Pop starlet Miley Cyrus has received a great deal of press lately for her on-stage and video antics, including countless photos of her sticking out her tongue. Entertainment commentators have focused on the appropriateness (or lack thereof) of the pop star’s outfits, so-called “twerking,” and provocative dancing with fellow entertainer Robin Thicke, but have not discussed the obvious plaque present on the singer’s tongue.
During a recent dentist visit, the Allentown Family Health Examiner heard from her dental hygienist that Miley’s tongue plaque is a sign of poor dental health.
Writing in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, a team of Belgian researchers state, “A clear relationship between tongue coating and oral malodor has been observed in many clinical trials.”
The researchers recruited patients from a halitosis (bad breath) clinic and took medical histories in an effort to understand the causes of coated tongues. The top factor uncovered by the research team is the level of oral hygiene; other factors include smoking, use of dentures, gum health, and quality of diet.
Publishing in the same journal, researchers from UMDNJ discuss the effects of three different dentifrices (toothpastes) on oral bacteria. Although a dentifrice containing sodium fluoride, triclosan, and copolymer demonstrated the largest reduction in oral bacteria, triclosan is an antibacterial agent that is biologically persistent and linked to antibiotic resistance, making it suboptimal for general use. Two other dentifrices tested include plain sodium fluoride and a mixture of stannous fluoride, sodium hexametaphosphate, and zinc lactate.
Alternative medicine has also yielded potential therapies for oral bacteria. One source of promising treatment is Ayurvedic medicine, and one such treatment is known as UDM. A team of researchers led by Avinash Kadam notes, “Ayurveda has mentioned various procedures for maintaining oral hygiene. These include procedures like gandusha, kavala, dantadhavana, and jivha lekhana.”
UDM tooth powder is produced by KLE Ayurveda pharmacy in India and contains haritaki churna, bibhitaki churna, amalaki churna, bakula churna, babbula churna, khadira churna, kutaja churna, nimba twak churna, sanidhava lavana, karpoora, and peppermint. In a study, Kadam et al compared outcomes between a group of individuals using UDM tooth powder and a group using a national brand of tooth powder. Both groups saw a significant reduction in plaque and gum disease, but there was not a statistically significant difference between the two treatments.
Oral plaque is a sign of poor oral hygiene and can lead to poor oral health outcomes. Miley Cyrus would be wise to consider visiting her dentist and pursuing a course of treatment for her coated tongue.