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When people think about their health, they often neglect the tongue. However, your tongue can give you great insight into your overall level of health and what health problems you may be facing. If you want to find out what’s really going on inside your body, grab a mirror, stick out your tongue, and let’s find out more.
Why Your Tongue Tells You Everything You Need to Know About Your Health
Your tongue is like the gateway to your body. Everything you eat stops by your tongue on the way. In addition, the tongue is extremely porous and poised, making it the perfect growing place for bacteria. If there is something wrong in your body, it should come as no surprise that it shows up on your tongue first.
What to Look For
There are many different signs of tongue health to look for. While you’re looking, keep these aspects of your tongue appearance in mind:
Ideally, your tongue should be pink and covered with papillae. It should also be fairly wet; a dry tongue is often a serious sign of dehydration. If your tongue deviates from this description, keep reading to find out what the issue might be.
- A tongue that is red instead of pink: A red tongue may be caused by a vitamin deficiency, particularly folic acid or vitamin B12. Kawasaki disease and scarlet fever can also lead to a red tongue, particularly if there are other signs of ill health in your body.
- A white tongue or a tongue with white spots: This may be one of the most common signs that something isn’t quite right in your body. A white tongue is most often caused by oral thrush, a yeast infection that may not resolve on its own. A trip to the dentist can show you whether or not antibiotics are necessary.
- A hairy, black tongue: It can be alarming to open your mouth and see something that looks like hair on your tongue. However, it is unlikely that there is actual hair on your tongue. As the papillae on your tongue grow, they may grow taller and bumpier. When this happens, they are more likely to catch bacteria. If this happens, the bacteria can grow and cause black bumps in your mouth. This may be resolved by tongue scraping or more careful oral hygiene.
- Bumpy, swollen tongue: Pain or swelling on your tongue can be indicative of a number of conditions. Canker sores are fairly common and they tend to resolve on their own. Smoking or oral cancer may also cause tongue pain.
In some cases, an unhealthy tongue indicates that you need to change your lifestyle. For example, if you have frequent canker sores, you may have too much acid or fat in your diet. If you are prone to oral thrush, your diet may be heavy in sugar and simple carbs.
To keep up on your oral health, it is recommended that you check out your tongue at least once a day when you brush your teeth.