Problems With the Tongue
When you think of dental problems, you probably think of things that affect the teeth and gums. But your tongue is an important part of your mouth as well, and problems that affect the tongue should also be considered part of your oral healthcare needs. Take a look at some of the problems that can affect the tongue, and what symptoms you should look for that might indicate a tongue problem.
Thrush is a type of yeast infection that occurs in the mouth. It commonly affects infants and toddlers, but it can also occur in adults, especially if your immune system is weakened by illness or by certain medications that affect immune system function.
One of the most obvious signs of thrush is a coating of creamy white bumps covering the surface of the tongue. These bumps may also appear on the gums, inner cheeks, and tonsils. You may also experience pain, difficulty swallowing, and even bleeding if you scrape the white coating. Thrush is treated with antifungal medications. You will need to replace your toothbrush daily until the infection is gone, in order to avoid spreading the infection.
If you have a soreness on one small part of your tongue, look for a small white, red, or yellowish sore. This is probably a canker sore. Canker sores are often caused by some type of trauma to the tongue – for example, biting your tongue or eating something sharp. However, they can also occur in response to hormonal changes or stress.
Canker sores are not dangerous and typically heal on their own with no treatment. However, you may want to use an over-the-counter pain reliever or topical anesthetic to alleviate the pain.
Oral cancer is a serious health problem, and it’s important to catch signs of it early for the best chance of treating it successfully. Prolonged tongue pain is a common early sign of oral cancer.
If you have unexplained tongue pain that exists for more than two weeks, you should make an appointment with your dentist for an oral cancer screening.
Your tongue is an essential part of your mouth, and you rely on it for speech and eating. Talk to your dentist about any unusual symptoms that affect your tongue.