Pay Attention to your Tongue

Tongue OutYou are probably accustomed to sticking your tongue out when you go to the doctor with a sore throat. You may have even stuck your tongue out at another person when you were a sassy youth. Tongues do have multiple roles in the lives of human being. Arguably, the most important functions of tongues would include being able to taste and the ability to speak. Dentists take and interest in your tongue at exams because it is one of the gauges of your dental health. Tongues are sometimes the reason for halitosis. In fact, brushing and/or scraping your tongue during your oral hygiene routine is one possible way to prevent bad breath. However, even if you don’t struggle with foul odors in your mouth, there are other reasons to get to know your own tongue.

Swollen Taste Buds

It is possible that your taste buds can become temporarily inflamed for a variety of reasons. Sometimes your tongue will swell slightly as a result of biting the muscle accidentally, either consciously or unconsciously. Canker sores can create tiny lesions or ulcers which look like swollen taste buds, so it can be easy to confuse the two conditions. If you have any sort of mouth sores which don’t heal within two weeks or so, you should call Dr. Cain and have your tongue checked out. In rare cases, lesions on the tongue are the first symptom of oral cancer.

White Coating on the Tongue

If you notice a white coating on your tongue, this could signify a symptom of an autoimmune or inflammatory disease. Certain infections such as thrush (a bacterial yeast infection) can create a white film on your tongue. Yogurt consumption sometimes helps wipe out this sort of infection, though you may require a dose of antibiotics. If you smoke, you want to really pay attention to any white coating on your tongue because this can signify a pre-cancerous condition called leukoplakia.


As a native of northwest Indiana, Nicholas Cain, DDS, is dedicated to providing excellent general, preventive, cosmetic, and family dentistry services to the community that raised him. To schedule your next dental appointment, call Healthy Smiles today at 219-938-2637.