What is Strawberry Tongue?

What is Strawberry Tongue? What do I need to know and do? My dentist told me I have strawberry tongue and referred me to my primary care physician.

Strawberry Tongue causes your tongue to be swollen, red, and the bumps on your tongue will be very pronounced. It can also have white spots. The name is derived from the fact that it makes your tongue look like a strawberry or a raspberry, and may be painful. The swelling may make it difficult to eat or cause you to bite your tongue.  strawberry tongue - paid - shutterstock 1133467589

Strawberry tongue is often assumed to be a dental or oral health issue. It is a symptom of one of several diseases. It should be treated immediately by your primary care physician because some of the underlying diseases can be serious.

Underlying Conditions

Among the most common causes of strawberry tongue are the following conditions.

  1. Food or medication allergy. In these cases, the reaction to the allergen causes your tongue to become inflamed and swollen. Typically, antihistamines will be prescribed to control and reduce the allergic reaction. If the allergic reaction is serious – anaphylaxis – it may be accompanied by other symptoms such as swelling of the throat or face, difficulty breathing, chest pain, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure. Anaphylactic shock can cause problems with breathing and with the circulatory system. Untreated, it can be fatal.
  2. Kawasaki Disease. Kawasaki disease typically occurs in children. It causes particular arteries to become inflamed and swell. Other symptoms of Kawasaki Disease include: high fever, skin rash, red eyes, peeling skin. Without treatment, it can cause a coronary artery aneurysm or other heart problems.
  3. Scarlet Fever. When a bacterial infection develops in someone with strep throat, it can cause scarlet fever. The disease most often affects children between the ages of 5 and 15. Other symptoms of scarlet fever include: red rash covering much of the body, high fever, bright red areas in the folds of the skin, headache, sore throat, flushing of the face over the cheeks. Without treatment scarlet fever can cause a person to develop rheumatic fever, kidney disease, skin infection, serious infection of the middle ear, abscesses, or lung infection.
  4. Toxic Shock Syndrome. Toxic Shock Syndrome has been connected with nasal gauze packing and with use of tampons. It is most commonly caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus or the same species of group bacteria A Streptococcus. The latter causes Scarlet Fever. The tampon creates a host for growth of the bacteria. In addition to strawberry tongue, Toxic Shock Syndrome can cause other symptoms, including: high fever, headache, aches and pains, sore throat, nausea, vomiting diarrhea. Toxic Shock Syndrome should be treated immediately. Without proper treatment, it can be life-threatening if it affects vital organs.
  5. Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Strawberry tongue can also indicate the vitamin deficiency. It will typically be accompanied by other symptoms, including: weakness, tiredness, numbness or tingling, memory problems, balance issues, or glossitis. It is treated easily with high doses of Vitamin B12.

Strawberry tongue, as the name implies, causes your tongue to resemble a strawberry (red and swollen with bumps). Alone, it is not an illness. Instead, it is a symptom of underlying diseases. It is not a dental or oral health issue. Some of these diseases are quite serious and can be fatal. However, all of these diseases can be treated effectively by your primary care physician.

Alarming Teen E-Cigarette Use

We recently shared with you some information about the decline in cigarette smoking among U.S. adults. In that post we observed that teen use of tobacco products was escalating.

The increase in teen use of e-cigarettes is alarming. In data released this month (much earlier than expected) teen vaping - sm - pexels-photo-338710documents a staggering increase in the popularity of e-cigarettes among teens in America. Data released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that the use of e-cigarettes has reached epidemic proportions. In 2018 more than 20 percent of American high school students reported using e-cigarettes regularly. This is almost twice as many teens as in 2017.

The new insights are based on responses to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, a combined effort of the FDA and the CDC. The findings include:

  • From 2017 to 2018, use of tobacco of any kind among high school students rose 38 percent; 29 percent among middle school students
  • This increase in use of tobacco products was attributed to a “dramatic” rise in e-cigarette use over the last year.
  • In 2017, 2 million high school students used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. In 2018, the number had risen to 3 million. (Compare to 220,000 students

in 2011).

