The tongue is often not given the proper attention it deserves, especially when compared with the care that is given to the teeth. However, tongue problems can result to a lot of pain and discomfort to a person, because this part of the mouth is always in motion as we speak, swallow, or eat. Getting information about the most common tongue problems, and how they can be dealt with, can help in ensuring that the tongue is taken care of in the manner it deserves.
Common Tongue Problems and their Treatments
Oral Thrush or Candidiasis – This is a yeast infection that develops inside the mouth; symptoms include white patches that resemble cottage cheese, found on the tongue and other surfaces inside the mouth. Oral thrush is often found in people with diabetes, in infants and in elderly persons, those who wear dentures, or those who have just finished taking antibiotics (which kill the “good” bacteria inside the mouth). Aside from medications prescribed by the dentist or doctor, eating yogurt with active and live cultures can help restore the good fauna inside the mouth, effectively dealing with the oral thrush.
Leukoplakia– This is characterized by white patches inside the mouth, and on the tongue. Leukoplakia often develops in the mouths of people who use tobacco products, or when the tongue is irritated. Although leukoplakia is not dangerous, it is known to be one of the earliest symptoms of oral cancer – so it is best for a dentist to examine the affected tongue, to determine its cause in the soonest possible time.
Hairy Tongue – This occurs when the bumps on the tongue (called papillae) become too long, causing a bacterial infection to develop. The hairy tongue problem looks a lot worse than it actually is, and can be treated effectively antibiotics.
Glossitis – This is a condition resulting to a swollen tongue, to the point that the tongue takes on a smooth appearance; there are also cases when some papillae are missing on the surface of the tongue. Antifungal topical medications or antibiotics are often prescribed to treat this tongue problem.