What is Your Tongue Trying to Tell You? A Guide for Tongue Health

Did you know that your tongue can reveal important things about your health? It’s true. Studying your tongue can tell you a lot about your personal well-being, including your stress levels, oral hygiene, and chronic conditions. Below, we’ve listed some of the symptoms or changes you may notice about your tongue, and what those changes could mean about your well-being.

Tongue Bumps/Sores

Sores on the tongue can be an indication of a variety of problems and can take many forms including chancres and cysts. You can get sores on your tongue from lack of sleep, stress, or smoking. Some women may get sores on their tongues due to hormonal changes.

Although some sores can be a natural part of life for some people, if you get sores on your tongue regularly, bring it up with your doctor to get it checked, just in case.

Red/Glossy Tongue

A red or glossy tongue could be the result of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Other symptoms of this type of deficiency include:

  • Skin color changes
  • Changes in mental state
  • Poor vision

However, it’s important to check with a doctor before treating yourself for vitamin B12 deficiency with supplements. And, don’t assume that you have a medical condition because your tongue is red. Consider what you ate recently, as it may have stained the muscle.

Smooth Tongue

Glossitis, which causes the tongue to look inflamed and swollen, is a condition that occurs when you lose some or all papillae. This can cause changes in taste and may even cause pain, especially if you consume acidic or spicy foods, or drink alcohol.

Glossitis can also be the only symptom of celiac disease. Talk to your doctor if you have this problem.

White Spots On Tongue

Thrush is what occurs when a type of yeast called Candida Albicans grows in excessive amounts on the tongue. Some medications and chronic conditions can cause thrush. People who have diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome, and HIV are all at increased risk for thrush.

Thrush is easily identified by the thick white spots that appear on the tongue. Thrush can lead to a cottony feeling in the mouth, difficulty eating, and loss of taste.

Black Patches on Tongue

Black patches on your tongue may sound like a serious problem, but this disturbing issue looks worse than it is. You can get black patches on your tongue caused by poor oral hygiene or by some medications. Sometimes black patches on the tongue are caused by drinking coffee or tea.

Hairy Tongue

Hairy growths on the side of the tongue can appear as a result of certain health conditions including Epstein-Barr virus (EPV) and HIV/AIDS. This can also be caused by a weakened immune system.

Improving Tongue Health

Concerned about your tongue health? Some tips for improving your overall oral hygiene and the health of your tongue:

  • Reduce your tobacco and caffeine usage
  • Brush your tongue when you brush your teeth
  • Scrape your tongue daily to remove bacteria

Also, see your dentist in Tampa regularly! Contact Weninger Dentistry to make an appointment today.