Indeed tongue is the reflection of your health, and that is the reason all doctors tell patients to open their mouth and say “Ahhh”, the first thing while examining. The surface of your tongue can reveal many health problems and overall state of health. In fact the appearance of tongue is reflection of many illnesses that the patient may not be aware of.
Normally the tongue is pink and clean. When you touch your tongue, you may feel tiny nodules on its surface. They are called papillae. They are small hairy growths between which the taste buds are spread.At times changes in papillae are simply normal but in many cases change in color and texture on the surface of tongue can be an indication of health problems that the patient may not even know. Below are given some of the abnormal tongue textures and color that may be important to diagnose diseases.
What Does A Smooth Tongue Mean?
A clean, smooth, shining and good looking tongue is always abnormal. Loss of normal coating of tongue occurs due to loss of papillae. The condition is called glossitis. The bald and pale looking tongue is often due to deficiency of vitamin B12 and folate.
People having pale and smooth tongue often have low level of hemoglobin in their body. It is an indication of iron deficiency anemia. The most common problem faced by many all over the world, especially in people having poor economic background.
Often the condition is associated with angular stomatitis (parched area at the corner of mouth) which is due to riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency.
How Does Tongue Indicate Health Problems?
- Mapped tongue: There are irregular patches on the tongue. It is often called geographical tongue. The location of this patches change very often. In most cases mapped tongue is harmless and does not signify any underlying illness. The patches vanish only to reappear after few days. They are different in size and shape. The patches do not contain papillae. Few researchers believe it is linked to celiac disease but more evidence is required to prove the claim.
- Dry tongue: Dehydration is one of the main reasons for dry tongue. Reduced secretion of saliva can also produce dryness of tongue. When the salivary duct is blocked due to presence of stone in it, there is less secretion of saliva. Prolonged stress can also decrease salivary secretion.
- Black tongue: Patient often become neurotic after seeing their tongue becoming black in the mirror. Black tongue is not uncommon. It is a benign condition and patients should remove the cancer phobia from their mind on observing black tongue.
- Fissured tongue: Many people may have fissured tongue. These fissures may be present since birth. They are harmless, although some people may complain of burning after consuming spicy food. Fissured tongue also results from tertiary syphilis. But the condition has become rare. The only problem people may face with fissured tongue is they may not be able to clean the tongue adequately.
- Blue colored tongue: The tongue may become blue due to lack of oxygen supply. The condition is called cyanosis. It is seen in people suffering from chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic respiratory failure.
- White discoloration of tongue: It is often present in conditions such as oral thrush. It is a type of fungus infection in mouth. The fungus Candida Albicans is responsible for creamy white layer on tongue.
When you see any changes in the appearance of the tongue and if you experience pain, burning and abnormality of taste, you should always consult your physician.