John J. Kelly, DDS Your Smile | Your Health Tue, Jun 11, 2024
John J. Kelly, DDS Jun 11, 2024

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773-631-6844
 

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5350 West Devon Avenue
Chicago, IL 60646
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EASY TO FIND!

5350 West Devon Avenue
Chicago, IL 60646
Get details!

FOR GREAT SMILES

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Call 773.631.6844
Do it today!

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Chicago, IL 60646
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IN THIS ISSUE

Patching Up Leukoplakia: “What’d You Call It?”

Patching Up Leukoplakia: “What’d You Call It?”

Set the scene: You bolt out of bed to get ready for your first Zoom call. In the bathroom, you manage a glance at yourself in the mirror. Opening your mouth to see how white (or yellow) your teeth are going to look on camera, you notice a thick, white/greyish patch...

read more

our little video

More Good Stuff

Acid Alert! Five Facts About Your Oral Health and Snacking

Acid Alert! Five Facts About Your Oral Health and Snacking

While you may know that snacking is bad for your body, you may not realize it can affect your oral health as well.

The best way to prevent health issues and protect your teeth and gums is to remain active, eat nutritious food, and avoid unnecessary snacking. Here are the facts!

By gaining a better understanding of acid production in your mouth and learning how to effectively prevent the enamel erosion it causes, you can avoid the potential damage snacking has on oral health.

Here are some of the things you must understand in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy:

1.  Acid that helps digestion can harm teeth.

Eating unhealthy food can increase your weight, especially when that food is unhealthy. However, eating does much more than adding inches to your waistline; it can also harm your teeth. Whenever you eat something, your mouth creates acid to break down the food and help with digestion. Proper digestion allows your body to absorb needed vitamins, minerals, and proteins. That same acid that helps digestion, though, can cause issues with your gums and teeth if you’re not careful. The acid in your mouth can promote the development of oral bacteria and weaken the enamel on your teeth. Consuming foods high in sugar and carbohydrates makes that acid even more dangerous to your teeth and gums.

2. The duration of eating affects acid production.

Eating frequently produces more acid, but the duration of eating can be even more harmful to your teeth and gums. When you nibble on food and sip soda or juice for an extended period as a snack, you expose your teeth and gums to acid for as long as you’re eating. That acid production then continues for at least 20 minutes after you finish eating.

3. The “right time” to indulge

Although it’s best to avoid foods high in sugar and carbohydrates, if you have a sweet tooth that you can’t ignore, there are ways of doing so that are less harmful to your teeth and gums. Rather than snacking on something sweet between meals, have your dessert following a meal because your mouth is already producing acid. This is less harmful than eating something sweet later and reactivating the acid for a new attack.

4. Brushing properly

You may be tempted to brush your teeth immediately following a meal, but it’s better to wait at least 20 minutes. When you’re eating, the enamel on your teeth is vulnerable to the acid produced in your mouth and can become softened. If you brush right away, you risk damaging or removing that weakened enamel. By waiting 20-30 minutes to brush, you’re giving the acid-filled saliva time to diminish. If you can’t brush following a meal, rinsing with water can help.

5. Combating dry mouth

Despite the fact that the acid in saliva can harm enamel, saliva is necessary to keep your mouth clean of bacteria. Saliva helps remove oral bacteria from the mouth constantly and if you suffer from dry mouth, your mouth is susceptible to higher levels of bacteria. To combat severe dry mouth caused by medical conditions or medications, talk to your dentist about the best oral rinse to replenish oral moisture.

For dry mouth caused by alcohol or caffeine consumption, consider cutting back on those drinks and consuming more water. Tobacco use can also cause dry mouth as well as damage to teeth, gums, and your overall health, so it’s best to quit.

It’s not always easy to eat healthily, but by changing some of your eating habits, you can help protect your teeth, gums, and body. If you’re someone who prefers snacking during the day, try switching from chips and sweets to healthier foods such as apples, celery or carrots. These healthy foods can help clean your teeth and gums, reduce the amount of acid produced, help you feel fuller, and improve your overall well-being.

Make sure you address any concerns you have during your next visit to a dental professional.

The Hidden Dangers of Gum Disease

The Hidden Dangers of Gum Disease

If you’ve been to the dentist recently or even browsed the oral hygiene aisle at the supermarket, chances are you’ve heard of gum disease – and you know it’s something you don’t want in your mouth.

