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19

Oct

Comments Off on October is National Dental Hygiene Month
Dental Hygiene, General Dentistry, Oral Health

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

Every October, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and Colgate sponsor a month-long celebration for dental hygienists around the country. Dental hygienists are crucial members of your healthcare team and are responsible for keeping patients’ mouths (and bodies) healthy. This year, the theme for National Dental Hygiene Month is Faces of Courage, and rightfully so. Join your dentist in Douglasville as we celebrate our dental hygienists by sharing just what they do and promote how you can become one yourself. 

Duties of a Dental Hygienist 

Your dental hygienist plays a key role in helping your mouth stay healthy and cavity and disease-free. They’re also often the first line of defense as well as the first person you’ll meet with when you visit your dentist in Douglasville. Even though the main responsibility of a dental hygienist is to clean teeth, they also do a lot more including: 

1) Cleaning Teeth – Let’s talk about the most obvious responsibility of a dental hygienist — cleaning teeth. Now, even though you may brush and floss every day, the cleaning you get from your hygienist is different than the one you get at home. Hygienists are trained to gently remove plaque and tartar buildup that a regular brushing won’t touch, which gives you a super-clean feel and super-protected mouth. 

2) Learning About Your Health – But as we’ve mentioned before, your dental hygienist does so much more than clean your teeth. One of those additional duties is learning and getting to know each and every patient on a personal level. This means your hygienist will often talk with you about your oral health and overall health history, discuss concerns you may have, and review medications or ailments. Doing so allows them to both know you better and treat you better every time you visit your dentist in Douglasville

3) Educating Patients – Our dental hygienists are passionate about teeth and are committed to doing everything they can to help patients stay healthy. They’re always quick to offer up tips on the best way to brush your teeth, how to floss, and can even tell you what products to use so you can maintain excellent oral health. 

4) Focusing on Prevention – There’s a good reason we recommend a dental cleaning every six months — to prevent problems from happening in the first place. To do this, your hygienist will often apply fluoride or sealants to protect teeth from the damaging effects of acids and bacteria. 

Keep in mind, different states and different regions have different rules, so some of these responsibilities can change from area to area and office to office.

How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Dental Hygienist? 

Depending on the program and degree level, it takes anywhere between 2-4 years to become a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists must complete at least two years of schooling at a community college, technical school, or university. Usually a hygienist will earn an associate’s degree, but higher-level degrees are also available. After earning a diploma, hygienists are then required to take a state, local, or regional licensing test before they can practice in a dental office. 

Now that you know a little bit more about all of the things dental hygienists do to keep you healthy, make sure you thank them the next time you visit your dentist in Douglasville.

29

Sep

Comments Off on How Cancer Treatment Affects Your Mouth 
General Dentistry, Oral Health

How Cancer Treatment Affects Your Mouth 

How Cancer Treatment Affects Your Mouth 

As we head into the month of October, we tend to see pink ribbons everywhere in support of breast cancer research and breast cancer patients. Cancer is one of those scary words nobody wants to hear, and it can cause feelings of uncertainness and weariness of what treatment will bring. While there are sure to be many thoughts racing through your mind following any cancer diagnosis, there’s one thing you may not immediately think of — seeing your dentist in Douglasville. However, this visit, and follow up visits, can actually help make cancer treatment more successful. 

Chemotherapy

The cancer treatment we tend to be most familiar with is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has been used for many years and can help kill cancer cells. However, it certainly doesn’t come without side effects. While these side effects can affect any area of the body, there are certain ones that directly affect the mouth. Sometimes these side effects are so serious that your medical team may decide to temporarily stop treatment until the side effects are resolved. To help avoid this, it’s important to see your dentist in Douglasville prior to starting chemotherapy. 

