What Your Tongue Can Tell You About Your Oral Health

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Table of Contents

You probably don’t give a lot of thought to your tongue, but like your teeth and gums, it’s a vital part of your oral health. If you develop a problem with your tongue, it could indicate a problem with your oral health that needs treatment.

The following covers what you need to know about your tongue and how it reflects your oral health:

What Should Your Tongue Look Like?

A healthy tongue often looks pink, but it can also look lighter or darker. Tiny bumps called papillae cover it, giving it a rough surface. Your tongue should also feel and look well moistened. When brushing your teeth, you should also brush your tongue to remove any bacteria. This is an ideal time to look at your tongue in the mirror to learn what it usually looks like and be aware of any changes as they occur. If you notice any changes, discuss them with your dentist.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

A change in your tongue’s appearance can indicate you have an issue with your oral health or your overall health. The following are some common changes to look out for and what they may be telling you and your dentist:

  • White Spots: If you see creamy white spots on your tongue, you might have a fungal infection. If they look lacy, you may have lichen planus, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the tissues in your mouth. Flat white areas that are hard and you can’t scrape them away may be linked to oral cancer, so mention these to your dentist if you see them.
  • Bumps: Small bumps can appear on your tongue for a number of reasons. Transient lingual papillitis, commonly known as “lie bumps,” can form on the tip of your tongue in response to irritation. If the bumps are small, red, and painful, they may be canker sores, especially if they’re located on the underside of your tongue. Bumps on your tongue can also be the result of a virus. However, if you have a painful bump on your tongue that does not go away within a few days, reach out to your dentist.
  • “Hairy” Tongue: If your tongue has what looks like dark fur on it, dead skin cells may have built up on papillae. They become longer strands that trap food particles, bacteria, tobacco, and other substances. You can usually stop the problem by practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing your tongue every day and using a tongue scraper.
  • Burning Sensation: If your tongue feels like it’s burning, it could be the result of an infection, acid reflux, dry mouth, or simply consuming too many acidic foods. It may also indicate a nerve issue. For this reason, it’s best to consult your dentist if you experience a burning sensation that does not go away.
  • Smooth, Shiny Tongue Tissue: A fungal infection can cause smooth and shiny areas of your tongue that may also burn and itch. Your dentist can treat them using antifungal medication. If your tongue has a smooth, glossy appearance, it may also indicate a nutritional deficiency.

Final Thoughts

Changes in your tongue may indicate an issue with your oral health. If you notice a change that doesn’t go away in 7-10 days, tell your dentist about it. They can effectively treat the problem as soon as possible to restore your oral health. Treatments depend on the cause and may include a medicated rinse or medication to fight fungus. Your dentist may also suggest a change in your oral hygiene habits and or recommend that you stop smoking. If oral cancer is detected, treatments can include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or drug therapy.

A quick check in the mirror can help you to catch oral health problems sooner rather than later. If you notice changes in your tongue, take note and discuss it with your dentist.

The post What Your Tongue Can Tell You About Your Oral Health first appeared on Dental Signal.

Denture care is an essential part of maintaining good oral hygiene, and using denture cleaners is a common practice for many denture wearers. However, there are some common mistakes that people make when it comes to using denture cleaners. In this article, we will discuss five mistakes to avoid when...
Dental bone grafting is a common procedure recommended by implant dentists when preparing for tooth replacement. This process is necessary when the jawbone is not strong or thick enough to support a dental implant.   Why Dental Bone Grafting May Be Needed Before Dental Implants  There are several reasons why...
Taking excellent care of your teeth, gums, and jaws will help you maintain a beautiful smile and boost your overall health. That is why you need to work closely with a reliable dentist in your area. Although most people see the same dentist for years, circumstances may sometimes force you...
Although most people see a dentist at least twice annually for preventive care, you may need to schedule a dental appointment for treatment in between visits. Several signs and situations will help you determine when to make an appointment. Maintaining your oral health is essential for your happiness and overall...
Loading More Posts

Hastings Dental Centre is a smile sanctuary, committed to enhancing natural beauty through advanced procedures. We prioritize high standards, preventive care, and a positive patient experience, ensuring confident, healthy smiles. Trust to the best Vancouver dentists.

Follow us

Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

Book an Appointment