.

Periodontitis

The next stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis. When gingivitis isn’t treated, the plaque buildup can start to affect the bone and tissues that are responsible for keeping the teeth sturdy and in place. If this occurs, it usually can’t be undone and recommended treatment is more about limiting any more damage.

Advanced Periodontitis

The most severe form of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. During this stage, bones and tissues are seriously weakened which can cause teeth to shift, become loose, or fall out. While treatment may help stop any damage from progressing, the damage that has already occurred is irreversible.

Gum Disease Risk Factors

There are several factors that may put someone at greater risk for developing gum disease. Some of these risk factors are controllable while others are not. For example, genetics are thought to play a role in the development of gum disease, and we can’t do much about the way we’re built. However, we can reduce our risk by not smoking, brushing and flossing regularly, and eating a well-balanced diet.

Signs of Gum Disease

You may have heard gum disease described as a silent disease, but what does that mean? In the earliest stages of gum disease (gingivitis), a person may have little to no symptoms and never suspect a problem. But knowing what to keep an eye out for can help you identify gum disease early and while it’s still treatable.

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Receding gums
  • Swollen, red gums

Gum Disease & Overall Health

If not treated early gum disease can lead to tooth loss and some other serious whole-body concerns. Numerous studies have shown that gum disease has been linked to serious medical conditions and diseases including:

  • Lung disease
  • Cancers
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

The best way to protect your smile from gum disease is to brushing and floss everyday and make sure to visit your dentist in Hyde Park at least twice a year. If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental check, give our Hyde Park dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.

Can Stress Affect Oral Health?

Being stressed out is stressful enough, but knowing that constant or repeated high levels of stress can actually affect your health and make you sick certainly doesn’t help either. Too much stress can cause serious health issues throughout the body including heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and obesity. But the concerns don’t end there. Our dental office in Hyde Park also wants our patients to know that high stress can also affect oral health.

Clenching & Grinding

During periods of increased stress, a common and automatic response may be to clench our teeth together or even grind them against each other. If either of these habits is done too often, it could result in chipped, broken, or cracked teeth as well as damage to the jaw joint. The constant force put on the jaw joint during repeated clenching can make the muscles sore and eventually cause TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder, or TMD, tends to be painful and may also cause popping, clicking, or a locked joint. In order to get relief, your dentist in Hyde Park will need to find the best TMJ treatment for your individual case.

Gum Disease

When many people think of gum disease they often immediately assume it was caused by poor dental hygiene. But there are several other factors that can put you at increased risk including smoking, medications, clenching or grinding your teeth, and stress. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects your mouth but also your whole body. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, heart disease, and increase the risk for stroke.

Lower Your Stress & Protect Your Health

Stress is a natural part of life, but there are things you can do to help protect your health against the negative side effects of too much of it.

Take a Deep Breath. Believe it or not, sometimes all you need to reduce stress is a few minutes of deep breathing. Focusing on your breath can lower your heart rate and help you feel more relaxed almost instantly.

Work up a Sweat. Exercising regularly increases endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone. These chemicals are known to help make us feel good and combat anxiety and stress. Go for a walk, do some yoga, swim some laps. Whatever you do… just get moving.

Sleep it Off. It’s recommended that adults get 7-9 hours a sleep every night, but many of us don’t. A thorough night’s sleep can reboot your body, lower stress, and give your body a chance to recover.

Nobody likes feeling stressed, and nobody wants to put their health at risk because of it. Commit to finding ways to help you relax, handle stress better, and keep anxiety low.

How Does Oral Health Affect Heart Health?

February marks the beginning of a month-long dedication to heart health. It’s officially known as American Heart Month, and its purpose is to raise awareness of the risks associated with heart disease. Many people know that things like smoking and a poor diet can cause troubles with the heart, but at our dental office in Hyde Park, we also know that your oral health can affect your heart health.

The Mouth is the Window to Whole-Body Health

You may have heard the expression that the eyes are the window to the soul, and while that may be true, another part of your body can tell you a lot about your overall wellbeing. The truth is, your mouth can give your dentist in Hyde Park insight to other problems that may be going on in the rest of your body. More specifically, researchers have found a connection between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.

More About Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious dental problem that requires early treatment to resolve. Without proper intervention, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other health concerns throughout the body. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) has concluded that people who have gum disease are at increased risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. This happens because the bacteria that cause gum disease have a pretty easy path into the bloodstream and can raise the levels of something called C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP can cause some scary problems such as:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Inflamed arteries
  • Heart attack

Signs of Gum Disease

Some of the most common signs of gum disease are easy to explain away and some may think they’re actually normal. However, any of the following signs could mean that you may have gum disease.

