Tuesday 26 January 2021

The tongue is a mirror of your health and it should be checked and cleaned on a daily basis. It is the most flexible muscle in our body, it helps us talking, swallowing and food tasting. When healthy, the tongue is pink and covered with papillae. In this article we will mention the most common tongue-related issues, their causes and gravity.

Thrush or yeast infection is most common in older adults or babies due to reduced immune system (cased by immune-weakening diseases such as Diabetes, Cancer, HIV, leukemia) or certain medications such as antibiotics. In case you have this condition, do visit the dentist to get a medical treatment. Here are the most common symptoms you should be aware of: 

  • white or yellow patches of bumps on your inner cheeks, tongue, tonsils, gums, or lips
  • slight bleeding if the bumps are scraped
  • soreness or burning in your mouth
  • a cotton-like sensation in your mouth
  • dry, cracked skin at the corners of your mouth
  • difficulty swallowing
  • a bad taste in your mouth
  • a loss of taste
Geographic tongue as the name itself indicates a map-looking-like tongue. The signs of geographic tongue are uneven red patches usually on your tongue but they can also appear on your gums, cheeks, on the roof of the mouth, or under your tongue. These patches may have a white or light-colored border and
vary in size, shape, and color. The cause of geographic tongue is unknown, and there's no way to prevent the condition. There may be a link between geographic tongue and psoriasis and between geographic tongue and lichen planus. In addition, people people with geographic tongue have mild discomfort or a burning or painful feeling. This is often because of  hot, spicy, acidic foods, cigarette smoke and toothpaste. 

Black hairy tongue is not a serious medical issue even though it looks disturbing. It is most commonly associated with bad oral hygiene and smoking, decreased salivary flow, fungal and microorganisms  grow and soft diet. This condition requires regular tongue scraping and reducing tobacco intake. 

Atrophic Glossitis or abnormal smoothness occurs when the papillae are lost and the tongue gets a "glossy" appearance. One may feel swollen and painful tongue, inability to eat, speak and swallow and may notice tongue discoloration. Low iron levels, mouth trauma, Herpes Simplex, allergic reactions are common causes for atrophic glossitis. 

Strawberry tongue is red, swollen and bumpy. It is caused by B12 deficiency, Kawasaki disease, allergies, scarlet fiver and Toxic shock syndrome. If the red tongue is caused by vitamin B12 the doctor may request a blood test and exclude the other potential causes. If this is not the case, then it should be taken seriously and be further examined.  

Check your tongue every day and should you spot any differences that you are not sure what caused them, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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