What Your Tongue Can Reveal About Your Oral Health

oral health It’s surprisingly easy to overlook your tongue. While this muscle helps you eat and speak, you might not focus on it much. However, paying attention to your tongue can give you clues about your oral health.

What color is your tongue? Does it have a coating on it? Does the texture seem different than usual? These questions can help you discover important insights about the state of your mouth.

Tongue Color

A pink tongue, whether light or dark pink, indicates a healthy mouth. Other colors may mean that you have an underlying health problem. Some tongue colors linked to health issues include:

  • White: This can be a sign of oral thrush, which is a kind of fungal infection.
  • Yellow: This can also indicate oral thrush, but it’s also associated with dehydration and medical conditions, such as liver disease.
  • Orange: Certain antibiotics, lack of proper oral hygiene, eating foods with a lot of beta-carotene, and dry mouth can all cause an orange tongue.
  • Black: A black tongue from bacteria or debris can happen due to smoking, certain medications, underlying medical conditions, or poor oral care.
  • Blue: Circulation or oxygen problems can result in a blue tongue.
  • Red or Purple: Viral infections, bacterial infections, and vitamin deficiencies can cause a red or purple tongue.

Sometimes, discoloration can appear on the tongue due to bacteria building up in the papillae, hair-like structures on your tongue’s surface. In any case, changes to your tongue are a good reason to schedule a visit with your dentist.

Tongue Texture

Bumps on your tongue can occur due to infections, vitamin deficiencies, or allergies. Scalloped edges can develop when you grind your teeth, have sleep apnea, or have tooth alignment problems.

Tongue Coating

A thick coating on your tongue can be a sign of oral thrush or bacterial infections. Changes in your tongue’s coating may also indicate an underlying health problem that affects your immune system. Yellow coatings can mean you have inflammation, an infection, or dehydration.

If you notice any changes to your tongue, it’s important to find the cause. Our dentist can evaluate your oral health.

Schedule Dental Care at Louisa I. Gallegos, DDS

Worried about the color, coating, or texture of your tongue? Or due for a dental cleaning? Dr. Gallegos offers high-quality preventative and general dentistry services in Denver, CO. Call our office at 303-316-4034 or submit our online form for an appointment.

Louisa Gallegos, DDS, MSD Prosthodontist

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