You don’t need an expensive or invasive procedure to tell a lot about the state of your health. All you need to do? Stick out your tongue in front of a mirror and see for yourself! The state of your tongue can tell you a shocking amount about yourself, the most important thing being your internal health.
If you’ve noticed something off about the shape, color, or size of your tongue, this could be a warning sign from your body that something is amiss. Check out a few symptoms that have manifested on an individual’s tongue and what each symptom means.
Smooth and Pink
If your tongue is pink, free of spots and grime, and full of taste buds, that’s a good sign. Your tongue should be a little bumpy. If it’s too smooth, you may have a vitamin deficiency. Otherwise, you are in good health.
Red and Swollen
A tongue that is beefy in size and dark red in color could be the warning sign of vitamin deficiencies. A lack of vitamin B-12 or folic acid may make your tongue take on this size and color, according to Cleveland Clinic. Consider a prenatal vitamin or more green leafy veggies to get more of these important nutrients in your diet.
Take a look at the edges of your tongue. If they’re wavy, or scalloped, this could be a signal of a potential thyroid disorder. Other symptoms to watch out for include frequent bruising, tiredness, hair loss, and low blood pressure. If your tongue is scalloped AND swollen, this could be a sign of dehydration, too.
A tongue with cracks in it can appear alarming, but it’s more than likely nothing too serious. Regardless, bring this issue to your dentist or doctor, just in case. In some rare cases, this cracked appearance can indicate an autoimmune disorder. Keep in mind that these cracks are like wrinkles; they will expand as you grow older.
Black or Brown Coating
If you have a coating of black or brown over your tongue, this is most likely a sign of poor dental hygiene. This condition may also appear in patients with diabetes, people taking antibiotics, or in some chemotherapy patients. Brush and floss regularly to prevent bacteria growth and see your oral hygienist frequently.
A white coating on your tongue should be checked out by your doctor ASAP. White coating most likely indicates oral thrush (a yeast infection in your mouth) which can appear in individuals with weakened immune systems. However, if you smoke, a white tongue could be a symptom of leukoplakia, a precursor to cancer.
The frightening thing about these bumps is that they can be one of two things: totally normal or very harmful. More often than not, they’re totally normal, usually canker sores caused by stressed. These will resolve themselves within days. However, if you notice red patches and sores that last longer than two weeks, as this could be a symptom of oral cancer. Check with your doctor just to be safe.
The most important thing to keep in mind over all this information is that you should check out the state of your tongue regularly! Just giving your tongue a look over in the mirror once a week or while you’re brushing your teeth can keep you abreast of your health.
Remember, anything you have concerns about should be brought to your doctors’ attention right away, just to be safe.