Many people like to use home therapies or remedies for common oral ailments or simply to improve their oral health. A commonly used rinse by some dental patients includes rinsing the mouth with hydrogen peroxide. Peroxide is used in many types of products, including those designed for whitening, as peroxide is a natural whitener and helps lift stain. Other than accidentally swallowing the peroxide, there are other reasons why rinsing with peroxide on a regular basis are not a very good idea.
Daily rinsing with hydrogen peroxide can actually alter the healthy bacteria in your mouth, so that they don’t function just like they ought to. We need a level of certain flora to help our digestion function properly. Completely eliminating key flora by rinsing with peroxide every single day can throw off this balance, and create annoying side effects that impact the appearance of your smile.
One of these side effects is something called “black hairy tongue.” It sounds really unappealing doesn’t it? Well, it looks just like it’s described. Peroxide induced black hairy tongue is actually an overgrowth of the small papilla on the surface of your tongue, making them appear as many small or long hairs over the surface. These enlarged papilla also pick up stain from the food or drinks you consume, and become discolored as they pick up a dark brown or black shade. The result? A tongue that looks hairy and black. The condition isn’t harmful, but it doesn’t look good and may make you have bad breath.
Always ask your dentist about how often to use home remedies or products for your teeth. Most are helpful if used in moderation, but it never hurts to ask!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Byron Scott, Springhill Dental Health Center
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