Oral health is something that not many people realize can effect, or at least reflect, the overall health of the rest of your body. In an attempt to prove how pivotal oral health is to the rest of your body Nashville, TN dentists Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming, along with the rest of their staff at Dentistry of Nashville want to ask you what your tongue looks like.
Yes, you read that right. We’re asking what your tongue looks like. Why? Because, believe it or not, the way your tongue looks can actually reveal important health information about the current status of the rest of your body.
Let’s take a closer look.
You See Brown and/or Black Fuzz
Some people might think this is cause for alarm. However, before you go running to the doctor’s office, you might want to run to the bathroom instead. And perhaps check your breath. More often times than not brownish black fuzz on your tongue means a serious lack in oral hygiene.
Your tongue is warm, wet, and comes into contact with food all day. Your tongue is also covered in something called papilla. Papilla are small bumps that can become worn down over time through the act of eating, and simply from age. Worn down papilla can harbor bacteria even better than normal papilla can. Case in point, if you are eating, but not brushing your tongue and teeth often enough, you are probably going to experience some serious bad breath along with that brown fuzz. It’s basically a large accumulation of bacteria. Too much bacteria.
Brush your tongue and teeth better and the fuzz should gradually disappear as your normal pink tongue reappears.
A Bright Red, Glossy Tongue?
Vitamin deficiency. More specifically a probable lack in iron and B12. Vitamin B12 is needed to help the papilla we talked about above mature properly. Papilla are slightly fuzzy in nature. If papilla is not forming properly on your tongue, then it’s going to appear unusually red and glossy looking.
In serious cases, this “bald tongue” can cause extreme pain when ingesting hot liquids or spicy foods.
More often than not, a red glossy tongue can be fixed with a healthy dose of red meat, or a vitamin supplement. However, if it does not subside, then you should most definitely see a doctor, as this can suggest your body is having some difficulty absorbing vitamins.
Sores and Painful Spots
Before you go running to the nearest clinic in fear that you have contracted some sort of STI, first take a look at your life. Have you been more stressed than usual? If so, that may very well be your answer. Often times, high levels of stress can cause people’s mouths to break out in a painful side effect known as the canker sore. Nearly everyone has had them, and everyone who has hates them. They are sensitive to touch, seem to take forever to heal, and just plain stink.
The reason behind canker sore formation is not entirely understood, but doctors think it may be something viral. This makes sense as high stress levels can weaken your immune system. However, if the sores keep reappearing then it’s time to see the doctor.
We hope these little tidbits about your tongue interested you as much as they interested us. It just goes to show you that you need to take care of your mouth as well as your body. After all, they are connected.
Until next time readers, take care of your tongue and keep smiling.