From olden days, the world of medicine has treated tongue as a diagnostic tool (traditionally as well as scientifically) to know the body’s health status. Tongue is the first platform in our food track.
- Pain (due to injury , nervous disorders, pressure of tumour, obstruction of blood vessels, vesicles, eruptions, ulcers)
- Altered or loss of taste – Hypogeusia, Dysgeusia
- Numbness – in Bell’s palsy, paresis, paralysis
- Movement disorders – tremors (nervousness, stammering, delirium tremens, Parkinsonism), paralysis, tongue tie, etc.
- Small tongue – Microglossia – hypothyroidism, Down Syndrome
- Large tongue – Macroglossia – acromegally, myxoedema
- Swollen tongue – allergy , injury, tumours
- Inability to move due to short freneulum / tongue tie / ankyloglossia
- Haemangioma / lymphangioma / Ranula (tumours of tongue)
- Discolouration and coating of tongue – Anaemia, flu, glossitis, Lichen planus, syphilis, leukemia
- Ulcers or sores or eruptions or vesicles– pellagra, pernicious anaemia, leukemia
- Deep grooves / furrows / ribs / wrinkles in tongue – hairy tongue, syphilis
- Dryness and shriveling of tongue – due to fasting and diseases
Causes – In most of the tongue disorders, causes are often found to be unknown. Tongue problems can occur due to the following reasons.
- Poor oral hygiene
- Unhygienic foods and nutritional deficiencies
- Infections and inflammations (bacterial or fungal or viral)
- Mechanical injuries from any hard food substances, sharp edge teeth, dentures, etc.
- Chemical reactions from preservatives and colouring pigments
- Strong chemical toothpaste / mouthwash.
- Very hot drinks / foods
- Foods containing excess spices, salts and chilli, likewise strong, sour foods / fruits / juices too
- Habit of smoking cigarettes, tobacco chewing and drinking large quantities of alcohol
- Drugs – heavy antibiotics and pain killers
- Treatments given for weakened immune system (chemotherapy, radiation therapy, strong chemical drugs, etc., especially in case of AIDS, cancer and auto immune disorders)
- Mind – stress, anxiety, tension, worries
- Deficiency of vitamins, minerals and zinc
- Weakened immune system and diseases – systemic lupus erythematosus, AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes
Diagnosis – On ruling out external causes (heavy smoker, tobacco chewer), tongue problems should be investigated all the way with routine blood and urine analysis. If necessary, ultra sound scan or CT scan for abdomen or endoscopic procedures should be done when there arises a suspicion of digestive tract involvement. Other important tests which can guide for diagnosis are
- Scraping and culture – to identify Candidal fungal or bacterial infection
- Biopsy – to diagnose cancer
- Disgust for food / drinks
- Affects general health by blocking nutrition supply (food intake)
- Nutritious diet (especially fruits, vegetables and greens)
- Plenty of water before and after meal
- Take right medicines in right dosage from right doctor in case of any disease
- Tongue scrapper gently whenever there arises a need
- Mild toothpaste and mouth rinse / wash
- Habits of smoking, drinking and chewing tobacco / Betel nut
- Strong toothpaste or mouthwashes
- Drinking aerated drinks, coffee and tea often
- Tin-packed or preservative-added foods / snacks / toffees
- Unnecessary medications, especially pain killers and antibiotics, for prolonged period
- Self medication
- Drug cocktails, like adding a pill for each complaint or symptom
- Foods containing excessive amount of spices, chillies, pepper and pickles
- Getting injuries from sharp teeth / hard brushing / hard bristled toothbrushes and dentures.
- Dentures at night.
- Very hard food substances / snacks which may cause injury
Tension and hurried life
Even though tongue is used as a tool to diagnose the disease and to aim for treatment in the modern system of medicine, it is given less importance in treatment – once they have corrected the problem, they won’t care to get the tongue back to normal – for example in case of anaemia, once they correct the haemoglobin level, they won’t care for correcting the smooth, glistening, ulcerated tongue. Here, they will let the curing process take its time. But in Homeopathy , the tongue plays a major role in individualisation of patient, selection of medicines and analysing the complete cure.
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