Gentle Dental at Jefferson Avenue
529 E Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226

What a White Tongue and Other Tongue Troubles Are Really Saying


Your tongue isn’t in the pink if it appears white, black, red, or ridged. See what’s behind such tongue trauma and learn how to handle the problem.

White Tongue

Cause: A white, coated tongue often occurs if you’re taking steroids for asthma, on antibiotics, undergoing chemotherapy, or dealing with diabetes or a compromised immune system. A white tongue may also be a sign of leukoplakia from excessive alcohol or tobacco use.

Cure: Be sure to brush your tongue twice daily for two weeks. Why should you brush your tongue, you may wonder? The reason is to ensure that a coated tongue is not an oral hygiene problem. If you continue to have a white tongue, it may be an overgrowth of candida, which is also called yeast or oral thrush. A coated tongue is easy to treat with an anti-fungal medication.

Red Tongue

Cause: Redness on the tongue could simply indicate a sore throat, vitamin deficiency, or a case of dry mouth. But if you have strep throat and a high fever, it may indicate scarlet fever

Cure: Throat lozenges can soothe a sore throat and dry mouth can be treated with a product for saliva replacement or by drinking more water. A vitamin deficiency can be corrected with supplements and scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics.

Black Tongue

Cause: This may appear frightening at first, but it’s really no cause for concern. It typically occurs when cells on the tongue grow faster than they’re shed. It’s associated with improper oral hygiene, antibiotic use, a yeast infection, cancer therapy, and diabetes.

Cure: This condition typically subsides on its own.

Striped Tongue

Cause: A striped tongue may be a sign of a chronic condition called oral lichen planus, which is when the immune system attacks the cells in the mouth. Middle-aged women most commonly experience it.

The Cure: You probably won’t need treatment if it isn’t painful. However, have your doctor monitor your case because you may have a higher risk of developing oral cancer. If the condition is painful, you may be given medication.

Geographic Tongue

The Cause: Geographic tongue gets its name from red and white spots on the tongue that look like a geographic map. It’s a sign that your taste buds have worn down in different areas. Some medical research indicates a correlation with the autoimmune condition called celiac disease.

The Cure: The condition needs no treatment.

Bumpy Tongue

The Cause: Taste buds on the back of the tongue are bumpier than those near the front, so expect small bumps in those areas. Eating hot, spicy foods can often irritate them and make them appear larger. Besides these bumps, you may notice others due to canker sores or herpes.

Cure: Bumps caused by canker sores or herpes will go away on their own, but you can hasten healing by soothing canker sores with an over-the-counter ointment, gargling with baking soda mixed in water, and avoiding acidic foods. Herpes requires a prescription antiviral medication.

Ridged Tongue

Cause: Ridges typically occur when your teeth press into your tongue while you sleep. Yet ridges may also indicate a fissured tongue, which is a long crack down the center of the tongue.

Cure: Sleep-induced ridges go away on their own, but a fissured tongue is a lifelong genetic issue. If you have a fissured tongue, food may get trapped in the tongue’s indentions and lead to dental decay. This is why you should brush your tongue when brushing your teeth to remove any trapped food and debris that could cause dental issues.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in Downtown Detroit, call Gentle Dental at Jefferson Avenue today at (313) 879-4769 or make an appointment.

Gentle Dental offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Downtown Detroit. With 8 affiliated practices throughout Michigan, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental at Jefferson Avenue, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental at Jefferson Avenue.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
Jakiya and amber did a good job thank you so much
Anthony G.
Hello, my experience today having a root canal done by Dr. Hanana went very well, and her assistant Shanekquah did a great job . Thank you both
Yvette H.
My assistant Jakiya was wonderful
Money W.
The staff is always friendly and helpful
Damita H.
Jakiya was the best! Great staff!
Michael R.
Clean office, friendly staff, very professional
Roscolette F.
They are really great glad to have them for a dentist. Jakiya was wonderful. And Amber, don, Dr Kay was really insightful on the service I needed. Very friendly cast of employees.​. I Will return
Branden A.
My DA Makita was wonderful.
Don E.
Don is the man!! He is very friendly warm and sweet , he gets the job done!!!Thank you gentle dental for your great service today.
Marianne E.
My dentist hygiene Tracy was great
Emannuel H.
My experience today was purely delightful. Shanekquah Candace, and Dr.Hanan were very efficient. I would refer anyone to visit
Dwight D.
Good dental work, nice staff Jakyia was my assistant
Richard H.
Tonya is an amazing Dental Hygienist. Never before has anyone called to check on my dental comfort after a deep cleaning. She is sweet, gentle and superb. I definitely recommend her and Gentle Dental […]
Kia L.
Dr. Zang, Amber, and Tonya did a wonderful job of making sure I was comfortable and understood what was going on. They were upfront with what treatment they recommended, and how much it would cost me […]
Dennis R.
Always very nice people up front and back. Professional and comfortable work done on teeth.
Brandon L.
My dentle assistant Jakiya is wonderful and always has a smile on her face. I would like her to be my assistant everytime I come for a visit. I find Jakiya to be very professional an caring can’t […]
C B.
Wonderful dentist, staff and receiptionist.
Lawrence B.
This dental office is awesome.. I would recommend them to all of my family and friends.
Deressa B.
Your staff is polite and courteous and your hygienist is kind patient and thorough.
Marcus S.
Wonderful service. On my first visit, they conducted a very thorough examination and advised me of all my options. Made me feel as if I found my Dentist after having just relocated to Detroit.
Purvis B.
We Accept Most Insurance Plans!
Learn More

We accept most insurance plans and will be happy to help you understand the coverage that you have. We will do our best to see that you receive your maximum insurance benefits for all covered services.

No Insurance? No Worries! See our discounts and offers here

Office Hours
  • Monday 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Friday 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
Get in touch:
  • Phone: (313) 879-4769
Our Location