Your Tongue And Your Health
The tongue is the main organ for taste in the body. However, it does much more than give you an indication of how delicious that meal will be. It is a very sensitive organ covered with several sensory nodes also called papillae which helps in sending signals to the brain. It also works in collaboration with other parts of the mouth to give you a fresh breath if properly taken care of.
A healthy mouth leads to a healthy tongue. Therefore it is important to practice regular dental and oral hygiene. A healthy tongue has a peculiar pattern and coloration. It should be covered with these small nodules (papillae) and pink in color. Any deviation from this norm is a call for closer scrutiny and possible medical examination.
Some Safety / Health Tips To Practice Regularly As Regards Your Tongue Includes But Are Not Limited To The Following:
Check Your Tongue Daily
Take a good look in the mirror every day, and check your tongue. This might seem simple and unimportant, but it is actually key because it will give you an insight into how your tongue looks, and help you notice any abnormalities or discoloration.
Brush Your Tongue Daily
It is essential to brush your teeth at least twice every day. The process of brushing your teeth also involves brushing your gums and tongue as well. Brushing the tongue helps to remove bacteria that could cause bad breath or tooth decay. This should be done to keep the mouth and tongue healthy. However, if you have sores on your tongue, do brush the tongue with care, avoiding the sores in the process.
Clean Your Tongue Regularly
Cleaning the tongue with a plastic tongue scraper is another way to keep the tongue clean and healthy. This should be done at least once every day after brushing to remove the bacteria and plaque on the tongue. Extra care should be taken if you have sores on your tongue. If you do not have sufficient space to scrape because of the sores, you can allow the sores to heal before you scrape to avoid aggravating them.
Drink Water Regularly
Regular drinking of water helps flush food particles and bacteria from the tongue. It keeps the mouth clean and hydrated. Drinking water regularly improves your oral and overall health.
Maintain a Healthy Oral Habit
This is very important to the health of your tongue. Be conscious of what you eat and drink. Reduce your intake of caffeinated and alcoholic drinks that can impact adversely on your saliva production and overall health of your tongue. Also work towards quitting smoking to improve your oral health and overall well-being.
Pay Your Dentist a Visit
It is important to go for a medical check-up with your dentist at least bi-annually. Your dentist can carry out a proper examination of your mouth, identify early signs of infections and even give you a deep cleaning that will help inhibit the growth of possible infections and bacteria.
The Following Discoloration Of The Tongue Are Health Related Indicators That Call For Concern:
Red Colored Tongue
This may signify a deficiency in certain vitamins (e.g. vitamin B-12, Folic acid) in the body. It is usually associated with a high fever which causes the blood vessels of the sick person to be inflamed, giving rise to the redness. If you notice this discoloration, seek immediate medical attention.
Sometimes called hairy tongue. These are usually seen as black patches on the tongue, and mostly concentrated around the middle or center of the tongue. It could be as a result of yeast and bacteria trapped on the surface of the tongue. These consequently inhibit the natural process of the papillae shedding itself, thus making it look hairy and adversely affecting the health of the tongue. It can lead to bad breath and affect the effectiveness of your taste buds. Common causes are poor oral hygiene, smoking, poor eating habits, certain medication, etc.
White Coated Tongue
This could be a possible sign of fungal infection. This infection is often referred to as “Thrush”. It is usually due to the excessive growth of yeast on the tongue, overgrowth of cells (Leukoplakia), or an inflammatory disease. It could actually lead to sore throat, or difficulty when swallowing. Poor oral hygiene, dehydration, reactions to inhaled steroids, irritations especially from tobacco products, could be likely causes.
A buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of the tongue can be the cause of this discoloration. It is usually harmless, and is associated with mouth breathing. It could also be an early sign of black tongue. However, if the discoloration also reflects on the skin or the white of the eyes, then it could be a sign of Jaundice and you should seek immediate medical attention.
The tongue is very sensitive and delicate, filled with nodules and blood vessels. It is very necessary to keep it clean and healthy to enable you enjoy your favorite meals as well as live a happy and healthy life.