Your tongue can reveal surprising secrets about your health. Without proper dental care, your tongue can develop some conditions that can eventually lead to health problems down the line. Check out these common tongue-related health conditions to see if your mouth might hold the secret to what’s bothering you.
A glossy, bright red tongue may be a sign your body is lacking iron or B12. This can be more common for vegetarians, as B12 is found in meat.
If your tongue seems to have a white coating of some kind, it could mean you have a yeast infection, commonly called oral thrush, inside your mouth. Your tongue may look similar to cottage cheese. Typical in young children, thrush also affects people with autoimmune diseases, people with diabetes that isn’t well controlled, chemotherapy patients, and the elderly.
Our tongues are covered in papillae. These are small bumps are essentially your tastebuds that cover your tongue. Occasionally these can die and shed off leaving the tongue slick and smooth. The cause of this condition is usually a vitamin deficiency or possibly anemia.
A very normal, common condition, “geographic tongue” refers to a tongue that looks like bumpy terrain. Typically harmless, geographic tongue affects between 1 and 14 percent of the U.S. population. Geographic tongue typically requires no treatment or checkup and the cause of this condition is unknown, but it has been associated with diabetes, anemia, atopy, and stress. If it does not go away on it’s own or becomes painful talking to your doctor is necessary.
If dark hair of fuzz develops on your tongue it is likely caused by the overgrowth of papillae. This can be triggered by poor oral hygiene such as drinking, smoking, or lack of daily care causing bacteria to grow at an alarming rate. Although not a major health risk, it could turn into one if it’s not addressed.
If you notice more wrinkles and cracks on your tongue as you get older, that’s normal. Yes, even our tongues show signs of aging. While cracks are typically harmless, you always need to be careful to keep your tongue and mouth clean.
Persistent Red Lesions
Red lesions or patches that don’t go away could be serious and possibly a sign of tongue cancer. Get it checked immediately.
If you are concerned or notice any of these symptoms please talk with us. We are here to help and point you in the right direction for treatment!