Anemia Tongue: What is it, and What to Do About It
Anemia Tongue Surprises Many People!
If you’ve ever experienced tongue redness, swelling, and tenderness, you’re not alone. These symptoms are easy to confuse with a common allergic reaction, so many people tend to ignore them. However, the real cause of your inflamed tongue can only be diagnosed by your dentist when you’re getting your teeth cleaned.
The diagnostic process could go faster if you’re already aware of your anemia tongue. If you opt for teeth cleaning in Wheeling, IL, your dentist will carefully inspect your tongue for typical symptoms or even test samples of your blood and saliva.
Once you get your diagnosis, there are a myriad of things you can do to make the symptoms go away. So, let’s find out all about what anemia really is, how to recognize an anemic tongue, and how to go about solving the problem.
How Different Types of Anemia Affect Your Oral Health
If you’re not prone to allergies and have a swollen tongue, anemia is the likely cause. Having anemia means that your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin, which is a protein that helps the cells carry oxygen. There are many types of this condition, and they can all affect your oral health in some way. Those types include:
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Sickle cell anemia
- Vitamin deficiency anemia
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type, and it’s often accompanied by the iron deficiency tongue. Even if it doesn’t cause a beefy red tongue, anemia type can cause a smooth tongue. Luckily, treating smooth tongue anemia, or iron deficiency, is easy. You can take iron supplements or eat healthier, more iron-rich foods.
Sickle Cell Anemia
Having Sickle cell anemia means having C-shaped red blood cells that have a hard time passing through the blood vessels. Besides giving you a smooth tongue, this anemia type can cause Delayed tooth emergence (DTE), different-colored tissue, and early-onset periodontitis, to name a few common problems people report.
Vitamin Deficiency Anemia
Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in having unnaturally large red blood cells that cannot function properly. In patients suffering from this type of anemia, tongue pain is a common occurrence. Also, you can expect an increased number of mouth ulcers and a higher risk of periodontal diseases. Luckily, supplying your body with proper vitamins and supplements can help battle this anemia type.
Anemia Tongue Symptoms and Types
Iron deficiency (anemia) tongue is a condition that comes with many symptoms, in many types, and under many names, for example, glossitis. No matter what name we use, the symptoms of this condition remain the same, and they include:
- Tongue swelling and/or inflammation
- Color changes including discoloration and multiple shades of red
- Changes in tongue sensitivity, including pain and tenderness
- Tongue smoothing (papillae loss or reduction)
- Trouble swallowing, chewing, and even speaking
Knowing these symptoms, it’s now easy to understand why people mistake the anemia tongue with allergic reactions, for example. Another bothersome symptom of anemia — dry mouth — can result in having any of the anemia tongue symptoms listed above. The overlapping symptoms and causes can cause a lot of confusion. That’s why self-diagnosing is never a smart thing to do, and you should leave it to your dentist.
Anemia Tongue Types
When it comes to different types of anemia tongue (glossitis), they include:
- Acute glossitis — Appears suddenly and includes more noticeable symptoms.
- Chronic glossitis — Results from prolonged tongue inflammation and can be related to other conditions.
- Idiopathic glossitis — What causes this type of tongue inflammation isn’t known yet, but some studies show it could be related to Celiac disease.
- Atrophic glossitis — Causes loss of color, making the tongue appear a darker shade of red. Also, it causes a smooth tongue.
How to Treat Anemia Tongue
Anemia tongue treatment will vary from case to case. Not all types of anemia tongues require the same treatment, and you won’t always notice every possible symptom. After the examination, your dentist will either prescribe you medication or suggest a change in diet.
Antibiotics and other medications can deal with tongue inflammation, making the majority of your symptoms go away. However, since anemia is the underlying cause, some dietary changes may be necessary. Depending on the kind of anemia you have and what your nutrition is lacking, your dentist can suggest a higher intake of foods rich in various nutrients.
Lastly, maintaining dental care is the best treatment and prevention for any oral condition. Visiting your dentist regularly for professional teeth cleaning can help more than you think. But since we can’t be at our dentist’s office all the time, brushing and flossing routinely will further help keep our teeth and gums in pristine condition.
When in Doubt — Visit Your Dentist!
Looking at iron deficiency tongue pictures isn’t the best way to figure out if you have the condition yourself. Even when you have the matching symptoms, the underlying cause doesn’t always have to be the same. Just like with any health issue, dental problems often require extensive checks and tests for us to pinpoint the exact root of the problem. That’s why we leave diagnosing to our dental hygienists.
Besides treating our oral conditions, our dentists can maintain and perform a professional dental cleaning. This kind of deep clean removes plaque and tartar, ensuring that our teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be — and for a long time to come. This is essential because they too can cause tongue inflammation, whether you have anemia or not.
Anemia tongue doesn’t have to be a condition that happens to every anemic person either. When you’re actively treating your anemia, getting all of the nutrients you need, and maintaining good oral health, you won’t have anything to worry about. If any complications arise, rest assured that your dentist will always be able to offer you a solution.