Franck Dental Blog

Did You Know Your Tongue Can Be Hairy?

May 6, 2022

OK, admittedly your tongue can look hairy but it’s not actually hairs, isn’t this interesting though? You would be surprised the different things your tongue can tell us about your brushing methods as well as your overall health.

Here are some things to keep an eye on when it comes to your tongue:

Hairy Tongue

As mentioned this is not actual hairs, so what is it? This is when small bumps created by a protein build-up can trap food and will actually look like strands of hair on your tongue. The good news is that if you are brushing regularly and well you should not have any issues with this but you may need to see a dentist if you have this issue.

Red Bumpy Patches

This is typically the result of a high fever. That means your tongue can pretty much function as a thermometer. If you see red, irregular, bumpy patches that look like a roughly drawn map, take your temperature to see if you have a fever causing this issue.

Abnormally Red Tongue

If your tongue looks more red than it should the simple possible cause could be a vitamin deficiency. You might want to check your folic acid or B-12 levels. If those are normal ask your doctor if you could possibly have Kawasaki disease.

White Patches

Alternatively, you might not have an overly red tongue but rather see white patches on your tongue. This can be a couple of different things. As mentioned in a previous post this could be a sign of oral cancer.  Alternatively, white patches can be a sign of Leukoplakia which can happen if the tongue has been irritated. Both oral cancer and Leukoplakia can stem from smoking or tobacco use so you might want to consider stopping use of those products if this is a concern for you.

Tender Tongue

If your tongue is sore and tender and it goes away after a period of time it could be the result of a food allergy or a canker sore. This can happen all over your tongue or in a single or multiple spots. If this does not go away on its own you should make an appointment to have it looked at.

White Coating

If your tongue seems to have a white coating it could be the result of oral thrush. Sometimes this will be accompanied by a feeling similar to having burnt your tongue. This happens from yeast overgrowth in your mouth. So, if you brush your teeth and the white coating doesn’t go away you might have to contact your doctor for medication. It is a good idea to cut down on sugar intake when this happens.

No matter what if your tongue doesn’t look or feel like it normally does let your dentist or doctor know to make sure it isn’t anything serious.

The information on this Blog is provided for general information, is not intended to provide medical, dental or surgical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No dentist/patient relationship is established by your use of this Site. No diagnosis or treatment is being provided. The information contained here should be used in consultation with a dentist of your choice. No guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within this Blog.

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C. Christian Franck, DDS

721 East Baltimore Pike Suite 301
Kennett Square, PA 19348