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Forget Something? It’s on the Tip of Your Tongue!

April 6th, 2022

Let’s see…

Toothbrush? Check.

Fluoride toothpaste? Check.

Floss? Check.

Two minutes of thorough brushing? Check.

Careful cleaning around your brackets and wires? Check.

Wait… there’s something else… it’s right on the tip of your…

Ah! Your tongue! Whenever you brush, morning, evening, or any time in between, if you want the freshest breath and cleanest teeth, don’t forget your tongue.

Why your tongue? Because the tongue is one of the most common sources of bad breath. Let’s examine just why this occurs.

The tongue is made up of a group of muscles that help us speak and chew and swallow. But there’s more to this remarkable organ than mere muscle. The surface of the tongue is covered with mucous membrane, like the smooth tissue which lines our mouths. But the tongue isn’t completely smooth—it’s textured with thousands of tiny bumps called papillae.

These little elevated surfaces have several shapes and functions. Some make the tongue’s surface a bit rough, which helps move food through your mouth. Some are temperature sensitive, letting you know that your slice of pizza is much too hot. And some are covered with thousands of the taste buds, which make eating that pizza so enjoyable.

All of these papillae with their various functions combine to create a textured surface, filled with miniscule nooks and crannies. And if there’s a nook or a cranny where bacteria can collect, no matter how miniscule, it’s a good bet that they will, and the surface of the tongue is no exception. But bacteria aren’t alone—the tongue’s surface can also hide food particles and dead cells.

How does this unappealing accumulation affect you? These elements work together to cause bad breath, especially the bacteria that break down food particles and cell debris to produce volatile sulfur compounds—compounds which create a particularly unpleasant odor. Including your tongue in your brushing routine helps remove one of the main causes of bad breath.

And that’s not the only benefit! Cleaning the tongue helps eliminate the white coating caused by bacterial film, and might even improve the sense of taste. Most important, studies show that regular cleaning noticeably lowers the levels of decay-causing plaque throughout the mouth.

So, how to get rid of that unwanted, unpleasant, and unhealthy debris?

  • When you’re done brushing your teeth, use your toothbrush to brush your tongue.

Clean your tongue by brushing gently front to back and then side to side. Rinse your mouth when you’re through. Simple as that! And just like a soft-bristled toothbrush helps protect tooth enamel and gum tissue, we also recommend soft bristles when you brush your tongue. Firm bristles can be too hard on tongue tissue.

  • Use a tongue scraper.

Some people find tongue scrapers more effective than brushing. Available in different shapes and materials, these tools are used to gently scrape the surface of the tongue clean of bacteria and debris. Always apply this tool from back to front, and rinse the scraper clean after every stroke. Wash and dry it when you’re through.

  • Add a mouthwash or rinse.

As part of your oral hygiene routine, antibacterial mouthwashes and rinses can assist in preventing bad breath. Ask Dr. Dalessandro for a recommendation.

  • Don’t brush or scrape too vigorously.

Your tongue is a sturdy, hard-working organ, but tongue tissue is still delicate enough to be injured with over-vigorous cleaning.

Taking a few extra seconds to clean your tongue helps eliminate the bacteria and food particles which contribute to bad breath and plaque formation. Make this practice part of your daily brushing routine—it’s a healthy habit well worth remembering!

What do you love about our practice?

March 30th, 2022

At Dalessandro Implants & Periodontics, we have been creating beautiful smiles for years. Whether you or your family have visited Dr. Dalessandro and our team for a single visit or have been loyal patients throughout the years, we would love to hear your thoughts about your experience! In fact, we encourage you to leave a few words for us below or on our Facebook page!

We look forward to reading your feedback!

What should we blog about?

March 23rd, 2022

As a patient at Dalessandro Implants & Periodontics, your opinion matters! Dr. Dalessandro and our team love hearing what our patients think about our practice and the services we provide, and now we want to know, what do you think we should blog about?

Perhaps there’s a treatment you’ve always wanted to know about, or you’d like to learn about a specific way to improve your health and smile. Whatever your idea, we’d love to hear about it! You can let us know by posting here or on our Facebook page!

Four Good Reasons to Visit Your Periodontist

March 16th, 2022

For most of our oral health care needs, our family dentist is the perfect person to see. Examinations, cleanings, treating cavities, restorations such as fillings and crowns, preventive care—you’ve probably seen your regular dentist for many of these procedures.

And when it comes to treating mild gum disease, known as gingivitis, your dentist is a good person to call. If you’ve noticed bleeding gums, or gum pain when brushing, or redness, or recurring bad breath, you might have gingivitis. Often, with more attention to brushing and flossing and a professional cleaning, your gums will be healthy again in no time.

Gingivitis, though, is not the only type of gum disease. Periodontitis is the medical term for advanced gum disease, and this type of gum disease is progressive, becoming more serious over time. Untreated periodontitis can lead to infection, inflammation, and loss of tooth and bone.

If you have serious gum disease, it’s time to visit Dr. Dalessandro. Periodontists are specialists with years of advanced training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of the structures supporting your teeth, including the gums, periodontal ligaments, and surrounding bone.

Here are four very good reasons to give our Hoffman Estates, IL periodontal office a call:

  • Receding gums

If you’ve noticed that you’re seeing more tooth than you’re used to, this could be a sign of receding gums. Besides affecting the appearance of your smile, gum recession can impact your dental health.

When gums pull away from the teeth, the top of the roots, which were once protected by healthy gum tissue, are now exposed to bacteria and plaque. Because our roots are covered by cementum, which is softer than enamel, they are more vulnerable to decay, and decay progresses more quickly than it does in the tooth crown.

  • Infected/inflamed periodontal pockets

When the gums pull away from the teeth, a pocket forms between tooth and gum. Bacteria and plaque collect here, where your toothbrush can’t reach, leaving you at risk for abscess and infection.

A periodontal abscess is a pocket filled with pus which forms between tooth and gum. Beyond the swelling and pain caused by an abscess, infection can spread, damaging connective tissue and bone in the jaw, and potentially spreading to other parts of the body.

  • Loose teeth

A loose baby tooth is a welcome surprise for a child—a loose adult tooth? Not so much! Loose permanent teeth can be caused by several conditions, including an injury, osteoporosis, and pregnancy. But the one of the most common causes of loose teeth in adults is periodontitis.

Periodontal infection and inflammation can damage the ligaments and bone that support the teeth and hold them firmly in place. This damage results in loose teeth and can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.

  • Your dentist’s recommendation

If your dentist has suggested a periodontal consultation at Dalessandro Implants & Periodontics, please follow this advice!

What can a periodontist do for you?

  • Receding gums can be treated with gum grafts when the recession is extensive, both to protect the roots of your teeth and to enhance the appearance of your smile.
  • To prevent the formation of deep periodontal pockets, Dr. Dalessandro might suggest scaling and root planing procedures, non-surgical deep cleaning treatments which encourage gum tissue to reattach to smooth, clean teeth. If necessary, pockets can be cleaned and gum tissue re-secured around the teeth with pocket reduction surgery.
  • When the bone structure has been damaged, bone and tissue grafts can regenerate and restore structural integrity.

Periodontitis is progressive, and, as time goes by, infection and inflammation will continue to do damage to the gums, ligaments, and bone that support your teeth. Your Hoffman Estates, IL periodontal team is an invaluable resource for treating periodontitis and for preventing its recurrence. So if you suffer from gum disease, let’s finish with one more reason to see Dr. Dalessandro: working together proactively for a lifetime of attractive, healthy smiles.

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