Why Does My Tongue Look Weird?

The tongue is pretty amazing. It is made up of muscles that allow us to taste food, talk and swallow. A healthy tongue is a nice pink color, but what if your tongue looks weird?

The tongue is in constant use so it can be very irritating and uncomfortable when something is wrong. Remember the last time you burned your tongue on a too hot pizza? There are several reasons that a tongue may become discolored or painful, but fortunately, most are not serious.

Your Tongue Looks White Or Red

White coatings or white spots on the tongue can be caused by oral thrush, which is a type of yeast infection. This may be seen after taking antibiotics because they kill off the “good” bacteria in the mouth. Eating yogurt with active cultures may help and there are medications for more problematic cases.

White patches can also be caused by a condition called leukoplakia. This condition causes cells in the mouth to grow excessively. Leukoplakia is not dangerous on its own but may be a precursor to cancer so have any white patches checked by your dentist.

Red tongues can be caused by vitamin deficiencies or even scarlet fever. Any red tongue combined with a fever should signal an immediate trip to the doctor. People with a condition called geographic tongue may also experience a red color on their tongue. Geographic tongue causes a pattern of reddish spots to appear but is not dangerous.

Certain medications, including a common pink liquid used for stomach upset, can make the tongue turn black. A black looking tongue may also be experienced by people who are on chemotherapy or taking antibiotics.

Any change in appearance anywhere in the oral cavity should be looked at by a dentist. While most lesions in the mouth are not dangerous, the rate of oral cancers has been rising and early detection and treatment is vital. An oral cancer check is part of your regular dental visit.

Please contact Dr. John Highsmith in Asheville, NC today at 828-627-9282 to schedule your next visit.

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Posted in: Oral Health

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