Sunday 24 January 2021
Myth #1: 'Sugar-free sodas are better for my teeth'
Just because soda is sugar-free, it doesn't mean it's harmless to your teeth. Sugar surely contributes to tooth decay and cavities, but sugar isn't the only thing. Even sugar-free sodas contain acids and carbohydrates combined with bacteria and saliva to result in plaque, also known as biofilm, buildup. If your teeth are not cleaned regularly, that plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis.
Myth #2: 'Dental health doesn't affect my overall health.'
Oral health is a good indicator of overall health, and poor oral hygiene can increase your risk for disease in other parts of your body. Moderate to advanced gum disease increases the risk of heart disease and is more prevalent among people with diabetes. Bacteria and other germs can spread from the mouth to other areas of the body via blood flow. Bacteria that spread to the heart can cause damage and inflammation.
Myth #3: 'I can wait to see the dentist until it's an emergency.'
With dental health, prevention is vital. Keeping your dental hygiene appointments and check-ups allow your dentist and dental hygienist to spot and treat issues before they become emergencies. As discussed above, you don't want to wait until your dental health affects your overall health.
Myth #4: 'Cavities in baby teeth aren't as serious as cavities in adult teeth.'
Oral health in children is essential, even if they lose their baby teeth. Tooth decay and cavities can impact how adult teeth form under the gums. Also, if kids don't learn how to take care of their teeth while they still have their baby teeth, they will be unlikely to keep good habits once they are older. So, encourage and teach your children to brush and floss daily according to a dental professional's recommendation.
Myth #5: 'Silver dental fillings aren't risky.'
"Silver" fillings are dental amalgam fillings because they are made from a combination of multiple types of metal. They are strong, durable, and long-lasting. However, dental amalgam fillings also contain small amounts of mercury. In large amounts, mercury is toxic. According to the FDA, dental amalgam fillings are safe to use in most children and adults. If you know you have sensitivities or are allergic to tin, copper and other metals, tell your dentist. They can use fillings of another material.
Myth #6: 'Gum disease isn't very common.'
Gum disease is actually widespread. According to a study for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 52 percent of people age 30 and older have gum disease. As we get older, we're naturally more susceptible to infections, including gingivitis and gum disease. For example, 64 percent of adults age 65 and older have gum disease.
Myth #7: 'Pregnant women can ignore bloody gums.'
The American Dental Association (ADA) notes that pregnancy hormones can lead to sensitive and inflamed gums. This condition has been called "pregnancy gingivitis" because dental plaque builds up on the teeth and irritates the gums. Symptoms include red, sore, and bleeding gums.
However, gingivitis doesn't occur in all pregnant women. Brushing your teeth, cleaning between your teeth with floss, water flossers, or interdental brushes daily, and additional dental cleanings will abate bleeding gums. Preventing gingivitis from turning into gum disease is crucial for mom's and baby's health.
We've busted several myths about oral health. Keep up with your daily oral care routine and ask your dentist and dental hygienist for tips about taking care of your teeth. They'll help you sort fact from fiction.
The above article is from colgate.com
Friday 15 January 2021
Is eating ice cream or sipping hot coffee painful? Do brushing and flossing cause a zing? If you feel pain or tingling, then you may have sensitive teeth. At least 45 million Americans suffer from sensitive teeth; one-in-five adults suffers from sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity is highest between the ages of 25 and 30 years.
A layer of hard enamel protects the crowns of your teeth. A layer of cementum protects the tooth root under the gum line. Gum tissue is a protective blanket that covers the tooth roots. Underneath the hard enamel, or cementum, is the porous dentin which is made up of tiny openings called tubules or channels. Inside each tubule lies a nerve that comes from the tooth's pulp (the mass of blood vessels and nerves in the center of the tooth). When the dentin loses its protective covering and is exposed, it may cause hypersensitivity and discomfort when you drink cold liquids, eat hot foods, eat sweet or sour foods, or when you breathe through your mouth. Even brushing and flossing can be painful.
