We all remember as kids sticking out our tongues to shock adults with its blue, red or green hue after eating some sort of dye-filled candy or ice pop. It’s a rite of passage that makes us smile.
But when we look in the mirror as adults and see something different about our tongue, it gives us pause because, well, if our tongue looks weird, something must be wrong.
The dentists at Southeast Family Dental understand that a change in your tongue can be disturbing. Some changes in appearance may indicate other conditions that should be addressed. But you can rest assured that every time you visit us here in our office, we check your oral health overall, including your tongue. In between visits, brush, floss and check out your tongue.
I see spots on my tongue
If you notice white spots on your tongue, it is a good idea to contact your dentist or doctor. This is a common symptom of thrush. Oral thrush is also called oral candidiasis, which is a candida fungus that also causes yeast infections in other parts of the body. Usually the body can fend off the bacteria that grows into the fungus, but not always. That’s why oral thrush is common in babies, the elderly, people with dentures, and people with compromised immune systems.
People who routinely use inhalers that contain steroids can also be susceptible to killing off the “good” bacteria in the mouth, allowing a yeast infection to flourish. The spots can spread throughout the mouth, and even be transferred into the esophagus causing additional symptoms. Although the white spots can be scraped off the tongue, thrush will return. It is treated with prescribed medication.
My tongue is white
In this instance, the most common culprit is an overgrowth of tissue like a callous. Unlike thrush, it cannot be scraped off. It is usually caused by a sharp edge or rough tooth rubbing on the tongue. The remedy is often fixing the tooth, crown or dental fixture causing the irritation. However, with more cell turnover, there is a higher chance for mutation, increasing the risk for tongue cancer. So consult your dentist if you notice a white growth on your tongue.
My tongue is red or red and splotchy
It may sound funny, but there is a condition called geographic tongue. It is called that because the red patches look like a map and the areas of redness moves around to different locations on the tongue. It may be a vitamin deficiency that causes the condition, and it can be painful and affect eating. Other than avoiding foods that cause it to flare up like spicy or acidic foods, there is not another treatment to “cure” or prevent the condition. Dentists often recommend a topical anesthetic rinse to numb the affected areas on the tongue so the patient can eat.
Just like you brush your pearly whites to keep them clean and healthy, keeping an eye on your tongue is a good idea. Whatever you see, don’t panic, just make an appointment to see us here at Southeast Family Dental. We can help you figure out what’s going on in your mouth!
Did you know that you can save the planet by brushing your teeth? Not in the way you have been doing for the past so many years, though. Introducing, Bite Toothpaste Bits! What is Bite Toothpaste Bits? Bite Toothpaste Bits are dried powder tablets that come in recyclable glass jars. We’ll get into the nitty-gritty details later. It is the name of the brand given for chewable toothpaste tablets created by a US company. The company is named Bite. It may sound odd to include the name “paste” in it, knowing it doesn’t come in that form at all. Well initially. But on the bright side, how else can you introduce it to a market which has been using toothpaste their whole life. So, adding the word “Bits” in the end addresses that. How Does Bite Toothpaste Work? All you need to do is bite or chew on the toothpaste tablets as a replacement for the usual toothpaste you’re familiar with. As you do so, the tablet interacts with your saliva and turns into a paste. With the aid of a moist toothbrush, you then start brushing. As with regular toothpaste, it is not meant to be swallowed. How is Bite Toothpaste Different/ Unique? Compared to the traditional way of brushing, biting into a tablet instead of the regular paste in a tube is quite a unique experience in itself. Compared to the other toothpaste tablets in the market today, the Bite Toothpaste Bits result has a pleasant minty, smooth watery paste. Minus a clumpy or sometimes grainy texture. Another characteristic of this particular dental