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What Can My Tongue Tell Me About My Health?

October 16, 2022
Posted By: Cabrillo Family Dental Care
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Say, ahhh! Ever take a close look at your tongue in the mirror? We mean really get in there and take a good, long look. What do you see? If your tongue is healthy, it should be pink and covered in tiny bumps called papillae. Your tongue's papillae are little bumps that help you grip food as you chew. They also contain your taste buds, which allow you to taste.


But what if your tongue doesn't look healthy? It could be a clue about what's going on with your health. Make sure to visit your Pacifica, CA dentist for regular checkups if you notice any of the below symptoms.

If Your Tongue Is White

A white tongue can be caused by a buildup of bacteria, dead cells, and debris. It could also be a sign of oral thrush, which is a fungal infection that occurs when the candida albicans fungus grows out of control in your mouth. A white tongue is usually nothing to worry about and can be treated with good oral hygiene habits like brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. 

If Your Tongue Is Red

A red tongue can be caused by a deficiency in folic acid or vitamin B12. It could also indicate inflammation, infection, or another medical condition. If you have a red tongue, it's best to check with your dentist in Pacifica to find out what might be causing it. Also, if your tongue is red, check to see if what you are eating or drinking has caused staining or if too much spice has caused inflammation.

If Your Tongue Is Pale

A pale tongue could be a sign of anemia. With anemia, your body lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body, causing you to feel weak and tired. 

What Does a Healthy Tongue Look Like?

Color: A healthy tongue is typically pink in color. If your tongue is pale, it could be a sign of anemia. A yellow tongue can indicate jaundice or liver problems. A black and hairy-looking tongue can signify dehydration or poor oral hygiene. And if your tongue is red, it could be inflamed from too much spicy food or acid reflux.


Coating: A healthy tongue will have a thin white coating. If you notice that your tongue is especially coated, it could be a sign of excess yeast in your system. This can often be accompanied by digestive issues like bloating and gas. 


Shape: A healthy tongue should be smooth and slightly curved. If you notice any cracks or fissures in your tongue, it could signify dehydration or vitamin deficiencies. And if your tongue is swollen, it could indicate an allergy or sensitivity. 


Next time you brush your teeth, take a quick peek at your tongue in the mirror. You might be surprised by what you see! By taking note of the color, coating, and shape of your tongue, you can get an idea of what's going on inside your body and address any health concerns accordingly. Your Pacifica dentist at Cabrillo Family Dental Care can help, contact us today.

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