The nerves inside the tooth get stimulated causing everything from discomfort to a sharp, sudden, shooting pain deep into the nerve endings of your teeth. Some of the causes of tooth crown disintegration include tooth decay, a cracked tooth, a chipped tooth, or a broken tooth; damaged teeth may fill with bacteria, entering the pulp and causing inflammation. Teeth sensitivity can mean significant pain and it often impacts daily activities, such as eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth. It can also lead to painful dentist office visits and procedures.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
There are many causes of tooth sensitivity, and sensitive toothpaste can help protect against painful teeth sensitivity. Identify the cause of your tooth sensitivity and ask your dental professional for advice. To determine the root for your sensitivity and whether or not sensitive toothpaste will help, see if any of the following causes apply to you.
You will notice sensitive teeth when stimuli, such as hot or cold sensations, reach the nerves inside the teeth and cause pain or tingling. Some common causes of sensitive teeth include:
- Your toothbrush type: What type of toothbrush do you use? Most dental professionals recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush. The soft bristles prevent long-term damage to your enamel and are gentler on your gums. When combined with a sensitive toothpaste such as Crest Gum and Sensitivity, the right toothbrush can help avoid painful discomfort. Most of Crest toothpastes use an active ingredient called stannous fluoride, which is clinically proven to help protect teeth from painful sensitivity.
- Teeth Whitening: Whiter teeth can boost your self-confidence and improve your appearance, but you can have too much of a good thing. If you have sensitive teeth, be sure to use teeth-whitening products no more frequently than the manufacturer recommends. Try limiting yourself to one whitening product, and then use other oral care products for sensitive teeth so you can maintain a regular oral care routine and enjoy a brighter smile, or try whitening products designed for sensitive teeth. Crest Gum and Sensitivity Gentle Whitening Toothpaste can help maintain your whiter smile while helping to protect against sensitivity.
- Irregular flossing: Do you floss regularly? Flossing is one of the most important components of your oral hygiene routine. Flossing can prevent plaque build-up that leads to gum disease, receding gums, sore gums and tooth sensitivity. Since 80% of sensitivity starts at the gum line, it’s important to care for your gums to ensure a healthier smile. When combined with sensitive toothpaste such as Crest Gum and Sensitivity, it can help protect your teeth and gums from painful sensitivity.
- Tooth Decay: Sensitive teeth can be an early sign of a cavity. A cavity in a tooth is another way by which nerves in the center of the tooth become exposed. Crest Pro-Health toothpastes contain stannous fluoride, which helps protect sensitive teeth from cavities. All Crest Pro-Health toothpastes are triclosan-free.
- Gum Disease: If you have gum disease, you can develop sensitive teeth if the inflamed tissue in your gums is not protecting the tooth roots. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bone that support the teeth. It can progress and destroy the bone and other tooth-supporting tissues, exposing the teeth roots. Gum recession can occur due to age. Chewing tobacco, or snuff, causes the gums to recede. A healthy mouth starts at the gum line so be sure to incorporate gum care oral care products into your routine.
- Damaged Tooth Enamel: Everyone's tooth enamel can start to wear away with age, but tooth enamel can also wear away due to factors including high exposure to acidic foods or overzealous brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush. Damaged enamel exposes the inner layer of the teeth and causes them to become more sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure.
- Brushing Too Hard: Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause gum recession and root exposure over time. Tooth enamel can be worn down or abraded and the dentin exposed by brushing too hard, brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush. Tooth roots can become exposed by aggressive brushing, incorrect brushing, or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. The sensitive tooth roots can also become exposed.
- Acidic Foods: Eating acidic foods and beverages on a regular basis can cause enamel to erode, increasing the likelihood of sensitivity. regularly consuming foods and beverages with high acid content (citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, tea), or by sucking on hard candy.
- Dental Work: Believe it or not, even caring for your teeth can cause sensitivity. Sensitivity can occur after dental work, however, it is temporary and usually disappears in four to six weeks. Dental procedures such as teeth cleaning, crown placement, root planing or tooth restoration can cause temporary sensitivity that can last for four to six weeks.
