dental health

Hairy Tongue

 

What is Hairy Tongue?

As the name describes, Hairy Tongue is a condition of the tongue which gives the appearance that it has hair on it. Yes, amazing as it sounds, tongues can appear to grow hair on them Uncle It style. As such, the signs of hairy tongue are easy to spot:

  • Yellow, brown or black discoloration of the tongue,
  • A furry or hairy look to the tongue,
  • Bad breath,
  • A metallic or unpleasant taste in the mouth,
  • A gagging sensation.

With all that happening to a tongue, it’s easy to assume the worst. But in reality, hairy tongue is typically a harmless and temporary condition. Besides being quite shocking and possibly a bit embarrassing, at DentAlign Studio, we have seen it before and we are ready to help anyone clear up this unpleasant condition.

What Causes Hairy Tongue?

When the normal projections on the tongue called papillae grow longer than normal and are not shed, hairy tongue can result. This makes the tongue look “fuzzy” or “hairy,” but the stuff is not really hair. Bacteria and debris build up on the papillae and cause a brown, yellow or black discoloration. If you are experiencing hairy tongue, it is quite likely that one or more of the following is happening in your mouth:

  • Poor oral hygiene,
  • Normal bacteria have been disrupted by antibiotics,
  • Use of medications with bismuth, like Pepto-Bismol. (You can read about it in the common questions portion of the Pepto-Bismol website here)
  • Heavy tobacco use,
  • Use of mouth washes with peroxide or astringents.

The treatment of hairy tongue is directly related to its causes. Home remedies include regular brushing, flossing and tongue cleaning and discontinuing any habits aggravating the condition. Make an appointment with us for a consultation!

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Myths about taking care of bad breath.

Bad breath, can be a major problem, one that can directly affect your personal and professional life. The good news is that bad breath can often be prevented with some simple steps.

Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. When you don’t brush and floss regularly bacteria accumulate on the bits of food left in your mouth and between your teeth. The sulfur compounds released by these bacteria make your breath smell.

Certain foods, especially ones like garlic and onions that contain pungent oils, can contribute to bad breath because the oils are carried to your lungs and out through your mouth. Smoking can also be a cause of bad breath.

There are lots of myths about taking care of bad breath. Here are three things you may have heard about bad breath that are not true:

Myth #1: Mouthwash will make bad breath go away.

Mouthwash only gets rid of bad breath temporarily. If you do use mouthwash, look for an antiseptic (kills the germs that cause bad breath) and plaque-reducing one with a seal from the American Dental Association (ADA). When you’re deciding which dental products to toss into your shopping cart, it’s always a good idea to look for those that are accepted by the ADA. Also, ask your dentist for recommendations.

Myth #2: As long as you brush your teeth, you shouldn’t have bad breath.

The truth is that most people only brush their teeth for 30 to 45 seconds, which just doesn’t cut it. To sufficiently clean all the surfaces of your teeth, you should brush for at least 2 minutes at least twice a day. Remember to brush your tongue, too. A lot of bacteria actually stay on the surface of your tongue. It’s equally important to floss because brushing alone won’t remove harmful plaque and food particles that become stuck between your teeth and gums.

Myth #3: If you breathe into your hand, you’ll know when you have bad breath.

Wrong! When you breathe, you don’t use your throat the same way you do when you talk. When you talk, you tend to bring out the odors from the back of your mouth (where bad breath originates), which simply breathing doesn’t do. Also, because we tend to get used to our own smells, it’s hard for a person to tell if he or she has bad breath.

If you’re concerned about bad breath, make sure you’re taking care of your teeth and mouth properly. Some sugar-free gums and mints can temporarily mask odors, too.

If you brush and floss properly keep up with your regular cleanings, preferably twice a year but  occasionally more frequent visits are needed, especially if you have braces. But if your bad breath persists, you may have a medical problem like gum disease. Give us a call to schedule an appointment! So we figure out if something else is behind your bad breath and help you take care of it.

Best and Worst Halloween Candy

We’re so excited it’s only a little less that a week until Halloween!

