Archive for Dental tips

Ten causes of yellow teeth

Ten causes of yellow teeth

Although not usually a sign that anything is wrong or needs treating, yellowing teeth can affect your confidence in your smile.

Luckily, improving the colour of your teeth can be as easy as making some simple changes to what you eat and drink and making a few tweaks to your dental routine.

Here are the top ten causes of yellowing teeth and how to address them:

1. Genes

Sometimes, simply, yellow teeth runs in the family. If you have a parent with yellow teeth, then chances are you’ll have problems with yellow teeth too.

2. Dentin

If you have thin enamel on your teeth, the dentin underneath can show through. Dentin naturally is a deep yellow to brownish colour and is underneath the enamel. Dentin is normally covered by a thick layer of white enamel but stains can develop on the enamel too.

3. Aging

Unfortunately, as we age, our teeth normally start to turn yellow, when the enamel starts to wear away from years of chewing and exposure to acids from food and drink. As the enamel thins with age, yellow can develop if the dentin starts to show through but it is not uncommon for teeth to develop a greyish tinge too if they are mixed with a long-lasting food stain.

4. Smoking

It is very well-known now that smoking is very detrimental to our overall health and just about every part of the body. The mouth is no exception. Among other more serious complications, cosmetically alone, nicotine products can leave a long-lasting yellow or brown stain on your teeth.

5. Foods

Everyday food can be notoriously bad for staining teeth! Tomato sauces, curries and berries can all stain the enamel. We can’t avoid these foods (life is too short!) but if you are aware of them, you can brush your teeth after eating them or rinse your mouth with water.

6. Drinks

Two of the country’s favourite hot drinks are very guilty of staining teeth – tea and coffee. Other culprits are wines, fizzy drinks and other soft drinks with artificial flavours. Always rinse after enjoying them.

7. Antibiotics

Some antibiotics can stain teeth when they’re developing in the gums. If you took certain antibiotics as a child or if your mother took them when pregnant, this could be responsible for a yellow hue.

8. Fluoride

Fluoride is very good for teeth, but too much fluoride can cause yellow or brownish yellow spots on teeth. Ensure you only consume the recommended amount of fluoride.

9. Accidents

Any physical impact to teeth in an accident can crack tooth enamel and potentially even damage the tooth’s interior. If you notice any discolouration after impact or trauma to your teeth, seek advice from your dentist.

10. Tooth grinding

Tooth grinding is on the rise, what with the stressful lives most people have today. It is a completely unconscious habit that can get worse when people are particularly stressed, especially whilst sleeping. Over time, grinding can be harmful to tooth enamel, potentially weakening it to the point of cracking and yellowing. If you think that you may be grinding your teeth, speak to your dentist.

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Dental floss or dental tape?

Dental floss or dental tape?

We all know that flossing is a crucial oral health habit. We often have good intentions to do but it so often gets missed when life gets busy. Luckily, there are many different products available to assist with flossing so it is good to try out a few different products until you find something that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.

Usually, your dentist or dental hygienist will recommend dental tape or floss, but you will likely need to try them both and see which you prefer.

Floss or tape?

Both dental tape and dental floss are devices designed to clean the hard-to-reach surfaces between teeth that your brush just cannot get to. Dental floss is a thin strand, whereas dental tape is broader and flatter.

You must choose the right product for you and the one which is the most effective at cleaning between your teeth and which you find easiest to use. If your teeth are tightly pressed together with little room between, you might find dental tape easier to use. Depending on your dexterity and your mouth, it can sometimes be tricky to handle thin strands of floss, in which case tape might be easier for you to use.

How to use dental floss or tape

The advice for flossing is the same, whether you choose dental tape or floss:

  1. Tear off a suitable strand of tape or floss; people tend to struggle because they tear off too little.
  2. Wind one end of the tape around one of your middle fingers. Do the same with the other end of the tape on your other hand.
  3. To keep control of the tape or floss and be able to manoeuvre it effectively, pinch the string on each hand with your pointer finger and thumb.
  4. Slowly and gently insert the tape or floss into the space between two of your teeth.
  5. Using a back-and-forth motion, gently move the floss or tape up the tooth until it comes out from between the teeth.
  6. Unwind a new section of floss or tape from one hand and wind it up on the other hand so that you have a clean section to work with.
  7. Repeat the motion on the space between your next two teeth and work logically and systematically around your mouth in this way.

