Watch Your Mouth! Your Tongue Says a Lot About Your Health

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Watch Your Mouth! Your Tongue Says a Lot About Your Health

Believe it or not, your tongue can actually help you decode potential health problems. Your tongue is rich with blood vessels and taste buds. Just one glance at your tongue and your doctor can tell what’s going on inside your body.

So take a mirror, stick it out and say, ‘aaaaa’.

Who knew this could be so educational!


Tongue Secrets Revealed

(Photo: Nikita Mishra/The Quint)

1. A Smooth, Pale Tongue

Pretty as it looks, this ain’t normal. Tongues are meant to be slightly irregular and bumpy. If yours looks too smooth to be true, it probably is because of a nutritional deficiency. Check your B12 and iron levels, advice dentists.

2. White Patches

Try brushing or cleaning your tongue throughly for a few days. If the white coating doesn’t go away, the reason could be yeast or a fungal infection in your body. Smoking and dehydration can also cause the tongue to look pale, whitish.

3. Discoloured or Hairy Tongue

(Photo courtesy: National Institutes of Health)

As gross as it looks and sounds, the condition does not mean your tongue is actually growing hair!


This daunting-looking condition is actually linked with a cancer treatment, diabetes or just poor oral hygiene. Doctors say it means that the cells on the tongue are growing faster than the body can shed them so it starts looking black in patches.

4. Spotty

Burnt yourself with hot chai? Minor bumps on the tongue, cold sores, cankers, or white patches which indicate that taste buds have worn out will all go away with time.

But if the spots are clubbed together and form smooth red islands on the tongue, then get it checked by a doctor immediately - it could be psoriasis. The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood but there is a genetic link and the extent of flare ups is often tied to emotional and stress related triggers.

Even though it looks odd, the condition is very common, especially in the Western world and psoriasis on the tongue is non-contagious.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

5. Redness

See red? Check temperature, strep throat or tonsils. If the tongue is strawberry red accompanied by high fever, see a doctor because it might be a bacterial throat infection which needs antibiotics.

Sometimes a red, shiny tongue with a dry mouth is because of vitamin deficiency in folic acid or iron. If a medical professional says that’s the problem, supplements and a boost in leafy greens in your diet will surely help.

6. Webbed or Striped

Stripped at the edges! Bring it to a doctor’s notice immediately (Photo courtesy: National Institutes of Health)

This should make you book a doctor’s appointment ASAP. If your tongue has a rather rugged, striped appearance, it could mean that your immune system is attacking the healthy cells in your body – mostly a condition called oral lichen planus. Most of the times it affects middle aged women. If there is no pain, the doctor might not treat it but keep a close watch on your symptoms because you are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer.

So watch your tongue, any signs and symptoms which don’t go away with proper oral hygiene in a week should be addressed by a doctor.

Also Read: Bet You Won’t Forget to Brush Tonight After This

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