oral 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.

Children’s oral health: Starting early

Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear, which is typically around age 6 months. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected. In some cases, infants and toddlers experience decay so severe that their teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed.

The good news is that tooth decay is preventable!

Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3-years-old. As your child grows, their jaws also grow, making room for their permanent teeth.

Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth:
•Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
•For children younger than 3 years, caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use of the appropriate amount of toothpaste.

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•For children 3 to 6 years of age, caregivers should dispense no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to minimize swallowing of toothpaste.
•Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.

First dental visits:
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. Don’t wait for them to start school or until there’s an emergency. Get your child comfortable today with good mouth healthy habits.
Although the first visit is mainly for the dentist to examine your child’s mouth and to check growth and development, it’s also about your child being comfortable.
To make the visit positive:
•Consider making a morning appointment when children tend to be rested and cooperative.
•Keep any anxiety or concerns you have to yourself. Children can pick up on your emotions, so emphasize the positive.
Never use a dental visit as a punishment or threat.
•Never bribe your child.
•Talk with your child about visiting the dentist.

During this visit, you can expect Dr. Scopu to:
•Inspect for oral injuries, cavities or other problems.
•Let you know if your child is at risk of developing tooth decay.
•Clean your child’s teeth and provide tips for daily care.
•Discuss teething, pacifier use, or finger/thumbsucking habits.
•Discuss treatment, if needed, and schedule the next check-up.

Smoking impacts your oral health

Its common knowledge that smoking is terrible for your overall health. When you really think about it, it’s your oral health that gets affected first. After all, it’s the first part of your body that the smoke, tar, and all those other chemicals hit first.

According to the American Cancer Society, the most serious illness caused by smoking that is directly related to dental health is oral cancer. Studies have shown that over 90% of people who have any form of oral cancer are smokers, and that people who smoke are six times more likely to contract the disease than non-smokers.

Smoking also affects the gums, and can cause periodontal disease. It starts out as gum discoloration, and the more tar particles that build up in your gum tissue, the more likely you will get periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can lead to a whole array of dental issues such as loose teeth and extractions. 

Eventually, your gums will become inflamed, which causes the bones underneath to become infected. Tooth deterioration and loss are inevitable for heavy smokers.

Another important effect to consider is the inevitable yellowing of the teeth and the constant cigarette breath. Those two factors alone are aesthetically unpleasant, not to mention that smoking increases a build up or tartar and plaque around the teeth. 

In general, no form of tobacco is safe. It doesn’t matter whether you’re chewing, smoking, or inhaling your tobacco; if your mouth is in regular contact with tobacco, it is dangerous and can cause cancer.  The most effective way to prevent oral cancer is to not smoke or use tobacco.

While it is difficult for most smokers to quit, it is a personal achievement that will reward you for a long time to come.  Not only will you live a longer, happier life, but you’ll enjoy a great white smile and fresh breath as well. You now know how smoking negatively impacts your oral health and we hope this helps you make the commitment to quit. By simply quitting smoking, smokers, can, over time, reduce their risk levels and the sooner one quits, the greater the reduction in risk levels.

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.

What does your smile say about you?

First impressions are vital.  To truly make a memorable and impeccable first impressions one of the most important assets is a great smile.  A smile lets people know that you are approachable, friendly and confident. It invites the, to get to know the person behind the smile. “When someone has a big smile, it shows they’re willing to open up and expose a part of themselves,” says Pamela McClain DDS, president of American Academy of Periodontology. Over the long term, smiling can benefit your health, perception at work, social life and romantic status. With that much at stake, its worthwhile to discover what your smile is saying about you– and how to interpret the smiles flashed your way.

People who smile project a positive outlook and are generally more flexible. They tend to cope better with challenges than people who are withdrawn and unsmiling. Just smile. Believe it or not, forcing yourself to smile can actually make you happier.  Research studies show that for people who smiled spontaneously or on purpose, the activity in their brains was virtually the same. They felt happy.

You’d like to smile more, but you’ve been hiding it for as long as you can remember because of unsightly stains, cracks, gaps or misshapen teeth. Until recently, there were few options available to the average patient. Today, however, there is  a wide range of restorative and orthodontic techniques and materials which allow you the choice to enhance and improve your smile.

Are Your Investing Money Matters Ready for 2013?

 

By: Paola H