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Ballston Dental Arts
900 N Taylor Street, Suite 150, Arlington, VA 22203

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What Does Your Tongue Say About You?

Do you know what your tongue is telling you about your health? When is the last time you really looked at your tongue?

The tongue is made up of a set of very flexible muscles with thousands of small bumps called papillae and taste buds. Our tongue helps us speak, eat and taste food, and starts the swallowing process by getting food down for proper digestion. Your healthcare professional can often diagnose a problem in the body by taking a brief look at your tongue. Be mindful though, changes in the tongue can be caused by other non-health related variables such as smoking, certain foods, and alcohol.

What can the color of your tongue indicate?

  • Reddish Purple: Can indicate blood disorders, temperature and fluid imbalances
  • Dark Red: Can indicate nutritional deficiencies on folic acid, vitamin B-12 or B3
  • Black: A black tongue can be an indication of excessive bacteria or yeast overgrowth
  • Yellow: Liver or gallbladder disorder. It can also indicate inflammation within the body and an inability to break down animal fats
  • Pale Tongue: Can be an indication of vitamin B deficiency or anemia
  • Red Tip: Can mean that you have encountered some emotional stress or upset recently

Does your tongue have a coating? A healthy tongue should have a thin transparent coating

  • White Coating: Could be an indication of dehydration, thrush or yeast infection
  • Hairy or Furry: This can be caused by many things and sometimes can just be rectified with antibiotics

Do you see bumps, sores or cracks in your tongue? A healthy tongue should be devoid of any cuts, cracks, bumps or spots.

  • Cracks: A crack down the middle of the tongue could possibly mean you have poor digestion and or a weak stomach
  • Teeth Marks around the tongue: Another sign of a nutrient deficiency and in particular a spleen deficiency
  • Canker Sores or Ulcers: Indicator of fatigue and stress
  • Horizontal Cracks or Small Circles: Cracks indicate that you are having problems absorbing B Vitamins within your body.

Do you brush your tongue? You should..…every time you brush your teeth. Dentists recommend you brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper to help rid the mouth of bacteria and bad breath. Even though this is not a definite tool to diagnose yourself for any true health problems, keep an eye on your tongue and discuss any changes and/or abnormalities with your dentist.

Are you concerned with the look of your tongue? Call us at (703) 291-3111 to schedule to appointment with Dr. Kim today.

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Ballston Dental Arts

900 N Taylor Street, Suite 150, Arlington, VA 22203

(703) 291-3111