A healthy tongue is pink and moist, with the surface covered with a thin white coating. If your tongue does not look like this, you may have a tongue disorder or problem.
Understanding common tongue problems will help you know what to do when you first notice the issue. Most of the time, tongue problems are not serious. Many are caused by minor infections or oral injuries. However, there will be instances wherein they may be symptoms of an underlying condition that requires the attention of a medical specialist.
A Sterling Heights dentist shares below the five common tongue problems that you may develop:
Why is my tongue white?
If you have a white tongue instead of a pink one, chances are, you have poor oral hygiene practices. The white coating is often made up of food debris or bacterial plaque which you can remove by brushing.
However, if you see patches of white areas which you can’t remove by brushing and oral thrush on your tongue, this problem might be a symptom of oral lichen planus and leukoplakia.
Oral lichen planus is an autoimmune response which can cause reticular lichen planus, a chronic inflammatory condition of the tongue. This condition can sometimes lead to oral cancer.
Leukoplakia, on the other hand, are white patches on the tongue that cannot be scraped off. Smoking is the leading cause of leukoplakia and quitting this habit can resolve this issue.
In case you always have oral thrush on your tongue, a simple treatment you can try is to eat yogurt or take a probiotic supplement to restore your mouth’s natural flora and fight off the infection.
Why is my tongue red?
A deficiency in vitamin B12 and folic acid can cause you to have a red tongue that may look like a strawberry. Increasing your intake of these nutrients will often resolve this problem.
In case you have a red tongue and a high fever, see your doctor immediately since you may have scarlet fever.
If your tongue has a map of red spots, consult your dentist. You may be prescribed a topical medication to relieve the pain or discomfort you are feeling.
Why is my tongue swollen?
Tongue swelling is usually a symptom of hormonal conditions and medical disorders. In addition, it can also be an allergic reaction or a side effect of a particular medicine. It can also be caused by a strep infection.
Why is my tongue sore and bumpy?
Accidentally biting your tongue, burning it with hot liquid or food, and canker sores can cause you to have a sore, bumpy tongue.
Smoking, burning tongue syndrome (common in postmenopausal women), enlarged papillae, and other medical conditions like oral cancer, anemia, and diabetes can also cause this issue. If the pain and bumps do not go away in one to two weeks, consult your doctor. Regular dental visits with your Sterling Heights Dentist will include oral cancer screenings, be sure to ask about this.
Why can’t I taste anything?
Lastly, there will be instances wherein you will experience loss of taste. This usually happens if you are sick and have an infection.
Other causes of loss of taste also include damage to the taste buds, nerve problems or a medicine’s side effect.
It is best to see your Sterling Heights Dentist or doctor if your tongue problems do not seem to go away within one to two weeks. You will need to undergo different tests so that your specialist can get to the root of the problem and prescribe a treatment regimen appropriate to the underlying condition.