As the largest organ in your mouth, the tongue can indicate signs of oral pathology and disease that can affect the entire body. A clean healthy tongue should be pink in appearance and covered in small nodules.
A white coating on your tongue is not always a serious concern and is most often the cause of a build-up of bacteria from poor oral hygiene but can also be related to the following:
- Dry mouth
- Mouth breathing
- Alcohol use
Irritation to your tongue can be the result of sharp edges on fillings or acidic foods such as pineapple. If your tongue feels sore, or you have a sore that won’t heal, or you notice a lump or red or white patches on your tongue you should see your dentist or general practitioner.
As no other health care professional gets the chance to look at your tongue as often as your dentist, it is essential you attend regular dental check-ups. The dentist will be on alert for patches or lesion on and under your tongue. They may notice scalloping to the sides of your which indicate tooth grinding.
Remember it is important to keep your tongue clean by brushing with a back to front motion twice a day to remove food and bacteria. If you suffer from a bad gag reflex try brushing side to side while slowly working your way back along your tongue. Alternatively, a tongue scraper might suit you better.