“One of the most versatile parts of the human body is the tongue – as it helps us keep ourselves nourished; it also maintains the health of our mouths and helps with communication,” narrated dental practitioner Yvonne Swartbooi.
Most often people do not take into cognizance that the tongue gives information about their emotional and physical health. The colour, texture and moisture of ones tongue can be key in determining the overall state of one’s health. A tongue is a very strong muscle covered with pink tissue and moist. It has tiny bumps called Papillae that are responsible for detecting sour, bitter, salty and sweet tastes. It is indeed a fascinating human feature that provides meaningful information about ones overall health. But what does its state and colour tell us about how we feel or lack?
“The coating of the tongue represents the condition of its digestive function. A normal tongue is pink in color with a light white coat on it. It has a medium thickness with no cracks, ulcers, or teeth marks.”
What it tells you!
Other colours other than pink indicate an imbalance in one’s body. It could be injury, disease, some functional changes, immune suppression and aging or lifestyle changes. According to the dentist, a tongue shows a number of health conditions depending on the colour of the tongue. “It may seem ironic but a bright red tongue, for instance, indicates a lack of nutrients in the body, particularly iron and B vitamins that are responsible for energy, cell growth and the proper functioning of the nervous system,” she said.
A tongue with a red tip indicates the loss of the ability to offset and regulate thermogenic hormones. In the absence of any illness, a red tongue tip can represent emotional turmoil. It is mostly common in men who use Lupron or women who reached menopause.
The appearance of redness on the sides of a tongue sums to the overly consumption of alcohol, greasy and spicy foods. This is mostly common for people with an irritable bowel syndrome. This situation is also known as liver fire that can be a result of resentment or long-standing anger.
As with a black hairy tongue, this is a result of trapped bacteria. The papillae can become inflamed through being dehydrated, breathing through the mouth instead of nose, and suffering from a fever or heavy smoking.
A tongue that is purple or bluish could mean that fluids and blood are not circulating properly. This lack of circulation quickly may translate into lethargy and poor emotional health. In some cases, it can lead to depression. A purple tongue is also seen in those with high cholesterol and subsequent heart problems, as well as chronic bronchitis, which adversely affects the airwaves bringing oxygen into the bloodstream. Blue-purple tongue is usually related with inflammation and certain diseases which mostly result from the lack of Vitamin B2 medically known as riboflavin. It is mostly noticed within people with chronic pain or women who experience difficult menstrual cycles.
“When the red taste buds become swollen and appear to dot the surface of the normally smooth tongue indicates a vitamin deficiency. The geographic tongue manifests autoimmune diseases as well as allergic disorders. A yellow thick coating can be related to bacterial infections or inflammation or perhaps a predominance of heat in the body.”
When a tongue appears extremely pale or white it shows weakness in the digestive tract that can be also accompanied by bloating, heavy fatigue, extremity coldness and loose stools. A dry tongue shows blood deficiency frequently marked by anemia, chapped lips, insomnia, impaired memory, dizziness and anxiety.
What’s the solution?
Swartbooi advises that people should ensure that they brush twice a day including the teeth. “When you are brushing your tongue, it will be best to pin it from inside out and avoid reaching the throat as they may vomit,” she adds. This can be a remedy for a black tongue. Brushing and flossing more frequently, as well as the usage of a tongue scraper helps to remove bacteria. While at it, it is essential to cut out the smoking among the other unhealthy habits.
She also advises that drinking a glass of water in the morning is the better option to help alleviate a dry mouth.
The best way to deal with the colors associated with vitamin deficiency it is advisable to keep an eye on the diet. “Increase your levels of folic acid and vitamin B-12, by diet or supplement, as being deficient in these can cause the tongue to take on a reddish appearance,” added the dental practitioner.
It’s all about the tongue, not necessarily a beauty feature perhaps but getting a close look at one’s tongue says more about their health. This may also serve as a mirror to what is happening internally within one’s body, thus making it of so much significance that people pay close attention to the colors of their tongues.