When it comes to your oral health, you probably already make a habit of looking at your teeth every day to check that they are clean and healthy. But what about your tongue? You can learn a lot about both your oral and overall health by paying attention to the way this amazing organ looks.

Healthy Tongue

A healthy tongue is pink and soft, with no cracks on the surface. It should not be uncomfortable in any way. If your tongue looks and feels healthy, good work! Keep it that way by brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth.

White Coating

A white coating on the tongue can simply be a build-up of plaque, which you can remove simply by brushing your tongue when you brush your teeth. If you cannot remove the coating or it keeps coming back, then it is possible that you are suffering from an oral yeast infection, sometimes known as thrush. Your dentist can let you know if you have an infection and prescribe anti-fungal medications to treat it.

White Patches

If your tongue experiences frequent irritation, then it can over time develop permanent white patches. This condition, known as leukoplakia, is common in smokers. Sometimes, these patches develop into oral cancer. If you have white patches on your tongue that cannot be brushed away, you should see your dentist for a check-up. Dentists are highly experienced at spotting patches that are at risk of developing into cancer and can refer you for a biopsy if necessary.

Red Tongue

A bright red tongue can be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. Getting too little vitamin B12 or folate in your diet can cause this symptom. Adding a B-complex vitamin supplement to your daily diet is one solution, but it is also a good idea to ask a dentist to check out your red tongue. This will just make sure the condition is not caused by anything more serious.

Sensitive Tongue

Tongues can hurt for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, a food allergy can cause your tongue to become very sore whenever you eat a particular food. Canker sores can also cause tongue pain. Alternatively, you might have a poorly aligned tooth that scrapes against your tongue, causing irritation. Pay attention to what triggers your tongue pain and visit a dentist to see if they can help. Contact a dentist for more information regarding oral health.