Brecksville Office:
Current Patients (440) 546-9968
New Patients(440) 630-2330
Cleveland Office:
Current Patients (216) 251-8812
New Patients(216) 223-6625
Fairview Park Office:
Current Patients (440) 644-8100
New Patients(440) 497-0102

Your Tongue Can “Speak To” Your Health

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August 24, 2023

Your tongue is quite talented. This mighty muscle helps you chew, whistle, speak, wipe your lips and show your displeasure by sticking it out at someone. It can even indicate possible health issues. 

People who want excellent dental care come to the office of Fairview Park. We know that our patients’ expectations are just as high as ours are. Our relaxed atmosphere and gentle touch complement our excellent service. 

There’s no need to freak out if your tongue is coated with white, brown or black fur. Called “hairy tongue,” the “hairs” are actually proteins that transformed ordinary, small bumps into strands that have captured food and bacteria. The cure: Brush or scrape your tongue regularly. 

But hairy white blotches that won’t disappear with a good cleaning might be oral hairy leukoplakia, which is triggered by the Epstein-Barr virus. It shows up most often in people with really weak immune systems. 

White spots could signal the fungal infection thrush, which frequently develops after a medication or illness disrupts the equilibrium of your mouth’s natural bacteria. White areas that look like folds or ridges might be lichen planus, which means your immune system is attacking your mouth tissues. Solid, level, white areas that you can’t scrape off could signal leukoplakia, a chronic irritation due to smoking cigarettes and chewing on tobacco. 

Macroglossia is when your tongue is so big that its size isn’t in proportion with the rest of your mouth. A doctor will diagnose and care for the underlying issue, which may be, among others, some sort of infection, allergies or an underactive thyroid gland. 

Harmless fissures in your tongue can appear as you age. They can also be indicators of psoriasis or Sjögren's syndrome (a chronic autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks the glands that moisturize the eyes, mouth and other sections of the body).

A smooth, bright red tongue with mouth pain could indicate that you’re low on vitamin B3. A glossy red tongue with no small bumps on the top could mean you need to shore up on iron, folic acid or B vitamins.

Everyone who uses Fairview Park as their dentist knows that we use advanced knowledge and state-of-the-art equipment to achieve outstanding outcomes. Please call us today to make an appointment. 

Existing Patients: (216) 251-1000
New Patients: (216) 539-9160