Three Easy Habits that Keep Teeth White

young woman wearing sunglasses with white teethWhen it comes to whitening your teeth, there are many products out there. However, many of the whitening products advertised do not work or are not appropriate for everyone. The best way to get your teeth white and keep them maintained is to follow these tips.

Brush – Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is essential to keeping your smile white. It doesn’t matter how many whitening strips you use; you can’t whiten without brushing correctly. Use toothpaste with fluoride in it that can help you fight cavities. Some whitening toothpastes can also produce results when used properly.

Floss – Flossing helps you clean hard-to-reach areas between your teeth and is another essential habit that you need to keep your teeth white. You should be flossing at least once a day to maintain optimum oral health.

Rinse – Antimicrobial mouthwash can help keep cavity-causing bacteria at bay and keep your smile bright.

When it comes to keeping your smile bright, the best solution is to keep your hygiene routine solid. Necessary brushing, flossing, and rinsing should be all you need to keep your teeth white if the only thing staining your teeth is food and beverages.

If you have years of stains from smoking, food, and beverages, or for any reason, our dentist can provide teeth whitening in Arlington Heights and the surrounding areas.

Dental Issues that Arise During Pregnancy

pregnant womanMany changes take place in your body during pregnancy, including changes to your dental health. The increase of hormone levels in your body can alter your dental health, leaving you more susceptible to bacteria and plaque.

Gingivitis – Some women may develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis” during the first trimester. The symptoms of this condition include swollen, bleeding, red, and tender gums. Advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis, has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight, so it is essential to monitor your dental health during pregnancy.

Plaque – When your hormone levels change during pregnancy it can make your body less resistant to plaque and cavity-causing bacteria. Schedule regular cleanings with your Niles dentist so that you can avoid declining dental health during pregnancy.

Enamel Erosion – If you suffer from morning sickness, you are also at risk for enamel erosion. Morning sickness increases the acidity in your mouth, which can wear down tooth enamel. Before brushing your teeth, rinse with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to neutralize the acid and minimize erosion.

To maintain your oral health during pregnancy, we recommend scheduling regular teeth cleanings, continuing to brush and floss twice a day, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. Contact our dentist today to schedule an appointment.

How to Manage Anxiety at the Dentist

women at the dentistOne of the most common fears among adults is going to the dentist, and many of us do feel at least a little bit of anxiety at our dental appointments. Luckily, there are ways that you can manage your stress while at the dentist so that you can take care of your smile.

  1. Talk it Out – Your Niles dentist and the staff have your best interests in mind. If you’re feeling anxious, tell them! They will go out of their way to make sure you are as comfortable as possible. They see patients every day who deal with dental anxiety, so they will know how to help.
  2. Breathing Exercises – When we’re nervous, we sometimes forget to breathe. Focus on slow regular breathing to reduce stress levels and take your mind off of the exam.
  3. Jam Out – If you are undergoing a procedure and can’t handle the sound of the drill, bring a pair of headphones and listen to music.
  4. Avoid Caffeine – Caffeine, and high-sugar foods can increase your anxiety, so take care to avoid them before an appointment. Before coming to the dentist, eat some high-protein food, which can produce a calming effect.
  5. Hand Signals – Sometimes anxiety is caused by feeling helpless. When the dentist is working in your mouth, it can be hard to communicate. Before beginning the exam or procedure, agree on a set of hand signals with your dentist so that you can let them know you want them to ease off or stop what they are doing. This can make you feel more empowered and help you get through your visit.
  6. Choose a Good Time – Feeling rushed can heighten feelings of anxiety, so choose an appointment time that won’t stress you out. Don’t make an appointment you have to rush to attend or one where you have to be somewhere directly after the appointment. Early morning or Saturday appointments may be more relaxing for you.

Make an appointment with our dentist today. We serve patients in Niles, Skokie, Gurnee, Arlington Heights, and Vernon Hills, IL.

Fun Ways to Encourage Healthy Dental Habits in Kids

little boy at the dentistTeaching your kids proper oral hygiene habits early on will set them up for a lifetime of great dental exams. Regular visits to our dentist in Niles and supervised brushing are great ways to set the foundation, but sometimes kids have a difficult time sustaining interest in oral health. That is where this guide comes in. We will show you some helpful tips to make oral hygiene fun.

