Your Tongue & Your Health

When we think about dental care, the first thing that always comes to mind is teeth. But, what we take for granted is our tongue. Our taste buds are huge parts of our everyday lives, from tasting to kissing for some. It’s vital to providing an interesting food experience, and can provide more information as to what’s going on with your body. Here’s what different things about your tongue can indicate about your health.

White Coating

If your tongue is looking extra white, or coated with a white substance, there is a possibility of this being oral thrush. Oral thrush is an overgrowth of yeast in the oral cavity. Keep in mind that it could also just be from not brushing it in addition to brushing your teeth. Try brushing your tongue next time you brush your teeth, and if the white disappears, it’s probably just a hygiene thing. If it doesn’t though, consult your dentist for more information.

Extra Red Tongue

An especially red tongue is a symptom of Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory illness. However, it is also very common to just be vitamin deficient. Add a vitamin supplement to your diet, and see if it gets fixed. 

Splotches of White on Tongue

If it has been irritated from smoking or tobacco use, leukoplakia can develop. Leukoplakia is noncancerous, but some show early signs of cancer. If you see any white patches on your tongue, get in touch with a dentist, and just get it checked out. It never hurts to be safe.

Red & Bumpy Patches

This is usually an indicator of a high fever; typically harmless. You could also be facing geographic tongue, which is an inflammatory condition, but also harmless. If you’re experiencing discomfort from it, grab a pain reliever or a mouth rinse with anesthetic. 

Tender & Sore

Feeling sore? If your tongue is tender, you might be experiencing an allergic reaction to something you ate, or have a canker sore. If it goes away in a relatively short amount of time, such as a couple of days, you’re good to go. But, if it does persist, call a dentist to see what they think.


Your tongue is a strong indicator of what’s going on with your health. However, don’t jump to conclusions on your own; make sure to call your dentist for any of these issues to get a professional opinion on what’s going on with you.

Check out our website to learn more about our pediatric dentists and how we can help you with your child’s dental care plan.

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