Monday, December 23, 2013

Be Kissable Under The Mistletoe

The mistletoe is hung and so begins that holiday tradition of exchanging a kiss beneath.  For those who want the optimal "mistletoe experience," Wilmette Dental offers a few tips on how to have a delightfully kissable mouth.

*  Brush your teeth!  There isn't anything kissable about teeth that are covered with the sticky bacteria that causes plaque.  Brush gently with a soft toothbrush (don't forget the tongue), and use only a pea-size amount of toothpaste.

*  Floss your teeth after brushing.  While a thorough brushing works wonders in cleaning teeth, it won't completely eliminate the food particles that are trapped between teeth. Only a mix of brushing AND flossing can really clean your mouth.  Trapped food can lead to tooth decay and bad breath (a mistletoe no no).

*  Get regular dental cleanings and check ups.  A professional dental cleaning at least every six months can ensure that teeth are thoroughly clean and look their best.  And, professional cleanings help keep your breath smelling fresh.

*  Minimize the bad habits.  Smoking can wreak havoc on a mouth, causing bad breath, yellowed teeth and a host of serious medical conditions.  Eat too much sugar and you're basically feeding the oral bacteria that causes tooth decay.  Drink large quantities of red wine and coffee, and you'll wind up with badly stained teeth.

*  Moisturize lips.  A good lip balm can heal chapped lips and keep them kiss-ably soft.

And for the curious, mistletoe is actually a type of plant "pest" that feeds off the nutrients of host trees.  While it's not so good for the host, mistletoe does act as a good food source for many animals and birds.

The name "mistletoe" is believed to come from the German "mistle," which means dung (the plant is spread from tree to tree by the seeds in bird droppings), and "tang," for branch.  In pre-Christian Europe, mistletoe was regarded as a symbol of male strength and fertility.  The custom of kissing beneath it can be documented as far back as 16th century England, where it was a popular Christmas tradition.  But stick to kissing -- mistletoe is toxic and ingesting it can make you sick!

Happy Holidays!!!


Monday, November 25, 2013

A Thanksgiving Dinner Your Mouth Will Love

This Thanksgiving, treat your teeth and gums to a healthy meal.  Here are a few dental friendly Thanksgiving food ideas that will make your mouth happy (and healthy).

*    Load up on proteins -- such as turkey!  Turkey meat is high in phosphorus, the element that combines with calcium and Vitamin D to produce our teeth and bones.  Eating enough sources of protein can help keep our teeth healthy, and can reduce decay. 

*    Eat lots of cranberries, considered one of nature's healthiest foods.  Cranberries contain flavonoids and phenolic acids, which have antioxidants that can keep you healthy and may even help in slowing the aging process. 

*    Enjoy raw veggies.  Broccoli, carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin are rich in Vitamin A, which helps form tooth enamel.  If you eat these vegetables raw you will get more Vitamin A, as well as clean your teeth and massage your gums. Celery is especially good for teeth. Munch on it raw, and it will massage your gums, clean your teeth, and increase the production of saliva, which will neutralize the bacteria that cause cavities.  

*   Drink a glass of milk with your Thanksgiving dinner, and you'll really do your mouth a favor. Milk is rich in calcium, which fortifies teeth as well as bones.

*   Serve fresh fruit salad as one of the Thanksgiving sides.  Fresh, raw fruit helps reduce plaque and massage gums.  And, fruits high in Vitamin C, such as citrus, can help keep gums healthy. 

*   Sip a cup of green tea, which is chock full of plaque-fighting antioxidants.  

*   Drink lots and lots of water, which helps rinse your mouth and wash away trapped food particles that can create nasty plaque.

Now, about that pumpkin pie...pumpkin actually is a healthy food -- when eaten raw. Unfortunately, pumpkin isn't as healthful when mixed with sugar, butter and served in a white flour pie crust. But, since Thanksgiving is only once a year, Wilmette Dental also recommends that you go ahead and partake of the foods you enjoy, but do so in moderation.   

Happy (and healthy) Thanksgiving from Wilmette Dental.


