Listen to Your Tongue! It May Be Telling You About Your Oral Health

The tongue is one of the most used muscles in the body, and yet, the average person rarely gives their tongue any real attention. One thing you may not know about the tongue is it can speak volumes about your oral health. In fact, every good dentist will examine your tongue during a visit. Here is a look at a few things your tongue can tell you about your oral health.

1. Your tongue appears white.

The tongue has these finger-like formations referred too technically as papillae. If these papillae get inflamed, they can appear to take on a white appearance because bits of food and bacteria will collect between the formations. Many things can lead to the appearance of a white tongue with papillae inflammation as the root cause, such as:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Smoking
  • Poor oral hygiene habits

The tongue may not even be consistently white; you may also notice white patches on certain parts of the tongue.

2. Your tongue has a darker tone or may even look black.

Believe it or not, black hairy tongue is a legitimate oral health condition. If your tongue appears black and even looks like it has grown some kind of weird growth, this rare condition may be to blame. Once again, this kind of issue is normally caused by the overgrowth of papillae on the tongue. However, with a darkened tongue, it can mean the papillae have collected stains from foods you eat or bacterial growths. Thankfully, this unsightly and uncomfortable condition tends to rectify itself quickly with a good oral hygiene plan and perhaps some dentist advice.

3. Your tongue always feels dry.

The tongue should feel moist and supple pretty much all the time. Due to the fact that the tongue is used for speaking and chewing and swallowing food, a dry tongue can get in the way of normal everyday actions. If your tongue always feels dry or appears dry, there may be a health problem to blame that deserves professional attention. A dry tongue may be a sign that you are not taking in enough fluid, which is easy enough to solve. However, the condition can also mean you have elevated blood sugar levels, you are breathing with your mouth open more often than you should, or have certain autoimmune diseases.

Ready to Talk About Oral Health Care in Woodbury?

You may not always give your tongue attention, but it is deserving of some observance when it is trying to tell you something is wrong with your oral health. If you see something odd about your tongue, reach out to us at Woodlane Family & Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule an appointment.

 

Does it Matter Which Mouthwash I Use?

For many people after brushing and flossing, they take a swig of mouthwash to freshen their breath and make their mouth feel cleaner. However, since there are so many types of mouthwash available today, you may wonder if it matters what type of mouthwash you swish around your teeth and gums. To help answer your questions here is some information about which mouthwash might be right for you and your mouth.

Fluoride Mouthwash

Containing sodium fluoride, fluoride mouthwash is best used if you are mainly concerned about preventing cavities and tooth decay. However, you may want to use this sparingly. Since fluoride is commonly found in toothpaste and tap water, too much fluoride can actually be detrimental to your health, so you should always discuss this with your dentist.

Antiseptic Mouthwash

The most common type of mouthwash and the one used by most people today, antiseptic mouthwash does contain alcohol. As for what it does for you, its primary benefit is stopping bacterial growth in people who may have a mouth infection. Along with this, it is also very helpful in combating halitosis, commonly known as bad breath. When used in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing, antiseptic mouthwash can be very effective. However, using it too often can result in tooth discoloration.

Cosmetic Mouthwash

Though a cosmetic mouthwash doesn’t generally contain any ingredients aimed at helping prevent tooth decay or gum disease, it can be very effective if you simply need something that can freshen your breath or hide bad breath for a little while.

All-Natural Mouthwash

Gaining in popularity with more and more people, an all-natural mouthwash is very similar to antiseptic and fluoride mouthwashes in that it has ingredients that help prevent cavities, tooth decay, infections, and halitosis. However, the key difference is that an all-natural mouthwash is alcohol-free and uses only natural ingredients. When compared to other types of mouthwashes, many people like an all-natural option because they feel its ingredients make it safer to use.

No matter which type of mouthwash you choose to use, you’ll reap quite a few benefits from doing so. By making the use of mouthwash a regular part of your dental care routine along with brushing and flossing, your teeth and gums will thank you.

 

3 Mistakes People Make While Flossing

Flossing should be an everyday part of your oral care routine. Even though the American Dental Association recommends flossing daily to thwart issues with plaque, decay, and gingivitis, many people neglect to floss or even when they do it, they neglect to do it right. Take a look at some mistakes you may be making when you floss your teeth.

Mistake: Not flossing on both sides of every tooth.

It’s easy to skip a few spots when you are flossing in a hurry and trying to get finished. However, you should never stop flossing until you have gotten both sides of every tooth. Not getting both sides of every tooth leaves food particles and debris stuck in between the space and it can encourage tooth decay.

Mistake: Assuming you should stop flossing if you see blood.

It is actually far more normal than most people realize to see a little blood when you floss your teeth. As the floss rubs against the soft tissue of the gums, it can cause a bit of blood, and that is perfectly OK. It is never safe to assume that you should stop flossing altogether because your floss is getting tinged pink with bloody saliva. If the bleeding is severe, make sure you speak to a dentist about the issue, but do not stop flossing.

Mistake: Flossing so fast that you miss food particles.

Flossing your teeth should take you about two minutes once you get in the habit of doing so. With the availability of flossing picks, the time can even be reduced. However, make sure you are allowing a sufficient amount of time with every tooth as you floss. If you are simply running the floss between your teeth rapidly just to get through, you may not be getting all the debris or food particles.

Reach Out to Woodlane Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for Oral Hygiene Needs

Flossing is an important part of your everyday oral health routine, and it makes a huge difference between professional dental hygiene appointments. If you need to learn how to floss properly or would like to make an appointment for teeth cleaning, reach out to us at Woodlane Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Woodbury, MN for help.

3 Best Ways to Prevent Cavities

Cavities aren’t fun for anyone, yet they seem to be very common. If you think that cavities are a necessary part of life, though, you’re mistaken. Some people have never had a cavity in their lives. Others get cavities very often. Why is it that some people never experience cavities while others can’t seem to be rid of them? The answer is that some people practice certain dental hygiene tips that prevent cavities. Here are the best ways you can use to prevent cavities, too.

1. Floss After Each Meal

You already know you should brush after each meal, but did you know you should floss after each meal, too? Flossing gets rid of food debris that gets stuck in between teeth. If you don’t floss after each meal, that leftover food debris could lead to the development of cavities.

2. Avoid Sugar

Bacteria feed on sugar. When you eat sugar-laden foods, bacteria in your mouth have plenty of sugar to eat, and then the bacteria count grows in number. When you have more bacteria, that means they will end up eating into your teeth, which means you will likely develop cavities. Avoiding sugar means much more than not opening up a sugar packet. You should start reading the labels on the foods you eat to check for added sugars. Unfortunately today, many processed foods do contain added sugars. To be on the safe side, just eat whole foods as much as possible and cook your own foods from home.

3. Get Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are a treatment that is available through your dentist’s office. It’s basically a clear coat that helps to fill in pits and cracks in your teeth that can be an entry point for bacteria to cause cavities. Dental sealants also create an added layer of protection over your teeth enamel. The dental sealant treatment is completely non-invasive and 100% painless. If you’re interested in dental sealant treatment, contact your dentist.

It’s hard to prevent cavities, but not impossible. Use the three tips mentioned above to help keep cavities from forming in your mouth.