What you may not know is just how much gum disease can put your general health at considerable risk. There are some pretty shocking links between poor oral health and the health of the rest of your body.

The Tie Between Gum Disease and Chronic Diseases

At its core, gum disease is an inflammatory condition caused by bacterial infection. Mild inflammation is called gingivitis and is usually relatively easy to reverse. Unaddressed, gingivitis can progress into full-blown advanced periodontal disease that can result in severe consequences for your teeth, gums, and overall health.

There is strong evidence to suggest that chronic gum disease can worsen other types of inflammatory diseases, including heart and lung diseases, as well as diabetes.

Because there is such an overload of bacteria present in the mouth with gum disease, it is inevitable that some of these bacteria will make its way to other parts of the body. They may settle in, on, or around organs that are already compromised due to inflammation, causing yet– more inflammation.

In conditions where inflammation already compromises the immune system and makes infection difficult to fight, such as with diabetes, the added stress of gum disease can wreak a special kind of havoc. One disease complicates the other and vice versa, making all symptoms much worse, much faster.

A Real Threat of Disability or Death

While it is unlikely that gum disease itself will kill you unless it leads to a severe abscess that goes untreated, it can contribute to life-threatening medical emergencies.

The same inflammatory response to toxins and bacteria that can exacerbate existing conditions can also create a perfect storm for a major cardiac event or stroke.

Inflammation causes arteries to narrow, which increases blood pressure, along with the risk of blood clots. It’s really only a matter of time before something goes terribly wrong.

Gum Disease and Pregnancy

Pregnant mothers who have gum disease face a substantial risk for preterm labor, which can create serious concerns for both mother and child.

Low birth weight and underdeveloped lungs are just a couple of the potential complications for the child. Inflammation in the body can also make recovery for the mother slower and more difficult.

Since pregnancy itself can often put a woman at an increased risk for developing gum disease, this is a particularly important time to keep up with regular hygiene appointments.

A Quick Fix

Perhaps the greatest tragedy in all of this is how easy it is to prevent gum disease altogether. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can stop gum disease in its tracks and avoid all of the unnecessary complications that come with it.

If you are not sure of the best way to prevent gum disease, ask your dentist or dental hygienist to show you proper oral care techniques. It only takes a few minutes per day and can prevent a lifetime of oral and general health issues.

Why Tongue-Cleaning Is No Gag!

Why Tongue-Cleaning Is No Gag!

So you brush, you floss and you see your dentist every six months – you think you’re on your best behavior for protecting your teeth but …

Consider the other part of your mouth that could cause trouble if you don’t also keep it clean. We’re speaking of the part known as your tongue. Keeping this kindly beast clean can actually help you stay healthier and fresher smelling (in your mouth, that is) over the long haul.

Why it’s good to clean your tongue

1. The tongue’s important — its surface is like the surface of, say, a coral reef – filled with small tubers (in the case of the tongue, they’re called papillae) that give you the sense of taste and texture when you eat or drink or put something you shouldn’t into your mouth.

2. Bad bacteria afoot — The tongue can foster a goodly number of bacteria. Granted, not all bacteria in the body is bad for you (in fact, most are good) but certain bacteria species can lead to tooth decay, gum infections and bad breath (halitosis). Plaque is a form of this, as you probably know, which creates a biofilm that coats your teeth, leading to cavities.

3. Flotsam — On top of this, the tongue often carries food residue and dead cells that can wreak havoc in your mouth, if not removed. Properly cleaning your tongue will prevent much of this trouble and keep your mouth healthy (and healthy-smelling!). Indeed, research shows that cleaning the tongue can clear bacteria and improve bad breath more than brushing alone.

4. Good taste — Research indicates that cleaning your tongue can actually improve your sense of taste. When you scrape or clean the surface of the tongue, it’s almost the same as starting with a whole new palette! After properly cleaning your tongue for a couple of weeks, see if you’ll notice stronger flavors the next time you eat!

5. Bigger problems — Cleaning your tongue gives you an opportunity to examine it for signs of something wrong – if you see a white, black or red discoloration – or ongoing sores, wounds or pain, make an appointment and consult your dentist (us) for further investigation – don’t let it go for too long!

