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Fast Facts on Oral Health

  • Accessing Oral Health Care in Illinois Oral health is more than just healthy teeth. Oral refers to the mouth, which includes the teeth, gums, and supporting tissues. FDI World Dental Federation defines oral health as "multi-faceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort, and
  • Anticipatory Guidance and Fluoride Varnish Application for the Medical Provider Improving access to dental care for at-risk infants is a considerable task, one that requires an interdisciplinary approach. Medical providers see this age group more frequently, so they are in a unique position to support the dentist's efforts to educate and to intervene when poor oral health is diagnosed. Beginning at the 6 month of age visit, physicians should counsel
  • Bad Breath Causes and Controlling It Halitosis, or bad breath, is a common problem that affects almost everyone from time to time. There are a few causes, including certain foods, mouth cleaning habits, some medications, or an infection in the mouth. These all can contribute to bad breath
  • Breastfeeding and Oral Health Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and important activities for mom and baby. The benefits to the infant include improved nutrition, fewer illnesses, a stronger immune system, physical and developmental growth benefits, and reduced risk of chronic diseases and allergy. Benefits to maternal health include increased physiologic postpartum recovery and reduced long-term
  • Careers in Oral Health Care General Dentist A general dentist (DDS or DMD) is the primary oral health care provider. The general dentist diagnoses, treats, and manages the overall oral health of their patients.
  • Caring for Your Dentures There are two types of dentures: full denture and partial denture. A full denture is made to replace all the teeth in the upper and lower jaw. This type of denture is held in your mouth by your gums, the bone underneath, and soft tissues. A partial denture is made when you have some natural teeth. Your natural teeth (and gums) are used to hold the partial denture in place. You
  • Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate What are cleft lip and cleft palate? Cleft lip/palate occurs when a baby's lip or mouth do not form properly during pregnancy. It is the fourth most common birth defect and occurs in 1 in every 1,600 babies in the United States. A cleft lip is a separation of the upper lip. The cleft can occur on one or both sides of the lip. A cleft palate is a separation of the top of the
  • Daily Care of Your Teeth Health and well-being include all aspects and parts of the body, including the mouth. Good oral health supports life-long health and achievements in education, employment, and social relationships. Unfortunately, tooth decay or dental caries (cavities) and periodontal disease are bacterially mediated processes that infect many children, most adults, and the elderly. These two
  • Dental and Dental Hygiene Schools in Illinois General Dentist A general dentist (DDS or DMD) is the primary care dental provider. The general dentist diagnoses, treats, and manages the overall oral health of their patients. Treatment may include fillings, crowns, bridges, gum care, root canals, simple tooth removals, and removable appliances (dentures and partials). To become a dentist, you must have a college bachelor's
  • Dental Health During Pregnancy Congratulations! You have a lot to think about during this time. Good oral health is extremely important during pregnancy and routine dental care can be provided safely. The following are strategies to help improve your dental health during pregnancy. Take time for yourself and your baby to embrace healthy behaviors so your health can be maintained or improved during this
  • Denture Adhesives Denture adhesives are a paste, powder, gel, or adhesive pad that helps dentures adhere to the supporting tissues instead of relying on suction or clasps. Sometimes the adhesive is called denture cream. A small amount of denture adhesive is applied evenly to the clean surface of a denture to enhance stability and help them stay in place. Why is a denture adhesive used? For
  • Diabetes and Your Oral Health Our bodies convert the food we eat into sugar our bodies use for energy. Diabetes affects your body's ability to process sugar. Both type I and type II cases result in high blood sugar levels, which can harm the mouth, eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart, and other parts of the body. In Type I diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that carries sugar
  • Early Childhood Tooth Decay Early childhood caries (tooth decay or cavities) develops when bacteria in the mouth breakdown sugars to produce acid. This acid attacks the tooth taking the mineral out of the tooth surface. The loss of mineral weakens the tooth resulting tooth decay. Dental caries is the most prevalent chronic disease of children in the United States that is largely preventable. Early
  • E-Cigarettes and Vaping E-cigarettes, vapes, vape or hookah pens, vaporizers, e-pipes, vape watches, and other electronic nicotine delivery products are electronic, battery-powered devices that heat a liquid and allow users to inhale the aerosolized liquid, also known as e-liquid or e-juice. These devices come in many shapes and sizes. Some look like a regular cigarette, but many resemble everyday
  • Flossing Your Teeth Dental health begins with good home care of your mouth and teeth. Toothbrushing helps to remove the plaque germs that live on your teeth. Always brush every side of each tooth on the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces. It should take at least two minutes to brush your teeth. Flossing will remove plaque germs from between and under the gumline of your teeth. These germs are
  • Fluoride to Prevent Tooth Decay The best protection from dental caries (tooth decay, cavities) is good oral hygiene, regular access to professional oral health care, a healthy diet of low sugar food and beverages, the mineral fluoride, and dental sealants. Fluoride has resulted in a tremendous reduction of tooth decay and loss of teeth in the Illinois population. What is fluoride? Fluoride is a mineral your
  • How to Brighten Your Smile Why do teeth change color? Over time, your teeth can go from white to not-so-bright for several reasons. Age Over time the inner layer of the tooth can darken, crack, and trap stain. Food and Drink Berries, coffee, tea, cola drinks, and red wine are some examples of what can stain teeth. Trauma Injury from a fall or impact can cause discoloration. Medications Some medications
