What your tongue says about your health

We brush our teeth every day, but it’s easy to forget about the tongue. However, paying attention to your tongue can give vital clues concerning your oral and overall health. Next time you’re brushing your teeth, be sure to brush your tongue and look for these telling signs.  

Color of the tongue  

A healthy tongue is typically pink and covered in small bumps, otherwise known as papillae. If your tongue is red, this could be an indication of a fever or vitamin B deficiency,  and if your tongue is very lightly colored, this could be an indication of a weak immune system or deficiency. If you notice any significant change in your tongue’s color, it is best to consult a doctor or dentist.  

Shape of the tongue 

The shape of your tongue can also give clues to your overall health, although a lot of tongue shapes are simply due to genetics. However, if your tongue is swollen with scalloped edges, this could be an indication a malabsorption of nutrients. An abnormally thin tongue shape could be a sign of dehydration.  

Coatings on the tongue 

It’s common to have a build-up of bacteria on the tongue and this can often result in a “coating.” A white coating is usually a build-up of sugar, bacteria and other debris on the tongue. Those with diabetes and other chronic health conditions are more likely to notice a white coating on their tongue. White coatings could also be a sign of a virus or disease, and there are other colors of coatings on the tongue besides white. If you notice something odd, it is best to consult a doctor or dentist.  

It’s important to pay attention to the color, shape and coatings on your tongue to be aware of possible changes in your oral and overall health. One of the best ways to keep your tongue healthy is to eat a low-sugar, clean diet, exercise regularly and maintain a good oral hygiene routine.   

Get started on maintaining good oral health by booking an appointment with Jackson Dental. Call us at (573) 243-5200 or stop by Jackson Dental’s office at 3100 E Jackson Blvd., Jackson, Mo., to get your visit scheduled.