Your tongue has many functions apart from its primary function of tasting. It can indicate some health problems you may not yet be aware of. To help you, here are some hints your tongue may be giving you about your health.
1. Hair on Your Tongue
If you notice some type of coating on your tongue which looks like black or brown fur, you might have hairy tongue. These hairs are a result of proteins which turn normal small bumps into elongated strands that food and bacteria can get caught in. You should try brushing it off, however, if it can’t be scraped off, you may have oral hairy leukoplakia which can happen as a result of viruses like HIV or Epstein-Barrand you may need to get it seen by a doctor.
2. Blackened Tongue
This may be hairy tongue that is coated in black. It may occur as a side effect of taking an antacid made with bismuth. It is usually harmless and disappears after you halt the medication.
3. White Patches
White patches on your tongue could be caused by thrush and happens when an illness or medication offsets the balance of bacteria in the mouth. If can’t be scraped away, it could be leukoplakia which is a risk factor linked to cancer. If it looks lacy, it could be lichen planus and caused by your immune system attacking your mouth tissues.
4. Bright red tongue
A bright red tongue may point to Kawasaki disease which inflames blood vessels all over a person’s body, hence the redness. It could also be as a result of scarlet fever or a vitamin B3 deficiency if the tongue also feels too smooth and painful.
5. Burning Feeling
If you constantly have a feeling of blistered tongue as if something hot was placed on it and it tastes metallic, you may have burning mouth syndrome which is an issue with the nerves in the tongue. It may also be caused by acid reflux or diabetes etc.
Single, painful bumps could indicate lingual papillitis which can occur when the tongue gets irritated. Little bumps on the side and top of the tongue can also be caused by viruses. If you also have a bump that doesn’t go away, get checked, as it may be related to oral cancer.
When your tongue is bigger than the rest of your mouth, it can point to hypothyroidism, allergies, an infection, or other issues
8. Mouth Cancer Signs
If you constantly find sores that don’t heal, lumps, have trouble chewing or feel pain in your tongue, these may point to mouth cancer and you should go see a doctor.
9. Smooth tongue
If your tongue has little or no small bumps on them, you may be lacking nutrients like folic acid, iron or B vitamins. It can also be a result of infections, celiac disease or medication you’re on.
Soreness in the tongue can be a result of thrush, lichen planus, canker sores, or geographic tongue. It can also point to cancer if it is accompanied by red and white patches.
11. Fissured tongue
Fissures in your tongue may occur as you grow older or as a result of diseases like psoriasis, Down Syndrome or Sjogren’s syndrome. These are usually harmless and get better when the underlying condition is treated.
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