Your dentist and health care provider can tell a lot about your oral and overall health by looking at your tongue. The color, texture, and coating are all insightful.
Say ahhhhh! Our tongue is more than just a random part of our body. Sometimes we take our tongue for granted, but we could not enjoy delicious foods, kiss our loved ones, or talk without it. In addition, it plays a huge role in our ability to swallow food. But did you know that our tongue also says a lot about our general and oral health?
What Does Our Tongue Say?
Your dentist and health care provider can tell a lot about your oral and overall health by looking at your tongue. The color, texture, and coating are all insightful. Considering the following examples:
- Overly red tongue – An overly red tongue is generally associated with a vitamin deficiency like B-12 or folic acid. It can also be a rarer symptom of Kawasaki disease.
- White patches on the tongue – There are various reasons why a person would find white patches on their tongue. Most of the reasons are not dangerous, but it is a good idea to check with your dentist if they persist. Oral thrush, canker sores, and leukoplakia are the most common reasons. In rare cases, it can indicate oral cancer.
- Hairy tongue – It does sound gross, but this can indicate a protein build-up, which can cause small bumps to become elongated, causing food to get trapped and looks like hair.
- Fuzzy white patches – Hairy leukoplakia causes fuzzy white patches to appear on the sides of the tongue and is found in people with a weakened immune system. People with HIV/AIDS are at higher risk of developing hairy leukoplakia.
- Sore or tender tongue – If your tongue is tender or sore, this could indicate a food allergy. It is a good idea to discuss this with your dentist or healthcare provider if the issue persists.
Why Take Care of Your Tongue?
Brushing and flossing are not the only two things that should be part of your oral health routine. Bacteria is present in all areas of the mouth, including your gums and tongue. Keeping your tongue clean is vital! The microorganisms found on your tongue can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing your tongue also gives you fresher breath.
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