When you think about oral health, the teeth and gums are usually your focus. While those structures are certainly important, dental professionals know you must consider your entire mouth when assessing your oral health, including the tongue. Changes in the coloration or texture of your tongue can indicate a range of oral health problems, so be sure to keep your dentist appraised of any issues you see. 

Today, the team at ZDental has some common oral health conditions that you may be able to identify by looking closely at your tongue.

Unusual Coating on the Tongue

Bacteria, debris, and fungi on the tongue can build up, leaving a visible coating. This coating may be white, yellow, or black, and it’s usually a sign that you need to improve your oral health routine. A white or yellow film can indicate an overgrowth of candida fungus, one of the many microorganisms that make up your mouth biome. A black coating could also be a sign of fungal or bacterial growth. These issues can cause bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the short term, but if they are left unchecked, they could lead to gum infections, tooth decay, and gingivitis.

If you notice a coating on your tongue, make sure you brush twice daily, floss once daily (and as needed after meals), and use an American Dental Association-approved mouthwash. If these issues persist even after you beef up your oral health routine, be sure to mention them at your next dental checkup.

Changes in the Tongue’s Texture

If your tongue appears smoother or glossier than normal, it could be a sign of certain vitamin deficiencies. If it looks rougher or bumpier than usual, it could be a condition known as geographic tongue. In either case, speaking to your dentist about the issue can help shed more light on the cause, and they may refer you to a specialist to develop a treatment plan.

Color Changes in the Tongue

Your tongue should be pink; if it looks red and swollen, it could indicate a mouth infection or some type of inflammation. If your tongue looks paler than usual or it is blue in color, you may be having circulation issues. It could also be a sign of some less common blood disorders. Again, speaking to your dentist about the problem will help you better understand what is wrong so you can begin treatment as soon as possible.

Sore or Lesions on the Tongue

One or more whitish bumps on your tongue could be canker sores or swollen taste buds; they could also be signs of many serious conditions, including oral herpes and oral cancer. Canker sores and swollen taste buds will usually only last a few days, so if you have a sore or lesion that persists for longer, it’s best to get it checked out immediately to rule out any potentially serious problems.

General Dentistry in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

If you are concerned about changes in the appearance of your tongue or any other issues affecting your mouth, ZDental is here to help! We have seven different clinics across New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area, so contact us any time you need teeth care in Trenton, NJ, or in any of the other areas listed here.