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The Tongue: Kelowna Dentists Explain What Your Tongue Says About Your Oral Health


Kids stick their tongues out to be silly all the time. But is showing your tongue more than just a playful gesture? Kelowna dentists explain how seeing your tongue can actually give clues about your oral health.

Practise good oral health

Your teeth and gums are important when maintaining good oral health habits, but don’t forget about your tongue. Flossing and brushing daily helps keep your entire body healthy, but ignoring your tongue could diminish all the hard work you’re doing by practicing good oral hygiene, so make sure you brush your tongue too.

Stick your tongue out… at yourself

By looking at your tongue in the mirror, you may be able to learn some things about your health. Although you should always check in with your Kelowna dental clinic if you’re worried about the state of your oral health, doing a self-check in the mirror is quick and easy and can give you a little insight into your own oral health.

Darker than usual

If your tongue is dark in colour instead of the light pink you’re used to seeing, your diet, lifestyle, or prescription medications could be the reason. Drinking a lot of coffee or smoking tobacco is usually the biggest reason behind this discolouration, but there’s a quick fix for this colour change – brush your tongue! Giving your tongue a couple brushings can help return the tongue back to its soft pink colour. If the colour doesn’t return to pink, swing by your local Kelowna dentists’ office to schedule a consultation.

Looks hairy

Little hairs called filiform papillae cover the top of the tongue. When the hairs are elongated, the appearance of a hairy tongue is noticeable. Having a very dry mouth, taking antibiotics, or a possible bacterial infection are all possibilities when you’re tongue begins to look a little furry. Drink a couple glasses of water to bring your tongue back to its original hairless self.

White spots

Canker sores can appear on the tongue or on other places inside the mouth. Sometimes painful canker sores are caused by a number of different factors and generally heal on their own. Stress, eating citrus fruits, having a cold or fever, or biting your tongue can produce these little painful sores. If the mark persists for longer than a week or 10 days, check in with your Kelowna dental clinic for a quick examination.

Bumpy exterior

When the filiform papillae become inflamed, you might notice that your tongue looks bumpy, red or swollen. Even though this condition usually clears up on it’s own within a week, it can be a little alarming when looking at it in the mirror. Maintaining your oral hygiene regime and scheduling check ups with your local Kelowna dental clinic twice a year should help minimize bumps from forming on your tongue.

Since the tongue could be considered the window into your oral health, read our post Oral Cancer: What Your Kelowna Dentists Want You to Know to discover what else your tongue might be trying to tell you.


Whether you’re visiting us for cosmetic or general dentistry, we provide a comfortable experience with results that will last. Contact us to book an appointment today!

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