06 Aug Stick Your Tongue Out at Your Dentist!
Recently, there has been more information regarding different signs and symptoms of Covid and one symptom in particular has caught our attention – Covid tongue.
The Covid Symptom Study at Kings College, London has noted rising levels of symptoms which are not on the Public Health England (PHE) list. As well as the usual loss of (or alteration to) the sense of taste, there are increasing numbers of patients presenting with Covid tongue. Symptoms include bumps, inflammation/swelling or white and patchy tongues.
This got us thinking about many other changes to your tongue and what they could mean. Here’s what we mean…
Your tongue should be a lovely shade of pink, but what if it’s not?
An overly red tongue is commonly associated with vitamin deficiency, often B12 or folic acid. It may be a sign that your diet is not sufficient in these vitamins (the best source is from green vegetable such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, or peas). Vitamin supplements may be worth considering if your diet is not varied.
Far less likely, a very red tongue can be a sign of Kawasaki disease – this is a condition which affects mainly children under 5 years of age and other symptoms include rash, swollen glands, raised temperature or red fingers & toes. If your child has these symptoms see your GP immediately.
What about a white tongue?
If your tongue has a whitish coating it may just mean that you haven’t brushed your tongue as part of your oral hygiene routine. If the white brushes away, then there is probably nothing to worry about – just try to remember to brush your tongue daily. If you need help with brushing aids our lovely therapists, Beth and Lucy, will be happy to advise you.
If your tongue (or roof of mouth, inner cheek or lip) has an area covered in a white substance, then this could be from a yeast overgrowth (oral thrush). We advise that you are seen by your GP. Mild infections may disappear on their own, but treatment may be required if the infection is more severe causing soreness, a burning sensation or cracked lips, if you have autoimmune disease or if you are diabetic. Oral thrush is most often treated with an antifungal medication.
If you notice a red or white patch, a bump or an ulcer on your tongue that has not occurred after trauma (the most common being a burn or biting your tongue) and which does not go away, then book an appointment with your dentist to have it checked out. This could be a sign of an oral cancer so is always best checked by a professional.
Of course, we carry out an oral cancer screening as part of your regular examination but if you develop any symptoms which concern you then please give us a call. We are always here to help; you are not wasting anybody’s time and we are happy for you to stick your tongue out at us to help you put your mind at rest!