- Teeth Grinding: Do you grind your teeth? Grinding your teeth can cause damage to the tooth’s outer layer (enamel) and expose the tooth’s inner layer (dentin), making it more susceptible to sensitivity and decay.
Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth
- Crest Gum and Sensitivity Toothpaste: Clinically proven to promote healthier gums, the uniquely formulated toothpaste helps protect from sensitivity by treating it right at the source. The foamy action works at the gum line to help neutralize harmful plaque bacteria and forms a protective shield against food and drink that causes sensitivity.
- Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Floss for Sensitive Gums: The softest Oral-B Glide floss is 2x softer vs. Glide Original and is designed to make flossing more comfortable for even the most sensitive gums.
- Oral-B Sensitive Gum Care Replacement Brush Head: Equip your electric toothbrush with a specialized brush head that combines extra soft bristles to remove plaque from hard to reach areas while still being gentle on gums.
- Crest Gum Care Mouthwash: The alcohol-free formula helps to reduce gum disease, inflammation, and bad breath germs for a healthier gum line, which can help alleviate sensitivity.
How Does Sensitive Toothpaste Work?
Sensitivity toothpastes work by either blocking the exposed dentinal tubules or by desensitizing the nerve endings in the dentinal tubules. Most sensitivity toothpastes, including the leading sensitivity brand, work by numbing the nerve inside your tooth. Crest Gum and Sensitivity works differently. It fights sensitivity at the source by treating your gum line. Additionally, it’s formulated with stannous fluoride which helps block the tubule openings to keep the external triggers such as heat and cold from ever reaching and stimulating the nerve inside the tooth. Stannous fluoride also binds to enamel to create a micro-thin shield, strengthening the tooth.
How to Whiten Sensitive Teeth
If you want whiter teeth but you have sensitive teeth, start by following a complete oral care routine. Continue to use oral health products for sensitive teeth, and gradually introduce gentle whitening products. Crest Gum and Sensitivity Gentle Whitening Toothpaste cleans stains on the surface of teeth and protects against tooth sensitivity.
Wednesday 6 January 2021
Breastfeeding May Help Build a Better Bite
Several recent studies, one in Pediatrics in 2015 and one in the August 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, found that babies who were exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months were less likely to have teeth alignment issues such as open bites, crossbites, and overbites, than those exclusively breast fed for shorter lengths of time or not at all.
Still, this doesn’t mean your exclusively breastfed baby won’t need braces someday. Other factors, including genetics, pacifier use, and thumbsucking, affect alignment. “Every baby, every child is different,” says Dr. Ruchi Sahota, mother and American Dental Association spokesperson. “The best thing for mom to do is to take the child to the dentist and make sure the dentist is able to monitor eruption, that baby teeth are coming out at the right time and permanent teeth are coming in at the right time.”
You Don’t Have to Wean When Your Baby Gets Teeth
It’s a question that often pops up in parenting message boards and conversations with new moms: Should I stop breastfeeding when my baby starts teething? The answer is not if you don’t want to.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of a baby’s life; the World Health Organization encourages moms to go for two. “As it goes with breastfeeding, every child is different, every mother is different,” Dr. Sahota says. “You should stop breastfeeding when you think it’s the best for you and the baby but not just because the teeth come in.”
Breastfeeding Reduces the Risk for Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Another benefit of exclusive breastfeeding, Dr. Sahota says, is a reduced risk of baby bottle tooth decay, the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. This type of tooth decay often occurs when a baby is put to bed with a bottle – even ones containing formula, milk or fruit juice. (Water is fine because the teeth won’t be bathed in sugary liquids for a prolonged time.) It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.
Breastfed Babies Can Still Get Cavities
It’s one of the most common questions nursing mothers ask: Can breastfeeding cause cavities? Yes, it can. Although natural, breast milk, just like formula, contains sugar. That is why, breastfed or bottlefed, it’s important to care for your baby’s teeth from the start. A few days after birth, begin wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth every day. Then, brush her teeth twice a day as soon as that first tooth emerges. Use fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.
