Have you ever noticed little white patches on your tongue? These white spots can actually be signs of a number of different oral issues. Some of them are fairly harmless, but some of them are serious. Here are some of the things that can cause these white patches.
Leukoplakia usually affects the gums and cheeks, but it can cause white patches to appear on your tongue, too. This condition comes from smoking or chewing tobacco. A large number of those who use smokeless tobacco will develop leukoplakia. While it's not often dangerous, there's a chance it can lead to oral cancer.
These white patches aren't actually related to Leukoplakia, at least not as far as causes go. If you see white spots that look like they have ridges and are fuzzy, you're dealing with the Epstein-Barr virus. This virus will remain in your body for the rest of your life, but it will usually be dormant unless you're sick with something else. Then it takes advantage of your weakened immune system.
Oral thrush also occurs when your immune system is weakened or compromised. It's caused by a fungus that naturally occurs, but is usually kept in check by the immune system. Those who are dealing with cancer, diabetes, dry mouth, anemia, or any other condition that can weaken the immune system may deal with oral thrush. Fortunately, it's usually not serious, but it may require treatment in some cases.
Oral thrush can lead to white patches on the tongue as well as lesions, dry mouth, and a temporary loss of taste. You can usually scrape the white patches away, although that can cause bleeding.
Do you have odd white patches on your tongue that you're concerned about? Call us to set up an appointment today so we can make sure it's nothing serious.