A Healthy tongue
Αναλυτικός Οδηγός υγείας Γλώσσας
Detailed Tongue Health Guide
The tongue is a strong and very important muscle necessary for the functioning of taste, chewing, food processing and speech. The oral part of the tongue (2/3 anterior part) is located mainly in the mouth, while the pharyngeal part is the posterior 1/3. The oral part is covered by many papillae which are divided into 4 types and 3 of them have taste buds on the surface. The average of these is 2000-8000 on the surface of the tongue.
The taste sensation can be sweet, bitter, salty, sour and fibrous in texture while the average length of the tongue is 10cm. The tongue is usually neglected during oral hygiene but it is very important to keep it clean and healthy. Normally its color is pink and its texture is relatively smooth. A white tongue can indicate an infection, while a dark tongue is a matter of diet, lifestyle or medication. Drugs containing bismuth can temporarily stain the tongue, giving it a black tint. It is worth adding that dyes due to cigarettes, coffee or even medicines should gradually disappear with time and brushing.
A dark red tongue may be the result of eating disorders or temporarily due to a reaction to acidic food or mouthwash / toothpaste.
A yellow tongue is the result of a bacterial, fungal infection or may involve gastro-oesophageal reflux.
A pale smooth tongue is the result of anemia or iron deficiency.
If the tongue has acquired a hairy texture, it is because the filiform papillae have lengthened and are usually due to antibiotics, infection or a dry mouth.
Minor aphthae can also occur and are due to the consumption of citrus fruits, fever or cold and disappears in about 10 days. If they persist it is advisable to visit the dentist because they may signal a more general illness. Similarly small craters which appear for a few days on the surface of the tongue are due to infection.
Infection in the area of the tongue can be translated as a sign of an allergic reaction while a burning syndrome in the mouth can affect the entire oral mucosa or just the tongue causing burning and pain. The latter is common in postmenopausal women and both the cause and the solutions are known. Drink plenty of water and chew gum. Antidepressants or anxiolytics are treatments that improve symptoms and manage the syndrome.
To clean the tongue you can buy special tongue scraper. An inverted spoon can also be used. Clean the tongue before and not after eating so that the microbial load is not swallowed while eating. Clean tongue means fresh breath, oral and general health.