What Your Tongue Can Reveal About Your Health

Vinings GA DentistWhen it comes to oral health, it is common to consider the gums and the teeth. However, we shouldn’t neglect the tongue. Your tongue helps you speak, taste, swallow and regulate your saliva. Your tongue is a muscular organ covered in moist, pink tissue. The hundreds of tiny bumps (or papillae) on its surface create a rough and grooved texture. In terms of your oral health, it is imperative that the tongue gets cleaned daily, as millions of bacteria can harbor on the tongue’s surface, causing bad breath, decay and gum disease if neglected.

What you may not know is that the appearance of your tongue can reveal certain diseases and conditions within your overall health. Therefore, it is important to take a close look at your tongue in the mirror on a regular basis. Here are some examples of what your tongue symptoms could mean:

Strawberry Red: If your tongue hue is a brighter red or pink than usual, it may be indication that you are deficient in iron or Vitamin B12.

Brown Fuzz: While shocking to discover, the tongue can produce a black or brown hairy appearance. In most cases, this is not a major cause of alarm. It can mean that the natural papillae on your tongue are overgrown and have been discolored by foods. Smokers and coffee drinkers are more subject to “black and hairy tongue.” It can also mean that you need to step up your oral hygiene routine.

Cracks and Wrinkles: Just like your face, your tongue can show your age. However, if you have cracks or fissures in your tongue, you’ll need to make sure your tongue stays extra clean, as you’ll have a better chance for bacteria and infection to harbor in those deep grooves.

Cottage Cheese: Not the actual food, but if you notice a white lumpy coating on your tongue that resembles cottage cheese, you may have an oral yeast infection or thrust. This is common if you’ve just completed a round of antibiotics or if you have an autoimmune disease. Regardless, you’ll need to consult with your doctor to remedy your cottage cheese tongue.

Painful Sores: In most cases, a sudden bump or painful sore is a sign of stress. Canker sores are common and typically go away within a week. However, if you have a red lesion that persists for longer than 2 weeks, you need to follow up with your dentist, as this could be a sign of oral cancer.

At the office of Dr. Wayne Suway, we are equipped to treat all areas of your oral health, including the prominent and important organ called your tongue. If you notice changes in the way your tongue feels or looks, please let us know sooner rather than later. We treat patients with a superior level of knowledge and care at our Marietta office.

Posted on behalf of Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
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Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD – Atlanta Dentist
1820 The Exchange SE, Suite 600
Atlanta, GA 30339
Phone: (770) 953-1752


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Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD.

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Missy Stone

I have known Dr. Suway for 30 years. My parents found him originally and made me a believer and life long friend and patient. In the years since, I have recommended my husband, son and friends. I would hear that going to the dentist was a fear of many people. I could never understand that because it was always a pleasure to come to Dr. Suway’s office. His staff are so professional, gentle and kind. It’s nice to see the same faces twice a year. You can tell they love working with him. I tell people that Dr. Suway gives the best shots – you can’t even feel a pinch. My son who hates needles, has no problem getting a shot for a filling. I love Dr. Suway’s personality. When you walk in the office you might hear him singing a country western song. I have porcelain veneers on my front teeth and am so thrilled. It’s been 10 years and they are still white and beautiful. He is an artist and perfectionist who loves to make people happy. I recommend Dr. Suway to become your dentist. He is a man of character and professionalism, yet down to earth. If you choose Dr. Suway, you’ll get an excellent dentist, but also a friend for life.

Dennis & Maria Liber

Dr. Suway is very relaxed and as a result we find that we are very relaxed as well. He takes the time to listen when we have concerns and he answers questions fully. We never feel like he is rushing from us to another patient. When we do need fillings, crowns or any other extensive work, he is concerned that we are comfortable and feeling no pain.

Nealean K. Austin

Through the years, we have found Dr. Suway to be a skillful perfectionist in all areas of his profession. He keeps abreast of and utilizes the latest dental techniques to improve and ensure the longevity of his patient’s teeth. He is a caring, personable professional who always greets his patients with a sincere, ready smile. Dr. Suway is also a ‘confidence booster.’ I say this because by the time I was 30 years old I was wearing dentures. He immediately recognized a self-conscious young wife, mother and professional who needed his professional help. His approach to boosting my confidence was through dental implants. At that time dental implants were a relatively new procedure. Dr. Suway carefully explained to me the advantages of dental implants and was proactive in working with my insurance provider to ensure that they understood the correlation between the required dental procedures and health plan benefits. I can smile with confidence forever because of Dr. Suway. Dr. Suway’s staff is a mirror image of his positive professionalism. They are always courteous, knowledgeable, efficient and personable. Appointments are scheduled at your convenience. You know that your time is valued because at the precise time of your appointment you are greeted, then immediately seen by either Dr. Suway or a hygienist. His work is outstanding and he is one of a kind.

Allison Lewis

My husband and I have been patients of Dr. Suway since 1988. Dr. Suway and his staff have provided us with state-of-the-art oral health care in a pleasant, friendly and compassionate environment for many years. Dr. Suway has done many procedures for me including root canals, crowns and a bridge. His work is beautiful. He is truly a perfectionist and that is exactly what I want in a dentist. I would never trust my smile to anyone other then Dr. Suway.