When it comes to oral health, everything should be taken into consideration, like your tongue. We always talk about your oral health and how your teeth play a major role, but the fact of the matter is, your tongue may be giving you issues that you don’t know much about! Woburn’s family dentistry team has all of your tongue’s basic problems listed below that may help you get to the bottom of why your tongue looks the way it does.
But first, let’s help you get to know the tongue on a more personal level! Did you know that the tongue is often known as “the strongest muscle in the human body”? This comes to no surprise to us, because this muscle allows you to swallow, talk and taste your favorite foods. So, what color should a healthy tongue be? The answer to that is pink, with small nodules called papillae covering the surface. But what if your tongue is a different color?
What causes a white tongue?
There are numerous reasons that your tongue could develop white spots or a whitish coating, including:
- Oral thrush. Oral thrush, also known as candidiasis, is a yeast infection that develops inside the mouth. This condition often results in a cottage cheese-like consistency on the surface of the tongue and/or mouth, with white patches on the tongue itself. Oral thrush is often seen in elderly people and infants because of weakened immune systems. In the elderly, those who wear dentures are more at risk. Also, people who have inhaled steroids for asthma, have diabetes or suffer from lung disease are more at risk of oral thrush. However, oral thrush can happen to anyone, especially if you’ve just finished a round of antibiotics. To avoid oral thrush, eat plain yogurt! Eating plain yogurt will provide your body with live and active cultures that are great for restoring proper fauna in your mouth and fighting off candida. There are also medications available.
- Leukoplakia. Leukoplakia is a condition that causes mouth cells to grow excessively. This leads to white patches on the surface of your tongue and cheeks. Although Leukoplakia is not known to be dangerous on its own, it has been a precursor to oral cancer. Because of this reason, it is highly important that you contact your family dentistry office to determine the cause of Leukoplakia in your mouth. It’s important to note that this condition can develop on a tongue that has been irritated, which is why it’s highly common in tobacco users.
- Oral Lichen Planus. Oral lichen planus will develop raised white lines on the surface of your tongue and have a lace-like appearance. Oral lichen planus is a condition that has an unknown cause, but they’ve noticed that it usually resolves on its own. Dentists recommend that you avoid tobacco, practice proper dental hygiene and limit irritation from foods or drinks.