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What Does Your Tongue Say About Your Health?

By ChemistsWorld On 14 Sep 2021

Imagine what your tongue can reveal about your overall health. From pigmentation abnormalities to an unexpected fungal infection, the tongue can present many issues. Often these issues go undiagnosed until much later, if at all. The tongue is commonly overlooked as a vital organ for the human body. But the truth is, your tongue can warn you of many health problems before any other symptoms occur.

Why Does A Doctor Examine Your Tongue?

Doctors examine patients’ tongues because different tongue colors may indicate health and illness severity, allowing for a more accurate assessment of their state. In the case of pink tongues, it confirms that they are healthy. A slight alteration in the tongue can indicate specific health issues. Let’s see what your tongue has to say about your overall health.

​The White Tongue

The white covering or spots may be a sign of a severe health problem or a hygiene problem, such as:

Oral Candidiasis

Oral candidiasis is a fungal infection of the mouth caused by Candida albicans, one of the most common yeasts in human saliva. Candidiasis occurs worldwide and is especially prevalent in warm moist environments, such as the oral cavity. Oral candidiasis is common and quite complex. Human symptoms of oral candidiasis can be identified as inflammation or swelling of the gums, soreness, burning, itching, or irritation. Redness or white patches on the gums could also be observed in cases of oral candidiasis.

The Red Tongue

A red tongue may indicate a nutritional deficit or dental issues, such as:

B-12 Deficiency

B-12 deficiency is a common problem among those who don’t eat much meat. This type of anemia can cause such symptoms as weakness, fatigue, and loss of stamina, so if you are not eating enough animal products (such as eggs, milk, cheese, chicken, beef, and fish), consider supplementing with B-12 to keep your energy levels high. Your body will thank you!

Benign Migratory Glossitis

Benign migratory glossitis (BMG) is a severe, usually mild, and relatively common infectious disease of the salivary glands. It is a rare cause of swelling of the tongue. One can generally treat the condition successfully with antibiotics.

Scarlet Fever

Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection. It causes blotchy red skin, a sore throat, and fever. It is easily spread through the air from one person to another. You are most at risk of catching scarlet fever if you spend time with someone who has it or if they cough or sneeze in your direction.

Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease, or mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome, includes:

  • Fever.
  • Pink eye.
  • A red rash that starts on the trunk of the body and spreads to the arms and legs.
  • Peeling skin on the hands and feet.

Yellow Tongue

A coated tongue is usually a description of the tongue that is wholly or partially coated with a yellowish or white film. The tongue coating can also present with red spots, small bumps, and even thickened patches. A tongue coating indicates inflammation in the body triggered by several factors such as poor dental care, ill health, lack of sleep, and stress.

The Black Tongue

The papillae on the tongue muscle’s epithelium are known to develop during one’s life. However, the abnormally long development of such furry projections may make your tongue more vulnerable to infection, causing it to become black. As a result, proper oral hygiene should be practiced regularly to avoid such problems. Diabetic or cancer patients receiving chemotherapy may also have a black tongue.


The tongue’s texture is unusually uneven. If your tongue appears bumpy or blistered, it may be caused by unintentional biting or eating anything scorching. If your tongue appears bumpy or blistered, you should see a doctor because it may be a sign of an ulcer, cancer, or fungal infection. As a result, any discoloration, discomfort, or pain on the tongue should be treated and evaluated by a medical expert.

Tips To Keep Your Tongue Healthy

  • Avoid spicy food and hot drinks
  • Brush your tongue every night before sleep
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat healthy food

In Conclusion

A healthy tongue helps you enjoy the foods you love, talk about, and taste. But a dry, sore, or irritated tongue can make eating and talking uncomfortable. If you eat spicy foods, drink alcoholic beverages regularly, or have diabetes or other health conditions that affect your mouth tissues—such as the lining of the cheeks and lips (cheilosis)—you may be more likely to develop problems with your tongue.

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