Naturopath Laurence Kirk of The British College of Naturopath and Osteopathy said that there are a lot of things one can learn from simply checking their tongue. “Your tongue is richly supplied with blood vessels, and thanks to a constant flow of saliva, it is constantly being cleaned which discourages harmful bacteria forming in the mouth area. However, if a person is unwell, a problem can often be detected by simply looking at the tongue,” he said.
Red or strawberry tongue
Some people might find a red tongue attractive but a bright shade of it could mean a few medical problems. Your tongue can turn bright red or strawberry when your taste buds become swollen and that’s never a good thing.
Kawasaki disease is a condition that causes inflammation in the walls of medium-sized arteries throughout the body, including the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. Kawasaki disease is also called mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome because it also affects lymph nodes, skin, and the mucous membranes inside the mouth, nose and throat.
Deficiency in folic acid and vitamin B-12 can cause this change in color.
Bacterial infection such as streptococcal infection can give your tongue strawberry color. This is often followed by high fever so better seek medical help ASAP.
A tongue with black patches especially along the center surface could mean that it has trapped bacteria and yeast. Diet and habits like smoking can also blacken the surface area. Some medications, including antibiotics can also turn your tongue black. Dehydration from too much coffee and smoking can also change your tongue into this color. Bottom line is black could often mean poor dental hygiene.
White and powdery
This generally means that you have a yeast infection. The best way is to visit your physician who will prescribe the apt medication for you.
White patches generally indicate that something that you are putting in your mouth is not quite gelling well. It could be as simple as a toothbrush, the mouth wash or also some food that you are consuming.
Similar to black tongue, yellow tongue occurs when there are trapped bacteria in your tongue’s surface. The only difference is the type of bacteria that gets trapped. Inflammation through dehydration due to smoking is also seen as probable cause. Like the first case, a more meticulous dental hygiene is advised to solve the problem.
Fissures and cracks in the tongue are typically harmless, but problems can arise if poor dental hygiene leads to infection within the crevices. “Once in a while a fungal infection can develop inside the clefts,” says Dr. Ramer. “You will suddenly have pain, a foul smell, and sometimes burning.” Often the infection is treated with a topical antifungal medication.
A brown tongue can suggest that you have an early stage of skin cancer called melanoma. Consult your doctor immediately.