As you can see, the method of flossing is far more important than which product you use. Flossing removes plaque from between the teeth, and if this isn’t done regularly, it can turn into a hard substance called tartar that only dental professionals can remove. If this happens, your gums can also swell and bleed.

Alternatives to dental floss and tape

If you try both tape and floss and find them difficult to use, there are other products available.

It is important to floss once a day to maintain good oral health and not just give up. If you struggle to find a flossing product that works for you, don’t hesitate in speaking to your dentist or dental hygienist.

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Four dental tips for your holidays

Four dental tips for your holidays

Okay, so you’re not going on holiday this year. You’re staying at home because of COVID. That’s okay. Don’t cry. Most people are in the same boat. Or they would be if boats weren’t cancelled due to COVID.

But honestly, there’s no need to go on holiday, really, is there? It’s only been, what, three lockdowns so far? 213 days of lockdown in total? What’s a few more days at home at this point? Or months? Or years?

Okay, so there’s another option. You don’t have to stay at home. You can go on holiday somewhere in the UK! You don’t even need to get on a plane for that. You just need to drive for a couple of hours. Simple and it means you don’t need to quarantine yourself for ten days afterwards.

That’s why, according to the news, most people this year are choosing to stay in the UK for their holiday.

If you are going on holiday this year, then don’t forget to look after your teeth. What? You thought we’d write about travel destinations or something? Sorry, but this is a dentist blog.

People often overlook their teeth before a holiday. It’s easy to take care of your teeth when you’re at home because you get into a routine. But things become more difficult on a holiday: travelling disrupts your routine and you might end up neglecting them.

That’s why we’re here with some tips to keep your teeth in good health during your holiday. If you’re going on one, that is.

Tip 1: Get a dental check-up before you go

If you’re due for routine a check-up, then it’s a good idea to get it done now, before you go away. This way, the dentist can fix any problems that might have otherwise ruined your trip. That only includes problems with your teeth though, mind you. The dentist can’t magically make your kids behave.

Tip 2: Be mindful of sugar

We tend to change our eating habits on holiday and indulge. This includes more sugary foods, such as cake, ice cream, ice lollies and sweets.

It’s okay to let loose on holiday and enjoy yourself. If you can’t eat treats on holiday, then when can you?

But it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on how much sugar you’re eating. Ideally, try to limit sugar to meals and stick to sugar-free options when you can.

Tip 3: Brush your teeth twice a day

Even though you’re on holiday, you should still brush your teeth twice a day. When sugar is left on your teeth, it can start to cause cavities, and brushing your teeth is the best way to prevent this.

Tip 4: Don’t forget your toothbrush

The toothbrush is the one thing people always forget when they go on holiday, or at least that’s if the saying “don’t forget your toothbrush” is to be believed. So remember to take your toothbrush, as well as toothpaste and floss for that matter.

Finally, whatever you’re doing this year, have fun and stay safe! And of course, don’t forget your toothbrush.

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How to clean and store a night guard

How to clean and store a night guard

If you grind your teeth at night, you’ll probably need a nightguard.

A nightguard is a device that fits over your teeth and protects them during the night. If you grind your teeth in the night, the nightguard will prevent any damage, such as premature wear, sensitivity and fractures. In this way, they can save you from costly dental work in the future.

But how do you take care of a nightguard? The good news is that it’s not hard. All you need to do is clean it properly every day. In this post, we’ll tell you how to clean a nightguard.

How to clean a nightguard

Cleaning a nightguard is very simple and shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

First, give the mouth guard a quick rinse. This will remove any debris or loose plaque.

Then, brush the nightguard with a toothbrush as if you’re brushing your teeth. It’s easy! Note that you shouldn’t use toothpaste however as toothpaste is abrasive and can damage the night guard.

Once you’re done, leave the night guard out to dry for 15-30 minutes. This is important because bacteria could grow on the mouth guard otherwise.

