Tongue Health: How to Recognize Troubling Signs

You may not think about tongue health often, but your tongue’s appearance can often be an indicator of other health problems.

tongue health

Additionally, a tongue that’s overrun with bacteria because it isn’t cleaned properly can contribute to bad breath.

Every time you brush your teeth, make sure you brush your tongue as well. And after you do, take a look at it to make sure you don’t see anything abnormal. Any of the signs below could be cause for concern:

1. Persistent Red Lesions

At first you might mistake a red lesion for a canker sore. It very well may be, especially if you’re under stress. Canker sores have a habit of showing up when your body is run down. However, if that red lesion doesn’t disappear within two weeks, it could signal a more serious problem with your tongue health.

Even if it doesn’t hurt, make an appointment with your dentist or doctor to have the area examined and tested. Oral cancer doesn’t cause pain in the early stages, but it’s still important to begin treatment as soon as possible.

2. A White Coating

A white coating on your tongue that looks like cottage cheese indicates that you could have thrush — a yeast infection. You’re especially susceptible if you are older, been diagnosed with diabetes or have been taking antibiotics. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment approach.

3. Bright Red Appearance

Your gums and tongue should be reddish in general, but a bright red tongue could indicate something more serious than degrading tongue health. It could mean that your body is suffering from a vitamin deficiency. You need to make sure you are ingesting enough vitamin B12 and iron.

Consider adding supplements to your diet to correct this deficiency, and improve tongue health and whole body wellness.

4. White Patches

Do you notice small groupings of white patches anywhere on your tongue? This is an overgrowth of cells usually found in smokers. They’re called leukoplakia, and they can turn into oral cancer. Whenever you spot leukoplakia, it’s a sign you need to stop smoking. Your body may be able to reverse their growth.

5. Brown or Black Coating

If your tongue is brown or black, it basically means you’re not taking care of your oral health like you should. It’s time to step up your game, brushing and flossing twice a day, and including tongue cleaning in your regimen.

Tongue health is important because it relates to whole-body wellness. To get more information on how your oral health is connected to the rest of your body, make an appointment with the friendly, caring team at Oak Hills Dentistry today.