A tongue speaks volumes even without words. The texture, color, and pattern on your tongue can tell the current state of your overall health. When healthy, the tongue is pink with tiny bumps called papillae. If your tongue looks different or you feel some pain, you have to visit a dentist. Here are issues the tongue can tell about your health. 

Health Issues to Identify by Your Tongue

1. White coating and patches

A white tongue has overgrown papillae, food buildup, or overgrown bacteria. You are likely to experience this when your oral hygiene is poor or have a dry mouth. Overgrown papillae become stained by drinks, food, and other matter. This makes the tongue to become white. Additionally, a white tongue can result from overgrowth yeast, thrush in the mouth or candidiasis. This condition is common in pregnant women, newborns, elderly, people who wear dentures, and those with a weak immune system.

White spots and spots on the tongue might also result from leukoplakia. This is where mouth cells grow rapidly leading to white spots on the tongue. This might be a sign of oral cancer. However, it pays to visit a dentist for an appropriate diagnosis. Regular symptoms of this condition are easily treated using antifungal medication.

2. Hairy black tongue

Also known as dark discoloration, this condition results from papillae overgrowth. This overgrowth picks up stains from food drinks, smoking, and medication. Additionally, a dark tongue might result from poor oral hygiene and a dry mouth. Ensure to visit one of the best dentists to determine the cause and recommend solutions. The black hairy tongue can go away with improved oral hygiene and giving up smoking.

Papillae on the tongue grow like hair through your life. However, this can become extremely long in some people. This increases the chances of harboring bacteria and making your tongue appear black and hairy. It is quite rare but never hesitate to visit a dentist to make recommendations on how to improve your oral hygiene.

3. Red tongue

This condition might resemble a geographic tongue, which is harmless. The tongue area might appear moving around and might be sore and irritated by spicy food. This condition might run in families or indicate having scarlet fever. This infection makes the tongue become bumpy and red. Visit your dentist for antibiotics to alleviate the problem.

Vitamin deficiency can also cause a red tongue. Lacking vitamin B-12 or folic acid might make your tongue to looker redder. Kawasaki disease might also make your tongue to get a strawberry-like appearance. This usually happens in children below 5 years accompanied by a fever. Never hesitate to take your child to a doctor for immediate assistance.

4. Sores

Having sores or bumps on your tongue might be a sign of trauma. Eating something very hot or biting your tongue might cause serious damage leading to pain. Clenching and grinding teeth irritate the tongue sides leading to discomfort. Regular smoking irritates the tongue leading to soreness. Canker sores or mouth ulcers can heal on their own after a week but also cause a sore tongue.

If you regularly have lumps on the tongue that don’t go away, never hesitate to see your dentist. It might be a sign of oral cancer. Some tongue bumps are not to cause concern especially resulting from bites and burns. Other significant cause of tongue soreness and bumps includes:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Bacterial infections
  • Early-stage syphilis
  • Irritation from a portion of food or other substance
  • Oral herpes from the herpes simplex virus
  • Immune system disorders and allergies

5. Bumps

For those with a teeth gap, check for the formation of a bump where the tongue fills the space. Tiny bumps might appear on the sides of the tongue. These are nothing to worry about. However, a bump on only one side of the tongue is big trouble. Visit a professional dentist for an examination. The bump might be resulting from injury or irritation although this can go away. Underlying conditions might also cause bumps requiring a dentist to diagnose the problem. These might include bacterial infection requiring treatment using antibiotics.

You can manage symptoms resulting from tongue bumps regardless of cause in the following ways:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Brushing and flossing twice daily
  • Avoiding mouthwashes with alcohol
  • Limiting sugary foods
  • Gargling warm salted water or baking soda regularly
  • Lessening pain using non-prescription topical solutions
  • Avoiding spicy and acidic foods that might irritate the tongue

Bottom line

Cleaning the tongue is an essential aspect of good oral hygiene. This is because various conditions on the tongue portray your overall general health. Always take time to check your tongue for signs including redness, soreness, white coating, and patches. The presence of these portrays that there is something not right with your oral hygiene and overall health. Diagnosing the cause of the problem and getting appropriate solutions requires visiting your dentist. This will avoid the problem from escalating and causing severe health problems.

By Punit