Our bodies are complex mechanisms that are constantly working on the most minute levels to keep us moving, energized, and healthy. When something is amiss within our systems, our bodies normally attempt to send us signals to indicate that there is something off. This could be in the form of aching muscles and fever as a sign of the flu or yellowing skin as a sign of a failing liver.
Your dental health and digestive system are largely linked by way of your gut microbes that regularly interact with one another. This makes it easy for your digestive health to affect your oral health. One of the biggest tells for digestive and oral health problems is your tongue. Although we normally recognize our tongue as the tool we use for conversation, it can also signal when something in our bodily network is misfiring.
Here are a few signals your body may be sending you via your tongue and oral health.
1. You're Lacking Vitamin B
A rosy pink is the normal color of a healthy tongue. If your tongue is a dark or cherry red this could be a sign that your diet is lacking in Vitamin B and iron. A change in your diet that features more Vitamin B and iron rich foods such as beans and lentils, broccoli, spinach, dried citrus fruits, nuts and seeds can improve this quickly. In cases where your tongue is a dark red and is paired with a scratchy, achy throat you may have strep throat. In which case you should contact your doctor and receive proper medication.
2. You Have Oral Thrush
A white, creamy coating on your tongue and/or the roof of your mouth is normally diagnosed as oral thrush. This is contracted by the naturally occurring microflora Candida albicans, which is also one of the most common causes of fungal infection in people. This essentially causes a yeast infection of the mouth when it is overproduced. If untreated it can continue to spread to the tonsils and back of the throat. Consult a doctor and they will likely prescribe an antifungal medication that can come in the form of a pill, liquid, or lozenge. Examples include nystatin or clotrimazole.
3. You Have Excessive Bacteria GrowthIf you woke up this morning, groggily yawning as you approach the mirror and caught a glimpse of a black, hairy looking tongue - don't panic! Although it can definitely be an alarming symptom to witness, it usually communicates that you have an uncontrolled amount of bacteria building in your mouth. Consuming foods that are high in sugar routinely and not keeping up with your oral hygiene can contribute to this. Shifting your dietary habits and working harder to care for your mouth can make a big difference for this issue, fast. This can also be caused temporarily if you're taking antibiotics or a new medication.
4. You Have An Under-Active Thyroid
An ailment that is more commonly occurring in children than adults, can result in your tongue appearing fat or swollen. Also called Microglossia, an enlarged tongue can signal an under-active thyroid gland. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may want to receive medical attention. Natural ways to improve your thyroid activity can be changing your diet - cutting out simple sugars, and gluten, and maintaining consistency.
5. You're Dehydrated
If your tongue appears thin, or small in size it could be a sign that you're dehydrated. Simply increasing your daily intake of water can help remedy this situation. If you are sure that you are ingesting enough water a day and the condition persists, you may consider consulting your physician.
6. Your Immune System Is Compromised
Instances where your tongue seems heavily cracked, or has deep fissures may suggest that you have a problem with your immune system. This could be a symptom of a variety of ailments so it's best to immediately contact your doctor. If your tongue has the appearance of webbed patterns or striping this could also be an indication of a compromised immune system.
One possible culprit could be Oral Lichen Planus (OLP). This is a chronic inflammatory disease which damages the mucus membranes in the mouth. It can also be characterized by discomfort and soreness inside the mouth and may be accompanied by similar lacy white or red patches on the insides of the cheeks and lips, as well as on the gums and palate.
7. You're Using The Wrong Toothpaste
If you regularly experience a burning sensation in your mouth or your tongue tingles and stings this could be an indication of several different things. It's a common symptom in post-menopausal women or those experiencing major hormonal changes. A lot of the time though, it's simply because you aren't using the right toothpaste. Frequently people may have an allergy or sensitivity to one of the chemical ingredients in name-brand toothpastes. To avoid this, it's suggested to switch to a more natural, less abrasive toothpaste. For example Coral Nano Silver is 100% fluoride free, SLS free (an agent used to make toothpaste foamy and often leads to a burning sensation), paraben free, and glycerin free!
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