Dentists don’t just care for your teeth and gums. We also protect your tongue. It does so much more than help you taste and chew. Your tongue says a lot about your health. It’s a fundamental part of the digestion process. Your tongue can give us clues about general health, some of which may be indicators of illness or disease. Both the color and appearance can help our staff understand more about benign issues or more serious ailments that could be affecting you.

Deep Grooves 

  • If your tongue has deep grooves, it’s called a fissured tongue. It shouldn’t cause discomfort, and it does not require special care. However, these deep grooves can cause food particles and bacteria to linger, which might leave you with persistent bad breath. Those with a fissured tongue should come to see us right away so we can figure out a treatment plan that’s right for you.

White Coating 

  • If your tongue looks like it’s covered in a white coating, it’s probably oral thrush. Oral thrush is also called oral candidiasis. This white coating is telling you that you have a yeast (fungal) infection inside your mouth. This type of problem could be indicative of a weakened immune system. People with diabetes are more likely to develop oral thrush than a healthy person. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. It’s common,and our staff knows how to help you deal with it.

Hairy Tongue

  • If your tongue looks like it’s covered in a dark brown, black, or white fuzz, it could be hairy tongue. It’s called hairy tongue, but the fur isn’t really hair. Hairy tongue occurs when proteins in your mouth turn the normal bumps into long strands. If it sounds like you might have hairy tongue, call us today at 317-745-4400,so we can help get your mouth healthy again.

Black Tongue

  • If you’re experiencing a black tongue, it’s possible that you’ve created an interaction between bismuth (the active ingredient in Pepto Bismol) and an antacid. When these two ingredients mix, they can stain the tongue black when combined with your saliva. Although it looks funky, it won’t cause any damage, and it will disappear once you stop taking the medicine.

Smooth Tongue

  • You may have not even noticed a smooth It’s definitely not as obvious as a black or a hairy tongue. However, it can indicate serious deficiencies. If your tongue looks glossy and doesn’t have any bumps on it like a normal tongue, you could be missing key nutrients in your diet. Being deficient in folic acid, vitamin B, or iron could be the culprit. However, some medications or infections can be the cause of a smooth tongue as well.


  • Almost everyone has had a bump on their tongue at one time or another. Sometimes it’s a painful canker sore, or it could be lingual papillitis which is a bump on that can pop if it gets irritated. There are lots of reasons you could have bumps. If you have a bump or lump under or on your tongue that is sore, call us right away to have it looked it. A painful lump could be an indication of oral cancer.

At Danville Family Dentistry, we always encourage you to err on the side of caution. If something seems out of the ordinary, make an appointment to chat with us. We’re experts in all things oral health, and that includes the tongue.

Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.