Posted by & filed under Dental Hygiene, General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

One 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 Evansville 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 Evansville, 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 Evansville 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.

Cancer 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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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.

Our 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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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 Evansville.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

When 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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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 Evansville at least every six months for regular checkups and cleanings.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

You’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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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 Evansville 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.

When we picture a healthy smile, we all tend to envision bright, white teeth. So as your dentist in Evansville, we can certainly understand why it may be concerning if you notice some discoloration in your smile. We’re also here to help by sharing some things that can cause tooth discoloration, as well as how to fix it. 

Poor Brushing Habits

The most common explanation for tooth discoloration is improper brushing or poor brushing habits. Daily brushings help remove plaque and bacteria on teeth that have built up throughout the day that otherwise could cause teeth to appear discolored. In fact, poor brushing habits can cause teeth to take on a yellowish or gray appearance, or even show orange or green spots. It’s important that you brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time to effectively remove this buildup and to protect yourself from the risk of decay, as well as discoloration. 

An Accident or Trauma

A single tooth that seems to suddenly appear darker in color can indicate a sign of tooth trauma. Perhaps you experienced a sports accident, a fall, or you bonked your mouth on a hard surface and you didn’t think much of it. Yet a day or two later your tooth starts to look gray or dull. Chances are, the tooth experienced some level of trauma and you should have your dentist in Evansville check it out. 

Too Much Fluoride

Fluoride is something that many dentists use on both baby teeth and adult teeth to help strengthen enamel and protect against decay. It’s a mineral found naturally in many foods and drinks, and even in most public water supplies. However, there is such a thing as too much fluoride, and one of the most common signs of it are small white streaks or spots on the teeth known as fluorosis. 

Medications or Illness

A certain antibiotic known as tetracycline can also cause tooth discoloration if a pregnant or nursing mom takes it around the same time teeth are developing and growing. This can cause teeth to appear bluish-gray or brownish-yellow. Additionally, an illness that results in high fever and even some infections may cause discoloration. Babies who have had hyperbilirubinemia, a condition that occurs when there’s too much bilirubin in the blood and the condition that causes jaundice, may experience teeth that look blue, green, red, or brown.

Diet

A diet that contains too many acidic foods and drinks can wear down tooth enamel and cause teeth to appear dull, dark, gray, or yellow. Furthermore, a diet high in sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay which can present itself as dark or brown patches. Some of the most common foods and beverages that are known to cause tooth discoloration include wine, coffee, tea, berries, and even pasta sauce. 

Any discoloration in your teeth should be a sign that you should see your dentist in Evansville to determine the cause as well as the best treatment. Call us to schedule an appointment today. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Gum Disease, Oral Health.

Have you ever wondered why your teeth are extra sensitive, especially when drinking something cold or even when you touch your teeth? There’s a chance that you may have receding gums. If left untreated, gum recession can cause even more sensitivity, an increase in tooth decay, and tooth loss. To make matters worse, once gum recession occurs, it can’t be reversed. However, your dentist in Evansville can still help. 

What’s It Mean If You Have Receding Gums? 
Receding gums, or gum recession, essentially means that your gum tissue has started to pull away from your teeth, exposing the roots. Once tooth roots are exposed, they’re left unprotected from the elements including hot and cold beverages – and maybe even your toothbrush. The result is shooting sensitive tooth pain. Gum recession also makes it easier for bacteria to settle into these newly created crevices and cause decay. Lastly, healthy gums are responsible for holding teeth sturdy in place, but receding gums weaken that hold and can result in tooth loss. As we’ve mentioned above, once gum recession starts, there’s no way to regrow lost gum tissue. However, there are still treatment options available, and your dentist in Evansville can help you find the best way to treat gum recession.  

How to Treat Receding Gums
Gum recession treatment is highly dependent on the individual case, what caused the recession in the first place, and the severity of the recession. While the effects of gum recession can’t necessarily be reversed, there are ways to prevent further damage and strengthen remaining tissue. Some treatment options include: 

  • Scaling & Root Planing: If gum recession is in the early stages and you seek care quickly, your dentist will probably recommend a scaling and root planing. This deeper dental cleaning focuses on both the tooth surfaces as well as under the gum line and the tooth roots. It helps remove plaque and tartar that brushing or a regular dental cleaning just won’t touch and smooth out tooth roots to help prevent bacteria from latching on and sticking around. This procedure is often done with a local numbing anesthetic. 
  • Antibiotics: Another treatment option for gum recession is the temporary use of antibiotics. This treatment is typically used in conjunction with scaling and root planing and helps rid the mouth of any bacteria that may still be lurking. 
  • Surgical Techniques: The final treatment for gum recession that we’d like to cover today is gum surgery. Please note that just because you’ve been told you have receding gums – doesn’t mean you’ll automatically need surgery. This treatment is often reserved for the most severe cases. There are several gum surgery techniques available and your dentist in Evansville will be able to help you determine if surgery is appropriate for you and which type of surgery will be best. 

