HIV

Why is my Tongue White?

August 6th, 2019

 

The human body is amazing in so many ways. Our bodies often try to tell us things about our health through triggering certain signs and signals. The oral cavity can be an easy spot to indicate signs of specific health conditions developing. For instance, the color and texture of your tongue could be a clue that something is going on within your body.

The normal anatomy of the tongue is comprised of tiny nodules known as papilla. The color is typically a shade of pink, although food debris may temporarily stain the tongue. An indicator of poor oral health or possibly an underlying health condition is the presence of a white tongue that remains for a prolonged period of time. A white tongue has been associated with mouth breathing, smoking, oral thrush (fungal candidiasis infection), infections, excessive alcohol use, medication side effects, and congenital heart disease.

Most frequently it is linked with dry mouth and dehydration, which increases the risk of developing tooth decay and infections. Saliva is crucial for helping us breakdown food and protecting our teeth due to the proteins and minerals found within it. Without it, the dry environment promotes bacteria and fungi growth and typically produces an odor.

Other conditions that have been known to cause white tongue include oral lichen planus, geographic tongue, oral cancer, and HIV/AIDs.

Although white tongue is typically harmless, if you notice any pain or persistence of white tongue for a prolonged time that does not respond to oral care, be sure to contact your dentist.

It is important to remember to brush your tongue with either a toothbrush or tongue scraper each day to remove all of the plaque and leftover food particles that become trapped between the papilla on the surface of the tongue. Also, staying hydrated is important, especially during these hot summer days!

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319814.php

https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/white-tongue/basics/causes/sym-20050676

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Safety and Infection Control at the Dentist

April 3rd, 2013

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Recent news reports have come out regarding dental practice safety and infection control, notably, involving a Tulsa, Oklahoma practice. We want to take a moment and share what we do to ensure the safety of our patients. We take universal precautions in sterilization practices that are applied to everyone who comes through the doors of Wellesley Dental Group. Our top concern is in abiding by strict infection control guidelines for the health of our patients, team, and Drs.; “Do No Harm” is our mantra.

Every day, every hour, and every minute we adhere to a very strict regimen to disinfect and sterilize everything that comes into contact with our patients. We want to let you in on the behind-the-scenes processes that are as much a part of our routine as the teeth cleaning, crowns, and x-rays we do every day.

  • Hand washing
    • We wash our hands consistently, especially before and after interacting with any patients.
    • We follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens Standards.
  • Plastic barriers are placed on all surfaces that are potentially touched to prevent any cross contamination:
    • Before any patient enters, the operatory is cleaned with a medical grade disinfectant and all plastic barriers are changed. Disinfected surfaces include equipment and surfaces, such as x-ray units and countertops.
    • Masks and safety glasses are worn.
    • Gloves are worn at all times and are changed between every patient.
    • Sometimes numerous gloves are thrown out during particularly long procedures for a given patient. We go through boxes upon boxes of gloves every day.
    • All pillows, light handles, etc, are draped with protective covers.
  • All disposable instruments (needles, suction tips, etc) are disposed after one use. These instruments are disposed in puncture resistant biohazard containers.
  • Non-disposable instruments are sterilized in small, individual packages in our autoclave. The autoclaving process destroys all forms of microbial life.
    • Instruments (drills, filling and cleaning instruments, etc) are brought to the sterilization room
    • The instruments are scrubbed by hand and washed.
    • Steeped in a solution for 20 minutes as they undergo an ultrasonic bath
    • Dried and placed into special, small, individually wrapped packages
    • These packages are then autoclaved.
    • After the autoclaving, there is a color indicator on the package that changes, confirming that process was done correctly.

When it comes to knowing whether the autoclave works correctly every time, we don’t solely rely on the color indicator on the packages. Our autoclave is a brand-name, state of the art machine that blasts instruments with extreme heat and high, steam pressure in an airtight enclosure. Every week, to ensure it is working according to the manufacturer’s standards, we do a spore test.

  • We put a closed packet of spores into the autoclave
  • The packet undergoes the autoclaving process
  • The autoclaved packet is then sent to an independent lab for analysis.
  • To pass the test, all spores must be inactivated.

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We take the safety of our patients very seriously and will continue to follow the highest standards laid forth by the CDC, AGD, and OSHA. As members of the AGD (Academy of General Dentistry), we strive to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting our patients from the transmission of diseases. We think that AGD President Jeffrey M. Cole, DDS, MBA, FAGD sums up our beliefs very concisely:

“Because many dental procedures involve direct contact with blood and saliva, safety protocols are put in place to help stop the spread of disease. Heat sterilization of dental instruments helps prevent the spread of diseases like hepatitis and HIV. By following stringent best practices, AGD dentists maintain a commitment to patient health and safety. If your dentist is an AGD member, you can be confident that he or she strives to provide the best quality care to their patients by utilizing the most current safety protocols.”

Our patients can always expect the highest standards of quality and care. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to be in touch with us. Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group are infection control advocates; we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com!

 

Sources:

AGD:

OSHA

CDC

 

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