John J. Kelly, DDS Your Smile | Your Health Thu, Jun 24, 2021
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773-631-6844
 

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5350 West Devon Avenue
Chicago, IL 60646
Get details!

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70°F

21°C

FOR GREAT SMILES

Request a visit online or
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Chicago, IL 60646
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IN THIS ISSUE

Read This! Must-Do’s During A Dental Emergency

Read This! Must-Do’s During A Dental Emergency

A dental emergency is not only painful, it could also cause life-long health issues, if not treated immediately. But what if there’s no dentist around? Here’s some advice on what to do in the event of a dental emergency involving you or your child.

read more
Read This! Must-Do’s During A Dental Emergency

Read This! Must-Do’s During A Dental Emergency

A dental emergency is not only painful, it could also cause life-long health issues, if not treated immediately. But what if there’s no dentist around? Here’s some advice on what to do in the event of a dental emergency involving you or your child.

read more

our little video





More Good Stuff

Can Breathing Through Your Mouth Injure Your Teeth?

Can Breathing Through Your Mouth Injure Your Teeth?

A recent study demonstrates the elevated incidence of dental erosion and decay in mouth-breathers.

A study by researchers from University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation made this illuminating discovery.

OMG! How does this happen?

It’s not a secret that dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can be an inconvenient and uncomfortable condition. But it’s still quite common. It can be caused by sleeping habits, certain medications, or even something as simple as a stuffy nose that forces you to breathe through your mouth. It can also have a real impact on your dental health in addition to being a nuisance. Here’s three reasons why a dry mouth can damage your teeth…

1. The bacteria in your mouth

Everyone’s teeth come under attack from the bacteria that live inside the mouth. These bacteria are especially active after you eat sugar or starchy, high-carb foods such as white bread. When these harmful bacteria digest sugars or starches, they create corrosive acids.

As you can imagine, having these bacteria and the acids they produce sitting on your enamel isn’t good for your teeth. The acid can eat away at the structure of your enamel. So the role saliva plays in washing away the food debris and neutralizing the acids is critical, and dry mouth gives bacteria more leeway to damage your teeth.

2. The acidic foods you consume

In addition to bacteria-produced acids, any acids in food can start to eat away at your enamel as well. That’s because acids are corrosive to teeth, pulling out the calcium, magnesium and other structural minerals that your tooth enamel uses to keep it strong. Again, saliva helps wash out acids in your mouth, but mouth-breathing prevents this from happening.

3. Remineralization complication

Saliva is your mouth’s tool to supply calcium, magnesium, and other critical substances to the outside of your enamel to help replace any minerals that leach out due to the contact from acid.

With dry mouth, you may not have enough saliva to provide the minerals that your teeth need for self-repair. In this situation, your teeth will gradually become weaker and more susceptible to cavities.

How did the study go down, again?

Groups of subjects “forced” to breathe, or not breathe, through the mouth were studied. Acidity levels of saliva in the mouth were measured. The researchers discovered that, at certain times during the night, acidity levels for mouth-breathers went beyond the threshold at which erosion of tooth enamel occurs.

Researchers saw that dentists have been reporting more patients with “dry mouth”, especially during sleep or upon awakening. Dry mouth is associated with mouth-breathing.

Mouth-breathing during sleep can cause saliva to evaporate, a defense mechanism for preventing the mouth from becoming too acidic. Acidity in the mouth can lead to enamel loss through erosion (from acid without the influence of bacteria) and tooth decay, or caries (the effect of bacteria breaking down foods to produce acid).

Researchers compared pH and temperature levels in the mouths of 10 healthy subjects. Each slept with, then without, a nose clip that forced them to breathe through the mouth.

Volunteers were given a device that measures pH and temperature of the “palatal aspect of the upper central incisors”, which they wore for two sets of 48 hours.

During the time subjects wore the clip, they experienced a drop in pH to a dangerous 3.6 – the threshold is 5.5 for when tooth enamel starts to break down.

