Strawberry Red Tongue: It could mean you have a vitamin deficiency, particularly Vitamin B12 or Iron. Along with the red appearance, it may have a glossy feeling or look. This is more common in vegetarians as B12 is found in meats.
Black or Brown Fuzz: The condition is often referred to as ‘black hairy tongue’ and can be brought on by smoking, drinking coffee or tea, or poor oral hygiene. The best treatment is to eliminate the cause (smoking or coffee) and use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue.
Cottage Cheese White: This could mean you have a yeast infection that can be brought on by use of antibiotics. Your tongue typically has selective types of yeast, but an antibiotic can kill off bacteria and allow the yeast to take over. This is common with immunocompromised people as well and you should call your dentist for a prescription or try over the counter remedies.
Wrinkles on the Tongue: Unfortunately, as we get older this is another area that may develop wrinkles. It is harmless as long as you keep your mouth and tongue clean with good oral hygiene and the use of a tongue scraper.
Small Patches of White: It could be a normal variation, an irritation or the start of oral cancer. If it is new and does not resolve within 2 weeks, see your dentist. If you have a history of tobacco use, it is even more important to have this checked out.
Persistent Red Lesions: It could be a sign of oral cancer. If an abnormal lesion persists for longer than 2 weeks, see your dentist immediately. These can be present with or without a history of tobacco use and can be dangerous is not treated quickly and properly.
The important this is to pay attention to what is going on in your mouth and on your tongue. It is the gateway to your body and can help diagnose potential systemic issues.
For more information, visit www.brownandkupper.com.
Lee T. Brown, DDSBrown and Kupper, DDS Inc.