If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact any of our dental team directly at office@wilmettedental.com.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Cool" Dental Trivia

In the heat of summer, Wilmette Dental offers a few "cool" bits of dental trivia...

* Hundreds of years ago, having decayed teeth was a sign of wealth.  That's because only the rich could afford to enjoy sugary treats.  In fact, England's Queen Elizabeth I had extremely bad teeth because she consumed sugar to excess.

* In 17th century Japan, women showed faithfulness to their husbands by painting their teeth black.  After all, who would want to kiss a woman with black teeth?

* While today's dental implants are highly sophisticated and crafted of strong dental materials, a few hundred years ago, dental implants consisted of a tooth actually taken from a dead person.

* In the early 18th century, poor people with healthy teeth would actually pull their own teeth and sell them to rich people who would use them as artificial teeth.

* Toothpaste as we know it didn't exist until the late 19th century.  Until then, our forefathers (and mothers) used a mixture of either honey and tobacco or lemon juice and ground charcoal to clean teeth.  Some even used crushed eggshell, which has abrasive properties and lots of Calcium for strong teeth.

Thankfully, dentistry has come a long way from cracked egg-shells and decayed teeth as a sign of affluence. But, if you think your smile could use some modernizing, please visit us at Wilmette Dental.  We provide the latest in American Dental Association-approved preventive and cosmetic dentistry (no black teeth allowed).

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cocoa ... The New Fluoride

There may be a natural substitute for fluoride...and it’s a tasty one:  cocoa!  

A New Orleans company has developed a toothpaste that substitutes fluoride with a naturally occurring compound found in cocoa. Called Theodent, the new paste's key ingredient is Rennou, a proprietary blend of cocoa extract and other minerals that, together, help strengthen teeth.  The makers of Theodent say it is actually more effective at bolstering teeth than fluoride.


Theodent paste has a minty flavor, is nontoxic, and is safe for users of all ages, including children.  In fact, developers are working on a chocolate-tasting, sugar-free toothpaste especially for youngsters.  


Rennou, the cocoa-based ingredient in Theodent, has been studied for more than 30 years by researchers in America, Turkey, the Netherlands -- and by the American Dental Association.  With very positive findings, Theodent toothpaste has been issued two U.S. patents, and a third worldwide patent is pending.  It is commercially available in 20 states, including Illinois, as well as in Canada.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.


Labels:  ,, cocoa, American Dental Association, U.S. patents, fluoride, , chocolate tasting, American Dental Association, toothpaste, children, teeth, tooth-strengthening.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Iceman Cometh ... With Tooth Decay


If you think an occasional cavity is bad, consider the fate of Otzi, the 5,300-year-old mummified iceman discovered in 1991 in the Austrian Alps.  
When he was alive, poor Otzi suffered from extremely severe tooth and gum trouble, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Zurich’s Centre for Evolutionary Medicine.   
Until recently, scientists hadn’t systematically examined Otzi’s teeth.  But now that researchers have taken a close look, they were surprised to uncover an array of oral afflictions:  periodontal disease, tooth decay, severe abrasion, and dental trauma.
Otzi’s mouth was a dental nightmare.  
“He had everything," said study co-author Frank Rühli, head of the Swiss Mummy Project at the University of Zurich.  The researchers analyzed CT scans to identify Otzi's various ailments. Along with shedding light on the overall dental health of the iceman, these new findings could hold clues to the evolutionary history of oral conditions.
"The loss of the periodontium has always been a very common disease, as the discovery of Stone Age skulls and the examination of Egyptian mummies has shown," study co-author Roger Seiler, a dentist at the University of Zurich, said in a written statement. "Otzi allows us an especially good insight into such an early stage of this disease."
The study was published in the April 2013 issue of European Journal of Oral Sciences.
Had Wilmette Dental been around in Otzi’s time, regular cleanings and exams would likely have prevented many of his dental problems -- and alleviated much of the pain that poor Otzi must have endured. (Taken from The Huffington Post)

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.





Monday, July 1, 2013

Here's To The Red, White and Blue...And To Dentistry!

As we celebrate Independence Day, let's also salute the role that dentistry has played in shaping our nation.