Dr. Choi, the study’s head, concluded that, as the first study of its kind, mouth-breathing has a definitive effect on acidity levels, and the probable result of advancing tooth decay.

Mouth-breathing seems innocent enough, but it should be taken seriously. If you notice that you or someone close to you is breathing through the mouth at night, it is advisable to seek a professional evaluation with a sleep-trained dentist or other practitioner.

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.

Millions Have Gingivitis: How Not to Be One of Them

Millions Have Gingivitis: How Not to Be One of Them

There’s a common health condition that many people don’t know they have. It’s gingivitis, also known as gum disease.

The statistics are sobering. According to a study reported by the Centers for Disease Control

  • 47.2% of adults 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.
  • Periodontal disease increases with age, 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.
  • Chronic gingivitis affects 90% of Americans in some form or another.

Here’s a great description of the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease, from the vlogger known as Teeth Talk Girl. Check it out…





If you have it, you want to know it. Gingivitis, if untreated, can progress to a more advanced form of gum disease called periodontal disease. In advanced periodontal disease, the gum tissue (gingiva) swells and destroys neighboring teeth and bone in your jaw. Teeth can become so loose because of connective tissue damage that they fall out. When that happens, the tissue and bone form a hard attachment called a dentin cyst.

However, if you stop the infection in its tracks — by taking steps to prevent it — gingivitis will not progress to periodontal disease.

Other Risks of Untreated Gingivitis

Loose teeth and swollen gums are bad enough, but untreated gingivitis can have more serious health consequences. Studies show that people who have gingivitis are at increased risk of developing other health problems, including a stroke or heart attack. Here’s a video from British Heart Foundation to explain what can go wrong.





Why Does Gingivitis Happen?

The enemy of your gums is plaque, the thick calcified deposits that build up around the base of your teeth at the gumline. Dentists have special instruments that remove plaque, but if you ignore it, the gums can become inflamed.

If you have gingivitis, you might also have gum pain and swelling along with an unpleasant taste in your mouth. When you brush your teeth, you might notice your gums bleed a little, or a lot. Over time, your gum line may recede because of the plaque build-up and cause additional irritation and root caries, dental caries that form at the base of teeth where the gum tissue no longer is.

If you’re pregnant or diabetic, your risk of developing gingivitis is higher. Plus, having gingivitis during pregnancy increases the risk of delivering a low birth weight baby. That’s why it’s something you shouldn’t ignore.

How Can You Treat Gingivitis?

In mild cases, you may only need regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings and more attention at home to cleaning your teeth and flossing properly. Anti-bacterial mouth wash may be of benefit in some cases, but talk to your dentist about this.

Another danger is that gingivitis will progress to periodontal disease, where the inflammation and infection spread to the bone and deeper tissues. If that’s the case, you’ll need more aggressive therapy that might include scaling the teeth to remove plaque and root planning. If the infection is severe, you may need surgery to restore the damaged bone.

What Can You Do to Prevent Gum Disease?

1. Brush twice a day with a toothbrush and floss daily. This will remove most of the plaque that forms on your teeth, which is where the germs causing this problem lurk. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well, where most of the bacteria in your mouth gather.

2. Don’t eat sugar and sugary foods. These provide an ideal environment for the bacteria that cause gum disease to multiply.

3. Avoid using antiseptic mouthwashes excessively.  These kill the healthy bacteria in your mouth that keep your gums and teeth healthy. Use an over-the-counter rinse instead if you have to use a mouthwash at all.

4. Buy a soft toothbrush. Brushes with hard bristles and aggressive brushing can damage the gums and cause the gums to recede. When the bristles start to bend, it’s time to get a new one.

4. Avoid smoking, chewing tobacco, and consuming any other tobacco products. They greatly increase your risk of gum disease and periodontal disease.

5. If you have periodontal disease, get it treated by a professional. Don’t suffer in silence – the longer you wait, the worse it will get.

6. Have regular dental checkups with your dentist. Periodontal disease is usually caught before it becomes advanced, so dental checkups give you early warning signs that your teeth and gums might be headed for trouble if left unchecked.

