Have you noticed weird coloration or texture in your tongue? We don’t think much about it, but believe it or not, your tongue can give you a lot of insight into your oral and overall health. Start paying attention, and you may be able to prevent certain conditions in your mouth or body. Here are 6 secrets that your tongue can reveal about your health.
1) Black or Brown Fuzz
Fuzz could mean that you don’t have good oral hygiene. Your tongue is covered in papillae, which are small bumps that grow throughout your lifetime. Without proper oral care, they can become overgrown and will attract bacteria to your tongue. These bumps can then become discolored by food, smoking, or drinking soda, tea, and coffee. The good news: with proper oral hygiene techniques like brushing your tongue, and cutting back on some of these bad habits, your tongue can regain its health.
2) White Cottage Cheese
Your tongue may have a yeast infection, known as thrush. Your tongue will appear to have a lumpy, “cottage cheese” coloration and texture. Your tongue is naturally covered with bacteria and yeast, and a weakened immune system may increase the likelihood of built of yeast. The condition is sometimes linked to taking antibiotics. Children, the elderly, chemotherapy patients, and people with diabetes are the most common subjects to thrush. You may experience a bad taste in your mouth and some have reported a little bit of pain. See your doctor if you are experiencing this because over-the-counter drugs will not help.
3) Red Lumps
These are not to be confused with canker sores. If you have large, long-term red lumps on your tongue, it could be a sign of tongue cancer. See your doctor immediately if you are experiencing this problem. It is more commonly caused by tobacco use but can also generate from the HPV virus.
4) Wrinkles or Tears
It’s not an immediate threat. Just as the rest of your body does, your tongue ages. This does mean, however, that you need to practice good oral hygiene. Poor oral hygiene habits can lead to an infection in these wrinkles. Side effects include pain, burning, and a bad smell. If you happen to get an infection, you may need to purchase anti-fungal medication in order to resolve the issue.
5) Cherry Red
A smooth, bright red tongue can be an indication that you are lacking certain vitamins in your body, particularly iron and B12. The vitamin deficiency causes you to lose the papillae on your tongue, creating the color and condition that you see. Vegetarians commonly experience this problem because they lack certain vitamins only found in meat. Ask your doctor about taking supplemental vitamins.
6) Burning Sensation
Burning tongue syndrome can happen to anyone, but it is more commonly found in women. The tongue often looks normal, but the burning sensation can cause extreme discomfort. It is commonly caused by a hormonal imbalance or hormonal changes. The sensation can also be caused by an allergy to the toothpaste you have been using. If you are experiencing pain or burning to your tongue, see your doctor. Luckily, it can be treated with an antibiotic mouthwash. If you have an allergy, then start looking for other toothpastes. The common ingredient causing the allergic reaction is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Look for toothpastes without this ingredient.
Contact us if you have been experiencing any concerning symptoms and don’t forget to brush your tongue!