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The Changing Tongue

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I received so many comments about tongues that I chose follow up with a related topic! First things first, however, is to brush your tongue daily, from the back to the front. Dentists and hygienists consider a tongue to be a carpet of bacteria and, sometimes, the source of bad breath.

Your tongue can turn colors on its own, and this may be significant. If you have a deficiency of iron, vitamin B-12, or folic acid, your tongue turns bright pink. Gluten allergies may also do this. A white tongue comes from poor oral hygiene, smoking, and alcohol. There is also some suspicion that this may indicate an underlying problem, perhaps Hepatitis or allergies.

Your tongue can also look “hairy” if you undergo radiation therapy around the head and neck, take a significant course of antibiotics, use tobacco, or rinse with mouthwash too frequently. Drinking lots of coffee also does this.

Finally, a swollen tongue may indicate a medical condition or disease. We see it with tongue cancer, leukemia, anemia, overactive thyroid, and Strep throat. But if the tongue swells suddenly, it is considered a medical emergency. When you have tongue problems with a high fever, recurring pain or sores, or a problem that lasts more than two weeks, head for the medical doctor’s office.

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment.