What is your tongue telling you about your health?

It’s important to inspect your tongue, as it can be an indicator of general health.    Here are some changes to watch for:

If you see:

Cottage cheese  white:  This can be a sign of thrush, or an oral yeast infection.  This can happen after a patient is on antibiotics, and can also be caused by a weakened immune system.

Oral thrush:

thrush

 

Brown of black fuzz:  This can be caused by poor oral hygiene.  It is important to brush the tongue or use a tongue scraper.  Cigarette smoking or excessive coffee can also be a cause.

Black fuzzy tongue:

fuzz

 

Strawberry red: This can be caused by a vitamin or mineral deficiency, such as lack of vitamin B12 or iron.

Vitamin B 12 deficiency:

strawberry.jpeg

 

Hills and valley:  This can be “geographic tongue”, which is actually harmless, and affects 14 percent of the population.  The cause is not known, but it does not lead to problems.

Geographic tongue:

geogrp

 

Any change of the tongue should be evaluated by a doctor or dentist,  especially if it is a a lump or a sore that is not healing.    It is important to inspect the tongue as well as under the tongue for changes, and to seek medical care for anything unusual.

Tongue cancer:

cancer tongue.jpeg

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