Your Tongue Speaks: What Your Tongue Can Tell You About Your Health

Did you know that your tongue can give you important clues about your health?

Aging, stress, infections and medication issues can all exhibit signs on your tongue. Read on for some changes to pay attention to if they appear on your tongue:

  • Creamy white spots may be a fungal infection called thrush. Other lacy or flat white areas can signal other problems including a type of cancer.
  • A hairy tongue coated with brown, white or black fur is actually an accumulation of proteins that catch food and bacteria. Come see us if the coloring remains after brushing or scraping your tongue.
  • Black tongue can be caused by Bismuth, an ingredient in many antacids, and should go away once you stop taking the medication.
  • A bright, strawberry-red tongue may be an early sign of Kawasaki disease, a rare but serious child’s illness that inflames the body’s blood vessels. A red, smooth tongue along with mouth pain may indicate that you are lacking vitamin B3.
  • If your tongue feels like it’s burned with a metallic taste, you may have burning mouth syndrome caused by a nerve problem, dry mouth, an infection, acid reflux or diabetes.
  • Normally your tongue has small bumps that contain taste buds and temperature sensors. A smooth and glossy red tongue may indicate a lack of certain nutrients like iron, folic acid or B vitamins. Celiac disease, infections and some medications may also cause smooth tongue. Smooth along with bumpy patches may indicate psoriasis or lesions called geographic tongue.
  • Bumps on the tongue may be canker sores. A virus can also cause small bumps on the sides and tip.
  • A sore tongue may be thrush, geographic tongue, an infection or canker sores. Some medications may make your tongue sore.
  • Macroglossia occurs when your tongue is too big for your mouth and can be caused by hypothyroidism, an infection or allergies.
  • As we age, deep groves can form on the tongue. Grooves may also be linked to Down syndrome, psoriasis and an immune system disorder called Sjögren’s syndrome.

Many bumps and spots on your tongue as well as tongue colors are harmless. But sores that don’t heal, tongue pain and trouble swallowing or chewing may point to something serious including cancer.

If you have anything unusual on or under your tongue, please come see us right away. We will perform a thorough oral exam to check for cancer and other problematic conditions.

Let Us Know If You Have Questions on Any Aspect of Oral Health Care

Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care has been treating and educating patients for over twenty-five years. Our office serves the New Fairfield, New Milford, Danbury, and Sherman areas of CT and Pawling, Patterson and Putnam Lake of New York. You can call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.