Need Dental Work Done? Double Check Your Medications
If you need to have a dental procedure that requires medication while nursing, check with your dentist, personal physician and pediatrician to make sure it is safe for baby. “It’s important to know there are antibiotics we can give you that won’t hurt the baby,” Dr. Sahota says. “It’s not only safe to go to the dentist while you’re pregnant and while you’re nursing, it’s very important to do so for the best health of your child.”
Another helpful resource for nursing moms is the U.S National Library of Medicine’s Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed). Simply search for any medication and get information about how it affects your supply, your baby and if there’s an alternative available. Talk to your doctor about what you find.
Mom, Take Care of Yourself
Dr. Sahota says there’s one thing she sees in new moms, breastfeeding or not. “I definitely see moms who are, as simple as it sounds, are not able to take care of themselves as well as they did before the baby,” she says. “Moms that are just not brushing as much as they used to, whether they’re brushing once a day or not brushing at all.”
A dip in dental care could lead to more gum disease and cavities. Cavity prevention is especially crucial for moms, as even the simple act of sharing a spoon with could transfer that bacteria into your baby’s mouth. “It’s really important to do the basics: Brush twice a day, floss once a day. See your ADA dentist regularly,” she says. “Make sure you have prevented decay and don’t have any cavities so you don’t transfer that to your baby.”
Dr. Sahota says she also sees more teeth grinding (bruxism) in moms. “I see a lot more head and neck muscle tension, which causes our jaws to be a little bit more tense and then that causes us to grind our teeth,” she says. “Trouble sleeping when we’re pregnant, that can cause us to grind our teeth a little bit. Postnatally, stress can increase and it can also be an issue.”
All moms need to stay hydrated, especially if breastfeeding. “Not drinking enough water, that in itself is a very dangerous thing for your mouth,” she says. “If we have a dry mouth, we put ourselves at risk for gum disease, for cavities, so many things.”
And there’s one last piece of advice Dr. Sahota gives all moms. “Just like if you’re on an airplane, you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you put it on your child,” she says. “If you’re not healthy, you will not have the time and the energy to make sure your children are also healthy.”
The above article is from mouthhealthy.org
Thursday 24 December 2020
What Is Antibiotic Prophylaxis?
Antibiotic prophylaxis (or premedication) is simply the taking of antibiotics before some dental procedures such as teeth cleaning, tooth extractions, root canals, and deep cleaning between the tooth root and gums to prevent infection. We all have bacteria in our mouths, and a number of dental treatments—and even daily routines like chewing, brushing or flossing—can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream (bacteremia). For most of us, this isn’t a problem. A healthy immune system prevents these bacteria from causing any harm. There is concern, however, that bacteria in the bloodstream could cause infection elsewhere in the body.
Prior to 2012, premedication prior to dental procedures was common for joint replacement patients, even though there was little evidence to support the practice and experts recommended against its practice for most dental patients. In 2012, the American Dental Association and American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons published updated guidelines, stating that dentists “might consider discontinuing the practice of routinely prescribing prophylactic antibiotics”. In January 2015, the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs issued another guideline, which continued to discourage prophylactic antibiotic use for most patients with prosthetic joint implants. Guidelines are re-evaluated every few years to make sure that they are based on the best scientific evidence.
Why Don’t I Need Antibiotic Prophylaxis?
Based on careful review of the scientific literature, the ADA found that dental procedures are not associated with prosthetic joint implant infections, and that antibiotics given before dental procedures do not prevent such infections.
In fact, for most people, the known risks of taking antibiotics may outweigh the uncertain benefits. Risks related to antibiotic use include nausea, upset stomach and allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock (a severe allergic reaction that can be life threatening). Other risks include developing antibiotic resistance in bacteria, which can complicate treatment of infections such as strep throat, pink eye and meningitis; as well as increasing the risk of C. difficile infection, which causes diarrhea and other intestinal problems. Patients over 70 years old are also at increased risk of experiencing adverse reactions to some antibiotics.
