Oh, don't pretend like you don't have one!
Miley Cyrus (born Destiny Hope Cyrus): There hasn't been a musician-type-person associated with sticking out his or her tongue so much since Kiss's Gene Simmons (born Chaim Witz).
She's gotten a lot of criticism for her tongue-revealing shtick, to which Miley probably responded with more of the same. But Cher might have been onto something with her particular commentary in USA Today: "Don't stick your tongue out if it's coated."
Cher was referring to how Miley's tongue seems kinda white sometimes.
It's happened to the best of us, that cloudy tongue coating, and the Mayo Clinic says it can be caused by a number of things, ranging from NBD to BFD. In most cases, it can be chalked up (ha--chalk) to dehydration, dry mouth, smoking, drinking too much, or taking antibiotics. Some more serious possibilities: fever, an oral yeast infection, syphilis or a precancerous condition called leukoplakia.
Miley's tongue isn't always white, so we're thinking she's probably just dehydrated or something. But she may want to get it checked out, and you should, too, if your tongue is white or acting weird in any of the following ways.
A healthy human tongue is more or less shiny and pink. But if yours starts to look like that of, say, a Chow-chow, that's not totally normal. But it's not totally scary, either.
"A dark brown or black color can be caused by diet, lifestyle or your medicine cabinet," according to the cosmetic dentists from the Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor practice in New York. "Additionally, drinking a lot of coffee, smoking or chewing tobacco can stain the tongue a brownish shade."
Luckily, brushing your tongue a few times can usually get it back to a normal shade. Also, maybe don't chew tobacco. Just saying.
For the love of all things holy, do not Google hairy tongue.
What's going on there is not technically hair, as you might have guessed. Or maybe you didn't guess, went to a spa, asked them to wax your tongue and got laughed out of town. I hope that didn't happen to you.
What it is is filiform papillae, which, coincidentally, is what I was planning to name my hypothetical first child.
"Normally they go unnoticed," LL&K says, "but certain conditions can cause them to elongate, giving the tongue a 'hairy' appearance." Darling.
There's a decent chance you're dealing with a bacterial infection if your tongue looks like a hamster, so get yourself to the dentist ASAP.
BUMPS & SORES
Those filiform papillae can get inflamed and red. Annoying, but pretty much nothing to worry about. Then there are the really annoying ones: "Canker sores and mouth ulcers--which can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue--can be extremely painful," says LL&K.
Tell me about it! I personally had a bout with mouth ulcers that sent me to the doctor a couple years ago, and it led to my autoimmune diagnosis. Not that you necessarily have an autoimmune disease if you're dealing with tongue sores--it could be nothing. But, it could, in some cases, be oral cancer, so if you're got a sore lasting more than a week, make an appointment.
And finally, if you're dealing with any of the above, you may want to keep your tongue in your mouth, lest you receive a tongue-lashing from Cher. GET IT?! Tongue-lashing? Oh, me.