Home Biology The Health Language of our Tongue

The Health Language of our Tongue

All of us have visited a general physician several times or at least once. There were two most interesting events for me each time I visited a general physician. Firstly, the rapid movement of the stethoscope over my back along with being asked to breathe heavily. And secondly, the moment he asked me to put tongue out wide and do, ‘Aaaaaaaa’ while he flashed a torch down my throat.

Earlier, I believed that the physician only checked my throat in that manner. But, to my surprise, during a conversation with one of my friends who is pursuing medicine as a career enlightened me with the knowledge that our tongue shows about almost 20% of the symptoms of commonly occurring diseases and infections. So, it is very beneficial and advisable to examine the tongue first before any further examinations.

Surprisingly our tongue shows color variations in a manner such that it is more than the colors in the rainbow. Which means we can ourselves know what is wrong with our body by looking at our tongue up to some extent. Amazing, isn’t it? So, let us try to know the various symptoms your tongue shows regarding various diseases and infections.

Colors of the Tongue

This is what the spectrum of our tongue has to has-

  • Light Pink- This indicated a healthy tongue. A light coating of white is also considered to be normal. If you move your finger over the tongue you could feel tiny nodules as well.
  • Red- This indicates the presence of an infection in the body or simply be a part of the inflammation process. Mostly it is caused by an acute mechanical or chemical injury or bacterial entry through cuts.
  • Bright Red- This is an indication of heart disorders, blood diseases, Vitamin B12 deficiency, toxic shock syndrome or strep throat.
  • Yellow- This is rare, but if occurs, it indicates jaundice or liver problems. In some cases, it may specify persistent stomach problems too. Other reasons may also include poor dental hygiene or smoking.
  • Purple- This indicates blood stasis implying heart complications.
  • Bluish-Purple- This is an indication of lack of oxygen in blood, hence points out to lung issues.
  • Pale- This is a clear indication of Vitamin or Nutritional deficiency.
  • White- This indicates fungal infections, oral infections, or even points out dehydration.
  • Grey- This in an indication of long-time digestive or intestinal problems.
Various different appearances of the tongue.

Coating of our tongue

A light white coating over the tongue is considered to be healthy, anything other than that is a sign of health issues.

  • Thick White Coating- This usually shows signs of oral infections. It may also occur due to consumption of excess alcohol.
  • Brown Coating- This is an indication of frequent smoking, but a permanent brown coating indicates serious lung problems. If not treated or ignored it may lead to black coating.
  • Thick Yellow Coating- It is a clear indication of digestion related issue or infection in the digestive organs like stomach, liver, gall-bladder, etc.
  • Gray Coating- This is a clear sign of gastric issue and in some cases possibly peptic ulcers.

Textures of our tongue

  • White Patches- These is a sign of fungal infection.
  • Black Hairy Outgrowths- These are indication of diabetes, cancer therapies or poor oral hygiene
  • Red-White Spots- These mark the areas where taste buds are worn out.
  • Webbed or Stripped Patterns- These are symptoms of oral lichen planus, which may in extreme cases lead to mouth cancer.
  • Ridges- These indicates cuts and injuries on the tongue, usually caused accidently by the teeth.
  • Bumps- These are sign of cold sores, or infections.

This all this information, I myself am now aware and I hope it will be of good use to all of you. So, next time you or someone close to you feel sick or little uneasy do examine their tongue and see what it has to say.

But, make sure you visit or take the person to a doctor or physician for treatment as these are just indicative knowledge and not confirmation about anything specific.

Besides this, you can view our video and blog collections in the Video Section & Blog Section of the website.

Abhijeet Mahato
Abhijeet Mahatohttp://scilynk.in
Abhijeet is a 4th-year Undergraduate Student at IIT Kharagpur. His major inclination is towards exploring the science behind the things of our day-to-day life.

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