Look At Your Tongue. If You See THIS You Might Be In Trouble.
It isn't the best etiquette to stick out your tongue in public, but it is important to check on it every once in a while in the mirror. You'll know your tongue is healthy if it's clean and pink. Don't worry about the papillae, or the small bumps that gives your tongue its rough texture, as those are normal. However, if you notice any of the symptoms below you might want to look a little deeper. The way our tongues look can help signal health issues that we wouldn't have known about otherwise.
Keep in mind that these are only suggestions. A self-check is only the beginning, and if you have further concerns about any abnormalities that you see, you should visit a professional to learn how to best treat the condition. While some conditions can be cleared with simple changes such as improving your oral hygiene, others may be more serious.
Here's what a healthy tongue should look like.
Your tongue is a strong indicator of not just your oral health but your overall health. When you open your mouth, you should see a pink tongue covered with tiny bumps (papillae). The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day. Don't forget to brush your tongue as well.
You might see white spots or maybe your whole tongue is white.
If this is true, don't panic. It may just be a coating of bacteria, which you can change by improving your oral hygiene routine. However, if the discoloration seems to persist or you begin to feel pain, visit your doctor. You may have a yeast infection called oral thrush, or oral candidiasis, the severeness of which can depend on the strength of your immune system. In very rare cases, a white tongue can be a cancer warning sign.
Have you ever heard of geographic tongue?
This is a condition in which the tongue begins to look like a map via white or light colored borders. The exact cause is unknown, but it may be linked to psoriasis and a variety of other factors. Fortunately, it is harmless and doesn't have any connections to infection or cancer.
A red or swollen tongue could mean one of the following.
If you notice redness or inflammation, it may be caused by a particular incident such as eating spicy or acidic foods or a bite injury. However, it could also indicate a vitamin deficiency (if you're lacking in folic acid or vitamin B-12, this can lead to a reddish tongue), Kawasaki syndrome in younger children, or scarlet fever in children between the ages of 2 and 10.
A sore or burning sensation may be seen in postmenopausal women or those using the wrong kind of toothpaste (in this case, you can opt for a more sensitive toothpaste).
Read this if you notice any sores or lesions.
If irregular bumps, ulcers, or sores appear remain in your mouth for over 6 weeks, contact your doctor. Possible causes include infection, inflammation, or cancer. Depending on what's going on, you may need to take antibiotics, rinse with antiseptic mouthwash, or undergo surgery.
Page 1 of 2Next ›