Have You Taken a Look at Your Tongue Recently?

Unless you know you have recently eaten something brightly colored, then you might not have taken a look at your tongue for quite a while. In fact your tongue consists of a remarkable group of muscles, allowing you to swallow and talk and to taste food properly. When healthy, your tongue should be pink and if you look at it you can see it’s covered in small nodules that are called papillae. It’s easy to take a healthy tongue for granted, but if it develops any problems then it can be extremely uncomfortable and frustrating. Common tongue problems include soreness and discoloration and can be caused by a variety of different reasons.
The good news is that most tongue problems are not serious and can easily be diagnosed. However you should still get a diagnosis as in rare occasions a tongue problem may indicate something is wrong. So what are the most common tongue problems?
Oral Thrush
This is a yeast infection that can cause white patches that look a little like cottage cheese and which develop over the surfaces of the tongue and the mouth. People more at risk of oral thrush include the elderly, particularly people who wear dentures, and people who have a lowered immune system. People with asthma and who take inhaled steroids, as well as people with lung disease or diabetes are more likely to get oral thrush. This condition can also develop if you have recently taken antibiotics as these can kill the friendly or good bacteria in your mouth. One solution is to eat some plain yoghurt that contains live cultures or good probiotics as this will help restore the good bacteria. You can also get medications to help treat oral thrush.
This condition causes excessive cell growth in the mouth, and can lead to white patches forming on your tongue and inside the mouth. It is vital to get a diagnosis for this condition, as although it isn’t serious, it can be a precursor to oral cancer. The dentist can carefully check the inside of your mouth for any signs of abnormalities and if necessary can refer you for further tests. Leukoplakia is more likely to develop in people who smoke or who use tobacco products.
Oral Lichen Planus
This condition can cause a lacy network of white lines to develop on your tongue. It is not exactly certain what causes oral lichen planus, but things that can help include cutting out foods that could irritate the inside of your mouth, such as those that are very spicy or acidic, avoiding smoking and tobacco products and making sure you have good oral hygiene.

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