Monday, September 19, 2016


From Reader's Digest comes a "prescription" of sleep positions that may help alleviate common health problems.  

For TMJ or other types of jaw pain, it's recommended to keep your cheeks off the pillow by sleeping face up. Sleeping on the side of the face can put pressure on joints or the jaw itself and make the pain worse.

If snoring is a problem, sleeping on your side can help.  Sleeping on your back pushes drainage back into the airways, causing problems with airflow.   Elevating your head with a stack of pillows defeats gravity and helps drainage go down more easily.

For heartburn sufferers, studies have shown that sleeping on the left side helps reduce the burning.  And, put gravity to use.  Keeping your upper body elevated helps the acid go back down more quickly.  For best results, don't just stack pillows, which can affect your abs and put pressure on your stomach.  Instead, use a pillow that tapers down from about eight to ten inches.

Worried about wrinkles?  Always sleeping on one side of the face can put pressure on that side, creating wrinkles.  “Often I can tell what side a person sleeps on,” says Zakia Rahman, MD, FAAD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Stanford University. “I can tell they must be a right- or left-side sleeper because one side of the face tends to age faster than the other.” Sleeping on your back will keep your face from rubbing against the pillow, but if you can’t fall asleep that way, try alternating the side on which side you lie.

For more information, contact us at Wilmette Dental.  We can provide expert advice on many of these problems -- and can even suggest some innovative ways of dealing with wrinkles around the mouth.  Happy sleeping.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Bad Habit Apartment Dwellers Are More Likely To Have

Apartment residents are more likely to smoke and to be exposed to second hand smoke at home, compared with those who live in single-family homes.

That's according to researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who found that “apartment residents are more likely to smoke and less likely to have smoke-free rules than people living in single-family homes.”

CDC researchers looked at data from the 2013-1014 National Adult Tobacco Survey, and determined that 20% of adult apartment and condo residents smoked, compared to 14% of single-family home adults

And, only 81% of multi-unit homes had smoke-free rules, compared with 87% of single-family homes

Smoke-free rules can protect against the dangers of second hand smoke.  

It is important for "all people" to be protected by smoke-free policies, says Dr. Corinne Graffunder, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

8 "Must Do" Vacation Tips

Vacation spoilers:  icky hotel room, bad weather, and a toothache!
While you can't control the weather, and may have to suffer through a bad room, the American Dental Association (ADA) offers tips to ensure healthy teeth before and during your getaway.

See your dentist for a check up before you leave. 
Store your dentist's contact info in your cell phone or pack a business card. Dental emergencies can often be resolved over the phone. 
Brush with bottled water if you're worried about tap water.   
Chew ADA-approved sugarless gum, which can help relieve ear pressure during a flight and help prevent cavities (when chewed for 20 minutes after a meal). 
Contact the local consulate or U.S. Embassy if you're overseas and have a dental problem. They can point you in the right direction for healthcare. 
Once home, get back on a healthy track!  Don't sweat it if you didn't brush or floss as often on vacation, or ate a lot of sugary foods.  
Want more information?  Talk with the staff of Wilmette Dental.  They can help help ensure a dental-emergency-free vacation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Surprising Reason You're Eating More Calories
Artificial sweeteners may be sabotaging your efforts to lose weight. At least they do among fruit flies.

A new study (University of Sydney) published in Cell Metabolism found that fruit flies “ate 30% more calories when their food was artificially sweetened than when it was naturally sweetened.” 

A similar result was also found when the experiment was replicated with mice. 

Study author Greg Neely explains, “After chronic exposure to a diet that contained the artificial sweetener sucralose, we saw that animals began eating a lot more. Through systematic investigation of this effect, we found that inside the brain’s reward centers, sweet sensation is integrated with energy content. When sweetness versus energy is out of balance for a period of time, the brain recalibrates and increases total calories consumed.”

Have questions about sugar, its effect on teeth and on overall diet?  Talk with the staff of Wilmette Dental

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Pesky Childhood Habit That May Improve Health

Nail biting and thumb sucking might actually be good for a child's health.
A new study, published in Pediatrics, reveals that children who bite their nails and suck their thumbs are about one-third less likely to develop certain allergies. 
“Cat, grass, house dust mite, and dog [allergies] – those were reduced, some significantly, some borderline,” said study author Malcolm Sears, a researcher for the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at McMaster University School of Medicine, in Ontario, Canada. 
“When they suck their thumbs or bite their nails they’re exposing themselves to additional microbes or dirt which is stimulating the immune system.” 
Of course, the American Dental Association advises that while thumb- or finger-sucking is a natural reflex in young children, intense sucking can cause problems with a child’s tooth alignment.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Toothpaste may actually be a household's best friend -- but not just for oral health.  

Photo from
Bee Sting Remedy -- Applied to the affected area, toothpaste neutralizes and dries out the venom.

Blemish Treatment -- Mint-flavored toothpaste is a great overnight remedy for an unsightly blemish. The mint (such as spearmint and menthol) acts as a drying agent and drains the pimple. (But overusing toothpaste can seriously dry skin.  And, toothpaste has not been dermatologically tested.). 

Polishing Silver and Chrome -- Spread on toothpaste with a brush, wait 10 minutes, and polish away.  The abrasives in the toothpaste  clean and exfoliate metals, leaving them looking like new.

Restoring Your Headlights -- To eliminate the grimy buildup on car headlights, scrub on toothpaste and wipe clean.  Voila!  Shiny headlights.

