When we visit a doctor for any illness, the first thing he asks is ‘stick out your tongue’. Your tongue does not just help us to eat and speak but also is an indication of our health. Specific characteristics of the tongue may point out towards a particular health condition. The colour and texture of your tongue can be a clear picture of your overall health. According to the study, looking at the tongue’s surface and condition, one can diagnose about 14 health conditions related and diseases. Dr Arpit Jain, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Artemis Health Institute says, “The tongue can signal signs of a cough, fever, jaundice, headache or bowel habits and helps doctors make their diagnosis.”
Sr. Consultant Dr Punit Purthi, Asian Hospital shares what the different tongue colours denote about health:
- Cherry red: This indicates a lack of nutrients in the body like Vitamin B and iron. It is also a sign of childhood sickness.
- Pale: This means your body lacks haemoglobin, leading to tiredness and lethargy. Also, a pale tongue indicates anaemia. Apart from a balanced diet, add a tongue scraper to your routine.
- Purple or bluish: It could mean that fluids and blood are not circulating properly. In some cases, this tongue colour can be a reason for depression. Those suffering from high cholesterol and heart problems also have a purple tongue. To control, cut out all of the cold food, such as lemon, melon and add more warm ingredients to your diet, like garlic and ginger.
- Black and hairy: It is an overgrowth of papillae trapping bacteria and other mouth debris. The causes include poor oral hygiene and the excessive use of tobacco, antibiotics or stomach medications. For a remedy, brushing and flossing can help you.
You will feel several tiny nodules on the tongue, which are a little fuzzy and hairy as well. A change in this surface type is not a dangerous health condition but can be due to some underlying health problem. Following are the surface types in the human tongue that are symptoms of some of the other health problems:
- Smooth: A smooth and a rather pale tongue can be signals of iron-deficiency anaemia and even lack of Vitamin B in the body. Vitamin B is essential to turn food into energy.
- Map-like patches: Apart from it being an indication of VItamin B deficiency, patches on the tongue surface can also be due to irritation by excess alcohol.
- Wrinkled: Usually an inborn condition, wrinkled surface of the tongue is also a reason behind burning sensation on the tongue because of spicy food
Also read: Whitening Products May Damage Teeth: Study
Bumps on your Tongue
We may all have had that ugly tongue biting experiences, leaving a sore spot. In some cases, it might indicate something else:
- Canker sores: They surface on the underside of the tongue and look like a round, red border and a yellow or white centre.
- White or grey lesion: White or grey lesion is like a hard surface which feels thick and is raised from the tongue. This condition could be leukoplakia, a disorder of the mucous membranes caused by irritation from dentures, crowns, fillings, or tobacco use.
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