Your tongue speaks a universal language, and you should pay attention. It may be trying to tell you something important about your overall health.
Most of us have been taught to be careful about what words come out of our mouth but we should also listen carefully to what our tongue is trying to tell us from its inside perspective.
The lumps, bumps and colour of our tongue can tell us a lot about the state of our health. Checking it out on a regular basis is a good habit to get into. Since the average human tongue is a mere 10 cm long , and few of us share Gene Simmons’ unique attribute, a mirror is a necessary tool for this health check.
Stick It Out!
If the image in the mirror reveals a tongue that is a healthy shade of pink, you are off to a good start. Follow that colour check with the three points below and you could quickly help identify and prevent serious health conditions.
- Our tongue should be covered in small bumps called papillae. If your tongue is too smooth, it could indicate a yeast infection, or the presence of inflammation in neighbouring tissues or glands.
- If your tongue is bright pink in addition to be very smooth, it could be time for a review of your nutrient intake. A vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency may be the cause.
A visit to your health care provider can clarify the issue for you.
- Repeated trauma, or a response to acidic, or spicy food maybe responsible for raised lumps and bumps on the surface of the tongue. Depending upon the frequency of exposure to the trauma or the food, these bumps can be quite common. Rest assured that most are harmless.
- Ulcers, or open sores, can be another story. While they are often the result of biting your tongue, they can also be signs of more serious issues. Nutrient deficiency, inflammatory bowl disease or celiac disease are worth ruling out when open sores exist.1
- A regular exam should be part of a smoker’s routine. Smokers are 3X more likely to develop mouth cancer than non-smokers. The appearance of small red lesions can indicate oral cancer and should be examined immediately.
While, often painful, most eruptions do come and go quickly. Lesions that persist beyond two weeks should be examined by a health professional.
Black? Yellow? Hairy?
Need some incentive to up the ante on your oral hygiene routine? Black Hairy Tongue and Yellow Tongue are conditions that result from an overgrowth of bacteria. Improving oral hygiene usually addresses the issue. As unappealing as they look and sound, these conditions rarely lead to serious health issues.
Now, where is that toothbrush…
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