What Does Your Tongue Say About Your Health?

Open
your mouth and look at your tongue. That may sound strange, but your
tongue can tell a lot about your health. For example, a black and hairy
looking tongue can signal poor oral hygiene, or diabetes. If your tongue
is bright red like a strawberry, it could signal a deficiency in folic
acid, vitamin B12, or iron. But, it could also mean you have strep
throat, or a fever.

Is
your tongue full of red and white spots? That might be a clear sign
your taste buds are worn down. If you’ve eaten a pack of Sour Patch Kids
a day for the last five years, or ate a piece of pizza in your mouth as
soon as it came out of the oven, you’ve likely been a victim of red and
white tongue. Luckily, this is fairly common and taste buds do
regenerate.

So the next time you get out of the shower, wipe off
the mirror, open your mouth, and inspect your tongue. You might be
surprised at what you find!

 

Here are some additional facts about what your tongue says about your health:

If You See White Patches on Your Tongue

These
white patches on your tongue signify oral candidiasis, which is an
overgrowth of yeast or thrush. Try brushing your tongue regularly for a
week to see if this is a matter of oral hygiene. If the patches persist,
their cause is likely an overgrowth of candida. This condition can be
treated with anti-fungal drugs.

Your Tongue is Black and Hairy-Looking

There
are a few causes for black hairy tongue, including yeast infections,
diabetes, cancer therapies, and poor oral hygiene. A buildup of dead
skin cells on your tongue’s papillae results in the hairy look. No
medical care is needed for this condition; simply practice excellent
oral hygiene by regularly brushing your tongue (with the aid of tongue
scrapers, as needed), and the problem should not persist.

There are Red and White Spots on Your Tongue

Nothing’s
wrong here! Red and white spots on your tongue simply indicate the
areas where your taste buds have worn down. This is common and requires
no treatment.

Your Tongue Has Abnormal Redness

A red
tongue can indicate a deficiency in folic acid, B12 or iron, or it may
imply fever or strep throat. Rather than functioning as an ailment
itself, a red tongue hints at your overall health. All of these symptoms
are easy fixes that require a supplement or medication.

If Your Tongue Has a Webbed or Stripped Look

The
webbed or stripped look is caused by your immune system attacking the
cells, and often hints at an inflammatory condition known as oral lichen
planus. Lichen planus is not contagious but puts you at risk for mouth
cancer, so it is important to monitor the condition. The best way to
treat this condition is to practice proper dental hygiene, avoid
tobacco, and food that may irritate your mouth.

There Are Ridges on Your Tongue

Ridges
occur when your teeth press into your tongue. This usually happens
while you sleep. Fortunately, the ridges require no treatment and go
away with time.

You See Bumps on Your Tongue

Bumps on your
tongue are most likely canker sores or cold sores. These are caused by
many things, including biting, smoking, and stress ulcers. These bumps
don’t necessarily call for a doctor’s appointment; instead, try some
at-home remedies like gargling warm salt water, chewing on mint leaves,
and eating food that is soft and cold (like yogurt). Avoid foods that
might trigger a negative reaction (greasy foods like fries) and take
care of your teeth. If need be, schedule an appointment with your
dentist to discuss the condition.

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