Stay In-the-Know with Our Fairview Heights Dental Office

We believe in creating a relationship with our patients that goes beyond the office doors. We've specifically created this section of our site to share with you important news and informational dental blogs from our Fairview Heights family dental practice.

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Your Fairview Heights Cosmetic Dentists

Thanksgiving Food & Dental Health
Thanksgiving is here! This holiday is filled with loved ones, both family and friends, as you enjoy and cherish the quality time this time of year. As you sit around the table full of delicious foods and drinks, we only ask you to keep your dental health in mind. Some of your favorite Thanksgiving meals are also the most harmful to your teeth, gums, and overall dental health, so our Fairview Heights family dentist wants to ensure your smile is the best it can be during this busy season.
 
Below, we’ll dive into the Thanksgiving items that are best to avoid, as well as some of the other tasty options that are beneficial for your smile! If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask us.
 
Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid
 
Stuffing
A common, delicious staple in a Thanksgiving meal, stuffing is made in all kinds of varieties. Unfortunately, the main ingredient is starch, which is full of sugary carbohydrates that can cling to your teeth. This is more difficult to get away from your teeth, so if it hangs around for too long, you’ll have built-up bacteria in your mouth that leads to cavities. It’s important to drink water after enjoying stuffing as to not allow the bacteria to linger.
 
Alcohol
Sometimes, nothing is better than catching up with friends and family you haven’t seen in a long time! Enjoying a glass of wine or a beer during this time is perfectly fine but be sure to keep an eye on the amount of consumption. Alcohol dehydrates you, which reduces saliva production, and breaks down the enamel on your teeth that is protecting the nerves in the dentin. In between a glass of beer or wine, enjoy a refreshing water!
 
Desserts
This time of year may be the only time you’ll get to enjoy your favorite dessert, but moderation is important! Sweets like apple pie, ice cream, brownies, and cookies are all dangerous for your dental health, and could easily give you a few cavities if you’ve been in indulging far more than usual during the holidays. Be sure to wash your desserts down with water and enjoy them sparingly.
 
Thanksgiving Food to Enjoy
 
Turkey
Thank goodness! The main course of your Thanksgiving meal can be enjoyed without worrying about your smile! There’s no starch or sugar, and turkey also contains a significant amount of vitamin D, which encourages strength for your enamel. Just be sure to watch the additional gravy added on top!
 
Vegetables
While this is no surprise, there are numerous enjoyable sides to enjoy during your Thanksgiving dinner. Vegetables like carrots, celery, corn, green beans are all beneficial in their own way and simply tasty!
 
Pumpkin Pie
Don’t worry – desserts aren’t completely banned from your Thanksgiving meal! Pumpkin pie has a lot of beneficial calcium, as well as some vitamin C. Be careful of the amount of ice cream and whipped cream you put on top, though!
 
If you’re overdue for a dental cleaning, be sure to schedule an appointment with our Fairview Heights family dentist before the rest of your year’s schedule is full. Give us a call today and our front desk staff will assist you in picking the best date and time for your cleaning, exam, and x-ray.
 
Tips for a Healthy Smile This Halloween
With Halloween quickly approaching, it is important to remember your dental care routine so that your smile stays healthy this spooky season! Sugar can be bad for your teeth, so maintaining a healthy routine is essential to combat all that Halloween candy. Read below for some helpful tips to keep your smile healthy and bright all Halloween long!
 
Be Mindful of Types of Candy
One of the first ways to protect your dental and oral health is to know which types of candies would be more harmful to your teeth. This can give you the opportunity to choose between candy and find the least harmful option for your teeth and gums.
 
The Most Harmful Candy:
 
Hard candy - candy that is hard and difficult to chew can lead to tooth breakage. Sucking on hard candy also requires people to keep sugar in their mouth for a longer duration of time. It is best to avoid hard candies as much as possible.
 
Gummy Candy - caramel, taffy, and gummies are bad for your teeth because they are sticky and can stay stuck to teeth for hours. Anything chewy that can attach to the crevices of your teeth can lead to the deterioration of the enamel.
 
