You want to keep your teeth shining bright, white, and clean. But that takes more than just an occasional brushing with toothpaste- it sometimes includes changing up (or improving) your brushing technique; ditching the daily coffee and soda habit; and obviously saying goodbye to the cigarettes. Failure to take care of your teeth can result in some pretty nasty results. Here’s a look at seven mouth issues that can scare even the bravest of dentists away…
Blood Blisters in Mouth
Blood Blisters in the mouth are not caused by lack of brushing or flossing, but rather by direct trauma to the oral cavity. For example, if your dentist gives you a local anesthetic injection before a procedure, afterwards you may notice a blood blister has formed where the needle had entered your body.
Usually you do not need any type of medical intervention for oral blood blisters, as they go away on their own within a couple weeks time. However, you should contact your doctor or dentist if you see any sort of infection forming in, or around, the blister.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Lichen Planus is a condition that can cause swelling and irritation in the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes. The inside of your mouth and gastrointestinal tract is covered in a mucous membrane. When Lichen Planus attacks the inside of the mouth, it forms white, lacy patches and sometimes painful sores on the mucous membrane.
It has been discovered that Lichen Planus is caused when your immune system attacks the cells of the mucous membrane. It is therefore important to see your dentist every six months to evaluate these areas should Lichen Planus be present. Lichen Planus is quite annoying to the person it affects – those who suffer range from being completely asymptomatic to having burning/ulcerated patches in their mouth. Although it’s not contagious, you should see your doctor if you start to notice those white, lacy patches on the inside of your mouth.
Canker sores, or Aphthous Ulcers, are small, shallow lesions on the inside of your mouth (on the soft tissue) or at the base of your gums. Although these sores are little, they bring mighty pain and discomfort to their host– they can even interfere with properly eating or speaking!
Unlike cold sores, Aphthous Ulcers are not contagious, nor are they caused by the same thing. Similar to cold sores, canker sores (usually) go away on their own after a week or two. However, if you have a canker sore that is unusually large, painful, or sticks around for longer than two weeks, you should consult a doctor or dentist.
Females tend to get canker sores more often, but we are all susceptible to getting one. Stress is a major causing factor when it comes to canker sores.
One of the most unpleasant mouth afflictions you can get is oral candidiasis, or Oral Thrush. Candida is an organism that normally lives in your mouth. However, when you have a compromised immune system mixed with bad oral hygiene, the Candida can accumulate on the oral lining as a fungal infection, resulting in creamy, white, lesions on the inside of your mouth and tongue.
Usually this only affects immuno-compromised populations, such as babies, the elderly, and people with autoimmune diseases. The white patches can be wiped off, but if you notice symptoms of Oral Thrush, you should contact your doctor or dentist.
Black Hairy Tongue
Another awful mouth issue that can arise from lack of regularly brushing (i.e. brushing at least two times a day), is a condition called Black Hairy Tongue. This temporary ailment is aptly named because the papillae on the tongue grow longer than normal and can become stained by everyday food, bacteria, and other substances. The bacterial build up on the papillae results in a dark brownish-black, furry-like appearance on the tongue.
Without a doubt, Black Hairy Tongue is one of the most unattractive mouth maladies one can have. However, it can easily be avoided (or treated) by brushing your teeth- and tongue- with toothpaste. Within a few days of regular brushing, Black Hairy Tongue usually starts to go away on its own. Of course, if the problem persists, you should go see your doctor.
If you have noticed a blueish-gray stain on the gums around a tooth filling you have, then you may have an Amalgam Tattoo. These painless and harmless oral “tattoos” are nothing to be afraid of. They are actually caused by the metal known as dental amalgam that is used in tooth fillings. If during the filling process, any of the dental amalgam spills over onto the gums, it can leave a painless, but permanent, bluish-gray stain. Unfortunately, you cannot get rid of an Amalgam Tattoo– but that should not deter you from a continued proper brushing and flossing schedule.
Part of having good oral hygiene includes not using tobacco products, like cigarettes, chewing tobacco, dip, and even vaping. Chronic use of tobacco products can result in thickened, textured, white patches forming on your gums, on the inside of your cheeks, on the bottom of your mouth, and sometimes on your tongue. This unsightly build-up is known as Leukoplakia, and these white patches cannot be wiped out.
Most cases of Leukoplakia are benign (noncancerous). However, in some cases Leukoplakia has actually been an early warning sign of a serious condition. Even if you brush your teeth and floss, that may not be enough– especially if you have a long-standing relationship with tobacco products.
If you start to see these thick, textured patterns on the inside of your mouth, you should always go see a doctor. Not only could it be a sign of Leukoplakia, but it may be your body alerting you of a more serious condition.
Keep Your Mouth in Tip-Top Shape
For the entirety of your life, you will only have one mouth– so it is important that you take extra good care of it! That means regularly brushing your teeth, flossing your teeth, brushing your tongue and the insides of your mouth, and laying off dark, staining drinks, and harmful tobacco products. It may seem like a lot, but a shiny, bright smile is much more pleasant than a mouthful of gross infections.
If you have any concerns about your oral hygiene, or just need your six month checkup, contact DeJesus Dental Group. At DeJesus Dental Group, we have carefully selected a highly trained team of dental care professionals. Our team loves what they do, and not only will they help you receive fast, accurate dental care, but they will also help you feel relaxed and welcome.