Uncover the Causes and Cures for a Coated Tongue
Do you suddenly have a colored or coated tongue? This may be completely normal or it could be a sign of a problem. Discover the reasons and remedies for the leading tongue troubles.
The Cause: The most common symptom of this condition is a white coated tongue. A white tongue often occurs if you’re on antibiotics, taking steroids for asthma, undergoing chemotherapy, or dealing with diabetes or a compromised immune system. It may also be a sign of leukoplakia from excessive alcohol or tobacco use.
The Cure: Be sure to brush your tongue twice daily for two weeks. Why should you brush your tongue? Because you need to be sure that a coated tongue isn’t an oral hygiene problem. If you continue to have a white tongue, it may be an overgrowth of candida, which is also called yeast or oral thrush. A coated tongue is easy to treat with an anti-fungal medication.
The Cause: Even though a black tongue looks scary, it’s harmless. The condition typically occurs when cells on the tongue grow faster than they’re shed. It’s associated with poor oral hygiene, antibiotic use, a yeast infection, diabetes, and cancer therapy.
The Cure: This condition typically subsides by itself.
The Cause: A sore throat, dry mouth, or vitamin deficiency could be causes of a red tongue. However, if you have strep throat and a high fever, it may indicate scarlet fever.
The Cure: You can use throat lozenges to soothe a sore throat and treated dry mouth with a product for saliva replacement or by drinking more water. A vitamin deficiency can be corrected with supplements and scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics.
The Cause: A striped tongue may be a sign of a chronic autoimmune condition called oral lichen planus, which is caused when the immune system attacks the cells in the mouth. Middle-aged women most commonly experience it.
The Cure: If it isn’t painful, you likely won’t need treatment for a striped tongue. But be sure to have your doctor monitor your case because you may have a higher risk of developing oral cancer. If the condition is painful, you may be given medication.
The Cause: The taste buds on the back of the tongue are bumpier than the ones near the front, so small bumps in those areas are normal. Hot, spicy foods can often irritate them and make them appear larger. Besides these bumps, you also may notice others due to canker sores or herpes.
The Cure: Bumps due to canker sores or herpes will subside on their own, but you can expedite healing by soothing canker sores with an over-the-counter ointment, gargling with baking soda mixed in water, and avoiding acidic foods. Herpes requires a prescription antiviral medication.
The Cause: Ridges typically occur when your teeth press into your tongue while you sleep. Yet ridges may also indicate a fissured tongue, which is a long crack down the center of the tongue.
The Cure: Sleep-induced ridges go away on their own, but a fissured tongue is a lifelong genetic issue. If you have a fissured tongue, food may get trapped in the tongue’s indentions and lead to dental decay. This is why you should brush your tongue when brushing your teeth to remove any trapped food and debris that could cause dental issues.
The Cause: This common condition gets its name from a combination of red and white spots on the tongue, resembling a geographic map. It’s simply a sign that your taste buds have worn down in different areas. Certain medical research indicates a correlation with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder.
The Cure: Geographic tongue requires no treatment.
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