Regarded as the strongest muscle in the body, your tongue is responsible for tasting, swallowing and talking. Ideally your tongue should be pink and swathed with small nodules. If youre experiencing tongue problems, the color and texture may change. In addition to discoloration, you may experience soreness and loss of sense of taste. Luckily, most tongue problems are not serious and will go away in a couple of days.
Wondering why tongue problems happen? Pain, swelling and discoloration may happen if you accidentally bit your tongue, ate or drank something too hot or too cold or are deficient in certain vitamins. On the other hand, it may also be indicative of a serious condition such as oral cancer or AIDS. If youre not sure what caused your tongue problems and it has been ongoing for a longer period than normal, it is important that you seek medical help.
If you notice a white-colored coating or spots on your tongue, it may be indicative of leukoplakia, oral thrush or oral lichen planus.
Leukoplakia develops when the tongue is irritated, causing excessive cell growth in the mouth. While not a life-threatening disorder, it can be a precursor to cancer. This oral condition is common in people who frequently use tobacco products.
Oral thrush is an oral yeast infection, manifesting in the formation of white patches with texture similar to cottage cheese, occurring in the mouth. This usually affects infants and elderly people with dentures. To restore normalcy, yogurt with live cultures can help.
Lastly, oral lichen planus appears as lace-like white lines on the tongue. With dental hygiene, you avoid this oral condition. Cutting back on food that causes irritation in the mouth as well as tobacco use can also help.
If you have a strawberry-red tongue, it may indicate deficiency of vitamin B-12 and folic acid. This may also accompany high fever.
Ever experienced a black hairy tongue? When the small bumps on the tongue grow excessively long and become worn, they harbor bacteria. Poor oral hygiene can result in a dark color. Also, people undergoing chemotherapy or receiving antibiotics are also likely to have this condition. Its nothing serious, though.