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The Appearance of Your Tongue Surprisingly Reveals Something About Your Health

Watch your tongue, literally! It might tell what sickness you have.

Mika Castro

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Aside from tasting our food, aiding in our speech, and giving out some amazing frenchies, did you know your tongue can also be used to diagnose health status and existing conditions? Tongue diagnosis has been done for a very long time already by traditional healers in China and Ayurvedic healers. In the western world, Naturopathic healers might also make diagnosis based on how your tasters look like.

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So what does our tongue say about our health? Two important characteristics need to be checked: tongue color, and texture. Read the meanings below as you go check out that tongue in the mirror!

Disclaimer: For those who are sensitive with pictures, some of the pictures may gross you out!)

#1. Lumpy white or yellowish cottage cheese appearance

Diagnosis: Oral thrush or yeast infection.

The yeast Candida albicans also found in female vaginal yeast infections may also infect the mouth. It may spread from your tongue, tonsils and other parts of the mouth. People who are in an immunosuppressed state such as those in Chemotherapy, Diabetics, taking antibiotics or immune system disorders are prone to this. Thrush is a simple yeast infection but don’t let it get severe! Your normal antibiotics don’t work against it or oral antifungal medications. Look for a specialist ASAP!

#2. Scattered white patches

Diagnosis: Leukoplakia.

Leukoplakia can grow on both tongue and gums and is usually an early indicator of oral cancers. They are lesions with white plaques that are often painful. This is commonly seen in heavy and long-term smokers. Consult your doctor right away.

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#3. White with smooth pattern or film

Diagnosis: Lack of oral hygiene!

Is your tongue covered in thin white film but does not hurt at all? It just indicates you may be slacking off with that oral hygiene! You can see this in children too especially if they are still milk-drinkers. Just brush that tongue and all’s good!

#4. Smooth Red tongue

vit-b12-26-638

Diagnosis: Vitamin B12 deficiency and/or anemia

So a smooth red tongue is ideal and healthy right? NOPE! A very smooth tongue is also abnormal. Remember that our tongue needs to have those small bumps in its surface called the papillae which helps us taste our food. In cases of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, these papillae shrink. This may be common among vegetarians due to lack of all nutrients found in meat. Having this condition makes the tongue sensitive to hot foods, and may easily feel scalded or burnt.

#5. Red inflamed tongue (Strawberry tongue appearance)

Diagnosis: Kawasaki disease or Scarlet fever

This condition is far more commonly seen in children than in adults. It is also likely that it comes with other symptoms that are a cause for concern for your child such as high fever and rashes. Scarlet fevers are mild and is only a bacterial infection that can be easily treated. It is the other disease associated with this condition, Kawasaki disease that is deadlier. So if you notice your kid with unusually red tongue with inflamed papillae, consult a pediatrician immediately.

More tongue business coming up on the next page!

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