Sour Candy - Sour candies are typically chewy and can get stuck between teeth. This type of candy is also highly acidic and contains a lot of sugar, so they often do twice as much damage as other candies.
 
The Least Harmful Candy:
 
Chocolate - Not only is chocolate the least harmful candy, but some types of chocolate actually contain extra benefits for your smile! Chocolate melts away instead of sticking to the surface of your teeth. That means there is less of a chance that dental decay will occur and the chocolate can easily be washed away by saliva.
 
Sugar-free gum - Some low-calorie sweeteners in sugar-free gum can help rid your mouth of harmful bacteria. This can also help promote saliva which will help keep your teeth clean until you can brush them later on. It should be noted that sugar-free gum is not a suitable replacement for quality dental care. Be sure that teeth are still properly brushed and flossed at the end of the day before going to bed. 
 
End Your Day With Dental Care
It is so important not to skip your regular dental care routine, especially on Halloween after eating all those treats! Before going to bed, be sure to brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash to rid your mouth of any harmful bacteria. Don’t forget to scrub your tongue as well, which can be coated with a film of plaque after a day of snacking. Don’t sacrifice your healthy smile this Halloween season!
 
Of course, everything can be enjoyed in moderation, but it is important to keep your dental health in check. Always brush your teeth after consuming Halloween candy and floss to avoid any lingering food debris. Use fluoride toothpaste to help shield your enamel from future bacteria and always try to balance your diet with healthy fruits and veggies. Ask your dentist for more information on how you can maintain your oral health this Halloween!
 
Identify and Prevent Cavities
When you’re told that you have a cavity, all dental professionals will recommend that you have it taken care of as soon as possible. Unfortunately, due to busy schedules between work, friends, and family, patients can find it difficult to find the best time to visit our office again to take care of the cavity. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), 92% of American adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have had cavities in their permanent teeth. Even worse, around 26% of them have untreated dental decay!
 
Below, your Fairview Heights dentist dives into the different classes of cavities, how they damage your teeth, and how our professionals can improve your smile.
 
Class I: This class of tooth decay is visible to our dentist. They’re noticeable on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth, like your molars and premolars, as well as decay noted on the front or back surfaces of your front teeth.
Class II: These cavities, while they appear on your molars and premolars, are typically between your teeth and aren’t visible to the human eye.
Class III: This class of decay occurs between your front teeth and are also not visible without the help of x-rays.
Class IV: This type also occurs between your front teeth, but it involves the cutting edges of your teeth.
Class V: These cavities appear on the surface, or behind, either your front or back teeth, near the gumline.
Class VI: This decay is found on the top surfaces of your teeth, either on the edges of your front teeth or on the cusp of your back teeth.
 
Now that you know where these cavities can lie, and how they’re identified, it’s time for you to know the levels of severity and what tooth decay can do to your smile. To further understand, the outer layer of your tooth is made up of calcified enamel, which protects the softer, inner portion that holds the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When this area of your tooth is damaged, you’re at risk for regular tooth aches, dental sensitivity, and other issues.
 
The levels of severity for your tooth decay gives our Fairview Heights dentist a better idea of how to properly treat the cavity. Incipient, moderate, advanced, and severe cavities are all necessary to take care of, but the longer you wait, the more you’re at risk of completely losing the tooth. By maintaining routine visits to our office, you’ll be able to prevent serious complications to your smile and have our professionals assist you.
 
Following these simple steps will help you avoid a lifetime of dental issues! While cavities are common, they’re also the easiest preventable dental disease and should be taken seriously. Use these helpful tips to avoid dental decay:
 
Brush your teeth twice a day – once in the morning, once at night – with a fluoride toothpaste, or another recommended toothpaste from our dentist
Floss at least once a day, preferably after a meal to get rid of any lingering, stubborn food particles
Change up your diet to include more nutritional foods and drinks, removing sugary and sweet things to lessen the damage done to your enamel
 
Looking for more helpful tips, or are you overdue for your routine dental cleaning? Give our Fairview Heights dentist a call today at (618) 622-1800 and we’ll help pick the best date and time for your appointment.
 
