When food isn’t responsible for the strange color of your tongue, it could indicate a serious problem.
A white tongue can be sign of a condition called leukoplakia. This is an excess of cell growth that is not actually dangerous, but sometimes it is a sign of cancer forming. Leukoplakia can also be caused by using tobacco products or because your tongue has been irritated.
Oral thrush also causes white tongue. Oral thrush is a yeast infection, and can be treated by eating plain yogurt or with medications.
White lines on your tongue may be oral lichen planus. Doctors and dentists do not know what causes this condition, but it usually goes away on its own without treatment.
A tongue that is too bright pink or red could be a sign of vitamin deficiency, particularly vitamin B-12. A peculiar condition that is called geographic tongue because it involves reddish spots on the tongue that look like a map is harmless and usually goes away by itself. If you have a red tongue accompanied by fever, you could have Scarlet Fever. You should see a doctor immediately because Scarlet Fever must be treated by antibiotics. Children under the age of five can develop Kawasaki syndrome, a blood vessel disease that is indicated by a red tongue and fever. If treated early, Kawasaki syndrome usually has no long-term negative effects.
Black, hairy tongue sounds and looks terrible, but it is usually harmless. It involves bacteria attaching papillae, the small bumps on the tongue. Good oral hygiene can prevent this from occurring. A healthy tongue should be pink at most times. Any unusual coloration of your tongue that you cannot attribute to a food or beverage warrants a visit to a doctor or dentist. Any unusual bumps, sores or markings on your tongue or inside your cheeks should be checked on as well.
Contact your dentist for any additional questions- and remember to keep your mouth healthy and happy.