We’ve all been asked to “say ahhh” by our doctor at one point or another, and with good reason. A close inspection of your tongue (and everything surrounding it) can reveal a lot about your overall health.
A healthy tongue should be pink, clean and covered in tiny nodules, called papillae (which contain taste buds). But variations on this could signal sickness, infection or allergic reaction.
Smooth: A pale, smooth tongue could be a sign a nutritional deficiency, such as an iron-deficiency, anemia or a lack of folate or B vitamins, which are important to the body’s use of food for energy.
Inflamed, red, black or white
Any of these signs could point to poor oral hygiene or in some cases, thrush, while a swollen tongue could signal an allergic reaction. In some instances, a black tongue could be an indicator of extended antibiotic use.
Raised papillae (the small hair-like nodules) can in some cases signal nothing at all, or could be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as the STD syphilis.
Sores & lumps on side of tongue
In many cases, a lump on one side of the tongue is nothing to fret about. However, Cancer Research UK warns that it may be a sign of cancer (as could unexplained bleeding) and should be looked at by a doctor.