Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, oral health.

Williams DentistryOne of the most important parts of your regular dental visits is the time you spend with your dental hygienist. After all, these caring and invaluable team members provide preventive dentistry to each and every patient which helps keep their friends and neighbors healthy. So it only makes sense that there’s an entire month dedicated to dental hygienists, appropriately named National Dental Hygiene Month. Each October, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and Colgate sponsor the event that celebrates these dental professionals, and it’s certainly a celebration that your dentist in Asheboro can get behind. 

More Than a Cleaning 

Yes, dental hygienists are responsible for cleaning patients’ teeth and removing plaque and tartar buildup. But they’re also responsible for much more. Dental hygienists are often the first person you’ll meet at a dental office, and they’re usually the team members that you’ll spend the most time with. So let’s take a closer look at all of the things your dental hygienist may be responsible for (note: hygienists can have different duties depending on state regulations).   

  • Understanding Your Overall Health: Since your hygienist is often the first person you’ll see when you visit your dentist in Asheboro, it’s important that this person knows your oral and overall health history. Your hygienist will often review any paperwork you filled out, ask you questions about your oral hygiene routine and your overall health, and get to know you as a person. Understanding you and your overall will help them provide you with individualized care.  
  • Cleaning Your Teeth: As we’ve already mentioned and as we all already know, dental hygienists will gently remove plaque and tartar buildup, floss, and polish your teeth for a squeaky-clean feel.
  • Protecting Your Smile: As your hygienist cleans your teeth, they’ll also be looking for any areas of concern. If they find anything, they’ll let your dentist in Asheboro know during your exam. Additionally, dental hygienists may apply fluoride or sealants to help protect teeth from decay or sensitivity. 
  • Educating Patients: Patient education is another key responsibility of dental hygienists, and it’s one that many hygienists really like. Hygienists are passionate about oral healthcare and they’re happy to provide patients with tips on how to properly brush and floss.

The next time you’re due for a dental cleaning, make sure to thank your dental hygienist for all they do to help keep your teeth and overall health protected. If you have questions about oral hygiene, from finding the best toothbrush to how to eliminate bad breath, don’t hesitate to ask your hygienist. They’ll love to help. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

Williams DentistryCancer and chemo are two C-words that can create a lot of fear, and rightfully so. Cancer as a whole is an incredibly common disease. In fact, nearly 1.8 million Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year alone, and over 600,000 will die. But thanks to research and medical advancements, cancer treatments and survival rates have continued to improve. Even so, chemotherapy remains one of the most commonly used cancer treatments, and it can be really effective at killing cancer cells. But at the same time, your dentist in Asheboro knows that chemotherapy can also cause some unwanted side effects to oral health.  

Side Effects of Chemo

Some of the most common side effects of chemo are the ones we all tend to think of when we hear the word chemo such as hair loss, fatigue, and weight change. But there are some side effects that aren’t as obvious or as well known that can affect both overall health and oral health alike, including: 

  • Dry mouth
  • Pain while eating
  • Difficulty talking or swallowing
  • Burning or swelling of the tongue
  • Increased chance of infection 

As with any medication’s side effects, chemotherapy side effects can vary from person to person. 

What’s Your Dentist Have To Do With It? 

When many people think of cancer treatment, they immediately think of their oncology doctors. But they should also consider their dentist in Asheboro as a crucial part of their cancer treatment team. Your dentist can help reduce the risk of chemotherapy’s side effects on oral health and help treat them if they do occur. 

  • Start Early

Seeing your dentist about one month prior to beginning cancer treatment can help establish a strong base for successful treatment and help reduce unwanted side effects. In fact, a healthier mouth can mean the difference between cancer treatment progressing as scheduled and needing to stop treatment due to infection or other problems. At this appointment, your dental team will conduct an in-depth oral exam, perform thorough deep teeth cleaning, and treat any issues we may find. We’ll also talk about the best at-home oral healthcare routine to keep your mouth healthy during treatment. 

  • Visit Often

Everyone should see their dentist in Asheboro every six months, but those undergoing cancer treatment may need to visit more often, especially if they experience any of the symptoms above. After all, the earlier any side effects are treated, the better. For example, if chemo attacks your white blood cells and your body is no longer able to fight off gum disease, your dentist will want to begin treating that infection sooner rather than later and before it has a chance to affect the rest of the body. 

