How often should I get my teeth cleaned or checked?
How many times a day should I brush my teeth?
What causes tooth loss?
What are wisdom teeth?
Why do my wisdom teeth not come up fully?
Must all wisdom teeth be removed?
When should a child have his/her first dental appointment?
What is gingivitis?
What is that white or yellow stuff on my tongue? How do I avoid it?
Coatings on the tongue can come from any of a number of causes.
The surface of the tongue is studded with myriad bumps known as papillae. They come in three types: filliform, fungiform, and circumvallate. The fungiform and circumvallate contribute to taste perception; they are the larger bumps on the front or the back of the tongue respectively. The most numerous type are the small filliform papillae, which cover the majority of the dorsal (upper) surface of the tongue.
Sometimes the filliform papillae either hypertrophy (grow larger) or atrophy (grow smaller) as a result of chemical, endocrine, or microbiological factors. This will give rise to changes in the appearance of the tongue.
For instance, the habitual use of hydrogen peroxide-containing mouthrinses will cause the filliform papillae to grow, leading to a clinical condition elegantly known as “black hairy tongue.”
Strep infection will sometimes take the form of scarlet fever (scarletina), which causes the filliform papillae to develop a white coating, allowing the fungiform papillae with their contrasting red color to create the characteristic “strawberry tongue” appearance.
A condition called benign migratory glossitis, also referred to as “geographic tongue”, presents as islands of atrophied filliform papillae within areas of normal papillae, giving the tongue a map-like appearance.
Some people develop yeast infection (candida albicans) following administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics or if the immune system is depressed. This causes a white coating to appear on the tongue.
Sometimes the level of activity and/or salivary flow is not sufficient to remove exfoliated cells from the surface of the tongue, allowing them to accumulate and create a coating. This can sometimes be reduced by habitually brushing the tongue when you brush your teeth. Use caution to avoid gagging yourself, though!
As you can see, there are many things that match the description you present; the treatment must be tailored to your specific problem. If it persists, I’d advise a consultation with your dentist to clarify the nature of the condition.
What is the difference between white and metal fillings?
White fillings are tooth coloured plastic composites. They are bonded to the tooth structure and are not obvious to the naked eye.
Composite fillings are set using a special light. Metal fillings are a mixture of metal alloys and mercury. This mixture is a called an amalgam. It is placed into the tooth and dhaped while soft. The amalgam sets after about one hour.