And there you go: one freshly-cleaned nightguard!

Deep clean

At least once a month, you should give your night guard a deep clean. There are two ways to do this.

The first way is to use a denture-cleaning tablet. Even though these tablets are designed for cleaning dentures, they work great for cleaning night guards too.

To use a denture-cleaning tablet, drop one tablet into warm water. Then, put the night guard in the water – there should be enough water to cover the night guard. The solution will change colour as it cleans. After five minutes, remove the night guard and rinse it thoroughly. There’s no need to do this every day though – just once a month will do.

The second way to deep clean a night guard is with a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
First, soak the night guard in distilled white vinegar for 30 minutes. Then, soak the night guard in hydrogen peroxide for 30 more minutes. Once finished, rinse with night guard with water and allow it to dry completely.

How to store a nightguard

We’ve covered cleaning a nightguard, but how do you store it once it’s clean?

The best way to store it is in a plastic container. This will protect the guard from dust and bacteria.

Do remember to clean the glass or container regularly, as it can become contaminated with germs over time. Also, remember that the mouth guard should be dry before you store it in a container.

Some people say to keep your night guard in mouthwash, but this is a bad idea because the alcohol in mouthwash can drastically shorten the lifespan of your appliance.

Also, take care not to expose your nightguard to high temperatures – don’t leave it on a radiator for example or in direct sunlight. Heat can change the shape of your nightguard and it might no longer fit properly.

Conclusion

Taking care of a nightguard isn’t difficult – just brush it every day with a toothbrush, leave it to dry and then store it in its container.

If you need more advice, then don’t hesitate to make an appointment with one of our dentists!

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What are dental abscesses?

What are dental abscesses?

Dental abscesses are a build-up of pus in the gums, jaw, or a tooth. They cause a lot of pain if left untreated.

This post will discuss what dental abscesses are, where they come from, their effects on your body and how to treat them.

What is an abscess?

Pus is a white, smelly liquid that your body makes when it’s fighting an infection.

It’s made up of dead bacteria, white blood cells, and dead tissue.

When pus builds up in your gum, jaw, or teeth, it’s known as a dental abscess.

But an abscess can appear anywhere in the body, not just your mouth. Some other types of abscess are:

  • skin abscess
  • brain abscess
  • abdominal abscess
  • subcutaneous abscess

What causes dental abscesses?

Your body and mouth consist of two bacteria: good bacteria and bad bacteria.

When the bad bacteria overwhelm the good bacteria, it causes an infection. The infection can lead to an abscess (a build-up of dead cells).

Infection can happen when you have a decayed or injured tooth or when you haven’t been brushing your teeth properly.

Symptoms of dental abscesses

Knowing the symptoms a dental abscess will help you to tell if you really have an abscess or if it’s a different dental problem. The main symptoms of dental abscesses are:

  • Intense throbbing pain in the affected tooth or gum
  • Pain in your ear, jaw, and neck on the same side as the affected tooth
  • Bad breath
  • A swollen cheek
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Fever

How to treat an abscess

If you believe you have an abscess, then you should see your dentist as soon as possible. It’s important to get help as soon as possible, as abscesses do not go away on their own. If left untreated, the infection could spread to your other teeth and make your situation worse.

If you’re in pain, you can take ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve the pain in the meantime, or even visit the nearest hospital to get treated. However, generally, it’s best to visit a dental clinic because only dental professionals can give you the best care.

How to relieve pain from a dental abscess

While you’re waiting to see a dentist, there are some things you can do to relieve the pain.

  • Take a painkiller like Ibuprofen or paracetamol
  • Avoid hot or cold food and drinks
  • Eat cool, soft foods using the opposite side of your mouth
  • Use a soft toothbrush to clean your teeth instead of a hard one
  • Avoid flossing around the affected tooth

How to prevent abscesses in the first place

They say the prevention is better than cure, and that’s definitely true for abscesses. Preventing abscesses is easy: you just have to take care of your teeth. You can do this by:

  • Brushing twice daily
  • Reducing your sugar intake
  • Using a toothpaste that contains the right amount of fluoride
  • Visiting your dentist for regular check-ups

If you’d like to see a dentist about an abscess or any other problem, then give us a call. We’ll be happy to see you and to check your teeth.