Experiments – Hands-on learning is a great way for kids to absorb information. There are a few dental experiments that you can do with your kids to encourage them to brush and floss, including the egg test. Submerge a hardboiled egg in a glass of dark soda for 10 minutes. When you remove it, you will see that the drink has stained the egg. Then, give your kids a toothbrush and toothpaste and have them brush the egg, returning it to its former whiteness. This not only shows kids the dangers of drinking soda, but it also teaches them how brushing can improve their smile.

Brushing Charts – A toothbrushing chart works a lot like a chore chart and can help forgetful kids remember to brush and floss. Every time they remember, they get to put a sticker on their chart. Kids will feel accomplished when they fill their chart for the week with stickers, and will encourage them to continue brushing and flossing every day.

Dental Books – Many kids are afraid of dental visits, but reading dental books with them can help ease anxieties. Choose books where characters visit the dentist or learn about oral health. Some great titles include “Arthur’s Tooth,” “Clarabella’s Teeth,” and “The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist.”

Do You Believe These Dental Health Myths? – Pt. 2

woman thinkingIn our last post, we debunked four dangerous dental health myths. Here are five more myths you may have believed:

Sugar is primary cause of cavities. In reality, all carbohydrates contain sugar that can break down your teeth. Starchy foods like crackers and chips are just as bad for your teeth as sugary candy.

You get sensitive teeth when your enamel wears away. While enamel erosion does cause tooth sensitivity, it can also be caused by a host of other problems like gum recession and even the use of certain whitening products. If you are experiencing sensitivity, you should talk to your dentist about possible solutions.

Gum disease is only a dental issue. Gum disease can be a sign of other diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and even some cancers. It is best to look into all of the possibilities when seeking treatment.

Whiter teeth are healthier teeth. While it is true that unhealthy things like smoking or junk food can stain your teeth, there are plenty of totally normal ways our teeth can become discolored. Certain medications, the natural process of aging, and even healthy foods and drinks can darken your teeth. Luckily, teeth whitening in Arlington Heights, IL, can be a great cosmetic fix.

If your teeth feel healthy, you don’t need a checkup. A lot of dental issues can only be spotted by a trained professional in the early stages. You might not even notice anything wrong, but your dentist can catch an issue before it becomes painful and expensive to fix. Visit your dentist for an exam and cleaning every six months to ensure that your smile in the best condition possible.

Do You Believe These Dental Health Myths? – Pt. 1

a woman with question marks over her headThere are many misconceptions out there when it comes to caring for your teeth. In the quest for good oral health, we’re here to set the record straight on these dental health myths.

The harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth. The reality is that excessive brushing is just as bad as not brushing enough. Use a soft-bristled brush and a gentle brushing motion to avoid wearing away the enamel on your teeth.

Sugar-free gum is the same as brushing. While sugar-free gum is good for your teeth, it cannot replace brushing. Chew sugar-free gum between meals to protect your teeth, but make sure you are brushing twice a day to avoid tooth decay.

If your gums bleed when you floss, leave them alone. Bleeding gums are caused by inflammation of the gums. This inflammation is caused when bacteria builds up in the places where you brush doesn’t reach. If you floss on a regular basis, the inflammation with go down, and the bleeding will stop over time.

Your dentist won’t know you’ve been slacking on brushing if you brush well before your appointment. Unfortunately, your dentist can see if you’ve been neglecting your oral health no matter how well you brush before the appointment. You can’t undo the damage you’ve done to your teeth by ignoring your dental health.

These are just a few of the dental health myths that have been circulating over the years. In our next post, we’ll debunk some more myths. In the meantime, be sure to schedule your appointment with our dentist in Skokie or one of our other locations.

The Effects of Alcohol on Your Teeth

Clinking glasses of red wine in hands on rustic wooden planks backgroundMany adults enjoy an alcoholic beverage now and then. What you may not know, is that alcohol can have an adverse effect on your oral health. As with best things, it is best to consume alcohol in moderation or not at all, because this is how it can hurt your teeth:

Sugar Content – All forms of alcohol contain sugar because sugar is what facilitates fermentation. Like the bacteria that ferment alcohol, the bacteria in your mouth also lives on sugar. These sugary alcoholic drinks can lead to tooth decay. If you drink, stick to drinks with lower sugar content. Dry wine tends to have less sugar, so stick with that.

