Solterra Dentistry

What your tongue might be telling you about your oral health!

January 5, 2022
6 Min Read
What your tongue might be telling you about your oral health!

What your tongue might be telling you about your oral health!

Our mouth is a gateway to our entire body; anything we eat or drink first passes through the oral cavity, is broken down into smaller particles, and is then transported to the other organs of the digestive system. Hence, if the oral cavity is diseased, the infection can travel with the food to other body parts. Did you also know that our health is directly linked with our physical health and wellbeing? The tongue serves as an indicator of how healthy we are! In this article, the color of our tongue can tell a lot about one’s overall health. Dr. Manov at Solterra Dentistry discusses how we can identify underlying health problems from the color of our tongue. 

How Should a Healthy Tongue Look Like?

A healthy tongue is has a pinkish appearance. However, the shade can vary from dark to light pink shades. Also, healthy tongues contain small nodules on top. These nodules are called papillae; some of these help with a taste sensation. 

When to be Concerned About your Tongue’s Color?

While brushing your teeth, if you observe that your tongue has suddenly changed its color or shade, it is cause for concern. In addition, other signs such as swelling, redness, pain, or burning sensation should not be considered lightly, and immediate dental help should be sought. 

Below is a list of various conditions that may cause the tongue’s color to change:

Red Tongue

A red tongue can occur due to various reasons, such as Vitamin B deficiency, autoimmune diseases like Kawasaki disease, and scarlet fever. In addition, there is another condition called the geographic tongue, where scattered red patches develop on the tongue.

White Tongue 

White patches of different sizes and shapes sometimes form on the tongue. A common reason is an oral thrush - a condition caused by the Candida albicans fungus - often indicating impaired body immunity. Other possibilities include immune disorders such as lichen planus and leukoplakia (often an initial sign of a cancerous swelling). 

Yellow Tongue 

Although less severe than a red-patched tongue, the tongue can turn yellow because of various conditions such as:

  • Jaundice 
  • Psoriasis
  • Intake of certain vitamins 
  • Tobacco intake 

Hairy and Black Tongue 

A black and hairy tongue may seem like something serious, but it is usually harmless. This condition usually occurs because of the overgrowth of ceratin papillae on the tongue, giving a hairy appearance. Other possible causes of a black tongue include:

  • Poor oral hygiene 
  • Antibiotic intake 
  • Diabetes 
  • Chemotherapy 

A swollen, discolored tongue may indicate several oral health issues, including benign or cancerous swellings. If you observe that your tongue color does not change to normal after 3-4 days, you should consult your dentist or physician immediately.- as it may indicate something serious. 

If you are looking for the best dental practice in North Phoenix, Solterra Dentistry should be your first choice. We offer high-quality dental services to our esteemed patients, including cosmetic restorations and missing teeth replacement with dental implants. No matter how severe your problem is, Dr. Manov has a solution for it. So, book a consultation appointment today to enjoy perfect oral health and a set of pearly white teeth. 

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