Has Miley’s tongue given away one too many of her secrets? Emma Gunavardhana takes a closer look at the mouth that's been making headlines
Some of Miley Cyrus’ recent antics may have left you feeling like an amateur gynecologist – that VMA performance, those Terry Richardson pictures… As it happens, such intimate access and some close inspection has given away something about her health; you just have to look two feet higher - at her tongue.
We weren’t the only ones to notice something was a little ‘off’ but perhaps Cher said it best: ‘Chick, don't stick out your tongue if it's coated.’ Agreeing with Cher is Shabir Daya, co-founder of VictoriaHealth.com: ‘Your tongue is a window into what’s happening in your body; colour, coating and cracks are all indicators of the state of your health.’
Cara Delevingne has been at it too, choosing a protruding tongue and rock sign as her pap-pose of choice. They may think their tongue-poking gives nothing away but actually they couldn’t reveal more.
Daya reveals: ‘A healthy tongue has a thin, white and moist coating and any deviation from this indicates possible problems.’ Oral B Smile Director Dr Uchenna Okoye agrees: ‘A thin coating is normal but a thick white coating could indicate candidiasis or oral thrush, which is a fungus.’
Chinese medicine actually uses the tongue as a matter of course to diagnose the state of someone’s health and given that the mouth harbours anywhere between 300-400 species of bacteria, it’s vital to have a dental hygiene routine that includes cleaning the tongue. Maybe Miley wasn’t making out with that sledgehammer in her Wrecking Ball video, but cleaning her tongue on its rough surface instead?
You may brush your teeth morning, noon and night but according to Daya that might not be enough: ‘Small protrusions in the tongue can harbour food, allowing bacteria and fungi to thrive and this results in a whitish tongue.’ Essentially clean teeth can be almost immediately ‘reinfected’ by a dirty tongue.
Miley was in the midst of her break-up with Liam Hemsworth when she took to the stage with Robin Thicke in August and interestingly the tongue is a sound stress indicator, says Daya: ‘Stress, particularly on-going stress, can cause deeper cracks in the tongue since stress releases inflammatory hormones.’
Okoye recommends using a mouthwash twice a day and Daya suggests the Peri Gum Mouth Wash Concentrate, £17.95, which contains seven herbal extracts that’ll naturally improve any gum and mouth disorders.
Alternatively there are more and more products available to help keep your oral health tip-top, including the Dr Oliver Mouth Cleanser, £16, available at Space NK that normalises pH levels in the mouth. A slightly more old-fashioned but no less effective option is the OraBrush Tongue Cleaner, £5.10, that you simply draw from back-to-front along your tongue to scrape off unwanted nasties – for tackling bad breath it’s a winner.
We may know more about Miley than we’d care to, but thanks to her tongue-poking she may have helped us know more about ourselves...