I think most people can agree that we’ve all seen quite enough of Miley Cyrus, and many of us think that it might be nice to see a bit less, including her ubiquitous tongue. Whether she’s using it to lick tools in her “Wrecking Ball” video or showing it for the paparazzi, it seems that Cyrus is no more ashamed of her tongue than any other part of her anatomy, but maybe she should be, because it may be showing off her bad oral hygiene habits.

What Your Tongue Tells Us about Our Health

When you look at your tongue, there are many potential signs it may be giving you about your health:

Large, Flat White Area

If you have a large lesion on your tongue, it may be a sign of a serious problem: oral cancer. But if you spot a white area, brush your tongue before contacting your dentist to make sure it isn’t just a bacterial or yeast coating (see below).

Small Sores around the Tongue

Small sores on the edges of your tongue are often caused by stress.


Your tongue should be a pink color. A red tongue may be a sign of vitamin deficiency. Patchy redness, also called geographic tongue, is a temporary inflammation that is not serious, but should be investigated if it lasts more than two weeks. A black, hairy tongue is most likely caused by minor bacterial infection and should go away if you brush more often.

White Coating

A white coating on your tongue that is thick with a cottage cheese-like consistency may be a symptom of an oral yeast infection, called thrush. If you have a thin, lacelike coating that lies between the bumps on your tongue, it’s likely oral lichen planus (which may also cause red lesions), an immune system condition whose exact cause is unknown.

What About Miley Cyrus’ Tongue?

With many pictures of her tongue available, the Daily Mail surveyed oral hygiene experts about the symptoms. None of them went so far as to evaluate the condition of her tongue, but it’s fair to say that her tongue looked more white than one would expect when she stuck it out at the VMAs this year.

How’s Your Oral Health?

If you are concerned about your oral health, we can give you a comprehensive evaluation along with a thorough cleaning at your next appointment. If you are having oral hygiene problems, we can also employ our advanced gum treatment that allows you to recover from periodontal disease without surgery.

To schedule an oral hygiene appointment in Orange County, please contact Rice Dentistry in Irvine today.