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Frequently asked questions about gum disease

Frequently asked questions about gum disease

Most people suffer from gum disease at some point in their lives. It’s a very common problem in the UK.

This disease can cause unwanted symptoms such as bleeding gums and bad breath.

We get lots of questions about gum disease from our patients, so in this post, we’re going to be answering these questions.

What causes gum disease?

Most times, gum disease is caused by plaque on your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that irritate your gums and makes them red, sore, and swollen.

What are the stages of gum disease?

There are four stages of gum disease.

  1. Gingivitis: This is the early stage of gum disease. You might notice that your gums bleed when you brush your teeth. You may also have bad breath.
  2. Periodontitis: If gingivitis is untreated, then periodontitis can occur. This affects the tissues that support the teeth and hold them in place.
  3. Bone damage: If periodontitis is untreated, it can damage your jawbone and create small spaces between the gum and teeth.
  4. Tooth loss: Eventually your teeth can become loose and may fall out.

How do I know if I have gum disease?

Look out for these symptoms:

  • bleeding after brushing
  • red, sore or swollen gums
  • bad breath

When you notice any of these symptoms, you should see your dentist immediately. If left untreated, your gum disease might result in a severe condition known as periodontitis; a condition that damages your bone and tissue and makes your teeth start falling out.

What should I do if I have signs of gum disease?

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should visit your dentist. The dentist will check and confirm if you have gum disease.

If you do have gum disease, then your dentist will tell you how to treat it.

How do I treat gum disease?

Gum disease can be treated either by you or your dentist, depending on how severe the condition is.

For mild gum disease, you can either remove the plaque yourself by brushing and flossing the affected area.

For severe gum disease, you should visit your dentist for treatment. You cannot treat it yourself.

It is crucial to see your dentist regularly for check-ups. The dentist can spot gum disease early on and get rid of it before it causes more harm.

How can I prevent gum disease?

Prevention is always better than cure, and that’s definitely true for gum disease: it’s easier to prevent gum disease than to treat it.

In fact, preventing gum disease is very easy: all you have to do to is to clean your teeth and gums often. Ideally, you should brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.

As mentioned earlier, you should also visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist can spot gum disease early and treat it before it becomes severe.

Usually, one or two check-ups a year should be enough. But if you’re prone to getting gum disease, then you should see your dentist every three to six months.

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Can children use electric toothbrushes?

Can children use electric toothbrushes?

Getting children to brush their teeth isn’t easy. You can try explaining about cavities and tooth decay all you want but it’s likely to fall on deaf ears for young children. The fact of the matter is that many children don’t like brushing their teeth.

But one possible solution is an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are usually designed for adults, but in practice, children can use them too. If it makes them want to brush their teeth more often, then it can only be a good thing.

In this post, we’ll look at electric toothbrushes for children and how these toothbrushes can help them brush their teeth.

Advantages of electric toothbrushes for children

Electric toothbrushes actually have several advantages over normal toothbrushes. Here are the main ones.

  • More effective. Studies show that electric toothbrushes are better cleaning at your teeth than manual brushes. This is good for children who can’t brush their well with a manual toothbrush yet.
  • Easier to use. Children often don’t have the fine motor skills needed to brush their teeth properly. An electric toothbrush can make brushing easier because all you have to do is hold the toothbrush against your teeth and the toothbrush takes care of the rest.
  • Comes with a timer. Electric toothbrushes often come with a timer that tells you how long you’ve been brushing. This can help ensure that your child brushes her teeth for the recommended two minutes.
  • Makes them feel like a grown-up. Children like to copy their parents, so if their parents are using an electric toothbrush, it makes sense that they will want to use one too. This can be the difference between your child wanting to brush her teeth or not.

Choosing the right electric toothbrush for a child

You might think that your child can use the same electric toothbrush that you use to brush your own teeth. However, children actually need a child-size electric toothbrush.

Child size electric toothbrushes are smaller than the adult versions, making them easier for children to hold. The heads are also smaller, ensuring the toothbrush will fit comfortably in your child’s mouth.

