- The tongue is a necessary muscle that helps by providing taste buds to the mouth and contributing to speech when it moves.
- The tongue should be cleaned daily for it to provide taste adequately and prevent halitosis (mouth odor).
- The tongue can serve as an indicator of wellness. A redded tongue may be due to iron deficiency (anemia), niacin deficiency, or scarlet fever.
- A whitened tongue after thoroughly cleaning the tongue can indicate thrush (a fungal infection). White patches on the tongue may be a sign of Leukoplakia. Leukoplakia can be due to alcohol and/or tobacco use.
- The tongue has a line of tissue that attaches it to the floor of the mouth (a frenum). Frenums have different positions, but if it tightly adheres to the mouth, it can hinder normal function. A short tongue frenum attachment is known as ankyloglossia (tongue tie). Ankyloglossia can affect speech pattern in kids. Or eating and breastfeeding in infants. The frenum can be released through a procedure called a frenulectomy, which is a short procedure that can be done with local anesthetic (numbing the immediate area).
- The tongue can have patches of white and/or red areas, known as geographic tongue. Geographic tongue affects 2-3% of the people. And generally does not have any symptoms. It is not contagious. Although it has been related to conditions like diabetes, stress, and allergies, there are a number of possible causes that are not conclusively linked with geographic tongue.
- The tongue can also have dryness, which is linked to an autoimmune disorder known as Srojen’s Syndrome. There are oral aids that can be helpful like Oracoat, and Biotene.
- The lesions that may present around the tongue can signal more serious conditions that need to be addressed in a short period of time. Oral cancer and relating viruses can affect the tongue.
At Museum Smiles Dentistry, your tongue is carefully examined during your comprehensive oral examination. It is recommended to have an oral examination done at least once a year. Contact us to schedule a dental appointment.