Who Can Antibiotic Prophylaxis Help?
Depending on your personal medical history, you may still be a candidate for premedication. For example, antibiotic prophylaxis might be useful for patients undergoing dental procedures who also have compromised immune systems (due to, for instance, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, chemotherapy, and chronic steroid use), which increases the risk of orthopedic implant infection. It may also benefit others with heart conditions. Always talk with your dentist or physician about whether antibiotic prophylaxis before dental treatment is right for you.
The above article is from mouthhealthy.org
Tuesday 15 December 2020
Ketosis and Your Breath
If a lower-carb lifestyle is supposedly healthy, then why does it result in foul-smelling breath? The answer is in how your body breaks down fats. After swapping a typical carb-heavy diet for one that promotes fats and protein, your body goes into ketosis. As the University of California, San Francisco explains, ketosis is a process wherein your body begins to burn fat for energy, since glucose stores (your body's preferred source of energy) aren't readily available. While in ketosis, your body converts fat cells into three types of ketones, which are fat byproducts. One of these ketones, called acetone, is essentially unusable for your body's energy stores.
Therefore, your body releases it via your urine and lungs, notes Medscape. It's acetone that gives your breath that distinctive "ketosis" smell, which, according to Medline Plus, can be compared to an overly sweet, fruity scent.
Keto Diet and Oral Health
When swapping carbs for healthy fats and proteins, your body undergoes several changes. While ketosis breath is often associated with a low-carb lifestyle, the diet may also have a positive effect on your oral health. After all, in avoiding carbs, you're also avoiding processed sugars, which the American Dental Association counts among the worst foods for oral health. Because oral bacteria thrive on sugar, reducing your sugar intake may reduce cavities.
A low-carb diet may also help reduce inflammation. A study in BMC Oral Health found that a diet low in carbohydrates and high in omega-3 fatty acids resulted in lower rates of gingivitis and inflammation in patients. So while going low-carb may make your breath smell, it may actually help improve your overall oral health.
If you've noticed that you have keto breath and you still want to continue your keto diet, consider some of these methods to deal with the smell:
- Chew sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva and freshen your breath.
- Adjust your intake of complex carbohydrates, such as leafy green vegetables and whole grains, while continuing to avoid refined carbs.
- Fill a water bottle and sip throughout the day.
- Continue good oral health habits. A keto lifestyle, while beneficial for oral health, is not a substitute for daily brushing and flossing.
- Add fresh herbs to water and tea. Herbs such as clove, cinnamon, mint and fennel are natural breath fresheners.
Starting and continuing a ketogenic lifestyle should only ever be done with the supervision and approval of a qualified health care professional. While it's true that a keto diet may offer benefits for oral health, it has a few drawbacks as well. By addressing some of the roadblocks, you can make sure that your keto diet is as healthy as it is successful. To keep you on track, lessen the smelly side effects by brushing with Colgate Total Fresh Mint Stripe Gel toothpaste. It has a minty blend of gel and paste that leaves your mouth clean and fresh.
The above article is from colgate.com
Sunday 6 December 2020
Types of Tooth Discoloration (Stains)
Tooth discoloration can occur as a result of surface stains, due to actual changes in your tooth material, or because of a combination of both factors. Dental professionals have identified three main categories of tooth discoloration:
- Extrinsic sTeeth Stains: An extrinsic tooth stain is staining on the surface of the tooth. It occurs when stain particles, such as pigmented residue from food or drink, build-up in the film of protein that covers the tooth enamel. Extrinsic tooth stains are typically caused by tobacco use or by regularly drinking coffee and tea, wine or cola drinks. This type of tooth stain responds well to regular dental cleaning and brushing the teeth with whitening toothpaste.