Your general family dentist? not so much. Trick-or-treating candy haul is a dentistry fright fest.

You and your children can still enjoy Halloween, but remember that moderation is key! Also keep in mind that some sweets may be better or worse for your teeth. Below, we have some recommendations:

WORST: Taffy and candies filled with caramel, coconut, or nuts are the worst kinds of candy for teeth because they stick to everything inside of your mouth, including the grooves of your teeth. The longer a food sticks to your teeth, the longer bacteria can feed on it. which could produce cavity-causing acid.

SECOND WORST: Hard candy like lollipops or jawbreakers, are almost as bad.  Although they do not stick to your mouth, they take a long time to dissolve.  The longer a food stays in your mouth, the more acidic your mouth becomes.

PRETTY BAD: Sour candy is also bad for your teeth because it has a higher acidic content, which can break down tooth enamel. While powdery candy such as Pixie Stix dissolve quickly in the mouth and don’t require chewing, they contain nothing but sugar and can lead to cavities by changing the mouth’s PH and giving bacteria straight sugar to eat.

NOT SO BAD: Chocolate, with no sticky fillings, will generally not stick to your teeth and therefore is a much better option if you’re craving something sweet.

BEST: Sugar-free gum may be the best treat this Halloween season because it leaves no sticky residue, and it is sweetened with xylitol, a natural sugar the bacteria is unable to form plaque on.

Which kind of candy are you giving out this year?

Oral hygiene is important- and not just for your smile!!

Dental cavities and tooth decay is one of the most common medical conditions experienced by Americans and the single most common disease of childhood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 19 percent of children have untreated cavities and approximately 41 percent of children have decay in their “baby teeth.”

Cavities are the result of gradual tooth decay caused by the build-up of plaque and breakdown of protective enamel. Initially cavities are painless, but they open the tooth up to infections, eventually exposure the nerve resulting in pain. The internal structures of the tooth can also be destroyed, ultimately causing the loss of the tooth. While this might not seem important in “baby teeth” as they are going to be lost anyway, infection can cause damage to the growing teeth and subsequent treatments can be painful and expensive.

Overall, oral hygiene is an essential component of one’s health. Researchers from the American Heart Association recently shared findings that professional dental care can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Experts tracked 100,000 people for an average of 7 years in Taiwan. They found that those who had their teeth professionally cleaned at least once every two years were 24 percent less likely to have a heart attack and 13 percent less likely to have a stroke.

Regular dentist visits and oral hygiene reduces the growth of inflammation-causing bacteria that causes periodontal disease. However, these bacteria can also cause inflammation of the vessels, with studies showing that these bacteria are associated with elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for blood vessel inflammation.

Dental health should begin in childhood as even babies are susceptible to cavities. Most children get their first tooth around 6 or 7 months of age and dental care should begin promptly thereafter with a visit to the dentist, as well as, regular tooth brushing. One major risk for early childhood cavities is consumption of sugary liquids, particularly allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle of juice or milk.

The extended contact with sugar increases the rate of tooth decay. Avoiding sticky foods and frequent snacks are other strategies to ward off cavities. Instilling these routines in childhood promotes their continuation into adult life and with more studies showing broad health benefits from dental hygiene it is essential.

So don’t forget to schedule your six month check up and cleaning!
Call our office today for an appointment.

Making your child’s dental visits a smooth process.

 Fear of the dentist is pretty common for kids, especially for younger ones who can get overwhelmed with all the lights, sounds, smells and tools.

Regular checkups and cleanings are as important for children as they are for adults, and it’s vital to help them feel comfortable so they don’t form dentist-avoidance habits in the future. Here are a few things you can try to help them overcome their fears and make your trips to the dentist pleasant ones.