tablet is, it’s not as thick as the regular toothpaste once you start brushing. Another unique feature of the Toothpaste Bits is the low Relative Dentin Abrasivity or RDA. RDA is a method used by dental organizations to measure toothpaste’s abrasiveness from harmful, high, medium, and low. Top of the line whitening toothpaste usually has a score of 100-150, which falls in the highly abrasive category. Bite’s Mint falls on the 43 category and the Mint Charcoal way lower at 24. To put this into perspective, the higher the rating, the more abrasive it is. Which means it can cause a whole lot of damage to your teeth. However, this, in turn, removes stains more effectively. The comfort of using Bite bits on a long term basis is that you won’t have to worry about damaging your teeth, which is what we’re trying to do in the first place. Yet another unique advantage of the Toothpaste bits is, the company claims the TSA approves it. Although traveling isn’t much of a thing nowadays, it’s best to know that you can bring this along if ever you do get to travel in the future. Since it’s smaller than a tube of toothpaste, it is more portable. You can bring as many as you need in a small bottle or resealable plastic rather than a large tube. Flavors and Ingredients Bite Toothpaste has three flavors to choose from. Fresh Mint, Activated Charcoal, and Berry Twist. They also have the seasonal Autumn Spice, only made available seasonally. The ingredients used are all organic and abide by the USFDA guidelines. Vegans can also use this product. * Fresh Mint is composed of Xylitol, Erythritol, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Mint Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Menthol, Sodium Bicarbonate, Rice Extract, Zinc Citrate, Silicon Dioxide. * Mint Charcoal ingredients are Xylitol, Erythritol, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Mint Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Menthol, Sodium Bicarbonate, Charcoal, Rice Extract, Zinc Citrate, Silicon Dioxide. * Berry Twist is an excellent option for kids. It’s made up of Xylitol, Erythritol, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Rice Extract Blend, Zinc Citrate, Silicon Dioxide. * Autumn Spice ingredients are Xylitol, Erythritol, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Spiced Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Menthol, Rice Extract, Zinc Citrate, Silicon Dioxide. It’s also important to note that all flavors do not contain fluoride. Note: Dr. Geiger and Dr. Jones love this concept but wouldn’t buy until a fluoride option is available. Environment Friendly As you may have guessed, based on the ingredients above, the Bite Toothpaste Bits is excellent for the environment. The fact that it uses self-sustaining materials like the recyclable glass jars makes it a zero-waste product. It can be refilled with bits that come in biodegradable packaging. Compared to the plastic tubes that we throw in the trash how many times in a year. If you’re not yet aware, around 1 billion tubes of toothpaste are disposed of every year. If you want a clearer picture, that’s over 50 times the Empire State Building’s size when piled up together, ending up in landfills and worse, in the ocean. At the same time, more than 100 million animals are being used and tested in food, drug, cosmetics, and chemical tests in the US alone. Imagine the changes it could make if we use these toothpaste bits that contain no harsh chemicals, the use of clean ingredients made in a cruelty-free laboratory. How Much Does It Cost? Subscription for $30. Save 38% 4-months supply of bits with 248 tablets in a recyclable glass jar. Refills will be sent every month after that. Free shipping. The Duo for $20 2 Bottles containing 62 tablets each Naturally Whitening Mint and Activated Charcoal Naturally Whitening and Fresh Mint for $12 One bottle containing 62 tablets. Shipping fees depend on the location, but approximately it would cost $3. While you’re saving the environment, why don’t you throw in 2 pcs of soft-bristled bamboo brushes with Moso bamboo handles and detachable heads? Don’t forget the two bottles of 30 meters of unflavored, plastic-free, vegan dental floss too. Each package costs $12 each. So there you go. You can contribute to saving our planet in the simplest way possible. By doing something, you have already been doing for as long as you can remember. Only now, instead of the regular toothpaste, use Bite Toothpaste Bits. Happy brushing!
