As an important part of our digestive system, the tongue plays a vital role in our overall health. A healthy tongue is typically pink in color, with a smooth texture and no noticeable bumps or lesions. However, if you notice any discoloration in your tongue, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue. In this article, we will explore some of the diseases that can cause tongue discoloration and the tests you should take to diagnose them.
According to healthline, Oral thrush is a fungal infection that can affect the mouth and tongue. It is caused by an overgrowth of a type of yeast called Candida. Oral thrush can cause a white or yellow coating on the tongue, which may look like cottage cheese. Other symptoms of oral thrush include soreness or burning in the mouth, a loss of taste, and difficulty swallowing.
If you suspect that you have oral thrush, you should see a healthcare provider who can perform a physical exam and take a sample of the affected area for testing. According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, a microscopic examination of a scraping from the tongue is the most reliable test for diagnosing oral thrush. Treatment for oral thrush typically involves antifungal medications, such as clotrimazole or fluconazole.
Geographic tongue is a benign condition that affects the tongue's surface. It causes patches of the tongue to become inflamed and develop a white or yellow color, which can be surrounded by a red border. These patches can move around the tongue over time, which is why the condition is called geographic tongue.
The cause of geographic tongue is not entirely understood, but it is thought to be related to changes in the way the tongue's surface cells are shed. The condition usually does not require treatment, but if it causes discomfort or affects your ability to eat or speak, your healthcare provider may recommend a topical medication, such as corticosteroids, to reduce inflammation.
Deficiencies in certain vitamins, such as vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, can cause changes in the color and texture of the tongue. A lack of these nutrients can cause the tongue to become red, sore, or swollen, and it may also develop a smooth and glossy texture.
To diagnose a vitamin deficiency, your healthcare provider may perform a blood test to check your vitamin levels. If a deficiency is identified, treatment may involve taking vitamin supplements or making dietary changes to increase your intake of the deficient nutrient.
In some cases, a discolored tongue may be a sign of oral cancer. Oral cancer can cause patches of the tongue to become red, white, or gray, and they may be painful or bleed. Other symptoms of oral cancer include sores in the mouth that do not heal, difficulty chewing or swallowing, and a lump or thickening in the cheek.
If your healthcare provider suspects that you have oral cancer, they may perform a biopsy of the affected area to test for cancer cells. Treatment for oral cancer typically involves surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Kawasaki disease is a rare condition that can cause inflammation in the blood vessels throughout the body. It can cause a bright red tongue with a "strawberry" appearance, which is usually accompanied by a high fever, red eyes, and a rash.
Diagnosing Kawasaki disease typically involves a physical exam and blood tests to check for signs of inflammation in the body. Treatment may involve intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and aspirin to reduce inflammation and prevent complications.
In conclusion, a discolored tongue can be a sign of various underlying health issues, ranging from benign conditions to serious diseases. If you notice any discoloration or changes in the appearance of your tongue, it is important to consult a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.
It is also essential to maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly and visiting your dentist for routine check-ups. This can help prevent oral infections and catch any potential issues early on. In addition, practicing a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, can help prevent vitamin deficiencies and improve overall health.
It is important to note that this article is not intended to provide medical advice, and any concerns about your tongue's appearance should be discussed with a healthcare provider.
Content created and supplied by: jacobE (via Opera News )
Opera News is a free to use platform and the views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent, reflect or express the views of Opera News. Any/all written content and images displayed are provided by the blogger/author, appear herein as submitted by the blogger/author and are unedited by Opera News. Opera News does not consent to nor does it condone the posting of any content that violates the rights (including the copyrights) of any third party, nor content that may malign, inter alia, any religion, ethnic group, organization, gender, company, or individual. Opera News furthermore does not condone the use of our platform for the purposes encouraging/endorsing hate speech, violation of human rights and/or utterances of a defamatory nature. If the content contained herein violates any of your rights, including those of copyright, and/or violates any the above mentioned factors, you are requested to immediately notify us using via the following email address operanews-external(at)opera.com and/or report the article using the available reporting functionality built into our Platform See More