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Is your tongue looking a little strange lately? It may mean more than you might think. A white tongue may be a symptom of a condition known as leukoplakia. While leukoplakia itself dangerous, it can be a side-effect of cancer in its early stages. The cause is likely the use of tobacco products. A white tongue may also be symptomatic of oral thrush, a yeast infection that can be treated by eating plain yogurt and possibly taking medication.

An unusually bright red or pink tongue may mean you have a vitamin B12 deficiency. If your tongue is bright red, bumpy and covered with a white coating and you have a fever, contact your doctor right away; this is a sign of scarlet fever. If a child under age eight has a red, swollen tongue (which is most common in toddlers), it’s possible that they have Kawasaki disease, a rare condition affecting the blood vessels.

Did you know that your tongue can actually turn black? This may sound odd, but it’s likely the result of a harmless condition called black hairy tongue. This happens when black bacteria adhere themselves to the small bumps on your tongue. You can usually avoid this problem by practicing good oral hygiene.

Do you have any questions in Lansing, Michigan about tongue discoloration? You can call the dental practice of Mark L. DeWitt DDS at 517-323-7926 to set an appointment with our dentist, Dr. Mark DeWitt. We look forward to receiving your call soon.