Chemotherapy and Oral Health

As we’ve mentioned, chemotherapy can be really effective at killing cancer cells. But it can also harm healthy cells in the process, including cells in the mouth. This damage can affect any part of your mouth from your teeth to the soft tissues such as your gums and the glands that create saliva. Some common oral health side effects of chemotherapy include: 

  • Pain with eating or talking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • Sores or ulcers
  • Peeling, burning tongue
  • Infection

These side effects can happen to anyone, and they do tend to vary from person to person. Make sure you talk with your cancer treatment team as well as your dentist in Douglasville during treatment so any side effects are caught and treated early. If they’re not, some infections or side effects can be so severe they’ll cause a delay or pause in your cancer treatment. 

The Importance of Regular Dentistry

Seeing your dentist every six months is recommended for everyone, but those undergoing cancer treatment may need to visit more often. After all, your dentist in Douglasville is a key part of your cancer treatment team, and seeing them regularly can help avoid or keep serious side effects at bay. Additionally, if you see your dentist before treatment begins, you can rest assured that you’ll start treatment with an already healthy mouth, reducing the risk of complications. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, schedule an appointment with your dentist, ideally one month prior to beginning treatment.

21

Sep

Comments Off on How to Fix a Gummy Smile
General Dentistry, Oral Health

How to Fix a Gummy Smile

How to Fix a Gummy Smile

Having a gummy smile can affect someone’s self-confidence, and if you’re someone who sees more gum tissue than teeth when smiling or talking, you may know exactly what we’re talking about. In fact, it’s not uncommon for your dentist in Douglasville to hear patients say they’re embarrassed by their smiles, and some even avoid smiling as much as possible because they’re so worried about their appearance. This is no way to live, especially when there are treatments available to fix a gummy smile.

The Best Way to Fix a Gummy Smile

If you’ve been bothered by your gummy smile for a while, you may have been searching for a solution for quite some time. But fixing a gummy smile isn’t as easy as a one-size-fits-all solution. Your dentist in Douglasville will first need to perform an exam and oftentimes x-rays and other photos in order to get an accurate picture of what’s causing your gummy smile and determine the best way to fix it. Depending on your specific situation, some of the potential treatments to fix your gummy smile may include:

  • Scaling & Root Planing
    Sometimes a gummy smile is caused by an infection of the gum tissue. This infection can cause gums to become swollen and inflamed, covering more of your white teeth than you’d like. If this is the case, your dentist in Douglasville will most likely want to start with a deep teeth cleaning called scaling and root planing. A scaling and root planing treatment removes bacteria up under the gum line and can help remove infection, inflammation, and the gummy look. However, if this treatment alone doesn’t resolve the infection or give you the appearance you’re looking for, additional gum disease treatment or cosmetic dentistry treatment may be appropriate.
  • Gum Lift & Crown Lengthening
    Many times a gummy smile is the result of the way our teeth erupted, and genetics may be to blame. As our adult teeth are forming and erupting, sometimes there’s just too much gum tissue covering the teeth. The good news is often there’s healthy enamel hiding just under the gum overgrowth all we have to do is uncover it. This is when a gum lift or crown lengthening comes into play. A gum lift procedure does exactly what it sounds like — lifts and removes the excess gum tissue to reveal more of each tooth. Now, when there’s an overabundance of tissue, your dentist may recommend a crown lengthening. This procedure removes and restructures the gum tissue as well as the bones around the teeth. The result of both procedures is fewer gums and more teeth.
  • Lip Lowering
    Another likely cause of a gummy smile is a hyperactive upper lip which occurs when the muscles of the upper lip are too active. This can cause the upper lip near the nose to protrude up too high and show off more of the gums than normal. The best way to fix a hyperactive upper lip is through lip lowering treatment. During this procedure, a small section of the gum tissue under the upper lip is removed, and then the remaining top and bottom are reconnected, ultimately shortening the lip and making it impossible for the upper lip to rise as high as it used to.
  • Orthodontics
    Orthodontics, including traditional metal braces as well as invisible aligners such as Invisalign and ClearCorrect, may also be the best way to fix a gummy smile, especially if you have a bad bite. You see, a bad bite occurs when the top jaw and bottom jaw don’t align properly. This can cause several oral health problems, including jaw pain, and when the top jaw protrudes out farther than it should, a gummy smile. Fixing the bite can resolve a gummy smile and give you super-straight teeth at the same time — bonus!

