5 Clues on your tongue that could point to early signs of a “silent killer”
10/25/2022 // Zoey Sky // Views

Having small bumps, white patches and little spots in your mouth and tongue is often harmless.

But sometimes, these unusual symptoms can give some clues to your overall well-being. If you're worried about your health, keep in mind that certain changes to your tongue can indicate some deadly diseases.

White spots that can be scraped off

According to Dr. Rachel Ward of Woodlands Medical Centre in Didcot, Oxfordshire, white spots on your tongue that can be brushed off with a toothbrush can be a sign of oral thrush.

Oral thrush is "often associated with soreness, an unpleasant taste and difficulty eating and drinking." While the condition is common and normally easily treated if it becomes a recurrent issue, it may indicate another underlying health problem like issues with your immune system or a deficiency, said Ward.

Oral thrush is most commonly seen in infants and the elderly, especially people who wear dentures or those with weakened immune systems. Those with diabetes and people taking inhaled steroids for asthma or lung disease can also get oral thrush.

Additionally, oral thrush is more likely to occur if you take oral steroids or after you've taken antibiotics.

White patches that can't be rubbed off

White patches on your tongue and inside your mouth that can't be rubbed off are caused by a condition called leukoplakia.

Leukoplakia occurs when the cells in your mouth grow excessively, which leads to white patches on the tongue and inside your mouth. It can develop when your tongue has been irritated and it is common in those who use tobacco products.


While leukoplakia can be a precursor to cancer, it isn't inherently dangerous by itself. If you see what you think could be leukoplakia, contact your dentist or doctor for an evaluation. (Related: Maintaining good oral health key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease, reports study.)

Mouth ulcers

Mouth and tongue ulcers or canker sores are common. They are painful, but usually heal by themselves within several days.

The cause of mouth ulcers is unknown, but some experts think stress may be a factor.

If you have a non-healing ulcer or a new lump on your tongue, it could be a sign of oral cancer. Schedule an appointment with your doctor or dentist straight away to have it checked.

Geographic tongue

A geographic tongue is when your tongue looks like the outlines of a map, with reddish spots and a white border. Their location may change over time.

Geographic tongue is a common condition. While not serious, the condition can cause soreness if you eat certain foods like citrus fruits or spicy foods.

A geographic tongue is usually harmless and the best way to manage it is by avoiding the irritating foods that trigger soreness in your tongue.

"Hairy tongue"

The term "hairy tongue" is used to describe an abnormal coating on the surface of the tongue. Hairy tongue is a relatively common, temporary and harmless condition.

Hairy tongue occurs due to a lack of stimulation at the top of your tongue. This causes too much bacteria or yeast growth in your mouth.

Bacteria then build up on the papillae or the tiny rounded projections that lie along your tongue. Instead of shedding like normal, the papillae start to lengthen.

In severe cases, papillae can grow to 15 times their normal length, which makes it look like you have a hairy tongue.

Hairy tongue is often caused by poor oral hygiene or smoking.

Tips for maintaining oral health

Follow the tips below to maintain dental and oral health.

Brush your teeth before going to bed

You should make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day.

If you don't brush your teeth at night, you won't get rid of the germs and plaque that accumulate throughout the day.

Brush properly

Take your time and move the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions to remove plaque. Unremoved plaque can harden, which can cause calculus buildup and gingivitis or early gum disease.

Clean your tongue

Plaque can also build up on your tongue. This can cause bad mouth odor and other oral health problems.

Gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.

Flossing is as important as brushing

Flossing regularly is just as important as brushing your teeth.

Flossing helps get little pieces of food stuck in between your teeth and stimulates the gums, reduces plaque and helps lower inflammation in the area. Floss at least once a day to reap these benefits.

If you have trouble flossing, especially for young children and older adults with arthritis, use tools that can help you floss your teeth like ready-to-use dental flossers or floss picks.

Drink more water

Staying hydrated also does wonders for your oral health. Drink water after eating to help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods and beverages.

Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables

Fresh, crunchy produce contains more healthy fiber and are also good for your teeth because they get your jaws working.

Limit sugary and acidic foods

Sugar converts into acid in your mouth, which can then erode teeth enamel. These acids cause cavities.

Additionally, acidic fruits, teas and coffee can wear down your tooth enamel. While you don't have to avoid these foods altogether, limiting how much you eat can be good for your oral health.

Pay attention to your tongue and maintain proper oral hygiene to improve your overall well-being.

Visit Oralhealth.news for more tips on how to keep your teeth healthy.

Watch the video below to know more about how licorice root can help boost your oral health.

This video is from the Groovy Bee channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Study: Ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash linked to antibiotic resistance.

Prepper tips: 10 Ways to maintain oral hygiene in the wilderness.

Organic Coconut Water: Mother Nature’s best energy drink.

Sources include:





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