Causes
There are a multitude of things that can cause gum recession, and this is probably why it’s an incredibly common dental problem that affects many people. Some causes of gum recession include: 

  • Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
  • Grinding and Clenching
  • Gum Disease
  • Trauma

Even though there is no way to reverse gum recession, there are ways to treat it effectively. There are also some easy ways to help prevent receding gums in the first place. To best protect yourself, brush and floss every day (but don’t brush too hard!) and see your dentist in Evansville twice a year.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, so it’s fair to say that we absolutely need to drink plenty of water each and every day to help our bodies perform at their optimal level. In fact, drinking water and staying hydrated helps organs function properly, aids in digestion, keeps joints well lubricated, and can even help fight off illness. But your dentist in Evansville wants you to know there are also oral benefits to staying hydrated.

Fights Off Damaging Acids
Everyone naturally has mouth bacteria, but not everyone knows that some of these bacteria are some of the most harmful things for our teeth. As we eat throughout the day, mouth bacteria are getting a feast of their own through the food particles left behind in our mouths. The longer the food is left lingering around, the more the bacteria will consume. As a byproduct of this feeding frenzy, bacteria will give off an acid. This acid, if not removed, will attack the protective layer of teeth and cause decay and cavities. However, if we choose to drink water as we eat, we can help lower this risk. Water helps wash away the source of the bacteria’s meal and without these leftovers to feed on, no acid is produced by the bacteria. Additionally, drinking water immediately after our meals will neutralize any acids that may already be at work attacking the enamel. 

Keeps Mouths Moist
Drinking water throughout the day will also help keep our mouths moist, which is key to maintaining good oral health. If our mouths are too dry it means that not enough saliva is being produced. Without saliva, bacteria are able to flourish, feeding on anything we eat and releasing acids over and over. This increases the risk of developing decay and cavities which may require dental treatment from your dentist in Evansville. But that’s not all, dry mouth can also feel uncomfortable and cause chronic bad breath. Keep in mind, dry mouth can be caused by dehydration, but it can also be a result of certain medications, mouth breathing, or smoking. While not all cases of dry mouth are easily solved by drinking plenty of water, it’s not a bad habit to pick up and it certainly can’t hurt. 

Builds Strong Teeth
Drinking water, specifically fluoridated water, can further protect teeth through a process called remineralization. Our teeth’s protective layer of enamel gets worn down over time, whether as a result of too much acid, tooth grinding, or simply time. But drinking water containing fluoride can help remineralize, or rebuild, the lost enamel for better protection. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s organically found in some foods. Over time, researchers have found that higher levels of fluoride resulted in lower levels of tooth decay. That’s why fluoride has been added to many public water systems. Patients can also get fluoride from their toothpaste, through foods or drinks that have been fortified with fluoride, or from their dentist in Evansville.  

Water is such a simple thing, but it’s one that can make a big difference in both overall and oral health. Make sure each member of your family drinks at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each and every day.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

The month of June has always been dedicated to the men in our lives, particularly our dads. June just so happens to also be Men’s Health Month, a time for all of us to encourage the men closest to us to focus on their overall health, including their oral health. After all, as your dentist in Evansville knows, there’s a strong connection between what goes inside the mouth and the rest of the body. So this June, let’s take a minute to talk about why dental care is so important, especially for men. 

Men Are More Likely To Avoid The Dentist
A study conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry showed that men are less likely than women to see their dentist in Evansville regularly. In fact, many men don’t go to the dentist at all unless they’re experiencing a dental emergency. However, the truth is, if men were to see their dentist twice a year, they may be able to avoid those emergencies altogether. Regular preventive dental visits do just that — prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Professional cleanings remove plaque buildup that regular brushing and flossing at home can’t touch. This alone helps lower the risk of dental problems. 