Paul Revere (1735-1818), that famous statesman who gave the "heads up" that the British were coming, was a silversmith...and a dentist!

Revere practiced dentistry in Boston for about six years, and was taught his craft by John Baker (1732-1796), a dentist who, while working in Williamsburg, Virginia, actually provided services to George Washington (who is nearly as famous for his dental problems as he is for being the father of our country).

Because Paul Revere was a silversmith, he worked a lot with prosthetics and made artificial teeth.  In 1776, he played a large role in one of the earliest recorded cases of dental forensics.  At the Battle of Bunker Hill the previous year, a man named Dr. Joseph Warren (1741-1775), a physician and major general in the Massachusetts Militia, received the unfortunate distinction of being the first American general officer to be killed in action.  His body was buried with many others from that infamous battle in a mass grave.  A year later, Massachusetts wanted to honor Warren, and decided to exhume his body for reburial in a special plot.  But given that it was in a mass grave, Warren's body was difficult to identify. Revere was called in, and he actually recognized a dental prosthetic that he had made years earlier for Warren (a bicuspid tooth), thus solving the mystery.

Revere was one of an estimated 79 dentists practicing around the time of the Revolutionary War.  Most of those dentists had somewhat questionable training, often learning their craft in apprentice positions. It wasn't until 1840, 22 years after Revere's death, that the first actual dental school opened in America.  Dr. Horace Hayden (1769-1844), who served as an assistant surgeon in the War of 1812, founded the world's first institution dedicated to the study of dentistry:  the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery at the University of Maryland.

Dentistry has come along way since America's early days.  This Independence Day, Dr. Neuhaus and the staff of Wilmette Dental will celebrate the men who helped build our great
country...and who laid the foundation for modern American dentistry.

Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kid's Korner


Question of the day
(from “Open Wide” by Laurie Keller) 

Sally Incisor writes:

“Primary teeth are also called baby teeth because that's what they are — little, bratty baby teeth. They all wiggled around so much that they fell right out of the mouth until there were none of them left. Permanent teeth will be there for a lot longer because they don't wiggle around at all. Why are baby teeth there in the first place? Babies don't even need teeth.  You never see them eating corn on the cob  or anything like that.”

Thank you, Sally. Nice job!

But actually, babies DO need teeth. Baby teeth are VERY important for several reasons: 

1. They help develop the face and jaw.

 2. They help babies chew when they start to eat more solid food. 

3. And baby teeth guide your  permanent teeth into proper  position, and kept the mouth  healthy and clean. 


Whether or not you are currently a Wilmette Dental patient, we invite you to follow us on Facebook by going to http://www.facebook.com/wilmettedental and clicking “Like”.




Friday, June 21, 2013

2013 Oral Cancer Statistics (From the National Cancer Institute)





2013 Oral Cancer Statistics
(From the National Cancer Institute)

41,380 Estimated New Cases
7,890 Estimated Deaths
95% of oral cancers occur in people over the age of 40.


Early detection can increase 5 year survival rates to 83% compared to 32% for oral cancers that are detected later and have spread.



If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact any of our dental team directly at office@wilmettedental.com.






Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gum Disease and Oral Cancer



Could gum disease increase the risk of oral cancer?  


According to researchers, the answer is yes.  With the caveat that more research needs to be done in order to conclusively link the two, scientists recently presented a study that suggests that people with periodontitis have a higher incidence of oral cancer than those who do not.  

Those patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer had a significantly higher number of missing teeth and alveolar bone loss -- both key indicators of periodontal disease.

A thorough oral cancer screening is done at every Wilmette Dental exam.  If you have questions or concerns about your oral cancer risk, talk with Dr. Neuhaus.



If you are looking for a dental practice with deep roots in -- and a long history on -- Chicago's North Shore, Wilmette Dental is accepting new patients.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Clean that Toothbrush


Think your toothbrush is clean? Think again.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, rinsing a toothbrush after each use (as most of us do), isn't enough to adequately get rid of the “yuck.”

