Changes in the color of the tongue can indicate a health issue, like an infection. In addition, various medical conditions can affect the shape and texture of the tongue. For signs of problems in your mouth, stick out your tongue and look in the mirror. The color of a healthy tongue should be pink and covered with small nodules (papillae). Any variation from your tongue’s normal appearance, or any pain, maybe cause for concern.
Signs And Symptoms
- A pink tongue is normal and healthy.
- A red tongue may show heat in the body, like a fever or a hormonal imbalance.
- A pale pink tongue may signify a lack of energy, a vitamin deficiency, or a weak immune system.
- A reddish-purple tongue is a sign that there may be an infection or inflammation in the body.
- A yellowish coating may show there may be an infection in the body.
- A thick coating reflects poor digestive or intestinal health issues.
- A blackish or gray coating indicates a long-term digestive disorder or that something is wrong with your body’s health.
- A thick white coating indicates there may be a yeast infection or be poor circulation to the extremities.
- A very thin tongue may indicate a sign of dehydration.
- If the tongue is puffy with indented teeth marks or scalloped edges, it may indicate malabsorption of nutrients.
Below are some possible causes of tongue abnormalities based on color and spots.
- Some people are prone to getting sore spots.
- Mouth canker or ulcer sores can crop up on the tongue.
- These spots often combine with a fever and cold after eating many citrus fruits or accidentally biting the tongue.
- Usually lasts for 7-10 days.
- Anything that lasts more than two to four weeks and continues to get worse could be a sign of oral cancer. Go to your doctor and have it checked out!
White Coating Or Spots
A white tongue or spots could be a sign of:
Oral thrush: When a yeast infection grows inside the mouth, it appears as white patches. Oral thrush is most commonly seen in newborns and the elderly, especially denture wearers or people with weakened immune systems. Diabetic patients and those who are using inhaled steroids for asthma or lung disease can also get it. Oral thrush probably occurs after you’ve taken antibiotics.
Leukoplakia is when the mouth cells grow excessively, leading to white patches inside the mouth and on the tongue. This condition can develop when the tongue feels irritated.
Oral lichen planus: raised white lines on your tongue that look similar to lace.
If your tongue looks red as a cherry, it might be because of one of two reasons. First, you could lack vitamin B and iron in your body, and this issue can get treated easily with a proper diet. Eat foods rich in those nutrients.
Severe Dry Mouth
- To overcome this condition, patients stay well-hydrated, use mouthwash and toothpaste, avoid caffeine, and in extreme cases, use gel.
- People who take blood pressure medication, allergy, or diuretics medication may suffer from unpleasant side effects such as uncomfortable tongue cracking.
It is an often less severe yellow tongue color. Bacterial overgrowth primarily causes yellow tongue. Other causes may include:
- chewing tobacco
- taking certain vitamins
Black And Hairy
Most commonly, bacterial overgrowth on the tongue causes it. As a result, your tongue may look dark brown, black, or yellow. Also, the papillae may multiply, giving off a “hairy” appearance.
This tongue condition may develop from:
- taking antibiotics
- poor oral hygiene
- chemotherapy treatments
If your tongue feels burned and tastes bitter or metallic, you may have burning mouth syndrome. It might indicate a problem with the nerves in your tongue. Some health problems, such as dry mouth, acid reflux, infections, and diabetes, may also cause it. For some people, acidic foods like pineapple and toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, or candy also make their mouth burn.
A Healthy Tongue Looks Like
- Pink in color (vary slightly in dark and light shades)
- Your tongue has small nodules on the top and bottom called papillae.
Different tongues are the result of different health conditions, but most are easily treatable. However an abnormality in any part of your body is always something to be looked into by a doctor. If you have had any abnormal tongue symptoms, seek medical attention to stay safe and stay healthy! Just remember, no matter what your tongue looks like, always brush and floss twice a day!