Top Dental Concerns for Men 

  • Gum Disease. Years of research by both the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry concluded that men are more likely to develop gum disease than women. One study found that 34% of men between the ages of 30-54 have gum disease compared to 23% of women. If untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss. In fact, on average, a man will lose more than 5 teeth by the time he reaches age 72. But that’s not all. Gum disease can also affect more than just your oral health and has been tied to overall health problems such as heart disease, respiratory problems, certain cancers, and poor prostate health. If diagnosed early, gum disease can be treated before it has a chance to affect the rest of the body. This is just one reason why seeing a dentist in Evansville every six months is so important. 
  • Oral Cancer. More than 53,000 people will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. Of those, nearly 10,000 will die from the disease. Oral cancer can be found in any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, or way back into the throat (oropharyngeal cancer). Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women, and four times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer. However, oral cancer can be treated and cured if it’s caught early. Again, one more reason everyone should see their dentist regularly. 
  • Necessary Advanced Dental Treatments. When we avoid our dentist in Evansville, we put ourselves at risk for the serious oral health diseases above. But skipping dental appointments can also cause problems to teeth and the need for advanced dental treatment. For example, when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth over time, it greatly increases the risk of decay. Now, when a small area of decay is caught early it would only require a small filling. But if the decay is not treated, it will only get bigger and deeper into the tooth. If this happens, your dentist will need to perform a root canal to remove the infected area of the tooth. Afterward, your dentist may also need to place a dental crown to cover up the treated area. If the decay is left untreated for even longer, it can lead to a lot of pain and perhaps be too damaged to save a repair. At this time, the tooth would need to be extracted and ideally replaced with a dental implant or dental bridge. 

There are many ways that poor oral health can affect overall health and require the need for advanced dental treatment. The best way to avoid that is to see your dentist regularly and to encourage every member of your family, especially the men, to do the same. 

P.S. Don’t forget Father’s Day is June 21st!

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

We all know that dentists are responsible for overseeing the health of our teeth. But the truth is, your dentist in Evansville is actually responsible for much more than teeth alone. Your dental team is dedicated to protecting your overall health, and one area that’s of particular interest to your dentist is your tongue. Believe it or not, your tongue can say a lot about your overall health and can show early warning of signs of some serious health conditions. 

What We Look For 
At your bi-annual dental checkups, your dentist and hygienist will take a close look at your tongue. But what exactly are they looking for? First, your dental team will look for any changes in your tongue’s texture since your last appointment, paying particular attention to any bumps or lumps. Next, your dentist in Evansville will look for any tongue discoloration. A healthy tongue will be pink and covered in teeny tiny bumps called papillae. An unhealthy tongue or one that may be showing signs of a bigger problem may have any of the following:  

1) Black and Hairy – Looking into the mirror and seeing a black, hairy tongue can certainly cause someone to panic. But, however scary and gross this may seem, chances are that a black, hairy tongue is nothing to fear and is usually temporary. It may also help to know that the hairy appearance isn’t actually hair. It’s often a buildup of dead skin cells on the papillae, which causes the normally tiny bumps to take on a long, stringy appearance. 

  • Causes: Poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, dry mouth, changes in the number of bacteria or yeast in the mouth. 
  • Symptoms: Bad breath, change in taste or a metallic taste, hairy or furry appearance, black, yellow, brown, or green coloration. 

2) A Sore, Bumpy Tongue – Every tongue naturally has a bumpy texture, and not every bump is worrisome. However, when a new bump appears and lasts for more than two weeks, or is accompanied by pain or soreness, it may be time to see your dentist in Evansville. A lump or bump that doesn’t go away may be an early warning sign of oral cancer, and it’s best to get it checked sooner rather than later.

  • Causes: While anyone can develop oral cancer, there are some things that increase the risk including tobacco use, alcohol, too much sun on the lips without protection, or HPV. 
  • Symptoms: Lumps, bumps, or painful sores that don’t go away, chronic bad breath, changes in voice, difficulty chewing or swallowing, numbness of the tongue. 

3) Ridges – Changes in tongue texture may initially be concerning, but ridges or a scalloped appearance on the edges of the tongue are typically harmless. 

  • Causes: Teeth grinding, pushing the tongue against teeth either during periods of stress or even during sleep, sleep apnea, smoking, nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin B-12, riboflavin, niacin, or iron. 
  • Symptoms: Ridges, ripples, indents, or scalloped edges on the sides of the tongue.  

4) White Spots – When your tongue appears to be coated in white spots, you may be experiencing oral thrush or leukoplakia. Oral thrush is an infection caused by Candida yeast while leukoplakia is a result of tobacco use or alcohol use. Sometimes, leukoplakia can develop into oral cancer. 

  • Causes: Poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, alcohol use, dehydration, dry mouth, mouth breathing. 
  • Symptoms: White patches or spots or a white coating on the tongue. The white spots or coating can show up either on the entire tongue or just in select places.  

We always recommend that you keep a close eye on your tongue’s health in between your visits, too. If you notice any changes in texture or color or develop sores, contact your dentist in Evansville as soon as you can.