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Four Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Tongue

Four Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Tongue

The tongue contains several flexible muscles that allow you to speak, chew, suck, and swallow. With over 10,000 taste buds, the tongue also plays a critical role in helping you taste and enjoy the food you eat.While most people understand the importance of caring for their teeth, it’s important to know that oral care goes beyond your pearly whites. Adopting the following dental habits will help protect your tongue and improve the overall health of your mouth.

Practice Basic Oral Hygiene

The surface of your tongue is covered in tiny bumps called papillae, which help you taste food. These sensory papillae can also trap bacteria that can result in bad breath, loss of taste, and changes to the physical appearance of the tongue. Just like the teeth, the tongue should be thoroughly brushed at least twice a day to remove any residual food or bacteria in the mouth. A toothbrush and tongue scraper are both sufficient tools for this task, but be sure to scrub tougher spots like the back of the tongue.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water has significant dental health benefits. When you don’t drink enough water, the body’s initial reaction is to stop producing saliva, which plays a vital role in fighting bad breath and protecting teeth from decay. Staying hydrated throughout the day helps wash away food particles and bacteria that live on your tongue. Try to drink at least eight cups of water a day for a healthier and happier tongue.

Keep a Healthy Diet

As a muscle, the tongue benefits from a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Your tongue thrives on iron-rich foods, which include leafy greens like spinach as well as red meats, seafood, and poultry. To further fight against harmful bacteria in the mouth, foods with anti-microbial components like chopped onions, ginger, garlic, and coconuts can also give your tongue a health boost.

Visit the Dentist Regularly

The American Dental Association highly recommends that patients visit the dentist at least once every six months. At Storts Family Dentistry, we’ll provide you with a thorough oral exam and routine cleaning to ensure your tongue and teeth are in good health. If you have noticed any significant changes in the overall health of your tongue or are experiencing a dental emergency, our dental professionals are here to meet your needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment today at one of our Southern Oklahoma locations.

How Does Soda Affect the Teeth?

According to Healthy Food America, sugary drinks—including soda—make up nearly half of all added sugars consumed by Americans. While most people know that soda and other sweets aren’t good for them, they may not realize the harm that soda can also have on their oral health.

How Does Soda Affect the Teeth?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that sugary drinks are the main source of added sugars in the American diet. Unfortunately for soda lovers, sugar is what reacts with bacteria in the mouth to form harmful acids. It will attack tooth enamel for about 20 minutes after drinking soda, which means brushing too soon afterward can actually cause more tooth damage. Although diet sodas may not expose the teeth to added sugars, they still contain corrosive acids like phosphoric acid and citric acid. These substances are just as harmful in softening the tooth enamel and can put soda drinkers at a higher risk of cavities and tooth decay.

Healthy Soda Alternatives

Limiting soda consumption doesn’t mean that the temptations of having a sugary, flavorful drink go away on their own. Some healthier alternatives that might help satisfy cravings include:

  • Unsweetened hot or iced tea
  • Naturally flavored soda water
  • Fresh-squeezed juice or lemonade
  • Kombucha
  • Coconut water

Can Damage From Soda Be Reduced?

Eliminating soda consumption completely isn’t the only solution. There are several ways to reduce the negative effects of drinking soda. Drinking soda in moderation (12 oz. of soda per day at most) and using a straw to reduce contact with the teeth can help reduce oral damage. Also, waiting 30-60 minutes to brush the teeth after having a soda will give the enamel time to recover.

One of the best ways to keep your teeth and enamel healthy is to schedule regular checkups and dental cleanings. Storts Family Dentistry is here to provide complete oral care to new and returning patients throughout Southern Oklahoma. To schedule an appointment at one of our three locations, call 580-223-6720 or contact us online.

The Dangers of Plaque to Teeth, Gums, and Overall Health

Dental plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria that feeds off of sugars from food and drinks, producing harmful acids in the process. Proper dental care is an effective way to minimize plaque, which, if left untreated, can cause major oral damage and lead to lasting health problems. Here’s a look at some of the dangers of untreated plaque to teeth, gums, and overall health.

Weakened Enamel and Tooth Decay

Brushing at least twice daily, flossing at least once daily, and having regular dental cleanings are all important lines of defense against the buildup of plaque and tartar, a harder and more dangerous form of plaque. Inadequate brushing and flossing habits allow plaque and the acids it produces to flourish on the surface of teeth. Over time, these acids wear away at enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to the bacteria that cause tooth decay and cavities.

