In discussions about oral health, the focus is usually on the teeth and gums. Certainly, both of those are critically important to your smile’s wellness. Unfortunately, though, the tongue often goes ignored. How can you tell if you have a healthy tongue, and what can you do to protect it from problems? Read on below to learn more about this important topic.
Signs of an Unhealthy Tongue
A healthy tongue is pink, and it is covered in small but visible bumps called papillae (the shade of pink can vary from person to person). If your tongue looks or feels different than usual, it would be wise to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Abington so they can examine your mouth and provide guidance on your next steps.
Some signs that you should visit your dentist include:
- Your tongue is a different color than usual. For example, it may be covered in a thick white film. You could also notice small patches of white, brown, or red discoloration.
- Your tongue’s texture has changed. Unusually rough or smooth patches of tongue tissue may be a cause for concern.
- You are experiencing pain. Pain may be due to minor injuries, but in some cases, the problem is more serious. In rare instances, pain can indicate a form of oral cancer.
- You are struggling with persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. When a large number of bacteria collect on the tongue, it can lead to unpleasant odors and tastes. Often, this problem is accompanied by visible signs an unhealthy tongue, such as a white film.
Caring for Your Tongue
Many problems with tongue health can be prevented via thorough oral hygiene. Whenever you brush your teeth, it would be wise to brush your tongue as well. After you spit out the majority of your toothpaste, move your brush from the back of your tongue to the front, repeating until you cover as much of its surface as possible.
You could also use a tongue scraper, which is a small, inexpensive device available at most pharmacies. Simply place the scraper on the back of your tongue and apply gentle pressure as you move it forward. Repeat on the sides of your tongue.
Another important facet of tongue health is hydration. When you drink plenty of water, it can rinse away bacteria and food particles that might otherwise collect on your tongue. Water also encourages saliva production, and saliva is a pivotal part of sound oral health.
A healthy tongue can help you avoid bad breath, unpleasant tastes, dental decay, and even systemic infections! Do your best to keep this part of your smile clean, and get in touch with your dentist if it ever develops any unusual symptoms.
Meet the Practice
The experienced, skilled team of dentists at Abington Family Dental Care offers comprehensive oral health services for our community. If you are concerned about the health of your tongue, we would be pleased to offer our expert advice and assistance. To learn more about us or to request a consultation, contact us at 781-780-2658.