Back-to-School Dental Visits
School is back in session! While you’re helping your children get the best accessories and outfits, there’s something else that’s just as important – their smile! Your Fairview Heights dentist wants to ensure that your entire family is getting the dental care you deserve, which is why it’s important for everyone to visit our office around this time. Take a look at some common questions we know parents have for your children’s visit.
 
How is your child’s oral health?
 
During your child’s exam, we’ll be able to take a look at the big picture (meaning your child’s teeth and gums). We want to ensure that you’re taking care of their baby teeth since they’re just as important as their permanent ones. We’ll take a look at their alignment, making sure their teeth are lining up correctly, as well as their bite and the possibility of orthodontic treatment.
 
Why does my child need a cleaning?
 
These cleanings are a must! During our exam, we’ll be able to see the state of your child’s teeth, whether they need fillings or other dental treatments, and provide a top-of-the-line cleaning when all is said and done. This cleaning will take care of the build-up of bacteria and plaque that are around their teeth and gums, which can quickly turn into decay if not properly cleaned. Without these cleanings, your child could suffer from premature tooth loss, tooth decay, gum disease, and much more!
 
Does my child need an x-ray?
 
While we complete a thorough dental examination, x-rays are extremely important so we can see the root of a problem – literally! Sometimes, we’re not able to see any problems below the surface, but that’s what x-rays are for. With the help of x-rays, we’re able to see how your children’s teeth are developing and if there are any problems underneath the surface.
 
We want both kids and adults to know the necessary steps to taking care of their smile, no matter what time of year it is. Call our Fairview Heights dentist today at (618) 622-1800 to schedule your family’s appointment and start your Fall journey towards a healthier and happier smile!
 
Popular Foods that Stain Teeth
Everyone has a favorite meal, their go-to dish that brings them the comfort and warmth of their favorite day, a memory tied to the food, or something particularly fond that always cheers them up. While there could be one meal or countless meals, your dentist in Fairview Heights wants to ensure that you’re still taking proper care of your smile if your favorite dish has a specific eliminate – or ingredient – that can damage or dim the surface of your teeth.
 
Dive deeper into common culprits that are popular for their flavor, but can do a decent amount of harm to your smile if you’re not careful:
 
Marinara (Pasta) Sauce
 
This sauce compliments countless types of foods, whether it’s your favorite pasta dish or a dipping side to some mozzarella sticks. Unfortunately, there are some negative aspects to this kind of sauce. Because of their acidity, bright red color, and clingy tendencies, the tomatoes used to create the sauce can easily cling to the surface of your teeth, staining them faster than others.
 
With the help of a fresh spring, green salad as an appetizer, these vegetables (including others within the same green tint) create a protective film over your smile and can fight back against the deep red sauce. 
 
Berries
 
There are numerous health benefits to some of our favorite berries, but your smile may not always be on the receiving end of those benefits. Because of their dark colors, similar to pasta sauce, they can easily cause staining and even the potential of getting stuck in between your teeth, showing the same sort of qualities as tomatoes. Whether berries like cranberries, raspberries, or blueberries are consumed whole, enjoyed as juice, or spread as jam, these staining qualities are still strong!
 
Once you’re finished enjoying these delectable fruits, be sure to wash it down with a glass of water to rinse away the acidity or pair it with some cheese to neutralize the acidity while it strengthens your teeth.
 
Beverages
 
Whether it’s coffee in the morning or wine at night, there are negative dental side effects that your favorite drink may cause.  Due to the qualities of excessive carbonation, high amounts of sugar, and high acidic levels, your teeth are coming in direct contact with these drinks and suffering. We encourage you to limit the number of harmful beverages you consume throughout the day, or always try to pair it with a glass of water to help wash away the harmful build-up the drinks have caused.
 
Looking for other ways to protect your smile and enjoy some delicious foods and drinks? Don’t hesitate to ask our dentist in Fairview Heights for suggestions on foods and drinks that strengthen your smile AND taste good, too! Give our office a call at (618) 622-1800 to schedule your appointment today.
 