Cleaning your tongue the right way

Now if the idea of reaching in there and cleaning/scraping your tongue makes you want to gag, don’t worry – it’s not as uncomfortable as you might think, especially as you get used to it — trust us, the benefits outweigh the time and effort.

Method 1 – Brushing – So you brush your teeth twice a day, do you? While you’re at it, use your trusty toothbrush to gently clean your tongue with a small dab of toothpaste. It’s like you’re cleaning your carpet – only a lot more often (and a lot smaller area than a carpet).

 Method 2 – Tongue Scraping – Tongue scrapers are made of plastic, copper or stainless steel and are available at most pharmacies, usually for under $10.

Brush your teeth, floss and rinse as usual. Then, stick out your tongue and gently press and hold the scraper once or twice along the entire surface, starting at the back of the tongue and scraping forward. Apply enough pressure as you see fit to get it to work. After each pass, rinse the scraper with warm water and then rinse your mouth with water. Ahhh…

A Clean Scrape

Tongue scraping or tongue brushing just might be the answer to problems like bad breath, cavity prevention, gum disease prevention — plus, it will make you more aware of what’s going on inside your mouth.

If you want further advice on cleaning your tongue, ask us!

John J. Kelly, DDS

It's Tuesday 6:25 PMWe’re currently closed, but please do contact us online, or leave a message. Thank you!

Monday8:00 AM — 5:00 PM
Tuesday8:00 AM — 5:00 PM
Wednesday7:00 AM — 4:00 PM
Thursday7:00 AM — 4:00 PM
FridayClosed
SaturdayClosed
SundayClosed

Chicago dentist, John J. Kelly, DDS, practices Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry at his Chicago dental office in Edgebrook.

 MORE ON DR. KELLY

Patching Up Leukoplakia: “What’d You Call It?”

Patching Up Leukoplakia: “What’d You Call It?”

Set the scene: You bolt out of bed to get ready for your first Zoom call. In the bathroom, you manage a glance at yourself in the mirror.

Opening your mouth to see how white (or yellow) your teeth are going to look on camera, you notice a thick, white/greyish patch just on the left side of your tongue.

If you discover a patch or lesion in your mouth, don’t panic, it’s not necessarily cancer, but it could be what the dental and medical pros call leukoplakia.

While it’s not “The Big C”, it can possibly go that way, so it’s a great idea to understand why you have it, and how to get rid of it. Indeed, folks diagnosed with leukoplakia could possibly develop Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) in the course of ten years. And white or greyish patches mixed with red speckles may be a you already have oral cancer.

Here’s an excellent video from the U.K.’s Oral Health Foundation…

What are the signs of leukoplakia?

There are two basic types of leukoplakia…

Non-homogenous – An essentially white or white/grey and red, unevenly shaped patch could be flat, bulges, or elevated.

Homogenous – A mostly white/grey, uniformly colored patches that are consistent throughout.

The condition may be discovered on areas of the gums, tongue, inside of cheeks or up on the palette. They could be patches or lesions that are

  • Slightly raised
  • Thick
  • Hardened, rough
  • Irregular
  • Flat-textured patches
  • White or gray

We decided to spare you, the gory images but here are some pics if you’re interested. These patches may not be painful but could be irritated by stimuli such as hot or cold, spices and acidic food or liquids.

What causes leukoplakia?

The potential triggers/causes include a bunch of things…

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Irritations from orthodontics, sharp or pointy teeth, biting the tongue, improperly fitted dentures
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Inflammation

How do you get rid of it?

The most important way to reduce occurrences is to catch it early. Regular dental checkups will reveal its presence and hasten treatment. Equally importantly is, since it occurs because of other things, eliminating the root causes before symptoms occur is wise.

If leukoplakia doesn’t go away on its own, surgical removal is highly recommended. In addition, once you’ve got it, it is likely to come back.

Staying Healthy

As mentioned, leukoplakia is often the result of a lifestyle choice. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, regular brushing and flossing your mouth daily, refraining from smoking or chewing tobacco, reducing alcohol consumption are all recommended.

And of course, regular checkups by your dentist will help ensure thinks like leukoplakia do not go undetected – and if you see something, say something and tell your dentist.

