When Is The Last Time You checked Your Tongue?
When you brushed your teeth this morning did you look at your tongue? If you answered no…it’s okay. Although we know oral health is important, many are unaware of the importance of examining their tongue.
The tongue is one of the most vital barometers to one’s oral health. Your tongue can serve as a detection tool, alerting you of health issues occurring inside of your body. At Colony Square Dental Associates, Drs. Hochberg and Diora examine the tongue of each patient they see; they know that an oral examination is not complete without a thorough evaluation of the top surface – and the undersurface – of this important muscular organ.
What does a healthy tongue look like?
If your oral hygiene isn’t up to par oftentimes symptoms are evident on the tongue. A healthy tongue will appear bright pink with small white nodes (little dots) throughout. Although tongues do come in all shapes and sizes, your tongue should not appear to be swollen nor should it protrude from your mouth.
What diseases can show symptoms on the tongue?
There are numerous diseases that Dr. Hochberg, Dr. Diora, and our dental hygienists are on the lookout for. They can be the result of stressors, infections or medications. The most frequently seen ailments are listed below.
Thrush: Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by Candida fungus or yeast. Thrush occurs most commonly as a side effect of medications such as antibiotics or corticosteroids. The prescriptions affect the PH balance in your body. It is also seen in those with immune systems that are weaker, such as toddlers, those with cancer, or persons under stress. Indicators of thrush are white patches or a creamy white substance on the tongue that resembles cottage cheese. If you notice anything similar to the symptoms described, call us immediately. We will schedule for an examination to diagnose and provide treatment.
Vitamin Deficiency: Take your vitamins! Your daily vitamin intake plays a major role in your oral health. If you notice your diet doesn’t include all of the recommended vitamins, your tongue will be sure to let you know. A bright red tongue that appears smooth and may be a bit uncomfortable could be an indicator that you may be deficient in certain vitamins such as folic acid, iron or B vitamins.
Oral Cancer: Sores that don’t heal, pain, odd discoloring and chronic issues with swallowing or chewing, should not be neglected as these are possible signs of oral cancer. If any of these issues persist for longer than a week be sure to check in with your dentist. Don’t let symptoms linger! Be vigilant. If you notice changes, seek a professionals opinion. Early diagnosis and care save lives!
You are the best person to act as the first line of defense. When your brush and floss your teeth in the morning and evening, add a step to your home oral healthcare regimen. Scrape any residue off your tongue. This is buildup on your tongue, with unwanted bacteria, contributes to bad breath. As you do so, look at your tongue. Check the front, the back and the top of the tongue’s surface. Stick your tongue out. Do you notice any changes, growths, discolorations, and patches? Lift up your tongue. Look underneath. Any concerns?
As we finish April’s National Oral Cancer Awareness month, it’s critical to remember the word ‘awareness’. This month and every month hereafter, make it your mission to pay close attention to the signs your tongue is giving you. If you feel like you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please call. Our goal is to help you stay healthy.