Equally alarming is the fact that these teens are using e-cigarettes more often. Nearly 30 percent of the high school students who reported use of e-cigarettes said that they had been vaping with an e-cigarette at least 20 of the last 30 days. Particularly popular among teens are the small e-cigarettes that resemble a USB flash drive. These devices contain very high amounts of nicotine and are most popular in fruit and candy flavors.

The flavors are significant. For many teens, the flavor was the initial draw to trying e-cigarettes. These flavors then increase the likelihood that those who try the e-cigarettes will graduate to regular use of the products.

Use of these e-cigarettes can be highly addictive (due to the amount of nicotine they contain). They also carry the risk of harm to breathing and to oral health. Many experts are concerned that the progression from e-cigarettes to combustible tobacco products will be a small step. That step would subject a new generation of Americans to the harmful effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

We can expect to see programs coming from the FDA and the CDC to attempt to curb this rise in the popularity of e-cigarettes. The carcinogenic properties of tobacco will bring more cases of tobacco-related cancer, heart disease, lung disease, oral health issues, and more to this new generation. Society will continue to be saddled with the ever-rising cost (human and financial) of these diseases.

Oral Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease is the second most-common inflammatory bowel disease (after ulcerative colitis). Crohn’s Disease affects approximately 700,000 people in the U.S. It can affect any part of the gastrointestinal system. Most symptoms affect the digestive tract. What many people do not know is that other symptoms are also possible.

Some symptoms of Crohn’s Disease outside the digestive tract affect the mouth and the lower part of the face. Mouth Woman with aphthous stomatitis - paid - Depositphotos 52168033 m-2015ulcers are the most common of these symptoms. The canker sores (mouth ulcers) tend to arise at the base of the gums, inside the mouth. Characteristics of these canker sores include: small size, oval or round shape, yellow or gray in color with a red border or “halo,” appearing in groups. These sores are typically painful.

Crohn’s canker sores may be the first symptom of the disease to appear. They can precede digestive symptoms by a number of years. In many cases, the mouth ulcers will become worse when there is a Crohn’s Disease flare-up. These mouth ulcers are typically caused by inflammation related to the disease, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, or as side effects of some of the medications prescribed to treat Crohn’s Disease.

Incidences of Crohn’s Disease are more common among women than men. Yet, it is men and children with Crohn’s Disease who are most likely to develop mouth ulcers. Some vitamin and mineral deficiencies that are common in those with Crohn’s Disease include vitamin B-12 and zinc, both of which can cause glossitis, or vitamin K, which can cause the gums to bleed.

Among the medications that can have oral side effects are:

  • Budenoside, which can cause redness or swelling of the tongue
  • Ciclosporin, which can cause the gums to swell
  • Loperamide, which can cause dry mouth
  • Methotrexate, which can cause mouth ulcers and gingivitis
  • Tacrolimus, which can cause oral thrush or mouth ulcers.

If you have Crohn’s Disease, be sure to tell your dentist, especially if you are experiencing any of the oral symptoms of the disease.

Other oral symptoms of Crohn’s Disease may include:

  • Bad breath
  • Edema/Swelling of the lips
  • Dry mouth
  • Oral granulomatosis/granulomatous cheilitis
  • Salivary duct inflammation or abscess
  • Erythema
  • Gingivitis
  • Cobblestone appearance
  • Mucosal tags
  • Deeply corrugated buccal mucosa
  • Tooth decay due to vomiting or acid reflux
  • Glossitis (inflamed or red tongue)
  • Redness and scaling around the lips.

Oral symptoms of Crohn’s Disease may be treated with topical medications, steroids to reduce inflammation, adjustment of primary medications, or vitamin or mineral supplements. Your doctor or your dentist may suggest rinsing with warm salt water, maintaining excellent oral hygiene, drinking plenty of water, and more.

The oral symptoms of Crohn’s Disease are painful and aggravating, but they can be controlled and will subside in time. Keep your dentist informed about your symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and any oral manifestations of the disease. Together, your doctor and dentist can help you manage these oral symptoms.