Removing Crayons/Permanent Markers -- Rub on a dab of toothpaste in a circular motion and wipe with a cloth to erase wall "artwork."  (However, test a small area first to make sure the paste doesn't damage walls.)

Eliminating Garlic/Onion Odors from Hands -- Chopping onions or garlic?  To remove those odors, simply wash your hands with toothpaste.

Cleaning Fabric and Carpet Stains -- Toothpaste is great at eliminating red wine, lipstick and ink stains.  Work a little paste into the fabric or carpet, wait 10 minutes and rinse.  Repeat until the stain disappears.

Plastering Tiny Holes in the Walls  -- Fill small nail holes in white walls with a dab of toothpaste and smooth.  The toothpaste will solidify and your white walls will look perfect.

Ordinary toothpaste...who knew?  But, if you'd like to know more about how toothpaste can help your oral health, visit

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Flavored e-cigarettes are wreaking havoc on teens.  A study just released in the Journal of Pediatrics finds that “many teenagers who never would have smoked cigarettes are now ‘vaping’ flavored e-cigarettes, leading to a new generation using nicotine at rates not seen since the 1990s.”

According to University of Southern California researchers, “the rate of teenagers using nicotine — either through tobacco cigarettes or e-cigarettes — is on the rise” at 14%, which is the highest it has been since 1995.

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) have experienced a meteoric rise in sales since first entering the US market in 2007.  E-cigs are electrical devices that vaporize propylene or polyethylene glycol–based liquid solution into an aerosol mist containing various concentrations of nicotine. 

E-How damaging are e-cigs?  The medical community is only beginning understand the lifelong effects of nicotine on the developing brains of teenagers. The problem is nicotine, and according to the American Lung Association:
Nicotine is an addictive substance, and almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is not safe. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that it has a negative impact on adolescent brain development. Human brain development continues far longer than was previously realized, and nicotine use during adolescence and young adulthood has been associated with lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments, including effects on working memory and attention.
Currently, e-cigs are almost entirely unregulated on the US market. There are no product standards to control levels of dosing, contaminants, toxins, or carcinogens in the liquid used in e-cigs or the aerosols they produce. And, because e-cigs are neither cigarettes nor smokeless tobacco, they are not subject to advertising bans on electronic media, as are other tobacco products.

"Vape" shops are big business.  Revenues from e-cig sales are expected to reach $10 billion by 2017.  The majority of e-cig users are young people.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of use of e-cigs increased 9-fold—from 1.5% to 13.4%—among high school students between 2011 and 2014, and now exceeds the use of conventional cigarettes (9.2%).


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Muhammad Ali: Tooth Decay Prizefighter

(Photo courtesy of

The world knows Muhammad Ali as a boxing superstar, but few know that he once delivered a “KO” punch to tooth decay!

In 1976, Ali released a children’s record album called, The Adventures of Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay.  The PSA-type album featured the prizefighter himself, along with the voice talents of Frank Sinatra, Howard Cosell, and Ossie Davis.  The recording combined music, narration and stories that encouraged children to have good dental practices.

The album was endorsed by the American Dental Association -- and was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Recording for Children” category.   To promote the album, a special event was held in Washington, DC, and showcased Muhammad Ali boxing with fellow heavyweight champion Chuck Wepner, masquerading as Mr. Tooth Decay.

The Adventures of Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay is still available today though such sites as itunes and Amazon.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Photo courtesy
Winter months can be extremely drying to everything from skin and hair to teeth and throat. Worse, all of that indoor dryness can increase susceptibility to nasty viruses, including colds and flu.

The answer is simple:  drink water, water, water AND use a humidifier.  A good humidifier, especially placed in sleeping areas, can add greatly needed moisture to winter's dry environments. A humidifier can actually help support saliva production -- and that helps keep teeth, gums and the throat healthy by washing away the bacteria that causes oral decay.  
In tandem with adding moisture to the environment, sipping beverages that are both caffeine and sugar free can help keep the mouth -- and body -- stay well hydrated. Drink lots of water with meals, and in between.  And, on a cold winter day, enjoy cups of warm herbal tea.  Keep the moisture going -- your mouth and general health will thank you.  

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Chewing Gum: A Mouth's Best Friend

Chewing sugarless gum after meals is an effective -- and easy -- way to keep teeth their healthy best.  

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), chewing gum in various forms has been enjoyed since ancient times. The Greeks chewed sap called mastiche from the mastic tree. The ancient Maya favored the sap of the sapodilla tree (called tsiclte), and Native Americans in New England chewed spruce sap, a habit they passed on to European settlers.

Today, chewing gum, particularly sugar free, is as popular as ever, though the ingredients for most gum products have switched from tree saps to a blend of synthetic materials (elastomers, resins and waxes).

Why is chewing sugarless gum good for teeth?  The physical act of chewing sugar free gum increases the flow of saliva in the mouth. Chewing gum after eating increases salivary flow, which can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by bacteria on the teeth.  Also, over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, creating conditions for decay. Increased saliva flow carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel.

Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.  (Of course, gum doesn't replace regular brushing and flossing.)

Wilmette Dental recommends looking for gum that carries the ADA Seal, which is earned only when a product has shown scientific evidence that it is safe on dental tissue and is effective for one or more specific indications, such as reducing plaque acids, promoting remineralization of tooth enamel, reducing cavities and/or reducing gingivitis.