Dangerous Dental Habits
You may not always realize how certain dental habits can affect your smile, but it’s important to realize the best ways to take care of your teeth and gums so you can keep your natural smile for a lifetime! Whether it’s summer vacation or it’s time for the holidays, your Fairview Heights dentist wants you to know how your oral hygiene routine and certain habits relate to your overall dental health.
 
Choose Your Toothbrush Wisely
 
Choosing the right toothbrush goes beyond picking your favorite color. When you want the best cleaning, you’ll want to find a toothbrush that has soft, gentle bristles. It may seem like rougher toothbrush bristles are the ones that will clean better, but your teeth are more sensitive than meets the eye, so you’ll want to treat them with the best care possible.
 
Softer bristles are also far gentler on your gums, which can easily bleed by aggressive brushing and lack of proper care. When you do brush your teeth, it’s supposed to be an easy, but thorough scrubbing in a circular motion to ensure you’re reaching all the right areas to clean. Don’t hesitate to ask us about any recommendations for the best toothbrush for your smile.
 
Don’t Underestimate the Benefits of a Mouth Guard and Night Guard
 
All professional athletes wear the necessary gear to protect themselves when participating in their preferred sport. This should also translate to everyone! No matter if you’re playing for fun or you’re playing professionally, it’s extremely important to wear the protective gear – like mouthguards – to lower your chances of experiencing a dental emergency. You could suffer from cuts, bruises, lacerations, or even chipped or lost teeth.
 
Another type of guard that protects your smile is a nightguard, worn when you’re sleeping if you tend to grind your teeth unconsciously. If you’ve been waking up with headaches, or if your teeth have been more sensitive than usual, you could be unknowingly grinding your teeth as you sleep throughout the night. This could weaken your enamel, expose the nerves and sensitive areas of your teeth and cause cavities, infections, or worse. Schedule a consultation with us to see if you’ve been wearing down your smile.
 
Keep Your Utensils and Toothbrush to Yourself
 
While sharing is caring, utensils are something you should avoid sharing too often. If you have children, it may seem natural and parent-like to put a small bite of your food on your utensil before sharing it with your baby, but the mixing of bacteria can easily get your child sick. Everyone has their own bacteria, and unfortunately, you could pass yours along that your child can’t handle.
 
This sharing technique is also applicable for toothbrushes. Everyone has their own brush for a reason! The bristles are covered in your bacteria, so mixing them with someone else’s could get one of you sick faster than you realize. This is also why we suggest switching out your toothbrush after you’re sick – that bad bacteria is all over your toothbrush, so be sure to start fresh after you’ve gotten better!
 
There are more habits that can harm your smile than you think, which is why your Fairview Heights dentist is here to help! Give our office a call at (618) 622-1800 for more helpful tips on caring for your overall dental health and how we can be an integral part of your smile.
 
Share the Dangers on No Tobacco Day
On May 31, health professionals around the world will be celebrating No Tobacco Day. It’s no secret that there are countless negative side effects to tobacco usage, but it’s still one of the most common oral health issues that people face. Your teeth and gums aren’t the only parts of your body that are harmed by excessive tobacco usage, but they’re first in line when you smoke a cigarette or use dipping tobacco. Dive into the five major health complications that are tobacco related and how your 62208 dentist can help save your smile.
 
Bad Breath
 
Bad breath is one of the more inconvenient and embarrassing instances you can run into but can typically be solved by some chewing gum or by brushing your teeth. If you’re constantly smoking, you could suffer from bad breath constantly. Smoker’s breath, clinically known as “halitosis,” combines the tobacco with the bacteria in your mouth and clings to your gums and tongue, leaving the lingering smell of tobacco itself.
 
The only way to get rid of this consistent bad breath is to simply stop using tobacco! We know it’s far more difficult than it sounds, but if you continue this bad habit, your smile will continue to suffer.
 
Stained, Yellow Teeth
 
Nicotine and tar in tobacco products like cigarettes are so strong, they can stain more than your teeth. Your fingers can start showing a yellowish tint, your walls can become stained, so your teeth will be suffering the same way. The outer layer of your teeth, also known as your “enamel,” will quickly turn a dimmer, darker color as they continuously encounter nicotine and tar.
 