Acid Alert! Five Facts About Your Oral Health and Snacking

Acid Alert! Five Facts About Your Oral Health and Snacking

While you may know that snacking is bad for your body, you may not realize it can affect your oral health as well.

The best way to prevent health issues and protect your teeth and gums is to remain active, eat nutritious food, and avoid unnecessary snacking. Here are the facts!

By gaining a better understanding of acid production in your mouth and learning how to effectively prevent the enamel erosion it causes, you can avoid the potential damage snacking has on oral health.

Here are some of the things you must understand in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy:

1.  Acid that helps digestion can harm teeth.

Eating unhealthy food can increase your weight, especially when that food is unhealthy. However, eating does much more than adding inches to your waistline; it can also harm your teeth. Whenever you eat something, your mouth creates acid to break down the food and help with digestion. Proper digestion allows your body to absorb needed vitamins, minerals, and proteins. That same acid that helps digestion, though, can cause issues with your gums and teeth if you’re not careful. The acid in your mouth can promote the development of oral bacteria and weaken the enamel on your teeth. Consuming foods high in sugar and carbohydrates makes that acid even more dangerous to your teeth and gums.

2. The duration of eating affects acid production.

Eating frequently produces more acid, but the duration of eating can be even more harmful to your teeth and gums. When you nibble on food and sip soda or juice for an extended period as a snack, you expose your teeth and gums to acid for as long as you’re eating. That acid production then continues for at least 20 minutes after you finish eating.

3. The “right time” to indulge

Although it’s best to avoid foods high in sugar and carbohydrates, if you have a sweet tooth that you can’t ignore, there are ways of doing so that are less harmful to your teeth and gums. Rather than snacking on something sweet between meals, have your dessert following a meal because your mouth is already producing acid. This is less harmful than eating something sweet later and reactivating the acid for a new attack.

4. Brushing properly

You may be tempted to brush your teeth immediately following a meal, but it’s better to wait at least 20 minutes. When you’re eating, the enamel on your teeth is vulnerable to the acid produced in your mouth and can become softened. If you brush right away, you risk damaging or removing that weakened enamel. By waiting 20-30 minutes to brush, you’re giving the acid-filled saliva time to diminish. If you can’t brush following a meal, rinsing with water can help.

5. Combating dry mouth

Despite the fact that the acid in saliva can harm enamel, saliva is necessary to keep your mouth clean of bacteria. Saliva helps remove oral bacteria from the mouth constantly and if you suffer from dry mouth, your mouth is susceptible to higher levels of bacteria. To combat severe dry mouth caused by medical conditions or medications, talk to your dentist about the best oral rinse to replenish oral moisture.

For dry mouth caused by alcohol or caffeine consumption, consider cutting back on those drinks and consuming more water. Tobacco use can also cause dry mouth as well as damage to teeth, gums, and your overall health, so it’s best to quit.

It’s not always easy to eat healthily, but by changing some of your eating habits, you can help protect your teeth, gums, and body. If you’re someone who prefers snacking during the day, try switching from chips and sweets to healthier foods such as apples, celery or carrots. These healthy foods can help clean your teeth and gums, reduce the amount of acid produced, help you feel fuller, and improve your overall well-being.

Make sure you address any concerns you have during your next visit to a dental professional.

The Hidden Dangers of Gum Disease

The Hidden Dangers of Gum Disease

Chances are you’ve at least heard about gum disease and you know that it’s something that you don’t want in your mouth. What you may not realize, however, is just how much gum disease can put your general health at risk.

read more

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John J. Kelly, DDS

It's Tuesday 6:25 PMWe’re currently closed, but please do contact us online, or leave a message. Thank you!

Monday8:00 AM — 5:00 PM
Tuesday8:00 AM — 5:00 PM
Wednesday7:00 AM — 4:00 PM
Thursday7:00 AM — 4:00 PM
FridayClosed
SaturdayClosed
SundayClosed

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MEET DR. JOHN J. KELLY

Chicago dentist, John J. Kelly, DDS, practices Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry at his Chicago dental office in Edgebrook.

He delivers a wide range of dental therapeutics, in addition to treatment of Sleep Disordered Breathing, including Sleep Apnea, Child Facial Development issues and TMJ/Jaw Pain. MORE ON DR. KELLY

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