Consult a Scottsbluff NE Dentist about these 4 Common Tongue Problems
The time that you spend in a Scottsbluff NE dentist’s chair doesn’t have to be devoted or limited to your teeth. Your dentist is trained to look for oral clues that may help to uncover more generalized health problems. During regular dental visits, an inspection of your tongue can reveal health issues that affect the mouth as well as health issues that are impacting other parts of the body, many of which can be addressed before the problem becomes more serious.
Which tongue problems are most likely to suggest a more serious health problem?
Swollen whitish-grey bubble under the tongue. A bubble under the tongue typically indicates that a blockage has occurred within a salivary gland or duct. It is very common for the flow of saliva to become blocked by a calcium deposit known as a salivary stone. With the saliva unable to drain, the fluid buildup might cause localized swelling and pain. Like a kidney stone, this blockage may eventually pass through the duct without treatment. For a more serious blockage, your dentist may recommend surgery to relieve the pressure.
A sore with a ring around it. A sore in the mouth—especially one that won’t heal, should be examined for signs of oral cancer. In addition to a spot with a raised or defined border, your dentist will check for red or white patches and lacy white lesions. While oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth or throat, the tongue is a common location for a lesion.
Thick or ‘beefy’ red tongue. Signs of a deficiency in your vitamin B12 levels may show up in the tongue well before it is detected in the rest of your body. Your body depends on B12 for the production of red blood cells, and a deficiency typically results in anemia. Most food sources can supply your body with adequate B12 levels, though you may be at risk for a deficiency if you are suffering from a digestive disorder like Crohn’s disease or if you consume a largely vegan diet.
Glossy white or dry tongue. Dry mouth, clinically known as xerostomia, can change the color and appearance of your tongue. Dry mouth is often the potentially harmful side-effect of certain medications which are used for the treatment of asthma, high blood pressure, and asthma. Your dentist can help you to manage dry mouth and prevent ongoing oral health problems.
For a complete dental checkup including an evaluation of your tongue, make plans to visit a dentist in Scottsbluff NE today.