You may not give it a whole lot of thought on a daily basis, but in addition to helping you talk, your tongue is also an important indicator to your overall health. Stick out your tongue, glance in the mirror, and see what your tongue has to say about your well being.
You See Black Fuzz
This condition actually has a formal name of “black and hairy tongue,” which describes it perfectly. It doesn’t look so appealing, but it’s not a major cause for concern. Small bumps exist on the surface of the tongue called the papilla, and while they are usually worn by chewing and drinking, they can sometimes become overgrown. This leads the papilla to capture bacteria and become discolored by food.
Luckily, this issue is easy to fix. Common culprits that cause black and hairy tongue are smoking, drinking coffee, and ignoring dental hygiene. By brushing with a tongue scraper and trying to smoke less and switch from coffee to herbal tea, the problem will probably be solved.
You See Bright Red
Strawberry red tongues actually indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 is crucial for the tongue to produce mature papillae on the tongue. Without papillae, the tongue becomes unusually smooth and red. A B12 supplement can usually resolve this issue effectively.
You See White Lumps
The only time you should see white lumps on your tongue is when you’ve just chewed some cottage cheese. If you see white lumps any other time, they could indicate a yeast infection. Antibiotics are usually to blame since they kill off the healthy bacteria that would normally prevent yeast from taking over.
While probiotics can help to counteract the damage done by antibiotics, this condition called thrush requires the attention of your dentist to be fixed.
You See Lesions
Lesions are never a good thing, particularly on the tongue, as they could be signs of tongue cancer. Don’t ignore this. Get it checked with your dentist immediately, even if you are an otherwise healthy person. Cancer doesn’t discriminate, and early stages rarely cause pain, so it’s much better to be safe than sorry.