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, make sure to include your dentist as part of your healthcare team.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

Williams DentistryOur gums are an important part of our oral health. After all, they help hold our teeth in place and protect the tooth roots. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we want to see them when we smile, no matter how important they are. Nonetheless, there are some people whose gums show more prominently than others. This is known as a gummy smile. Now while there typically aren’t any problems associated with a gummy smile, they can make some feel self-conscious. When this is the case, your dentist in Asheboro has some options to help. 

Causes of a Gummy Smile

Before we dive into some of the cosmetic dentistry options that can fix a gummy smile, it’s important to know what can cause it in the first place. Some of the most common causes of a gummy smile include: 

  • Abnormal Tooth Eruption

One of the most common causes behind a gummy smile is the way the teeth develop and erupt. When there’s too much growth in the gum tissue it can expand up and over, essentially hiding teeth. This can create the appearance of short teeth and a gummy smile. However, oftentimes the teeth are fully developed and can be uncovered. An abundance of gum tissue can be genetic or can be a result of medication of an infection in the gums. 

  • A Bad Bite

At your dental appointments, your dentist in Asheboro will ask you to bite down and touch your top teeth to your bottom teeth in order to check your bite alignment. This can help identify several things such as a potential problem with your jaw. A bad bite may also be the reason behind a gummy smile. For example, if the upper jaw protrudes too far outward can create a gummy appearance.

  • Hyperactive Upper Lip

While something called a hyperactive upper lip may seem silly, it’s a very real thing. Sometimes the muscles in the upper lip and under the nose are too active. Over time, this overuse can bring the top lip up too high, exposing the gums. This cause of a gummy smile is often hereditary. 

Your dentist in Asheboro will need to know the root cause of a gummy smile in order to recommend the best treatment for your specific situation.  

Gummy Smile Treatment

Treatment of a gummy smile can vary greatly depending on the case. But some of the most common solutions are: 

  • Scaling & Root Planing

If the cause of a gummy smile is an infection, your dentist will probably recommend beginning with a scaling and root planing deep cleaning. This treatment can be very effective at removing infection and reducing inflammation that may make the gums appear larger than normal. If scaling and root planing treatment doesn’t give a patient the result they desire, there are additional treatments available. 

  • Crown Lengthening/Gum Recontouring

Other common and often successful treatments for a gummy smile are crown lengthening or gum recontouring, which are pretty much exactly what they sound like. These procedures remove excess tissue around the teeth and restructure the gum line allowing more of the white enamel to show. 

  • Orthodontics

A gummy smile caused by a bad bite may best be treated through orthodontics, including traditional braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign or ClearCorrect. Orthodontics can also help fix a bad bite in general and may relieve jaw pain or other oral health problems related to a bad bite. 

If you notice more of your gums showing when you smile, laugh, or talk, and it bothers you, schedule a consultation with your dentist in Asheboro.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

male dentist with patientWhen many of us think about losing our teeth, we may assume that this is something that just happens as we get older. But, according to the American Dental Association, more Americans are keeping their teeth longer than ever before, which is great news! However, this doesn’t just happen naturally and there are things we need to do to increase our chances of keeping all of our teeth for life. Because of this, your dentist in Asheboro wants to share some of the most common things that cause teeth to fall out so you can do everything you can to avoid them. 

  • Gum Disease

The number one cause of tooth loss in American adults is gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria work their way up under the gum tissue and settle in, causing an infection. This infection can be treated if caught early, but if it’s not taken care of, it will begin to destroy both the gum tissue and the jaw bone — both of which help hold teeth in place. Without this support structure, teeth will become loose and eventually fall out. 

  • Cavities

Almost all of us have experienced at least one cavity and know the discomfort that can come along with it. The reason cavities hurt is that a cavity is essentially a tiny hole in a tooth that may affect the inner workings of the tooth where the nerves and roots are held. The result is the all too familiar zing of tooth pain. Cavities can be treated quickly and easily by your dentist in Asheboro if they’re caught early. However, when they’re left untreated, cavities can destroy a tooth from the inside out and either require a root canal or result in a lost tooth. 