Gum and Periodontal Disease

In addition to damaging tooth enamel, uncontrolled plaque can also lead to inflammation along the gumline, gum disease, and periodontal disease. Gum disease generally begins as gingivitis, when the gums become tender, red, swollen, and more prone to bleeding. If plaque and tartar along the gumline aren’t addressed, gingivitis can quickly worsen into periodontitis, when bacteria begin attacking underlying bone structures and ligaments.

Other Health Problems

Although further research is needed, scientists have in recent years discovered links between untreated periodontal disease and other major health problems throughout the body. Heart disease, dementia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and premature births are all more common in patients with gum and periodontal disease. These links can likely be traced to oral bacteria entering the bloodstream and harming other parts of the body, or to inflammation spreading from the gums to important organs and bodily structures.

Maintaining healthy brushing and flossing habits and receiving professional dental care often are some of the best ways to help protect teeth, gums, and other areas of the body from the dangers of plaque and tartar buildup. At Storts Family Dentistry, our team provides a full range of dental services to patients throughout southern Oklahoma, including cleanings, root canals, and emergency dental care. To schedule an appointment, call us today at 580-223-6720.

Periodontal Disease Prevention Tips

In early adulthood, most people’s teeth have had to work pretty hard over the years to keep up with their nutritional needs. Healthy gums should maintain a tight fit around the teeth, protecting them from any leftover food or bacteria that can quickly harden and penetrate the gum line.

Periodontitis is caused by the buildup of plaque between gums and teeth and can lead to oral pain and discomfort. Consistently caring for the gums and teeth is essential for maintaining a healthy smile.

Brush and Floss Daily

The easiest way to help prevent periodontal disease is by maintaining frequent and consistent oral hygiene practices. Brushing twice a day and even after meals can help remove plaque and food debris between teeth and gums. Thorough brushing for at least two minutes, including the tongue, will help prevent bacteria from forming and causing gum disease. Flossing before brushing at least once a day can also help lift and remove the tiny food particles toothbrush bristles can’t quite reach.

Understand the Risks

Several factors can put an individual at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. Being aware of these risk factors and following a proper hygiene routine are essential for sustaining a healthy mouth. Risk factors that can increase a person’s risk of periodontitis include:

  • Gingivitis
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress, grinding teeth
  • Medications that cause dry mouth and gums
  • Age

Know When to Visit a Professional

Most people visit the dentist or dental hygienist for cleanings every six to 12 months. After noticing severe bleeding of the gums, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a professional immediately. A dentist will evaluate a patient’s gums and surrounding oral tissues to identify early signs of gum disease and establish a preventative treatment plan.

The experienced dental professionals at Storts Family Dentistry provide quality dental care to new and returning patients at three southern Oklahoma locations. Trust our team to help prevent the onset of gum disease and keep your gums pink and healthy. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule an appointment at our family practice.

What Are the Causes of Gum Bleeding?

Occasional bleeding of the gums can be caused by brushing the teeth too aggressively or switching toothbrushes. Frequent bleeding can point to signs of gum disease, gingivitis, or other serious dental or health conditions. Seeing blood rinse down your sink after your morning routine may be alarming at first, but many treatment options are available to help remedy the issue. Here are some of the causes that may contribute to bleeding gums.

Dental Conditions

Dental conditions such as gingivitis or periodontitis are the main dental concerns marked by significant gum bleeding. When plaque between the teeth is not properly removed by flossing and brushing teeth, the leftover bacteria can break down the gum line. This can cause bleeding, inflammation, and pain, as well as further dental complications such as infections or tooth and bone loss. Other health conditions include vitamin C or vitamin K deficiencies. These vitamins help with blood flow and can be found in fruits and vegetables. Blood disorders such as hemophilia and leukemia can increase bleeding in the gums, as well. Pregnant women are at higher risk of experiencing gingivitis, but usually temporarily.

Other Causes of Bleeding Gums

While there can be numerous reasons for a person’s gums to bleed, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and cleaning teeth regularly can help prevent frequent bleeding. Switching to a new or coarse toothbrush may also irritate the gum line and lead to bleeding. To help avoid inflammation, be firm yet gentle when brushing the teeth, especially with a new toothbrush. Blood-thinning medications such as heparin and aspirin can also impact gum health and should only be taken as prescribed. Tight dentures, poor diet, stress, and a lack of flossing can also lead to minor to severe gum bleeding. Schedule routine dental cleanings to help maintain healthy teeth and gums as well as to check for dental issues.

Seek Treatment From Storts Family Dentistry

If you’re currently experiencing frequent gum bleeding, seek diagnosis and treatment from Storts Family Dentistry. Our family practice in Ardmore, OK offers comprehensive dental services all under one roof, including preventative care, orthodontics, endodontics, prosthetics, and implants. Request a consultation at one of our three locations near you to get started on your journey to a healthy, happy smile.