The appearance of the tongue says a lot about our overall health. So stick out your tongue and look in the mirror. What does your tongue look like?
What a Tongue Should Look Like
A healthy tongue is pink and covered with small papillae, or nodules. Tongues in top shape are not white, red, black, bumpy or painful. If any of these characteristics describe your tongue, call the Sacramento Dentistry Group right away for an exam.
What a White Tongue Means
If you have white spots on your tongue or your whole tongue is white, it could be a symptom of oral thrush, a yeast infection of the mouth. Oral thrush is commonly seen in adults who wear dentures and people with diabetes or weakened immune systems.
Leukoplakia is another condition that may cause white patches on the tongue. This is caused by cells in the mouth growing excessively due to irritation. This condition is commonly seen in users of tobacco products and may be an indication of oral cancer.
What a Red Tongue Means
You may have a red tongue due to a folic acid or vitamin B-12 deficiency. There is also a harmless condition called “geographic tongue,” characterized by red patches with a white border around them. Kawasaki disease is a serious condition that causes the tongue to look strawberry colored. It affects children only and is associated with a high fever and inflammation of the arteries. Causes of this disease are unknown, but a red strawberry tongue is a symptom that needs immediate medical attention to monitor the situation.
What Does a Black or Hairy Tongue Indicate?
Much like hair, the papillae on your tongue grow throughout your lifetime, but sometimes they become excessively long, making the tongue a better home for bacteria. This condition is harmless, but looks awful. It usually goes away with time. Good oral hygiene and a tongue scraper tend to cure black or hairy tongue.
Why is My Tongue Sore or Bumpy?
The most common reason for a sore tongue is due to accidentally biting it or burning it on hot food or drinks. The tongue will recover, but might need a couple days to heal. Smoking may also cause a tongue to become sore and irritated. A sore tongue is sometimes an indicator of oral cancer, an especial risk for tobacco users. If you have a sore tongue or a lump on it that hasn’t gone away for two weeks, call the Sacramento Dentistry Group for an immediate exam. When oral cancer is caught in its early stages, there’s a higher chance of successful treatment and recovery.
Treat your tongue right — clean it too when brushing and flossing your teeth. Since the tongue is so important, our Sacramento dentists check your tongue at every appointment. Taking care of your oral health requires taking care of all your mouth parts, including the tongue.