se habla español!

call today for our specials

your local dentist in

2530 Cameo Dr, Cameron Park, CA 95682

What Does Your Tongue Say About Your Health? 

Did you know that you can read your body’s messages by looking at your tongue? Infections, medication problems, stress, and aging can leave distinctive marks on it. Since this muscular organ in the mouth provides clues about your overall health, you’ll want to see the best Shingle Springs dentist if you notice unusual changes in your tongue’s color, texture, shape, and coating.

Moreover, a healthy tongue is pink in color with tiny bumps called papillae covering most of its upper surface. Although the papillae are also present on the underside of the normal tongue, they’re less easy to spot.

a woman cleaning her tongue as instructed by her Shingle Springs Dentist

What Is Your Tongue Trying to Tell You?

White Patches

Slightly raised, creamy white, sore spots on the tongue can be a symptom of a fungal infection called oral thrush or oral candidiasis. This condition involves the overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans on the mouth’s lining. In most cases, oral thrush occurs after an illness or when certain medications throw off the balance of bacteria in the mouth.

However, white spots that look lacy may indicate a chronic inflammatory condition called oral lichen planus. This disease occurs when your immune system starts attacking the oral tissues.

Thick, flat, and white areas that are virtually impossible to scrape away could be a symptom of leukoplakia. This condition results from years of heavy smoking, chewing tobacco, and alcohol use. Since leukoplakia is associated with cancer, it’s best to see the dentist immediately.

Reddish Bumps

Canker sores are small, reddish bumps that typically form under the tongue. Furthermore, they usually result from minor injuries to the inside of the mouth, stress, or consumption of acidic foods. Although they come and go on their own and are not contagious, they can be painful and irritating.

If the tongue gets irritated, “lie bumps” can pop up at the tip. This short-term condition called transient lingual papillitis may result from hormone fluctuations, stress, and gastrointestinal upset. Moreover, specific foods can also trigger this local irritation or trauma to a fungiform papilla. However, a painful lump that develops under the tongue or on it may be a sign of oral cancer.

Strawberry-Red Tongue

A bright red, swollen tongue covered with tiny bumps that look like small “seeds” is a sign of Kawasaki disease. While this illness is common among young children, it can also affect adults. Since its symptoms can be severe, it’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Black Tongue

Taking an antacid with an ingredient called bismuth can cause the tongue to appear black. These harmless stains usually develop when bismuth mixes with saliva. However, they go away once the person stops taking the medication.

Hairy Tongue

Proteins that turn normal bumps into longer strands can give the tongue a  hairy appearance. Moreover, a hairy tongue may be coated with black, brown, or white fur where food and bacteria get caught. Brushing or scraping the tongue should fix this problem.

However, hairy patches that don’t go away even after brushing or scraping them off can signify oral hairy leukoplakia. This condition usually results from an infection with HIV or Epstein-Barr.

a Shingle Springs Dentist working on a patient's teeth

Looking for the Best Shingle Springs Dentist?

Our state-of-the-art facility and outstanding service at Forest Ridge Dental Group ensure the finest dental care in a comfortable and soothing atmosphere. Contact our office today to make an appointment.