Oral Exams: Checking out the Tongue

Tongue CheckHave you ever wondered why doctors and dentists ask you to open wide and say, “Ahhhh?”

It’s true that we dentists are looking for cavities and tooth-related problems, but the tongue and other soft tissues can also be an important indicator for a patient’s overall health. Diseases such as diabetes, AIDS, scarlet fever, and different vitamin deficiencies can all manifest symptoms via the tongue. Patients can also do their part by performing self-examinations at home. Whenever you find yourself brushing your teeth (usually in front of a mirror), take a minute to open wide and look inside your mouth. Any sudden changes such as tongue pain, different texture or color, burning sensation, swelling, or oral lesions should be reported.

Several other tongue-related problems are far less severe.

Canker sores can be caused by a bite trauma, by eating salty or acidic foods, or for no apparent reason at all. They usually heal in 1-2 weeks, and over-the-counter numbing gels are available to relieve pain.

Bad Breath (aka halitosis) can be caused by the tongue. It’s covered with millions of papilla, which provides the perfect textured moist environment for bacteria to grow. If you suffer from bad breath then consider brushing your tongue as well as your teeth!

About Dr. Jayson A. Chalmers

Jayson Chalmers was raised in Placerville, CA and graduated from El Dorado High School. He received his undergraduate degree in Anthropology from U.C. Berkeley. He went on to receive his dental degree from the University of California, San Francisco. After practicing as an associate dentist in Napa, CA, Dr. Chalmers returned to Sacramento to be closer to friends and family. He began practicing in his current location in January 2005.   Knowing that patients want to have the best options and treatment available to them, Dr. Chalmers has completed many hours of advanced educational training in general, implant, orthodontic, and cosmetic dentistry. He continues to learn and incorporate many of the latest dental technologies in his practice. Through the use of intraoral cameras, digital x-rays and computer imaging he can immediately show and explain all treatment options to the patient.   Dr. Chalmers is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, the Sacramento District Dental Society, the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and is involved in local dental study groups. Dr. Chalmers also is an active participant in Smiles for Kids, where free dental services are provided to local children in need.   Dr. Chalmers and his wife, Desirae, are the parents of Ella and Ava. They are an outgoing family and are very involved in the Arden-Arcade community. As a family, they enjoy tending to their chickens and organic garden, splashing around in the pool and traveling to beachside locations. Dr. Chalmers personal interests include camping and fishing and watching and playing most sports.

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