Tongue Troubles

Atlanta Dental on Abnormal Tongue Tint


Ask anyone what color a tongue is and their typical answer will be “pink.” And although in the animal kingdom you may see different instances of this, even humans can have different tongue shades due to various oral health related issues. Today, your providers of Atlanta dental care wanted to provide you with information on some different colors the tongue may turn, and why or why not it could be a cause for concern.


Sometimes the difference between the colors red and pink can be so minor that it really boils down to sheer perception. When the tongue is red-red though as if you just had a cherry ice pop, a few oral health related issues could be to blame. Ironically or not, Scarlet Fever has been known to cause the tongue to turn red, and while very dangerous, can be treated with antibiotics. Another cause of a scarlet tongue would be a lack of vitamins, such as folic acid or B-12, which can be supplemented with tablets or changes in diet. A red tongue can even occur naturally in some patients, but the only way to know for sure is to consult a doctor at your Atlanta dental office.


White, often seen as a color of cleanliness and purity, could prove to be anything but if your tongue turns to it. Thrush, an oral yeast infection that typically bothers the elderly or infants with weak immune systems, can cause the tongue to turn white. In a more serious case, Leukoplakia can also be a white-tongue-provider that is often correlated with tobacco usage and can even be an early indicator of oral cancer.


Lastly, while your favorite furry puppy pal may have a black tongue if you develop one too- it may not actually be a huge cause for concern. Of all these colors listed, black is usually associated with being the most ominous and deadly, but here it differs. Patients with reported cases of black tongue usually just suffer from underdone oral health maintenance. The tiny “hairs” on their tongue that usually are removed via regular brushing can grow too long and collect bacteria, turning the tongue black. This color change can be handled by improving at-home oral care.


For any further questions on the causes of tongue discoloration, feel free to contact our Atlanta dental office at (404) 633-9663 to schedule an appointment!

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