The tongue is a muscular organ in the mouth. The tongue is covered with moist, pink tissue called mucosa. Tiny bumps called papillae give the tongue its rough texture. Thousands of taste buds cover the surfaces of the papillae. Taste buds are collections of nerve-like cells that connect to nerves running into the brain.
Therefore, it is of high importance not to overlook these symptoms, and if your tongue has changed in color, you should visit your doctor and check the issue.
It is of importance in the digestive system and is the primary organ of taste in the gustatory system. The tongue’s upper surface (dorsum) is covered in taste buds housed in numerous lingual papillae. It is sensitive and kept moist by saliva, and is richly supplied with nerves and blood vessels. The tongue also serves as a natural means of cleaning the teeth.
Here is how to read the signs of the tongue:
White tongue is a coating of debris, bacteria and dead cells on your tongue that makes it look white. Although the appearance of white tongue may be alarming, the condition is usually harmless and temporary. However, white tongue can be an indication of some serious conditions, ranging from infection to a precancerous condition.
Yellow tongue usually occurs as a result of a harmless buildup of dead skin cells on the tiny projections (papillae) on the surface of your tongue. Most commonly this occurs when your papillae become enlarged and bacteria in your mouth produce colored pigments.
Black hairy tongue is a temporary, harmless oral condition that gives your tongue a dark, furry appearance. The distinct look of black hairy tongue usually results from a buildup of dead skin cells on the numerous tiny projections (papillae) on the surface of your tongue that contain taste buds. These papillae, which are longer than normal, can easily trap and be stained by tobacco, food or other substances, and bacteria or yeast.
The consumption of high amounts of coffee or dehydration of the body may also lead to a black color of the tongue. If this issue persists for over 10 days, you should visit your doctor.
These are the most common causes for different color of your tongue:
- Diabetes and anemia cause inflammation
- Stress may lead to ulcers
- Smoking may cause tongue irritations and pain
- Certain women experience tingling sensations of the tongue in post- menopause
- Cracks or small cuts on the tongue may be a result of fungal infections
- Oral cancer is more common in smokers and drinkers.