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How The Color Of Your Tongue Can Reveal Health Problems – 7 Warning Signs


The color, texture and moisture of your tongue can be key in determining the overall state of your health. Here are some keys changes to look out for.

The tongue consists of a group of muscles that allow us to taste food, to swallow, and to talk. Naturopath Laurence Kirk of The British College of Naturopath and Osteopathy says “Your tongue is richly supplied with blood vessels, and thanks to a constant flow of saliva, it is constantly being cleaned which discourages harmful bacteria forming in the mouth area. However, if a person is unwell, a problem can often be detected by simply looking at the tongue.”

A single glance at your tongue can provide tell tale signs of what is going on within your body. When your tongue becomes discolored, swollen, stiff, sore or displays unusual features, take notice – your tongue is trying to tell you something.
Sometimes a change in its’ appearance can be an indication of a simple vitamin deficiency or merely a sign you need to pay a little more attention to dental hygiene. But in some instances it can be a sign of something more serious that needs medical attention.

Like many other health indicators, take a close look at your tongue in the mirror, then compare what you find with these tongue health warnings and know what is normal for you and your mouth. A healthy normal tongue should be pink in color with no imbalances or patches of differing texture or color. This shows a well balanced and functioning body.

Here are color common changes to be aware of:

The tiny bumps on a tongues surface are sometimes referred to as ‘hairs’, or papillae, and can sometimes turn black as a result of trapping bacteria and yeast. The color can also be attributed to the papillae becoming stained by some foods and tobaccos. Often poor oral hygiene is a major factor. This is a harmless but unsightly condition often referred to as ‘Black Hairy Tongue’.
However some antibiotics, mouthwashes and other medications can be responsible. It can be a sign of dehydration or drinking too much coffee. Heavy smokers may also suffer from this. It can result in a metallic taste in your mouth and bad breath. Use a tongue scraper or soft toothbrush to clean the tongue regularly and be sure to brush and floss your teeth properly. Consult a physician if this lasts more than 10 days.

As with a black hairy tongue, this is a result of trapped bacteria. The papillae can become inflamed through being dehydrated, breathing through the mouth instead of nose, suffering from a fever or heavy smoking. As with black tongue ensuring meticulous oral hygiene should clear the problem, quickly returning the tongue to a healthy pink.


Some people develop a white colored coating or white spots appear on the tongue surface. This can have several causes:
Dehydration – easily rectified by drinking more water
Oral thrush – a yeast infection, or candida, can result in white sores appearing both on your tongue and mucus membrane lining of the mouth. People suffering from immune disorders and denture wearers are more at risk as are young infants and elderly people. Candida is also a common side effect in patients prescribed some harsh antibiotics.
Leukoplakia — Leukoplakia is a condition where there is an excessive growth of cells resulting in white patches inside the mouth as well as on the tongue. This most commonly occurs following any tongue irritation and is more common amongst smokers. It is usually harmless but can be a precursor to oral cancer – note changes and seek medical advice.

If your tongue is a bright shade of red and you have a fever seek medical attention immediately.
‘Strawberry tongue’ is so called as the red taste buds become swollen and appear to dot the surface of the normally smooth tongue just like the seeds of a strawberry. This can be as a result of the following:
Vitamin deficiency – Check your diet. Increase your levels of folic acid and vitamin B-12, by diet or supplement, as being deficient in these can cause your tongue to take on a reddish appearance.
Scarlet fever – This streptococcal infection often causes strawberry tongue. Contact your doctor immediately if you have a high fever and red tongue.
Kawasaki disease – Kawasaki disease(KD) is more common


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