• Talk to your child about the dentist and create excitement. Don’t say “It won’t hurt” or “Don’t be afraid” because your child many not even associate these with a visit to the dental office until you bring it up.
• Explain the importance of prevention to them. They may find teeth cleanings a little uncomfortable, but it’s by far the least invasive procedure.
• The younger your child is when they begin regular visits, the better chance that they will grow accustomed to dental visits rather than developing a fear of them. Even if at each appointment the child just sits on the chair to get familiar with the dental office, little by little they will become comfortable with dental visits and the dentist. 
• Schedule their dental appointments at the same time as yours when possible and have them in the room with you while you get your teeth cleaned. This will show them that there is nothing to fear.
• Keep dental visits consistent (about every 6 months) to avoid problems associated with long breaks, like cavities and plaque buildup. Remember, the longer the break between visits, the longer and more difficult the cleaning will be.
• Let Dr. Scopu or one of the dental assistants know if your child is a little nervous, and they’ll do everything they can to help ease their fears. At DentAlign studio, we deal with this all the time and have gotten pretty good at helping kids feel comfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Paola H.

How do tooth cavities develop?

Many people are prone to cavities due to improper maintenance of the teeth,  so it is very important to take good care of  them from early stages to prevent any tooth decay or disease.

Cavities will form due to a buildup of bacteria and plaque on the teeth’s surface. The tartar and plaque will build up on your after a period of time, create a very acidic environment in the area and eat away at the enamel forming tiny holes in the hard surface of the tooth, otherwise known as tooth decay.

With time, this acidic environment keeps getting stronger on the surface area of your tooth and  these tiny holes will increase in size and become larger cavities. Symptoms of cavities include irritation, sensitivity to foods that are hot, cold or sweet,  and may cause toothaches. Treatment of the cavity includes tooth remineralization and restorations such as composite fillings, ceramic inlays, onlays or after extensive decay endodontic treatment,  the dreaded root canal.

Tooth remineralization includes reversing very shallow cavities by treating them with a substance that contains fluoride or calcium that re-hardens and remineralizes the tooth structure.

Restoration  such as composite fillings or inlays are the most basic types and are placed when a there is small or average sized cavity. However, when the cavity increases in  size, an onlay may be needed to restore the tooth.

In more serious cases, if the cavity extends to the center nerve of the tooth and becomes infected, a root canal will need to be performed.

These  could easily be prevented if you make sure to drink a lot of water, brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss regularly and visit the dentist at least twice a year.

 

 

 

 

By: Lillian B.

Tongue piercings & the negative effects on your teeth

 

Tongue piercings may be a part of a popular trend, however many people who want one do not take into consideration the destructive effect it can have on your teeth. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGO) states that chipped teeth, drooling, gum damage, nerve damage, taste loss, tooth loss, swelling of the tongue and infection are all direct results of tongue piercings. In severe cases, it can also lead to Periodontitis, an infection causing severe complications with tooth loss and severe bone loss. The following are some effects of tongue piercings:

Receding Gums: Receding gums are a natural occurrence of aging. However, this process is known to be quickened after receiving a tongue piercing. The jewelry rubs and scrapes against the gums, causing it to become irritated and inflamed. Thus, the gums will slowly start to recede and expose a part of the tooth’s root, causing a sensitivity and pain to the person.

Broken Teeth: Approximately 47% of people who have worn tongue piercings after 2 years or longer have been prone to chipped teeth. Thus, it is common for people with tongue piercings to chip their teeth while completing daily actions such as, sleeping, eating talking and chewing. This is a result of the tooth enamel weakening from constant contact with the piercing jewelry. After chipping or breaking of your tooth, you may need dental fillings, crowns, root canals, or tooth extractions. A higher expense for both you and your health.

Swelling of the Tongue: The swelling of the tongue may result in difficulty eating, swallowing and breathing. After placement, if the swelling is severe enough  and blocks your airway, you may  need immediate medical action, such as hospitalization.

Infection: Lastly, once you pierce your tongue, you must be aware that you are now vulnerable to infection, which can be very painful and dangerous. In severe cases, infection causes deep pockets filled with plaque, tartar, and bacteria to form between teeth and gums, eating away at bone tissue. This form of serious infection is known as Periodontitis.

Tongue piercings may look cool, however the long term health risks it imposes on your teeth is not. Image

 

By: Lillian B.