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Your Tongue and Oral Health

Teeth Mold

Your tongue provides your doctors with a lot of valuable information. It can provide clues concerning infection, stress, medication interactions, and more. While you needn’t interpret every bump or discoloration as a sign of impending doom, understanding how tongue health is linked to oral health and how oral health is linked to your overall health can help you make better decisions considering your hygiene.

White patches

White patches in your tongue can be a sign of infection or worse. Thrush is a common fungal infection that occurs often after you take antibiotics. The antibiotics reduce the good bacteria in your mouth allowing the fungal infection to set in. Typically, thrust is temporary and can be easily treated with antifungal creams. Additionally, you can find acidophilus pills at your local drug store or eat a lot of yogurt to restore the healthy balance of bacteria in your mouth.

Occasionally, white patches can be a sign of an autoimmune disease or indicate a risk for cancer. While you shouldn’t panic over white patches, you should be diligent about correcting the situation. If acidophilus or yogurt doesn’t solve your thrush problem, then you should talk to a doctor.

Hairy tongues

If your tongue looks like it has hair on it, then you have a condition colloquially referred to as hairy tongue. The hairs are actually proteins that are growing. They can be removed with tongue scrapers. If the hairs don’t come off, then you may have an autoimmune disorder. You should talk to a doctor about the condition.

Black tongue

Black tongue may be hairy tongue, but it could also be a reaction to an antacid. If it’s the latter, the situation will resolve itself quickly. If it’s the former, you can try to scrape off some of the blackness. If it comes off, then that’s your solution. If it doesn’t, seek medical attention.

Very red tongue

If your tongue seems even redder than it normally does, or redder than other tongues in your household, you may have a serious issue. In some cases, a smooth red tongue that hurts can be a sign of a vitamin B deficiency. In children, a red tongue can be a sign of Kawasaki’s disease, which causes an inflammation of the blood vessels all over your body (including your tongue). However, Kawasaki’s disease is rare and mainly affects children. Red tongue can also be a sign of scarlet fever.

Burning mouth syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome is a neurological condition affecting the nerves of the tongue making it feel like your tongue is on fire. Burning mouth syndrome is linked to diabetes, heartburn, and other ailments.

Swollen tongue

Swollen tongue is usually an allergic reaction, but it can also be the result of an infection, allergies, and more. The discomfort can be quite extreme. It may be difficult to speak or eat. Your doctor will address the underlying cause of the disorder.

Learn More about How the Tongue Affects Oral Health

While tongues can tell you a lot about your overall health, many of the signs can indicate multiple conditions. If you’re concerned about a recent development on your tongue, schedule an appointment with Peak Family Dental Care in Cottonwood today.

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