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dental check-up

What Your Tongue Can Tell You about Your Health

oral health care

For most people, the tongue is just a body part that helps in tasting food. Due to this reason, the tongue is often taken for granted, and less attention is paid to its health.

The truth of the matter, however, is that the tongue is a vital organ that can reveal a lot of information about an individual’s overall health. As a matter of fact, most dentists probe a patient’s tongue during dental check-ups to determine the state of the oral, as well as the general body health. It is therefore essential to be able to pick up the clues and decipher any information that the tongue is sending you.


Here are some of the facts that your tongue might be sending you about your health:



White coating on the Tongue

A healthy tongue is supposed to be bright pink in colour. If you notice that your tongue has a white coating, this could be a tell-tale sign that you have an oral yeast infection inside the mouth cavity. Your tongue may also have a white coating due to poor oral hygiene.

It is therefore important to schedule a dental check-up if you notice a white coating on your tongue, even if you brush regularly. This will allow you to get to the root of the problem, and seek effective remedies.

Tongue being too Red

An overly red tongue usually signals Kawasaki disease, which is caused by vitamin deficiency. The condition can be remedied easily at home by adding more vitamins in your diet.

Recognizing and Treating Gingivitis

If your gums are swollen, painful and irritated, and assume a darker shade of red, then you may be having periodontal disease (gum disease).

Gum disease occurs in two sequential stages: Gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and is exemplified by mild to moderate inflammation and irritation of the gums. If not detected and treated early enough, gingivitis develops into periodontitis - a more serious and painful condition. In a worst-case scenario, periodontitis destroys the entire jaw bone.

So What Causes Gingivitis? 

As mentioned earlier, the leading cause of gingivitis is poor or improper dental care and hygiene. For instance, if you don't brush your teeth regularly, there will be an accumulation of bacteria, mucus and food particles (plaque) on your teeth, which causes decay over time. Additionally, unchecked plaque buildup eventually develops into tartar, which being a heavier compound, sticks to the base of the teeth, hence accelerating the onset of gingivitis. 

Other key causes of gingivitis include tobacco use, untreated diabetes, and hormonal changes during pregnancy. Further, brushing or flossing aggressively may injure your gums, resulting in gingivitis. You can also develop gingivitis from:

  • Medications such as Dilantin and some contraceptive pills 

  • Poorly aligned teeth 

  • Improperly fitted braces and dentures 

  • A genetic predisposition to gum disease from your family roots


Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis

The following are the signs and symptoms that symbolize gingivitis:

  • Pain when chewing food