The tongue plays a vital role when it comes to eating, digestion and speaking. We're able to taste the food we eat thanks to the taste buds, found on the little bumps on the surface of our tongue, called fungiform papillae. It's fairly resilient, too; capable of healing quickly from injuries.
There are some conditions that can affect your tongue and even cause pain. Most aren't serious, though some can require treatment. In any case. Where you are concerned about your tongue, you should consult with someone like Dr. Lechner to make sure.
Below are a few common conditions:
It's fairly easy to injure your tongue, just by biting down on it. You can also hurt it by eating or drinking something that's too hot. Fortunately, while some of these injuries can be painful, most will hill very quickly.
Canker sores can appear in many places in the mouth. These shallow, yellow or white-colored sores are not contagious, but they can hurt; particularly when they show up on your tongue. Most canker sores will go away on their own within a week.
is an inflammation of the tongue, and there are many different types. Fortunately, most aren't serious, though there are a few that may require treatment.
• Median rhomboid glossitis
- Also called MRG
, this form of glossitis is believed to be the result of a fungal infection. It manifests as a smooth, flat area on the top-middle or top-back area of the tongue. For treatment of MRG, an anti-fungal medication is typically used.
• Moeller’s glossitis - This condition may result in a burning sensation, pain or irritation of the tongue. The papillae (bumps on the surface of the tongue) can atrophy, resulting in the tongue taking on a glossy, smooth appearance. Moeller’s glossitis is believed to be the result of a vitamin B-12 deficiency.
• Geographic Tongue - It's mostly harmless, but geographic tongue can make multiple, smooth patches appear on the tongue, making it look a little like a map. It usually goes away after around 10 days, but if it persists longer for you, you should speak with Dr. Lechner about it.
A yeast infection the tongue that shows up as white patches that look a bit like cottage cheese, oral thrush is most common in babies, people with weakened immune systems and those who wear dentures.
Swelling or inflammation of the tongue could be the result of an allergic reaction. Sensitivities to certain types of food can result in a scratchy throat, or swelling of the lips, tongue or other areas of the mouth. If you suspect you may be experiencing the effects of a food allergy, make sure you make your doctor aware of it.
Those who smoke, or who have recently quit smoking, may notice that they have tongue pain. They may also have bacteria or yeast growth on the surface of their Tonge, giving it a hairy appearance. As it's linked to oral cancer, smoking can lead to the growth of lumps on the tongue. We recommend coming in for regular checkups so that Dr. Lechner can look for signs of oral cancer.
This is far from being a comprehensive look at tongue problems, but these are a few of the more common ones. Again, if you are experiencing anything that gives you concern, be sure to make an appointment with Lechner Dental Group
to have it checked out.