Secrets Your Tongue Can Reveal
You might see bumps and sores, patches of white, a redness, a painful and burning sensation on your tongue, and you wonder where that came from. It’s good to have a little knowledge about tongue health which can tell you about the state of your oral and overall well-being.
Is your tongue strawberry bright red and glossy?
It’s a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency or lack of iron. The lacking vitamin and mineral help grow your tongue papillae and without them the tongue appears smooth or balding. The papillae protects your tongue from hot and spicy foods and hence, you might feel the pain. This is common among vegetarians. Vitamin supplements can restore normalcy. On the other hand, the papillae can also overgrow, get discolored from food stains causing bacteria to get trapped. Bad breath and taste changes can follow.
Typically, a black and hairy tongue is brought on by smoking, drinking coffee and dark teas, or poor dental hygiene. A return to proper oral hygiene and avoidance of smoking and drinking staining liquids can fix the situation.
A lumpy, white-coated tongue could be thrush, a yeast infection where there is overproduction of candida. Taking antibiotics causes this opportunistic growth and which can be painful or alter taste. Thrush is common in young children or the elderly, those with an autoimmune condition or are on chemotherapy.
Fissures and cracks in the tongue can appear as you grow older and if oral hygiene is neglected, this harmless situation can become problematic. Bacteria can lodge in the crevices causing foul breath, pain, a burning sensation or a fungal infection. Or you might have a ‘geographic tongue’, looking like bumpy terrain. It’s typically harmless as some taste buds can shrink away, but see a doctor for a prescription if it becomes painful.
Painless white patches, called leukoplakia, are caused by an excess growth of cells. If you are a smoker, there is a small chance that it can turn precancerous. In many cases it can reverse if smoking ceases. Persistent red lesions, though, should be taken seriously if they don’t resolve in a matter of weeks. Usually painless, it can be associated with smoking or the HPV virus. You must see a doctor and check for cancer. On the other hand painful sores or canker sores, or ulcers, resolve after stressors are removed.
Know more about your tongue and have it examined by your Downtown Seattle dentist. You might catch a condition you didn’t know about and have the chance to treat it in time.