The American Dental Association (ADA) offers tips on keeping your toothbrush clean:

  • Don’t keep your toothbrush in a cabinet or cover it with a protector.  It’s best to let air get to the bristles so they dry between brushings.  Keeping bristles damp promotes the growth of bacteria.
  • Don’t let your toothbrush come into contact with someone else’s.
  • Give your toothbrush a good washing after brushing.  Hold the brush under running water for about 10 seconds while rubbing your thumb over it.  
  • Pour a little mouthwash over your brush -- the alcohol in the mouthwash will eliminate most of the bacteria.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months. If it’s electric, replace the head every four to six months. If you notice the ends of the bristles bending, then it’s time to replace your toothbrush.  

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact any of our dental team directly at office@wilmettedental.com.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

L.A. Floss Capital...Chicago At Bottom



Congratulations Los Angeles...you were named the No. 1 city in the US. for flossing, according to a survey commissioned by DenTek.  Nearly 45% of those surveyed in the City of Angels say they floss at least once a day.  Other cities that rank high on the floss meter are Boston, Detroit, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and Atlanta.


And who ranks among the worst?  Chicago!  (Dr. Neuhaus, however, knows that his patients are the exception.)  Other cities that need to up their flossing include Cleveland, Seattle, Dallas, and San Francisco.

The survey also asked respondents why they flossed:

37%:  Overall health
25%: Recommended by dentist
19%: To protect their dental investments



If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wilmette Life/Chicago SunTimes Features Wilmette Dental



"Family friendly dental practice has been in neighborhood
 since late ’30s"


In case you missed our feature article in the Wilmette Life, 
please visit wilmettedental.com for the link...



If you are looking for a dental practice with deep roots in -- and a long history on -- Chicago's North Shore, Wilmette Dental is accepting new patients.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Key to Success? A Smile!


Some of the world’s most successful people have something in common:  a great smile.  

This comes from a study by Spanish researchers who looked at pictures of smiling faces from Time magazine’s annual list of the most 100 influential people from 2006 to 2010.  They found that there were strong consistencies in the kind of smile each individual possessed.

"The smiles of the world's most influential people revealed common standards, regardless of occupation or gender," wrote the study authors, from the University of Seville School of Dentistry. Those commonalities "may play a decisive role in the expressions of influential faces."

According to the researchers, the most important aesthetic of a winning smile is balance -- “...the overall harmony of the face.”  This takes into account general dental features including teeth form, position and color, as well as the dimensions of the soft tissue.

Dr. Neuhaus is an expert at creating the perfect smile.  If you think your smile could be improved to help create a more successful you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Neuhaus.  Wilmette Dental’s computer technology can give you a preview of how your smile can be enhanced.


Whether or not you are currently a Wilmette Dental patient, we invite you to follow us on Facebook by going to http://www.facebook.com/wilmettedental and clicking “Like”.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dear Patients:


Greetings from Wilmette Dental.   I hope this newsletter finds all of my patients enjoying the break from winter.

The Neuhaus Family is keeping very busy these days.  Elise is thoroughly enjoying her freshman year as a “Badger” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She sings with a choir and has joined a volunteer fraternity in which she does service hours for various charities.  She’s still up in the air about a major, but is leaning toward something in healthcare.

Christopher is winding up his junior year in high school, and has started the college search.  He continues to be extremely active in marching band and the school drum line.  After a long day of drumming at school, he likes to unwind at home with … more drumming.  Anne and Wolfgang the schnauzer have learned to escape to the other side of the house, and to just ignore the loud sessions.

At Wilmette Dental, our staff has been busy as well.  Both Lora and Kathleen recently enjoyed vacations to sunny Florida -- they’ll be happy to share favorite seafood restaurant recommendations and good beach spots with interested patients.

And, be sure to ask Megan about her new baby niece, Ava.  Megan enjoyed getting to know the new Baker family addition over the holidays.  Unfortunately, Ava was too young this year to sample Megan’s famous homemade truffles — but as a true chocolate-loving Baker, she’ll partake next year!

Until our next newsletter, be healthy and happy.

Dr. Neuhaus

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.   Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Best Job: Dentist!


U.S. News & World Report has issued its list of the top U.S. professions for 2013 -- and the number one spot went to dentistry!

