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Tongue - Can It Help Identify Health Problems?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Sajeev Kumar 94% (39168 ratings)
C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha  •  35 years experience
Tongue - Can It Help Identify Health Problems?

Have you ever wondered why in most cases, when you visit your doctor, he/she asks you to stick out your tongue? While it is true that doctor has a better view of the throat when your tongue is stuck out there is also an other fundamental reason for it. The doctor would also like to know the soundness of your tongue. You might have heard this old adage that a lot can be said about you by looking at your tongue. This holds certainly true in modern times and if your tongue looks unhealthy, it is time to get yourself evaluated by a physician. Let us look at some common symptoms and what you can infer from them:

  1. If your tongue has a white coating or white spotsA white tongue or a tongue with white spots can be an indication of a yeast infection that develops inside your mouth. It is common among infants and can also say that you have a weak immune system. In some cases, these white coating can appear after you have taken antibiotics.
  2. If your tongue is red: A red tongue could be a sign of vitamin deficiency. Folic acid and vitamin B-12 deficiencies may cause your tongue to give out a reddish appearance.
  3. Geographic tongue: The condition is caused when the redness causes map like patterns on the surface of your tongue. These patches can have a white surrounding and resemble like a country on a map.
  4. If your tongue is black and hairy: Much like hair, the papillae on your tongue grows throughout the lifetime. They become excessively long in some people and they can harbour bacteria. They look like dark patches and can resemble a mole on your skin. The condition may be common for people suffering from diabetes and for people who take antibiotics regularly.
  5. If your tongue is sore or bumpy: If your tongue is always sore, it can be due to a result of an accident or an injury. You might have accidently bit your tongue and the place is prone to infections and redness. The place may not be able to secrete enough saliva on its own and can cause these rashes or a sore tongue. They are also caused by smoking and in some cases, people with mouth ulcers can get them. Mouth ulcers in the tongue can be painful and can be especially messy.

Doctors advise that you have check your tongue on a daily basis and any changes should not be ignored and should be treated with the seriousness it deserves. Seek medical help immediately if these changes do not away even after a week or two.

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