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What Your Tongue Says About Your Health: Everything You Need To Know

Nov 04, 2023 By Madison Evans

The tongue helps you in speaking, tasting, and swallowing food. But do you know this muscular organ can be a diagnostic tool that gives you an insight into your overall health? So, if you want to know what your tongue says about your health, learn how to read your tongue first.

The white patches on your tongue indicate the overgrowth of yeast. The black hairy tongue shows a yeast infection. Red tongue indicates iron, B12, or folic acid deficiency. The bumpy tongue is a sign of inflammation or infection.

The tongue is an important indicator that provides clues about your health and informs you what’s happening in your body. To know more about those clues in detail, continue to read!

What Your Tongue Says About Your Health: Let’s Find Out

A healthy tongue looks painless and pink. But, if your tongue is not pink, put it out and check in the mirror for signs of oral health issues. Any irritation or change in the standard look of your tongue could be the reason for worry.

Let’s check out what your tongue says about your health:

Tongue With Yellow Coating

Consuming plenty of coffee or black tea and maintaining inadequate oral cleanliness can lead to the accumulation of bacteria that can develop a yellow coating on your tongue. It most frequently happens when your mouth’s microorganisms generate colored pigments when your papillae expand. The yellow tongue could indicate issues with your liver or bile.

A White Tongue

The papillae are overgrown and swollen when you have a white tongue. A white tongue may indicate:

Oral Thrush

An oral thrush inflammation of the soft tissues in your mouth may cause a thick white covering on your tongue. People who are aged or are newborns often have oral thrush.


Itching of the tongue can lead to leukoplakia. A disorder that causes the mouth’s cells to expand abnormally results in white patches on the tongue and might lead to oral cancer.

Lichen Planus

An arrangement of elevated white lines on your tongue that resemble lace; the reason for this disorder isn’t always understood, but it typically goes away on its own without treatment.

A Sore And Bumpy Tongue

Tasting bumps that hurt could be caused by:


A sore tongue may arise from unintentionally biting or burning it on hot food or beverages until the injury recovers.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are known as mouth ulcers. Without medical intervention, canker sores often cure in a week or two.

Oral Cancer

If an infection on your tongue fails to go away after two weeks, oral cancer may be the cause. It is common for oral cancer not to cause any pain during its initial phases, so you shouldn’t believe everything is well.

A Black And Hairy Tongue

You may have a hairy tongue if the covering on your tongue resembles black, brown, or white fur. The accumulation of dead skin cells on the ends of the tongue’s papillae, which catch germs, is typically the reason for a hairy tongue. It isn’t dangerous and could be caused by bad dental hygiene.

A Red Tongue

A red tongue could mean:

Vitamin Deficiency

A deficit in folic acid and vitamin B-12 may result in a red tongue.

Scarlet Fever

Antibiotics can treat an infection that gives the tongue a strawberry-like look.

Geographic Tongue

This disorder results in the development of a reddish patch structure on the outermost layer of your tongue that resembles a map. These patches are normally harmless.

A Smooth Tongue

A tongue that has no little lumps on top could appear shiny red. You could contract it if you don’t obtain enough iron, folic acid, or Vitamin B complex. Besides that, infections can also be a cause. It’s not harmful. However, it might be connected to lichen planus or psoriasis.

A Swollen Tongue

If you have swelling on your tongue, you can have glossitis. A dry mouth, an illness, an allergy, or a nutritional deficit diet can be the cause. Consult a doctor immediately if you experience tongue swelling after consuming a particular meal. Breathing issues may arise from the swelling.

Tongue Ulcers

Damage from toothbrushes or chewing your tongue might result in tongue ulcers. Pregnancy medications, stress, anxiety, or exhaustion can also cause ulcers. Although most ulcers go away independently in a few weeks, consider avoiding spicy and salty meals if yours are especially challenging.

Impact Of Diet On The Tongue Health

Maintaining general health, particularly the health of your tongue, is greatly influenced by diet. Your tongue’s look and health might be affected by what you eat. Here are some ways that define the impact of diet on the tongue health:

  • Nutritional deficiencies: To keep your tongue fit, you must eat an appropriate diet full of vitamins and minerals. Some nutritional deficiencies may trigger particular disorders in the tongue.

For example, a shortage in iron may lead to a pale tongue, a deficiency in vitamin B12 can cause a red, painful tongue, and a deficiency in folic acid can generate a smooth tongue.

  • Hydration: A good tongue depends on a properly hydrated body. A dry tongue, which may seem thin, split, or coated, might result from dehydration. Make sure you drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated over the day.
  • Oral hygiene: Your diet influences the condition of your tongue through oral hygiene habits. Both tongue coating and the growth of bacteria can be caused by poor dental care. Keeping a clean and healthy tongue can be achieved by consistently brushing your teeth and tongue and using appropriate lint.
  • Spicy foods: Eating too hot and spicy food could damage the tongue and result in transient changes like redness, edema, or irritation. If you experience any side effects on your tongue, you must reduce the amount of these items you eat.


The tongue not only tells you how delicious your food is, but it has many other abilities as well. It gives you valuable indications about all the happenings in your body. The pink tongue is considered to be healthy and normal.

But, a red tongue indicates a deficiency of nutrients, a black tongue shows yeast infections, and a yellow tongue indicates yeast growth. So, watch your tongue daily while brushing your teeth and know about your overall health!

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