The tongue is one of the most powerful organs of our body, but most people choose to ignore it. Your tongue can say a lot about your health, and it can tell whether your health is deteriorating or not.
A healthy tongue will improve your overall health. According to National Health Portal:
“Healthy tongue is free of any discomfort such as pain, stinging, burning, swelling, or numbness. It’s moist, with a rough surface, and has an evenly colored pink surface overlaying pale red.”
The best thing to do is to always look it through the mirror to check for any unusual changes. A tongue that is medically proven to be healthy is supposed to be pink in color and coated with small nodules.
If that’s not the case with your tongue, then you need to seek medical attention.
Let’s explore the 5 things your tongue can tell you about your health.
- If Your Tongue Has a White Coating or White Spots
A whitish plaque that resembles cheese indicates that you might be having a yeast infection.
This white coat is due to the excessive growth of Candida Albicans, which exists in the mouth of a healthy person.
The cause of this white coating appearance can be attributed to the recent intake of strong antibiotics, being diabetic, or having hypertension.
In detail, the whitish appearance can be due to the following reasons:
a). Oral thrush
This condition is associated with a yeast infection, which grows inside your mouth. This thrush is mostly found in children less than five years of age and older people. It also appears in people whose immune systems had been compromised.
Asthmatic, lung disease and diabetic patients are also likely to have oral thrush and commonly appear after taking antibiotics.
This is a condition where there is excessive growth of oral cells, causing the formation of white patches in the mouth, especially on top of the tongue.
Most doctors say that an irritated tongue can lead to the development of Leukoplakia. People who use tobacco frequently have this white coating.
High chances indicate that Leukoplakia can lead to the development of tongue cancer, although it’s not dangerously inherent.
It’s always good to consult your Doctor for evaluation whenever you notice something closely related to leukoplakia on your tongue.
c). Oral lichen planus
This condition involves the formation of several white lines a little bit raised on top of your tongue, which resembles lace. This condition always goes away after a while, but its cause has never been identified.
- If Your Tongue is Red
Having a red tongue probably means you are not taking the required amount of vitamins that your body needs.
If your body is lacking vitamin B12 or iron, your tongue will be strawberry red or shiny, these will lead to your tongue getting smoother due to the taste buds smoothing away.
You’ll experience severe pain when taking hot drinks and too salty or spicy food. When you see such things, always seek medical advice from your doctor.
A red tongue can indicate Vitamin deficiency: lack of vitamin B12 and folic acid might cause your tongue to form a reddish-like appearance, especially on the top side of your tongue.
Most doctors recommend taking a lot of folic acid and vitamins to avoid such weird appearances on your tongue.
It’s medically recommended to consume food that contains all the nutrients that the body requires, eating a balanced diet daily prevents you from getting infected with so many diseases easily.
Here are some underlying conditions causing red tongue:
a). Geographic tongue: This condition causes the formation of a pattern of red spots developing on the top of the tongue. The patches have white color in between the red ones forming map patterns on your tongue.
Most doctors say this condition is harmless, but it’s good to be with a normal tongue than a tongue with profound color, it’s scary.
b). Scarlet fever: This condition is more of an infection that causes the tongue to have a red and bumpy appearance.
If you experience fevers higher than the normal body temperatures and having a red tongue, consult your doctor immediately. Although over the counter Antibiotics can be used to treat scarlet fever.
c). Kawasaki disease: This condition causes a reddish appearance on the tongue too. You can mostly see it in children less than five years of age, and it’s always accompanied by very high levels of fever.
This condition is very dangerous to children. Seek immediate medical attention once you see these symptoms in a child.
- If Your Tongue is Black and Hairy
The papillae on the top of your tongue tend to grow every day of your life, just like the hair on your head. “The major cause of black and hairy tongue is poor oral hygiene or soft foods,” according to Cleveland Clinic.
You may find them growing too long in other people; this makes them prone to keeping bacteria which later outgrows, looking dark and black, and the outgrown papillae appear hairy.
Likely, this type of condition is uncommon and not serious at all. It always attacks people who don’t consider good tongue hygiene, most important dental hygiene in particular.
Remember that being clean on the inside is as important as being clean on the outside.
People who are likely to develop this condition are those who take antibiotics, those with diabetes, and those who receive chemotherapy.
- If Your Tongue is Sore or Bumpy
This condition is quite rare among people and not as dangerous as such. If you are not experiencing any pain, you have nothing alarming, although people are different and may react to issues differently.
Painful bumps on your tongue can be due to:
a). Oral Thrush: Painful sores indicate oral thrush, a condition that is common among children, although a small percentage of adults might have it. Sores signify weak immune and stress.
This condition normally goes away in two weeks, but if it doesn’t disappear, seek medical advice from your doctor.
Have enough rest and avoid stress as much as possible and take good care of your well-being.
b). Trauma: This can be experienced by taking very hot food harshly or when you accidentally bite your tongue. You can also accidentally grind your teeth which will irritate your tongue, making it painful from the sides.
c). Smoking: This irritation is mostly caused by excessive smoking. Smoking cigarettes or any other kind of smoke is not good for your health.
d). Canker sores: Most people develop mouth ulcers at some point in life, the cause is unknown, but it usually goes away on its own after two weeks.
Cancer sores are not that alarming, but when it keeps on recurring every time, it’s good to seek medical evaluation from your doctor.
e). Oral cancer: Soreness or a lump that has formed on your tongue that stays longer than two weeks is close to being oral cancer. It’s not good to assume even if it’s not painful since most of this oral cancer is not painful.
It’s always a wise decision to seek medical attention whenever you see a painless lump or soreness around your tongue.
f). Furrowed tongue: This condition mostly indicates aging; a tongue also ages. Cracks are not that alarming, but infections can develop if good dental hygiene is not maintained.
If an infection develops, you will experience severe pain and a burning feeling on the cracks. The furrowed tongue should not be a cause of concern, but if you start feeling pain and burning, please seek medical attention from your doctor.
- If Your Tongue Forms Black or Brown Plaque
It’s scary to look at it sometimes, but if you don’t maintain good hygiene you will have to expect such things on your tongue, this condition leads to bad breath or difficulty identifying different tastes.
To avoid bad breath or the plaque of not identifying tastes, always brush your teeth and your tongue regularly after every meal.
This condition can be treated or avoided when you maintain good dental hygiene.
Be your tongue watcher every day, if you discover anything unusual such as discoloration, lumps, sores, and pain, always seek medical evaluation if the symptoms mentioned above don’t go away after one week or two weeks of its occurrence.
Your tongue says a lot about your health. Any slight change in the appearance of your tongue should not be taken lightly.
Use a mirror to check your tongue daily. Also, ensure you maintain high oral hygiene for your tongue to stay healthy.
If you notice any abnormality in your tongue, ensure you seek medical attention immediately.