  • Accidents or Trauma

Even if you take perfect care of your teeth you may still experience tooth loss as a result of an accident or trauma. Tooth loss is an incredibly common side effect of many sports injuries and even car accidents or falls. While we can’t do much to completely avoid accidents or trauma to our teeth, we can take certain preventive measures such as wearing a mouthguard every time we play a sport. 

  • Whole-Body Health Concerns

Other common causes of tooth loss in adults don’t initially appear to have anything to do with the mouth and actually originate and directly affect other areas of the body. However, there is a strong correlation between what happens in our bodies and what happens in our mouths. Therefore, there are several whole-body health concerns that can increase the risk of tooth loss, such as: 

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Poor Diet
  • Arthritis

Nobody wants to experience tooth loss, but the good news is there are some simple things you can do to give yourself the best chance of keeping your teeth for life. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth every single day, avoid smoking or using tobacco products, and of course, see your dentist in Asheboro at least every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

Williams DentistryYou’ve been told that you need what’s often referred to as the worst dental treatment out there — a root canal. Those two words can make any dental patient retreat in fear, and we understand why. However, while you may be feeling uneasy or flat out scared, it may help to know that the root canal’s reputation of being a painful and terrible treatment is old-fashioned and inaccurate. Join your dentist in Asheboro as we shed some truth about root canals. 

Do Root Canals Hurt? 

Let’s get right to the point and address the most common question surrounding root canals – Do they hurt? Historically, root canals have had a reputation for being painful. But the truth is, root canals help stop pain. When your dentist in Asheboro recommends a root canal treatment it’s usually because there’s decay or infection so deep inside your tooth a regular filling won’t fix it. Oftentimes when this happens, you will be in pain as the infection or decay has touched the tooth’s inner nerves. A root canal will remove this infection and relieve pain. And thanks to advancements in dental technology, the treatment formally known as painful, awful, and terrible suddenly becomes no big deal. 

What is a Root Canal?

Next, let’s take a closer look at the procedure itself because sometimes knowing what’s happening during treatment can alleviate concerns and fear. During a root canal, your dentist in Asheboro will:

  • Begin by thoroughly numbing the area to reduce or even completely eliminate discomfort. 
  • Make a teeny, tiny hole in the tooth (don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing) to access the inner workings of the tooth. This is where the pulp chamber and tooth canals are located. Inside the canals are nerves, pulp, and blood vessels.
  • Once visible, your dentist will clean out all the stuff inside the inner tooth canals. Again, you’re still totally numb. 
  • After the canals are cleaned out, the pulp chamber and canals are sealed to close them off to any more bacteria. 
  • Finally, many times your dentist will prepare and place a dental crown on the treated tooth. This further protects the tooth and reduces the risk of more damage. 

How Do You Know if You Need a Root Canal? 

The aforementioned tooth pain is a key first sign that you may need a root canal. However, please note that tooth pain can be caused by any number of things and doesn’t automatically mean a root canal is in your future. Talk to your dentist in Asheboro to find out the cause of the pain and find the best treatment for you. Other signs that you may need a root canal can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Gum pain and swelling
  • A pimple-like bump on the gums by the painful tooth 
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Worse pain when chewing or applying pressure
  • Hot/cold sensitivity that doesn’t go away once the food or drink is removed

If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can to get properly diagnosed and relief sooner rather than later. And if you’re told that you need a root canal, don’t sweat it, you have nothing to fear. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

woman hides her smile with hatWe all want to have a bright, white smile. But thanks to both internal and external factors, our teeth can transform from their once brilliant appearance to a dull, discolored look. In this week’s blog, your dentist in Asheboro explores some of the things, both within our control and out of our control, that can cause tooth discoloration. 

A Quick Note About Tooth Discoloration
Before we dive into some of the top causes of discoloration, we want to let you know that if you’re unhappy with the color of your teeth, you’re not alone. Smile whitening is one of the most popular dental treatments in the United States, and according to one study, over 56% of people wished their teeth were whiter. That’s probably why Americans spend over a billion dollars on tooth whitening treatments every year! 

Common Causes of Tooth Discoloration

  • Smoking

Perhaps the most common reason behind tooth discoloration is smoking or using smokeless tobacco. The tar, nicotine, and tobacco itself are all staining ingredients, and since using tobacco is addictive, these ingredients are being introduced into the mouth on a regular basis and often over the period of many years. The result is yellowed teeth or even brown teeth. Your dentist in Asheboro will usually need to use a combination of smile whitening treatments and cosmetic dentistry treatments to whiten teeth discolored by tobacco. 

