The moisture, texture and color of your tongue can sometimes be the key that will determine the overall state of your health. Here we have few key changes to look out for.

The tongue is consisted of a group of muscles that allow us to talk, taste food and to swallow. Laurence Kirk, a naturopath of The British College of Naturopath and Osteopathy says “Your tongue is richly supplied with blood vessels, and it is constantly being cleaned thanks to a constant flow of saliva, which discourages harmful bacteria forming in the mouth area. However, if a person doesn’t feel well, by simply looking at the tongue, the problem can often be detected.”

A single peek at your tongue can provide you with the signs of what is going on within your body. When your tongue becomes stiff, displays unusual features, discolored, swollen or sore, watch out – your tongue is trying to tell you something very important.

Sometimes a change in the appearance of your tongue can be merely a sign that you need to pay a little more attention to dental hygiene or an indication of a simple vitamin deficiency. But in some instances it can be a sign of something more serious that needs urgent medical attention.What your tongue color and shape says about your health1

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

Here are the color common changes that you need to be aware of:


If you have a fever and your tongue is a bright shade of red, seek medical attention immediately. This type of tongue color is called ‘Strawberry tongue’ 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. The following processes can cause it: Vitamin deficiency – Check your diet. Increase your levels of vitamin B-12 and folic acid, by supplement or diet, as being deficient in these can cause your tongue to take on a reddish appearance. Scarlet fever – This streptococcal infection often causes strawberry tongue.

If you have a red tongue and high fever, contact your doctor immediately. Kawasaki disease – Kawasaki disease(KD) is more common in children less than 5 years old, although it can also affect some older teenagers or children. It is a disorder characterized by the inflammation of blood vessels throughout the whole body. This can manifest itself as strawberry tongue alongside a high fever – seek medical advice.


Do you have small sore bumps appeared, or have a painful tongue in any area? Here are the main reasons these can occur: Anemia and diabetes can cause a sore tongue, smoking can cause soreness and irritate a sensitive tongue, scalding is common if you eat food that is too hot, or bite your tongue whilst chewing, some women report a burning feeling in their tongues post – menopause, stress can result in canker sores, an infected or irritated taste bud can cause the papillae to become painful and swell, oral cancer is more common amongst drinkers and smokers, consult a physician if a sore spot or a lump lasts longer than 2 weeks. Small cuts or cracks on the surface of the tongue can indicate a fungal infection such as oral thrush and can also mean trouble sleeping, increased sweating and irritability.


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


The tiny bumps on the surface of the tongue are sometimes referred to as ‘hairs’, or papillae, and can sometimes turn black as a result of trapping yeast and bacteria. The color can also be attributed to the papillae becoming stained by tobaccos and some foods. Often a major factor is poor oral hygiene. This is a harmless but unsightly condition often referred to as ‘Black Hairy Tongue’.

However some mouthwashes, antibiotics and other medications can be responsible. It can be a sign of drinking too much coffee or dehydration. Heavy smokers may also suffer from this. It can result in a bad breath and metallic taste in your mouth. Use a soft toothbrush or tongue scraper 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.


Some people develop a white colored coating or white spots appear on the tongue surface. This can be caused by several conditions: Dehydration –  easily rectified by drinking more water, oral thrush –  candida, or a yeast infection, can result in white sores appearing both on the mucus membrane lining of the mouth and your tongue. Denture wearers and people suffering from immune disorders are more at risk as are elderly people and young infants.

Candida is also a common side effect in patients consuming some harsh antibiotics. Leukoplakia – Leukoplakia is a condition where there is an excessive growth of cells resulting in white patches on the tongue as well as inside the mouth. 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 – so if you see some changes seek medical advice immediately.


A spot on the tongue darkly discolored or turned brown could possibly be a form of skin cancer called melanoma. If you notice such changes seek medical advice.


The absence of sensations or feeling on your tongue most commonly happens when there is a damage to your nervous system. This could be following dental procedures including root canal work, dental implants or wisdom tooth extraction. Stroke sufferers can also have damaged nerves leading to the tongue which results in tingling feelings or numbness. Tips for a Healthy Tongue * Eat organic yogurt with natural probiotics * Quit using tobacco products and smoking * Reduce alcohol intake * Floss on a regular basis and brush twice a day * Gargle with salt water * Rinse your mouth every time you eat, any time that you notice swelling, difficulty moving the tongue, pain, burning, changes in your ability to taste or abnormal movements, go see a doctor as soon as possible.

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The moisture, texture and color of your tongue can sometimes be the key that will determine the overall state of your health. Here we have few key changes to look out for. The tongue is consisted of a group of muscles that allow us to talk, taste food and to...