The purpose of the annual report is to provide "an intuitive method to compare professions based on components that matter most: the number of openings, the chance to advance and be professionally fulfilled, and the ability to meet financial obligations."

Of course, with his wonderful family of patients and dedicated staff, Dr. Neuhaus didn’t need a report to know that being a dentist is awesome!



If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Kissing Sailor and the Dental Assistant


One of the most iconic images of World War II, the “Kissing Sailor” V-J Day photo, taken in New York’s Times Square by photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt, actually has a dentistry connection.  After decades of sleuthing to determine the identity of the kissing couple, it turns out that the “nurse” was actually a dental assistant!

The famous photo appeared in the August 1945 issue of Life magazine celebrating the war’s end.  But the names of the young woman and her kissing sailor remained a mystery for more than half a century.

It was not until recently, and with the help of modern science, that the identities of the two were finally confirmed.  Through an exhaustive forensic study published last year in the book, “The Kissing Sailor,” authors Lawrence Verria and George Galdorisi proved that the sailor was George Mendonsa, age 22 and a Rhode Island fisherman in civilian life, and the girl was Greta (Zimmer) Friedman, a 25 year-old dental technician.

For Greta Zimmer, the war’s end had special meaning.  She was a Jewish Austrian.  In 1939, Greta’s parents sent her and a sister to live in New York. Unfortunately, the parents had remained in Austria, and died in Auschwitz.  

Safe in America, Greta volunteered as an air raid warden during the war, and attended a New York fashion design school.  In early 1945, she took a job as a dental assistant in Manhattan, and as was the custom, wore a uniform similar to that of a nurse.  

On that famous day in 1945, Greta had taken a lunch-break walk from her employer’s office -- Dr. J. L. Berke -- to Times Square to read the scrolling ticker that confirmed the war’s end.  Neither Greta nor George ever knew they had been photographed, and neither saw the picture in LIfe.

In identifying George as the kissing sailor, it was the nose and hand size, a unique hairline, an arm tattoo on the right arm, and an unusual bend in the thumb that provided proof.  Analysis also showed that he was wearing a new uniform and had not yet sewn on his chevrons (ratings).  And, interestingly, researchers observed a small growth on his arm -- barely visible -- that irrefutably confirmed his identity.

Greta’s identification was actually very simple.  Experts evaluated her slender frame and petite height.  Compared to other girl contenders, she was the only one who could possibly have fit in the embrace of 6-foot 2-inch George.  And, clinching Greta’s identity was a small sliver of a colorful tapestry purse visible in one of Eisenstaedt’s photo frames.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Your Heart LOVES A Dental Cleaning


If you think it’s okay to skip your regular dental cleaning and exam, think again -- especially when it comes to heart health.  Professional hygiene cleanings may actually lower your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, according to a Taiwanese study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Session 2011.  

The study followed more than 100,000 individuals for a period of seven years, including 51,000 adults who had regular cleanings, plus a similar number of people matched by gender and health conditions who had never received a hygiene prophy.  None of the participants had a history of heart attack or stroke at the start of the study.

Those in the group who had plaque and tartar buildup removed by a dental professional on a regular basis (more than twice in two years) had a 24% lower risk of heart attack and a 13% lower risk of stroke compared to those who hadn’t ever had a dental cleaning.

Why would dental visits affect heart attack and stroke risks?  Scientists believe that regular professional tooth scaling reduces the inflammation-causing bacterial growth that can lead to heart disease and stroke.  

So, while it might be tough to fit a dental cleaning into a busy schedule, it could be extremely important to maintaining good health.  Your heart will thank you.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  .  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Teeth Erupt Earlier In Obese Children

(Photo courtesy scientificamerican.com.)
Childhood obesity rates in the U.S. have skyrocketed, increasing from 7% of children ages six to 11 in 1980, to 20% in 2008.  Now, a study in Obesity reveals that the teeth of overweight children erupt earlier than those of non-obese youngsters.

These findings have significant dental and orthodontic importance for two reasons. First, nature didn’t intend for primary teeth to be in the mouth for an extended period, and this increases the risk of dental caries (cavities).  Second, the unusually early appearance of primary teeth can disrupt the mouth’s natural “tooth sequencing,” which can increase the likelihood of misaligned permanent teeth.

