You Don’t Have to Stick Your Neck Out to Care for This Important Organ
Our last article sang the virtues of your incredible tongue. It helps you eat, chew, swallow, talk, sip, slurp and sing. It is one of the most used muscles in your body, so keeping your tongue healthy is vital to keeping your life enjoyable. How can you ensure this most useful part of your mouth is with you for life? Here are a few things to consider:
Regular dental check-ups include a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and oral tissues, like your tongue. Your Placerville hygienist and dentist are alert to see any possible problems developing on your tongue, but do not hesitate to point out any changes you’ve seen in your mouth. As with other medical conditions, catching a problem early is the best scenario. The symptoms to look for in all oral cancers are, according to The Mayo Clinic:
- A sore that doesn’t heal,
- A lump or thickening of the skin or lining of your mouth,
- A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth,
- Loose teeth for no known reason,
- Poorly fitting dentures,
- Tongue pain,
- Jaw pain or stiffness,
- Difficult or painful chewing,
- Difficult or painful swallowing that persists,
- Sore throat that persists,
- Often feeling that something is caught in your throat.
Brush your tongue when you brush your teeth. This becomes a quick and easy part of your regular brushing and flossing routine. Some toothbrushes come with a special head that has a tongue brushing surface opposite the bristles. It is also possible to purchase a tongue scraper especially designed for cleaning debris off the tongue. This simple habit is highly effective in cutting down on halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath.
Don’t smoke or chew tobacco. These two factors, especially with heavy alcohol use, are the most preventable causes of oral cancers, which include cancers of the tongue.
Protect your tongue during team sports and high impact activities with a mouthguard. While it is possible to purchase a “boil and bite” type mouthguard at your local drug store, a custom-made one is much superior. Crafted just for you using an impression of your unique bite, it is more comfortable, ensuring you’ll actually wear it when you should. It also fits better, so it’s more likely to stay in your mouth with hard contact, thus doing its job.
Avoid damaging your tongue with piercings and cuttings. While these practices may be considered hip now, a healthy tongue, free from infection, scarring and damage looks good and works well for a lifetime. Indeed, a mouth without a tongue—the worst case outcome of tongue disease—is not a pretty sight. With a piercing, your tongue also becomes the enemy of your teeth instead of its neighbor, damaging the gums and the enamel.
You only get one tongue! It will last you a lifetime of chewing and eating, whistling and kissing, talking and sipping mint juleps with your two lips among the tulips. Work with the Placerville Dental Group to keep your whole mouth healthy, including your amazing tongue!