Child size electric toothbrushes are not hard to find. They’re available from many pharmacies, supermarkets, and of course, Amazon. Search for “child-size electric toothbrush” if you’re looking online.

It’s a good idea to let your child choose the electric toothbrush he wants. For example, your child could choose a brush that has pictures of characters from his favourite TV show. This can make brushing more fun.

Conclusion

Letting your child use an electric toothbrush might seem a bit strange at first, especially if your child has only been using a manual toothbrush until now.

But it’s actually a really good idea for children to use electric toothbrushes. These toothbrushes are more effective and easier to use than normal toothbrushes. What’s more, they usually come with a timer that helps your child brush for the correct amount of time.

If you’d like to talk to one of about dentists about electric toothbrushes, or indeed any other dental topic, then just make an appointment by speaking to our reception.

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Four ways to protect your smile this Christmas

Four ways to protect your smile this Christmas

Food at Christmas tends to be high in sugar. Think of sweets, chocolates, Christmas pudding, candy canes, gingerbread men, yule logs, the chocolate in Advent calendars… the list goes on and on.

And all this sugar can be bad for our teeth. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn can cause plaque and cavities.

Don’t worry though, because, in this blog post, we’ll give you a few tips on how to keep your teeth healthy during the Christmas holidays.

1. Brush your teeth twice a day

The most important thing you can do to keep your teeth clean and healthy is to brush them twice a day. That’s once in the morning and once before going to bed. Regular brushing helps to keep plaque under control and it stops cavities from forming.

Children should brush their teeth twice a day too, and this includes during Christmas. We know that it’s easy for children to forget this at Christmas, especially on Christmas Day, what with all the excitement and new toys to play with. But please do spare a few minutes for your children to brush their teeth. It’s the best way to prevent tooth decay and cavities.

2. Limit the sugary food you eat

Food is an important part of Christmas, but one of the best things we can do for our teeth is to reduce the sugary foods we eat.

This could mean buying sugar-free mince pies instead of normal mince pies. It could also mean getting your child an Advent calendar with a toy or a picture behind each window instead of chocolate.

When you start to think about it, there are lots of ways to reduce the sugar you eat at Christmas.

3. Put out carrots instead of mince pies

It’s tradition to put out a mince pie and a glass of milk on Christmas Eve. It’s supposed to keep Santa fed on his long journey from the North Pole.

But why not replace the mince pie with some carrots instead? You can tell your children that the carrots are for the reindeer, who will be hungry after flying so far. By using carrots (which are good for your teeth) instead of mince pies (which are bad for your teeth), you’re setting a good example of healthy food choices.

4. Make sure you see a dentist if you have any dental problems

If you get tooth pain at Christmas or any other dental problem, it’s best to see a dentist as soon as possible. You might be tempted to put off seeing a dentist until after Christmas, but by then, the problem could be worse. So see a dentist ASAP!

Conclusion

At this time of year, it’s more important than ever to look after your teeth. There’s a lot you can do though to keep your teeth healthy – this includes brushing twice a day and watching the amount of sugar that you eat.

That’s it from us for this year. We hope that you and your families have a great Christmas and that you find a spare moment to think about your children’s teeth. From all of us here, have a merry Christmas and we’ll see you next year!

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How to look after your teeth and gums during pregnancy

How to look after your teeth and gums during pregnancy

Pregnancy causes all kinds of changes in the body. This can include changes to your teeth and gums. For example, you could be at a higher risk of gum inflammation or tooth decay.

In this post, we’ll discuss the problems that can occur to your dental health during pregnancy and what you can do about them.

Common dental problems during pregnancy

Gingivitis

Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is a particular problem to watch out for during pregnancy.

Gingivitis is a common problem during pregnancy. This is because pregnancy hormones such as progesterone increase your blood flow throughout your body, including to your gums.

The main sign of gingivitis is gums that are red and swollen and bleed after brushing. If you experience these symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist.

Periodontitis

Another oral health problem to watch out for during pregnancy is periodontitis.

Periodontitis is a serious infection where bacteria attack and destroy the bone that supports your teeth.

If left untreated, periodontitis can cause tooth loss and even cause problems for your fetus.

