Have you been feeling a little off or just not yourself? When you’re not your best, you might be able to figure out why by simply sticking out your tongue. When you visit my dental office in Cambridge, we’re always on the lookout for any bumps or discolorations, just like your primary care doctor. Here are a few reasons why you should always keep an eye on your tongue and discuss any changes with us!
Bumps, cracks, discolorations, lines, even “hairs” – these are all things you’ll want to keep a keen eye on when you stick out your tongue and take a look. Make it a habit of checking out your tongue every day when you brush your teeth. Take a moment, open up, and say “ahh.” If you notice any unusual symptoms that seem to persist for more than two weeks, it’s a good idea to give your dentist in Cambridge a call.
If your tongue is healthy it will be covered with small papillae or nodules and be a nice healthy shade of pink. If you see something out of the ordinary or have pain, it may indicate a problem. Here are some things to be on the lookout for:
1) A Sore Bumpy Tongue
Oral Cancer – If you ever have a lump or bump on your tongue that persists for more than two weeks, it’s important to have it checked out as it could be an early sign of oral cancer. Oftentimes, oral cancer doesn’t cause pain in its most earliest stages.
Smoking, Canker Sores, Trauma – All of these things can also cause irritation to your tongue. If you’re experiencing pain, call your doctor.
Vitamin Deficiency – You might need more B12 or folic acid if there’s an intense redness to your tongue.
Geographic Tongue – This is usually characterized by redness and patches with white borders around them and generally harmless.
Scarlet Fever – A bright red appearance with bumps could indicate scarlet fever. It’s important to treat this condition with antibiotics.
3) White Coating or White Spots
Leukoplakia – This condition causes cells on the tongue to grow at an extremely rapid pace. We usually see this occur when someone uses tobacco products and can be a warning sign for cancer. However, it is generally not harmful. If you think you’re experiencing leukoplakia, it’s best to give us a call!
Oral Thrush – A harmless yeast infection is to blame for this type of thick, white coating on the tongue. It’s very common in infants, denture wearers, and people with diabetes.
These are just a few of the most common signs your tongue may be giving you about your health. It’s just as important to use common sense and call my Cambridge dental office if you suspect something is not right. When your tongue and teeth are healthy, the rest of you will be too!