Tongue Color and Your Health, What is the Connection?

When it comes to overall health, a lot of people look at their body to find out if there is something wrong. You look at symptoms like belly fat, fatigue, and so on.

But the truth of the matter is, if you want to check your overall health, you do not need to look further than tongue color.

Our tongue is a barometer to the body’s health and performance. Just look closely at the tongue, and you can detect poor circulation, high cholesterol, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, allergies, and digestive problems. That is, according to Chinese herbalists and naturopaths [1]https://www.dc-acupuncture.com/natural-medicine-therapies-modalities/how-tongue-diagnosis-works.

Our tongue has a variety of roles, including helping with speech, digestion, and serving as an organ for taste, the tongue is also our distinctive fingerprint.

The shape, texture, coating, color, and bumps on the tongue are unique, and they say a lot more for your health than you think.

Think of the tongue as a roadmap, with some areas linking to specific parts of the body. For example, the back of the tongue can reveal a lot about your kidneys and bladder.

A thick yellow coating is a sign of impaired function in the intestines, and so on. With that in mind, how can you detect whether something is wrong or right? Here is what tongue color can reveal about your general health.

What tongue color reveals about your health?

The normal tongue color, which is one healthy people have is pink in color with a light white coat on it [2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15339555. Your tongue also has medium thickness, no cracks, no ulcers, and no teeth marks.

You can test the surface of your tongue by running your fingertips across, and you should feel tiny nodules that feel slightly fuzzy.

These nodules called papillae are the small hairs between your taste buds. So, with that in mind, here are tongue colors that might be alarming [3]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254627216300231.

Bright red tongue

This might seem ironic, given how red is a vivid and lively color. But when your tongue has a bright red color, it might be a sign of lack of nutrients in the body. To be precise, a bright red tongue suggests you need more iron and vitamin B.

These nutrients are responsible for cell growth, proper function of the nervous system, and energy. They are also essential in the creation of red blood cells.

In some cases, the red tongue is also a warning sign of childhood sickness. For example, if your tongue has a strawberry or raspberry red color, it might be an early sign of scarlet fever or Kawasaki disease.

Pale color

When your tongue is pale in color, it means only one thing. Your blood is lacking n hemoglobin, which is an iron-containing protein found in red blood cells.

The protein is responsible for delivering oxygen to the blood tissues. When there is a lack of it in your body, the result is tiredness and lethargy.

Another reason why you might have pale tongue color is bacteria, dead cells, and debris have wedged into the papillae. And in some rare cases, pale tongue is a symptom of oral thrush, which is a yeast infection.

Make sure to consume foods high in iron and lean meat to get enough energy to last through your day, and prevent lack of hemoglobin.

Purple and bluish

When your tongue has purple, or bluish color, that means fluids and blood are not circulating properly in your body. Lack of circulation results in lethargy and poor emotional health, and in some cases, it can even cause depression.

People with high cholesterol and heart issues also have a purple tongue. Conditions like chronic bronchitis can also turn your tongue into a purple or bluish color.

When you notice your tongue is purple in color, add more warm ingredients like garlic, ginger, and coriander to your diet. In the same time, cut off cold foods like melon, cucumber, and lemon.

Black and hairy

Black and hairy tongue is very rare, but it can happen. The color and texture are relatively harmless, but it is unsightly.

The color is a result of an overgrowth of papillae trapping bacteria and other debris from your mouth. Poor oral hygiene and excessive use of tobacco is usually the biggest cause of black and hairy tongue.

Just by flossing and brushing more frequently you can prevent and reverse black tongue. Use a tongue scraper to remove bacteria. And of course, reduce or quit smoking.

Yellow tongue

When the color of your tongue is yellow, it is a sign of trapped bacteria. Your papillae become inflamed through dehydration, smoking, fever, or breathing through your mouth.

The inflammation results in trapped bacteria, and a change in color of the tongue.

White tongue

This is the most common sign of dehydration and oral thrush. White tongue can also signal leukoplakia, an excessive growth of cells caused by smoking.

Brown tongue

This is an early sign of melanoma. That is why, if you notice brown tongue, you should consult with your doctor right away.

What the tongue tip reveals about your health?

If you want to master your emotions, look no further than your tongue tip [4]https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2014/783102/. This is part of the tongue that can help you understand what you are feeling emotional.

For example, when a tongue tip is redder than the rest of the tongue, that is a sign of psychological stress. You are worrying too much, and that depletes your tongue of cooling and regenerative fluids.

Tongue texture and your health

Smooth

A normal tongue feels a bit hairy. Therefore, smooth texture is not something you want. In fact, smooth tongue is a sign of nutritional deficiency.

Some signs include map-like patches on the tongue that change areas from one day to another, or benign and uncomfortable condition called geographic tongue.

Wrinkled tongue

When you notice wrinkles or furrows on your tongue, which many call “scrotal tongue”, it is a sign of deep grooves that can worsen with age.

Usually, wrinkles on your tongue is a harmless condition, but it can cause burning sensation when you ingest spicy foods.

Sore and bumps on tongue

It can happen to all of us to bite our tongue. And that can leave a welt. And that is a harmless condition. However, when you notice bumps or sores on your tongue, they are usually a sign of a bacterial or viral infection.

Lesions appear as a thick and hard surface are usually a sign of leukoplakia, a condition we mentioned earlier.

Dry tongue

Dry tongue happens due to stress. The cause is swelling of the salivary glands, the glands that produce saliva underneath the tongue.

Managing your stress is a way to make sure your tongue remains moist and healthy.

Tips for healthy tongue and overall health

If you want to improve digestion and the overall appearance of your tongue, follow these simple tips:

  • Follow a diet that includes fermented foods in order to balance out your inner ecosystem
  • Follow the 80/20 meal plan, which translates to 80% of healthy meals, and 20% cheat meals
  • Warm up your digestion with cooked foods
  • Drink warm ginger tea 20 minutes before every meal
  • Include herbs and spices in your diet
  • Do not overuse chemical mouthwash, and try cleaning using natural mouthwash two times per day
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