The Language of Your Tongue: Understanding Health Indicators

Learn about the different tongue health indicators and what they can reveal about your overall health. Keep your tongue healthy with Swish Dental! Contact us today!

Do you remember the time when you were a child, or maybe just one of your kids, explored the world with their tongue? From windows to handrails to funny expressions or expressing displeasure, or maybe tasting delicious foods, the tongue has many uses.

For being just a random body part our tongues play a pivotal role in our ability to taste and swallow food. A tongue can also be a barometer about your oral health but also your overall health and a good indicator that follow-up is needed. Your tongue can many times tell you when something in your body is off.

The following are a few things to keep an eye on and to follow-up when needed:

A Tongue with White Coating

Ever seemed like your tongue was covered with a white substance? This could be oral thrush, a yeast overgrowth that occurs inside the oral cavity. Of course, it could just be whitish from not brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth. You do that, don’t you? If the white brushes away, you’re good to go.

A Tongue with White Patches

Ever heard of leukoplakia? It really isn’t a made up name from a movie but an actual condition that can occur when the tongue has been irritated. A common irritant, such as smoking or tobacco use, can lead to one or more white patches or spots that form inside the mouth. It is different though than other causes of white patches, like thrush, because it can develop into oral cancer. If you do see white patches, though, it is best to book a dentist appointment to be on the safe side and to rule out oral cancer.

Tongue Too Red?

While a tongue that is too red may be a symptom of Kawasaki disease, it is more commonly a sign of a vitamin deficiency, such as B-12 or folic acid. It is easy to add a vitamin supplement to your normal routine to make sure your body is receiving all the necessary nutrients.

Is Your Tongue Sore or Sensitive?

If your tongue is a bit sensitive in one spot or all over, this could mean you could be developing a canker sore or have a food allergy. If the problem persists then it is best to talk to a pro but if it goes away within a few days you are probably fine.

Hairy Tongue

Did you know there is a condition called hairy tongue? It does sound unpleasant but it is a rather harmless condition, not too uncommon affecting around 13% of the population, and is generally easy to manage. It is believed that protein build-up causes small bumps on the tongue to become elongated which result in the trapping of food. This ultimately puts off a scary hairy tongue look. If a good brushing or tongue scraping doesn’t work then a trip to the dentist is necessary.

Come See Us!!

At Swish Dental we are always here to promote you and your smile. From General Dentistry, Family Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry, to Invisalign and Sleep Apnea Treatment, making you smile is what makes us smile. We’d love to walk with you on your dental journey today!

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Last Modified:
August 23, 2023