  • Trauma

One of the causes of tooth discoloration that’s outside of our control (mostly) is tooth trauma. Trauma can occur from an automobile accident, a fall, or even a sporting accident. These types of accidents can cause a tooth or even several teeth to appear dark and gray. This is due to damage inside of the tooth. Tooth trauma should be checked by your dentist as soon as possible and monitored over time. While we can’t avoid all accidents, we can take steps to prevent tooth trauma when playing sports by wearing a fitted mouthguard. 

  • Diet

What we eat and drink plays a large role in our oral health and in the color of our teeth. For example, things like coffee, tea, wine, berries, and tomato sauce can all cause tooth discoloration. But that’s not all. A diet that’s highly acidic will attack and wear down tooth enamel, causing teeth to appear more transparent, dull, gray, or yellow. A diet high in sugar can result in tooth decay and cause teeth to have brown spots or dark splotches.  

  • Oral Hygiene

Your dentist in Asheboro will tell you just how important it is to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. After all, these oral hygiene habits help protect your teeth from cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems. But did you know that brushing and flossing can also help keep your teeth white? It’s true. Those who don’t follow a good oral hygiene routine at home are more prone to yellowish or gray teeth and may even experience orange or green spots throughout their grins.

When it comes to keeping your teeth bright and white, make sure to brush and floss regularly, avoid using tobacco, and enjoy staining foods and drinks in moderation. Don’t forget, it’s also crucial that you see your dentist every six months for regular checkups and professional cleanings. These appointments go a long way in keeping your smile both healthy and white. 

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles, Gum Disease, oral health, Prevention.

Williams DentistryWhen it comes to your oral health, it’s no surprise that your dentist in Asheboro puts so much importance on taking proper care of your teeth. But did you know that your gums are another crucial aspect to overall oral health? In fact, our gums are just as important to take care of as our teeth. They help hold our teeth steady and firmly in our mouths, protecting the roots and helping teeth last a lifetime. However, it’s not uncommon to experience something called gum recession. 

What is Gum Recession? 
Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue begins to pull away from teeth, leaving tooth roots exposed and increasing the risk for tooth loss, increased sensitivity, and decay. What’s even worse is that once gums recede, you can’t grow it back. However, your dentist in Asheboro may be able to help with a variety of gum recession treatments. It’s best to talk with your dentist to find out the best way to fix receding gums. 

Gum Recession Treatment
Effect treatment of receding gums depends on the root cause and overall oral health. Some of the most common treatment options are: 

  • Scaling & Root Planing: This type of gum recession treatment is usually the first one suggested by dentists. It’s similar to a dental cleaning, but instead of focusing on the surfaces of teeth only, your dental team will clean up under the gum line to remove plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth. This procedure is usually done with a numbing anesthetic for increased comfort. 
  • Antibiotics: Following a scaling root planing, which also helps smooth out roots to make it difficult for bacteria to cling to them, your dentist may also choose to use a temporary antibiotic to kill off any bacteria that may still be lingering around. 
  • Surgical Techniques: Advancements in dental technology have included several updated surgical techniques to help combat gum recession. To find out if gum recession surgery is right for you, and to determine which one would be most effective, schedule a visit with your dentist in Asheboro

What Causes Receding Gums? 
There’s not one singular underlying cause behind gum recession. Each individual is different, and your cause may be different than someone else’s. Some of the causes of gum recession are:

  • Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
  • Trauma

Preventing Gum Recession
Gum recession is an incredibly common dental concern that we encounter every day. While it may seem like a minor thing, receding gums can lead to some serious complications and even become pretty painful if left untreated. There are ways you can help prevent your gums from receding such as:

  • Brushing properly using a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and move it around in small, gentle circles on each surface of each tooth. 
  • Practicing a good oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing every day. 
  • Seeing your dentist in Asheboro at least every six months. 

If you notice any of the common signs of gum recession, including swollen, red gums, chronic bad breath, pain along the gum line, exposed tooth roots and the accompanying sensitivity, or visibility shrinking gums, schedule a dental appointment today.