- Intrinsic Teeth Stains: An intrinsic tooth stain is staining below the surface of the tooth. It occurs when stain-causing particles work through the exterior of the tooth and accumulate within the tooth enamel. Excessive fluoride use and also have been associated with intrinsic, especially in children. An intrinsic tooth stain is trickier to remove, but it can be done. An intrinsic tooth stain may require bleaching using professional or at-home chemical teeth-whitening products, such as Whitestrips.
- Age-Related Teeth Stains: Age-related teeth stains combine the results of both intrinsic and extrinsic tooth discoloration. Because the core tissue of your teeth, the dentin, naturally yellows over time, teeth discolor with age. As we age, the enamel that covers the tooth becomes thinner, allowing the dentin to show through. These intrinsic causes of discoloration combined with extrinsic causes such as the effects of certain foods, beverages, and tobacco, will cause most adults' teeth to discolor with age.
Stained Teeth Causes
Teeth stains have many causes. Certain foods and drinks can cause teeth stains, and as we’ve talked about, tooth discoloration is also a product of several biological factors, including the transparency of your tooth enamel.
There are many causes of discolored teeth—some of which could have possibly been prevented, and many of which are beyond your control. This comprehensive list can help you determine the cause of discolored teeth, and in many cases, help prevent further discoloring of your teeth:
- Food & Drink: Coffee, tea, dark sodas, red wine, and even a few fruits and vegetables are proven causes of discolored teeth.
- Tobacco: Both cigarettes and chewing tobacco can contribute to discolored teeth.
- Oral Care: Poor dental hygiene, such as inadequate brushing or flossing, can lead to tooth discoloration.
- Trauma or Disease: Any trauma, illness, or disease that affects enamel development in children—either in the womb or while teeth are developing (under the age of 8)—can cause discolored teeth. Trauma to adult teeth can also cause discolored teeth. In addition, there are a few diseases and disease treatments that can cause discolored teeth. Chemotherapy and radiation, for example, discolor teeth.
- Medical Treatments: Sometimes medical treatments can contribute to teeth stain, and several classes of medications including high blood pressure medications, chemotherapy, antihistamines and some antipsychotic medications can cause teeth stains.
To know how to remove a tooth stain, it helps to know what type of stain you are dealing with. Paul A. Sagel, a Procter & Gamble Research Fellow, has conducted extensive research into the science of tooth stains. Research by Sagel and others have shown that some stain particles remain on the tooth enamel, while others work through the tooth enamel over time and set beneath the tooth surface, which creates dullness and tooth stain.
Are My Teeth White?
Tooth color is subjective, and it can be hard to tell how well teeth-whitening products are working to remove or reduce teeth stains. A 2004 study in the Journal of Dentistry showed that even professionals disagree on tooth color when evaluating the same teeth, and a single professional can rate the whiteness of the same tooth differently on different occasions. One method of evaluating the effectiveness of whitening products involves taking high-resolution digital images of teeth and assigning numerical values to describe the whitening effects three ways: a decrease in yellowness, decrease in redness, and an increase in lightness
Teeth Whitening for Older Adults
While everyone knows you get better with age, tooth stains are one of the least-favorite body changes that take place during the aging process. In fact, one of the three main categories of tooth discoloration is age-related discoloration, which is a result of several factors.
Why Are Seniors Susceptible For Tooth Stains?
First, as you age, the outer layer of the tooth’s enamel gets thinner over time, revealing the natural yellow color of the core tissue of your teeth, called the dentin. This dentin also yellows naturally with age. In addition, years of drinking tea, coffee, dark sodas, and wine can cause progressive tooth stains over time. Finally, damage or injuries to your teeth, which occur over time throughout your life, cause discoloration that can become noticeable with age.
How to Remove Teeth Stains
Fortunately, there are many treatment options for teeth stains. Keep your teeth healthy and looking great by maintaining a consistent oral health routine including twice-daily toothbrushing and daily flossing, twice-yearly visits to your dentist, and by limiting your consumption of teeth-staining beverages. Regular whitening maintenance will help keep them looking whiter and brighter.