What is it about obesity that pushes primary teeth up so early?  Scientists know that obese children tend to reach puberty at an earlier age than their trim counterparts.  It is likely that an abundance of fat cells (which can stimulate growth) causes the jaws to “rev up” earlier than normal.

The bottomline is that for children who tend to be overweight, early dental exams are extremely important to prevent decay and to ensure that teeth are growing in properly.


If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  .  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.

Monday, January 21, 2013

As You Read This, Your Jaws Are Shrinking

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com)
If it seems as you age that your front teeth are crowding a bit -- you’re not imaging it.  That’s because while some parts of our body may get larger as we age (such as our waistlines), our jaw actually gets smaller.  Over the years the jaw, particularly the lower jaw, can shrink as much as several millimeters in both length and width.  And while a few millimeters doesn’t seem like a lot, it can be enough to crowd front teeth and even result in a noticeable change in bite.

The shrinkage is all part of the natural aging process, and varies in degree depending on hereditary and anatomical factors.  Keeping (or not keeping)  wisdom teeth has no affect on jaw shrinkage; patients who have had their wisdom teeth removed may still find their front teeth crowding as they get older.

The discovery of jaw shrinkage comes from a Swedish University study that followed dental students for 40 years to determine if jaw size changed with age.  At the start of the study, which began in 1949, plaster molds were made of the jaws of dental students, most of whom were in their 20s.  Ten years later, the procedure was repeated, and in 1989, 40 years after the study began, a final set of plaster molds was made.  Scientists discovered that over the 40 years, the amount of room for teeth in the jaw did, indeed, shrink.

It’s just one more delightful thing to look forward to as we age!


If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  .  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Oral Bacteria Can Increase Blood Clot Risk


And yet another reason to brush and floss regularly:  doctors now believe that oral bacteria that escapes into the bloodstream can cause blood clots and trigger dangerous growths on heart valves.

Streptococcus gordonii is a type of bacteria that lives in the mouth and contributes to the plaque that forms on the surface of teeth.  If these bacteria enter the bloodstream through bleeding gums (a symptom of poor oral health), they can wreak havoc by masquerading as human proteins.  

One such protein actually mimics the human protein fibrinogen, a blood-clotting factor.  This, then, activates the platelets, causing them to clump inside blood vessels, and that can lead to life-threatening blood clots and endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart.  The blood clots encase the bacteria, protecting them from the natural defenses of the immune system and from antibiotics that treat infection.

More than ever before, physicians are recognizing the critical role that good oral health plays in general health.


If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, Wilmette Dental is accepting new patients.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Gum Disease Linked To Fat Cells



(Photo courtesy diabetespharmacist.com)
And yet another reason to start that New Year’s diet:  it seems that the body is better at fighting periodontal (gum) disease when fat cells -- which trigger inflammation -- disappear, according to a study in the Journal of Periodontology.

Researchers conducted a pilot study involving 31 obese people, all of whom had been diagnosed with periodontal disease.  Half the group underwent gastric bypass surgery, and had fat cells from the abdomen removed.  The control group had no procedure.  Both the surgery group and the control group then underwent non-surgical periodontal treatments of scaling/root planing and oral hygiene instructions for home care.

While both groups showed improvement in oral health, the surgery group -- the group that had fat cells removed -- fared better than the non-surgical group in measurements of perio disease, including a reduction of plaque levels and bleeding.

Researchers believe that excessive fat cells do indeed have a direct effect on inflammation.  Large amounts of fat cells secrete more cytokines (a type of protein), which makes insulin production less effective -- and makes it harder for the body to fight inflammation.  Losing weight, and thus reducing fat cells, improves overall health -- and that helps the body respond more favorably to periodontal treatment.

Of course, more research needs to be conducted, but this is further evidence that maintaining a healthy weight is very important -- especially your oral health!

Whether or not you are currently a Wilmette Dental patient, we invite you to follow us on Facebook by going to http://www.facebook.com/wilmettedental and clicking “Like”.