Nobody should have to live a life where they are embarrassed to smile and laugh. They should feel confident about the way their smile looks so they can truly share their emotions with the world. If you’re embarrassed by your gummy smile, don’t wait any longer. Schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville today and start living a life full of confidence and smiles!

31

Aug

Comments Off on Why Do Our Teeth Fall Out? 
General Dentistry, Oral Health

Why Do Our Teeth Fall Out? 

Why Do Our Teeth Fall Out? 

There’s a myth out there that says we’re almost guaranteed to lose some of our teeth as we get older. But a study by the American Dental Association says otherwise. In fact, more adults are keeping more of their natural teeth longer now than ever before. But that doesn’t ultimately mean that we’re all safe from tooth loss. Join your dentist in Douglasville as we take a closer look at some of the main reasons why our teeth fall out, some of which have nothing to do with age. 

Periodontal Disease 

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, accounts for 70% of all adult tooth loss in America and is the main reason our teeth fall out. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue that can damage both the gum tissue and the jaw bone that hold our teeth in place. While anyone can develop gum disease, it does tend to affect older Americans more. For example, a little over 8% of Americans between the ages and 20 and 64 have gum disease compared to 17% for those over 65. The best way to combat the side effects of gum disease is to seek treatment from your dentist in Douglasville early. 

Cavities

Cavities are something that affects over 91% of Americans at least once in their lives, and they’re usually just a minor inconvenience. However, as with many things related to our health, if a cavity isn’t treated while it’s still small it can lead to other, more complex problems. As a cavity grows larger and deeper into the tooth, it will start to affect the tooth’s pulp, roots, and nerves. This can be painful and may require root canal treatment or tooth extraction and therefore, the loss of a tooth. 

Accidents

Our teeth can also fall out as a result of an accident. Many times these accidents occur from playing sports without a mouthguard but can also happen because of a fall, car accident, or other unexpected mishaps that involve trauma to the mouth. While nobody ever anticipates an accident and you can’t necessarily prevent them from happening, you can (and should) wear a mouthguard when playing sports. 

Other Causes

Believe it or not, there are some reasons our teeth fall out that seemingly have nothing to do with our mouths. You see, there are several whole-body health problems that cause problems throughout the body as well as in the mouth, including tooth loss. Make sure you tell your dentist in Douglasville your entire health history, so they know if they need to pay extra special attention to your oral health. Some of the most common health problems associated with tooth loss include:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Arthritis

As we grow up, we do not need to simply accept the fact that we will lose our teeth. We can take matters into our own hands and actively work to protect our smiles for life by brushing and flossing our teeth every day, eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding tobacco use, and of course, seeing your dentist in Douglasville every six months.

20

Aug

Comments Off on Is Getting a Root Canal Really That Bad? 
Oral Health

Is Getting a Root Canal Really That Bad? 

Is Getting a Root Canal Really That Bad? 

When someone tells you that they need to have a root canal, do you immediately grimace and start thanking your lucky stars that it’s not happening to you? You’re not alone. Many people who hear the words “root” and “canal” together shudder in fear. After all, this dental treatment doesn’t have the best reputation. But we’re here to tell you that all the horror stories, all of the overdramatic representations of root canals on television, and all of the terror surrounding them are unnecessary. That’s right, your dentist in Douglasville wants you to know that getting a root canal isn’t really all that bad.  

Why Are People Scared of Root Canals? 

Historically, and before the dental technology that we have now, getting a root canal may have been a bit different than today. That, paired with how root canals are represented in entertainment, has created a long-standing assumption that root canals are terrible, horrible, and super painful. However, thanks to advances in technology, root canal treatment is very similar to that of having a cavity filled. 

What Does a Root Canal Do for Someone? 

