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

60605 Dentist

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/

1440 S. Wabash Ave., Ste 101, Chicago, IL 60605

South Loop Dentist | Optimal Gum Health for Seniors

Dentist in 60605

For seniors, it is imperative that gum health is a top priority. As you age, your risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease increases. Periodontal disease is both preventable, and in many cases, reversible. When left untreated, it can lead to more serious complications such as bloody or swollen gums, and even tooth loss. Even more alarming are the numerous studies connecting periodontal disease to other serious illnesses. Here’s what you need to know about gum health as you age.

Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health

Periodontal disease has been linked to serious health issues. In fact, a recent study conducted by the University of Southampton and King’s College London uncovered a link between periodontal disease and an increase in the rate of cognitive decline in those who suffer from early Alzheimer’s disease. In patients with periodontal disease, the study found cognitive decline underwent a rapid change, occurring six times as fast on average.

Periodontal disease has also been found to increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Risk factors for these serious issues increase with age, among other causes, and it is especially important to limit potential risk factors where possible. This can be as easy as improving your gum health with a visit to our office.

The Numbers You Need to Know

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, moderate or severe periodontal disease was found in over 14% of seniors aged 65 to 74. The number increases to more than 20% for those over 75 years of age. Men were found to be more likely than women to have moderate to severe periodontal disease. Smoking was also found to have a significant impact. The same study showed 32% of current smokers had periodontal disease, compared to 14% for those who never smoked.

Steps You Can Take

As you age, it is essential to keep up with your gum health. Doing so is an important link in lowering your risk factors for other serious ailments such as heart disease, stroke, and the impacts of Alzheimer’s disease. You can keep your gums healthy by brushing twice each day for a full two minutes. Be sure to regularly floss your teeth as well. Flossing is an effective way to clean the hard-to-reach cracks and gaps where plaque builds up. Schedule a visit with our team for a complete gum evaluation. We can work with you to devise a course of action to ensure healthy gums.

1440 S. Wabash Ave., Ste 101, Chicago, IL 60605

Resources:

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/datastatistics/finddatabytopic/gumdisease/periodontaldiseaseseniors65over.htm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160310141330.htm