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What Your Tongue Might Want To Tell You About Your Health

Come on, say ‘Ahhh’ and show me your tongue. Do you know that your sense of taste has some secrets to reveal about your health? Our tongue is a vital organ and taking good care of our oral health is as essential as having a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Basically, our tongue can tell us something really important about our overall health and wellbeing. For one, a pink, smooth, lightly moist and a little white-coated tongue indicates that there is nothing to worry about your health.

Learn What Your Tongue Says about You

Chinese and Western medicines have been using ‘basic tongue analysis’ to initially diagnose illnesses and conditions of patients.

“In Chinese medicine, it acts like a map where certain areas of the tongue correlate to specific organs of the body,” Chinese herbalist Giovanni Masiocia said.

However, Dr. Richard Halvorsen also shared that when a doctor asks you to stick out your tongue, he could only be looking for signs certain diseases, oral thrushes, infections, dehydration and kidney problems.

Black and “Hairy”

A black and “hairy” tongue isn’t really alarming but can be a total disgust! At times, it only causes bad breath which can be resolved by keeping your whole mouth clean and fresh anytime. Proper use of toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash can be the keys.

With Spots, Patches, and White Coatings

Thus, if you notice your tongue to have white coatings and spots, it gives you a clue that fungal or yeast infection may be present. It can also indicate other illnesses like oral thrush and Leukoplakia, or sometimes, you may only need to brush and clean your mouth and that’s it!

White patches that appear on the side or bottom of the tongue may be a sign of leukoplakia, a reaction to a long-standing irritation of the tongue. Constant irritation causes the cells in the affected area to multiply more than usual. This also results in the formation of white patches. It’s not always a health concern on its own, but it could be a starting point for cancer to develop later on. Check with your doctor to make sure it’s not something more serious.

However, once you see a brown or a dark spot on your tongue that seems not to change or disappear over time, you need to see a doctor as some reports say that it could be a sign of skin cancer (melanoma).

Beefy Red

A red tongue calls for lack of nutrients. Common among children, strawberry or raspberry tongue signals vitamin deficiency — folic acid, iron, essential vitamins, and minerals. Likewise, allergic reactions and thyroidism can be the “culprits” of a swollen and beefy red tongue.

A red tongue could be a sign of:

Vitamin deficiency: “Folic acid and vitamin B-12 deficiencies may cause your tongue to take on a reddish appearance,” Family physician Daniel Allan said.

Geographic tongue: This condition causes a map-like pattern of reddish spots to develop on the surface of your tongue. “These patches can have a white border around them, and their location on your tongue may shift over time,” he said. “Geographic tongue is usually harmless.”

Scarlet fever: an infection that causes the tongue to have a strawberry-like (red and bumpy) appearance. “If you have a high fever and a red tongue, you need to see your family doctor,” the doctor explained. “Antibiotics are necessary to treat scarlet fever.”

Kawasaki disease: a condition that can also cause the tongue to have a strawberry-like appearance. It is seen in children under the age of 5 and is accompanied by a high fever. “Kawasaki syndrome is a serious condition that demands immediate medical evaluation,” he added.

Yellowish Tongue

A yellowish tongue signifies that there is either an increased production of sulfur compounds or an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth. Yellow discoloration can also be a sign that there is a gallbladder or kidney issue that requires medical attention.

Wavy Edges

If the edges of your tongue are scalloped or wavy, it could mean that your tongue is swollen. The swelling causes it to press up against your teeth, creating indentations. It usually occurs as a result of something else going on in your bodies, such as allergies, a thyroid problem, fever or dehydration. Take a trip to see your doctor to find out what’s causing it.

Cracked Tongue

Hence, if your tongue is cracked, here’s what you can think about. A “crack” down the middle of your tongue can develop with age. If you notice fissures in your tongue, it’s most likely harmless. Only about 2-5% of the U.S. population has a fissured tongue. It may be genetically inherited. If you notice a fissure that is accompanied by unexplained facial or lip swelling, better to see your doctor.

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