They are important parts of our mouth, so important in fact that without them speech would be almost impossible. The tongue is also responsible for helping with tasting while eating. When maintaining your teeth and gums during regular brushing, flossing and rinsing, its important to clean the tongue as well. Throughout the day the tongue will absorb different particles and debris from food and beverages consumed that day.
Keeping the tongue clean is a good habit to get into, but sometimes the tongue can start changing appearance on it’s own. If you happen to notice your tongue taking on a more white-ish appearance, it could be due to one of these issues:
- Leukoplakia. “This condition causes cells in the mouth to grow excessively. That, in turn, leads to the formation of white patches inside the mouth, including on the tongue. Although not dangerous on its own, leukoplakia can be a precursor to cancer. So it is important for your dentist to determine the cause of white patches on your tongue. Leukoplakia can develop when the tongue has been irritated, and it is often found in people who use tobacco products.
- Oral thrush . Also known as candidiasis, oral thrush is a yeast infection that develops inside the mouth. The condition results in white patches that are often cottage cheese-like in consistency on the surfaces of the mouth and tongue. Oral thrush is most commonly seen in infants and the elderly, especially denture wearers, or in people with weakened immune systems. People with diabetes and people taking inhaled steroids for asthma or lung disease can also get thrush. Oral thrush is more likely to occur after the use of antibiotics, which may kill the “good” bacteria in the mouth. Eating plain yogurt with live and active cultures may help restore the proper fauna in your mouth. Additionally, medications may be used to combat the infection.
- Oral lichen planus . If you have a network of raised white lines on your tongue that has a lace-like appearance, you may be suffering from oral lichen planus. Doctors are often unable to determine the cause of this condition, which often resolves on its own. Practicing proper dental hygiene, avoiding tobacco, and limiting your intake of foods that cause irritation to your mouth may helpful.”
If you notice your tongue taking on a new appearance, make sure you let your Ottawa dentist know.