Fight Cavities with Coffee

You can prevent and fight off cavities with the coffee you love so much. Worldwide, we consume 10.5822 pounds of coffee per person per year, on average.

Dentists tell you daily that coffee can stain the enamel of your teeth. Now we know that drinking coffee can be good forroasting coffee - pixabay cco -758161 640 your teeth and your overall dental health.

Studies show that drinking coffee without additives in moderation inhibits some cavity-causing “bacteria from adhering to your teeth at a rate as high as 98%!”

While you drink your next cup of coffee, let me explain.


How Coffee Benefits Your Teeth

First, it is important to emphasize that we are talking about coffee without additives. This means black coffee, without sugar or sweetener and without milk or cream.

Second, these benefits are derived from roasted coffee. Most of us drink roasted coffee, both at home and in coffee shops. Specifically, medium-roasted coffee has the greatest benefit for your teeth. Medium-roasted coffee has the maximum level of antioxidant activity and an antibacterial activity that prevents even Streptococcus mutans from attaching to your teeth. This is a primary bacterium in causing cavities.

When coffee is roasted, some compounds are formed that do not form under other circumstances. Those compounds include melanoidins (polymers that form in food only at high temperatures). When you drink coffee (without additives) these characteristics prevent the bacteria that cause cavities from attaching to your teeth and causing damage.

What is the Down Side

Many people are surprised to learn that coffee drinkers typically have whiter teeth than others. This is true despite the tannins in coffee that can stain teeth (like cola drinks or wine). These stains, though not removed by additives in toothpaste, can be addressed by your dentist.

What about people who use additives in their coffee? Milk alone will not interfere with the positive effects of coffee for teeth. However, a mixture of milk and sugar or artificial sweetener will reduce the effect of these characteristics of the coffee and allow cavity-causing bacteria to form on tooth surfaces.

Drinking a moderate amount of coffee with no additives can have a positive effect on your dental health. The coffee prevents certain cavity-causing bacteria from attaching to your teeth.

How do you drink your coffee? Will you continue to use additives, or will you switch to black coffee?


Are Plaque and Tartar the Same Thing?

Most people hear dentists talk about plaque ad tartar. Many people use the two words interchangeably. There are some important differences between plaque and plaque

Plaque is the transparent to translucent sticky film that covers your teeth during the day. It is made up of particles of food, sugars from foods and beverages, any bacteria in your saliva and the saliva itself. Plaque begins to form on the surface of your teeth within hours after your last brushed your teeth. This points to the importance of brushing twice each day to interrupt the growth of harmful bacteria in your mouth. It is the plaque that is forming that makes you teeth feel rough, sticky and dirty.

Tartar is a hard substance that forms on your teeth from plaque when it is not removed regularly. One important difference between plaque and tartar (calculus) is that tartar cannot be removed from the surface of your teeth simply by brushing. Once tartar is formed, you will need to see your dentist or dental hygienist to remove it professionally.

When tartar is not removed from tooth surfaces regularly, it tends to become thicker and more difficult to remove from your teeth. The amount of tooth surface covered by tartar increases, and it continues to harden. When teeth are covered with tartar both brushing and flossing become increasingly ineffective.

Instead of thinking about how to remove tartar after it forms, it is more helpful to think about how to prevent plaque and tartar from forming. You do this by brushing thoroughly for at least two minutes twice every day, flossing at least once every day, and seeing your dentist and/or hygienist regularly (usually twice each year). Eating foods that naturally flight plaque and tartar formation is another step you can take. These foods include cheese, apples, celery, and carrots.

If you have crooked or overlapping teeth, you may find it difficult to brush and floss as thoroughly as others. In this case, some people turn to orthodontic treatment to straighten and space the teeth better.

The secret to strong teeth and overall oral health is, again, in your hands. Brush thoroughly twice daily and floss at least once daily. See your dentist as recommended (twice to four times per year). Preventing harm to your teeth from plaque and tartar is far more important than learning how it can be treated after it forms.


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