Regardless of the type of tooth discoloration you have, there are many safe, over-the-counter, teeth-whitening products available to help you makeover your discolored teeth into a beautiful white smile. Ask your dentist for recommendations on the best teeth whitening option to treat your age-related tooth stains and discoloration.
Tuesday 24 November 2020
Common Bacterial and Viral Mouth Infections
Bacterial and viral infections on the tongue and mouth are relatively common, and in most cases can be taken care of with proper diagnosis and treatment. Several infections that may affect the mouth and tongue include:
- Tonsil Stones – Also known as Tonsilloliths, are bacterial infections that affect your tonsils.
- White Tongue – A condition where the lingual papillae on the tongue swell up and trap bacteria and food debris.
- Oral Thrush – A fungal infection affecting the tongue and throat.
- Coxsackie Virus – Most common in children, this mouth virus can cause painful blisters.
- Strawberry Tongue Virus - Not a condition on its own but it can be a sign of a more serious underlying disorder.
- Herpangina Virus – Another strain of the Coxsackie Virus, this mouth virus causes painful, red ulcers to form inside the mouth.
What are Tonsil Stones?
Tonsils are the gland-like structures located in the back of your throat. Their main role is to help support your immune system by keeping any viral and bacterial infections from entering into your throat. However, this may not be case for some people.
Tonsil stones occur when bacteria and other debris combine together and get stuck in the nooks of the tonsils. If the trapped debris hardens, it turns into tonsil stones.
Common symptoms of tonsil stones include:
- Inflammation or swelling of the tonsil
- Sore throat
- Painful swallowing
- Persistent cough caused by the irritation from the stone
- Pain in the ear because of the nerve pathways involved
- White-like debris at the back of the throat
- Bad breath caused by the sulfur gases which get trapped in the tonsils
In most cases, tonsil stones may be able to go away on their own. However, in instances where the stone has grown too large, medical treatment may be necessary:
- Surgery may be required to remove the stones
- More severe or persistent cases may require surgical removal of the tonsils themselves, this is known as a Tonsillectomy
- Antibiotics to lessen the infection
- Saltwater rinse for smaller tonsil stones
You can help prevent tonsil stones from forming by following a thorough oral care routine. The more bacteria you remove from your mouth, the less can get trapped in the tonsils. Regular brushing and flossing and rinsing with mouthwash after meals can remove the bacteria and debris that may lead to tonsil stones.
For people with chronic tonsil stones, it is often best to have the tonsils removed surgically to prevent the infection.
What is White Tongue?
White tongue is a condition that causes the tongue to take on a white-like hue. Lingual papillae are the small structures on the tongue’s surface that give your tongue it’s rough texture. When the papillae swell up they can trap more bacteria and debris, resulting in an appearance.
One of the more common causes of white tongue is a lack of oral hygiene, other causes may include:
- Dehydration or dry mouth, a lack of moisture in the mouth can promote bacteria
- Smoking or alcohol use which can dry out and irritate the mouth
- Mouth irritations caused by braces or dentures
The best way to prevent white patches from forming on your tongue is to maintain a consistent oral care routine. Twice daily brushing and flossing at least once can help remove bacteria and keep the mouth clean. Rinsing with an alcohol-free mouthwash can further reduce the amount of debris in the mouth and promote a healthy tongue. To further remove bacteria on the tongue, a tongue scraper can help. Some toothbrushes come with a tongue cleaning feature to easily incorporate the step into your daily oral hygiene routine.
What is Oral Thrush?
Candida is a fungal organism that’s normally occurring in the mouth, however, if it overgrows it can cause a condition known as oral thrush. The most common symptom of oral thrush is the spread of white lesions on the tongue, cheeks, palette, tonsils, gums, and back of the throat. These lesions can be cottage cheese-like in appearance and may bleed when irritated. The lesions can be painful and turn red, making it difficult to swallow or eat.
