Here’s what a healthy tongue should look like.
Your tongue is a strong indicator of not just your oral health but your overall health. When you open your mouth, you should see a pink tongue covered with tiny bumps (papillae). The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well.
You might see white spots or maybe your whole tongue is white.
If this is true, don’t panic. It may just be a coating of bacteria, which you can change by improving your oral hygiene routine. However, if the discoloration seems to persist or you begin to feel pain, visit your doctor. You may have a yeast infection called oral thrush, or oral candidiasis, the severeness of which can depend on the strength of your immune system. In very rare cases, a white tongue can be a cancer warning sign.
This is a geographic tongue.
This is a condition in which the tongue begins to look like a map via white or light colored borders. The exact cause is unknown, but it may be linked to psoriasis and a variety of other factors. It is harmless and doesn’t have any connections to infection or cancer.
A red or swollen tongue could mean one of the following.
If you notice redness or inflammation, it may be caused by a particular incident such as eating spicy or acidic foods or a bite injury. However, it could also indicate a vitamin deficiency (if you’re lacking in folic acid or vitamin B-12, this can lead to a reddish tongue), Kawasaki syndrome in younger children, or scarlet fever in children between the ages of 2 and 10.
Sores or lesions.
If irregular bumps, ulcers, or sores appear remain in your mouth for over 6 weeks, contact your doctor. Possible causes include infection, inflammation, or cancer. Depending on what’s going on, you may need to take antibiotics, rinse with antiseptic mouthwash, or undergo surgery.
Have a brown or black hairy tongue?
As alarming as it appears, a black or brown tongue isn’t as harmful as it looks. In many cases, it is a sign of poor oral hygiene which you can improve by drinking more water and brushing your teeth and tongue regularly.
If you have a scalloped or wavy tongue, contact your doctor for a correct diagnosis.
It might not be a good sign if your tongue begins to resemble pie crust. This happens when your tongue is so enlarged or swollen that it begins to receive impressions from your teeth. Despite the discomfort it causes, this symptom is generally harmless.
Fissures or cracks typically don’t require special treatment.
Even though a fissured tongue may be unsightly, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong. It is more so a variation than of a regular tongue than anything else. The most important thing is to make sure to brush so that debris isn’t caught in the cracks. If you’re concerned, see your doctor.