You know that moment when you visit your doctor, and they tell you to say “aaah” while they’re checking up on your tongue and throat? One of the best moments in life, right? Ahem. Well, it’s not for nothing that doctors do that because the tongue can really be indicative of your health condition.
Thanks to StethNews, we are bringing you a healthy guide for handy self-diagnosis that you can do at home. All you need a mirror and… staring at your mouth. Simple! These are the eight signs by which your tongue is telling you what you need to know about your health.
Take a look at this picture, then check your tongue
1. Bumpy tongue
It may look odd, but you shouldn’t be alarmed – the bumpiness is a normal occurrence and affects around 14% of the US population.
2. Leukoplakia, i.e. small white patches
This is often seen in smokers, and it’s painless and innocent at first. BUT, it is also considered an early warning sign of cancer. These small white patches have a 5% chance of developing into a type cancer. Either way, smoker or not, you should consult with your dentist right away.
3. Your tongue is cottage cheese white
Worse than the previous symptom, and manifests itself in white bumps. It can either be a yeast infection (thrush) due to candida, or it could mean your immune system is weakened due to taking many antibiotics.
4. Strawberry red tongue
The most common cause is a deficiency of vitamin B12, or iron. Fix your diet ASAP!
5. Wrinkles on your tongue
Alarmed? No need. Wrinkles just mean you’re getting older – I mean, growing up. That being said, you should always keep your mouth clean.
6. Black, seemingly “hairy” tongue
It’s not actual hair, but it looks like it. It’s just a pattern of dark (black or brown) fuzz. Not a health concern per se, but a reminder that you should improve your oral hygiene. Causes include smoking or too much caffeinated drinks.
7. Red lesions on your tongue
Appearing time from time, these red lesions usually accompany canker sores. But… If these are persistent, it can mean there is a tongue cancer developing. Your doctor? Visit them immediately.
8. Sores in the mouth
Sometimes these can be painful and are usually caused by stress. Found on the inner side of your cheeks, they can be very uncomfortable during the first several days, but disappear on their own in two weeks.
A final tip: be mindful of how your tongue feels, too. If it feels like burning, it may be a symptom of post-menopausal processes. Alternatively, it can just mean the toothpaste you are using isn’t right for you.
* This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances.