The condition of your tongue can signify a lot about your health and oral hygiene.
This is why dentists will often take a look at your tongue during a dental appointment.
The color of the tongue is a good indicator of how healthy you are, how good (or bad) your oral care is, and if there is an unusual condition present in your mouth.
Here are some of the colors your dentist might be looking for on your tongue and what they suggest:
White coating on the tongue
A thin, white film on the tongue usually means there is bacterial growth or an infection. One suspect is thrush, a condition caused by yeast, also known as candida. Poor diet, low immunity, and/or high stress or anxiety can contribute to thrush.
Poor oral hygiene can also contribute to a white coating on the tongue. However, if you notice that even with brushing this white film doesn’t go away, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. He or she will provide you with a course of antibiotics or an anti-fungal medication if necessary.
Dark colored tongue
Healthy tongues should be pinkish in color. If you notice that your tongue is dark with a black or brown tinge, this could mean that you’re suffering from dietary intake problem.
A gray or blackish tongue indicates that you’re vitamin B12 deficit, and a purplish tongue often indicates vitamin B2 deficiency.
Sore spots on your tongue can be a real bother. These spots are known as canker sores, which are a small form of ulcers that form within your mouth. If you had these before, you’re probably well-aware how painful and uncomfortable they can be.
You can reduce the symptoms by gargling with salt water and applying medicated ointment. It can take up to 10 days for canker spots to fully heal, but if you’re experiencing it longer than 10 days, you should visit your dentist for further examination and treatment.
Extremely red tongue
While healthy tongues will have a slight tinge of redness, an extremely red tongue is not a good thing. If you notice that your tongue is extremely red, bright, red or dark red, then you could be having nutritional complications.
Due to insufficient vitamins such as vitamin B3 or vitamin B12, the color of your tongue can change to bright or dark red. If you’re anemic, your tongue could also turn bright red.
However, keep in mind that spicy, very cold, or hot foods and beverages can also contribute to a very red tongue but only temporary.
Usually, if you notice that your tongue has turned yellow, this is an indication of bacterial infection. If your tongue has a yellow tinge, it could also mean that you’re experiencing gastric acid reflux.
If you notice any of these colorings on your tongue, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist or a doctor to have your condition further evaluated and properly treated.