Open your mouth and watch your tongue. It may sound strange, but your tongue can reveal a lot about your health. For example, a black and hairy tongue can be a sign of poor oral hygiene or diabetes. If your tongue is bright red like a strawberry, it could be a sign of folic acid, vitamin B12 or iron deficiency. But it could also mean you have a sore throat or a fever.
Is your tongue full of red and white dots? This can be a clear sign that your taste buds are worn out. If you’ve been eating a pack of Sour Patch Kids a day for the past five years, or popping a slice of pizza in your mouth right out of the oven, chances are you’ve fallen prey to a red and white tongue. Fortunately, this is quite common and the taste buds recover.
So the next time you get out of the shower, wipe off the mirror, open your mouth and examine your tongue. You might be surprised by what you find!
Here are more facts about what your tongue says about your health:
If you see white spots on the tongue
These white spots on your tongue mean oral thrush, which is an overgrowth of yeast or thrush. Try brushing your tongue regularly for a week to see if it’s related to oral hygiene. If the spots persist, they are likely caused by Candida overgrowth. This condition can be treated with antifungal drugs.
Your tongue is black and hairy
There are several causes of a black hairy tongue, including yeast infections, diabetes, cancer treatment, and poor oral hygiene. Accumulation of dead skin cells on the papillae of the tongue makes it look hairy. With this disease, no medical treatment is needed; just be diligent about oral hygiene by brushing your tongue regularly (using tongue scrapers if necessary) and the problem won’t go away.
Red and white spots on the tongue
Everything is fine here! Red and white spots on your tongue simply indicate areas where your taste buds have worn away. It is common and does not require treatment.
There is abnormal redness on your tongue
A red tongue can indicate a deficiency of folic acid, B12 or iron, as well as a fever or strep throat. Instead of acting like an illness, a red tongue hints at your overall health. All of these symptoms are easily manageable and require supplements or medication to manage them.
If your tongue is ribbon-like or striped
A web-like or streaky appearance is caused by your immune system attacking the cells, and is often indicative of an inflammatory condition known as lichen planus. Lichen planus is not contagious, but increases the risk of oral cancer, so it is important to monitor the condition. The best way to treat this condition is to practice good oral hygiene and avoid tobacco and products that can irritate the mouth.
Your tongue has grooves
Bumps are created when the teeth are pushed into the tongue. This usually happens during sleep. Fortunately, ridges do not require treatment and disappear with time.
Do you see bumps on your tongue?