What does your tongue say about your health?
You use your tongue to chew, taste and swallow food but did you know, your tongue can also be an indicator of certain diseases. Many early signs of acute and chronic illnesses may be spotted on your tongue first. A healthy tongue must be pinkish-red and not bright red. Bumps, spots and patches may or may not be harmless, if you develop them, check with your doctor.
If you find creamy, white spots on your tongue, this could be a fungal infection known as thrush. This can happen after an illness or due to medications at times. However, if you find hard, flat and white areas on the tongue which can’t be scraped away, you must consult your doctor. This may be leukoplakia, a condition related to cancer. This could be also be one of the first signs of HIV infection.
Bright, red tongue
If you find yourself with a strawberry red tongue, sit up and take notice. This could be a sign of Kawasaki disease, a rare and serious disease which inflames blood vessels all over the body. This may also point to scarlet fever. If the tongue is not only red but smooth and painful, this might indicate lack of Vitamin B3 in the body.
If you get the feeling that your tongue has been scalded, this is known as ‘burning mouth syndrome’. This could point to an issue with the nerves in your tongue or other health problems such as infections, dry mouth, acid reflux and diabetes.
Small, reddish bumps under the tongue are known as canker sores and usually go away on their own. However, if you find a bump that has not gone away for long and hurts, consult your doctor, he or she may check for oral cancer.
Age can bring deep grooves to the tongue. However, these can also point to Down syndrome, psoriasis, and Sjögren's syndrome.
A "bald tongue" or "smooth tongue" can be a symptom of celiac disease as this condition makes you lose the tiny hairs that dot your tongue. It may also make your tongue burn or feel dry and give you frequent canker sores.