Warnings from Your Tongue
Don’t you notice that a visit to your dentist would entail an oral examination that usually starts with your tongue? The tongue can speak volumes when it comes to oral health and many signs point to the state of overall health as well. Let’s look at some warning signs.
Black hairy tongue. Think coffee or black tea when the tongue looks blackish and seems to have an overgrowth of hairs. This can be caused by frequent intake of dark colored foods and drinks and that you are simply on the low end of proper oral hygiene. Most cases can be totally harmless. The papillae on the tongue tend to trap debris and bacteria and a good tongue scraping everyday can clean it and not allow accumulation. However, there are medical conditions like diabetes, antibiotic use, and chemotherapy that can lead to hairy tongue.
Oral thrush. That’s the whitish patches on the tongue, looking like cottage cheese on the tongue surface. It could be a sign of a fungal infection, a clue that something else is going on that has upset the natural levels of fungus-fighting bacteria in the mouth. Diabetics, those inhaling steroids for asthma or lung disease can also exhibit this, and more likely to occur after taking antibiotics. If it is patchy and not covering your tongue completely, it might be leukoplakia, a condition commonly seen in smokers. While it’s not dangerous in and of itself, it could also be a precursor to cancer.
Very red tongue. If the tongue is as red as roses or strawberries, it could be scarlet fever, a bacterial infection that can cause high fevers and rashes. It’s also extremely contagious, so you should see a doctor immediately.
Canker sores. These sores lead to a bumpy tongue and sometimes the tongue may be painful. They can be caused by stress, or a bad flu, are usually harmless and may just need an over-the-counter pain reliever medication. If it is a lone, irregularly shaped bump, it can be Squamous Papilloma that can be surgically removed or lased.
Deep wrinkles. If the tongue looks cracked and grooved, you may have an autoimmune disorder. Big tongue. If your tongue looks bigger than usual or somewhat too big for the mouth, it could be a sign of hypothyroidism which is completely treatable with a synthetic thyroid hormone prescription.
Looking at Tongue Health in Downtown Seattle
When you come pay us a visit in Downtown Seattle, you can be sure to get a thorough oral examination. One of the places we look into well is your tongue. We can never be too careful when it comes to tongue health.