Why is my tongue white?

My tongue is white. Maybe it’s been that way for years. I don’t know. I am noticing it more since I bought a tongue scraper. Is this a problem? Why causes a white tongue? Thanks. Beth from Frisco

Beth – When you use a tongue scraper, it removes bacteria, food debris, and dead cells from the surface. You will see white or cream-colored residue as the tongue scraper removes it.

If your tongue is  white after using the tongue scraper, or it’s best to bring it to the attention of your dentist or medical doctor for examination and to see if there is a need to be concerned, and to receive an accurate diagnosis for your case. There are several conditions that can cause your tongue to be white, even after the tongue scraper is used. Some of them are listed below.

  • Candidiasis (as oral thrust or moniliasis) – This if a fungal infection that causes red or white patches in your mouth, including your tongue. It can be painful and cause bad breath. The Candida alibcans yeast can flourish after antibiotic treatment, when your mouth is excessively and continuously dry (from medication or a medical condition), or if your immune system is compromised. Your dentist will review your medical condition to find the underlying cause and recommend treatment.
  • Inflamed papillae (finger-like projections on your tongue) – When bacteria, debris, and dead cells get lodged between the inflamed papillae, your tongue will be white and coated. Smoking, excessive alcohol use, dry mouth, fever, and dehydration can cause inflammation
  • Medication – Certain medication is associated with white patches or discoloration of your tongue.
  • Medical condition – Certain medical conditions, including some auto-immune disorders can cause discoloration of your tongue.
  • Leukoplakia, or thickened white patches on the gums, inside of cheeks, and tongue, is common with tobacco users. It is not dangerous in itself, but it can be a precursor to cancer.

An examination and review of your medical history, along with tests or blood work, is required to receive an accurate diagnosis.

This post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Can’t afford a dentist so how often should I change my toothbrush to keep my mouth healthy?

What I really mean is that I can’t afford a dentist right now. I have some other health issues that are taking priority and my dental coverage is really, really limited. I need to do what I can to keep my mouth clean while I am not at the dentist. How often should I change my toothbrush? Thanks Dean

Dean – You should change your toothbrush every three to four months. Before and after you use it, you should thoroughly rinse it to remove debris and excess toothpaste.

Your toothbrush should not be stored in a covered container. The moisture can breed mold and bacteria on your toothbrush.

In addition to changing your toothbrush regularly, be certain to brush your teeth twice a day. Floss daily, too. Limit sugary foods and snacks, and if you eat them, rinse your mouth with water to reduce the amount of acid in your mouth. Acid weakens tooth enamel.

See a dentist as soon as you can. Keep in mind that there are many dentists who will work with your budget to make dental cleanings and exams affordable for you.

This post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Teeth whitening or veneers for a celebrity smile?

I want to improve my smile. It doesn’t look horrible but I want it to look like a celebrity smile. I am slowly getting into modeling and local TV commercials. I think that the best smile possible will move things along a little faster so that I can get jobs in more places. The shape of my teeth is not the best and they are not the whitest. Will teeth whitening do what I want or will I have to get veneers? Thanks Kyle

Kyle – A cosmetic dentist needs to examine your teeth to answer your questions about which treatment will give you the best smile.

Teeth whitening from a dentist can give you the brilliantly white smile that you want. If the shape of your teeth is inconsistent, dental contouring, or shaping, may be all that is needed to give them a uniform appearance. Contouring is a painless procedure that can be completed in one or two visits, depending on how much shaping is needed.

If there is too much space between your teeth, porcelain veneers may be the answer, or dental bonding might be sufficient.

An examination by an experienced cosmetic dentist is needed to correctly assess your needs and give you the celebrity smile you want.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX cosmetic dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.