While there are multiple at-home options to brighten your smile – a whitening toothpaste, a take-home whitening kit, or a whitening treatment at our office – the shade of your smile will continue to suffer if you keep up the bad habit of tobacco use.
 
Gum Disease
 
This bacterial infection causes your gums to become red, swollen, and can cause bleeding as the soft tissue and bone fall apart around your teeth that support them in place. Without maintaining top oral hygiene, like brushing, flossing and keeping up with your professional dental cleanings, you’re susceptible to gum disease. Smoking cigarettes and abusing tobacco products exacerbates the bacterial infection and can quickly bring your smile to a scenario that cannot be reversed.
 
Oral Cancer
 
Tobacco use is a major cause of oral cancer due to the carcinogenic chemicals that are extremely harmful to the oral tissues in your mouth. By chewing or smoking tobacco products, genetic changes may occur within the cells of your oral tissues, which will lead to this extremely harmful form of cancer.
 
Your risks for developing oral cancer decreases significantly when you stop using tobacco products, so why wait?
 
Maintain the healthiest, strongest smile you possibly can and quit tobacco products. By keeping up with your visits to your 62208 dentist, we’ll be able to protect your teeth and gums while we work together to fight against tobacco. Celebrate No Tobacco Day with us by scheduling your cleaning today! Call 618-622-1800 and our staff will work together to pick the best date and time for you.
 
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancer and oropharyngeal cancers affect about 53,000 people every year, with 10,000 of those being deadly cases. Oral cancer can appear as a sore or bump in the mouth that does not heal over time. This can mean that oral cancer could form on the lips, tongue, throat, or anywhere in your mouth. It can cause severe damage to all surrounding tissue, and if left untreated, it can be life threatening. Studies show that men are at twice as much risk as women to get oral cancer. If you start showing symptoms of oral cancer, be sure to consult with your general oral health practitioner right away.
 
Symptoms can include:
Persistent sores in the mouth
Bleeding that does not go away after two weeks
White patches in the mouth
Numbness in the mouth, face, or neck
Difficulty swallowing or chewing
Ear soreness
Substantial weight loss
Dentures don’t seem to fit anymore
 
What are the risks of oral cancer?
 
Smoking is the leading risk factor in patients who develop oral cancer. Tobacco users who indulge in chewing tobacco products are also 50 times more likely to have cancer of the cheeks, gums, and lips. Drinking alcohol excessively will also put you at risk of developing oral cancer. People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol are six times more likely to develop oral cancer over people who don’t drink. Lastly, exposure to the Human Papillomavirus, specifically strain 16, is a leading risk factor in developing oral cancer. Consult with your doctor on how to protect yourself from HPV. Just like most cancers, a family history and increased exposure to the sun will dramatically affect the likelihood of developing oral cancer.
 
How do you treat it?
 
If you experience any persistent symptoms, consult with a health professional immediately. Different types of oral cancers have different treatments, so it is important to consult a medical professional to determine what would be the right option for you. Only about 10% of people who develop oral cancer have no correlation to high risk factors, which means that there are steps you can take to try to prevent from developing oral cancer. Don’t smoke or drink excessively and protect yourself from HPV. Call us today at 618-622-1800 and consult with your dentist in Fairview Heights on how you can help fight oral cancer.
 
Nutrition and Your Smile
When you brush your teeth every morning and night, you know that this is an integral part of your oral and dental health. Skipping this step can be dangerous and can allow bacteria to form, causing cavities, decay, and other potential issues. As you’re ensuring that your dental routine is up to par, your Fairview Heights dentist urges you to do the same with your daily diet!
 
The nutrition you consume plays a huge part in your dental health and can start to show negative side effects if your diet doesn’t include enough healthy and beneficial foods. A balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, protein-rich foods, calcium-rich foods, and other beneficial factors will give you the right nutrients that can only make your teeth stronger, your smile wider, and your overall health simply better!
 
