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Tongue disease can be caused by various things, from a weak immune system to certain diseases, such as cancer. Although most tongue diseases can heal on their own, treatment steps also need to be taken if the condition does not improve
The tongue is a very important organ for humans. Thanks to the tongue, we can talk, taste tastes, and chew and swallow food and drinks. Because its function is so important, of course we will feel disturbed if we have tongue disease.
A he althy tongue is generally moist, pink in color, and covered by a thin whitish membrane on its surface. A change in the color of the tongue from pink to another color can be a sign that the body is experiencing certain conditions.
This is one of the reasons why doctors often ask patients to stick their tongue out during medical examinations, other than to see the condition of the larynx more clearly.
Some Signs and Symptoms of Tongue Disease
The causes of tongue disease are very varied, ranging from congenital to lifestyle, such as the habit of consuming coffee and drinking alcoholic beverages. The causes of diseases or disorders of the tongue can be distinguished based on the symptoms that appear, namely:
Tongue changes color
The change in color of the tongue to light pink occurs when the body lacks folic acid, vitamin B12, iron, or a gluten allergy.Meanwhile, the change in the tongue to a white color is usually caused by the habit of consuming alcoholic beverages, smoking, infections, and food debris stuck to the tongue.
Red tongue is usually caused by a vitamin deficiency, Kawasaki disease, or scarlet fever caused by a bacterial infection. If your tongue turns black, this could be due to smoking, rarely brushing your teeth and tongue, or a side effect of medications, such as antibiotics and chemotherapy.
The tongue changes texture
Tongue texture that looks rough or black spots appear, most likely caused by antibiotics or smoking habits. Drinking too much coffee or using mouthwash, as well as exposure to radiation to the head or neck can also affect the texture of the tongue.
Thrush most often causes sore tongue. This could be due to food allergies, lack of vitamins and iron, the use of harsh toothpaste and mouthwash, or accidentally biting your tongue while eating or talking.
Tongue pain can also be caused by inflammation of the papillae or taste buds. A person who has a habit of eating spicy food and wearing dentures or braces is also at risk for this condition.
Swollen tongue can be a symptom of medical conditions, such as Down syndrome, tongue cancer, leukemia, sore throat, anemia, and an overactive thyroid gland. If swelling of the tongue occurs suddenly, the cause may be an allergy.
Do not ignore the condition of a swollen tongue because it can cause difficulty breathing. Visit a doctor immediately for medical attention, especially if the tongue is swollen to the point where it is difficult for you to breathe.
Various Tongue Diseases and How to Overcome Them
The following are some types of tongue disease and how to overcome them:
Thrush is a small sore on the tongue or in the mouth. Generally, thrush occurs due to a lack of vitamins and a weak immune system. Consumption of fruits with a sour taste and the use of braces can also be factors that cause canker sores.
Thrush usually does not require special treatment. The pain will go away within 1-2 weeks. Clean your teeth and tongue regularly especially after eating and avoid spicy or acidic foods until the canker sore is healed.
2. Oral candidiasis (oral thrush)
Oral candidiasis is a disease of the tongue caused by infection with the fungus Candida albicans. This condition is characterized by the appearance of white patches on the tongue and the inside of the mouth. Oral candidiasis is more common in toddlers, the elderly, and those who wear dentures.
This tongue disease can be overcome by gargling with s alt or 1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in warm water every 2 times a day. Antifungal medication can also be prescribed by the dentist to treat this condition.
3. Lichen planus
Lichen planus is a disease that can attack the tongue. This condition occurs due to a disorder of the immune system and is characterized by the appearance of white patches and lines on the tongue and mouth.
Sometimes lichen planus can also cause other symptoms in the form of a burning sensation or pain in the tongue, discomfort in the mouth, and swollen, red, and painful gums.
Lichen planus which is relatively mild generally does not require special treatment, but you are recommended to regularly clean your mouth with mouthwash to relieve discomfort in the mouth. If the condition is getting worse or does not go away, the doctor will usually give corticosteroid medication.
4. Geographic tongue
Geographic tongue is a condition when red spots appear with white edges. The exact cause of this disease is not known, but it is thought to be related to certain diseases, such as psoriasis and lichen planus.
Actually, geographic tongue disease can heal by itself. However, you are advised to have yourself checked if within 2 weeks the spotting does not go away. Reduce consumption of spicy foods, acids, alcoholic beverages, and cigarettes to prevent this disease from getting worse.
5. Cracked tongue (f issured tongue)
Fissured tongue is characterized by the formation of gaps in the tongue, so that the tongue looks cracked. You do not need to worry because this condition is normal for the tongue. The cause of cracked tongue is thought to be genetically inherited, but further research is still needed.
In some conditions, cracked tongue does not require special treatment. To prevent a cracked tongue from becoming infected, it is recommended that you regularly clean your tongue because stuck food debris can cause infection.
Glossitis is an inflammation of the tongue that causes the tongue to become swollen and red. This tongue disease can sometimes make it difficult for the sufferer to eat and speak.
Glossitis can be prevented and treated by maintaining regular dental and oral hygiene and consuming nutritious food. In certain cases, glossitis needs to be treated with antibiotics and corticosteroids as prescribed by the doctor.
7. Burning tongue (burning out s syndrome)
Stinging or burning tongue sensation is often experienced by women who are entering menopause. In addition to menopause, complaints of sore tongue can also be caused by allergies, the use of toothpaste or mouthwash made of harsh chemicals, immune system disorders, and stress.
To prevent and relieve sore tongue complaints, it is recommended that you avoid acidic foods and drinks, spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, and smoking. Also, if your symptoms are severe enough, you may need to get treatment from a doctor.
Leukoplakia is a condition where there are white patches on the tongue. White patches on leukoplakia do not go away even if you clean them with a toothbrush. The cause of this condition is related to smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages.
In general, leukoplakia is harmless and does not cause pain.However, this disease can be an early symptom of oral cancer. This type of leukoplakia can be caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and is more common in people with low immune systems, such as people with HIV.
Leukoplakia treatment is carried out under the supervision of a doctor and aims to remove enlarged white patches. Laser method or surgery may be done if the leukoplakia is malignant (cancerous).
9. Tongue cancer
Cancer of the tongue is one type of cancer that can appear in the oral cavity. This tongue disease can be caused by various factors, such as HPV infection and smoking or drinking alcohol in the long term.
Tongue cancer in its early stages is often asymptomatic. However, over time, people with tongue cancer may experience symptoms in the form of canker sores on the tongue that do not heal for more than 2 weeks, bloody tongue, lumps on the tongue, and numbness of the tongue.
If you experience some of these symptoms, please go to the doctor immediately for an examination and get the right treatment.
In general, tongue disease is not dangerous and can heal by itself. However, there are also tongue diseases that are dangerous and need to be treated immediately by a doctor, such as tongue cancer.
To prevent various tongue diseases, you need to adopt a he althy lifestyle, such as regularly brushing your teeth and using dental floss, drinking enough water, consuming nutritious food, and not smoking and consuming alcoholic beverages.
Don't forget to regularly check your teeth and mouth to the dentist every 6 months. This is important so that the doctor can evaluate the he alth condition of the tongue, teeth, gums, and mouth and provide appropriate treatment if you have tongue disease.