What your tongue tells about your oral health

Nov 24, 2022

Before we learned that there was more to our tongues, probably through a first kiss or by trying exotic foods, we explored so much with them as children. We licked everything in sight and even used our tongues to try to upset our siblings and parents by sticking it out at them. 

Well, the tongue is not just a random body part that you should take for granted. Besides helping you taste and swallow food, the condition of your tongue can provide valuable clues to your dentist about your oral health and even your overall health. There are various health things a Perth dental clinic can tell from your tongue.

Your tongue can have any of the following conditions:

  • It can be tender and sore
  • Have white coating
  • It can be overly red
  • Have irregular red and bumpy patches
  • Can be hairy 
  • Can have white patches

Here is what each of these tongue conditions could be telling about your health:

A tender and sore tongue 

You could have a food allergy or tongue infection if you have an overly sensitive tongue. This sensitivity can be in one spot or all over your tongue. In most cases, the sensitivity goes away with time. You should, however, seek help from a professional dentist if the sensitivity doesn’t go away. 

A tongue with a white coating

The colour of the tongue is naturally a pretty shade of pink. However, sometimes you realize that your tongue is coated with a white substance. This white coating is called thrush and is usually caused by an overgrowth of yeast inside the oral cavity. It may also result from not brushing your tongue, in which case you only need to brush it away. 

A tongue that is overly red

An overly red tongue is usually linked with a deficiency of vitamins such as folic acid or B-12. It can also be a symptom of Kawasaki disease. You may only need vitamin supplements to treat an overly red tongue.  

A tongue with irregular red and bumpy patches

You might suffer from high fever if you have irregular red and bumpy patches on your tongue. 

A hairy tongue 

Protein builds up on your tongue may lead to the development and elongation of bumps. When the elongated bumps trap food particles, they look like strands of hair on your tongue. Brushing your tongue or tongue scraping should be able to take care of this condition. You should, however, see a dentist if this doesn’t help. 

A tongue with white patches

Your tongue can develop white patches if it has been irritated. This condition is called leukoplakia and may result from smoking. It could help if you stopped using tobacco. However, in order to rule out oral cancer, book an appointment with a dentist if you see white patches. 

Get help from our Stittsville dentist!

If you notice something weird on your tongue, a dentist will help you protect yourself against severe and mild oral health issues. If you are worried about your tongue condition, please contact our Perth dental clinic, Herriott Street Dental, for a comprehensive checkup. You may never know what health issues your tongue condition might be indicating.