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Tongue

kid sticking tongue out

Have questions about your tongue and what dentists look for when they evaluate your tongue? Our dentists took some time to share information and answer common patient questions to help educate about your tongue and proper oral health. View the table of contents below to learn more or find your question and get an answer from one of our dentists!

Dr. Mike DesRosiers

 

 

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers, LVIF Certified General Dentist, and has been medically reviewed for accuracy. Some relevant links have been added to audio transcripts to provide resources for additional information.

 

Is Sour Candy Bad for my Tongue?

Answer provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers. Transcript included below.

Dr. DesRosiers:
So that’s a question we get asked a lot, is sour candy bad for your tongue? And it’s not necessarily bad for your tongue, the sour aspect is not. Your tongue can really taste sweet, salty, sour and bitter. So, it’s not really the sour aspect that’s bad for your mouth at all, it’s really more the sugar in most candy that can give you trouble. But the sour part really won’t harm your tongue in any way.

Why does the dentist look at my tongue during a dental exam?

Answer provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers. Transcript included below.

 

Dr. DesRosiers: So when we do a dental exam, we really look at all of the tissue, soft and hard inside your mouth. The tongue is a really important one. It’s certainly part of our oral cancer exam, to look at both sides of the tongue. There’s a poor prognosis for somebody that does have a cancerous lesion on the tongue, so we want to be very aggressive in identifying those. And certainly if there’s anything else going on, inflammatory or infectious, anything like that, it’s just part of doing a thorough exam to make sure that we evaluate all those tissues, stay on top of any trouble that you might be having.

What’s a sign that I need to have a doctor look at my tongue?

Answer provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers. Transcript included below.

Dr. DesRosiers: So if you have any question, it’s really almost always better to have somebody take a look at it. Better to be safe than sorry with lesions inside your mouth. Certainly if something sticks around for longer than a week, you absolutely want to have that looked at. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s something critically bad, so you don’t want to have anyone jump to that conclusion. But things that are not resolving in a week’s time would certainly warrant a closer look. And anything that that is something that you’ve not seen before, certainly anything that’s causing pain, you want to have that look that just as soon as it’s convenient.

Should I cut my tongue-tie?

Answer provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers. Transcript included below.

 
Dr. DesRosiers: It’s really, it’s a timely question. I just had a three-day whole CE on that topic. It’s very, very important. So not all tongue-ties need to be cut, but most of them do. It really interferes with our ability to swallow and digest food properly. Most of them really, if they can, should be identified and taken care of in the infant stage, because it determines our ability to latch on for breastfeeding and things like that. And as that is impacted, going forward, it really starts a cascade of trouble with airway and digestion and things like that. So if you have a tongue-tie, if you have problems swallowing, if you have trouble like that, have that evaluated for sure. Because most times it’s a pretty easy procedure to release that and it can really improve your quality and the longevity of your life.

Should I trim my uvula?

Answer provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers. Transcript included below.

Dr. DesRosiers: Those two questions really do go together. And so what happens there and what’s important, is really the space in between the back of your tongue and the back of your throat and the uvula is right in there. So rarely is it indicated to trim the uvula. More importantly, it’s to create space in the airway or somehow. And so mostly it’s a matter of training the tongue to reposition and creating airway in the palatal space to make the tongue fit better and not impinge on the back of the airway. And the uvula just follows suit.