When it comes to the health of your mouth, your teeth and gums often come to mind, but did you know there is something else that also influences your smile? Your tongue can say a lot about you and the current state of your dental health. Although you may not pay a lot of attention to it, your dentist in Orlando will examine your tongue to look for clues pertaining to your oral health. There are several issues that will not just affect your mouth but can cause complications for your general health as well.
There are a few obvious signs you may see at home that can indicate there is an issue with your tongue, such as:
Often, white spots on the tongue are the result of oral thrush, which is a yeast infection. The spots often have the consistency of cottage cheese. Although it can occur in anyone, infants and the elderly are prone to it, as well as those who take inhaled steroids.
Sometimes the spots may be leukoplakia, which is an excessive growth of cells. This causes white patches to form on the tongue and inside the mouth. They are often seen in those who use tobacco.
Your tongue is naturally a reddish-pink color; however, if it becomes abnormally reddened, it could be an indicator of an underlying problem.
Your tongue can change color if your diet lacks enough folic acid or vitamin B-12.
This condition causes the surface of your tongue to develop a map-like appearance. They are red patches that have a white border. Although it may appear alarming, it is often harmless.
This is an infection that causes the tongue to turn strawberry red. Small bumps may appear and a high fever may develop. Antibiotics are necessary to treat the infection.
Your tongue can develop a black and hairy appearance. While it may be upsetting to see, the solution to resolving the issue is usually simple. Bacteria causes an overgrowth of papillae, which makes your tongue appear hairy. Improving your dental hygiene is often all that is needed to resolve the problem.
Besides the health of your teeth and gums, your tongue requires daily care too. When brushing your teeth, use your toothbrush to clean your tongue in a circular motion. As an alternative, some people prefer to use a tongue scraper.
If you develop a sore, thick patch, or another concerning area on your tongue, do not wait to contact your dentist. It could be a sign of a serious problem, like oral cancer. Your dentist will find the cause of the issue to create a customized treatment plan to keep your tongue healthy.
About Dr. John E. Russo
Dr. John E. Russo is a trusted dentist in the community for high-quality dental care. He strives to promote the health of your mouth and body through personalized services. Contact our office today to schedule your next cleaning and checkup.