There are many factors that can lead to a reddening of the tongue. Read on to know more…
The surface of the tongue is generally pinkish-red in color. It is said that the oral cavity is a reflection of the general health of a person. One important pointer in this regard is the color of the tongue. There are many conditions which lead to tongue sores, which, in turn, cause a change in the color of the tongue. These diseases could be oral or systemic in nature. Given below are the various different factors that can lead to a change in the color of the tongue.
One of the most common causes is vitamin deficiency. A multiple vitamin deficiency can manifest itself in many ways. There will often be varied and widespread symptoms. A folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency, which is often seen in strict vegetarians and vegans, can lead to a sore, red tongue. This is a condition also known as pernicious anemia. A deficiency of niacin―vitamin B3―leads to a disease known as pellagra, which can also cause a bright red tongue.
There are many different tongue infections that can lead to a reddened tongue. There is a type of candidiasis that affects the oral cavity, which is known as atrophic candidiasis. In this condition, the fungus initially leads to a white tongue. However, when this layer of white coating is peeled off, it reveals a red, raw region on the tongue, which bleeds easily. Other bacterial and fungal infections can lead to glossitis, which also causes the tongue to go red.
A geographic tongue is a condition where there is shedding of filiform papillae in different parts of the tongue, which leads to the formation of irregular tongue patches on the surface. This is generally a short-lived condition, and is one of the lesser conspicuous causes. Since the filiform papillae grow back in the affected region and are simultaneously shed in another part of the tongue, this condition is also known as benign migratory glossitis (as the patches on tongue keep moving from one region of the tongue to another, although their movement is restricted to the dorsal surface of the tongue only).
There are a few systemic diseases that can also cause red sores on tongue. Certain autoimmune diseases can lead to a bright red tongue. One such example is Kawasaki disease, wherein there is necrotizing vasculitis. A strawberry tongue, which is bright red with swollen lips and vertical cracking and bleeding is often seen in this condition. There may also be a few white spots on the tongue with prominent red bumps. Scarlet fever is another condition in which a bright red tongue is seen, with a strawberry-like appearance. Toxic shock syndrome is one of the more serious causes. Plummer-Vinson syndrome also leads to glossitis, i.e., inflammation of the tongue. A tropical sprue can also lead to a red tongue, as it is a malabsorption disease.
Since the color of the tongue is usually a symptom of an ulterior condition, the treatment for this condition will depend on the underlying causative factor, which will be established after a diagnosis. It is important to deal with this condition at the earliest, because, as mentioned above, it could be an indicator of a serious underlying disorder.