Usually people with weakened immune systems are most prone to oral thrush. Maintaining a healthy diet, regular checkups with your doctor and dental professional, and a thorough oral care routine can help prevent the fungal infection from spreading.
To further reduce your risk of contracting a candida infection be sure to:
- Brush your teeth at least two times a day
- Floss a minimum of once a day
- Rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash
- Limit your sugar intake
- Clean your dentures daily if you wear them
Your doctor or dental professional may recommend a form of antifungal medication to treat a candida infection. It’s important to see your healthcare provider if you suspect oral thrush. Early treatment can help reduce the chances of the infection spreading from the mouth into the throat, which can lead to more serious health complications.
What is Foot and Mouth Virus?
Hand, foot, and mouth disease, also known as Coxsackie Virus, often affects children under the age of 10. The viral infection causes a rash of blisters to form in and around the mouth, feet, and hands. These blisters are often accompanied by a runny nose, sore throat, fever, and poor appetite.
The infection usually goes away on its own after about a week or so, and can be treated with proper oral hydration. A good oral hygiene routine can help, along with plenty of handwashing to help limit the spread.
What is Strawberry Tongue?
Strawberry tongue on its own is not a condition, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition or disease. The term “strawberry tongue” refers specifically to the tongue’s appearance—red, bumpy, and swollen. Strawberry tongue is often characterized by enlarged taste buds and an overly rough texture.
Conditions that can cause strawberry tongue include:
- Allergies from foods or drugs
- Scarlet Fever a bacterial infection as a result of strep throat
- Kawasaki Disease which causes inflamed arteries, mostly affecting children
- Vitamin B deficiencies
- Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) a life-threatening infection that requires immediate medical attention
It’s important to see your medical professional to diagnose the cause of your strawberry tongue for proper treatment. In some cases, strawberry tongue may be a part of a serious health problem and can lead to complications on your overall health.
What is Herpangina?
The herpangina virus is very similar to foot and mouth disease. The viral infection tends to affect children more often than adults and results in small blisters or ulcers along the top of the mouth and back of the throat.
Common symptoms of herpangina include:
- Neck pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
Additionally, infants with the herpangina virus may experience bouts of excessive drooling and vomiting. Since herpangina is viral and not bacterial, antibiotics will not work as treatment. Rather, your medical professional will determine which course of treatment is best based on age and severity of symptoms, though pain management is often a requirement.
Though mouthwash can’t treat viral infections, it can help soothe mouth sores by flushing out plaque bacteria. Alcohol-free rinses like Crest Pro-Health Advanced Multi-Protection Mouthwash can help promote a cleaner mouth by removing more food and plaque bacteria from the mouth without causing extra irritation—however, it is not recommended for children under 6.
A therapeutic rinse composed of salt and warm water is based for children. The rinse can help to safely relieve some of the pain caused by the infection in the mouth and throat.
In addition to a rinse, plenty of hydration is often recommended for recovery. It is also best to keep away from overly hot or acidic drinks as they can irritate the ulcers and cause symptoms to worsen.
Herpangina usually lasts for about a week but if symptoms persist it is crucial to see your doctor right away.
Preventing Spread of Bacterial Infections
A good hygiene routine is best when it comes to the prevention of bacterial oral infections.
- Wash hands thoroughly
- Brush teeth at least twice a day or after meals to remove more plaque bacteria from the teeth, gums, and tongue
- Switch to an electric toothbrush to ensure a more complete clean, the unique round brush heads on Oral-B electric toothbrushes surround each tooth for 100% more plaque removal than a manual
- Use a fluoride toothpaste like Crest Pro-Health which neutralizes plaque bacteria for all day protection
- Floss daily to get rid of any trapped food that can lead to bacterial growth in the mouth
- Rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash to get rid of bacteria and keep the mouth clean
- See your dental professional every six months for professional cleanings and checkups
Viral and bacterial mouth infections can affect your oral health as well as your overall health. Be sure to maintain a thorough routine to keep your smile healthy and see your medical professional in the event where symptoms are cause for concern.