A root canal may be recommended by your dentist in Douglasville if decay or infection has moved deep into the inner workings of the tooth and a filling alone won’t fix the problem. This level of decay or infection also tends to come along with tooth pain, but a root canal will successfully remove the decay and actually ease the pain. So thanks to a root canal, your pain will be relieved and your tooth will be saved.

What’s Involved in a Root Canal Treatment? 

Understanding a root canal treatment can really help decrease fear or anxiety and overturn old assumptions of what treatment is like. Let’s take a closer look at how a dentist in Douglasville performs a root canal. 

  • First, your dentist will completely numb the area so you won’t feel a thing. This makes a root canal virtually pain free. 
  • Next, a tiny hole is made in the affected tooth which allows your dentist to access the inside where all the roots and nerves are located.
  • Then, the area is thoroughly cleaned out. Your dentist will empty out the tooth canals and remove everything inside including, any infection, pulp, and nerves. This completely eliminates that tooth’s ability to feel anything, alleviating the pain you had prior to treatment. 
  • Finally, the canals are sealed and capped off with a dental crown to keep anything from getting back inside the tooth. 

Do You Need a Root Canal? 

Besides tooth pain, there are other signs that you may need a root canal including: 

  • Increased pain while chewing or with applied pressure
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold that doesn’t go away quickly
  • A small raised bump on the gums near the tooth that hurts
  • Tooth discoloration 
  • Gum inflammation  

Any of the above or any combination thereof may indicate that you need a root canal. However, not every case of tooth pain, sensitivity, or inflammation automatically means a root canal is in your future. Talk with your dentist in Douglasville to find the source of these problems as well as the best treatment for your specific situation. 

If you think you may need a root canal, schedule an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later. Getting treatment earlier can make all the difference in saving your tooth. And if you do need a root canal, remember that it’s to help make the pain go away, not to cause it. 

30

Jul

Comments Off on Top 4 Things That May Explain Your Discolored Teeth
General Dentistry, Oral Health

Top 4 Things That May Explain Your Discolored Teeth

Top 4 Things That May Explain Your Discolored Teeth

Does your smile appear dull, dingy, and discolored? You’re not alone. In fact, Americans spend over a billion dollars on smile whitening products every year because they’re unhappy with the color of their teeth. But what if we could better understand what’s causing the discoloration in the first place and, perhaps, prevent it? You’re in luck. Your dentist in Douglasville is here to share the top four things that often cause tooth discoloration and what you can do about them.  

  • Tobacco

One of the best ways to almost guarantee tooth discoloration is by using tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco. Tobacco products contain ingredients such as tar and nicotine that are known to cause staining, so when tobacco is constantly introduced to the mouth, it’s incredibly common to notice yellowing of the teeth. It’s also common for tobacco users to notice brown spots thanks to the natural brown color of the tobacco itself. The best way to prevent tooth discoloration from tobacco is to avoid it altogether, but your dentist in Douglasville can also help reverse discoloration through a variety of smile whitening or cosmetic dentistry treatments. 

  • Foods & Drinks

Another common explanation behind tooth discoloration is found in our diets and in the foods and drinks we consume. Beverages such as a daily morning cup of coffee or tea, a nightcap of red wine, and soda can all cause teeth to appear brown or discolored. When it comes to foods that can cause tooth discoloration, think of foods that would stain a white shirt — berries, pasta sauce, and beets are all good examples. Additionally, foods and drinks that are highly acidic are known to attack tooth enamel and can cause teeth to appear dull, gray, or yellow. Alternatively, consuming too many sugary treats tends to cause tooth decay which can present itself as dark or brown patches. To decrease your chances of tooth discoloration from foods and drinks, enjoy tooth-staining treats in moderation. 

  • Tooth Trauma

A car accident, a fall, or a sporting accident can all result in tooth trauma. You’ll probably find it easier to identify this as a cause of tooth discoloration as you’ll be able to link the discoloration to a mouth injury, whereas the other causes occur over time, often without you even realizing it. Tooth trauma usually causes teeth to appear darkened or gray, and this can occur in one or even multiple teeth. The darkening is due to an injury inside the tooth and will require intervention from your dentist in Douglasville

  • Poor Oral Hygiene

Another incredibly common explanation for tooth discoloration is poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth every day helps remove plaque and bacteria buildup and also helps protect teeth against decay. If you don’t remove this buildup regularly and effectively with a proper oral hygiene routine, you may start to notice your teeth take on a yellowish or gray appearance – or you may even start to see orange or green spots on your teeth. To protect your smile, make sure you’re brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time and flossing once a day. 