Calcium-Rich Foods
 
With the help of these calcium rich-foods, you’ll be able to both strengthen your teeth and bones:
Low-fat/fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese
Dark green leafy vegetables
Almonds
Salmon
Soy drinks/tofu
 
Vitamin C Foods and Drinks
 
To better your gum health, integrate some of these naturally sweet and tasty items:
Citrus fruits and natural citrus beverages
Tomatoes
Peppers
Spinach
Broccoli
Potatoes
 
Why Nutrition is Important for Your Teeth 
 
Remember, too much of a good thing can also be dangerous, so don’t hesitate to ask us how to enjoy these things moderately to get the most out of their helpful ingredients and resources. For example, while citrus fruits have plenty of natural Vitamin C, they’re also extremely abrasive and can weaken and erode your enamel. Without the protective surface of your tooth, you’re exposing the root of the tooth, which holds the nerves and can cause sharp pains when in contact with foods and drinks of varying temperatures and ingredients.
 
What to Know about Snacking
 
We know that there are countless snacks out there that promote healthy living, but not all these snacks apply to the healthiness of your teeth and gums. The act of snacking in between meals can be extremely harmful by itself – the more often you eat, especially in between your major meals like breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the more likely you are to expose your teeth to acidic, damaging ingredients that weaken your smile.
 
If you do choose to snack, be careful on what you pick! Fresh produce is some of the best options, like celery, carrots, peppers, and cucumbers. Dried fruit, while convenient, is packed with sugary ingredients for longevity and sucked of their natural, truly beneficial aspects. Many naturally grown fruits already contain water, a beneficial factor for your smile, and dried fruit removes this to preserve the snack for longer periods of time. Trust us – still to the natural stuff!
 
Looking for more ways to maintain a healthy smile? Give your Fairview Heights dentist a call at  (618) 622-1800 and schedule a consultation with our office. Every smile is unique, and our goal is to give you the best treatment that’s right for your teeth!
 
Your Child's Smile
As National Children’s Dental Health Month ends, we always want to share helpful tips and tricks for parents (and parents-to-be) as they watch their children grow. A child’s smile, while shiny and brand new, it’s extremely sensitive and vulnerable, so it’s important that their teeth (both baby and permanent) are being taken care of as they get older. Break down how your children’s smiles grow with the help of your dentist in 62208.
 
Baby Teeth
 
Your child’s baby teeth, a full set of 20 primary teeth, start appearing between six months and a year. The reason you see so many wide smiles with only one or two teeth on display is that their front teeth, on both the top and bottom, are usually the ones to come in first.
 
During this time, your children may also be feeling discomfort due to their teeth coming in. This time can cause tender, sore gums, causing them to feel irritated and fussy. Try gently rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger or a wet gauze to reduce the discomfort. There are also teething products available for children, like rubbing rings, for them to chew on.
 
While these teeth aren’t permanent, they’re still extremely important to your child’s overall health and development. With these teeth, your child learns how to properly chew and speak, all while their body grows and makes room in their jaw for their permanent teeth that will come in next.
 
How to Take Care of Your Child’s Smile as They Grow
 
As your child grows older, the ways you take care of them will change over time. In the beginning, gently wipe down their gums with a clean, damp gauze or a soft washcloth. It’s important to keep this area as clean and healthy as possible for when their teeth begin to appear. Once they do, they’re at risk for decay, so be sure to be diligent in cleaning their teeth and gums properly.
 
As soon as teeth appear, start to brush them! Don’t hesitate to ask us the best kind of toothbrush to use for your child during these stages of their life. You’ll want a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste that helps clean and strengthen their smile. Use a very small amount of toothpaste since it can be extremely abrasive and can cause more harm than good if there’s too much. Be sure to brush their teeth twice a day, every morning and night, and help them learn how to brush and floss as they get older.
 
If you’re looking for more ways to protect your child’s smile, ranging from their diet to athletic involvement, don’t hesitate to call your dentist in 62208 at (618) 622-1800 and we’ll be happy to help your family’s healthy development in the best way possible!
 
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