  • Human Papillomavirus and Your Oral Health What is Human Papillomavirus? HPV, or human papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and can cause genital warts and, later in life, six types of cancers. HPV is linked with 70% of mouth and throat-related cancers. There are vaccines that can stop these health problems from happening. Boys and girls should get two doses of HPV
  • Oral Cancer Facts Mouth and Throat Cancers are most often seen in these areas: Tongue Tonsils and Throat The floor of the Mouth and other parts of the Mouth Oral Cancers are much more common in men than women and increases as you get older. Oral Cancers are about equally common in black and white people; however, Black men die at a higher rate than their White counterparts. Much of the risk of
  • Oral Care for the Orthodontic Patient The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy, functional bite that allows straight teeth to properly meet opposing teeth in the opposite jaw. Crooked or crowded teeth make it harder to bite, to chew, and to speak and makes it more difficult to clean your teeth. The importance of brushing and flossing Proper oral care is important to preventing gingivitis, the
  • Oral Health and Learning "You cannot educate a child who is not healthy, and you cannot keep a child healthy who is not educated." - Joycelyn Elders, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General Health and well-being include all body parts, including the mouth. Good oral health supports life-long health, learning, job success, and relationships with others. Unfortunately, many children suffer from painful tooth
  • Oral Health Care Pain Management Options If you think you have a drug or substance abuse problem, please call 833-2FINDHELP or text "HELP" to 833234 For mouth or jaw pain, schedule a visit with your doctor to learn the cause of your pain and learn what type of pain management will be the most effective. The source of pain needs to be directly addressed, otherwise, when pain medication wears off, the pain will
  • Periodontal Disease Periodontal disease, also sometimes called gum disease, is a bacterial infection that causes swelling of the gums around teeth. Over time, if not treated, periodontal disease can result in the loss of the bone that holds teeth in the jaw. This infection in the gum and bone is the most common cause of tooth loss and professional treatment may be needed to stop it. Lost bone
  • Protect your Teeth With Dental Sealant What are dental sealants? Dental sealants are thin coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to prevent decay (or cavities). Most tooth decay in children and teenagers occurs on the chewing surfaces where pits and grooves trap food and germs. Sealants fill in these pits and grooves so germs cannot get inside the tooth and break down the tooth. Applying
  • Quitting Smokeless Tobacco Lessen the Power Tobacco has over you Smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. Quitting lowers your chance of getting mouth cancers. Change to a brand you do not like. Delay your first chew of the day by one hour for a few days, then by two hours, then by three hours, and keep going longer. Set a date for quitting. When you Quit Get rid of all your
  • Silver Diamine Fluoride SDF may be an easy and affordable choice for your dental care What is silver diamine fluoride (SDF) and is it safe? SDF is a liquid medicine that a dentist or dental hygienist will apply directly to a cavity to stop the cavity from developing and getting bigger. It is painless, but it does stain the tooth black where it is applied. SDF should not be used if the patient has an
  • Sugary Drinks and Foods When trying to prevent cavities, it is important to watch what you eat and especially what you drink. It is surprising how much sugar is in our drinks and food. Sugary drinks include fruit juices, fruit flavored punches, soft drinks, sports drinks, flavored waters, food pouches, and sweetened coffee all have high sugar content. Drink Size Matters Over the years we have gone
  • The Community Health Worker and Oral Health What is a Community Health Worker? Community health workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers who have a close understanding of the communities they serve. The CHWs are vital for language, cultural, and trust barriers that might exist with clients who are navigating the health care system. CHW's can also assist with access to care for dental needs that their clients
  • The Number One Drink, Water Drinking enough plain, fluoridated water is one of the best ways to improve your health. Sipping water helps maintain a clean mouth and strengthens teeth, especially if the water is fluoridated. Water washes away leftover food and residue that cavity-causing bacteria are looking for and dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth
  • The Perinatal Period Infants and Oral Health Tooth decay is the number one childhood disease that is largely preventable. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes that perinatal and infant oral health are the foundations upon which preventive education and dental care can enhance the opportunity for a child to have a lifetime free from preventable oral disease.
  • Tobacco Facts Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smoking is costly to your health because nicotine is highly addictive. The need to smoke (or chew) speeds up the progress of cancers, heart disease, stroke, lung infections, and others. The nicotine found in cigarettes and in smokeless tobacco is strong and an addictive drug. Once addicted,
  • What to Expect During a Dental Visit On your first dental visit: Arrive 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork. Have your insurance and photo ID available, as well as a current list of medications. A full health history will be reviewed. Answer all questions honestly and completely. Your safety and health depend on a trusting relationship with your provider. Expect your blood pressure to be taken. Expect a
  • Women's Oral Health Hormonal changes occur throughout a woman's life. During certain stages, she may have special oral health needs. Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and birth control pills affect a woman's mouth. But attention to good home care, regular dental visits, good eating habits, and limiting sugar-sweetened beverages will help to keep the mouth and teeth in the best
  • Your Oral Health During Head and Neck Cancer Treatment Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for head and neck cancer can affect your mouth in many ways. Dry mouth, sores, an increase in tooth decay (cavities), a loss of taste, and oral infections are common side effects. If you are scheduled for chemotherapy or radiation treatment, make sure you visit your dentist to treat any conditions that may become worse or painful during and after cancer treatment