Tongue and tongue health! Yes, it is a thing! What is your tongue saying?
Pink, yellow, black, brown, red, green, blue—could your tongue’s color be trying to tell you something? You might want to take a look.
Your tongue is something you need to take a at look consistently. Have you ever really looked at your tongue?
Stuck your tongue out and looked at it in the mirror? Most of the time when I ask this question the answer I get is …NO!
I ask a lot of questions where I get a crunched face and people look at me like I am crazy.
OK, if your tongue is blue, it’s likely from that blue ring pop you just ate or a mouth rinse you used. Other colors, however, could signal certain health issues. While many tongue color changes are harmless, some could be a sign of something worthy of having it checked out by your Dr. or Dentist
Here’s what your tongue color could be telling you about your health.
If your tongue is larger than normal it could be an indication of several things. You will need to figure out just what it means?
It could be as simple as you ate something spicy that made it swell.
You are having an allergic reaction to something.
A swollen tongue could be a sign of hypothyroidism.
Dehydration may be indicated by a swollen or scalloped tongue
If you are not sure what the cause is, or it persists, follow up with a checkup.
If your tongue is white, it could mean there’s a buildup of bacteria, debris, and cells on your papillae (those bumps on your tongue that contain taste buds). It’s usually harmless and can be removed by brushing and/or scraping your tongue.
If your tongue is white with red (sometimes bleeding) bumps, it could mean you have a fungal infection called oral thrush. Oral thrush is caused by types of the yeast fungus called Candida that live in your mouth.
It’s rarely dangerous and not usually painful, but it can give your mouth an unpleasant cottony or burn feeling that can make it hard to eat, speak and, with severe infections, hard to swallow. If left untreated it can last for months or years, and rarely, move into the bloodstream and cause life-threatening blood poisoning. Thrush is typically treated with antifungal medications.
If your tongue is swollen and bright red, it could be inflamed from a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is a low red blood cell count due to a lack of the vitamin B12, which can cause a swollen, red tongue it can look like your teeth are making imprinted in your tongue.
It is ugly yet temporary and harmless
Black hairy tongue is happening because there is an overgrowth of bacteria and dead sluffing cells that build upon the tiny rounded projections on the tongue called papillae. Normally the papilla are pinkish -white.
Certain types of bacteria accumulate on your tongue, that stain the papillae and make the tongue look different colors most commonly black or brown. But I have seen yellow and green also.
If normal shedding of the cells on the tongue becomes inhibited, they grow and lengthen creating hair like projections that make the tongue appear hairy. They can grow up to 15 times their normal length.
Causes of Black Hairy Tongue
Black hairy tongue is caused by too much bacteria in the mouth, by a reduced saliva flow in your mouth or from things like smoking, food, drinking coffee and tea, yeast, mouth breathing, poor diet, illness, medications, chewing tobacco, use of alcohol and poor oral hygiene.
Certain conditions that disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your mouth can make you more likely to develop Black Hairy tongue.
Here are a few:
Undergoing cancer treatments
Use of Antibiotics
IV drug use
Black hairy tongue seems to be more common in men.
Symptoms of Black Hairy Tongue
Most people don’t even know they have a Black hairy tongue unless they look at their tongue there are no symptoms or discomfort.
Some people report they have a metallic taste due to the presence of the thickening of the papillae.
Others have reported a tickling feeling. If the papillae grow extra-long in severe cases may lead to bad breath or a gagging feeling.
Treatment for white or black Hairy Tongue
Black Hairy tongue can be resolved simply by gently brushing your tongue twice a day as part of your daily dental routine.
Use a tongue scraper
Drink plenty of water
Maintain good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist.
Other than the appearance of the tongue most people don’t even know they have it.
Brush or swish with 1-part hydrogen peroxide and 5 parts water, then rinse with plain water.
Do not rinse with straight hydrogen peroxide or longer than 5 minutes.
If you have essential oils, you can also add tea tree oil or peppermint oil to the mixture.
Avoid mouth rinses that contain alcohol or witch hazel
If it persists, see your dental professional or your physician.
If the condition does not get better on its own with brushing and tongue scraping, they can prescribe a medication or use the laser to remove the papillae.
If you take care and brush your tongue regularly like everything proper care from the start prevents most of these situations from occurring.
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