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What Can Your Tongue Tell You about Your Health?

Who knew that sticking your tongue out could tell you a whole lot about your own health? It turns out that your tongue can give you and your doctor several clues as to what is going on with the rest of your body. It’s always a good idea to stay on top of your health so if you notice any of these things going on, you should make an appointment with your doctor to have things checked out. Here’s what to be on the lookout for.

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1. If Your Tongue is Bright Red, You May Need to Take a Multivitamin

Your tongue is supposed to be a certain shade of red, but if it’s really bright and shiny, you could have a vitamin deficiency. Specifically, you could be lacking in vitamin B12 or iron. When you don’t get enough of these nutrients, your tongue may look really smooth, which changes the color. Both vitamin B12 and iron can be found in meat, so if you are a vegetarian, talk to your doctor about taking a multivitamin to cover your needs.

2. A White Tongue Could Mean a Yeast Infection

Yes, you can get a yeast infection in your mouth. It’s not quite the same as the one you get down below, but you definitely don’t want to let it go. A yeast infection in your mouth could be due to antibiotics. When you take this type of medication, it messes with the balance of healthy bacteria in your body. When this happens, you can wind up with a white tongue. Diabetes and autoimmune diseases can also cause the issue. Treatment involves seeing a doctor as there are no over the counter meds for this type of infection.

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3. Red Lesions Could Be Tongue Cancer

Now don’t freak out that any red spot on your tongue means you have cancer. However, if you have a lesion that won’t go away, you will definitely want to get it checked out by a doctor to be sure. This type of sore won’t look like a canker sore, which tends to be white in the center and red around the edges. The bottom line here is that if you are worried about any lesion on your tongue, have it looked at to put your mind at ease.

4. Do You Have a Wrinkly Tongue? You’re Probably Just Aging

Your tongue can age just like the outside of your body can. Experts say that wrinkles on your tongue are generally harmless, but that if they occur, you have to be extra diligent about dental hygiene to be sure they don’t become infected. Luckily, wrinkles on your tongue can’t be seen!

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5. Stress Can Lead to Sores on Your Tongue

You know those little sores that show up and burn when you eat or drink certain foods? Often, you can blame them on stress. They typically go away on their own in just a couple of weeks, but if they keep coming back, it might be time to check your stress levels. Try adding things to your routine that help you relax, such as a warm bath, a glass of wine or a night with friends. Lowering your stress can often help.

6. A Dark, Fuzzy Tongue Could Be Poor Hygiene or Your Diet

Sometimes if you haven’t been super diligent about brushing, flossing and otherwise practicing good hygiene, you might wind up with a fuzzy, discolored tongue. Most dentists say this condition is harmless, but poor dental hygiene can lead to more serious issues over time, so beef up the brushing routine right away. A fuzzy tongue can sometimes be caused by drinking tea or coffee so you may need to make some diet tweaks. Smoking cigarettes can also lead to this problem and you know that’s not a healthy choice.

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7. White Patches on Your Tongue Could Be Precancerous

These white patches are a buildup of cells on your tongue and are often caused by smoking. They can indicate that you have precancerous cells growing in your mouth that can eventually wind up turning into cancer. If you see these patches, see your doctor right away.

Do you have any of these things going on with your tongue?

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