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Factors and Conditions linked to Tongue Discoloration

July 19th,2018

White patches or colored spots on the tongue is a common dental complication which occurs as a result of poor dental hygiene on our tongue.

Tongue is the muscular organ which begins at the end of our throat and extends to the outside of the mouth. It contains hair-like projections and a covering named “Papillae”. Papillae has minute grooves on the surface of the tongue.

What causes tongue discoloration?

As our tongue is always exposed to food items and drinks we consume, the food particles trapped in the trenches of the tongue. This is taken advantage by bacteria inside the mouth to breed. This leads to the whitish coating on the surface of the pink-reddish colored tongue.

Many people are not aware of this and forget to clean their tongue. This is the base reason for tongue discoloration.

Similar to poor oral hygiene, various tongue discoloration factors are listed as follows:
• Smoking
• Tobacco usage
• Dehydration
• Medications
• Certain mouthwashes
• Alcohol consumption
• Dry mouth
• Vitamin Deficiencies
• Mouth breathing
• Poor Workmanship of Dental Instruments

Similar to the mentioned factors, there are distinct health-related conditions which lead to tongue discoloration. They are given as below:

Leukoplakia – It occurs when the mucus membranes on the tongue surface are not properly grown. Likewise, smoking, chewing tobacco and alcohol aggravate the tongue surfaces. It leads to white and gray patches appear on the tongue surfaces.

Syphilis – This is a kind of infection that cause mouth sores. If it is left untreated, it will cause syphilis leukoplakia that produces white patches on the tongue.

Oral lichen planus – Disputes in the immune system or effect of medications and drugs lead to this condition. It causes soring gums along with whitish colored layer on the tongue.

Kawasaki Syndrome – Doctors and other Health Care Professionals predict that this happens because of the genetic disorder and autoimmune system. This makes the tongue looks red in color.

Oral Thrush – Similar to Oral lichen planus, it occurs due to complications in the immune system caused by serious diseases. Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus also induce oral thrush that causes white spots and patches on your tongue.

Glossitis – It is a condition that makes the tongue gets inflamed. When there is an inflammation in the tongue, there is an increase in the blood flow inside the tongue. It causes intense pain and makes the tongue appear reddish.

Toxic Shock Syndrome – This is a serious condition occurs when the immune system gets depressed due to toxins produced by various bacteria present in our mouth. It makes the tongue looks red color. If it is not treated properly, it will infect the jaw bones.

Geographic Tongue – It makes a particular portion of the tongue appear red color while the rest of the tongue appears normal.

Stretched Papillae – In certain cases, the papillae present in the tongue gets stretched. Then more amount of food debris gets stuck in the minute holes of papillae. It makes the tongue appear yellowish and later it become brown & black color.

With dental appliances like tongue cleaner or tongue scraper, you can efficiently remove the colored patches on your tongue surface. You can utilize the tongue cleaner available in toothbrushes but assure your cleaner reaches the end or deep regions where the papillae are present.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, tongue discoloration is a common oral complication. You need not worry about it. Clean your tongue regularly to get rid of this.

In contrast, if your tongue shows purple or blue colored patches, visit your Dentist because these colors on the tongue are caused due to serious health infection. Hence a dental visit is essential for such tongue discoloration.

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