Bumps and spots on your tongue can be normal – but at what point is it necessary to have a doctor or dentist check it out, to be certain?
A “normal” tongue, the group of muscles attached to the bottom of your mouth, looks pinkish-red, with variations in surface texture. Any change in appearance could indicate a potential health problem, making regular check-ups with your dentist the first and best line of defense. While most changes are harmless, there are a few that could indicate a more serious condition.
So what exactly can your tongue tell you about your health?
White patches or coating: Areas that cannot be wiped away are a possible sign of yeast infection, oral thrush or a weakened immune system.
Bright red tongue: This could be caused by red-colored foods or a reaction to acidic foods. It can also be a potential indicator of a strep infection or a Vitamin B12 or Iron deficiency.
Black tongue: This is usually a harmless condition that can be caused by medications, smoking, or poor oral hygiene
Tongue swelling: Allergies, a reaction to medicine, or injury — from a hot liquid or tongue biting — are usually to blame for a swollen tongue.
Sore or bumpy: Canker sores have no known cause but usually go away within a few days. Any pain when moving your tongue or changes in taste should not be ignored if it persists longer than two weeks.
So go ahead, stick out your tongue — and be sure to pay attention to what it is trying to tell you!