Dentist in Chestnut Hill | 9 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Tongue

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We use our tongues every day to talk, taste, and swallow, yet we rarely take time to think about this flexible organ. Here are 9 things you may not know about the tongue:

1.      The longest recorded tongue was more than 3.8 inches from back to tip; the widest measured over 3” across.

2.      The human tongue contains 8 separate muscles intertwined.

3.      A blue whale tongue weighs about 5,400 pounds and is roughly the size of an adult elephant!

4.      Tongues come in many shapes and have varying numbers of taste buds. This makes a human tongue imprint as unique as a fingerprint.

5.      The average person has about 10,000 taste buds in their mouth.

6.      A single taste bud contains between 50 and 100 taste cells, which may have sensors for multiple tastes.

7.      No individual taste cell can identify both bitter and sweet flavors.

8.      1 milliliter of saliva contains about 1,000,000 bacteria.

9.      Using a tongue scraper to clean your tongue is proven to help prevent osteoporosis, pneumonia, heart attacks, premature births, diabetes, and male infertility.

Health issues involving the tongue are most commonly caused by bacteria or tobacco use. Proper cleaning of the tongue can help prevent these conditions from developing. However, if you notice sores, discoloration, or other symptoms, contact our office.

Some tongue-affecting illnesses include:

·         Leukoplakia – excessive cell growth characterized by white patches in the mouth and on the tongue. It is not dangerous, but can be a precursor to oral cancer.

·         Oral thrush – an oral yeast infection common after antibiotic use, often characterized by cottage-cheese like white patches on the surface of the tongue and mouth.

·         Red tongue – may be caused by a deficiency of folic acid and/or vitamin B-12.

·         Hairy tongue – black and/or hairy-feeling tongue can be caused by build-up of bacteria.

·         Canker sores – small ulcerous sores on the tongue, often associated with stress. These sores are not the same as cold sores and are not contagious.

·         Oral cancer – most sore tongue issues are not serious. However, if you have a sore or lump on your tongue that does not heal within a week or two, schedule a screening.

For more information about the tongue or to schedule a screening with our doctor, contact our office.

Resource: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/

300 Boylston Street, Suite 202, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Dentist in Chestnut Hill | Don’t Miss Your Screening

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Oral cancer does not discriminate. It affects those of all ages, genders and races. Smokers do develop oral cancers at higher rates than non-smokers. However, this does not absolve the rest of the population from being at risk, as well.

It’s incredibly important to keep to your recommended schedule of oral health examinations. By visiting your general dentist at least twice per year, it is much more likely that our dental team will be able to identify potentially cancerous lesions in early stages. As you may know, the key to survival of most forms of cancer is early detection. Oral cancers are treatable, especially if caught before displaying obvious signs. The best results occur when oral cancer is identified and treated during early stages.

If your general dentist identifies a lesion that appears to be irregular, he or she may refer you to our team. We’ll recommend the next steps. Once pathology has been identified, we can proceed with treatment if necessary.

We will complete a biopsy to confirm whether a lesion is cancerous. It is not possible to confirm an oral cancer diagnosis without a biopsy. For this reason, try to refrain from making assumptions until we have confirmed your diagnosis. If it’s been more than 6 months since your last appointment or if you have noticed a lesion, bump or irregular patch of skin that doesn’t heal within a few days, consider an oral cancer screening by your general dentist. Know that your dentist will provide you with advice and may refer you to our team for a closer look.

If you have considered skipping the recommended dental visits that provide your first line of defense against oral cancers, please reconsider. It could save your life.

300 Boylston Street, Suite 202, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467