At Southeast Family Dental, we get a lot of patient questions, and we take each question seriously. Recently, a patient submitted this online question: “When my front tooth was first growing in, I bumped into a metal pole. When it finally grew in, it had a big, white spot on it. It is not a stain, but over 10 years later, it is just as bright and in the same shape. I was just wondering if it could be like a dent?” We at Southeast Family Dental understand this patient’s concern. The first thing most people notice about a person is their smile. However, if you have a noticeable white spot on your tooth, it can make you self-conscious as well as concerned that the white spot may indicate a bigger problem. In this particular situation, the white spot on the patient’s tooth could be from: Trauma to a baby tooth which the patient didn’t know about. This trauma could have caused a problem with the formation of the patient’s permanent tooth known as enamel hypocalcification. When a tooth is disturbed during its formation, abnormal enamel may form. What this means is, during the tooth’s formation, normal amounts of enamel are produced, but the enamel is hypomineralized—it contains less calcium. This defect causes the enamel to be softer than normal and the tooth’s surface to be discolored – hence, the white spot in this patient’s case. When the patient traumatized the tooth when they hit the pole; however, this normally doesn’t cause white spots to form. How can white spots be removed? Depending on the depth of the enamel discoloration, your dentist has a few treatment options to remove or cover the affected area. If the discoloration is light, your dentist may be able to polish off a surface-level spot with a mild abrasive. Or, your dentist may bleach your teeth so they’re the same color. If the discoloration is deep, your dentist may apply a tooth-colored filling or composite resin to repair the discolored tooth. Or, for larger surfaces, your dentist can conceal the white spot using porcelain to restore the overall look of your smile.
Making sure you have excellent oral hygiene is important, so you can prevent issues and problems from happening. One of the best things you can do is daily brushing and flossing. Most people remember to brush their teeth, but you should also brush your tongue. Failing to do this can lead to issues like black hairy tongue. This highly unpleasant sounding health issue afflicts tongues all across the world, and you need to know about it so that you can figure out how to combat it. In this article: * What is it? * Where does it occur? * Symptoms * The colors can differ * What can make it worse? * Treating it * What to expect What is it? Black hairy tongue, despite its alarming name, is a harmless condition that can occur when you have too much bacteria in your mouth. What happens is that the taste buds on the top of your tongue start to accumulate a build-up of bacteria, and this winds up creating red blood cell pigments, which can give the tongue a black complexion. Where does it occur? The top of the tongue towards the back of your tongue is the place that you are most likely to see the development of black hairy tongue in your mouth. It can extend towards the top of the tongue as well. The small projections that cover the tongue will attract a build up of germs and collect an overgrowth of bacteria. After enough bacteria builds up, you can begin to see it on the tongue. There are a lot of factors that you need to keep in mind to try to avoid black hairy tongue. Symptoms It is generally the larger taste buds at the back of the tongue that are the place that sees this condition start and manifest itself. However, it is unlikely that you will feel any sort of difference if you have black hairy tongue, as those who have it generally don’t report many symptoms, aside from a tickling sensation in the roof of the mouth, as well as a bit of a metallic taste. In rare cases, people have reported a feeling of nausea and gagging, as well as a burning sensation on the tongue caused if there is too much yeast growth, but this is less common. The colors can differ Though referred to as black hairy tongue, this is a condition that can differ slightly, and the colors can also differ somewhat as well. Much of the time, the condition is accompanied by black discoloration on the tongue. However, there are a lot of other colors that can also be signs of black hairy tongue, and these include tan, brown, green, white, or even yellow! What can make it worse? There are a number of factors that can exacerbate this condition, and wind up making things worse in the long run. It is not known exactly what causes black hairy tongue, but there are certainly factors that can contribute to it and make it worse. For instance, smoking is one of the things that can make this condition worse, along with too much tea and coffee, antibiotics, and poor oral hygiene. Treating it There are a few ideas you can come up with that will help you to improve the condition moving forward, and this is very important. Making use of a tongue scraper is one a great way of doing this, and you need to look into that. But it is important to make sure you aren’t too aggressive with the scraper, because if you tear off the projections, they could well wind up growing back quicker. Using a mouthwash can also help to remove the bacteria when used with a tongue scraper. What to expect You need to know what to expect when you have black hairy tongue, and how to go about treating it. Once it develops, it is treatable but there is also a chance that it may come back now and again in cycles. You might need to get a medicated mouthwash that can help to treat it; make sure you consult a professional to help you with this. Hairy black tongue is not pleasant, but it is exactly the kind of thing that can happen when you aren’t looking after your mouth carefully enough. That’s why you need to make sure you are aware of this kind of condition, as well as what causes it. If you can do your best to improve your oral hygiene, you are going to have a much more pleasant and comfortable life as a result.
