Like many other parts of the body, our tongue has a unique ability to show us when something may be wrong. The tongue is responsible for helping us communicate and consume food, but it also acts as a resource for understanding your body’s overall health status. A healthy tongue is pink in color, whereas a change in color or texture– especially over a long period of time, could be a signal for concern.
To better understand what your tongue could be telling you about your overall health, we’re covering a few of the common concerns below.
My tongue is white?
White tongue is most commonly a result of poor oral hygiene. This happens when the tiny bumps on your tongue, known as papillae, become swollen or inflamed. So what turns my tongue white? Well, bacteria, food, fungi and dead cells can easily trap themselves between the enlarged papillae. This collected debris is what turns your tongue white.
In medical terms, a white tongue is often referred to as thrush. You’re more likely to get oral thrush if you have diabetes, a weakened immune system, vitamin deficiencies— or if you wear dentures. It’s important to note however, that prolonged use of antibiotics may throw off your internal microbiota, resulting in higher amounts of yeast cells, which can also make your tongue white in color.
My tongue is red?
Generally, a red colored tongue is due to a Vitamin B deficiency– therefore, taking vitamin supplements and managing your nutrition should correct it. However, if your tongue persists to be red– or bright red in color, this could be an indicator of something more serious such as infection, blood disease, or a heart condition.
While the name “black tongue” sounds scary, it’s actually one of the more harmless tongue conditions. When your tongue is black, this is usually a result of poor oral hygiene or reactions to medication. Fortunately, black tongue will typically go away on its own or with the help of antibiotics.
Common causes of black tongue include drinking a lot of coffee or tea, tobacco use, dehydration, and medication. However, if your tongue continues to remain black in color, this may be a sign of a more serious condition.
If you are concerned about the color or texture of your tongue, we encourage you to give our office a call to schedule a consultation. At Wellspring Dental, your health is our top priority. While we’re sure there is nothing to worry about, we always encourage a professional opinion.