Of course, it’s also important to see your dentist in Douglasville every six months for a professional dental cleaning. At these appointments, your dental hygienist will remove even more buildup from your teeth that your at-home brushings can’t remove. This further helps keep your pearly whites white and fight off decay.

21

Jul

Comments Off on What Causes Receding Gums?
General Dentistry, Gum Disease, Oral Health

What Causes Receding Gums?

What Causes Receding Gums?

If you have gum pain, swollen gums, or increased tooth sensitivity, particularly along the gum line, you may be experiencing gum recession. This oral health problem can lead to other issues down the road, including increased tooth decay, sensitive teeth, and even tooth loss. So what exactly causes receding gums, and how is it treated? Your dentist in Douglasville is here to help. 

Gum Recession: 101
Let’s first dive into what gum recession is so we can better understand how it affects oral health, what can cause it, and how it’s treated. Gum recession occurs when gum tissue starts to pull away from teeth, exposing teeth roots. Without this protection covering the roots and the inner workings of the teeth, it’s highly likely that tooth sensitivity will increase. Additionally, teeth are at greater risk for decay, cavities, and eventual tooth loss. But that’s not all. Once gum tissue is gone, it’s gone, and there’s no growing it back. However, your dentist may have treatment options available to help with gum recession. 

Gum Recession Causes
There are a whole host of things that can cause gums to recede, and the cause can vary from person to person and include: 

  • Gum Disease
  • Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
  • Grinding and Clenching
  • Trauma

It’s best to talk with your dentist in Douglasville to determine the main cause of your specific case so they can recommend the best gum recession treatment for you. 

Treating Gum Recession
Just like there is no singular cause of gum recession, there’s also no singular treatment that’s right for everyone. Your treatment plan will be custom created just for you based on how severe your recession is. Treatment options can include: 

  • Scaling & Root Planing: The most common type of gum recession treatment is done right in your dentist’s office and is called scaling and root planing. This procedure is similar to a dental cleaning, but the difference is both the tooth and the roots are cleaned during a scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing helps remove plaque and tartar buildup from up under the gums and from the roots of teeth. You will most likely be numbed for this treatment to help keep you comfortable and relaxed.
  • Antibiotics: Another treatment option that is often paired with scaling and root planing is the use of an antibiotic. The antibiotic helps remove any bacteria that may still be hanging around.
  • Surgical Treatment: More advanced gum recession may require more advanced dental treatment. Thankfully, there are several surgical techniques that dentists can use to help combat gum recession. This treatment option is not appropriate for everyone, and it’s important to note that just because you have gum recession, it doesn’t mean you’ll need surgery. The best to find out how to treat gum recession is to talk with your dentist in Douglasville

Receding gums may sound scary, but try not to worry. Besides having several treatment options to choose from, there are also things you can do to prevent gum recession from happening in the first place, and most of them are easy. Make sure you brush and floss every day and make sure you’re brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, small circles. Lastly, see your dentist in Douglasville twice a year to further protect your oral health.

30

Jun

Comments Off on Does Drinking Water Benefit Oral Health? 
General Dentistry, Oral Health

Does Drinking Water Benefit Oral Health? 

Does Drinking Water Benefit Oral Health? 

Everyone knows that it’s important to drink plenty of water every day to keep our bodies well hydrated. In fact, this small step of drinking enough water can greatly benefit overall health. Proper hydration is important to help organs function properly, help fight off infections, and may even assist with weight loss. However, your dentist in Douglasville wants to share a few more reasons why you should choose water — and plenty of it. 