  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Consistently bad breath
  • Chronic bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth

If you notice any of the signs of gum disease, it’s important to see your Hyde Park dentist as soon as possible.

The team at our Hyde Park dental office wants to encourage all of our patients and neighbors to practice a good oral hygiene routine at home as well as get professional teeth cleanings and dental checkups at least twice a year. These appointments can help catch and treat gum disease before it has a chance to cause bigger, more serious complications.

Don’t leave your heart at risk, call to schedule an appointment today.

Gum Disease & Your Overall Health

Your dental care isn’t only about your teeth. Your gums also play a key role in not only the health of your mouth but also the health of your body. At our dental office in Hyde Park, we care for your entire mouth and are always on the lookout for gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection that can lead to concerns with your overall health and, of course, your oral health.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection within the gum tissue. You may have heard gum disease referred to as periodontal disease, gingivitis, or periodontitis. While these are all gum disease, they do not all mean the same thing.

Periodontal disease – Periodontal disease is the technical name for gum disease. While there are different stages of gum disease, the term periodontal disease essentially refers to gum disease in general.

Gingivitis – Gingivitis is the term used for early-stage periodontal disease. During this time, you may not be able to recognize the symptoms. In that case, your gum disease may go untreated and get progressively worse. If that happens, your gums are harder to treat, and your teeth and overall health can be at serious risk.

Periodontitis – Periodontitis is used to describe gum disease that has progressed into a more severe stage. This happens when bacteria spreads below the gum line. Your gums may become irritated or inflamed and can cause the gum tissue to weaken. This can cause loose teeth or even the loss of one or more teeth.

How Does Gum Disease Affect the Body?

The bacteria in gum disease can cause various health issues throughout the body. Numerous studies have shown that gum disease has been linked to serious medical conditions and diseases including:

Early diagnosis and treatment of gum disease can help keep your body protected from these serious health concerns. This is one reason you should see your dentist in Hyde Park regularly.

What Are the Signs of Gum Disease?

  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth

If you’ve noticed any signs of gum disease if you’re due for a dental checkup, we welcome you to call our Hyde Park dental office as soon as possible. We’re here to keep your mouth, and your body, healthy.

What Causes Receding Gums?

If you have gum pain, swollen gums, or increased tooth sensitivity, particularly along the gum line, you may be experiencing gum recession. This oral health problem can lead to other issues down the road, including increased tooth decay, sensitive teeth, and even tooth loss. So what exactly causes receding gums, and how is it treated? Your dentist in Hyde Park is here to help.

Gum Recession: 101

Let’s first dive into what gum recession is so we can better understand how it affects oral health, what can cause it, and how it’s treated. Gum recession occurs when gum tissue starts to pull away from teeth, exposing teeth roots. Without this protection covering the roots and the inner workings of the teeth, it’s highly likely that tooth sensitivity will increase. Additionally, teeth are at greater risk for decay, cavities, and eventual tooth loss. But that’s not all. Once gum tissue is gone, it’s gone, and there’s no growing it back. However, your dentist may have treatment options available to help with gum recession.

Gum Recession Causes

There are a whole host of things that can cause gums to recede, and the cause can vary from person to person and include:

It’s best to talk with your dentist in Hyde Park to determine the main cause of your specific case so they can recommend the best gum recession treatment for you.

Treating Gum Recession

Just like there is no singular cause of gum recession, there’s also no singular treatment that’s right for everyone. Your treatment plan will be custom created just for you based on how severe your recession is. Treatment options can include:

Scaling & Root Planing: The most common type of gum recession treatment is done right in your dentist’s office and is called scaling and root planing. This procedure is similar to a dental cleaning, but the difference is both the tooth and the roots are cleaned during a scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing helps remove plaque and tartar buildup from up under the gums and from the roots of teeth. You will most likely be numbed for this treatment to help keep you comfortable and relaxed.

Antibiotics: Another treatment option that is often paired with scaling and root planing is the use of an antibiotic. The antibiotic helps remove any bacteria that may still be hanging around.

Surgical Treatment: More advanced gum recession may require more advanced dental treatment. Thankfully, there are several surgical techniques that dentists can use to help combat gum recession. This treatment option is not appropriate for everyone, and it’s important to note that just because you have gum recession, it doesn’t mean you’ll need surgery. The best way to find out how to treat gum recession is to talk with your dentist in Hyde Park.

Receding gums may sound scary, but try not to worry. Besides having several treatment options to choose from, there are also things you can do to prevent gum recession from happening in the first place, and most of them are easy. Make sure you brush and floss every day and make sure you’re brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, small circles. Lastly, see your dentist in Hyde Park twice a year to further protect your oral health.