Periodontitis is linked to gum inflammation, so do see your dentist if you have inflamed gums.

Tooth decay

Another health problem that’s more common during pregnancy is tooth decay.

Tooth decay is where bacteria erode the outer layer of the teeth, which is called the enamel.

Tooth decay is more common during pregnancy because saliva becomes more acidic during pregnancy, making the teeth more prone to decay.

Dental appointments during pregnancy

Going to the dentist during pregnancy is an excellent idea because it can prevent problems to both you and your baby. The dentist can catch early signs of gum disease or tooth decay, and help to treat it.

Some people think that it’s dangerous to go to the dentist when you’re pregnant but the truth is that it’s not only safe to go to the dentist when you’re pregnant, it’s also highly recommended.

However, do make sure you tell the dentist that you’re pregnant. This is because certain interventions and treatments are usually not given to pregnant women.

For example, fillings are usually postponed until after the pregnancy. Also, dental X-rays aren’t typically performed on pregnant women, even though most dental X-rays don’t affect the abdomen area.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to see a dentist before you get pregnant so you can get any fillings or x-rays you need.

Conclusion

Pregnancy is the time to avoid alcohol, stop smoking, and take vitamins if you need them. But it’s also a time to pay extra attention to your dental health too.

Pregnancy increases the risk of various dental problems, like tooth decay and gum disease.

Don’t be too concerned, however, as a visit to the dentist can sort most problems out.

If you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, and you’re looking for a dentist, then book an appointment with us. We’ll advise you on how to take care of yourself and your foetus during pregnancy.

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6 medical problems that can change your tongue’s colour

6 medical problems that can change your tongue’s colour

Did you know that your tongue can change colour? It’s true. Some medical conditions can turn your tongue turn red, white, or even black. To find out what they are, keep reading because, in this blog post, we will go over six health problems that can make your tongue change colour.

1. Oral thrush

If you have white patches on your tongue, it’s probably oral thrush.

Oral thrush is a yeast infection that occurs on the tongue and the inside of the mouth.

Oral thrush can happen to anyone, but it’s most common in children, the elderly, diabetics and people with weakened immune systems. Also. people often get oral thrush after taking antibiotics, because antibiotics kill all bacteria in the mouth indiscriminately, good and bad. This creates an opportunity for thrush to grow.

If you think you have oral thrush, it’s best to go to see a doctor. The treatment is usually anti-thrush drugs.

2. Geographic tongue

Geographic tongue is a condition where red spots appear on the tongue. It’s usually harmless and goes away on its own after a few days. A dentist or doctor can prescribe a topical cream if the spots are sore.

3. Kawasaki syndrome

Kawasaki syndrome is a rare condition where the blood vessels of the body become inflamed, turning the tongue red. It usually only affects small children.

4. Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia is a condition where white patches form in your mouth and on your tongue.

It’s different from other causes of white patches, such as thrush, because it doesn’t go away easily and it can eventually develop into oral cancer.

Smoking is the most common cause of leukoplakia. The patches usually go away on their own when the patient stops smoking.

5. Lingua villosa nigra

“Lingua villosa nigra” sounds like a spell from the Harry Potter books but it’s actually a real medical condition that turns the tongue black.

The words “lingua villosa nigra” are Latin for “black hairy tongue”. As the name suggests, the condition not only turns your tongue black, but it also makes it look hairy! This is because the papillae on the tongue become longer and hair-like.

The condition is not as serious as it sounds. The cause is simply bacteria that are overgrowing on the tongue. The solution is just better oral hygiene, especially by brushing or scraping your tongue.

6. Vitamin deficiencies

Finally, certain deficiencies in vitamins or minerals can also make your tongue change colour. For example, deficiencies in vitamin B3 (niacin), B9 (folic acid) and B12 (cobalamin) can all make your tongue red.

Don’t worry though, because deficiencies like these are rare. They can be avoided simply by eating a varied diet high in fruits and vegetables.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we’ve gone over six health conditions that can make your tongue change colour. So the next time you think your tongue looks big funny, you’ll be better prepared.

If you would like to speak to a dentist about your tongue or any other mouth problem, book an appointment with us today.

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