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Here's What Your Tongue Says About Your Health

Unusual tongue patterns are indicators of weak health and can further lead to severe diseases. Here's a list of 6 tongue patterns and what they say about your health.


Your tongue patterns could be indicative of an underlying health condition


  1. Tongue patterns could be indicative of underlying health conditions
  2. Thick yellow coating on the tongue usually means poor oral hygiene
  3. Unusual tongue patterns are due to a bad diet, bacteria, etc

Staring at yourself in the mirror and introspecting your face is probably the first thing you all do in the morning. But how often do you check your tongue? You must have questioned why doctors are adamant upon examining your tongue in the morning in daylight before brushing your teeth. Well, we might have an answer for that. Doctors say so because your tongue impacts your overall health in ways you may not apprehend. The color of the coating on your tongue fluctuates according to the food you eat, beverages and medicines you take, or according to your intake of tobacco through smoking. But unusual tongue patterns may also be seen due to a bad diet, lack of sleep, bacteria or sicknesses, and more. Such patterns are indicators of weak health and can further lead to severe diseases. Yes, those patterns could be indicative of an underlying health condition. In fact, more often than not, they are among the initial signs that something is awry.

Here are 6 tongue patterns and what exactly they can tell about your health:

1. Thick yellow coating

The thick yellow coating on your tongue could mean that you need to take care of your mouth, practice proper oral hygiene and clean your tongue daily. The thick yellow coating could be a result of body overheating or a bacterial overload. According to western medicine, this coating on the tongue can indicate excess bacterial activity. Bad oral hygiene, excessive mouth breathing, and fever are common causes of a bacterial overload in the papillae.

Also read: Your Tongue Is Always Young!

2. Bright red colour

You may see a formation of red blemishes or patches, which later turns your tongue bright red in color. This is one of the essential physical indications of anemia. Apart from this, when the tongue catches on a brighter red color, it can be a sign of conditions like Kawasaki disease and scarlet fever. A bright red tongue is also a symptom of a vitamin B12 deficiency, wherein your body needs to produce red blood cells.

sjg8ubugRedness on the tongue is indication of anemia
Photo Credit: iStock

3. Painless bumps

Sometimes there is a small bump like structure, either white or red in color that appears on the side of the tongue. These painless bumps may prevent you from using your tongue too much or eating food with ease. These bumps appear because of the formation of excessive acid in the stomach which usually stems from the over-consumption of fatty and fried foods. Generally, these painless bumps go away in two weeks but, but if they stay more than that you need to consult a doctor as this may turn into oral cancer and other health issues.

Also read: 7 Possible Reasons Why There Are Dark Spots On Your Tongue

4. Extreme smoothness

Your tongue has tiny hair-like structures known as papillae that provides it a rough texture. A completely smooth tongue without the rough texture is not normal. This condition is called atrophic glossitis, which is associated with a nutritional deficiency. This kind of smooth tongue may also be accompanied by pain and tenderness. If you are a regular smoker, especially a chain smoker, you must pay attention to this symptom which may otherwise seem harmless.

5. Sores

Sores are also known as ulcers, are small and painful. They usually occur on the inner surface of cheeks but may also appear on the underside of the tongue. Generally, you get an ulcer because of consuming something rough and sharp or even from accidentally biting your tongue. However, ulcers that stay longer than a couple of weeks may imply stress, anxiety or a hormonal imbalance.

3oc1chi8Sores for a longer run can be a symptom of stress

6. Creamy layer or patches

A white, cottage cheese-like coating on the tongue, which usually appears in patches is one of the most typical symptoms of oral candidiasis, yeast infection of the mouth. Elderly, infants and those with compromised immunity get this. The infection happens from an abundance of yeast on the tongue, normally caused by certain medications like birth control pills and antibiotics, health conditions like a weak immune system, and diabetes. You may develop chronic oral candidiasis that indicates an underlying serious immune system disease, such as HIV or leukemia.

So surprisingly your tongue can have more colors than the rainbow itself. Watch out for the symptoms and consult a doctor!

Also read: Tips To Prevent Oral Cancer

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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