What Your Tongue Says About Your Health
Did you know that your tongue is one of the main indicators of how things are working in your body? By spending just a few minutes looking at your tongue each day, you may be able to discover issues that you would not notice otherwise.
Prescott Dentistry specializes in integrative holistic dentistry, which means that we’ll examine every part of your mouth, including your tongue. Because your tongue and your health are so closely related, knowing what a healthy tongue looks like and how to spot any abnormalities is very important.
What a Healthy Tongue Looks Like
To know when your tongue has any changes or abnormalities, you need to know what a healthy tongue is supposed to look like. Healthy tongues should be pink and covered in small nodules, also referred to as papillae. If your tongue’s appearance deviates from normal, it could indicate an underlying health problem.
Different Tongue Abnormalities and What They Mean
A white tongue could be caused by an infection called oral thrush, which presents itself as white patches resembling cottage cheese. Oral thrush most commonly occurs in infants, newborns, and those with weakened immune systems.
A red tongue can be caused by vitamin deficiencies, such as deficiencies in folic acid and vitamin B-12. A red tongue can sometimes indicate scarlet fever. If you have a red tongue and a high fever, you should see a doctor immediately for antibiotic treatments. In children under 5 years old, a red tongue with a strawberry-like appearance could be Kawasaki disease, a medical condition requiring urgent medical care.
Painful bumps on your tongue can arise for a number of different reasons. Minor trauma, such as accidentally biting your tongue or eating something too hot, is the main cause of tongue bumps. These injuries generally heal within a few days. If you are a smoker, your tongue could be sore from smoke irritation. Canker sores can also cause painful bumps. They will usually heal on their own within one to two weeks.
Tongue Abnormalities and Oral Cancer
If you have a lump or sore on your tongue or if you have tongue pain that does not resolve within a week or two, it could be a sign of oral cancer. Schedule an oral cancer screening with your doctor or dentist right away—this deadly disease can be treated when it is detected in its early stages.
Your Tongue and Your Health
Checking your tongue regularly is a great way to make sure you don’t miss any important messages from your body. If you have any lumps, pain, discoloration, or any other abnormalities that don’t go away after two weeks, schedule an appointment at Prescott Dentistry so we can give your mouth a full examination.