Better Breath
Believe it or not, drinking water and keeping your mouth properly hydrated is one of the best ways to combat bad breath. Bad breath can often be a side effect of dry mouth, an oral health problem whose name describes it perfectly. Dry mouth may be caused by certain medications, mouth breathing, or simply not drinking enough water. While dry mouth may seem like no big deal, it’s especially concerning for your dentist in Douglasville, You see, our mouths need water to produce saliva, but when we’re dehydrated and experiencing dry mouth, saliva production slows or stops completely. That’s when problems arise. Without saliva, there is nothing to help rinse away leftover food particles or mouth bacteria that can contribute to bad breath. 

Cleaner Mouth
When we choose to drink water over sugary beverages such as soda, juice, or sports drinks, we’re not only hydrating our bodies, we’re also helping our mouths stay clean in between brushings. Drinking water, especially when we’re eating, helps to rinse away food particles before they have a chance to linger around and attract bacteria. If not, bacteria will feed on the food particles and release a dangerous acidic byproduct. This acid will attack tooth enamel and leave teeth at increased risk for decay and cavities. Additionally, water is the ideal beverage of choice because it doesn’t contain any sugars. Other sugary drinks may seem to quench our thirst, but the sugars only continue to feed bacteria as opposed to removing their food source.  

Stronger Teeth
Whether you drink bottled water or water from the tap, H2O is always the preferred choice for your dentist in Douglasville. However, while bottled water may provide all of the benefits of hydration, it may be missing one key ingredient that you can typically get from tap water — fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps rebuild and remineralize tooth enamel. The process of remineralization strengthens the enamel, making it super strong and super protective against bacteria, acids, and plaque. 

Overall Healthier You
Water is one of the most important things that we can give our bodies, yet an estimated 75% of adult Americans don’t drink enough water daily. Consequently, this can lead to negative overall and oral health effects. We need to reverse this habit in order to fuel and protect our bodies. But where do you start? A good rule of thumb to follow is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day, more if you exercise or sweat, and more especially during these summer months.

16

Jun

Comments Off on Why Men Are at Increased Risk for Oral Health Problems 
General Dentistry, Oral Health

Why Men Are at Increased Risk for Oral Health Problems 

Why Men Are at Increased Risk for Oral Health Problems 

Every June is recognized as Men’s Health Month and strives to bring awareness to just how important it is for men to keep up with doctor appointments, physicals, and routine procedures based on age. It’s also a time for your dentist in Douglasville to encourage all men to seek regular dental care. After all, men are less likely than women to see the dentist regularly as well as keep up with routine doctor visits, both of which can protect their overall health and wellbeing. 

Prevention is Key
Your dentist in Douglasville knows just how important it is to get a dental checkup at least every six months. These visits are crucial to monitoring oral health as well as giving each and every patient a professional cleaning that helps remove stuff from your teeth and gums that you simply can’t touch at home. However, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, men are less likely to schedule and complete these preventive appointments and instead only see the dentist when they’re experiencing a problem. For this reason alone, men are at increased risk for oral health problems, some of which can be pretty serious and include: 

  • Gum Disease. Gum disease is a serious infection that occurs in the gum tissue of the mouth. If not treated quickly and effectively, it can lead to tooth loss and a whole host of other whole-body problems. In fact, numerous studies have shown a connection between gum disease and the increased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, respiratory problems, and poor prostate health in men. Additionally, men are at greater risk of developing gum disease than women. According to The American Dental Association, around 34% of men ages 30-54 have gum disease as compared to 23% of women in the same age range. 
  • Oral Cancer. Another serious oral health condition that tends to affect men more than women is oral cancer. Oral cancer can occur in any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including lips, tongue, and cheeks, as well as in the throat. Men are two times more likely to get oral cancer than women and four times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer, cancer that affects the way back of the mouth. It can be treated with early intervention, but when it’s not caught early, it can spread to other areas of the body and may lead to death. This is just another reason why seeing your dentist in Douglasville every six months can help protect your overall health. 
  • The Need for Advanced Dental Care. Since men tend to avoid preventive dental appointments, they’re at increased risk for the need for advanced dental care. Just like most things in life, when a dental problem is left untreated, the solution is often more complicated than it would have been if caught earlier. What may have been a small area of decay a few months ago may now be a deep cavity, and the treatment can vary greatly. In the early stages, decay can usually be treated with a minor filling. However, if the decay infects too much of the tooth it may require a root canal and perhaps a dental crown. If decay is left alone for even longer, it may cause pain and require a tooth extraction, which should then be replaced with a dental implant or dental bridge. So while preventive dental appointments may seem unnecessary, if nothing is wrong, there can be problems lurking just below the surface that can be fixed immediately and easily before they cause problems and require advanced dental treatment. 

