Your tongue can be a very good indicator for your overall health. There are numerous diseases or deficiencies that can be diagnosed simply by looking in the mirror. Anything unusual that shows up, from white spots to red bumps, should be addressed immediately.
#1 A strawberry-red tongue
A strawberry-red tongue could indicate a vitamin B12 or iron deficiency. Without these, the papillae on your tongue cannot mature and appear very smooth. This could be painful when drinking hot liquids or spicy food. Since B12 is found in certain meats, vegetarians are prone to these issues, which are easy to overcome by supplementing your diet. One of the worst things that could cause this affection is that you have an autoimmune disease which keeps your stomach from absorbing vitamins.
#2 Brown or black fuzz
Brown or black fuzz could indicate a lack of oral hygiene. This is not a sign of major concern, however it shouldn’t be overlooked. This is most frequent in smokers, people that drink coffee or black tea and can also be a result of poor dental hygiene. This should be easy to overcome by simply brushing the tongue or using a tongue scraper.
#3 Cottage Cheese White
A cottage cheese white look indicates a yeast infection. This is caused by an overproduction of candida. Taking antibiotics affects the internal environment of the body, killing many bacteria. In such circumstances, yeast bacteria can thrive. This can also happen if you have a weak immune system.
Wrinkles could be a sign of age. This is only a problem in association with poor dental hygiene. On such occasions, infection can develop inside the crevices. This could happen because of fungus or bacteria. Make sure you brush your tongue thoroughly and you should be all right.
#5 Small white patches
Small white patches are signs of an irritation. Painless white patches are a result of excess cell growth. The lesions are associated with smokers and have 5 to 17 percent odds of causing cancer. In non-smokers they could be a result of the tongue rubbing against your teeth, however if it doesn’t go away in a couple of days, you should go see a dentist.
#6 Persistent Red Lesions
Persistent red lesions are signs of tongue cancer. They shouldn’t be confused with cancer sores, which are gone in a couple of weeks. Those that don’t go away should be taken seriously. This is often linked to tobacco use; however it could also be caused by an infection with the HPV virus. Get it checked immediately just to be on the safe side.
#7 Burning sensation
A burning sensation is usually a sign that you’re using the wrong toothpaste. Either that or you are postmenopausal. Stings and burns could be caused by hormonal changes. About 15 percent of the population is diagnosed with burning tongue syndrome and it was discovered to be more frequent in women than men. It is unclear why it occurs. In some cases it simply fades away while in others it persists. This could also be a sign of allergy to sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), an ingredient used in some toothpaste brands. In these cases, simply switching to another producer could solve the problems. If there are other causes, they can also be treated with antibiotic rinses prescribed by the doctor.
#8 Hills and Valleys
Hills and valleys are not signs of any affection or disease; however people still get freaked out by it. A common condition called “geographic tongue” is frequent in 1 to 14 percent of U.S. population. This isn’t typically painful and its exact cause is unclear. Should it become painful, a doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory steroid paste or antihistamine rinse.
#9 Painful Sores
Painful sores could simply mean you are stressed. Canker sores are extremely painful and can appear anywhere inside the mouth. You can get them underneath the tongue or on its sides, on the cheek walls or at the back of your mouth. They are most unpleasant during the first four days and eventually disappear in a couple of weeks. The cause of canker sores is believed to be viral. Tired people are more prone to developing them, however they’re not contagious. Just make sure it’s not a cold sore. They usually appear on the lips. Those are extremely contagious and they’re caused by the herpes simplex virus.
Make sure you check your tongue health regularly, develop healthy oral hygiene practices and be quick to notify anything odd. Knowing how to read your tongue health could save your life and is a very useful addition to a survivalist’s skill set.
Do you experience tongue health issues? How do you treat them? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.