The tongue is a small muscular organ that, truth be told, we couldn’t live without. It’s the reason why we can taste delicious foods, express what’s on our minds, amongst many other things. But did you know that the tongue is also great at letting us know when we’re not in the best health?
What a healthy tongue looks like
Certain health conditions lead to a change in the colour of our tongue. Seeing your tongue in a colour that is not pink is common and shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but there are some colours that you should probably pay more attention to than others.
To start with, you should first know what colour a healthy tongue should be. According to Healthline, a tongue that is pink and has a light coat of white on top is considered to be a sign of good health. It’s also not unusual to see small nodules on the surface of your tongues—these bumps are papillae, and they help with the process of eating and tasting.
That being said, if your tongue is any one of these colours below, you may want to pay better attention toyour body.
A tongue that is red in colour could indicate a vitamin deficiency, particularly of ‘folic acid and vitamin B-12’, says family physician, Dr. Daniel Allan. While this can be easily fixed by amping up your vitamin intake, more serious conditions like scarlet fever, eczema, and a rare disease called Kawasaki disease also causes a bright red tongue.
If you have a thick coat of white on your tongue, you could be suffering from oral thrush. This is a fungal infection that builds upon the lining of your mouth and can be treated with anti-fungal medication. It’s most commonly observed in people with reduced immune systems, like babies and elderly people.
Another reason behind a white tongue is Leukoplakia which is triggered by irritation from the use of tobacco.
A purple tongue could signal poor blood circulation, while a blue tongue signals poor oxygen circulation along with kidney disease or problems with the lungs.
A black and hairy tongue develops in those who have bad oral hygiene, but it is an extremely rare condition.