How to Pick the Best Dental Floss

When you walk down the oral health care aisle at your local supermarket, it can quickly become overwhelming. There are just so many different types of toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste, bottles of mouthwashes, and packets of floss to pick from. How in the world are you supposed to pick the best products for you? Don’t worry, today the team at our Hyde Park dental office is here to help narrow your options for one of the most important tools in your oral hygiene toolbox — floss.

Flossing can sometimes be overlooked as a crucial part of your oral health, but the truth is, flossing every day is incredibly effective at lowering your risk for cavities and gum disease. This means that you need to choose a type of floss that you will use regularly and properly. Let’s take a closer look at the three most common types of floss recommended by your dentist in Hyde Park.

Traditional Floss

The most common type of floss is the traditional string floss found in those little, compact containers. This time-tested original can work really well for many people as it’s what they first learned to floss with, so it’s comfortable to use. However, those who may have trouble using their hands or fingers may not be able to reach around each tooth or back into the molars. This is when an alternative option should be considered.

Floss Picks

Floss picks are those little plastic tools that have a small piece of floss threaded between two posts. They’re pretty inexpensive and can be just as effective as traditional floss if used properly. However, while some people may find floss picks easier to use, others find just the opposite. So essentially, there’s no real right or wrong answer when it comes to which is better. The best way to decide is to try both options and see which is easier for you to use. Keep in mind, floss picks only use a small section of floss so you may need to use a few flossers each and every time you floss.

Water Flosser

A newer and more high-tech flossing option that’s making its way into bathrooms across the country is electric water flossers. These tools are highly effective at removing plaque and bacteria, and many studies suggest that they may be the most effective of any flossing device. But they don’t come without a few potential cons. Water flossers need to either be plugged in or charged, so they aren’t incredibly convenient. They’re also larger in size so storage and traveling may pose a few complications. Lastly, they can be pricey, although they do last a long time and reduce waste.

What matters most to your dentist in Hyde Park isn’t necessarily which type of floss you use, but rather that you floss regularly and properly. If you’re finding that flossing is challenging and you’re looking for a better solution, we welcome you to call our dental office in Hyde Park. We’re always happy to help find the best tools for each one of our patients.

How to Quit Smoking

The Great American Smokeout, hosted on the third Thursday each November, strives to bring awareness to how quitting smoking can improve overall health. This is certainly something our dental office in Hyde Park can get behind since smoking directly affects oral health, too. Even though quitting smoking may be one of the hardest things for someone to do, there are tried-and-true methods that you can use to help kick the habit.

Top 5 Ways to Quit

There are many different methods that people use to quit smoking. However, no one solution is the right fit for everyone. It’s even common for some people to try a few different things to successfully become smoke-free, and that’s ok. The important thing to remember is to never quit trying to quit. Here are some popular ways former smokers have quit.

Pick a Quit Date

One of the main messages behind the Great American Smokeout is to pick a quit date and create a plan to make that date a reality. Instead of trying to quit cold turkey (which may work for some, but not all), decide on a date when you’re going to put down the cigarettes once and for all and stick to your plan.

Use a Support System

Quitting smoking can be tough and unpleasant. Your brain is going through nicotine withdrawal, which can lead to some undesirable side effects. During those tough times, it can be helpful to have a support system to help you through it. Ask family members, friends, or even coworkers if they would be willing to help you when times get tough. Make sure to communicate with them prior to your quit date so they know how you preferred to be assisted. Professional support can also help curb cravings and make quitting successful.

Know Your Triggers & Avoid Them

Some smokers have a difficult time quitting because they’re so used to lighting up in certain situations. Perhaps a smokey bar, drinking alcohol, or stressful moments trigger your need for nicotine. If you can identify what triggers you and you do your best to avoid those triggers, quitting may become a bit easier.

Keep Alternatives Around

When trying to quit, a lot of smokers struggle with the absence of holding something in their hands or the motion of moving their hands to their mouths. For these individuals, having healthy alternatives that can act as a substitute for cigarettes can ease that feeling of discomfort. Snack on baby carrots, chew sugarless gum, hold a straw or pencil between your fingers like you would hold a cigarette. Tricking your brain into performing comfortable behaviors can help you feel more comfortable.

Nicotine Replacements

Many times, smokers find quitting so difficult because of the lack of nicotine. Finding a healthy nicotine replacement option may help. There are a number of different nicotine replacement therapies for you to choose from including gum and patches. Please note that vaping is NOT a healthy nicotine replacement option and may contribute to other health issues. If you’re considering using a nicotine replacement, consider talking with your physician first to find the best option for you.

We understand that quitting smoking isn’t easy, and you may have to try to quit a few times before you find a method that works for you. But your dentist in Hyde Park wants you to know that you can do it! Pick a quit date and start quitting today.