The tongue is an amazing organ, covered in 5,000 to 10,000 taste buds. Every day of our lives, it is involved in our talking, eating, and certain facial expressions.
You’ve probably never looked at your tongue to diagnose health conditions, though. You won’t become an expert just from reading a blog post, but you can start to learn what your dentist looks for. Using the danger signs below, you can call Dr. Rosenfeld if you see a problem.
1. Tender Tongue
If your tongue suddenly feels sore—either just in one area or all over—it should usually clear up in a week or two. It might be a reaction to a food allergy, or it could be a canker sore, which can be treated with medication. However, if the soreness doesn’t heal, call us for professional advice.
2. White Patches
White, thick patches that are scattered over the tongue can sometimes be a condition called leukoplakia, which is often a reaction to using alcohol or tobacco products. But other times, white patches are signs of oral cancer. To be sure, keep up with your regular dental exams and schedule an oral cancer screening.
3. Red Patches
A scattering of red patches and bumps can be a reaction to a fever. If you do have a fever, you’ll need to weather the condition causing it.
4. White Coating
As often as possible, your whole tongue should be pinkish. If areas of your tongue are covered in a white coating, it could be caused by an overgrowth of your body’s natural yeast fungus. Or you may simply need to do better at lightly brushing your tongue twice per day. If the coating doesn’t clear up, call Dr. Rosenfeld.
5. Red Tongue
If your tongue color suddenly changes to an unusual red (which can look like a strawberry or raspberry), it could be caused by Kawasaki disease. Or you may also just need more B-12 or folic acid, which you can get through certain foods or in nutritional supplements.
Know What Your Tongue Is Telling You!
If your tongue looks bad at all, give Dr. Rosenfeld a call! We’ll be glad to answer any questions or schedule an exam.