“Defeat Monster Mouth” is the theme for Children’s Dental Health Month sponsored every February by the American Dental Association (ADA). Southeast Family Dental supports the ADA’s goal for all children to have quality dental health care. Parents Do Your Part Take good care of your baby’s teeth as soon as they come in. Even little teeth need daily care. Clean your baby’s teeth by wiping with a soft clean cloth every day before bedtime. Provide a soft baby toothbrush so they learn how it feels on their teeth and gums. It’s true that baby teeth (primary teeth) are replaced by permanent teeth, but this doesn’t mean it’s not important to take care of the first set of teeth. When babies and toddlers are taught that oral hygiene is important and enjoyable they will continue good hygiene habits when their permanent teeth come in, starting around the age of five. Schedule First Dental Visit When children are not afraid to visit the dentist, they are less likely to avoid the dentist as adults. Your child’s first dental visit should be scheduled between one to two years of age. This short visit helps your child feel comfortable in the dental chair. Our friendly team at Southeast Family Dental will ensure that your child’s first visit is easy and fun! Set a Good Example Parents who take care of their own teeth and visit the dentist twice a year set an important example for their children. This is especially important when children become teenagers, because snacking and sugar consumption tend to spike in the teenage years, along with cavities and gum disease. So, “Defeat Monster Mouth” and call Southeast Family Dental for all of your family’s dental care.
Do you find yourself crying out, “Ice cream hurts my teeth!”? If you are one of the estimated 40 million adults in the United States who experience tooth sensitivity to cold, eating ice cream can actually be a less than enjoyable experience! Tooth sensitivity can be minor or indicate a serious dental problem. When a patient states, “Ice cream hurts my teeth”, or complains of general cold sensitivity, the team at Southeast Family Dental will carefully examine the patient’s teeth to determine the cause. Understanding the causes of sensitive teeth is the key to alleviating the pain. CAUSES OF SENSITIVE TEETH 1. Brushing too hard Vigorously brushing your teeth back and forth with a hard-bristled toothbrush can gradually wear down tooth enamel at the gum line and expose the nerve endings. Exposed and irritated nerve endings can cause sharp tooth pain. Southeast Family Dental recommends patients use a soft bristled toothbrush. 2. Using tooth-whitening toothpastes Whitening tooth pastes can give you a brighter smile, but they often contain course whitening particles and bleaching agents that can cause tooth discomfort and sensitivity. Take a break from tooth-whitening toothpastes to see if your tooth sensitivity subsides. 3. Naturally shrinking gums If you’re over 40, it could be that your gums are showing signs of age and pulling away from your teeth and uncovering your tooth roots. Tooth roots don’t have enamel to protect them so they are more sensitive than the rest of your tooth. Southeast Family Dental can recommend fluoride treatments and desensitizing toothpastes to help reduce sensitivity. 4. Periodontal disease Regular dental cleanings are important for removing plaque and avoiding periodontal disease. Plaque and calculus buildup on your teeth can make your gums pull back and expose nerve endings in the roots. Treating periodontal disease early can prevent tooth sensitivity and tooth loss. 5. A cracked tooth or filling When your break a tooth, the crack can go all the way down to the root. The crack may not be visible but you’ll notice sharp pain when your tooth is cold. If you are thinking to yourself, “Ice cream hurts my teeth!”, don’t keep it to yourself. The Southeast Family Dental team will take an x-ray of the tooth and determine if your cracked tooth can be repaired with a new filling or crown. 6. Grinding your teeth Grinding you teeth while sleeping can wear down tooth enamel and expose nerve endings in the tooth and cause sensitivity to cold. A custom- made mouth guard is recommended to prevent tooth grinding and tooth sensitivity. 7. Tooth decay An untreated cavity or a worn dental filling may expose nerve endings in a tooth. A cold drink or treat will cause a sharp pain in the affected tooth. Regular dental check-ups and exams can detect tooth decay before it causes tooth pain.