How much attention do you pay to your tongue? Most people don’t think much about their tongue (quite a few even skip brushing it!) but believe it or not, your tongue can provide quite a bit of insight into both your oral and general health. Want to know 6 secrets your tongue can reveal about you?
“Burning tongue syndrome” is a condition most commonly found in women. However, anyone can experience it. Most commonly caused due to a hormonal change/imbalance, the burning sensation can lead to extreme discomfort. Allergies to dental care products such as toothpaste may also cause a burning sensation, look for products which do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
Long-term red lumps located on the tongue (not to be confused with canker sores) could actually be a sign of tongue cancer. Tobacco use along with the HPV virus are the most common causes. If you notice long-term red bumps on your tongue, visit your doctor immediately.
A bright red, smooth tongue could indicate you have a vitamin deficiency. The most common deficiencies that cause a bright red tongue are iron and B12. It is caused by a lack of papillae on the tongue and is most often experienced by vegetarians. Taking vitamins can help, so talk to your doctor.
Everyone’s tongue is covered by papillae (small bumps which grow throughout life). When you don’t practice proper dental care, these papillae can become overgrown and attract bacteria. Discoloration may also occur due to food, tobacco and certain beverages.
Thrush (an oral yeast infection) can give the tongue a lumpy, cottage cheese appearance. Often due to a weakened immune system or the overuse of antibiotics, the elderly, children and immunocompromised patients are often most affected. Seek medical attention if you think you may have thrush.
Much like the rest of our body, over time our tongue ages. This can result in wrinkles or tears in the tongue, which are not a serious threat. However, proper dental care should be practiced in order to reduce the risk of these wrinkles and/or tears from becoming infected.