7. Take care of your teeth and gums for a lifetime. You never know when gingivitis or periodontal disease may strike.

Now that you’ve heard how to protect your gums against gingivitis, put these tips into practice. Also, see your dentist at least every six months, or more often if they recommend it.

Pamper your smile and don’t be one of the millions with gum disease!

Can Breathing Through Your Mouth Injure Your Teeth?

Can Breathing Through Your Mouth Injure Your Teeth?

A recent study demonstrates the elevated incidence of dental erosion and decay in mouth-breathers.

A study by researchers from University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation made this illuminating discovery.

OMG! How does this happen?

It’s not a secret that dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can be an inconvenient and uncomfortable condition. But it’s still quite common. It can be caused by sleeping habits, certain medications, or even something as simple as a stuffy nose that forces you to breathe through your mouth. It can also have a real impact on your dental health in addition to being a nuisance. Here’s three reasons why a dry mouth can damage your teeth…

1. The bacteria in your mouth

Everyone’s teeth come under attack from the bacteria that live inside the mouth. These bacteria are especially active after you eat sugar or starchy, high-carb foods such as white bread. When these harmful bacteria digest sugars or starches, they create corrosive acids.

As you can imagine, having these bacteria and the acids they produce sitting on your enamel isn’t good for your teeth. The acid can eat away at the structure of your enamel. So the role saliva plays in washing away the food debris and neutralizing the acids is critical, and dry mouth gives bacteria more leeway to damage your teeth.

2. The acidic foods you consume

In addition to bacteria-produced acids, any acids in food can start to eat away at your enamel as well. That’s because acids are corrosive to teeth, pulling out the calcium, magnesium and other structural minerals that your tooth enamel uses to keep it strong. Again, saliva helps wash out acids in your mouth, but mouth-breathing prevents this from happening.

3. Remineralization complication

Saliva is your mouth’s tool to supply calcium, magnesium, and other critical substances to the outside of your enamel to help replace any minerals that leach out due to the contact from acid.

With dry mouth, you may not have enough saliva to provide the minerals that your teeth need for self-repair. In this situation, your teeth will gradually become weaker and more susceptible to cavities.

How did the study go down, again?

Groups of subjects “forced” to breathe, or not breathe, through the mouth were studied. Acidity levels of saliva in the mouth were measured. The researchers discovered that, at certain times during the night, acidity levels for mouth-breathers went beyond the threshold at which erosion of tooth enamel occurs.

Researchers saw that dentists have been reporting more patients with “dry mouth”, especially during sleep or upon awakening. Dry mouth is associated with mouth-breathing.

Mouth-breathing during sleep can cause saliva to evaporate, a defense mechanism for preventing the mouth from becoming too acidic. Acidity in the mouth can lead to enamel loss through erosion (from acid without the influence of bacteria) and tooth decay, or caries (the effect of bacteria breaking down foods to produce acid).

Researchers compared pH and temperature levels in the mouths of 10 healthy subjects. Each slept with, then without, a nose clip that forced them to breathe through the mouth.

Volunteers were given a device that measures pH and temperature of the “palatal aspect of the upper central incisors”, which they wore for two sets of 48 hours.

During the time subjects wore the clip, they experienced a drop in pH to a dangerous 3.6 – the threshold is 5.5 for when tooth enamel starts to break down.

Dr. Choi, the study’s head, concluded that, as the first study of its kind, mouth-breathing has a definitive effect on acidity levels, and the probable result of advancing tooth decay.

Mouth-breathing seems innocent enough, but it should be taken seriously. If you notice that you or someone close to you is breathing through the mouth at night, it is advisable to seek a professional evaluation with a sleep-trained dentist or other practitioner.

TIMES TO SMILE

John J. Kelly, DDS

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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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TIMES TO SMILE

John J. Kelly, DDS

It's Thursday 6:42 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

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

PATIENT CORNER

WE’RE HERE FOR YOU

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