oral hygiene

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.