What if your tongue dries out
Dehydrated tongue? What your mouth is telling you
Did you know that your tongue can be a mirror of your overall health? Often times, when your body becomes unbalanced, your doctor can only tell by looking at your tongue. This is especially true in the case of dehydration. Although dehydration doesn't affect just one area of the body, a dehydrated tongue can signal that you are lacking fluids.
Signs of dehydration
The Pharmaceutical newspaper recommends men and women drink 1.5 to 2 liters of fluids per day. Unfortunately, it quickly happens that the body's fluid requirements are neglected. If so, you are dehydrated. Dehydration is a condition in which your body does not have enough fluids to function normally. Most everyday cases of dehydration tend to be moderate and can be resolved by increasing your intake of water or fluids. You can tell if dehydration is more severe based on how your body is functioning. You will feel less urge to urinate and the color of the urine will darken. It can also cause headaches. According to the Göttingen University Medical Center, as dehydration increases, symptoms such as confusion, irritability, lethargy, rapid heartbeat and even fever occur.
When you don't get enough fluids, your body works to preserve the fluids that are present. Therefore, one of the first signs of dehydration is decreased saliva production. Your tongue may feel dry and even puffy as your body reduces saliva production to conserve fluid. A dry, dehydrated tongue isn't just a sign that your mouth is dehydrated. It's a sign that your whole body needs more fluids.
Features of a healthy tongue
According to Aponet, a healthy tongue is pink and covered in small papillae that hold the taste buds. It should also be well moistened. The saliva helps break down food before digestion and protects teeth from bacteria and rot. If your tongue is dry and rough, it could mean that it is not adequately hydrated. Drinking more water should be your first line of defense against dehydration. Or, you can try chewing sugar-free gum, eating ice cream, or sucking on hard candy to relieve the dry mouth that comes with dehydration.
Possible health problems
If you feel like you are drinking enough fluids and drinking enough water each day, but still have a dry, dehydrated tongue, this could be a sign of a more serious problem. If the symptom persists, it is best to contact your doctor. Some of the causes of dry tongue and mouth are:
- Autoimmune diseases such as Addison's disease and Sjogren's syndrome
- Side effects of medication
- Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Hormonal changes
If you suffer from a dehydrated tongue, protecting your teeth from the effects of low saliva is important. Brush your teeth regularly, use dental floss and mouthwashes that do not contain peroxide or alcohol to avoid drying out your mouth.
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