If you are feeling under the weather, just stick out your tongue – the state it’s in can present an accurate picture of your health.
The colour, texture and moisture of your tongue can provide tell tale signs of what’s going on inside your body.
Who knew that saying “Ahhh” could be so educational? You might think that a symptom on your tongue-such as an unusual color or texture-is no big deal, but what happens in your mouth can often be a helpful glimpse into your overall health. Sometimes symptoms that show up on your tongue can signal other health conditions, such as diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, and even scarlet fever.
Here’s what some colors of your tongue mean
Black hairy tongue is most likely caused by a growth of yeast or bacteria in your oral areas. The round things on your tongue are known as the papillae and can build up things like bacteria or yeast.
Yellow tongue is considered an early sign of the disorder called black hairy tongue, which is also called lingua villosanigra. This is where the tongue will become black or brown, and it will look hairy. On occasion a yellow tongue is also a sign of jaundice, which is a problem caused by liver and gallbladder problems.
Bright Red Tongue
If your tongue is a bright cherry red rather than its usual pinkish hue, you may be suffering from a vitamin deficiency. A bright red tongue can indicate anemia, which means you should up your iron intake. Alternatively, you may be short on B vitamins, which you can pack into your diet with nuts, shellfish, and lean meats.
Red Color On The Tongue’s Sides
A red, shiny tongue with no coating usually indicates a loss of the body’s ability to regulate and offset thermogenic hormones in the body. This is often seen in women who start menopause and men who use Lupron®.
Red dots can also appear on the tongue. These indicate heat or inflammation in the blood. In children this can represent an immune response to infection. In adults, this can indicate what is called heart fire, which can result in insomnia and anxiety.
However, to our knowledge blue discoloration of the tongue and mucous membranes has not been previously reported. Mucous membrane hyperpigmentation has usually been reported as brown, tan, or dark spots caused by excess adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulating melanocytes to produce melanin. Other common presenting symptoms include dizziness with orthostasis due to hypotension, progressive weakness, fatigue, poor appetite, and weight loss.
The first possible cause of a tongue that is purple is a blood circulation problem. This could be as a result of many diseases and conditions including peripheral artery disease, blood clots, varicose vein, diabetes, obesity, Raynaud’s disease, among others. You will have other symptoms such as numbness, pain, muscle cramps, stinging or throbbing limp pain as well as body tingling.
A coated or white tongue occurs when the surface is colonised by bacteria or fungi, and dead cells become trapped between the small nodules on the tongue.
A coated tongue isn’t a disease and isn’t usually a sign of anything serious. It’s usually only temporary.
You can try gently brushing it with a tongue scraper and drinking plenty of water to help it improve.
The tongue of a healthy person is pinkish in colour, moves freely and is gently moist with a light coating. If a tongue changes colour or texture, a Chinese herbalist or naturopath may use tongue diagnosis to detect vitamin deficiencies, poor circulation, high cholesterol, allergies or digestive problems.