Lifestyle Factors Play a Role
Besides skipping out dental appointments every six months, men are also more likely to engage in lifestyle factors that also increase the risk of oral health problems such as:

  • Smoking or using smokeless tobacco
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Having poor oral hygiene habits 

While it’s important for everyone to see their dentist in Douglasville every six months, men tend to need a little extra encouragement. So for this Men’s Health Month, and every month, we invite men to break the mold and schedule an appointment. Your mouth, and your overall health, will thank you for it.

27

May

Comments Off on “Why Is My Tongue a Different Color?” 
General Dentistry, Oral Health

“Why Is My Tongue a Different Color?” 

“Why Is My Tongue a Different Color?” 

Usually you’ll find your dentist in Douglasville spending most of their time talking about teeth. But today, we’re switching it up a bit and focusing on another important area of oral health — the tongue. This amazing muscle helps us speak, chew, and swallow, but did you know that our tongues can also help your dental team identify oral health problems- or even other whole-body problems? Say “Ah!” and let’s take a look at some ways our tongues can be the window to overall health. 

A Bright Red Tongue

Tongues are usually a nice shade of pink — this indicates a well-hydrated and healthy tongue. But there are also times when patients look in their mouths to find a bright red tongue. The color can be so dramatic that it can appear as if you just ate a red popsicle that stained your tongue. A red tongue is often referred to as strawberry tongue and can indicate a vitamin B-12 deficiency or an iron deficiency. Occasionally, a red tongue may also be a sign of a fever, strep throat, Kawasaki disease, or erythroplakia. Erythroplakia may increase the likelihood of developing oral cancer, so any tongue redness that doesn’t go away warrants a call to your dentist in Douglasville

Scalloped or Wavy Edges 

If it’s been a while since you’ve last looked at your tongue, you may now notice changes in its texture, particularly a scalloped or wavy appearance along the edges. This is usually nothing to be concerned about but can be a sign of other problems. Scalloped or wavy edges often result from the tongue being pushed up against the teeth repeatedly. This can even happen during sleep! This change in tongue texture can also be a sign of teeth grinding, sleep apnea, TMJ disorder, or vitamin deficiencies.  

A Black, Hairy Tongue

As gross as this sounds and as scary as it can be, usually a black, hairy tongue isn’t anything to worry about. This condition can be caused by poor oral hygiene, smoking or chewing tobacco, drinking too much alcohol, dry mouth, or changes to yeast or bacteria in the mouth. Also, the “hair” you see isn’t actually hair but rather a buildup of skin cells on the papillae (the tiny bumps naturally found on tongues). When too many cells take over the papillae, they can appear long and hair-like as opposed to small bumps. This condition can resolve on its own. 

Painful Sores or Bumps

As we’ve mentioned before, all tongues have tiny bumps called papillae. Those are normal and are no cause for concern. However, when a new bump appears and is accompanied by pain or soreness and doesn’t go away, you should visit your dentist in Douglasville. New lumps that don’t go away over the course of two weeks may be a sign of oral cancer. Oral cancer can be treated, but treatment is often more successful when the cancer is caught early. Call your dentist as soon as you can to get it checked out. 

Your tongue can say a lot about your overall health, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Keep a close eye on your tongue in-between your dental appointments and be sure to talk about any changes you may notice with your dental team.