Don't Freak: Here's What Your White Tongue Means.....
How often do you stop and look at your tongue?
We ask, because according to Fariba Younai, DDS, professor of clinical dentistry at UCLA School of Dentistry, one simple glance at your tongue and knowing what exactly to look for can often identify some major health issues in the human body.
When you think about it, tongues are pretty weird!
They are wet, protruding organs used to taste, lick and help us articulate our speech.
Most commonly, our tongue resembles a healthy pink colour, but occasionally poor health, diet, or waaaaay to many ghost drop lollies can change its colour.
So, should we be concerned about these changes in colour?
Common concerns arise due to a thick white layer in the tongue that are generally caused by dead papillae (the little fleshy lumps on our tongue).
This build up often happens when we drink too much, eat fatty foods and neglect to brush our tongue when cleaning our teeth!
Dr. Younai told Refinery29 that colour changes in the tongue although mostly harmless, can be indicative of some serious illness, so here’s what we need to look out for….
“If you see separate white spots on your tongue, it could be a sign of a superficial fungal infection, an inflammatory condition, or even early signs of tongue cancer, you really shouldn't freak if you have a white spot on your tongue, but it's best if you contact your dentist or doctor so they can take a look and see if it's anything to be worried about”.
A white tongue might indicate:
-Oral thrush: a yeast infection that develops inside the mouth. It appears as white patches that are often the consistency of cottage cheese.
-Leukoplakia: a condition in which the cells in the mouth grow excessively, which leads to white patches on the tongue and inside the mouth.
A red tongue might indicate:
-Vitamin deficiency: Folic acid and vitamin B-12 deficiencies
-Geographic tongue: This condition causes a map-like pattern of reddish spots to develop on the surface of your tongue
-Scarlet fever: an infection that causes the tongue to have a strawberry-like (red and bumpy) appearance.
A sore and lumpy tongue might indicate:
-Canker Sores:Mouth ulcers, often caused by stress
-Oral Cancer: A lump or sore on your tongue that doesn’t go away within two weeks could be an indication of oral cancer
So, as we all read this after a long weekend of drinking…don’t be alarmed if your tongues looking a little funky, we do advise getting it checked out if it persists for more than a few days though!