Open your mouth and look at your tongue. That may sound strange, but your tongue can tell a lot about your health. For example, a black and hairy-looking tongue can signal poor oral hygiene or diabetes.
Generally speaking, any significant changes in color or the development of pain and lumps may indicate a health problem. However, there’s a wide range of possible changes to your tongue, all with different outcomes.
What a healthy tongue looks like
First, it’s important to gain a sense of what’s normal for a tongue.
A healthy tongue is typically pink in color, but it can still vary slightly in dark and light shades. Your tongue also has small nodules on the top and bottom. These are called papillae
1. White tongue
If your tongue has a white coating or white spots
A white tongue, or white spots on your tongue, could be an indication of:
Oral thrush – a yeast infection that develops inside the mouth. It appears as white patches that are often the consistency of cottage cheese.
Leukoplakia – a condition in which the cells in the mouth grow excessively, which leads to white patches on the tongue and inside the mouth.
Oral lichen planus – a network of raised white lines on your tongue that looks similar to lace
2. Black Tongue
A hairy tongue can be black. But your tongue can also go dark after you take an antacid with an ingredient called bismuth. For some people, it stains the tongue black when it mixes with saliva. It’s harmless and goes away once you stop taking the medicine.
3. A hairy tongue could be a symptom of HIV
While the thought of a hairy tongue might freak you out, it usually isn't all that big of a deal. As strange as it may sound, a tongue that is hairy or feels like it has fuzz all over it, can reveal a lot about your health. Although it might feel weird, a hairy tongue occurs when the filiform papillae that grow on your tongue don't properly shed and thus keep growing, according to Healthline. A hairy tongue might seem frustrating and annoying, but it's pretty common.
4. An Overly Red Tongue
One of the symptoms of Kawasaki disease is an overly red tongue. However, this is a much more common sign of a vitamin deficiency, such as B-12 or folic acid. Sometimes, the solution to this problem is just adding a new supplement to your daily routine.
5. Bumpy Patches on Your Tongue
Does your tongue look like a weird map with bumpy and red patches all over the place? If so, it is a sign of a high fever. In most cases, you need to seek medical care right away to see what the underlying cause is
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