“Like a rudder steers a ship, your tongue steers your life”
Without our tongue we would struggle to eat or speak, but do you know your tongue can also tell you a lot about your health? The color of your tongue is a reflection of your health and can tell you what is going on with your body. A normal tongue is pink in color with small bumps called papillae over it. The papillae are the taste buds responsible for all the sensory action. Any deviation from this appearance means your tongue is trying to tell you that something is wrong with your body.
Let’s see what your tongue is trying to tell you.
1) Red Tongue:
A red tongue means you have a vitamin deficiency. People with a vegetarian diet are more prone to vitamin B12 deficiency. A lot of times vitamin deficiency can be due to an underlying problem in the digestion of food. Your tongue can also be red due to a food allergy, Kawasaki disease or a streptococcal infection.
If you notice a red patch on your tongue or see your tongue turning red, consult your doctor. A biopsy may be needed to rule our precancerous lesions like erythroplakia.
2) Black Hairy Tongue:
Black or brown tongue with hairy outgrowths means you don’t follow proper oral hygiene. It is usually harmless and resolves spontaneously. Black or brown tongue can also be due to smoking or drug reaction. If you notice your tongue turning black or brown it’s time to step up your brushing game and take proper care of your mouth.
3) White Tongue:
A tongue can be white due to a thin debris coating, which is harmless and can be scraped off or due to a medical condition like a yeast infection, candidiasis, and leukoplakia. Yeast and candida infections are treatable with antifungal medications. However, leukoplakia is white patches on the tongue, cheek or any soft surface of the oral cavity which can’t be scraped off. They can be a sign of precancerous lesion and if you notice them, you should consult your dentist. Your dentist may get a biopsy done to rule out these conditions.
4) Blue tongue:
A bluish tongue is a cause of concern. It is mostly due to cyanosis which is caused because of lack of oxygen in the body. Cyanosis can be due to multiple reasons like an underlying heart and lung condition or mercury poisoning. It can also be due to severe deficiency of vitamin C. In any case if you see your tongue turning blue you should consult your doctor to get the right diagnosis done.
5) Pale tongue:
A pale tongue signifies anemia. Lack of hemoglobin in the blood leads to a pale and smooth tongue. Other factors responsible for a pale tongue are smoking, poor oral hygiene, dehydration and a weak immune system.
Any change in color of your tongue can point towards a serious underlying condition. Keeping an eye out for any such changes can help you in early detection and diagnosis of numerous diseases.