Monday, October 28, 2013

Not Every Tongue is Healthy

Do you ever wonder about the conditions of the tongue?  It the strongest muscle of the body which allows us to speak, taste and swallow.  A normal tongue is pink with small nodules called papillae on the surface.  Let's take a look at some issues and symptoms people can have.

There are a few reasons that can cause a tongue to have white spots or a whitish coating.  Leukoplakia is one condition where cells in the mouth grow excessively.  It can lead to white patches in the mouth or on the tongue.  The condition is mostly found in people that use tobacco products.  Leukoplakia is not dangerous on its own, but studies have shown it can be a precursor for oral cancer.  Its important to have it checked out by a dentist if the condition is occurring.

Candidiasis commonly known as oral thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth.  The condition leaves cottage cheese type white patches in the mouth or on the tongue.  It can be very painful and cause significant discomfort.  Oral thrush is normally seen in infants or elderly adults.  People with diabetes or use of inhaled steroids for asthma are more prone to this condition.  The dentist may  prescribe medications.

Some people suffer from a condition called oral lichen planus.  Although it occurs on many places of the body, it can occur inside the mouth on the cheeks, lips, tongue and gums.  The symptom are tiny white dots and raised white lines  that can become painful.  Researchers and doctors are unsure of the cause and have noticed it can resolve itself.  Tobacco products seem to worsen this condition, and proper oral hygiene can help avoid it.

These are just a few common conditions people see with the tongue.  Its always important to consult a dentist if any are occurring for good medical advice.  A dentist may give tips on how to prevent or treat any of these uncomfortable conditions.  Marietta emergency dentist, +Kirk Kimmerling DDS would be happy to consult with patients with mouth conditions or concerns.