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles, oral health, Prevention.

woman drinks glass of waterAs we enter the hot summer months, it’s more important than ever to keep our bodies properly hydrated. After all, a well-hydrated body helps organs function properly, can improve sleep, and may even protect against infections. But as your dentist in Asheboro knows, drinking enough water isn’t just good for the body, it’s great for oral health, too.

Washes Away Bacteria

Drinking water is one of the best ways to hydrate. It’s also one of the best ways to wash away harmful bacteria, especially during and immediately after eating. Choosing water as your beverage of choice helps rinse away food particles that otherwise would break down and feed mouth bacteria. As bacteria feed, they release an acidic byproduct that can easily attack and wear away tooth enamel, leaving teeth at increased risk for decay. 

Protects Against Dry Mouth

A hydrated mouth is a healthy mouth, but a dehydrated mouth is more likely to feel super dry and uncomfortable. This is appropriately known as dry mouth, and while it seems harmless, your dentist in Asheboro knows differently. Dry mouth can occur from not drinking enough water, some medications, and breathing through your mouth. While the last two causes are a little bit more difficult to treat, drinking enough water is always a good place to start. You see, when a mouth is dry, it provides an ideal environment for bacteria to stick around. And as we mentioned above, the longer bacteria linger, the more acid they produce, and the more likely your teeth will be attacked. When it comes to oral health, saliva is your mouth’s best friend. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps increase saliva production and protect your mouth around the clock.

Strengthens Enamel

Drinking water is always recommended, but drinking fluoridated water packs a double punch. Fluoride is a mineral that’s naturally found in some foods that helps remineralize enamel, making it stronger, tougher, and harder for acids to attack. Fluoride has been added to many community water supplies, so whenever possible, it’s best to drink water from the tap as opposed to bottled water. Fluoride can also be obtained by drinking some store-bought beverages that have added fluoride such as orange juice, by brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, or by talking with your dentist about adding fluoride treatments at your bi-annual dental appointments.

There’s No Sugar — And No Calories!

Another side benefit to water, and one of the top reasons your dentist in Asheboro loves it so much, is that it contains no sugars or calories. That means you can quench your thirst without the damaging side effects of sugar found in sports drinks, soda, and even fruit juice. Drinking enough water throughout the day may also help with weight loss or maintaining weight. 

This summer, and every season, keep your body and your mouth property hydrated by aiming to drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day. To further protect your oral health, make sure to brush and floss regularly, and see your dentist every six months. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Cancer Prevention, oral health, Prevention.

relaxed manYou’ll always hear your dentist in Asheboro talk about how important it is for everyone to come in for preventive dental checkups every six months. But there’s a special section of our population that tends to avoid these bi-annual visits and instead prefers to wait until they have a problem. We’re talking about the men in our lives. Unfortunately, the truth is that, on average, men don’t see the dentist regularly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, barely 60% of American men between the ages of 18 and 64 went to the dentist in the past year. That’s concerning. So to help celebrate Men’s Health Month, we’re here to share the main reasons men should see the dentist regularly. 

  • More Complicated, More Advanced Dental Treatment

Since men tend to skip out on visits to their dentist in Asheboro every six months, they’re at increased risk for needing more complicated and more advanced dental treatments. You see, when small problems aren’t caught early when treatment is typically quick and easy, they can become big problems that require more in-depth care. For example, a small area of decay can be caught at preventive dental appointments and treated easily with a filling. But if that area of decay continues to expand and affect more of the tooth’s structure it can start to cause pain. At this point, more advanced dental treatment is probably needed, such as a root canal and a dental crown. Additionally, if the decay progresses even farther, tooth extraction and replacement via a dental implant or dental bridge may be necessary. Long story short — many dental problems can be avoided by seeing the dentist regularly. 

  • Increased Risk of Gum Disease 

We know that regular dental visits can help protect teeth through preventive care and quick intervention of any problems, but these appointments do more than that. Professional dental cleanings, exams, and x-rays help your dentist in Asheboro keep an eye on overall oral health, including the gums. One thing that’s incredibly common and can lead to both oral and overall health problems is gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissues that affects both men and women, but men are more likely to develop the disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, 56% of men have gum disease as compared to only 38% of women.

Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss as well as contribute to a host of other problems throughout the body such as an increased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and prostate health in men. In fact, numerous studies show a possible correlation between gum health and prostate health due to something called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). When gums are inflamed because of periodontal disease or the prostate is unhealthy, PSA levels increase. However, PSA levels are substantially higher in those with both a prostate condition as well as gum disease, suggesting a connection between the two. Gum disease can be treated successfully if diagnosed and treated early. 

  • Men Are More Likely to Get Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is another scary disease that tends to affect men more than women, and one that can also often be treated successfully if caught early. However, if oral cancer is caught in the later stages, it can lead to death. In fact, over 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and nearly 10,000 will die from it. Oral cancer can be found in any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, or the far back area of the throat (oropharyngeal cancer). Oral cancer is twice as common in men than women, and oropharyngeal cancer is four times more likely to develop in men than women. 

Your dentist in Asheboro is here to protect your oral health and, in turn, your overall health. To do this, we recommend that every member of your family — man, woman, or child — has a preventive dental appointment at least every six months. Call to schedule an appointment today.

Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles, oral health, Prevention.

tongueYour dentist in Asheboro knows that your oral health can say a lot about your overall health. But the connection doesn’t just involve your teeth and gums. In fact, at every one of your dental appointments, your dental team takes a good, hard look at your tongue, as well as your teeth and gums, and for a good reason. The color and even the texture of your tongue can give your dentist some helpful clues into your overall wellbeing. 

What We’re Looking For
The tongue is a marvelous part of our anatomy and is actually quite interesting and helpful. Our tongues are made up of eight strong muscles that work tirelessly day in and day out to help us break down food as we chew, help us speak, swallow, and even filter out germs. But its usefulness goes beyond that. The tongue’s color and texture can help your dentist in Asheboro identify and catch potential problems before they have a chance to become serious. 

Let’s Take a Look
When was the last time you took a good, hard look at your tongue in the mirror? While this sounds odd, it’s beneficial to keep a close eye on the health of your tongue. In fact, we recommend that you examine your tongue often in between your bi-annual dental appointments. But what exactly should you be looking for? Well, we’re mostly concerned with changes in color or texture, but not every change is cause for concern. Your dentist in Asheboro can help you differentiate between what’s worrisome and what’s no big deal.  

  • White Patches – Small white spots all over the tongue or even a white film are usually no cause for concern, but you should still seek treatment. Typically, white spots on the tongue is a sign of too much candida yeast, known as oral thrush. However, white patches may also be a sign of leukoplakia, but this is most common in tobacco users or those who drink alcohol excessively. Sometimes, leukoplakia can develop into oral cancer, so it’s important to keep an eye on it.
  • Black, Hairy Appearance – We know this sounds really gross and scary, but the truth is, a black, hairy tongue isn’t normally a sign of any illness or disease and typically goes away on its own. A black, hairy tongue is usually a result of tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, diabetes, a yeast infection, poor oral hygiene, or cancer therapies. Also, the hairy appearance isn’t actual hair (thank goodness!) but rather a buildup of dead cells that essentially flatten out the tiny bumps (papillae) that cover our tongue (not that this sounds any better than actual hair!).
  • Redness – All tongues are naturally some shade of red, but it’s usually a light red or pinkish color. When a tongue appears bright red, it can be called strawberry tongue thanks to the bold, bright color. Strawberry tongue may be caused by strep throat or deficiencies in B-12, folic acid, or iron. A red tongue may also indicate erythroplakia which can increase the likelihood of developing oral cancer. Because of this, it’s important to let your dentist in Asheboro know if your tongue starts to appear bright red and doesn’t go away. 
  • Lumps & Bumps – Every tongue is naturally bumpy thanks to the tiny papillae that cover the surface. However, if a new bump or lump appears and doesn’t go away within two weeks or is painful, you should contact your dentist. New, long-lasting bumps can be an early sign of oral cancer. While oral cancer can be treated successfully, success is achieved more often when the disease is found early. If you notice a bump that doesn’t go away, see your dentist as soon as you can. 

If you don’t already spend some time looking at your tongue in the mirror, we encourage you to do so. Being aware of the changes happening in your mouth can go a long way in getting early treatment if necessary and avoiding bigger problems from occurring.