Dry Mouth – Drinking alcohol decreases the flow of saliva in your mouth. Saliva is your mouth’s natural cleaning agent and is responsible for flushing bacteria from your mouth. Instead of washing bacteria away, drinking alcohol causes it to cling to your teeth and damage your enamel. Be sure to drink plenty of water between drinks to replenish the saliva in your mouth, or chew sugar-free gum.

Stains – Dark-colored drinks like red wine can stain your teeth. Choose lighter colored drinks, or follow your drinks with water or sugar-free gum to prevent stains.

Keep your teeth as healthy as possible by scheduling regular visits with your dentist in Skokie and the surrounding areas.

Healthy Foods that Whiten Your Teeth

woman shopping for apples at the grocery store

We all know that eating certain foods will stain your teeth, but did you know that you can add foods to your diet that act as natural whiteners?

Strawberries – Strawberries contain an enzyme called malic acid that acts as a teeth whitener. Not only are these delicious berries a healthy and delicious snack, but they can also help you smile brighter!

Fibrous Foods – Crunchy, fibrous foods like apples, celery, and carrots can help remove stains from your teeth by activating saliva production. Saliva is your mouth’s built-in cleaning agent and helps remove bacteria from your teeth. Try finishing your lunch with one of these foods to keep your teeth fresh between brushings.

Tart Fruits – Tart fruits like pineapple and citrus also fight stains by increasing saliva production. Be careful, though – citrus is highly acidic and can cause tooth sensitivity if you indulge in too much.

Baking Soda – Toothpaste containing baking soda not only do a better job of removing plaque, but they also help whiten your teeth. While you can use baking soda directly on your teeth, it is more abrasive than your average toothpaste, so do this sparingly.

Dairy – Foods like yogurt, cheese, and milk contain lactic acid, which has been shown to fend off tooth decay. Some research indicates that proteins in yogurt bind to your teeth and protect them from acid. As for whitening, your best bet is to indulge in hard cheeses every now and again.

Do you want to whiten your smile safely and quickly? See your dentist! Contact Northwestern Dental Group for teeth whitening in Arlington Heights, IL, or one of our other four locations.

Bruxism: Symptoms and Treatment

woman sleepingDo you wake up in the morning with a headache, jaw pain, or even chipped teeth? You could be suffering from a sleep condition called bruxism.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition where the sufferer grinds their teeth at night. You may have it and not even be aware. If left untreated, bruxism can cause damage to your teeth and jaw. About 8% of adults are affected by this conditioning, and it is often first noticed by a partner or spouse awakened by the sound of grinding teeth.

Knowing the Signs

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, be on the lookout for the symptoms:

  • Worn down teeth
  • Jaw tenderness
  • Pain in the temples
  • Jaw muscle swelling
  • Morning headaches
  • Pain and tenderness when chewing

If left untreated, the symptoms will only become more severe, leading to things like:

  • Tension headaches and migraines
  • Earaches
  • Ear congestion
  • Tinnitus
  • Sensitive, cracked, or broken teeth
  • Buzzing or hissing in the ear


The best way to treat bruxism is to wear a mouth guard at night. Your dentist in Skokie can have one specially fitted to your mouth to prevent the damage from teeth grinding. This condition cannot be cured, but you can still protect your teeth from further damage

Dealing with Sensitive Teeth after a Whitening Treatment

woman at the dentistGetting your teeth whitened at the dentist is an effective way to remove discoloration and stains from teeth, but many people experience some tooth sensitivity afterward. Here is a quick guide to help you deal with tooth sensitivity after your teeth whitening in Arlington Heights.

Desensitizing Treatment – Your dentist can apply a desensitizing varnish to your teeth after your whitening treatment to help you manage sensitivity.

Gentle Brushing Technique – Brushing too aggressively isn’t good for anyone, but it can be painful after getting your teeth whitened. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and lukewarm water, and brush in gentle, circular motions.

Sensitivity Toothpaste – Use sensitivity toothpaste to help treat your sensitive teeth. You can have one prescribed to you, or pick one up from the store.

Dietary Changes – You may find that cold or hot foods cause sharp pain in your teeth. Try to avoid hot or cold foods for at least two days after your whitening treatment.

As always, we recommend having your teeth whitened safely in your dentist’s office, as it can be risky to do it yourself with an at-home treatment. You also want to make sure that your teeth can withstand the treatment before moving forward. Talk to your dentist about your tooth sensitivity problems, or about getting a whitening treatment today.