Did you know that your tongue can change colour? It’s true. Some medical conditions can turn your tongue turn red, white, or even black. To find out what they are, keep reading because, in this blog post, we will go over six health problems that can make your tongue change colour.
1. Oral thrush
If you have white patches on your tongue, it’s probably oral thrush.
Oral thrush is a yeast infection that occurs on the tongue and the inside of the mouth.
Oral thrush can happen to anyone, but it’s most common in children, the elderly, diabetics and people with weakened immune systems. Also. people often get oral thrush after taking antibiotics, because antibiotics kill all bacteria in the mouth indiscriminately, good and bad. This creates an opportunity for thrush to grow.
If you think you have oral thrush, it’s best to go to see a doctor. The treatment is usually anti-thrush drugs.
2. Geographic tongue
Geographic tongue is a condition where red spots appear on the tongue. It’s usually harmless and goes away on its own after a few days. A dentist or doctor can prescribe a topical cream if the spots are sore.
3. Kawasaki syndrome
Kawasaki syndrome is a rare condition where the blood vessels of the body become inflamed, turning the tongue red. It usually only affects small children.
Leukoplakia is a condition where white patches form in your mouth and on your tongue.
It’s different from other causes of white patches, such as thrush, because it doesn’t go away easily and it can eventually develop into oral cancer.
Smoking is the most common cause of leukoplakia. The patches usually go away on their own when the patient stops smoking.
5. Lingua villosa nigra
“Lingua villosa nigra” sounds like a spell from the Harry Potter books but it’s actually a real medical condition that turns the tongue black.
The words “lingua villosa nigra” are Latin for “black hairy tongue”. As the name suggests, the condition not only turns your tongue black, but it also makes it look hairy! This is because the papillae on the tongue become longer and hair-like.
The condition is not as serious as it sounds. The cause is simply bacteria that are overgrowing on the tongue. The solution is just better oral hygiene, especially by brushing or scraping your tongue.
6. Vitamin deficiencies
Finally, certain deficiencies in vitamins or minerals can also make your tongue change colour. For example, deficiencies in vitamin B3 (niacin), B9 (folic acid) and B12 (cobalamin) can all make your tongue red.
Don’t worry though, because deficiencies like these are rare. They can be avoided simply by eating a varied diet high in fruits and vegetables.
In this blog post, we’ve gone over six health conditions that can make your tongue change colour. So the next time you think your tongue looks big funny, you’ll be better prepared.
If you would like to speak to a dentist about your tongue or any other mouth problem, book an appointment with us today.