Adult Dentistry: Should You Be Worried About Your Tongue?

Posted on: 23 January 2019

Your tongue is one of the most unique muscles in your body. Not only does your tongue allow you to taste and savor a variety of flavors and sensations, but it can reveal many things about your overall health, including medical problems you might not know you have right now. Here are things to know about your tongue now.

What Can Your Tongue Reveal About Your Health?

You might know it yet, but your tongue can reveal many things about your dental and general health. Conditions, such as hypothyroidism, yeast infections, dehydration, and even bruxism, can affect your tongue's appearance, color, size, and width. If you don't pay close attention to your tongue when you brush your teeth, you may not even notice that you have something wrong with your health.

One of the things you can do is examine your tongue in the mirror. If your tongue appears smooth cracked or ridged, you may need to drink more fluids to fight off dehydration. If your tongue looks white and patchy, you may have excessive yeast in your body. If your tongue appears large, scalloped, and thick, you may have a problem called macroglossia. Macroglossia can occur if you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding), sleep apnea, or thyroid problems. 

If your tongue features any of the signs or symptoms above, contact a dentist right away.

How Can Dental Treatment Protect Your Tongue?

A dentist will need to know more about your general health before they can diagnose your symptoms properly. It may be necessary for you (or your dentist) to request copies of your medical records during your dental treatment. Once a dentist knows more about your health, they can treat the problems in your tongue. Keep in mind that your treatment may depend on the underlying cause of your tongue problems. 

For instance, if you have yeast on your tongue, a dentist may ask you to take antibiotics or anti-yeast medications until your condition clears up. If you suffer from sleep apnea, a dental provider may instruct you to wear a device during the night that keeps your airways open. A dentist may need to work directly with your general practitioner during your treatment. 

It's crucial that you examine your tongue regularly during your treatment. If you notice any changes in your tongue, contact a dentist immediately. A provider may need to adjust your current treatment to accommodate the changes in your tongue. 

For more information about your tongue and how medical conditions can affect it, speak to a dental office or provider like Reston Family Dental today.