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Man with his tongue out

What Causes Your Tongue To Change Color?

A lot of complications can affect the tongue such as turning unusual colors, swelling, pain, changes in taste, sores, and alterations in textures.

In reality, many of these problems aren’t serious and are mainly due to slight injuries or minor infections.

But at times, your symptoms may be an indication of an underlying condition which necessitates immediate medical treatment.

Fortunately, you can inhibit various tongue-related problems through a good oral hygiene practice.

The good news is that you can often refer to home care remedies to relieve your discomfort or pain if you’re suffering from tongue complications.

What are Leads to Tongue Complications?

The specific symptoms a person encounters will determine the root cause of his or her tongue problems. In addition, pain is commonly a result of an infection or injury.

One may develop a sore which can last for a few days and can cause discomfort if they accidentally bite their tongue. A minor infection on the tongue is not unusual and can cause irritation as well as pain. Inflamed taste buds or papillae are tiny but painful bumps that develop from irritation from consuming hot foods or after an injury from a bite.

Meanwhile, another common cause of pain felt on the tongue is a canker sore. This pertains to a small, white sore that can appear for no apparent reason. This is often due to a virus is known as a viral ulcer.

In several cases, the cause of this is unknown and termed as an aphthous ulcer. This typically goes away without treatment.

Irritation from braces or dentures, cancer, oral herpes, and anemia are other reasons for tongue pain. However, these are not as common.

Additionally, neuralgia can also be a cause of tongue pain. This refers to serious pain which emerges along nerve damage.

It results from tumors, multiple sclerosis, aging, diabetes, and sometimes for no apparent reason. For women, a burning sensation on the tongue may be an indication of postmenopause. This may also be due to exposure to irritants from smoking, for instance.

A swollen tongue may be an indication of a medical condition or disease. These may include tongue cancer, down syndrome, an overactive thyroid, or anemia. This might also include Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, which often times may lead to enlarged organs, strep throat, or leukemia.

In cases where the tongue swells abruptly, the probable reason is an allergic reaction. This commonly leads to breathing difficulty. Thus, this is an emergency situation where the person affected must be provided with medical attention at once.

Moreover, a bright pink color of the tongue is usually due to a deficiency in vitamin B 12, folic acid, and/or iron. Other times, this may also be an allergic reaction to gluten.

Bumps or white lines may be an inflammation known as oral lichen planus. This may be due to an underlying condition such as allergies, hepatitis C, or simply poor oral hygiene.

Meanwhile, a white tongue is generally a result of drinking alcohol or smoking. A hairy and furry tongue is most likely due to antibiotics. In the same way, it may also develop if a person overly uses/consumes an irritating substance (e.g., oral rinse or coffee).

We at Hawaii Family Dental suggest approaching your dentist for any oral abnormalities. Moreover, a regular visit to the dentist is necessary to detect signs or symptoms of tongue problems. Through this, treatments can be administered early.


Date Published: December 1, 2015

Last Updated: January 26, 2019

References:

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/tongue-problems-2
  • https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/ss/slideshow-tongue-your-health
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320022.php
  • https://1md.org/article/tongue-color-code
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